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\ c 

or THE 


Firtt FMfefltor of Chrutiaa Tlieelogy in tJaiim Theological SeminArf, Yiiginia. 

s'.c ■ 


; I • 

4 ' •* ■* 

t J « 

PHIt ABELPHIA : . >- . ■* -.i* . 

< > « 

Richmond:— R. I. 8MITEI. 





Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1835, by William 
Maxwell, in the office of the Clerk of the District Court for the Eastern 
District of Virginia. 

• • 

«- » 



* • 
• • • 

I m • 



In preparing the following pages for the press, 
I have honestly endeavoured to give a fair and 
faithful account, as far as it goes, of the eminent 
and excellent man whose memoir I have under- 
taken to write ; and I cannot but flatter myself 
that I have pursued my object vrith some success. 
I am sensible, indeed, and freely acknowledge, 
that my own share of the work is very imperfect, 
and by no means what I could have wished to 
make it. But this is but a small part of the book, 
and by far the larger portion of it will be found 
to consist of letters of the deceased himself, 
which, I am confident, will be read with great 
interest by all who can appreciate the truly 
christian character which tiiey display. There 
are many persons, too, I know, not only in our 
own state, but in all parts of the country, who 
will be able to associate, by remembrance, the 
voice, and look, and whole manner of the man 
whom they so justly admired and loved, with 
these efiusions of his pen; and such will, of 
course, enjoy them still more. 


The letters, it will be seen, are many of them 
entirely narrative, giving the most authentic and 
minute accounts of the various movements of 
the writer, at different periods of his life, partic- 
ularly after his removal to Richmond, and dur- 
ing his arduous and persevering labours in es- 
tablishing the Union Theological Seminary ; and 
all with a freshness of manner, and an interest 
of feeling, which no one but the actor himself 
could have put into a history of such things. 
Others are purely pastoral, addressed to differ- 
ent members of his flock on a variety of occa- 
sions, and well calculated to interest the sympa- 
thies of christian hearts. Others, again, are 
merely friendly ; but almost as various as the 
persons whom he addressed, and exhibiting his 
own amiable and affectionate spirit in the most 
happy manner. And all contain thoughts, and 
sentiments, and remarks upon many subjects, 
which evince superior wisdom, and deserve, as 
I trust they will receive, the serious attention of 
all reflecting minds. I may add, that although 
they were almost always written in great haste, 
and on the spur of the occasion, and without 
copying, (for I have had to thank the persons 
to whom they were sent, or their friends, for the 
originals, which they have lent me for this ser- 
vice,) they are generally well written, and some 
of them very pleasing specimens of this kind of 


In availing myself of the aid which these let- 
ters have afibrded me in my work, I have hard- 
ly ever stated any part of their contents before- 
hand ; but have almost invariably left them to 
speak for themselves, and trusted that the read- 
er would be able to follow the thread of the 
narrative through them, (although it is some- 
times mixed up with other matters,) so leaving 
the writer to tell his own story, and inter- 
posing myself, only now and then, with such ad- 
ditional notices as were necessary to supply 
omissions, and connect the parts together. In 
this manner, I have aimed to avoid repetition, 
and keep the narrative always moving. It is true, 
however, that I have also introduced other let- 
ters, according to their dates, which do not con- 
tinue the narrative, and so rather delay the rea- 
der's progress a little ; but then it is always to 
let him take some new views of the character of 
the pastor, or the writer, or the man ; and, in this 
way, I give him, I think, a fair compensation for 
stopping him, as it were, for a while on the road. 

In copying the letters for the press, I have 
freely omitted all such parts as I deemed imma- 
terial or irrelevant to the great object which I 
have had in view ; (and, by the way, I have not 
thought it either necessary or proper to mark 
the places of the omissions, as is commonly done, 
by stars, which could only disfigure the page, 
without doing any possible good.) At the same 


timoj I hare n^iajiied some things which I must 
confess I have felt strongly tempted to omit. I 
allude here to a few passages which appealed to 
me to be almost too privcde to be displayed, as it 
were, before the puUic ; and more particularly 
to some parts (or indeed the whole) of the let^ 
ters to myself, which I have felt an almost invin- 
ciUe repugnance to edit, in this way, when the 
act might seem to imply an " avarice of air" on 
my part, that I must humbly hope is really no 
part of my vein ; but I have believed that I ou^t 
to sacrifice my scruples of dehcacy on these 
points, to the duty of exhibiting the character of 
my subject in all its lights ; and I shall trust the 
good sense and charity of my readers, to give 
me credit for my real motives in the proceeding* 
Although my business in this work has been 
chiefly that of a mere compiler, I confess I have 
felt throughout a constant and oppressive sense 
of the difliiculty and delicacy of the task which 
(from some special considerations) I have 
undertaken; and of my incompetency to per- 
form it in a proper manner. I have consoled 
myself, however, with the hope that my mate^ 
rials are many of them of such intrinsic worth, 
that if I have failed to display them in the best 
lights, I have yet not destroyed their value; 
and the letters, particularly, I must regard as 
gems which will shine by their own lustre, in 
whatever matter they are set. 


In this confidence, I have only to commend the 
work to the favour of the christian public, and, 
above all, to the blessing of that gracious Being 
who accepts the smallest services of those who 
wish to please him, and to pnnnote his cause in 
the world. 

Norfolk, August 26^A, 1835. 


John Holt Rige, the son of Benjamin and Catharine 
Rice, was born near New London, in the county of Bed- 
ford, in the state of Virginia, on the 28th of November, 
A.T). 1T77. 

His father, Benjamin Rice, was a lawyer by profession, 
and had been, for some time, acting as deputy to Mr. 
Steptoe, the clerk of the court, who allowed him a small 
salary of eighty pounds a year for his services in the office. 
He was a shrewd, sensible man, of a frank and sociable 
disposition, and had a natural vein of humour and pleas- 
antry that made him a very agreeable companion. He 
|ras, moreover, a zealous professor of religion, and a ruling 
elder in the Peak and Pisgah congregations, of which his 
brother, David Rice, aflerwards called the Aposde of Ken- 
tacky, was then pastor. 

His mother, whose maiden name was Catharine Holt, 
was a relative (perhaps a cousin,) of the wife of the cele- 
brated Samuel Davies, the father of the Presbyterian church 
in Virginia ; within the bounds of one of whose congrega- 
tions, in the county of Hanover, she was bom, and con- 
tinued to reside until she married, and aAerwards removed 
with her husband to the county of Bedford. She was a 
woman of cultivated mind, gentle disposition, and exem- 
plary piety, fondly attached to her husband, and truly de- 
voted to her children. 

At the time of his birth, his parents were living in a 
small but comfortable dwelling-house, not far from New 
London, with a few acres of land attached to it, being only 



part of a larger tract, which belonged to his mother^s bro« 
ther, the Rev. John White Holt, a pious and intelligent 
clergyman of the church of England, after whom he was 
named. Their circumstances were moderate, but respect- 
able ; such as placed them on a fooling of easy intercourse 
with all the best society, while their gentle virtues and 
pleasing manners gained them the friendly regard and 
esteem of all who knew them. 

John was the second son, and third child of his parents, 
who, at the time of his birth, had an older daughter named 
Edith, and an older son named David, and after that event, 
had a second daughter named Sarah, a third son named 
Benjamin, and a last daughter and child named Elizabeth, 
all of whom are still living. 

John was at first, and for some time after his birth, a 
weakly and unpromising child, and was indeed hardly ex- 
pected to live. He was, however, only nursed with the 
more care by his excellent mother, who watched over his 
cradle with great anxiety, and offered up many prayers to 
God for him* 

When he was about two years old, he had a long and 
dangerous sickness, and at one time was thought to be 
actually dying. He was, accordingly, taken up out of his 
cradle, and laid upon the bed to expire with more ease, 
while his poor mother and good Parson Holt stood looking 
on, commending him to God, and expecting every moment 
to see him draw his last breath. Contrary, however, to all 
appearances, he revived, and began to recover in a manner 
so truly surprising, tliat the pious minister warmly declared 
that he was satisfied that Divine Providence must have 
some great work for the child to perform, and earnesdy 
charged his mother to begin to train him up for it betimes ; 
promising her that he would himself assist her in educating 
him for his task. After this, his mother very naturally re- 
garded him with new interest, and watched the first open- 


ings of his mind with great solicitude, already consecratiiig 
him, in her heart, to the service oi his Master, and giving 
him, like another Samuel, to the Lord. 

Ahout this time, or shortly afterwards, there was living 
in the family a brother of her husband, named William 
Rice, who was teaching a small school in a place called 
Cofiee's Old Field. This good man was very fond of the 
delicate child, and would often take him up in his arms, to 
nurse and pet him in his leisure moments. Sometimes, 
too, as the little fellow would follow him out of the house, 
he wou\d carry him along with him to the school, and to 
amuse him by the way, would teach him to call the letters 
of ^e alphabet, and afterwards to spell words of one *or 
two syllables, without the book. Finding him very apt to 
catch learning in this way, he prevailed on his father to let 
him teach him in the usual manner, and though his &ther 
thought at first that he was quite too young to be 
taught any thing, he was soon agreeably surprised to find 
that he could spell, and even read, much better than many 
who were a good deal older, and the fond parent from that 
moment determined, as he said, that he would givid that 
child a good education at all events. 

The boy's passion for books was now decided, and 
before he was four years old, he had read%^ good part of 
the Bible, and all Watts' Psalms and Hymns; and his 
great delight was to sit on his little cricket at his mother's 
^ knee, and repeat some of those pious verses to her, as it 
seems he was already passionately fond of poetry, or, at 
least, of rhymes. 

About this time, or perhaps after he was a little older, his 
devotion to his uncle Holt made him very attentive to all that 
that worthy man said and did ; and as he had sometimes 
heard him read the morning service from the book of Com- 
mon Prayer, the imitative boy would draw a congregation of 
children, white and black, about him, and give out some 


parts of it to them in a very solemn manner; telling them 
that when he grew up to be a man, he would be a preacher 

Some time after this, when he was about eight years old, 
the county of Campbell having been taken off from that of 
Bedford, by an act of Assembly, and the court house of the 
latter established in the small town of Liberty, his father re- 
moved to another house near that place, and sent him to 
school to his uncle Parson Holt, who had gone up into the 
county of Botetourt, and there opened a school for boys ; 
and who now readily took his young nephew into his house, 
to educate him according to his promise. Here he made 
some further progress in his English studies, and began to 
learn Latin; but his uncle's health soon failing, and compel- 
ling him to give up his school, he returned to his father*s 
after ibout a year's absence, and was sent to another teacher, 
the Rev. James Mitchell, a very worthy minister of the gos- 
pel, who is still living in a good old age to enjoy the reputa- 
tion of his pupil. After this, he lived at home again with 
his parents for some time, going to school to two or three 
different masters successively, whose names are forgotten. 

In the mean time, the serious impressions of religion which 
he had derived from his parents and others about him, had 
been greatly increased, and on returning home to live, we 
are told that he opened a litde private prayer meeting with 
his elder sister and brother, in which he led the exercises 
himself. At this time, too, we are assured that he gave 
strong evidence that he had already experienced a real change 
of heart, and had become a true disciple of Christ, by his 
pious conversation, and by his good behaviour in all res- 
pects. He was indeed remarkable at this early age, more 
particularly, for his considerate and affectionate conduct 
towards his brothers and sisters, and for his peculiar devo- 
tion to his excellent mother, whom he loved with a most filial 
and confiding attachment. Accordingly, he would go to her 


in all biB little troubles and triala, tell her hto florrows, and 
receive her counsels with a listening ear, and with a fixed 
purpose to mind them. One piece of advice especiaU^t 
which she earnestly pressed upon him,— to govern his tern* 
per (which it seems was apt to break out into anger al 
times,) and to bear all things with christian patience and 
meekness, — we are told, made a deep impression upon his 
mind, and produced a lasting and most happy effect upon his 

When he was little more than twelve years old, he expe- 
rienced a great loss in the death of this fond and faithful pa* 
rent, whom he lamented with the most lively sorrow* Afler 
some timej however, he found much consolation in the kind 
attention of his father which was now very naturally increased* 
and in the tender love of his brothers and sisters, and more 
particularly of his sister Edith, who was a little older than 
himself, and now took the chief care of the family upon her; 
and, after shedding many tears, he became gradually resign- 
ed to the will of God, Still he could not help feeling that it 
was not as it had been while his motlier was living. His 
father, who was but a bad manager, was now a poor man, 
without slaves to work for him, and with only his small 
ealary as deputy clerk to support his young family. They 
were, of course, obliged to help themselves as well as they 
could, and the hardships which he saw his brothers and sis- 
ters suffering, much more than his own, greatly affected him. 
He was, more particularly, grieved to see the toils of his 
sister Edith, who, as the oldest of them, had to do all the 
hard work of the house ; and, to lighten her burden, he 
would often help her to milk the cows, wash the clothes, 
and scour and rub the floors ; feeling himself, however, well 
paid for all his pains when she would call him her good 
bmther, and thank him for aiding her in this way. 

But something worse than all this was yet to come upon 
him ; for, after some time, his father thought proper to marry 


6 MEXoiK or 

again, and took for his wife a Mrs. Henry, the widow of 
Mr. John Henry, (a brother of the famous Patrick,) who had 
a small fortune of some ten or twelve slaves, besides some 
other property, of no great value, but which was probably 
the chief motive to the match. This brought a stranger 
into the house, and one whom our young boy soon found 
to be very badly qualified to fill the place of his mother. 
The new Mrs. Rice, we are told, was a woman of proud 
spirit and bad temper, who had never had any children of 
her own, and could not find it in her heart to feel any thing 
like fondness for those of another person. Indeed, it is even 
aaid that she was jealous of the attentions which their own 
father paid them, and was always upon the watch to see that 
he did not waste any of her estate upon h%8 family. At the 
same time, she was most perversely disposed to treat them 
all with great rigour, and particularly our boy, whom she 
strongly suspected of being his father^s favourite, and whom 
she was anxious to drive to a trade, which she thought would 
be quite good enough for him. In this spirit, we are in- 
formed that on his coming home from school at night, she 
would set him down to his regular task of picking cotton, 
and then send him up to his room to go to bed without a 
candle. Such, however, was already his passion for books, 
that he would then draw out the litde pieces of lightwood 
which he had got unknown to her, and hid away for the pur* 
pose, and when she thought that he was fast asleep, he would 
be reading his Horace by the blaze. Sometimes, too, when 
his lightwood had given out, he would go on reading by the 
fire alone, going down upon his knees, and supporting his 
head by his hands and elbows, with his book open before 
him on the hearth, till he would almost singe his hair in 
the act. 

This was certainly a hard lot for such a boy to bear. 
It is not improbable, however, that the harsh treatment 
which he suffered from his mother-in-law, had some happy 


effect in deepening his early impressions of religion, for it 
appears that some time afterwards, having attained perhaps 
his fifteenth year, he thought proper to make a public pro- 
fession of faith ; and, accordingly, partook of the sacrament 
of the Lord's Sapper, in the neighbouring church, for the 
first time. 

Shortly after this, his father, who was still bent upon 
giving him something like a liberal education, raised all the 
little money he could spare from his small income, and 
sent him off to Liberty Hall Academy, (which was aflei^ 
wards enlarged into Washington College,) in the town of 
Iiexington, beyond the Blue Ridge. Here he found him* 
self in a new scene, and one which we may suppose was 
mtich more favourable for the prosecution of his studies ; 
for the Rev. William Graham, a Presbyterian clergyman of 
distinguished talents, was at that time president of the 
academy, and a lad of young Rice's genius could hardly 
help catching some improvement from the preaching and 
occasional lessons of such a master, and his able assistants. 
Unhappily, however, he had not yet acquired a habit of 
close and constant application, and, of course, was not 
much distinguished in his classical studies. Still he was 
by no means idle ^ but devoted a good deal of time to mis- 
cellaneous reading, which was both useful and agreeable ; 
and his moral deportment was entirely correct.* 

He had continued at Liberty Hall about a year and a 
half, and his father who could not afford to keep him any 
longer abroad, was about to take him home, when Mr. 
Baxter, a young gentleman of worth and talents, who had 
been a student of the same seminary, and was now teach- 
ing an academy for boys at New London, learning Mr.- 
Rice's intention, and having heard, as he tells me, a good 

* This is the substance of a letter which I have received from Mr. 
Edward Graham, (a brother of the Rev. William Graham,) who was a 
teacher in the ftoademy at the time, 


account of the lad's character, on his occasional visits to 
Lexington, sent him a kind and generous invitation to come 
and pursue his studies freely with him. He came accord- 
ingly without delay, and being placed at once on the most 
friendly footing with his preceptor, and boarding at the 
same house with him, he not only recited to him as his 
master in the school, but also read with him as his com- 
panion in leisure hours, in the pages of Swift, Addison, 
Pope, Shakspeare, and other standard writers. At this 
period, my informant says, he showed great fondness for 
using his pen, and frequently amused himself with writing 
small pieces for the school boys to speak, and little essays 
after the manner of his favourite authors, which evinced 
uncommon proficiency for one of his age. At the same 
time, his conduct was uniformly proper and becoming. In 
company, indeed, he was usually silent and reserved, but 
he sometimes talked upon moral and literary topics, with 
much good sense ; and, upon the whole, appeared to his 
friend and preceptor to be a pious and promising yvuth.* 

After improving himself in this manner for about a year 
and a half, and being now in his eighteenth year, he was 
most unexpectedly called to make his debut in life, in the 
character of a teacher. The late judge William Nelson, it 
seems, who was attending the session of the District Court 
in New London at this time, had been requested by his 
kinsman, Mr. Nelson of Malvern Hills, (a seat on Jaines 
River, about thirty miles below Richmond,) to find some 
suitable person for him to take charge of a small family 
school, which he wished to open in 'his house ; and the 
judge, having heard a good account of him, applied to 
young Rice, who, with the consent of his father, and by 

* The Mr. Baxter mentioned above is the Rev. George A. Biiz«> 
ter, D. D., who was afterwards President of Washington College for 
some years, and is now Professor of Christian Theology in Union 
Theological Seminary, having succeeded his former pupil in thQ 


the advice of Mr. Baxter, readily agreed to undertake the 
duty, and began to prepare, accordingly, to set out for Mr. 
Nelson's as soon as possible. At this point, we are told 
that bis father introduced him one day in the court yard, to 
the celebrated Patrick Henry, (who was there attending the 
court as counsel in some cause or other,) saying, " Here, 
Mr. Henry, is my young son who is about to set out in a 
few days to try his fortune in the world," — when the 
orator took him at once, most kindly, by the hand, and 
told him in his frank and hearty way, to be of good 
courage, and *'be sure, my son," said he, '* and remember 
that the best men always make themselves ;" a sentence, 
which, faUing from such a man, we are told, made a deep 
impression upon his mind, and often recurred to his recol- 
lection, to rally his resolution, and stimulate his diligence, 
when he found himself tempted to indulge his besetting 
sin of indolence. Shortly afterwards, our young adven* 
tarer set out for Mr. Nelson's, with only a handkerchief 
full of clothes in his hand for all his baggage, and just ten 
and six-pence in his pocket, which his father had given 
him for his out£t ; and commending himself, no doubt, in 
prayer to the God of Jacob, walked .down to the river, 
where he stepped into a boat for Richmond, and thence 
repaired to Malvern Hills. 

Here he found himself in the bosom of a polished and 
amiable family, and at the head of a small school consisting 
of the children of Mr. Nelson,- and those of some of his 
neighbours, whom he taught for some time with great 
industry, and with good success. At the same time, his 
conduct in other respects, was entirely correct, at least in 
the eyes of those about him. Indeed, I am informed by a 
young gentleman of that neighbourhood, who is intimately 
acquainted with the surviving members of Mr. Nelson's 
family, that he has often heard them say, that the whole 
deportment of our youth while he remained at Malvern 
Hills, was such as to give entire satisfaction to his em» 


ployers. He adds, too, from their lips, that he made 
himself very agreeable to the company who used to visit 
the house, and, especially the ladies, by his amiable man- 
ners, and (what I was a little surprised to he»r,) by his 
occasional verses, which, I suspect, could hardly have been 
very polished, but which, it seems, they all thought truly 

But whilst he was thus '* winning golden opinions'' from 
all about him, it appears from his subsequent account of him- 
self, that the course of life which he was now leading was 
not very favourable to his growth in piety. The gay society, 
indeed, in which he was mixing every day, gave him a taste 
for the pleasures of the world, which naturally interfered 
with the enjoyments of religion. But besides, this, we are 
told that among the guests who frequently visited the hos- 
pitable mansion in which he was living, there were several 
gentlemen of sprighdy talents and pleasing manners, but 
whose minds were unfortunately imbued with the principles 
of infidelity, which were much more fashionable at that day, 
(during the progress of the French revolution,) than they 
are at present, and his fondness for their intellectual con- 
versation, combined with a want of christian courage, 
led him to listen too patiently to their pernicious senti- 
ments. At the same time, he was cut off, I suppose, in a 
great measure, from the benefit of a regular attendance upon 
public worship, and from all intercourse with religious 
friends. The consequence of all this was, that growing in- 
sensibly cold and negligent in the duties of the closet, his 
mind became clouded with doubts, not indeed of the truth of 
the gospel, but of his own interest in its promises, and he 
lost that peace and joy in believing, for which he could 
not help feeling in his heart that the worldly pleasures 
which he had gained were no equivalent. Even these plea- 
sures, too, (as usually happens in such cases,) soon ceased 
to please him ; his mind became soured with the world as 
well as with heaven ; and he found himself most strangely 


and awfully disposed to regard his fellow creatures, as well 
as Ills Creator, with a new aad unnataral feeling of coldness 
aad distrust. 

In this state of things, after haTing lired with Mr. Nelson 
about eighteen months, he determined to pay a yisit to his 
father and the family, to see them, and perhaps to recover 
his lost peace of mmd. He proceeded, accordingly, to Rich- 
mond, and going afterwards np the river in an open hoat, 
exposed himself by the way to the rays of the summer snn, 
and reached home <»ily to be attacked by a severe fever 
which confined him to his bed for some time, and brought 
htm down to the very hrink of the grave. During this pe- 
riod, his reflections, as we may suppose, were not of the 
most pleasant nature ; but, in his actual state, it was no doubt 
good for him to be afflicted. 

On recovering from his sickness, he began to inquire 
what he should do to support himself; for, it seems, he was 
bravely determined not to hang upon his father, who, indeed, 
was hardly able to maintain him. He had been so long 
absent from Malvern Hills, that he did not know but his 
place might have been supplied in the interval by another. 
Or if it had not, Mr. Nelson, as he had heard, from having 
lived, like an old Virginian of that day, a little too fast for 
his means, was no longer a '* prosperous gentleman," and 
might therefore be unable to give him any further employ- 
ment ; and he was, moreover, very properly afraid to expose 
himself again to the temptations of a society which he had 
found so dangerously pleasing. But where, then, should he 
go ? At this moment, happening providentially to look into 
a newspaper, his eye fell upon^n advertisement of the Trus- 
tees of Hampden Sydney College, in the county of Prince 
Edward, announcing that they were in want of a tutor for 
that seminary ; and he resolved at once to apply for the 
* place. 

He set out, accordingly, for the college, on foot, walking 
all the way, a distance of more than seventy miles; and at the 


and of his journey had the mortification to find that the tras- 
tees had written to the Rev. Robert Logan, of Fincastle, invi- 
ting him to fill the vacancy, and were waiting for his answer. 
As, however, they encouraged him to hope that they would 
gladly employ him if that gentleman should decline their 
overture, he resovled to see him at once, and ascertain his 
intention from his own lips. He set out, therefore, imme- 
diately, on foot again, for Fincastle, with only a solitary 
nine-pence in his pocket, and having obtained Mr. Logan*s 
answer to the trustees, declining their invitation for him- 
self, and recommending him to their favour, he returned 
with it to Prince Edward, to claim their promise; and was 
immediately appointed a tutor of tlie college, according to 
his wish. 

His appearance at this time, (as I am told by a gentle- 
man who says he remembers it perfectly,) was not very 
promising. It was towards the end of the fall vacation, 
about the last of October, of the year 1706, when he was 
hardly nineteen years of age. He was tall and slender in 
his person, just recovered, as we have seen, from a sick- 
ness which had left him pale and sallow ; rather awkward 
in his carriage, and very shabby in his dress. His only coat 
had been fairly worn out in the service, and seemed to beg 
loudly for another, which he was yet unable to purchase. 
Add to this, he was anxious and 'troubled, it appears, about 
a small debt, which he had contracted in Lexington, while 
he was a student in the academy there, and which he had^ 
not yet been able to satisfy. And, above all, his mind, we 
are told, was still clouded and oppressed by secret sorrow — 
the result of his folly and levity at Malvern Hills — ^and he 
was still " walking in darkness" on his way. In short, he 
was in a situation to need the services of a christian friend, 
and such a one as he most happily found on the spot in 
major James Morton, the worthy treasurer of the board, 
(an old revolutionary officer of warm Keart and liberal 
spirit, and a pious and zealous elder of the church,) who. 


seeing the worth of his character through the disgaiae of 
his poverty, took him at once by the hand, advanced him a 
small sum of money to pay off his debt, and furnished him 
with a decent suit of clothes on account, but without 
troubling him with the bill. He introduced him also to his 
family at Willington, (lus farm so called, about four miles 
from the college,) where he found another, and, if possible, 
a still kinder friend in Mrs. Morton. This excellent lady, 
indeed, (whom I remember myself with great pleasure,) 
was a woman after his own heart, — ^pious, sensible, affec- 
tionate, and blest besides with that cheerful and hopeful 
turn of temper which makes piety more pious, or, at least, 
more pleasing. She was thus admirably qualified to *' min- 
ister to a mind diseased ;" and, having won his confidence, 
and heard his whole case, she applied herself, with equal 
tenderness and skill, to heal his ** wounded spirit." She 
spoke to him, accordingly, in the comfortable words of the 
gospel, and in a manner that seemed to revive all his first 
impressions of their truth, and of their interest for his own 
heart Finding, too, that he was under the influence of a 
morbid misanthropy, which she rightly judged was as 
foreign to his natural disposition as it was to the principles 
of true religion, she strove to infuse something of her own 
gentle and gracious humanity into his bosom, and with so 
much success, that he was soon heard to declare warmly, that 
it was impossible to know such a woman without thinking 
more kindly of his fellow creatures for her sake. Still his 
moody malady was not to be cured in a' moment, even by 
such ap{niances; but only by time, and, above all, by the 
influences of the Holy Spirit, which, in the true feeling of 
a christian friend, she earnestly and constantly implored 
for him at the throne of grace* 

In the mean time, the vacation had glided away, and our 
young tutor h*d entered upon his oflScial duties in the 
college, with zeal and spirit. The college, however, 

which had flourished greatly for a while under- the auspices 



of ite fiNHKlmr, the Rfr. fibmod Slanhop^ Smitk, (afiar- 
wardB PrmidttDt of Nas«iii Hall, at Prineetan,) and slUL 
HioiB under his brother^ ^ Rer. Jeba lUur Smiti^ who 
avceeeded him v waa now in a low alate* It was, in &ct, 
without a head ; kit the Rev. Dnnry Lacy, who had hhp- 
Tied a sister of Mrs. Morion, and vesided on his hxm in the 
noighboarhood, and who had acted for some ttme as presi- 
dent pro. tern., had either withdrawn, or waa withdrawing' 
from it; and the students were very few. Oar tutor's eiass 
was, of course, but small, (coosistinf , ai first, of hardly- 
more than three or four members,) and afler giving all 
proper attention to it, he found that he had still much time 
to devote to his own studies, and to his favourite exercise 
of writing. Accordingly, he spent much of his leisure in 
this way, and, besides a number of letters to his friend 
Mrs. Morton, he wrote several little pieces for her daughter 
Anne, then a small girl about eleven yeais of age, in whose 
welfare he already took a lively interest ; among others, an 
abridgement of Bryants* Observations on the Plagues of 
Egypt, and Lord Littleton's Observations on the Conver- 
sion and Apostleship of St. Paul. He continued also to 
visit, more and more frequently, his kind friends at Wil- 
lington, where he usually busied himself in teaching the 
children, especially his favourite Anne, (whom he found, as 
he thought, uncommonly apt,) directing their reading, cor- 
recting their writing, and aiding their parents with his good 

A few months afterwards, the Rev. Archibald Alexander, 
(now a Professor in the Theological Seminary at Prince- 
ton,) who had been some time pastor of the church in 
Charlotte, and colleague with the Rev. Matthew Lyle in 
the church of Briery, was elected President of Hampden 
Sidney, and, at his instance, the Rev. Conrad Speece, (now 
Dr. Speece, of Augusta,) was appointed a tutor ; and both 
oi these gentlemen came to the college together to reside. 
Their arrival was, of course, greeted with great joy by 

D9CTOX uiem. 15 

fooDf Ricct who saan /brmed a friendflhip with them, 
whidi eoDluMied wilh unabated oonetaaey to the day of hk 
death. Indeed, it k well known by att who were intimale 
wiih kirn, that he alwayt lenarded hie formkig this eon- 
nextoa with these exoelieat and distinguished men, at one 
of the most important and interesting ineidents of his life, 
as he esteemed them both hi^ly for their learning and 
talents, and still more for their ^* work's sake.** The fini 
eC them, eepeeially^ who was several years older than him- 
self^ and idready an able and popular preacher of the 
gospel, he regarded with a mixture of admiration and 
affection, which he never fek for any other person ; and he 
appeals to have attended upon his ministry at this time 
with great satiaiiction, and no doubt with great bes^C 

Apprised of his intimacy with these gentlemen, at tkts 
interesting period of his life, and wishing to give my 
imufeiB some account of him from such competent ju<^^, 
I wrote to them, reqnestisg them to furnish me with their 
lecollectioos of him for the purpoee; and they have both 
answered me in ^e most obliging mannor. , Dr. Alescander, 
indeed, (more partknlarly,) hw favoured me with a sfceldi 
of him, (or at least of his mind,) whidi is very nearly all 
that I could have wished, and which I shall give, with gieat 
pleasure, in his own words. 

" When I first became acquainted with Dr. Bice," says 
he, "he was not more than twenty-one years of age^i 
Afler completing his course at Washington CoUege, he had 
spent one year" (about a year and a half,) " as a privale 
tutor in a family, in one of the eastern counties of the 
state; but a tutor being wanted at Hampden Sidney, he 
was employed by the trustees in that capacity. When I 
came to reside at that place, I found him there ; and from 
this time our intercourse was constant and intimate, as kmg 
as I T^aained in the state; and our friendship then con- 
tracted, continued to be uninterrupted to the day of his 
death. It is prdwble, Aerefore, that no other person hae 


had better opportunities of knowing his characteristic 
features, than myself; and yet I find it difficult to ccmvey 
to others a correct view of the subject. I will, however, 
make a few observations, which you can make use of, in 
whole, or in part, as in your judgment may best promote 
the object which you have in view. 

1. One of the most obvious traits of his mental character 
at this period, was independence ; by which, I mean a 
fixed purpose to form his own opinions; and to exercise, 
on all proper occasions, entire freedom in the expression of 
them. He seems very early to have determined, not to 
permit his mind to be enslaved to any human authority, but 
on all subjects within his reach, to think for himself. He 
possessed, in an eminent degree, that moral courage or 
firmness of mind, which leaves a man at full liberty to 
examine and judge, in all matters connected with human 
duty, or human happiness. But, though firm and indepen- 
dent, he was far from being precipitate, either in forming 
dr expressing his opinions. He knew how to exercise that 
species of self-denial, so difficult to most young men, of 
suspending his judgment on any subject, until he should 
have the opportunity of contemplating it in all its relations. 
He was " swift to hear, slow to speak." No one, I be- 
lieve, ever heard him give a crude or hasty answer to any 
question which might be proposed. Careful deliberation 
uniformly preceded the utterance of his opinions. 

This unyielding independence of mind, and slow and 
cautious method of speaking, undoubtedly rendered his 
conversation at first less interesting, than that of many 
other persons ; and his habit of honestly expressing the con- 
victions of his own mind, prevented him from seeking to 
please his company by accommodating himself to their 
tastes and opinions. Indeed, to be perfectly candid, there 
was in his manners, at this period, less of the graceful and 
conciliatory character, than was desirable. He appeared, 
in fact, to be too indiflferent to tlie opinions of others ; and 


with the ezceptioa of a inuill eirde of intiniale frieadi, 
manifested no cUspontion to cidtiTale the tequamtaneey or 
seek the faToiur of moi* This wae, nndoubtedlj, a fault; 
hot it waa one which had a near affinity to a atetlinf 
virtue ; and, what is better, it ww one whieh, in afler life, 
he entirely ooireeted* 

Another thing by which he was charaeterixedt when I 
funt knew him, and which had mnch inflaenee on his fiitave 
eminence, was his insatiable thirst for knowledge. His 
avidity for readii^, was indeed excessive. When he had 
got hold of a new book, or an old one, which contained maU 
ter interestiog to him, scarcely any thing could moderate 
his ardour, or recall him from his favourite pursuit When 
I came to reside at Hampden Sydney, he had been there only 
a few months, and I was astonished to learn how exten« 
eively he had ranged over the books which belonged to the 
college library. And, as far as I can recollect, this thint 
for knowledge was indulged at this time, without any regard 
to system ; and <^len, it appeared to me, without any defi* 
nite object. It was an appetite of the very strongest kind, 
and led to the indiscriminate perusal of books of ahnoat 
every sort. Now, although this insatiable thirst for know- 
ledge, and unconquerable aridity for bodes, would, in many 
minds, have produced very small, if any good effect, and no 
doubt was in some respects injurious to him ; yet, posses- 
sing, as he did, a mind of uncommon vigour, and a judgment 
Temarkad[>ly sound and discriminating, that accumulation of 
ideas and facts, which to most men would have been a use- 
less, unwieldy mass, was by him so digested and ineorpi^ 
rated with his own thoughts, that it had, I doubt not, a 
mighty influence in elevating his mind to that commanding 
eminence, to which it attained in his maturer years. 

A third thing which at this early period was characteristic 
of him, and which had much influence on his capacity of 
being useful to his fellow creatures in after life, was a re- 
markable fondness for his pen. He was, when I flistknew 



him, in the habit of writing every day. He read, and highly- 
relished the best productions of the British Essayists ; and 
in his compositions he would imitate the style and manner of 
the authors whom he chiefly admired. Addison appeared 
to be his favourite ; but his own turn of mind led him to 
adopt a style more sarcastic and satirical than that which is 
found in most of the papers of the Spectator or Guardian. 
These early productions of his pen were never intended for 
the press, and were never otherwise published than by being 
spoken occasionally by the students on the college stage. I 
may add, that his first essays in composition, though vigor- 
ous, and exuberant in matter, needed much pruning and cor^ 

There was yet one other trait in his mental character at 
this time, which struck me as very remarkable in one of 
his order of intellect. He never discovered a disposition to 
engage in discussions of a speculative or metaphysical 
kind. I cannot now recollect that, on any occasion, he 
engaged with earnestness in controversies of this sort ; and 
this was the more remarkable because the persons with 
whom he was daily conversant, were much occupied with 
tliem* To such discussions, however, he could listen with 
attention; and would often show, by a short and pithy 
remark, that though he had no taste for these speculative 
and abstruse controversies, he fully understood them. Yet 
I am of opinion that he took less Interest in metaphysical 
disquisitions, and read less on these points, than in any 
other department of philosophy. On some accounts, this 
was a disadvantage to him, as it rendered him less acute in 
minute discrimination, than he otherwise might have been ; 
but on the other band, it is probable, that this very circum- 
stance had some influence in preparing him to seize the 
great and prominent points of a subject with a larger grasp, 
while the minor points were disregarded as unworthy of 

To this delineation of the character of his mind, my cor- 


respondent adds : ''As a teacher, he cherished a laudable 
ambition to know thoroughly and minutely all the branches 
of learning in which he professed to give instruction. 
His classical knowledge was accurate and highly respect- 
able; and the ease with which he pursued mathematical 
reasoning gave evidence that he might have become a 
proficient in that department of science. At the same 
time, he was * apt to teach,* and succeeded well in train- 
ing up his pupils in all their studies." And with regard to 
his personal piety, he observes: **When I first became 
acquainted with him, he had been a member of the church 
for some time; but there, was nothing remarkable in his 
religious character. His conversation and conduct were 
becoming his christian profession, but he exhibited no 
uncommon zeal, or spirituality. Indeed, I am of opinion, 
that, at this period, his piety though sincere, was far below 
that high standard to which he afterwards attained.'* 

In like manner. Dr. Speece, in his letter to me, more 
briefly says, "Between May 1799, and September 1 801 , 
we lived together, the whole, or greater part of the time. 
My friend did not possess, in those days, the habit of close, 
persevering study, which he afterwards acquired. His 
reading was a good deal desultory. I remember feeling 
surprise now and then, on his owning to me, concerning 
some book of prime merit, that he had never read it 
through. Still his quick mind gathered and digested 
knowledge with great rapidity. I considered him an able 
teacher, both in languages and science. There was in him 
a vein of dry, playful humour, which made his conversa- 
tion very pleasant to all companies which he frequented. 
Meanwhile, his conduct was such, in all respects, as to 
adorn his christian profession. The satirical talent which, 
you know, he possessed in no ordinary degree, always 
levelled its shafts against vice and folly." 

To these accounts I may add, that during a considerable 
part of the time to which they relate, that is, for two or 


three years after he came to Hampden Sidney, his intention 
was to pursue Uie practice of physic for his future pro- 
fession, and his reading was more particularly directed to 
that object. In fact, he was pursuing something tike a 
regular course of study in this science, under the direction 
of Dr. Goodrich Wilson, an eminent j^actitioner in the 
county of Prince Edward. And, with regard to his habits 
at this period, it appears that he usually spent some part 
of the college vacations in visiting his friends at ^Wil- 
lington, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, of Montrose, in Pow- 
hatan ; (indeed this lady, who was the wife of a brother of 
Mrs. Morton, seems to have been almost a rival of her in our 
youth's affection ;) and his conduct and conversation were 
such as to endear his company to all whom he visited. 
I see, also, by his letters, that he sometimes, and perhaps 
frequendy, attended the sessions of the court, and the elec- 
tions which were held at the village in the neighbourhood 
of the college, and listened to tlie speakers with attention, 
and, no doubt, with some advantage to his own subsequent 
performances in the pulpit / 

On one of these occasions, more particularly, as I re- 
member to have heard him say, he was there when his chl 
^nd kind monitor, Patrick Henry, made one of his last 
addresses to the people, and when the celebrated John 
Randolph, of Roanoke, made almost his first appearance 
on the stage of public life. This was, I think, in the spring 
of 1799, when Mr. Henry was a candidate to represent the 
neighbouring county of Charlotte, in which he resided, in 
the General Assembly, and Mr. Randolph was out to repre- 
sent the district, of which Prince Edward formed a part, 
in the Congress of the United States. He was, of course, 
greatly pleased with both orators; though he paid his 
special homage, as he told me, to the setting, rather than to 
the rising sun. The former, indeed, still showed all the 
grandeur of his splendid orb ; while the latter, we may sup- 
pose, just rising above the edge of the horizon, hardly ap- 


peaied as yet in his proper shape, and only intimated hm 
future brilliancy by the fitful, but prophetic glances of bis 

He continued to teach and pursue his studies in this way 
tin the spring of 1799, when, at the request of his friend 
major Morton, he retired from the college, to take charge 
of a small school in his house. This consisted of the 
major's family, and some half a dozen young giiis, the 
daughters of some of the major's friends, whom he in- 
structed for about a year, in the common branches of 
English education, in a manner that gave entire satisfaction 
to their parents. In the mean time, however, it seems, the 
interest which he had felt from the first in one of his 
pupils, (the good major's eldest daughter,) had gradually 
ripened into a warmer sentiment ; for his little Anne had 
now attained her fifteenth year, and (besides a pleasing 

* I may add here, by the way, that in gvring me his acoount of 
tlie afiair, he exhibited a very amusing specimen of that pecaliar 
homour which Dr. Speece has mentioned as one of his characteristic 
traits, in describing the effect produced by the tv|p speakers upon a 
countryman present, in a most droll and diverting manner. The 
man, it seems, drank in all Mr. Henry's words with open mouth, as 
well as ears, and when tlie orator closed his address, stood still wait- 
ing for more last words from those wonderful lips; thinking, no 
doubt, (as he showed by his looks,) that such a talker was the only 
man in the world worth hearing. Accordingly, when Mr. Randolph, 
immediately aflerwards, got up to make something like a reply to 
Mr. Henry, (though they were not rival candidates ; but only of oppo- 
nte politics,) Clodpole appeared to regard it as a great piece of pre- 
sumption in any one, but especially such a beardless whipster, to 
attempt to speak after old Patrick, and was evidently most doggedly 
determined not to hear a wurd that he could say. By degrees, how- 
ever, the clear silver tones, and spirit-stirring accents of the youthful 
orator, began to produce their effect upon him in spite of himself^ 
and, after listening to him for a little while, he turned around to 
another countryman at his elbow, and, with a most comical expres- 
sion of lace, •* I tell you what," said he, ** the young man is no bug. 
eater neither.'* 


penoDy) appeared to him to poasess all those qudiliea <ȣ 
mind and heart, which he found to be congenial with his 
own. She had, moreover, like himself, become a subject 
of grace at an early period of her life, and had recently 
made a profession of religion in the church to which. ha 
was attached ; so that she seemed to be (as ahe aflberwards 
proved in fact,) the very helpmate that Divine Poovidence 
had made for him. Aware, however, that she was yet too 
young to listen to his '' pleaded reason," he had studiously 
endeavoured to hide his passion from her, and from all 
about him, and with so much success that no cme had 
even suspected the truth, when a little incicbnt which hap- 
pened at this time, (a *^ trifle light as air,^') drove him to 
divulge his secret himself. This he did, in the first 
instance, (very properly) to her mother, by whom he was 
happy to find that the announcement was received with aU 
the sympathy and favour which he could have wished. 
Unfortunately, however, (as '^ the course of true love never 
did ran smooth,") it was soon ascertained that the young 
lady, who had not been duly prepared for the disclosure, 
was not exactly ready to accept the generous offer which 
he was disposed to make her. The fact was, she had been 
accustomed to look up to him with a respect bordering upon 
reverence, as her instructor, and the friend of her parents, 
and could not bring herself, all at once, to see him in the 
softer light in which he now desired to be viewed. And 
on the other hand, he was too honest and too hearty in his 
passion, to practice the usual arts of courtship, and imme- 
diately abandoned his suit in despair. 

In this state of things, feeling it impossible to remain any 
longer at Willington, he determined, with the full approba- 
tion of major Morton, to break up his school, and accepting 
the kind invitation of his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Smith of 
Montrose, he repaired to their house to pursue his studies 
for the medical profession, under the direction of Dr. Sam- 
uel Wilson of Powhatan. Here he found himself in the 



besom of a piottt and anlable family who wannly esteemed 
kdniy wkd, consolHig himself as well as he eoald with that 
troe ^ilosophj which he had learned, he applied himself to 
his books with as much diligence as the state of his mind 
wosldf permit. 

The following letters whieh he wrote at this period, give 
ns the finst sketches of his character by his own hand, and dis- 
play his manly and christian spirit in a very interesting light 


MontroBt^ June I7th, 1800. 
My deaiest friend, — ^With my heart warmed by the pem- 
sa] of your most friendly letter, I sit down to write to you. 
Whenever I undertake to say any thing to you, my heart is 
too full to express its feelings. You indeed must be — you 
are my mother. I do with pleasure remember all those 
hours of genuine friendship, which we have spent in the 
eonverse of the soul, in giving and receiving testimonials 
of regard warm from the heart. They can never be erased 
from my memory. And I trust that in sincerity I bless God 
for his goodness to me in thus giving me such a friend. In 
no other circumstances do I more plainly see the hand of 
God, than in bestowing upon me so many honest- hearted 
friends as I have. They are all among the excellent of the 
earth. Their regard is worth having, because they esteem 
only what is good. May the Lord make me worthy of 

Oh how glad I was to see the dear major ! And he I 
knew was glad to see me. If I was not talking to you I 
eoold say so many fine things of him. But hush-— I wonH 
say another word. 

You tell me I must be resigned to the will of Providence. 
I trust I shall be enabled to bear the afflictions that it pleases ' 
God I should suffer. I hope I shall submit with cheerful- 
ness. But were you no more than my friend, I could give 
you some &int idea of what I feel. To paint in colours, 


such as I drew, the scene of happiness, you would call me ex- 
travagant All that earth could bestow, and all that heaven 
had promised, I hoped for — but, " like the baseless fabric of 
a vision," it is fled. 

" To hope the best," says Dr. Young, " is pious, brave, 
and wise." I will hope the best. I will cheer my heart 
with the prospect of better days. Blessed be God I am bet- 
ter off than I deserve. I have favours heaped upon me in a 
rich abundance. And I am striving to make good use o£ my 
time. I trust by the blessing of God, to step forward before 
very long in an active sphere of life. And I hope to be not 
entirely useless to my fellow creatures. I am determined 
by the assistance of God's grace to aim chiefly at the pro- 
motion of religion in the world. At every leisure hour I am 
trying to prepare myself for the defence of religion against 
the bold attacks of those daring infidels who scruple not to 
abuse that holy religion which we profess. I must beg par- 
don for saying so much of myself. I will not be guilty of 
such vanity again. 

Give my love to all my friends. They all know I love 
them. With all the sentiments of friendship, I am yours. 

John H. Rice. 


Montrose, July 27th, 1800. 
My dear friend, — I cannot well express how much your 
afflictions have added to my tenderness for you. Since 
you left us, my thoughts have constantly followed you with 
the eager anxiety of suspense. I long to hear from you ; I 
long to hear how the major feels now. I wish to hear 
whether his prospects are more encouraging, and, if not, 
whether he enjoys more peace of mind, and feels greater 
resignation of soul under the afflictive dispensations of 
Providence. Nothing but a sense of the imprudence of 
the step, nothing indeed but a conviction that it was not 
my duty, could have prevented me from coming to see you 

DOCTOR ftlOS. 85 

this week. Bat I know I could hmve done yoa no good. 
I could have given no counsel ; I codd have ofieied no 
comfort I could only sympathise if you were in distreM, 
or rejoice ware you blessed with the smiles of prosperity. 
And this I can do at Montrose, without any hazard of 
doing injury to myself, or adding lo the unhappiness of 
another person. 

As it appears that I am never to possess what I view as 
the only source of earthly happiness, I am trying to lay 
up to myself treasure in heaven. But, alas ! my heart is 
chained to the objects of sense. 1 every day feel with 
emphatic force, the truth of that saying, '*Of yourselves 
ye can do nothing." Surely, no wretch ever felt as 
entirely helpless as I am. I feel that my attempts are all 
fruitless, that my labours are all in vain, that my righte- 
ousness is as filthy rags, that it is indeed nothing, that my 
wisdom is all folly, my strength all weakness, and my 
best services all sin and impurity. With propriety I may 
exclaim, ^' Oh, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver 
me from the body of this death?" These feelings naturally 
cast down my soul ; but now and then I feel cheered by 
some gracious promise. Some portion of the balm of 
Gliead is poured into my wounded heart, some comfort 
from the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of 
the nations. But soon my comforts vanish. Sin hangs 
like a heavy clog on my soul, chills my love, and -almost 
extinguishes 'my zeal. Do you, my friend, feel these altei^ 
nations of light and. darkness, of pleasure and pain:, of 
rapture and grief? Or do you go on from one degree of 
strength to another? Do you feel faith lively, hope 
strong, evidences bright and unclouded ? If so, you have 
abundant reason to be thankful. If not, God grant you 
may. I can wish no better wish to my best of friends 
than that she may daily feel comfortable assurances of thfi 
divine favour, and that her soul may constantly rejoice in 
God, the God of her salvation. 


^ I 


I feel anzioDs for my little Mtty. Pray let me know 
liow she is, and what she is doing. I wish her to possess 
every quality that can adorn a christian, or accomplish a 
lady. I wish to contribute my little mite to make her such 
another as her mother. Let me know what she does, and 
I will write to her by the first opportunity. Tell her she 
is my little Mary yet. 

Tell my boy to be good, and make haste to answer my 
letter. Kiss Fisher. I love you all in Prince Edward 
(that love me). I wish you all to be happy as heaven can 
make you. Remember me affectionately to all my friends. 
I will write to them as soon as — ^they will write to me. 
I amy with the sincerity of friendship, yours truly, 

John H. Rice. 

He continued to punsue his studies during the summer, 
and, in the following fall, was on the point of setting off for 
Philadelphia, to attend the medical lectures in that city, 
when he received a new and pressing invitation from the 
trustees of Hampden* Sydney to resume the office of tutor 
in that seminary; and being warmly urged by his friend 
major Morton to accept it, (and drawn perhaps unconsciously 
by the secret influence of the major's daughter,) he returned 
to Prince Edward, and again took up his quarters in the 

Here he was, of course, happy to join his friends, Messrs. 
Alexander and Speece again, and to renew his intercourse 
with them which he had formerly found so pleasant, and 
which, we may suppose, he now enjoyed with a higher 
relish. Indeed, he had not been long associated with them 
this time, before he felt the happy influence of their com- 
pany and conversation upon him, and began to deliberate 
very seriously, whether it was not his duty to adopt the 
same profession which they were pursuing, and become a 
preacher of the gospel himself. It was not, however, we 
are told, without much diffidence, and many misgivings, 


that he resolved to prepare himself for the sacred office* He 
felt hia deficiencies, indeed, and want of proper qualifica- 
tions to become an ambassador for Christ, according to his 
idea of the transcendant grandeur of the character, with the 
most painful and mortifying conviction. Among other 
things, he was conscious that he wanted that readiness and 
fluency of speech which he rightly judged was highly im- 
portant for any one who would undertake to teach his fellow- 
creatures from the pulpit ; indeed, he was at this time, (and 
more or less all his life,) troubled occasionally with an un- 
pleasant, and sometimes rather alarming stoppage in the 
GBSophagus, which interrupted the passage of his words, 
and almost of his breath, in a manner that was painful to 
his hearers as weU as to himself; and he doubted whether 
he should ever be able to overcome it. Still the conviction 
which he felt that there was a most lamentable want of well 
informed preachers in the country around him, and his anxi- 
ety to do something, however little, towards supplying the 
deficiency, combined with his love of souls, and his zeal for 
the glory of God, which was every day growing stronger 
and stronger in his heart, made him determine at last, afier 
much prayerful reflection, to qualify himself as well as he 
could to become a herald of the cross. He engaged accord- 
ingly, in the study of theology, under the direction of his 
friend, Mr. Alexander; and I am happy to be able to give 
my readers some account of his proceeding in this new un^ 
dertaking, from the pen of that gentleman himself, in the 
following further extract from his letter to me. 

**Our excellent friend was not a systematic student in 
his theological studies ; and although you seem disposed to 
give me the credit of having been his preceptor, in this 
sacred science, yet candour induces me to say, that I have 
a very slight, claim to the honour. I never considered 
myself his teacher in this or any other department of 
knowledge. I was rather his companion in study; but 
was ever ready to communicate to others the facts of my 


own reading. I was about half a dozen years older than 
he, and had been about that time in the ministry, when I 
first knew him ; but then, the idea of teaching theology to 
any one, was far from my thoughts. I do remember, how- 
ever, that at his earnest request, I prescribed a course of 
reading in theology; and the impression of the fact was 
rendered indelible in my mind, by an incident of a some- 
what remarkable kind, which I will relate. Among the 
books to be perused, was Dr. Samuel Clarke's Demonstra- 
tion of the Being and Attributes of God. The effect 
which the reading of this able work had on his mind, I 
can never forget. It plunged him into the abyss of scepti- 
cism. It drove him almost to distraction. I never con- 
templated a powerful mind in such a state of desolation. 
For a day or two, his perturbation was overwhelming and 
alarming. But in a few days, effectual relief was obtained ; 
but in what particular way, I am, at this distance of time, 
unable to state ; except, that the difficulties which he expe- 
rienced were not overcome by reasoning, or any human 
means; but by the grace of God, through prayer. I do 
not pretend to explain how the perusal of this work of pro- 
found argument should have produced such an effect. I 
merely state an interesting fact, from which every reader 
may draw his own conclusions." My correspondent adds : 
" It is now my impression, that this occurrence interrupted 
the theological studies of our deceased friend." If it did 
so, however, it was probably only for a short time-; and 
he soon resumed them, I suppose, with new zeal and 
spirit ; and, no doubt, with a wise resolution to avoid per- 
plexing himself with such writers again. I may observe, too, 
that the course of reading prescribed by his friend, was 
very liberal, especially for that period ; and such a one as 
it required no ordinary diligence and patience to pursne. 
It accorded, however, entirely with his own views, and 
with his earnest desire to lay a broad foundation for his 
future use, when he should come to preach the gospel. 


At i\e same timey we may be sure, he was now move 
than ever careful to cultivate that personal piety which he 
justly regarded as a primary and indispensable qualification 
for a teacher of the word of God; and the following letter 
which he wrote about this period to his confidential friend, 
may serve to show that he was in the habit of reading the 
sacred scriptures with a wise reference and application of 
its lessons to his own heart and life. 


ff. S. College, March 29th» 1801. 

My dear Mrs. Morton, — My friend Speece is very un- 
well io-dBj, or I would have been with you. I have been 
doctoring him as well as I could, and I hope he wOl be 
better. He is now asleep, and I am tired of reading : so I 
will sit down and talk with you, or at you rather, as Judy 
says. But I had much rather see you. 

I have for some days past suffered much anxiety with 
regard to my future prospects. The possibility of many 
events which would give me much uneasiness, would rush 
into my mind. I could think of nothing else. In the 
midst of these thoughts, I one day took up my Bible, and 
carelessly opened it, when the following passage struck my 
eye. "Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread," 
&c.; and my heart smote me when I read it. The disci* 
pies had seen repeated instances of the power of the 
Saviour. They ought to have known, that with him they 
could want nothing which they ought to have. But still, 
they were faithless and unbelieving ; they did not under' 
9t<md. I too have had repeated proofs of the goodness and 
power of God. Several times have I been rescued from 
the jaws of death. My life has been crowned with loving 
kindness and mercy. The Lord has showered his com- 
forts about my paths and about my bed. And still I am 
faithless and unbelieving. Still I do not put that reliance 

upon the mercy and faithfulness of God ; I do not feel that 



trust and confidence in his promise that I ought. O my 
friend, I am an unworthy creature. What right have I to 
complain ? I, who deserve not any favour at the hand of 
God; who deserve everlasting wo and misery. I, who, 
though thus unworthy, have heen favoured above many of 
my fellows. Ah! how ungrateful is my heart! How for- 
getful of God. But by the grace of God, I will endeavour 
to understand. I will try to remember. I wiH endeavour 
to exercise more patience, more resignation, and a firmer 
trust in his gracious promises. And if I am not as happy 
as I wish to be, T will reflect how unworthy I am ; and 
bless God that I enjoy one single comfort.'* 

To this evidence that he was growing in piety, I may 
add the more positive testimony of Dr. Alexander, who 
says, "In the autumn of the year 1801, I recollect dis- 
tinctly, there appeared to be a great increase of the strength 
of religious feeling in him ; and he seemed to experience 
great satisfaction, and to manifest much sensibility, in hear- 
ing the word, and in attending on religious exercises.'* 

In the meantime, in spite of his unse resolution to the 
contrary, he had renewed his visits to Willington, which, 
some how or other, were now becoming more and more 
frequent, and, we may suppose, more and more agreeable. 
It appears, indeed, that the young lady, who was doubtless 
the chief attraction of the place, (though he probably did 
not own it even to himself,) seeing him now in his proper 
light, was gradually, and almost unconsciously, becoming 
sensible that he was really as amiable as sht$ had all along 
admitted that he was worthy; and, all obstacles to his happi- 
ness being now removed, we learn that, on the dth of July, 
1802, he married Miss Anne Smith Morton, and imme« 
diately afterwards took her home to a small dwelling-house, 
which the good major had provided for them near the 

In the following spring, on the 0th of April, 1808, being 
too much indisposed to attend in person, he applied by a 


ftiend to the Presbytery of Hanover, then holding their 
session in that county, to be taken under their care, as a 
candidate for licensure ; informing them, at the same time, 
that lie had prepared some trial pieces, upon subjects which 
Mr. Alexander had assigned him, which he had intended to 
submit to them, if his sickness had not prevented him; 
upon which the Presbytery, willing to favour his views, 
and expedite his entrance into the ministry, appointed a 
committee, consisting of the Rev. Messrs. McRoberts, Lacy, 
Alexander, and Lyle, ministers, and Messrs. James Allen, 
Nathan Price, and James Morton, elders, to meet after 
their adjournment, to examine and receive him. The 
committee, accordingly, met in July following, in the col- 
lege chapel, and having duly examined him, and heard his 
trial pieces, which they sustained, readily received him as a 
candidate under the care of the Presbytery ; and, assigning 
him other subjects for his further trial, directed him to 
attend the ensuing meeting of that body, to which they 
were to report their proceedings. Accordingly, he attended 
the session of the Presbytery, which was held in the Cove 
meeting-house, in Albemarle, on the 8th of September fol- 
lowing, (1803,) when he read an exercise, and the day 
after delivered a sermon, both of which were approved. 
Some days afterwards, to wit, on the 1 2th of September, 
1803, the Presbytery, after due examination, solemnly 
licensed him to preach the gospel in their bounds, and 
wherever he should be orderly called; and, at the same 
time, appointed him to supply one Sabbath at Walker's 
church, one Sabbath at Cub Greek, in Charlotte, and one 
Sabbatli at Rough Creek, in Prince Edward ; leaving the 
rest of his time at discretion.* 

He proceeded, accordingly, to preach to these congrega^ 

* We learn from a note in his memorandum book, that the cere. 
moDj of his licensure was performed by the Rev. James Robinson, 
the worthy pastor of the Cove church, in Albemarle. 


tions darinjjr the ensuing fall and winter^ and with some 
acceptance. At first, indeed, and for some time afterwards, 
we are told that his preaching was not very popular. <^ His 
discourses," says Dr. Alexander, '* when he first engaged 
in public preaching, were principally arguraentatiye, and 
especially directed to the demonstration of the truth of the 
christian religion, and its vindication from the objections of 
infidels. He was naturally led into this strain of preaching, 
by the prevalence of deistical opinions in that country, for 
several years preceding. His sermons, therefore, were not, 
at fixst, suited to the taste, nor adapted to the edification of 
the common people ; but they were calculated to raise his 
reputation as a man of learning and abilities, with men of 
information and discernment." At the same time, it appears 
that he commanded the respect, and gained the confidence 
of all who heard him ; and the congregation of Cub Creek, 
particularly, were so well satisfied with his labours among 
them, that they soon became desirous of obtaining him for 
their pastor. Accordingly, at the ensuing session of the 
Presbytery which was held at the college on the 5th of 
April, 1604, they presented a call to him by the moderaUn:, 
desiring his services for three fourths of his time, which he 
thought proper to accept ; and the Presbytery, thereupon, 
passed an order declaring that they would ordain him at 
their following meeting. 

After this, he continued to preach to the congregation till 
the subsequent session of the Presbytery which was held at 
Cub Creek, on the 28th of September, 1 804, when he preach- 
ed his trial sermon, which was sustained. The next day, 
the 29th, the Presbytery being now fully satisfied of his 
competency for the pastoral office, proceeded to ordain him, 
when the Rev. Mr. Alexander preached the sermon from 
Acts XX. 28, after which, he was solemnly ordained to the 
whole work of the gospel ministry, '* by the laying on of the 
hands of the Presbytery," in the usual form ; and, after a 
charge to him by the Rev. Drury Lacy, he took his seat as 


a member of the body. We can easily imagine what his 
feelings must have been on this important and interesting 
occasion ; and we have a brief record of them by his own 
pen, in a small book which he left entitled " List of Texts," 
&c. in these words: "Sept. 28. Cub Creek. Gen. iii. 4. 
This was a trial sermon ; and on the 29th day of this month, 
I was ordained to the work of the ministry. Solemn and 
awful was the transaction ! Important the office ! And, 
alas, my weakness ! May God be my strength, my coun- 
sellor, my guide !" 

He was now regularly pastor of the Cub Creek congre- 
gation ; but still retained his connexion with the college, and 
his residence near it, for some time longer; only visiting his 
flock on Saturdays, and preaching to them on Sundays ; and 
returning on the Monday mornings to his class. Finding, 
however, that this arrangement was very inconvenient, and 
desiring to be in the midst of his people, he resigned his 
office of tutor about the latter end of the year, (1804,) and 
removed with his family to a small farm which he had 
bought, by the aid of his good friend major Morton, in the 
county of Charlotte, about six miles beyond the court house ; 
where he set himself to work to repair the house, and plant 
trees about it ; and began to cultivate a few acres of ground 
by the hands of some slaves whom the major had given him 
for the service. At the same time, apprehending that his 
small salary, which was only about four hundred dollars a 
year, would hardly be sufficient to support his family, and 
hoping also to make himiSelf more useful by it, he opened a 
small school for boys, and soon had about twenty of them 
under his care, of whom about three fourths were boarders 
with him in his house. 

The field of our pastor's duty was now extensive, and his 
labours in it were arduous and unremitted. The people 
composing the congregation of Cub Creek were scattered 
over the whole county of Charlotte, and worshipped at three 
different preaching places, to wit: Cub Creek, the Court House 


and Bethesda, which last was a meeting house that had been 
built expressly for him, about a mile from his own dwelling. 
He preached, accordingly, at all these places ; at Cub Creek 
on the second and fourth Sundays, at the Court House on 
the first, and at Bethesda, on the fourth Sunday in every 
month. The church, properly speaking, when he first took 
charge of it, consisted of fifty-eight white communicants, 
and fifty-five blacks, besides baptized children ; but the num- 
ber soon increased under his ministry, and the common con- 
gregation of hearers, especially at Cub Creek, usually amount- 
ed to four or five hundred persons, of whom about one-fifth 
were people of colour. 

In performing his ministerial duty, his usual course was 
to leave home on Friday evening, after school, or on Satur- 
day morning, after breakfast, and visit difierent parts of his 
congregation, in order ; and hold meetings for catechising 
the young, and conversing with his elders and others, at 
appointed places, and preach to the people on Sunday ; re- 
tarning home the same evening, or early next morning, in 
time to open his school again at the regular hour. At Cab 
Creek, he generally preached two sermons on the Sabbath ; 
the first to the whites, and the second, more particularly, to 
the blacks^though many persons chose to stay and hear 
both. ' 

In his preaching, which was now becoming more popular, 
he aimed to be as practical as possible ; and to cany his 
discourse home to the ** business and bosoms" of his hear- 
ers. He was always particularly careful, too, to teach the 
doctrines and duties of religion together, and to show their 
intimate connexion with each other. Thus, while he incul- 
cated the cardinal doctrine of justification by faith alone^ he 
was equally strenuous in urging and insisting upon the duty 
of maintaining good works, which are the fruits of the Spirit ; 
and that not only as evidences of faith, but as things which 
were both useful to men, and pleasing to God. He laboured , 
also, very properly, to adapt his instructions, as far as he 

DocTOB XI ex. 36 

ccmldy to the actual state of things about him ; and, accord- 
ingly, did not hesitate to attack the vices and follies which 
he saw every day before his eyes. In doing this, we are 
told, he would occasionally give examples, and draw charac- 
ters, by way of illustration, which were so true to nature, 
that he was sometimes suspected of being personal in his 
pictures ; though he was always duly careful to avoid being 
80 in fact ; and, as far as possible, even in appearance. 

We are informed, moreover, that the coloured members 
of his church were always objects of his special notice and 
attention. He had considered, it seems, with much reflec- 
tion, the peculiar cast of their minds, growing out of their 
condition and circumstances, their ignorance, and habits of 
life ; and felt particularly anxious to guard them against 
that passion for excitement, and consequent proneness to 
fenaticism, which had become almost a part of their nature ; 
and which he thought had been too often stimulated to dan- 
gerous excesses by injudicious preaching. His aim, there- 
fore, was to give them sound and reUional instruction from 
the word of God ; adapted, however, of course, to their 
capacities, and suited to their actual state ; and he was par- 
ticularly careful to insist upon their serving their masters 
with all fidelity, as well as behaving humbly to one another; 
and the freedom and authority with which he discoursed to 
them on these topics, gave him great power over them. At 
the same time, he was mindful to maintain tliat watchful 
discipline which he knew they particularly needed, and 
without which his preaching would have produced but little 
effect upon their conduct. To aid him in this part of his 
doty, he had four or five black men, selected from the rest 
for their superior piety and intelligence, called watchmen^ 
and whose business it was to look after them, and report 
their behaviour, from time to time, to him, or some other 
member of the session, who might be more immediately at 
hand. This class of helps^ by the way, he found, had 
been instituted by Mr. Davies, to whose congregation in 


Hanover some of the slaves had originally been attached, 
when they belonged to colonel Byrd's estate, from which 
they had been sold and brought mto this county ; and he 
felt much satisfaction in maintaining it, both from his great 
reverence for that eminent man, and from his own experi- 
ence of its benefit. 

The result of all this care was that many of the black 
members of his church were distinguished' beyond all their 
fellows for their true piety and good conduct, and reflected 
honour upon their pastor, in the eyes of their masters, and 
all about them. Some of their owners, indeed, we are told, 
were so sensible of t]ie happy influence of his labours in 
this way, that, although they were not members of his 
congregation, they yet contributed freely and liberally to 
his support. I am happy to be able to add, too, that 
the slaves themselves became warmly attached to him, 
and showed their affection for him by many little atten- 
tions, which were particularly grateful to his feelings. 
Thus, on Sundays, when he came to the meeting-house, 
the men would vie with each other in stepping out to take 
his horse ; and the women would present him an apple, or 
some other litde token of their regard, which they had laid 
by for him, and which he would receive from their hands 
with a kindness and condescension that endeared him still 
more to their simple hearts. After service, too, they would 
walk briskly on by his chair, as he drove slowly along the 
road, for some distance, to hear a little more from his lips ; 
while he would continue talking with them in the most 
free and friendly way, until the want of time would compel 
him to drive on, and leave them behind.* 

* I find him afterwards testifying^ himself, conceniing these people 
of colour, of the Cub Creek church, as follovrs : »* Of these, a very 
large proportion can read, and are instructed in religious doctrines 
and duties, beyond many professors among white people. And they 
afford an experiment of sixty or seventy years standing, of the effect 
of this sort of discipline among slaves. And we confidently state the 


In addition to all these services, he held a prayer-meeting 
every Thursday evening, at some private house, (usually 
the house of a Mr. Stephen Bedford,) where he gave a 
short lecture on some interesting passage of scripture ; or 
introduced such other exercises as he thought might be 
useful, and which he varied from time to time, to make 
them more attractive. He made it a point, also, to visit 
his friends and neighbours, as often as his necessary atten* 
tion to hiis school would permit, and always aimed to give 
the conversation a religious, or, at least, a serious turn. 
He had, indeed, as he was sensible, but a poor talent for 
talking; but he felt it to be his duty, as a minister of the gos- 
pel, to use it all for the best purpose. He exerted himself, 
moreover, to excite and diffuse a taste for reading among the 
members of his congregation, and especially the young peo- 
ple ; which he thought would prepare their minds to receive 
more advantage from his preaching. And, with a view to 
further this object, and to supply the want of books which 
he found in many families, he prevailed upon a number of 
the best informed gentlemen in the county, lawyers and 
others, to establish a public library to be kept at the court 
house ; from which he hoped that all would receive much 

In the management of his school, he endeavoured to 
teach his pupils not only the Greek and Latin languages, 
which, (together with arithmetic and geography,) were the 
chief branches that he taught ; but also the leading doctrines 
and precepts of the christian religion, which he thought an 
indispensable part of all sound education; and he was, of 

result to be more industry, fidelity, and submissiyeness; less intem- 
perance, dishonesty, lying, and laziness, than are to be found among 
an equal number of this class in any other part of the country. This 
has been so notorious, that the owners of these slaves have been com- 
pelled to acknowledge, that the services of the preachers were more 
profitable than those of all the overseers ever employed by them."— 
See Virginia Evan. &, Lit Mag. voL ii. p. 202-3. 



ooune* dsly careful to watch over their conduct and be- 
hayiouf) as well as over their progress in their studies. In 
this manner, he was forming the minds and hearts of a num* 
ber of young gentlemen, Who were destined to become use- 
ful members of society, and do honour to his instructions by 
their conduct in after life. 

In the mean time, the fame of his piety and talents was 
spreading itself abroad, and not only the parents and rela- 
tires of his pupils, and the members of his congregation, but 
others also, and among them some gentlemen of standing and 
influence, were pleased to cultivate his acquaintance. This, 
of course, gave him new opportunities of usefulness, which, 
we may be sure, he was careful to improve. Indeed, we 
must observe, that he had learned by this time to mingle 
more freely with his fellow men, and to feel a more general 
sympathy with them in all their interests and concerns ; and 
the kind and conciliatory deportment which he now consci- 
entiously and habitually observed towards all persons, thai 
he might by all means win their sotdsy gained him many 
friends for himself, and some (whom he valued still more) 
for his Master. 

In the beginning of the year 1805, the Synod of Virginia, 
of which he was, of course, a member, thought proper to 
establish a periodical work, under the title of the Virginia 
Religious Magazine, for the purpose of communicating reli- 
gious truth and intelligence to the people under their care ; 
and conscious of his talent for writing, and always ready to 
use it in a good cause, he felt himself called upon, in con- 
junction with his friends Messrs. Alexander and Speece, to 
furnish various articles for its pages ; among which were 
several Essays on Infidelity, an Abridgment of Leslie's 
Short and Easy Method, an Account of Mr. Jervas, (an im- 
aginary character) in several numbers, and some others ; all 
of which were marked by much good sense, and written in 
a pure and natural style.* 

* As some of my readers may perhaps like to £ee a small sample 


We are now broaght to the commencement of an impor* 
tant and interesting movement of our Southern choreh, in 
which Mr. Rice appears to have taken a leading part, and in 
the promotion and final completion of which, (as we shall 

of the productions of his pen at this period of hi« life, I l»7e aelected 
a short passage from one of his pieces, in which he gWea us some 
sketches of his two friends mentioned above, under ficticious names, but 
in terms too just and distinct to be mistaken, as follows: **The eldest of 
them/* (whom he calls PauHnus, but who is evidently Mr. Alexander,) 
''bad been a preacher ten or fifteen years, is endowed with faculties of 
the highest kind, and has cultivated them with great assiduity. No 
man of his age has greater extent or variety of information. His 
powers are peculiarly fitted for the investigation of truth. With a 
sound judgment, a vigorous understanding, a quick perception, a 
great compass of thought, he has the capacity of holding his mind in 
suspense, until a subject is viewed in all its bearings and relational, 
and until the rays of evidence, however widely they are dissipated, 
are all brought to a fbeus on the point under investigation. Poeaess- 
iog such intellectual powers as these, he is animated with a love of 
truth, and thirst afler knowledge, which prompts to unwearied dili- 
gence in research, and unremitting application to study. His know- 
ledge then must be considerable. His taste is refined, his imagina- 
tion rich in imagery, his elocution copious, and his trains of reason- 
ing are dose and k>gical ; Lis eye sparkles with intelligence, and hia 
^oice is melodious as the notes of the nightingale. But in addition to 
all these excellencies, he is remarkably modest ; it is impossible fi>r 
yon to be in his company without seeing his superiority, and yet such 
is his modesty, that it gives you no pain ip acknowledge it.'* 

"The second,*' (»' Philander," or Mr. Speece,) "is a younger man, 
and a younger minister. He also possesses real genius. The most 
remarkable quality of his mind is vigour; in argumentation he re- 
minds one of the Ajax of Homer, armed with his mace of iron, and 
at every vibration overthrowing whole troops of Trojans. His con- 
ception is very clear; and, of course, he is perspicuous, precise, and 
fluent in his elocution. From the comparison just used, however, it 
is not to be supposed that there is any thing of coarseness in bis 
mind. Far from it. His imagination is delicate, and his taste re- 
fined.*' He adds : ''The piety of both these gentlemen is warm and 
ana^BCted. They have hearte formed for friendship. Possessing the 
highest talents, and the best means of information that Virginia could 


see hereafter,) he was undoubtedly more active and efficient 
than any other man. This was the resolution to establish 
what we may call a Theological Seminary for Virginia, and 
the South, (and the idea of which probably first originated 
with the three friends whom we have so often mentioned to- 
gether ;) for it appears that at the session of the body which 
was held in April, 1806, the Presbytery of Hanover, ** taking 
into consideration the deplorable state of our country as to 
religious instruction; the very small number of ministers 
possessing the qualifications required by Scripture ; and the 
prevalence of ignorance and error ;" resolved : 

1. *'That an attempt should be made to establish at 
Hampden Sydney College, a complete Theological Library 
for the benefit of, those who have already engaged in the 
work of the ministry, or who may hereafter devote them- 
selves to that sacred employment," and 

2. ** That an attempt should be made to establish a fund 
for the purpose of educating poor and pious youth for the 
ministry of the Gospel." 

And they appointed Messrs. Archibald Alexander, Mat- 
thew Lyle, Conrad Spee^ce, and John H. Rice, ministers, 
and Messrs. James Morton, Robert Quarles, and James 
Daniel, elders, a standing committee to carry the resolutions 
into efifect. 

At the same time, it was ordered that the address, which had 
been offered along with the resolutions, and adopted, should 
be made public in any manner that the committee should 
direct, and that the funds which might be raised by them 
should be vested in the trustees of Hampden Sydney Col- 
lege, subject, however, at all times, to the control and dis- 
posal of the Presbytery. 

afibrd, they would have been capable of filling any office, and might 
have risen to the first eminence in the state. But such was their 
devotion to the cause of Christ, that they left all and Ibllowed him.*' — 
A Conversation at Mr. Jervas's. Virginia Religious Magazine, vol. 
iii. p. 170^1. 


The committee met shortly afterwards, to wit on the 8(Hh 
of April, 1806, and appointed Mr. Rice a special agent to 
solicit donations in books and money for the objects proposed, 
throughout the whole state ; upon which, full of zeal to dis* 
charge the duty thus assigned him, he repaired to Richmond, 
and afterwards proceeded to Norfolk, to obtain the aid of the 
pious and well-disposed in those places, in behalf of the In- 
fant institution which was now to be formed. What he did 
in Richmond at this time, I haye not ascertained ; though I 
suppose that he made some small collections ; but at Nor^ 
folk, where he was very kindly received by the Rev. Mr. 
Grigsby, then pastor of the Presbyterian church in the bo- 
rough, it appears from a memorandum of his own, that he 
preached on the third Sabbath of May, (1806,) from Rom. u 
16 ; and it was on this occasion, I remember, that I had the 
pleasure of seeing and hearing him for the first time. There 
was nothing, however, as far as I can recollect, that was 
very striking or peculiar in his appearance, or style of preach- 
ing, at that period of his life ; and certainly nothing fine or 
fascinating in his manner. He stood up in the pulpit at his 
full height, and being rather thinner than he afterwards be- 
came, appeared to be very tall. His voice, too, was a little 
hard and dry, and his action (what there was of it) was by no 
means graceful. His sermon, however, I thought was full 
of solid and valuable matter ; and it was heard, I believe, 
with interest by all who could appreciate its merit. 

Ailer service, he announced the object of his visit to our 
borough, and stated that he would wait on the members of 
the congregation generally, in the course of the week, 
when he hoped that he should find them disposed to give 
liberally to the important and interesting undertaking in 
which he was engaged. He came about among us, accord- 
ingly, accompanied by Mr. Grigsby, (whose polished man- 
ners sensibly aided his applications,) and he succeeded, I 
believe, in raising about two hundred dollars, mostly in 
small sums of five and ten dollars, with which he appeared 



to be well satisfied ; regarding it, no doubt, as only an 
earnest of future and more liberal contributions. 

Among the rest, I was myself favoured with a call from 
him on this occasion, and had some little conversation with 
him, when I found that, though he was not very chatty, he 
could yet talk well and agreeably upon the subjects of 
letters and religion. His good nature, too, as it struck me, 
and his affectionate disposition, were quite apparent, and 
very pleasing ; and it was impossible, I thought, to see and 
hear him without being satisfied that he was a good man, 
and much engaged in his work. 

After this visitation, he preached again for us on the fol- 
lowing Sabbath; and, having now fulfilled his mission in 
Norfolk, returned home, by the way of Williamsburg. 
Here, I suppose, he continued to keep the object of his 
agency in view, and, no doubt, made collections for it as he 
could. I am not informed, indeed, of the extent of his 
efforts in this way ; but I think it probable, that, besides 
addressing the friends of the enterprise in his own neigh- 
bourhood, as opportunities offered, he also visited other 
counties, and, I presume, with some success. I find at 
least, from a letter which he wrote to his friend Nicholas 
Cabell, Esq., of Amherst, dated the 24th of June, 1806, 
that he was preparing to visit the good people of that 
county, to receive their contributions to his infant semi* 
nary, as we may conclude tliat he did; and it is highly 
probable, that he applied to the friends of the cause in 
other counties also ; and, we may hope, with good effect. 

On the last day of this year, (1806) our pastor began to 
keep a diary, which is now before roe. It begins with the 
outline of a plan for the regulation of his future conduct, 
both in private and public, and proceeds afterwards to give 
us his views and feelings on some particular days, during the 
period of three months only, when it ends. I shall give a 
few extracts from this document which may serve to show 


the cast of his character, and the tenor of his life» at thia 
time» in the most confidential and satufactory manner. 

Wednesday J Dec. 31.-— This was the day appointed by 
the Synod of Virginia for a fast-day. Preached C. C. Amos 
iii. 5. ShaU there he evil in a dty^ and the Lord hath not 
done it? 1. Particular Providence. 2. Evils which we 
suffer a proof that the Lord is angry with ns« 8. Uige to 
repentance. Felt anzions for the state of the church ; but 
not those thrilling emotions which I sometimes feel ; but 
little of that humiliation for my own sins which so well 
becomes me. O Lord, ( beseech thee grant unto me that 
deep sense of my own^unworthiness which will always keep 
me humble before thee. 

Jan^y 4, 1807. — ^In the morning, and going to sermon, en- 
deavoured to prepare my mind in some measure for the 
duties of the day ; but was very much perplexed by wan- 
dering thoughts. Preached from Eccels. ix. 10. Whatever 
thy handjindeth to do^ do it with thy might. Necessity of 
industry both in temporal and spiritual concerns, especially 
the latter from their importance, their variety, the shortness 
of our time, and the certainty of success in them if we are 
diligent* Felt anxious for Zion ; but little affection. May 
God grant that I may use all diligence in the discharge of 
duty. May I lay home the exhortations to my own heart 
which I gave to my people. 

Monday i 5. — Went to court and felt litde of religion ; 
thoughts wandering and mind unengaged. 

Tuesday f 6. — ^At morning, noon, and night, endeavoured to 
go to God ; but was not affected as I ought to be ; did not feel 
^at communion with God which makes prayer delightful. 
Impatient in school. May grace subdue every evil temper, 
and bad passion in my heart. 

Plan for every day's religious exercise in private.-— When 
I awake in the morning, meditate on the important doctrine 
of religion ; read a portion of Scripture ; pray. In the course 


of the day keep up a praying spirit, and be firequent in 
ejaculation. Twelve o'clock — pray and review the occur- 
rences of the day. Guard against every bad passion. Six — 
review again. Evening prayer. -Go to bed endeavouring 
to impress religion on my mind, so that my sleeping thoughts 
may not be sinful, and I may awake in the morning with 
religious thoughts. After ail depend upon God's grace. 
May I be endued with perseverance so as to keep on this 
course ! 

Wednesday^ 7. — Began this evening to read Doddridge's 
Family Expositor in the family, and I purpose to read it 
through. May God bless this plan to the instruction of 
every one of us in divine knowledge. 

Thursday, 8. — ^As usual this day until evening — ^then con- 
siderably harrassed by temptations, and filled with disagree- 
able thoughts which unfitted me for service. O gracious 
God, eradicate from my heart those evil dispositions which 
give Satan the advantage over me ! O that I may be sancti- 
fied and cleansed through the blood of Christ from all ini- 
quity ! Went to S. Bedford^s, and talked to his family, par- 
ticularly to his servants. I feel very much interested for 
this unfortunate race of men. May God enable me to be 
useful to them ; and may their hearts be inclined to listen to 
the instructions which I am desirous to give them. 

Saturday, 10.— Engaged in catechising children. Only 
six children attended. Endeavoured to preach to tlie parents 
from Deuteronomy vi. 7. ^nd thou shalt teach them dili* 
gerUly to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou 
sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, fyc. 
My object was to state the duty, and the obligation to per- 
form it; and to point out the manner of doing it. May 
divine grace make these poor efforts of mine effectual to the 
increase of family religion in our congregation. God grant 
that parents may be diligent to train up their children in the 
nurture and admonition of the Lord. JEt quamvis sum 


orlms HberiSf Deusfaxk ut diligenii$$ime emdiam areta 
dkdplina eos qui sunt in damo tneaJ 

Sabbath f 11. — ^Preached at Cub Creek. Matt. xzv. 46. Jtnd 
these shall go away, ^c. Did not feel that tender concern 
which I wish. O ! that at all times I may be so filled with 
love to man, that my heart shall overflow with tendeilieM 
and compassion. Sabbath evening. Visited my friend, 
Mrs. Daniel. Had comfort in talking with her and the 
yomig people on the subject of religion ; but did not feel my 
heart so filled with religion as to exclude improper thoughts. 

January 30. — ^A variety of circumstances has prevented 
daily attention to my diary for some time past. I accuse 
myself of negligence and inattention. I have not done the 
things which I ought to have done. 

O that God, of his infinite mercy, would subdue all my 
powers to himself, and make me just what I ought to be. 
I acknowledge my sluggishness in religion for some days 
past Had I been more industrious, it may be that sin 
would not have gotten such an advantage over me. In 
order to prevent this for the time to come, in the strength of 
divine grace, 

Resolved^ 1. To be continually employed in doing some- 
thing useful. 

2. That I will beg GU)d*s blessing on whatever I under- 

3. That I will endeavour to do every thing from regard to 
God's authority— «ven the little concerns of life. 

4. That whatever I do, shall be done in the name of the 
Lord Jesus. 

May I every hour of my life adhere to these resolutions, 
and may God bless me in them, for Jesus Christ^s sake. 

jPe6niary 1, 1807. — ^By a gracious Providence, I have 
been preserved through another month. I have enjoyed a 
comfortable portion of health and strength ; my temporal 

46 MBMOlRbF 

wants hare been supplied, my reason continued, and all 
the common comforts of life have been bestowed upon me. 
For all these mercies I desire, most merciful God, to praise 
thee ; and, at the same time, to lament my great ingratitude 
for so many favours. 

The session, at my instance, has agreed to spend one 
day in a quarter, in humiliation and prayer for a revival of 
religion. This was the day appointed for that purpose. 
The congregation met at Bethesda, all circumstances con- 
sidered, in much larger numbers ihan could be expected. 
There was some affection, and considerable seriousness. 
Preached from 2 Thes. iii. 1. Finally^ brethren^ pray for 
U89 that the word of God may have free course and be 
' glorified, I did not feel that liberty with which I am 
sometimes favoured. But blessed be God for what I did 
enjoy ! And now, as every scheme must have the divine 
blessing, in order to its being brought to a prosperous iarae, 
I humbly implore the divine blessing upon this plan of 
ours. Great Head of the Church, exert thy power. Re- 
vive thy work ; glorify thy name ; give thy people praying 
hearts ; convert sinners to thee ; build up thy Zion ; heal 
the divisions in thy Church ; and grant that the word of 
the Lord may have free course, and be glorified. Amen. 

Tuesday, 19.— I am very desirous that the school which 
I teach may be a school of piety ; that the young persons 
in it may be trained up in the nurture and admonition of 
the Lord ; and that they may become ornaments of the 
church, and blessings of society. Gracious God, give me 
- wisdom to act my part well in this relation. O, that I may 
be successful in this most important object. 

Saturday, 28. — ^I thank God, that there is a greater ap- 
pearance of zeal in some members of the congregation than 
usual. God grant that it may spread from heart to heart, 
and from family to family, until the whole congregation 


shall catch the saered Bame, and glow with the fenronr of 
love ! The Lord bless my belored congfregation. 

Another month of the new year is gone ! How rapid is 
the flight of time. 

Sed fb^t interea fugrit breve irreparabile tempui. 

0, may I improve it as it passes ! Dum vivimus vivamus^ 
was Doddridge's motto, thus explained by him in one of 
the finest epigrams in the language : 

" Live while you live," the epicore will say. 
And seize the pleasures of the present day : 
** Live while you live," the sacred preacher cries. 
And give to God each moment as it flies : 
Lord, in my view let both united be : 
I live in pleasure whilst I live to thee. 

May I thus feel, and thus act ; I ask for Christ's sake, 

March l.*^This day I wish' to begin with new resolu- 
tions in the service of God. 

As to the improvement of my time, Resolved^ That no 
more be spent in sleep, or in eating, or in idle conversation, 
than I find is necessary for my health. 

Resolved^ As before, always to be doing something which 
may turn to some good. 

