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Full text of "Autobiography of Nathaniel Bouton, D.D. : former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Concord, and late state historian of New Hampshire : also, tributes to his memory by Prof. Henry D. Parker, D.D., E.E. Cummings, D.D., and Rev. F.D. Ayer"

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Nathaniel Bouton, D.D., 






AND Rev. F. D. AYER. 


\.'. ' ■ {(^v- ^0 / /C ^ 

NEW YORK : -^ 

900 Broadway, cor. 20th Strket. 






My father, of liis own accord, would never have written aline of auto- 
biography to be published either before or after his death. He shrank from 
disclosures of himself. In his sermons and addresses no reference to his 
personal history or private feelings and tastes can be found. His family 
knew about him but little more than they saw for themselves, except, when 
with his younger children, in moods of playfulness, he would recall some 
incident of his boyish days for their amusement. He was always reserved 
upon the subject of his early life. This reticence sprang from no wish to 
conceal anything in his past ; it was all honorable to him, and will bear 
the light it now receives ; but boasting was abhorrent to his nature, and he 
never sought to pose before others as a model man. He was not in the habit 
of quoting his own experience as an infallible guide for his children or 
anybodyelse. He had little faith in the power of mere words, but he be- 
lieved in the force of good example, and that he set before us contin- 
ually. His daily life among us was our best lesson. 

The accompanying " brief narrative," as he called it, was written 
at the request of his children. As his useful and honorable career 
neared its close, they were desirous to know more of its beginning. 
Though prepared exclusively for his descendants, it has been thought 
proper to make this autobiography public, in the belief that his many 
friends would be pleased to read it, and that some who did not know him 
personally might find the record instructive. It inculcates the virtues of 
an unswerving faith in Providence, of devotion to duty, of the strenuous 
application of all one's powers and faculties to a definite object in life. 
My father always deemed himself a child of Providence. He adduces many 
facts in this Memoir which confirmed him in that opinion In gratitude 
to the guiding hand of a higher Power which he ever recognized, he dedi- 
cated himself to the ministry. He considered his unstinted pastoral 
labors in Concord only inadequate payment of the great debt he owed to 
God. Her children now know, as they never knew before, why he lav- 
ished his bodily and mental resources on the parish for forty-two years ; why, 
in comparison with the First Congregational Church of Concord, all else 
was secondary. It was only a partial discharge of the obligation that 
rested on him. 

It follows from what has been said, that his home and family life did 


not occupy tlie first place in liis thoughts. Though an affectionate 
liusband and kind father, and fitted by nature, more than most men, to ap- 
preciate tranquil happiness in the domestic circle, he sought in it not an 
end but a means. He reversed the common rule. He did not toil in order 
to earn the rest at home made doubly sweet by his exertions ; but he took 
a sparing amount of relaxation with his family for the purpose of gather- 
ing fresh strength, to be spent in parochial duties. His habit of early ris- 
ing and retiring, his careful diet, his regular exercise, were all preparatives 
for the appointed work. He aimed to make his sermons better and all his 
labors more eifective by keeping his body healthy and his mind bright. 
So it happened that, during the most active years of his life, his faculties 
were never quite unbent at home. Signs of his mental pre-occupation were 
always visible. 

Notwithstanding the paramount claims upon his time and abilities 
as pastor, he was far from neglecting any real duty to his house- 
hold. His ideas of the parental relation were perhaps more of the antique 
type than those now prevalent. While he loved his children and made every 
sacrifice in his power for their good, he was never foolishly indulgent to 
them. His paternal administration was firm but strictly just. His child- 
ren found in him a wise and faithful adviser and the truest of friends. His 
anxiety for their welfare and happiness never abated. Long after the little 
flock had been widely scattered, his love and thoughtfulness followed 
them constantly. In his frequent letters to them, and particularly in 
those he wrote to each child on his or her birth-day, my father never 
omitted the prayerful wish that was dear to his heart. He chiefly de- 
sired for his children that they should lead useful lives, serving God in 
whatever station they might be placed. He would never have sought for 
them, any more than for himself, earthly riches or honors apart from 
those highest objects of existence. 

His habitual subordination of all other interests to those of his people led 
to an act of great self-denial in 1866. He had modestly formed the opin- 
ion that he was getting too old-fashioned for his pulpit. Though still 
vigorous in body and mind, he imagined that he was preaching with less 
power and satisfaction to his hearers than formerly. He therefore deter- 
mined to resign his pastorate, and to do this without asking or expect- 
ing from the church a pension or any provision whatever for his declin- 
ing years. At his age (67) it seemed rash to quit voluntarily a position 
in which he had passed the bast part of his life, and trust simply to the 
watch and care of Providence. He had no certainiy of support from any 
source for the future, but he did not hesitate to execute his decision. 
Firmly convinced that he was best serving his Divine Master by making 
way for a younger and fresher man, he severed his pastoral connection 
with the First Congregational Church. Fortunately he was not kept long 
waiting for the active employment his mind required. In the ofllce of State 
Historian, expressly created for him by APt of the Legislature of New 


Hampshire, approved by Governor Smyth, he found profitable use for 
most of his time as editor of the Provincial Records. He had cultivated 
historical studies with much delight in moments of leisure for many years 
previous, and was peculiarly fitted for the task before him. He passed in 
this new sphere of usefulness eleven contented years. The ten volumes of 
Provincial Records (four-fifths in his own handwriting) which he collated, 
edited and published in that time, form an enduring monumentof his indus- 
try, fidelity and painstaking care. During this period he preached as ac- 
ceptably as ever in many communities which desired his occasional ser- 
vices. For seven years after he withdrew from his long pastorate, about 
two-thirds of his Sabbaths were thus occupied. 

The comijletioii of the Provincial Records left my father without those 
regular pursuits which seemed indispensable to his well-being. He who was 
never known to be sick when his energies were taxed to the utmost, fell ill 
not long after the cessation of his absorbing work. For a time he seemed to 
keep up his health and spirits by the composition of the autobiography. That 
duty performed, and nothing else offering itself as a ready vent for his zeal to 
be up and doing, he quickly succumbed to the forced inaction. After a life 
of incessant toil, he could not sit down to repose. The disease that mas- 
tered him has its name in medical science. The physicians spoke of it as 
the result of, or allied with, a general decay of the bodily powers. But 
I think he would have lived longer had there been more hard work for him 
to do. 

This autobiography was left without any instructions to the editor. 
Only such personal and private matters have been omitted as have no 
direct bearing on the formation of my father's character and are not 
essential to a full understanding and appreciation of his life-work. Every 
word has been preserved that would bring into high relief the spiritual 
and moral lineaments of the man. Some interesting passages have been 
left out because they appear fully enough in the touching and admirable 
memorial discourse of Professor Parker, which is bound up in this volume. 
That review and estimate of my father's life and services, with the beautiful 
and pathetic tributes of Rev. Dr. Cummings and Rev. Mr. Ayer, who knew 
him long and well, fitly supplement the autobiography. They leave to filial 
love and reverence the desire to say no more, but to rest satisfied with these 
presentations of one who, as Head of the Family, Pastor und Public Ser- 
vant, was ever just and faithful and true. 

New York, December, 1878. J . B. B. 



Part I. — Childhood and Youth 9-^1 

Ancestry, 9; Reminiscences of Childhood, 10; Apprenticeship, 12; 
Religious Experience, 13 ; Purchase of My Indentures, 16. 

Part II. — Education 1 7-26 

Preparation for College, 17; New Canaan (Conn.), 18; Wilton 
(Conn.), 19; Admission to Yale College, 20; Recollections of 
College Life, 21; My Vacations, 23; Andover Theological 
Seminary, 24. 

Part III. — Ordination 27-34 

Invitations from Boston, Mass., and Concord, N. H., 27; My Candi- 
dateship at Concord, 29 ; The Call to Service, 30 ; Origin of the 
American Home Missionary Society, 32 ; Entrance upon the 
Ministry, 33. 

Part IV. — Ministry 35-42 

General Methods of Work, 37; Preparation of Sermons, 38; Expository 
Preaching, 40; Doctrinal Preaching, 41 ; Sabbath Evening Lec- 
tures, 42. 

Part V. — General Pastoral Work 43-57 

Lectures in School Districts, 43; Bible Classes, 44; Sabbath 
Schools, 44 ; Improvement of Occasions, 45 ; Meetings for 
Inquiry, 45 ; Family Conferences, 46 ; Church Co-operation, 
46 ; Visiting the Sick and Attending Funerals, 47 ; Marriages, 
48 ; Superintendence of Schools, 48 ; Concord Academy, 49 ; 
The Osgood Fund, 49; Other Ministerial Services, 50; Aid to 
Public Benevolent Objects, 50 ; Fortieth Anniversary, 51 ; Resig- 
nation of my Pastorate, 53 ; Summary of Facts and Results, 
54; Supplementary Ministry, 56. 

P.\rt VI. — Services as State Historian, etc 57-59 

Part VII. — Personal Remlxiscences 60-63 

Public, Executive, and Honorary Offices, 60 ; Dartmouth College, 
60; Rev. H. S. G. F"rench, 61; Rev. Ezra E.Adams, D.D., 
62 ; Rev. John C. Gulliver, D.D., 63. 


Tributes by Rev. E. E. Cummings, D.D., 65; and Rev. F. D. 
Ayer, 66-69. 


MEMORIAL DISCOURSE, delivered before the <' Hopkinton As- 
sociation " by Prof. Henry E. Parker, D.D., Dart. Coll 70-84 


From the First Congregational Church of Concord, 85 ; from the 
Merrimac Conference of Congregational Churches, 85 ; from the 
Concord Congregational Church Union, 86; from the Address 
of Bishop Niles, delivered at the Annual Convention of the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New Hampshire, 
86 ; from the New Hampshire Historical Society, 86 ; from the 
New Hampshire Antiquarian Society, 87. 


PART I. — Childhood and Youth. 

John Bouton, the common ancestor of all of the family name in 
this country, came from England in 1635. x\rriving at Boston, he 
Ancestry. probably went with the Connecticut Colony the 

same year to Hartford ; thence he removed to Norwalk, and there 
settled, as one of the original proprietors of the town, in 1651. 
The name is understood to be of French origin, although it is 
found in English genealogy. It is variously spelled in the ancient 
records, Bowton, Bowten, Bowtin, Boughton, Boutin, and Bouton.* 
The current tradition and opinion are that the Boutons of France were 
of the Huguenot religion ; and that, fleeing from persecution, they 
became associated with the Protestant dissenters in England. Cer- 
tain it is, that our ancestor, John Bouton, was of the true Puritan 
blood in this country. In reckoning our descent from our honor- 
able and honored ancestor, I trace back' six generations in a line. 
My father, William, was born in 1749. He married Sarah Benedict, 
of Norwalk, and lived in the old family residence, built by his father 
Joseph. In this house .were born to my parents fourteen children, 
of whom I was the youngest (June 20, 1799). It was a story and 

* The French stock is traced back authentically as far as 1350 to [ean Bouton, 
seigneur de Guintiguie, son of N. Bouton, seigneur de Savigny. Many of the 
name appear in the French military and court records of the fifteenth, sixteenth, 
and later centuries. Nicolas Bouton, born 1598, bore the titles of Count de 
Chamilly, Baron de Montague and de Nanton. His son Noel Bouton, born 
1636, advanced the honors of his house and was created Marquis of Chamilly and 
(in 1703) Marshal of France. See Dictionnaire des Generaux Fran^ais, Diction- 
naire de la Noblesse, ^c. 


a half house in front, with a long, slanting roof behind. It was 
taken down by my brother. Deacon John Bouton, and a new house 
built on the same spot. The premises are now owned and occupied 
by my nephew, John B. Bouton, of the seventh generation from 
our common ancestor. 

I should mention that this ancient house was situated on a home 
lot of about four acres, with an apple orchard and a garden. 
Besides, my father owned about thirty acres of tillage, pasture, and 
wood land, on which were raised corn, potatoes, and hay sufficient 
for family use. I remember to have heard him say he felt very 
thankful that, during the hard times of the Revolutionary war, and 
always since, he had been able to give his family a comfortable sup- 
port. In the Revolution, my father was sergeant of a guard along 
the shore, where British marauders came from Long Island, and my 
mother, in her later years, received a pension from the Government 
on his account. They lived together on the old homestead fifty-nine 
years. Here both died— my father in 1828. aged 79, and my 
mother in 1844, in the 93d year of her age. 

When about nine years of age, my father said he wished me to 

study English grammar. In the schools of Xorwalk, at that period, 

Reminiscences the principal branches taught were reading, writ- 

of ing, spelling, and arithmetic. Geography and 

Childhood. English grammar were not taught. Few masters 

were able to teach grammar; especially they did not understand 
parsing. However, as my father wished me to learn grammar, I 
committed to memory the rules contained in a little book called, I 
think, " Murray's Abridgement." I got along so well in arithmetic 
that the master would often send larger and older scholars to me to 
show them how to do their sums. I kept at, or near, the head oi 
the school in spelling. 

My impressions of family instructions and order are very distinct. 
Both father and mother were members of- the Prime Congrega- 
tional Church in Norwalk, and constant attendants on public wor- 
ship on the Sabbath. The distance to the meeting-house was two 
miles. My parents rode on horseback — mother on a pillion behind. 
The children went afoot. How early I began to attend church I 
cannot remember; but I was very constant from seven years of age 
to fourteen, or while I remained at home. In the afternoon of the 
Sabbath, about 4 or 5 o'clock, my father's rule was to hear the chil- 


dren at home recite the " Shorter Catechism," as it was called. 
Family worship, with reading of the Bible and prayers, was held 
morning and evening, to which, on Sundays, singing was added. 
The children also recited the Ten Commandments, and were taught 
to repeat the Lord's Prayer on going to bed, as also the familiar 
little petition, " Now I lay me down to sleep." I could not go to 
sleejj without saying my prayers. I distinctly recall seasons of ten- 
der religious impressions when I was very young. At one time, under 
the preaching of our minister, Rev. Mr. Swan, I was affected to tears, 
and left the church with many good resolutions. These early 
instructions at home and at church are remembered with gratitude; 
they kept me from being what might be called a "bad boy." 
Indeed, my conscience was quite tender, and when I had done any- 
thing that I knew was wrong, it troubled me till I could make satis- 
faction. I have always been strictly temperate. My temperance 
resolutions were put to a severe test when I was between thirteen 
and fourteen years of age, I was then old enough to work and to 
earn something. The pottery business was at that time extensively 
carried on in shops at the " Old Well,'' so called, and I engaged 
with one of the workmen to make up clay balls for him to turn into 
various kinds of vessels. He agreed to pay me five dollars a month. 
In the shop where I was employed were twelve or fifteen hands, 
and the rule of the shop was to drink liquor twice a day — at 1 1 
o'clock A. M. and 4 p. m. — and the youngest boy was sent to 
the store to buy it. That task fell to me. I daily went. Then, 
as all were expected to drink, my turn would come. I de- 
chned; I excused myself. They said, "Drink!" I said, "No!" 
They laughed at me; they bantered me; but I stood it out and 
never drank a glass. I record, as a singular after-experience, that 
the man who at that time employed me, and who daily drank his 
portion of the liquor which he sent me to procure, became himself 
an inebriate, and failed in health and in business; but he lived just 
long enough to hear me preach a discourse, fifteen years later, in 
which I de]jicted the terrible evils of intemperance, and alluded to 
the perils through which I had passed in my boyhood. He said, 
" It was all true." I never smoked a cigar in my life ; to which 
abstinence, in part, I ascribe the uniform good health I have always 

Certain remarks which my father made, now and then in my 


boyhood, had an influence on me all my life. Unconsciously to 
myself, they molded my opinions and character. One time, while 
digging in the garden, my father said : " ''I'haniel, no matter what 
work a man does, provided it is honest ! " 1 never forgot it ; I 
have always spontaneously, as from ]jrinciple, been the friend and 
advocate of labor. " No matter what, if honest !" 