O, that God for Christ's sake may give me grace to 
keep these resolutions, and to walk circumspectly, redeem- 
ing the time ! 

Friday y 12. — Lei me endeavour to spend this day as I - 
ought. Let me begin this morning, and keep a watch over 
the thoughts of my heart, the words of my mouth, and the 
actions of my life. 

March 31. — For some time past, have been in very bad 
health, and instead of attending more diligently to my 
diary, and to the state of my soul, 1 have neglected every 
thing. How foolish and how wicked has this conduct 


been. The more I needed the consolations of religion, the 
more I have neglected them. Twelve days have passed 
off, I know not how. In other words, twelve days have 
been wasted. I know not, that in this portion of time I 
have made any advance towards heaven, any progress in 
piety. A review of the whole month is sufficient to fill 
me with alarm and sorrow. Were I now on my death-bed, 
how much should I lament this wasted time. 

Last Sabbath evening, I visited Dr. F's. wife. She 
knows herself to be on the verge of eternity, and has a 
strong conviction of the importance of rightly improving 
time. *' O !" says she, *' I have put off religion until I 
was obliged to attend to it; now I am afraid it is too late." 
Let the distress of this poor woman be a lesson to me as 
long as I live. Whenever I am disposed to be negligent in 
religion, let me think how precious time is to those on the 
borders of eternity. May God give me suitable repentance 
and humiliation for the follies of the last month, and may 
those to come be spent to his glory ! 

^pril, 1. — This day begins another month. There are 
three things which I ought now to feel: 1st. Gratitude for 
preservation through the* last month. 2d. Humility for 
misspending time. 3d. The strongest resolutions to live 
better than I ever have done before." 

Here the diary ends abruptly, and, it seems, was never 
afterwards resumed. 

The following extracts from some of his letters to his 
friend Mr. Alexander, who had now become the pastor of 
the Pine-street church in Philadelphia, and had been suc- 
ceeded in the Presidency of Hampden Sydney College by 
the Rev. Moses Hoge, give us some additional notices of his 
life, which are all that we have for some years. 



Charlotte, Feb. 6th, 1808. 

*' The opinion that Mr. Hoge will succeed Tery well at 
college seems to be gaining ground. He is in high estima- 
tion with the students. He is very popular among the trus- 
tees ; and many in the neighbourhood who have never been 
thought friends to the college, have expressed a favourable 
opinion of him. My own opinion is that he is very well 
qualified to be a teacher. 

The embargo has completely stopped all collections for 
the Theological School. The last year was a time of such 
^aitity, that many of the most judicious friends of the insti- 
tution, advised us to wait until the present crop should be 
sold before we urged the payment of the money. And now 
we must of necessity wait until the embargo is taken off; so 
that not a great deal has been done since you left us. Per- 
haps fifteen hundred dollars have been collected, of which 
about eleven hundred are in the hands of major Mor- 
ton. The whole success of the scheme depends upon the 
activity of one or two individuals. The whole energy of the 
Presbytery, I fear, will never be exerted in its favour. The 
^th is, as a body, we are deplorably deficient in public spi- 
^^ And I fear that the remark extends much farther than 
4e bounds of Hanover Presbytery. 


Prince Edward, March 26/A, 1808. 
I have a very ardent desire to possess either Mills' or 
Wetstein's Greek Testament I should greatly prefer Wet- 
stein's, but I know not whether it can be procured. If it cannot, 
1 would take Mills; I shall leave the matter to your discretion. 
I believe I mentioned to you before, my anxiety to obtain 
Trommius' Concordance. I rely upon your friendly atten- 
tion to procure it for me if possible. 



I think that religion has gradually declined within the 
bounds of this Presbytery since you left us. There has 
been added to my congregation only one member during the 
last year. 1 do not know that any of my colleagues have 
been more successful. Perhaps it may have been better 
with Speece. The judgments which impend the nation 
seem to have not the least effect. Indeed ^e people who 
are immediately within the sphere of my observation seem 
to be more gay, more thoughtless, and more worldly minded 
than usual. These things almost overwhelm me, and some- 
times I am driven almost to my ivWs end* But by some or 
other good word, and encouraging promise, I am supported ; 
and at this time I feel more than usual desires to do good in 
the vineyard of the Lord. 

I have heard nothing of the proceedings of my Baptist 
brethren, since I wrote last. I have heard, but know not 
the tru^ of the report, that they have concluded to let me 
alone. Old Mr. Weatherford advises them not to undertake 
to write against Presbyterians^ When will the time come 
when the churches will have peace among themselves ? I 
am sick to the heart of controversy. 


Charlotte, Jan'y 2Sth, 1810. 
I think the state of religion in this country worse by some 
degrees than when you left it. Presbyterian congregations 
are decreasing every year, and appear as if they would 
dwindle to nothing. The Baptists and Methodists are at a 
stand. A strange apathy has seized the people. The judg- 
ments with which our nation has been visited, and the more 
awful ones which impend, have produced no effect ; or if 
any, a most disastrous one. Instead of being a blessing, 
they are a curse. The people feel about nothing but money. 
As to religion, the very stillness of death reigns amongst us. 
I can find no resemblance to this part of the country but in 


EzekiePs valley of dry bones, I am sure you do not forget 
your old friends. Remember them at the throne of grace, 
and lei me particularly have an interest in your prayers. 


Charlotte, March 18M, 1810. 

I suppose you have heard of Clement Read's last move- 
ment. He is now in the employ of the Synod of Virginia, 
and is about forming a missionary circuit through Mecklen- 
burg, Lunenbui^, Nottoway, and Amelia, through which he 
designs to itinerate once a month. He appears to be full of 
zeal, and I hope will do good. He is now altogether a 
Presbyterian. The Presbytery of Lexington have lately 
licensed three young men, Messrs. Graham, Ervin, and 
Wilson, of all of whom, (especially of Graham,) common 
fame speaks well. We expect to turn out two or three 
licentiates in April, who will engage in the missionary 
business. So that, in this part of the vineyard, we shall 
bare a pretty considerable addition of labourers. This is 
encouraging. God grant them success ! 

Grigsby writes from Norfolk, that the work is too heavy 
for him there, and begs that a missionary may be stationed 
with him for a few months. I believe he will engage for 
his support. Ichab Graham is about to go. I have told 
you every thing that is encouraging amongst us. We have 
jost enough to excite our hopes that God is about to do 
something for old Virginia yet. 

Old Mr. O'Kelly, the chief of the Christian Methodists, 
has passed through the neighbourhood. I understand he is 
nearly deserted by his followers, and talks of going home, 
and hanging his harp upon the willow. He says, ** That 
there has sprung up in the country a sect under the general 
name of Christians, who administer adult baptism only to 
please the Baptists; who hold Arminian sentiments to 
catch the Methodists ; aoid yet will allow a man tQ be ^ 


Calvinist if he chooses ; that they profess Socinian tenets, 
and make that profession the only bond of union. They 
have taken in all the Marshallites in Kentucky, and have 
made some progress there. In New York, they publish a 
periodical work, called the Herald of Religious Liberty. 
He states too, that they are increasing rapidly, and in some 
parts utterly subverting the faith of many. Have you 
heard any thing of all this ? 


Charlotte, July Ibth, 1810. 

I feel myself, since my last journey, less tied to the 
spot on which I live, than I did before. Or rather, I feel 
more ready to go wherever the providence of God may 
open a door for greater usefulness in the church than ap- 
pears to lie open before me hei^^. I am now quite recon- 
ciled to your living in Philadelphia. It matters but little 
where we are, so that we are doing the work of the Lord. 

I have written my Presbyterial sermon over again, and 
without doing it any injury, I have reduced it from fifty- 
nine to thirty-nine pages. I hope that you will do me the 
favour to accept of a copy when it is printed, and, if you 
think it worth your while, take half a dozen, and distribute 
them as you like best. 

I am zealously engaged in the study of Hebrew this 
summer. I am determined to master it if possible. Would 
I could get a Syriac New Testament such as yours ! I am 
anxious to be an Orientalist. PFho knows but that 1 may 
yet be a professor in a TTieohgical school! 


Charlotte, Sept. Ath, 1810. 
I have a very strong inclination to represent Hanover 
Presbytery in the next General Assembly, and to represent 
the next General Assembly in the Association of Connecticut. 


I do not know yet that I can have sufficient interest to seeore 
my election; but I feel pretty much resolved to make the 
attempt. My health has been so much better this summer 
than usual, that I cannot help thinking it probable that if I 
could have spent two or three months longer travelling in 
the spring, I should have become quite fat and hearty. 

Yes sir J if it pleases €M to give me health and strength, 
I am resolved to be master of those languages in which the 
truths of divine revelation were originally recorded; and 
I am very anxious to get all the helps in these studies that 
can possibly be procured. I must beg your assistance in 
this business. If you will accept of it, I hereby give you a 
carte blanche, a full commission to buy for me at any price 
you think proper to give, any book that you can find, that 
will in your opinion be important for me to have. I am 
very anxious to get Horseley's new translation of Hosea. 
Be on the watch if you please for a Syriac New Testa* 
ment. I do not know whether it is worth while to mention 
Calacio's Concordance, or Michaelis* Hebrew Bible ; for I 
question whether they can be obtained. I am sure that yon 
will do all you can for me ; and that you will excuse my 
troubling you in this way. 

The state of religion amongst us is perhaps better than 
when we were in Philadelphia. I saw Mr. Lyle at Char- 
lotte court yesterday. He is more encouraged than I have 
seen him for several years. Very probably he will write by 
Mr. Read, and give you a particular account of the state of 
affairs. Mr. Hoge wrote to me yesterday, that he thought 
there was a growing attention to religion about college. I 
attended a sacrament at Old Hat Creek on Sabbath with Mr. 
Le Grand. There was a large and very attentive congrega- 
tion, and much affection. Some few additions were made 
to the church. My Cub Creek people seem to be consider- 
ably stirred up, and we are all in hopes that the Lord is 
about to visit these desolations, and build up our ruins. I 


^ I 


&Uik that a spirit of prayer is in some degree poured out, 
«]id that at least a few are wrestling with God. The mis- 
sionary business is going on with some success. Clem. 
Read, Charles Kennon, and James Wilson, are riding very 
constantly between this and Petersburg. Kennon writes 
that immense crowds attend him almost constantly, that the 
cry for preaching is great, and that it is recommendation 
enough for any man that he is a Presbyterian. We want 
preachers, we want a great many more preachers ! — ^preach- 
ers of zeal and of talents, who will give themselves up with 
unreserved devotion to the. great work of preaching salva- 
tion. But I shall make a fuller communication on this sub- 
ject before long to the Committee of Missions* 


Charlotte, Oct. Vtth, 1810. 
I believe that when I last wrote, I observed that the cause 
of religion was looking up. Although we have nothing that 
can be called a revival, yet we are still more encouraged. I 
think that Christians are in some degree revived. Many 
seem to have a spirit of grace and supplication, and are 
wrestling with God in prayer. There have been more 
added to the church at our last sacraments than usual. Num- 
bers in Cub Creek, Briery, and Cumberland, seem to be 
anxiously inquiiing on the subject of religion. You remem- 
ber that in Virginia there was a class of persons who never 
went to church at all ; they thought it beneath them. That 
class is diminishing in numbers pretty rapidly. And now 
and then, persons of this description are entering into the 
church. Mrs. Judith Randolph, of Bizarre, lately made a 
profession of religion. I have be^n much in her company 
since, and I think her among the most truly pious in our 
country. John Randolph attended the sacrament when his 
sister joined with us, and seemed to be much impressed* 
He invited Mr. Hoge home with him, and conversed much 
upon religion, Mr, Hoge is fully persuaded that he is, as it 


iis expressed here, an exercised man. Wm. B. Giles regu* 
larly attends our missionaries who preach in Amelia. Mr. 
Speece preached in his neighbourhood not long ago. He 
was present, and remarkably attentive. In the evening 
he repeated to a lady who could not go to church, Mr. 
Speece's sermon almost verbatim, adding when he was done, 
that it was the best sermon he ever heard or read. Joseph 
Eggleston, formerly member of Congress, entertains our mis- 
sionaries at his house with the utmost cordiality. The wife 
of John W. Eppes is said to be under very serious religious 
impressions. There were at the last Cumberland sacrament 
from eight to ten of the Randolph connections at the table of 
the Lord. These are a few instances among the many that 
might be mentioned of the truth of the observation made 
above. Upon the whole, we are encouraged. And I hope 
that we shall have greater grounds for encouragement. Pray 
for old Virginia." 

About this time, we learti, he received an intimation from 
some persons in Richmond, that they would be very glad if he 
would come down and lead them in getting up a new church 
which they were proposing to raise in that place, and which 
seemed to be sadly needed. The state of religion, indeed, 
in our metropolis, at that period, was deplorably low. It is 
true that in the Methodist and Baptist churches there was, no 
doubt, much real piety; mixed, however, as it seemed, with 
no small portion of enthusiasm, and confined, moreover, 
chiefly to persons in the humbler walks of life, who were, 
of course, without any great influence ; while those in the 
higher and more fashionable circles of society, embracing 
the Episcopal and Presbyterian denominations, were fallen 
into a state of the greatest apathy; for the spirit of infidelity 
and the spirit of the world had poisoned the minds of many 
of them to a sad degree, and the sanctuary was almost ex- 
tinct. There was at least no regularly organized church of 
either of these names in the place, (or none that was visible,) 
but all of both of them who retained any respect for religion 

^ I 


went together to hear a sermon, in the forenoon only of every 
Sunday, in the Hall of the House of Delegates, in the Capitol; 
(for the Presbyterians had no house of worship in the city, and 
the Episcopalians used their old church on the lower hill, only 
at Easter and Christmas). And here the Rev. Mr. Blair of 
the Presbyterian, and the Rev. Mr. Buchanan of the Epis- 
copal church, who were linked together in a very warm and 
intimate friendship, officiated alternately, according to the 
forms of their respective churches. On one Sunday the 
people were Presbyterians, in outward appearance, and the 
next they were Episcopalians, in aspect; but still all the 
same. In either phase, the great body of those who attended 
the service appeared to have no idea of vital religion, and 
the few pious people who perhaps still lingered among them, 
(hovering, as it were, over the ashes of the altar, and dying 
away with its embers,) were themselves very nearly rettdy to 
perish. In short, there was nothing but the form, or rather the 
shadow of a church, among them ; and hardly that ; for the sa- 
crament, I believe, was never administered in the Hall, and 
the rite of baptism, which had got to be the mere ceremony of 
christening (as it was called) to give the child a name, was 
performed only in private houses. 

To finish the picture, I am sorry to be obliged to add 
that the ministers themselves, though both very worthy and 
amiable men, were yet most insipidly lukewarm in their 
public services, and, in their private habits and manners, as 
I understand, were not exactly the best examples to their 
^ck. They partook, at least, without scruple, of the 
pleasures of the table, and winked at all the innocent 
amusements of the gay and fashionable circles in which 
they moved. The people, of course; felt themselves 
authorized to go a little beyond their pastors; and the 
church and the world were completely mingled and con- 
founded together.* 

* It is due to the memory of both these worthy men, who have 
since died, to add here, that the gross impropriety of their clerical 


In this state of things, a few pious persons-^-who had 
become disgusted with the cold and heartless services of 
the capitol, conceived the idea of establishing a Presbyte- 
rian congregation in the city, and of building a church for 
it, near Kocketts, and looking about for some evangelical 
preacher to lead them in their enterprise, they had turned 
their eyes towards Mr. Rice; for they had heard him 
preach several times, on his occasional visits to Richmond, 
and elsewhere, and were satisfied that he would be the 
very man for -their purpose. Some of them, accordingly, 
had broached their wishes to him, which he could not, of 
course, help hearing with interest; but their whole plan 
was as yet too immature, and too uncertain, for him to em- 
brace it at once ; and he could, therefore, only encourage 
them to proceed, and allow them to hope that he might 
perhaps be brought to aid them in it at some future day. 
So the project had rested, until the Rev. Drury Lacy, it 
seems, paid them a visit, and preached with so much effect, 
that their desire to enlist Mr. Rice in their service, was 
greatly increased ; and they now renewed their application 
to him in more definite terms. 

The following letters will show the progress of the 
movement, (with some other matters,) and we shall, by and 
by, see its effect. 


Charlotte, January 3d, 1811. 
There is great uncertainty in my going to Philadelphia 

deportment was owing, in some measure at least, to the times in 
which they lived, when neither the world nor the church was yet 
awakened to a sense of religion as it has since been ; and that they 
both lived to see and acknowledge the error which they had com- 
mitted. I have been told, that Mr. Blair, particularly, who was a 
man of real piety, and greatly esteemed by his brethren, confessed 
his fiiult publicly to the Presbytery to which he belonged, even with 


next spring, because there will probably be a competition 
among us for the office of representative of Hanover Pres- 
bytery, and I have no reason to expect that a preference 
will be given to me. Should there, however, be a call for 
my services, I shall willingly accept of \%. As to the plan 
proposed by you, I feel these difficulties. I do not know 
exactly how to bring myself to candidal^ for the pas- 
toral office, having been always of opinion that the people, 
and not tlie minister, should be the solicitor on such occa- 
sions. Besides, I do not know what I should do, or say, 
were I persuaded that every man who was hearing me, 
thought, when I rose up, '' Now, I'll see whether this maa 
will do or not." The other difficulty arises from the ap^ 
prehension, that should I be called to the place of the late 
Dr. Tennant, I should be obliged to teach for my living' 
Nqw, one powerful motive for removing from my own 
place, would be the prospect of delivery from this neces* 
sity, and of having more time for study and preaching. It 
is probable indeed, that as long as I live, I shall have a boy 
or two, the children of particular friends, in my family; 
but I wish most devoudy to have some other means of sup- 
port. I think, however, that I shall not long be supported 
in this way here, I mean that there is little probability 
that I shall continue long in this place. Not that my 
school is not large enough. Indeed, my principal difficulty , 
is to keep the number as small as I wish. But, all things con- 
sidered, I hold myself ready to go where Providence may 
call me. And I just sit here, waiting for, and observing as 
narrowly as I can, the dispensation of Heaven. Where I 
am clearly called, there will I go; but I must first be satis- 
fied that I am called. 

Se quid novisti rectius candidus imperti. 

Have you heard of Mr. Lacy's trip to Richmond last 
month, and of the effects which his preaching produced ? 
I have understood that a number of persons since that 


time have determined, if possible, to get some erangelical 
pTeacher to live in the place. The plan laid by major 
Qnarles is, to subscribe and rent a house for an academy, to 
the charge of which the minister of their choice is to be in- 
vited ; and he is to build up a church, from the pew rent of 
inrhich a salary is to be raised for him ; and then, if he 
chooses, he may drop his school. Quarles, Watt, and a 
few others, who are most deeply interested in this business, 
are very sanguine in their expectations of success. 

From some late communications that have been made to 
me, I have reason to believe that they depend on me to do 
the work for them. And indeed, could I establish a church 
in Richmond J ^^ built on the foundation of the prophets and 
aposths^ Jesus Christ himself being the chief comer- 
stonCj*'* I should do wdL But I fear that this is a task not 
easy to be accomplished. I foresee many difficulties in the 
way. Let me wait, however, until the thing is formally 


Charlotte, Feb. Bd, 1811. 
My Dear Friend, 

Although my duty calls me to other emplo3rments than 

that of writing letters this morning, yet I cannot bear that 

* This lady was the widow of Mr. Richard Randolph, a hrother of 
John Randolph of Roanoke, and was at this time living at her seat 
called Bizarre, near the small town of Farmville, in the county of 
Cumberland. Some two or three years before the date of this letter, 
she had put her son Theodoric Tudor Randolph, (a youth of much 
promise,) to school to Mr. Rice; and the lad falling sick, she had visit- 
ed him at his teacher's house. This, of course, brought her to form ai^ 
acquaintance with the pastor and his wife, which soon ripened into a 
lasting friendship, and produced the most happy fruits. The coun- 
sel, indeed, of such a friend as she found in him, was particularly 
valuable to her, as she had been called to suffer great and peculiar 
sorrows, (growing out of circumstances well known in that part of 
the country, and the subject of a cause ce2e6r«, but which I do not 


the boy should return without an expression of friendship 
from us to you. In such a world as this, it is unchristian to 
withhold any, even the least degree of comfort, or innocent 
pleasure that we are able to afford ; and could I, by any thing 
that I can write, add to the enjoyments, or diminish the 
troubles of a highly valued christian friend, I should think 
my time well employed. 

The subject on which I expect to preach to day is Hope ; 
the christian's hope. It is built on Jesus Christ, '< the chief 
corner stone ;" his meritorious life, and precious blood, lay- 
ing the only foundation on which a sinner can build his ?iope, 
*^ Other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which 
is Christ." (Paul to the Corinthians.) We are built on this 
foundation, when we have received Jesus Christ as our 
Saviour, and put our trust entirely in him. Then may we, 
instead of dreading the stroke of divine justice, indulge the 
hope of pardon. ** And, being justified by faith, we have 
peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Built on 
the foundation laid by him *< who gave himself for us, to re- 
think it neces&ary or proper to explain,) and needed all the consolations 
which religrion could afford ; and the result of all the train of things 
which the little incident of her visit providentially put in motion, was, 
no doubt, most happy for her heart. At the time when this letter was 
written, she had abandoned all the prejudices of the old and high Epis- 
copalians, in which she had been brought up, and become a member 
of the Presbyterian church. Tlicletters which follow, (and which are 
only a few of many,) may tell the rest. I will, however, add here, that 
I find a pleasing confirmation of the account which I have given above, 
in one of her own letters, which she wrote some time afler this, to a 
friend in Richmond, in which she says : ** I wish very much that you 
could both hear and see my excellent friend Mr. Rice; unless you have 
the common prejudice against PreabyterianSj you cannot fail to be 
pleased and edified. / at least should pay a tribute to his cheerful and 
simple piety, his animated and intelligent conversation on all subjects; 
for I can with truth date the perfect recovery of my long lost peace of 
mind to the period when my child^s illness called me to the abode of 
rational piety, and real happiness." 


deem us from all iniquity, and purify xu to himaelf a peeuliar 
people, zealous of good works," we are authorized to hope 
for eotuplete deliverance from all sin, to hope that we shall 
be transformed into the image of God our Saviour. Built 
on him '* with whom are all the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge," we may hope that divine wisdom will guide us 
through this dark and uncertain world, and that we shall 
arrive at that place, whence ignorasice, error, and perplexity 
are forever hanished. United by faith to him who has '* the 
government upon his shoulders," and who has assured us 
that the ^ hairs of our head are all numbered," we may hope 
that all things *' shall work for our good,'' and that aiflic- 
lions shall '^ work out for us a far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory." Leaning upon him who is a com- 
passionate High Priest, who knows what broken hearted 
sorrow is, we may hope that we have his sympathy in all 
our trials here. And finally, having an interest in him, who 
is appointed of God to ''judge the world in righteousness," 
we may hope that in the great and terrible day of the Lord, 
in the day of the vengeance of our God, he will say unto us, 
" Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom, pre- 
pared for you from the foundation of the world." 

A hope 80 much divine. 

May trials well endure ; 
May purge our souls from sense and sin, 

As Christ the Lord is pure. 

May you, my dear friend, continually have a lively hope, 
such as this. It is the best gift of God to us poor mortals. 
Hope of salvation by the grace of God, through the Lord 
Jesus Christ, is that alone which will support us here ; that 
alone which will raise us above temptation, and keep us un- 
spotted from the world : which will inspire us with zeal, and 
courage and fortitude, so that we shall fight the good fight of 
faith. In a word, the Apostle assures us that " we are save4 
by hope." 



May God bless you, and give you all that you need for 
his world, and for eternity. 

Mrs. Rice unites with me in this and every prayer for you. 
I am with great friendship land esteem, 

Very respectfully, &c. 

Jno. H. Rice. 


Charlotte^ March Sth, 1811. 
My Dear Friend, 

We were very much pleased to see Jacob this evening. 
It had been some time since we had heard from you, and 
we were afraid that your health might have been affected 
by the frequent and violent changes of the weather during 
the month past It gratified me much to learn that our 
fears were groundless. It gratified me still more to under- 
stand that your affairs have been satisfactorily arranged, 
and that you enjoy, in a good degree, contentment of mind, 
and <*hope that maketh not ashamed." It is certainly 
unwise in Christians to undervalue the good things of this 
life, (and indeed of this there is little danger,) but when 
they are estimated at their full value, it is easy to see that, 
in comparison with heavenly things, they are <* les3 than 
nothing," and "lighter than vanity." I therefore rejoice 
more that you have any well founded hope in Jesus Christ, 
than I should rejoice if the wealth of both the Indies were 
your own. What I pray for most earnestly then is, that 
*( forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching at those 
that are before, you may press forward towards the mark 
for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
Whatever religious attainments we may have made, I am 
afraid that, upon a strict scrutiny, many deficiencies will be 
found in the very best amongst us. How important is it, 
then, both for our comfort here, and our happiness here- 
after, that we should constantly endeavour to *'grow in 


^ace," and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ. I am fully persuaded, that the friend to 
whom I write, is not one of those who suppose that just 
religion enough to carry us to heaven, is all that we need 
be anxious for in this wodd. . The truly pious soul longs 
to know more of God, to be more devoted to his service, 
more resigned to his will ; to have more intimate commu- 
nion with him; to be more humble, more circumspect, 
more watchful over the thoughts of the heart, and the 
words of the mouth ; in a word, to be more like the blessed 
Saviour of sinners. How happy should we be, could we 
do the will of God upon earth as it is done in the heavens ! 
Let us, my dear friend, aim constantly at this, and the God 
of love, '* who gave his son up to the death for us all, will, 
with him, also freely give us all things;" all that grace 
which we need for support, and consolation, and direction, 
while in this world, and immortal life in the world to come. 
The inclemency of our winters, and the miserable state 
of our houses of worship, often render it improper for 
persons in delicate health to attend on the preaching of the 
gospel, and join with the assemblies of the saints in the 
worship of the Most High God. I consider this as a real 
misfortune ; both because the pious soul that reckons *' one 
day in the house of God as better than a thousand," is, in 
this way, deprived of much real pleasure; and because 
diligent attendance on the means of grace is the way ap- 
pointed by heaven for our edification ; for the strengthening 
of our faith, the increase of our love, and the enlargement 
of our hopes; and without this attendance, I think, we can 
hardly hope for great comforts in religion. But yet this 
general remark ought to be limited, for where means cannot 
be used, God works without them. He, then, who really 
delights in the exercises of God's house, *' and pants after 
God, as the hunted hart panteth for the cooling brook," 
and cannot go to worship in his temple, may hope to meet 
with Him at home, and enjoy the light of his countenance. 


and receive the tokeas of Ms love. I hope that you have 
prored, hy your experience, the truth of these remarks; 
and that cold and ungenial as the season has heen, your 
heart has felt the cheering influences of the Sun of Righte- 
ousness, and that you have heen able to rejoice in Christ 
Jesus, without confidence in the flesh. 

I am very much pleased with the prospect of seeing you 
with us this spring. Presbytery, 1 suppose you know, 
meets at Bethesda, the flrst day of May. You will then 
have an opportunity of seeing a number of our clergy, 
with some of whom, I have no doubt, you wiU be pleased ; 
and by the hearing of whom I hope you will be edifled. 

Mrs. Rice wishes to write to her friends at Willingtony 
and must therefore decline the pleasure of writing to you 
at this time ; but I can bear witness that she loves you as 
she loves very few people on earth, and that she uaites 
most cordially with me in imploring on you the best bless- 
ings of heaven. 

I am, afiectionately and respectfully, &c. 

John H. Rice. 


Charlotte^ May dd, ISll. 

I see every year more reason to believe that I ought to 
remove from this place where I now am. I wish to know 
where I ought to go; and thither I hold myself ready^to 
go. May Heaven direct me ! 

Our Presbytery is now in session. But there is nothing 
of any importance before us. We have no candidates for 
the ministry ; and indeed hardly any business at all to do. 
The state of religion is very unpromising tliis spring, in 
most of the congregations among us. The agreeable ap- 
pearances which presented themselves last fall, have in a 
great degree vanished, and the church now presents a 
dreary scene of barrenness and desolation. There is, how- 
ever, a prospect of doing good in the missionary way. 


Bat the scarcity of micisionaries is deplorable* Can you 
help us in this particular? 

Here I must pause to attend to the business of Presby- 
tery. Joseph Logman has accepted a call from the B3rTd 
congregation, and is to be ordained next October. John 
Hbge has taken a dismission, to put himself under the care 
of Winchester Presbytery. This is all the Presbyierial 
news that I have to communicate. I am every day more 
and more disgusted with the way in which things go on 
amongst us, and am resolved that I will seek another 
habitation. Had I not already engaged to keep school next 
summer, I would, as soon as I am in a condition to travel, 
set out with a view of discovering whether there is not some 
place in the world where I could labour with more comfort to 
myself, and with a greater prospect of usefulness to others. 
I could in the fall be, every way, completely at liberty; 
but winter travelling is every way unsuitable. Heaven will, 
\ I hope, direct me what I ought to do« 


Charlotte, Juh/ l'2thj 1811. 
Mir Dear Friend, 

Have you never had the tone of both mind and body so 
far destroyed, that barely to live, was the highest thing that 
jrou could even think of aiming at? Uncertainty and per- 
plexity have brought my mind, and this blaze of the sun for 
t6e last ten days has reduced my body to this very situa- 
tion. Were I as mercurial as a Frenchman in my natural 
constitution, I should by this time have been made as 
phlegmatic as a Dutchman. In these circumstances, I 
only write that I may redeem a promise made through St. 
George; and not that I have the least hope either of edify- 
ing or entertaining my friend. 

Upon reflecting on what I have said, I believe that I 
have rather overcharged my statement. For since I have 
had the pleasure of being acquainted with you» I have never 


thoa^ht of you without feeing a deep intetest in your hap- 
piness. I have considered you as one, who, haying been 
tried in the- school of adversity, knew the value of reaJ, 
unpretended friendship; and who, of course, would not, 
like some whom I have known, veer about in affection, as 
suddenly, and as capriciously as the winds in our climate. 
I have considered you as a person, too, convinced of the 
insufficiency of all that we call good on earth, to satisfy the 
human heart, and amidst many difficulties and embarrass- 
ments, earnestly desiring, and sincerely endeavouring to 
obtain a portion in that «' inheritance which is incorruptible, 
undefiled, and which shall never fade away: reserved in 
heaven for all who are kept by the power of God, through 
faith unto salvation." I, therefore, who am not unac- 
quainted with sorrow, who know the worth of a real 
friend, who have also, in some measure, I hope, learned 
how vain the world is ; and how desirable is a portion in a 
better; who know, too, something of the difficulties and 
embarrassments to which all who would separate them- 
selves from the world, are exposed, could not become ac- 
quainted with you without at once feeling for you that 
affectionate regard, which is ordinarily the result of long 
habits of intimacy. I know not how it is that I feel so 
nrach as though 1 had been your friend for a long time. 
But although this, I know, is some delusion of the feelings, 
I humbly trust that the hope that we shall be friends for- 
ever, in a purer and happier world than this, will not prove 
deceptions. O! how diligent ought we to be to make 
*^ our calling and election «ure;" that is, to live in such a 
way, as to have good evidence that God hath chosen us to 
be heirs of that kingdom that never can be moved. I have 
lately been considering the state of mind in which the 
apostle Paul seemed habitually to be on this subject. His 
language is such as this : '* I know in whom I have be- 
lieved, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep Aat 
which I have committed to him against that day*'-«- 


** Henceforth there i? lud up for me a crovn of righteous- 
ness, which the Lord, the rigfateouB judge, will give me in 
that day; and not to me only, but to all who love his ap- 
pearing." Now, the apotltle had, of himself, no more 
power to attain to this blessed state of assurance, than 
you or I have. " By the grace of God," says he, " I am 
what I am." Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, to-day, 
and forever. He has the same grace to bestow now 
upon those who ask him, that gave the Apostle such holy 
confidence, and raised him above the fears of death and 
hell. May we, my dear madam, be made abundant par- 
takers of this grace, and may we be counted worthy to 
stand among those who surround the throne of God, and 
dwell at his right hand, where is fulness of joy forever 

Tudor seems very anxious to see his aunt H , before 

she leaves Bizarre. T am willing to gratify him in this, 
for he pleases me very much this summer. I hope, how-* 
ever, that he -will return to school very early next week. 
He is now of that age that every hour is more precious 
than the preceding. 

If Mrs. Rice were at home she would write. And I am 
sure she would not be pleased to know that 1 had written 
without mentioning her to you in terms of the wannest 
affection. Give my love to St. George, and Miss Sally. 
I pray for you, and all that are dear to you. 

I am, .very respectfully and sincerely, yours, &c. 

John H. Ricis. 


Charlotte^ Sept. 9, 1811. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

Upon going to Richmond, I found the state of affairs 
somewhat different from, what I had expected. 

I preached four times ; thrice in Richmond, and once in 

68 . MEHCOtR OP 

Manchester, to considerable congregations of the most atten- 
tive people that I ever yet saw. In Richmond, there was a 
good deal of affection among the people, and they appear 
anxious that I should remove to- that place. There are very 
many among them who feel the importance of religion. The 
minds of the generality were turned to the subject, but ex- 
cept the Episcopalians, and the great Presbyterians an the 
Hill, they do not seem, at least the great bulk of them, to 
know any thing about religious doctrines, or the difference 
about religious denominations. They are indeed as sheep 
without a shepherd ; — ^like a vast flock in the wilderness, 
alarmed and running in every direction, without knowing 
which way to go. They seem indeed to have some notion 
of the superiority of Presbylerianism as it exists somewhere, 
and of course many of them are desirous that a Presbyterian 
of the right sort should come among them. 

The opposition of the great men on the Hill, however, 
has thrown very great impediments in the way of building a 
church. The subscription, I believe, has very nearly stop- 
ped in Richmond, and there is a deficiency of at least three 
thousand dollars. They have no hope of finishing the build- 
ing, of which the foundation has been laid, unless assistance 
is afforded them by the friends of vital religion in the northern 
towns, and I am most importunately solicited to take a jour- 
ney to Philadelphia and New York, for the purpose of ob- 
taining aid for them. Now, do you think that to have a 
church of Christ in Richmond, would interest the people and 
the clergy to the North, so that a journey thither would not 
be in vain ? I wish that you would as soon as possible give 
me such information on this subject as you can, or as you 
judge necessary. I have some inclination to help these poor 
people, whether I live among them or not, and my motions 
will depend very much upon what you communicate. 

In very great haste, 

I am as ever, 

John H. Rice. 



Staunton, Oct. 19/A, 1811. 
My Dear Sir, 

Your letter bearing date 26th ult. has been received. By 
the preceding mail a letter was received from Dr. Miller, in 
answer to one I had written him on the same subject on 
which I addressed you. Dr. Miller's letter was still more 
unfavourable than yours. After weighing all circumstances, 
I have determined to defer my journey to the North until 
next spring. In the mean time the building of the Rich- 
mond church will go on, and probably it will be completed 
very early in the spring. There is no probability of my 
going to Richmond before that period, and I am afraid that 
the few pious people of that place will not be able to support 
me without a school. I shall continue in Charlotte at least 
antil the spring. 

The sessions of Synod are just over. Nothing of much 
importance was done, except in relation to the proposed 
amendments of the Constitution. As soon as that matter 
was called up, I moved that the subject should be postponed 
indefinitely. Mr. Baxter spoke against the motion, and Mr. 
Speece in favour of it, when the question was taken and 
carried by a sweeping majority of twenty-three, I think, to 
three. So that this matter is laid to rest for the present. 
So far, you will say, so good. 

I hope that the meeting of Synod at this place has not 
been a vain thing. Mr. Calhoun thinks that h6 never saw 
such agitation here before. Several members have been 
added to the church ; I do not know how many, but I be- 
lieve not fewer than seven or eight. I think that the con- 
gregation, to-day, was one of the most solemn that I have 
lately seen. 

Our Presbytery sat last week. Mr. Logan was ordained, 
and installed pastor of the Byrd congregation. The appear- 


ances at that place were very favourable. We had more 
good preaching than I have heard lately from so many 
preachers. Upon the whole, I think that the state of reli- 
gion is more favourable now than it has been for several 
years. May these things not be like the morning cloud, or 
like the early dew ! 

Whilst things were'in this train, and he was still hesitat- 
ing what to do, an event happened which had, no doubt, great 
weight in deciding his course, as well as in preparing the field 
for his future labours. This w;as the memorable burning of 
the theatre in Richmond, on the night of the 26th of Decem- 
ber, 1811, which involved the loss of many valuable lives, 
and spread mourning and lamentation throughout the city, 
and throughout the whole state. It was indeed no false play 
that evening ; but, really and truly, one of the deepest trage- 
dies that had ever been exhibited on the stage of human life, 
and admirably calculated to 'Spurge the passions" of all who 
either saw or heard of it, by the " pity and terror" which it 
could not fail to excite in every breast. The theatre, it 
seems, which was unfortunately built entirely of wood, and 
otherwise badly constructed, stood upon the brow of Shock- 
hoe hill, where it begins to fall into the great ravine below, 
and upon the very spot which is now the site of what is 
called the Monumental Church. At this time, it was being 
used by the Charleston company of players, under the man- 
agement of Messrs. Placide, Green, and Twaits, who were 
performing in it with great success. On this night, particu- 
larly, a new play and pantomime had been got up for the 
benefit of Mr. Placide, who was a favourite of the town ; 
and a large and brilliant crowd of gentlemen and ladies, of 
the very flower of the population, embracing Mr. Smith, the 
newly elected Governor of the Commonwealth, Mr. Abra- 
ham Venable, formerly a senator of the United States, and 
now President of the Bank of Virginia, Mr. Botts, an emi- 
nent lawyer, and many others, members of the General Assem- 


hlyt and cidzens of wealth and fashion, were assembled at an 
early hour to enjoy the entertainments of the evening. It 
was tmly a brilliant display; and, for some time, all went on 
gaily and happily enough. The play was over — ^the first act 
of the pantomime had passed by — ^the second and last was 
now begun — and all eyes were intently fixed upon the actor, 
who had come forward on the stage towards the lights, and 
was moving to the music of the orchestra — ^when suddenly 
a bustling noise was heard from behind the scenes, towards 
the rear of the building. This, it seems, was occasioned by 
the fact that a servant who had been ordered to hoist up a chan- 
dclier, in doing so had got the rope hitched, and jerking to 
clear it, had swung the thing against one of the painted 
scenes, which instantly caught fire, and sent up a sheet of 
flame to the roof. This unfortunately was not plaistered, 
but consisted only of rafters covered with light pine boards, 
and shingles, very dry, so that it kindled at once ; and the 
actors, with their assistants, were trying to tear down the 
scenes, to put out the fire. This movement, however, was 
not immediately seen by the spectators, being hid from their 
view by the interposing scene ; and they were still watching 
the progress of the piece, when they saw a shower of sparks 
and burning matter fall upon the actor before them. At this 
ffome were startled, while others apparently thought that it 
might be only a part of the show. A moment afterwards, 
some one exclaimed, " There is no danger," and only 
forced the sense of it more strongly upon their fears ; when 
Mr. Hopkins Robinson, one of the performers, rushed for- 
ward to the front of the stage, and cried, " the house is on 
fire," — ^pointing at the same time to the ceiling, where the 
fire was now seen running like lightning along the roof. In- 
stantly, all was horror and dismay. The cry of " fire," 
" fire," rang through the building, mingled with the shrieks 
of women and children, in frantic consternation. Husbands 
looked for their wives — ^mothers for their children — ^while 


some* aliiiost frenxied by the sense of danger, thongbt only ' 
of themseltes. 

There was, of course, a general rush of all at once to 
escape out of the house as fast as possible, by the nearest 
way. Those in the pit easily got to the outer door, which 
was not far off. Those in the galleries also, or most of 
them, flying down the stairs, soon emerged into the street 
But the spectators in the boxes were not so fortunate. 
Some few of them, indeed, had leaped into the pit, and got 
out with the rest from that part, and a few others had been 
helped on to the stage, and hurried off the back yvxy; 
while a small number still bravely kept their seats, only to 
meet the fate which they hoped to avoid; but the great 
mass of them, crowding tumultuously into the narrow 
lobbies, in the wildest disorder, stopped each others 
progress towards the door, while the suffocating smoke 
which soon filled the house, extinguished the lights, and 
stifled its victims ; and the flames which now flashed in 
lurid sheets, as they ran along the light wooden work of 
the boxes, caught the clothes of the fugitives in the rear, 
and wrapped them at once in palls of fire and death. 
Happy now ^ere those who had reached the windows, 
where a stream of fresh air from without revived their 
failing senses, and enabled them to hurry on for their lives, 
or to escape perhaps to the ground. For by this time, many 
of those who had got out from the pit and galleries, were 
seen gathered in crowds below, stretching out their arms, 
and calling on those within to leap into them for safety. 
Some did so from the first, and some even from the second 
story ; and a number escaped in this way, while a few were 
either killed, or shockingly mangled by the fall. Those, in the 
meantime, who had succeeded so far as to clear the lobbies, 
found themselves again stopped, and straitened in the narrow 
angular stairs that ran from the landing of the boxes into 
Uie common entry, or pent up in the small passage at the 



bottom, vrhete the oniy door which opened mwavde had 
been shut to by the rushing crowd, and could not be 
forced back for some time, even by the help of hands from 
without. Here, then, some were crushed to death by 
others, who, even less happy, emerged at last over their 
dead bodies, through the door now opened, but horribly 
scorched or burnt, and only to die in the arme ot their 
shuddering friends. 

By this time, (aldiough only six or seven minutes had 
passed,) the whole house was in a light blaze, that bright- 
ened the windows of the houses far and near with its diimal 
light; the bells were tolling with most appalling sound; and 
hundreds of citizens, roused from their beds, and alarmed 
for the safety of their relatives and friends, were rushing to 
the scene, but too late to save, or find them. The rest may 
be imagined, but cannot, and perhaps ought not to be 
described. There was no deep in Richmond that night; 
but candles were burning in all the houses, and the voice of 
weeping was' heard from many dwellings. 

The day after this awful occurr^ace, the Common Council 
of the city convened, and passed a resolution pn^biting all 
puWc amusements within the limits, for four months en-^ 
suing; and a meeting of citizens was held in the capitol, 
at which it was resolved, that the remains of the dead 
should be collected and buried together on the spot where 
they had expired; and that a monument should be raised 
over them to record the remembrance of their fate. And it 
was also determined, that a day should be set apart for 
fasting, humiliation, and prayer, in commemoration of an 
event, in which all who had any sense of piety could not 
but see and acknowledge, that the hand of God had been 
most strikingly and affectingly displayed. 

In the mean time, the news of this dreadful disaster was 

flying rapidly all over the state, and soon reached the ears 

of Mr. Rice, who could not help feeling, very naturally, a 

sort of personal interest in the event. The following letter, 



which he wrote immediately afterwards, will show the effect 
which it produced upon his mind. 


Charlotte, JaufCy 1st, 1812. 
Mt Dear Friend, 

<< You have no doubt heard more of the particulars of the 
late dispensation of Providence in Richmond than I have. 
How awful ! For so many, by one dreadful stroke, to be 
hurried from the midst of amusements and gaiety, to the bar 
of God and to eternity, is shocking to the mind even of the 
most unfeeling. Did you ever know an event so calculated 
to impress upon our miiids the words of the wise man, 
" Vanity of vanities : all is vanity?" *• Surely man in his 
best estate is altogether vanity.'' I heard of the melancholy 
event last Sabbath, just as I was going into the court house 
to preach. It made such an impression on my mind, that I 
could not resist the impulse to lay aside the text on which I 
had intended to preach, and to deliver an extempore dis- 
course from the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, and perhaps the 
sixth verse. ''And the voice said, cry. And he said what 
shall I cry? All flesh is as grass, &;c." Happy would it 
be for us could we constantly realize this, and live as if every 
year and every day were to be our last. — ^I h^ve been, as far 
as I could find time, endeavouring to recollect my thoughts 
and ways during the last year. I find much to reprehend in 
myself; much for which to be ashamed and humbled. I 
have been endeavouring to form good resolutions about my 
future life. But I fear they will be like resolutions made 
before — ^a salve to the conscience for the present. 1 ^xsl «ure 
that witliout the all-sufficiency of a Saviour 1 shall never do 
any thing. Unless God work in me both to vMl and to do^ 
I shall never work out my salvation. May God give us all 
needed grace, and finally crown " that grace with glory." 



Charlotte, JarCy Vtth, 1812. 
My Dear Friend, 

You will perhaps be surprised to hear that Mr. Lyle and 
I expect to have the pleasure of taking breakfast with you 
next Tuesday morning on our way to Richmond. Some of 
my friends there have so earnestly solicited me to go down 
since the late awful visitation of Providence on that place, 
that I had not a heart to refuse. I am most anxious that so 
much distress should not be suffered in vain ; that the great- 
est disaster which has ever befallen the city may be an occa- 
sion of producing the best effects that can result from any 
event whatever. This surely is the prayer of every one that 
has the heart of a christian. But one cannot expect that this 
will be the case unless proper measures are adopted for this 
purpose. And what more suitable than evangelical preach- 
ing? If my friends there think that my poor labours will 
probably be useful in this way, ought I not to go at their 
call, and depend upon the promised aid of the Spirit? He 
can make use of the most inefficient means to produce the 
most important effects. Will you not pray, my dear friend, 
that I may go, as the Apostle went to Rome, <' in the fulness 
of the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" 

I will mention to you in confidence, that the people of 
Richmond who had applied to me to remove to that place, 
persevere in their application, and are resolved to carry their 
request to Presbytery; and 1 have informed them that if the 
Presbytery should advise my removal, that I will go ; so 
that it is not impossible that I shall be an inhabitant of Rich- 
mond before the year comes to a close. 

If you have any business of any kind that I can attend to 
below, I will most cheerfully do so. To be useful to my 
friends is one of the highest pleasures of my life. Would 
to heaven I could be made instrumental in promoting their 


everlasting interests ; their " growth in grace, and in the 
knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ !" My 
earnest prayer for you, my dear friend, is that " forgetting 
the things which are hehind, you may press forward towards 
ihe mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ 
Jesus." And I have no better prayer for myself. We are 
never so happy as when we are conscious of improvement. 
How pleasant is the flight of time when we have reason to 
believe that it is bearing us towards that ** rest which remain- 
eth for the people of God !" 

Mrs. Rice and the whole family unite in expressions of 
most friendly regard for you, and all that are yours. May 
Heaven bless you abundantly! 

I am, very respectfully, 

Your assured friend, 

John H. Rice. 


Charlotte, March 6th, 1812. 
Mt Dbar Frisnp, 

I have for some time past wished for an opportunity of 
writing to you, and yet I have nothing particularly interest^ 
ing to communicate. All, I believe, that I wanted, was to 
keep up the intercourse of friendship between us. Per- 
haps, however my wish was the stronger, because I am at 
present in considerable perplexity. The question about 
my removal to Richmond is now pressed with vehemence, 
and must be decided in a very short time. I have no doubt, 
indeed, of its being the earnest wish of many of the people 
of that city, that I should labour in the Gospel among 
them ; and, if I am rightly informed, a number of distin- 
guished characters there wish for my coming. That a wide 
field is opened there for the labours of a pious and faithful 
minister of the gospel, is certain. But I really feel unfeigned 
diffidence in my own powers. The preacher who sets 


himself against the current there, has need of great 
strength. We all know that our sufficiency is of God; 
bat yet we know that in the divine goTemment means 
are adapted to end8f and, of course, that it is presumptuous 
in us to hope for the accomplishment of any event without 
the use of suitable measures. You can easily see from 
these hints the state of my mind ; and, as I am sure that 
you feel for your friend in his difficulties, so I am confident 
that you will pray that the Author of all wisdom may 
direct him. I wish to be in that place where I can do 
most to promote the cause of vital religion. 

I shall always rejoice to hear of Mr. Meade^s success.* 
Although I never saw him, I feel towards him as' a brother 
in the gospel of Christ Jesus. Would there were many 
such as he! Sometimes the thought comes in a most 
pleasing manner into my mind, perhaps the day may come 
when our dear Tudor will also engage in this most holy, 
most dignified calling. This is the first hint that I have ever 
dropped of such a thing; but indeed I do not think with 
any complacency of the Law. I cannot bear the thought 
that his fine moral sensibilities, instead of being improved, 
should be weakened, I may say, deadened, by the coarse 
contentions of the bar; and the perpetual displays, not to 
say defences of the most atrocious villany, in our courts. 
I will, however, say no more on this subject at present. 
Indeed it is time that I should come to a close. May 
every blessing from the Father of Mercies crown your life ! 
May the Lord God dwell in your household, and in your 
heart ! The Lord give you grace and glory, and withhold 
no good thing from you! These are the affectionate 
prayers of Anne S. and 

John H. Rice, 

* The Rev. Wm. Meade, of the Episcopal church, at that time, I 

believe, pastor of a church in Frederick county, and now Assistant 

Bishop of the Vioceaa of Virginia. 



Soon after the date of this last letter, at the session of 
the Pr^bytery which was held at Red Oak church, on 
the 12th of March, 1812^ «* a call from a number of persons 
in Richmond and its yicinity attached to the Presbyterian 
church^' was regularly presented to him by their agentt 
through the Moderator, which {on the day after) he accepted 
in due form; and the Presbytery, thereupon, declai^d the 
pastoral relation between him and the congregation of Cub 
Creek dissolved. After this, nothing remained to be done 
but to take leave of his late flock, and repair to his new field 
of labour. This, accordingly, he hastened to do, as soon as 
possible ; and on the fourth Sabbath of the following month, 
we find, he preached his farewell sermon to his **dear Char- 
lotte people," (as he calls them in a note,) from Acts xx. 32. 
And now^ brethren, I commend you to God^ and to the word 
of his grace^ which is able to build you vpy and to give you 
an inheritance among all them which are sanctified — a dis- 
course full of pious sentiment and kind feeling, which (aided 
no doubt by the touching solemnity of the occasion,) went 
home to all their hearts. Accordingly, we are told, when 
he came down from the pulpit, they all crowded about him, 
(many weeping,) to give him the last assurances of their 
affection, and to receive his parting blessing ; while the poor 
blacks, in their turn, pressed forward to reach him, and, seiz- 
ing his hand with all the ardour of their warm and hearty 
attachment, absolutely bathed it with their tears. 

Soon afterwards, leaving Charlotte, he repaired to Rich- 
mond, where he arrived early in May, (1812,) and entering 
upon the duties of his new charge without a moment's delay, 
he preached his first sermon, on the Sunday following, (the 
second Sunday in May of this year,) in the Mason's Hall, 
(the church not being yet finished,) from the appropriate and 
almost prophetic text, Rom. xv. 29. And I am sure that 
when I come unto you, I shall come in the ftdness of the 
blessing of the gospel of Christ. On this occasion, as we 
hear, the house was crowded to overflowing, and many were 


deeply ifiipreesed by his diacouise, which seemed to be tn 
power, and in demonstration of the Spirit^ indeed. Afler 
this, he contiinied preaching from Sabbath to Sabbath* in the 
same place, (and occasionally in the Capitol,) and, on the 
eyenings of other days, dtfring the week, at different private 
houses ; and many peisons (especially ladies) of all churhes, 
heard' hint gladly* Some of those, more particulariy, 
who had lost relatives or friends in the late disaster, and 
whoee hearts the Lord had thus opened to attend to the things 
which were spoken of hinh waited upon his ministry with 
earnest affection, and hung upon his lips with a satisfaction 
which tbey had never experienced before. 


Richmond, May 14/A, 1812. 
AfT Dear Sir, 

You will perceive by the date of this letter that I have 
changed my place of residence. We arrived here on 
Friday last, and mean to continue here until Providence 
directs our removal to some other place. 

The breaking up in Charlotte was a very severe trial. 
Neither the people nor I knew until parting time came, 
how much we loved one another. We parted, however, in 
the warmest friendship ; and I hope that the affection of 
my dear people (for so I must call them,) for me will con- 
tinue, as I am sure that mine will for them. 

We have been here so short a time, that we have not yet 
found a place of permanent abode ; we however have no 
difficulty in getting temporary lodgings. 

I was received very cordially by the people, and preached 
twice last Sabbath, to a very large audience. The people 
generally were very attentive, and not a few considerably 
affected. I wss surprised to observe the very great num* 
bers who attend church in this place. Every house of 
worship was crowded ; and I was told that not less than 


fiye hundred went away from the Mason's Hall (where I 
preached,) unahle to find seats. 

A spirit of reading, and of inquiry for religious truth, is 
spreading rapidly among our town folks. I have proposed 
to several to establish a Christian Library in the city. The 
proposition meets with much acceptance, and I hope to be 
able to tell you in my next how many subscribers we 
shall probably obtain. If this plan succeeds, my next 
effort will be to establish a Bible Society. Of the success 
of such an undertaking I am not able to form the least 
conjecture; but I am adopting some measures to ascertain 
the extent of the want of Bibles here, which I fear is ex- 
ceedingly great considering the population. 

The spirit of religious inquiry is, I am convinced, ex- 
tending its influence considerably in several parts of old 
Virginia. Mr. Speece has been urging me vehemently to 
imdertake the editorship of a periodical work, having some- 
thing of the form of a Magazine. His plan is to publish, 
once in two weeks, a sheet containing sixteen 8vo pages ; 
to be devoted to the cause of truth and piety. I believe 
that such a thing, if well conducted, would meet with very 
considerable encouragement; and if I could engage the 
assistance of a few of my brethren, I would willingly 
make an experiment of the matter. Could you give any 
thing in this way to your native state, and to your old 
friends ? I fear that your time is already so much occupied 
that the request must appear unreasonable ; but I venture to 
make it. 

I have been to see Mr. Blair since I came to town. He 
received me in a friendly way, and assured me of his dis- j 
position to cultivate a spirit of brotherly love. On my part 
I feel the same temper, and I hope that every thing will go 
on very h^moniously. I however feel very much my 
need of the counsel and advice of a brother for whom I 
feel a more zealous friendship than I expect ever to feel for 


DOCTOB atOE. 81 

say other man. O ! that you were near me ! But I will 
have done with fruitless wishes. I hope now to hear from 
you more frequently than ever, 

I am afraid that the good people here will find it hard to 
pay for the completion of their church. It is now sheeted 
m. The shingles, flooring plank, and pews are all in 
readiness ; but their fund is exhausted, and they will be 
very much pestered to raise a sufficiency for their purposes. 
Win not the brethren afiford us aid ; will not the people to 
the North asisist us? The Methodists have built a new 
charch here, and expect to pay for it in part in that way. 
An agent went on very lately from this place to solicit aid, 
and two days ago he forwarded from Baltimore six hundred 
and forty dollars for the church. 

Mrs. Rice joins with me in sincere regard for you and 
Mrs. Alexander. Give my love to James, and all the boys. 
May Heaven bless you and yours — ^so we pray. 

John H. Rice. 


Olney, (near Richmond,) May 29/A, 1812. 

"I have just returned from Norfolk whither I went last 
week for the purpose of administering the sacrament to a 
small Presbyterian congregation in that place. I am glad 
that I went ; for I have reason to hope Uiat it was not in 

I have a comfortable hope that I shall be an instrument of 
doing good in Richmond. The prospect at present is that 
I shall preach to very considerable numbers of people, and 
may we not hope that the gospel will prove " a savour of life 
unto life among them." You will not forget to pray for my 



Richmond^ Aug. Sth, 1812. 
My Dear Tudor, 

Your letter from Philadelphia was received in due time ; 
,and that bearing date Aug. 1, is now before me. I should 
have written before now had it not been for two reasons. 
Your movements were so uncertain that for some time I 
could only direct a letter by conjecture ; and when I learned 
from your uncle that you had arrived at Cambridge, Mrs. 
Rice was in such a state of ill-health, that to attend her, and 
discharge the duties of my profession, was as much as I 
could do. 

The account which you gave me of your situation and em- 
ployments was interesting both to Mrs. Rice and myself; as 
indeed is every thing that relates to you. I should be pleased 
if in your next you would be a little more particular in rela- 
tion to the mode of teaching pursued at Cambridge. What 
grammar is used ? Do they enter more fully into the struc- 
ture of the Greek language, and direct your attention to more 
particulars than your former teacher? Are they very atten- 
tive to pronunciation and to prosody? And finally, if it will 
not be " telling tales out of school," do you see many evi- 
dences of profound literature about college? 

I will thank you to let me know at what prices the fol- 
lowing Greek books can be procured, Polybius, Xenophon's 
Works, Pausanius, Herodotus, and Thucydides, if perchance 
the two last can be procured. But above every thing, I 
wish you to get for me a copy of Schleusner's Lexicon of 
the Greek Testament. This is the book which of all others 
I most wish at present to procure. I should^ike pretty well 
to have a neat copy of the Cambridge Griesbach, if it could 
be procured on moderate terms. 

Your prudence will no doubt suggest to you the propriety 
of avoiding politics while you are at college. Students had 


much better leave school when once their mincb become 
heated by party contentions. But on this subject I hope 
that it is perfectly unnecessary for me to add another word. 

I am very glad to hear that you conform to the regula- 
tions of college. Virginians are very usually thought, by 
the people among whom you now reside, to be disorderly 
and rebellious. I indulge the hope, however, that you will 
do much to redeem the character of your native State from 
the reproach that has been cast upon it, in the community of 
which you are a member. The point of honour with col- 
lege boys should be complete and uniform submission to the 
laws. I trust that you will distinguish yourself in this way, 
as well as by your temperance, sobriety, and diligence in 
study. As I have no doubt but that you intend to act as 
your best friends wish that you should, I think that it 
would not be inexpedient to let your associates know what 
your sentiments and purposes are. Should it be understood, 
from the beginning, that you have made up your mind, that 
it is a decided point with you, that you will regulate your 
conduct by college laws, and that you will on no account 
engage in riots, rebellions, schemes of opposition to author- 
ity, or courses of dissipation, you will both ensure the re- 
spect of the bad, and the friendship of the good ; and will in 
fact be less exposed to temptation than if your purposes 
should be kept to yourself. 

I had much more to say, but have only room now to add that 
Mrs. Rice and I think of you with parental affection, and 
often pray that your mother's God may be your God also ; 
that he may be your guide, your protector, your present and 
ev^lasting portion. 

Mrs. R. will write soon. Let me hear from you very 
often. Heaven forever bless you my son. 

. Your affectionate 

John H. Rice. 



Richmond, AugU9t 2bth^ 1812. 
My Dear Tmooii, 

I Tetmned a few days ago from Prince Edward. Mm. 
Rioe acconpanied me oa voj way from major Morton'B, 
as far as Bizarre. Your excellent mother was in better 
faeakh Ihan I have ever seen her enjoy before. She has 
fattened considerably, and .has a fine healthy complexion. 

I reeeived dus morning the very interesting catalogue of 
books to be sold in Boston on to-morrow. Woald I were 
there to purchase some of them! But a trace to vain 
wishes. I fear that you have only excited my anxiety to 
possess some of the rare books in that library, without 
putting it in my power to gratify my wishes. The sale 
will probably be over long before this letter can reach you. 
Should this by good fortune not be the case, I hope ^t 
you will purchase the following works f(Mr me at all events* 
or any of them that you can procure: ScMeosaer's Leodr 
con, Wetstein's Greek Testament, foL, Masdef's Hebrew 
Grammar, Trommii Goneordantiae, 2 vols., G* Noldii Con* 
cordantia, 1 vol. 4to.; Nov. Testament, Syriace, Grseoe, et 
Latine; J. J. Wetstenii Libelli ad crisin atque interpreta- 
fti<»em N. T. Hale, Mag. 1766. 

There are many other works in the catalogue which I 
should be delighted to have. I believe that I will send 
you a list of them, and get the favour of you to make in- 
quiries, and ascertain for me whether they can be gotten in 
Bo8t<m, and at what prices; and also, whether any rare 
and valuable works are to be bought occasionally at auction 

I need not ask you to excuse the trouble which I am im- 
posing on you. I am so well assured of your regard for me, 
and of your willingness to oblige, that I ask you without 
hesitation to do whatever is in your power for my gratifica- 
tion and benefit. I need not add, that I am ready to pro- 


mote your interest and happiness as far as is in my power. 
My daily prayer is that heaven may bless and presenre 

My brother is here. He remembers you with friend- 
ship. If Mrs. Rice were present, she would send some 
message of love to her dear boy. She loves yt>u next to 
your mother, and your friend, 

John H. I^ce. 


Richmond^ September 23<f, 1812. 
Mt Dear Tudor, 

I hope from the manner of your letter that you are under 
&e influence of that emulation of which you speak, and 
that you are making rapid progress in sound learning. 
But take care of your health. Remember, as winter ap- 
proaches, that you are strongly predisposed to inflammatory 
complaints, and take heed of skating and sleighing. Forget 
not that the hopes of your mother are fixed on you ; that 
her heart is bound up in yours; for her sake, and your 
own, and mine, take care of your health. 

I thank you for the purchase of Pearson and Noldius. 
I hope that you will be able to find some safe way of con- 
veyance for them, and for some other books which I shall 
get the favour of you to purchase for me before long. At 
present, however, 1 have not time to make a selection. 
Only I wish you to subscribe for Schleusner, and for the 
new edition of Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible, which is 
publishing in Boston, provided that it is a reprint of C. 
Taylor's edition, published some few years ago in London. 
I should like to know how far the work has been carried ion 

I was at Bizarre about the 10th of the month, when your 
mother showed me the last letter that she had received from 
you ; and I read with some degree of surprise your myste- 
rious request to her respecting the place of worship which 



you should attend. Are you not at liberty to go to what 
church you please? In respect to religion my anxieties are 
greater than on any other subject which concerns you. You 
know, I hope, that I am no bigot. I never took one step to 
make you a Presbyterian ; what I wish is that you may be a 
christian indeed. And for this purpose I am anxious that 
you should attend that worship which is conducted on pure 
evangelical principles. You ought to know that the preach- 
ers of Christianity are now divided into two great classes ; 
the Rational religionists, and the Evangelical preachers. 
The former of these generally afiect superior learning, and 
refinement, and taste : they dwell much on the small morali- 
ties of this world ; they speculate in a very cool, philosophi- 
cal manner on virtue, and the fitness of things, and the 
inconveniences of vice, &c. &c. The latter are no enemies 
to true learning, to sound criticism, to refinement in taste, 
and to all the graces of literature; but they count every thing 
but loss in comparison with the excellency of the knowledge 
of Christ Jesus; and have determined to know nothing but 
Christ and him crucified. They, therefore, with zeal, and 
earnestness, and fervour, urge all those topics that are calcu- 
lated to lead their hearers to Jesus Christ as the only foun- 
dation of the sinner's hope. Hence the earnestness with 
which they insist on the depravity of man, his helpless 
condition, the necessity of regeneration, and of the influ- 
ences of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of justification by faith 
in Jesus Christ, and of the necessity of divine aid to enable 
us to persevere in the ways of holiness. The disciples of 
one of these schools are very cool in their religion, very 
much afraid of being righteous overmuch, of all things most 
careful to avoid enthusiasm, full of the cant of liberality; as 
often at places of amusement as at the church, and full of 
assurance that they are a very good sort of people — ^have 
never done any harm in their lives, and so hope to go to 
heaven at last. The disciples of the other school think 
that lukewarmness in the service of him who died for them 


is utterly inexcusable ; that there is no fear of loving God 
too much; that the love of Christ ought to constrain them to 
live only to the glory of God ; that every thing tending to 
destroy or weaken the spirit of devotion ought to be avoided, 
as men avoid contagion ; and, while others boast of chanty 
and liberality, they practise it. Now I would have you to 
be of this school, and to hear evangelical preaching : whether 
the preachers belong to this or that sect is unimportant. 
Mr. Mead is an evangelical preacher* Bishop Madison was 
of the other class. Read the Christian Observer, and Cow- 
per's Poems ; but above every thing the Bible. 

Heaven bless you my dear boy. 

J. H. Rice. 

I expect to set out to Prince Edward in an hour or two. 

On Saturday, the 17th of October, of this. year, (1812,) 
Mr. Rice was solemnly installed pastor of the church which 
he had collected, in the Presbyterian mode, which was now 
witnessed in Richmond for the first time. The ceremony 
was performed in the new Brick Church near Rocketts, and a 
large audience attended. The Rev. Doctor Moses Hoge, 
who had been chosen Moderator of the Presbytery convened 
for the purpose, presided, and the Rev. Conrad Speece 
preached the sermon, from Ezekiel xxxiii. 7, 8 and 9. So 
thaUj O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the 
h&use of Israel; therefore thou shatt hear the word at my 
mauthj and warn them from me. When J scy unto the 
wicked man, thou shall surely die; if thou dost not speak 
to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall 
die in his iniquity; but his blood tmU I require at thine 
hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to 
turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die 
in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul — an excel- 
lent discourse, which is still remembered with interest by 
some who heard it; after which the venerable Doctor Hoge 


gaye the charge to the minister and the congregation, in his 
most moving and affecting manner. The whole services of 
the occasion, with all the peculiar and inter<esting associa- 
tions naturally connected with it, were deeply solemn and 


Richmond, Nov. 16/A, 181 2, 
Mt Dear Tudor, 

I thank you for your last letter, and am sorry that I am so 
straitened for time that I can only send you what this page 
can contain, in reply. 

I highly approve of your plan of study, as far as you 
have communicated it to me. Make yourself perfect in the 
languages. Read carefully every Latin and Greek classic 
that you can ; especially revolve hy day and by night the 
volumes of Sallust, Livy, Tacitus, Virgil, and Horace ; and 
of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Homer. Read also the Sep- 
tuagint and Josephus. But above all the Greek Testament, 
not merely for tbe sake of learning Greek, but religion and 
morality. Let me recommend to your diligent study a very 
small volume by Sharpe on the use of the definite article in 
the Greek Testament. I wish you also carefully to read on 
Sabbath days, and at other leisure times, Milner*s History 
of the Church of Christ. You cannot fail to obtain advan- 
tage from it. His opinions, however, in relation to the 
external forms of the Church, are to be received with eau- 
tian. Did I recommend to you a Magazine published in 
Boston, called the Christian Observer? It is the best peri- 
odical work that I am acquainted with, and excepting an 
undue attachment to Episcopacy, it is one of the most unex- 
ceptionable works that I ever knew. It breathes a spirit of 
genuine piety, of christian liberality, and candour. I shall 
frequently direct your attention to such works as I think 
most suitable to assist you in forming right religious notions, 


and calculated to inspire a spirit of vital piety. Ton will 
attribute to friendship that anxiety which I feel in relation to 
your religious progress. Above every thing, my dear friend, 
seek to be wise unto salvation. 

I wish that intercourse coitld be kept up between this place 
and Boston. I would send you some money for the pur- 
chase of books for me, were there any safe conveyance for 
the books. Can you by any means send me Noldius and 
Pearson? What did they cost? 

I am, with earnest prayers for the blessing of Heaven 
on you. 

Your assured friend, 

John H. Rice* 


Richmond, Feb. 25M, 1813. 
My Deab Sir, 

I have a little flock here, but they are gready scattered. 
They expect, and they need much attention from me. My 
house is crowded by company, and my time very much 
occupied in ^siting. When the labours of the day are over, 
I feel a great degree of langour, and an almost invincible re- 
pugnance to do any thing, even what is necessary to be 

Since I wrote last, ray brother Benjamin has pitched his 
tent in Petersburg. He has very lately been on a visit to me, 
and I learn that he has considerable hopes of usefulness in 
that place. A large unfinished building has been procured 
as a temporary place of meeting, to which the people crdwd 
in great numbers. A very considerable change has taken 
place in the appearance and manner, of those who attend 
divine worship, and some pretty deep religious impressions 
have been made. The people are raising a subscription to 
Imild him a church ; and upwards of five thousand dollars 
have been subscribed already. I trust that the Lord has 



sent him to that place for good ; and that he will be an instru- 
ment of turning many to righteousness. 

I have every reason thus far to be satisfied with my re- 
moval to this place. My labours have been successful far 
beyond my most sanguine hopes. We have about sixty 
names now on our register, and I expect at the next sacra- 
ment a considerable increase. Of the piety of most of our 
members I have a very high opinion. Some of them I think 
are the most eminent christians that I know, quite warm and 
zealous. A daughter of the old judge Henry, (Mrs, M.) is 
of this number. She remembers you, and speaks of you in 
terms highly gratifying to a friend. 


Richmond^ March 9/A, 1B13. 
My Dear Friend, 

Your last very friendly letter has been unanswered until 
conscience is beginning to give me some very severe re- 
proaches for it. And yet, I can hardly see how I could have 
done better than I have, for my time has been so occupied, 
I have had so much company, and so many calls to visit the 
people, that I have done nothing in the way of study, and 
have contracted heavy debts in the way of correspondence. 

I am sure you will not believe that there is any thing like 
affectation in all this \ and yet you may ask me what I have 
done since my removal to tliis place ? I answer little, very 
little, compared with what I wished or ought to have done. 
But yet I trust that I am not entirely useless here. Several 
who now rejoice in hope of heaven, were at the time of my 
coming very thoughtless of their eternal interests, and very 
ignorant of the way of salvation. Religion is certainly 
gaining ground among us, but the more its influence extends, 
the greater the opposition which will be made to it. There 
are many here who, I fear, would not believe though one 
should rise from the dead. 


In these times of just alarm, I have very often thought 
of 70a in your lonely state, and wished that you were 
with us. True, you are in the hands of your God and 
your heavenly Father. The hairs of your head are all 
numbered, and, according to the divine promise, all things 
shall work together for your good. But yet, it is very 
common for us to wish that those we love should be with 
us, as though we were their most efficient protectors and 
comforters ! Does this savour of vanity, or is it the natural 
consequence of zealous friendship ? Be this as it may, we 
are exceedingly desirous to have you with us; and we 
have hoped that so it would be, until hope seems to be pre- 

But however we may be separated, and how seldom 
soever we may have the privilege of meeting, yet we shall 
never cease to remember you with affection, and pray that 
the presence of God may be enjoyed by you, and that the 
best blessing of Heaven may be on you, and on your 
family. I cannot tell you how oflen this prayer is offered 
up for you. 

I am sorry to be so hurried. I had much to say ; but I 
write in a crowd, and with many interruptions. I can only 
now add the affectionate greetings of Mrs. Rice and the 
girls, and the renewed assurances of the friendship of. 

Dear madam, yours, &c. 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond, March SOth, 1813. 
My very Dear Friend, 

We have heard of the very serious loss which you have 
lately sustained by fire. We feel as friends should feel on 
sach an occasion. It is no trifling inconvenience to be 
tamed out of house and home. Nor is loss of property, 
especially in times like the present, a light matter. But 
yet I hardly know whether to condole with you, or to 


congratulate you. A person who is able to say, "I 
know that if my earthly house of this tabernacle were 
dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made 
with hands, eternal in the heavens," will not be very 
deeply affected by the loss of a house of wood or stone. 
One who has the " lively hope of an inheritance which is 
incorruptible, undefiled, and that never fadeth away, re- 
served in the heavens" for him, will not grieve excessively 
for the loss of a portion of worldly property. I think that 
I can enter into your feelings. 1 have no doubt but that in 
all this trial you have strong consolation. You are ready 
to say : ** The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, 
blessed be the name of the Lord." I have seen so many 
instances of the efficacy of vital religion, God is so gra^ 
cious to his children, and the promises that we have are 
so exceedingly great and precious, that I feel the utmost 
confidence that you will be enabled to bear, with patient 
and cheerful submission, any thing that your heavenly 
Father may think proper to send. Surely, it is a very 
great comfort to know that our times of sorrow and of joy 
are in the hands of God, and that nothing can befal us 
without the permission of Him, who ** so loved this world 
as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth 
on him might not perish, but have everlasting life." May 
that God who has promised never to forsake his children, 
promised to be a father to the orphan, and a husband to the 
widow, ever be with you, my dear friend, and give you 
that consolation and support which he is wont to give to 
those who love him ; and may all things work together for 
your good ! 

We are all anxious to hear the particulars of this afifair. 
How great is your loss? Is Tudor's library lost? Write 
soon and let us know. 

We are still more anxious to know whether as friends it 
is in our power to do any thing to serve you. The first 


impulse which I felt when I heard of your loss, was to 
mount my horse, and go immediately to Farmville ; and I 
should have done so had I not recollected that professional 
engagements prevented. The proposal which we have 
now to make is, that you come and stay with us, until you 
can make some permanent arrangements. We always keep 
a^room and a bed for a friend. As long as we have a house 
it shall aways be open to you, and as long as we have 
hearts they will always rejoice to receive you. Regard me 
as a FRIEND— -as a brother. You could do me no higher 
favour than to permit me at this time, as far as it is in 
my power, to minister to your comfort. Nancy has pre- 
cisely the same feelings that I have. Let me then*take 
my horse and gig to Farmville. Come down to us, and 

sojourn with us for a time. Mrs. M— R joins 

with us in this request. We all unite in this, that you 
must not say nay. I shall then expect to hear by the next 
post what time it will suit you for me to go up for you. 
Only be so good as to remember that I must have a week's 
notice, that I may anange my appointments beforehand. 

Please to mention us in the most affectionate manner to 

Mrs. H , and present our best regards to St. George 

and Miss Sally. 

I write in very great haste to be in time for the mail. 
May the God of love be your guide, your friend, your 

Assuredly, your most affectionate friend, 

Jno. H. Rice. 


JRichmond, May IQth, 1813. 
Mt Dear Friend, 

Just as your last letter came to hand, I was setting out to 
Prince Edward for the purpose of bringing your mother to 
Richmond ; and since my return^ I have had to go to Peters- 


burgh, and have been otherwise so much occupied that I 
could not write with any sort of convenience before this tijne. 

The burning at Bizarre was a very serious affair. I know 
not how your mother will repair her losses. There is how- 
ever this consolation, there is an iuheritance beyond the 
reach of time and chance, reserved in heaven for true believ- 
ers, and in this inheritance I believe she has a portion. The 
loss of earthly goods, then, is trifling to her. The burning of 
a house of wood is a small matter to one that can say, '' I 
know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle were dis- 
solved, I have a building of God, a house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens." Your most excellent mother 
finds that support which truths like this can afford. It will 
delight you to hear that she bears her loss, as every body re- 
marks, like a christian. 

There is one thing very common among young men who 
receive their education abroad, against which I shall take the 
liberty to guard you. They fall into the habit of thinking 
every thing foreign excellent, every thing native odious and 
detestable. I have seen many young Virginians, who had 
finished their education at Princeton, Yale, <Sz;c. who upon 
their return appeared to have conceived an incurable disgust 
against all that was Virginian ; and nothing could be beard 
from them but censures of the laws, the politics, the manners 
and customs, of Virginia. Now all this I take to be ridicu- 
lous, and I had almost said vicious. It is true a blind par- 
tiality is a great weakness. But still the heart, as I think, 
must be hardened and corrupted that can exterminate those 
feelings which are awakened when we say, " This is our 
own, our native land," the land of our fathers. True, 
Virginia has faults. They are many and great. But, as my 
favourite poet has it, 

'' With all thy fiiults I love thee fltill, 

My country !" 

Let men declaim as they may, there is in the people of our 


native state an openbeartedness, a generosity, and a cordiality, 
which can be found no wbere else. I love Virginia. It is 
gladsome to my heart to breathe the very air, and tread the 
soil that my fathers breathed and trod. But I need not 
dwell on this topic. Perhaps the caution is entirely needless. 
It can however do no harm, if it does no good. 

I wish you success in your scheme of pushing on through 
the college course. I wish that I could give you aid in it. 

Pearson and Noldius came to hand last night. They have 
been long on the road. 

I should like to have that copy of the Septuagint which 
you speak of, could you find a safe conveyance for it ; until 
when, keep it for me. 

Mrs. Rice unites in sincere love to you. 

Your unaltered friend, 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond, July 30/A, 1813. 
Mr Deab Friend, 

I do not know that any thing that I have lately heard in 
the way of news, could in the smallest degree interest you. 
Nothing good is to be hoped for, and why should I detail 
the consequences of folly and prejudice ? 

The affairs of the church are those only to which my mind 
tarns with any degree of consolation ; and here I find com- 
fort almost entirely from the promise of God to his people. 
While iniquity abounds, and many have the form of godliness 
yet deny the power ; while a keen relish for amusements, a 
love for gaiety and trifiles prevails, and only here and there 
an individual is to be found who seems desirous to walk 
worthy of the gospel, the friends of Zion must be discour- 
aged. But the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. This is 
my comfort. This sovereign too is the Lord Jesus, the 
head of the Church. There is reason for hope and rejoic- 


ing. Have you not committed your all to his hands ? Then, 
my dear friend, you are safe. 

The feeblest saint shall win the day, 
Tho* death and hell obstruct the way. 

Thanks be to God for this hope, both on my behalf and that 
of my friends. May God bless them all ! 


Richmond^ Nov. Ath^ 1813. 

My Dear Sir, 

I have just returned to Richmond from Lexington where 
our Synod held its meeting this fall. 

We had a very comfortable time of it. Ministers, I think, 
were stirred up considerably. Some good tidings were told 
us by several of the brethren. Our Missionaries have been 
very useful this summer, particularly Samuel D. Hoge. He 
has preached a good deal in Fauquier, Culpepper, Madison, 
&c., and his sermons have had a very spirit-stirring effect 
Messrs. Calhoun, Logan, and B. H. Rice administered the 
sacrament of the supper on last Sabbath, at Walker's church 

in Albemarle. N G (who lives in Richmond) was 

present, and describes the scene there as surpassing every 
thing that he ever witnessed. God seems to have begun a 
good work in that region; Davis Hoge will probably settle 
in Culpepper, and James Wilson (who was obliged to leave 
Norfolk on account of sickness,) thinks of settling in Mr. 
Waddel's neighbourhood. * He left this yesterday on his 
way to that place. In this city and Petersburg, religion I 
think gains ground. A new congregation is organizing un- 
der the care of Jesse Turner, at a place called Hanovertown, 
about twenty miles distant. Appearances are quite encou- 
raging there. May we hope that God will build Jerusalem 
in these troublous times ? I have good hopes that our Bible 
Society will prosper, and do much good. I send you a 


copy of our address and constitution. I am ashamed of the 
printing, and I fear that the address will not do much credit 
to so good a cause. Your friend wrote it. 

I could not help exclaiming when I heard of the fine 
library you had purchased, " Ofortunatum /" but I could 
hardly add, " equidem hand invideo." But why should I 
repine ? I have more books than I can read. By the way, 
would you prefer the Philadelphia or New York edition of 
the Hebrew Bible?" 


Richmond, Jan*y Sth, 1814. 
My Dear Sir, 

Mr. Paxton is the bearer of this hasty note. He is a 
young man without that exterior polish which modem fas- 
tidiousness requires, but of truly solid and estimable quali- 
ties. His understanding is good, his piety unquestionable, 
and his desire to be useful such as you could wish to find in 
a minister of the Gospel. He will grow in your esteem on 
acquaintance, so that you will say the half was not told you. 

My brother and I would have visited you before this, had 
it not been for the influenza. This has left me in such a 
State about the lungs, that it will be wise in me to avoid ex- 
posure to winter weather. As soon as we have any assur- 
ance of mildness in the air, we will march down in a body, 
accompanied by Mrs. Rice, and make such an assault upon 
Norfolk as you have not had since the war. 

Have you done any thing for the Bible Society in Nor- 
folk ? An auxiliary Society has recently been established in 
Frederick under the most flattering appearances of success. 


Richmond, March 2d, 1814. 
** 1 have been in rather infirm health during the winter, 
and have had a great deal to do under the immediate stimulus 



of duty, I have perfonned professional services, and as 
often as I have been thus engaged, I have relapsed into a 
state of languor from which hardly any thing but the most 
imperious call could arouse me." 

In the following spring, about the beginning of April, Mr. 
Rice, accompanied by Mrs. Rice, and his brother, the Rev. 
Benjamin H. Rice, then pastor of the church in Petersburg, 
(whom he had called for on his way,) paid his promised 
visit to the church in Norfolk, and preached to the people 
there, for several days, with most happy effect. This church, 
indeed, had now been vacant for some time, (though it had 
lately been enjoying the services of the Rev. Mr. Paxton, 
who had been sent to supply it, as we have seen, some two 
or three months before, and had been doing his duty in it with 
great diligence,) and it was, therefore, ready to receive the 
Word with joy. The pressure of the war, too, upon the in- 
habitants of the town had predisposed the minds of many 
of them to hear the gospel with new attention. In this 
state of things, Mr. Rice began to preach in the Presbyte- 
rian church, in the forenoon of the second Sabbath in the 
month, from Mai. iii. IS, Then shall ye return and discern 
between the righteous and the wicked, &c. and was heard 
with uncommon interest by all present. He preached also 
in the forenoon of the next day, in the same place, from 
Lukexii. 16, (the parable of th^ rich man,) and exhorted 
at night at Mrs. M*Pherson's, (a venerable old lady in 
whose house the prayer meetings of the church were then 
held,) and on both occasions with visible effect. The inte- 
rest, indeed, which the preaching of both the brothers had 
by this time awakened, not only in the congregation, but in 
the whole town, was now manifest ; and it seemed difficult 
to satisfy the thirst for hearing wliich began td prevail. Mr. 
Rice had, therefore, to preach as often as his strength would 
permit ; especially as his brother unfortunately soon became 
indisposed, and was consequently unable to aid him as 


acUrelj as he otherwise would have done. Accordingly, he 
preached again, on Wednesday morning, in the church, 
from Romans iii. 10, Tlure U none righteous; no, not 
one; and in the erening of the same day, in the Methodist 
meeting house, from Heb. ii. 3, How shall we escape if we 
neglect so great salvation^ &c. On Thursday night he 
preached at Mrs. M'Pherson's, from Rev. iii. 20, Behold 
I stand at the door and knocks &c. and the day after in the 
church, from Rom. iii. 28, Tlterefore we conclude that a 
man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law — an 
excellent and most effective discourse. The subject of it, 
by the way, had been chosen with special reference to a 
written question which had been addressed to him by a gen- 
tleman who had been awakened under some of his previous 
sermons, to inquire more particularly what he should do to 
be saved . What eff^t the answer had on him is not known ; 
(though it is believed that it excited no small emotion,) but 
it was certainly blest to many others in the house. 

On the Saturday following, he preached in the Episcopal 
church, from Psalm, xix. 10, More to be desired are they 
them gold, &c.; and in the evening of the same day in the 
Baptist meeting house, from Matt. xxv. last— w^ruf these shall 
go away into everlasting punishment, Sic. The next day, 
being the third Sabbath in the month, he preached in the 
Presbyterian church (in the afternoon,) from Joshua xxiv. 
15, •^s for me and my house we unll serve the Lord,^^^ 
discourse on the importance and excellence of family reli- 
gion, which was full of the best and finest feeling, and made 
a deep and lasting impression on many minds. In the eve- 
ning of the same day, he exhorted at Mrs. M*Pherson's for 
the last time, when he bade farewell to the brethren, and 
others assembled, with great pathos, — ^moving many of them 
to tears, — ^and the next day (or day after) left town for Rich- 
mond, followed by the prayers and good wishes of all who 
had heard him. 

On his return home, we find him thus briefly noticing his 

t 2 iX 

:\ ^; /I ^'3 X ^ 

4: O" "^ ^-^ 


late visit to Norfolk, in a letter to his friend Mrs. Randolph, 
bearing date the 25th of April, 1814. 

«' Nancy and I have just returned from Norfolk. It vras 
one of the pleasantest tours that I ever made. Religion 
seems to many in that place the great concern. I never saw 
people hear with such deep attention, and such appearances 
of general feeling. May God visit the whole world in his 
mercy, and cause religion to prevail where wars now carry 
desolation and misery." So modestly could he write of the 
great work (truly such,) which God had wrought by his hands. 

In the mean time, wliilst Mr. Rice was thus actively and 
zealously engaged in preaching the gospel both at home 
and abroad, and with increasing success, his situation, in a 
mere worldly point of view, was very far from being alto- 
gether agreeable ; and the following extract of a letter to 
his friend Dr. Alexander, (of a later date, but refeiring 
more particularly to the state of things at this time,) may 
serve to give the reader some idea of the many difficulties 
which he had to encounter in the prosecution of his work. 

** From the time of my coming here," says he, «* I 
experienced opposition from various sources; but -chiefly 
from a certain class of Presbyterians. One of the principal 
disadvantages, however, under which I laboured arose from 
the situation of the place of worship, which was near the 
lower extremity of the town, and out of the way of almost 
every one. Finding that this would be utterly ruinous to 
the whole buaineas^ I recommended that the church and lot 
should be sold, and that a house should be erected in a 
more central place. After much opposition to this mea- 
sure, it was ascertained that the house begun could not be 
finished, and that, if it could, a salary sufficient for my sup- 
port oould not be raised. The measure proposed by me 
was then adopted ; the house was sold ; but owing to the 
efiects of t!.e war, the purchaser could not pay for it, and, 
in consequence, relinquished the title. I need not detail a& 
the difficulties and discouragements which ensued. All 


thk time my salary was very precarious, and not very 
seldon^ I was reduced to my last sixpence, and in fact had 
not money to go to market. In the time of necessity, 
however. Providence always provided for the supply of 
my immediate wants. Many times 1 thought very seri- 
ously of seeking another place of abode ; but was put from 
these thoughts by some unexpected provision being made 
for me. Besides, I was convinced that, humanly speaking, 
the success of the Presbyterian cause depended upon my 
staying here. Its main supporters were my warm personal 
friends, and they declared that if I should leave them, they 
should give over; and I was too much of a Presbyterian to 
<hink of retiring from the conflict. * Don't give up the 
ship,' was my motto. Besides, and what is more than all, 
the Head of the Church had been pleased, in some degree, 
to bless my labours here."* 

In this state of things, an event happened which threat- 
ened,, at the moment, even to increase his difficulties; 
though it had, perhaps, in the end, exacdy the opposite 
effect. This was the opening of the new Episcopal Church 
in Richmond, under circumstances which were calculated to 
give it no small eclat. For, it seems that shortly after 
the burning of the theatre, the subscribers to the monument 
that was to be erected on its site, had enlarged their ori- 
ginal idea, and, by a happy fancy, determined to buUd a 
church upon the spot, which should embrace a monu- 
ment in its plan; and they had proceeded accordingly to 
raise a sightly and commodious house of worship, for which 
they were now wishing to obtain a rector. At first, indeed, 
and for some time afterwards, they had not decided to what 
denomination the new building should belong; and as the 
sufferers by the accident which had caused its erection were 

• He Adda, in aaofther put pf Us letter: «*Tbe moat active wd 
indefatlgahle man in the congregation has been my friend Mr. Park* 



ehiefly from among the Presbyterians and Episcopalians 
who had formerly worshipped together in the capitol, where 
they had enjoyed the alternate services of Messrs. Blair and 
Buchanan, many of the subscribers desired that both of these 
gentlemen should still continue to officiate together in the 
same manner, in the new church. Others, however, were 
rather disposed to have the edifice consecrated as an Epis- 
copal church, and Mr. Blair himself, we are told, very gener- 
ously favoured their views. Accordingly, very shortly be- 
fore the pews were to be sold, that is, on the 7th of Febru- 
ary, 1814, the subscribers determined by a vote that the new 
building, to be known by the name of the Monumental 
Church, should be altogether under the control of the Epis^ 

In the meantime, some zealous clergymen and laymen of 
the Episcopal church, particularly the Rev. Wm. Meade, 
(now assistant bishop of the diocess of Virginia,) and the 
Rev. Messrs. H. Wilmer, and Oliver Norris, rectors of 
churches in Alexandria, with the late judge Bushrod Wash- 
ington, and Edmund I. Lee, Esq., were making the most 
strenuous and laudable exertions to raise the character of the 
whole Episcopal church in the state, by the election of a 
proper bishop for the diocess which was now vacant. The 
state of that branch of the church, indeed, at this time, was 
such as to require all their efforts, and all their prayers to 
revive it. For, deprived by the acts of Assembly passed dur- 
ing the revolution, and subsequently, of the patronage of the 
state, and destitute, in too many instances, of that personal 
piety, or at least of that lively zeal, which might have given 
them favour in the eyes of the people, its clergy had been con- 
stantly decreasing in number, tiU on the death of the late 
Bishop Madison, which took place in 1812, there were hardly 
more than forty of them in all the state. Among these, how- 
ever, were the zealous ministers whom we have mentioned, 
who together with the active laymen already named, and 
some others, were now determined to obtain the election of 


a new bishop^ whose piety and talenlfi, by the bleasinif of 
God, might awaken and animate the whole church. Accord- 
ingly, they turned 'their eyes to the Rer. Dr. Moore, the 
zealous and active rector of St. Stephen's, in the city of New 
York, whose pious labours among the people of his charge 
had been crowned with great success, and whose peculiar 
qualifications, it was hoped, would be still more usefully 
eixerted in a larger sphere. There was, however, a diffi- 
culty in the way of their application to him which it was for 
some time hard to remove. This was the fact that they 
could offer him no salary for his services ; for there was 
none, it seems, attached to the office ; and it was certainly 
hardly reasonable to expect that any one would accept the 
honour without some provision for his support. At length, 
however, an arrangement was happily made between the com- 
mittee of correspondence of the Convention, and the holders 
of the Monumental Church, by which it was settled that the 
invited bishop of the diocess should also be the rector of the 
church, and enjoy the salary attached to the latter office. 
Accordingly, on the 5th of February, 1814, Dr. Moore was 
elected both bishop and rector ; and having been duly conse- 
crated in St. James's Church in Philadelphia, on the 18th of 
May following, he came shortly afterwards to Richmond,, and 
entered upon the duties of his new charge without delay.* 

Mr. Rice was among the first to welcome his arrival ; and 
sincerely esteeming him for his piety, and hoping to find 
him a cordial fellow-labourer in the field of their common 
Master, was ready, on all occasions, to cultivate his friend- 
ship by the most kind and courteous attentions. Bishop 
Moore, too, on his part, appeared to be actuated by the same 
spirit, and the friends of piety who were attached to both 
rejoiced to see the happy union between tliem. 

* In this account of the establishment of the Episcopal Cbarch ia 
Richmond, I have followed a statement very kindly communicated 
to me by the Rev. William F.Lee, some time Rector of Christ Church, 
in that city, and now editor of the Southern Churchman. 


The opening of this new church, however, as I have hint^ 
ed, rather operated at the moment against his own endeavours 
to establish another. For some of his Episcopalian friends 
who had hitherto made a part of his congregation, and were 
in fact hardly distinguishable from the members of his flock 
though they had not formally joined it, now obeyed the call 
of their bishop, and returned to the altar which they had left, 
(in ashes indeed, but which was now to be built anew,) and 
what was yet more trying to him, some of his own de- 
nomination, (some Scotch Presbyterians,) whom he had 
naturally expected to aid him in his undertaking, despairing 
of his success, forsook him ; and, following the stream of 
fashion, took pews in the Monumental Church. Still, to 
use his own expression, ** he did not give up the ship;" but 
committing himself to the great Master whom he served, and 
supported by his now more zealous friends, ^* steered right 
on," and, as we shall see, soon reached his port. 


Sept. 16th, 1814. 
"My case is this. Bishop Moore is gone to New York, 
and does not expect to return until the last day of October. 
Mr. Buchanan is in ill-health, and does not preach. Mr. 
Blair and Mr. Bryce have accepted a chaplaincy in the army, 
80 that Richmond is almost deprived of preachers. This is 
a season of sickness, alarm, and general distress. The eyes 
of multitudes are turned towards me ; they say " you mui^ 
not leave us.*' And indeed there seems to be a greater op- 
portunity of doing good than has ever been presented to me 
before ; especially as at the present time many are alnaost 
compelled from the circumstances in which they are, to look 
for comfort in religion. That I may have an opportunity of 
being useful, the Vestry have opened the Monumental 
Church for my use until the return of Dr. Moore, 



Bichmond, October 19th, 1814. 

My Dear Tudor, 

I have heard of your indisposition with that solicitude 
which my friendship for you may well be supposed to ex- 
cite. The various causes of this solicitude need not be 
specified. The most important of them has reference to reli- 
gion. My views and sentiments on this most important sub- 
ject are well known to you. I have not had it in my power 
to ascertain ho\^ you have felt and thought since you have 
left us ; but I trust that you have not lost any of those im- 
pressions which, if I mistake not; were formerly made 
upon your mind ; and it is my most anxious wish that you 
may, in your lingering illness, enjoy those consolations 
which religion alone affords. It is true that literature and 
philosophy have their charms, and furnish pleasures to 
their votaries that far surpass the joys of sense. But 
when the heavy hand of affliction presses upon us, we 
need something better than Seneca or Epictetus can give 
us. And what the heart craves the gospel most liberally 
ajQTords. It gives us assurance of the pardoning mercy, 
and watchful providence of God ; and gives us every reason 
to hope for the renovating influences of the Holy Spirit. 
Now the provision thus made for us will appear, upon 
examination, wonderfully adapted to the condition in which 
we are all in fact placed. And this adaptation is one of 
the best evidences of the truth of Christianity. Indeed, 
without this, no proof could establish the certainty of this 
system of religion. But it is far from my intention to 
enter on any discussion of the evidences of divine revela- 
tion. Nor can I for a moment suppose, that any thing of 

• Who had left Cambridge in consequence of hie declining health, 
and was now staying at Morrisania, the seat of the late Governear 
Morris, who had married his amit. 


this nature is necessary for you. Admitting then the 
-gospel to be true, I would remind you that the ainfidneas 
of man lies at the foundation of this scheme of religion. 
In the very commencement, the depravity of the hi^nan 
heart is assumed as a fact of which there can be no 
reasonable doubt. And indeed, how can we account for 
the phenomena which are exhibited in the conduct of man, 
and in the dispensations of Divine Providence, unless we 
adopt this principle ? If we reject it, it seems to me that 
we must adopt at least these two absurd consequences; 
that the common course of human conduct furnishes iio 
true indication of the disposition of the human heart, and 
that the God of justice and of love permits holy beings to 
be sorely tried and deeply afflicted; that is, permits his 
creatures to suffer without their having done any thing to 
deserve it. It has very frequently been observed, that per- 
sons who have never been grossly immoral, in fact, speak- 
ing in usual style, persons of the strictest virtue, have 
suffered very grievously. Estimating things by human 
standards, does not this seem very unaccountable ? -But 
considering that the law of God requires supreme love to 
him, and considers every action as sinful which does not 
proceed from this source, the difficulty vanishes. And 
this important conclusion follows, that we are all considered 
as sinners in the sight of God. And if both reason and 
scripture teach us that all, even the best, are regarded as 
sinful, we may well inquire, ** What must we do to be 
saved ?'* Now, in answer to this question I would observe, 
that according to the best examination which I have been 
able to make of this very important subject, I am entirely 
convinced that we have no well founded hope that God 
will forgive sin, except through the Atonement made by 
Jesus Christ, My only hope rests upon this doctrine. If 
it prove false, I know not what is to become of me, and of 
those I love. But, admitting that Jesus Christ << has been 
set forth as a propitiation for our sins, to declare the righte- 


oosness of God in the remission of sin ;'* I can see a snie 
foundation on wliich to build my hope for eternity* because 
I can see how God can be jusU and justify him that be- 
lieveth in Christ Jesus." And really, unless this discovery 
is made, I am utterly at a loss to understand how any one 
who sees the evil of sin, and has any correct views of the 
divine government, as it is revealed in the scriptures, can 
, have undisturbed peace, and well founded hope. 

I do therefore, as a friend most anxious for your comfort 
and happiness, affectionately urge you to embrace with all 
your heart the hope set before you in the cross of Jesus 
Christ. It may be that yon have done so. If this be the 
case, you will not think these exhortations ill timed ; and if 
not, the sooner you decidedly and with your whole heart 
take Jesus Christ as your Saviour, the better. He com- 
mends himself to us in various ways well calculated to exalt 
him in our estimation. In the support and comfort which 
my most valued friend, your mother, has received under 
trials of the most grievous kind, I find great reason to prize 
the doctrines of the gospel, and that Saviour who is the 
author and finisher of her faith. She knew that she had a 
merciful and gracious High Priest^ who had been tempted 
in all points as she was, and who knew how to succour her 
in her trials ; she was therefore encouraged with boldness 
to approach the throne of grace. She can, and she will tes- 
tify to you the worth and excellency of her Saviour, and in 
terms which I trust the Holy Spirit will convey to your 
heart, will tell you from her own experience, how precious 
and how consoling is the doctrine of the Atonement. That 
you may feel its influences, and rejoice in the comforts wliich 
it afibrds, is my most earnest and constant prayer. 

If Providence should spare us, I trust that I shall see you 
in the spring of the year. I cannot help again repeating 
how anxiously I desire to have this pleasure. I shall not, 
then, cease to pray the most merciful God to restore you to 
health, to prolong your life, and to allow me the happiness 


not merely of seeing you, but of seeing you with renovated 
health, pursuing vigorously that course which will lead you 
to usefulness and honour in this world, and to life everlasting 
in the next. 

Mrs. Rice unites with me in e\ery sentiment of affection 
for you, in every good wish, and in every prayer for your 
health and hapiness ; and we bodi join in committing you, 
with all that we love, to the guardian care of the almighty 
and most merciful God, and in imploring every blessing 
upon you. 

I am, my dear Tudor, 

Affectionately yours, 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond^ Dec. 13^A, 1814. 
My Dear Sir, 

I intended to have answered your very friendly and accep- 
table letter by Mr. Campbell. But unfortunately I missed 
that oportunity. 

The state of religion in Virginia upon the whole is not 
very promising, although, in some parts, particularly Prince 
Edward, there is some excitement. The war bears very 
heavily upon us ; and we are all heartily tired of it. But 
how to get it off our hands is the great puzzle. Here in 
Richmond, we are scuffling along with great difficulty. 

I have a brother bishop here who attracts notice from 
the rich and great, but I apprehend that he will find it no 
easy matter to mould them into good churchmen. Yet 
bishop Moore appears to be a zealous and pious man, and 
1 hope will do good among the people. He is uncom- 
monly friendly to me, and I am resolved that it shall not be 
my fault if he does not continue so. 1 am indeed apprehen- 
sive that we shall have a controversy in this state between 
Episcopalians and Presbyterians ; but I hope if this should 


be the case, that we shall act entirely on the defensive. Con- 
troversies among christians are very rarely if ever productive 
of good, and among us would perhaps be highly injurious. 
What may be the effect of the bishop*s settling here on 
Presbyterianism, I am not yet able to say. I hope however, 
that no harm will be done; perhaps just the reverse. I 
commit the affair to the great Head of the Church. 

Remember me most affectionately to Mrs. Alexander, and 
to your boys. Mrs. Rice joins me in this, as also in expres- 
sions of sincere Regard for yourself. 

I am yours assuredly, 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond, Feb. Qih, 1816. 
My Dear Friend, 

Your letter has been received ; and I should have answered 
it at an earlier period, but I have been in trouble and per- 

As soon as I received your favour, I determined to accept 
the invitation made by your society ; and if nothing prevent, 
I will be in Norfolk at the time mentioned, fiut I may be 
prevented. On Saturday last Mrs. Rice led me in great haste, 
and in deep affliction, on account of intelligence from Prince 
Edward. Her mother, my invaluable friend, my second 
mother, lay extremely ill, it was thought at the point of 
death. I have not heard from Mrs. Rice since her arrival at 
her father's ; but this morning an officer from Prince Edward 
who had gone home on furlough, passed through town, and 
reported that he had heard that Mrs. Morton was dead ; and 
I fear it is so. As soon therefore as I hear from Mrs. Rice, 
which will be on Thursday, I expect to set out to Prince 
Edward. What detention I may experience there, I know 
not. I shall, on all the account? suggested by you, be anxi- 
ous to be in Norfolk at the time specified. But we must 



leave all to God. His will is " wisest, holiest, best ;" sab- 
mission to it becomes us. And in the case of my dear mo- 
ther, (for she was a mother to me,) there is every reason to 
be satisfied. Altering the words of the poet a very little, I 
can say, *' Her upward flight my mother took, if ever soul 
ascended." And she has left a precious inheritance oi 
prayers offered up in faith for her children. I rejoice to be 
enrolled in the number ; I had rather claim relationship with 
such as are owned the children of God, than be acknow- 
ledged the kinsman of the greatest on earth.* I have friends 
in heaven. This is a cheering thought to me. But my 
private feelings are carrying me on strangely. 

Miller's work is not in town. I have spoken to a book- 
seller to send for the number of copies mentioned by you. 
I think it a very valuable work. Did you ever see the Dis- 
senting Gentleman's Three Letters to Mr. White? That is 
one of the ablest things that I have read on the controversy. 
It is keen as a razor, only it does not cut so smoothly. It is 
rather harsh. 

We go on very smoothly here as yet. How long it may 
be the case I know not. '< I am for peace," but not alto- 
gether unprepared for war. 

Commend me to your mother and sister, to Mr. W 

and family, and to all friends in Norfolk. May the mercy, 
and peace of God rest upon you. Pray for us in Richmond. 

I am truly your friend. 

John H. Rice. 


Willington, F. Edward, March la^, 1815. 
My Dear Sir, 

When I last had the pleasure of writing to you, I observed 
that I might be prevented from fulfilling my intentions in 
regard to my Norfolk trip. And it has happened even as I 
feared. The melancholy event which I so much dreaded 


has taken place. It has pleased God to remove from this 
world, the dearest and best friend that I ever had. One who 
in all respects fu^y supplied the place of a mother to me. 
This has left several justly dear to me, and very dear too, in 
a state needing all the consolation that I can afford, and much 

I felt myself obliged, on every principle, to come to 
Prince Edward. But I had made arrangements to come 
and spend near a fortnight here, and stiU be in Norfolk by 
next Saturday. Just however as I was about to set out on 
my journey, Providence ordered that I should be taken vio- 
lently sick. I was seized with an ague, and for about forty- 
eight hours was so sick as greatly to alarm my friends. My 
confinement lasted a week. I did not even then despair of 
accomplishing my purposes ; but, having procured a carriage, 
set out to Prince Edward, with the intention of returning by 
tius evening to Richmond, and going on my way to Norfolk 
to-morrow. But here again Providence interposed, and by 
rain, hail, and snow, detained me nearly a week on the road; 
and it was with very great difficulty that I arrived here on 
the 26th ult in the evening. I have given you this dull nar- 
rative, that you may see that I have not lightly, and for 
slight cause, failed to be with you at the time mentioned in 
your letter. 

My heart was greatly fixed on going. Why Providence 
has disappointed me, I know not. But it is all for the best. 
I ought not to murmur, especially since I have before my 
eyes the edifying example of resignation exhibited by the 
dear family where I now am. Never, indeed, was woman 
more highly, nor more deservedly honoured, nor more sin- 
cerely loved as a wife, a mother, a neighbour, and a friend, 
than Mrs. Morton. But she is gone! And all seem to 
say, '* The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, 
blessed be the name of the Lord.*' And well they may- 
say so. For although their loss is irreparable, yet they 
have the consolation of thinking that never soul took its 


flight from this world of change and sorrow* more matured 
for heaven than was hers. She is gone to rest in the 
bosom of her Father and her God. Let us be also ready. 
For we know not the day nor the hour, when we are to go. 
We have a work to do. Let us not forget that << the night 

I congratulate you on the restoration of peace. God 
grant that his judgments and mercies may not be in vain. 
Let us seize the happy opportunity now afforded us, to 
promote plans of public utility, especially let us remember 
the Theological School. 

When I left Richmond, I put into the hands of the 
printer a prospectus for a religious weekly paper, and de- 
sired him to send you a copy of it. If you can do any 
thing for the thing in Norfolk, be so good as to let me 

Present me affectionately to your mother, sister, and 

Mr. W 's family ; also to Mr. McP , and all his. 

I am, truly yours, 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond^ Jvne 2(f, 1815. 
My Dear Friend, 

1 wish to keep up a pretty brisk intercourse with Norfolk, 
and therefore write thus early. 

Mr. G , I suppose, has told you what a dismal 

passage we had to York. The rest of the way was comfort- 
able, except that I had some reason to dread the fate which 
Horace once so much apprehended. — Some Sybil might 
have foretold : *« He need not fear the breaking down of the 
stage — ^nor the running away of the horses — a talkative man 
will be the death of him." But I survived the eternal clack 
of * * * ; and in better health than could be expected ; and 
after broiling in the sun, and breathing night air, and losing 
sleep, and (worst of all) hearing nonsense on religion, I 


arrived at home on Tuesday evening, and found Mn. Rice 
in mueh better health than when I took mj departare from 

The people here had a good deal of preaching while I was 
gone, much of which they thought to be evangelical. My con- 
gregation pretty generally attended. They disliked the abun* 
dant parade and form ; but liked the preaching. They were 
pleased, too, with most things in the ministers ; bat disapproved 
the keen spirit of proselytism manifested by them. This is 
ardent and active enough beyond all doubt, and you will 
very probably see a sample of it before long. This spirit 
will produce irritation and offence which I fear will ripen 
into controversy. May God avert this ! 

I shall not be able to send out my Monitor as soon as I 
expected. The printer is disappointed in receiving the 

Present me most affectionately to your mother, to my 

sister Louisa, to Mrs. W , and to your other friends. 

To all who inquire for me, give my christian love. 

Mrs. Rice joins me in best wishes, and kindest regards. 
I am truly, your friend and brother, 

John H. Ricb. 

Some time early in the summer of this year, (1815,) Mr. 
Rice had the satisfaction to see the building of the new 
church for his congregation, which had been so long talked 
of, begun at last in good earnest Through the indefatiga* 
ble exertions of his friend Mr. Parkhill, and some others, 
the house and lot near Rocketts had been sold again, for the 
sum of nine thousand dollars, and a subscription raised for 
building a new church, amounting to about eight thousand 
dollars more. A lot, also, had been bought in a convenient, 
and nearly central position, near the Market House, and not 
far from the Mason's Hall; and, peace having now returned, 
it was determined to build a handsome house of worship on 
the site, without delay. The building was accordingly com- 



menced at this time^ and seemed to be going on almost as 
rapidly as he could wish. 

On the 8th of July following, he issued the first number of 
a weekly religious newspaper, entitled the Christian Monitor, 
which, I believe, was the first publication of the kind that 
had ever appeared in Richmond; and shortly afterwards, 
finding that his health had been much impaired by the attack 
of the epidemic which he had suffered during the preceding 
fall and winter, he left town, and spent about two months 
among the mountains, principally at the White Sulphur 
Springs, and thereabouts, for the purpose of recruiting his 
health ; and with good efiect. 

In October following, turning his face homewards, he 
proceeded to Staunton, to attend the meeting of the Synod 
which was held in that place. Here, the subject of the 
Theological Seminary, which was always near his heart, 
commanded his particular attention ; and (at his instance I 
suppose) the Synod passed a resolution appointing him, to* 
gether with the Rev. Wm. Hill, and Wm. Wirt, Esq. a com- 
mittee to present a memorial to the General Assembly of the 
State, praying for the passage of an act to incorporate the 
Trustees of that Institution ; merely for the purpose, I be- 
lieve, of securing its funds which were now increasing, and 
promised to become considerable. 

Whilst he was here also, he received the following letter 
from Mr. Randolph, of Roanoke, to whom it seems he had 
some time before sent a copy of Foster's Essays, and a copy 
of Wilberforce's Practical View, accompanied by a letter of 
exhortation in which he had earnestly endeavoured to lead 
that gentleman, (for whose talents, and some points of his 
character, he had a very lively admiration,) to the know- 
ledge of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, 



Roanoke^ Sept. %thj 1815. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

Dr. Dudley brought me your letter of the 10th of July, 
from last Charlotte Court. I fear lest you may think me 
unmindfuly if not ungrateful, of the kind interest which you 
have been pleased to take in my welfare. You have a better 
reward than my poor thanks, and yet I am not satisfied that 
you should not receive even them. I read Foster's Essays 
with great attention, and, notwithstanding the very revolting 
dress in which he has presented himself to his readers, I was 
highly gratified. I never saw a work of which it might be 
less truly said materiem superabat opus, I shall read your 
other little present with the attention^ which I doubt not it 
deserves, but which the design of the donor eminently 
merits. My good Sir, I fear that you have bestowed your 
cuihure upon a most thankless soiL I am led to this appre* 
hension from the consciousness that this world and all that it 
inherits have no longer value in my eyes. Am I not then 
more than usually culpable if I set not my heart upon another 
and a better world? And yet with a firm conviction of the 
necessity of pardon and of reconciliation with a justly 
offended God, I am almost insensible to the motives that 
ought to actuate one in my condition. Occasionally indeed 
I am penetrated, as I ought to be, with the sense of the mercy 
of my Creator, but the weight of my unworthiness bows me 
down, and seems to render impossible the idea that such as 
I am should be accepted by him. My dear Sir, it is your 
partial friendship that shadows out in me an American Wil- 
berforce. What have I done, what can I ever do, to merit 
so flattering an eulogium ? I am even now in a state pf war- 
fare, while that good and great man appears to have attained 

* I have since done so With much satisfaction. 


that peace which passeth all understanding. I wished to 
thank you for your kind attention to me, and therefore this 
letter has been written : how inadequate to the expression of 
my feelings no one but myself can tell. The want of some 
friend to whom I can pour out my thoughts as they arisen 
is not the least of the privations under which I labour. 

Sept. 29^A, 1815. 
Whilst writing the above, my good old neighbour, Col. 
William Morton, called to see me, and informed me that you 
and Mrs. Rice had gone to the Springs. I am glad to learn 

from a letter of Mrs. T to Miss L M , that you 

have derived benefit from the journey, and that she is quite 
well. Last Sunday I had the pleasure to hear your brother 
and Mr. Hoge preach at Bethesda. The day before Mr. 
Lyle gave us an excellent discourse. To-morrow I hope to 
hear Mr. Hoge again, at College. I have been much dis- 
turbed during the last week, particularly at night, when my 
mind exerts an activity that is painful and exhausting. 

I shall send this letter over to Staunton by some private 
hand, as I hear you attend the Synod there. 
I am, dear Sir, 

Your obliged humble Servant, 

John Randolph, ofBoimoke. 
Rev, John H. Rice. 

P. S. There are forms of expression used by clerical 
gentlemen that I find myself at a loss to comprehend. I can 
annex no definite idea to them. There are also such to be 
found in the epistles of Paul, and some other books of the 
New Testament. Are the opinions which you so zealously 
recommend to me the doctrines of Calvin on the subject of 
election and predestination ? Those of Dr. H. are far more 
acceptable to my mind. He does not (as I apprehend) differ 
from the moderate divines of our church; holding, if I 
mistake not, a medium between Calvin and Arminius.* 

* It may be proper to note that Mr. Randolph was entirely mistaken 
in supposing tliat there was any difference between the opinions of 



Richmond, October 26th 1815. 
My Belov£d Friend, 

I suppose that before you receive this letter, you will 
have heard of our prosperous journey, and safe return to 
our humble home. Mrs. Rice^s health, as well as my own, 
has been greatly benefited. Of a truth, we may say that 
"goodness and mercy have followed us" through our 
whole course. You will join with us in returning thanks 
to the all-wise and merciful God, who thus favours us. 

Since I saw you at Mr. Woodson's, I have fell, if possi- 
ble, a deeper interest in what concerns you, than I had ever 
done before. The sympathy excited for my friends there, 
seemed to be transferred to you, and I could not help con- 
templating, I hardly know why, your situation as in many 
respects similar to theirs. They had been at one stroke 
deprived of their earthly all ; and I regarded you as finally 
separated from him on whom your worldly dependance 
was chiefly placed. Since that time, I have been unable to 
banish the idea from my mind. I knew, indeed, that you 
had been taught to seek better support and comfort than 
even a darling son could afford ; that you had chosen God 
for your God. I believed that He, who never forsakes 
those who put their trust in Him, was your friend and pro- 
tector ; but yet I could not think of you without a feeling 
of melancholy. I place no confidence in these presages, 
and yet I greatly fear, my beloved friend, that you are ap- 
pointed to expenence a bitterness of sorrow which per- 
haps you have not yet suffered. What your heavenly 
Father will do for you, I know not, except that he will be 

Dr. Hoge and those of Mr. Rice, which were in fact the same, being 
those of pure (Calvinism, which, bj the way, is itself the medium be- 
tween Fatalism and Arminianism, and so near to both, (though far 
enough from either,) that it admits of nothing else between them. 


faithful to his promises. About two weeks ago, I under- 
stand that Mr. Taylor received letters from Liverpool, 
giving a very gloomy account of the state of our dear 
Tudor's health. So far from any amendment, it was mani- 
festly much worse. I have not seen the letters, but under- 
stand that they were such as to excite in Mr. Taylor's 
mind very distressing apprehensions. As soon as I heard 
this, I determined that it was my duty (inexpressibly pain- 
ful as it is,) to communicate it to you. This may account 
for your not receiving letters for so long a time from our dear 
boy. I understand too, that the letter from Mr. Marx, 
which you received some time ago, gave an account which 
originated in misconception. There is no reason to believe 
that Tudor's health was at all improved by the voyage, or 
by the use of the waters. I need not repeat to you with 
what reluctance and sorrow I make this statement; am not 
I a sufferer too ? Was not Tudor the son of my affection? 
His loss will be a bereavement to me also. I wish to 
say, " It is the Lord, let him do with me what seemeth 
him good," and I pray God to enable you also, my 
afflicted friend, to say the same thing. He suffereth not a 
sparrow to fall to the ground without his permission ; and 
surely the life of a human being, of a son, the son of many 
prayers, will not be cut short, but in infinite wisdom and 
goodness. What though the divine purposes be hid from 
our view; and the dispensation prove inscrutable and over- 
whelming, yet in the end it will be made plain. God be 
merciful to you, my dear friend, and sustain you by his 
almighty love. Nancy joins with me in most afifectionate 
sympathy; and in most earnest prayers, that He who is 
the husband of the widow, and the comforter of the 
afflicted, may be your stay and support. 

With sincere friendship, 

I am, yours, ^c. 

John H. Ricb. 
P.S. Your suspense and mine will soon be removed. 


The Philip Tabb is arrivedy and Mr. Edmund Tajlor is 
come passenger in her. From him you will learn the whole 



Richmond, November 16/A, 1815. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

The day after my return from up the country, an old 
friend, Mr. Lacy came to my house in his way to Phila- 
delphia. He is afflicted with the stone, and is gone with 
the view of having a surgical operation performed. This, 
at his time of life especially, is a serious matter. But an 
event which has taken place since his departure from home, 
makes his situation as distressing as it well can be. About the 
first of the present month, Mrs. Lacy was taken with the 
disease which proved so fatal last winter, and died on the 
eighth day. Of this melancholy change, Mr. Lacy as yet 
knows nothing ; and it is my wish that he may not hear of it 
until some time ader the operation on him shall have been 
performed. I do not know what his family will determine 
to do respecting this matter; but such has been my advice 
to them. If the situation of your affairs would permit you 
to pay Mr. Lacy a visit in Philadelphia, it would be pecu- 
liarly gratifying to him. Would that I could do something 
for the comfort of our old brother. I trust that the God 
"whose he is and whom he serves," will not forsake 
him in this distressing hour.t 

* Mr. R*s worst apprehensions were soon confirmed. His beloved 
papil had died at CfaeHenham^ in Engfland, on the 18th of Aagast pre- 
ceding. There was, however, hope in his death ; as the lady at whose 
hoQsehe lodged at the time, (and who was a pious Presbyterian,) 
reported that he had evidently enjoyed the consolations and support 
ofreligion in his last hours. ** The last wordV* says Mr. R. in another 
letter to his mother, ** that our dear boy uttered, to be distinctly heard, 
were, * dont grieve for me, for I die happy.' " 

t This excellent man died at the house of Mr. Robert Ralston, in 

120 MfiHOIR OF 

Oar new house of worship wiU, I expect, be covered 
in within the next fortnight; and there is every reason 
to hope that it will be finished early next spring. There 
seems to be but little doubt, but that the pews will be 
taken up, and there will, very probably, be a call for 
more than the house will contain. So tliat, after a long 
and hard struggle, it seems as though by the favour of 
a gracious Providence, we should get through all our 
difficulties. While the church is building, I continue 
to preach in the Mason's Hall. My labours in various 
ways are very hard here. For although I have not a large 
congregation, the people are much scattered, and they re- 
quire much attention. Besides, I am very often called to 
visit the sick who belong to no church, and frequently 
those of other societies, to which calls I make it a point to 

In addition to this, I have undertaken to edit a paper, 
which 1 call the Christian Monitor. In this work I ex- 
pected much assistance from my brethren, but have re- 
ceived none as yet. I find the business very troublesome. , 
I wish that you would now and then send me something 
good and practical, in the way of aid to a brother won 
out by labour. 

The Episcopalians are making a mighty effort in this 
state to revive their church. At first I thought that they were 
setting out on true evangelical principles, and was heartily 
enough disposed to take them by the hand, and bid them 

Philadelphia, on the 6th of December, 1815. The operation had been | 
performed upon him, by Dr. Dorsey, with great skill, and at first with 
good hope ; but alarming symptoms soon appeared, and afler sufieriog I 
the most excruciating pains for some days, (which ho bore with eiem- 
plary patience,) he found a peaceful and joyful rest in death. Mr. 
L. was a most worthy man, and a zealous and faithful preacher of 
the gospel ; and his memory is still warmly cherished in the hearts 
of many friends. 


God speed; but it now seems to me, as thoi^h they meant 
to pull down the building of others, in order tb erect their 
own. They aim especially at the Presbyterians, I suppose 
because they find us more in their way than any other class 
of people. Their conduct is* such as, I fear, will make it 
necessary for us to oppose them. In fact, we shall certainly 
be plagued with a religious controversy. The combatants 
are already beginning to rub up their armour, and prepare 
themselves for the combat Even the man Moses, who is 
among us proverbial for meekness, has his spirit roused, 
and is determined, I believe, to step forth as the Champion 
of Presbyterianism. I have, for my part, resolved not to 
strike the first blow; but I wish to be ready to defend 

On Tuesday, the 2d of January following, (1816,) hav- 
ing been appointed, as we have seen, by the Synod of 
Virginia, one of a committee to present a petition to the 
General Assembly of the state, now in session, for an act 
to incorporate the Trustees of their Theological Seminary, 
Mr. Rice appeared at the bar of the House of Delegates, 
and made a speech in favour of it, which gained him much 
credit. The petition had been presented early in the ses- 
sion, and had been referred to the committee of Proposi- 
tions and Grievances, who had afterwards reported it with 
a resolution that it was reasonable. It had, however, been 
laid upon the table, for this day, and was now called up, 
according to order, when a member, (Mr. Baker of Cum- 
berland,) moved to amend the resolution of the committee, 
by striking therefrom the words, " is reasonable," and in- 
serting in lieu thereof the words, "be rejected;" and the 
question being upon this motion, Mr. Rice, according to a 
previous resolution of the house, was admitted to be heard 
against it. His position on this occasion, was entirely 
novel, and, of course, rather embarrassing; especially, as 


122 MBMOIR 09 

he had learned by this time, that he was aboat to advocate 
a very ungracious cause, and one which could expect no 
favour, and hardly quarter from the house. It is said, how- 
ever, that he acquitted himself remarkably well, and dis- 
played no small share both of ability and address, in an 
argument of considerable length, in which he very fairly 
answered all the objections that had been conjured up 
against the petition, and ^* convinced'^ the minds of man^ 
members "against their will." They were, however, of 
course, "of the same opinion still;" and neither his argu* 
ment, nor the eloquence of his friend Mr. Wirt, who was 
subsequently heard against the motion, and made a very 
handsome speech on the subject, could prevail against the 
prejudices and predetermination of the majority, who 
finally carried the motion, and rejected the petition, by a 
strong and decisive vote. 

This result was mortifying enough in itself; but, what 
was worse still, it was found that the mere preferring of the 
petition had excited no small odium against the Synod, and 
against the whole body of Presbyterians in the state, who 
were now gravely charged, by some, with actually aiming to 
obtain a new religious establishment for their own sect. It 
is true the accusation was hardly believed, even by Its in- 
ventors, but it suited the views of many at the time to afiect. 
to credit it, or at least to let it run ; and Mr. Rice, who was 
always alive to every thing that concerned tlie interest and 
honour of the denomination to which he belonged, now felt 
himself called upon to vindicate his brethren and himself 
from the aspersion, and from other injurious imputations which 
were being cast upon them. Accordingly, he hastened to 
write, and soon afterwards published, a pamphlet entitled **An 
Illustration of the Character and Conduct of the Presbyterian 
Church in Virginia ;" in which, (after briefly reciting the 
causes which had prompted the publication,) he proceeds to 
show that the Presbyterian Church in the United States, and 
particularly in Virginia, had ever proved itself entirely libe- 



ral in the whole course of Us conduct towards other denominar 
tions of christians; particularly friendly and serviceable to the 
cause of the country during our revolutionary contest, and to 
all our republican institutions; and uniformly and utterly oppo- 
sed to every thing like a religious establishment, or the adop- 
tion by the state of any one sect to the exclusion of every other* 
All this he establishes very clearly by copious quotations 
from the Form of Government and Discipline of the Church 
itself; (on which he gives us some very proper and perti- 
nent remarks;) by the Memorials of the Presbytery of Han- 
over presented to the General Assembly, at various times, 
from the year 1776 to 1784 ; and a Memorial of the Minis- 
ters and Lay Representatives of the Presbyterian Church in 
Virginia, assembled in Convention, in 1785, all breathing 
the very spirit of religious liberty, and of devoted attachment 
to the true rights of man. These documents, indeed, (which 
are all copied from the originals preserved in the office of the 
clerk of the House of Delegates, and are ably written,) reflect 
the highest honour upon the writers, and upon the bodies 
which they represented ; and must ever serve to set the cha- 
racter and* conduct of the Presbyterian church, at the periods 
to which they belong, in the strongest and fairest light. 

It still remained for htm, however, to show tliat there was 
nothing in the late act of the Synod in praying for an incor- 
poration of the Board of Trustees of their Theological Semi- 
nary, inconsistent with the principles and fame of the 
fathers of the church ; and this he does at some length, and, 
as I think all candid readers will agree, with perfect suc- 

The pamphlet, thus written, was extensively read, and 
did much good. It had the happy effect at least, in many 
instances, of softening the prejudices which had been artifi- 
cially excited against the Presbyterians as a body, and of 
conciliating the favour of some who were most able to appre- 
ciate their merits ; so that, in the end, it is probable that the 


interests of that denomination were rather promoted than in- 
jured by the fate of the petition. 


Richmond^ March 16, 1816. 
My Dear Sir, 

A friend has just called on me on his way to New York, 
by whom I send this, and with it a hastily written, badly 
printed pamphlet, which I have thought it my duty to write. 
Will you accept of it as a token of my affectionate regard. 
Our petition had no effect. The prejudices against us are 
strong, and many measures are adopted to increase them. 

We had the affliction to lose our highly esteemed friend 
Mrs. Randolph last Sabbath. She died in my house. I have 
no wish, in reference to my last end, but that it may be like 

Mrs. Rice desires to be afiectionately remembered to Mrs. 
A. as does yours, most sincerely. 

J. H. Rice. 

* Shortly after receiving the intelligence of her son's death, she had 
embraced the ofl-repeated and now earnestly renewed invitation of Mr. 
and Mrs. Rice, and come down to Richmond to spend her remaining 
days with them. These, however, were fated to be few; for she was 
soon taken sick, and, afler a painful illness, which she bore with exem- 
plary patience, she died on the 10th of March, 1816. Her life had been 
a tissue of sorrows; but her end was peace. Her last words were: 
*' Christ is my only hope" 

There is one circumstance connected with the death of this lady, 
which we have been told, and which we think we ought not to withhold 
from our readers. Finding, it seems, that her end was approaching, and 
thinking it proper to make her will, she felt very desirous to leave her 
best friend a handsome legacy, as a last token of her regard for him. 
Apprehending, however, with that delicacy which belonged to her, 
that such an act might possibly expose him to some unworthy imputa- 
tion of mercenary views, and prizing his honour above every other 
consideration, she resolved to suppress her inclination, and leave him 
nothing. Still she could not feel satisfied to do so, without having the 



George Toum^ March 16, 1816. 
Dear Sir, 

Your letter of the 13th is this moment received. The 
others have all come to hand, although generally one or two 
days later than the due course of mail. They would demand 
my most grateful acknowledgments, if they were not already 
due for obligations of a far higher nature— obligations by 
which I am bound not less to Mrs. Rice than to yourself. 

After the first sharp pang was over, 1 could not but view 
Mrs. Randolph's departure as a release from sufferings that it 
is to be hoped have few examples ; from a world that no 
longer had a single charm for her. I knew her better than 
any body else. Her endowments were of the highest orden 
and it gave me the greatest comfort, of which under such 
circumstances I am susceptible, to learn that she died as every 
christian could wish to die. The manner in which she 
spoke of me in her last moments is also truly grateful. 

I received your letter announcing that her case was a 
doubtful one, the day after Mr. Leigh's which arrived on 

reason of her conclosion communicated to him ; which was accord- 
ingly done; and she had the gratification to find that her inten- 
ticxn was most fully and warmly approved by him. After all, how- 
ever, when her will came to be opened, it was found that she had 
so &.r altered her mind as to have left him a thousand dollars; 
and it is believed that the gentleman who wrote her will, (an emi- 
nent member of the bar, who was a friend of hers, and to whom she 
had doubtless communicated her feelings on the subject,) had advised 
her that she might very safely and properly leave him such a sum as 
that, as all would acknowledge that it was, in fact, very fairly due to 
him as a mere matter of debt. But Mr. Rice, upon hearing of it, in- 
stantly resolved not to touch a cent of the money for himself, but to 
parcel it out in donations to various christian charities which he knew 
she had favoured while living; and actually disposed of the whole of it 
in that way. 



Saturday. His was much the more alarming of the two. 
On Sunday morning I awoke with the strongest impression 
on my mind that Mrs. R. was no more : and while penning 
the note for the prayers of the church agreeably to our ser- 
vice, I felt almost restrained by the consideration of impiety 
in deprecating that which God had willed and done. I 
shook it off however; but I could not shake off the impres- 
sion that she was in the land of spirits. I almost saw her 
pale and shadowy, purified from the dross of the body, — 
looking sorrowfully yet benignantly upon me. 

A long letter from Mr. Leigh yesterday apprized me that 
the last sad duties were performed. 

I am, dear sir. 

With great respect, 

Your obliged friend and servant, 

John Randolph, of Roanoke. 

Shortiy after the date of his last letter, we find him pre- 
paring to leave home, to attend the meeting for Uie formation 
of the American Bible Society, which had been announced 
a£8 about to be held in the city of New York, on the eighth of 
May following. The establishment of such an institution, 
indeed, so large and liberal in its design, and promising so 
fairly to promote all the best and dearest interests of our 
country, and of the world, naturally excited his attention, 
and kindled all his warmest feelings in its behalf. Accord- 
ingly, he wrote to all the auxiliary societies of the state, urg- 
ing and animating them to send delegates to the proposed 
convention ; and, having been himself appointed to represent 
the Bible Society of Virginia, and the auxiliaries of Norfolk, 
Petersburg, and Frederick, he appears to have anticipated 
the approaching meeting with the most lively interest ; as the 
following letter which he wrote at the time may serve to 



Richmond, April 10/A, 1816. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

Your last letter came to hand by due course of mail, and 
I hasten to acknowledge the receipt of it, and to return you 
my thanks for the pleasure which it afforded me. 

The information which you give me concerning the state 
of religion in Norfolk, is particularly acceptable. I rejoice 
to hear of the success of my brother Paxton, than whom 
there is not, I believe, a more faithful labourer to be found in 
the vineyard of our Lord. His worth is great ; and 1 do ex- 
pect that his usefulness will be considerable. May God 
give him many seals to his minstry ! 

When I first contemplated this excursion to New York, 
it was my intention to go by the way of Norfolk — for I do 
long to see the brethren there — ^but farther consideration has 
induced me to alter this purpose. I wish to pass through 
Fredericksburgh, Alexandria, Washington, and Baltimore ; 
and particularly through Washington. Mr. Wirt is taking a 
deeper interest than he heretofore appeared to take, in the 
affairs of religion, and especially in Bible Societies ; and he 
has promised to introduce me to some of the leading men 
about the city, that I may have an opportunity of ascertain- 
ing what regard they will pay to the proposed scheme of 
establishing a national Bible Society. It has occurred to me 
that it might on many accounts be well for me to attend to 
this business as I go on ; and as Madison, Monroe, and Jef- 
ferson are all members of the Bible Society of Virginia, it is 
to be presumed that they will not discountenance the pro- 
posed measure. This plan however will make it necessary 
for me to leave home sometime before the meeting of Pres- 
bytery. Indeed as the Presbytery meets on the second, and 
the meeting in New York is on the eighth of May, it would 
be impossible to attend in Petersburgh and be in New York 


in proper time. So I very much regret that I shall miss the 
pleasure of seeing you, and others of the Norfolk brethren. 

Nothing but the anxiety which I feel to aid in the estab- 
lishment of an American and Foreign Bible Society could 
induce me to take so long a journey at the present crisis. I 
trust that my brethren will consider the state of my|)Cople, 
and pay all possible attention to them. -^I place some de- 
pendance on your relation, Mr. Cowan. Will you ask him 
whether he cannot spend a few weeks in Richmond and its 
vicinity during my absence. I say its vicinity, because Mr. 
Kirkpatrick has a vast field before him for cultivation, and 
has not strength equal to his labours. In conjunction then 
with brother jKirkj he very actively, and, I dare 
say, very usefully employed. Be so good as to give him 
my affectionate regards. 

Mrs. Rice unites with me in fraternal love to you, sister 
Louisa, and the brethren generally. She also desires to be 
particularly remembered with me to your mother, and your 
other sisters. We both pray that the peace of God may rest 
on you all. 

I am assuredly your friend, 

John H. Rice. 

Mr. Wirt's speech before the assembly is in press. My 
pamphlet was hastily written, and badly printed. I hope 
the next will do better." 

Accordingly, he repaired soon afterwards to New York, 
(which he now visited for the first time,) and attended the 
meeting of delegates from various Bible Societies which con- 
vened in the consistory room of the Reformed Dutch Church, 
on the 8th of May, 1816. Here he concurred, of course, in 
tJie resolution which was unanimously adopted by the Con- 
vention, " that it is expedient to establish without delay, a 
general Bible Institution, for the circulation of the Holy 
Scriptures without note or comment;" and was appointed 
one of the committee which was raised to " prepare the plan 


of a constitution for the Society, and an address to the pablic 
on the nature and objects of the institution." The constitu- 
tion, however, (I suppose) had been ahready prepared, and 
the writing of the address was very properly assigned to 
the masterly hand of Dr. Mason ; so that he could only 
unite, as he doubtless did with all his heart, in the adoption 
of both. 

After the adjournment of the Convention, he proceeded 
to Philadelphia, to attend the meeting of the General Assem- 
bly , which was about to be held in that city ; (passing, by 
the way, through Princeton, where he was happy to find 
his friend. Dr. Alexander, now residing as a professor in the 
Theological Seminary, which had been established in that 
place,) and after attending the sessions of the body, and 
preaching several times in different churches, with good accep- 
tance, he returned liome^ with new life and spirits, to his charge. 

On the 14th of September following, he issued the first 
number of the second volume of the Christian Monitor, 
which had been suspended at the close of the first, on the 29th 
of June preceding, and which was now to be published in a 
new and improved style; coming out once a fortnight in 
two sheets of sixteen pages octavo, and, at the same time, 
assuming rather more of a literary cast. 


Richmondy ^prilSth, 1817. 
Mt Dear Friend, 

I thank you for your last and all your former communi- 
cations. I have been a poor correspondent this winter. 
My wife has been sick all the time, (as the Yankees say,) 
my servants too— one of them very ill, and my time has 
been exceedingly occupied ; so that my friends in all direc- 
tions have had some reason to wonder at my silence, 

I was much pleased with your scheme of a Magazine; 
the more so, because it coincided pretty exactly with one 

. I 


of my own. Our brethrea are not so active in this bosi* 
ness as they should be. It is thought best not to com- 
mence the publication until the year of the Mcmitor shall 
expire, and it seems to be thought that there will be 
nothing to be done but at once to commence the publication 
of the Magazine, whereas subscriptions must be procured, 
contracts made for paper, &c. &;c., which will require con- 
siderable activity to bring out the work at the time contem- I 
plated. I wish that some more spirit could be infused into 
Presbyterians in tliis state. We are getting very languid. 
The excitement which appeared to have been raised at 
Synod, I fear has subsided. 

I get very little help for the Monitor. I wish that you 
would employ your leisure in writing something for it. 

I write in very great haste, and can only add messages of 
affection, which I wish you to deliver from Mrs. Rice and 

myself, to Sister Louisa, Mrs. R , and all Norfolk 


Peace be with you all. 

Your assured friend, 

John H. Rick. 


Richmond, August IG^A, 1817. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

It would be, I think, a very great advantage to the in- 
terests of religion, if we could procure a suitable missionary 
to itinerate for six or eight months, or a year, within the 
bounds of the Presbytery of Hanover. If such a one as 
you could with confidence recommend, would come on, a 
few of us would guarrantee the payment of a salary equal 
to that allowed by the General Assembly's Board of Mis- 
sions. We wish a man who has the missionary cause much 
at heart, and who would exert himself to form Missionary 
Associations wherever this could be done. I believe that 


BHich might at ibis time be effected for the cause of the 
destitute in our own country, and more for the benefit of the 
Foreign Missionary Society, recendy established in New 
York. I believe this principally because of the deep in- 
terest which is taken in the affairs of South America by the 
people in our region. Any measure that would promise to 
emancipate the people of that country from the slavery of 
superstition and Popish jugglery, would take greatly among 
us. There are several other important matters which a 
missionary officiating as we wish might attend to. I pray 
you endeavour to send us one of the right stamp. Be so 
good as to let me know as soon as you can, whether you 
can point out one who would suit this climate. In the 
winter we would place him at Portsmouth, or in some 
other town, and give him quite labour enough as a sta- 
tionary preacher; and during the rest of the year he might 
ride partly in the lowlands, and, as the sickly season 
should advance, up the country among the mountains. We 
have this scheme very greatly at heart, and look to you 
for aid. 

Things in Richmond go on very much in the <dd way. 
We of this house love you and yours as much as ever. 
My brother is with me. He is very well. Sister Martha 
and the child are gone to Rockbridge. 

Every bussing on you and yours. 

As ever, 

JoHK H. Rice. 


Sichmand, Bee. dUt, 1817. 
My Dear Sir, 

I suppose you have heard before this of a scheme which 
we have in view of publishing a monthly magazine. I have 
intended all along to send you a prospectus, and endeavour 
to lay your talents under contribution. Why I have not 
before now made this communication, I can hardly tell: 


only every hour of mine has its full employment. I am very 
desirous that our work should be respectable ; and more so 
that it should be useful, t wish to make it a fair represen- 
tative of the principles, talents, and piety of the Presbyterian 
church in this country. Now, will not you, a native of Vir- 
ginia, with all the feelings of a Virginian warm in your 
bosom, afford us your assistance? If you will write a piece 
once a month, and send it on by mail, if private opportuni- 
ties fail, I will very willingly pay the postage, and be much 
obliged to you for your labour, as will be many a Virginian 
besides. I hope then that you will not refuse this request. 

I understand that the Episcopal brethren are greatly 
alarmed at the prospect of our magazine. However that 
may be, we have no intention of kindling the flame of con- 
troversy. We think that we may tell what Presbyterians 
believe, and why they believe it, without attacking others. 
And this is all that we propose, as far as our work shall be 
peculiarly Presbyterian. This is hardly the era for religious 
controversy. The Bible is to be the rallying word for all 
christians, and he who does most to turn the attention of the 
people of God from the petty matters which separate true 
disciples, to the great work of promoting the kingdom of our 
Lord, is most properly employed. 

Mrs. Rice joins in most affectionate remembrance of Mrs. 
Alexander and the children, with yours assuredly. 

John H. Rice. 

Will you try to enlist the zeal and talents of Dr. Miller in 
our behalf? We want the aid of his historical knowledge. 
All that we can find concerning the rise and progress- of the 
Presbyterian church in the country, will furnish very accepta- 
ble matter for the Magazine." 

On the first of January of the following year, (1818,) or 
shortly afterwards, he issued the first number of his pro- 
posed periodical, entitled tlie Virginia Evangelical and Lite- 
rary Magazine, in a handsome pamphlet of forty-eight pages 


octavo, to be continued every month ; a work to which we 
shall find him devoting a large portion of his time and atten- 
tion for some years to come ; and by which he fondly hoped 
that he should render the most important services to the 
cause of religion, and letters, and all that was good, in his 
native state, and in the country at large. The design of it, 
indeed, as stated in his ** Introduction," is certainly every 
way and altogether as fair and liberal as could have been 

«< The title of our Magazine," says he, <* has been adopt- 
ed as significative of our purposes and feeUngs. Disclaim- 
ing as we do, all^ local prejudices, and acknowledging the 
United States as our country, we confess that we take a pe- 
culiarly lively interest in the prosperity and welfare of that 
section in which we were bom and educated ; and therefore 
we have prefixed the name Virginia to the general terms 
which characterize the nature oi our work. 

<< Religion is, in our estimation, a subject of pre-eminent 
and inexpressible importance. We regard it as connected 
with our personal and most private interests, our domestic 
enjoyments, the peace of society, the permanence of our 
happy institutions, and the everlasting welfare of our fellow 
men ; and we therefore feel ourselves bound by every obliga- 
tion, to promote it to the utmost of our power." 

** The term religion, however," he observes, ** has been 
applied to the worship of calves and crocodiles, to the 
mythological fictions of Greece and Rome, to the brutal and 
fiendlike service of Juggernaut, to the bloody superstitions 
of Mahomet, to the pompous ritual of the Roman Catholics, 
and to the simple and unadorned observances of the various 
classes of Protestants. Hence it is obvious that a word more 
undefined and vague in its signification could hardly be used. 
Of course, we have chosen to express ourselves by a term of 
much less latitude. Our Magazine, therefore, as respects 
religion, is to be Evangdicai; a term which, (in present 



usage) designates a peculiar class of sentiments, and system 
of doctrines, derived from the holy scriptares, in opposition 
to other systems which are professedly supported by the 
same authority. Of this system the principal articles are, 
1. The total depravity of man. 2. The necessity of regenera- 
tion by the Holy Spirit B. Justification by faith alone, and 
4.^ The necessity of holiness as a qualification for happi- 
ness.'* He proceeds to state that in maintaining these doc- 
trines, his expositions of them would necessarily be modi- 
fied by his peculiar views as a christian and a Presbyte- 
rian, calling no man master upon earth, and bowing to no au^ 
thority but that of God. These, however, were hapjuly of the 
most liberal order ; for the standards of the church to which 
he belonged expressly recognised all christians of all de- 
nominations who held the fundamental articles of the chris- 
tian faith, as members of the same church of Christ. Then 
as to the subjects of difiference which might be introduced 
into such a work, no apprehension need be felt of any polem- 
ical or sectarian spirit. ** What is called religious contro- 
versy," says he, " has had an effect so disastrous^ that we 
need not be surprised when the lovers of peace protest 
against it. We hold it in abhorrence; yet we love amicable 
discussion. It is an important means of arriving at the 
truth ; and among christians is admirably calculated to pro- 
mote forbearance and charity." 

*' In conducting the Literary department of our Journal,'* 
our editor continues, ** we shall allow ourselves very great 
latitude. We have adopted this general term indeed because 
no better occurred ; but the truth is, we intend that our Maga- 
zine shall occasionally serve as a vehicle of valuable essays 
on Agriculture, Inland Navigation, the construction of Koads, 
the great concern of Schools, and whatever our correspon- 
dence will furnish for the promotion of Internal Improye- 
ment. We believe that the enterprising people of this coun- 
try only want information on this subject, to stir them up to 
a degree of zeal and activity which has never yet been wit- 

DOCTOR Rica. 135 

nessed among us. In this yiew, we not only freely offi^r onr 
pages for communications of this kind, but we earnestly en* 
treat those who possess knowledge to impart it for the benefit 
of their country. Our limits are circumscribed. We are« 
how^ever, not without hope that we shall be enabled to ex- 
tend them, and thus afford an opportunity to the pious and 
enlightened, the theologian, the philosopher, the economist, 
aad the man of letters, to diffuse useful knowledge among 
his fellow citizens." 

<< And may the Great Head of the Church bless these 
humble efforts, for the promotion of his glory, and the best 
interests of our fellow men.*' 

Such was the idea of the periodical now presented to the 
public, a little too broad perhaps in its plan, but altogether 
pure and admirable in its spirit. The first number contained 
several valuable articles, as No. 1. of Essays on Divinity, by 
Dr. Hoge, Reflections on the New Year, by Dr. Mathews, 
No. 1. of Short Discourses for famihes, by the Rev. Mr. 
Lyle of Prince Edward/ a Review of Mr. Wirt's Life of 
Patrick Henry, and some others ; with several columns of 
religious and miscellaneous intelligence ; and was well re* 
eeived by the public, who regarded it as the first sample* 
of a very promising work. 


Richmond^ January 19/^, 1818. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

The box of books of which the inclosed is a bill, has been 
lying at Higginbotham and Barrett's almost ever since I last 
wrote you. I was very much surprised the other day to find 
that you had not received, them. I can only say that the 
selection is as good a one as I could make ; and the terms 
are such as I hope you will approve. It would give me 
▼ery great pleasure to serve you in any way. I am very 


florry too that a number of untoward circumstances has so 
disappointed you in this business. 

With respect to my Magazine, I have heard from various 
sources that it has been condemned without a hearing. I 
really do not know how people have acquired the faculty of 
searching my heart, and seeing so long beforehand how I 
mean to conduct this work. If any one, instead of deciding 
in this way, wishes to know, I am very ready to inform. 
You may then say from me, that it is our purpose, (for I can 
speak of all who have any concern in this matter,) to discuss 
religious subjects in a way which will, it is hoped, promote 
knowledge and piety among the people. This is our object 
If by controversy is to be understood attacks against other 
denominations, it is denied that we have any such intention. 
The Presbyterians (and they stand alone in this thing,) ac- 
knowledge in their Constitution other christians as brethren; 
and for nearly eighty years that they have been inVirginia, they 
have had no controversy with any people. But if it be called 
controversy to atcite to the world what we believe, and why 
we believe sOj then the name must be given to our work. 
But surely this is doing no harm. It is exercising a right 
which we with all our hearts allow to others, and wish them 
to exercise. Discussion of religious truth in an amicable 
way, and with a charitable frame of spirit towards those who 
differ ^rom us, and in language affectionate and respectful, is 
not to be called controversy : and therefore we cast off the 
imputation. Besides, when we touch upon subjects on 
which christians differ, it will be one great object to show that, 
notwithstanding this difference, they may and ought to live 
in fellowship and communion with each other. After all, 
the principal part of our work, as far as respects religion, wilt 
treat of those subjects on which there is a professed agree- 
ment among all evangelical churches. We shall, besides 
the religious department, in every number devote several 
pages to the interests of general knowledge, and internal im- 
provement ; and thus endeavour by all means to be useful. 


With much love to Mm. Kelly* in whieh Mrs. Rice hetr* 

Dear Sirt yonn traly, 

John H. Ricb. 


Biehmond, Jipril 2Qth, 1818. 
Mt Dear Sir* 

Surely some fatality has attended the books which I have 
purchased for you. I trust, however, that you will at 
length receive them ; and it is my prayer that they may be 
abundantly blessed to yo«r edification and spiritual advan- 

I was surprised to learn by Mr. Wheeler, that you had 
sent the names of nearly a dozen subscribers to the Maga- 
zine, when I have not received any except yours and Mrs. 
Gilmer's. My great object in this business, which is one 
o£ very great trouble and labour, is, if I do not deceive 
myself, to do good. I trust it is apparent, that although it 
is a Presbyterian work, it is not conducted with a sectarian 
spirit. Indeed, a history of the Presbyterian church in 
Virginia will serve to show that such a temper does not 
exist in that body. We have been in the state upwards of 
seventy years, and have never yet canied on a controversy; 
have never attacked any other society. And this, surely, 
not because we were afraid of others; for such men as 
Davies, Waddell, the Smiths, Graham, Alexander, and 
Speece, need not shrink from a contest in argument with 
men of any other society. The true reason, I am bold to 
say, is because the temper of the church is peaceful and 
liberal. We acknowledge others who do not differ in 
fundamental points, to be brethren ; we are ready to receive 
them, and commune with them as such. And as for the 
particular society to which any one may choose to attach 
himself, we recommend careful examination, and then a 

choice, under the solemn conviction of one^s own mind. 



I never knew a Presbyterian minister ask, much less try to 
persuade, an individual to be a Presbyterian, in my life. 
Not because we are not fully persuaded in our own minds ; 
but because the spirit of hunting proselytes is, in our judg- 
ment, unworthy of a christian minister, and incompatible 
with the peace of the Church. 

I did not expect to have written so much on this subject, 
but I am desirous that our principles should be fully under- 
stood. We wish every person to take that way to heaven 
which he can travel with most comfort, and in which he can 
make best progress in holiness ; for after all there is but one 
way, one church, one Saviour. Peace be to all that call on 
the Lord Jesus Chmif ^^ both tJteir Lord and ours" says 
the Apostle Paul. This is the true christian spirit— God 
make it universal ! Peace be to you and your household-— 
and the peace of Jesus our Lord be multiplied to you and al] 
yours ! Mrs. Rice joins in all this with your friend in Christ, 

John H. Rice« 


Richmondy May I4th, 1818. 
My Deah Friend, 

I am glad that your books have at last been received. I 
am sure that they are valuable, because I have read them. 
Some that you mentioned in your list were not to be had at 
that time. I took the liberty of putting others in their place, 
which I though^t would assist you in your search after truth ; 
and, by the divine blessing, serve as guides in the way to 

l^ithout the divine blessing, I know that no means will 
prove effectual; and therefore I pray that God's holy influ- 
ence may accompany the perusal of these books by yourself, 
and your family; so tliat all may be profited* and made wise 
unto salvation. The great concern of all is first to get reli* 
gion; and then to improve in it; or, to use apostolical laa* 


gaage. to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of oar Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ. May this be the happy lot of you« 
and me, and all that are ours ! 

I thank you for your interest in the Magazine. It needs 
the prayers of all who love the truth as it is in Jesus. Pray 
that it may be useful in promoting truth and piety. This is 
its great object; may it be obtained. Excuse the hurry in 
which I write ; and accept for yourself and family the best 
Irishes of Mrs. Rice, and your friend in Jesus, 

Jno. H. Rick. 


Richmond^ September 3(f, 1818. 
Mt Deab Sir, 

"We shall be very happy to see Mr. Post, and will give him 
all the support in our power. I wish that you could send 
us several missionaries more. We do most grievously want 

I have just seen J B , from St. Louis. Mrs. 

Rice got a letter from Mrs, T , by him. We are 

thus pretty fully informed of the state of things in that 
rising territory. They have had one or two preachers at 
St. Louis, who did not suit that place. One shows a dis- 
position to speculate, another wants talents, and so on. 
B says that the interests of religion imperiously re- 
quire a man of talents, and fervent piety there. A man of 
this description, who would show no worldly spirit, but 
give himself wholly to the work of the ministry, would be 
handsomely supported. 

I perfectly agree with you on the subject of local feel- 
ing ; but the ardour of my attachment to Virginia does not 
lessen my interest for the cause of religion in any other 
place. I often pray God to bless the Seminary at Prince- 
ton; and that , at Andover; sus well as our little affair at 
Hampden Sydney. 


I am very desirous to draw up a memoir of Mr. Davies 
for the Magazine. The meagre notices that have been pub- 
lished of him, are no credit to their authors, or the society 
of which he was an ornament. I have got hold of some 
documents, and have thought that it was not yet too late to 
afford a better portrait of him than has ever yet been given. 
Can you lend me any aid ? Perhaps there are some docu- 
ments about Princeton. Ask Dr. Miller if he can help me 
to any thing.' 


The new labour of writing and preparing matter for the 
Magazine, added to his other duties, now kept him pretty 
closely confined to the city for some months. He still 
found time, however, and made it a point of conscience, to 
attend the judicatories of the church, wherever they might 
be held ; and in going and returning on these occasions, he 
would usually embrace, or make opportunities of preaching 
by the way; calling, too, most commonly, at the houses 
of some of his friends on the road, where the neigh- 
bours, or perhaps a company of acquaintances going on to 
the meetings, would be assembled, to hear the words which 
he would now speak to them, and in strains of earnest and 
affectionate exhortation that could hardly be excelled. Ac- 
cordingly, in the following fall, we find him leaving Rich- 
mond to attend the meetings of the Presbytery and Synod, 
which were about to be held successively in Lynchburg and 
Staunton; and, thinking now of his Magazine which was 
always in his mind, he kept a little journal of his tour, 
which he afterwards wrote out into what he called, '< An 
Excursion into the Country ;" and published, on his return, 
in that work. We should be glad to give our readers the 
whole of this piece, which contains some very pleasing 
sketches of men and things, interspersed with many valu- 
able reflections, and is highly characteristic ; but it is rather 
too long to be inserted entire, and we can only indulge 
ourselves in quoting the part which follows. 


'< On the 7th of October, I arrived in the town of Lynch- 
burg, after an absence from it of nearly three years. I 
was astonished at the changes which, during this period, 
had been made. New streets opened, new buildings 
erected, bustle and activity in every direction, showed it to 
be a place of considerable and growing importance. The 
husineaa part of the town lies at the foot of a hill, along the 
margin gI the river, quite convenient to the boat navigation ; 
and when the improvements now begun shall have been 
completed, it will be neat, agreeable, and sufficiently hand- 
some. At a little distance from the river, the ground is 
broken into hills, which afford various, pleasant, and almost 
picturesque prospects to the beholder. On these liills, 
quite decent houses for family residence are rising up with 
great rapidity. There are three very comfortable brick 
churches in Lynchburg. Whether the people are wise 
enough to attend worship regularly, in ordinary times, I 
had not the means to determine. All that I can say is, that 
two or three sermons were preached every day whilst I was 
there, and heard by great numbers. 

**The Presbytery of Hanover met in L3rnchburg, the day 
after my arrival. I think that I have never attended any ^ 
meeting with more pleasure. Perfect harmony reigned in 
the whole body: the same spirit seemed to be breathed 
into every member; and even when differences of opinion 
arose, those men seemed to differ with much more cor- 
diality and kindness than are manifested in the agreement 
of many. 

** An aged clergyman, who attended the meeting, particu- 
larly engaged my attention, and, I may say, even fascinated 
me. He had, in his manner, nothing austere nor reserved; 
but seemed accessible and communicative to every one. 
All stiffness and etiquette, all doctorial dignity, are per- 
fectly foreign to his nature and habits. Every thing about 
him is plain, simple, and unaffected. The tones of his 
voice are more expressive of cordiality and perfect good 


willy than any that I have ever heard. His eye expresses 
the deepest tenderness. The whole cast of his counte- 
nance indicates strong intelligence. His perceptions are 
quick and clear, and his imagination ever ready to kindle 
into a blaze. It is impossible to hear him speak without 
being convinced of his absolute sincerity. His style is 
like himself, perfecdy plain and unadorned. He never 
uses any but common words, put together in their most 
natural order, and in sentences usually very short But as 
these words express the conceptions of a strong, original 
thinker, and the feelings of a most affectionate and tender 
heart, they seize and enchain the attention, and subdue the 
hearts of his hearers. His preaching is in the tone, and style, 
and whole manner of animated conversation, except when 
occasionally he is borne away by his feelings, and speaks 
too loud for his own ease, or the comfort of his audience. 
In fact, this is the only thing that I could censure in his 
manner of speaking. On the whole, he comes near, in 
many respects, to my idea of an orator. And he has con* 
vinced me, over again, that simplicity is one of the highest 
attributes of true eloquence. Involved sentences, unusual 
expressions, the fragments of splendid metaphors broken 
and mixed together in dazzling confusion, are, since I 
have heard this venerable preacher, more disgusting than 

" From Lynchburg I took my departure, in excellent com- 
pany, for Staunton, anticipating a pleasant ride over the 
Blue Ridge. But very soon the clouds began to gather 
and sink down on the mountains; the rain descended in 
torrents, and roared down the vallies. It is a remarkable 
fact, that when one has the prospect of a comfortable house, 
a blazing ingle^ and a good bed at the end of a day's 
journey, such weather, instead of producing despondency, 
has the direct contrary effect. There were five or six in 
company, more than half of them ladies, and yet I have 
never seen people more cheerful. By the way, however, 


I would never advise a traveUer, who has ladUt in eoniF 
pony, to attempt RobimorCs Gcp, unleM he haa tune to get 
clear of the mountains before night; or can make up hia 
mind to encamp in the woods. If he is alone, or accom- 
panied onljr by two-legged, unfeathered bipeds like him- 
self, he need apprehend a want of nothing that kindness and 
hospitality can afford* But veHmm sat. 

« There is something awfully solemn and sublime among 
the mountains in a stormy day. The roar of the winds, and 
the deafening clamour of the mountain torrents ; the dark 
clouds which roll down the lofty precipices and suddenly 
involve the traveUer in a night of mist, and then, struck by 
the wind, flit away ; the sun^mits of the mountains, one while 
shrouded in darkness as though the spirits of the slorm were 
there holding their secret councils, or celebrating orgies not 
to be seen by mortal eyes, and then by some sudden gust 
laid bare, with their naked crags fipownmg above you ; the 
whole field of vision sometimes limited to a circle of a few 
paces in diameter, and then opened so as to include vallies 
dressed in gay livery, and farms under every variety of 
aspect ; one while the descent into a little vale, rendered 
gloomy by the overshadowing pine and chesnut, and present- 
ly a steep ascent, from the top of which one has, through 
the opening clouds, a glimpse of a pure blue sky and of a 
radiant sun, reminding him of the transient views which 
good men, in this vale of tears, have of the heavenly country 
to which they are journeying — ^all these objects passing in 
rapid succession, and presenting as they glide before the 
eyes the most lofty ideas, make the whole scene most per- 
fecUy interesting and impressive. The wild grandeur of the 
scenery, the majestic forms of nature, and even the elemental 
war which rages around, dilate the conception, and enkin- 
dle the heart of the traveller. He almost identifies himself 
with the objects about him, and seems to partake of the attri-- 
butes with which fliey are invested. If he is imbued with 
the spirit of fervent piety, he associates with these scenes 



ideas of God his mighty maker, hears his voice in the storm, 
sees his chariots in the rolling clouds^ regards the mighty 
winds as his messengers, and though drenched in rain, and 
fatigued with lahour, finds his heart burning within him; and 
pauses, that on this great altar of nature, he may adore Him 
who holds the winds in his fist, who has weighed the moun- 
tains with scales, and the hills in a balance-^— who sitteth on 
the circle of the heavens, and sways his sceptre over all. 

** Having passed the mountains in safety, though not with- 
out much labour, aud finding no public house where we 
could be accommodated, we were constrained to try the hos- 
pitality of a private family, and had no reason to be sorry 
for the necessity. The household consisted of a father, 
mother, eight or ten children, and three or four domestics. 
It was not easy to divine how they made out to pack them- 
selves in the little house which they occupied — yet every 
thing afibrded to us was in excellent plain style ; we were 
entertained with a cordiality which would have commended 
much coarser fare, and were stowed away most comfortably 
for the night. It was really curious and amusing to observe 
the tokens of household industry, and of attention to mental 
improvement, exhibited here. In one place you might see 
a large map suspended on the wall, and next to it a propor- 
tionally large bundle of hanks of yam; here a bookcase 
pretty well stored with useful books, and there a pile of 
counterpanes and bed-quilts ; and the frame of a fine print 
of a distinguished American hero, served to hold up skeins 
of thread, or bunches of quills. Now, however this curi- 
ous intermixture might be regarded by some, the tout ensefnr 
hie was altogether pleasant to me, because associated with 
the ideas of industry, or economy, simplicity of taste and 
feeling, and of that regard to the culture of the mind which 
ought to characterize, and which ennobles a Virginia farmer. 
" From the family where we were so comfortably enter- 
tained, and which we regarded as a very favourable specimen 
of the Gohees, we pursued our way, to the south of Lexing- 


ton, down the delightful valley, lying hetween the north and 
south mountains. This whole country, consisting erery 
where of small hills, and narrow vales, possessing a tempe- 
rate climate, and a very fertile soil, abounding in copious 
springs, and bold rivulets, affords the finest field for the hand 
of taste that is opened any where in Virginia. Scarcely a 
tract of land can be found so small, that it does not afiToid a 
beautiful eminence for the site of a house, a fine southern 
slope for a garden, and a brook of water as pure as the dew 
of heaven. A neat, white, cottage-built house, surrounded 
with green trees, would present a lovely prospect to half a 
dozen different plantations, and would command one equally 
extensive. At present almost every house is placed near 
the spring, be that where it may. And sometimes the 
position is curious enough. In addition to diis, it is remark- 
able that very few families pay any considerable attention 
to gardening. Yet such is the kindly nature of the soil ; so 
well is it adapted to the produce of vegetables, and many of 
the most valuable fruits, that industry directed in this way 
would meet with a most ample reward, 

** It is gratifying, however, to be able to say, that the people 
in the valley afford many clear indications that the spirit of 
improvement is among them. That activity and economy 
for which they have long deserved and received commenda- 
tion, are producing their proper fruits. Wealth is flowing 
into the valley. Agriculture is improving. A love of read- 
ing increases ; and every thing indicates that the people will, 
in time, use the facilities afforded by nature, and make their 
country as delightful as the simple taste of a republican can 
desire it to be. The realizing of these hopes however pre- 
supposes one thing, namely, that the present inhabitants, 
contented with their happy situation, will remain where they 
are. The spirit of emigration may make sad havoc of my 
speculations. They who are now doing well may wish to 
do better, tluU w, suddenly to grow rich; and may sell their 
f leasant farms to Dutch emigrants, who with their descend- 



ants for anotlier century will probably build their dwelling 
houses next door to the spring house. 

" The record of the incidents of this day (14 Oct.) pre- 
sents something like a map of human life. In the morning 
we were gay and cheerful, amusing ourselves with remarks 
on the country, or the comparative genius and habits of our 
countrymen, and a thousand things, just as the thoughts of 
them occurred, anticipating a joyful meeting in the evening 
with some well tried, faithful, and beloved friends ; when 
suddenly, as the flash of lightning breaks from a cloud, we 
were informed of tbe almost instantaneous death of one of 
the choicest of these friends, and one of the most valuable of 
men, — the Rev. Samuel Brown. The road which we should 
travel, led by the house in which he was accustomed to 
preach ; and, on inquiring for it, we were asked if we were 
going to the funeral! Thus, as in a moment, was hope 
turned into deep despondency, and gladness, of heart exchang- 
ed for the bitterness of sorrow. We journied on in mournful 
silence, interrupted by occasio'nal remarks, which showed 
our unwillingness to believe the truth of what had been an- 
nounced, and how reluctantly hope takes her flight from the 
human bosom. It might have been a fainting fit — an apo- 
plectic stroke, mistaken for the invasion of death ; and still 
he might be alive. The roads, however, trampled by mul- 
titudes of horses, all directed to the dwelling of our friend, 
soon dissipated these illusions of the pleasing deceiver, and 
convinced us of the sad reality. Still, however, when we 
arrived at tbe church, and saw the people assembling, and 
the pile of red clay (the sure indication of a newly opened 
grave) thrown up in the church-yard, it seemed as though 
we were then, for the first time, assured that Samuel 
Brown was dead. Only a few people had come together on 
our arrival. Some in small groups were conversing in a 
low tone of voice, interrupted by frequent and bitter sighs, 
and showing in strong terms how deeply they felt their lof?s. 
Others whose emotions were too powerful for conversation, 


Stood apart, and, leaning on the tombstones; looked like pie- 
tures of care. Presently the sound of the multitude was 
heard. They came on in great crowds. The elders of the 
church assisted in committing the body to the grave ; after 
which, a solemn silence interrupted only by smothered sobs, 
ensued for several minutes. The widow stood at tlie head 
of the grave surrotmded by her children, exhibiting signs of 
unutterable anguish, yet seeming to say, *^ It is the Lord, let 
him do what seemeth unto him good." After a little time, 
do a signal being given, some young men began to fill the 
grave. The first dods that fell on the coffin gave forth the 
most mournful, sound that I bad ever heard. At that moment 
of agony, the chorister of the congregation was asked to sing 
the familar hymn, *' When I can read my title clear," to a 
tune known to be a favourite of the deceased minister. The 
voice of die chorister faltered so that it required several 
efforts to raise the tune; the whole congregation attempted 
to join him ; but at first the sound was rather a scream of 
anguish than music. As they advanced, however, the pre- 
cious truths expressed in the words of the hymn seemed to 
enter into their souls. Their voices became more firm ; and 
while their eyes streamed with tears, their countenances 
were radiant with christian hope, and the singing of the last 
stanza, " There I shall bathe my weary soul," was like a 
shout of triumph. By the time that the hymn was finished 
the grave was closed, ana the congregation in solemn silence 
retired to their homes. 

" We lodged that night with one of the members of the 
church. The family seemed bereaved, as though the head 
of the household had just been buried. Every allusion to 
the event, too, brought forth a fiood of tears. I could not 
help exclaiming, *' Behold how they loved him !" And I 
thought the lamentations of fathers and mothers, of young 
men and maidens, over their departed Pastor, a more eloquent 
.and afifecting eulogium than oratory with all its pomp and 

148 KBBCOTB or 

pietensiolui could pronounce. After this, I shal^ not attempt a 
panegyric. Let those who wish to know the character of 
Samuel Brown, go and see the sod that covers his body, wet 
with the tears of his congregation. 

" On the 15th of October I arrived at Staunton. The Synod 
of Virginia met in that town on the same day. A Synod is 
a provincial council. According to the constitution of the 
Presbyterian church, this council meets annually, on its own 
adjournments ; and is composed of bishops or pastors, and 
ruling elders or presbyters. Formerly all the Presbyterians 
in. Virginia were embodied under the Presbytery of Hanover, 
of which the celebrated Davies was the founder. Now there 
is a Synod in the state made up of four Presbyteries, Han- 
over, Lexington, Winchester, and Abingdon. Since the first 
organization of this church in Virginia, it has produced a 
number of men who would have done honour to any society 
in Christendom. Davies has just been mentioned. To his 
name may be added those of Henry Patillo, Samuel S. Smith, 
John B. Smith, William Graham, and James Waddell, be- 
sides others of persons recently deceased, or now living. 

<< By far the most important business brought before the 
Synod was the subject of the Theological Seminary. This 
institution languishes not a litde for the want of funds, and 
is greatly embarrassed in its fiscal operations for want of a 
charter. As far as I could judge, some of the members of 
the Synod seem to despair almost of placing the Seminary 
on a respectable and permanent foundation ; and perhaps are 
disposed to throw the funds already raised, and all that may 
hereafter be collected, into the institution at Princeton. But 
the majority are determined that they won't " give up the 
ship." This determination, however, is not the result of 
blind obstinacy, but seems to be founded on the following 

" 1. Money enough for purposes of education has been 
flowing from Virginia into other states, without any addition ^ 
to the copious stream. 


" 2. It will be for the honour of Virginia to have in it, erect- 
ed and endowed by the liberality of some of its citizens, a 
Seminary in which an extensive and liberal Theological 
edacation can be obtained. 

" 3. Men educated 2mong ourselves are better suited to the 
habits of thinking and feeling which prevail here, and in the 
Southern country generally; and of course can minister to 
greater acceptance among the people. 

" I cannot but commend the perseverance of these men, 
and admit the validity of their . reasoning. Notwithstand- 
ing their embarrassments, they can hold all the money that 
they seem likely to procure in any very short time; and 
even with their scanty means they are doing great good, 
Let them persevere, and their object will finally be accom- 

" While in Staunton, I experienced the kindness of the 
people of that place, and had the pleasure of observing 
that they were in a great degree attentive to the preaching 
of the gospel by the members of the Synod. The Pres- 
byterians have a large and very decent house of worship in 
the town, in a state of considerable forwardness. If com- 
pleted in the style in which it is begun, it will do great 
credit to the public spirit of the citizens. 

** It is understood, that the meeting of Synod in Staunton 
was the occasion of exciting a pretty strong religious 
feeling among some at least of the people there. But what 
the result has been we have not yet heard. 

'< On taking our departure from the kind and agreeable 
friends in this place, we travelled by Waynesborough, 
over the mountain at Rock-fish Gap, and by Charlottesville. 

" So many have seen the prospect, which, in all its loveli- 
ness, breaks upon the eye of the traveller when on the 
highest declivity of the mountain at this Gap, that a descrip- 
tion of the scene is unnecessary. The writer of this has 
passed that way more than twenty times, but never witliout 
a pause to contemplate the beauties which here crowd on 



tha vision. There is nothing of that vildness of desola^ 
tion which seems to forbid the approach of man 9 but the 
mountains are clothed with verdure to the very top, while 
the vallies and plains give sure indications that the husband- 
man there rejoices in abundant harvests, and bears home 
the spolia opima of a patriotic farmer. 

'' The day after leaving Staunton, we passed the site of 
the Central College. It was not in my nature to go by, with- 
out pausing at a place marked out as the seat of the Univer- 
sity of Virginia; and, as I stood in front of the buildings already 
erected, my feelings dictated a soliloquy of the following 

^* This is a beautiful situation ! The prospect is indeed fine ! 
The plan of these buildings too, as far as it is developed, is 
judicious, and does credit to its author. The extent of the 
outline indicates the possession of considerable pecuniary 
resources. The public spirit of the friends of this institu- 
tion is more than idle talk. I^et them have the praise that 
they deserve. But the pnblie spirit of Virginia is aroused. 
Thanks to those who gave the impulse! And thanks 
to Uiose who established the literary fund! But this 
University is to be either a radiant point, from which 
will flow streams of genial light into all parts of our 
country; or it will glare on the land with baleful and malig- 
nant fires ; or, to change the figure, it will be either a foun- 
tain, of living waters diffusing health and vigour, or a 
poisoned spring spreading disease and death. Here virtue 
will exercise her gentle sway, or vice will erect her throne. 
Much will depend on the habits of students previously 
formed; on the domestic discipline to which they shall 
have been subjected ; and much on the internal organization 
and conduct of this institution. Will those who manage its 
interests have wisdom to consider, that mere knowledge is 
notsufllcient to make men good citizens? That one may 
possess the abilities of an angel, and be a fool ; may ex- 
plore every field of human science, and be a profligate! 


Sound principles and correct habito are unspeakably more 
important than genius and learning. What, then, will be the 
moral discipline of this national institution? Will its alcimni 
go out into life with passions inflamed by indulgence, 
and with hearts hardened and minds darkened by the pride 
of philosophy, falsely so called ; and thus be prepared to 
scatter around them arrows, firebrands, and death I Or will 
they, after years of laborious study, and willing subjec- 
tion to wise discipline, appear among their countrymen, 
modest, humble, unassuming, pure, benevolent, and, in a 
word, adorned with every virtue, as well as trained to all 
sound and solid learning? These are questions of vital 
importance. Verily, there is an awful responsibility resting 
on those to whom this great affair is entrusted. Should 
they commit any vital errors, they will entail a curse on 
their country which ages cannot remove. But should 
they act wisely, no words can adequately express the extent 
of the benefit which they will confer. 

But what will they do in relation to the delicate and im- 
portant subject of religion ? Will an attempt be made to 
exclude its influences ? This is impossible. Man can as 
soon pull the moon from its orbit, as alter the fundamental 
and original principles of his nature, as to free himself from 
the influences of religion in some form or other. And as 
so surely as the University of Virginia shall be established, 
it will, in a short time, assume a decided character in this 
respect — it will be either DeisticaU or Socinian, or Christian. 
It will be utterly in vain to attempt ihe conduct of it on 
general principles : because religion strongly seizes on the 
mind, and creates a most powerful interest in every bosom ; 
and powerful feelings will not deal in heartless generalities. 
These remarks are founded on experiment. They are sup- 
ported by an ample induction. Indeed there is not a literary 
institution of any note in the world that has not a decided 
character in reference to religion. The people of Virginia 
ought to know this ; and in the whole plan of their univer- 

M I 


sity have reference to the nature of man as a religious being. 
Should it finally be determined to exclude Christianity, the 
opinion will at once be fixed that the institution is infidel. 
Men according to their prejudices will affix to it different 
epithets. Some will call it the Socinian, others the Deisti- 
cal, or Atheistical University. Christians of various denomi* 
nations will loudly complain, that, although they are citizens 
possessing equal rights with others, and equally interested 
in this national school, their money is appropriated utterly 
contrary to their wishes. These complaints will give rise to 
recriminations. Warm controversies will be carried on; 
and, under the excitement produced by them, opposition iri" 
Mtitutions will be erected ; and the energies of the state, 
instead of being concentrated for the support of the Univer- 
sity, will be divided and expended on several subordinate 

" To prevent a result like this, is the object in publishing 
these thoughts. I am not prepared to say what course will 
be the best. But let the subject be discussed ; and the wis- 
dom of Virginia be put in requisition for the solution of this 
difficulty. The fundamental laws of the state respecting the 
freedom of religion are most excellent, most salutary. If 
an}'^ laws ever deserved to be like those of the Medes and 
Persians, unalterable, these are the laws. Let due honour 
be given to the Legislators who enacted them. All discus- 
sion, then, must proceed on the principle that this part of the 
constitution is not to be changed. At the same time, it ought 
to be assumed that religion, so embodied as to make it an 
efficient practical rule, is to be taught in our schools. The 
pjan humbly suggested is to allow Jews, Catholics, Protest- 
ants, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, any and all sects, 
if they shall choose to exercise the privilege, to endow pro- 
fessorships, and nominate their respective professors. Let 
it also be a statute of the University, that the students shall 
regularly attend divine worship; but in what form, should be 
left to the direction of parents ; or, in failure of this, to the 


choice of the students. In addition to this, the piofesson 
in every case, must be men of the utmost purity of moral 
principle, and strictness of moral conduct* A man who re- 
quires powerful stimulants to put him up to the best of his 
abilities is not to be admitted for an hour within the walls 
of the University. In fact none is to be allowed to hold a 
place, who does not practically adopt that wise maxim of the 
ancients. Maxima reverentia debetur puero,^* 


Richmond^ Januray lOM, 1819. 
Dear Friend, 

Your affectionate letter came to hand, and was greeted 
with a most hearty welcome. I thank you for all your 
kind expressions, and with true Virginian cordiality recip- 
rocate every good wish. 