Between the age of thirteen and fourteen, I began to think of a 
trade. But what to choose, I was entirely at a loss. Just here 

Apprentice- Providence was my guide. My father took a news- 
ship. pa|)er called the " Republican Farmer," printed at 

Bridgeport, by Stiles Nichols. The papers were distributed to sub- 
scribers weekly by a post-rider, who carried them in saddle-bags. 
He usually made his appearance at our house at a certain hour of 
the day. The paper often contained some interesting story, which 
was continued from week to week. In such case I was anxious to 
get it, and would run out to meet the post-rider at the given timcy 
and catching the paper, would run home to read the story ; as 
my father then had but few books, the " Republican Farmer " 
became to me a stimulant for knowledge. In the spring of 1813 
an advertisement appeared — " Wanted at this office, an apprentice to 
learn the printing business." As soon as I read it I said : " I will 
be a printer." Asking my father's consent to make application, 
I rode to Bridgeport, a distance of fifteen miles, and offered myselt 
to Mr. Nichols for an apprentice. I was not only young, but small 
of stature. He looked me over, inquired my age, etc. As I was the 
first who applied and was earnest about it, he agreed to take me on 
trial ; I was greatly pleased. I hastened home, which I reached 
about noon on the same day. As soon as practicable, I was fitted 
out for an apprenticeship at Bridgeport. I liked the business, and 
gained the good-will of Mr. Nichols and his family, where I boarded. 
In due time, my father came to Bridgeport, and I was regularly bound 
according to legal form, by indentures, to serve my master seven years 
rtill the age of twenty one, and he was bound to instruct me in the art 
and mystery of printing. All was satisfactory ; I was elated with the 
opportunity thus offered ofreadingand acquiring knowledge, which, 
otherwise, was beyond my reach. In about two years I could do 
the work of an ordinary journeyman, and now and then, I would write 
a short article for the paper, concealing, however, the authorship. 
The proprietor and editor, Mr. Nichols, was an elderly gentleman of 


respectable position in society, kind and obliging in spirit and man- 
ner. I do not remember that he ever spoke an unkind word to me, 
or found fault. He liked me and I liked him. 

I now come to a period of great consequence in my personal his- 
tory. I may call it the turning point of my life. I see in it the 
Religious gracious over-ruling hand of my Heavenly Father. 
Experience. Thus far I had been preserved from evil courses and 
habits in^ which many boys and young men of my age and ac- 
quaintance had fallen. My conscience was sensitive, yet I had no 
distinct religious convictions ; no clear sense of duty toward God; 
few thoughts relative to my future and immortal destiny, I was 
now over fifteen years of age. Some time early in the spring of the 
year 1815, I made a visit to my home in Norwalk. My father was 
aged and infirm, and as he had always been concerned for the 
spiritual welfare of his children, he took the opportunity to talk 
with, or rather to, me on that subject. Just before I set out on my 
return to Bridgeport he said, in substance :," My son, I have given 
you as good an education as I was able; I have done as well by 
you as I could, have been anxious for your spiritual welfare, and 
have often prayed for you." Then, with tears in his eyes, he added : 
" My son, you are now old enough to be a Christian." Soon after 
this I left and took the stage for Bridgeport. But those last words 
of my father were constantly in my mind. 

Just about this time a young man, Peter Lockwood, came from 
Yale College to Bridgeport, his native town, and commenced a series 
of religious meetings. He was very zealous, a ready speaker, and 
his earnest exhortations and prayers produced a deep impression on 
me. His meetings, which were held in school- houses or private 
dwellings, were fully attended. Once a week also, with some young 
friends, T went to an inquiry meeting at the house of the pastor. Rev. 
Elijah Waterman, who conversed v.-ith us personally, and gave suit- 
able counsel to each. I remember one evening, when about forty 
were present, after talking and praying with us, he dismissed us, but 
none were disposed to go. He sat still to hear more, then talked 
and prayed again ; then intimated that the time of service had ex- 
pired. We arose, but lingered ; the impression on every heart was 
heavy. It was what was called " Conviction of Sin," a deep con- 
sciousness of personal guilt in the sight of God, and as an accom- 
paniment a sense of ill-desert and of the justice of God in our 


condemnation. This was my case. My sixteenth birthday was now at 
hand, June 20, 18 15. On the morning of that day, as I arose, I re- 
solved that I would give myself, without reserve, wholly and forever 
to the service of God, my Maker and Benefactor; that Christ hence- 
forth should be accepted and owned as my Saviour, and that in what- 
ever condition I was placed religion should be my chief concern. 
In t'le printing office was a litde recess bac'c of the chimney, where 
one could be entirely alone and unseen. As I entered the office 
early in the morning. I chose that secluded spot for my dedication to 
the Lord. There, in and by prayer, I endeavored heartily to give 
myself, body and soul, for time and eternity, to be the Lord's. In 
the act of doing this I felt a conscious relief. The heavy burden of 
conviction seemed lifted off, and peaceful serenity followed. Yet I 
was not in that joyful frame of mind of which I had heard others 
speak, and therefore was not confident that my self-consecra- 
tion was accepted. Soon after this, however, as on a Sabbath even- 
ing, near sunset, I was going to a meeting, I had a new and joyous 
experience. The sun, the sky, and the fields all seemed to be prais- 
ing God. My heart joined in the song. In this happy condition I 
continued some time, thence inferring that my dedication to the 
Lord was accepted. Still I was not one of those who felt sure. I was 
afraid of deceiving myself, or of being deceived. My sense of per- 
sonal unworthiness and guilt outweighed my experience of peace 
and joy. I could only hope in Christ. The hymn was applicable 
to me: 

" 'Tis a point I long to know : 

Oft it causes anxious thought. 
Do I love the Lord, or no ? 
I Am I His or am I not ?" 

However, I further resolved to engage at once in every Christian 
work, and especially to try to bring others, my relations, and young 
com])anions, to a knowledge and experience of religion. I began to 
take a part in social religious meetings, and was one of a band of 
eight or ten young men, who met once a week for prayer, and who 
engaged to go out and hold evening meetings in neighborhoods out 
of the village. We began the same sort of work that now belongs 
to the Young Men's Christian Association. 

Distrustful of myself, I delayed for several months to make a 


public profession of religion. But on the first Sabbath in Decem- 
ber, 1S15 (I think), I united, with many others, with the First Con- 
gregational Church in Bridgeport, Rev. Elijah Waterman, pastor. 
The whole number who united with that church as a fruit of the 
revival, if I remember rightly, was ninety nine. 

Almost every leisure moment I had, morning, noon and evening, 
I now spent in examining the Bible, 1 very carefully studied the 
Epistle of Paul to the Romans, and, almost without intending it, I 
committed to memory very many passages of that epistle and 
others, which I retain to this day. 

Of the characteristics of my rehgious experience I have thought 
much of late, as being in contrast in many respects with what is 
current at the present day. I passed through a painful experience 
of what was termed the " law-work " on my heart. I felt myself a 
sinner before God, utterly condemned by the law which I had 
broken without excuse. I had an abiding sense of accountability 
to God. At times death and judgment to come were before me. I 
knew, I felt, the justice of God. I had no claim on Him for mercy. 
These convictions were not of any particular or heinous sins, but 
that I was a sinner all over. 1 had never loved nor served God. I 
had never been grateful to Him for the thousand blessings bestowed 
on me, and I used to wonder that he should spare me. Yet it was not 
so much a fear of punishment or of hell tliat troubled me, as it was 
a sense of total un worthiness and sinfulness before God. It was 
usual at that time in preaching to dwell much on the law of God, 
on the nature and desert of sin, the duty and necessity of true re- 
pentance, on the danger of delay and of self-deception in indulging 
a '• hope " of pardon. Although Christ was held forth as a ready, 
willing and all-sufficient Saviour, yet he was a Saviour only for those 
who felt themselves lost, and who applied to Him with a penitence 
that was deep, sincere and radical. 

In contrast with all this, very little is Said at the present day of 
the condemning power of the law. God's mercy is magnified, 
while His adorable justice is kept out of view. Sinners then were 
called upon to " submit to God." Now " Come to Jesus " is the 
song — " Come just now, Jesus loves you." Little or nothing is said 
of the danger of self-deception or of a false hope. The Christian's 
life is represented as strewn all the way with flowers, while the 
Christian's cross-bearing and yoke are ignored. Then conversion 


was thought to be a great change wrought by the power of the 
Spirit of God. Now it is as easy as to turn your hand over or to 
walk across a room. Then " Questions and Counsel " were applied 
to young converts for self-examination. Now only "believe and 
trust in Jesus, and all is well." I note these differences because 
they mark a change in the current thought and style of preaching, 
and the views entertained then and now of certain great doctrines 
of the Gospel. I do not attempt to decide which of the two is the 
better; but time will determine whether the latter method is as 
effective to make vigorous, stable and devoted Christians. 

Resulting direcdy from this change there came to me another 
experience. My mind became aglow with religious thoughts and 
Purchase feelings ; new desires and aspirations were awakened. 

of my I began to think of a college — could I ever reach 

Indentures. it ? Obstacles presented themselves which seemed 
insuperable, I was an indentured apprentice, bound to serve four 
years more. I had no means by purchase to take up my indentures, 
or, if I could, to prepare myself for a college. Yet the idea of an 
education grew upon me; I desired it, that I might be suitably 
qualified to preach the Gospel. That became my absorbing thought. 
I ventured to open my mind on the subject to the Rev. Mr. Water- 
man; he encouraged me. After much thought, I concluded to 
speak to Mr. Nichols, and to ask him for what consideration he 
would allow me to take up my indentures. He said he would con- 
sider my request, and give me an answer. In about a week he 
called me to him, and in a very friendly manner, said he would be 
glad to have me remain with him till my full time was out ; that he 
would do well by me, and that I might hope at some time to become 
an editor; but that, if I thought best to seek a higher education, he 
would take one hundred and seventy-five dollars for my time, and 
give up my indentures. 

What now was to be done? Where would $175 come from ? 
The thing seemed impracdcable. Here, again, I gratefully recog- 
nize the good providence of God ; He appeared as the guide of my 
youth, and opened the way for me. After consulting with my 
father, he, approving, said he had two acres of wood and, which he 
was willing to sell and to give the avails towards the purchase of 
my time ; for the rest, the plan was proposed to raise it by a sub- 
scription among the Christian people of Bridgeport and Nor walk 


who knew me, and in a brief time, to my surprise and joy, the whole 
amount required was raised. My father sold his land for $64, 
and $111.00 was raised by subscription, from ten dollars down to 
twenty-five cents. The money was given into my hands, and paid 
in full to Mr, Nichols on his delivery of my indentures. 

PART II — Education. 

I LEFT Bridgeport, I think, in the month of September, 18 16. I 

was 17 years of age. I had good friends in ^Bridgeport, who en- 

Preparation couraged and aided me; among them was Mr. 

for Lambert Lockwood, with all his family. He was 

College. the father of Mr. Peter Lockwood, whose useful ser- 

vices I have referred to and who became my life-long friend. Re- 
pairing at once to my father's house in Norwalk, I commenced studies 
preparatory for college with an earnest will. Having been accus- 
tomed during my apprenticeship to stand at a case for setting type, 
I fancied I could study to better advantage standing than sitting ; so 
I constructed a standing-shelf on which to rest my books ; then I 
undertook to commit to memory all the rules of the Latin grammar. 
This I accomplished rather superficially in one week. 

In the meantime, I made application to Rev. Mr. Fisher, ot 
Darien, who kept a private school, and he consented to hear me 
recite twice a week. The distance was four miles, which I rode on 
horseback. I recited to him three months ; then, winter setting in. 
Rev. Mr. Swan, pastor of the Congregational church in Norwalk, who 
had, from the first, kindly encouraged me, offered to hear my recita- 
tions in Latin ; to him I recited usually three times a week. With 
his consent and advice, during the winter I attended frequent meet- 
ings among the young people, in different parts of the town, at 
which I exhorted and prayed. I found a neighborhood of colored 
people who were very ignorant, and never or rarely attended 


public worship. I visited them, held evening meetings with them, 
and gave tracts to such as were able to read. 

The distance from my father's house to Rev. Mr. Swan's was 
about two miles. This I traveled on foot, but in the latter part of 
winter, I received invitations from various Christian families who 
lived nearer, to board with them. Among these were Ebenezer 
Phillips's, Nathan Benedict's, and Stephen Lockwood's, whose 
names I rftention with pleasure, because of the great advantage I 
derived from association with them, and because, also, they re- 
mained ever afterwards kind, loving, and most estimable friends. 

While boarding with Mr. Phillips, an accident occurred which 
nearly cost me my life. The harbor of the river being frozen over, 
I attempted to cross on the ice, on my way to recitation. I passed 
safely two-thirds of the distance, when I fell through in a depth of 
water up to my armpits. No one was in sight to help me ; I 
shouted; no one appeared but a little child, who looked on won- 
dering. I attempted to raise myself on the ice, but it gave way. I 
tried again and again. Finally I made one desperate effort and 
threw myself breastwise on the ice, which bore me up, and then 
cold and dripping I hastened as fast as possible to Mr. Swan's. My 
entrance in that plight threw the good women of the house into 
quite a panic. They ran to my succor; a blazing fire was kindled, 
and I went through the operation of drying, if not of toasting. A 
good Providence spared my life, for which I have ever praised His 

In the spring of 1817, I very unexpectedly received an invitation 
from the Rev. Mr. Bonney, pastor of the Congregational 
Neiv Canaaji. Church in New Canaan, Conn., to attend an 
academy there, taught by the Rev. Mr. Daggett, with the assurance 
that both my board and tuition should be free. I accepted the in- 
vitation. Provision for board was made by the voluntary offer of 
friends to take me from two to four weeks each in turn. I com- 
menced boarding at Rev. Mr. Bonney's, by whose instruction and 
example in the ministry I was much profited, whose wife was a 
model Christian lady, and to me as a mother in Israel. 

While at New Canaan I pursued the same course as to religious 
meetings as at Norwalk, resulting in cases of special interest and of 
conversion among the young. 

It was my good fortune, at New Canaan, to board in several 


excellent households, among which I recall those of Deacon Isaac 
Benedict, Deacon Seth Hickok, David Lockwood Sr., and Jr., Mr. 
William Carter. I also visited at Deacon Daniel Bouton's, a rela- 
tive of my father. 

At the academy with me was Wm. Beecher. He was a son of 
Dr. Lyman Beecher, whom I met once at Mr. Daggett's, and whose 
plain manners but instructive discourse much interested me. Hap- 
pily, this early introduction to Dr. Beecher attached me strongly to 
him in after-life, when I had occasional opportunities to meet him 
and to hear him preach. 

I record with gratitude to the good people of New Canaan, that 
my acquaintance with their homes was of much benefit, as it 
gave me some of the varied aspects of domestic life, and placed 
before me admirable examples of industry, economy, and of exem- 
plary and intelligent piety. 