I shall lose some two or three hundred subscribers to the 
Magazine at the close of this year, I expect, when all the 
returns are made by the agents ; and shall probably not get as 
many new subscribers in their places. But I do not despair. 
I shall need all the aid that you can afford ; for some of our 
brethren on whom I depended much, seem to be getting 
remiss. But this does not dishearten me. 

While some complain, I receive very solid testimonials 
from men whose judgment is well worth regarding; and I 
hope to be able to make the ensuing volume more creditable, 
every way, than the first. I have bought a little fount of 
Hebrew and Greek type, and hope to show the world that 
we are able to give them a little that is uncontaminated 
from these springs. 

I want you here in Richmond most egregriously. I have 
purchased a printing press ; and have formed a little com- 
pany for carrying on the machine. The capital neces- 
sary to commence is divided into eighteen shares of one 
hundred dollars. The press, with all its fixtures of type, 


eases, book-press, &c. Sic.f cost fifteen hundred dollars. I 
have gotten seventeen shares of the stock subscribed : I tak- 
ing five. There is the best job office in Virginia attached to 
&e affair; and it is calculated that this will yeld a product 
of nearly thirty dollars per week. The Magazine will pay 
sixty dollars per month. And these two items will pay ex- 
penses, supposing we employ four hands. But four hands 
will be able to do just twice as much as the work stated. 
I shall employ them then in printing good things to be cir- 
culated through the country, and sold to the best advantage. 
The object is to promote learning and religion. What 
would you think of the republication of Smith's History of 
Virginia ? 

But my favourite plan is to publish a pamphleteer. 
Any important pamphlet may come into the series. But at 
present I wish several numbers thrown into circulation, cal- 
culated to answer these three questions : why are you a 
Christian? — why are you a Protestant? — why are you a' 
Presbyterian? The pieces should touch the Deistical, 
Catholic, Socinian, Baptist, Arminian, and Episcopal contro- 
versies ; but all in the genteelest, and most brotherly style. 
Pray let me know how you like my scheme. I am per- 
suaded that a critical time in our state is approaching. 
Religion is to triumph before long, or the pestilence of 
Socinianism is to blast us. I cannot rest in peace unless I 
am trying to do good to my utmost. 

Now is the time to make a push. The friends of the 
University are alarmed. They fear a defeat; and dread 
Presbyterians most of all. I have seized the crisis ; gone 
in among the Monticello-men, and assured them that we 
are so far from opposition that we rejoice that the state is 
about to support learning in a style worthy of Virginia; 
that so far from being opposed, we are ready to give all our 
aid in the establishment, support, and proper management 
of such an institution ; and that for locality, we care nothing 


about that, or at least very little. All that we want is a 
good University. 

My representations have had very considerable effect; 
and I hope that in all parts of the state the brethren will 
support me. We shall thus gain influence; and if we 
know how to use it, may make ourselves to be felt in the 
University, and through all its departments. 1 wish you 
were here. 

Your assured friend* 

John H, Rick. 


Richmond^ Jan. Wth^ 1819. 
My Beloved Friend, 

I am more embarrassed than usual in attempting to write 
to you. I knew so well the worth of him whom God hath 
~ removed, and so fully appreciate the loss, that my mind is 
borne down ; and I do not know what to express, but lamenta- 
tions and sorrow. Mr. Smith was one of my best and dear- 
est friends. I know well the purity of his motives, and the 
integrity of his heart. He was as a brother to me ; as such I 
loved him ; and his memory will ever be cherished by me 
with the warmest affection. I, too, am bereaved by this dis- 
pensation ; and I feel it. I have lost a friend whose place 
can never be filled. 

But I do not murmur — No ! it is the Lord. He gave, and 
he hath taken away ; and it is all in itiQinite wisdom and 
goodness. I can have no doubt as to the place to which my 
departed friend is gone. If ever I knew a christian, he was 
one. Not a wordy professor; but a practical believer — 
not a man of high flights, and rapturous feelings ; but one 
who in public and private acted on religious principle ; who 
made his light shine around him, arid before the world 
adorned his profession. Knowing as 1 knew him, the gos- 
pel does not allow me to doubt respecting his future condi- 


tion. And I am ready at all times to apply to him the words 
of the poet, 

• ** His upward flight Philander took, 

If ever soul ascended."- 

Yes — he now rests with God, and heholds his face in peace. 
He has gone to join those who went hefore him, and to inhe- 
rit the promises. There is comfort in this. Indeed it is a 
great consolation. But that meekness, and gentleness, and 
conscientiousness, and charity, and faith, which assure us 
of his happiness, serve too to enhance our sorrow, and em- 
hitter his loss. Such is our condition in this world. Our 
joys are mixed with fears, and our very consolations suggest 
reasons for sorrow. This is the case with every thing 
earthly. No object, nor being in the universe, can afford 
unmingled good but God. He is all perfect, and knows no 
shadow of change. Hence, tlie wisdom of habitually look- 
ing to him, and referring every thing to his wilj. " Even 
so. Father, for it seemed good in thy sight/' We know that 
what God does, is wisest and best in all things. It is his 
will that my friend should be taken away ; that you and 
your children should be bereaved and destitute. We know 
this because the afflictive event has taken place. To His 
will we are bound to submit. But that we in our weakness 
may be the better able to render this submission, various 
most condescending and gracious declarations are made in 
Scripture ; and made in the kindest and most appropriate 
manner. For instance, ** I will be a father to the fatherless, 
and a husband to the widow." — ** Sorrow not as those who 
have no hope ; for if we believe that Jesus died and rose 
again, even so them also that sleep in Jesus will God bring 
with him." — "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and 
scourgetli every son whom he receiveth ; and this for our 
profit that we may be made partakers of his holiness." — " All 
things shall work together for good to them that love God." — 
*• I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." See the appro- 


priateness of these promises ; their adaptatioii to the feelingfs 
of distress that alternately have sway in the bosom of the 
afflicted. So you feel forsaken and destitute ; and is this 
feeling rendered more pungent every time you look on your 
children ? God is your husband $ and their father. Are 
you borne down by the thought that he whom you so long 
loved, and with whom you so often took sweet counsel, is 
now removed from your sight? He sleeps in Jesus, and 
God watcheth over his dust ; and he will bid it rise invested 
with the glories of immortality; and you shall see him 
again. Do you sometimes almost sink under the idea, ** Thiff 
affliction has come because 1 was unworthy to enjoy such 
a blessing any longer; and the Lord in righteous judgment 
has bereaved me." Remember that God thus dealeth with 
you as a child ; that this is for your profit. (See Heb. xii. 
1 — 1 2.) Are you ready in deep despondency to say, ** Now 
I and mj children are ruined.*' God says that these afflic- 
tions shall work for your good ; shall *' work out for you a 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Do you 
look forward to the new duties imposed on you ; to the new 
labours that you have to undergo ; to the new trials that you 
must sustain ; and, conscious of your weakness, do you say, 
<* I shall never be able to sustain all this." Think of the 
promise of God, " As thy day is, so shall thy strength be;'* 
and, " I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." What won- 
derful knowledge of the exercises of our afflicted hearts, 
seems to be in the Scriptures ! How graciously are they 
adapted to our condition ! How accommodated to our weak- 
ness ! How suited to give us consolation ! 

There is another view which it is important that we should 
take. Every condition in life has its duties. The active 
discharge of duties is as necessary for our present peace, as 
for our future felicity. One of the divine promises, is, to 
communicate new vigour to tlie sick, debilitated, and borne 
down by affliction ; that they may be better prepared for the 

discharge of duty. A person, then, who in affliction, looks 



to God, and relies on him for grace to fulfil daty, is the only 
person who has a Tigh1^to expect that the promises will he 
fulfilled ; because it is to such alone that they are made. If 
at any time we are so placed, that our only duty is to bear 
suffering with patient submission, then in doing that we 
may expect God to be with us. But when active service, 
as well as submissive endurance, is required, then our daily 
endeavour must be to do as much as we can, as well as suffer 
as patiently as we can. I offer these remarks, because they 
have an important bearing on your present state, and because 
I know the pain produced by making efforts when we are 
deeply afflicted. 

I greatly regret that I was not with you in your time of 
affliction. The accounts received by us were not such as to 
induce apprehension of any immediate danger. Had I known 
the truth of the case, I would have broken through every 
other engagement ; and had at least one more interview with 
my much-loved, well-tried, and faithful friend. 

We intend as soon as possible to visit you. At the same 
time, we pray you to believe that we love you with increased 
affection, and feel a double interest in all that concerns you 
and your children. May~the God of all grace and consola- 
tion, be with you to keep and sustain you, to guide you in 
all your ways, and uphold you in all future trials, — ^and at 
last, may you join those who have gone before you, and who 
now inherit the promises. 

Give my best love to dear Mary, and the other children. 
May the God of their father be their God and guide ! 

Nancy joins me in all that I say and feel in relation to you 
and yours, as well as in the renewed declaration of the in- 
creasing affection of ever most tnily yours. 

John II. Rice. 



Richmond^ Feb. 4th, 1819. 
My Dear Sir, 

I have lately received two or three circulars respecting an 
" Edncation Society for the Presbyterian Church," which 
have given me much uneasiness. I perceive that there is a 
division on this subject, and fear that it will lead to unhappy 
results. I should be very glad to hear a candid and impar- 
tial statement of the affair, and to hear it soon, for I perceive 
that much industry is employed in attempting at least to 
secure partizans. One thing is certain, that we of Virginia 
will cleave to the General Assembly to the very last. For 
we regard that body as the great bond of union in our church. 
Another thing too is certain. Although we have been en- 
deavouring, and still are in a feeble way endeavouring to x 
build up a Theological Seminary for the South ; we are not 
indifferent to the success of Princeton. On the contrary, in 
any collision of interest between that and another , we shall 
cleave to Princeton with all our hearts, and afford support to 
the extent of our abilitieB. This is my feeling most de- 

It gives me pleasure to inform you that Mr. Post is pro- 
ducing a great sensation in the part of the country where he 
labours. He is much admired by the most enlightened peo- 
ple. I received a letter not long ago from Gen. C , in 

"which he mentioned that having heard him once, he rode 
fifteen miles to hear him again. The people near Hilton 
are very anxious that he should settle among them, and I 
wish that he would. Albemarle is now the most important 
part of our country, as the University of Virginia is located 
there. I do want a good Presbyterian of suitable talents 
placed there very much. 

When Chester was here the other day, he gave me the 3d 
Annual Report of the Young Men's Missionary Society of 
New York. I read it with much interest. Chester preached 


at an evening meeting for us, and a number of young men 
were present. While he was preaching, I felt in my pocket 
for my handkerchief, and took hold of this report. At once 
the thought rushed into my mind — I will try when Chester 
is done if the young men here can be roused to any feeling 
on the subject of establishing a Missionary Society. As 
soon as the preacher closed, I rose and delivered an address. 
It set Chester in a flame — several yoimg men were kindled 
by it. The result was that a Society has been organized, 
denominated the " Young Men's Missionary Society of 
Richmond." It consists now of about forty members. The 
officers are all such young men as I approved. The Society 
is auxiliary to the Young Men's Missionary Society of New 
York, and looks to Princeton for Missionaries. The sum of 
five dollars is to be contributed annually by the members. I 
hope that you will favour the institution as you may have it in 
your power. We regard it as an event of some consequence, 
in as much as we hope that the example will be followed in 
Norfolk, Petersburg, and Fredericksburg, and that these 
several institutions connected with a society as respectable 
and orthodox as that of New York, will help to bind to- 
gether different parts of the church by new ties ; at the same 
time that means of sending the gospel to the destitute will be 

I was surprised to learn from Mr. Chester, that an opinion 
is afloat that I am prejudiced against Princeton. Nothing 
can be further from truth. I should rejoice to see it pros- 
per, and do most earnestly pray God to smile upon it, as I 
do that he may abundantly bless you and all yours; in which 
I am joined by Mrs. Rice. 

Yours most truly, 

John H. Rig£. 



Richmond^ Feb. 22<f, 1819. 
My Dear Friend, 

I received your last most acceptable letter in due time ; 
and should have answered it before now ; but I have been 
unusually borne down with business, and at the same time 
have been poorly in health, so as to be scarcely able to do 
what was imperatively demanded from day to day. 

If Providence permit, I shall be at your house at the time 
appointed, that is, on the second Thursday in March, (11th) 
and of this I presume that notice would be given, on the 
strength of what had before passed. We have sent word to 
our friends in Prince Edward. 

Your feelings in relation to him of whom you have been 
bereaved, are natural and just. He was a man of most un- 
common excellence in all the relations of life, but his domes- 
tic virtues shone with peculiar lustre. And while his whole 
county and the wide circle of his friends will miss him 
much, and regret him long, his removal will of course be 
chiefly mourned among those to whom he was all that could 
be asked or wished in a husband, a fatlier, and a master. 
But he has left behind much that we who loved him may 
well prize. He has left a good name, and a fair example, 
and a legacy of prayers, worth more than the treasures of 
Egypt. The remembrance of these is before his God, and 
He whose memorial in every generation is that he hears 
prayer, will return these petitions in blessings on the heads 
of those for whom they were offered. These blessings will 
come in the way, however, that seems best unto the Lord. 
You know, as well as I can tell you, that we are not to pre- 
scribe to him. The infinite wisdom of God sees best how 
to deal with us; and his mercy and goodness are always di- 
rected by his wisdom. Our weakness and ignorance are 
very apt to mislead us, and we wish and ask for things that 
would do us harm ; but God gives according to his own pur- 



poses, and in his own way* Oh ! for hearts of absolute sub- 
mission to his wDl. There is nothing, my beloved friend, 
which we ought so much to desire as this blessing. I 
know the weakness of humanr nature, and how hard it is 
for us to submit. But this is our comfort, that all needed 
grace is promised and provided for us, and we have a High 
Priest that is touched witli a feeling of our infirmities, and 
was tempted in all points like as we are. So that, un- 
worthy as we are, we may go boldly to the throne of grace 
to obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in time of need. 
There may we continually be found, for that is the place 
that becomes such poor, dependant, sinful creatures as we 
are. Thanks be to God that a throne of grace id erected, 
and that we have access to it through a Mediator ! 

My best love to Mary and all the dear children. May 
the blessings of the covenant be on them, and may grace, 
mercy, and peace be multiplied to you all. Nancy and 
Harriet join in best love to you all, with your afifectiooate, 
«ympa,thising friend, 

J« H. Rice. 


Hkhmondf March 26/A, 1819. 
Dear William, 

When I was at Montrose, I was much pleased to observe 
that you have a heart to feel the loss that you have sus- 
tained; and that you are so afiectionate and attentive to 
your good mother. This has raised you in my esteem. 

You may in many ways be a great comfort to you sur- 
viving parent; and if you will use the proper exertions, 
you may be of great utility about the house and on the 
plantation. I know that you are young and inexperienced ; 
that many things will be forgotten by you, and in many 
instances you will feel awkward. But you must not be 

• A boy about twelve years old* 


discouraged. Learn to think and inquire what is necessary 
to be done, and in what way it is best to do it Let it be 
your great study to be useful. And for this purpose en- 
deavour with all your might to improve your mind. Boys 
of your age I know are very fond of play ; but you have 
something of more importance to occupy your time and 
attention. Your dear mother is a widow, and you are her 
oldest son. Never for a moment forget what you owe to 
so good and so afflicted a parent. Your dear father was 
left, when he was young, to manage the affairs of the 
family, and he acted so as to gain great credit. He was 
one of the best of men. Every body loved him ; and even 
the wicked respected him. That was because he was so 
good a man. Even bad people respect goodness and des- 
pise the wicked. Let it be your great business then to im- 
prove your heart. Your father was a christian; and he 
showed it in all his conduct. You cannot imitate a better 
example. Now is your best time to engage in the service 
of God. If you put it off, it will be more difficult here- 
ailer. By engaging in religion, you will be sure of the 
blessing of God. He will direct you, and enable you to be 
useful. Besides, you will find more real pleasure in reli- 
gion than thoughtless boys do in all their sports and plays. 
My advice then is given in the words of scripture, ** Re- 
member your Creator in the days of your youth." Be a 
comfort to your mother, and an example to the other 

I love all the family with very great affection. I pray 
to God to bless you all. Eemember me affectionately to 
every one. Tell your mamma that I will write to her 
soon. I would write now, but it is midnight, and I am 
very tired. 

I am your sincere friend, 

John H. Rice. 



Richmond, April 13/A, 1819. 
My Dear Sir, 

The situation of Virginia is daily becoming more inter- 
esting to Presbyterians. The people below the mountains 
are becoming more accessible to us. Prejudices are yield- 
ing, and, in some instances, complacency is taking their 

Our Hanover Society, auxiliary to the Board of Mis- 
sions, has done well this year. We have employed mis- 
sionary labours to the amount of twenty-two months, but 
have not been able at all to satisfy the demand. In fact, it 
is greatly increased. And we are solicited on every side 
to send missionaries. Franklin, Pittsylvania, Lunenburg, 
Nottoway, Surrey, Prince George, Princess Anne, Charles 
City, New Kent, Louisa, Orange, Albemarle, Fluvanna, 
Buckingham, Nelson, and Amherst, all loudly call for, and 
eagerly expect missionary labours. The prospect of pay- 
ing for these is encouraging. Missionary associations are 
increasing. A society has just sprung up in Norfolk, one 
in Mecklenburg, two associations in Albemarle, one in 
Buckingham, one in Fluvanna, one in Lynchburg, two in 
Bedford, all organized within about a year. 

But where shall we get missionaries? The Young 
Men's Society of Richmond is most eager to employ some 
zealous, popular young man ; if it were but for a month. 
They think, and have reason for it, that could they let the 
people of Richmond see such an one engaged heartily in 
their service, going from house to house, among the poorest 
and most profligate, carrying the warnings and invitations 
of the gospel, it would at once establish the association in 
the favour of the public, and give assurance of very en- 
larged means for prosecuting the charity in which they are 
engaged. Can you not afford some aid to them in their 
laudable design? Their movements have already pro- 


duced considerable Fensadon through the state. They 
gave the impulse to Norfolk and Alexandria. I have pro- 
mised to plead their cause with you, and in their name en- 
treat that you would exert your influence in sending them a 

Some time in May following, having been appointed by 
the Presbytery of Hanover a delegate to the General As- 
sembly, he repaired to Philadelphia, to attend the sessions 
of that body; when he was very honourably elected the 
Moderator of it; and, we are told, discharged the duties of 
the chair in a manner that gave great satisfaction to all the 
members. This, of course, made him more generally 
known to his brethren in ail parts of the country, and 
very naturally increased his reputation and influence among 
them ; while, at the same time, the elevated position which 
he now occupied, served to give him a more extensive view 
of the growing interests of the church, whose prosperity 
was always most justly dear to his heart. 


Richmond, July 6th, 1819. 
Mt Dear Friend, 

I am heartily disposed to write to you frequently ; but I 
really find it out of my power. And when I do sit down to 
chat a little with a friend in this way, I am generally so hur- 
ried that I am incapable of saying any thing worthy of atten- 

We had a most delightful excursion to the North. I never 
saw as large an assembly of preachers on any other occasion ; 
and they brought up many encouraging reports respecting 
the prevalence of religion. • I suppose that probably not 
fewer than ten thousand souls were added to the Presbyterian 
Church during the last year. This trip has considerably 
enlarged my ideas of the growing influence of this society in 
our country. It will, should no unforeseen disaster occur, 


be the prevalent religion of the land. I rejoice in this, be- 
cause I do verily believe that it is the church nearest to the 
primitive model. But I hope that I have a higher wish than 
even this, namely, that true piety may prevail in all our bor- 
ders. Religion is the glory and safety of our land. May it 
triumph over all opposition ! 

I expect next week to be at your house on my way to 
Presbytery. And I give you notice to prepare yourself for 
a little excursion with me. I shall be in the gig alone, (a 
very easy one,) and I am resolved to take none of the girls 
with me, simply that I may have the pleasure of your com- 
pany up and back again. And now, my dear friend, I insist 
on it that you do not begin to say, *' There is a lion in the 
way, there is a lion in the way,'* and conjure up difficulties. 
But think of the duty of taking care of your health, and of 
the pleasures and privileges of God's house, and of joining 
in communion with his people, and make the necessary 
arrangements to go with me. By the way, you ought in 
justice to know, that this excellent idea was suggested by my 
excellent wife. She cannot travel with me this time, and 
she wished me to enjoy the next greatest pleasure that I 
could have in a companion, and proposed that you should go 
with me. How much she loves you, nobody knows but I ; 
and I am unable to tell you. She desires me to say that she 
intended to write to you by Major Morton, but a crowd of 
company prevented. 

She unites with me in most affectionate regards to you, 
our dear Mary, and aU the children, and in prayer that the 
husband of the widow, and father of the fatherless, may 
abundantly bless you and your little ones. 

I am most truly your friend. 

John H. Rics. 



Richmond^ Fa.^ Aug. 14/A, 1819. 
Rev. Ain) Deab Sir, 

A direct conveyance offers from this place to Glasgow, 
and I eagerly embrace the opportunity which it presents 
of communicating to you on a subject in which I take a 
very lively interest. 

You will receive with this several pamphlets, and among 
them several extracts from the minutes of the General Assem- 
bly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of 
America, for 1819. 

I refer you to the passage marked on page 158 of this 
pamphlet for the object of this letter. 

In considering the signs of the times, it has appeared to 
me that if in any one thing the intimations of heaven are 
more prominent and decisive than in all others, it is in the 
favour shown to the united efforts of christians to promote 
true religion. Protestants of different denominations en- 
deavoured for ages to sustain and advance the truth by con- 
troversy ; and they had well nigh disputed vital religion out 
of the world. Within the last twenty-five years, they have 
combined in various associations, such as Bible and Mis- 
sionary Societies, for the promotion of Christianity, and now 
the word of God is going forth into all the world ; and while 
evangelical piety is growing among Christians, Heathens, 
Mahometans, and Jews, are gathering into the fold of Christ. 
It is by the zealous co-operation of Christians that the glo- 
rious things foretold in the Bible are to be accomplished. 
The Romish church brings all its energies to bear on any 
point sufficiently important to call them forth. Cannot Pro- 
testants devise some means by which their united strength 
may be employed for the accomplishment of the great pur- 
poses and plans undertaken in the present day? Have not 
Christians in this age given a pledge that they will neglect 


no measures within the compau^s 4>f their ability, to make 
known the saving health of Christ to all nations? The 
Bible Society, wherever its branches extend, is but one 
association, and the wonderful favour shown by heaven to 
this institution seems to me to point to the adoption of other 
measures of universal co-operation. And I do think that 
such a correspondence between all Protestant churches as 
would cause all to recognise the unity of the Church of 
Christ, however its parts may be separated, and diffuse a 
common feeling through the whole body, would be produc- 
tive of the happiest effects. Besides the delightful com- 
munion that would then exist, many important benefits 
might be conferred. For instance, you have a missionary 
society for the purpose of sending the gospel to the Tartar 
tribes, and when once you shall have succeeded in firmly 
planting Christianity in the place selected for the field of 
your operations, its local situation will, I suppose, afford you 
very great facilities for a wider display of your benevolence. 
There may be most important and urgent calls which your re- 
sources may not enable you to meet. In this case, the whole 
Protestant world ought to step forward, and afford you aid. 
The ability of American churches might enlarge your means, 
or relieve your embarrassments. And so of us. We have 
a mighty field for domestic missions. We have Indians and 
blacks, and Spaniards to christianize ; and at the same 
time are obliged to support Theological Seminaries for the 
education of young men for the ministry. In some urgent 
case, then, you might help us, and draw our hearts to you by 
a sense of obligation. So throughout Protestant Christen- 
dom. It was with views of this sort that the overture was 
brought forward by the Assembly. 

Now, I wish to know of you whether in your judgment 
any correspondence can be established between the church 
of Scotland, and the Presbyterian church in the United 
States, that would promise an increase of affection and 
brtoherly co-operation in the important measures now car- 


rying <m for evangdiziug the world. We have the same 
confession of faith, the same discipline, the same mode of 
worship. In fact, the Presbyterian church here is a de^ 
cendant of the church of Scotland. And the great mass of 
our people are descendants of the English, Scotch and Irish. 
We use the same language, have the same stock of literature ; 
in general the same usages, and fundamentally the same 
laws. The intercourse between us and Great Britain is 
more than between us and all other parts of the world. 
Harmony and peace ought always to prerail among us. 
Your Reviews and our Newspapers seem to forbid this; 
but christians ought to counteract their influence. The 
present is a most favourable time for them to step forward, 
and " brighten the chain of love.*' We are at peace, and 
the hostile feeling produced by the late war, is giving way to 
kindly sentiments. Our government and our people are 
generally disposed to cultivate a friendly disposition towards 
you. I wish the christians in each nation so to draw the 
cords of love that ambitious rulers shall be unable to divide 
us. Men will learn war no more, when the majority of the 
people are christians, and love as brethren. 

This object interests me so, that I talk at a great rate. 
Excuse my loquacity. I wish that your Reviewera would 
alter their tone respecting America. They suffer them- 
selves to be greatly imposed upon by garrulous travellers, 
who go home and play the traveUer^ as the French say, 
most egregiously. But they seem to obtain easy credit 
with their countrymen; and their wonderful stories are 
repeated of a state of morals and manners not known in 
this country. Some of the people here laugh at their mis- 
takes, and others are angry at their abuse. The general 
effect of the scant praise and abundant censure bestowed on 
us, convinces me that the people of this country, in general, 
esteem the British more than they do any but themselves, and 
would rather have their praise, and enjoy tlieir friendship, 

than that of all the world beside. If this be so, how easy 



would it be to perpetuate peace* and how deadly must be 
the hatred when all these feelings are changed into malig- 

You see that 1 write to you with the freedom and confi- 
dence of sn old acquaintance. I regard you as a brother 
in the gospel, — ^rejoice in your reputation, and much more 
in your widely extended usefulness, and pray that your 
labours may be crowned with more, and yet more suc- 
cess, and I am 

Most truly yours, 

John H. Rice. 

P. S. Your sermons in the Tron church have been repub- 
lished here, and are highly esteemed. 


Richmond, Sept. 16£A, 1619. 
My Dear Sir, 

I have been thinking on the subject of your last letter 
ever since I received it. You well know the interest that 
I take in the prosperity of the church in Norfolk. Any 
thing that I can do shall be done. 

There are three things to which you must especially have 
reference in your next choice. 

1. That the object of it be a man of unquestioned piety 
and active zeal. 

2. That he have a voice, gestures, and manners in and 
out of the pulpit, acceptable to the people. [How did such 
a plain man as I am ever become acceptable to the Nor- 
folcensians ?]] 

3. That he have good intellectual bottom. This last is 
an affair not suf&cienlly attended to in the setdement of 
ministers in town. Any young fellow who has a smooth 
face and a fine voice can run away with the people for 
three months. But by that time, the perpetual recurrence of 
the same set phrases, and the same ideas, wearies the 
audience. No man can long retain his popularity, who has 


not resources enouf h to enable him to present at least one 
new idea once a week. 

Ab to the two first particulars^ Mr. G would do 

very well. As to the third, I do not know. Indeed, I 
know several who would answer as to Nos. one and two. 
But it requires a long time to know whether a man will do 
for No. three. 

Take care about eandidaiing* It is the common way of 
forming parties in the church. A right sleek fellow who 
wanted a settlement very much, would soon find out the 
way to get into the good graces of all your * * * » *g, and 
then you might object to him if you dared. 

I am just about to publish an Essay on Baptism. I think 
it very decisive on the subject. But what others may think, 
I know not 

I shall shortly publish an Ordination Sermon, with an 

Appendix. It is to be No. II. of my Pamphleteer. But 

people must buy my books or I cannot write them. 

Give my best love to all friends. 

Yours truly, 

John H. Rice. 


Eiehmond^ Oct. llth, 1819. 
My Dear Sir, 

Mr. M is here, and has informed me that Mr. Nevins, 

whom we had calculated on as a Missionary for this region, 
will probably be stopped and detained during the winter in 
Norfolk. We wish Norfolk to be well supplied ; and think 
it peculiarly important that, at this period, a man of warm 
piety and commanding talents should be employed there. 

This is an important time in Richmond too. There is 
certainly a more than usual spirit of inquiry among the peo- 
ple. Mr. Kirkpatrick has gone to Cumberland ; and Mr. 
Blair becomes more and more infirm every day. So the 
Presbyterian interests here, amidst the jealousies and oppo* 


sition of Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians, are to be 
sustained almost exclusively through my instrumentality. 
And I find the burden a very heavy one. It is too great for 
my feeble abilities. I was elevated with the prospect of 
getting an active zealous young preacher stationed here, in 
the employ of the Missionary Society of the young men. I 
pray you send one, if possible, immediately. I am just now 
setting out for Presbytery and Synod, and I leave the place 
while a number of young people are in a state of considera- 
ble sensibility, and are making very serious inquiries after 
truth. I go as the old man in Homer, cxwif atxovtt ys ^fu^ 
I am willing to do my duty in the judicatories of the church, 
but very unwilling to leave my people in their present con- 
dition. Pray send us help. Yet Oh ! if you conld yourself 
come ! You would render a service of pre-eminent import- 
ance, I have no doubt, to the cause of piety. 

I have heard from Doctors Miller, McDowell, and Green, 
that I have been honoured with a diploma from the College 
of New Jersey. I have never valued, and of course never 
coveted Academical honours. But any thing that betokens 
the esteem and friendship of good men, is grateful to my 
'heart. So far as a degree betokens this, I prize it, and no 


Richmondy Dec^r SOth^ 1819. 
My Dear Sir, 

The articles which you were so good as to send me, came 
to hand in tolerably good order. The Lute has a number 
of very fine tones ; but it is so new an instrument, and has 
been practised on so little, that I cannot certainly determine 
what its character will be. As far, however, as this has been 
developed, I entertain the very best hopes. As for the 
T'rumpety I at first took it to be a very fine instrument in- 
deed. But on closer inspection, I detected a crack in it, pro- 
duced, I am pretty confident, by being blown too much. 


Whether the injury was sustained in Norfolk, or Petersburg, 
or before it was used at either of those places, I cannot de- 
termine. Thus far I have used your figures ; but now I 
must talk a little more plainly. 

And here I must repeat what I have said before. It is an 
easy thing for a young man who has gone through college, 
and studied divinity, to get up a few sermons, whieh he has 
composed elaborately, and committed carefully to memory, 
and practised before the glass, to please the great mass of 
hearers. If he has a pretty face, and a good voice, and abun* 
dance of graceful gestures, he will absolutely run away with 
them. It is easy for such an one, to rise at a prayer meet- 
ing, and give, in the way of exhortation, the fragment of one 
of these sermons, so as to appear very well as an extempore 
speaker. But after all, the question may be, and ought to 
be, has he good bottom? Will he hold out for years, bring* 
ing from the treasury of God's word things new and old ! 
This is a point not easily decided. A trial of several months 
ought to be had in various exercises, and on many new occa- 
sions. Besides, the teachers of young men ought to be 
closely questioned as to the resources of their minds, and 
the stock of knowledge acquired, and the improveableness 
of their understandings. Nothing is more evanescent than 
mere manner. Let its novelty wear off a litde, and it will 
appear a very Dutch toy, which at first is made to glitter and 
look like gold, but is found in a few days to be white pine 
and putty. Besides, .preaching elaborate sermons is only a 
small part of ministerial duty. Visiting, catechising, &c. &c. 
are, you know, of incalculable importance. And it ought to 
be carefully inquired into whether a man has a turn, and re^ 
lish for these things. One may be well enough disposed to 
eat good dinners, and chat with the ladies, and gracefully 
give and take compliments, who has uo relish for the part of 
pastoral duty now under consideration. In fact visiting the 
sick and the poor, and giving plain unpalatable advice and 
reproof, is not the way to obtain human applause. 


In getting your pulpit filled again, remember that while 
you want a man of talents and popular address, you want an 
actiye, zealous, indefatigable pastor ; a man of fervent piety; 
one whose great object is, not to win applause, but to win 
souls to Christ. I would take no man until I had tried him 
at the bedside of the dying, and among the poor and desti- 
tute, as well as in the pulpit. 

My love to Norfolk makes me write thus. My fervent 
prayer is, that God may send you a pastor after his own 
heart, who shall build up your church, and promote the cause 
of vital piety in the borough, and the country connected with 
it. Your place is one of importance, and its importance is 
growing. While you have only one Presbyterian Church 
there, it will be more a mark for observation, and will have 
much greater influence in deciding the character of Presby^- 
terianism, than any single church can have, when there shall 
be half a dozen. I therefore am at once anxious that you 
should be speedily supplied, and supplied in the best man- 

DonU talk about troubling me with your pieces. I want 
you to write more than you ever have done. I am again 
discouraged with the luke warmness of friends. Some of the 
Tramontane people are so dissatisfied because I will not 
come out against the Episcopalians, that they are trying to 
set up another Magazine at Lexington. Proposals are issued, 
and they say that they will publish if they get four hundred 
subscribers. I am losing mine fast. But if I retain five 
hundred, I will publish. I have no doubt, however, that I 
shall have eight hundred to begin the year with, and if you 
will help me right steadily, we shall go on well yet. Let 
these hard tinges pass off, and we shall rise again. 

Give my love to sister Louisa, son Camp, and all friends. 
Accept from me all that you wish to have, and take the kind 
regards of the ladies. 

Yours most truly, 

John H. Rich. 



Jan'y 2Ut, 1820. 
Mt Dear Friend, 

I remember you said the other night that you were willing 
to walk by my light. I told Mrs. Rice of it, and she, to 

* This lady whose name occurs here for the first time, was one of 
those ** honourable women** who, on his first coming to Richmond, at- 
tached themselves with the most lively zeal and affection to his minis, 
try. She was at that time living with her husband, Gren. James Wood, 
a distinguished revolutionary officer, and lately Governor of the State, 
at their seat called Olney, near the city; but on his death, which hap^ 
pened about a year afterwards, she had moved to town, in order to be 
near her pastor ; and was now one of the most active and efficient 
members of his church, and one of the very dearest of his friends. 
And she was indeed most worthy to be so ; for she was certainly one 
of the most venerable, and agreeable, and interesting old ladies that 
ever lived. The following is a brief sketch of her character from bis 
own pen. 

** Mrs. Wood was no common woman. She was the daughter of a most 
respectable clergyman, a native of Scotland, who, on removing to this 
country, fixed his residence at CUrmoni^ in the county of Stafford. 
She lost her father early in life, but not until his instruction and the use 
of his library had given a powerful impulse to her mind. Her under- 
standing was well cultivated, and her taste greatly improved by much 
and various reading. Many of the standard English and French wri- 
ters were quite familiar to her memory; and having, from her connec- 
tions in life, enjoyed unusual opportunities of seeing the world, she de- 
rived great improvement from actual observation. Her manners were 
peculiarly dig^nified and graceful, her politeness was genuine and un^- 
fected. She possessed uncommon fluency, had a ready and brilliant 
wit, and a rich imagination. These qualifications fitted her to shine 
in the most brilliant circles, and made her society attractive both to the 
aged and the young. 

*'But she greatly preferred the privacies of domestic life; and there 
she was found discharging with exemplary fidelity the duties of a wife, 
mother, neighbour, friend, and mistress. The circle at her fireside 
crowded round her, and listened with delight to conversation some- 
times grave and sometimes gay, as best suited the subject; to the 



make trial of the thing, has taken one of my half doUars and 
bought this little glass lamp, and filled it with my oil, and 

anecdotes of revolationary heroes with which her mind was stored ; to 
her details of events that occurred daring the war of independence; ts 
her descriptions of persons ; to her delineations of character, some, 
times humorous and satirical, and sometimes deeply pathetic; and iiL- 
deed to whatever she was pleased to say— for every thing from her was 
interesting. To the last, the young whom she honoured with her 
Ariendsbip, preferred her society to that of their gay coevals. 

** What is termed natural affection existed in Mrs. Wood with peculiar 
force. All that were related to her had a claim on her love which she 
was ever ready to acknowledge. And as the daughter of a Scotchman, 
she ever regarded M SeaUand with a highly patriotic feeling. 

** As a friend, she loved with an ardour and intenseness of afiection 
which identified the honour, interests, and welfare of her fi-iends with 
her own. 

"As a neighbour, she overflowed with kindness, and delighted in every 
office which renders the relationship delightful. 

<*Her conduct to the poor and afflicted, was characterized by the deep- 
est sympathy, and the most unstinted liberality. She never grew weary 
in doing them good. She was an active and efficient member of the 
association wluch erected the Female Orphan Asylum, an institution 
which has saved many, who appeared to be devoted victims, from vice 
and ruin. And when advanced age prevented what may be called pab« 
lie services of this kind, she was ever ready to affi>rd her charities 
unobserved by the world, and unknown to any but her most confident 
tial firiends. 

** To crown the whole, Mrs. Wood was a christian; not by tradition- 
ary faith, but on examination and conviction; not with a cold assent of 
the understanding, but with the whole heart S^e believed, was hum- 
ble, was penitent She loved the church; the services of the sanctuary 
were her delight; the 'people of God were in her eyes the excellent of 
the earth. She had no party feelings. In her judgment there was but 
one churchy and one true religion; and all that belonged to Christ were 
recognised as brethren. She was prompt and zealous in promoting 
plans of christian benevolence, and gave solid proof of her compassion 
fi>r those who set in darkness and have no light And as she wished 
and prayed that all might partake of the blessings of the gospel, so she 
was peculiarly desirous that her relations might know its power and 
rejoice in its hopes,** 


put a piece of my wick in it; and now she sends it to yon 
with every expression of her sincere regard; begging that 
you would be good enough to accept it as a token of her af- 
fection, which she wishes may appear as clear and bright as 
the flame of *' winter strained ail/* She also wishes that 
as you walk by my light, you may sometimes read and work 
by her light ; and, having us thus conjoined, the friendship 
of all three of us may be brightened and perpetuated. In this 
I unite with her most heartily: and, in addition, I pray that 
all of us may continually stand with our lamps trimmed and 
our lights burning, looking for the coming of our Lord. And 
when the lamp of life shall go out, may we all be removed 
to that city where there is no need of a candle, or of the 
moon, or the sun; but where the Lord God giveth light, and 
there is no night forever. 

With best love to Alice, we are, beloved friend, most truly 
and affectionately yours. 

A. S. & J. U. Rios. 

Some time early in May, this year, (1820,) being under 
obligation as Moderator of the preceding year, to attend the 
approaching session of the General Assembly, we find him 
going on to New York, to attend the anniversary of the 
American Bible Society in that city, and afterwards return- 
ing by the way of Princeton to Philadelphia ; and the follow- 
ing letter gives us some account of his journey at this time. 


Philadelphiaj May 18/A, 1820. 
My Beloved Mother, 

I sat down to write to you the other day, when I was in 
Princeton, but was interrupted, and have not had time to 
place myself at a writing table until this hour. I hoped 
that T should get a sweet note from you while in Princeton, 
but I suppose that you did not understand what I said on 
that subject. I-sent twice or thrice to the Post-office how- 


ever, for a letter from yon; and if you conld have sec^i 
how much I was disappointed, you would then be able to 
judge how much I value your communications. Do, my 
dear motlier, let me hear from you soon. I long for a sight 
of your hand- writing. 

I had a prosperous journey to Washington, and a pleas- 
ant time while there, with the exception that I had too 
much to do. I preached in Congress Hall on Sabbath 
morning. The Hall is certainly the fimst church that I 
ever preached in, but, between you and me^ I think that I 
have preached before now to audiences quite as intelligent 
as the one I had there. This, I suppose, would be heresy 
in Washington, but it will be truth in Richmond. 

From Washington, I went in about forty-eight hours to 
New York, and caught a bad cold on my way, from which 
I have not recovered even now. The object of my going 
to New York was to attend the anniversary of the Ame- 
rican Bible Society. There was a 'most interesting report 
read by Dr* Milnor, an Episcopal clergyman of New York, 
who, by the way, is one of the finest fellows that I know. 
Intelligent, pious, and liberal, I cannot help loving him as a 
brother, and wishing that all of every denomination were 
like him. The report was however very long; and was 
followed by six or eight long speeches, made beforehand, 
and then fixed to the resolutions that they were intended 
to support. The Northern people admired these things; 
but I have no relish for speeches where nature and feeling 
are sacrificed to rhetorical flourish. 

From New York I returned to Princeton, and there I 
was most highly gratified. My old friends Dr. Alexander, 
Dr. Miller, and Dr. Green, all very pleasant, pious, learned 
men, made the time very agreeable. But what pleased me 
most was the examination of students of divinity. I heard 
about seventy examined in various departments of Theolo- 
gical learning, and they so acquitted themselves, that hope 


may well be entertained of their being extensively n«eM in 
the church. 

I have gone on until my paper is almost oat, and I have 
not got to my present place of residence. But I must bid 
you farewell, and write again in a day or two. Best love 
to Alice. Dear mother, farewell ! In great haste, 

Tours forever, 

John H. Ricb. 

Soon after his arrival in Philadelphia, according to order, 
he opened the meeting of the General Assembly with a 
sermon, (afterwards published by request,) from the text, 
Rom. xiv. 19 — Let ti«, therefore^ foUow afttr the things 
thfU make for peaeej and things wherewith one nuxj/ edify 
another — a truly excellent discourse. It was not indeed 
particularly able, nor remarkably eloquent; but it was judi- 
cious and appropriate, and the spirit which it breathed 
throughout was eminently evangelical. Some passages of 
it, also, particularly that in which he exhorted his brethren 
to cultivate the spirit of harmony among themselves, by 
attending to the great fundamental points of religion, and 
forgetting minor differences, <* Let litUe things pass for littie 
things," and that in which he urged them to attend to the 
great duty which was particularly incumbent upon them as 
Presbyterians, to edify, not only the church, but the coun- 
try, and, by tiieir talents and learning, constrain the rising 
literature of the land to aid the progress and triumphs of 
religion, were highly characteristic ; and the conclusion of 
it was deeply solemn and impressive. It was, accordingly, 
-well received by the venerable body to which it was ad- 
dressed; and, we are told, had a happy effect upon its 
debates and proceedings throughout the session. At the 
same time, it contributed -not a littie to elevate his character 
in the esteem of his brethren of all parties, and thus gave 
him still more of that influence which he was always seek- 


ing; but only that he might consecrate it to the service of 
the Church. 


Philadelphia^ May %2d^ 1820. 

Deab Habrixt, 

j^s your aunt has probably left home, I must take you for 
my correspondent. This going of her's, however, is a most 
uncomfortable thing to me. I feel as though 1 had parted 
with her a second time. While I knew that she was in 
Richmond, I felt tolerably easy. But I am quite restless 
now. I hope, however, that you will let me hear from you 
often, and thus do the best you can to make up for the 
want of her letters. 

The General Assembly consists of about one hundred 
members. We are going on doing business very finely 
thus far, and I hope that we shall get through well. We 
have, however, a great deal to do, and it will be well if we 
get through time enough for me to be at home on the day 
appointed. I shall, however, endeavour hard to disappoint 

It is a great pity that your aimt is not here. For I have 
happened in my sermon greatly to please all parties in the 
General Assembly, and as they have not her to tell about 
it, they come right to me. I never got so much blarney in 
all my life perhaps, as I have in the last week. If these 
things can hurt me, I shall come home quite a swaggering 
fellow. But I know that they are all vanity. 

The people here seem to me to be much more warm- 
hearted and hospitable than they used to be, I never was 
entertained more to my liking than I am on this occasion. 

Give my love to Mrs. Woodward, who is now with you, 
I suppose ; to Mr. Pollard, and Baldwin, and to all friends. 
Tell Virginia that I love her. In fact, I think that I love 


every body* and few more than you, my dear child, whom 
I pray God ever to bless. 

Your fond uncle, 

John H. Rick. 


Fhiladdphiay May 29/A, 1820. 
My Dear Harriet, 

I have just received your letter, and have been very much 
pleased to get it. It is delightful to hear from home, and 
from those friends whom I so much love. 
^^ I am not in a condition however to write much, as the 
business of the General Assembly is very urgent I know 
however that my friends will be gratified if they can only 
hear that I am well. T believe that I should be very well 
to-day if I had not preached so much yesterday. In conse- 
quence of that, I feel languid and somewhat sore ; but other- 
wise quite well. I am very sorry that I am utterly unable 
at present to say when I shall set out for home. The business 
of the Assembly is not half done yet. I am glad to perceive 
to*day, however, that there is a disposition to do business 
rather than to talk ; and we have of course done more to-day 
than on any two preceding days. We may get through by 
Thursday or Friday, but I fear that we shall not 

I am glad to hear particularly from all my friends in Rich- 
mond, and think of them with continual anxiety to be among 
them. But my duty places me here, and I cannot desert. 
Perhaps I have served the Church more effectually this 
month, than I had done for a whole year preceding. 

Tell Mr. Baldwin that I have got apquaioted with a Mr. 

Dutton of Connecticut, with whom I amvery highly pleased. 

He is a man of real talents. Professor Fitch of New Haven 

was here ; but he became unwell and left us pretty soon. 

The Connecticut men that are here go before any of our 

eastern brethren of the other states. But there are many 

men of powerful talents in the church now. ^— And I think 



that we are growing in intellectual strength. Drs. Hogeand 
Alexander are beyond all doubt the two foremost among us. 
(Huzza for Virginia !) But while I say this, I am ready to 
acknowledge the excellence of a great many other brethren 
from various parts. 

Give my best love to all my beloved friends. I cannot 
name them ; but you must name them for me. Tell Virginia 
I do not forget her. Give my love to Martha, and all the 
servants. I am glad to hear a good account of them. I as- 
sure you, my dear, of my unfeigned affection, and of my 
paternal love. — Farewell ! 

Your fond uncle, 

John H. Rice. 

On the adjournment of the General Assembly, he returned 
to Richmond, where, not long afterwards, he received the 
intelligence of an event which affected him with the most 
lively sorrow at the time, and had subsequently an impor- 
tant influence upon the course of his life. This was the 
death of his venerable friend, the Rev. Dr. Hoge, whom on 
the rising of the Assembly, he had left sick in Philadelphia, 
where he had been attending the sessions of the body, and 
actively and usefully engaged in all its business, and where 
he had afterwards continued to languish until the fifth of 
July following, when he died.* The loss of such a man, 

* It is truly gratifying to be able to add here, that the last hours of 
this eminent and excellent man were such as gave new evidence of his 
piety, and zeal for the cause of Christ. *^ During- more than five weeks 
of sickness/* (says Dr. Rice, in an obituary notice of him, which was 
published in the Magazine,) ^ his sufferings were very great Yet he 
bore all with exemplary patience, and entire submission to the will of 
God. In general, the state of his mind was calm and tranquil ; but 
occasionally he enjoyed the best consolations of religion, and expressed 
his happiness in the highest terms. His ruling passion was strong in 
death. Love of the Church of Christ, and desire to promote her welfare 
possessed him to the last. Often when asleep, among inarticulate 
noises made in fruitless attempts to speak, he was heard to say, with 


indeed, with whom he had been so long associated in the 
labours of the gospel, and for whose character and talents he 
had always entertained the highest respect, natuarally touch- 
ed his heart. But he felt it more sensibly from the appre- 
hension which it excited in his mind for the fate of the The- 
ological Seminary, of which the deceased had been for some 
years the sole Professor, and which he feared would now 
expire with him. He knew at least that there were some 
members of the Synod, of no small weight and influence, 
who would gladly seize on this event to break up the insti- 
tution, and transfer its funds to the Seminary at Princeton. 
Nor were they, indeed, without some very specious and 
imposing reasons for favouring that course ; but such as could 
not mislead his sounder views. For, in the first place, he 
justly thought that it would be an act of gross injustice to the 
original subscribers who had given their money expressly 
for an institution to be placed at Hampden Sydney, and in 
many instances, no doubt, from a particular affection for that 
locality. He was satisfied, too, that the hope which had 
dazzled their minds of making the Seminary at Princeton 
the sole nursery for the young preachers of the Presbyterian 
church, and so a bond of union for the whole body, was en- 
tirely fallacious; as he saw clearly (hat public opinion, and 
the exigencies of the times, would demand the establishment 
of at least two or three subsidiary, and perhaps subordinate, 
institutions in dififerent parts of the country. He was, there- 
strong emphasis, " The Clmrch — the Church — the Bible Society." — 
And thus he went from the services of the Church militant, to the joys 
und glories of the Church triumphant" — happy in his death, and ho- 
noured by the regrets of all who knew him. His body was buried in 
the yard attached to the Fine street church, in Philadelphia, and a 
marble tablet was afterwards erected to his memory within the ehurch 
itself^ which declares, in a very just and proper inscription, that ** he 
went from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Phi- 
ladelphia, to the General Assembly and Church of the first born in 
Heaven,on the 5th day of July, A. D. 1820." 


fore, most anxious to retain our small school in our own 
state ; and enlarge it, if possible, into a proper and becoming 
establishment for the southern division of our union; and he 
now exerted himself, accordingly, to impress his yiews upon 
the minds of his brethren, with great industry, and, most 
happily, with prevailing effect. 


Richmond J July I2thj 1820. 
Dear Friend, 

Have you heard the afflicting intelligence? Dr^ Hoge is no 
more in the land of the living. It has pleased God to remove 
him. He died in Philadelphia, on the 5th inst. In peace 
did he leave this poor world to go to the mansion prepared 
for him. We have lost a friend ; and he has gained a crown 
and kingdom. I loved him so well that I rejoice for his 
change. And I loved the Church and myself so much, that 
I mourn his departure. But sic visttm est Deo. Let us 

And now what shall we do? There is Hampden Sydney 
that was fast rising in reputation, and there is our Semina- 
ry — I am perplexed. I tell you what, you must come up 
here about the 27th inst., and go with me to Presbytery. 
Hanover men must attend generally, and some plan of ope- 
ration must be fixed on before Synod ; or we shall meet in 
Lynchburg to debate, and divide at a sad rate. Think of the 
crisis which has arrived, and make every necessary sacrifice 
for the good of the church. Since the melancholy tidings 
have reached me, I have said a hundred times, what shall 
we do? My thoughts have chiefly turned to my old friend 
Speece as most likely to fill the sphere occupied by father 
Hoge. What do you think of this idea? Pray communi- 
cate fully, freely, and speedily to me on this subject. 

Best love to you and yours from me and mine. 

As ever, 

J. H. Rice. 



Richmond^ July^lst^ 1820. 
My Dear Sir, 

It has pleased the Lord to remove the good Dr. Hoge 
from among us. You know full as well as I do, the great 
loss which we in particular, and the church at large has sus- 
tained by this dispensation. But it becomes us to submit to 
infinite wisdom, and acknowledge €!od's right to do what he 
will with his own. 

One of the greatest evils that I at present apprehend from 
the removal of Dr. Hoge, is the difference of opinion whicli 
it will produce in our Synod. Some will urge with great 
earnestness the giving up of our piddling school here, and 
joining with Princeton. Others will oppose this plan with 
equal vehemence. They think that the Synod is now so 
pledged and committed on this subject, that they cannot go 
back. The most of the money that has been given, has 
been given expressly on condition that there should be a 
Theological Seminary at Hampden Sydney. 

I need not tell you that I am friendly to Princeton. I hope 
that my influence will be felt in her behalf this summer, and 
that from our congregations generally in this state, there will 
go to the treasurer our full proportion. I expect that our 
little church in Richmond will give fifty dollars a year for 
five years. Petersburg, Fredericksburg, &c. will do their 
part also. But while it is my wish that the whole church 
should give Princeton full support, I do think tliat a good 
seminary under orthodox men, I mean true General Assem- 
bly Presbyterians, established to the South would have a 
happy effect. My wish has long been to keep up a sort of 
nucleus here, around which a great Seminary might be 
gathered ; and, in the meantime, let there be a general exer^ 
tion of the churches, until the Princeton Seminary should be 
put beyond the reach of want or difficulty. But I am ready 
to do to the utmost of my abilities, what shall be thought 


186 MEKOIll OF 

best by a majority of the brethren. I acknowledge, very 
readily, that there are wiser heads than mine; but none 
have warmer hearts for the prosperity of good old Presbyte- 

I have just now received a letter from Mr. Morgan, by 
which I learn that there has been a meeting of the Board of 
Trustees of Hampden Sydney College, and that you were 
unanimously chosen to succeed Dr. Hoge. I know no par- 
ticulars; but just state the fact as it is stated to me. 01 if 

you would , but I check myself. May the Lord dispose 

of you for his glory; and the best interests of the church!'' 


Richmond^ Sept. 2(£, 1820. 
Dear Sib, 

This will be handed to you by Mr. B**, of our church.^ 
A man of extreme modesty, but sterling worth. I conunend 
him to you. 

Let no worldly consideration prevent your going to Synod. 
The tug of war will be there. We shall have *** and ***, 
and *** and ***, all decided for breaking up our seminary, 
and going over to Priuceton. How *** will proceed, I 
know not. But I fear him. In fact, I depend on nobody 
but *** to stand by the Hanover men ; and I am not sure 
that they will all be firm. We must go charged with our 
heaviest metal; and every congregation that can send an 
elder, must send one without fail. 

I am satisfied that if we do not raise our own preachers, 
we shall go without them. Besides, our genius and habits 
suit the Southern country best. We ought to educate min- 
isters for the Carolinas and Georgia. As for the Western 
country, they are so heterogeneous I know not who will 
suit them. I received a letter from the South, the other day, 
saying, that if we would stir ourselves and do something, 
they had rather send their young men to us. 

The people of Prince Edward are high in hopes that they 


will get Alexander back. He has not refiuBed ; but has given 
them leave to lay their whole case before hioit and then he 
will decide. His health cannot stand the ruggedness of the 
Princeton winter. 

I hope that you in Norfolk will give each his twenty-five 
cents to Princeton. I am exceedingly anxious that all the 
churches in Hanover Presbytery should promptly regard 
this appeal. In this way we shall show that we are friendly 
to Princeton, while we mean to support our own Seminary. 
If you have done nothing, pray set to work on this matter 

Have you heard from my excellent Camp? I am 
most anxious about him. By the way, as he could not at- 
tend to the business of the Magazine, he employed an agent 
whom I have not heard from ; and my wheels are creaking 
sorely, and almost ready to stop for want of grease. Pray 
assist my friend B in finding him, and getting what mo- 
ney can be gotten from him. • Also let him see Hall, the 
bookseller, who had about three hundred dollars worth of 
Smith's History to sell for me, and send me the best news 
about that. My Magazine is flagging for want of support, 
and yet it is acquiring greater control over public opinion 
than ever. I can't think of stopping here, and yet I am 
sadly plagued andr discouraged. There must be some stir 
made about it — friends must be active. I do wish that Pres- 
byterians could be made to understand their true interest; or 
rather roused to the pursuit of it. 

Do you think that the Monastery was written by Wal- 
ter Scott? I doubt. In fact, there are several hands em- 
ployed in these m^cal works. 

Love from us all to you all. 

John H. Rice. 



Richmond, Sept. 25th, 1820. 

My Dear Mother, 

I have been longing fairly to get a letter from you, and I 
have been wondering much why you have not written. 
My fear was that you were sick and could not write. But 
then I thought that dear Alice might have let me hear from 
you. However, I doubt not but that you have some good 
reason. I cannot for a moment suppose that in the pleasant- 
ness of Windsor Forest you are forgetful of your friends in 

I am just about to make a flying trip to Prince Edward, 
to attend a meeting of the board of trustees of Hampden 
Sydney College, and the examination of the students. 
I wished, however, before setting out to drop you a line. 
Not because I think that you need a memento of me, but it 
was my wish to do as much like calling at your door to bid 
you farewell, the morning I am going out of town, as pos- 
sible. It must of necessity be a very hasty call, but you 
know that is better than nothing. 

I know that Mr. R writes to you, or Alice, or both, 

and no doubt gives you all the town news. You have pro- 
bably heard of the sickness and death of some during your 
absence. The city, however, has on the whole been 
healthy during the season ; and diseases, - except old 
chronic complaints, have been remarkably manageable. 
There is, however, great and desolating sickness in some 
parts of the country, and those ordinarily the most healthy 
in Virginia, such as Orange, Albemarle, and Bedford. 
When I was a boy and lived in the last mentioned county, 
three physicians in succession made the experiment, and 
said that so few people died in Bedford that they could not 
live there. But a great change has taken place since that 


I wish that I could peep in and tee how you and Mn. 
M ■ ', and Alice, are employing and enjoying yonr- 
selves* I fancy that I can hear the cheerful soond of your 
voices, and now and then a good, hearty, 8id&>ahaking, 
wholesome laugh. And then you turn to serious things, 
and talk with a view to edification. And here self-love 
whispers to Mr, Me^ **If you ' were within eai^shot of 
them, you would hear frequent and affectionate mention of 
the name of their pastor." Now, if you could see my 
visage at this moment, you would understand how pre- 
cious the suggestion is; for I feel that it is overspread 
with a self-complacent smile, and I am put into most per- 
fect good humour with myself. Such is the effect of the 
supposition,-~not a vain one I am sure — ^that I am affection- 
ately remembered by you. 

This remembrance is reciprocal. You do not know how 
much I miss you, and how often I think of you. I pray to 
Almighty God to remember you for good, and bestow on 
you his very best blessings. 

Give my best love to dear Alice, and to all the good, 
kind-hearted M s> Assure them of my most affec- 

tionate regaads. Include Mrs. Rice in all this, for, as I 
have often said, in these things she and I are of one mind. 

She also joins with me in most affectionate expressions 
of filial affection to yourself. 

I am most truly and forever yours, 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond^ Oct. 3(2, 1820. 
Deab Sir, 

I have found it necessary to adopt measures with a view 
to save our Magazine from a premature death. I hope that 
they will be successful. The effect of my circular sent to 
Princeton has been such as. to produce a promise of aid from 


Drs. Alexander and Miller, both by their pens and their pro- 
curing fiubscribers. You must put yourself forward, my 
dear sir, and keep the work along. These are hard times, 
and they will press me to the dust, unless some vigorous 
effort should be made to hold me up. I want subscribers 
who will pay, and friends who will write. The Magazine 
is now, in danger of death as it is, a more important work 
than it ever was, because it is regarded with apprehension 
by the infidels and Socinians among us ; and they look to it 
as likely to have influence on the people. I have no doubt 
but that the work has, to mention only one instance, had 
great eflGlciency in keeping the notorious Cooper from the 
University. Do 'exert yourself steadily to keep me from 
falling through. 

I have just seen Mr. Lyle, and he invites you to visit him. 
The Theological Trustees are to hold a meeting at Hamp- 
den Sydney, on Monday, the 16th October. Now you must 
set out early enough next week to get here by Friday morn- 
ing. For on that day we must leave Richmond for Prince 
Edward. There will be enough for us to do before we meet 
at Synod. Therefore come with your mind disencumbered 
and alert ; and so prepared to work efficiently. 

I hear that the Hopkinsian ciudities are to come among 
us from Tennessee, and agitate the peace of the Synod. 
Deu8 avertat! 

The Princeton folk have doctored brother Speece. He is 
now D. D. I am glad of it. I did not not like to wear this 
thing tacked to my name, like two packs on the back of a 
strolling pedlar, until Speece was accoutred in the same way. 
With him to accompany me, I shall do tolerably well. 

How is my son Camp. ? How is my sisty Louisa, and 
all my brethren and sisters in Norfolk ? I want much to 
to know. Give my love to all. Present me respectfully to 
your mother. 

Yours ut semper et in sempitemum. 

John H. Rice. 



DsAR Mother, 

I send you Gilpin's Lives and the Pamphleteer, No. 11. 
I will thank you to read this last with a keen and watch- 
ful eye; and tell me if you can find in it a word or a 
mode of expression calculated to hurt the feelings of my 
Episcopal brethren. In the whole composition, I have 
most carefully endeavoured to keep out a controversial 
spirit; and if a shape has been given to an expression, or 
a colouring to a sentiment inconsistent with fratenial love, 
it has been contrary to my wishes, and is thus far a failure 
in the fulfilment of my intentions. But on a reperusal, 
with prayer, of the pamphlet, I myself can detect nothing 
which ought to offend. It is my sincere desire to be a 
peace-maker, and to promote that love which ought to 
characterize the disciples of our common Lord. And I 
thought that it would have a happy effect to show to other 
christians, that while the Presbyterians acknowledge the 
validity of their baptism and ordination, they are so atten- 
tive to the word of Christ and to the order of the gospel, 
that their brethren ought to acknowledge them. This is 
the object of those two Pamphlets already published ; and 
in the thirds which will in time see the light, I shall show 
that the great doctrines of the church held in common by 
christians, ought to make them unite in one body in holy 
communion, and every office of love. 

Mrs. Rice joins in best love to you and Alice, with 

Most truly, 

John H. Rice. 



Richmond J February bthf 1821 • 
Mt Dear Sir« 

I have been waiting to see what would be the result of an 
application to the Legislature on behalf of Hampden Sydney 
College, to write to you, and give a full view of the pros- 
pects of that institution. In the mean time, I learn, you 
have positively decided as to your course in relation to the 
call addressed to you. My wishes were to get you back 
again; my judgment wavered. Your situation is of great 
importance we all know ; and every year affords increased 
facilities to do good. I trust that the Lord will do every 
thing for us, and overrule all for his glory and the good of 
the church. 

But who shall succeed Dr. Hoge ? This is a question 
which I fear will not easily be decided. I do not think that 
our Synod will agree on any man living in their bounds. 
And yet it is important that the S3a)od and the trustees of 
Hampden Sydney should unite in some suitable person. I 
believe that we must go out of Virginia to look for one. Can 
you not direct our attention ? I have been repeatedly run- 
ning, over in my mind the members of the last General As- 
sembly, to see if there was one in that body that would suit 
us. I have again and again thought of Fisk of Goshen. 
How would he answer, considering his talents, attainments, 
habits, &c. ? I was very much pleased with him, and next 
to him with Obadiah Jennings. Your position enables you 
to command a much more extensive view than we can. Pray 
let me hear from you on this matter. 


Richmond, Aug. Gth, 1821. 
My Friend White, • 

I should have written to you before now, but really I had 

not time. I would gladly comply with your request if I 


could, but it would require a volume to do justice to the sub- 
ject. A few remarks are all that I can give you. 

The Unitarians hold that they are Christians; and are 
very indignant if you deny the name to them. But they 
deny every thing that renders Christianity a system suited to 
the condition of a sinner. First indeed they deny human 
depravity; then, of course, the necessity of regeneration, the 
doctrine of justification by faith, of sanctification by the Spi- 
rit, and of divine influences in general. They deny the di- 
vinity of our Lord, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. 
The doctrine of atonement is also of course rejected. 

They undertake to prove that the doctrine of the Trinity 
is absurd ; and assuming it to be so, they endeavour to show 
that it is not taught in the ^riptures. It would require a large 
book to point out the various devices by which they endeavour 
to nullify the express declarations of Scripture. Some pas- 
sages they pretend are figurative, some they say are not genu- 
ine, on others they put a forced construction, and translate 
them contrary to all the rules of grammar, and the idiom of 
the Greek language. 

To this work of misinterpreting they are well trained ; for 
many of them are acute and learned men. 

Hence the necessity of a learned ministry — of a thorough 
acquaintance especially with the Greek language, with the 
history of the text, with various readings, with biblical 

As for the advantages of the Unitarian system — it flatters 
the pride of the human understanding, and gives license to 
the depravity of the human heart ! But they pretend that 
the system is simple, that it is intelligible and rational — they 
boast that it Commends itself to infidels, and gains them over 
to the cause of religion ! ! And a hundred such things do 
they boast. 

With regard to the books on this controversy, they are so 
numerous that a pamphlet would scarely contain the cata- 
logue. The first and most powerful against them is the New 



Testament Ab for otheis, the most modem are best suited 
to the present state of the controversy, of course. The truth 
is, they are a Proteus-race, and change the ground of attack 
as often as they can. They are impudent men too ; and 
have the face to bring forward arguments that have heed a 
thousand times refuted. Magee is a very good work ; so is 
Jones on the Trinity; and Simpson's Plea. I shall try to 
make the Magazine useful in that way. I think the last 
year's volume has in it a number of things worth reading on 
the subject ; as also the present series as far as it goes. My 
love to all friends. 

Yours truly ai\d in great haste, 

John H. Rice. ■ 


Prince Edward, Sept. 27th, 1821. 
My Dear Mother, 

It has been just as I expected. I have had no time for 
rest since I came up to this county. Yet amidst constant 
engagements, and a crowd of company, my thoughts revert 
to Richmond, and my dear people there ; and the aspiration 
ascends to Heaven, may God bless them ! You know that 
among all whom the Head of the Church has committed to 
me, none are dearer, none higher in my esteem than you and 
yours. I have no time now to give expression to my feel- 
ings ; but as Mr. White sets out presently to Richmond, I 
could not but send you a little token of my pastoral and filial 
remembrance. And you know very well that a slight thing 
may be a token of strong love. 

My dear friends here are enjoying an unusual degree o! 
health. The college seems to be prospering greatly, and 
there is certainly a number of as promising young men col* 
lected here as I have ever seen. They appear too to be well 
trained, and I do hope will make useful citizens. This yoa 
may well suppose affords great pleasure to one who takes as 


lively an interest as I do in the literatare of Virginia, fiat 
there is mnch yet to be done to bring into full exercise the 
capacities with which Heaven has endowed our young coun* 
trymen. There is a great want of literary associations to 
keep up and increase the impulse given at college. Hence, 
almost universally, our educated men degenerate into mere 
men of business. They are mere lawyers, doctors, divines. 
This I think is the great reason why the men of the North 
are above us in point of state literature, while they are below 
us as professional characters. But I am running quite unex- 
pectedly into these speculations. When I communicate to 
you, however, I just let my thoughts run on spontaneously, 
because I fully confide in your maternal partialities. 

My health is but little if any improved. I have been very 
busy here, and could take no recreation. I knew that it 
would be so. And next week I must turn homeward. 1 
expect to be in Richmond on Wednesday. But I hear that 
my beloved friend, Mrs. Smith, of Powhatan, is very sick, 
and this may delay me a day on the way. 

I am obliged to stop. Nancy joins me in dearest love to 
you and Alice, and in the request to be kindly remembered 
to all the friends who may speak of us at your house. 
Love us as we love you. 

Yours most truly and forever, 

John H. Rice. 

Excuse enormous haste. 


Richmond^ Nov. Uh^ 1821. 
Bear Jane, 

Your young friends, I dare, say carry on an active corres- 
pondence with you, and tell you all the Richmond news. 
Yet I have no doubt but that a line or two from your pastor 
will be acceptable. 

After having heard what has been doing among us, I sup* 


pose that you will wish very much to be here. We should 
all be delighted to see you. I know that I should; for I 
miss you in all our little meetings. Perhaps, however, your 
absence may be turned to a beneficial account. If you weie 
here, you would be deeply interested for others; now you 
have a good opportunity of taking notice of yourself. You 
have opportunity in retirement of observing what effect reli- 
gion and its various means have had on your temper and 
conversation. You may particularly mark what are your 
deficiences, and wherein you have failed to make a good use 
of your privileges. You perhaps will make discoveries of 
an uncomfortable nature. But they may be salutary ; and 
you may return to us better prepared than ever to make a 
profitable use of the many opportunities afforded in Rich- 
mond. Read your Bible much — mingle prayer with all that 
you read. And converse much with your own heart. Search 
diligently and deeply into it. The doctor will tell you that 
a skilful surgeon will probe an ulcer to the very bottom. 
The disease of sin lies deep ; it infects opr whole nature. 
Try to apply religion to every part. Bring it to bear on 
your whole temper and conduct; and thus you will be acon- 
sistent christian. That is a t^ruly noble character. ' O I let 
us all be consistent christians. 

I was glad to hear by Harriet that you enjoyed christian 
society where you are. I have often heard of Mr. and Mrs. 
Webb, and believe them to be the Lord's people. If they 
are, and if we are, then they and we are brethren in Christ 
Jesus, and bound to love one another. I am very much 
pleased to find that you feel and acknowledge this. I am 
particularly anxious that all of my dear little flock should 
cultivate a liberal brotherly spirit, and be above narrow and 
sectarian views. I don't wish that any of them should hang 
closer to Presbyterianism than to Christianity. 

Present my best respects to Dr. W— and his lady ; also 
to Mr. Semple if you see him. Tell the doctor that I take 
a deep interest in his spiritual welfare, and that I shall make 


him a subject of special prayer in secret I have often prayed 
for him, and I will pray more particularly and earnestly than 
ever. Ask him to join me morning and evening. Dear 
Jane, may God bless you, and keep you as in the hollow of 
his hand ; use yon for his glory, and prepare you for his 

Your affectionate pastor, 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond^ December 5lhf 1821. 
My Dear Sir, 

I received a letter last evening from a gentleman in Bruns- 
w^ick county, which has made me exceedingly anxious in- 
deed to engage the services of a zealous active missionary. 
The case is this. We have, as we have been able to employ 
them, sent Missionaries into Brunswick county, and its vicin- 
ity, one of the most deplorably destitute parts of old Virginia. 
Gradually a good effect has been produced by their labours. 
The last man employed by us was Mr. King, from your 
place. He has just finished his mission, and gone on to 
Carolina. He set the people to work to employ a preacher 
themselves. The letter mentioned in the beginning is from 
a Mr. Drummond, informing me that a subscription is very 
nearly filled to the amount of four hundred and eighty dollars, 
for the purpose of paying the salary of a Missionary for a 
year. Mr. King in his report says that he has no doubt but 
that a suitable man would be well received, and that three 
little Presbyterian churches could be organized in a few 
months, if the impressions now made could be kept up. This 
would be like planting the standard of the cross in a heathen 
land« Do, if you know of a man who would suit, let me 
hear from you immediately. Or if you do not, write, that I 
may not be kept in suspense. 

We have some little excitement here on the subject of 



religion. Sabbath week we had a oommuBion, Fifteen 
presented themselves to be received on examination, and 
two on certificate. I baptised six adults; two were educated 
Baptists, three Quakers, and one nothing at all. Eight or 
ten more are under serious impressions, and will come for- 
ward, I expect, at next communion. These are drops. Lord 
send us a copious shower ! 

Mrs. Rice and her father had an almost miraculous escape 
from death the other day. They were coming from the 
Main street home in the evening, and while rising the hill to 
my house, the horse became choked by the collar, wheeled 
aside, and fell breathless and senseless down a precipice about 
fifteen feet, head foremost, and gig, and riders, and all went 
down together. Yet not a bone was broken, nor any seri- 
ous hurt inflicted. The old Major went home in two days. 
And Mrs. Rice scarcely feels any inconvenience from the 
fall. We have passed up that hill an hundred times, and have 
never thought of Providence. But this event shows us what 
Providence can do ; and makes us deeply feel for the pre- 
sent our dependance and our obligations. May we never 
forget again. 

Mrs. R. joins in much love to you, Mrs. A. and the chil- 
dren,. Give my love to the Princeton doctors. 

With unabating affection, 

JNO. H. RlCK^ 

Richmond^ December %Qthy 1821.. 
Rev. Sir, 

This will be hatided to you by Mr. * * who wishes to be 
received as a member of the Institution at Andover* 

It is very highly gratifying to us, although particularly 
connected with another Institution, to learn that Andover 
flourishes. When I contemplate such a school of the pro- 
phets, rising up under the very walls of the strong fortress 


of heresy, and prospering beyond the expectations of its 
wannest friends, I am constrained to say, What hath God 
wrought ! 

We to the south ought to join with our northern brethren in 
rendering thanks to the Great Head of the Church for this 
favour ; for Andover is a blessing to us as well as to them. 
One of your young men (Mr. L* *) is now sitting at my side, 
writing, I believe, to you. He is a Missionary in the employ 
of the Young Men's Missionary Society of Richmond. 
For the winter he is stationed in the city. I find him 
zealous and laborious, and he does not labour in vain. Good 
has already been done through his instrumentality, and I 
trust that he will be made extensively useful. The prospect 
in Richmond is more encouraging than usual. At our last 
communion fiAeen applied for admission to church privileges ; 
and I expect a similar application from about the same num- 
ber. O may these droppings be precursors of a copious 
shower ! Dear sir, pray for us ; and bespeak in our behalf 
an interest in the prayers of all your brethren. A general 
revival of religion in Richmond is a matter of unspeakable 
importance. It would have a powerful bearing on the reli- 
gious interests generally of this great state. 

I wish promptly to obtain any new work of importance 
on the Unitarian controversy, or on the general subject of 
Biblical Criticism ; but my means of obtaining literary in- 
formation are limited ; and when T hear of a new work, it 
often takes a long time and great expense to procure it. 
Can you afford me any facilities in this way ? 

You see, my dear sir, that I make free with you as a 
brother in Christ. I do not wish to lay any unreasonable 
tax on yon. I just frankly state my situation and my 
wants, and ask of you to render such assistance to me, 
both as a student, and a conductor of a religious magazine, 
as it may be in your convenience to afford. 

I shaU be happy to hear from you, when your ofiicial 


duties wiU permit you to write ; and I ask an interest in 
your prayers. 

With esteem and christian regards, 
I am your fellow-servant, 

John H. Ricb. 

In conducting the magazine, he had been very desirous 
from the first to enlist the talents of as many laymen as 
he could find willing to aid him in his work, and he naturally 
felt particularly anxious to engage the pen of his friend 
Mr. Wirt, who had proved his zeal for the cause of letters 
by his British Spy and Old Bachelor, and who, he knew, 
had some regard for the cause of religion ; but that gentle- 
man, who was now Attorney General under Mr. Mon- 
roe, had always pleaded his excessive occupation in bar of 
his friend's claim upon him ; and with some reason. At 
length, however, some pieces appeared in the numbers for 
September, and October, of 1821, entitled, ** Hints to 
Preachers," and containing some pretty pungent strictares 
upon some of the faults of clerical speakers, which were 
very strongly suspected, both by the editor and his readers, 
to have come from his hand ; but whether justly or not, 
the following letters from Mr. Wirt himself may perhaps 
enable the curious to determine. 


Waahingt&n, January 27th, 1822, 
My Dear Sir, 

You are certainly a capital accountant. I keep no books ; 
and our transactions in the epistolary way had been so few 
" and far between,*' that I had forgotten there was such a 
thing as a balance between us. The truth is that we are both 
dray horses, I from necessity, and you from choice; and 
^that we really have not time for a regular or constant cor* 
respondence. Here now is Sunday night — ^I have just dis- 
missed my family and ought to be preparing for bed, for it 


is within a few minutes of nine, and I have to rise very 
early in the morning; but conscience has been haunting me 
about you ever since I received your letter of the 4th, 
and I wish to make my peace with you before I lie down ; 
so here's for quitting scores on my part I wish I was a 
gentleman instead of a dray-horse. I should take great 
delight in writing to you and for you ; but I have played 
the game of life with so little skill, that in my old age, 
when I ought to be able to take my rest, I have to work 
harder than I have ever done before. 

So you make the people squeal with your <* Hints to 
Preachers," and then you lay it on me ; but I am not much 
surprised at the imputation ; indeed, the moment I read the 
story of The Oysterman^ I expected it, for I distinctly re- 
membered, and so did Mrs. W., my having told that story 
to you ; but I had the story in Orange, from James Bell, a 
brother chip, who has long since removed to Kentucky; 
and the preacher of whom he told it was old Aaron Bled- 
soe, (pronounced JSletcher,) a Baplvsty who was called 
old Aaron Bletcher in 1792, whereas your correspondent 
is supposed to tell it of a Presbyterian. I believe if your 
readers who have been pleased to father these hints on 
.me, could see the manner in which my professional and 
official duties engross me, morning, noon, and night, they 
would acquit me, and look elsewhere for the author. So I 
suppose they have pulled another old house on my head, or 
rather half a dozen of them ; and I shall have the episcopal 
bulls fulminated at my devoted head; and the modem 
Milton, whoever he may be, seizing me by the nape of the 
neck, and buying me many fathoms deep, &c. &c. On 
the contra side, however, there is, it seems, a modicumf 

(or a» D C is fond of saying, an aliquot part,) 

of praise; <* whereupon, this defendant, neither admitting 
nor denying the allegations in th^ biU made, calls upon the 
complainants to make full proof thereof, in every partlcu- 


lar, &c. &c. &c.'* 1 wUl tell you, however, in your ear, 
that I do not feel myself much complimented, as a writer, 
by the ascription; this, you see, is modest — therefore I 
I would not have it repeated, lest it should be charged to 
affectation. One word more. If the Hints to Preachers 
were calculated to do good, your Hints to Hearers will 
obliterate the effect; for the preachers will consider you as 
taking up the cudgels in their cause, and imputing the criti- 
cisms of the Layman to a wicked and perverse spirit, and 
not to any demerits in the preachers. I know you do not 
say so ; but the weak and wounded will make no such dis- 
crimination; they will consider you as their champion at 
large, and as refelling all the positions of the Layman. 
Mark if this be not the consequence. 

With respect to the eight 8vo pages, if you will let me 
draw on Holingshead and the Harleian Miscellany, &c. ay ; 
otherwise, I cannot promise. You must give me leave to 
tell you that I think the literary department of your maga- 
zine might be improved; it wants some lightening here. 
The evangelical department, and all the rest of it is, me 
jtuiice, very good; but the literary department does not 
shine as it might have been expected to do in the hands of 
such an editor. But you cannot attend to every thing ; I 
know it; but where is Mr. Speece with his great mind? 
and your Hoge, &c. &c. &c. If you wish your magazine 
to travel beyond the Presbyterian circle of good christians, 
you must give it more sail, and a gallant streamer, with at 
least one long Tom on the bows, to fire a salute, if for no 
other purpose. As it is, it is a grave and excellent chris- 
tian repository, full of sound and vigorous disquisition, well 
calculated to enlighten the mind, and improve the heart; 
and so much, and as much more as you think I can with 
a safe conscience, I am willing to certify, in concurrence 
wit^ the learned gentlemen you mention, or without them. 
So let me see the recommendation, and I will return it with 


mj concurrence. Our love to Mrs* Rice, Hamet, and 
yourselfy and farewell. 

Tours in good truth, 

William Wirt. 


Washington^ February 1, 1822. 
My Dear Sir, 

Your letter of the 3l8t ult. is just received at 5 P. M. for 
I have just returned from the President's. I feel the blush 
of genuine shame at the apparent presumption of adding my 
name in favour of the magazine to that of the eminent gen- 
tlemen at Princeton. This is real and unaffected — ^but you 
desire it — and I dare follow your beck in any direction. 
Would that I could in one still more important. 

Holingshead's History of Duncan of Scotland, is under 
copy by my Elizabeth (my daughter, once your pet) for the 
purpose of showing the full basis of Shakspeare's Macbeth. 
I think you will be pleased with it — and the readers of Shaks- 
peare must differ much from me, if they do not find it very 

If you suppose from what I said of nine o'clock that that 
is my hour of going to bed on week-day nights^ you are mis- 
taken by several hours. For some time past, I have been 
obliged to be in my office before breakfast, and till nine or ten 
o'clock at night, when I have to come home, take my tea, 
talk over family affairs, and get to bed between eleven and 
twelve ; but it is killing me also. And as death would be 
most extremely inconvenient to me in more respects than 
one, at this time, I shall quit that course of operations, and 
look a little to my health, if I can survive the approaching 
Supreme Court — sed qussre de hoc. 

My troubles not being already enough, in the estimation 
of the honourable body now assembled in the capitol, they 
axe beginning to institute inquiries, for ipy better amusement, 
into the circumstances of three fees paid me by the govern- 


ment, in the course of the four years that I have been hece, 
for professional services foreign to my official duties — a thing 
which has been continually done at all times, under this go* 
yemment, but which they affect to think a new affair en- 
tirely, and only an additional proof among ten thousand 
others of the waste of public money, by the rapacity, if not 
peculation, of those in office. I am sick of public life; my 
skin is too thin for the business ; a politician should have the 
hide of a rhinoceros, to bear the thrusts of the folly, igno- 
rance, and meanness of those who are disposed to mount 
into momentary cousequenee by questioning their betters, 
if I may be excused the expression after professing my 
modesty. " There's nought but care on every hand;'* all, aU 
is vanity and vexation of spirit, save religion, friendship, 
and literature. 

I agree that your story of the Oysterman is the best, bat 
I suspect that the Orange story is the true original. I knew 
old Bletcher : he was a Baptist preacher ; and although I did 
not hear the words, they are so much in his character that J 
verily believe them to have been uttered by him; and it would 
have been quite in his character too to have gone on with the 
amplification you suggest. 

I do sincerely wish it were in my power to mount the 
aforesaid gay streamer, and long Tom, on your gallant little 
barque. I will try in the spring and summer to contribute a 
stripe or two, and a blank cartridge or so ; but I shall not 
tell you when I do, that it is I, for it is proper you should 
have it in your power to say truly, " I do not know who it 
is." I have already got credit for much that I never vnx)te, 
and much that I never said. The guessers have an uncom- 
mon propensity to attribute all galling personalities to me, 
all sketches of character that touch the quick, and make 
some readers wince. I have, in truth, in times gone by, 
been a litde wanton and imprudent in this particular, and I 
deserve to smart a little in my turn. But I never wrote a linjs 
wickedly or maliciously. There is nothing in the Spy that 


deserves this impaftation, and nothing in the Old Bacheiort 
which, give me leave to tell you, " venia deter verbo,** you 
and your magazine, and your writer, ** have underrated. 
There is a juster criticism of it In the Analectic Magazine— 
hvLt this writer, too, has not true taste nor sensibility. He 
accuses me of extravagance only because he never felt, him- 
self, the rapture of inspiration. . And you accuse me of re- 
dundant figure, because you are not much troubled yourself 
with the throes of imagination — just as 6—- H— abuses 
eloquence because there is no eord in his heart that responds 
to itB notes. So take that. And if you abuse me any more, 
1 virill belabour your magazine as one of the heaviest, dullest, 
most drab-coloured periodicals extant in these degenerate 
days. What! shall a Conestoga waggon*horse find fault 
with a courser of the sun, because he sometimes runs 
away with the chariot of day, and sets the world on fire ? 
So take that again, and put it in your pocket. But enough 
of this badinage, for if I pursue it much farther you will 
think me serious — besides it is verging to eleven, and the &re 
has gone down. I began this scrawl a little after five— -walked 
for hedth till dark-— came in and found company who re- 
mained till near ten — and could not go to bed without a little 
more talk with you. But I shall tire you and catch cold— 
so with our united love to Mrs. Rice, my dear Harriet, and 
yourself, good night. 

Your friend, in truth, 

Wm. Wirt. 


Richmond, February 3d, 183^ 

My Dear Sir, 

The prospect in my congregation is encouraging stitt. 
There is no vevy powerfiil excitement, and I confess tiiat I 
dread things of that sort. But there is much seriousness, 
and a disposition to attend prayer meetings, &c. We have 
received about twenty, and expect ten or twelve more. 



We ha>e an Andover missionary in New Kent and Charles 
City, who pleases the people exceedingly. They are raising 
a subscription there to establish him, and the prospect is en- 
couraging. I think it likely that Mr. Curtis (who married 
Mr. Lumpkin's widow,) will settle in Brunswick. Thus 
we are moving forward a little. 

Have you seen Dr. Mason's sermon, and do you hear the 
yelping of the Unitarians? They are better politicians than 
we are. . Our bitter denunciations don't do any good, and 
much harm — at least so it seems to me. Many of my 
brethren think me too soft and milky; and rather reproach 
me for it. How does this case seem to you?" 


Bichmand, Feb. 2Ut, 1822. 
My Dear Fribnd, 

I am sure that you will be delighted to hear, that the pros- 
pects of religion are more encouraging in th^ congregation 
than they have been perhaps at any time. I sometimes am 
almost persuaded that we arc going to have a great revival 
here. To be sure, the present excitement may all pass away 
'like the morning cloud, or the early dew. And often I very 
greatly fear that this will be the case ; we are so utterly un- 
worthy of so great a blessing. Yet we have great reason to 
be thankful for what the Lord has*done. We were not worthy 
of that; nor of the least crumb of mercy; but still the good 
God has blessed us with a number of additions to the church. 
I think about thirty since the middle of November. And, 
take them all together, they make a number of as hopeful 
converts as I have ever seen. They are principally young 
people — the lambs of the flock, whom the good Shepherd is 
accustomed to take and carry in his bosom. O may all these 
be kept in safety! Remember us all in your prayers ! 