After attending the academy in New Canaan about six months, 
I received a very cordial invitation, through Rev. Sylvanus Haight, 
JVilton. of Wilton, to go to that place and attend a school 
taught by Mr. Hawley Olmstead. Mr. Haight kindly assured me that 
board would be furnished me a whole year in some of their best 
families, and Mr. Olmstead said that my tuition should be free, and 
I gladly accepted the offer. Entering the school in 1817, 1 pursued 
my studies at the rate of ten and twelve hours a day. My first 
boarding place was with Rev, Mr. Haight, then with Capt. Wm. 
Selleck, Mr. Levi Scribner, Matthew Marvin, Esq., Mr. Nathan 
Hubbell, a Mr. Middlebrooks, Mr. EHas Betts, and some others 
whose names I do not recall. All these treated me with great at- 
tention and kindness. In the school was Jared B. Waterbury, about 
my own age ; we soon formed an intimate acquaintance, ripening 
into the closest friendship. Under the instruction of Mr. Olmstead, 
I went over all the studies then required for entering the sophomore 
class in Yale College. The standard was then indeed much lower 
than now. I have regretted that I did not take more time in fitting, 
but necessity was upon me. 

\ feel deeply grateful to Hawley Olmstead, Esq. He was a gen- 
tleman of superior native ability and manly presence, scholarly in 
all the branches which he taught, of large and liberal views, and I 
doubt not of a truly Christian spirit. 

I have ever considered it one of the greatest blessings of my youth, 


that I came under his tuition, and still more, that I gained his con- 
fidence, and in after years enjoyed, I believe, his friendship ; nor can 
I omit to acknowledge my indebtedness to Rev. Sylvanus Haight. 
He was a devoted, earnest, and useful pastor — generous, kind, and 
sympathetic, and aided me much, both by counsel and personal inter- 
est in my behalf. By particular recjuest, I was present at the commem- 
oration of the 150th anniversary of the organization of the church in 
Wilton, in 1876. It was a time of great interest to the people there, 
and the gathering was large. I was invited as a survivor of the pupils 
at school in 1818, fifty-eight years before. In a brief address I gave 
reminiscences of that period so interesting to me, and thanked the 
good people of Wilton for all the favors shown me in my youth. I 
told them I was glad to pay a debt of gratitude which I had never 
forgotten, and for which I had often thanked the Father of all our 

In the judgment of my teacher, Mr. Olmstead, I was prepared 
to enter the sophomore class in Yale College, but here a most im- 
Admissiofi to portant preliminary intjuiry arose. How are my 
Yale College. college bills to l)e paid ? Neither my father nor 
any of my kindred can meet them. Again I recognize the good 
providence of God. About 18 15 or 18 16 the Connecticut Educa- 
tion Society was formed, to aid indigent young men who had 
the ministry in view. Of its operations, hov/ever, I knew nothing ; 
but the ministers who had thus far befriended me, took counsel in my 
behalf. Rev. Mr. Swan, Mr. Fisher, of Darien, Mr. Bonney, of New 
Canaan, and Mr. Haight, of Wilton, agreed to pay at least one hun- 
dred dollars a year into the treasury of the Connecticut Education 
Society, provided I could be received as a beneficiary. Accordingly, 
when the time came to enter college in 1818, I presented myself for 
examination without much fear that I should fail. Happily I was 
accepted, and took my place in the sophomore class, which numbered 
eighty-two. Many of the members had enjoyed advantages in 
preparation far superior to my own ; some were brilliant scholars. 
As soon as I came into the recitation-room, I saw and felt that I 
stood at a disadvantage. Yet I was not discouraged, though at 
times much mortified by mistakes in reciting. I did not envy any 
for superior scholarship, but resolved to make up for deficiencies by 
application. Pursuing this course, always ready to perform my part 
as well as I could in all the college exercises, I passed along from 


one term to another very comfortably, and held rank among the first 
quarter of my class. I was monitor one term, president of the Soci- 
ety of Brothers in Unity, and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa 
Society. During the whole of my college course, I was not absent 
from any recitation, lecture, or prayers in the chapel, unless out of 
town, and never had to give an excuse for not being prepared; nor 
did I ever receive any reproof or reprimand. For excelling in Eng- 
lish composition, I received from the Faculty of the college as 
premium a copy of Milton's Paradise Lost, and other poems, and 
Thomson's Seasons, presented to me by President Day, with his au- 
tograph. In regard to college expenses and bills, I most gratefully 
remember tha^ somehow all my wants were supplied. I always had 
money enough to meet incidental expenses ; my term bills were reg- 
ularly paid, or remitted agreeably to the arrangement before men- 
tioned, and I had the benefit of a scholarship of $60.00 for two 

Among the memories of college life, 1 first recall the names and 
characters of the honored president and professors. My class was 
Recollections the first one under the entire administration of 
of President Jeremiah Day, a man of singular eleva- 

College Life. tion and purity of character, of calm and benevo- 

lent disposition and aspect, of unassumed dignity in gait and de- 
meanor, of few words, always marked with wisdom; and held in the 
highest esteem and reverence, with love, by all the members of 
college. Next to him was Professor Benjamin Silliman, M. D., 
eminent for his knowledge of the natural sciences, a fully developed 
man, six feet high ; his countenance and eyes brilliant with intelli- 
gence, and attractive by their benevolent expression, fluent and elo- 
quent in speech, enthusiastic in his professional studies and duties. 
Professor James L. Kingley, professor of languages, won the respect 
and good-will of students by his profound and critical knowledge, 
and also by his ready wit. Rev. Chauncey Goodrich, professor of 
rhetoric and elocution, next to President Day, I loved, on account 
of his amiable disposition, courteous manners, eminent purity, and 
zeal for the spiritual welfare of the students. Professor Alexander 
Fisher was held in the highest estimation as a deep thinker and pro- 
found scholar, and as giving promise of high distinction in the de- 
partments of mathematics and natural philosophy. In his lectures he 
was distinguished for perspicacity and depth. Profound was the 


gloom which spread over the college and the city of New Haven, 
when the news came of his death by shipwreck on the coast of Ire- 
land, April 22, 1822. He had taken voyage for Europe in the ship 
Albion, with a view to enlarge his knowledge of his favorite studies, 
and to complete the philosophical apparatus of the college. The 
ship was wrecked in a terrible storm. It was commonly reported 
and understood, that at the time ot his death he was engaged to be 
married to Miss Catharine Beecher, the eldest daughter of the Rev. 
Dr. Lyman Beecher. She never married. 

Before Professor Fisher, I might have named Rev. Eleazer T. 
Fitch, professor of divinity in the college and preacher to the 
students; a man of almost excessive modesty, but of- high intellec- 
tual and spiritual culture. Of the tutors of my class, I retain a 
pleasant memory; particularly of those who taught the division to 
which I belonged. William T. D wight was a son of the former 
president. Rev. Timothy Dwight. He was a gentleman well quali- 
fied for his position, and an example of good manners. Josiah D. 
Wickham was a fine scholar. Rev. Lyman Coleman was another 
of our tutors, who has made an honorable mark for himself by his 
literary labors. 

In the sjiring term of 1820 commenced what was then considered 
the greatest revival of religion that ever occurred in college ; it also 
pervaded New Haven. About 900 persons were reported as con- 
verts in that city. The ministers mostly empl6yed in this great 
work were Rev. Asahel Nettleton, Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher, then 
pastor of the Congregational Church in Litchfield, Rev. Nathaniel 
W. Taylor, D.D., and Rev. Samuel Merwin, pastors of churches in 
New Haven. Drs. Beecher and Nettleton often preached to the 
students. The sermons of Professor Fitch, and the earnest labors of 
Professor Cioodrich in conversation and counsel with inquirers were 
very effective. The pious students of the college at the same time 
were active, earnest, and prayerful. Of this great revival I kept a 
journal, from week to week, marking in it my own feelings, and such 
services as I was able to render. I have the names of thirty-two 
students converted at this time, of whom twenty became ministers. 
Among them were several of the best scholars who, in after-life, were 
eminent for usefulness. Of my classmates, Samuel H. Cowles, the 
champion athlete of the college, was humbled like a child, and con- 
secrated all his energies to the service of Christ. A tract written, I 


believe, by my friend Jared B, Waterbury, was published with the 
title of the " Ringleader," giving a detailed account of Cowles's con- 
version. Rev. Eli Smith, D.D., stood among the first of his class. 
As is well known, he became a missionary of the American Board in 
Syria, translated the New Testament into Arabic, was a companion 
of Rev. Edward Robinson, D.D., in his travels in Egypt and Pales- 
tine, and to his information much of the value of Dr. Robinson's 
publications is due. Hon. Henry White, the valedictorian of his 
class, was among the converts. He still resides in New Haven, 
honored by all, an able lawyer, and upright judge. My es- 
teemed roommate, Rev. D wight Baldwin, still Hving, a missionary 
at the Sandwich Islands, was a long time under conviction of 
sin. He was one of the most steady, moral, and amiable members of 
the class, and yet no one seemed to pass through a more distressing 
experience of what he called the hardness of his heart. He did not 
gain peace and hope till after he left college, but as he wrote me 
afterward, when he yielded his heart to God, he found light and joy. 
He then devoted his life to missionary work, and has been eminent- 
ly useful more than fifty years. Among other subjects of the revi- 
val was Edward Beecher, son of Dr. Lyman Beecher. He was 
the first scholar of his class and afterwards pastor of Park street 
church, and subsequently of Salem street church, Boston, presi- 
dent several years of Jacksonville college, Illinois, and author of 
various theological and literary works. Rev. George W. Blagden, 
D.D., also was awakened under a sermon by Dr. Nettleton, and 
has long been known as the beloved and honored pastor of the Old 
South Church, in Boston. To which number I add my early friend. 
Rev. Thomas T. Waterman : he fulfilled an able and successful 
ministry in Providence, R. I., and other places, of about forty 

Under the circumstances in which I was supported in college, I 
felt that I was under obligations to do all in my power to repay my 
My Vacations. benefactors, not in money, but in service for their 
spiritual good. Consequently, all my vacations were spent in one 
or more of the places where those gentlemen resided. In Norwalk 
I held meetings once or twice each week, and there was gathered a 
company of young Christians who worked together in delightful har- 
mony, and who were my steadfast friends ; for like purpose I visited 
New Canaan and Wilton. After commencement (1820), I spent a 


large part of a vacation in Bridgeport, with my friend, Mr. Lambert 
Lockwood. My whole time was spent among the young people, 
calling their attention to personal religion. After returning to col- 
lege a letter informed me that at the next communion lesson 
twenty-two united with the church. 

In the summer vacation of 1820, I passed a week in a village 
called Hotchkistown, two miles from New Haven, where a deep re- 
ligious interest was awakened. 1 have the names of twenty-three who 
professed conversion, and who afterwards, 1 learned, " ran well " in 
the Christian life. 

After graduation at Yale the question arose, what should I do 
next? Shall I now postpone theological studies, in order to gain 
Andover means of support ? Shall I take a school for a year 

Theological or so ? These and such like questions pressed upon 
Seminary. me. I had determined with other classmates to 

pursue theological studies at Andover, but an outfit and support 
while there required money. Where and how could I obtain it ? 
Here again, the Lord was my helper and guide. On advising with 
the ministers and friends who had so generously aided me, they all 
united in saying " do not stop — do not postpone your preparation ; 
go on ; we will help you." To my great surprise and joy, the band 
of young Christians in my native town, before referred to, took the 
outfit into their own hands. I was presented by them with a complete 
new suit of clothes, and with fifty dollars in money ; and with sev- 
eral others in like dependent circumstances, I received from the 
Faculty at Andover, promise of assistance from the funds of the 

I was there admitted into the junior class. My roommate was 
Erastus Maltby, a college classmate whom I held in high esteem 
for his piety, genial temper, and regular habits. We roomed to- 
gether through the whole course of study. 

The professors in the seminary at that time were Rev. Ebenezer 
Porter, D.D., professor of sacred rhetoric ; Rev. Leonard Woods, 
D.U., professor of Christian theology ; Rev. James Murdoch, D.D., 
professor of ecclesiastical history, and Rev. Moses Stuart, D.D., 
professor of sacred literature. I soon found out that these were 
all learned, able, and godly men. Dr. Porter was mild, affable, 
courteous, elegant in his style, and eloquent in delivery of a 
sermon. Dr. Woods was of a heavier mould, of a clear, logical 


mind, with broad views on all theological subjects. Dr. Murdoch 
was a well-read student of Church history. Becoming acquainted 
with him in his family, I formed then, and cherish still, a sentiment 
of respect mingled with sympathy for him. Professor Stuart was 
" sui generis." He was an enthusiast in his profession. He gloried 
and revelled in Greek and Hebrew ; he went to the root of things ; 
he infused much of his spirit into his pupils. He taught and 
made them believe that " hermeneutics," or the right exegesis of the 
Scriptures, was the very foundation of all true theology. 

Our class, the first term, consisted of sixty-one members, from dif- 
ferent colleges and all sections of the country. Those, besides my 
own college classmates, whom I held in much esteem, were Jacob 
Abbott, who afterwards became eminent as an author ; Milton P. 
Braman, the best writer in the class, and many years a pastor in 
Danvers, Massachusetts ; John P. Cleaveland, long known as an 
able teacher, and successful preacher ; Royal Washburn, of clear 
head and loving heart, whose life was brief; Charles White, of Dart- 
mouth college, who became president of Crawford ville college, Ind., 
and my ever esteemed friend John K. Young. 

On arranging my plans for seminary life, I resolved to give atten- 
tion to every subject in its order, as laid down in the course. My 
favorite study the first year was exegesis. I devoted much time to 
each lesson in that department. In the whole work of the ministry, 
these exegetical studies have been of essential advantage to me. In 
the department of Biblical theology I took great mterest, and gave 
each topic careful investigation. On the subject of proofs of the ex- 
istence of God, which came early in the course, I was for some time 
quite confused ; I did not clearly apprehend the process of reason- 
ing ; my mind became intensely excited ; I could not sleep ; but at 
last, in wakeful hours of the night, I saw the evidence, reasoning 
simply from effect to cause. It inspired me ; I saw God in person 
as an intelhgent First Cause, all powerful, wise, and glorious. 
Since then, I have never had a doubt on that subject. 

When we came to metaphysical inquiries on free moral agency, 
original sin, etc., I took much satisfaction in examining into the op- 
erations and laws of mind. Having been brought up on the doc- 
trines of the Westminster Assembly Catechism, I was troubled in 
reconciling some of those tenets with the freedom of the will and ac- 
countability which seemed to me almost as first truths, and which I 


could not deny. Hence, my ideas on these topics were considerably 
modified. While I fully believed in man's dependence for all good 
on the " Grace of God," I learned that that grace became effectual 
by the willing reception of it in a free agent. Consequently, in all 
my preaching, I have insisted strenuously on duty and obligation, 
admitting no excuse for sin or disobedience in any form, but at the 
same time teaching that Divine Grace was assured to all who 
sought it. In short, I embraced heartily the system of theology 
as taught at Andover, by Dr. Woods, and have seen no occasion to 
change essentially on any doctrinal point since then. 

In the department of sacred rhetoric, I aimed to acquire such 
habits of speaking as would render my ministry effective and accept- 
able. To this end I carefully studied the principles and rules of 
elocution, and practised speaking and reading aloud in my room. I 
also frequently went away from the seminary some distance, where I 
could declaim without being heard by others. Thus, I aimed to 
gain compass of voice. 

I do not recollect that I ever failed in any part assigned me in 
any department, during my whole theological course; nor did I lose 
a single day or hour of study by ill health. This fact may be as- 
cribed, in part at least, to my habits of exercise. 

In relation to my standing in my class, I can truly say I thought 
very little about it at the time. I made no comparisons ; I felt no 
ambition to be above others. My aim was to do as well as I could, 
and I had no concern for anything else. I sought no appointments ; 
if they came to me, I endeavored to do my duty honestly and 
punctually. The first year I was appointed monitor of my class ; 
the next I was chosen president of one division of the Porter Rhetor- 
ical Society. I was one of the committee of the Society of Inquiry. 
I wrote and read before that society an historical sketch of 
" Methodism," and also correspondence with some of our foreign 


PART III. — Ordination. 

At the time of closing my studies at Andover, I had formed no 
definite plans for the future. My general purpose was fixed— to 
Invitations from Boston, preach the Gospel. With other class- 

Mass., and Concord^ N. H. mates, I had already received license 
to preach from an association of ministers, who rnet in Andover, a 
short time before the close of the term. But where I should find a 
field of service, I left to the guidance and determination of Provi- 
dence. Before leaving the seminary. Dr. Woods had sounded me 
on the subject of a foreign mission under the Amencan board ; he 
spoke particularly of Syria and Palestine, the field afterwards as- 
signed to my classmate, Rev. Eli Smith. I told him I had always 
cherished a desire to be a settled pastor. Several of my classmates 
had decided to go to the great West, which was then opening most 
important fields for missionary services. I favored that idea, but 
still had reached no decision. 

At the close of public service, after delivering the valedictory ad- 
dress, as I passed from the chapel, I was met by a committee of 
gendemen from Boston, Rev. Benjamin B. Wisner, D.D., Hon. 
Samuel Hubbard, and Deacon John C. Proctor, who informed me 
of a plan to establish a new church in Boston, at the North end, and 
that they would be glad to engage me, to begin the enterprise by 
preaching and visiting in that part of the city. After hearing this 
statement and proposed terms, I engaged lor three months' service, 
and to enter on the work after a short visit to my parents and 
friends in Connecticut. Passing out, I immediately took a carriage, 
then in waiting, with my nephew, S. W. Benedict, who had come on 
to attend the commencement exercises, and rode on our homeward 
way, that evening, as far as Billerica. Singularly enough, I thus 
missed an interview with Samuel Fletcher, Esq., a committee from 
the first church in Concord, xN. H., who had come thence on purpose 
to inquire for and engage a candidate for the ministry of that church, 
then vacant by the resignation of Rev. Asa McFarland, D.D. I 
had been recommended to him by the professors and others of the 


seminary, but he cautiously reserved calling on me, till he had heard 
me on the stage. Of this, however, I knew nothing, until a day or 
two after my arrival in Norwalk, I received an official letter from 
him, inviting me to preach as a candidate for that church. This 
placed me in a trying position. I accordingly told him of my en- 
gagement at Boston, for three months, and said that I could give no 
answer to his invitation till that time had expired. 

I commenced service in Boston, in a chapel on Charlton street. 
In the meantime, Mr. Fletcher had entered into correspondence 
with the previously named committee in Boston, urging the claims of 
Concord church for my services. I kept to itiy work. One even- 
ing. Rev. Dr. Winner called, and gave me full notice of the affair be- 
tween them and Mr. Fletcher. He said the committee were aware 
of the delicate situation in which I was placed ; that they apprecia- 
ted the importance of Concord as a field of usefulness, and while 
they personally desired my continuance with them, they were willing 
to submit the decision of the question entirely to me. They would 
release me from engagement to them, if I had a preference for ser- 
vice in Concord. 1 took the matter into careful and prayerful con- 
sideration I consulted with Dr. Porter and Dr. Woods ; I went to 
Concord to see Mr. Fletcher and inform myself, privately, of the ex- 
tent of the field there ; the character of the people ; the j)rospect of 
usefulness. I had heard that Concord was a difficult place, because 
it was the capital of the State, and there were many lawyers and 
educated men, who were critical, and not easy to suit. Several 
students from Andover had preached there, but were not accept- 
able. I was distrustful of my ability, and hesitated. At Concord, 
where I arrived by stage, early in the evening, I met Mr. Fletcher, 
and Hon. Samuel Morrill, at the Columbian Hotel, then kept by 
John P. Gass. Of them I made many inquiries, and received much 
information. The result was that I agreed to supply the church as 
a candidate seven weeks, and to begin on the last Sabbath of Oc- 

I here add, that the new enterprise in Boston went on to success. 
Out of it grew the Salem street church, in which, subsequently, 
the Rev. Justyn Edwards, D.D., from Andover, was installed as 

I commenced services at Concord under embarrassment. I had 
but four written sermons to begin with, and, of course, I must study 


and write as I went along. On the forenoon of the first Sabbath, the 

My Candidate- Rev. Mr. Gallaudet, principal of the Asylum 

ship for the Deaf and Dumb, at Hartford, Connecti- 

at Coticord. cut, preached by invitation a very able and elo- 

quent sermon in behalf of that institution. The General Court of 
New Hampshire was then in session, and great numbers of the 
members were in attendance at church. Following Mr. Gal- 
laudet, in the presence of many distinguished men of the State, I 
was afraid; I trembled. My sermon was from the text, Luke x. 
42 : " But one thing is needful," etc. I hardly know how I got 
through, but, for better or worse, I was obliged to go on. Boarding 
in the very agreeable family of Mr. Fletcher, whose house then 
stood on the spot now occupied by the Pleasant street Baptist 
church, I gave the forenoons and evenings of each day to the pre- 
paration of sermons ; afternoons I made short calls on families in 
the village as introduced. During my stay, I rode into several of 
the outer districts of the town, accompanied by some member ot 
the church, and was introduced to many families and persons. The 
whole town was then embraced in the parish — rather, the families 
that then composed the First Religious Society were spread over 
the entire territory of the town ; many of them three and five miles 
distant, and some six and seven. The society consisted of two 
hundred and twenty-three taxable members, most of them heads of 
families, and the church membership was three hundred and sixty. 
The meeting-house in which I preached was the only one then in 
town. It was very spacious, with galleries, and the usual congrega- 
tion on the Sabbath averaged about seven hundred and fifty. 

There was a small Quaker meeting-house, in which only two or 
three families of that sect were accustomed to worship. A iew 
Methodists were in town, who held occasional meetings on the east 
side of the Merrimack river, and also at Stickney's hill, in the 
southwest part of the town. A small Baptist church was also 
organized, which met for worship in the old Town-hall, or in school- 
houses mostly in the West Parish, conducted by Rev. William Taylor. 

Thus situated, I did what I could. I found the preparation of new- 
sermons a hard task, and I was obliged in one or two cases to seek 
relief by exchange ; but I fulfilled my engagement. I now record, 
what will appear singular to the present generation, and what some- 
what troubled me, at the time, viz : During my whole stay in Con- 


cord of seven weeks, only two gentlemen (Mr. George Kent and 
Judge Samuel Green) called on me, socially, at Mr. Fletcher's, and 
when I left town, I did not know from anything that had been said 
to me, privately or officially, whether my services were acceptableto 
the people or not. I received no flattering commendations. ■ One 
good old lady in a remote part of the town had asked me if I 
would not like to be their minister. Deacon Jonathan Wilkins re- 
marked to me after my last sermon, that " seven weeks was rather a 
short time for a candidateship." And, as I was leaving Mr. Fletch- 
er's house, he was pleased to ask for my address, in case the society 
should wish to write to me. I had, however, noticed that the con- 
gregations on the Sabbath were large and attentive, with apparently 
a growing interest ; I therefore presumed that my services were not 
displeasing to them; I had, moreover, this comfort — I was conscious 
that I had served them as well as I could. 

Leaving Concord, I concluded to spend two or three months in 
study, as a licenciate, at Andover, I was fortunate in securing a 
The Call to Service. room in Dr. Porter's house, and thereby en- 
joyed the advantage of frequent conversations with him, and with his 
excellent wife, a very devout, kind, and motherly woman, who, 
having no children of her own, took a livelier interest in such of the 
theological students as came within her acquaintance. There I 
waited to hear from Concord ; devoting my time to study, and par- 
ticularly to the preparation of sermons. My suspense was soon re- 
heved; early in January, 1825, I received the following communi- 
cation : 

CoNCOKD, .January 1, 1825. 
Mr. Nathaniel Bouton. 

Bear Sir : — It has become our duty, iu behalf of the Congregational 
rburch in this town, to present to you the resuU, of their proceedings in re- 
lation to yourself, as candidate for the office of their pastor ; and we cannot 
better express their sentiments and wishes than they have expressed them 
iu their records, from wliich the following is an extract : 

" Concord, December 34, 1824. At a church meeting duly notified and 
bolden at the meeting-house in this place : 

"Voted Unanimoudy , That this church approve of Mr. Nathaniel Bouton 
as a candidate for the ministry here ; 

"Voted JJnnnimoudy, That this church give Mr. Nathaniel Bouton a call 
to settle in the ministry over them as their pastor. 

"Voted, That a committee of three be raised to communicate this call to 
Mr. Bouton ; and Samuel Flgtcher, Nathan BttUard, Jr., and Nathaniel Am- 
brose are chosen." 

And now, dear sir, permit us to say that we have endeavored to discern 
the indications of Providence, and that we hope and trust they have led us 


to you, as our guide and teacher in spiritual things. We earnestly request 
you to give to our claim a favorable consideration, and communicate to us 
your answer as soon as it shall be consistent. 

Should you accept of our invitation, we can agree on the time most 
desirable to yourself for your induction to the office. On our part, we are 
ready at any time. 

Commending ourselves and our cause to the great Head of the Church, 
and beseeching Him to grant you all needed wisdom, we subscribe ourselves 

Your brethren and friends in Him, 

Samuel Fletcher, ) Committee 
Nathan Ballahd, Jr.,>- of the 
Nathaniel Ambrose, ) Church. 

With the foregoing letter from the Committee of the Church, 
came the following from a Committee of the Religious Society : 

Concord, January S, 1825. 
Mr. Nathaniel Bouton. 

Dear Sir : — We enclose you a copy of the votes of the Congregational So- 
ciety in this place at their last meeting. You will do us the favor of giving 
an answer to the proposals of the society, as soon as may meet your con- 
venience. We hope you will give such an answer as will accord with our 
feelings, as we are confident that a favorable one would be highly gratifying 
to the whole society. 

We are, sir, with sentiments of esteem, 

Stephen Ambrose, George Kent, Samuel A Kimball, Ephraim 
Farnum, Covimittee. 

[Accompanying this was a communication from Francis A. Fisk, clerk of 
the society, as to salary, etc.] 

After much deliberation and consultation with the professors at 
Andover and others, I returned the following answer to the forego- 
ing communications : 

Andover, January 29, 1825. 

To the Congregational Church and Society in Concord. 

Beloved brethren and friends: — After serious deliberation, after carefully 
observing the indications of Divine Providence in regard to duty, and espe- 
cially after looking with earnest prayer to the Head of the Church for His 
guidance, presence and blessing, I have, with a deep sense of the importance 
of the station and the responsibilities of the work upon which I am to en- 
ter, concluded to accept the call to the office of a minister among you. 

And now, in prospect of the great work before me, I desire, first of all, to 
commit myself to the blessing of the Divine Redeemer, and through him to 
your confidence and affection ; and I beseech you for the Lord Jesus Christ's 
sake, and the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together in your prayers to 
God for me, that I may be eminently instrumental of good to you, to your 


children, and to tht; Church of God ; that I maybe faithful even unto death, 
and finally receive the reward promised to those who " turn many to 

In the bonds of the Gospel I am very affectionately yours, etc., 

Nathaniel Bouton. 

Samuel Fletcher, Nathan Balla.rd, Jr., Nathaniel Ambrose, 
Stephen Ambrose, Samuel Knowlton, George Kent, Samuel A. 
Kimball, Ephraim Farnum, Jr. 

Note. — As my labors among you may be expected to be such as will de- 
mand some relaxation on ray part, and especially as I shall wish to visit 
my parents and others residing at a distance, I presume that you will 
cheerfully grant me liberty of absence three or four weeks in each year. 

My decision being thus made, and feeling the importance of 
making preparations beforehand for entering on the pastoral 
charge, I proposed to defer the time of ordination about three 
months, and in the meantime to devote myself to preparatory work. 
The time fixed for the ordination was the 23d day of March, 1825. 

During this period of residence in Andover, one event occurred 
of which 1 have a distinct recollection, and which I here place on 
record with some minuteness, because of its jjrovidential relation to 
the great cause of Home Missions in our country. 

I was, at this time, in frequent intercourse with members of the 
seminary, and especially of the senior class. The subject uppermost 
Origin of the Ameri- with some of them related to their future 
can Home fields of labor ; some were impressed with 

Missionary Society. the importance of the great West for mis- 

sionary service, for planting churches as new settlements were 
formed, and thus molding a Christian population. With a little 
company of these brethren I met occasionally for prayer, asking 
divine wisdom and guidance. About the last of January (24th), 
Mrs. BarUett, wife of Hon. William Bartlett, of Newburyport, died ; 
and out of respect to Mr. Bartlett, as one of the chief founders ot 
the seminary, a number of the students attended the funeral ; 1 
went. We took stage for Newburyport, and on the way the conver- 
sation turned on the subject of missions for the supply of new settle- 
ments in our \\' estern country. Of those in the stage who took part 
in the conversation, were Aaron Foster, and, I think, Mr. Hiram 
Chamberlain, and it became earnest and animated. In the midst 
of it the thought flashed on my mind, we need a National Missionary 


Society for this great work. I gave utterance to that thought 
then and there. In the evening after the funeral, Mr. Cham- 
berlain called on me at Dr. Porter's, and renewed the conver- 
sation held in the stage. He says that in this evening interview, 
holding a key in my hand, I struck it on the wall, and said with great 
animation : " Why not strike a high key at once, and say a National 
Domestic Missionary Society?'' A few weeks later, Mr. Foster, in his 
turn, delivered a declamation in the chapel before the students, on 
the same subject. I was present and was greatly pleased, both with 
the matter and manner of his address, because it was a lucid and 
eloquent restatement of the thoughts advanced in the stage ride. A 
wider interest was awakened in the subject. Dr. Porter took it up. 
The Society of Inquiry in the seminary discussed it, and step by 
step the Idea, the Germ, of a National Missionary Society continued to 
grow and spread, until it was fully realized in the organization of the 
American Home Missionary Society in the city of New York, May 12, 
1826. See a full account of the origin and organization of this soci- 
ety, as prepared by me, and published by the society in pamphlet 
form, and in the Home Missionary Magazine of November, i860. 

The day appointed for the ordination soon arrived. The council 
called for the purpose assembled at the old Court House in Concord, 
Entrance upon on Tuesday afternoon, March 22d, 1825. It 
the Ministry. consisted of eleven pastors and their delegates; 

it was organized by the choice of Rev. Daniel Dana, D.D., then of 
Londonderry, as Moderator, and Rev. Abijah Cross, then of Salisbury, 
as Scribe. The churches invited to the council were the Congrega- 
tional Churches in Boscawen, West Boscawen, Salisbury, Canterbury, 
Loudon, Chichester, Pembroke, Dunbarton, Hopkinton, Henniker, 
Bradford, Londonderry, Presbyterian Church, Amherst, and church 
in Andover, South Parish, Mass. The Moderator conducted the 
examination in a very methodical and thorough manner, asking 
questions on all or most of the doctrines of theology, my views of 
church government and order, and my religious experience. 