I constantly regret, that you, my dear friend, and the few 
about you are so ar removed from the fold to which yon be- 
long. Still, however, you are not out of the fold of Christ ; 


not from under the care of the Shepherd of Israel, who never 
slumbers over his flock, and never loses sight of one of his 
sheep; but gives to them eternal life, and allows none to 
pluck them out of his hand. When I wrote above that he 
carries the lambs in his bosom, I thought among others of 
my dear Mary and Judy. But there is a passage connected 
with this, which I thought of in delightful application to you. 
He gently leads those that are burdened. The weight of 
cares and sorrows that lies upon you, rushed into my me- 
mory; and I thought in my mind I could see the good Shep- 
herd holding you by the hand, and conducting you with all 
his gentleness and tenderness, along the rough and thorny 
path which you have to travel. My dear friend, lean on 
him — ^lean on him with confidence ; he loves to be trusted, 
and never, no, never, forsakes those who depend on him. I 
• am persuaded that we are very prone to do injustice to our 
Saviour. We do not believe that he is as compassionate, as 
kind, as tender, as forgiving, as willing to receive, and as 
ready to help us, as he really is. And as for our unworthi- 
ness, he knows its full extent ten thousand times better than 
we do. Yet he invites us to look to him, and to cast all our 
care upon him. When we read that Christ came into the 
world and died to save sinners, and yet say that we are too 
unworthy to go to him« it is just as though I should say to a 
beggar at my gate, »* Come in, and I'll give you a plenty of 
food," and he should reply, *' I am too hungry to come in, 
and eat of your provisions." Why, is not that the very rea- 
son why he should come in? So, our unworthiness is the 
very reason why we should go to Christ. If he had not 
come to save sinners, the case would be a very different one. 
If the invitation were to run in these words ;-«-*» All ye that 
deserve my favour, come and trust me,"— who would dare to 
make application? But our Saviour, when he gives his in- 
vitations, does not say a word about worth. But he speaks 
of the weary, the heavy-laden, the sick, the poor, the blind, 


ihe hel|des8, the lost. Oh! ray friend, he is a predous 

Saviour. Trust him forever. 

Nancy joins me in most afieetionate regards to yourself, 

our dear Mary, and all the family; and in prayers that the 

best blessings of Heaven may rest on you. Give our love 

to the Fonthill family, and our respects to Mr. Mcjimsey. 

Heaven bless you forever. 

Yours assuredly 

John H. Rice. 

In the spring of this year (1822 ) we find him planning 
a journey to the North, as far as Andover, in Massachusetts, 
chiefly in order to make arrangements for the more regular 
supply of missionaries for the service of our state. But his 
views are more fully stated in the following letter to his cor- 
respondent in Norfolk, who had invited him to visit that 
place, to preach an opening sermon in the new church which 
had just been built in the town of Portsmouth, on the oppo- 
site side of the river. 


Richmondy April 13/A, 1822. 
My DtKB, Sir, 

I have just received your favour, and haste to reply to it. 
I do from my heart rejoice that the Lord has prospered your 
efforts, and that you are about to open a new church in Ports- 
mouth. How gladly I would be with you if I could, I have 
no words to express. But hear how I am situated. 

On the second of May 1 must be at Presbytery, in Prince 
Edward; and on the 13th of May I must be at Princeton, 
to attend the examination of the Theological Seminary. This 
duty it is important, and indeed I may say indispensable, 
that I should discharge, as a particular service is allotted to 
me on that occasion. Now I cannot attend at Norfolk, at 
the time specified by you, and yet be in Princeton on the 
13th. If you can get my brother to go down, he will serve 
you as well as I can. 


I have a number of important plans in view on my trip to 
the North. I most get my brethren to co-operate with me* 

The Presbyterian cause is sinking in Virginia. Six years 
ago we had seventeen active and Mb ministers in our Pres- 
bytery ; it has pleased God to remove three of them by death, 
Hoge, Lacy, and Kennon ; and others have gone from us* 
We have now only thirteen ordained ministers, and of these 
three are quite aged men who in the course of nature will 
soon be laid aside : three others are of no efficiency. Brother 
Cowan is going to leave us soon; and in fact we seem to be 
going down rapidly. But while this is the ease, there is 
more kindly feeling towards Presbyterianism in Virginia, 
than there ever was before. In fact there is greater encou- 
ragement to make exertions than I ever knew. It is neces- 
sary that we should arouse, and make a new effort. I am 
going to the North to endeavour to make arrangements for a 
better and more regular supply of Missionaries. I shall of 
coitrse be at Princeton. From the General Assembly I in- 
tend to get a commission to go to the Associations of Con- 
necticut and Massachusetts, and as far as Andover. My 
object in all is to promote religion in Virginia. Now I have 
reason to believe that by such a visit I can secure a regular 
supply of as many Missionaries as we can support. But it 
is necessary that some plans should be laid beforehand* 
Something ought to be gotten from the people to whom Mis- 
sionaries are sent ; the churches ought to associate more than 
they do. 

Can you not go to Presbytery, and help us ? I pray you 
do so* Give my love to Mr* Russell, and tell him he must 
be sure to come up. We must work together more than 
ever. During my long absence to the North you must stir 
up yourself, and help to support the magazine. 

Jjove to Camp, and all the brethren. 

Yours most truly, but in horrid haste. 

John H. Rice* 



He set oQt, aocordingly, early in May, for Philadelphia, 
where he attended the meeting of the General Assemhly, as 
a delegate from the Presbytery oi Hanover, and took an 
active part in the business of the body ; preaching as nsual 
on Sundays in different chnrches. The following letten 
give us some interesting glimpses of him while he was in 
Uie city, and afterwards as he was on Ihe road. 


Philadelphia, May 28/A, 1 822. 
My Beloved Mother, 

This is the very first day that 1 have been able to call my 
own since I left home. I have thought of you ten thousand 
times, and prayed for you, and loved you, and wished that 
you would write to me. and in fact done every thing that 
love could dictate but write to you; and that was omitted 
only because I had not time before now. 

I came from home as fully determined as I ever was in 
my life to keep out of the heavy business of the Assembly. 
But when I saw the meeting of that venerable body, and 
found that nearly three-fourths were young members, and 
of the rest that a considerable proportion were unacquainted 
with the routine of public business, I was under the neces- 
sity of taking hold, and working with all my might. We 
got through our labours about eleven o'clock last night, and 
now 1 expect a day or two of leisure before I go to the 
Hast country. You are the first of my beloved people that 
I seize this opportunity of writing to. 

The business of our General Assembly has gone through 
with great harmony, and more satisfactorily to me than on 
any former occasion. I think that I can see a manifest in- 
crease of christian temper among our ministers and elders ; 
and I regard this as an omen of good. A truly christian 
ministry is a great blessing ; and an unchristian clergy is a 
great curse. The better christians preachers are, the more 


food they wHl do in the worid. I therefore rejoice at what 
I think a man^est impiOTeinent in our churdi, and I do 
hope that all soeietie» are making progress. By the way, 
Mr. Keith, the Episcopal minister of Williamsbarg, came to 
see me the last day I staid at home ; and prevented me 
from calling at your house in the morning as I intended 
He is a charming man. I received him as a brother, and 
owned him in the warm affection of my breast, before I 
was one hour with him. 

We have heard wonderful accounts of revivals of religion 
in various parts of our common country. In this city, last 
Sabbath, in one congregation, ninety-five new communi- 
cants were received at once ; and it is believed that from 
fifty to seventy in the same congregation are now nnder 
deep religious concern. That church consists of neariy one 
thousand communicants. 

At half-past three o'clock last Sabbath, I went with father 
Eastbnrn, (I wish that you knew this most excellent old 
man) to his Sailor's meeting. This church is a sail-loft, 
near Market street wharf, capable of holding about seven 
hundred persons. The house was full, and I was called on 
to preach. I once, yon know, while living in the country, 
preached a part of my time to the black people. I then 
adopted a plain style of speaking suited to their capa- 
city. And when I rose to speak to the sailors, I recol- 
lected some of my sermons to the black people, and deter- 
mined to adopt the same plain, affectionate manner. I saw 
immediately that I had riveted their attention. And I tell 
you I have not preached as much to my satisfaction, nor 
with as much apparent effect, since I left my own dear 
people in Richmond. The hardy fellows were crying all 
about me, and 1 wept too. But I have fifteen yards to 
write to you, and you see my paper is done. I shall 
go to-morrow or next day to Princeton, where I must 
spend a week, and write a magazine. There let me hear 
from you, my dearest mother. 



I love a thousand people and more in Richmond, and I 
cannot give you names. As the lawyer said, *^I must sling 
it to them in a lump." But all my party love you, and 
Mrs. Rice and Harriet expect me to mention them most 
particularly and affectionately to you and dear Alice, on 
whom we pray ten thousand blessings. 

Dear mother. 

Yours most truly and forever. 

J. H. Rice. 


Stratford, Conn, June 14/A, 1822. 
My Dear Mother, 

I did hope to have enjoyed the pleasure of a letter from 
you before this time. And I cannot but fear that the state 
of your health has prevented your writing. As to the 
ardour and constancy of your maternal affection, I cannot 
entertain a doubt. The idea of your being sick in my 
absence is more painful to me than you can imagine. But, 
at the same time, I know that I am only a feeble instrument 
in the hands of our God, and that he can send blessings to 
you by whom he will. Nevertheless, I think it a privilege 
to be his instrument of good to you and yours. If he 
hears my prayers, every blessing that you need is every 
day bestowed on you. 

After leaving Philadelphia, I went to Princeton. But it 
was to labour. I had there to make up materials for the 
June number of the magazine. I had very little time, of 
course, to enjoy the society of my excellent friends in that 
place. And as soon as I had gone through with this job, 
I was obliged to set my face to come northwardly. I spent 
the last Sabbath with my valued friend Dr. McDowell, of 
Elizabethtown, a man whom I know you would esteem. 
He is so simple in his manners, so warm-hearted as a 
preacher, and so affectionate as a pastor. On Monday I 
went to New York, where I had business which kept me ' 


three or four days. In that great ctty there k a rery in- 
teresting season in a niupber of the Presbyterian charches. 
The young people appear to be much excited, and numbers 
are professing the faith and hope of the gospel. 

While in New York, I dined with Divie Bethune, a 
Scotch friend, of whom you have often heard, and whom 
perhaps you saw in Richmond last winter. He showed me 
a number of superb prints of distinguished persons which 
he had brought from England; and, among them, there was 
one of Miss Hannah More. Now, you must pardon me, 
my dear mother, for what I am going to say. But the ease 
was this ; the face was shown me while the naine of the 
person was concealed, and the very first thought that came 
into my mind, and the first expression that I uttered was, 
<*That face is very much like my dear friend Mrs. 
Wood's." And it is really the truth, thtt excepting the 
colour of the eye, and the shape of the mouth, it would be 
an excellent likeness of you. The nose, the forehead, the 
cheek, and the whole outline of the side face are precisely 
like yours. I gazed at it, and traced the resemblance with 
very great pleasure. 

From New York, we came yesterday in the stage to the 
land of steady habits. Of course, I could see nothing of 
the people. But the country is a very striking one. 
There was not a distance of three miles in any part of the 
road, where we had not a beautiiul view of Long Island 
Sound. And yet, instead of the dead level which might be 
expected so near the coast, the aspect of the country was 
so rugged, the hills so numerous, and the rocks so innu* 
merable, that one used to Virginia would naturally have 
supposed himself to be in a region at least two hundred and 
fifty miles from the ocean. 

After riding about seventy miles, we were very kindly 
received by my friend Mr. Dutton, one of the finest men I 
have ever met with. 


We left Harriet in Princeton : health bad. Mrs. Rice is 
well, and joins me with all her heart when I say, — ^The 
Lord bless you, dear mother, and dear Alice. ^ 

Most tnily and forever yours, 

John H. Rice. 

P. S. We shall go to-day to New Haven. On Monday 
we shall go to Tolland. The Association which I am to 
attend meets there next Thursday. About this day week, 
we shall go to Springfield in Massachusetts, but before that 
time I hope to write to you again.^ 


He was now fairly in New England, and for the £rst 
time; and mindful of his magazine behind him, very 
happily conceived the idea of recording his first im- 
pressions of the country through which he was passing, 
for the entertainment of his readers at home. He wrote, 
accordingly, by the way, and at dififerent times as he could, 
"A Journey in New England," which afterwards ap- 
peared, in successive numbers, in his journal; and was 
read with much interest. It contains, indeed, a great 
variety of judicious observations on the men,-Bnd manners, 
and institutions of that part of our country, with some 
graphic sketches of scenery, which show that he had an 
eye and a heart for the beauties of nature; and is written 
throughout in a very agreeable style. It is, moreover, like 
his << Excursion," already noticed, very characteristic; and 
may, therefore, very properly furnish us with a few short 
passages of pleasant reading, as we go along with him to 
his journey's end. 

From Stratford, it seems, he proceeded to New Haven, 
where he was charmed, of course, with the beauty of the 
city, with the college, churches, and public <^quare; and 
fairly delighted with the spectacle which he had on the 
Sabbath morning, of the whole population, as it were, all 
moving together across the green to their several houses of 
worship, at the same time. 


** New Haven," he says* " is, at this season of the year, 
a sweet and lovely place. The houses are princifMilly 
wooden-houses painted white, with green window-shutters. 
The streets are generally shaded with long rows of flourish- 
ing elms and maples, ^nd while the population is suffi- 
ciently numerous and active to give animation to the scene ; 
there is not that incessant bustle and perpetual roar which 
annoy one in great commercial cities. 

'* The college edifices are extended nearly the length of an 
entire square on about the highest ground within the city. 
The ground slopes in front; and on the opposite square stand 
all the churches in town. An Episcopal and two Congrega- 
tional churches, all very handsome buildings, stand in a line^ 
The Methodist place of worship, most unhappily, is placed 
on the corner of this square. Immediately below the Church 
Square, there is a portion of ground of the same size entirely 
open, well set with grass, and beautifully shaded. A spec- 
tator, standing in front of the college chapel on Sabbath 
morning, as the church-bell is ringing, has one of the most 
delightfully animating prospects before him that is to be seen 
in the United States. The population of New Haven is 
about 8000 or 10,000; and they are church-frequenting 
people. There is, too, a laudable punctuality in their attend- 
ance. . One, then, in the situation just mentioned, sees at 
one view the students repairing to chapel, and the whole 
church-going population of New Haven, from the patriarch 
of three score and ten, to the children of six or eight years, 
moving on to. their respective places of worship, and just 
about to join in supplications and solemn songs of praise to 
the Father of all. The sight of three or four thousand hu- 
man beings, with all the ideas and feelings associated with 
this sight, is overpowering. Nothing in the scenes of inani- 
mate nature can be compared with it. The sun will finally 
be darkened, the moon be turned-into blood, and the heavens 
be rolled away as a scroll ; the last fires willwither and con- 


surae erevy form of earthly beauty and grandeur ; but all 
these beings are immortal, and every individual soul outva^ 
lues the material universe. To see them all hastening to the 
place where God has recorded his name, where the messages 
of merey are delivered, and the sinner is taught what he 
mu«t do to be saved, awakeni^ emotions of uncontrollaMie 
energy. I could scarcely help stretching out my hands, and 
praying aloud that the Father of mercies might bless them. 

'* But this spectacle has turned me aside- from- the colle]ge. 
Of thi» institution it would require more room than you can 
spare to give a detailed account. I can only say that the 
buildings consist of four colleges four stories high ; a chapel, 
lyceum, &c. &c.; that there is a valuable library of about 
70CK) volumes; an excellent philosophical apparatus; and 
certainly the richest and most extensive collection of mine- 
rals in the United States. Indeed, there are said to be but 
few superior to it in the world. 

" The faculty at present consists of a president and niae 
professors. Besides these, there are six tutors, and an assis- 
tant to the chemical professor. The students in college 
amount to about 325, who with the resident graduates and 
medical students make the whole number upwards of 4O0. 
The instittuion, although deprived of the valuable services of 
Dr. Dwight , has lost nothing in reputation. JPerhaps it 
is excelled by some other colleges in all that regards mere 
literature; but in respect to science it is probably superior to 
any other institution in our country. 

" The executive government of this college is in tihe hands 
of the faculty, with the right of appeal to the corporation. It 
partakes much of a paternal character ; and if one may judge 
from the order and decorum which prevail in the chapel, of 
the efficiency of the government, it may truly be said that in 
this quality it is remarkable. I have no where seen a con- 
gregation of three hundred worshippers behave with more 
propriety. It is gratifying to add that there is a church in 


college consisting at present of at least one hundred mem* 

We may add, by the way, that he preached to the stu- 
dents, at this time ; and, we are told, with much unction, 
and happy effect. 

From New Haven he proceeded through a pleasant coun- 
try to Hartford, where, it seems, he was much pleased with 
<< the frank, easy, and graceful" manners of the inhabitants, 
and greatly interested with a visit which he paid to the 
American Asylum for the instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, 
where the progress of the pupils under the care of the Rev. 
Thomas H. Gallaudet, and his assistants, appeared abso- 
lutely wonderful, and where the talkativeness of the female 
scholars excited 2^ philosophic speculation. 

**It was truly delightful," says he," to witness their lively in- 
tercourse with each other, their tricks and jokes, and glee, their 
frequent arch smiles, and occasional hearty, side-shaking 
laughter. Indeed I never saw a happier school. Through the 
politeness of the superintendant, I was permitted to go into 
the large room, where the girls during a part of every day 
are instructed in sewing, knitting, and other branches of 
household industry. Their fingers and arms while at work 
are exceedingly nimble, and their motions very rapid. But 
it was very amusing to observe their disposition to /a/A?— 
every moment one might observe first one and then another 
drop her work into her lap, for the purpose of saying some- 
thing by signs to her companion. It was generally some 
good natnred joke, which created a laugh, and called forth a 
reply. Often four or five would converse at once ; and some- 
times the spirit of talking would be called up in such a way, 
that all would let go their work at once, and one might see 
a most wonderful movement of head:^, fingers, and arms 
tossing in every direction ; just as I have observed, in a 
large party of fashionable females, the "sweet music of 

speech" to proceed in quicker and still quicker time and 



louder tone, until all became performers, and none listeners. 
Now this fact completely confutes the philosophy of the 
honest fellow, who, in accounting for the superior talkative- 
ness of the ladies, long before the days of Gale and Spurz- 
heim, attributes it to the structures oflhe organs of speech. — 

M Quoth Thomas, women^s tongues 
Of Aspen leaves are made.*' 

'* I am not cranioscopist enough to know where the bump 
is situated on the head, which makes us talkative beings ; 
what connexion it has in ordinary persons with the tongue ; 
or what is the difference between this organ in gentlemen, 
and the same in ladies. I would propose it, however, as a 
curious problem to the Phrenological Society, what connex- 
ion the organ of taikativenesa has with the arms and fingers 
of deaf mutes ?" 

From Hartford, our traveller turned aside to Tolland, a 
town about twenty miles to the east, where the General 
Association of Connecticut was to hold its annual meeting, 
and which, it will be recollected, he was bound to attend, as 
a delegate from the General Assembly. He did so, accord- 
ingly, and with great satisfaction ; for he says : 

<' The Association is altogether made up of ministers ; it is 
merely an advisory council, without power ; and is held for the 
purpose of consulting on the best measures for promoting the 
interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, of giving advice to the 
churches, and cultivating a spirit of brotherly love and co- 
operation among the members. Eepresentatives of the Gene- 
ral Assembly of the Presbyterian church, and of the General 
Associations of the other New England states, are accustomed 
to meet with this body, and unite in all their deliberations. 

" It is hardly possible to conceive of an assembly of men 
where a more fraternal spirit could be manifested, than was 
exhibited by this body of clergy. Cordial affection, mild- 
ness, and deference of one to another reigned through the 


whole meeting. And I think that I have never witnessed 
any where fewer tokens of ambition, or so little attempt at 
display. Remarkable respect and kindness were shown to 
the delegates from other ecclesiastical bodies. And Uiere 
seemed to be a disposition unfeignedly to rejoice in the pro- 
gress of true religion, no matter who were the instruments of 
its advancement." 

From Tolland he returned to Hartford, and thence pursued 
his way to Springfield, where he was to attend the Associa- 
tion of Massachusetts ; another venerable body with whose 
learned and pioils members, and their kind and cordial re- 
ception of him, he was greatly pleased. 

<'The General Association of Massachusetts met in 
Springfield, and thus I had an opportunity of observing the 
representatives of the great body of orthodox clergymen in 
this state. I found them in every important respect so like 
their brethren of Connecticut, that I should be unwilling to 
attempt to discriminate between them. The constitution of 
the Association, too, and the business which they have to 
transact are so much alike, that I need not enter into par- 
ticulars. 1 was, in every respect, as much gratified here as 
at Tolland. 

" There is one particular which I cannot help noticing 
in this place. We regard our Congregational brethren as 
Independents ; and are ready enough to boast of the supe- 
rior excellence of our form of govemmeiXt. But 1 wit- 
nessed much in our Eastern friends, which seemed to show 
that the government which is best administered is best I 
am, indeed, far enough from admitting that any system of 
ecclesiastical polity is better than that which I have 
adopted. But theory is one thing and practice is another. 
Now I remarked, that in the Associations, both of Con- 
necticut and Massachusetts, there was as much diversity of 
opinion as I have found to prevail in other assemblies; 


and ev^ry person spoke freely what he thought. But after 
a subject had been discussed, and voted on, the will of the 
majority appeared to be the will of all. There were no 
protests, no expressions of dissatisfaction, nothing like ill- 
humour. But the minority were, to all appearance, as 
prompt to carry into effect the measures adopted, as the 
majority. I did not witness the slightest token of_an infir- 
mity very common in this world ; I mean that of opposition 
to a man because one is opposed to the measures which he 
supports. In this way, I have often witnessed, with ex- 
treme pain, a violation of that charity which ought to pre- 
vail among brethren. Sufficient allowance is not made for 
the diversity of views which are taken by dififerent minds. 
One assumes that he is right, and that all that differ from 
him are not only wrong, but must know that they are 
wrong, and obstinately persist in error. On this assump- 
tion, generally unwarranted, I have known men to be 
severely censured, and their actions attributed to unworthy 
motives. But all was the reverse of this among the bre- 
thren of whom I now write; and I was really delighted 
and edified to find a spirit of hearty, zealous co-operation 
among those, whom I had been accustomed to think of as a 
body of Independents, held together by no common bond. 
" From Springfield we were accompanied by Col. J. C. 

T ^k, (a gentleman, by the way, whose hospitality 

would have done honour to a Southern planter) on a visit to 
the new collegiate institution at Amherst. On 6ur way, we 
ascended Mount Holyoke, emphatically called the Pisgah of 
New England. I had heard what I thought an extravagant 
description of the grandeur and beauty of the prospect from 
this mountain, and prepared myself for a disappointment. 
But I was constrained to, exclaim, " The half was not told 
me r" I could not think of a single object necessary to 
clothe the prospect with perfection of beauty, except a view 
of the ocean whitened with sails. But the river Connec- 
ticut winding in slow and silent majesty through a vale of 


great fertility, and in high cultivation, makes ample amends 
for this sole deficiency. The lands on the margin <^ this 
river, lying immediately under the eye of the spectator, 
present a scene of variegated and unrivalled beauty. In a 
wide extent of low grounds, one might see adjoining each 
other in immediate succession, fields of clover in full bloom, 
and of flax, mixing the colour of its blue flowers with that 
of its green leaves ; the deeper green of indian corn, and 
rye just beginning to turn yellow ; in a word, the eye is 
feasted with the whole luxuriance of vegetation, and one 
associates the bountifulness of nature with the industry^ 
skill, and taste of man. In addition to this, there is a full 
view of mountain scenery, both near and distant. And there 
is a fine contrast between the wild and rugged features of the 
neighbouring mountains, and the well cultivated fields bind- 
ing on the river. To crown the whole, one sees in various 
points of view, as far as the eye can reach, lively and 
flourishing towns, with their long rows of elms and maples, 
and their handsome white steeples. Of these, twenty-seven 
have been counted from the top of mount Holyoke. These 
objects gready heighten the pleasure of the spectator. The 
beauty of the plains, the grandeur of the mountain scenery, 
and the wide extent of the prospect dilate the mind, and 
fill it with delightful emotions ; and then the sight of so 
many spires pointing to the heavens, and designating places 
where the living God is worshipped, and the hopes of a 
blissful immortality are cherished, gives solemnity to the 
whole feeling, and turns the thoughts to that better, that 
heavenly country, of which the earthly Canaan was but a 
type. One is reminded of the ** pure river of the water of 
life, clear as chrystal," of the ** tree of life," the leaves of 
which " were for the healing of the nations;" of the re- 
moval of the curse ; and of all the revealed glories of the 
heavenly inheritance. Associations like these give a higher 
tone and purer character to the feelings; they rise to 



ecstacy ; and as one iyana to catch, if possible, the whole 
scene at a single view, he can scarcely forbear exclaiming 
in the language of Cowper, — 

** My Father made tbem all.** 

Returning from this excursion, he left Springfield on the 
3d of July, for Boston, where he arrived in the evening of 
the same day. The next morning, being the anniversary of 
Independence, he was roused up, it seems, by the thunder- 
ing of the bell of the Old South Church, almost over his 
head; (he was probably lodging with the pastor of it, 
whose house adjoined,) and his journal proceeds: 

*^ At first I thought there was an alarm of fire ; and deter- 
mined to let the good people fight this enemy themselves. 
But I was soon convinced that the first impression was erro- 
neous — ^' It is the Fourth of July," said I, and instantly 
sprung from my bed. For the dawn of this day always brings 
such a train of recollections, and awakens such deep emo- 
tions, that as soon as its faint light peeps through my case- 
ment, I am thoroughly roused. My first business is to give 
thanks to the God of the whole earth, for the blessings and 
honours with which he has crowned our country; and the 
next to recall to remembrance the gallant deeds, and glorious 
exploits of our forefathers^ And here 1 could not but remem- 
ber, that old Massachusetts was even with the foremost in 
resisting the claims of arbitrary power ; that not far from me 
was the field first stained with blood in this contest; that 
much nearer was the grave of Warren ; that this state had 
produced many men great in council, and gallant in battle ; 
and that in those days of trial, Virginia and Massachusetts 
were of one heart and one soul : — indeed, thoughts coursed 
so swiftly through my mind, and feelings rose so powerfully 
in my heart, that it would be in vain to attempt a description 
of the actual state in which I was placed. 


''After breakfast, I said, well, I will tarn out and see how 
the Bostonians celebrate the day of Independence. Some 
account of what I saw on this occasion may not be una- 

'^ There had been a sort of levee— (yes ; these descendants 
of the old Puritans use the term,) — there had been a sort 
of a levee at the residence of his Excellency — (I am not 
sure that I have the court vocabulary by heart, but I will 
avoid mistakes if possible) — ^I say, there had been a sort of 
a levee at the residence of his Excellency the Governor, 
where were found his Honour the Lieutenant Governor, the 
Honourable the Judges of the Supreme Court, Honourable 
members of Congress, superior Militia Officers, &c. &c. who 
walked in procession to the old South Church. At the door of 
the church I joined the procession, and we soon filled the 
house to overflowing. In the first place, a band of musi- 
cians, vocal and instrumental, performed sacred music, (not 
equal to what we heard at Springfield.) We next had a 
prayer, on which I shall oiTer no remark ; then fpUowed pa- 
triotic and military music — (don't think now of Yankee- 
Doodle) — and finally an oration, by a Mr. Gray. The 
speech was really well composed as regards language, and 
contained many excellent sentiments. But it was quite too 
local for my feelings ; and evidently had reference to a state 
of things among the Bostonians, which I did not very 
thoroughly understand. It was, however, well received by 
&e audience ; and the speaker sat down amidst thunders of 
applause. I, however, heard one gentleman, who sat near 
me, exclaim, " Boston folks are full of notions.," 

'* From the church the crowd proceeded to the State House, 
where had been provided an excellent cold collation, suffi- 
cient for fiv.e or six hundred persons. After due honour had 
been shown to this provision, wine of no mean flavour was 
served up, and a nqmber of appropriate toasts, given by his 
Excellency 9 his Honourf and various Horwurable gentlemen, 


were drunk, and applauded in the customary manner of 
stamping with the feet and clapping with the hands. Many 
of the toasts, however, were in one respect like the speech; 
they referred very particularly to the good city of Boston. 
There were several, however, who took occasion to give sen- 
timents j expressive of great kindness to Virginia. Hilarity 
and good feeling predominated, without the least appearance 
of excess. And here I must testify to the praise of these 
people, that, although I saw at least thirty thousand of them 
on this day, I saw only one drunken man among them all ! 
** After moderate indulgence in wine, the company dis- 
persed, and every man went where it liked him hest. In 
the evening. His Honour ^ the Mayor of Boston, held a levee. 
Some of our party were desirous to wait on him, and I ac- 
companied them. On arriving at the house, we found it 
crowded to overflowing ; but we elbowed our way through 
the crowd, made our bows, and passed our compliments to 
the gentleman and lady, drank a gla^s of wine, partook of an 
ice-cream, and chatted the meanwhile with any who hap- 
pened to be next to us ; and then went to see the exhibition 
of fireworks got up at the expense of the corporation, in 
honour of Independence. The envious moon shone with an 
unclouded brightness that almost overpowered the light of 
the fireworks, which otherwise would have been very bril- 
liant. They were exhibited in the large beautiful common 
which lies in front of the state house. And here, as nearly 
as I could conjecture, twenty thousand persons were assem- 
bled to see the sight ! I cared nothing for the exhibition, 
but I wished to see the people ; and so I Walked through 
the immense crowd, heard their good natured jokes, and en- 
joyed their hilarity, and did not return to my lodgings until 
the whole multitude had dispersed. I never saw so large an 
assemblage of persons before ; and I rarely ever witnessed a 
scene of greater order and propriety. I could not help say» 
ing to myself, whatever else the Bostonians may be, they are 


very observant of public decomm. By ten o'clock, all was 
still and silent as though there had been Qothing to excite 
the population of the city." 

After this, he spent several days in Boston, rambling about 
the town, and visiting the various objects of curiosity; par- 
ticularly the Atheneum which naturally attracted such a lover 
of books, and gratified him of course ; the public schools 
with the whole economy of which he was highly pleased ; 
and the churches, as far as he had opportunity — which leads 
him to make some remarks upon the controversy then going 
on between the orthodox and Socinians, such as we might 
have expected from his pen. 

From Boston, also, he made several excursions— one of 
which was to Bunker's or Breed's Hill, which he could not 
visit without emotion ; and, acordingly, he says : 

** While standing on the height of Breed's hill, I could 
not but contrast the scene which then lay before me, with 
what had been exhibited when the raw untutored militia 
men of Massachusetts determined to contend with the vete- 
ran troops of the mother country. Immediately before us 
lay the field of battle, now clothed with beautiful verdure, 
but then ploughed up by artillery, and stained with blood. 
Next stands Charlestown, with its handsome churches and 
spires all peaceful and quiet, with no sounds but the hum of 
industry and the shouts of juvenile gladness ; but then, by the 
cruel and unprofitable policy of the enemy, wrapped in fire, 
and shooting a mighty pyramid of fiame towards heaven. 
The eye tlien rests on the river Charles, and Boston harbour, 
once in full possession of the enemy, and covered with their 
vessels of war ; but now whitened by the sails of our own mer- 
chant vessels, and all alive with boats gliding in every direc- 
tion; while on the Charlestown side there lie the United 
States' navy yard, and several of the most powerful and for- 
midable vessels of war ever built in this country ; putting one 


in mind of the enterprise and gallantry of American seamen, 
and the heroic deeds of our naval commanders. Beybnd the 
river, Boston rises in full view, once garrisoned by an enemy 
and filled up with a wretched population, who suffered every 
indignity and privation that the wantonness and caprice of 
power chose to inflict; but now the abode of beauty, taste, 
fashion, wealth, and luxury ; the seat of literary and com- 
mercial enterprise ; of much that an enlightened christian 
patriot may well rejoice in, and much that he cannot but 
mourn over and condemn. For myself I have a sort ofpH' 
ancy of affection which embraces every object of interest in 
my country; and as I stood and looked at Boston, forgetting 
for the moment how far off was the place of my abode, I 
said to myself, '* Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity 
within thy palaces — Because of the house of the Lord our 
God which is in thee, I will seek thy good.'' 

He made an excursion, also, to the school of the pro- 
phets at Andover; where he admired the number and ex- 
tent of the buildings, the monuments of the liberality of a 
few individuals, among whom the names of Bartlet, Abbot, 
Brown, and Phillips, are particularly distinguished — the 
library, press, and all the accommodations ;' which made 
him exclaim : '' The institution is a noble one, and does the 
highest honour to its founders, and to the public spirit of the 
citizens of Massachusetts. In this particular, they do cer- 
tainly go beyond any others in the United Slates, and perhaps 
are not surpassed by any people in the worid." He adds 
afterwards : *< Since my visit to this school of the prophets, 
(where, by the way, I was received with the utmost urbanity, 
and treated with all the hearty kindness of christian brother- 
hood, and where I spent a few days as pleasantly as I have 
ever done in my life,) I have taken a deeper interest in its 
prosperity than I ever felt before, and have thought much of 
the system of theological education there adopted." Here 
he makes some critical but very friendly remarks upon the 


subject, (which however we cannot quote,) and concludes 
with saying: *' We left Andover with sorrowful hearts. Our 
parting was as that of old friends who might never meet 
again. And I am sure that I have not bowed my knees to the 
Father of mercies since that time, without remembering the 
.Theological Institution at Andover, its students, and profes- 
sors, in my prayers." 

On his return to Boston, he visited the University of Har- 
vard, where he was very courteously received by President 
Kirkland ; and was greatly pleased, of course, with its splen- 
did library — ample apparatus— -and all its various means of 
instruction — and with every thing about it, in fact, but its 
unhappy and unhandsome departure from the orthodoxy of 
its founders. He made a flying trip also to Lexington, Dor- 
chester, and some other places— -charmed with all ; and, de- 
lighted more and more every day with the literary spirit and 
air of Boston, would have gladly lingered still longer among 
its hills ; but he was obliged to leave it at last rather sud- 
denly; and proceeding to Providence, and thence in the 
steamer to New York, was soon at home again in Richmond ; 
where he had the satisfaction to find that during the whole 
time of his absence, which had been more than three months, 
not one member of his congregation, not even a child, had 
died — and his heart overflowed with gratitude to God. 


Richmond^ August 9th, 1822. 
My Dearest Mother, 

Your affectionate solicitude for our dear Mrs. M — '-^ shall 
not deprive you of any pleasure that a hasty letter can 
aflford. No ! you shall not wait until another time. You 
must not mistake this, however, for pure generosity, for 1 
must confess that I write to you partly because I want you 
to write to me. 

I cannot tell you how much I feel your absence. But 
doubtless your going was directed by Providence. You 


were sent to minister to the afflicted. God make you a 
a messenger of comfort to them, my dear mother! I know 
that you have a heart to feel ; and the sympathy of a chris- 
tian friend is truly comforting. So, when our dear sister is 
distracted with care and grief, it will be happy that you will 
be near, to remind her of the exceeding great and precious 
promises of God, and the hopes of the religion which she 
professes. And all that any of us can do, is to direct our 
suffering friends to God, who is the source of all comfort. 

I have good news to tell you. There is a revivkl of reli- 
gion in Petersburg which promises much. The sacrament 
was administered there last Sabbath, and thirty new commu- 
nicants were added to the church ; and ten had been received 
about three weeks before. A number had been brought un- 
der serious impressions, concerning whom good hopes are 

I learn too that about twenty of the students in Hampden 
Sydney College have embraced religion within the last ^ree 
months ; and that there has been a large accession to the 
church in the neighbourhood." 

About the middle of the following month, he left Rich- 
mond for Prince Edward, to attend the Commencement at 
Hampden Sydney College, and the meeting of the Board of 
Trustees, of which he was a member. Here, however, 
whilst he was discharging his duty, he was taken suddenly 
ill with a violent fever and ague, and carried to the house of 
his friend and brother-in law, Dr. Morton, in thje neighbour- 
hood; where he lay dangerously sick for some time. In- 
deed the issue of the attack was so uncertain, that it was 
deemed proper to send an express to Richmond for Mrs. 
Rice to come up to him ; as she did without delay. By her 
he received a letter from his friend. Dr. Miller, of Princeton, 
informing him that at a late meeting of the Board of Trus- 
tees of Nassau Hall, held on the 26th of September, 1822, 
they had unanimously elected him President of that Institn- 


tion, and had appointed a committee (consisting of Chief 
Justice Eirkpatrick, Doctor McDowell, and himself,) to in- 
form him of his election, and to take all proper measures to 
obtain his acceptance of the office. 

In the mean time, the Synod of Virginia, at a late meeting, 
had passed an act by which they conveyed the Theological 
S^ninary under their care, (and whose operations had been 
suspended since the death of Doctor Hoge,) to the Presbyte- 
ry of Hanover, in trust to hold the same for the object of its 
founders, under its own management, but subject to the su- 
perrision and control of the Synod ; and, in obedience to the 
call of the Moderator, the Presbytery now met in Prince 
Edward, on the 16th of November, 1822, to accept the trust, 
and make the necessary arrangements for carrying it into 
execution. Accordingly, having resolved to reorganize the 
Seminary, and having appointed a new Board of Trustees 
for it, they proceeded to make choice of a Professor, and, 
having solemnly invoked the direction of Almighty God, 
unanimously elected Doctor Rice to the office. Thus, two 
very important and highly honourable appointments were 
eonferred upon him, almost together, at a time when it 
was impossible for him to accept of either, and when it was 
stUl doubtful indeed whether death would not deprive him of 


Prince Edtvard^ Dec. 2Uh^ 1822. 
My Beloved Mother, 

I felt so well yesterday that I entertained the hope of being 
able to write a long letter to-day. But I am disappointed. 
I feel a considerable difference in days yet, and this is what 
is called my sick day. I feel it to be uncomfortable. My 
eyes are weak, my head giddy, my thoughts unsteady, my 
appetite poor, and all my functions deranged. Yet my heart 
cleaves to my friends with its wonted constancy, and with 



an affection rendered more intense by this long absence. 0! 
when will it be terminated ? God make me submissiye to 
his blessed will. 

To-morrow is Christmas. May the blessings which a 
Saviour came to bestow, rest on you, my beloved friend, and 
on your house ! May the peace of God which passeth all 
understanding keep your heart and mind through Christ 

My love to Mr. R. and dear Alice. Do remember me 
to all of the dear little flock. Tell them I thank them for 
their love, and their prayers. Let them still pray for me. 

I canH write more than ever ever yours. 

John H. Rice. 

In the following raontli, he was so far recovered that he 
was able to return, or rather to be carried back, to his anxious 
flock at Richmond ; where he continued to grow gradually, 
but very slowly^ better. In the mean time, having duly 
and solemnly considered the invitation from Princeton, 
which had been most kindly and urgently pressed upon him 
by the committee,) he felt it to be very clearly his duty to 
decline accepting it; for the reasons which he states (with 
some others omitted,) in the following letter. 


Richmond^ March 5thy 1823. 
My Dear Sir, 

I apprehend that the patience of my friends in Princeton 
has well nigh grown weary with my delay. But if they 
knew my situation, that alone would plead a sufficient apo- 
logy. I shall therefore make a short statement of the case. 

My constitution has received by the late dispensation of 
Providence a shock from which I have long doubted, and do 
still doubt, whether I shall ever recover. And instead of 
going to Princeton, oir to Hampden Sydney, or even staying 



here, I have thought it probable that I might have to retire to 
some quiet and healthy situation, where I should be called 
on to preach but little, and have opportunity oT taking a great 
deal of exercise ; and it is not yet decided whether I shall 
not be obliged to adopt this course. I suppose that you 
never saw, as I never have, a case like mine. While I was 
sinking, and all sorts of stimulants were necessary to pre- 
serve life, my nervous irritability or sensibility was such, 
that a fly coming in six inches of my face, would produce a 
motion in the air quite distressing. I could feel them flying 
over me as plain, when my eyes were shut, as I now feel the 
paper on which I write. Happily, I had taken assafcetida, 
until they would not light on me. Since my' convalescence, 
I find the senses of hearing and seeing greatly impaired ; 
and company worries me almost to death. I have tried to 
preach twice, and have been a great sufierer from the effort. 
And after all, I bid fair to be a cripple from rheumatism. In 
this situation, how could I do any thing but give a negative 
to the application from Princeton? In regard to the affair of 
Hampden Sydney, I have constantly said, " If you call on 
me to decide, I must say. No.*' But I was uniformly told, 
** Take your own time.'' So, indeed, they have told me 
from Princeton, until lately ; but now there is a little urgency 
that I should come to a decision ; and certainly it is rea- 

Well, then, the statement which I have made above, 
seems to me to furnish a strong objection to my undertaking 
the laborious and responsible offioe of President of New 
Jersey College. What, should I, but a remnant of my for- 
mer self, a poor shattered nervous creature, do at the head 
of such BXi institution ? But if this difficulty were removed, 
there are others which I know not how to surmount. I will 
slate them as briefly as I can. 

!• There has been no question so often proposed to me, 
as whether I would accept the presidency of a college. And 
ia reference to nothing have I studied myself so completely. 


98 to this questioo. The result of the whole of my exami- 
natiou iSf that I am not well fitted for the office. 1. I have 
a very strong dislike to it, 2, My education has never been 
sufficiently complete for it. In that staticm I could not bear 
the idea of being unable to instruct in any department in col- 
lege. I do think that a President ought to be able to look 
particularly into the studies of every class, see that the pro- 
fessors were discharging their duty, and rouse the pupils to 
activity in their studies. Now, this I could not do, without 
an intensity of application which would kill me. 

2. It is well known that the acceptance of the Presi- 
dency would be very advantageous to me in a pecuniary 
point of view. 

Here, my nominal salary is two thousand dollars ; my 
real one, sixteen hundred dollars, very irregularly paid; 
and my expenses are beyond my income. At Princeton, 
I should get two thousand five hundred dollars, punctually 
paid at quarter day, and should have much less company 
than here. On acceptance, then, it would at once be said, 
*'Ah! tliis is , what his love to Virginia has come to. 
Northern gold has bought him, and it can buy any of 
them.'' And thus my influence at the South would be 
greatly lessened, if not destroyed. And, with my dis- 
qualifications for the office, I never could regain at Prince- 
ton, what I should lose here. 

3. The state of things in the South is such as, in my 
view, presents very serious obstacles to my going North. 

"I have been observing, as carefully as I could, how mat- 
ters are working, and I am convinced that a Theological 
Seminary in the South is neceseary ; and that if there is 
not one established before long, the consequences will be 
very deplorable. The majority of students in the South, 
will not go to the North. I think this a settled point. In 
the state of North Carolina, there are twelve or fifteen can- 
didates for the ministry, now studying divinity in the old 
field school way. And between preachers brought forward 


In this manner, and those who have better opportunities^ 
there' is growing up a stnmg spirit of envy and jealousy <hi 
the part of the former. This is so much the case, that 
among Presbyterians there is actually now an undervaluing 
of that sort of education which we think very important 
And things are like to get worse and worse. If, however, 
a Seminary can be established in the South, many will fre- 
quent it, who will not go to the North. If we do not go 
on with ours, they will have one of some sort, between 
tliemselves in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgiieu 
The more remote, the more dissociated from the centre of 
Presbyterianism. But my plan is, if we can succeed here, 
to take Princeton as our model, to hold constant corres- 
pondence with that great and most valuable institution, to 
get the most promising of our young men to finish off at 
Princeton; and, in a word, as far as possible, make this a 
sort of branch of that, so as to have your ^spirit diffused 
through us, and do all that can be done to bind the different 
parts of the Church together. And it has appeared to me, 
that if the Lord does not intend to throw me aside as ** a 
broken vessel," of no use, that I may be more useinl here 
than I possibly could be aoiy where else. I do not speak 
now of the effect of training up men for the South in the 
North country, nor of the unfitness of most Northern men 
for our purposes. You know that, in general, they will 
not do. 

At present, I should think it presumptuous to say that I 
will undertake any active or important service. But the 
Presbytery allows me two months from this time to 
decide. By that time, I may learn the purposes of 
Providence concerning my future health, and fitness for 
duty. Now, all is in the dark. My state of suspense 
is truly painful; but I have nothing to do but submit. 
llie Lord's will be done. It is true, I can say this, 
that if there were any service for which I thought ray- 



self fitted, and which 1 was called by Providence to pe^ 
fonn in Princeton, I had rather live there than at any place 
in this world. But until the diificulties stated can be re- 
moved, and my health restored, I cannot see it to be my 
duty to go there, even to enjoy the benefit of your society, 
and the pleasure of Mrs. Alexander's. 

I have just lost one of the dearest and most devoted 
friends I had in the world, — Mrs. Wood, widow of the late 
General Wood.* 


Richmond^ March 22cf, 1823. 
Rev. and Dear Brother, 

Notwithstanding all my weakness, and the harassing 
calls made on my attention, I really feel ashamed that your 
very friendly and most acceptable letter should so long re- 
main unanswered. The state of my health must be my 
apology. I hope that you will tliink it sufficient. The 
Lord has not yet altogether stayed his hand, although his 
strokes are now comparatively light. I beg for constant 
remembrance in the prayers of my brethren. Let them 

* He adds, in an obituary notice of her, which he published shortly 
afterwards in the Magazine : 

■* During her last sickness, she was patient and eubmissive to the 
will of God ; overflowingr with affection to her friends, and full of 
kindness to all. She felt then that she was a sinner, and had no 
thoughts of building her hopes on any but "the Rock of Ages." 
The review of life created anxieties, which gradually gave way as 
she approached death, and at the last she was enabled to say of God, 
with an appropriating faith, ** he is my God, and my fiither*s God, 
and I will praise him forever." " 


pray that I may be restored to health and uaefulneM^ if 
siich be the will of God ; and if not, that I may be willing 
to be nothing. I know that the Almighty haa no need of 
soeh a worm of the dust as I am, to accomplish his par- 
poses; bat yet I do greatly desire the honour and happi- 
ness of being employed in his senricey and of being made a 
blessing to my fellow-creatures. 

I have been endeavouring, though not so carefully as I 
ought, to learn what is the design of Providence in afflict- 
ing me as I have been for the last six months. It has not 
been to prepare me for usefulness at Princeton. The state 
of my health, and my shattered constitution utterly forbid 
my acceptance of the office to which I have been chosen 
at that place. Besides, I sincerely think that I am not 
qualified in other respects for the station. And if I were 
in the highest vigour, I could not conscientiously take on 
myself duties to which I know that I am not competent. 

Respecting the Professorship of Divinity at Hampden 
Sydney College, I am in doubt. It is a place where I may ^ 
be useful ; though perhaps not so much so as in some other 
situations. And it affords an opportunity of greater tran- 
quillity, and of more exercise than I can take where I am. 
Yet still, my way seems hedged up, and I do not know 
what I shall do. The Lord, I hope, will direct me. 

I wish that I had a better account to give respecting my 
exercises, during my severe sickness. My situation then 
was such as to show the madness of putting off the work 
of full preparation for death and judgment. During a part 
of the time, I was like a man excited by wine. Every 
thing pleased and diverted me. I was very happy; hut I 
could not depend on exercises and feelings of which I 
was then conscious, because they were so much coloured 
by the operations of disease. And when this took a turn 
and fell on the nervous system, my imagination teemed 
with ** all monstrous, all prodigious things," and that in a 
maaner so vivid, as to put me up to my very best exertions 


to disbelieve the real existence of the monsters which ap- 
peared aroand me. I recollect having spent a very con- 
siderable part of a whole day, in a most strenuous exertion 
to keep from -crying out for help. In this situation, you 
can well conceive that I had but little comfort. I remem- 
ber feeling that I was a poor sinner, and that my hope and 
help were in the Lord Jesus alone. And, on one occasion, 
I had a sense of the presence. of God, and of the divine 
glory, which as far outwent any thing I had ever experi- 
enced before as the sun outshines a star. But, in general, 
the state of my disease prevented religious exercise or en- 
joyment. You can form some conception of my nervous 
sensibility, when I tell you, that as I lay with my eyes 
shut, the agitation of the air produced by a fly passing 
within six inches of my face greatly disturbed me. And 
even six weeks after I had got out of bed, I could not bear 
for a person to walk by my seat. 

While I tell you these things, however, I ought to observe 
that my recollection of the whole scene, and of the events 
which took place, is like that of a confused and troubled 
dream. Pray that this afHiction may be sanctified to me, 
and to my family. The thought of its being misimproved, 
and of my being chastised in vain, is very painful to me. 

Since my return home, I have endeavoured on two or 
three Sabbaths to preach to my dear people ; but I have uni- 
formly suffered much from the attempt, and shall endeavour 
to be more prudent. 

You will see that I have been trying to write a little in 
the magazine ; and will notice that I have been at Andover. 
I am sure that you and the other brethren there, will take as 
I intended the remarks made on the institution. 

Mrs. Rice joins me in most affectionate remembrance of 
Mrs. Woods, yourself, and children, of Professor Stuart and 
his family. Dr. and Mrs. Porter, and all friends in Andover. 
No place in New England is connected, in our recollections, 
with such delightful associations as Andover, and we only 


desire Aat all ther6 may think and feel towBrds us, as we 
do towards them. 

Wkh the highest regard, 

Your friend and brother, 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond^ April I2th^ 1823. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

Are you so deep in the bottomless pit of law, that your 
friends in the world are forgotten by you ? Have you not 
seen the magazine labouring on, and heard it crying for help ; 
and where is your Virginia heart, and your zeal, and all that 
sort of thing ? 

I should have written to you weeks ago ; but it has been 
as much as I have been able to do, for the last three months, 
U> get through unavdidable writing. I have been nearly a 
dead man ; and I do not feel as though I were more than half 
ahve now — ^but I cannot think that I am " out of mind'* with 
my friends. But let me have some proof of it before long. 

I wish very much to pay a visit to Norfolk, but I do not 
know whether I can do so. I wish very much to have a 
long talk with you ; but I fear that you will not come to see 
me. You perceive that I have declined going to Princeton. 
Providence put a veto on that by shattering my constitution 
so as to unfit me for the station. Besides, if I were perfectly 
well, that is not my place. 

The question about going to Hampden Sydney is one of 
much greater difficulty. I wish that I could hear or read 
your thoughts on that subject. Pray write, and give me any 
views that you think will assist me in making up an opinion. 
I want to know in this, as in every case, what is my duty. 
That is the main question. Labour, poverty, difficulty^ are 
iQ out of the question. How can I do most for my Lord 
md Master, and for the good of my fellow-men ? 



Pray write soon. Mrs. Rice and Harriet join in affection- 
ate remembrance of you, and all the dear Norfolk friends. 
Excuse great haste, and believe me to be ever truly 

John H. Rice. 

Shortly afterwards, finding himself still much indisposed, 
he determined to take an excursion into the low country, for 
the benefit of the salt-water air, which he' hoped would im- 
prove his health; and leaving his congregation in the charge 
of the Rev. Mr. Hamner, he set out (accompanied by Mrs. 
Rice,) to visit Gloucester and Mathews counties, and after- 
wards the Eastern Shore, for the first time. 


Seaford, jSpril 2&h, 1823. 
Dear Harriet, Eliza, and all of you, 

I have just returned from an excursion to the Eastern Shore, 
where I have met with unbounded hospitality, and very good 
living. My health has manifestly improved, and my strength 
increased. If I bad about six weeks to employ on salt water, 
I have no doubt but that I should be greatly improved in my 
health, and not a little fattened. But I suppose we must set 
out on Monday to journey upwards. My plan is to preach 
in this neighbourhood to-morrow, the Sabbath after at Wil- 
liamsbug ; and the following Tuesday I hope to be in dear 

We had a pleasant trip over the bay ; except that on the 

water your aunt and Mrs. T , who went with us, 

were sick, and silent I have never seen a higher display 
of Virginia hospitality than we saw on the Eastern Shore. 
Your aunt will tell you particulars when you and she meet : 

and you will then hear of Mr. B , and Mr. E , 

of julige P and his lady, of Mrs. U , and the 

beautiful Miss S— — , &;c. &c. Every where we are re- 
ceived with kindness, and treated with affectionate respect, 


vrhich may well awaken gratitude to that Gracious Being 
who, I was almost ready to say, paves our way with love. 

Remember me most affectionately to all dear friends ; I 
cannot specify any body but Mr. Hamner, who I hope is 
happy and useful among you. I am in haste, and can only 

Your affectionate uncle. 

John H. Ricb. 


Mathews County, May 2d, 1823. 
Dear Harriet, 

My health goes on to improve, and my strength to in- 
crease. I am truly sorry that longer time is not allowed me 
to stay among these hospitable people, at this genial season of 
the year. The weather has not allowed me to take any sea- 
bathing, and of course I have not made a full experiment of 
the advantages afforded to me here. But as fast as Provi- 
dence will allow, we must be moving towards home. We 
should have started yesterday; but your aunt was too much 
indisposed to travel. This evening, however, she is so much 
better as to give good hope that we shall be able to travel 
on Monday; and we trust that we shall reach our beloved 
home by Thursday evening. 

We have been sadly disappointed in not hearing one word 
from Richmond, except by the newspapers, since we left 

the place. I see by the Enquirer that my friend Mr. T 

has been removed. Poor Mrs. T , I do pity her. She 

has lost a very kind husband; and all her kindred the best- 

friend they ever had. Mr. T , with some peculiarities, 

was an excellent man. I sincerely regret his death, and 
heartily sympathize with his wife. Should you see her, say 
so much to her, with my kindest regards. 

The people down here are as affectionate and respectful 
to me and your aunt as possible. We shall long remember 
their warm-hearted hospitality. It is not possible not to love 


and pity Aem. They are so destitute, and yet such excel- 
lent stuff to make christians of. 

You must give my love and your aunt's, as I said before, 
to all the good boys and girls about Richmondyand especially 
to aU the dear members of our little flock, f caoonoi mention 
any of them in particular. 

Your aunt joins me in most affectionate remembrance of 
you, and of Mary, if she is yet with you. 

.o I am your own Uncle, 

John H. Rice. 


Richmond, May 27th, 1823. 
My Dbax Sir, 

Your kind favour was sent to my house while I was on 
an excursion in search of health, and therefore has' remain- 
ed long unanswered. True, I have been at home for a fort- 
night ; but exceedingly busy all the time. I hope you will 
excuse me. 

I knew that the season was too early for sea-bathing, and 
at the same time that exercise in open air was important. I 
also wanted fresh oysters most egregionsly. On these ac- 
counts, and because 1 had never visited that part of the coun- 
try, I determined to go down to Glo'ster and Mathews, and 
over the Bay. I did so, and found great advantage in the trip. 
I wish yet to come to Norfolk, and hope to be able to accom- 
plish it ; but am not able to say when. In the mean time, 
my desire to confab with you increases. 

I have a deeper conviction than ever of the necessity of 
building up a Theologi(;^l School among ourselves. We 
have made unusual exertions in the missionary cause this 
year, and succeeded better than common. But although 
every effort was made, we could not get Northern young* 
men to work, except during the winter, — ^the worst season 
in the year in our country. And as soon as the weather 
began to grow a little warm, they went scampering off from 

DOCTOR SIC is. 241 

us, in the way I ho^ soon to hear of the French seamper- 
iog off from Spain. In several places, the missionaries made 
considerable impression, and were entreated by the people 
to stay, with the promise of more than missionary pay. 
We must have a school; but must I take charge of it! 
That is a question deeply interesting to me. I should like 
to have your opinion. For although, after all, my own 
convictions of duty must lead me to a decision, I should be 
extremely glad to get the aid of my friends in deciding 
what duty is« 

There is one difficulty that presses me a good deal. I 
am most thoroughly convinced of the necessity of support- 
ing our printing establishment. Scattered and insulated 
as we are, and without means of personal access to the 
people, the press gives us great advantage, and increases 
our moral power to a vast extent* If we give it up, we 
shall be shorn of half our strength. But I have worked, 
as you know, almost alone. I have broken my constitu- 
tion, spent my time, and sunk my money on this thing. 
To give it up now, will be a sore business to me, and 
ruinous to our plans. But if more men would take hold of 
the thing, it might be supported ; and be made instrumental 
in effecting that moral renovation which we wish. My 
physical powers are tffkte. Intellectual labour overcomes 
me, and, without time to recruit, I can no longer perform 
the services of two or three men. Now, as to this matter, 
what plans shall we lay ? Be my Apollo for once. 

Give my love to all friends. Mrs. Rice and Harriet 
join in expressing best regards for you, with your 

Assured friend, 

John H. Rice. 

It would appear from this last letter, that, at the time of 
its date, he was still undecided whether he should ac- 
cept the appointment of the Presbytery to take charge of 



the Theological Seminary under their care. The conviction 
of his conscience, indeed, evidently pointed that way ; but 
the feelings of his heart towards his beloved people in 
Richmond, still struggled against it. It was, however, 
necessary for him to come to some conclusion ; and, soon 
afterwards, finding that the advice of all the friends whom 
he had consulted concurred with his own judgment, he 
determined to resign his pastoral charge, and repair to the 
new field of labour to which his Master had certainly called 
him. Accordingly, on the 2d of June, he addressed the 
following letter to the Session of his church. 



Richmond^ June 2(f, 1823. 
Dear Brethren, 

I address you at this time under emotions of a very pain- 
ful nature. It had long been my purpose to live and die 
among you. I have declined many offers, and rejected 
many solicitations to leave this place and people, and have 
neither sought nor desired any office but that of being their 
pastor. But as you and the congregation know, the Pres- 
bytery has elected me to be Professor in the Theological 
Seminary under their care ; and after having allowed suffi- 
cient time for deliberation, they are impatient for a decision. 
It has been with the utmost reluctance, and even with deep 
anguish of spirit, that I have been brought to the determi- 
nation to accept that appointment ; and it is with a sorrow- 
ful heart that I now announce this determination to you. 
The reasons which have led me to form this conclusion are 
many, and appear to me to be weighty. I cannot enter 
into a detail of them here, but hope for an opportunity of 
explaining them to the congregation. I will only say in 
general terms, that an imperious and overpowering sense of 
duty has alone urged me to this measure ; opposed as it is 


to all my feelings, and, as far as I can see, to my woildly 

This is not the c^se of an ordinary call; and allow me to 
say, I coald not have left you to go to any other congrega* 
tion. The Presbytery which instituted the pastoral rela* 
tionship between me and you, is the very body which has 
chosen me to the office, acceptance of which compels me 
to leave you. If the reasons which have determined me 
to adopt the measure announced, should convince the con- 
gregation, and they acquiesce, there will exist no^ difficulty 
in my removal. But should this not be the case, commis- 
sioners may be appointed to attend the next meeting of 
Presbytery, (to be holden in Prince Edward on the 27th of 
the present month,) to show cause why the pastoral rela- 
tionship existing between us ought not to be dissolved. 
If they can succeed in convincing the Presbytery, I 
shall be happy to remain with you, until it shall please 
the all wise Disposer of events to remove me from this 

But should the congregation acquiesce in the decision 
that has been made, I wish that no formal act of dismission 
may take place. I resign to you my pastoral office, and 
desire that a connexion between me and the church may 
continue as long as I live. I shall be enabled often to 
visit you, and shall take delight in holding communion with 
you, and affording you all the aid, counsel, and comfort, 
that such a feeble instrument can afford. 

With a grateful feeling for all the kindness I have re- 
ceived from you, and earnest prayers that it may please 
God to bless you and the church which you represent; and 
guide us all in the way of truth and righteousness, I re- 

Dear brethren. 

Most truly yours. 

John H. Rice. 

944 MKMoiR or 

On receiving this letter, the Seesion resolyed, of course, 
that it should be laid before the church, and that a meeting 
of the members should be called for the purpose, on the 16th 
inst. In the mean time, the news that he had at last de- 
cided to leave them, spread rapidly through the congregation, 
and excited those feelings of sorrow which were alike hon- 
ourable to him and to themselves. All felt, indeed, that it 
was no light thing to part with such a pastor, who had been 
the instrument, under God, of founding their church, and of 
raising it up to its present flourishing state. And where 
could they expect to find another like him — so able, so faith- 
ful, so affectionate — ^for he was gentle among them, even as 
a nurse cherisheth her children. Surely they could not find 
his equal in the land. Or, if they could, yet he would only 
be like him, and not himself — and he could not be their yir^^ 
pastor, whom they had so long cherished (perhaps too 
fondly) in their hearts. 

Such were their sentiments towards him on this trying 
occasion. At the same time, .such were their convictions of 
the paramount importance of the office to which he was call- 
ed, and such their persuasion (which he himself had wrought 
in them) that they ought to be willing to resign him to the 
service of the church, and of the Lord, that none were found 
to oppose his resolution — except by their tears. The fol- 
lowing letter which he wrote at the time to a beloved mem- 
ber of his flock, will show what was passing in the heart of 
many a one of them, as well as in his own, at this junc- 


Sabbath Morning. 
My Dear Sister, 

I saw the mournful note which you sent to Mrs. R. last 
evening, and it grieved me. But '* the Lord will provide." 
Trust in him ; and fear nothing. I shall never be able to 


describe the pain, and even anguish of spirit which this afiair 
has occasioned me. I never sought or desired any office which 
would carry me away from my beloved people. I have rejected 
many offers, since I lived here, of places of much greater emo- 
lument and much less labour than the one which I have oc- 
cupied now eleven years. The Presbytery, contrary to my 
express and earnest desire, appointed me to the Professor- 
ship. It is a laborious and responsible office, and I did not 
want it. I wanted to stay with my people. Still, however, 
they appointed me. I did not feel at liberty to refuse, lest 
I should thus refuse to do my duty. On considering the 
whole subject, I felt obliged in conscience, sorely against my 
will, to declare my acceptance of the office. The thing how- 
ever is not yet consummated. The congregation has a right 
to be heard before Presbytery. They may appoint com- 
missioners, if they will, and show cause why the Presby- 
tery should not dissolve the pastoral relation, which subsists 
between me and the people. If they can convince the Pres- 
bytery that this ought not to be'done, why, then the rela- 
tionship will not be dissolved, and I shall stay with you as 
long as I live. And tliis would be joyful indeed to me. But 
if the congregation does not think proper to prosecute this 
matter; or if on a full hearing of the case, the constituted 
authorities should determine that the connexion between 
me and the people must be dissolved — why then, a mournful 
separation must take place ; but not a total one — ^for, be it as 
it may, I never mean to take a dismission from this beloved 
church : and I shall hope to spend a month or two in Rich- 
mond every year ; besides paying frequent occasional visits. 
I know that my heart will cleave to you as long as it throbs; 
and that I shall never cease to pray for you and yours. 
Your affectionate brother in Christ, 

J. H. Rice. 

The meeting of the memben which had been called by the 

Session, waii held, according to order» in the church, on Mon- 



day evening, the 16th of June, 1823, when the Rev. John 
B. Hoge was appointed Moderator, and Mr. Flemming 
James, Secretary. The Moderator addressed the throne of 
grace in a solemn prayer, and the letter of the Pastor to the 
Session was then read; after which Elder James Oaskie 
moved the following resolutions, which were adopted by the 
meeting without dissent. 

"1. Resoivedj That while we lament that Presbytery have 
found it necessary for the promotion of the general interests 
of the Church of Christ, to call our Pastor from us by appoint- 
ing him Professor in the Theological Seminary ; and that he 
has been constrained by a sense of duty to accept the ap- 
pointment, we view with painful emotion our separation from 
him; yet, confceiving it to be our duty to submit to the 
will of Ood at all times, we aoquiesce in the decision made 
by those placed in authority over us in the Lord ; which we 
request may be certified to Presbytery, upon whom we call 
in this exigency for the exercise of their special care. 

•^ 2. Resolved^ That the church receive with deep sorrow 
and concern the information of their Pastor's resignation^ 
and that in the afflicted and destitute state of the church, it 
becomes its members to humble themselves, and mourn be- 
fore God, and seriously to inquire the cause of this visita- 

"3.' Resolved, That the Session be requested to communi- 
cate from the church to their late Pastor, the sentiments of 
affection, and interest in liis welfare, with which they do, and 
will continue to regard him, — their gratitude for all his kind 
ofHces of love — and their desire that the connection whieh 
has so long been cherished, may be no further severed 
than the duties of his new office, and the interests of this 
church render indispensable.*' 

Thus the tie that had so long bound him to his church, 
was virtually, though not yet formally severed ; as indeed, 
we have seen, he had fondly determined that it never should 
be. Accordingly, he still lingered among his people in 


Richmond, and continued to perform pastoral duty, as far as 
he was able, until the 3d of July following. Finding, how- 
ever, that his frame was still too feeble to allow him to la- 
bour much in this way, and that every attempt to preach 
brought back his fever upon him, he determined to take a 
sea voyage to New York, for the benefit of his health. At 
the same time, always anxious to be usefully employed, he 
thought that he might embrace the opportunity while he 
was at the North, of collecting funds for the Seminary which 
he was now to edify indeed, in a double sense ; and, accord- 
ingly, taking a commission from the Board for the purpose, 
he embarked in a packet, (accompanied by Mrs. Rice,) about 
the middle of the month, and soon afterwards arrived safely 
at New York. Here, however, he was for some days even 
more indisposed, and suffered much both in body and mind ; 
but his heart, it seems, was still warm towards the people 
whom he had left, and, thinking of them with an affection 
which absence had only increased, he wrote the following 
letter to the gentleman who had now the charge of the con- 
gregation, in which he discloses the feelings of a true pas- 
tor's (or rather of his own truly pastoral) spirit, in the mo&t 
expressive manner. 


New Yorky Aug. 3(/, 1823. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

It has pleased a wise Providence to visit me so severely 
with sickness since I arrived here, that I have been able to 
do nothing but attend to my own painful sensations, and seek 
the means. of deliverance from my infirmities. To-day, 
however, I have been pretty comfortable ; and as I was very 
near to church, I embraced the opportunity of going; chiefly 
because I should there be enabled to enjoy the privilege of 
joining in communion with the people of God, around the 
table of our common Lord. 


I had no sooner seated myself at the table, and shut my 
eyes for the purpose, as is my custom, of offering a prayer 
for divine aid, than you, with the dear little flock to whom 
you are now ministering, appeared to be full before me ; and 
I could scarcely draw off my thoughts from you even to fix 
them on myself. Every time I attempted to pray, my peti- 
tions would insensibly run into invocations of God's bless- 
ings on you and my dear people. I have not been able to 
get them out of my mind all day. And this evening, when 
all are gone to church, and I am left entirely alone, the temp- 
tation to write is irresistible. 

My young brother ! I pray that you may be made a rich 
blessing to my dear friends and children in Christ, for the 
time committed to your charge. I trust and believe tliat you 
will warn them faithfully and affectionately^ and that with 
all earnestness of spirit you will testify to them of the grace 
of God. And may the Lord bless to them your labours of 
love ! O ! may you be instrumental in building them up in 
the faith and order of the gospel. Water the seed sown by 
you with much prayer. So may you' hope that it will be 
watered from above, and made abundandy fruitful. 

Give my dearest love to all the members of the church, 
and assure them that no time nor absence makes any change 
in my affections towards them. 

Tell them that if my feelings would have permitted me, I 
intended to preach before leaving them, on 2 Cor. xiii. 2, 
" Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good com- 
fort, be of one mind, live in peace ; and the God of love and 
peace shall be with you." I wanted to explain to them 
what the apostle means by the injunction, be perfect; — ^you 
can tell them this for me ; — to bid them be of good comfort in 
the name of the Lord Jesus ; and to charge them to be of 
one mind, and to live in peace, as they would adorn the doc- 
trines of their Saviour. As for the rest, I do pray, and while 
I have breath I will pray, that the God of love and peace may 
be with them, and shed his choicest blessings oa them. 

DOCTOR axes. 249 

To the heads of families among them, say from me. Dear 
brethren, let your houses be ruled in the fear of God : and 
remember both for yourselves and children, that one thing 
isneedfiU. It is God's blessing that maketh rich, and addeth 
no sorrow. Without it, every thing, in the end, proves 
a curse. O that this may be realized by all ; and that the 
blessing of the Almighty may be sought by earnest, impor- 
tunate, daily prayers ! 

Exhort the young professors in the church to be steady 
and steadfast^ to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of 
his might ; to be full of zeal, yet humble ; fervent in spirit, 
yet charitable. And while they are laudably endeavouring 
to be useful to others, let them seek to grow in grcKe, and 
in knowledge. I urge this on them, because I fear there is 
not among them such a spirit of self-improvement as I could 
wish. The time is coming when all the important concerns 
of the church will be put into the hands of those who are 
now young members. And they ought to prepare them- 
selves, by a diligent pursuit of the necessary knowledge, and 
by daily increase in grac6, to discharge the duties to which 
they will be called. And may the peace that Jesus gives, 
be on them ! 

But there are many young people, not in the church, for 
whom I feel a lively interest ; for whose spiritual welfare I 
have laboured, and for whose happiness I pray. In the ad- 
dress that you make in my name, call to those that are With- 
out, and say, O turn, now, in the accepted time, and in the 
day of merciful visitation, from the way of the destroyer, to 
the pleasant and peaceful paths of heavenly wisdom. One 
who is far from you, but who, however forgotten by you, 
never forgets your best interests, sends you a message of 
affection, and entreats you by a Saviour's love, to remember 
your Creator in the days of your youth, and give your best 
affections to the Redeemer of lost souls. O Saviour! let thy 
mercy reach their case. 

As you address various classes of persons, do not forget 


the children, the lambs of Christ's flock. Tell them, that 
their minister loves them, and remembers them, and prays 
for them. Tell them too, how the Saviour loved little chil- 
dren, took them in his arms, and blessed them ; and if they 
will be good children, the Lord Jesus will bless them too; 
will make them happy here, and happy forever. 

In sending messages of affection, I cannot enter into par- 
ticulars ; it would be just writing down the names of the 
whole church, and of many that are out of the church too. 
You cannot go amiss. I love Richmond and Manchester; 
and I pray for God Almighty's best blessing on the whole 

Mrs. Rice joins me in affection for you, and all among 
whom you go in and out. 

I am yours fraternally. 

John H. Rice. 

Soon afterwards, leaving New York, he proceeded to Sa- 
ratoga Spa, to try the waters ; but without receiving much 
benefit from them. Whilst here, however, the Presbytery 
of Albany held its sessions in the church of the village, and 
he embraced the opportunity to attend a meeting of the body, 
and lay the cause of the Seminary before them. This he 
did with some effect ; and his appeal was warmly seconded 
by the late Dr. Chester of Albany, who reminded the breth- 
ren that the very house in which they were then assembled 
had been built, in a great measure, by the liberality of their 
Southern friends ; and strongly insisted that it was but fair 
and proper that they should now afford their aid to this 
Southern enterprise, (so important and interesting,) in return. 
Dr. William Chester, also, of Hudson, who had been, some 
years before, a missionary in Virginia, bore testimony to the 
wants and claims of that part of the country, and advocated 
the object with great ardour. After this, he received the 
most gratifying assurances from all the members, that they 
would very readily recommend his cause to the considera- 


ti(m of their people; and he was altogether well pleased 
with the liberal spirit which appeared to prevail among 

From Saratoga he proceeded to Schenectady, where he 
explained his views to President Nott, Professor Patton, 
and other gentlemen, who heard his communications with 
all the favour which he had hoped. Thence he returned 
to Albany, where he spent a few days with his friend Dr. 
Chester, and received some handsome donations. He then 
proceeded to Lebanon Springs, where he remained some 
short time recruiting his health; and afterwards went on to 
Boston, where he hoped to find many friends to himself, 
and to his object ; and was not disappointed. From Boston, 
too, he made a short excursion to Salem, where the late 
Rev. Mr. Cornelius, (whose praise is in all the churches,) 
very promptly aided him in his engagement, and assisted 
him in making some collections for it. And he afler* 
wards proceeded to Andover, where he was again most 
kindly welcomed by the Professors, who naturally felt a 
lively interest in his movement, and, very cordially encour- 
aged him to proceed in his arduous undertaking, by the assur- 
ances of their sympathy, and their prayers. Thus he flat- 
tered himself, (and not vainly,) that he was breaking up the 
ground, and scattering the seed in the field of christian libe- 
rality, which, by the blessing of the Lord of the harvest, he 
should reap in due time. 

But the summer was now over ; and it was necessary for 
him to turn his face towards the South, and hasten home. 
On his way, he preached, and took up collections for his 
object in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Fredericksburg, and 
soon afterwards reached Richmond, with a handsome supply 
of funds for the Seminary, and a new stock of health and 
spirits for the work before him. 

This he was now ardently anxious to begin ; and, accord- 
ingly, after refreshing himself for a few days with his friends 
in Richmond, he repaired at once, (with his family,) to 


Prince Edward ; a county which had been the field of some 
of his first labours in life, and was now to be the scene of his 
last. Here, finding that the Board had as yet provided no 
house for his accommodation, he accepted the kind invita- 
tion of his friend, Mr. Gushing, the President of Hampden 
Sydney College, and took up his lodgings with him for the 
present; and soon afterwards opened his <* school of the pro- 
phets," (not without prayer,) in a small out-house which 
that gentleman lent him for the purpose ; with only three sta- 
dents to attend his lessons ! A small beginning indeed for 
z great work ! But he had learned from the scriptures, not 
to despise *' the day of small things." And it was well for 
him, in truth, that he had ; for he soon saw and felt that the 
undertaking in which he was now engaged, was arduous in 
the extreme; the more so because it was complex, and 
distracting ; for he had not merely to teach his pupils, as 
formerly, already gathered in the shade of the »* academic 
bower;" but he had now, first to build a house for his scho- 
lars, and then to find the scholars for his house, and then 
to support them, (or some of them,) in it; still instructing 
them by lectures, and otherwise, all the while ; and finally, 
to raise and secure funds, from all quarters, for the enlarge* 
ment and permanent endowment of the institution, on a 
scale sufficiently extensive to satisfy the wants and wishes 
of the Southern country ! The design was evidently vast ; 
and the means as yet provided to accomplish it, were 
obviously inadequate. Thus the whole stock of the institu- 
tion at this time, (and which it had taken twenty years to 
accumulate,) consisted of a ^^ permanent ^ fund, so called, of 
about ten thousand dollars, and a contingent fund (rightly 
named,) composed of the contributions of the churches of 
the Presbytery and hardly exceeding a thousand dollars a 
year. In short, it appeared as if he had been called to 
create the Institution in which he had been appointed to 
teach, and, with a sort of poetic power, to "give," as it 
were, to an " airy nothing," a " local habUation and a 


fuune.^^ Hapfuly, howeTer, he had all the talents and re* 
souicee which were neccfsary for the accomplishment of the 
work, and faith to remove all the mountaina in hia way. 

On the first day of January following, (1824) our Professor 
was regularly installed into his new office; on which occa- 
sion he preached an Inaugural Discourse before the Board 
of Trustees, and the large audience assembled, from the text 
2 Tim. iii« 16, 17. AU scripture m given by in$piraiian of 
Godf and is prqfiiable for doctrines/or reproof for correct 
tion^for instruction in righteousness $ that the man of Ood 
mm/ he perfect^ thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 
In discoursing from these words, aAer giving a brief but 
able critical explanation of the text, he proceeded to show 
thai the sacred scriptures were the source from which the 
preacher of the gospel was to derive all that doctrine which 
bad authority to bind the consciences, and regulate the con- 
duct of men. And here he took occasion to renew for him- 
self and his brethren, and all concerned in the institution, the 
solemn declaration of their unalterable attachment to the great 
principles of religious liberty, (involved in the proposition,) 
which were recognised in the constitution of the United States, 
in the Bill of Rights, and constitution of Virginia, and in the 
Act establishing Religious Freedom, which met the cordial 
and entire approbation of all of them, and which were held, 
in fact, by the church to which it was their honour and privi- 
lege to belong, before they were embodied in those great 
charteis of the country. He next proceeded to maintain 
** That the scriptures afforded the only answer to the all im- 
portant question — ** What must we do to be saved ;*' and 
afterwards, '* that they contained the most perfect system of 
morals that had ever been presented to the understandings or 
urged on the conscience of man." Hence he inferred, " that 
he who receives the office of a teacher of Christianity, must go 
to his Bible for all that authority which was to bind the con- 
seience ; forallthat aman must believe to be saved ; and for all 

that he must be and do, to be prepared for Heaven ;'* and '< that 



he is the best theologian who is most intimately acquainted 
with the scriptures.'* " And from this,". said he, " it follows, 
that the great duty of a Professor of Theology is to imbue 
the minds of his pupils with the knowledge of revealed truth. 
The Bible ought to be the great text book ; and the whole 
course of study should be so laid out as to enable the student 
to understand and explain the sacred volume." 

" But where," he asked, " shall the student of divinity 
seek that instruction which he needs to qualify him for 
his work ? Is a public or a private education to be prefer- 
red ?" Here he took occasion to enlarge upon the important 
and indeed indispensable advantages of Theological Semina- 
ries, which had been established from the earliest ages of the 
church, and were particularly necessary in our own country, 
where, however, those already established were too few for 
the wants of the people. The idea, indeed, of one great 
central Seminary for the whole Presbyterian Church, at 
least, which had been so fondly cherished by some, was now 
abandoned as impracticable ; and it was apparently abso- 
lutely necessary to establish others in different parts of the 
country, in order to raise native preachers for the supply of 
the churches within their limits. Hence the importance of 
establishing the new Seminary for Virginia and the Sooth, 
which if properly endowed, and duly furnished with ade- 
quate means for training up youth of piety and talents for 
the ministry of the gospel, and for those various offices of be- 
neficence which well instructed pastors were wont to perform, 
must prove an invaluable blessing to the whole region. Then, 
drawing to a close, and naturally adverting to his own situa- 
tion, and the unspeakable importance of the office which he 
was now to assume, he closed his discourse in the following 
words, which were felt in all their hearts, 

«* But if the ministry of the gospel is connected with so 
many dear and valuable interests ; if it extends its influence 
through every department of human life, and involves the 
awful concerns of immortal existence, how immeasurable is 


tbe responsibility of those whose office it is to train young 
men for that ministry? How great is the extent of know- 
ledge and prudence ; how deep and fenrent the piety required 
of them ! The church and the country, are, in a peculiar 
manner, interested in the conduct of Theological Seminaries, 
and in the character of those who manage them. 

'^No one, I do conscientiously believe, is so ready to de- 
clare, as no one so deeply feels my own insufficiency as I my- 
s^f do. And in this case there is no affectation of humility 
in saying, that I should neither be surprised nor offended at 
the question. What do you here? In answer, I would say, 
the office was not of my seeking. I had, indeed, no 
earthly motive to desire it. And my earnest wish was to 
continue where Providence had placed me. In accepting 
this office, I made the greatest sacrifice that I ever expect to 
be called upon to make in this world. " But I have long 
been of the opinion, that the interests of the Church do 
most urgently require a Southern Seminary; I believed 
the place fixed on peculiarly suitable from the character 
o£ the surrounding population; from its proximity to 
a literary institution, at which we hope that many pious 
young men will be educated for the ministry of the gospel; 
from its being near the high-road, which runs through 
the centre of the state to the South; and from the fact 
that the citizens of North and South Carolina, and Geor- 
gia, have always had more connexion with the neigh- 
bouring college than with any other institution in Virginia. 
But what is more, I knew that the institution was to be 
under the particular direction of the Presbytery of Hanover, 
in connexion with which my whole ministerial life has 
been spent; whose members I have been so habituated to 
love and honour, that use has become second nature; in 
whose zeal, prudence, and fraternal love I have been accus- 
tomed to place the highest confidence ; to whose counsels I 
eould look for direction and assistance; through whose 


prayers I hope to be Btrengthenecl and encouraged ; whoee 
indiilgeiioe I have often experienced ; and who, after having 
known me for many years, appomted me to the office, 
and urged my acceptance of it. In weakness, and in fear, 
and in much trembling, I consented. And now I am here 
to take on myself the required engagements. But I cannot 
go forward without beseeching my brethren in the ministry, 
and all christian friends who hear me this day, in the name 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, to help me by their prayers. So 
may God bless you, and the institution which your pious 
teal is erecting! And may we all rejoice together in seeing 
it, as a copious fountain of living water, sending out its 
streams in every direction to fertilize the land, and make 
glad the city of our God. And to Him, even the Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit, be glory by the church, through all 
ages. Amen.*' 

When he had thus finished his discourse, (amidst the tears 
of ail who heard him) the Rev. Mathew Lyle, the President 
of the Board, administered to him the oath, or solemn en- 
gagement by which he bound himself to discharge the duties 
of his new office, with all fidelity as in the sight of God ; 
and the Rev. Clement Read, a member of the Board, who 
had been appointed to perform the service, then addressed 
him in a solemn and impressive charge, in which after glano- 
mg at the high responsibility, and deeply interesting charac- 
ter of the office which had just been conferred upon him?— 
the great importance of a well-instructed and evangelical 
ministry--— and briefly adverting to some of the discourage- 
ments which he must expect to encounter in the prosecution 
of his work, from the arduous nature of the work itself, from 
unfounded jealousies which some entertained of the Presby- 
terian Church, and false prejudices against it ; from the ene- 
mies of the cross, and from the Powers of Darkness, but 
above all, from the lukewarmness of friends, and '^ the im- 
pression already among many of them that a Seminary, com- 


nienced with means so scanty, could hardly succeed ; which 
naturally tended to paralyze exertion in its favour"— he 
closed his address in the following words. 

*' But in the midst of discouragements, there is much to 
excite hope, and quicken exertion. Our funds, though hum- 
ble, must augment, as the necessity of a Theological Semi- 
nary for the southern part of the Church shall be perceived 
and felt ; and if at present great things cannot, something 
may yet be done for the interest of the Church. And it 
ishould be remembered that the rewards of faithfulness will 
foe in proportion to the means of which we were possessed. 
** The call, Reverend Sir, which you have received from 
the Presbytery of Hanover to the highest station in the 
Church that was in their gift, is a signal proof of the confi- 
dence of that reverend body in your talents and integrity, 
and is a sure pledge of their future support in the discharge 
of your official duties. And I hazard nothing when I say 
that you»will have the undivided support of the Board of 
Trustees, of which I have the honour to be a member. And, 
judging from the countenances of this respectable audience 
of the interest which they feel on this occasion, I am per- 
suaded that you go into office with the good wishes and 
prayers of all present ; and. above all, I trust with the bless- 
ing of the Head of the Church, whose plaudit in your fa- 
vour in the day of final retribution, ' Well done, good and 
faithful servant,' will be a full compensation for your labour 
of love." The whole services of the occasion were highly 
interesting, and well calculated to leave deep and lasting im- 
pressions in the hearts of all present 

He was now desirous, of course, to obtain a site for the 
new building which was to be erected for the accommoda- 
tion of the students and his family ; and, in looking about 
for one, he was very happily aided by his friend Mr. Cush- 
ing, who prevailed upon Mr. Martin Sailer, a resident of the 
neighbourhood, to give him a small piece of wood-land, of 

about five acres, not far from the college grounds, for the 



purpose in view. . This appeared to him to be a good be- 
ginning of his work ; for the plat, he saw» was well sitaated, 
and handsome, rising from the road with a gende ascent, and 
furnishing a fine position for the edifice at the t^, with a 
dope for a lawn in front, and a grove in the rear ; and what 
gare it still more beauty in his eyes, he learned aAer he had 
obtained it, (from some of the old ministers,) that it was the 
very spot to which the pious students of Hampden Sydney, 
who had been awakened in the great revival which had 
taken place under the preaching of the Rev< John B, Smith, 
about fifty years before, had been accustomed to retire for 
secret and social prayer, — so that it was sdready '* hallowed 
ground ;'' and the association at least was highly interesting 
to his feelings. 

Not long afterwards, (some time early in the following 
summer,) he proceeded, with the aid of his friend, to lay 
off, with his own hand, the ground -plot of the building; 
which he had soon the pleasure to see actually begun, and 
going up before his eyes. 

After this, he continued during the whole summer, to em* 
ploy himsdf in directing the studies of his three pupils, su- 
perintending the erection of the new edifice, and turning his 
hand occasionally to any other good works which seemed to 
daim a portion of his attention. Among these he was par- 
ticularly pleased to promote the interests of the Literary 
and Philosophical Society of Haitipden Sydney College, 
which he had planned with the President, for the purpose 
of preserving and diffusing a taste for learning and letters, 
among the alumni of the institution, and other gentleniea 
throughout the state. Accordingly, he attended the monthly 
meetings of the resident members, and, on one oceasicHi, we 
see, read a ^' Dissertation on the utility of the study of Ian- 
guages, as a means of mental improvement," which was 
afterwards published in the magazine, and did credit to his 
pen. He presided also, it appears, (for he was the Presi- 
dent of the Society,) at the annual meeting, which was held 


the day after the commeneemeBt, on the 24th of 8epteinber» 
of this year, (1824,) and delivered a Discourse on the occa- 
sion, explanatory of the objects of the association, which 
was heard with much interest by all who were present He 
was, moreover, an honorary member of the ** Union So- 
ciety," an association of students of the college, so called, 
and occasionally attended its meetings, in order to encdurage 
the youth in all their laudable pursuits. 