The examination and creed were unanimously approved by the 
council, and the parts assigned and performed as follows : Intro- 
ductory prayer by Rev. Ebenezer Price, of West Boscawen ; sermon 
by Rev. Justyn Edwards, D.D., of Andover, Mass. (2 Cor., v. 17); 
ordaining prayer by Rev. Walter Norris, D.D., of Dunbarton; 
charge to the pastor, by the Rev. Asa McFarland, D.D., my prede- 


cesser, whose pastoral relation to the church was the same day dis- 
solved ; Rev. Abraham Burnham, of Pembroke, presented the right- 
hand of fellowship; Rev. Daniel Dana, D.D., addressed the peo- 
ple, and the concluding prayer was offered by Rev. Nathan Lord, 
then of Amherst, afterwards president of Dartmouth College. 

Some reminiscences of the occasion are to this day fresh and in- 
teresting. The day was fair, mild and pleasant ; snow had all dis- 
appeared, the ground was settled, traveling good ; the temperature 
was as mild as is common the first of May. The occasion, itself, 
was rare ; the young people of that generation had never witnessed 
an ordination ; hence, the attendance from the town and from the 
vicinity was very large ; many coming on foot, on horseback, and 
in carriages , some eight, twelve and twenty miles. I'he late Doctor 
Dixi Crosby informed me that he attended with a party of young 
people from Gilmanton. The appearance to me of the council was 
venerable and imposing ; Drs. Wood, Harris, and Dana were then 
old men, of hoary locks, and long experience in the ministry, and I 
was as a child before them. In going from the Court House to the 
old North Church, the council walked in procession, two and two. I 
walked with my predecessor, Dr. McFarland. Dr. Edwards, who 
preached (2 Cor., v. 17), was in full manhood, of majestic presence, 
of strong emotions, with a deep bass voice, and his sermon was one 
of great ability, with occasional flashes of eloquence, which held the 
attention of the vast assembly. The right-hand of fellowship, by 
Rev. Mr. Burnham,* was prepared by him for the occasion, and 
was, in every respect, one of the most appropriate I have ever 
heard. I remember, also, that a large choir of singers was present, 
led by my friend, Samuel Fletcher, Esq., and the closing hymn 
was sung with such spirit and effect as greatly to raise the devo- 
tions of the people. Though it has been sung at nearly every anniver- 
sary smce, yet it has never seemed to me to reach the melodious 
and rapt spirit of that occasion. 

•' Father! how wide Thy glories shine, 
How high Thy wonders rise ; 
Known thro' the earth by thousand signs, 
By thousands thro' the skies." 

* Subsequent to this the degree of D.D. was conferred on him by Dartmouth 


PART IV— Ministry. 

Being thus installed in office, my first great concern was, how I 
could best perform all the duties that properly belonged to it. A large 
parish, equal to seven miles square, was before me. I must meet 
all reasonable expectations in the pulpit on the Sabbath ; I must 
make the acquaintance of the people at their homes in the remote, 
no less than in the nearer sections of the town ; I must particularly 
visit the sick and afflicted; I must attend and superintend all occa- 
sional meetings for prayers ; I must join the association of ministers 
around me, and take my part in public services ; I must evince my 
interest in the schools of the town, as well as in Sabbath schools — 
in short, I felt more deeply than ever before, that a great work was 
upon me— and I asked, " Who is sufficient for these things ? " I called 
for counsel on my predecessor, Dr. McFarland, in whose judgment 
1 had much confidence — and I will add here, that all my relations 
with him were of the most friendly character. I asked him what 
1 should do ? He replied, very deliberately, " Do all you can, 
and you must leave the rest undone." This advice did not relieve 
the difficulty, for what I saw must be left undone was the thing that 
troubled me. I, however, came to the conclusion that for the pres- 
ent time my chief work would be in my study, in the preparation 
of two sermons a week, with which to meet the people, and so sub- 
serve their highest interest. These sermons, according to usage, 
must be written in full. I'o prepare them would tax all my powers. 
As religion was confessedly in a low state through the town ; as the 
church needed to be brought into a higher spirituality and activity ; 
as very few additions to it had been made for several preceding years, 
I thought it best to preach on subjects adapted to awaken new life 
and zeal in the church, and thus, with God's blessing, to promote 
a general religious interest in the town. In the preparation of ser- 
mons, my practice was to choose my texts and subjects early in the 
week ; to study carefully the original — the exegesis — to meditate 
and to read such commentaries and other books as would aid me; 
then draw out my own thoughts in a regular plan, and begin on my 


first, or forenoon sermon, Wednesday afternoon or evening, and finish 
the writing Thursday evening. Pursuing a similar course for the 
second sermon, I would usually commence writing Friday afternoon 
or evening, and finish Saturday evening. 

While the first six months of my ministry were thus chiefly occu- 
pied, I was called to a trying experience of sympathy and anxiety, 
as pastor, by unusual sickness among the people. In the spring 
season, April, May, and June, the measles, of a severe type, were 
prevalent in every part of the town, especially among children. 
About the middle of July the dysentery set in and became a fatal 
epidemic, spreading and raging, not only in the main village, but in 
the rural districts on the west side of the river. The first instance 
was in a family near Horseshoe Pond, and the disease was attrib- 
uted to stagnant water ; soon another occurred, of a child at a dis- 
tance, and some ascribed it to eating green fruit; then an adult 
person, who was remote from the pond, and had eaten no green 
fruit. The disease spread without known cause. In the months of 
August and September it was general, and in many cases fatal. 
One morning it was reported that three persons lay dead in one 
small neighborhood. The deaths averaged one a day. Sixty 
funerals took place in August and September. During this period 
many families were in mourning. I considered it my duty to do all 
I could, by visitation and prayer, to administer comfort to them. I 
spent a portion of each day in such service, on foot or on horse- 
back, going to families near and remote. In one house, at Horse 
Hill, so called, four children were sick at a time. It was a sad 
sight. I continued these visitations until it pleased my heavenly 
Father to prostrate me also with the same disease. It came upon 
me the latter part of August. It was not, however, in a severe 
form. I was confined to my bed or room about a fortnight, and 
was kept out of the pulpit the first Sabbath in September. In this 
sickness I found I had the sympathy and prayers of my people ; 
but from another cause, and in another quarter, it was a matter of 
very much concern. I was engaged to be married early in the 
month of September, and my sickness hung as a cloud over the 
expected event. However, with many thanks to Him " from whom 
all blessings flow," I was restored, and I was married* on the nth 

* He was thrice manied— as above, to Miss Harriet Sherman (daughter of 
l.CVi Tohn Sherman, of'J'renton: N. Y., and great grand-slaughter of Roger 


of September, 1825, to Miss Harriet Sherman, at Lebanon, 
Goshen parish. Conn., by her adoptive father. Rev. Erastus Ripley. 
Being now settled, in a two-fold sense, in the conjugal as well as 
in the parochial relation, I found it important, first of all, to lay out 
Genet al my work, to pursue some regular plan of study 

Methods of and of labor, as I had done when a student in col- 
Work, lege and at Andover. My aim was so to system- 

atize my work that I could attend to it without hurry or distraction ; 
so, also, that I could make progress in knowledge and in every 
branch of service. My leading motto was, one thing at a time ; 
and to give undivided attention to that one thing while it was 
before me. I also formed the purpose to be punctual to all appoint- 
ments and engagements, both in the parish and out of it. Of course, 
I found it expedient to change my plans from time to time, as cir- 
cumstances changed, but yet, in no case, to leave things at random. 
My methods of work might vary, but still I had a system, which 1 
pursued till the object was accomplished ; and to this I attribute, 
in a great degree, whatever of value I have achieved or success 

The first plan, of which I have a minute, is as follows: 

Course of Study in Summer. 

Every day.— Ki&Q with the sun. Walk, or exercise in some way, one hour. 

Private devotion — exegetical reading of New Testament. 
Monday. — Visit the sick, afflicted, in the forenoon, with miscellaneous reading. 

Read classics, one hour after dinner. Read philosophy or 

poetry, evening. 
Tuesday. — Exegesis, New Testament and history, forenoon. Classics, one hour 

p. M. Parochial visits. Philosophy, evening, or a lecture. 
Wednesday. — Exegesis, New Testament, one hour after breakfast. Classics, 

one hour after dinner ; history ; philosophy. 
Thursday. — Exegesis, New Testament; theology; preparation of sermons; 

Classics after dinner ; philosophy ; visits. 
Friday. — Exegesis, New Testament. Writing sermons, all day. 
Saturday. — Exegesis, New Testament. Writing sermons. 
Saturday Evenhig. — Revision of sermons ; devotional exercise. 

Sherman, of Connecticut), by whom he had two children; June 8, 1829, to Miss 
Mary Anne P. Bell (eldest duughter of Gov. John Bell, of Chester), by whom he 
had five children ; Feb. 18, 1840, to Miss Elizabeth Anne Cilley (eldest daughter 
of Horatio G. Cilley, Esq., of Deerfield), who survives him, and by whom he had 
six children. Nine of the children are living — viz., Elizabeth Ripley, wife of 
Prof. J. C. Webster, of Wheaton, 111. ; Nathaniel Sherman , of Chicago, now in 
Europe; John Bell, of New York City; Harriet Sherman, wife of Hon. J. W. 
Noyes, of Chester; Samuel Fletcher and Christopher Bell, of Chicago ; Sarah 
Cilley, wife of Gen. J. N. Patterson, Martha Cilley, widow of J. G. Cilley, and 
Jane Louise, of Concord. The children deceased are Mary Anne Persis, widow 
of Gen. Louis Bell, of Chester, WiUiam Horatio, Joseph Bradbury, and Annie 
Cilley, of Concord, 


This plan, however, was necessarily varied, and a more general 
arrangement for each week was made, which provided five days 
for study in the forenoons, and afternoons devoted to parochial 
visits or miscellaneous reading ; Tuesday for lectures and visits in 
school districts out of the main village ; Wednesday afternoons and 
evenings for Bible classes; Thursday, Friday and Saturday for 
preparation of sermons. 

As already intimated, my first great work was to preach the Gospel. 
I had full faith in the system of doctrines which I had embraced, as 
Preparation clearly tauglit in the Scriptures, and it was my duty 
of to preach as I believed, plainly, earnestly, whether 

Sermons. men would hear or forbear. I had faith in the 

power of the (jospel to convert men — '' to turn them from darkness 
to light ; from the power of Satan unto Ood ; " and hence I can 
humbly affirm that this was the chief aim and distinctive character- 
istic of my ministry. My usual course, after selecting my subject 
and text, was to ask myself — What do you wish to accomplish by 
it? Having settled my aim, then I proceeded to mark out my 

I would study my text exegetically, in Greek or Hebrew, accord- 
ing to my means and ability ; then lay down my proposition, theme, 
doctrine, or duty; I would meditate and read until the whole sub- 
ject became clear in my own mind ; then write at continuous sittings, 
as fast as I could, till the sermon was finished. I usually allowed 
thirty or thirty-five minutes for an ordinary Sabbath discourse ; but 
if the subject required large discussion and proof, I had no hesita- 
tion in taking the time requisite, even if forty minutes or an hour. 
Experience taught me that an important subject, earnestly and in- 
structively presented, would always command the unflagging atten- 
tion of the people, and they would be gratified to hear a subject 
fully discussed and applied. I can testify that sermons that have 
cost me most study and labor in preparation have been also best 
received and appreciated. The people well know when they are 
fed. My habit was to devote an hour Saturday evening to a review 
and correction of what I had written, and implore upon it the bless- 
ing of God's Holy Spirit, again, before entering the pulpit, and 
again, after preaching. 

One other item of experience : Through the first year of my 
ministry, my preparation of two sermons for the Sabbath generally 


carried me into Saturday evening, till eight or nine o'clock. This I 
found unfavorable ; I was not fresh and vigorous for the following 
day. I therefore determined to finish my second sermon before tea 
on Saturday. Still later, I resolved to finish my sermons before 
dinner, and to spend Saturday afternoon in open-air exercise. This 
habit I maintained till the close of my ministry ; and I found it of 
great advantage to my health and vigor. 

As I advanced in age and experience, many services devolved 
upon me, ab extra. 1 had repeated invitations to preach or deliver 
addresses on public occasions, such as ordinations, anniversaries, 
etc. lu order to meet such occasions, my habit was to commence 
the preparation as soon as practicable, after I received notice of 
the time when the service would be required. For example, 1 was 
desired to preach on the looth anniversary of the organization of 
the Church in Concord ; on the second centennial of the settle- 
ment of my native town (Norwalk, Conn.) ; on the fiftieth anni- 
versary of the General Association of New Hampshire ; to deliver 
a discourse before the New Hampshire Historical Society, and on 
the fiftieth anniversary of the Concord Female Charitable Society. 
These, and all such discourses, required special research for facts 
and illustrations. I would therefore begin my work one, three, or six 
months in advance of the time for delivery, and appropriate certain 
days each week, or certain hours each day, to collect materials for the 
occasion. Thus, I was at least six months preparing for the centennial 
in Concord (1830), and for the bi-centennial in Norwalk (1851), as 
also for the half-centennial of the General Association (1859), and 
the discourse before the Historical Society. By adopting this plan, I 
was never crowded or hurried. I omitted no regular parish work ; 
I may say, I only switched off from one line of service to another, 
and when the work was done, returned to the former regular course. 
This plan extended to extra services of every kind, and the result 
was, I never failed to fulfill an appointment, or was obliged to make 
excuse. It enabled me also to prepare various papers for publica- 
tion, as the Spirit moved thereto, I took time by the forelock, and 
put in the work without friction with any thing else, and without 
special weariness or exhaustion. On this system I undertook to 
write the history of Concord, a labor which required a score ot 
years to gather and arrange the material, and three years to com- 
pose the volume. I resolved at the outset, that the work should 


not interrupt or interfere with my weekly labors for the pulpit, nor 
with my ordinary parochial duties. It did not perceptibly. I 
gathered facts as I went round among the people, and placed them 
on file. At stated times I examined the old Town Records, and 
took notes. I kept an eye on all the passing events of the town ; 
much of this work at first was performed con amove, and not with a 
definite purpose to write a history. But when the time arrived to 
put the abundant materials of twenty years' collecting into a history ; 
when I resolved to take up my pen and write a volume, that should 
not interfere with my other work — " hie labor ^ hoc opus." That was a 
toil to which, I confess, human endurance was hardly equal. I fa- 
vored myself somewhat by writing out only one sermon a week ; 
preaching extemporaneously, and now and then " turning over the 
barrel," as the phrase is — that is, using an old sermon with new 
trimmings. My history went on till, after three years, the work came 
to its termination. It was a little too much ; towards the close, I 
found myself becoming nervous and uneasy. After writing an hour 
or so, my hand would tremble ; I thought the pen was tired of my 
fingers, and wouldn't make a good mark. Then I would lay it down 
and walk awhile across the room, or run out into the open air. But 
thanks to the good Providence that watched over me, I finished the 
composition of the history, in just about three years, and wrote the 
whole with one gold pen — nor was I hindered in this, or any part of 
my work, by a single day's sickness. 

My practice of studying the Scriptures, particularly the New Tes- 
tament, exegetically, impressed me with the importance of expound- 
Expository ing the Word consecutively ; first, ascertaining the 
Preaching. meaning ; then deducing from it a series of propo- 
sitions, doctrine or duty, promise, or threatening — in short, whatever 
truth was contained therein, and so without minute criticism, mak- 
ing a direct application of it, as God's revealed truth, to my hearers. 
This, none could gainsay or resist. Experience taught me that no 
one mode of preaching was on the whole more edifying, more in- 
structive, more impressive and practical. 