In the mean time, he was by no means forgetful of his 
magazine, which was still published in Richmond, under 
the more immediate care of several friends ; but which he 
continued to edit himself as far as his new situation would 
permit. He furnished, accordingly, various articles for its 
pages during this year which were not the least attractive 
parts of its contents ; and, among others, a review of two 
sermons then recently published by Bishop Ravenscroft, of 
I^orth Carolina, which came out in the numbers for Novem- 
ber and December, and was read with no small interest at 
the time. This article, indeed, was well calculated from its 
subject to arrest the attention of all professing Christians at 
least, as it was an examination of the divine right of the 
Episcopal Church and its ministry, which the zealous Dio- 
cesan had now proclaimed for the first time in these parts, 
under the title of the << Doctrine of the Church," and which 
he dedared ought to be duly considered, not only by all loyal 
Episcopalians who had- hitherto treated it with too much in- 
difference, but by all schismatical diMeniera also, who were 
neglecting it at the imminent hazard of their souls. Jn both 
these discourses, in fact, he maintained strenuously that ac- 
cording to the Scriptures there is but one Church in the 
world, which is called in the creed, <* the holy Catholic 
Church,'' and more definitely in the Nicene creed, '* the 
Catholic and Apostolic Church," by which last term, he tells 
us, is to be understood " the derivation of that authority which 
was committed to the Mpoatles by Christ himself, for the 
founding f extending f establishing^ and <?r(;{enng' his Church 


to the end of the world — ^and this in such a sense as is '^ appo- 
sed to every other derivation of authority whatener ;*' that 
to this Church which God alone has founded, he has com- 
mitted his gospel which is the proclamation of his grace, and 
' his sacraments which are its pledges and seals to the souls of 
all believers ; that the ministers of this Church have derived 
their authority to preach the word and administer the sacra- 
ments by regular succession from the Apostles, who had 
theirs immediately from Christ himself, and are therefore 
the only ** authorized agents" of the Redeemer, now on earth, 
to offer that pardon and peace which are promised to men 
only upon the condition (and he afterwards adds the previ* 
0U8 condition,) of their being members of the Church, and to 
administer those sacraments which are to assure them cu 
such of their salvation; that the truth of their having 
this sole and exclusive authority is ** verifiable as a fact" by 
the Scriptures themselves, and by *' a shorter method," 
which is the actual proof of its regular transmission through 
successive bishops from the age of the Apostles down to the 
present day. 

Thus it appeared,' that not satisfied, like the rest of his 
Episcopalian brethren, to maintain that their branch of the 
Church was the most ancient and honourable in the state, 
and, moreover, the most scriptural in its shape, and in its 
very leaves, the good bishop was seriously determined to 
contend, tliat it was actually the very trunk of the tree, or 
rather the whole tree, which (most unnaturally indeed,) was 
all trunk, and had, in fact, no branches to call its own.* 

* I hope no one will suppose from what I have here said, or may 
hereafter saj, of tbe opinions of this gentleman, that I feel any thing^ 
li]|9 unkindness towards his memory. I knew bishop Ravenscrofl per. 
Bonally, (though not IntiraatelyO and esteemed him highly as an honest, 
able, and zealous preacher of the gospel. He was, indeed, like Apollos, 
** an eloquent man ;" but I cannot add that he was " mighty in the Scrip, 
tures ;" for the truth is, that he was by no means as conversant with' them 
as'he ought to have been. He had been called into the ministry late in 


Now it may be thought, (as it was by many at the time,) 
that a "doctrine*' so absurd on its face, and so palpably 
contrary to the whole tenor and genius of the gospel, and to 
the liberal spirit of our Southern christians, could hardly 
have been very dangerous, and might hare been very safely 
left to^'iH by its own fatuity into the disgrace which it de- 
serred. Doctor Rice, however, (as he tells us himself in a 
subsequent writing,) ** thought differently,*' and for reasons 
which he has assigned. Thus he says : " It has for some 
time appeared obvious to us, that there is growing up a spirit 
in this country, which seeks for marks of distinction between 
itself and the mass of the people. As Infidelity is out of 
fashion, and Unitarianism is not popular to the South, there 
is a great demand among people of a certain sort, (to use a 
phrase current among all good cavaliers ever since the ** mer- 
ry days of king Charles,") for "a religion fit for a gentle- 
man." There is, also, among many of our republicans, a 
passion for pomp and show in religious worship. Others, 
moreover, too indolent, and too much devoted to the world, to 
secure a scriptural evidence of their being in a state of salva- 
tion, are willing enough to look to their priests for assurance* 
High-church notions, then, do not sink under the influence 
of public opinion. It is necessary to make efforts to pull 
them down. The interests of the church and of the country 
require it." At the same time, as the good Bishop, in order to 
clear his skirts, as he said, from the blood of Dissenters^ had, 

life, and without much previous study, or preparation of any kind, and,'of 
course, was bat a poor theologrian ; nor bad be, I believe, much learning 
of any Bort-~certainly none to spare. Still bis strong mind, and 
stronger feeling, inspiring a fervid and energetic elocution, made 
him an impressive speaker, and his ardent advocation of the leading 
doctrines of the gospel justly commanded great respect ; so that I 
really feel every disposition to regard his imfortunate misapprehennon 
of the true doctrine of the Catholic church, with as much allowance 
as the nature of the case will fairly permit. 


very charitably, wa^oied them aU to flee from the wrath to 
come, by flying to the altar of the ovdy ehurchf our Pro- 
fessor naturally felt himself particularly called upon, both 
as a dissenting preacher, and the editor of a dissenting 
periodical, to answer the summons. Averse, therefore, as 
he was to controversy, (and we have seen how carcfylly he 
had hitherto avoided it,) he felt himself constrained at last, 
by a sense of duty, to take up his pen in defence of himself 
and his brethren of all denominations, and indeed of chris- 
tian liberty itself, against the claims and pretensions of their 
high-church assailant. Accordingly, in the numbers of the 
magazine for November and December of this year, he 
published the review of the sermons already mentioned, in 
which he examined the new *' doctrine of the church," 
with a force and freedom which he had ^not hitherto dis- 
played upon this subject; but, at the same time, with a 
spirit of candour and christian moderation that was altoge- 
ther proper and becoming. The publication, was, of course, 
read by many at the time, and with great satisfaction by all 
(he Dissenters at least, in the state. 


Hampden Sydney College, Dec, 17/A, 1824. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

Our last mail brought me your acceptable letter. I wish 
that I had more time to spend in writing to you. But you 
will have to accept of a very hasty note. 

I take a very deep interest in the Domestic Missionary 
Society. And as a pledge of this interest, I am very wil- 
ling to prepare, as soon as I can, a tract on the subject, 
which I will forward to you as soon as I shall finish it. I 
like the idea well. 

I think the best thing the Society ever did was to employ 
Mr. Bruen. He is a man that I love much; and I will 
thank you to tell him so. Indeed I love many in New York ; 
and if I were not engaged as I am here, I should prefer 


iaking up my abode with the choice spirits of your city, and 
labouring in that great rineyard, to any thing else I know in 
the world. 

As to your employing an agent in Virginia ; it is my be^ 
lief that a suitable person will do a great deal of good ; but 
probably accomplish very little towards the increase of 
your funds. It would be difficult to persuade the few among 
us who do any thing, that they ought to send money for 
missionary purposes out of the State, when they know that 
three fourths of our territory is missionary ground. Yet, 
while they know this, there is no exertion coiresponding to 
the deplorable desolation that spreads around them. Some 
extraordinary effort is necessary to rouse their attention. 
The plan of the Domestic Missionary Society would meet 
general approbation. And a popular agent would excite 
much attention. I think, too, that he would be able to form 
a number of corresponding societies, which would agree to 
send you an annual report, and to receive assistance from 
you ; and that in this way the range of your influence might 
be greatly extended, and a portion of your energy commu- 
nicated. I do think that an opportunity of circulating your 
annual reports to a wide extent, would be worth all that 
such an agency would cost. For my part, I should be ex- 
ceedingly glad that your last report should be read by every 
-christian family in the nation. 

I am truly gratified to hear that you bear in mind our in- 
fant seminary. It is a difficult work to build it up ; but by 
the help of the Lord, I think it will finally succeed. We 
have five or six promising students in the seminary ; eight 
or ten in the neighbouring college, who will join us as soon 
as they get through ; and several from the south and the 
west who are coming on shordy. If we had sufficient funds, 
the number could be easily doubled every year, for several 
years to come. Pray for us. Ask all your brethren to pray 

Present me affectionately to Mr. Litde, to Mr, Baldwin, 


and to all my good friends in New York, with whom yon 
may happen to meet. 

Excuse this hasty gcratch. May the Lord he with you, 
and make you useful in his vineyard. 

With sincere Christian affectiony 

I am, ^., 

J. H« Rice. 

To the Cliriatian friends, through whose affectionate libe- 
rality, J was made a member for life of the U. F. 
M. S. 

Theohgicdl Seminary, Fd), lOth, 1825* 
Accept my grateful acknowledgments for this token of 
respectand kindness. No part of the Church is so dear to 
me as that of which I was once pastor. I know of no 
words by which I can so fully express my habitual feelings 
towards you, as by those of the apostle Paul in the Epistle 
to the Philippians, first chapter, from the 3d to the ilth 
verse, to which I refer you. Let it be your constant prayer 
too, that what is contained in the verse immediately follow* 
ing, may be verified in the change which has separated me 
from you. 

Allow me to say, that your token of love was the more 
grateful, because it was contemporaneous with one of the 
same kind to your present pastor. It is delightful to see 
christian affection extended without being weakened. I 
remember with gratitude to God, the fine harmonious feel- 
ings which pervaded the whole body, when I presided at 
your late election. And it is my constant prayer, that the 
Lord Jesus Christ may so rule in your hearts, that at all 
times you shall be like minded, having the same love, ** being 
of one accord, of one mind." 

I thank God that your sympathy has been excited for the 
poor Indians on our borders. We are debtors to them, to 
send among them the gospel of Christ. The first duty of 
christians in this country, is to provide for the spiritual 


wants of our fellow-citizens ; the second^ to regard the con- 
dition of the African race ; and the thirds to civilize and 
christianize the Indians. One of these ought not to inter- 
fere with the other, but each should receive its proper share 
of attention. May you never be «* weary in well doing/' 
** for in due season you shall reap if you faint not " 
With more affection than I can express, 

I am most truly yours, 

Jno. H. Ricx. 

The prospect, or rather vision, (as it might yet be called) 
of his future seminary, was now growing brighter and 
more distinct every day; and, accordingly, the prevailing 
tone of his mind appears to have been that of cheerful 
faope. There were still, however, some ominous sha- 
dows about it, and, as we might expect, he was occa- 
sionally filled with distressing apprehensions of the final 
failure of his enterprise ; and, at times, almost overwhelmed 
with an oppressive sense of the difficulties before him. Of 
these, by far the greatest, in his view, was the waat of 
that confidence in the practicableness of his plans, and the 
consequent lack of that cordial co-operation with him in his 
undertaking, which he thought, with some reason, that he 
had a right to expect from his brethren about him; but 
which he found, (or fancied) that they were rather inclined 
to withhold. In this state of feeling, he was very naturally 
disposed to view every thing in the most gloomy light, and 
to desire at least, most anxiously, that something might be 
done that should infuse a new spirit into the whole body of 
them, and animate them into more activity in the cause. 
But to do this, he could devise no better expedient than to 
urge his friend Dr. Alexander to visit this. scene of his 
youthful labours, where he seems to have thought that his 
presence and preaching would operate like a perfect charm, 
and produce the most happy effects. With this view, he 





addressed along letter to that gentleman from which we give i 
the following part in point. 


Haimpden Sydney ^ March ISth, 1825. 
My Dear Sir, 

The state of things here is such that I have every thing 
to discourage me. The other Presbyteries have avowedly 
thrown off all interest in our Seminary. The elder bre- 
thren of Hanover Presbytery have kept themselves so insu- 
lated, and are so far behind the progress of things in this 
country, and the general state of the world, that they think 
of nothing beyond the old plans and fashions, which pre- 
vailed seventy years ago. In fact, there is nothing like 
united, active exertion to build up this institution, and I 
often fear that the effort will fail. Had I known what I 
know now, I certainly would not have accepted the office 
'which I hold. But now I have put my hand to the plough, 
and am not accustomed to look back. There is, however, 
a sea before me, the depth of which £ cannot fathom, and 
the width such that I cannot see over it. 

Some say one thing, and some another, but in many 
parts of our Synod there is a talk about this Seminary 
being hostile and injurious to Princeton, and I do from my 
heart wish that it could be silenced. If I thought it was 
so, I would resign to-morrow. For I can truly say, that no 
institution in the country is as dear to me as the Seminary 
of Princeton, because I think it more important to the well 
being of the Church than any other. 

But now for the application. I have given you this 
dismal account of Virginia, to convince you that you 
must come to this state during your next vacation. I do 
think that it is a duty which you owe to your native 
land. The only way to drive out all these bad feelings of 
which I have spoken, is to excite others of a contrary char- 


acter. It cannot be expected according to human proba- 
bilities, that the brethren here can do it Many uncomfort- 
able feelings are associated with them. But all love you with 
unabated affection, and regard you with peculiar reverence* 
Your presence would awaken a new set of feelings. A 
few sermons from you would do more, at this time, for the 
real good of the church here, than any human means that I 
can think of. And I am sure that you would hear and see 
little, if any thing, of the complaints and troubles that 
exist; for the people would be ashamed to let you know 
how they feel. 

If you could but have witnessed the universal burst of joy, 
when it was understoood that you were coming, and the 
deep disappoititment expressed by every one, on hearing 
that probably you would not come, you would then know 
what influence, under the divine blessing, you could exert 
here. I do deliberately and conscientiously believe that it 
is your duty to come. 

You can with the greatest ease get to Petersburg by stages 
and steamboats. There are more carriages now in this 
neighbourhood than I ever saw in any country place ; and 
several people say that they would think it a privilege to send 
for you to Petersburg, and after having you here for a while, 
afford you facilities for getting over the mountains. You 
could thence find a conveyance to Fredericksburg, and so on 
to Princeton. Now do, my dear sir, think of these things seri- 
ously, before you make up your mind that you cannot come. 
And let me hear from you on the subject as soon as possible. 

Our University has just gone into operation with about 
forty or fifty students. It may be regarded as a comet, 
which has for the first time just made its appearance; the 
orbit of which of course is not determined. The aspect, 
however, is portentous ; and I have no doubt that we shall 
feel the effects of the prodigy in all parts of the state.* 

* Tbe first appearance of this new luminary in our firmament vmb 
indeed rather alarming, and seemed to bode no good. He continued, 



Goochland, April 2d, 1826. 

My Dear Sir, 

Have I not good reason to justify my love of the good 
people of Norfolk — the good ladies I mean ? 

Your letter came to hand, as you may suppose from this 
introduction ; and I return thanks to you for your kind atten- 
tion ; and to your good ladies for their promptitude in exe- 
cuting the business committed to them. 

I certainly shall like our Seminary the better for having 
" Norfolk" in it. Indeed as we are to have both ** Rich- 
mond" and «* Petersburg" there too, I begin to think that we 
shall make out to live with tolerable comfort. 

I have been sent for to organize a little church in Pow- 
hatan — ^having a day to spare, I slipt over to Goochland to 
see my friends, and have happened to meet with a gentle- 
man going to Richmond, by whom I send this note. He is 
in a hurry ,'and that hurries me. 

Give my love to your mother, and to all my dear friends. 
I have been long absent from Norfolk ; but I am conscious 
of no weakening of affection for the brethren and sisters 
there. And do you tell them, that it is feeble love which 
absence destroys; but strong, (such as mine) is rather in- 
creased than diminished. Do we not love for eternity ? 

Most truly yours, 

J. H. Rice. 

however, to regard it with hope as well as fear, and most devoutly 
prayed that it might prove a ^ happy oonstellation," and ** shed its se- 
lectest influence**^ upon the state and country. Nor was his prayer 
without effect ; for its present aspect is certainly auspicious. Without 
a figure^ the establishment of public worship in the University, and of 
a Bible Society among the students, together with a visible improve- 
ment in the whole order of the institution, appear to authorize the hope 
which we indulge that its future radiations will be not only brilliaQt but 



Prince Edward, ^pril 6^A, 1825. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

I returned home last evening from an excursion to Pow- 
hatan, and find Mr. G just about to take his departure. 

He is urgent to go, but I must detain him while I drop you 
a few lin'es. Mr. G. has pleased us all very much. He 
would be very popular here ; and if he were a single man, I 
should wish him very much to come to tlie South. 

I went to Powhatan to give some assistance to Mr. P 
He is labouring there with encouraging prospects of success. 
I do hope that he will build up a church in Uiat blighted and 
desolate region. He is very active and zealous, and is at 
once anxious to improve himself, and do good to the people. 
He has gained love and respect more rapidly, and to greater 
extent, than I expected. Indeed he will do no discredit 
to Princeton, or Presbyterianism." 

About this time, Dr. Rice found himself called upon to 
notice another sermon which the Bishop of North Carolina 
had lately preached before the Bible Society of that state, 
and afterwards published, and in which he made what was 
generally considered as an open and flagrant attack upon the 
American Bible Society, and all its auxiliaries throughout 
the country ; and with good reason ; for, in his discourse, 
he undertook to show that the act of circulating the word 
of God, in their manner, without note or comment, was a 
most pernicious proceeding, inasmuch as it manifestly im- 
plied as a fundamental principle, *Uhat the scriptures are 
exclusively sufficient for their own interpretation." But 
this principle, he contended, was '* unfounded and danger- 
ous, and ultimately subversive of all revealed religion." 
1st. Because it falsely supposed that the structure of scrip- 
ture was such as not to require the aid of a skilful interpre- 
ter to explain and expound it; 2. Because" it implied that 



man was not a fallen creature, and therefore so averse to 
the tmth as to be ineapable of finding it ont by a mere read- 
ing of the word of God; and 3. Because it implied that 
the influence of the Holy Spirit, which was plainly indis- 
pensable to a right understanding of the scriptures, neces- 
sarily accompanied the reading of them; all which, was 
contrary to fact, and to the Bible itself. It was, therefore, 
grossly improper to unite with these societies, in circulating 
the scriptures by themselves^ as it involved, in fact, the radi- 
cal error of separating the word of God from his ministry: 
whereas, the only proper mode of doing the thing, was to 
send them along with the church, or the preachers of it; 
to wit, the ''bishops and other clergy" of the one only 
"Catholic and Apostolic" church; that is, the Episcopal 
church, of course. 

Now it was easy to see, at a glance, that all this was a 
mere tissue of misconception and mistake from beginning to 
end. For, in the first place, it was perfectly plain that the 
act of distributing the word of God without note or comment, 
did not imply, as the Bishop so strangely aissumed, that 
" the scriptures were exclusively sufiicient for their own in- 
terpretation," but only implied in fact, that they might do 
much good by the virtue of their own text, (and the "grace 
of God along with it,) without the gloss of any interpreter 
whatever; and this truth he admitted himself. And how 
could it be said to separate the word of God from his church 
or its ministry, when it was actually furnishing the people 
with the very book which those ** authorized agents" (who- 
ever they were,) who were duly commissioned and qualified 
for the purpose, were to expound and explain ? Or could 
it make any odds how, or by whom, the text-books of the 
teachers were put into the hands of the scholars ? Indeed 
the hallucination of the whole argument was so glaring on 
its face, that the sermon might have been left " without note 
or comment," to the judgment of those who might choose 
to read it, even among his own denomination, the great body 


of whom were much more likely to go right with the Bishop 
of Virginia, (who was the President of the Bible Society of 
the state,) than to go wrong with the Bishop of North Car- 
(dina. The latter, however, had no small authority with 
many in his own diocess, and with some out of it ; and Doc- 
tor Rice was too cordially attached to the great christian 
cause of Bible Societies, and to the protestant doctrine of the 
sufficiency of the scriptures, (which the Bishop had inciden- 
tally questioned,) to see them openly assailed, and by such an 
enemy, without defending them against his attacks. Accord- 
ingly, he came out with a review of this offensive sermon, 
in the April and June numbers of the magazine, in which 
he ably and thoroughly exposed the errors of the Bishop^s 
discourse, and in a style and spirit^that gave entire satisfac** 
tion, this time, to aU his readers^* 


TTieological Seminary, June 25th, 1825. 
Mv Deab Christian Brother, 

Our last mail brought me your very acceptable letter, for 
which I beg you to accept my sincere thanks. To our 
heavenly Father, 1 desire to render gratitude and praise for 
his mercies both to you and to me, in sparing our lives, and 

* This controversy is gone by, and the question involved in it is not 
likely, I suppose, to be raised again, or I should have given some ac 
count of the argument on both sides. I must say, however, that it 
was really rather amusing to see how kindly the good bishop saved hi^ 
antagonists the trouble of answering him, by very fairly answering him. 
self as he went along. Thus afler asserting that the act of distribu- 
ting the Bible without note or comment, as our Bible societies are doing, 
is dangerous and pernicious, he inadvertently allows that there are 
tome thingsin the Book which any man may read with advantange by 
himself Thus he says, ^ the preceptive parts of revelation are plain and 
perspicuous, so as to be immediately apprehended; those which are 
doctrinal partake of different degrees of clearness according to the na. 
ture of the doctrine inculcated; and those which are mysterious^ are 
.clothed with an obscurity which even the angels desire to look into, Y©t 

272 MB MO IB OF 

renewing our health. May we have grace to consecrate life 
and health to his service ; and when we are called to suffer 

they are all made the sabject matter of our faith and obedience, and 
operative acoordiog to our diligence in preparing us for still higher and 
brighter spiritual attainments.*' Obyionsly, then, by his own showing, 
we may all understand the " preceptive parts" of the Bible, and some 
of the plainer ** doctrines" also, (such, for instance, as the cardinal ones 
of the sinfulness of man, and salvation by the grace of God through the 
imputed righteousness of Christ,) which may do us much good, and 
^ become tlie subject matter of our faith and obediencey** enough to 
save our souls, and even prepare the way ^ for those higher and bright- 
er attainments'* which the angels of the church may help us to acquire; 
all by reading our Bibles toithout note or comment But surely, then, 
it must be a good thing to circulate them freely ; and the bishop evi- 
dently forgot what he had said when he concluded that it was wrong. 
Indeed he says further, and still more explicitly, in the preface to hiB 
sermon, that '* he is not, by any means, opposed to the reading of the 
scriptures without a commentator, as is falsely charged against him. 
On the contrary, he has many witnesses how earnestly and repeatedly 
he presses the study of the word of God upon his hearers; and it is his 
invariable rule,'* he says, ** when consulted what commentator to be- 
gin the reading of the scriptures with, to answer none; recommending 
to all to heJirH well grounded in the scriptures themselves, by reading, 
meditation, and prayer, when a sound and judicious commentator may 
be helpful," &c Obviously, then, he could have had no difficulty about 
giving the Bible to the people without note or comment, himselfl But 
surely what he could safely and properly do himself, he ought to have 
seen that the Bible Society might do as well — ^unl^ indeed, (what I 
can hardly suppose,) he imagined there was some peculiar yirtue in a 
bishop's hands. 

Then as to the fancy that circulating the Bible without note or com- 
ment by means of Bible Societies, separates the word of God from the 
ministry of the church ; it is clearly a mere conceit and nothing more : 
for does not the proceeding still leave all men at full liberty to apply to 
any ** authorized agents" (to use the bishop's own phrase,) who may 
have a right ^ verifiable" to their minds, to assist them in interpreting 
the more obscure parts of the book ? And will it not even prompt 
them to long and to look for such guides ? And was not the very 
Ethiopian in the bishop's text, influenced by the interest which the 
reading of the book of the prophet had excited in his breast, to desire 


affiictioDy may we glorify him by humble submission to his 

I bless God, who put ii into the heart of my unknown 
friend to devote money enough to endow a scholarship in 
our young seminary. And I do desire to be thankful, that 
you have been enabled to authorize me to bring an addition- 
al poor and pious young man into our institution. In this 
respect your letter came in most excellent time. There are 
as many as three or four young men who will be ready to 
enter the institution next fall, for whom I wish to make pro- 
vision, and I was casting about for ways and means by which 
to enable them to do this, when your favour came to hand. 

the aid of the preacher who so providentially presented himself at the 
moment to assist him ? The truth is, it is almost impossible for any 
one to read the scriptures without seeing on their Ycry face, and feel- 
ing in his own consenting heart, that he would derive a great benefit 
firom that more perfect understanding of them which a well-instructed 
minister may help him to attain. So the operation of the Bible Soci- 
ety does not draw men away from the church of God, but leads them 
to it 

Perhaps, however, the Bishop would have said to this (as he seems to> 
have thought), that though the reading of the Bible would probably put 
the reader in mind" to ^ to some church, it might not lead him to his 
** Catholic and Apostolic" one; and I must certainly agree that it might 
fUft indeed. But then, if he really believed, what, we have seen, he 
maintained in his former discourses, that his **^ doctrine of the church,'* 
or the exclusive right of persons episcopally ordained to preach and 
administer the sacraments, was " verifiable as a fad from the Scriptures 
tJiemselveSf^'' he surely must have agreed that the reading of them was 
at least more likely to lead the reader to his true church than to any 
other; and, of course, he ought to have been very thankful that ^ dis- 
senters" of other denominations, either from their "• false liberality," or 
their shortsightedness, would unite with high-churchmen, in circulate 
ing a book which would thus work against themselves. Apparently, 
however, the good Bishop was not so well satisfied with the truth of his 
position on this point, as not to think that it would at least be somewhat 
safer to assist the Scriptures a little by the *^ comment" of n. "duly au- 
tiiorized" interpreter. But enough of thb. As I said, the error, I hope, 
is dead. Requieseat in pace. 


And now pennit me to say that I know two young men of 
considerable promise, whose circumstances are such, that, 
if the $175, mentioned by you, could be divided between 
them, I think they both might be enabled to enter the semi- 
nary the beginning of next term, and pursue their studies 
through the whole course, with that aid received annually 
for three years. And if you will permit me, I will proceed 
at once to make the necessary arrangements for that purpose. 
This, it seems to me, will be making a good use of $175 a 
year, for the time. Thanks be to God, for any good done 
in this world— -especially for any good done for our poor 
southern country ! 

I have lately been making a calculation for the purpose of 
showing the destitute state of this region. The result is, 
that, take our population from the Potomac to the Missis- 
sippi, not more than one fifth part acknowledges a connec- 
tion with the Church of Christ in any forni. And of this 
fijth^ more than three fourths are under the guidance of 
extremely ignorant preachers — ^msiny of them decided An- 
tinomians ! Is not this appalling ? Yet the friends of 
Zion have encouragement. For almost any where in all 
this region, a missionary sent out with a right spirit, to 
labour on right principles, can build up a church. It will, 
indeed, be weak at first ; but it will grow ; and by and 
by be able to support itself. O ! if we only had the 
means of raising up labourers of the true gospel stamp, we 
should produce a mighty change in this whole country, — ^a 
change in morals, in manners, in every thing connected 
with man's best hopes and dearest interests. Do, my dear 
Brother, continue to pray for us ; and urge aU our friends in 
New York to do the same. We greatly need your prayers, 
and all the aid you can give us. Our people here are doing 
something ; but they are feeble, and need encouragement. 

Shall I pay a visit again, to New York? Will it be 
well for me to come this autumn ? I wish, speedily, to get 
the best information I can on this subject. And I will 


frankly state the reasons why I wish, if there is any hope 
of success, to come on this season. 

1. Numbers in the South, who admit the importance and 
necessity of a Southern Institution* have taken up the 
opinion that our undertaking is hopeless; and their efforts 
are paralyzed by despondency. And if we could get fully 
under toay^ with good prospects of success, they would 
feel all the energy of hope, and we could command all the 
resources of the Church to the South. Many, too, who 
are now out of the Church might be induced to give us aid, 
if they were sure we should succeed. 

2. Any thing like decisive aid from the North, would 
awaken a spirit in the people far South of us; and we 
should see them coming in to receive the benefits of an In- 
stitution which Northern christians think valuable enough 
to command their assistance. 

3. About enough now has been accomplished to con- 
vince all the friends of our Institution, that if we will go 
zealously forward, we shall succeed beyond all doubt. 
And nothing seems to be wanting to give new vigour to 
their exertions, as well as to gain new friends, but a good 
strong hand at this moment to help us. Without this, 
' however, I fear that languor will seize our people; and 
they will decline in their efforts. 

I do regard this as a critical time then:— one in which 
help will be most efficient. I can'see this, in the effect pro- 
duced by the communication with which you favoured me. 
Do you then, and friend Baldwin, and others of my friends, 
confer together, and give me at once the best advice you 

I owe you an apology for not having sent you the pro- 
mised Tract on Missions. The truth is, I wanted to pro- 
duce something as good as possible for a service so impor- 
tant ; and put it off for a leisure time. But since you heard 
from me, I have been obliged to write one week with 
another, as much as is equivalent to five sermons a week. 


Strange as it may appear, too, and oat of character for me, 
I have been engaged in a sort of controversy. One of the 
foremost men, and a bishop too, in the Episcopal chui^eh, 
has come out against Bible Societies, in a way exceeding 
Bishop Hobart. It is Dr. Ravenscroft, of North Carolina. 
It has fallen to me to review his writings, and oppose his 
principles. It seemed an urgent service, and I could not 
decline it. That now is done, and I hope for more leisure. 
It is still my purpose to send you the best thing I can on 
Domestic Missions. 

May the Lord bless you, and ail yours. Give my fra- 
ternal love to my friends as you may happen to see them. 
Remember me to the Committee of the Missionary Society. 
God be with them^ 

Your friend and brother, 

John H. Ricb. 

About this time, he was delighted to receive the promised 
visit of his friend Dr. Alexander, who had come by the 
way of Norfolk and Petersburg, to Prince Edward, and 
now came to lodge with him in his **old quarters," in 
the house of the President of Hampden Sydney College. 
The meeting between them was doubtless very agreeable to 
both parties, and particularly, we may suppose, to our Pro* 
fessor, who took great pleasure in showing his guest his 
new building, (a very decent edifice then fairly covered in, 
and finishing ofif inside with all despatch,) and in unfolding 
his views and plans for the future enlargement of the insti- 
tution, which had now assumed their final form, and were 
substantially these. In the first place, he proposed to open 
a subscription on a large scale, to raise the sum of seventy- 
five thousand dollars, for the founding of three Professor- 
ships in the Seminary, and thus make the establishment 
complete at once. At the same time, he intended to make 
specific collections, for the purpose of completing the neces- 
sary buildings for the accommodation of a hundred students. 


mi the hoofles for the piofeason, as they might be needed. 
In the next place, to enliet all the churches of the state, and 
of North Carolina, m. the support of the institution, it would 
be proper to transfer it back again, in the first instance, from 
the care of the Presbytery of Hanover, under which it now 
was, to the care of the Synod of Virginia, and afterwards, 
by some proper arrangement between them, to place it under 
the jurisdiction of the two Synods of the states just men« 
tioned; and perhaps also of the Synod of South Carolina and 
Georgia, if that body could be brought (as he sometimes flat- 
tered himself it might,) to drop the small school which it 
was talking about raising within its own bounds, and come 
into his larger views. In the mean time, to secure the 
funds which were to be raised, (and in fact to promote the 
raising of them by making the contributors feel that their do- 
nations would be safe,) as the General Assembly of the state 
had refused to grant a charter to the Trustees, it would be 
necessary and proper to apply to the General Assembly of 
the church, which was incorporated by an act of the Legis- 
lature of Pennsylvania, to take the Seminary and its stock 
under their care ; and in so doing, that body might adopt some 
formal agreement with the Synods that would secure the 
due subordination of their institution to its own authority, so 
as to preserve the integrity and harmony of the whole sys- 

Such was the plan in all its extent, which he proposed to 
accomplish however, of course, by degrees, involving, as we 
may see at a glance, the combination of a great variety of 
conflicting interests, schemes, and feelings, and presenting 
almost insuperable difficulties at every step ; but which we 
shall find him actually accomplishing at last, by patience, 
porseveranee, and the blessing of Grod, with complete suc- 

' The first thing, then, now to be done, according to this 
scheme, was to begin to raise the funds for the endowment of 
the Professorships. And here he righfly judged that it would 



be proper to open his subscription, in the first instance, at 
home; for if he coald succeed, as he might fairly hope to 
do, in getting a handsome sum subscribed in the neighbour- 
hood of the Seminary, and in other parts of the state, he 
might more confidently expect the contabutions of distant 
brethren, from the assurance which it would giro them that 
their donations would not be thrown away ; while the liber- 
ality of these last again would not only encourage the first in 
the same manner, but further stimulate them by a proper 
pride, and sense of character, to do their best. In this way, 
he trusted that he should be able to excite a generous emula- 
tion between christians of the South and North, and l^ng 
them all to unite together in advancing his object with the 
greatest effect. As he could not, howeyer, leave his duties 
at the Seminary, for any long period, it was necessary for 
him to find an agent for the work ; and, most happily, a young 
missionary from the Seminary at Princeton, by the name of 
Robert Roy, was then labouring in the county of Nottoway, 
close by, who he thought, from his principle? and feelings, 
would be the very man for his purpose. He hastened, ac- 
cordingly, to^enlist him in the service, and was glad to find 
that he was ready to engage in it at once with that prompt 
and cheerful spirit which seemed to promise as well as 
hope for success ; and, availing himself now of the fine spirit 
which he saw that the " talk" of his friend. Dr. Alexander, 
(who had just left him,) had excited, he sallied out with his 
new aid to the neighbouring county of Charlotte, and opened 
the subscription there among the people of his former pasto- 
ral charge, whom he now called upon to give a proper lead 
in the noble enterprise before them. The appeal was an- 
swered at once witli great liberality, and the example of 
Charlotte was immediately followed by Prince Edward with 
equal spirit; when, leaving Mr. Roy to pursue the work 
alone, Doctor Rice returned to the Seminary to perform his 
proper duties there. 
But whilst the Professor was thus pursuing his plans, the 


bishop of North Carolina, whose sermon before the Bible 
Society of that state, already mentioned, had excited no small 
criticism in his own diocessy had thought proper to come 
out with another, in further explanation and defence of his 
views on the subjelbt, entitled, '* a Sermon on the Study and 
Interpretation of the Scriptures,'' which he preached accord- 
ingly in the Episcopal Chapel at Raleigh on the 20th of 
March, of this year, and which was afterwards published by 
the vestry of the church, for the benefit of all concerned; 
and the bishop, who, it seems, had felt himself particularly 
galled by our reviewer's critique of the first, thought proper 
to send him a copy of the last, with a strange sort of note in 
which he fairly challenged him, as it were, to notice it in the 
magazine. This proceedingVas obviously a littk provoking ; 
but Dr« RLce, we are sure, only read the eourteoua billet with 
one of his good-natured smiles, feeling some pleasure per- 
haps to see such an acknowledgment of the power of his 
pen, and, possibly, some small disposition to give the gen- 
tleman the satisfaction which he seemed to demand. Averse, 
however, as he certainly was to any thing that might even 
look like a personal controversy, he would, no doubt, have 
left the Bishop to *' digest the venom of his spleen" at his 
leisure, if he had not thought that the cause of truth required 
him to answer this new attack upon the Bible, with proper 
spirit ; and he did so accordingly, in a full and fair review 
of the discourse, which appeared in the July number of his 
vrork, Bud which was much read« and warmly approved. * 

* Here again, it is really sarprising; that Bishop R did Hot 

perceive how easj he had made it for any one to answer him fix»m 
his own words. For why do we want his great rule of ioterpieta- 
tion, whieh is, that in ease ther« is any question raised about the true 
meaning of the text as io any partieular doetrine, ** That interpre- 
tation of Scripture is to be followed and relied npon .as the true 
sense and meaning, which has been invariably held and aeted upon 
by the one Catholic and Apostolic Chureh of Christ;" or, as he after, 
wards ships' It, the ^ Primitive Church ?" Why he says, we want it 



TTieological Seminary, Aug. 6th, 1825. 
My Dear Sir, 

I presume that you are all safe and settiied at home, and 
that the excitement of a return to your family has subsided. 

to 9€itle dUputeB^ which will be sure to rise amongf readers of the 
Bible. But is not this, obyiously, as much as to say, that we must 
have an infallible interpreter of the book upon earth 7 (the very error 
of the Papists indeed.) Yet he says, " In explanation of this rule, it 
is to be borne in mind, that while God hath fully and clearly revealed 
his will to us, yet he hath so done it as to form a part of our trial. 
While all things necessary to salvation are set forth in his word for 
our learning, Scripture is nevertheless so constructed, that the un- 
learned and unstable can wrest it to their own destruction ; and the 
word of the gospel is either a savour of life unto life, or a savour of 
death unto deaths as we receive and apply it." And he adds, ** If this 
was the case in the Apostolic age, as St. Peter and St. Paul both de> 
clare that it was, much more is it possible, and to be expected, in 
the&e days of multiplied divisions and latitudinarian departure from 
the faith." All very true; but is it not perfectly plain then, that if 
his rule could settle these disputes, as he pretends, it would, by his own 
showings disappoint the design of the Holy Spirit in *'fio** framing 
the Scriptures "■ as to form a part of our friiaZ,** in this our mortal 
state ? And ought he not to have been sure, therefore, that the 
rule itself must be vain ? (just as sure as we may be that a medicine 
made to prevent death must be ^ack,) And why could he not be 
satisfied to bear his part of the trial, and wait patiently till the day 
of judgment, when the only infallible Interpreter would interpret his 
own word, and decide all disputes about its true meaning forever? 

Moreover, when he acknowledges that diversities of interpretation 
prevailed in the days of the Apostles themselves, is it not wonderful 
that he was not struck with the decisive fact that neither Peter nor 
Paul ever proposed to cure the evil by summmiing the disputants to 
oome to them for the true interpretation of their own writings? Fot 
why did they not ? Evidently because it was plain that if men of 
^ perverse minds** would ** wrest** what they had written, they would 
be equally apt (and even more so) to wrest what they would saj in fbr» 
ther explanation of it. The fault was not in the scriptures, bnt in the 


ka ill news flies apace, I should surely have heard if any 
disaster had befallen you. I will take it for granted then, 
that through your whole journey you had rich experience of 
the care and kindness of our heavenly Father. And I do 
hope, that the safety and facility with which you find that 
you can visit us/ will induce you before very long to repeat 
your excursion. I do believe, that if you could make such 
an one every year, it would prolong your life, and extend 
your usefulness. It might be the means of bringing your 
children acquainted with the children of those who will 
never cease to love you with a fervour and perpetuity of 
affection, which is rarely to be found, except among old Vir- 
ginia Presbyterians. I greatly approve of every thing which 
extends and strengthens kindly feelings. And I love to see 
friendships growing up among the children of those who have 
been fast friends. Come then, often among us; and let us 
enjoy the pleasure of showing, or rather trying to show how 
much we love you. I do wish .that you could stay some 

hearU of th^r readers, and these the Apostles could not change. But 
the power and authority of the ** Catholic** or " Primitive Church** can- 
not be greater than that of the Apostles who founded it Indeed I may 
state the argument still more strongly, and say that the power and 
aulhorily of the Primitive Church cannot be greater than that of the 
Holy Spirit who inspired the Apostles to indite the scriptures; and i^ 
as Kshop R. concedes, and indeed contends, att the various forms of 
expression in which the Divine Inspirer has chosen to communicate 
the doctrines of the gospel, cannot so fix and ascertain the meaning of 
his word, as to exclude the misconceptions of men of carnal minds, 
who may " wrest the scriptures to their own destruction," is it not mani- 
fest that no additional statements of any mere men whatever, call them 
fathers, confessors, martyrs, or what you will, can help the case ? Is 
it not clear, indeed, that they can only embroil the strife by undertak- 
ing to compose it, and increase and multiply the grounds of oontro- 
▼ersy, and points of dispute, by furnishing new materials for difference 
of opinion, and absolutely interminable debate ? Surely " the Bible, 
and the Bible alone, ought to be, as it is, the religion of Protestants,*'— 
and of all who call themselves christians in our land. 



weeks here, and TL?it your old friends from house to house. 
i think that it would do good both to them and to you. The 
stimulus which good, hearty, old-fashioned Virginia friend- 
ship would give, would be a better tonic and cordial than 
wine could furnish. 

We are at length in occupancy of a part of our new build- 
ing. We find it a very pleasant comfortable house, thus far, 
and I think when all things are fixed about us, that it will 
mak^ a very desirable residence. It appears to me, too, that 
there has been a good stirring up of the people in behalf of 
our Seminary; and that they are more than ever resolved to 
build it up, and place it on a respectable foundation. Mr. 
Roy is engaged as our agent, and I hope that he will be efii- 
clent. He has not had a fair trial yet, but I think he has the 
talent for that work. 

I have spent all the time I could possibly spare, from home 
since I saw you. I have made a number of excursions into 
different parts of the adjacent country, and have been out a 
week with Mr. Roy as agent. Owing to this, I have it not 
yet in my power to give you any remarks on your book. I 
have just run over it in a very hasty manner, so as to have 
a general view of the arrangement. With this I am greatly 
pleased. Your management of Hume^s sophistry also grati- 
fied me highly. On this part of the subject, only one thing 
occurred to my mind, as a subject worthy of your consider- 
ation. You know Brown (see Cause and Effect) denies 
that a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature ; but says, 
if it is, that Hume's objection is unanswerable. Brown's 
works have considerable influence in some parts. And it 
has occurred to me, that it would be worth while, in another 
edition, to take some little pains to settle the tnie idea of a 

Mrs. Rice joins me in much love to Mrs. A. and the child- 
ren. If you will come next summer, we can give you 
much better quarters than you had before. And I hope that 
you and Mrs. A. know that we think it a high privilege to 


minister to your comfort all that is in our power. I am a« 

Yours meet truly, 

JoHK H. Rice. 
Present us kindly to Dr. MiDer and Mr. Hodge. 


TTieological Seminary, Aug. eth, 1826. 
Mrs Dear Brother, 

Since I wrote last, we have obtained the occupancy of a 
part of our buUding; and feel ourselves now at home in the 
Seminary. It is a plain, comfortable house. May God 
make it his habitation, and imbue all here, and all who will 
be here, largely with his spirit. 

I have better hopes now than when I wrote last. The 
Directors of our Institution wanted me to go on again to the 
North, and solicit aid. But I said that I could not go again, 
unless I could say and show that our own people had taken 
hold of the thing in good earnest. If they would adopt a 
plan for patting the Institution into full organization, send 
out agents, and make full trial of the Southern people, then 
I would go to the North, and ask the brethren there to help 
us. Accordingly a promising agent has set out, and made a 
very good beginning. I went with him two days, and ob- 
tained about four thousand dollars. This however was 
among my particular friends, and in the best part of our 
state. How the whole plan will succeed I do not know. 
Pray for us. 

Mrs. Rice intended this day to have written to our beloved 
Mrs. Woods, but on learning that I was writing to you she 
declined. She has lately had a terrible inflammation in her 
eyes, which has left them too weak to be used much. She 
hopes that this will be a sufficient reason for not writing. 
Our hearts continually go to Andover with a fervour of love 
which I know not how to express. My brother, shall we 
not meet again, and enjoy such communion as we have en- 


joyed in times past ? God grant us this privilege. But if 
not on earth — Oh ! may we meet in the mansion which 
Jesus has provided for his friends ! We are, with best love 
to all in your house, and the brethren about you, truly yours. 

So testifies your brother, 

John H. Rice. 


Theological Seminary j Sept. I, 1825. 
Mt Dbar Friend, 

I enclose to you a letter which I have written to Mr. Lit- 
tle, and which I will thank you to hand to him. I have 
there expressed my views and feelings in relation to this 
scholarship. I can see the finger of Providence in this 
thing, as distinctly as in any event ever brought under my 
observation. I doubt much whether any donation near the 
same amount has done the same good in as short a time. It 
came exactly in the right moment to second some very im- 
portant efibrts to which I was urging the friends of the Se- 
minary. And it was blessed to the excitement of a feeling, 
in the friends of religion among us, in favour of the Semi- 
nary, beyond s^ny thing that I have seen. The truth is, 
while all acknowledged the necessity of our institution to 
supply the wants of the Southern country, most thought that 
it was an impracticable scheme. So few, they said, here, 
cared for these things, that it is hopeless to undertake by 
them to raise so great a structure as a Theological Seminary; 
and it is in vain to expect that the Northern people will do 
this work, while engaged in so many others. And really I 
began to fear that I should have to labour at the foundcUion 
all my life. But now I have good hope that this temple of 
the Lord will go up in my day. At my instance an agent 
was sent out, about four weeks ago, who has succeeded in 
obtaining for the general purposes of the institution, about 
two thousand dollars a week in the country. He is going 
on the plan of finding first in the South, and then elsewhere, 


fifty men who will bind themselyes each to paj one handled 
dollars a year, for five years. He is also to find one hun- 
dred men who will agree, each, to pay fifty dollars a year 
for ihe same period. This will endow two professorships* 
Besides this, he carries a thiitl paper on which he receires 
subscriptions and donations for any sum firom two hundred 
and fifty dollars down to twenty-fire cents. On this plan 
our agent has already obtained about eight thousand dollars. 
All this too was procured in one congregation ; the one to 
which I was Pastor, the first year of my ministerial life, and 
before the Providence of God called me to Richmond. He 
is going through the whole Presbytery in this way, and 
although I do by no means expect that he will have equal 
success where I have never laboured, yet this example will 
exert a considerable influence. So that I hope our Presby- 
tery vnll raise enough to establish one professorship. I have 
the pleasure to add that I have just returned from a trip to 
North Carolina, the object of which was to convince the 
.brethren of that state of the importance and necessity of 
building up a Southern Institution. In this it pleased the 
Lord to make me successful beyond my expectations. So 
that 1 have good hopes of seeing the Presbyterians of that 
state taking hold of this great object, in company with us. I 
bless the Lord, and take courage. And now if I can just 
engage the brethren to the North to take hold of this thing 
with a strong hand, and help us, the work wOl go on pros- 

I am sensible, my dear brother, that in the case of this 
scholarship, the Seminary is greatly indebted to your instru- 
mentality under God, for this blessing. I have therefore 
given a sketch of the providential benefits that have already 
grown out of it, for your gratification as well as Mr. Little's. 
Is it not an honour and pleasure of the highest character, to 
be God*s instrument in doing good t Go on, brother, and 
the Lord bless you in all things ! 

I am ashamed to have to apologize again about the Tract. 


But reallf if you could see how I have been pressed in every 
way, you would not think it strange, nor hard. A Tract on 
that subject must be written with great ability. I cannot do 
justice to it But as I have promised, I want to do my very 
best So bear with me a little longer. And pray for me ;— 
and cherish towards me that fraternal affection with which I 
delight to subscribe myself. 

Truly your friend and brother, 

John H. Rice. 


Theological Semmary, Sept, 1, 1825. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

I have just received from my friend Mr. Baldwin, your 
order on Jonathan Little ^ Co. for two thousand five hun- 
dred dollars, to endow a Scholarship, (to be called Little^s 
Scholarship) in our Seminary. This. paper will be laid be- 
fore our Board at their next meeting, and then of course you 
will hear, from that body. 

In the mean time, however, I must be permitted to ex- 
press my sense of your christian liberality towards this in- 
fant institution. Surely, my dear sir, it was God who put 
it into your heart to remember us in this way, and at this 
very time, aad to him we will give the glory. But while 
in all things, we acknowledge him as the author of good, yet 
it is right that we should express our feelings of grateful 
affection to those whom he honours as instruments of his 
goodness. And, as it was in this thing your object to do 
good, it is entirely proper to inform you, that already ypur 
benevolent wishes have been accomplished. My friend Mr. 
Taylor gave me an intimation of this matter at a time when 
the difficulties of establishing this Seminary seemed to be 
increasing, and many of its warmest friends were despond- 
ing. I began to feel as though I were alone in this great 
work. But when it was found that the Lord had put it in 
the heart of abrotherin a remote place to found a Scholarship 


in the Seminary » it gave an impulse which has been generally 
felt. Our languid friends here were, roused, and more has 
actually been done in six weeks, than in the previous twelve 
months. Besides, through your liberality, and the zeal of 
my excellent friend Taylor, I have been enabled to encou- 
rage two young men to enter the Seminary, who although 
they had some little means of their own, were utterly at a 
loss how to make out a sufficiency. Still farther; thiBjirat 
scholarship is likely, I think, to lead to tlie establishment of 
others. Such is the power of example. So that on the 
whole I can confidently ' say, that J have never known the 
giving of the same sum^ in any instance, productive of so 
much good in so short a time, I thought that you ought 
to know this. It is a part of your reward. But a still 
higher gratification awaits you. In that blessed world, to 
which, through divine grace, I trust you are going, you will 
see in succeeding times, a number of faithful labourers, edu- 
cated on this foundation, welcomed into the joy of their Lord ; 
and many souls, saved through their instrumentality, return- 
ing to the mount Zion above. Yuu will witness the honour 
thus given to our adorable Saviour, and endless happiness 
conferred on many human beings. And this will be 
enough ! 

That God.may prosper you in all things; that your soul 
may be in health ; that you may be an honoured instrument 
in giving still wider extension to the blessings of the Re- 
deemer's kingdom ; and that at last you may be acknow- 
ledged and rewarded as a faithful steward of God, and a 
good servant, is the prayer of. 
Dear Sir, 

Your aflfectionate friend. 

And fellow-servant of our Lord, 

John H. Ricb* 

288 UEJf OXB OF 


Theohgieal Seminary, Oct. leth, 1825. 
My Dear Sir, 

Out Presbytery met yesterday week; and al&ongb ipre 
anticipated a stormy time, we were happily disappointed. 
1 do not know that we ever conducted things in a better 
spirit. All broke up in harmony and peace ; and, for my 
part, I have better hopes than I have felt myself at liberty to 
entertain for several years. Indeed, I hope that the cloud 
is breaking, and that what we feared would be a storm of 
wrath, will be a shower of mercy. As. for the other two 
Presbyteries, I know very little of the state of things 
among them. But I think that there is a redeeming en^gy 
in the principles which we hold as a church, which, under 
the divine blessing, will bring all things soon into better 

Mr. Roy still goes on successfully. His subsqrip^ons in 
Prince Edward and Charlotte, amount to about fourteen 
thousand dollars. We have retained him for a year, and I 
hope in that time he will establish two Professorships, and 
get money for a considerable contingent fund beside. We 
have now organized an Education Society, and I hope that 
it will be more efficient than it has been. 

My absence from home was occasioned by an appoint- 
ment given by our Presbytery. I visited the venerable 
Synod of North Carolina, for the purpose of awakening an 
interest to the South, in our Seminary. Herein I was 
made completely successful. The Synod did what I wished 
in every respect; that is, adopted resolutions which I pro- 
posed, appending to them the declaration that they were by 
no means to interfere with the engagements of that body to 
the Seminary at Princeton. 

Your visit to us last summer, constitutes an epoch in 
the *' Annals of our Parish." Things are commonly 
spoken of as having happened just before, or just after, or 


while Dr. Alexander was here. I do hope that PiOTidence 
will permit you to come among u» again. And if I could 
have my wish, you would render your last services to the 
church here, and lay your bones to rest in the land of your 
nativity. We shall bid Jam/u a most hearty welcome 
should he eome to this state; and if he likes to labour 
can give him work enough. 

There is an opening at Milton on Dan river, just on .the 
Carolina and Virginia line, for a young man of talents and 
pradence^ which claims attention. It is wished that such 
an one should superintend a female academy, hear two reci- 
tations a day, and preach in Milton, (a growing village of 
about three hundred or four hundred inhabitants,) for which 
they will give about seven hundred and fifty or eight hundred 
doilars. Do you know any one to suit that place? 1 also 
want a man to live in a private family in Albemarle, and 
teach three small children about five hours a day, for two 
hundred dollars. If you know of one to fill either of these 
places, please to inform me by return of the mail. 

We unite in best love to Mrs. A. and the children. 

Most truly yours, 

John H. Ricb* 


T^ological Seminary^ January 7th^ 1826^ 
Mir Dear Christian Brother, . 

I received your welcome letter by last mail, and hasten to 
let you hear from me. 

I ^hank you, and much more I hope, do I thank God for 
the zealous interest you take in our Seminary. May the 
liOrd. prosper all your attempts to do good in this way ! 

I have learned that through this Southern country there 
are some fifteen or twenty young men, who have made up 
their minds to study divinity, and are now engaged in teach- 
ing little schools to enable Uiem to buy victuals and clothes ; 

while they are reading with private clergymen, who have 




perhaps in all no more books in their library than a strong 
man could cany on his shoulder. Such preachers are bet- 
ter than none, but they are very poorly prepared for their 
office, especially in this age when every form of error is 
afloat. But the principal objection to theological education 
in these insulated situations is, that the young men know 
nothing of the spirit of the times ; but go forth as cold and 
dead in relation to all works of christian benevolence, as 
though they had li^ed a hundred years ago. Now we want 
men all on fire, and at the same time so acquainted with the 
state of the world, that they will be ready to take hold, at 
the right place, of any work of christian love that Providence 
may set before them. I think that it would be a good deed 
to get the most promising of these young men out of their 
dark corners, and bring them into the church through the Se- 
minary. It would add very greatly to their usefulness. They 
would be much better prepared for co-operation with their 
brethren. If you approve of it, I will ascertain whether 
some might not be found among them, worthy of the1>ene- 
Tolence of the New York Society. 

I am very greatly pleased with the plan of your Educa- 
tion Society. I regard it just as you do ; and pray for God's 
blessing on it. T do hope that your anticipation respecting 
their regard for us will be realized. I wish that Princeton, 
Andover, and Auburn may always find friends and supporters. 
But 1 am well persuaded, from actual observation, that the 
most urgent wants are here, all around us. This place is 
like a well surrounded by half a dozen palm trees, in the 
great desert of Africa. 

I do hope that your new Secretary will serve you as well 
as my friend Bruen. Mr. Philips m411 have' hard service 
with the church to which he is called. The Lord be with 
him ! I am truly sorry to hear that you have lost friend 
Hubbard from your society. I loved him as a brother in 

What you tell me of Mr. Bruen's being invited to go to 


Boston, interests me deeply. I do delight greatly in wit- 
nessing the union and co-operation of christians in building 
up the kingdom of our common Lord. And a measure 
which will infuse new vigour into Domestic Missions will 
deserve to be celebrated on earth and in heaven. 

But this is a work of extreme delicacy and difficulty. A 
National Society ought, by the terms, to embrace all evan- 
gelical denominations. This, however, I apprehend, cannot 
be effected with any prospect of success. Three difficulties 
are in the way. 1. Difference in point of doctrine. 2. Dif- 
ference in regard to church government. 3. Difference as to 
preparation for the ministry. 

As to the first — steady, consistent Calvinists cannot agree 
to send out' Arminian preachers, and build up Arminian so- 
cieties ; and Arminians will feel in the same way with regard 
to Calvinists. 2. Episcopalians will not aid in sending out 
Dissenters, as they persist in calling them, and the advocates 
of clerical parity will not aid in building up Episcopal 
churches ; and so of other denominations. 3. Of the two 
thousand Baptist, and twelve hundred Methodist preachers, 
in the United States, not one hundred are educated men. 
One half of them can barely read the English Testammit. 
Many are rank Antinomians ; many are mere fanatics, who 
expect to produce effect by noise alone. How oan any well 
ordered society accept of Missionaries such as these ? But 
if they are rejected, the denomination to which they belong 
will be greatly offended. It strikes me, on the whole, that 
the best plan will be to have a society made up of such as 
agree in fundamental doetrines, and in the great principles of 
Church government. Thus all the orthodox Congregation- 
alists, the General Assembly Presbyterians, the Dutch Re- 
formed, and the ^Associate Reformed, might form a society 
which should have the nation for its sphere, and the propa- 
gation of Christianity throughout the nation for its object 
But I doubt much whether we could safely go farther. If 



yoa can send me any thiBg that will throw light on the sab- 
jeet, piay do so. 

I hope you will forgive my negligence about the French 
ReTiew. I place great valne on it ; and find it yery useful in 
assisting me to form a general idea of the situation and pro- 
gress of the world. 1 haye received ten numbers of it ; and 
beg you to continue your kindness in procuring it for me. 
At first it was taken by a hterary society at our college ; but 
the society is unable to pay for it ; and I have taken it off 
their hands. Please to let me know the cost. 

I have not yet done ; but must quit, or tax you with an- 
other sheet. 

In much fraternal love to you and all my friends in the 
city, 1 am most truly yours. 

John H. Rick. 


Theological Sendnary^ Aprli 2dj 1826. 
Mir Dear Brothbr Taylor, 

The simple reason why I have not written to you is that 
I had not time. It has been necessary for me to leave h<«ne 
a good deal lately, and while at home I have had more to 
do every hour, yea and every minute, than I could do. Our 
seminary is small ; but there are as many classes as at Prince- 
ton or Andover. Mr. Marsh does nothing but teach He- 
brew ; so that I have more than the work of two Professors 
to perform every day. Besides all this, every individual in 
the seminary, and all in my family, except Mrs. Rice, have 
had the influenza. You will then excuse me. 

I wish you to have as full information as possible of our 
Institution. I therefore mention to you that, 

The first class which entered consisted of three. Of these 
<me is licensed, and is a very popular preacher ; now labour- 
ing in a very desolate region, with good hope of building up 
a church. The other two will not be licensed for several 


The second class consists of two; of whom one was 
obliged to leave last fall to take a school. The other is a 
fine young mm, who bids fair to make a very active labourer 
in the vineyard. 

The third and last class that entered consists of eight, be- 
sides one irregular student who has^ joined it for a time. 

There is a very fine spirit among our young men. And 
I think they visibly grow in zeal, and in christian benevo- 
lence. They take considerable interest in the religious in- 
struction of the blacks; and I do think are doing good in 
that way. 

I have just received a young man from North Carolina, 
who has come on in expectation of getting assistance to pro- 
secute his studies. I like him very much as far as I have 
seen him ; but his means are so limited, that he will need 
a hundred dollars a year for three years. Can you raise 
from friends to that amount ? Or must T look in part to some 
other source? 

It is necessary that you should understand the state of 
things at the South. It is the universal custom to engage 
teachers with us by the year, and not by the quarter — so 
that all the young men who engaged last fall must continue 
until the next. That is the earliest time at which any of 
them can be brought into the Seminary. And it will be ne- 
cessary for me to make arrangements during the summer to 
bring them forward; otherwise, when next fall shall arrive 
they will probably be obliged to engage for another year. I 
have put things in train, and during the summer will be able 
to ascertain how many may be drawn from their hiding 
places, and be brought into our Institution. And I shall 
wish very much to know how many I may venture to receive. 

I rejoice to see the movements in relation to the Domestic 

Missionary Society. If possible, I will be at New York when 

that great matter is taken up. I shall delight to have a hand, 

even if it lifts only a feather, in building up a sort of National 

Domestic Missionary Society. 


804 XEKois or 

I write in extreme haste. I want you to say a word to 
Mr. Philips about the Education Society* As soon as I re- 
eeived his letter I wrote to the West for some young m^ 
there, who I knew needed help. But I have yet received 
no answer. This has kept me from writing hitherto. But 
why must 3noung men supported by the Missionary Society, 
intend to ride as missionaries in the west ? There is not a 
eomer of Indiana, or Illinois, which needs missionary labour 
more than it is needed for scores, and hundreds of miles, all 
around us. 

Give my love to all my New York friends as you see 
taem. And continue your interest for our seminary. 
Affectionately your brother in Christ. 

J. H. Rice. 


TTieological Seminary ^ June 24fA, 1826.. 
My Dear Christian Brother, 

I received your letter by the last mail, and seize the first 
opportunity to answer it. 

I had never set my heart so much on any jaunt as on the 
one I had planned to your city this spring. Above every 
thing I wished to be at the formation of the Home Mission^ 
ary Society. But the interests of our Seminary made it 
necessary for me to go, about the first of April, into Nordi 
Carolina. There we had for a few days a return of wintry 
weather. The cold was really severe, and brought on a re- 
turn of influenza, which kept me confined until I barely had 
time to get to the General Assembly. There the oppres- 
sively hot weather, and the city water, induced an afiection 
of the bowels which harrassed me exceedingly, and render* 
ed me unfit for travelling. I did not, however, relinquish 
my purpose of going to New York until the time for absence 
had elapsed* and I was obliged to return to my post in the 
Institution. But if Providence spares me another year, I 
shall hope to be at the anniversariies in your city. 


I suppose 70a have seen by ihis time, the connection 
formed with the General AssemUy. Our reasons for seek- 
ing this measure, and in ihe particular form in which you 
find it, were the foUowing: 

1. We wish to bind together in the bonds of love all parts 
of the Presbyterian church ; and while we do not think that 
the General Assembly can undertake the active management 
of a distant seminary, we think that the highest Judica- 
tory of the church, ought to exercise a paternal superintend*- 
ance over all such institutions. Besides, a Theological 
Seminary is a common interest. The whole church ought 
to help to build it up, and to keep it sound a&d healthful.. 
We therefore were eptirely willing to give the Assembly such 
power over this School of the Prophets as that body can 
beneficially exercise. 

2. As our Institution grows we find that it will not do to 
ha^e it connected with one of a literary character. They in- 
terfere. Jealousies are excited. The Trustees of the Col- 
lege require more power over us than we think it safe to give^ 
Therefore we have withdrawn entirely from the College. 
But the legislature of Virginia can in no way be induced to 
grant a charter to a Theological School. We thought it best 
then to form such a connection with the General Assembly 
as would enable us to cover oar money with their charter ; 
and thus keep us independent of any mere worldly body of 

I am exceedingly pleased with the complete success of ail 
my plans in this respect; and with the entire, unanimous 
approbation of them by tiie General Assembly. 

But we have enemies to encounter, and opposition to put 
down in the South. Infidels and Sectarians are very jealous 
of us, and watchful against us. But I do hope the Lord is 
on our side, and that the church is praying for us. I am 
more than ever convinced of the importance and necessity 
of our institution. The South needs it greatly* and it must 
l»e built up. For there is no part of the world, where menoC 


high talents and great acquirements, of polished taste and fer- 
vent zeal, are so much needed as in this great country that 
stretches from the Potomac to the Mississippi. And our 
Seminary is the only one South of Princeton, between the 
Atlantic and the Pacific, which purposes to take young meu 
cfier they have gone through college^ and give them a 
thorough training. We therefore feel that we have the claim 
which brotherhood gives us, on 'all who love the Presbyte- 
rian church, and the cause of the Redeemer in this land of 

In the mean time, Bishop Ravenscroft had published a 
pamphlet entitled, " The Doctrines of the Church .Vindi- 
cated from the Misrepresentations of Dr. John Rice, and 
the Integrity of Revealed Religion Defended against the 
* No Comment* Principle of Promiscuous Bible Societies," 
being a long and elaborate answer to the several reviews of 
his sermons which we have mentioned, and containing, of 
course, a reassertion of his own views upon the subjects 
involved in them, with some additions, and replies to the 
reviewer's remarks; which naturally claimed our Pro- 
fessor's attention. In this work, indeed, the Bishop had 
evidently collected all his power for- the purpose of demo- 
lishing the provoking Presbyterian who so obstinately 
opposed his " doctrines," and had displayed, accordingly, 
no small share of that species of ability which he pos- 
sessed. Unfortunately, however, impelled by hisi sanguine 
temper, he had indulged himself in a virulence of language 
which, to say the least of it, was not exactly becoming in 
one who claimed to be a regular descendant of the Apos- 
tles, and was certainly not well calculated to «< grace his 
cause," in the eyes of any reflecting readers.* 

* It would seem from some expressions of Bishop R. which fell from 
him, (as we are told by the writer of his Memoir,) only a day or two 
tiefbre his death, that he probably regretted the harsh and violent ex- 
pressions which he had suffered himself to use in this pamphlet ^though 


On recdving this pamphlet, and ^9Miemg over two or 
tiiree of its first pages, Dr. Rice was strongly disposed not to 
notice, nor eren to read it. The strain of personality and 
insult, indeed, which pervaded the whole performance, ap- 
peared to forbid the respect of an answer ; and he felt the 
strongest possible repugnance to prolong a controversy which 
he saw was not to be waged, on his adversary's part, in 
a christian spirit; but in the worst style of a merely worldly 
contest. Upon reflection, however, and consultation with 
some judicious friends, he became satisfied that not only his 
own reputation, but the cause of Christianity itself, required 
that he should not leave his high-church antagonist to exult 
(as he would be sure to do) in the mere appearance of vic- 
tory which silence might seem to yield ; but to give him that 
final and finishing answer which he had so rasUy provoked ; 
and accordingly he commenced a Review of the ** Vindica- 
tion" in the Magazine for July of this year, which he con- 
tinued in the following numbers for several months. In this 
work, which was afterwards published in a pamphlet, he 
collects all his strength, and all his learning, and puts them 
out with visible and striking efiect. The topics, indeed, are 
of course the same which he had already broached in his pre- 
vious pieces ; but he extends his remarks to embrace the new 

his words were general. ** I liaYe much** said be, ** to be forgiven of 
Grod, and have many pardons to ask of my fellow men, for my liaraA^ 
nesa of manner towards them. But." said he, " lifling his eyes to hea- 
ven, and striking upon his breast, there was no harshness here." (Me- 
moir pre6xed to his Works, p. 65.) It is stated, too, I see, in the Preface 
to his Works, that on his death-bed he gave full permission to the editors 
** to alter the form of the Vindication, and to change some expresBtons in 
tt.*' This, however, it seems, they did not think proper to do,'chooeiDg 
rather, as they say, " to republish the tract as it was originally written; ' 
that the reader might he able to form an unbiassed judgment of its origin 
nal character ;" and accordingly this unfortunate specimen of the odium 
theologicum remains unaltered, to claim the pity and pardon of all who 
have a real respect for the memory of its author. 



objecdonfl and assertions of his opponent, and not only 
maintains the ground which he had formerly won from him, 
but enlarges it by new conquests. The style and manner, 
too, of his argument are as happy as the subject and matter 
of it are important. It is not a dry discussion ; but he enli- 
vens his* reasonings with a frequent flow of good humour, 
and occasional sparkles of wit, that make it highly enter^ 
taining. Some of his sallies, indeed, are perhaps a litde 
too piquant ; but they are certainly free from all malice, 
and considering the abundant provocation which he had 
received, are entirely fair, and very properly applied. We 
may add, that these articles were read as they appeared bj 
many persons of all denominations, with great satisfac- 
tion; and our reviewer was very generally allowed not 
only to have had the best cause, but to have argued it 
with much more ability than his eloquent but intemperate 


TTieohgical Seminary, August 12fA, 1826. 
My Beloved Brother, 

I was extremely glad to see you the other day, although 
it was only on paper. But you gave me so perfect an 
image of yourself that I enjoyed your society in a very 
hi^ degree indeed ; and I do most heartily wish that you 
would often step in, and let me see you in the same way. 
But I had rather see you in propria persona, and feel the 
touch of your right hand, and catch the beam of your eye, 
by ten thousand fold. When shall I have this pleasure? 
The meeting of kindred spirits, and the interchange of 
affection and thought, is to me more like heaven than any 
thing I enjoy on earth. God seems to be nearer to me 
when I am surrounded by his dear cliildren, who have 
much of his spirit, than at any other time. 

My friends need not wonder that they have heard but 
little for a long time of Mrs. Rioe and myself. My aged 


father has been with us since last November, and a consider- 
able part of the time a very great sufferer. He, at the age 
c^ eighty, has been labouring under a general dropsy. For 
the last six weeks he has, though weighing two hundred, 
been, as to body and mind, in a state of infantile imbecility. 
Day and night, we have been obliged to attend to hkn 
without intermission. He is, within two or three days, 
somewhat better. But as long as he lives he will require 
constant attention. 

The drought is like to destroy the crops here. The 
heavens are like brass, and the earth like iron. The staple 
commodities of the country are worth almost nothing, and 
a general gloom seems to pervade the people. But for all 
this, they do not repent of their sins, and turn unto the 
Lord. Religion is in a very declining state. Christians, in 
their anxiety about the world, forget their duty, and neglect 
their spiritual interests. And what is truly shocking, in 
the society here, which bears the character of being the 
most orderly of any in the country, there have been com- 
mitted some most atrocious crimes lately. The community 
has indeed been in a ferment for a while ; and, among other 
things, have parted with their minister. 

We had have thirteen young men this term. Two have 
left us. One came, a licentiate, to stay only for a while. 
He has received but little benefit: the other is licensed, and 
promises to be extremely popular. We expect six or eight 
more next term. Perhaps we may rise to twenty. I am 
doing all I can to extend the sphere of our institution, and 
I hope for success. But I must have more help or I shall 
sink. Mr. Marsh teaches Hebrew very well. But I have 
the work of two and a half professors to do. And it is too 
much. I did hope by the end of this year to get the means 
of getting another professor. But the pressure of the times 
has cut off that hope, and I do not know what I shall do. 
I must get an agent to go to the North and East, and plead 
for my life. Perhaps my friends through the Northern and 


Middle states, will make one vigorous effort to save me 
fiom death. I have no expectation that I can go through 
the excessive labours that I now have to perfonn, and not 
utterly Inreak down my shattered constitution. 

I thank you heartily for your sermon. In my next I ^vriU 
tell you freely what I think of it. 

I rejoice gready to hear of the success of my beloved 
brother Cornelius, as agent far the Education Society. 

If Mrs. Woods knew exactly Mrs. Rice*s situation, -she 
would love her for not writing. She and Harriet (now with 
us) join with me in most fervent love to yourself, Mrs. "W^^ 
and all the diildren, and the brethren and friends in An- 

I am truly yours, as ever, 

John H. Rice. 


TTieological Seminary^ Jiugust 29^A, 1826. 
My Dear Sib, 

1 received your note, and am sorry to learn that the bre- 
thren of whom you speak, have had their minds warped in 
the way you mention. Every thing seems to be makingr 
against the real prosperity of the Presbyterian Church in 
the South. But we must not he discouraged. If the Lord 
will but build the house, none can hinder; and if not, let it 
not be built, say I. I think that the plan proposed on our 
part, ought by all means to be laid before the Synod of 
North Carolina. If the majority of the C-ommittee, ia ochi* 
formity to their own private views and plans — plans which 
have not in any way received the sanction of the Sjnodi — 
refuse to execute the tnist committed to them, it is not 
proper, in my judgment, to stop a work which met the ap- 
probation of Synod, and which they ought to be presumed 
still to approve. It is then my earnest request that you 
will come over to Charlotte at the time appointed, (7th ©f 
September,) and meet our Committee. Let us give as mucli 


iorm and anthmty to the project as we can, and wport it 
both to the Presbytery and the Synod, It is my pmpoMe 
to lay the paper with a full statement of all the facts that 
may transpire before the Presbytery, and get the Presby** 
tery to inelude it in their report to the Synod of Virginia. 
I am inclined to think that our Synod will readily agree to 
take the place of the Presbytery of Hanovw. I have mei^ 
tioned Ihe project to scTeral members of the Presbytery, 
.and all are wiUing to give up our part to Synod; and I have 
been seeking information from other Presbyteries, so that I 
have good hope that one part of my plan will succeed. 
And if the brethren of North Carolina will but drop local 
feelings, and come into the plan, we may have a Seminary 
that will do honour to the Southern churches, and exert a 
mighty influence in building up the kingdom of the Bedeemer. 


Theological Seminary^ Nov. 14/A, 1826. 
jMt Psab Sir, 

On Saturday evening I arrived at home from a tour in 
North €aj:otina, as far as FayetteviUe. Your letter of the 
Hist October had come to hand some days befoce my lunival. 

I am more encouraged about our Seminary than I erer 
have be^Eu We are now prepared to fix the style of it, and 
the next Geaerdl Assembly will be requested so to modify 
the terms pn^posed to the Presbytery of Hanover, as to de- 
n«ninate the Institution, the Union Seminary of the Oene- 
ral JisiemUy^ under the care </ the Synods of Virginia 
and North, Carolmm. This is the plan which I had pro- 
posed; and I was resdkved to make a fair experiment to 
eeoire its adoption. Should it fail, I was determined, to re- 
sign my plaoe. Success, I thought, would repay every 
effort. The proposition made to the Synod of Virginia was 
uoailimouflly adopted; as. I hear, with C^^at good feeling. 
That to North Carolina had several difaculties to encounter. 


2Wt xisxoiB or 

Dr. Caldwell, who has more influence than any other msa 
in the state, had set his heart very much on having a Semi- 
nary in North Carolina. He is a very able opponent. The 
flohject was debated for two days. At length the Doctor 
yielded* Mr. Roy can tell yon all aboat it; but I mention 
the subject for the sake of observing that when Dr. CaldweH 
found ^at the majority was against him, and felt that he was 
totally defeated, instead of showing offended pride, he 
yielded with all the grace of a gentleman and a christian. 
He certainly raised himself much in my estimation and affec- 
tion. The vote was well nigh unanimous. I think now 
that the South Carolina plan will in all probability fail — ^^at 
the institution, when fairly under way, will receive the 
Southern and Southwestern students — that the Western and 
Northwestern will chiefly go to Princeton, and that the 
scheme which caused so much trouble last Assembly will be 
dormant for years to come. Any who try the experiment, 
will find that to build up a Seminary is not so easy a joby 
and experience of the difficulties will change views and 
inclinations of many who have set out with high hopes, and 
great ardour. 

But whi'e thus encouraged there is one point which makes 
trouble for me. My labours are excessive, and I fee! tliat I 
am sinking under them. I did hope that vacation would re- 
cruit me ; but although I have travelled 700 miles, I have 
had to labour as severdy as though I had been in the study, 
and I come home no better. My principal distress is in the 
head. I suffer much from pain ; but much more from ner* 
vous irritability. I can scarcely bear the sound made by my 
pen. The dick of a penknife, or the (crackling of the fire» 
is like the stn^e of a hammer on my head, and I feel the 
sensation through every part of my frame, to the extremities 
of my toes. It is certain that unless I cam get help, I can- 
not hold out much longer. The Presbytery directed that a 
young man who can teach Hebrew should be employed im- 
mediately. -But in my absence nothing has been done ; and 


now the semisary has opened, and the whole labour has fal- 
len on me alone. It is indispensably necessary that some 
help should be obtained speedily. Will you not speak or 
write to Goodrich on the subject immediately ; and ascertain 
whether he will come, and on what terms for the present? 
If I knew where he was I would write myself. But yoa 
can tell him that the Presbytery unanimously authorized the 
employment of some person, and that his name was men- 
tioned. If we cannot get him, we must look some where 
else. But I had much rather get a Princetonian than any 
other. Pray excuse my urgency on this subject, for I feel 
it to be a case of necessity. 


Theological Seminary^ Nov. I4th, 1826. 
Mt Dbar CnaisTiAN Buothbr, 

I have for a long time been kept so busy with the affairs 
of our seminary, that it was impossible for me to write to 
you, or to any other, except on indispensable business. You 
would scarcely credit the statement, if I were to tell you all 
I have had to do since the first of June. But I thank Grod, 
who has afforded greater success than I expected to the poor 
labours which I have performed. The prospect of building 
up a valuable institution here becomes more encouraging. 
The great difficulty, heretofore has been to waken up an in- 
terest in Southern Presbyterians, and induce them to co-ope- 
rate. All saw the wanto of the country, and lamented the 
deplorable state of the church, but they seemed to sink 
in a hopeless despondeney, and said that nothing could be 
done. When I left Richmond to come to this place only 
the Presbytery of Hanover took any interest in our institu- 
tion ; but at present we have the Synods of Virginia and 
North Cardina pledged to support the Seminary. I have 
just got home from the most iktiguing and laborious excur^ 
gum Uiat I ever made in my life ; and at this moment, wheii 

a04 XBXoiB or 

the Mi w<»rk of three men is on my sbonldeity I Mk qvite 
worn down and exhausted. 

In all my labours and trials, I have a most valu^le aid in 
my excellent friend Mr. Roy, whom I here introdnee to yon. 
He is general agent for the Seminary, and has been a most 
invaluable man to ns. To him I refer you for information 
as to the present state and prospects of our institution. He 
is fully possessed of the whole subjeet ; aood will eail on yon 
as one of our best friends, for all the information that he will 
need' in prosecuting his agency. 

I will just say that this is a time of most urgent necedsity 
with us, and that it will require the yigorous efforts of all 
our friends for the present to kejep us along, until the plans 
which we have laid shall be carried into execution. The 
Lord in his mercy, succeeds us in such a way that we have 
hope to animate us, and urge us forward. Surely he who 
has in a wonderful manner favoured us thus far» will be with 
us to the end. 

We have in several places the prospect of revival oi re- 
ligion in our desolate region. My beloved people in Rich- 
mond are now highly favoured. There is a pleasing excite* 
ment in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and very prombing 
appearances in Lynchburg, in this state. May God pour out 
his spirit on all flesh. My brother, remember lis in your 
prayers. May grace, mercy, and peace be on you. 

Most affectionately yours, 

John H. Rkb. 


Theological Seminary, Feb* 90^A, 1827. 
My Dbar Sir, 

I should have written to you sooner, but have. been pra- 

vented, partly by bad health and excessive oecupation, aad 

partly by a wish to make some trial of Mr. G ■ , be^ 

fore I would say any thing about him. 

. It gives me very great pleasure to say now, that as fiir as 


six weeiu expenence has enabled me to fonn a judgment, 
you could not possibly have made a better selection of an 
assistant than you have done. Mr. G's attainments aie 
even greater than I expected. I think his talents excellent, 
aad his industry in study more than sufficient. But his 
highest qualification is his very warm and exemplary piety. 
He is very popular -as a preacher, and has already become 
a very general favourite. I feel very greatly indebted to 
you for your agency in this business. Had not Mr. G., or 
some assistant been obtained, I must have sunk under the 
severity of my labours, or have sought another situation, 
where 1 could have rendered some service without being 
kept under continual pressure. 

My hopes are good respecting the ultimate success of our 
plans, and the utility of our enterprise. We have now 
fifteen students, and they have among them a better spirit 
than I have before witnessed here. They are very diligent 
in the cultivation of personal religion, and are endeavouring 
to be useful in the neighbourhood. 

We have quite a flourishing Sabbath-school in the neigh- 
bourhood* Some of the young men have recently opened 
another in Farmville, where they have gathered nearly forty 
schf^ars, and where a weekly prayer-meeting is well at- 
tended. A third school has been opened under quite en- 
couraging circumstances, about six miles south near the 
Charlotte road, in the neighbourhood of the Biggers ; and 
^eie a weekly prayer-meeting is held also. 

The circumstances of the congregation here are, I think, 
improving. There is an indication of better feeling, and, if 
I mistake not, more of a spirit of prayer among the people. 
Our hopes are somewhat raised. But there is this to dis- 
courage us, that the spirit of party politics is waxing very 
hot among the people; and I fear that we are going to have 
something of what we witnessed in the days of the other 
John Adams. 

The revival in Richmond has not ceased ; and there are 



very eBooonging prospeetf in Petersburg. The church 
there appears to be much awakened op. 

I saw Archy Lyle yesterday. He tells me his father's 
health is truly bad. I am very apprehensive about him. 
Archy saw James and William the day before ; and I learn 
that, probably, they will be with us by to-morrow. Best 
love to Mrs. A. and the children, as well as to yourself, 
from Mn. R. and 

John H. Rice. 


Theohgieal Seminary, Fd). %Uh, 1827. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

I have received your letter and the copies of your speech, 
and I heartily thank you for all. 

Your speech, as far as I have known, is very much ap- 
proved of; and skittish as you think me, I do not see any 
^ing in it to which I object, on ami/ subject. Your remarks 
have convinced me that you do not apprehend, (and I am 
sure that the fault is in me that you do not,) the ground of 
my caution in this matter. I am most fully convinced that 
slavery is the greatest evil in our country, except whiskey; 
and it is my most ardent prayer that we may be delivered 
from it. But it is my full belief that the deliverance is not 
to be aocomplidbed by the combination of benevolent socie- 
ties. The great body of persons composing such societies 
are too little accustomed to calculate consequences. They 
go directly at their measure, and have no means of accom- 
plishing it but the producing, by means of speeches and 
addresses, a strong excitement. But on a subject of this 
delicate character, where much opposition is to be en- 
countered, these very means give the adversary an advan- 
tage, which he will not fail to use to the injury, perhaps to 
the destruction of the Society. While, therefore, I do most 
devoutly wish success to the Colonization Society, I do esr- 
nesdy wish that its friends may not refer to it as a means of 


deUverance from slavery. Should that success which I 
hope for crown the efforts of this associatioiit the ezisteiice 
of a prospeross colony on the western coast, will of itself 
do more for the cause of emancipationy than all that any^ 
or all of us, now can effect by speaking of these things. 
So fully am I convinced of this, that I deplore every move* 
ment th^t raises any thing like opposition to the Society. 

The reason why I am so strenuously opposed to any move- 
ment by the church, or the ministers of religion on this sub- 
ject, is simply this. I am convinced that any thing we can 
do will injure religion, and retard tlie march of public 
feeling in relation to slavery. I take tbe case to be just this : 
as slavery exists among us, the only possible chance of de- 
liverance is by making the people tviUing to get rid of it. 
At any rale, it is this or physical force. The problem to 
be solved is, to produce that state of tlie public will^ which 
wi]l cause the people tp move spontaneously to the eradica- 
tion of the evil. Slaves by law are held as property. If 
the church or the minister of religion touches the subject, it 
is touching what are called the rights of property. The 
jealousy among our countrymen on thb subject is such, that 
we cannot move a step in this way, without wakening up 
the strongest opposition, and producing the most violent ex- 
citement. The whole mass of the community will be set in 
motion, and the great body of the church will be carried 
along. Under tliis conviction, I wish the ministers of reli- 
gion to be convinced that there is nothing in the New Tes- 
tament which obliges them to take hold of this subject di- 
rectly. In fact, I believe that it never has fared well with 
either church or state, when the church meddled with tem- 
poral affairs. And I should — knowing how unmanageable 
religious feeling is, when not kept under the immediate in- 
fluence of divine truth — ^be exceedingly afraid to see it brought 
to bear directly on the subject of slavery. Where the move- 
nient might end, I could not pretend to conjecture. 

But I tell you what I wish. While we go on minding 


our own business, and endeavouring to make as many good 
christians as possible among masters and servants, let the 
subject of slavery be discussed in the political papevs, Re- 
views, ^., as a question of political economy. Keep it 
entirely free from all ecclesiastical connexions, and from all 
the politics of the general government ; and treat it as a mat- 
ter of State concernment. Examine its effects on the ag- 
riculture, commerce, and manufactures of the State. Com- 
pare the expense of free and slave labour. Bring dis- 
tinctly before the people the evil in its unavoidable opera- 
tions and its fearful increase. Set them to calculating the 
weight of their burdens. Let them see how many old 
slaves, and young slaves, who produce nothing, they have 
to support. Show them how slavery deducts from the mili- 
tary force as well as the wealth of a country, &^c. &c. Con- 
siderations of this sort, combined with the benevolent feel- 
ings growing out of a gradual, uninterrupted progress of re- 
ligion, will, I believe, set the people of their own accord to 
seek deliverance. They will foresee the necessity of a 
change ; soon begin to prepare for it; and it will come about 
without violence or convulsion. Such is my opinion. 

But I had no thought of writing in this way. I thank 
you again for your speech. The inscription I regard as ho- 
nourable to me. The testimony of your good opinion will 
always be so held by me. Your friendship is a great com- 
fort. I delight in your co-operation in endeavouring to pro- 
mote the good of old Virginia. And I leave it to you to 
write a memoir of me, when I am gone. 

There is a plan which I wish to suggest to you, and I 
beg you to think favourably of it. The magazine is too good, 
in your sense. £ want to make it more literary. Why can 
you not furnish once a month, a literary article to enliven 
Uie number ? You may have a carte blanche for subjects. 
Do now brace yourself up, and undertake this thing. 

Mrs. Rice said last night, as she says frequently, <* I do 


want to see Mr. M ■ mightily." Come next sommer 
and bresiihe our fine sdr. My love to all fnendB* 

Toim most tndy, 

John H. Ricb. 


Mr. Z^'f , March 22dt 1827. 
My Dbar Sir, 

I am here in a scene of great sfflietion. Tou wilt be af* 
flieted loo, wh^n you learn that this i« a fatherless family ; 
and that M». Lyle is a widow. It pleased an allwise Pro- 
vklence this day to remore our excellent friend and brother 
from this world, as we assnredly belicTe, to a better. He 
died this evening a little afler sunset. His disease was a 
disorder of the stomach and liver. Daring a considerable 
part of the last summer he appeared to be in rather infinn 
health ; and I persuaded him most earnestly to cease preach* 
ing, and go to the Springs; but could not succeed. As the 
winter came on, his health declined still more ; but nothing 
could persuade him to quit his work, or disuse his favourite 
beverage— coffee. But it is useless to pursue the detail of 
causes which conspired to produce the event which we now 

Mr. Lyle*s last hours were not such as to permit him to 
communicate any thing of his feelings or views. His voice 
failed him, so that it was with very great difficulty that he 
could say any thing. And although never delirious, yet he 
was for some time in a comatose state ; and generally the 
brain seemed to perform its functions very laboriously. This 
was so much the case, that his afflicted wife and children 
have to refer to his life for evidence of his being prepared 
for death. We are all thankful that here we have evidence 
enough. You know that there never was a man of more 
absolute sincerity ; never one who was more entirely what 
he professed to be. And though he gave no dying testimo- 
ny, his living one was sufficient for the purpose. Mrs. 

310 XXMOIft OF 

Lyle affords the greatest pattern of calm, firm, steady i^sng- 
nation that I have ever seen. She says, that *^ for more than 
a thousand times she has prayed that God might order her 
lot for her ; and now that he has done this, she has no right 
to murmur or repine ; and does hope that he will not leave 
her comfortless.** Her fortitude seems to sustain the whole 
family ; and there really seems to be something of the pre- 
sence of God about the house. She is no common woman. 
Mr. Lyle*s children that are grown are ail very respectable 
— ^and Archibald, who lives at home and manages the farm, 
is really one of the finest young men I ever saw. He has 
the firmness and integrity of his father, with a most uncom- 
mon stock of kindly and soft feeling. I do suppose that 
there is not a more respectable young man in the whole 
county, nor one more beloved. I fully expect that God will 
make the children great blessings to their mother. I do not 
know any thing particular of the worldly circumstances of 
the family. But there are you know ten children, of whom 
seven yet live with their mother, and several are yet to be 

I wish to make arrangements to have Mr. Lyle's pnlpit 
supplied during the year, so as to Continue his salary from 
the congregations until Christmas ; or, at any rate, as long as 
the people will rest satisfied without a pastor. I hope that 
this can be done ; and I have no doubt it will be a conve- 
nience to the family. 

The people in general were greatly attached to Mr. Lyle, 
and they appear sincerely to deplore his loss. It will be 
felt through this whole section of the church — for his influ- 
ence was great. 

This event has turned my thoughts and feelings very 
strongly to you. May it please the Head of the Church to 
spare you for many years to come, and to give you health 
to labour in building up his kingdom of righteousness. 

Mrs. Rice unites with me in most afiectionate remembrance 
of Mrs. Alexander and the children. 

DOOTOB Bica* 811 

I am, as I always hare been since I knew yoa» most tmly 

John H. Ricb. 


Tfieological Seminan/j JiprU lAth^ 1827. 
Mt Deab Sir, 

I hope you will excuse me for putting you to a little trou- 
ble. There lires in this neighbourhood a black man named 
Billy Brown. He has been free for sixteen years ; but has 
never obtained legal permission to reside in the State. Some 
gentleman, however, has Btood hit master^ and he has re- 
mained here in security. He purchased his wife some years 
SigOf and she, according to our law, belongs to him. Should 
he die, her case will be a bad one. He therefore detennines 
to leave Virginia. And the question is, where shall he go ? 
He says that he is getting old, and has no children, and there- 
fore it does not suit him to go to Liberia. He has accumu- 
lated, it is said, a right handsome sum of money, by washing 
for the students, and hiring them horses, &ic. I believe that 
his character stands fair. He has some thought of going to 
Princeton, or New Haven ; because he thinks business can 
be gotten there, such as he has been used to. 1 have some 
doubts whether he could do so well, because I suppose there 
are in those places more hands than work. I promised to 
write and get the opinion of some judicious person on this 
matter. I do not know whom to trouble with it but you. 
Will you, if possible, let me hear from you on this subject 
immediately, and direct your letter to Petersburg, for I ex- 
pect to be there all the week following this. 

This case brings to my mind one on which I feel the 
deepest solicitude. I hear that the matter from the Synod 
of Ohio respecting slavery will be brought before the next 
General Assembly. Should this be the case, I fear that there 
will be a discussion of the subject. And I am under the full- 
est conviction that this will do very great injury. As soon 


•$ John Q» Adams wm eieelei President of die United 
States, I foresaw that there was to be a violent coUkion be- 
tween die ftorth and the south ; that the sabjeet of slavery 
would be brought into party polidcs and religion ; and that 
Presbytemae were to be grealLf embannuBd by it You 
know the old jealousies that were raised against the clergy, 
when Federalism was the matter in dispute. These pre- 
judices are not yet dead. The enemies of religion^ and 
the different sects, are williaj; eioou^ to use them against 
us; and there is not a single act of our church whick 
can be laid hold of to our disadvantage, but is at once 
seized with avidity. An individual minister cannot do a 
thing which is not used for the same purpose. And if the 
Presbyterian Church will take hold of slavery, they may 
just as well bid us abandon the Southern country. We must 
either do that, or make up our miiids to bear the violence of 
persecution. Besides, it is physically impossible for any 
decision of the church to be carried into effect. Because 
taking the members generally, three-fourths are women and 
minors, persons not acknowledged in law. What could 
they do ? Of the remaining fourth, three out of four aie 
people in moderate circumstances, without political infla* 
ence. In this state of things, any direct movement of the 
church on the subject would, it seems to ine, inevitably do 
harm rather than good. 

I am confident that already material injury has been done, 
in the way of impeding the progress of feeling in this coun- 
try against slavery. There is a march of opinion on the 
subject, which would, if uninterrupted, at no distant date, 
annihilate this evil in Virginia. I have no doubt of it. And 
every step gained by true religion is a step towards the ac- 
complishment of this object. But as soon as the ministers 
of religion take hold of it, the old jealousy is revived, and 
people determine that the clergy shall not interfere in their 
secular interests, and their rights of property. The diffi- 
culty of getting any sound religious instruction to the negroes 


is thag greatly enhaneed. And in ereiy way we are tliTOwn 
all aback. There is nothing on which I feel so great soliei* 
tilde. I have long had it as an object dearest to my heart, 
to get Virginia free from slavery. I feel that the dire<it exer- 
tions of the church hinder the work. And I am suffering 
▼ery deeply under apprehensions of mischief from the indis- 
creet agitation of the subject from Ohio. Perhaps you can 
relieve my mind on this matter. 
Our best love to all. 

As ever yours most truly. 

J. H. RicB. 


New York^ June, latj 1827. 
My Bbloved Wife, 

From Monday until Wednesday evening, I was so pressed 
with the business of the Assembly, that I could not write. 
On Thursday I came off to New York. My reason was, 
that I was persuaded we could do little or nothing at this 
tipie in Philadelphia ; and I would not have the name of that 
city to a trifiing subscription for our Seminary. My plan 
then is to fix on a time when we can operate without the 
impediments of the General Assembly, or any interfering 
scheme of any magnitude. To this end, it will be neces- 
sary to write beforehand to the leading men of the city, that 
they may keep themselves in reserve for our our object. 
This would have succeeded well this spring, had not my 

letters to Mr. R , Mr. H ^ and others, been received 

just after they had pledged the whole of their charitable 
fundy for the year, to the American Sunday School Union. 
Indeed some of them had gone beyond their annual sum, at 
least a thousand dollars. And these were the men, too, who 
are looked to in Philadelphia as examples, and whose had 
is followed by all others. 

The Seminary of Pittsburg has its Board of Directors,-— 



Dr. Janeway is the Professor of Theology elect — ^and it is 
believed he will accept I 

There had like to have been an e:splosion in the General 
Assembly about the missionary cause. Some of the Phila- 
delphia Doctors were very desirous to get up a new foreign 
mission ; and the New Yorkers could not bear that. How- 
ever all went off well. 

My Pastoral letter was heard and adopted by the Gene- 
ral Assembly without criticism or objection, unanimously. 

I do not know how New York feels now towards the 
Seminary, but we shall make a fair trial soon. 

My health is better, my spirits as good as they can be in 
your absence. But I do feel the want of you most exceed- 
ingly. Duty will I hope pay us for the pain of separation. 
Nothing else can, I am sure. I cannot sleep well since yon 
left me. I wake early and fall asleep late. Success in New 
York will be my best opiate. 

I presume there will be but two classes at the Seminary 
this summer. The first class will pursue the study of Greek 
and Hebrew, as they did last winter. The second will go on 
with their study of the Bible ; writing essays on the various 
topics, or Heads of Divinity, in the order, pretty much, as 
before. Besides I wish them to read Dr. Alexander's book 
on the Canon of Scripture. 

I wish the students to form a society, the object of which 
shall be to give them exercise in the exposition of the Bible. 
The general plan that I have thought of is, for a portion of 
scripture to be selected, on which a member of the society 
appointed for the purpose, shall prepare an expository lec- 
turer to be read at the succeeding meeting. The other mem- 
bers of the society shall read in the original, and study as 
carefully as possible the same passage, and so be prepared 
to discuss any difficulties that may be found in the passage, 
and refute or sustain the expositions, and remarks contained 
in the lecture. This is the best plan of an association for a 


*rheological Seminarj that I have heard or thought of. But 
a Theological debating society, of the character of a college 
debating society, I cannot think of without utter repugnance, 
and even a feeling of horror. 

I want to know whether the Union Society owns Baker's 
liivy. Smith's Thucydides, Murphy's Tacitus, and Lord 
Bacon's works. 

Tell Mr. Bartlett that if I had a catalogue of the books of 
the society, so as to know exactly what they have, I could 
buy books plenty at half price, and very excellent books too. 

Give my best love to all. My dearest love, may God be 
present with you, to cheer and comfort you, and do you all 
good. My love to all. -Direct to Mr. James's care, &c. 


New Fork, June^ih^ 1827. 

Mt Revered and Beloved Brother, 

I have long been indebted to you for a most kind and affec- 
tionate letter. I should have written to you long ago, had not 
the state of my health been such that I was obliged to refrain 
from writing, except in cases of strict and absolute necessity. 
During the last year, the pressure on me was so heavy that 
for five months I had a continual headache, and my nerves 
became so irritable, that the click of a penknife, or the 
scratching of a stiff pen on paper, after an hour's confine- 
ment, was just like a strong shock of electricity through my 
brain. I may say that half my time was spent in torture. I 
felt that I must either give up this great enterprise in which 
I am engaged for the South or sink under the load, which 
was pressing on me. The Lord just at that very time, put 
it into the hearts of a few of my beloved friends in New York, 
to raise a fund to support a young man who should assist 
me. But his support is only for two years. In the mean 
time, we must endeavour to get a permanent establishment 
for him, or for some one else ; or I shall again be left alone. 


The present is a critical year with us. The house which 
we have built has cost eight thousand dollars. The library 
about eight thousand dollars. Our invested fund does not 
amount to fifteen thousand dollars, and the situation of about 
two thousand of that is such, by the will of the donor, that 
we receive nothing from it. So that I have to depend for 
my support now on the interest of twelve thousand dollars. 
I have sacrificed my little estate, in order to establish and 
support a religious printing press in the South. So that I 
have found it very difficult work to live through the year. 
We have a subscription to- the South of twenty-five thousand 
dollars ; but that was purposely conditional, so that none of 
it is binding unless we can raise two professorships. In a 
word, the state of things is such, that if the brethren abroad 
will help us, we can get along, and a Seminary will be built 
up to bless the Southern country. But if they cannot 
stretch out a hand for our aid, we shall have to struggle along 
for years doing but little, and the result must be, that I shall 
sink prematurely to the grave through the excess of my 
labour. I say these things to you in all the confidenee of 
fraternal love. There are few in the world to whom I could 
in like manner lay myself open. But all this has an object 
I wish to know of you what probability there is of my obtain- 
ing aid for our Seminary in your region. 1 wish you to 
write to me immediately if you can, and tell me with your 
accustomed frankness, what your judgment is. If I can do 
nothing, much as it would delight me to be with you, duty 
will not allow me to come. I know that you have many 
objects before you now. But perhaps there are benevolent 
persons, who, after all that they have done, are yet able to 
afibrd us material aid. Is there reason to believe that they 
will do it? If some one could be prevailed on, by a dona- 
tion of ten or twelve thousand dollars, to fill up the partially 
endowed professorship which is now affording me fudf a 
living, it would be a relief from present embarrassodeHt, of 
the most important character. I hope to hear from you very 


shortly. Direct to the care of Mn Jocieph S. James, New 

Mrs. Rice has just written to me that she is well. I kaow 
diat she loves you and yours exceedingly. Commend me 
to the brethren. Give my love to Mrs. Woods and the chil- 

Most affectionately yours, 

John H. Rice. 


New Fork, June nth, 1827. 
My Beloved Wife, 

1 received your letter of the 6th inst. and it was indeed 
** good news from a far country," and '* like cold water to a 
thirsty soul." I was longing to hear of your safe arrival at 
home ; and to see that you found all well. I do desire to be 
thankful from the very heart to the Father of all Mercies for 
his great goodness to me and mine. O ! may a gracious 
Providence still watch over us, and keep us in safety, and 
bring us together in peace. My health is still improving, I 
think ; but the business I am on is extremely wearisome to 
the flesh, and still worse to the spirits. After all, this being 
^ beggar goes strongly against my Virginia feelings. 

I hope that we shall succeed, however, in our object. 
After a good deal of talking and labour, we have obtained a 
hearty, unanimous recommendation of our object from the 
body of the New York clergy. It is said to be the only 
thing in which they have been unanimous for more than a 
dozen years. And the influence of the clergy is so great, 
that I hope for success to a good degree from that source. I 
also hope because I believe that a number of the good peo- 
ple of New York are praying for us. God has given me, as 
appears, a good degree of favour here. But I am notable to 
tell you how much we have obtained, or may consider as 
pledged, because several who were about to subscribe have 
delayed, at our request, in hope of getting others to join 


818. KSl&OIR. QF 

Uieiii, ao as to raise their subscdptioiiB tp five hundred dol- 
lars!. Let the Seminary continue in prayer that the Lord 
may hless our efforts, and make theqi efficient. 

I have proceeded more slowly in making apj^cations, be- 
cau0e it is indispensably necessary that we should proceed 
successfully. This year will be a critical year with us. If 
we do not get our Professorships filled up during this season, 
I apprehend from the course of events that we shall stick 
fast. 1 feel myself called on, then, if possible to make sure 
work. My heart swells sometimes as though it would 
break with desire to be with you, and enjoy all that stveei 
home affords. And it ofien appears as though I could not 
bear this absence ; but must go home. Still, however, the 

necessity of the case, and the urgent claims of duty keep me 
here. I want you in my begging trips much more even than 

9X any other time. 
I have written to you twice, I hope you have received 

both letters before this. I shall endeavour to be a faithful 

correspondent, although I am afraid that this will be too late 

to get to you on Friday. 

People often talk of you here ; and in a way of very great 

affection. Mr. Taylor says he will write as soon as he finds 

any thing worth your hearing. Many people here seem to 

love you much. 
Present me very affectionately to Mr. Goodrich, and to 

the students. May all good be on you : and may you be 

long spared as the greatest blessing to &c. 


New York, June Uth, 1827. 
My Most Bsloved Wife, 

I received yesterday your precious letter of the 9th. I 
thank you for it. 1 do hope I may be thus refreshed twice 
a week, until this painful absence shall be over. I find it 
worse than I expected. The work I am in is painful ; it is 
extremely laborious ; it excites the feelings, and exhausts 

Docros vicB. 319 

them of course more than preaching or study. And it ne- 
cessarily moves slowly. I am obliged to take care of my- 
self, or I shall be utterly broken down. I often have to call 
on one man two or three times before I can find him in ; and 
then after hearing my story, he says, '* I will think of it, and 
you can call again in a day or two ; when I will let you 
know what I will do for you." In this way I bave to work 
from week to week. Nothing but the good cause, and the 
necessity of the case, could induce me to continue here an- 
other hour. But this thing must be done. And it must be 
done now. Next year we shall have no chance at all. The 
people here are only waiting for me to get out of the way, 
to bring forward other enterprises. I should not be sur* 
prised if next year we should hear of a seminary for the vi- 
cinity of New York. I can't tell you all that I have learned 
here, in a letter ; but you shall know when I see you. Pro- 
vidence graciously preserves my health. Indeed I have no- 
thing to complain of, but some indications of my nervous 
irritability. That is such as obliges me to spare myself, and 
to take more time than otherwise would be necessary. We 
have obtained subscriptions to the amount of $6000. We 
hope in the next ten days to get about 14,000 more ; and I 
cannot think of leaving New York until then. What farther 
concerning my movements can be known I hope to tell you 
in my next letter. 

I am exceedingly glad that the students are going on well. 
Dear youth ! may the Lord bless them ; and train them for 
every good work. Tell them there are many prayers offer- 
ed for them here. And let the success of this painful labour 
of mine be a subject of most earnest and daily prayer to God, 
I aui greatly encouraged with the hope of getting material 
and permanent aid for our young men, from the Young Men's 
Education Society here. I shall receive the proceeds of Mr. 
Little's, scholarship, and an appropriation for four young 
Hien besides — ^I hope for six. My abode here is increasing 
the interest for our Seminary, and good will grow out of it, 
painful as it is. 


My love to the students — ^to all the neighbours— to the 
servants. As for you, I have no words to say how much I 
love you. Your relations are dear to me as my own. Let 
the dear Major, and all with him, know this. Love to sister 
Sally, &c, 


New York, June 19/A, 1827, 
My Best Beloved, 

I received your last letter yesterday. I find my comfort 
to depend so much on your writing, that I wish there were 
a mail every day for you to let me hear from you. I wish 
too that you could see how I am employed, even if I could 
not see you. The sight would free you from all apprehen- 
sion, that I waste any time reading catalogues, &;c. The 
fact is, I have not seen one since I have been in this city, 
nor spent more than two hours in a bookstore— and ihose 
two when 1 could do nothing in our great cause. The work 
is too great — the labour is too severe ; and there is too much 
at stake for me to think of any thing but doing what must 
be done, and getting home as soon as possible. But the 
process is very slow. Yesterday I walked about ten miles, 
and among all the calls which I made found only one man at 
home ; and he insisted that I should give him time to make 
up his mind on the subject. I went home with feet swelled, 
and corns aching ; thinking that I could not stir this morn- 
ing. But Providence is gracious. My health improves — 
and I find that I can do more by one half in a day, than 
when I first began. I have good hope that success will 
crown these painful labours. I feel pretty confident that we 
shall get a Professorship here, if we stick to the work. And 
by the help of God I will not let it go. I know that there 
are people enough who would be pleased with my failure. 
But it is little that I care for them except to pray for them. 
I would not suffer as some people do through the force ^ 
passion and prejudice, for all the wealth of the world. 


There will be great talk of my influence, when fault can 
be found with me. When other purposes are to be served, 
I shall be undervalued. But as far as regards this world, 
the love of my own dear family is all that my heart craves. 
As for those out of the domestic circle, I want inflaence, I 
hope, only that I may do good. 

As to the talk about Mr. Roy, I have asked Mr. James 
about that speech. He heard it; and was delighted with it. 
Mr.- Roy gave a true statement of the religious ignorance 
of the Southern country ; but told the people here that the 
Virginians were high-spirited, open-hearted, hospitable, 
generous, &c. Sic,\ and, in a word, men of such caste, that 
no man need go among them, and hope to gain their 
esteem, or do them good, unless he was a gentleman; and 
that preachers of a higher order were more necessary there 
than in any other part of the country. You know what a 
jealous-spirited Virginian Mr. James is ; and he has several 
times mentioned Mr. Roy's speech with the highest appro^ 

Tell Mr. Goodrich that I feel uneasy lest he should work 
too hard. He must hold on even if it is until the forty- 
eighth day of June. The work must be done here ; and he 
must labour according to his strength, until God sh^ enable 
me to do it. 

Mr. Taylor says, he will set to work to get some tools 
for the benefit of our Seminary. And he says thai the 
prospect of success here is such, that my wife must be con- 
tent to wait until I can accomplish it. Mr. Mason says I 
must give his love to you and Mr. Goodrich, and say " that 
I am doing a great work, and cannot come down until it is 
finished." May the Lord help me to bear the pain of sepa- 
ration, and the labour of begging, until the thing is done, 
for his glory, and the good of the Church. 

Give my love to the young men ; and tell them from me, 
in the name of God, that the salvation of souls depends 
much on their making high attaimnents ia holiness, and 


entering fully into the meaning of God's word. 1 see con- 
tinually the difference in this city, between the congrega- 
tions of holy and devoted ministers, and those of a selfish, 
low, and worldly character. O that God may make our 
students holy men. 

Give my love to all; to servants, relations, friends; and 
believe me as ever, &c. 


New York, June 22d, 1827- 
My BeiiOved Wipe, 

I am stopped in my course this morning by excessive 
rains, and I use the opportunity of chatting with you. I am 
generally so worn down by labour day after day, that I feel 
incapable of writing any thing that can interest my friends. 
And nothing but either strong affection, or a sense of duty 
could induce me to take up my pen. But, mingled with 
the pain of absence (which, by the way, is growing more 
and more severe,) there is so much pleasure in communi- 
cating with you, even in this way, that I cannot help writ- 
ing twice a week, although I cannot always tell you pleasant 

The Sunday-school books have been sent long enough to 
be in Farmville before now, if they had a good conveyance 
from Petersburg. I have succeeded not only in getting a 
Depository of Tracts established at the Seminary; but a 
Society in New York has given us one hundred dollars, to 
%e expended in Tracts according to our order; and we 
are at liberty to draw for that amount, as Tracts may be 

JVIrs, C ■ . ■ has set to work to raise one thousand 
dollars for the Seminary, which I think she will give her 
name for, the next time I see her. 

Mr. and Mrs. T have agreed for the present to give 

one thousand dollars. Eleven men have each engaged to 
give five hundred dollars — ^making five thousand five hun- 


dred dollars. About ten hare promised two hundred and 
fifty dollars. Thi&may be considered as the amount of what 
has been positively promised. A number of gentlemen have 
the subject under consideration ; but they are slow in coming 
to a determination. I cannot but hope, however, that by 
the close of next week I shall see the end of my course, and 
be able to tell whether I can get the great work accomplished 
in New York. I shall not trouble you hereafter with any 
account of my pains and labours. The service is certainly 
most irksome ; but I am guilty in feeling so much. What 
is this to be endured for the cause of Him who died for us ? 
The Apostle Paul would have thought my life one of compa- 
rative ease, honour, and tranquillity. I am really ashamed 
when I think of the manner in which my heart has rebelled. 
I hope however that there is no harm in loving you, and 
feeling that it is a very great trial to be separated from you. 
If so, I am an offender indeed ! 

Iwish you to tell the Union Society, that I will do the 
best i can for them ; not to neglect my necessary duties. 

I have not yet heard the result of Dr. Woods* application. 
I am anxious about that. My dearest, pray for success. 
Let all in the Seminary pray ! We shall fail utterly if we 
fail in this enterprise. The effort will in tliis case do harm 
rather than good. 

Tell Mr. G. not to work himself down. Let all be of 
good heart — ^let all make it their chief aim to be holy. The 
salvation of souls depends on it. 

My best love to all. Mention me especially to the Major, 
sister, students, &c. 

My health is still good, &c. 



New Fork, June 22d, 1827. 
Mt Dear Brother, 

I have this moment received your affectionate and sooth- 
ing letter. It is* true that I am disappointed in the report 
from Mr. * * , because I knew that he felt kindness for me, 
and some interest in our Seminary ; and I did hope that in 
the present emergency, he would give us aid. But it is not 
for me to say that he can, and that he ought. This is a mat- 
ter between him and his Maker. We are endeavouring to 
do something in New York ; but it is heavy work here, and 
I know not how we shall succeed. But will not the Lord 
provide ? I do trust in him. But I have not faith as I ought. 
My dear brother, pray for me — ^pray without ceasing. 

I cannot go home until I obtain the aid that we need. We 
must have about thirty-five thousand dollars. I have urged 
on the Southern people to do what they can; and have 
pledged myself that I would get help from our Northern and 
Eastern men. I have said that I knew they would help us. 
And our Southern subscriptions are all on the contingency 
of our getting enough to establish the Seminary. And I 
cannot go home unless I redeem my pledge. 

I write in very great haste, now, to ask you, do you think 
that I had better adopt the measure of addressing a letter to 
* * giving a full statement of our affairs to him ? Or ia 
what way shall the application be made ? I shall wait your 
answer before I do any thing. I hope you will write iaune- 

My best love to dear Mrs. Woods, and family. 
I am, with most fervent love, 

Yours as ever. 

John H. Rice. 



NeuhTark^ Jviy 2d, 1827. 
My Dbasbst, 

I have neglected writing onee when I should have writ- 
ten, and I greatly fear that you will he anxioua ahout me. 
I was so worn out and discouraged that I could not write. 
For a week past I have found a very serious difficulty in 
getting on. Indeed, I spent several days, and scarcely receiv- 
ed suhscriptions to the amount of a hundred dollars. On 
inquiry I found that some men, who did not want to bestow 
their money, had raised an objection that our professorship 
was placed too high. This seemed like ruin to our whole 
plan. I was alarmed, and feared greatly that success was 
gone. The difficulty is greatly increased, but not insur- 
mountable. The machine which seemed to stick fast, is 
moving again. This morning I turned out, and found a 
Hatter^ who, with the spirit of a prince, put down $500. I 
shortly afler met another person, (a poor man who lives by 
his daily labour,) in the street, who stopped me, and put 
down $100. This encouraged my spirits. 

I am yet unable to see how long it will take me to get 
through. I am just now resting in Mr. Taylor's, after 
walking many a weary step, and finding no person in that I 
wamted except one man, who said he could not help us. But 
my health keeps up wonderfully. I hope to be pretty well 
relieved from my nervous disorder by this bodily labour. 
The heat here is intense. I never suffered more in Virginia. 
Sometimes I feel as though I should run away in perspiration. 
I have just received your precious letter of June 27th. 
My dearest, how much I thank you for thus refreshing my 
heart, by your regular and full epistles. I thank God that 
he makes you happy. Every time I hear you are well and 
comf<Nrtable, I feel so much the more bound to the cause of 
that gracious Being who blesses me through you in this 



836 ftEHOtR OF ' 

I rejoice to hear that the servants do well. I rejoice that 
the students have a right spirit. May infinite grace be 
afforded to them. O ! may they be holy, efficient ministers. 

I have no time now. I am exceedingly faanied to get 
this hasty note to the post ofioe. I will write moreftdly in 
a day or two. 

. My best love to stater, Major, and all at WiUington, aB 
at College, &^. &c. 


Jilbany^ Aug. 15^, 1827. 
My Beloved Chkistian Bsothbb, 

I should have written to you long before this time, bat i 
had no pleasant account to give of our progress. I have 
found out by a decisive experiment, that it is impossible for 
us to do any thing effectual, and to do it soon. The reason 
is this. The people have had various objects of christian 
benevolence before them now for several y^ara, and bave 
been for some time in the habit of reserving their great 
efforts for certain objects in relation to which they have been 
accustomed to think and to feel; such as the Foreign Mis- 
sion cause, the Bible Society, inc. But as for new objects, 
it requires time, and repeated statements, to get the people 
to appreciate them. It would be easy to go round in a few 
days and get them to contribute two, ^ve^ or ten dollars, as 
they do for building a church, or finishing a steeple. 1 noTer 
could have believed, until I made the trial personally, that 
people who have understanding enough to be christiatts, 
should be so slow to discriminate between things so widely 
different as a seminaiy and a meeting house ; or so hard to 
feel the importance of an object which stands forth in con- 
nection with the salvation of millions. But it is even so. 
And sore as the trial is, I must take time, or do nothing. 
The people must be waited on and talked to, until they un- 
derstand the subject, and a current of feeling is exated in 
fevour of our object. There is no other way for it. I find. 


too» that itis much harder to excite this interest for a South- 
ern object, than for one nearer home. This accounts for the 
circumstance of our being so long round about this region. 
It accounts too for our not having gone to the Springs, as we 
purposed on leaving New York. There* as we understood, 
were beggars from all parts of the country, picking up dol- 
lars, and five dollars, from such men as they could catch. 
And had we gone thither, we should have done every thing 
to disadvantage. Men would have been found under influ- 
ences, and in circumstances, entirely adverse to any great 
exercise of benevolence; and they would generally have 
bought off our importunity with a small donation. I thought 
it best, then, to labour here, and excite a permanent interest 
rather than pursue another course. We cannot tell how 
much can be procured yet. I wish to get six thousand dol- 
lars before my return to New York, so as to leave only five 
thousand to be raised in the city, in addition to what has 
already been done. And this sum I hope can be obtained 
without difficulty. Whether I shall succeed according to ex« 
pectation I do not yet know; a few days now will deter- 
mine. Albany, I apprehend, will hardly make three thou- 
sand dollars. Troy^ Lansingburg, ^e. have not yet enabled 
us to judge fairly what they will do. But 1 hope that in a 
week from this we may turn down the river. My object has 
been in all this excursion, so to raise the subscription that 
there shall be comparatively a trifle to do when we iretum to 
the city. But it is much harder work to raise money here 
than in your place. And I feel now, after all that has been 
said about the progress of religion, that the church is very 
far below the mark — more behind than three months ago I 
thought it to be. 

Present me aflectionately to all friends. 

All are well at the Seminary, and going on well* 
With true christian afiection. 

Your broUier, John H. Rick. 



Union TTieological Seminary^ Nov* 26^/^, 1827. 
Mt Dear Friend Aia> Brother, 

I received your kind favoar by onr last mail. I should 
have written before, but sickness prevented. I have been 
severely handled by influenza, and it has not yet left me. 
In truth my health is just now in so delicate a situation, that 
I can not determine to do any thing, but just submit to the 
Lord's will, and let him do with me what he pleases. In 
the mean while, I will endeavour to make the reasons con- 
tained in your letter, and in those of my other friends, a sub- 
ject of serious examination and earnest prayer ; that I may 
be ready as soon as health shall permit, to go any way the 
Lord may seem to point out. 

There is great force in your suggestions. I will weigh 
them well ; and compare them with all the reasons urged on 
the other side ; and as soon as I 'get strength I wiU write to 
you fully. At present I am not able ; fot a little effort gives 
me a head-ache and fever. And I have more to do to-day 
than I am able to go through with. 

We are going on with increasing prosperity. There are 
now twenty students in the Seminary. Two more are expect- 
ed to arrive every day, and others after a while. Our influence 
is extending. ' We have got full hold of the hearts of minis- 
ters in the VaUey; and reach into the state of South Carolina. 
If we go on this way, the Lord wUI get to himself a name> 
and a praise in this Southern region. 

Our students too are in a fine spirit ; they are growing^ ht 
holiness. I hope a revival is beginning among them. 

Our Board has met from Virginia and North Carolina. It 
was a lovely meeting. Every thing as kind and fraternal as 
could be wished. And they went home praying for us, and 
feeling more than ever. 

But I cannot write now. I just send you this from my 


easy ehair, to let joa know that I lore yoo, and jomra, and 
am your brother in Chriat, 

Mention me to Hainea, Wilbnr, James, Roy, and aH the 
dear people by name. I eannot mention more now. 


BaUimare, January 17#A, 1828. 
Mt Dear Brother, 

I intended to write before. Bnt, in addition to other 
causes, I have for some time had a pain in my breast whieh 
makes writing very irksome to me. I will not, however, 
waste time in apologies. 

I ]ook back to our co-operation in obtaining the New 
York Professorship, with peculiar pleasure. This pleasure 
is derived from two sources. First ; there is most manifest 
evidence of the presence and blessing of God in this thing. 
Who but God could have accomplished a work of this 
sort? When I consider the strength of local prejudices 
which unhappily prevail in our country, and the mighty 
current of feeling which had long been running in favour 
of other objects ; and, of course, the difficulty of exciting 
an interest for a new enterprise of magnitude, I do not see 
how any one can help exclaiming, ** See what God hath 
wrought." And it is delightful to the pious mind to be 
engaged in a work which is clearly ChcTs. To him be all 
the glory ! 

But in the next place ; this enterprise has offered a fine 
opportunity for the exercise of Christian friendship. We 
who have been engaged in it, shall love one another the 
better, as long as we live, because we have laboured 
togetJier in this work. And here is one of the beauties of 
the christian religion; every thing else may occasion 
jealousies and rivalry. And indeed religion itself often 
does this, when the heart is not singly fixed on the glory of 
God, and the good of his Church. But when once the 




h^rt ifl righti how delightfully do Christians eo-operate! 
Their aim and object being one, and that too of the highest 
beneyolencey they cannot make an effort, without a kindling 
up of love. And when the heart is filled with pure, fer- 
vent, fraternal love, there is a taste of heaven on earth. 
Yes, my brother, we shall look back with pleasure on the 
days in which we laboured together in this field of God*s 
harvest. And I do trust, that in succeeding years, we shall 
rejoice in the fruits of our labours. When you become an 
old, gray -headed elder, and meet in the General Assembly 
the men who received their education at our Seminary, and 
hear them magnify the word of God, and see that they are 
sound, faithful Bible precmhera^ you will rejoice and bless 
God for what you see and hear. I trust tliat much such 
pleasure is in reserve for you, and those who with you 
took hold of this enterprise. 

But it is time to tell you about Philadelphia. I staid there 
until 1 obtained about six thousand five hundred dollars. I 
tliought that as matters were situated, Roy could finish the 

rest. Some men were very liberal. Mr. R gave $1000, 

J. H »1.000, T. E ilOOO, A. H $500, S.. 

Wr— and A. W $500 each, J. M $300. But 

after that we had hard pulling. The* Seminary at Pittsburg 
works against us. Many hold back because Dr. Heron is 
coming on in the spring. Some too, are not as fully cordial as I 
could wish, because they know that I will not be a partizan. 
One excellent brother told me that he suspected me for being 
too much of a Yankee, Butl will not turn from my course for 
any suspicions. I will acknowledge as brethren those who love 
the Lord Jesus, of all parties, and I will co-operate zeal* 
ously and heartily tvith any who aim to promote the truth as 
it is in Jesus. Our Seminary shall be based on the Bible $ 
and we will know no isma there but Bibldam. I am sure 
that the Bible will afibrd good support to sound Presbyteri- 
anism, and if it will not, why let Presbyterianism go. 

I arrived in Baltimore Tuesday morning. I cannot yet 

DOCTO& SI OS. 881 

see what ear prospect is. But there does not seem to be 
ground for much hope. I will let you hear again. Gire my 
love to your family, and to brethren generally. The Lord 
bkss you my brother. 

Truly yonrsy 

John H. Rics. 


Union Seminary ^ Feb. ^h^ 1828. 


I feel that I owe you an account of my late movements ; 
and as Mr. Bigelow will pass through Granville, I take this 
opportunity of writing. 

After the Board had adjourned in November, I received 
several letters which brought me into greater perplexity than 
I ever remember to have experienced. My own wishes 
coincided with the opinion of the Board, that I ought to go 
South. But letter after letter came from the North urging 
jne to return. A mere opinion of any man on this subject 
would have weighed nothing with me. The case however 
was this. The very gentlemen who had pledged themselves 
to make good any deficiency which might occur in the New 
York Professorhip, were the persons who urged my return. 
They made the pledge on condition that the best possible 
measures should be employed to make up the deficiency; 
and should there be any failure, then they would come for- 
ward and do their part. Now I did not see how I could ever 
go to them, and ask them to fulfil their engagements, when 
they might turn and say, '^ If you had taken our advice such 
deficiency would not have occurred ; and it is unreasonable 
for you to expect us to redeem our pledge when you did not 
fulfil the conditions on which it was made.*' I really could 
not see how I could get over this difficulty. In the next 
place, it was apparent that this was the only time in which 
we could hope for any thing from Philadelphia. I learned 
that all the arrangements were made for the two most popu« 


lar men in the West of zPennflylyania, Ihs. K&nm and Jen- 
nings, to come to Phiiad^phia and Baltimore early in the 
spring* and do their very best to serape those two cities for 
the benefit of the Pittsburg Seminary. And if we had not 
made our application at the time it was made, we should have 
obtained nothing. But my brother and Mr. Kollock both 
declined this service until the spring. It would then have 
been too late. Besides, it was represented to me that I must 
go to Philadelphia, or nothing would be accomplished. 

In the midst of all these embarrassments and perplexities, 
I wrote to such members of the Board as by any possibility 
I could hear from, and laid the case before them for advice. 
They who could for the time answer my letters, advised me 
to go to the North. Contrary, therefore, to my wishes and 
feelings ; but in conformity to my conscience, and the ad- 
vice of those with whom it was in my power to communi- 
cate, I went to the North. I hope that this will meet the 
approbation of the Board. If not, I shall regret it ; but I 
shall feel that I acted conscientiously. The result of my 
journey was in filling up the New York Professorship ; the 
starting of a subscription in Philadelphia, which amounted, 
when I left, to sixty-four or five hundred dollars ; and the 
starting of a subscription in Baltimore, which amounted to 
nearly two thousand dollars. The result of the whole mis- 
sion will be somewhere between thirty-five thousand and 
forty thousand dollars. I feel that it is God who has thus 
prospered this work, and I hope that he will receive all the 
praise. . I do not know what would have been the result if 
I had gone to Charleston. My heart was there all the time ; 
but I have some reason to believe that our Southern brethren 
have become so excited on this subject, that they will make 
their experiment before they can be convinced. 

Mr. Roy was left by me in Philadelphia, endeavouring to 
fill up the subscription in that city to ten thousand dollars. 
He would then come on and try the liberality of Wilming- 
ton. Then see what farther could be done in Baltimore* 


P^faaps mtke a little trial at Washington ; and then enter 
Virginia. 1 hope he will be here in two or three weeka. 

We are exceedingly jdeaaed with the North Carolina sta- 
d«cit0. One of them ( * * ) seems unable to keep np 
with his dass. The rest are really very fine fellows. I 
think, too, there is a manifest growth of holiness in the In- 

Remember us in your prayers. Let all pray that we may 
be very holy men. We unite here in fraternal regards to 

Yours truly, 

John H. Rice. 


Union Seminary, F^. dth^ 1828. 
My Dear Sir, 

I am safe at home, in pretty good health, and found all 

Had I passed through Princeton in returning from New 
York as I intended, there is one subject on which I could 
have wished to converse with you and Dr. Miller. 

Some of my old Richmond friends have removed to Flo- 
rida, among them J — ^ and R G , and J 

P . J G and P are members of 

the church ; they are both intelligent, public-spirited men, 

concerned for the interests of education and religion. G , 

who is the best acquainted with the country of any of them, 
says, that by proper management the direction of the literary 
and religious interests of that territory may be in the hands 
of Presbyterians. There is an appropriation of land for a 
University there, or for a literary fund, worth two millions 
of dollars. If some men of intelligence and piety do not get 
the management, it will be fooled away, or worse. He 
therefore earnestly entreats that some one or two young 
clergymen of high talents and attainments, of enlarged views, 
and active zeal, should at once be sent out to him. They 


must be adTUituioiis men, who for the aecomplishment of a 
great good, would be willing to ran some risk. Bat die 
proepeet of suoeese is sndi as to eneonn^ die attempt, and 
fully to justify it. He advises that one should look at the 
map of Florida, and see what a range of influence might be 
established if the enterprise should succeed. A seminary 
of learning of high character, would draw multitudes from 
the West India Islands, especially from Cuba, which is to be 
a great country* It would also have connexion with Mexi- 
co, and all the Spanish part of North America. In progress 
of time, a Seminary might be got up there, to prepare Mis- 
sionaries for the new Southern Republics. In a word, he 
says, that the opportunity is one of the fairest in the world 
for extensive good, and that it may be now seized and em- 
ployed by the Presbyterians, if they wilL 

He prays, therefore, that at least one good man may be 
sent. We have nobody to send. The country around us 
will absorb all that we can raise for many years. I hope, 
then, that in your large number, you can And some to wliom 

you can commit the execution of this project. Gr-^ 

says the health of the climate is far before South Carolina or 
Georgia. Where he lives the face of the country is much 
like Albemarle, or die middle region of Virginia. 

Mrs. Rice unites with me in most affectionate regards to 
you, Mrs. A., and all the family. 

Truly yours, 

Jno. H. Rick. 


Umon TheologiccU Sendnary^ Feb. 13^A, 1828, 
My Dbah Janb, 

I have a thousand times purposed to write to you, since 

your marriage; but have never yet seen the time when I 

could fulfil my intentions. It was needless for me just to 

drop you a line assuring you of my love; for of this you 

^ know you have a large share. I willed to write something 


timt jBigfat be profitable to yoa in ituB yery inqKHrtaat veh^ 
tkn whidi yen nov nutam. But delay never makea any 
thing eaaer; uid, at present, I can only send yoa a haa^ 
acrateh instead of a letter. 

I ri^ard you and Mr. White with peculiar interest Yoa 
sre one of my children, and he one of ray stodents, and I 
cannot but wish that you both, may be very happy ^ and very 

The first step in the aoeooiplishment of these wishes is, 
that yoa should be very holy. The former is irapossiUe 
without the latter. But according to the appomtment of 
God, it ia impossible to be very holy without the diligent 
use of the means appointed by the source of all holiness. 
Beltaoee on grace without employing means, is presump- 
tion ; with them, it is faith. I cannot, however, enlarge on 
this Bttb}ect; for it is not my intention to give you a sermon 
instead of a letter. 

I am a minister, and have had a wife a long time. I feel, 
tlierefore, as though I could give some pdvice worthy of 
yoor attention as the wife of a preacher. Hear me, then, 
-any daughter, and consider ^what I say as a/token of parental 
affection. I have no object in view but your happiness and 

1. The life of a minister is the life of a student His 
labours are the labours of a student Now, nothing so ex- 
hausts the spirits of man, or is so apt to produce des- 
pondency, as this manner of living. And it is in the highest 
degree important, that he should have a companion blessed 
with a strong fiow of cheerfulness, mingled with piety, to 
keep him up, or raise his mind when it is flagging or des- 
pondent I could, therefore, most earnestly recommend to 
you the cultivation of a cheerful spirit. It is your part 
never to despond; but to keep your mind buoyant and alert, 
always relying on a gracious Providence, and cherishing a 
good hope of tlie success of the cause of Christ 

2. A miiiister has often te deal with much waywardness. 


and eneoonter nmeh oppositioiu And it ia hazd for him not 
to contract, in these ciiconustances, some soainess or newetity 
of temper. Yet nothing can win its waj to the heartt and 
subdue it, bui love ; and it is your business continually to 
pour this softening influence into the heart of your husband, 
and make him as kind and tender as a woman's when sub- 
dued by divine grace. It will be very much, then, for the 
good of your husband, as well as for your own happiness, to 
cultivate a very affectionate, conciliating, winning temper and 
manner— carefully avoiding all censoriousness, suspiidon, 
and uncharitable judgmg of others. 

3. Many ministers' wives destroy their influence entirely 
by seeming to think that they have also a sort of official cha- 
racter, which gives them authority to dictate, prescribe, re- 
commend, or oppose measures to be adopted in the congrega- 
tion. The opposite course of conduct to this, is that of 
jneek, gentle, and affectionate insinuation. 

4. Many an hour of precious time is lost by the minister 
from his study and his closet, in consequence of the wife re- 
quiriDg the husband to pay attention to her; talk smaU talk^ 
or listen to it. But a minister's wife ought to remember that 
she is, in a certain sense, identified with her husband, and 
that a great deal of the respect and attention she desires to 
have, depends on its being thought that her husband is a graW" 
ing man. She ought therefore to aid him in study for her 
own sake, as well as from motives of a higher and purer 

5. If a woman is prudent, judicious, and refined in her 
taste, yet gende and meek, she will do more than any other 
person can do, to correct bad habits of a certain kind, or 
to prevent their being formed. Thus she may correct strik- 
ing and offensive mannerisma^ or improprieties in word or 
gesture ; tediousness in prayer, or in preaching, iie. I have 
often heard it asked of a preacher's wife—** why don't she 
tell her husband about his long prayers I" And the remaric 
has been made many a time — ** that woman can't be much, 



or her husband would not hare such rough and uncouth 

I would say much more» but time and paper would fail. 
I do not say these things because I suppose you particularly 
need them ; but because I wanted to give you some token of 
fatherly affection. And I add as a final remark, that a heart 
entirely fiUed with the love of GTod, and into which the Spi- 
rit is fully breathed, will teach you better than any thing else ; 
because you will then, in every case, feel how you ought to 

Mrs. Rice loves you as I do ; and I know she joins in the 
earnest prayer that in your present relation you may fully 
discharge every duty, be a blessing to your husband, and a 
faithful servant'of the Lord. 

Bless you, my daughter. 

Yours truly, 

John H. Rice. 


Union Seminary, March 4thj 1828. 
My Dear Sir, 

I am very much obliged to you for your kind and prompt 
attention to the case of my friends in Florida ; and I hope 
that I have a heart to rejoice in the prospect of good to be 
done in that desolate region. I atn delighted with the ac- 
count which you give of Mr. Cox. As far as I can see, he 
is just the very man for the place. I write by this mail to 

Col. G , and shall direct him forthwith to communicate 

with you on this subject, and point out the way by which 
Mr. C. may get to this theatre of labour. The gentlemen, 
I have no doubt, will be liberal. Whether it will be best to 
get aid from the Home Missionary Society for the present, 
will depend on circumstances yet to be learned. If Mr. C. 
should be unwilling to hold himself in suspense long enough 

for G to receive my letter, and send one to Princeton, I 



shoald suppose he had better go with the aid of the society; 
but if he is willing to wait, he had better wait as I think. 

We hear that Finney is making a noise in Philadelphia. 
He has certainly got G ■ ■ and D— fully with him, and 
Mrs. G is beyond any of them. From what I hear, I 

should suppose that there is a deep*laid scheme to get sup- 
port for what are called '< the new measures.". Mr. Nettle- 
ton thinks that the great object is to get influence among the 
excitable and enthusiastic part of the community; and that 
there is a determination to revolutionize the churches, and 
make what are called Evangelists superior to settled Pastors. 
From his account, there is a stress laid on employing females 
in conducting worship; and on mentioning names in prayer, 
which appears to me truly surprising. And he seems to be 
fully persuaded that without some vigorous measures on the 
part of the friends of order, the credit and usefulness of revi- 
vals in religion will be completely ruined for the time in this 
country. He affirms that wherever these measures have 
been tiied, they have run down any revival that may have 
occurred, have divided the church, and put the judgment and 
feelings of all that have not been brought in, utterly against 
religion. From the little that I saw, I would say that if 
good is done by these irregular means, it is done at a fright- 
ful expense. It is like slaying hundreds to save one. It is 
supposed, too, that there is a strong desire to set the students 
of our seminaries agog in this new plan. A mighty effort 
was made at Auburn, and some at least were caught in the 
trap laid for them. Philadelphia is so near to Princeton, 
that if a mighty agitation were to take place in that city, it 
would be felt in your village, and perhaps the unstable in the 
seminary might be led away. It is proposed in view of all 
these matters, that there should be a meeting about the last 
of the first week in May, in New York, of those who are 
most concerned in this matter, professors in seminaries and 
heads of colleges, to consult as to the interests of these insti- 
tutions, and the important matters connected with them, and 


see if nothing can be done to keep out ezlraTaguice, and 
preTent the gross animal feeling which is raised by these 
measures. I should like to know what your opinion is as to 
a measure of this kind ; and I should like to know Tery soon. 

Mr. Douglas is doing most excellently at Briery. He is 
one of the most efficient minbters in the two states. He is 
powerful — ^perseyering-— decided. They hare encouraging 
times in Richmond. 

Mrs. Rice joins me in lore to Mrs. Alexander and the 
children, as well as yourself. 

Most truly yours. 

JOHK H. RlC£. 


Union Theological Seminary^ March 12/A, 1828. 

My Beloved Brother, 

It is long since we communed together. Yet my heart 
has yearned after you, and I have often wished much, very 
much, to see you, and hold sweet counsel with you as in 
former times. But 1 have had a burden on me too heavy 
to be borne, and have been obliged to confine my attention 
to business, to the neglect of offices of friendship. 

But the other day, I accidentally saw a notice in a news- 
paper which went to my heart. I saw that you had been 
afflicted, deeply afflicted; for it was there reported, that 
God had been pleased to take a son from you. Is it so? 
I can see no reason to doubt it; for why should report on 
this subject be falsified? And, I have felt, ever since I saw 
the notice^ that I ought to share with you in all your afflic- 
tions. It is the only way in which I can bear your bur- 
dens. I trust that you have found all God's precious pro- 
mises verified to you in this triaL O ! may the good Lord 
bless you, and your family — especially the mother of your 
children, with his presence, while he lays his rod on you. I 
have thought, considering how much affliction there is in the 


worid» that it would be worth while to do a thousand times 
more than ever has been done to spread the Bible, if it had 
nothing in it but the 12th chapter of Hebrews. '^ Whom 
the Lord loveth, he chasteneth." It tells us how we are to 
imderstand afHiction, and what use we are to make of it. But 
I feel that you know all this. I only add, then, that Mrs. 
Rice and I do most affectionately sympatiiiize with jou; 
and pray that you may be supported by Him who alone can 
help in time of need. 

It has pleased a gracious Providence, by means of my 
travelling last summer, greatly to improve my health. 
But yet I feel myself constantly exposed to danger, be- 
cause I have yet daily to do tlie work of two men ; and as 
I advance in life, I feel that to be burdensome, which once 
I did not regard. I perhaps am too anxious to live until 
this Institution shall be fully established on a firm founda- 
tion, and acquire a settled and stable character, which it 
wiU retain for ages to come. I regard this as a matter of 
extreme importance, on many accounts. It is, for instance, 
unspeakably important that a sound orthodoxy should pre- 
vail here, without any cramping irons or hoops about it 
And I do not see any prospect of this except in our suc- 
cess. It is necessary for the good of the Church, that we 
should have an Institution fully endowed, which will main- 
tain a high standard of ministerial qualifications; and yet 
hold learning for nothing without fervent piety. But there 
is a strong inclination to hurry men into the ministry 
before they are half ready, in the Southern and Western 
country. And a check to this haste is indispensably neces- 
sary. We are in this country peculiarly exposed to the ex- 
tremes of infidelity and fanaticism, and sound expositors of 
the Bible furnish the only eflicient check to these evils. 
The state of things in some parts of New York alarms me 
much. I do not see how, from the character of the popu- 
lation, Presbyterianism can apply its provisions fully there. 
Yet the people generally have had such opportunities of 


knowing the truth, that one might think they would keep 
clear of excesses in religion, if any people would. Tet 
there, among the descendants of old Presbyterians and Pil- 
grims, there are ** new measures" which must be checked, 
or the credit of revivals will be run down, and the Church 
will present the appearance of a forest, in which every tree 
is blackened, and every green leaf scorched, and every 
flower withered. If a powerful excitement should pervade 
our region, no man could conjecture what would be the 
result. In view of these things, and a thousand more, 
which I could name, I am delighted with the prospect of a 
correspondence between all the important Seminaries in 
the country. I do hope that it will be productive of great 
good. I wish that the heads of these Institutions could 
meet in New York about the 7th or 8th of May, and confer 
together, fully and freely, on important interests. 

It seemfi to me, that it is needful, for the wise men in the 
Church, to agree together on some clear and broad general 
principles, respecting the qualifications and proper office of 
Evangelists. They may proceed in such a way as to gain the 
upper hand of settled Pastors, and even control Presbyteries 
and Associations. And if they may take hold of the vanity 
and enthusiasm of men and women, to gain popularity 
and exert influence; then farewell to every thing in reli- 
gion that graces human society, and blesses domestic 
life. Even prayer will become the vehicle of scandal and 

What do you think of making arrangements,* to get Drs. 
Alexander, Richards, Woods, Rice, with several of our most 
valuable heads of Colleges to meet in New York, early in 
May, say on the first day of the Anniversaries, to talk 
seriously about these matters ? Pray let me know. 

I shall hope to see you at New York, or Andover, or at 
both places in May. 

Mrs. Rice just came in, and on learning that I was 

writing to you, she exclaimed; " O ! I feel sa if my heart 


94St MBXoiitor 

ought to go with that letter." It doe«*-^nd so does mine. 
Our love to all. 

Dear brother* may heaven bless you I 

John H. Bice. 


Union Seminary^ March l^hj 1828. 
Mt Deak Brotheh, 

I arrived in safety at home on the first day of February-* 
and found all weU in the family and the Seminary. But I 
found I had then the labours of six months duty of two pro- 
fessors, to be performed in three months. The pressure on 
me has been so great» that my health has already sensibly 
failed for want of exercise. And as usual I have not let my 
(iriends heartrom me as I wished. It was beeause I could 

I received a letter yesterday from Mr. Roy, the first ^me 
I have heard from him since I came home. He is riding in 
the valley of Virginia, trying to get up subscriptions there. 
The fact is we are getting greatly crowded for want of room, 
and the place is too straight for us to dwell in. We hope 
in Virginia to increase our subscriptions, so that we shall be 
able to erect new buildings in the course of the summer. 

I am much delighted with the present state of the Semi- 
nary. The improvement is very manifest in knowledge and 
piety. God be thanked for his mercies ! I do not know of 
a more promising set of young men than we have now. 
And the few who have turned out are really fdt in the re- 
gion where they have been sent.. 

Give my love to all in your house. Mrs. Rice and Mr. 
Goodrich unite with me. Dear Brother in Christ, may your 
fioul prosper^ and your body be in healths 

Most truly youra, 

JlOMN H.. RlCB^ 

DacTOB Bics. 843 


Chion Tlieological Seminary, July llM, 1828. 

Rev. and Dear Sir, 

I have so much to say to yoa, that I am afraid to begin, on 
the subject of my passing through Princeton, without call- 
ing, on my return to Virginia. It was a very painful affair 
to me. But the case was this : I wanted to attend the meet- 
ing of the General Assembly's Board of Missions, which was 
held in June. I arrived in New York about 10 o'clock on 
Wednesday. The meeting was to be held in Philadelphia, 
at 3 o'clock on Thursday. I had several hours business to 
detain me, and could not leave New York until the 3 o'clock 
boat. This enabled me to get to Trenton about 1 o'clock at 
night. It was eleven when we passed by your house. I could 
only, as I went, offer a silent prayer that God might bless 
you and all yours — and this I did with all the sincerity of 
old unchanged friendship. 

I have no doubt you have heard of the excitement, I think 
I may say revival of religion, in Prince Edward. It was 
prepared for by previous labours. Much that our valued old 
friend, Mr. Lyle, did in the way of sowing seed, is now 
springing up, and producing a glorious harvest. Douglass 
has the grace to acknowledge this. Other things paved the 
way. When Mr. Nettleton had strength to labour, he soon 
was made instrumental in producing a considerable excite- 
ment. This has extended ; and now the state of things is 
deeply interesting. Five lawyers, all men of very consider- 
able standing, have embraced religion. H. E. W , 

S. A—., N. P , M. P , and P. H . This 

has produced a mighty sensation in Charlotte, Mecklenburg^ 
Nottoway, Cumberland, Powhatan, Buckingham, and Albe- 
marle^ The minds of men seem to stand a tiptoe, and they 
seem to be looking for some great thing* I do fear that, un^ 


der the influence of men of other denominations, there win 
be a wildfire kindled in this region, and every thing will be 
seared, and withered by the fierceness of the blast. This, 
then, would put every thing back for another generation. I 
saw in Troy and Utica, how the raging flame had passed 
through the garden of the Lord, and every thing looked 
black and desolate. But what can^we do to prevent this 
evil ? We have no men. And in this case of necessity, as 
usual, I turn to you for aid and counsel. Is there no possi- 
bility of getting three or four sterling young men to come on 
to this middle region at the present time ? Can we not get 
Kirk, Young, and some others of the same spirit ? I have 
sent a letter to Kirk to Princeton, and will thank my friend 
William to give it the proper direction, if any of you know 
where he is now located. I really do not think that in this 
middle region there is any danger of bilious fevers, except 
in particular localities. Thus along through Prince Edward, 
and Buckingham, and on the north side of James River, 
among the hills of Albemarle, I am sure that there is less dan- 
ger than in many parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

It is remarkable that the work here is as much among 
men as women ; and, as far as it has yet gone, it is among 
that class of society which has hitherto been almost entirely 
free from religious influence, lawyers and educated men. At 
last Nottoway Court, there were in the bar at once, seven 
lawyers, professors of religion ! This is unexampled in 
Virginia. O ! if we had suitable men, the desolations of 
many generations might be built, and the ruins of Zion in 
our native^ State might be repaired. We cannot get on half 
fast enough, in raising a supply of religious instructors. And 
what this country will do I know not. You need not be 
told how it has suflered in its spiritu^ interests, from igno^ 
rant teachers. But experience of the evil is not sufficient 
for its cure. It is necessary that the people should have just 
ideas of something better, and they can acquire these only 
by experience too. But the difliculty is to find men to send 


among them/and thus let them see and feel what is meant 
bj good preaching* 

Mr. Nettleton is a remarkable man, and chiefly, I think, 
remarkable for his power of producing a great excitement 
without much appearance of feeling. The people do not 
either weep, or talk away their impressions. The preacher 
chiefly addresses Bible truth to their consciences, I have 
not heard him utter as yet a single sentiment opposed to what 
yon and I call orthodoxy. He preaches the Bible. He de- 
rives his illustrations from the Bible. 

Mrs. Rice joins me in love to Mrs. Alexander and the 
children, as well as to yourself. 

I am, as ever, most truly yours, 

John H. Rice. 


(7man Tlieological Seminary^ dug. 22d, 1828. 
My Dbar Friend, 

I have received your late letters, and do thank God that 
you feel so lively an interest for our Seminary. The mea- 
sures which you recommend, however, would be very much 
modified, if you were acquainted with all the circumstances 
of the country about us. It would require a very long let- 
ter to explain them ; and I have not time to write one now. 
The statement, however, of a single fact, to a man of your 
habits of business and calculation, will throw great light on the 
subject. It is this, that the building of a wooden house with 
ns, costs within about five per cent, as much as a brick one. It 
is universally admitted here then, that for any permanent es- 
tablishment it is far best to build with brick. Under this 
conviction, and feeling the importance of having more room, 
before I received your letters, I ventured, on my own respon- 
sibility, to engage a workman to put up a brick building. 
And he is now actually engaged in the job, and has engaged 
to finish it this season. 

At present Mr. Goodrich and I, with our wives, and all 



our domestic establishments, are in the same building with 
the students. But I find that, on many accounts, this does 
not answer well. We submit to it through necessity. The 
building which I have contracted for, will be occupied as 
soon as finished by us, and the whole of the seminary build- 
ing will be given up to the students. This will make room 
for the accommodation of nearly forty in the whole. And 
on the general plan which we have laid for the whole insti- 
tution, this is, I am persuaded, the best measure which we 
can adopt. If our friends will, on this plan, furnish us with 
nails, locks, glass, &c. it will be a great relief. For the 
fact is, in the necessities of the case, I have made myself 
liable for the whole expense of the building; and if I cannot 
get the money as agent next spring, I shall be obliged to 
sacrifice the little property which I have left. Any contri- 
butionfl then in the way of materials which you can procure, 
will be very acceptable indeed. If you will let me know as 
soon as you receive this what can be done, I will send you 
a bill of such things as we want. 

I am very desirous to get some person who will answer 
for a Professor of Ecclesiastical History, ultimately. Do 
you know any one whom you could recommend ? If so, 
do mention his name in your next letter ; for the matter must 
be brought forward at the meeting of our Board in the fall. 
My purpose is to recommend the appointment of a young 
man, who can, by his previous attainments, and his dili- 
gence in study, soon qualify himself for the oflice of Profes- 

You mentioned, in a previous letter, tKat the Education 
Society would afibrd aid to the young men, whose names I 
left with you, as soon as application should be made in due 
form. Now these young men are all beneficiaries, on the 
books of the Society ; dependent for the whole of last year, 
and for the present also— and already have they sufifered 
considerable inconvenience, by not receiving the money, 
which it was expected would be appropri^ited. It was im- 


agined that tbe American Society would take the beneficia- 
ries of the Young Men's Education Society of New York, 
just as they stood. Do, my dear sir, have the goodness to 
attend to this matter, and let me hear about it as soon as pos- 

May I trouble you to send the enclosed letter to brother 
Cornelius t I do not know at present where he is ; but 
hope you will be able to learn. 

With sincerest afiection, yours truly, 

John H. Rigs. 


Union Seminary ^ Oct, 31«^, 1828. 
Mir Beloved Friend, 

I have just got home from our Presbytery and Synod ; 
and find that I owe you for two letters, one of the 11 th and 
the other of the 18ih inst. I embrace the opportunity offer- 
ed by the first mail to answer both. 

I do rejoice to hear that the affairs took a good turn in 
Philadelphia. I have received a letter from Dr. Alexander 
since my return, and find that he was very much pleased with 
the meeting. If my sermon did good, and shall hereafter do 
good, I do not take any credit for it to myself. But I shall be 
glad |indeed, if it promotes the cause of Missions; and the 
more so, if it indirectly aids our infant Seminary. We do 
so much need well taught and faithful ministers in the South- 
em country, that I feel our enterprise to be one of the highest 
importance. It is deeply to be regretted that somebody did 
not take hold of this matter fifteen years ago. But perhaps 
the time had not arrived for success. 

Our Synod manifested a very fine spirit in relation to our 
object. Once they were cold and indifferent; because they 
said the work could not be done. Now they appear to be 
encouraged, and there is great hope of ultimate and complete 
success. Mr. Goodrich has gained much character and infin- 
ence during the last year in Virginia, and I suppose before 


the time is out, (Christinas) will be appointed Professor of 
Biblical Literatare, on the New York foundation. This is 
well. Being a New Yorker himself, and yet suiting the 
Southern country exactly, he will, with great propriety, M 
the New York Professorship. 

The following statement of expenses at our Seminaiy is 
founded on the accounts kept by the students the last year. 
Boarding or diet, per annum $65-— washing, $10 — ^fuel, $5— 
candles furnished — tuition and room rent, nothing. — Total, 


There are several societies organized, which keep a pretty 
competent supply of oil or candles for the use of the institu- 
tion, and also a depository of all sorts of clothing except 
hats, coats, and shoes, from which the poor students are sup- 
plied without charge, and which materially lessen their ex- 

We hope soon to have a small field for cultivation by the 
students, from which they will raise all their own vegeta- 
bles, and thus still farther reduce their expenses. 

Mrs. Rice desires me to say that she has reserved a lodg- 
ing' room in our part of the Seminary on purpose for your 
brother; and that if he needs any nursing she intends to 
enjoy the pleasure of affording it herself, and this she will 
delight to do for your sake. Mr. Goodrich and I both keep 
a horse, and your brother can ordinarily get one or the other 
to ride out every day. 

I am truly glad to hear that you have procured some Mis- 
sionaries for us. I hope that they are of the right sort — that 
is, men" who love their work so well, that they will live or 
die by it just as may be ordained. Mr. Nettleton is now a 
hundred miles from me, and it will not be possible for me to 
hear from him in less than a week, or ten days, as I can do 
this only by means of cross mails. But I shall send Mr. 
Peters' letter to him to-morrow, with a request that he wiD 
answer it immediately. I do this, because 1 know nothing 
of Mr. Saxton myself. But I have just finished a note to 

DOCTOR aicB* 849 

Mr. Peters, which you will see, I suppose. In this I tell 
him that we want plain Bible preachers — men, who instead 
€>f thinking that they have made wonderful discoveries 
which will cause the people to admire their ingenuity, will be 
self-denying enough to tell them just what is in the Bible, 
and no more, nor no less. 

I hope that you will find no difficulty in making the col- 
lections for the New York Professorship, especially as one 
of tlie finest sons of New York is in our seminary. I am 
more and more pleased with Mr. Goodrich as a teacher. 
He is fully bent on making our institution just what I pro- 
posed — ^a Bible sehooL He enters entirely into all my 
plans ; and goes beyond my expectation in one thing — he 
fnakea the criticai 8tudy of the Bible a means of promoting 
the piety of the students. This study has always been ob- 
jected to, on account of its deadening influence on pious 
feeling ; but under Goodrich the case is just the reverse. He 
is worth more than his weight in gold. 

Mrs. Rice joins me in love to you and yours. Pray for us. 

Most affectionately yours, 

John H. Rice. 

I expect to-morrow to set out for North Carolina, to be 
absent ten days. 


Uidon Seminary^ Nov. 18, 1828. 
Mt Dear Sir, 

I received your favour by Mr. Lane, and would have an- 
swered it sooner, if 1 could. But yon shall judge whether 
this is a mere excuse or not. On the 25th of September I 
set out to Philadelphia. After preaching, you know, 1 set 
out next morning home. On my arrival my examination 
had commenced. The day after I set out to attend Presby- 
tery in Albemarie. From thence I went to Synod in Staun- 
ton. On my return home, I attended two days meeting of 

the Board of College, and on the evening of the second 



dxy I wtn% on tny way to tlie l^notf of Nortk Ctio^M. 
Tbo day lifter my retnni, i «et out to « mte^g t^i mx 
Pretbytory («t PiiiiMvHkr in Avielia I )) and kst night 1 a^ 
livtd at homt* sick with aBovmte eolA* Now^ i mentioii dl 
AiB, otii^ fbr the porpoM of ahowiiif why it u, ^t la^mk- 
dom have communicated with you. My life is OiBeof itioe»- 
Mint labour-— and i hope thai it wiii he to ai^ kmg a« I litne* It 
it a privilege enough to he employed fer the Imildiiif up ef 
^ Church. If I do any tinng, aa lar as i^uence ie w»' 
oemed, and suooeae is gained, it is all from above. As for 
the inskramentality by which i waa originaUy excited to tins 
eonxae of actiony^^you were employed for that purpose* I 
take no credit to myself at all^^I deserve none* I am a poor 
skmer; and deserve nothing but eternal perdition* If deli- 
vered from sin and made hofy^ it will be honour and happi- 
ness enough. But I did not sit down to write in this way. 
« • « * * * 

I was unhappily from homOf when my friend JauMSpass* 
ed tiirough the neighboorkood. 1 mean unhappily for my- 
self — for I could not h»ve the pleasure of seeing him. I 
hear liiat he Is well, and preaching with great acceptance in 


•» » * * » « 

The two Synods of Virginia and North Carolina have 
Gonctitred, without a dissetxting voice, in the appointment of 
Mr. Goodrich as praleflsor of Biblical Literature. I think 
this unanimity very remarkable. We are now thinking of a 
third professor. But whether there wHl be a simifaor oon- 
nurrenee ef i^ntimeat^is very doubtfuL I wish much that 
attentioii cobld be directed to aiHui wilh learning enough to 
make the necessary pseparalion^ and with a spirft of aetioB» 
whieh might be breathed into aU our stedeBfes. If you should 
wnle to any of the brethren either in this state or ia North 
CsMlina, I wish you would ^op n hint or two ott this m^ 

1 Mjcnes in Mv* Hodge*& safis retan | dJid in hsr vetum 


safe from Gennau Neologj, But this I expected. I ehonM 
like much to eee him* And I like miioh hie new plan of a 
Bepertory. I thkik Addieon haa g;ot into his right place* 
and I trust bis woirk will be profitable. We shall do what 
we can to get subscHribenu But a specimen number will 
hidp us on considerably in that business* 

There is still a gradual growth of religion in this region ; 
and a strong spirit of inquiry. What do you think of a 
Presbytery meeting to ordain a minister at PainesviUe in 
Amelia county ? Thirty years ago, that place went by the 
name of Chinquejpin Church; but it was changed by a for* 
- mal resolution, in honour of Tom Paine, into PainesviUe ! 
And now, one of our students is labouring successfully there 
to build up a Presbyterian Church ! But we do now want 
at least twenty Missionaries in our bounds. 

I saw a young man named * * , sent by the General As- 
sembly's Board of Missions to North Carolina. He was 
commissioned for five months to labour in the bounds of 
Concord Presbytery. The young man said he would stay 
the five months, but not a day longer in that region 1 This 
policy is still pursued, and it injures the cause of the Gene- 
ral Assembly's Missions. Brief Missionary tours will not 
succeed in building up churches in the South, and he who 
eomes to perform labours of tjiat sort among us now, must 
eome prepared to '' enlist for the war/' 

Give our love to Mrs. Alexander ^nd the children, includ- 
ing Mary Bice. 

I am most truly, &c. 

John H. Rice* 


UnUm TJieological Seminary^ Nov. 29d, 18^. 
M T Dear Sir, 

I was sorry to part from you so unceremoniously at Mr. 
Sneed's, Indeed, I expected that you would overtake us, 
and that I should bare the opportunity of riding with you 


for several miles, and chatting about many things of com- 
mon interest But I had a hard day's travel to accomplish, 
and knew that I had not a moment of time to lose. And I 
do not wonder that you were slow to leave so pleasant a 
place as Mr. Sneed's. I should like to go there agaiD, 
and stay a good while. 

We are in expectation of a new class in the Seminary, 
of from ten to fifteen. We cannot tell exactly how many. 
We have two from the North, and expect two or three 
others; as well as two or three from Ohio; and at least two 
new ones from North Carolina. 

' I find that the proposed course of study meets with very 
general approbation ; and if we can carry our plans through, 
I have no doubt but that we shall see many coming South 
for a Theological education. And why should not the 
Board, in the boldness of faith, take a high ground, and 
enter into large plans of operation without delay ? In this 
age, great enterprises which fill jthe mind, and excite a 
powerful interest, succeed; while little timid schemes fall 
through. — 

There are some excellent and able workmen in thi» 
region at this time, who would undertake to complete 
our plan of a Seminary building, and erect the necessary 
number of Professors' houses, on a credit of three years ? 
and then wait as long as the Board would wish, on re- 
ceiving interest for their money. If a contract, then, were 
made now, we might in twelve months have room for one 
hundred students, a Library, a Chapel, Lecture-rooms, and 
buildings for three Professors. Why should not this thing 
be undertaken? If the Board were not to meet at the 
time appointed, 1 would go to Carolina. But tfiat is im- 
possible. An agent in that region, of proper qualifications^ 
could, I think, do much. Why should we not add a fourtb 
Professorship; smd let it be the Professorship of South 
Carolina and Georgia; and let that Synod appoint their man f 
I wish very much to make our Seminary bear on the 

DOCTOR Utos. 353 

religious interests of the Colleges to the South. It clearly 
will Bot do to send young men to this place with a superfi- 
cial Grammar^chool education. There is a mighty differ- 
ence between your Chapel Hill boys, and those who come 
from Grammar-school. And I do hope you will require all 
your (i^arolina beneficiaries to go to th6 University of the 
State* We are glad to see Dr^ CaldwelUs students here* 
It is very earnestly my wish that our third Professor should 
be a 'man from Carolina. And I want him now to be desig- 
nated; that lie may prepare for his work. I hare a very 
high opinion of ^ * *, and love him much. But I wish 
you and others to consider the following questions, before 
you &x on any particular person. 

1. Is it not of the utmost importance that our Professors 
should have, in full measure, the spirit of aotion, which 
characterizes the age ? and can we find an old man^ who 
^' breathes and buma" as the case demands ? 

2. Will not the third Professorship require a degree of 
research, long continued and laborious, through tomes of 
Greek and Hebrew, which we cannot expect from a man 
advanced in life ? 

a. Can you not then find among you a young man, just 
now approaching his full vigour, who has Learning enough 
to read Ecclesiastical Greek and Latin, with tolerable 
facility ; a spirit of action, which he can infuse into others ; 
a sound, discriminating judgment, which will at once en- 
sure the confidence of his brethren, and command the res- 
pect of the students ; and who, finally, has had some ex- 
perience in pastoral life, so as to know something of the 
practical application of principles of polity in the govern- 
ment and discipline of the Church ? And if you have such 
a man, no matter what letter in the alphabet begins his 
nanae, would not he, on the whole, do best ? I throw out 
these hints ; smd hope you will think of them. 

In sincere friendship, I am, ^c. ^ 

John H. Ricti. 



Union Seminary, March 29thr 1829, 
My Beuovkv pRiBim AND Brother^ 

It devolres on me to perform a moumfat office. I haye a 
brother whom I educated for the ministry, and I feet to 
wards him as 1 do not towards any other human being, a 
sort of mingling of parental and fraternal affection ; and I 
know you will feel when 1 tell you dear James is gone. * * 

His suflTerings, for some time past, have been very severe 
-»not so much from pain as from excessive delxlity. This 
was so great, that, as you may have seen from my former 
communications, the wonder was he did not die sooner. 

Apart from natural feelings of sorrow for the loss of one 
80 beloved, and grief that the Church should be bereaved of 
(M> precious a young minister, there is nothing in the case of 
your .dear brother but cause of joy and thanksgiving. Daring 
his whole sickness, and amidst all the changes produced by 
disease in his spirits, he never had the shadow of a doubt in 
regard to his acceptance ; his faith never failed, nor did his 
love grow cold. In the midst of all his sickness, the adver- 
sary was most mercifully restrained ; and he enjoyed the 
presence of his redeeming Lord. His affectionate heart, too, 
retained all its kindness, and he enjoyed to the last the symr 
pathetic attentions of those who ministered to his wants. 
Dear man! he won our love most entirely. 

He was graciously permitted to exercise his reason to the 
very last, and showed what was the bent of his mind by 
his dying speech : Strive I strive! * * to enter into the 
kingdom of heaven. * * * 

How mysterious this event ! Since it has appeared to roe 
inevitable, that one so prepared for the ministry, and so de- 
sirous to be useful, as our dear brother was, should die; the 
thought has often occurred to me, that there are services for 
very holy and devoted men in a higher sphere to which they 
are called, aad where they do incomparably more for the 



gioiy of the Divine Redeemer, and are more osefal than they 
could podsibly be on earth : and while we are wondering 
that they should be cat off, and disappoint all our hopes <^ 
their usefulness, they probably do more in a day, in heaven, 
than they could do in a lifetime in this world. The Master 
had use for our brother above, and ealled for him. We 
would have kept him here. I confess I never have seen a 
young man whom I so much wished should live. 

But why should he come here, far from home, to die 7 
* * On his passage to heaven, God sent him by 
this place, that it might be seen here what a young min- 
ister ought to be, and how a christian can suffer and die. 
And perhaps you have thus been permitted to do more for us 
than could be done with money. 

Dear brother ! I sympathize with you and your afflicted 
relatives. May the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 

Most affectionately yours, 

J. H. Rice. 


Union Tlieological Seminary , March Slst, 1829. 

Your communication as to my proposed visit to Boston, 

* This letter, (as I am in formed by the gentlemen who very kindly 
communicated it to me,) was written under the following circum- 
stances. Dr. R. had visited Boston during the preceding summer, 
and made known his plans to the friends of religion in that city; but 
it being then a time of great pecuniary pressure there, those friends 
preferred postponing their contributions till the following summer, 
when they promised him they would be ready to make them. The 
next spring, however, the pressure had not passed by, but had rather 
increased, and seemed likely to continue to increase through the sum- 
mer. In this state of things, the gentlemen to whom this letter is 
addressed, wrote to him, assuring him of an unabated interest in his 
object, among evangelical christians in Boston, and inquiring whether 
he could not defer his intended, and authorized application to them 
another year ; and this is his answer to their letter. 

XBHOiB or 

hai orcMmnfii great peif^ezitjr ; wad after taldag ooiMidaa* 
Ue tiflie to thiak OQ the aobjccl,! am ezeeediiiglj'einlMr- 
lageed. Let me ghre 70a a statement of the caae. 

On my letom home, I fimnd that we were lo have near 
thii^ atodente in our aemmaiy . Onr biiflduig ii only fifty 
fiMt long aad fortf wide. And in this contracted space w« 
have two pr o f eaeori with their families, and our students, 
except two or three, who get lodging in the neighbooifaood* 
One room not eighteen feet square serves for our libraiy, 
and lecture room, and chapeL The professors have to study 
in their wives' chambers. The students are obliged to live 
there in a room, and when the weather admits of it, to seek 
praying places in the woods. 

It must be manifest to any one acquainted with study, 
that we suffer greatly from having to live in this crowded 
state* I found it so, aud resolved that there must be a 
change. But in the state of utter exhaustion of the pecunia- 
ry resources of this region, it was in vain to think of apply- 
ing to the people here for assistance. I, however, placed 
implicit confidence in the pledge given by my Boston friends, 
and determined that, in reliance on their constancy and good 
faith, I would make a contract for a building, payment for 
which should be made next June. Accordingly, I have 
pledged myself to an amount a little exceeding five thousand 
dollars ; and hold myself bound to raise it by the time spe- 
cified. For this my reliance was on my friends in Boston. 
It is true that there is left to me after the various sacrifices 
which I have made, property worth about $5000 — one 
fourth of what I once was worth. . This I had thought it 
my duty to reserve, (as I am advancing in life, and shall pro- 
bably leave my wife behind me in this world,) for the sup- 
port of her to whom I am bound by every tie which can 
bind man to woman. I know well that in every age, those 
who rise up "do not remember Joseph." Every sacrifice 
of worldly interest which I have made, was made by my 
wife as cheerfully, to say the least, as by me. But when 


I am gone, and she is old, there will then be a generatioii 
Trhich will not know any of these things. I most, however, 
raise the money by some means, and if I fail, my little pro- 
perty must go* 

To this last measure I have an objection besides what I 
have already stated. When it was known that I had yen- 
tared to make this contract, the people who knew my cir- 
cumstances, asked me en what I relied to raise the money. 
I replied '* on the faith of my friends in Boston — ^their pro- 
mise is as good to me as money in the bank, to be drawn 
next June." They thought me rash in my procedure. 
Some said that I never would get a cent. And so I was told 
in Philadelphia, and every place south of New York. Now, 
in the present state of things, I would not, for the value of 
the money, have it known that I was disappointed in the 
confidence placed in the Boston people. 

I have made this statement thus frankly, that you may 
judge of my feelings on this occasion. But I wish you to 
understand, that I do not doubt in the least degree, the cor- 
rectness of any part of your representation ; either in regard 
to the pecuniary pressure on the good people of your cit](, 
or your friendship for me. But, fully, admitting all this, I 
cannot but feel much embarrassed, and at a loss to deter- 
mine what to do. At one time, I have thought that it would 
be good policy to negociate a loan for a year, giving a mort- 
gage on the house and lot, and any other property that may 
be necessary for security. At other times, I have supposed 
that this would be a case of considerable difficulty. I want 
farther advice. Of one thing I am persuaded, that it is of 
some importance to the cause of religion, that, in one way 
or another, I should get this money from Boston. I am so 
convinced of it, that I would cheerfully give five hundred 
dollars out of my own pocket, rather than it should not be 

I do not mean to tohine about this matter; nor do I aim . 
to excite any man*s commiseration, I know that, judged 


by the cwitioui policy of this woild» I acted improdently in 
making a contract, where there was, from the nature of the 
oaee, lo mneh uncertainty. But when I saw and felt that 
interests, in my view, of the highest importance were suffer- 
ing for want of such measures as I adopted, I thought that I 
should betray a want of faith in the Head of the Church, of 
reliance on the promises of brethren, and of disinterested- 
ness on my part, if I did not go forward and prepare to meet 
the consequences. I did so with my eyes open, and know-* 
ing that I was doing what the world calls a foolish thing."* 


Steam Boat Bellona, July 8/A, 182d. 
My Dear Sir, 

Mrs. Rice is reading the memoirs of Urquhart, and why 
should I not chat a little with you ? 

Your plan about the education of young men in our Semi« 
nary, pleases me more the more I think about it. And 
I do hope that you will be able to effect it. A general revi-* 
v^ of religion in the Southern churches would bring forward 
a host of young men to the work of the Lord ; and call for 
much aid from the Education Society. At any rate, we 
have reason to expect a gradual increase of our numbers, 
and a want of increasing aid. At the same time, consider- 
ing the feebleness of our Southern churches, and the reli- 
ance which we must place for some years to come on our 
brethren to the North for assistance, it is very desirable that 
every measure should be adopted decently to bring our Se« 

* It may be presumed that on receiving this letter, the gentlemea 
wrQte again to him to say that he might oome on, and they would do 
what they could for him ; for we find that he visited fioston in June 
following, when he received a very handsome amount of contributions 
from the friends of the Seminary there ; enough, we believe, to pay for 
the buUding which he was erecting, and which was afterwards called 
the Boston House, m honour of their liberality. 

DOCtfOB llkOE. SM 

mm$ary into mind, sad show that it is regarded as iaipoilaiit» 
hy members of the ehurch who are active in die caose of 
Ike Lord. 

I Imre been mach more than nsuallj pressed in spirit 
lately. I do think that the next five years will be pietty d»> 
insive of the religions state of this country. I see a grow- 
mg disposition in the enemies of the cause of Christ to nnite. 
And I should not he surprised to see organized associations 
in opposition to Christianity* They want iMHhing now but 
a name that it will do to assmne before the world, to bring 
them into union and concentrated action. Nothing in the 
way of means can put down this opposition, but a powerful 
influence exerted by christians acting together. The devil 
sees the danger to which his interests are exposed, and has 
succeeded to some degree in getting christians to act sepa^ 
rately. We shall see divisions increase I fear ; and a sectar 
riaa spirit extend among those who profess to be Itberd 
•rthodox christians. But may the Lord forbid ! 

I ought to have mentioned that Mr. NettKeton wishes a box 
of his hymn bo<^ to be sent as soon as possible to Prince 
JSdward* Mention this to Shipman. 

Yours truly, 

JOHK H. Rics. 


Uni&n Seminary, July 25/A, 1829. 
Mt Deablt Bxlovbd Frubud, 

We arrived, by a good Providence, safely 9i home on the 
21st day of this month ; but not without a few days of 
painful delay. Between Philadelphia and Baltimore, my 
wife was taken with a violent pain in the face. She had a 
wi«tched night ; and when we awoke in the morning I found 
her with a high fever. Every thing indicated bile ; and for 
several days she was too much indisposed to travel. We 
spent the time, however, with our old friend Mr. Wirt, and 


were attended to with the wannest kindness. On Wednes- 
day evening, Mrs. Rice was able to ride to the steam boat, 
and we left Baltimore at three o'clock for Norfolk, where we 
arrived aboat the same hour the next day ; and tarried with 
our friends there until Friday morning, when we set out in 
the boat for Richmond. By the time we had gotten to this 
place, Mrs. Rice seemed to be quite well, except weakness. 
But we were obliged to wait for the stage until Monday. 
This brought us to Raine's tavern in the evening; and next 
morning we took a hack and came home. Thus experienc- 
ing all the way the kind care of the merciful One. 

We often talked, and oftener thought and felt about you and 
your dear family; Fitch, and the venerable parents of you all; 
and not least of that dear departed brother who has gone be- 
fore to his perfect rest In heaven. We love to dwell on his 
memory, and to meditate on his example. We count it a 
great privilege to have been permitted to watch over Mm in 
his last sickness, to soothe his sufferings, and accompany 
him to the very place from which he went, not indeed in a 
chariot of fire, but of love, to his Father's house on the hill 
of Zion. And I am sure that we shall ever be thankful that 
one who had so much of the spirit of Christ was sent to us, 
to show us and our young men in the Seminary, how holy 
and how happy one may be before he gets to heaven. Yon 
can hardly conceive how this whole ordering of Providence 
has bound us to you. There are no friends on earth that we 
feel to be nearer to us than the relations of James B. Taylor. 

We both unite in kindest regards to our friends, and in 
fervent love to you, and your dear wife, and children. 
I am, dear brother, yours most truly, 

John H. Rice. 



Union Seminary^ August 12/A, 1829. 
My Dear Friend, 

I was greatly pleased to receive your letter on more ac- 
counts than one. I love these tokens of your christian 
friendship ; and would gladly receive them more frequently. 
But principally I was delighted hecause of what you tell me 
concerning dear Thomas. I express myself thus concerning 
him, hecause ever since I have known him he has excited in 
me a very peculiar interest. Indeed, I have rarely felt to- 
wards any youth as I have towards him ; — a sort of parental 
strength and tenderness of affection, which I hardly know 
how to analyze. You may well suppose, then, that I did 
indeed rejoice when I heard of him that " hehold he pray- 

But this joy is mingled with much solicitude. And some 
of the statements of your letter increased that solicitude nOt 
a little. When one is inquiring the way of salvation, and is 
perplexed and anxious, the attention ought to be kept to the 
one thing needful. And it is wonderful how even a small 
matter will lionieUmes turn away the mind from vital con- 
cerns. The least touch on the rein will turn a horse in full 
speed from his course. And so when the mind is acting 
with the intensity which religious excitement produces, a 
little thing even will sometimes put it very far wrong. I do 
deliberately believe that Presbyterianism, in doctrine and 
discipline, more fully accords with the Bible, than any other 

* To enable the reader to understand, and appreciate the spirit of 
this letter, it is proper to state that Mr. A. to whom it is addressed (now 
a minister of the gospel, and the active agent of the Virginia Bible 
Society,) was, at that time, a member of the Bar of Petersburg, and a 
very zealous Presbyterian ; and being anxious that his younger brother 
who had been very seriously impressed upon the subject of religion, 
should attach himself to the same church, had written to Dr. Rice, re*> 
questing him to use his influence with the youth for tlie purpose^ 



fonn of religion in the world-; and that a man using his pri- 
vileges faithfully as a member of the Presbyterian church, 
may do better than he can do in any other connexion ; and, 
therefore, I should be glad that all would become Presbyte- 
rians. But I also believe that one may be a member of the 
Church of Christ, and a good christian, without being a Pres- 
b3rterian ; and it is really pleasant, on comparing the senti- 
ments of different denominations, even those which are 
widest apart, to see in how many more points they agree, 
than differ. 

On this view, and because it is so important that the 
mind should be kept to the great points which enter into 
the essence of religion, I always deplore the agitation 
before anxious persons of the questions which arise 
between the different churches. And, until the work of 
conversion is over, I advise inquirers to listen to nothing on 
these subjects from any quarter. 

I should be delighted to see Thomas a faithful minister. 
My dear sir, the Church has no idea of the want of faith- 
ful ministers which now exists. My late journey has 
brought this matter more home to me than it ever was. It 
is now the greatest want of the world. Every thing goes 
slowly, and often stops for the want of men, holy, and de- 
voted, and numerous as they ought to be. I hope J 

S *s friends will give a right direction to his mind. 

He ought to be a preacher, I have heard of a fine young 

man in Brunswick, named W , who graduated at 

Amherst, and thinks of studying law. Cannot you find 
him out, and convince him that there are more than lawyers 

enough? They tell me B wants to be a preacher; 

well, let him study as well as he can, and preach. Th« 
harvest is great ; many a field is white, and the grain is 
beaten down, and is perishing under sun and storm ; and 
all because labourers are needed. Pray ! Tell your church 
from me to pray ! 