Thus I expounded the Gospel of Matthew, the greater part of 
the Gospel of John, the whole of the Acts of the Apostles, the 
Epistles to the Galatians and the Ephesians, the Epistle to the He- 
brews, wholly written out, in twenty-six discourses, the Epistle ot 
James, the First Epistle of Peter, and the First Epistle of John. I 

41 . 

also expounded a large number, about one-fourth, of the Psalms of 
David, selecting such as seemed most applicable to the edification 
and wants of my people. I undertook also to preach biographical 
discourses on Scripture characters, beginning with Adam, Cain and 
Abel, Noah, Abraham, and so on, as far as Samuel. But I found 
that these discourses were not so generally acceptable or useful, 
owing, as I imagined, to want of skill on my part in delineating 
character, or want of application to the circumstances of the peo- 
ple. As soon as I discovered this I gave it up. 

I have always regarded sound doctrine as the basis of sound 
piety. Faith must have an object ; that object must be some 
Doctrinal truth ; it may relate to God, to His perfections, 
Preaching. His government. His law. His promises ; or to 
Christ, His character and offices ; or to the Holy Spirit, His person- 
ality and work; or to man, his fallen state, character, duty, destiny ; 
or to immortality, heaven or hell. I have observed that sound 
doctrine, heartily believed, leads to right practice, and tends espe- 
cially to produce steadfastness in religion. I therefore endeavored 
to indoctrinate my people in what I considered the most important 
or fundamental truths of revealed religion. In order to do this, in 
about five years after my ministry began, I commenced a system of 
theological, or rather bibhcal, discourses on evidences of the being 
of God, His attributes, the divine inspiration and authority of the 
Scriptures. I followed in the main the course I had studied at An- 
dover, and wrote out in full forty sermons of this character. At an- 
other period I preached a series of discourses, about twenty, on the 
Articles of Faith, or Creed, adopted by the Church; I also ex- 
pounded the Ten Commandments in a course of twenty-two ser- 
mons, which, at different periods, were twice repeated. I also 
delivered a course of sermons on the Lord's Prayer, taking each peti- 
tion in order as a theme ; and seventeen sermons on the formation 
and evidences of Christian character, or " fruits of the Spirit," as 
enumerated in Gal. v. 22-24. I find, moreover, extending through 
the whole period of my ministry, about eighty sermons on the dis- 
tinctive character, offices and titles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ ; these were mostly preached on communion seasons. Add 
to these, eleven on the Beatitudes spoken by our Lord, Matthew v. 
1-12; eight on the practical virtues of Christians, as enjoined in 
Philippians iv. 8; and eight on the Second Epistle of Peter, i. 5, 
6, 7, and 8 verses. 


Soon after my settlement I ascertained that, beside the young 
people belonging to the families of my charge, there were large 
Sabbath numbers of others not in the habit of regular worship 

Evenjjig in church. They were mostly persons em])loyed at 
Lectures. trades, or day labor, clerks, apprentices, many young 

women engaged at work in families or in shops. These were gen- 
erally from out of town, and having no seat in the meeting-house, 
and no friends to provide for or look after them, I judged it very 
important to bring them under religious influences. Accordingly 1 
early appointed a third (evening) meeting, to be held on the Sab- 
bath, at the Old Town Hall, located where the present City Hall 
stands. It would conveniently seat about two hundred persons. 
My discourses or addresses at this meeting were always unwritten, 
but carefully premeditated and arranged. I selected topics suited 
to the age, situation and needs of my hearers ; and spoke in a plain, 
direct and famihar manner. In doing this, I had the advantage of 
my experience and training while fitting for college, and afterwards. 
It was easy to speak, and I can humbly and gratefully testify that 
no part of Sabbath services was more effective in fixing atten- 
tion, producing deep, serious and lasting impressions — issuing in 
numerous cases that came to my knowledge of conversion to 
God. These meetings were largely attended by all classes of peo- 
ple. The old hall was usually filled, and often crowded. To give 
variety to instructions in the services, I occasionally introduced 
general topics that required a series of discourses. For example, 
Scripture characters of young men, Joseph, Joshua, Samuel, David, 
Daniel, Paul, before and after his conversion, Timothy and others. 
I preached on the miracles and parables of our Saviour ; discourses 
on passages of Scripture in which the word "youth" or "young," 
or " blessed " or " woe," was used. I explained the doctrinal part 
of the Westminster Assembly's Shorter Catechism in a series of lec- 
tures. Thus the first convert under my ministry was awakened, as 
also the second and the third, and scores of others which came to 
my knowledge. Thanks to God for his abundant grace ! 

The first was Mr. Henry S. G. French, a native of Boscawen, 
who subsequently graduated at Yale College, and became a mis- 
sionary of the A. B. C. F. M. in Siam. The second was Samuel 
Shute, and the third James Moulton, Jr. — the latter deacon of the 
church for many years. 


PART V. — General Pastoral Work. 

In 1825 there were twenty-one school districts in Concord, in all 
of which resided families and church members, under my charge. 
Lectures in Of this number eighteen districts were out of the 

School main village, at a distance of from two to six miles. 

Districts. I judged it highly important to devote to this por- 

tion of my charge such a measure of service as would reasonably 
satisfy them for the want of advantages which those nearer the 
centre enjoyed, and which also would tend to bind them more 
closely to the church, whose prosperity was the common interest of 
all. Fifteen of the above districts were so situated that it was con- 
venient to attend lectures in their school-houses from time to time. 
Accordingly I early arranged for a lecture once a week, in course, 
in these districts. My plan was to make an appointment on the 
Sabbath for a given district, at two or three o'clock in the afternoon ; 
usually on Tuesday. Starting from home — commonly on horse- 
back — at an early hour, I aimed to call on all the families in that dis- 
trict before the lecture was to commence. I was sure, of course, 
to be invited to take dinner, with some family, where it would be 
most convenient. These calls were necessarily short ; but they gave 
me opportunity not only to see the inmates and to pass social com- 
pliments, but to learn their particular circumstances, whether poor 
or with competence, sick or afflicted, and also to speak a few words 
on the subject of rehgion, and often to pray with them. The result 
was that all, or nearly all, both parents and children, would attend 
the meeting in the afternoon. If a school was kept, it would be 
suspended for the hour, and all the children would be present. The 
meetings thus held were appreciated by all the inhabitants of the 
district. The time for their turn was anticipated with interest, and 
often it was evident that salutary and lasting impressions were made. 
As a general rule, each district was visited about three times in a 
year. This service, for the whole parish, was continued about seven 
years. After the organization of the West Concord Church (1833), 
the districts embraced therein — five in number — were assigned to 


their pastor; so, also, those in East Concord, in 1862 ; but during 
the whole period of my ministry, I sustained lectures, in turn, in school 
districts where members of my parish and church resided, and as 
many others as I could. 

Another service was early institnted, to which then, and ever after- 
ward, I attached great importance. God blessed it to the instruc- 
Bible tion, the conversion, and the salvation of a large number 

Classes. of young people. Soon after my settlement, in the 

summer of 1825, 1 formed a class of young ladies, living in the main 
village, for the study of the Scriptures. They met, at first, once a 
fortnight, on an afternoon, in the Old Town Hall, from 30 to 40 in 
number. My plan was, to them, entirely new. The class be- 
gan with the Gospel according to Matthew. I prepared myself, 
by a thorough exegetical study of the lesson, with written references, 
notes, and illustrations, and requested them beforehand to study 
each lesson as carefully as they possibly could. In reciting, I called 
on each scholar in course to read a verse ; then I raised questions 
relative to the leading fact or sentiment contained therein — the doc- 
trine, duty, promise, threatening — the meaning of particular words 
or phrases, referring at the same time to parallel passages. If the 
scholar was not ready for an answer, I put it to any one, or more 
generally answered the question myself; proceeding thus, all the 
members of the class became interested in the study. They were 
encouraged to ask as well as to answer questions. As we proceeded 
opportunity would occur to make particular or even personal appli- 
cation of truths taught in the lesson, and thus sometimes impressions 
would be made, tender, salutary, and lasting. So useful was this 
exercise that I soon after extended it to other portions of the parish, 
forming classes in East Concord, West Concord, and the " Horse 
Hill " district; also a class for gentlemen, in the main village. 

Sabbath schools were instituted in the parish previous to my set- 
tlement, but subsequendy they were greatly extended and enlarged 
Sabbath in number. As the parish was large, and hence it 
Schools. was impracticable for all the children and youth to 
attend in one place, it was deemed expedient for accommodation 
to establish schools not only in the centre, but in as many of the 
school districts as there could be found teachers to instruct them. 
Fortunately, these were not wanting ; the Bible classes had trained 
up a goodly number, both male and female, who were competent 


and zealous to engage in the good work. A Sabbath School Societ}' 
was organized for more systematic and efficient action, and there 
were sixteen schools conducted by the church and congregation, 
numbering in the aggregate, for the year 1832, 925 scholars. From 
these, subsequently to the suspension of Bible classes, many were 
gathered into the church. Of the whole number added during the 
first twenty-five years of my ministry, three-sevenths, or 132, were 
connected with Sabbath schools, and about the same proportion, 
seventy in all, in the remaining period ; these were besides, or in 
addition to, the members of Bible classes. 

In the ministration of the Word, I always endeavored to improve 
particular and special occasions, such as sudden deaths, extraordi- 
Iinprovemenf nary accidents, and whatever concerned the 
of Occasions. moral and spiritual interests of my people. 
On return from my vacations I gave a relation of interesting facts 
and incidents which had occurred, with proper reflections and ap- 
plication, which discourses were always listened to with interest. I 
always preached a discourse on the anniversary of my ordination, 
and never failed to preach to my own people on each annual 
Thanksgiving and Fast Day, and on these occasions had large and 
appreciative audiences. Also, after attending the annual meeting 
of the A. B. C. F. M., of the American Home Missionary Society, 
the N. H. Missionary Society, and others of like nature, I gave a 
detailed relation of the proceedhigs and spirit and influence of 
those meetings, and I here avow that I never preached a political 
sermon with a view to a party political end, but I did maintain and 
defend the Government of my country in the dark days of treason 
and rebellion. 

Among other means employed for the instruction and help of 
those who became personally interested for their salvation was an 
Meetings for appointment for " inquirers," as they were 
Inquiry. called. This appointment was on Monday 

evening of each week, at the pastor's house. It was first instituted 
in the fall of 1825, and continued, with only occasional intermis- 
sion, through the whole period of my ministry. I regarded it a^ of 
special importance to all in the congregation who desired, for any 
reason, to make inquiries and converse freely on religious subjects ; 
but more especially designed to aid and guide those who were 
awakened to concern for their own spiritual welfare, asking " VVhat 


shall we do to be saved ?" This meeting made me acquainted 
with all of this class, in the incipient stages of their concern, with" 
their peculiar difficulties and hindrances; the various shades of 
character of each ; the inner workings of their minds, or rather, I 
may say, the " diversities of operations " of the Spirit on their 
hearts. To me the meetings were eminently useful, as suggesting 
appropriate topics for sermons, and also bringing before me the 
ever-varying shades of religious experience. 

In the midst of a wide-spread religious interest among my people, 
about 1 83 1, I judged it desirable to institute a new and hitherto un- 

Faitiily tried means of instruction and grace, in order to 

Conferences. meet more fully the many inquiries which were 
raised relative to Christian doctrine and duty. We called it a 
" Family Conference ;" that is, once a week a meeting was held by 
invitation in a private house, in the main village, which all who 
were disposed, living in the neighborhood, were at liberty to attend. 
Ordinarily the parlor, or largest room in the house, would be filled. 
It was understood, and particularly requested that every person who 
attended would bring, in writing, some question in which he or she 
was particularly interested, which should be made a topic for con- 
versation. The questions so brought in were deposited in a basket, 
at the door, and at the opening of the service were read, and then 
in due order, with prayer and praise, made the subject of free con- 
versation. Having read a question, I would ask the brethren, one 
after another, to give their opinions. Then opportunity was offered 
to the ladies present to express their minds. I summed up with 
closing remarks, concisely giving my views on each subject. These 
meetings, I may truly say, were among the most pleasant, edifying 
and profitable, as social meetings, that I ever attended. They 
were continued regularly about seven years. 

The particular services previously specified — district lectures, 
Bible classes, meetings of inquiry, and family conferences — were of 
Church my own motion, entirely voluntary, and I may say, 

Co-ope ratio u. gratuitous and extra — that is, they were not de- 
manded by the people, but offered them. They were commenced and 
continued in the hope and belief that they would subserve spirit- 
ual interests, add to the number of Christ's disciples, and to the ef- 
ficiency of the church. But besides thfese services, there were others 
which recjuired and received the ofticial aid of the church, and 


the special labors of different brethren. At this point, I take 
pleasure in adding, that during the whole period of my ministry, I 
enjoyed the hearty co-operation of the church, in all measures pro- 
posed for their adoption. 

As belonging to my pastoral charge, or rather part of it, it 
was my duty to visit the sick and afflicted. My rule, invari- 
Visitmg the Sick ably, was, when I heard of a case of sickness 
and Attending in the parish, to go and inquire into it as soon 

Funerals. as practicable. Governed by the circum- 

stances of each case, as my judgment dictated, I saw, conversed, 
and usually prayed with the individual or family. If the sickness 
was protracted, the visits were repeated as often as desired, or as I 
judged expedient. Like visits were made in cases of providential 
affliction. Particular attention was paid to the aged, who were not 
able to attend public worship ; and poor families in the ]iarish were 
never passed by. 1 early adopted a practice — the propriety of 
which some doubted — of visiting families within a week or ten 
days after a child-birth, to offer my congratulations, to pray with 
the mother, and to commit the little one to the care and arms of 
the blessed Saviour. I have reason to believe that these visits 
were welcome to the mothers, and served to endear the children 
the more to me as they grew up. At funeral services my practice 
was to adapt the substance of what I said and did to the circum- 
stances of each occasion ; usually reading select Scriptures, with 
singing, if convenient, offering what I deemed appropriate remarks 
and prayers. This general rule admitted of much diversity. In 
some cases the service would be embarrassing, on account of the 
character of the deceased, or circumstances of the occasion. The 
common maxim, " to say nothing of the dead except good," some- 
times came in conflict with pastoral fidelity and responsibility. 
Once I attended the funeral of a drunken father, who fell by the 
wayside upon a sharp axe, which he was carrying, and bled to 
death, having at the same time a bottle of rum in his pocket. He 
was found dead by an intemperate brother, who drank up the rum. 
I judged the funeral occasion a fit one to give a solemn warning 
against intemperance, and made a direct address to the brother, the 
children, and all concerned. Whether they liked it or not, I 
thought it both proper and a duty. 

In the early years of my ministry, from 1825 to 1830, it was a 


uniform custom at funerals to treat the mourners, bearers and others 
with spirituous Hquor before going out to the grave, and often after 
their return. Occasionally the drinking would be to excess. At 
one funeral, in 1829, a brother of the deceased (^who was himself 
intemperate), was so much intoxicated that he could not walk 

At marriage occasions in families, the service was usually short, 
simple and uniform. After receiving the certificate of publishment 
Marriages. which the law of the State required, the parties in- 
tending marriage were requested to rise ; then I offered a brief prayer 
of invocation; directed the gentleman and lady to unite their right 
hands ; then I pronounced the usual form, which was followed by a 
prayer of blessing on the parties, for their temporal and spiritual 

Immediately after this service, I congratulated the bridegroom and 
bride, wishing them happiness in their new relation, and saluted the 
bride — save in exceptional cases — with a kiss. 

When marriages were solemnized in a more public manner in a 
church, the service was more formal. I then commonly used a print- 
ed form with an introductory address, and prayers more copious 
suited to the occasion. The marriage fees varied, at the option of 
the bridegroom, from one to two, five, ten, or more dollars. On 
three occasions I received a fee of twenty dollars, the first of which 
was from Hon. Ezekiel Webster, brother of Daniel Webster, at his 
marriage (2d) with Miss Achsah Pollard. I have the more reason to 
remember it, because of the exceeding embarrassment I felt in his pres- 
ence, on account of my youth and inexperience. The ceremony 
took place August 2, 1825. It was the fifth in order, and before my 
own marriage. 

Though my pastoral relation did not require it, yet I judged it 
expedient, because useful, to take an active part in all suitable mea- 
Superinteiidence sures to promote the cause of education. Hence, 

of Schools. in the second year of my ministry (1827), I ac- 

cepted the appointment to act as one of the superintending school 
committee of the town. The duties of the committee included the 
examination of all who proposed to teach in our schools, with a cer- 
tificate of qualifications, and a visit and examination of each school 
twice, both in summer and winter. The committee consisted of 
three. In the examination of teachers, we met and acted together. 


In visiting the schools, first at the beginning of a term, and secondly, 
at the close, the committee provided that two, at least, should be to- 
gether. We kept minutes of the recitations and progress of each 
class, made suggestions or orders, as we deemed necessary or use- 
ful, both for the teachers and scholars, and having thus ascertained 
by personal inspection the state of each school, we prepared a written 
report in detail, which was presented and read at each annual town 
meeting. I served on this committee fourteen years in succession 
(from 1827 to 184.1); and subsequently, after an intermission, about 
fo"ur years more. At first no compensation was paid for this service, 
beyond horse -hire, and the most that I ever received for a year's ser- 
vice was twenty-five dollars. 

About the year 1835, many of the citizens desiring higher advant- 
ages for the education of their children than the common schools af- 
Coticord Academy. forded, combined their influence and means 
for the erection of a building for an academy, in which not only 
the higher English branches should be taught, but also studies 
preparatory for college. Into this project I heartily entered; 
helped raise subscriptions for the building, and subscribed at first one 
hundred dollars, and afterwards twenty-five dollars more. These 
sums were equal to any subscription that was made for the purpose, 
except that of Hon. Isaac Hill, whose second subscription was 
thirty-three dollars instead of twenty-five dollars. I was chosen 
president of the board of trustees of the academy, and delivered an 
address at the dedication of the building, on the i6th of September, 
1835. The academy, commencing under the instruction of Mr. T. 
D, P. Stone, was well sustained under successive teachers, and of 
great advantage to the whole community about nine years. 

In 1834, a young man by the name of David Osgood, living 
in East Concord, died, and by will, left a legacy of two hundred 
The Osgood Fiuid. dollars, to be paid to me in trust ; the interest 
of which was to be expended in the education of indigent children 
and youth of Concord, at my discretion. I had become intimate 
with this young man, who was unmarried, the owner of a small 
farm, of only moderate education, but of excellent moral character. 
The particular bond of our intimacy, and I may say, our friendship, 
was that he was exactly of my age — bom the same year, month, and 
day. Ascertaining this fact, we were disposed to talk over our ex- 
periences in life, and so sprang up a close attachment. I accepted 


the trust of the legacy, and investing the principal (two hundred 
dollars), from time to time, have annually received a six per cent, 
interest therefrom, without the loss of a single dollar. That interest 
has also been regularly appropriated to aid in the education of such 
children or youths as I judged to be promising, as well as needy; and 
in looking over the list of their names through a period now ot 
more than forty years, it gives me great pleasure to find that some 
have attained useful and honorable positions in society, and not one 
is known to have been unworthy the gift. The whole number as- 
sisted to this date, January, 1878, is fifty-three; of these three be- 
came respectable physicians, two preachers of the Gospel, and two 
distinguished academy teachers. Several girls, who were aided, are 
now among our excellent women. 

' In regard to other ministerial services, I have only to observe that 
my practice was " to stand in my lot," and be ready to perform duty 
Other Ministerial to which I was called, whether in Concord, 
Services. or elsewhere. During the period of protracted 

meetings, from 1830 to 1845 and later, exercises of this kind were held 
in nearly all the towns within the county. I attended whenever able, 
and preached, as I now recall, in Dunbarton, Pembroke, Canterbury, 
Loudon Village, Pittsfield, Boscawen, Franklin, Salisbury, Hopkin- 
ton, Henniker, Warren, and in other places more remote, as Laconia, 
Lebanon, Exeter, and Andover, Mass. At these times I spent 
usually from two to five days, and preached as often, taking my turn 
with other brethren. 

I regularly attended the meetings of the Hopkinton association 
of ministers, to which I belonged ; was never absent unless necessa- 
rily detained, and I do not remember ever to have failed to take my 
part. I generally attended the annual meeting of the general asso- 
ciation, and always when I was appointed as delegate ; four times I 
acted as moderator. 

In the course of my ministry, aid was solicited for many objects 
of public benevolence. These ordinarily were submitted to the 
Aid to Public Bene- judgment of a committee of the church, 

volent Objects. or directly to the church itself. The more 

important of the number were foreign missions, in connection with 
the A. B. C. F. M., the New Hampshire, and American Home 
Missionary Societies, the American Bible, Tract, and Education 
Societies. These were permanent. Others, of subordinate impor- 


tance, local or temporary, were presented from time to time, 
and collections in church, or subscriptions, were made in their 
behalf. Of all, however, I kept an account, and at the close of each 
year, or on my anniversary, made a statement of what had been 
done. Referring to my minutes, I find that the total of sums con- 
tributed for the various objects above stated — allowing for defective 
statistics in some years — amount to $22,948, or an average of 
about $546 each year. Compared with the sums collected by 
some larger and more wealthy congregations, this sum may appear 
small ; but it should be noted that, subsequent to the organization 
of the churches, west, south and east, the old church and congrega- 
tion were reduced in number and ability. 

It had been my practice on the return of each anniversary of my 
ordination, or the ensuing Sabbath, to preach a sermon on some 
Fortieth Anniversary. topic suited to the occasion — either in 

relation to the pastoral charge, or to the duties and responsibilities 
of the people, and also to give a summary of matters pertaining to 
the church and society within the year. These anniversary sermons 
always cost me extra study and labor in preparation, and were 
looked forward to by the people with interest. The congregation 
was, then, unusually large. The sermon preached on my twenty- 
fifth anniversary contained a summary of my ministry up to that 
time. On the approach of the fortieth anniversary, March 23, 1865, 
a movement was made, on the part of the church and society, to 
celebrate the event by appropriate public services. The arrange- 
ments comprised, not only the anniversary sermon which should 
give a summary of the forty years' experience, with results — but 
also invitations to the sister churches in the city to unite in the 
service ; also to individuals within and out of the city, and a general 
invitation to all the citizens. It was also proposed to give a re- 
ception in the Town Hall, in the evening, for other commemorative 
exercises, with reminiscences and addresses from various persons. 
Among the contributions to the "reception," was a hymn written 
by my friend and " son in the Lord," Rev. Ezra E. Adams, D.D., 
which was sung with beautiful effect by the choir, in words as 
follows : — 

With their labors, hopes and fears. 
With their raptures and their tears, 
Gone into the silent spheres, 

" Forty years ! " 


Laud the pastor's work to-day, 
Who, to such as went astray, 
Pointed out the better way, 

" Forty years ! " 

Watching at the bed of pain, 
Praying he may not in vain 
Tell men of a Saviour slain, 

" Forty years ! " 

Fellowship of kindred souls 
Welcome into many folds. 
Warning from perdition's shoals, 

" Forty years! " 

List — the echo from the street 
Trod by his most willing feet. 
In his walks of mercy meet, 

" Forty years ! " 

From the pulpit and the pew. 
From the aged, honored few. 
Who his true and just life knew, 

" Forty years ! " 

From the still and solemn mould 
Of the youthful and the old, 
Whom our arms did once enfold, 

" Forty Years !" 

O'er the dear and blessed past 
One fond glance of memory cast ; 
Say oxi^ farewell, to the last 

" Forty years !" 

[During the reception service, or accompanying it, highly valuable 
presents in money and other forms were made to Dr. and Mrs. 
Bouton by the people of his charge, by citizens not of his congrega- 
tion, by personal friends, in and out of Concord, and by the mem- 
bers of his own family. 

The following verses, containing also a reference to the silver 
wedding of the pastor and his wife, which was celebrated at the 
same time (the two anniversaries being little more than a month 
apart), were written for the occasion by Miss Eliza Nesmith, of 
Lowell, Mass. : 

" yesus Saith Unto Him, Feed My Sheep^ 
John, XXI. 17. 

When God unlinks fond hands to take 

Some dear one home to Heaven, 
What tender thoughts the last words wake ; 

What anxious care is given 
Lest some sweet parting pledge we break ; 
Some consecrated trust forsake ! 


And so when the one dearest friend 

Must from His followers part, 
A charge to us His last words lend — 

Through Peter's troubled heart — 
" Feed ye my sheep, on my lambs tend !" 
Such is the message Christ would send. 

O ! Pastor, with thy forty years 

Of working for our Lord ! 
Of patient watchings, doubts and fears. 

While holding forth His word ; 
How much this faith thy task endears — 
'Tis Christ's last wish till He appears. 

Full forty years to feed His sheep, 

Glad thus thy love to test ; 
Through joy and sorrow proud to keep, 

Untired, His last request. ^ 

O ! for such service may'st thou reap 
Rewarding mercies, rich and deep ! 

And as thy children gather round, 

This silver wedding-day, 
Be earthly cheer by Heaven's peace crowned — 

Peace not to pass away. 
So when the summoning call shall sound, 
Calm, midst thy flock, thou 'It still be found.] 

Two years more were nearly passed away, when I began seriously 
to think of resigning my pastorate. Not because I was conscious 
Resignation of my of any failure of my physical or mental powers, 
Pastorate. or that the people desired it ; but the changes 

had been so great in the church and society, and in the town at 
large, that it was evident that my relations to the whole were 
affected and modified thereby. I had been the minister of the 
whole people ; now not less than sixteen new rehgious societies were 
established. Those who called and settled me were nearly all 
gone. A. new generation was on the stage, between whom and 
myself was a wide space in age. My judgment was, that it would 
be better tor the church and society — better for their growth and 
prosperity, to have a new administration ; in short, a younger man, 
who would be more in accord and sympathy with the age and 
generation around him than I could be. I thought I saw indica- 
tions among the younger class, that such a change was desirable to 
them. Moreover, the good Providence that had guided me thus 
far now again held out tokens favoring a change. To resign my 
charge, I knew would be painful. To expect another settlement 
would be presumptuous. To remain without service would to me 
be a burden unendurable. While deliberating on this matter, and 


desirous only to do that which would best subserve the interest of 
the church, and which at the same time would not leave me with 
out employment, I heard agam His voice, " This is the way, walk 
thou in it." I heard ; I obeyed. Without a doubt as to my true 
pathway, I followed. What the voice dictated shall soon be told. 
But, with clear judgment as to my duty and the welfare of the 
church, I gave notice, on the last Sabbath in October, 1866, just 
forty-two years after I preached my first sermon as a candidate, 
that I would resign in March following, the anniversary of my or- 
dination — and, that, in the meantime, they mieht be looking out 
for a successor. I also wrote a letter to the society, giving my 
reasons for resignation, and asking them to accept it ; also to the 
church expressing my regard for them and request that in due time 
they would unite with me in calling a council to dissolve my pasto- 
ral relation, agreeably to ecclesiastical usage. In the letter to the 
church, I said: " I beg to assure you that in these steps toward a 
dissolution of the relation which I have so happily sustained these 
forty-two years — steps which, though painful, yet my judgment 
fully approves — my regard for your welfare is unabated, and, I trust, 
will be unceasing. Continuing, as I hope to do, to reside among 
you, I shall ever deem it my duty and privilege to co-operate with 
you in measures to sustain and advance the cause of our Lord and 
Saviour." Agreeably to these preliminaries, the pastoral relation 
was dissolved by a council, on the 12th of September, 1867. 
The council put on record the following minute, viz : 

"The council cannot sanction the dismission of Rev. Dr. Bouton, without 
putting on record their high estimate of him as a Christian man, a preacher, and 
a pastor. We rejoice that the Great Head of the Church has granted him such a 
measure of grace, that he retires from the pastoral office with the undiminished 
confidence and affection of his people, and the respect of the whole community. 
Our prayer is, that the evening of his life may be as happy as his previous life 
has been useful. 


J. M. R. Eaton, Scribe of Council." 

Before detaiHng my subsequent labors, I will append a summary 
Summary of Facts atid Results. of facts and results, and of my 
pastorate, so far as I have been able to collect them, from memory 
and from records. 

1. I estimate that I have preached about 7,180 times. 

2. In the first twenty-three years of my ministry, I lost but one Sabbath by 

ill health. 


3- Failing about four Sabbaths in 1848, I was able to preach every Sabbath 

during the last of my ministry. 
4. I never failed to preach the annual Thanksgiving and annual fast sermons to 

my own people . 

■;. There were received into the church by profession 024 i 

" " letter 14^ S "" 

6. I administered baptism to children 423 i 520. 

" " adults 2065 

7. Solemnized marriages 5o4- 

8. Attended funerals ■ - - • - 779- 

9. Kept a record of all the deaths in the town till the close of ib66 4.251- 

ID. Of my sermons and public addresses, there have been printed, by request of 

the hearers, the following, viz : 

Printed Sermons and Addresses. 

1. p^ourth of July address at Salem, Mass., 1824; at Concord, 1825 1825. 

2. Thanksgiving sermon, Concord 1826. 

3. Election sermon, before Legislature of N. H 1828. 

4. Sermon of installation of Rev. John Smith, at Exeter 1829. 

5 and 6. Centennial discourses on organization of first church in Concord. 1830. 

7. Sermon on private prayer > j^^ National Preacher. 1833. 

8. Sermon on social prayer ^ 

9. History of education in N. H., before N. H. Hist. Society 1833. 

10. The Bible first printed in Enghsh 1835. 

11. Discourse to young people 1835. 

12. Temporal prosperity — temperance discourse 1837. 

13. On the death of President Harrison 1841. 

14. Ornaments of women — funeral of Mrs. Elizabeth Buxton 1842. 

15. History of temperance reform in Concord 1843. 

16. Experience in the ministry— before Alumni at Andover, Mass 1844. 

17. The Fathers of N. H. ministry -before General Association of N. H. 1848. 

18. Permanence amid changes— 25th anniversary 1850. 

19. The " good land " in which we live— Thanksgiving 1850. 

20. Second centennial discourse, Norwalk, Conn 1851. 

21. Funeral of the Rev. Daniel O.Morton, Bristol, N. H 1852. 

22. '• Crown of glory,"— funeral of the Rev. Josiah Prentice, Northwood, 

N. H........ 1855. 

23. The fear of God in youth— funeral of Mr. Luther Moulton 1857. 

24. Half century discourse— Gen. Asso. of N. H., at Boscawen 1859. 

25. Father Ward— funeral discourse, Brentwood, N. H i860. 

26. Days of adversity — against secession and treason 1861. 

27. Fiftieth anniversary of Concord Female Char. Society 1862. 

28. Forty years' ministry anniversary -- I065. 

29. " Seed sowing "—funeral of Rev. Asa P. Tenney, West Concord 1867. 