The Lord bless you and yours. My love to all. 

John H. Ricc. 



Union Theological Seminary^ Nov. VStthj 1829. 

Rev. and Dear Sir, 

It was greatly my wish to be at Albany ; but there were 
several reasons which prevented. In the first place, I can- 
not go from here to that city and return, for less than sixty 
five dollars ; and I am not ashamed to say, that I am too 
poor just now, to expend that sum in purchasing even such 
pleasure as I should have enjoyed in meeting my beloved 
brethren on an occasion so interesting. I paid more than 
fifty dollars for it last year, and was obliged to set out home 
immediately after the first day's meeting of the Board. 

But, in tibe next place, by order of our Board of Directors, 
I was obliged to set out the day after our examination, to 
North Carolina, to attend to the interests of our Seminary ; 
and I could not return until about the 24th of October. 
It was then my duty to go to Presbytery and Synod. I 
have been just a week at home, nearly confined to my 
house by a bad cold. And what aggravates the case, we 
have weather as severe, as, in ordinary seasons, we have at 

I have been obliged, too, to overwork myself, and begin 
the present term, worn down with excessive labour. But I 
do not repine. It is privilege enough to be permitted to do 
the Lord's work. I only mention these things to show 
why I have been so slow in answering your last acceptable 
and affectionate letter. 

Our young men, Hurd and Royall, returned highly 
delighted with Andover. I hope that you. were pleased 
with their spirit and conduct. It is my earnest wish, that 
our two Institutions, and all our sound orthodox Seminaries, 
may be bound together by the cords of love. And O ! that 
there were a spirit of union among all the followers of 
Christ ! 


But I fear that the day of perfect peace, is yet far distant. 
The spirit of controversy is like to be wakened up ; and we 
shall see how Unitarianisra and Universalism, and other 
heresies, will triumph on account of the quarrels of orthodox 
Christians ! For my part I think it is yet to be determined, 
what will be the result of all the conflicting causes now ope- 
rating on the population of this country. It is a great expe- 
riment which we are making in this nation. Religion is 
perfectly free, and Popery, Prelacy, Unltarianism, Univer- 
salism, Arminianism) and fifty other Istns^ are putting forth 
all their strength. It is clear to my mind, that in this coun- 
try a great battle is to be fought. It will be a summoning 
up of every man's energies — and fearful will be the conflict. 
To my mind it seems inexpressibly important, that they who 
hold to plain Bible truth, and love the cause of vital piety, 
should be found rallied round one standard, and united in 
one phalanx. I do not say that the final issue depends on 
this ; but I do believe that it will mightily affect the great 
interests involved in the sacred contest. 

I am much grieved at the controversy about the American 
Education Society. I do believe, however, that the brethren 
on each side are sincere. I do not think that the thing ori- 
ginated in sectarian jealousy ; and I hope that all feeling of 
this sort will be kept out of the pieces that may hereafter be 
written. In regard to one point in the recent plans of the 
Society, I have always had some misgivings. It is the ae- 
cumulation of permanent funds, I have always thought 
that permanent funds were inexpedient, where they could be 
dispensed with. In seminaries I think them necessary, but 
in nothing else. And in this respect, I apprehend that many 
of the churches and christian people will be with the Prince- 
ton brethren. But I do not know. May the Lord turn this 
thing to his glory. 

Such has been my situation since last spring, that I have 
iiot been able to look at any thing beyond my immediate du- 
ties. I do not yet know what our brother Taylor is driving 


at I find it hard to understand him. Is the fault in me or 
in him ? I heard of your conference ; but do not know any 
thing of the results. Did it come to any thing ? It is sel- 
dom that much good results from meetings of this kind. Pray 
let me know. And tell me whether Dr. Taylor accounts 
for the fact, that every individufd of Adam's posterity begins 
his course of moral action by sinning, and goes on to sin 
until grsce prevents. 

Mrs. Rtce and I unite in dearest friendship for all your 
family, and all other friends at Andover. Present us to them 
by name. 

Most truly yours, 

John H. Rios. 


Union Seminary^ Jan. 8M, 1830. 
Mv Dear Sir, 

Your letter came to hand yesterday. And 1 want to an- 
swer it while the feeling which it excited is fresh. 

One of the blessings, and one of the sorrows, which the 
New Year brings with it, is the more than usually vivid re- 
collection of old friends. To a man somewhat advanced in 
life, many of the remembrances are very painful. Of all that 
set out in life about the time we did, how few survive ! Among 
those who are gone, are many of our associates, some of our 
dearest friends, with whom we used to take sweet counsel 
together. But there are survivors ; and here and there one, 
whose friendship has become more consistent, and more solid 
in the course of years. This is a season to think of them, 
and recal past scenes, and live over-again in imagination days 
long gone by. 

As far as my observation goes, there are two errors to 
which aged men are exposed. One is of holding on, and 
refusing to admit that they are old. We have seen some 
instances of this. The other is precisely opposite. It is 
allowing themselves to grow prematurely old. Failing to 



exercise their faculties, they become rusty, and move like an 
iAd door whose hinges are never oiled. I have no doubt 
about theiact, that when the organs through which the mind 
acts* fail* mental imbecility ensues. But I am equally cer- 
tain, that ceasing to exert our faculties greatly impairs their 
strei^h. And I am convinced that when a man, whose life 
has been very active, retires ; he very soon sinks into second 
childhood. It is a dangerous experiment, and I feel very 
unwilling that yon should try it The harvest is so great, 
and the labourers are so few, that. 1 think they who have 
borne the heat and burden of the day, ought still to go cut 
into the field, and if they can do no more, hand food and 
drink to the young men who are strong to labour^ and active 
ki working.^ 

1 perfectly agree with yon, that there is too much bustle 
and noise in our religious enterprises. Too much challeng- 
ing and provoking and fighting the world. The greater 
union and co-operation manifest now among the enemies of 
religion is, I believe, to a ecmsiderable extent owing to this 
very cause. And I do expect that they will be goaded on, 
until they find that in every trial of strength they have an 
overwhelming majority. Perhaps the discovery is already 
made, and the enemies of righteousness are willing enough 
to come out to the encounter. If so, we may live to see bad 
days for the church. It will require no cunning, no efibrt, 
to divide the Christian host. That work is done already. 
And there is nothing now to be done, but to conquer the 
sections in detaiU 

The great fault, it seems to me, in this day is, that ehris-* 
tians instead of going steadily and zealously forward to pro- 
mote true religiorir^nd then relying on its influences to make 
every thing work well, are endeavouring to conquer the men 
of the world by force. The effort is not so mueh to convert 
them by the means prescribed in the gospel, as to overpower 
them. The weapons of their warfare are often carnal. 

The Lord is prospering the Sei^iiuary, thus far, beyond 


my expectation. 1 know that you take an interest in it, and 
will remember us in your prayers. 

There has been no breach in your old friends since yon 
last heard from this neighbourhood. Major Morton is very 
healthy and very happy. He comes to see me every Satur- 
day* and stays until Monday. We have had thus far a very 
open, mild winter — the weather generally very delightful. 

Mrs. Rice unites with me in love to Mrs. A. and in earnest 
wishes that the Lord may bless you and your family, this 
year also. 

Most truly, 

J. H* Rice. 


Union Seminary ^ March 2(/» 1830. 
My Dea.r Brother, 

I have not written to you a long time ; but you are never 
long out of my thoughts. My spirits have not been good 
since Christmas ; and one reason is, that 1 have had too 
much to do. Another is, that my health has been much 
less firm than common ; and for the last six weeks I have 
been consumed by a slow, debilitating fever, which has put 
it out of my power to do any thing at all. This makes all 
my work go on very slowly. I have lately, however, had 
some good hope that I was about to enjoy more health, and 
better spirits. I do. not know, however; and it is all just 
as the Lord pleases. 

The progress of our Seminary is good. We have this 
winter thirty-five students ; and a very fine spirit of piety 
among them. The number of our friends, and the influ- 
ence of our Institution is growing. I do not think the libe* 
rality of New York ever did a better thing than when it 
gave us a Professorship. 

I am sorry that the business of Mr. Bruen's Library is so 
delayed. It is impossible for us to take any decided and 



energetic measures until we know what sum must be raised, 
and for what books. But this cannot be known without a 
catalogue, and an appraisement. My wish is to purchase 
the Library for our Seminary, and get it all here by the 
time our new building (for the Seminary,) is put up ; and I 
wish the books all to be kept together, under the name of 
the Bruen Library. I should value it so much the more, 
because of the beloved brother, whose cherished memory 
could thus be perpetuated in our Institution. 

I do not like the aspect of the religious world at all. 
There b a fearful spirit of infidelity awake and active in 
the country. Popery is making its destructive progress. 
High-church principles are growing in the nation. And the 
Evangelical men are disputing, some for old orthodoxy, and 
others for new metaphysics. The Church stands more in 
the way of the Millenium than all the world. 

I fear the Sabbath cause is losing ground. Have friends 
pursued the best policy ? Is it wise, when we know that 
the world has the majority, to push matters to a vote t Is 
it wise to push men until they commit themselves against 
the cause of holiness? I throw out these questions for 
your consideration. I confess that I have my serious 
doubts. In my weakness I write in haste, and hope you 
will excuse this poor scrawl. 

My love to your wife and children ; also, to all friends. 

May the Lord bless you— pray for us. 

Your brother in the best bonds. 

John H. Rice. 


Union Seminary j March 9th j 1830, 
Mt Dear Sir, 

I was particularly gratified with your last letter. I well 
remember when we first formed our acquaintance at Hamp- 
den Sydney; and I know well that from that day to this, 
there has been no breach in our friendship ; nor even the 


least unpleasantness in out in^rcourse — ^indeed nothing un* 
comfortable, except that it has not been so frequent, either 
personally, or by writing, as I could wish. And I gladly 
accept your proposition to make it more so. 

I do from my heart rejoice that Addison has embraced 
religion — on his account-— on that of his parents — their older 
children — ^and the church. May the Lord direct his way into 
the ministry ! His talents, his attainments, his opportuni- 
ties of further improvement, warrant the hope that he may 
render the most important service to the cause of truth in our 
country. It appears to me, at length, entirely necessary that 
there should be a change in our theological literature. 1 
have been for some time distressed to think, that so much of 
that which candidates for the ministry are directed to study, 
and which, in the present state of the world, must be put 
into their hands, should be defiled with heresy or marred 
hy error. In this age, a preacher must, in many cases, 
prove his doctrine by a reference to the original languages of 
the Bible. But to enable him to do that, he must use lexi- 
cons, which often contain meanings made to suit a purpose, 
and critical commentators, who employ vast learning to pet- 
vert Scripture. There is, too, a continual increase in the 
number of theological systems, which present views of truth 
of which we cannot approve. They however are published, 
and reviewed, and talked of; and young men will have them. 
The old writers are thought to have lived in times of com- 
parative ignorance ; and a recommendation of them as guides 
in a course of theological study, is regarded as a proof posi- 
tive of a deplorable behindneaa in reference to the march of 
mind. In the meanwhile, we have a flood of German books, 
partly neological, and partly exegetical. We have English 
books, Arminian and superficial. We have metaphysico- 
theology from other sources ; and trae, old-fashioned ortho- 
doxy produces nothing but now and then a valuable little 
thing on practical religion. If there should be no change, 
sound Presbyterian doctrine will be destroyed by the very 

370 MEXors OF 

books which are brought into our Theological Seminaries. 
Now, I want Presbyterians to form better Lexicons, better 
Commentaries, better systems, and better Ecclesiastical His- 
tories than any other denominations ; and so much better 
that the people will be glad to get them ; and even be obliged 
to use them. And I have already allotted to Addison the 
work of making a Hebrew Lexicon, which shall displace 
every other. I shall never live to see it ; but I do not jest 
about it. 

There is indeed a storm raging against Presbyterians. 
How long it will last, and how far it may destroy, I pretend 
not to conjecture. It is a genuine display of the opposition 
of the heart to religion. But I must believe that, in many 
cases, there has been a provoking of opposition where there 
was no necessity for it. I fear that this is very often done 
by ministers of the gospel. They often act as though they 
thought, that it was a part of ministerial honesty to speak 
the truth in the most offensive form. And hence, many are 
thrown off from religion to a retumleaa distance. For my 
own part, I am more and more convinced that in building up 
the church, more is to be accomplished by the gentleness of 
Christ, than by all other methods. If you beat even a 
christian in argument, unless at the same time you win him 
by love, he will be more apt to go farther from you, than 
to come over to your side. I have lately thought that in all 
our seminaries, we wanted special instructions for students 
on the duties of Christian prudence. 

But I am wandering a little from my subject. The tide 
of prejudice w setting powerfully against Presbyterians. 
This cannot be altogether prevented. For although our 
strength is overrated, we are strong enough to excite fear. 
Our talents and learning are estimated too highly, yet we 
have enough to provoke jealousy. We are thought to have 
more zeal than we have, yet even as we are, the world is 
alarmed at the prospect of what we will do. We are thought, 
moreover, to be more strict in oar discipline than the prao- 

0OCTO.B XICB. 371 

tice of our church proves us to be, and the moboeracy of the 
age hates us because we are not liberal enough to suit their 
taste. In this way, or somehow else, people of ail sects, 
and of no sect, hate us ; and from every quarter there is a 
hideous outcry against us. Now I do wish from my heart, 
that all Presbyterians would live so, that ** by well doing 
they should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." 
But if among all our enemies, and notwithstanding all their 
vigilance, we have men who are perpetually occasioning of- 
fence, I do not know what can be done. I have for a long 
time been of opinion, that it was our true policy to mind our 
own business, and let other things alone. Our business I 
take to be simply this — to be really good christians ourselves,, 
and try to make as many and as good christians as possible. 
Had this, our appropriate work, always occupied our atten- 
tion, and all our ministers had let alone presidential elec- 
tions, and kept clear from party contests, I think that the 
state of the Presbyterian church would have been very dif- 
ferent from what it is. 

I have given this long, and I fear tedious rigmarole^ for 
the sake of proposing a question for your consideration. 
Would it not be well for the next General Assembly to ap- 
point a very wise and able committee to prepare a pastoral 
letter, to the ministers and churches, giving earnest and affec- 
tionate advice, suited to the present times ? I have thought 
that some good might be done in this way. 

Mrs. Rice wishes you and Mrs. A. to knoMr, that she re- 
joices with you in Addison's happy change ; and that she 
joins me in the kindest remembrance of the whole family. 

As ever, fetthfuUy yours, 

John H. Rice. 

'About this time, Dr. Rice commenced publishing a series 
of letters to the venerable James Madison, Ex-President of 
the United States, in the Southern Religious Telegraph 
(a weekly paper published by his highly esteemed friend 

372 HBXOiB OF 

the Rev.- A. Converse, in the city of Richmond,) the object 
of which was to show that our poh'ticians and patriots slronld 
honour and favour the progress of the christian religion 
among the people, on account of its happj influence upon 
all the interests of our country. He addressed them to &at 
gentleman, as he frankly stated, not only from the respect 
which he felt for his public character, and public services ; 
but from the hope that the well-earned popularity of his name 
would induce more persons to read them ; and he published 
them anonymously both to enjoy more freedom in writing 
them, and, as he hoped, to excite more interest in the minds 
of those for whose benefit they were more particularly ia- 
tended. Indeed he took some pains, for a time, to conceal his 
connexion with them ; but the trains of thought which were 
known to be his favourite ones, though they were now more 
enlarged and expanded, and the force and perspicuity of his 
style, soon betrayed the hand of the master that was writing 

The following letter was written with a view to obtain 
some information whieh he wished to use in this work. 


C/mon Seminary J March 17th, 1830. 
My Dbar Sir, 

For a particular purpose, I wish to know some things in 
regard to which you can possibly assist me. If^ you can, I 
know you will. 

I have reason to believe that between the years of 1776 
and 1784 or 5, there was some correspondence between Mr. 
Jefferson and some members of Hanover Presbytery. I am 
pretty sure that I have seen a letter from Dr. Samuel Stan- 
hope Smith to Mr. J . Now will it be possible to as- 
certain the fact, and find out what is the true nature of this 
correspondence ? 

Moreover, I have understood that the "Act for securing 
religious freedom," though drawn up by Mr. Jefferson, was 


carried fhroiigh the Legrlilatiire by Mr. Madison in 1784, or 
1785« And I know that Mr. Madison was for some years 
in habits of strict intimacy with Dr. John B. Smith ; and I 
have heard that they visited each other and corresponded. 
Are any of your friends in habits of intimacy with Mr. Madi* 
son, so that you could find out wheUier he has any of John 
B. Smith's letters, or S. S. Smith's, or Dr. Witherspoon's ; 
and if so, what are their contents ? 

I will tell you why I make these inquiries. There is a 
remarkable similarity between the sentiments, and words 
even, of the act for religious freedom, and the sentiments 
and words of some other people ; and I wish very much to 
trace the secret history of that event which separated church 
and state in Virginia. I believe that Presbyterians aided in 
it more than is generally known ; and I wish, if possible, to 
prove it. 

As iar as I can see, there is a mighty effort now to dis- 
credit, and, if possible, to put down Presbyterians. I sup- 
pose it is felt that we are making progress. I am not at all 
alarmed at this outcry. I hope good will come of it. Pres- 
byterians have a plain course to pursue ; and if they will let 
every thing alone but their own proper business, they will 
do wdl. Their proper business is to endeavour to make 
their fellow men good christians ; in full confidence that if a 
man is a good christian, he will be a good citizen, a good 
neighbour, friend, father, &c. I am satisfied that we do not 
generally confide enough in the power of our religion ; and, 
therefore, endeavour to. carry it directly to the accomplish- 
ment of many things which had better be let alone. Some 
good men to the North do infinite mischief by meddling 
when it would be best to say nothing. 

I do wish that, in the present state of the country particu- 
larly, the members, and especially the ministers, of our 
church, might manifest the meekness and gentleness of 
Christ And when bitter things are said, let them return 

blessings for raUing. 


374 HEXoiKor 

Biftbop RareiMcroft k dead ! 1 tm ianaSty nanyto tmkr ic» 
I thouf hit and do sliU think, that he was greatly wrong- as 
liur 88 bus htgh-chvrdi notbns went; boti neifer hadadoubt 
of hm siacertly ; and I hdld bim in raudi higlwr revpcct for 
his frank and open arowal of bfts wevibmmtSf than I cam fc^ 
lor those who hold the sam^ opinimis, and yH endeavour to 
pass for men of liberai minds. 

We continue to grow at the Semiastrf. Two new 0lti- 
dents hare lately arrived; and we hear of others coming. 
May we grow in piety and wisdom, as we do in nnmbers ! 

I need not say how modi 1 love yon and Hamst, and. your 
boy. Nancy may perhaps wish to add a poslBcript. If net, 
I can bear witness to the strength of her maternal feelings* 

Most truly yours, 

John H. Ricb. 


Nno York, Mag V^tky lS30i. 
My BEix)VEDf 

I sat down just now by thejirt io sister*8 little back vooai, 
ttid jinst as I had taken tap my pen to address you, yoarde* 
lightfiil Letter was brouf^t in;, and it refbeshed my hearts I 
had a very pleasant ride to Waihingiton with our Boston 
frittttda. But I was exceedingly fiitigmed, and a good deal 
feverish* Thene I met with two mudateis, Ross of Tennes* 
see, and Dixon of South Carolina,, coming on to this place. 
Here again L was greatiy farouredw We came on together 
to Philadelphia, and arrbed there a little after eight o'clock. 
But tlie mrorning boet was gone, and no twelve o'clock boat 
runs at present. Thus I was stopped in Philadelpliiafar the 
day. But it happened welL For I was not in a condition 
to travel. Coming to Ri^mond, by some roguery or care- 
lessness, I lost my dear old blue cloak I It became very 
cold at Washington, and on the passage from Baltimore I 
sufiSered severely. On arriving at PhUadelphia, however, I 
went to G H — ^'s, where I was tareafed as kindly 


as eouid be^amA by keeping mysetf reiy teanqnil I was gneatlsr 
refreshed. Next day I came on to New York, and arriYed 
at bvodier's abont an hour hj 8un« (I forgot to teU you that 
I spent four hours in BaltiiMore, where I saw the Wirta^ att 
as loYmg as ever; also Nerins, and Breckinridge, very 
affeelaonale, and Mr. and Mrs. Seed, of Marbiehead*— «ll 
sent great love Sq you«) Brother and Mr. Taylor met me at 
the wharf, and exofadmod, ^ whcve is sister ? Where is MiSc 
Rice ?" It was so every where. And I ^ve you notiee now, 
that I dumH trar^ this way again without you. My pride 
won't let me do that. Why, some go so fiar as to teil me 
that they are not glad to see me at all ; and nothing is more 
common than to hear, *M am very sorry to see you without 
Mrs. Rice. I have just one plain reply to that : " / cmi 

sorrier than you art^^'* Mrs. T proposes to send 

for you right away, and get you here as soon as possible* 

On Sabbath, I was still indisposed, and so I staid in the 
house all day. In the evening, M--^ — B came in a 

carriage, and took me to Minrray-street Church, where was 
one of the largest eongregatious I ever preached to in my 
life. House crowded,*-^les and all. And there, with my 
folly, I preached a full hour and a half, about all sorts 
of things. I must get sister, or K. Taylor to write, and 
en^le you to tell the M^or how I prectched. You know 
my modesty, or rather bashfulness, will not allow me to say 
any thing about my own performances, un/e»a / think them 
means but I will just say to you, Uiat the people were very 
still and attentive all the time. And as they were going 
out, one of them in the erowd was heard to say, ** Old F«r- 
gima netjer tires J^ But there was nothing in that, for be 
was a Virginian himself. ' 

Dr. Woods, Dr. Cornelius, Mrs. H , Mr. Arm*' 

strong, and many others, are here from Boston, and many 
more are coming to the anniversaries. This will create 
some delay; but I think it will be better for me to go on, 
and do what I can among those who remain in Boston, 


aad by that time, they who attend the anniversaries, will 
return home. 

I am not gratified by any thing which I see in the state 
of the Presbyterian Church in tMs country, from Richmond 
to New York. Every thing is cold and dead, except the 
spirit of controversy. In Philadelphia and New Yorl^, 
things are in a dismal condition. And, in my opinion, the 
Lord is permitting opposition to rage against our Church 
in particular, to purify it. I fear that nothing but the fire of 
persecution will do the work. Oh ! how calm and peaceful 
every thing at the South is, compared with the rivalry and 
contention which exist here. 

Give my love to all at Willington, and all at Col. Bur- 
well's. Remember me particularly to any of the youn^ 
men at the Seminary — ^I mean those who are in our house; 
if at home, &c." 

He continued writing his Letters to Mr* Madison during the 
summer, as his leisure allowed ; and also a memoir of his de- 
ceased friend the Rev. J. B. Taylor, which he had undertaken 
to prepare at the request of the young evangelist*s brother ; 
and, notwithstanding his arduous labours in this way, and about 
the Seminary, seemed to enjoy an unusual portion of health. 
Indeed, at the commencement of the college, whieh took place 
about the 20th of September, he appeared so well, and in 
such fine spirits, that he received the warm congratulations 
of many of his friends who had come fh>m a distance on this 
occasion, and who were fondly flattering themselves that 
they would enjoy his services, and his society for many 
years. Immediately afterwards, the Board of the Seminary 
met, and he attended its sessions, and aided it in its labours 
with his usual spirit. Anxious, however, to finish his col- 
' lections at the North, he was obliged to leave them before 
they had closed their business, and, (accompanied by Mrs. 
Rice,) he repaired to Richmond, and proceeded thence by Bal- 
timore and Philadelphia to New York. There he stayed a 


day or two with his brodier, (who was now pastor of the 
Pearl Street Church in that city,) and afterwards hastened 
op the river to visit the small towns on its banks. The 
weather, however, proved very unfavourable to'his progress, 
and the heavy rains which fell compelled him to stop for 
scnne days in Hudson, where he had the misfortune to con* 
tract a severe and distressing cold, which fastened itself upon 
his lungs, and laid the foundation of the disease which was 
to destroy his life. 

Returning thence to New York, he stayed there a short 
time, suffering much from soreness in his breast, and inflam- 
mation about his throat and face, but still pressing on in his 
engagement, from which nothing could divert him. 

From New York he proceeded with Mrs. R. to Philadel- 
phia, cidling by the way at Princeton to see (for the last 
time on earth) the beloved and long-cherished friend of his 
youth, Dr. Alexander, in whose society he seemed to forget 
hie indisposition, and himself, and every thing but the great 
cause in which he was engaged. In the city, however, he 
appeared to feel his increasing disease with new pressure, 
and went about his work with evident labour and pain. His 
spirits, too, obviously flagged, in spite of all the soothing- at- 
tentions of his kind host and hostess, and other friends ; and 
his mind appeared to be oppressed with the most melancho- 
ly forebodings. Still he seemed to struggle with his malady, 
and went about among the brethren, but beyond his strength, 
and with increasing difficulty, until he was taken one even- 
ing, while at prayer with the family in which he was stay- 
ing, with a distressing sensation of something like suffoca- 
tion, which he at first thought proceeded from somie aflec- 
tion of the heart, but which was more probably one of those 
painful strictures which continued to increase upon him (with 
some intervals) to the end of his life. After some time, 
however, he obtained relief from it, and left Philadelphia the 
next morning, in the steam boat for Baltimore. From that 

city, after spend'mg the night with his friend Mr. Wirt, he 



proceeded to Norfolk, where he took leave of another friend 
whom he loved, but who could not detain him, as he was 
pressed in spirit, (suffering as he was,) to spend the ensu- 
ing Sabbath with his awn people in Richmond. He did so 
accordingly, preaching to his flock both parts of the day, 
' with great earnestness and warm affection, for the last time. 

The next morning, he set off with his wife, in his own 
small carriage, for the Seminary, where he arrived safely the 
next day, and immediately applied himself with great dili- 
gence to the duties of his professorship, in which indeed he 
seemed to And some relief from his pains ; although his dis- 
ease was still hanging upon him, and feeding in secret 
upon his frame. 

In this state of body, however, his mind appeared to be 
even more vigorous than ever, and the following letter, which 
he wrote to a friend in Boston, whom he very highly es- 
teemed, (and who has since followed him to the Upper Sanc- 
tuary,) will show with what kind of thoughts it was teeming 
at the time. 


Union Seminary, Nov. 22rf, 1828. 
Mv Dear Friend and Brother, 

I should have been truly glad could I have visited Boston 
in October. But our vacation took place so late in the sea- 
son, that I could not reach your good city in time to attend 
the meeting of the American Board, and that being the case, 
no duty compelled me to go further eastward. The aelf-tn- 
dtdgence I could not afford. 

But I feel that I want to have a long talk with you. Many 
things are now brewing in my mind, even to effervescence, 
and as I am jiut running over, I have seized my goose quill 
conduit, to direct the stream into your bosom. 

This is the most wonderful year in which we have overlived. 
Where will the overturnings end, which we now see begin- 
ning ? Heaven grant that they may result in the coming of 


Him " whose right it is to reign." I do believe that the pre- 
sent is a crisis in the affairs of human nature. It is the age of 
Revolutions, succeeding the age of the Reformation. The 
Lord is pulling down old establishments, and overturning 
deep laid foundations of spiritual tyranny. He is disenthral- 
ing the mind of man, and opening a way for the univensal dif« 
fusion of the Bible, and sending the heralds of mercy to all 
lands. In a word, he is making opportunities, and waiting 
to see how the church will improve them. The Reforma- 
tion was a crisis. Men's minds were mightily stirred up, 
and a great opportunity was afforded them, for setting the 
world at liberty from every yoke but the " easy" one of the 
Redeemer. In some respects that opportunity was nobly 
improved. But the Reformers committed some capital mis- 
takes. It seems to me that the two principal were : 1 . Dis- 
trust in Providence, and dependence on kings and princes 
to protect the church and sustain the truth. This brought 
religion again into alliance with the world, and it was cor- 
rupted. 2. The Spirit of Controversy which rose up, and 
raged, aud divided the Protestant world into fiercely contend- 
ing factions. This flame burned up the Spirit of Piety ; and 
these divisions frittered away the strength of the church, and 
marred its glory in the presence of Papists, Mahometans, and 
heathens. That golden opportunity was lost, and religion 
on the whole made very little progress for three centuries. 
Look at Germany, look at Switzerland, at Protestant France, 
at England, at Scotland, and say whether there is as much 
religion now, as there was in 1580. 

It has occurred to me most painfully, that the present op- 
portunity may pass without suitable improvement ; and the 
church sink down into a torpor to continue for ages : 
while the Spirit of Infidelity shall go through the world, 
breathing all its pestilence, and inflicting its plagues, tenfold 
more terrible than those of Egypt. But if so, no arithmetic 
can calculate the amount of guilt which will rest on the 


In making this remark, I assume as true the proposition, 
that when individuals, or assodations, have opportunity to do 
goody and do it not, they are guilty of great sin. If we can 
save Ufe, and do not save it, we kill. (Bee Mark iiL 4.) It is 
so of the souls of men, as well as of their bodies. O bow 
fearful is the responsibility now resting on the church ! How 
great the need of wisdom and holy love I 

But yet I cannot perceive that any branch of the church, or 
any leading individuals are awakened up by the spirit stir- 
ring events of which every day brings us the tidings. We 
are sU standing with the gaze of aistonishment, or we are 
taking an interest as politicians in the passing occurrences, 
as though we had forgotten that we have to do with the affairs 
of a kingdom which is not of this world. 

It does seem to me, that the Devil has been beforehand with 
the Church, and has employed his cunning agency in bringing 
about that very state of things which will prevent the united, 
energetic efforts of the church, until the season shall have 
passed away. In regard to some particulars, some of the 
best friends of evangelical truth in our country have been 
looking to government, and have become interested in efforts 
to influence the rulers of this world, until they are enlirdy 
full of matters and measures of this kind. 

But the most fearful sign of the present times, is the rising 
of the spirit of controversy and disputation, much like that 
which broke out in the time of the Reformation. In all the 
strong parts of both the Congregational and the Presbyterian 
churches, we see the existence of this evil ; and I fear its in- 
crease. My last journey made me sick at heart. Both in 
New York and Philadelphia, I was in continual pain and 

Besides, I do think that in a year or two, there has been a 
considerable increase of local and sectarian feelings among 
Congnsgationalists and Presbyterians. That these two de- 
nominations are further apart than they were some years 
ago, is manifest. I thought, too, that during my visit to Bos- 


ton, I saw tokens of a growth in the strength of New JEng- 
land feeling. Presbyterian feeling also is considerably 
roused up. And yet these denominations have in every par- 
ticular the same enemies Who are everlastingly attacking 
Ihem. They have, moreover, the same responsibilities to 
the Head of the Church, and about the same duties to, per- 
form in converting the world. 

There is another view of affairs which alarms me. From 
time immemorial, the world has been governed by the few. 
But it seems as if it would be so no longer. The power is 
every where passing into the hands of the multitude. They 
feel this, and will not be slow to assert their privilege, and 
put forth their strength. This would all be well, if the 
multitude were wise and virtuous. For nothing is more to 
be desired than that virtue and intelligence should govern 
the affairs of mankind. But the infelicity is, that popula- 
tion far outruns improvement; and the desire of the people 
to hold and exercise power is awakened up, before educa- 
tion and moral discipline have prepared them for the work. 
Instead, then, of a beautiful theory carried out into benefi- 
cial practice, I am afraid that we shall see the rule of physi- 
cal force established in the world. A machinery of this 
sort is liable to most violent disturbance ; and there is no 
balance wheel to regulate the motion. Friction, fire, and 
terrible combustion, is like to be tlie result. In other 
words, the progress of liberty is greater than that of reli- 
gion. But where there is not enough sound, enlightened 
religion to clothe Law with moral energy, and produce self- 
government among the people, a calm, well regulated liberty 
is out of the question. 

I regard the human race as at this moment standing on 
the covered crater of a volcano, in which elemental fires 
are raging with the intensity of the *< Tophet ordained of 
old." Heaven has provided conductors of wonderful 
power, by which this heat may be diffused as a genial 
waimthf and a cheering light, through the world. And 


th6 neeeetaiy proceM must be perfomed by the Church. 
Otherwisey there will be an ezploeion, which will ahaiter te 
pieces every fabric of human hope and comfort. 

Bttt let us look at the state of the Church. In tiie United 
States, ve find every thiiig much as Cotton Mather said 
Rhode Island was. If any kindred or people under heav^ 
have lost their religion, they may find it among us. I 
need not attempt an enuoieration of denominations. A.mong 
Presbyterians aad Con^regationalists, there are no ezterml 
observances to be^substituted for true piety; there is intdHi- 
gence ; there is wealth ; th^e is die power of true revivals; 
there is a free country, and a growing population. There 
is here also, a nation held i^> by Providence as a spectade, 
and an example to the world. Here is a work to be done, 
which will tell on the destinies of mankind. And we are 
the people to do it. Such an opportunity for good has 
perhaps never been a^rded since the foundation of l^ 
world. I dnd no power in language to express the weight 
of our responsibility. Deipf deep will be our guilt, if we 
are found unprofitable servants. But while we are called, 
as with an archangers trumpet, to rise and shine, and lei 
the world see our light; we are dividing, and disputing, 
and strengthening locid feelings, and cherishing sectarian 
jealousies, and letting sinners go to perdition ! But what 
can we do ? In answer, I say, that when men are excited 
argument is of no avail. ' Nothing bitt one strong fbbi^ 
iNo CAN PUT DOWN ANOTHER. Our learned Doctors may 
wear out their pens, and put out their eyes, and they, 
and their partizans, will be of the same opinon still. 
The Church is not to be purified by controversy, but by 
holy love. And ignorant as many of us are, and far be- 
hind die discoveries of the day, by knowing Christ cruci* 
fied, we know enough to kindle up holy love, and to 
make us feel all its constraining influences. I have, there- 
fore, brought my mind to the conclusion, that the thing 
most needed at this present time is a revival of religion 

D0«9OX fttCE. 898 

amon^ ciiriiittaii*, and espeeially % larger iBCveaae of holi- 
ness among ministers. We had a {feasant meetiiig at the 
last General AsMmbly. On marking what was done then, 
I made a vow to the Lord, that in my poor way I would do 
what I could, to have next spring such a General Assembly 
as never befbte met on eavth. I know that ttiis kwks Uke 
j^resttmptiMi in me. But I hope that many wiU aid by 
piayer, aad mighly eflbit, m this thing. I want some of 
my beloved Neiw England ftiends to eeme Co Philadelphia, 
ysm^ to try to get good, send to do good; to eome without 
Ceding that they belong to New England, hvt that they 
belong ta Chiwt and his Chnsch; not to any one wonl 
about any matter in dispute anaoiig christians, but deter- 
mjaed to know noAing bat Christ and him crueided. 
And I wish that tins meeting may be a snb^t of much 
prayer, and previous preparation. We must figh tfire with 
five, and kindle such a ^me of divine love, that it will 
bum \vf^ every msterial for unhallowed fire to work on. 

I wish, too, that some plan might be devised for kindling 
op m the Presbyterian church, the true spirit of Missions, 
and rousing this great sluggii^ body from its deep. Here 
i»a sabjeet of delieacy and diffieulty* The Fresbyterian 
spirit has been so awakened up, that I begin to apprehend 
that no power of man will ever bring the whole body to unite 
under what is thoughi to be a Congregational Board. But 
the ^Iraveh most not be under the guik of letting souls perish, 
who might be saved. What can be done ! Here we want 
wisdom. I never will do any thing to injure the wisest and 
best Missionary Society in the world, the American Board. 
But can no ingenuity devise a scheme of a Presbyterian 
Branch of the Ameriean- Boafrd-^«o-ordinate-H8ufficiently 
connected with the General As8eHiA)ly to satisfy scrupulous 
Presbyterians, yet in union with ^e Original Board—having 
the same object, and tending to the same result ? Do think 
of this. Something must be done ; but I cannot say what. 
Toa are the only person in the woiid to whom I have men- 


Uoned this* and I throw it out to set your mind to work. Do 
let me hear iiom yon soon. 

Yours most cordially^ 


In this state of mind and feeling, on the second Sabbath of 
the following month, he preached in the neighbouring church 
to a large and attentive congregation, the last somon that 
was ever to come from his lips; and with striking effect. I 
have been told, indeed, by several judicious persons Mrhp 
were present, that it was undoubtedly the very beet and 
ablest discourse that they had ever heard from him, and one 
which, they thought, could hardly be surpassed. The sub- 
ject of it, it seems, was the Signs of the Times ; and they 
describe it as presenting the most striking and solemn views 
of the mighty and magnificent contest between the Ckurch 
and the World, which he saw (as it seemed,) rapidly ap- 
proaching, and almost at hand. At the same time, they say, 
his whole manner was deeply and singularly earnest and im- 
pressive, and there was something in the very tone of his 
voice that appeared to be of a ** hi^^er mood,*' and hardly 
belonging to the earth. The whole discourse, in fact, seemed 
to be as it were the warning voice of a prophet, and the con- 
clusion particularly, in which he exhorted his hearers to 
come out more visibly and palpably from the world, and 
show themselves openly and' distinctly on the Lord's side, 
fell forcibly on all their hearts. 

Soon afterwards, on the Wednesday evening followingr, 
his disease returned upon him with new violence, and retir* 
ing to bed with a distressing cold, he awoke in the night with 
a severe stricture in the throat, and great soreness in his 
breast, and immediately sent off for his fnend. Dr. Mettauer, 
who soon came, and bled him, and gave him a dose of calo- 
mel, which relieved him from his paroxysm for the time. 
The disease, however, still continued upon him, and cm- 
fined him, for the most part, to his bed from which he set- 


dom rose, and hardly ever to ieaye the room. In general, 
indeed, he suffered no great pain, hut complained only of a 
dull aching sensation in the left side. At times, however, 
he had severe fits of nervous distress, during which he 
appeared to have lost all his powers and faculties ; hut his 
eye still -beamed with even more than its usual brightness, 
and his pulse continued strong. 

At this time, the physicians who attended him. Dr. Mor- 
ton, Dr. Mettauer, and Dr. Farrar, and who vied with each 
other in their kind and assiduous services to him, did not 
apprehend that he was in any immediate danger, nor indeed 
that- his disease was likely to prove fatal. His old precep- 
tor, too. Dr. Wilson, came to see him occasionally, and en- 
couragingly said, «* he will come out with the butterflies"— 
in the spring. He had himself, however, it seems, from the 
first, a strong presentiment that his sickness was unto death ; 
but he was fully prepared for the event, and ready for all the 
will of God. Indeed, he seldom spoke of himself; but 
seemed to consider himself as nothing, and gave all his at- 
tention (as long as he could attend to any thing,) to the 
Seminary, and to the cause of Christ, which was always in 
his heart. In this spirit, he continued to prescribe and direct 
the studies of the young men under his care, through his at- 
tentive and devoted assistant, Mr. Ballantine, who came regu- 
larly to his bed side for his directions about the studies of the 
pupils, and by whose hand, and that of Mrs. Rice, he con- 
tinued to write such letters as he found necessary, or thought 
might be useful. Among these, I find the following, which 
displays his zeal for the cause of popular education in a very 
lively manner. 


Urdon Seminafy, Jan, 7th, 1831. 

My Dear Sir, 

I was in bad health when I met you in Philadelphia, and 

centinued unwell until about twenty days ago, when I was 



takea viokntly sick. Sinee that time, 1 have been confined 
to bed where I am bow dictating this letter to a yonng friend. 
Uncertain of course of the issue of the disease, and separated 
from many of the objects of cnstomary influence, I have 
thought much fd those whom I love, and with whom I have 
in times past taken sweet counsel. The remembrance of 
no one has more frequently recurred than of yourself. 

You are now occupying a situation in which I have long 
wished to see you. Your entrance into the councils of the 
state at the present juncture, is very opportune ; and I exceed- 
ingly rejoice that you were brought in entirely in consist- 
ence with your principles. It gave me particular pleasure, 
too, to understand that you were a member of the committee 
for Schools and Colleges. Knowing how you appreciate 
sound education, I do hope that you will be enabled to exert 
a highly beneficial influence on that all-important interest. 
It would be worse than useless for me to undertake to stim- 
ulate your zeal in regard to this subject, or suggest the ur- 
gency with which the signs of the times call attention to it. 
I am inc^abk in present circumstances of offering any ge- 
neral observations worthy of attention ; but there is one par- 
ticular topic which I wish to present to your consideration. 
I am most fully persuaded that none of us have any adequate 
idea of the extent of the deficiency of common education in 
Virginia. In the county of Prince Edward, where this sub- 
ject is perhaps as well attended to as in any other county in 
the state, there are some where about one thousand four 
hundred persons belrween ^ve and fifteen years of age, that 
is, persons whose education ought to have commenced, but 
yet cannot be considered as complete. Now nearly forty- 
five schools at an average of thirty scholars each, are neces- 
sary for this county. But after all my inquiries I cannot 
learn that there are as many as eighteen schools with thirty 
scholars each. So that in Prince Edward some where about 
eight or nine hundred children are not obtaining any thing 
like a suitable education. Making every allowance for in- 


aecoracy, how alarmm; is ifae insult Inquiries which I 
have made an this subject, hare enabled me to account for 
most painful facts, which on unquestionable authority, have 
been reported to me respecting the astonishing number of 
citizens, young and old, unable to write or read. Now it 
seems to me obvious that in order to provide an adequate 
remedy, we must know the extent of the evil. And I would 
propose whether some measure might not be adopted to ob« 
tain the annual statistics of common education. Might not 
the Commissioners of the Revenue, when taking every year 
the lii^ of taxable property, be required by law to ascertain 
the number of children going to school in each county ? My 
object is in some way or other to collect facts which will 
enable the wise men of the state to ascertain what must be 
done for the extension and proper support of primary schools. 
But I can only throw out these hints, assured that you will 
make use of them as far as they are of any real value. 

Although my disease is greatly mitigated, and the doctors 
entertain hope of a speedy recovery, I find that my strength 
is weakness, and I am obliged to conclude with assurances 
that, in sickness and in health, 

I am truly y9ur friend. 

John H. Rice. 

Some time in. the following month, he received a letter 
from his friend, Dr. Alexander, condoling with him in his 
afflicted state, and telling him, among other things, that pub- 
lic prayers were offered up in the Seminary at Princeton for 
his recovery; which seemed to affect him greatly, for a while. 
But he soon turned his thoughts away from his own state to 
that of the church, which was always uppermost in his heart; 
and, deeply impressed with the conviction which he now 
felt more strongly than ever, that it was the duty of the Pres- 
byterian church in this country, as such, to move forward 
with her whole weight and power, in the cause of Foreign 
Missions, h^ dictated to his amanuensis as he lay upon his 


bed, the following Project of an Overture to be laid before 
tho General Assemby at its ensuing session, and which he 
caused to be forwarded to his friend. Professor Hodge, of the 
Theological Seminary at Princeton, with a request that he 
would lay it before the other Professors also, for considera- 
tion and adyice.* 

Project of an Overture to be submitted to the next General 


The Presbyterian Church in the United States of North 
America, in organizing their form of Government, and in 
repeated declarations made through their Representatives in 
after times, have solemnly recognized the importance of the 
Missionary cause, and their obligation as Christians, to pro- 
mote it by all the means in their power. But these various 
acknowledgments have not gone to the full extent of the ob- 
ligation imposed by the Head of the Church, nor have they 
produced exertions at all corresponding thereto. Indeed in 
the judgment of this General Assembly, one primary and 

* The paper was forwarded to Professor H. by Dr. R*8 assistant with 
a note in these words : 

Union Seminary^ March ith, 1831. 
Deaa Sir, 

The Rev. Dr. Rice had the ahove Overture, which he indited while 
lying on his sick-hed, copied upon a large sheet, intending when Pro- 
vidence should restore his health, to occupy the hlank space, in laying 
before you more at large, his views and feelings on the suhject which 
the overture presents. But there is no prospect of his being soon at 
least able to write, and the time of the assembly draws near. He is 
therefore compelled to send you the article as it is. He wishes you to 
submit it also to the other Professors of your Seminary, and desires a 
communication of your views with regard to it His health does not 
sensibly improve. He is confined entirely to his bed. The physicians 
do not appear however to anticipate a fatal result. 


E. BALLANTINE, Amanuensis. 

Rev. Paof. Hodgs. ^ 


prkicipal object of die inetitttlion of the Chnrcb by Jeeus 
Christ was, not so much the salvation of individual Ohris- 
tianst-— for, <* he that believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shall 
be saved"^-but the eommunicating of the blessing of the 
Gospel to the destitute with the efficiency of united efibrt. 
The entire history of the Christian Societies organized by 
the Apostles affords abundant evidence that they so under- 
stood the design of their Master. They received from Him 
a command to ** preach the Gospel to every creature"— and 
from the Churches planted by them, the word of the Lord 
was '* sounded out," through all parts of the civilired world. 
Nor did the missionary spirit of the primitive Churches ex- 
pire, until they had become secularized and corrupted by 
another spirit. And it is the decided belief of this Gene- 
ral Assembly that a true revival of religion in any denomina- 
tion of Christians, will generaUy, if not universally, be 
marked by an increased sense of obligation to execute the 
commission which Clirist gave to the Apostles. 

The General Assembly would therefore, in the most pub- 
lic and solemn manner, express their shame and sorrow that 
the Church represented by them has done, comparatively, so 
little to make known the saving health of the Gospel to all 
nations. At the same time, they would express their grate- 
ful sense of the goodness of the Lord, in employing the 
instrumentality of others to send salvation to the heathen. 
Particularly would they rejoice at the Divine favour mani- 
fested to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign 
Missions, whose perseverance, whose prudence, whose skill, 
in conducting this most important interest, merit the praise, 
and excite the joy of all the Churches. 

With an earnest desire therefore, to co-operate with this 

noble Institution ; to fulfil, in some part at least, their own 

obligations ; and to answer the just expectations of the friends 

of Christ in other denominations, and in other countries ; in 

obedience also to what is believed to be the command of 

Christ ; be it therefore Resolved^ 



1. That the Presbyterian Chnrch in the United States is 
a Missionary Society; the object of which is to aid in the 
conversion of the world; and that every member of the 
Charch is a member for life of said Society, and bound in 
maintenance of his Christian character, to do all in his power 
for the accomplishment of this object. 

2. That the Ministers of the Gospel in connection with 
the Presbyterian Church, are hereby most solemnly required 
to present this subject to the members of their respective 
congregations, using every effort to make them feel their ob- 
ligations, and to induce them to contribute according to their 

3. That a Committee of — — be appointed from year to 
year by the General Assembly, to be designated, "The 
Committee of the Presbyterian Church of the United States 
for Foreign Missions," to whose management this whole 
concern shjaill be confided, with directions to report all their 
transactions to the Churches. 

4. The Committee shall have power to appoint a Chair- 
man, Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer, and other neces- 
sary officers. 

&. The Committee shall, as far as the nature of the case 
will admit, be co*ordinate with the American Board o£ Com- 
missioners for Foreign Missions, and shall correspond and 
co-operate with that Association, in every possible way, for 
the accomplishment of the great objects which it has in 

6. In as much as numbers belonging to the Presbyterian 
Church have already, to some extent, acknowledged their 
obligations, and have been accustomed, from year to year, to 
contribute to the funds of the American Board, and others 
may hereafter prefer: to give that destination to their contri- 
butions; and inasmuch as the General Assembly, so far 
from wishing to limit or impede the operations of that Board, 
is earnestly desirous that they may be enlarged to the greatest 
possible extent ; it is therefore to be distinctly understood, 


that all individuals, Congregations, or Missionary Associa- 
tions, are at liberty to send their contributions either to the 
American' Board, or to the Committee for Foreign Missions 
of the Presbyterian Church, as to the contributors may ap- 
pear most likely to advance the great object of the conver- 
sion of the world. 

7. That every Church Session be authorized to receive 
contributions ; and be directed to state in their annual reports 
to the Presbytery, distinctly, the amount contributed by their 
respective Churches for Foreign Missions : and that it be 
earnestly recommended to all Church Sessions, in hereafter 
admitting new members to the Churches, distinctly to state 
to candidates for admission, that if they join the church, they 
join a community, the object of which is the conversion of 
the heathen world, and to impress on their minds a deep 
sense of their obligation as redeemed sinners, to co-operate 
in the accomplishment of the great object of Christ's mission 
to the world," 

A noble «* project," indeed ; and worthy to be, as it was, 
(in a sense,) the last public act of such a man !^ 

Some time afterwards in this month, there was a four 
days' meeting held at the Brick Church, in the neighbouiv 
hood of the Seminary, when the Rev. Messrs. Stanton, 
Armistead, White, and others, preached in demonstration of 
the Spirit; and many persons were suddenly and strikingly 
awakened, convinced, and converted to God. Among these, 
not a few ascribed their first impressions of religion to Dr. 
Rice's faithful preaching, and the news of one, and another, 
and another, rejoicing in the hope of salvation through Jesus 
Christ, carried to him as he lay on his bed, filled his heart 

* I may add here, that the measure recommended in this overtare„ 
was adopted (in substance,) hy the last General Assembly, whose act 
upon this subject deserves the cordial support of every member of thQ 
Church throughout the country. 


with unspeakable joy. ** Amazing'— ^astonishing !" a^ he, 
and '* O I that I could aid the triumph with my voice !•*- 
But the Lord's will be done I" He seemed indeed to thixik, 
for the moment, that this was a beginniog of the gathering 
of the Lord's host for the coming conflict of the Church, to 
which he had alluded in his last sermon ; and the fact Uiat 
two of his attending physicians, and several of his con- 
nexions and friends were among the converts, filled him 
with inexpressible delight. 

Animated and excited by these events, he now seemed 
occasionally to feel a cheerful hope that he should recover, 
and said more than once, '* When I get well, I shall have a 
new lesson to give my pupils. At least, I shall give them 
an old one with new emphasis ; and it is thisy— that they 
must never let their zeal for active service nm away with 
their private devotions." In general, however, he was still 
persuaded that his disease was mortal, and when his friends 
expressed their hopes that he would rally again, he said, 
**No, it cannot be; I feel an iron hand upon me that is 
crushing me to death. I cannot escape from iL I have a 
secret malady that my physicians, with all their skill and 
kindness, cannot find out; and it must carry me off at 

Still, as the spring advanced, he seemed to. gain a little 
strength ; and his brother-in-law. Dr. Morton, had a small 
hand carriage made for him, with an arm-chair placed on it, 
and, lifting him out of his bed from which he could no lon- 
ger rise without help, either he, or Mr. Ballantine would 
draw him out occasionally into the garden, where he might 
see the trees and flowers which he had planted with his own 
hand to adorn the ground ; but the sight of them now only 
filled him with distress, and he was soon glad to confine 
himself again to his room, and his bed. His situation, in« 
deed, was now truly pitiable. Without appetite — without 
taste— 'yet full of nervous sensibility, he could not bear the 
noise of a pen, or even the sight of a rose, which he would 


once have viewed with so much pleasure ; and almost every 
thing seemed to give him pain. 

While in this state, Mr. Ballantine read to him one day, 
from a newspaper, the death of that eminent and excellent 
man of God, the late Jeremiah Evarts, Secretary of the 
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which af- 
fected him greatly. " Alas !" said he, " God is taking away 
the staff and stay from Israel. The feiv that are left will 
not be regarded, and the many will carry all before them. 
Numbers will overwhelm us at last." 

Shortly afterwards, he received a letter from the late Mr. 
Cornelius, whom he highly esteemed, (and who has since 
followed him,) in which that zealous and devoted servant of 
the church endeavoured to cheer him with the sentiment, 
that " every man was immortal until his work was done," 
but he could not bear to hear the whole of it read. 

He received, also, the following letter from his friend Mr. 
Wirt, who had lately been called to mourn for the death of 
his youngest daughter, under circumstances well calculated 
to affect him deeply, and who, having heard of the protract- 
ed and alarming sickness of Dr. Rice, now wrote to him, to 
assure him of his sympathy, in the most amiable and affec- 
tionate manner, as follows : 


Bcdtimorey May 26th, 1831. 
How are you, my dear friend ? Though we have been in 
deep affliction from our own loss, my mind has been often 
wandering to you, with painful anxiety on account of your 
ill health, as described in dear Mrs. Rice's letter, and now 
we are almost in despair from what Mrs. Nevins has told us. 
But the Lord can still raise you up to do farther good among 
us, if it be his blessed will, and, if otherwise, we know that 
ouf loss will be your gain. I have thought from the friend- 
ship you have always shown us, it might be some consola- 
tion to you to know that the dispensation with which we 

M4 xaxoxB OF 

have been raited has not been lost upon us. The sdeelion 
was too significant not to be understood. And although we 
hare suffered all the anguish that parents can feel under 
such a bereavement* we have learned to bless and thank our 
God, for his mercy to her and to us, in removing her from 
the storms and dangers of this wicked world, and transplant- 
ing our tender flower into his own garden, and cutting the 
strongest cord that bound us to the earth. We have seen 
her, almost visibly, ascend to heaven before us, and now feel 
that we have nothing tu do but to prepare with all our might, 
under the assistance of our God and Saviour, to follow her. 
We know that there is no access to heaven but that through 
which she passed, the merits of our Redeemer ; and we are 
all seeking him, in sincerity I trust, who has promised that 
if we seek him properly he will in no wise cast us out. May 
the Lord meet with us, and bless us in his own good way. 
I know that I deserve no such favour. God called me in 
my youth, and I heard him for a season ; but the infidels of 
Augusta, in Georgia, were permitted to prevail over his 
spirit, and to ridicule me out of my religion. My Heavenly 
Father might then have jusdy forsaken me,*— 4mt he never 
did. On the contrary his Spirit has always been striving 
with me, and maintaining a powerful, and at length a victorious 
contest, I trust, with the world. All unworthy as I know I 
am, and an object of offence to a pure and holy God, yet I 
know the all-sufficiency of my Redeemer's blood to purify 
and cleanse me, and present me an acceptable offering be- 
fore his Father's throne. My beloved wife and children are 
all looking to Heaven, and seeking preparation for a fit en- 
trance there ; not 96^ preparation, which we know is impos* 
Bible, but " by grace, through faith, and that not of ourselves ; 
it is the gift of God." And now, dear friend, if it be the 
will of Heaven that we part in time, farewell. We know 
not the specific mode of existence and happiness in that bet- 
ter world ; whether departed spirits take cognizance of what 
is passing on earth, or are permitted to know or feel any 


interest in what their Mends aie doing here. If they do, it 
has often occurred to me that our daiiing who loyed us so 
tenderly here, might have eyen the joys of Heaven enhanced 
by being permitted to know that her parents, sisters, and 
brothers, are deriving their highest consolation from the hope 
of meeting and embracing her again, where all tears shall be 
wiped away, and there shall be no more parting or sorrow. 
Our love and prayers are with you, dear friend : may the 
Almighty bless you. We desire to be gratefully and aBTec- 
tionately remembered to dear Mrs. Rice. 

WnjLiAM Wirt. 

But this letter also, he was unable to read, or to hear. 
Indeed, his nervous sensibility was now so great, tliat he 
eould not even bear the sight of his books ; and the reading 
of a single verse in the Bible seemed to agitate his whole 

He lay in this state (only growing weaker every day,) 
until about the beginning of July following, when a change- 
took place in the character of his disease, and he was at- 
tacked with a diarrhoea, which soon exhausted his little re* 
maining strength, and reduced him so much, that Dr. Mor- 
ton was able to take him up in his arms, and carry him 
from the basement-story, up stairs, to another room. Here 
he lay, day after day, and night after night, rather dying than 
living; saying very little to anyone, and apparently only 
waiting, in silent submission, till his change should come. 

His relatives and friends had now lost all hope of his re- 
covery ; and about the beginning of August, his beloved bro- 
ther, the Rev. Benjamin H. Rice, came on from New York, 
with his wife and daughter, to see him once mere before he 
died. It was evening when they arrived at the Seminary, 
and Mrs. Rice, wishing to prepare him for the interview, 
did not immediately inform him that they had come ; but he 
seemed to divine it by his own heart, and said, '* there is 
some one in the house, and you are keeping it from me. I 


suspect it is brother Benjamin; let him come in.^^ He 
was accordingly brought in, with his wife, and daughter; 
and Dr. Rice took them all affectionately by the band, 
but without saying a word. Shortly afterwards, he said, 
** It is too much for me ; they must leave me soon.'* They 
staid, however, a fortnight with him ; and did all his situa- 
tion and circumstances permitted, to show their attachment 
to the best of brothers, and of men. But it was at length 
necessary for them to depart; and when he saw his 
brother before him, as he knew and felt for the last time 
on earth, he fixed his eye upon him with unspeakable 
affection, and said faintly, *' God bless you ;*' when his 
brother, overcome with his feelings, hurried out of the 
room, and Mr. Ballantine gently closed the door after him, 
that the voice of his grief might not reach the ear of his 
suffering friend. 

Shortly after this, a small quantity of blood was taken from 
him, Avhich seemed to check his disease, and give him some 
respite. At the same time, his appetite increased a little, 
which, with some other symptoms, made his physicians flat- 
ter themselves that his malady might be about to take a fa- 
vourable tuin ; but this hope was not realized, and he soon 
grew sensibly and rapidly worse. . He complained now, 
more and more, of the stricture in his throat, which he com- 
pared to a band of leather drawn tightly around it, and 
which, he said, would strangle him at last. He had also 
nervous spasms in his feet and legs ; his feet particularly 
were often drawn up hard and stiff, and could scarcely be 
bent ; and he required almost constant rubbing with the hand ; 
which would sometimes soothe him to sleep, and so give 
him a little relief from pain. 

At length, on Friday night, the 2d of September, (1831,) 
after a violent paroxysm, in which he appeared to suffer 
greatly, he took an anodyne of laudanum which relieved his 
pain, and he fell into a gentle sleep, which lasted through 
tlie whole night. The next morning, however, as the day 

D60T011 filOlB. S97 

broke, Um. Rice who was watching by him, saw a striking 
change in his countenance — a ghastly hue upon it — which 
alirmed her greatly, and calling in her brother. Dr. Morton, 
who was staying in the house with his patient, they tried to 
rouse him from his stupor-^but in vain. An hour afterwards 
he awoke, and, seeming to foe sensible of his approaching 
end, addressed his wife, as she sat by him, with her head 
leaning upon the bed, ^* I wish," said he, feebly, yet firmly, 
** to see you, and to assure you at this hour," (as if it were 
his last,) ** that I love you with unabated affection. I know, 
that the Lord will take care of you, and I trust you entirely to 
Him. I cannot tell you where you had best live ; bift He will 
provide. Give my love to the Goodriches — ^to Ballantine — 
and to all the students," (many of whom had by this time come 
into the room,) '* and toHttle Rosa Kent — may the Lord bless 
her. And the dear old Major" — here Mary Morton, the 
daughter of his niece, Mrs. Elvira Morton, came in, when 
he turned to her and s^d, ** My dear Mary, may you be 
blest of the Lord." 

Mrs. Rice then said to him, ** Here is your sister Sally 

He said, " My dear sister, don't weep. Give my love to 
all my relations in Bedford-«-and especially to my dear 
eldest sister Edith." 

Here, seeing the students who had come in, and seeming 
to think that they were waiting to hear his last words, he 
said, '^ I have no set speech for this occasion." 

Doctor Morton now entered the room, when, addressing 
him, he said, << I wish all the world to know how I love you, 
and what confidence I have in you." 

Then hearing Mrs. Goodrich, his iHster, and his niece 
weeping, he said softly, ** Don't weep so — you distress me." 

At this, Mrs. Rice said to him "you see /do not weep." 

** No !""said he, gazing on her with unutterable tenderness, 

<« 1 see you do not ; and I hope you will be sustained to the 

last x^inute^" 



Tet hiB hour was not quite come ; but be ISngered tbvoiif^ 
the whole dayi apparentlj in great pain. Indeed, he said 
onoe, **Ifeel asif the wheels of my life were going one way, 
and the axis of the earth the other, and I am bxeeking between 
them." He complained, too, of great weariness, and ex* 
claimed, ** Oh that I could rest for one single moment !" 
Mrs. Rice said to him, ** You will soon have a glorkras 
rest." He answered, ** Pray for me." 

Onoe also, when he complained of his suiierings, die said^ 
«^ Can't you look up to the Saviour ?" he replied, <* My 
bodily agony is so great that I can look no where." Still, 
his countenance was calm, his eye was serene, and he was 
whdly resigned to the will of God. 

In the mean time, the students were coming in and going 
out, and Iriends from the neighbourhood, among whom he 
recognised President Gushing, and some others, all anxious 
to hear or see him for the last time. 

As the son went down, he grew evidently weaker and 
colder, and appeared to be in great pain, when Mrs. Rice 
suggested that a little opium might give him ease. He said, 
•< I should be glad of any thing that would." Doctor M(m^ 
ton then gave him a little, which seemed to sooth him fi»r a 
moment. Still he breathed hardly, and no doubt suffered ex- 
tremely ; but he said nothing, (probably engaged in silent 
prayer,) till about 9 o'clock; when, all at once, as Mrs. Rice 
was reclining on the bed, by his side, and Mrs. Goodrich, 
Dr. Morton, and a number of the students were about 
in the room, he turned towards his wife, and throwing his 
arms about her neck, and lodLing in her lace with a dear 
bright eye, beaming with heavenly joy, he exdaimed, 
«* Meroy is triimiphant." As he spoke the last word, how- 
ever, his voice fell, so that they could not hear it di^net- 
ly, and Mrs. Goo^idi asked, "was it great ^' Mrs. Rice 
said, «* no, it was a longer word"— when, as it seemed, to an- 
swer their inquiry, and impelled by the energy of the sentimeut 
in his heart, he repeated the word — « triumphant"-^when 


imtaaxly his head fell — ^they all ezcbdined ** he is gone^^'-^ 
and Dr. Morton ooming up, took down his arms from about 
fais wife's neck, and straightened liis body on the bed, to gire 
him a more easy position, when he gave two or three gasps, 
and expired without a groan. 

So died this admirable man— crowning (by the grsce of 
his Master,) an eminently useful and honourable life, long la- 
boriously employed, and at last consumed, in promoting aH 
the best and dearest interests of his fellow men, by a happy 
and triumphant death, and ascending, as we believe, in the 
spirit, to reap the reward of all his toils upon earth, by << an 
abundant entrance into the joy of his Lord.'* 

In contemplating the character of Dr. Rice, as exhibited 
in his life, in all its bearings, and more particularly in its as- 
pect and influence upon the movements of the church, and, 
of course, upon the destinies of the country, I cannot but feel 
that to display it as it deserves, requires a fair abler hand than 
mine ; and I gladly avail myself, accordingly, of that of Doc- 
tor Alexander, who could more properly discharge this duty, 
and who has, most obligingly, favoured me with the fol- 
lowing just and appropriate tribute to the memory of his 

"iTo give a proper view of the character of Doctor Rice, 
is, I feel, a very difficult task ; for although it would be easy 
to declare, in the general, that he was a truly great and ex- 
traordinary man, yet to delineate correctly those traits of cha- 
racter by which he was distinguished, is not easy. 

*' It was undoubtedly one prominent characteristic of him, 
that his views were uncommonly large and comprehensive. 
He felt, indeed, as became a man who believed that he stood 
related to the whole human race, and considered himself a 
citizen of the world. No narrow horizon of sect or country, 
circumscribed his benevolent views and efforts. And in re- 
lation to this, he furnished by his own example, a proof, that 
our love to our own country, and to our own religious denomi* 

400 HEXoiRor 

nation, is not lessened by the exercise of a gener^ and eatpan- 
siye benevolence. That Dr. Rice was a sincere patriot, and 
that he was ardently attached to the Presbyterian Ohurchv 
none can doubt, who had the least acquaintance with him. 
But still his benevolent solicitude extended far beyond the 
limits of his own country and his own church. The inter- 
ests of all mankind, and of all branches of the Christian 
church, were objects of his regard. The scale on which he 
contemplated men and things, was as wide as the world. 
And not only were his views comprehensive, but discrimi- 
nating and profound. Appearances which often impose on 
less sagacious minds did not deceive him : he oilen appre- 
hended lurking dangers of an appalling kind, where a super- 
ficial observer would see nothing to create alarm. And as 
he extended his views to take in the interests of the whole 
existing race of men, so he carried them forward to unborn 
posterity ; and calculated the good or evil which would be 
likely to arise to many generations from the operation of ex- 
isting causes, or the influence of particular plans and institu- 
tions.' Perhaps, no man in the United States, had medita^ 
ted more justly or profoundly on the state of civil and reli- 
gious society, as exhibited in this country. As a specimen 
of his mode of thinking on this interesting subject, I refer 
with pleasure to the series of letters which he addressed to 
James Madison, Esq., late President of the United States, 
through the public press ; and the continuance of which, ac- 
cording to a plan which he had sketched for himself, was 
interrupted by the invasion of that fatal disease which ter- 
minated his useful life. 

" I do not know that I can more justly designate the true 
character of Dr. Rice than by saying, that he was influenced 
at the same time, by an ardent love of truth, and by an 
almost invincible desire to promote peace and unity among 
all real christians. That his general views of evangelical 
doctrine were clear and sound, and conformable with the 
adopted formularies of our church, will be clearly manife^tecl 


, by a perusal of his Theological Lectures, delivered to his 
students, at the Union Seminary; and which, though left 
unfinished, contain a learned and thorough discussion of 
those points which have heen most frequently disputed, 
and on which all the other parts of the system of sacred 
theology depend. Accordingly, no man with whom I hare 
been acquainted, appeared to be more deeply grieved than 
Dr. Rice, when certain theologians, fond of innovation, and 
reckless of consequences, came before the public with new 
views in theology, which were either logomachies, or cott« 
tained the germs of some exploded heresy. 

«* But while he was thus firmly Set for the defence of the 
great cardinal doctrines of the gospel, his zeal was not in- 
discriminate. He never was inclined to dispute about trifles 
and metaphysical subtleties. Controversy of this kihd, was 
the object of his sincere dislike; and he firmly believed, 
that in regard to many points, on which there has arisen 
much warm and acrimonious discussion, the only road to 
peace is, to relinquish our disputatious spirit, and to confine 
ourselves to such things as are revealed; and to such as are 
clearly within the limit of the human understanding. On 
this general principle most would agree ; but respecting the 
real importance of many disputed points in theology, 
opinions are exceedingly diverse. And I need not con- 
eeal, that some of Dr. Rice*s most intimate friends enter- 
tained the opinion, that he was disposed to extend this ex- 
cision of controversy, to more points than was consistent 
with a maintenance of the complete system of sound doc- 
trine. If we should even admit, that he pushed this prin- 
ciple to an extreme, it only shows how strongly his benevo- 
lent mind was inclined to promote peace among brethren, 
who agree in all fundamental points, and who are of^en in 
fact, much nearer together in opinion, than on either side is 
supposed. When leading men, thus agreeing in all essential 
matters, entered into the public arena of polemics, and con- 
tended before the world, and to the disturbance of the peace 



of the churchy it grieved him exceedingly; and he spared no 
pains to prevent such controversies, or to bring them to a close 
where they existed. And his efforts to promote peace were 
not altogether ineffectual. It is somewhat remarkable^ that 
the Presbyterian clergy of Virginia, although differing from 
one another in as many speculative points as is common 
elsewhere, yet have managed so as not to suffer these minor 
differences to disturb their mutual harmony, or to be agi- 
tated as matters of controversy before the churches. This 
has been owing very much to the governing influence of an 
ardent love of peace, in such men as the late Rev. Dr. Hoge* 
and the Rev. Dr. Rice, and others of a like spirit. 

*< Our friend, when quite young, brought himself into no- 
tice before the representatives of the Presbyteries, met in 
General Assembly, in Philadelphia, by a discourse which 
he delivered at the opening of that judicatory, at the request 
of his esteemed friend, the Rev. Drury Lacy, who had been 
the moderator of the preceding year, but was prevented from 
performing this duty. This sermon proved to be a most 
seasonable one; for the two parties in the Presbyterian 
church, at that time, seemed ready to come to an open rup« 
ture. The discourse itself contained nothing very striking 
or remarkable ; but it was delivered with so much of the 
spirit of meek benevolence, and breathed so entirely tlielove 
of peace, that it operated as oil upon the troubled waters. 
From this time. Dr. Rice became a favourite with the public : 
and the reputation which he now acquired, he never forfeited, 
but continued to increase, as long as he lived. No man in 
our church, I believe, enjoyed, as generally, the confidence 
of all parties. In ecclesiastical bodies of which he was a 
member, his weight was felt, although he was not often upon 
his feet : his voice was seldom heard in the mana^ment of 
common business; but on subjects of importance he was 
sometimes eloquent. 

'' There was, perhaps, no one thing connected with the 
church militant, to which Dr. Rice uniformly manifested 

DOOTtfR RICE. 408 

$troD|;er opposition, than eccleBiattical tyranny ; or the at- 
tmnpt in clergymen to lord it over the consciences of their 
fellow christians. The love of liberty led him specially to 
oppose what are called high church principles. This induced 
him to animadvert with some severity on some discourses of 
bishop Ravenscroft, in which he believed these principles to 
be avowed, which led to almost the only controversy in 
which he was ever engaged. And although he was from 
principle and disposition averse to controversy ; yet he made 
it manifest, on this occasion, to all impartial judges, that few 
men have ever wielded the polemic pen with more adroit- 
ness and effect. Perhaps, nothing that he has written evinces 
80 clearly his intellectual superiority, as the review of bishop 
Ravenscroft's virulent but injudicious attack. It is a speci- 
men not only of unusual learning and ability, but an example 
of as complete a triumph as has almost ever been achieved. 
I speak not now respecting the main points in the Episcopal 
controversy, which were not the points at issue between Dr. 
Rice and bishop Ravenscroft, but of those high-church prin- 
ciples which had been assumed by the bishop, and of the 
ungracious assault which he had made on the character of 
his reviewer. I know that it was with extreme reluctance 
that he engaged in this contest, and not until his friends, far 
and near, assured him, that he owed it both to himself and 
to the Presbyterian church, to make a reply. 

^' The deep and solid piety of our highly esteemed friend 
was not diminished by increasing years and multiplied en- 
gagements ; but during his latter years, every time I saw him, 
he gave fresh evidence of a state of growing spirituality. 
His religion did not, as is the case with many, go and come 
by fits and starts ; it took deep root downward, and brought 
forth abundant fruit upward. I never knew a man of more 
perfect sincerity. He was never, even by feeling, transport- 
ed to assume a character or exhibit an appearance which did 
not correspond with his habitual principles. There was in 
his looks and manner, both in public and private, a peculiar 

404 MSMoim OF 

expression of benignity, which will b6 lemembered by all 
who knew him; but which was especially manifested to 
those with whom he was most intimate. Of the disinterest- 
ed character of his friendships, I could famish many con- 
vincing proofs, but this would be removing the veil from a 
subject not proper to be brought before the public. 

** I will only add, that if we judge of the character of Dr. 
Rice by the unerring rule of our Lord, < By their fruits, ye 
shall know them,' our estimate of him must rise very high. 
He was a man of deeds rather than words. His professions 
were always modest and sober ; but his works were numer- 
ous and highly important. Of the arduous course of study 
which he pursued without intermission from his earliest 
youth, I mean not now to speak ; nor, of the useful occupa- 
tion, in which for years he was faithfully and diligently en- 
gaged, as an instructor of youth ; many of whom, now fil- 
ling important stations in society, no doubt remember him 
with gratitude. Neither do I think it necessary to say any 
thing of his pastoral labours and difficulties, while settled in 
a retired country congregation; where necessity required 
him to add the duties of a preceptor to a select number of 
youth, (boarded in his own house,) to his pastoral labours. 
Passing all these scenes of early exertion, I will consider 
Dr. Rice as having fairly entered on the scene of his public 
labours, when he engaged in the arduous enterprise of es- 
tablishing a Presbyterian Church in the city of Richmond, 
where one had never before been organized. No one but 
the beloved companion of his life, and partner of all his joys 
and sorrows, knows fully the difficulties and discouragements 
which he had to encounter in this work. But ultimately, 
success crowned his exertions ; and the flourishing condi- 
tion of the first Presbyterian Church in that city, is itself a 
monument to his pious zeal and indefatigable industry. That 
church, which was long feeble, and seemed to be struggling 
for existence, is now one of the most important in the State, 
and promises to be the mother of numerous spiritual chil- 


dren for generations to come. While laboaring as a pastor, 
and encountering as many hardships and privations as any 
missionary, the labours of his pen alone were sufficient to 
occcupy the time, and task the powers, of any common man. 
The Periodical which he established and conducted, exer- 
cised a most important and salutary influence over the pub- 
lic mind ; and though, occasionally aided by some of his 
brethren, yet the incalculable labour of providing materials 
every month for this publication, fell almost entirely upon 
himself.. The volumes of 'The Virginia Evangelical 
and Literary Magazine,' continued for so many years, fur- 
nish indubitable evidence both of the vigour and versatility 
of his talents ; and at the same time, of the indefatigable in- 
dustry and perseverance with which he prosecuted his work. 
But in addition to Dr. Rice's incessant labours as a Pastor 
and Editor, he was frequendy called upon to visit destitute 
" places, and to attend sacramental and protracted meetings, to 
which calls, he never turned a deaf ear when it was in his 
power to comply with them ; and on these occasions, on 
account of the confidence of his brethren in him, and the 
wishes of the people, a much more than equal share of the 
labour fell upon him. Sometimes after long and fatiguing 
journeys, he would not have time to rest himself at home, 
before he was again called upon to go abroad, to perform 
some important service for the church. In this connexion I 
need scarcely mention the time and labour necessarily de- 
manded by the judicatories of the church, on which he made 
it a matter of conscience punctually to attend ; and was 
always ready to aid in all the business which came before 
them, in every way that he possibly could, having ever the 
edification of the church as his primary object. 

'* But his last works were the most laborious, and the most 
important. The founding of the Union Theological Semi* 
nary was very much the work of one man, and that man was 
Pr. Rice. When he was called to engage in this enterprise, 
the prospect of success wa^ e^^oeedingly gloomy; and most 


of his friends apprehended, that under existing drcamstanees, 
the object could not be accomplished. For a considerable 
time the enterprise was an up-hill undertaking. Not only 
were funds to be collected, but an interest in the scheme was 
io be created. The people, generally, were indifferent ; and 
there existed no small apathy among his clerical brethren. 
But by the blessing of God upon his almost single efforts, 
an institution of respectable character, and well endowed, 
has risen up in a country, where ministers are greatly needed. 
As long as this Theological Seminary endures, it will remain 
a monument, more honourable, and, we trust, more lasting, 
than marble or brass, of what maybe accomplished by the un- 
tiring labours of one man. I need not mention here, the fre» 
quent, long, and toilsome journeys which he performed to cdr 
lect funds for the institution : these are facts well known to 
all; but the far more difficult part of the enterprise was, to 
awaken the churches and the ministers from their apathy ; 
and, especially, to conciliate the friendship and co-opetatioii 
of such as were inimical to the plan. But even this he ac- 
complished by patient, firm, kind, and persevering exertions. 
When he began, only one Presbytery were concerned in 
this instituution ; but by wise counsel and well timed exer- 
tion, two large Synods which had never before had any mu^ 
tual intercourse, were now brought to unite cordially and 
vigorously in the prosecution of the plan. I do confess, 
tiiat I was long incredulous about the success of this enter- 
prise. I thought I saw insuperable obstacles in the way of 
its^ccomplishment ; s^hough I did every thing in my power 
to promote it ; and, now, when I see what has been achiev- 
ed, by the labours of one man, I am filled with grateful won- 
der, and feel ready to exclaim, «* What hath God wrought?" 
For we must ascribe all the praise to Him, from whom all 
good counsels, and all successful works proceed. 

*^ I will only add, that the true secret of Dr. Rice's suc- 
cess, was that his motives were always pure. He had no 
selfish and sinister ends, and this was apparent to ^U* 


" And, finally, he trusteed in God, and from Him received 
strength to labour and persevere, and also that wisdom 
which is profitable to direct." 

Such indeed viras' the character, and such were the ser- 
vices, of this truly eminent, and now exalted man; to 
whom, in concluding our work, we may well apply his 
own words: ''Scarcely can a spectacle of greater moral 
sublimity be presented to our view, than that of a man 
vrho by his genius aj^d learning has acquired a mastery 
o^Ter the understandings of others, and by his goodness has 
gained their confidence, swaying them to purposes, and 
rousing them to the accomplishment of designs, which all 
the truly good in the universe approve, and which God 
Almighty himself sanctions" — and rewards. 



I am indebted to Doctor Speece, of Augusta, for the fol- 
lowing notes of a sermon which (if circumstances had per* 
mitted,) he would have delivered according to appointment, 
before the Board of the Seminary, on the occasion of Doctor 
Rice's death ; and can only regret that he was prevented from 
expanding them as he would doubtless have done in the deli- 
very, in a manner worthy of his subject and of himself. 

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he 
shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them 
that love him. — James L 13. 

" The world deems those happy who enjoy the pleasures 
of this life ; those who are rich, powerful, famous. But 
our inspired apostle decided very differently* Blessed is 
the mant Sic. 

We are to consider the Christian's conflict, his victory, 
his reward. 

I. The servant of God, ordinarily goes through a series 
of temptations, or trials of his faith, patience, and integrity. 
His course is indeed a conflict. Take as samples, 

1. Bodily ills: sickness, pain. 

2. Anxieties about obtaining, about holding, and on losing 
objects dear to the heart. Sympathy with friends in distress. 
Sorer afHiction from their faulty conduct. 

3. Personal, unremitting contest for holiness, with the 
world ; with Satan ; and especially with his own w^ay ward, 
treacherous heart, the most dangerous of all his enemies. 

4. Anxieties about this wicked world, hurrying to utter 
destruction ; and about the Church of God, as to its purity, 
peace, increase. 

II. The servant of God, through grace, endures success- 
fully all these trials. He comes out of them approved^ Not 
human philosophy, but love to God, his Father in Christ, 
is the principle of his strength, perseverance, and victory. 
Thus the grace of God is illustriously manifested before 
spectators innumerable, seen and unseen, and God is glori- 
fied in every one of his redeemed people. 

▲FPSNPIX, 409 

III. The servant of God shall receive, not a fading 
wreath, but immortal life, glory, and happiness ; not as a 
matter of just claim, in whole or in part, but as the crown 
of victory which God has graciously promised him. 

Such a conflict, substantially, has been maintained, and is 
BOW happily consummated by our brother and friend. Dr. 
nice ; and that under some more than ordinary amount of 
responsibilities to God, the Church, and the world. We 
can only touch the prominent features of his character. 

1. He was a man of sincere and devoted piety ; of which, 
notwithstanding the infirmities which cleave to the best of 
mortals, we have as ample evidence as man can give to 
man. He consecrated a mind rich in genius, and furnished 
with large acquisitions of knowledge, to the glory of God 
and the good of mankind. 

2. As a preacher ; though his organs of speech did not 
admit of a fluent and fascinating delivery, his matter was 
luminous and weighty ; and his manner frequently, at least, 
was uncommonly solemn and impressive. In writing, he 
excelled otliers still more: he was the most accomplished 
writer in our Synod. 

3. He was a very zealous friend to general education 
and human improvement. He laboured much- in this noble 

He was a powerful advocate of pure, Protestant, christian 
liberty ; strenuously resisting all usurpation upon the rights 
of private judgment in matters of religion. Urged, contrary 
to his wishes, into controversy on this subject, it was here 
that he put forth the utmost energy of his talents and 

5. He distinguished himself, among many brethren of the 
same spirit, as an able advocate for an enlightened, able min« 
istry in the church of Christ. He was from the first, the 
principal founder of this Theological Seminary ; and conti- 
nued through his life to serve its interests more than any 
other individual. May his sentiments on the great subject of 
qualifications for the holy ministry be remembered and re« 
garded as they deserve to be. 

Let the mourning relict of Dr. Rice, and all his friends, 
console themselves with the assurance that he is gone to 
heaven ; and subordinately, that he has left an honourable 
name, long to be borne in mind by many within and with- 
out Virginia, his native land. 




I have been favoured by the Rev. Dr. Woods, of Andover^ 
with the following affectionate tribute to the memory of Dr. 
Rice ; which will be read with interest by all who read this 


Tlieological Seminary^ Andovevy Oct, 30/A, 1832. 
Dear Sir, 

I rejoice that a biography of our beloved Dr. Rice is to be 
published, and that the work of preparing it has fallen into 
your hands. It must, I am sure, be a source of improve- 
ment to you, as well as of pleasure, to survey the bright ex- 
ample of such a man, and trace out the attributes of his char- 
acter, and the variety of ways in which his distinguished 
powers were employed for the benefit of the church and the 

You ask for my recollections of Dr. Rice. But, my dear 
sir, they are too many to be recounted, and all deMghi^u]^ 
except the recollection of his lamented death. I began to 
respect and love him, and to correspond with him, before I 
saw him. Subsequently to our personal acquaintance, our 
correspondence was, as you suggest in your letter, of the 
most affectionate kind. The pacific and benevolent spirit 
which breathed in a sermon of his before the General Assem- 
bly of the Presbyterian Church, was the first thing which 
gave me an insight into his heart. After that time, and 
especially after he entered on his favourite plan of establish- 
ing a Theological Seminary in Virginia, he visited me often, 
and disclosed to me all his views and plans; his difficulties, 
his hopes, and his fears. The recollection «f those visits 
will ever be dear to my heart. He was a man whom I could 
not but love ardently. Such was his excellence of character, 
both intellectual and moral, and yet he was so unpretending; 
he united such humility and meekness and gentleness with 
rach real greatness, that he gained one's whole heart. I 
often recall his visits which were rendered doubly delightful 
by the company of his beloved wife. I dwell in pleasing 
remembrance on his conversation, which always displayed 
intelligence, and vivacity, and the steady glow of friendship 
and piety; and on his prayers, which exhibited every mark of 
sincerity and devout fervour, and were always touching to my 


feelings. Such was my confidence in his piety, that I was 
led to seek opportunities to join with him in prayer more 
frequently than is common. One such opportunity several 
years ago, I recollect with particular satisfaction. It was at 
the installation of Rev. Mr. Bardwell, after his return from 
India. My dear brother Rice and I were soon to separate, 
and, as we supposed, for a long time. Shortly after the pub- 
lic solemnities were closed, we left the crowd for a while, 
and sought a retired place in a little upper room, where, with 
tenderness and tears, he poured ou.t the fulness of his heart 
in prayer to God. 

The attributes of Dr. Rice's mind were all adapted to use- 
fulness. His understanding was lucid and strong, and well 
furnished ; his imagination prolific, but imder just restraints ; 
his taste delicate, his judgment sound. The powers and 
habits of his mind, and his acquisitions, were remarkably 
well balanced, and in good proportion : nothing excessive, 
nothing manifestly deficient. He was pre-eminently fitted 
to take the lead in the establishment and instruction of 
that Seminary, which was so dear an object of his affections, 
and in which he had the best prospect of growing success 
had his life and health been continued. He had some quali- 
fications of special value, as a teacher of Theology to young 
men preparing for the ministry. His reasoning powere 
were active and bold, but were uniformly directed to their 
proper objects, and kept within their proper limits. He was 
as far as the east is from the west, from whatever savoured 
of a sectarian spirit, or tended to foment division in the 
church. His heart sickened at the thought of unchristian 
strife among the ministers and followers of Jesus. 

He enjoyed the blessedness of being a peace maker. He 
had no dreams in religion, no favourite opinions, except in- 
deed the pure doctrines of revelation. He had no erratic 
notions, no singular phrases, no whims, — ^ho, not one. I 
never knew a man who had more zeal for the great truths of 
the gospel, or less zeal for unessential matters, or less bitter- 
ness against those who, in such matters differed from him. 
I never knew a man who showed less selfishness, or a more 
pure, disinterested attachment to the cause of the church. 
Oh that God would raise up many like him! 

But our dear brother had one fault, of which I took the 
liberty often and most solicitously to warn him, though, alas, 
with but little effect. It was a great fault, and was probably 
the occasion of his usefulness being out off in the midst of life. 
He was urged on by such ardour of soul to do good, and 


especially to promote the prosperity of his beloved Seminary, 
that he was too litde mindful of the importance of guarding 
against excessive and exhausting labours ; the importance of 
tddng care of his health, and using the necessary means of 
prolonging his useful life. This is the fault of many ; and 
unhappily it is a fault which fi^quently cuts short the labours 
and the life of those whose life and labours are most impor* 
tant to the church. 

There have been but few instances in which the decease 
of a christian minister has occasioned sorrow so deep' and 
lasting, as I have felt in this case. But the Lord liveth, and 
will raise up others of like spirit with our departed friend, to 
bless the church, and to adorn the sacred office. 

I am glad, my dear sir, that your letter has given me an 
opportunity to tell you, though in haste, how I loved my 
brother Rice, and however deeply I mourn his departure. I 
would not forget to utter the memory of God's great good- 
ness, in continuing his precious life and eminent usefulness 
so long, and in giving me the happiness of enjoying his 

Wishing that you may be divinely assisted to accomplish 
in the best manner, the good work you have undertaken, I 
am, dear sir, with great respect and affection, 

Your friend and servant, 

Leonard Woods* 


FEB 9 - 1954