30. Prospect and review— funeral of Rev. Enoch Corses. Boscawen. _ 1868. 

31. Death's lessons— commemorative of Mr. Geo. Hutchins and wife... 1869. 

32. The good-will of my Saviour— funeral of Rev. Aaron Foster, East 

Charlemont, Mass 'f70. 

33. Growth and development of Concord, in fifty years past i875- 

34. Semi-centennial of Merrimack Co. conference of Chs 1877. 

Articles printed in Periodicals. 

1. Exposition of Romans, viil. 18-23. Spirit of Pilgrims 1832. 

2. Scripture doctrine of Election. Lit. and Theol. Review i|3S- 

3. Doctrine of the Trinity . * Spirit of Pilgrims i»33- 

4. Vindication of Christian Ministers. Am. Quar. Reg i»3»- 

* This was also published in pamphlet form, and as a tract. 


5. History of the N. H. Hist. Society. Atn. Qimr. Reg 1838. 

6. Exposition of Romans, vn. 7-25. Bib. Journal 1842. 

7. Discourses on the Commandments, I., II., III. Bib. Journal 1842. 

8. History of the origin, etc., of Amer. Home Miss. Society. Home Miss. i860. 

9. Memoir of Hon. Chandler E. Potter. Hist, and Gen. Reg 1869. 

, Volumes Published. 

1. Help to prayer — compilation 1832. 

2. Sinners directed — abridged from Baxter's Directory 1832. 

3. Memoir of Mrs. Elizabeth McFarland, pp. 313 1839. 

4. History of Concord, N. H., 8vo, pp. 786 1856. 

5. Collections of N. H. Hist. Soc, vols VII. and VIII. (edited) 1850.. 1856. 

6. Lovewell's Great Fight at Pigwacket, 1725. (Edited with notes.). .. 1861. 


The publication of provincial and state papers — ten volumes subsequent to the 
resignation of my pastorale — will be mentioned in connection with the history of 
that service. I also contributed various articles, during my ministry, and after- 
wards, to the Congregational Journal, the Recorder, and Congregationalist of 
Boston, and a review of Brooklyn Councils, 1874-1876, to the Christian Union. 

In resigning my pastorate I did not resign the work of preaching ; 
I therefore held myself in readiness to perform such service when- 
Stipplementary ever invited. Preaching the Gospel was my 

Ministry. chosen vocation. I hoped never to fail of op- 

portunities to do it, as long as my abihty remained. By invitation 
from the church in West Concord, after the death of Rev. Mr. Tenney 
(1867), I supplied them one year; then I preached six months for 
the church in Canterbury ; six months for the church in Pembroke ; 
six months for the church at Hillsboro' Bridge ; about three months 
for the church in Candia ; nearly the same time for the church in Ches- 
ter; three months for the church in Boscawen, and the same for the 
church in Fisherville. I also supplied, at different times, the churches 
in Henniker and Warren ; and repeatedly, at sundry times, the 
first church in Nashua. From 1867 to 1870, besides preaching 
twice on the Sabbath, in places as before named, I performed 
the duties of chaplain in the Asylum for the Insane, preaching regu- 
larly for them at five and a half o'clock p. m. every Sabbath. I 
estimate that for seven years, about two-thirds of my time on the 
Sabbath was employed in preaching. 


PART VI. — Services as State Historian, etc. 

As intimated in the preceding pages, when I concluded to lay- 
aside the labors of my pastorate, I had in prospect other services, 
which were proposed for my acceptance. My apprenticeship in a 
printing office for three years was a first link in the chain of my 
history, that connects all the intermediate links with the last, in the 
labors of my public life. In remembrance of the first, and in grati- 
tude for the last, I wish now, distinctly and gratefully, to recognize 
and acknowledge the goodness of God. When at Andover Theo- 
logical Seminary, it was known by some that I had been a printer ; 
consequently, I was called on in repeated instances to revise articles, 
and to read proofs of publications in press. Thus I read and cor- 
rected many of the proof-sheets of the Greek and English Lexicon 
of the New Testament, prepared by Dr. Edward Robinson, and 
published in 1825. Also, I read and corrected proof-sheets of tracts 
of the American Tract Society, of which Rev. Wm. A. Hallock was 
then the newly appointed secretary. On going to Concord, my 
professional connection with the press was also known. This 
fact led to my acquaintance with John Farmer, Esq., and Jacob B. 
Moore, who were active members of the New Hampshire Historical 
Society, of which I was elected a member in 1831, and in 1834 was 
placed on the pubHshing committee ; on that committee I served 
from year to year, through the publication of volumes IV., V., VI., 
VII. and VIII. Of the last two volumes I was the responsible com- 
piler and editor ; preparing the greater part of the contents, and 
reading every page of the proof-sheets of the whole. My labor in pre- 
paring and publishing the history of Concord may chiefly be traced 
to the taste I acquired for literary pursuits while in the printing 
office, as also, for historical research, subsequently. 

About the time {1866) that the Vlllth volume of collections of 
the New Hampshire Historical Society was published, consisting 
chiefly of early papers and records while New Hampshire was a 
province, it occurred to some of the members of the society, par- 
ticularly to Hon. Samuel D. Bell, Chief Justice of the State, that all 


the early papers and records of that period should be printed, in or- 
der to preserve them from the decay and <vaste of age, the accidents 
of fire, and other destructive agencies. In this matter I also felt an 
interest. I therefore took in hand the oldest manuscript volume of 
provincial papers in the State, then deposited in the library of the 
New Hampshire Historical Society, and with it called on his Ex- 
cellency, Frederick Smyth, Governor. I pointed out its value, and 
the importance of preserving the records therein. He looked it over, 
remarked on its decayed and mutilated condition, and promptly 
said — "This must be preserved." 

The next step in order was to obtain an Act of the Legislature of the 
State for the publication, by authority, of all the papers and records 
relating to the provincial and early State history. A petition to that 
effect was drawn up, I think, by Joseph B. Walker, Esq.; signed by 
the Hon. Samuel D. Bell, and other prominent citizens. As a re- 
sult, in July, 1866, a joint Resolution of the Legislature was passed, 
authorizing the pubhcation of the papers and records and the ap- 
pointment by the Governor and Council of a suitable person to 
execute the service. I received the nomination and appointment to 
the office, with a commission from the Governor, bearing date Au- 
gust 31, 1866. * 

In entering on the work assigned me, I was at first almost appalled 
by its magnitude. It was to collect, arrange, edit and publish, under 
direction of the Governor, the entire documentary history of New 
Hampshire, from the beginning of the settlement in 1623, to the 
adoption of the Constitution in 1784. The material for this great 
work was all in manuscript — much of it defaced, mutilated, torn ; 
some of it almost illegible, and scattered in various localities, for 
which search must be made. The greater part was in the office of 
the Secretary of State, in bound MS. volumes, and in loose offi- 
cial papers ; other portions were in the Archives of the New Hamp- 
shire Historical Society, in the town clerk's office, or Athenaeum of 
Portsmouth, in the town or court offices in Exeter, and in the 
State House in Boston. Every paper must be separately examined, 
then copied verbatim ct literatim. It was, upon advice, judged es- 
sential to a complete transcript that every paper published should 
be an exact copy of the original in words, punctuation, spelling, 

* For further particulars, see Vol. I., Prov. J'apers; introductory pages. 


capital letters, abbreviations, etc.; this, necessarily, increased the 
labor. The number of bound manuscript volumes alone in the office 
of Secretary of State amounted to about sixty, containing an average 
of nearly 350 pages each of foolscap paper. In entering on this 
great task, I intended, if possible, to edit and publish one volume 
a year— each an octavo of about 800 pages. Now, after nearly 
eleven years' service, * I have most gratefully to record that 
I was able to accomplish my design. Ten volumes in so many suc- 
cessive years were issued — from 1867 to 1877 — containing in all 
8,49 1 P^gs^» which, by estimate, required manuscript copy amount- 
ing to not less than 22,000 pages, or 23 full reams of paper. As I 
was not authorized to employ a copyist, I undertook the work 
single-handed. Necessity, however, compelled me, at times, to en- 
gage help ; and when I did so, the bills for compensation were al- 
lowed by the Governor, and paid in addition to my salary. The 
amount of service of this kind I cannot estimate, but, with the excep- 
tion of that rendered on the first and ninth volumes, it was inconsider- 
able. I reckon that four-fifths of the whole were copied by my own 
hand. I did not lose a single day of service by ill health. In the 
whole work I was encouraged with the counsel and approval, first to 
Governor Smyth, and then by the succeeding governors, Walter 
Harriman, Onslow Stearns, James A. Weston, Ezekiel A. Straw, 
Person C. Cheney, and Benjamin F. Prescott. 

I may add, that as the volumes passed through the press, I read, 
revised, and corrected proof-sheets of every page of each volume, 
and prepared also a complete index for each, both of general 
contents and names. 

Volumes' of Provincial and State Papers. 

Volume I. 1623-1686, Pages 

" II. 1686-1722 (part 1.), " 

" III, 1692-1722 (part 2.), " 

" IV. 1722-1736, " 

V. 1738-1749, 

VI. 1749-1763, 

" VII, 1764-1776, 

VIII. 1776-1783, 

IX. 1638-1784 (Towns), 

X. i749-i792,t ^ 

* There was a partial suspension of work in publication in the summer of 1876. 
t This volume contains Journals of Constitutional Conventions, Controversy 
with New York and Vermont, with appendix, etc. 






















PART VII. — Personal Reminiscences.* 

On account of my position in the Capital of the State, as well as 
for other reasons, it was convenient to call me to fill various offices 
Public Executive which required official care, labor, responsibil- 

ajid ity, and also considerable time. Of such offi- 

HononD'y Offices. ces I unfortunately had a larger share than I 
either deserved or desired — e. g.: I was trustee of the New Hamp- 
shire Missionary Society about twenty years, and president of the 
Society, 1852-1858; member of the New Hampshire Historical So 
ciety, 1834; librarian of do., 1841-1845 ; corresponding secretary of 
do., 1844; president of do., 1842-1844 ; trusteeof the " Ministers' and 
Widows' Charitable Fund," and president of the Board ; director of 
the N. H. Bible Society; director of the N. H. Educational Society ; 
trustee of Dartmouth College, 1840-1877 (resigned); secretary of 
the board of trustees of do., 1844-1875 (resigned); corporate mem- 
ber of the A. B. C. F. M., 1857 ; vice-president of the American 
Home Missionary Society ; corresponding member of the New Eng- 
land Historical and Genealogical Society, 1847 ; also of Maine His- 
torical Society; of Wisconsin Historical Society; of Pennsylvania 
Historical Society; of New Jersey Historical Society. 

In my long connection —thirty-seven years — with the trustees of 
Dartmouth College, I became acquainted with a very considerable 
Dartmoicth College. number of distinguished gentlemen, whose 
character and names I hold in honor. Among the trustees of the 
college within the same period, were Mills Olcott Esq., of Hanover, 
a gentleman of the old school, of high social culture, and of honor- 
able standing in the community ; Hon. Charles Marsh of Woodstock, 
Vt., a learned and eminent lawyer and civilian, whose opinion in 
most cases was law ; Hon. Samuel Hubbard, of Boston, a lawyer 

* These reminiscences are obviously fragmentary. Dr. Bouton could have 
extended them indefinitely. No citizen of New Hampshire was on more in- 
timate terms than he with the public men of that State for the last fifty years. 
His long pastorate at the capital, his relations as President and otherwise 
officially to the Historical Society, and his position as State Historian, made 
him acquainted with the leading, active minds among his contemporaries. 
He took much interest in the records of families and in the fortunes of 
persons who had grown up under his notice. With these resources at his 
command, and his fondness for such recollections, it is probable that he ori- 
ginally intended to devote a greater space in his autobiography to this division 
of the work, and that its apparent incompleteness is due to some cause other 
than design — perhaps to a consciousness of failing health and strength. 


and judge, and of elevated Christian character; Hon. Joel Parker, 
who, after service as Chief Justice of New Hampshire, was placed at 
the head of the law school in Harvard College, Mass. The succes- 
sive governors of the State were ex officio members of the board. 
Of clergymen, among the trustees whom I held in high esteem as 
intelligent, capable, and godly men, were Rev. Zedekiah S. Bars- 
tow, D.D., of Keene, who served with remarkable punctuality and 
efficiency thirty-seven years; Rev. Silas Aiken, D.D., of Rutland, 
Vt., and Rev. Pliny B. Day, D.D., of Hollis. I always cherished 
a profound personal respect and esteem for the (former) president of 
the college. Rev. Nathan Lord, D.D. With great natural abili- 
ty, he had an acute knowledge of human nature and a faculty of gov- 
ernment with decision and suavity of manners. His administra- 
tion of the college for thirty-five years was distinguished for practi- 
cal wisdom and success. Great was the trial to me — even more than 
to some others of the trustees — when, by reason of his avowed opin- 
ions and acts in the late civil war, complaints were brought against 
him which rendered action necessary on the part of the trustees. 
My personal esteem and friendship for the president were brought to 
a severe test when, as I believed, a higher duty demanded that I 
should cast a vote adverse to his position, which, with others, re- 
sulted in his resignation. [Here occurs an interesting account of the 
writer's connection with the choice of Rev. Dr. Asa D. Smith, as 
Dr. Lord's successor. See Prof. Parker's Memorial Address.] 

The first person under my ministry who came with the inquiry, 
" What shall I do to be saved ?" was a young man, then employed 
Rev. H. S. in a printing office — Henry Sewall Gerrish French. 
G. Frejich. I received from him the following note, dated No- 
vember 26, 1825 : 

Mr. Bouton : 

You mentioned a few Sabbaths since, your willingness to converse personal- 
ly on the subject of religion with anyone who desired it. I have for some time 
been thoughtful in regard to religion, and desirous to have a personal interview 
with you, to converse on the subject ; but I have been held back by my peculiar 
feelings. I am unwilling to defer it any longer, and will call at your room this 

Yours, etc., 

Henry S. G. French. 

This young man was a modest, sincere, and earnest seeker of his 
salvation. He obtained a settled hope in Christ; united with the 
church the ensuing March, 1826; commenced study for the minis- 


try ; graduated at Yale College, '1834, and Theological Seminary, 
Andover, 1837 ; married Miss Sarah C. Allison, a member of the 
same church, a young lady of beautiful Christian character. They 
were sent as missionaries of the American Board to Siam. Com- 
mencing labors with encouragement and success, his health failed, 
and he died there in 1842. His widow, with an infant son, returned. 
But his service in that distant land proved the opening of Christian 
civilization, which has sjjread with the intervening years, till now 
young men of Siam are sent in scores to be educated in our Ameri- 
can institutions. 

Among my parishioners in East Concord, was the family of Rob- 
ert M. Adams. His wife was a member of the church, a bright, ac- 
Rev. Ezra E. tive Christian mother, whose heart was aglow with 
Adams, D. D. love to her Saviour, and desire for the welfare of 
her children. On a visit to the family, about the year 1 831, she 
spoke to me of her son Ezra, then about sixteen years of age, who, 
she said, was very fond of reading and anxious to go to school. As 
a proof of his ingenuity, she showed me a little knife complete in all 
its parts, which Ezra had made with the tools in his father's shop. 
( Mr. Adams was a blacksmith by trade. ) It at once occurred to me, 
that a boy who could make such a knife, had a capacity for some- 
thing higher and better. As, therefore, the desire of the boy and the 
mother was to give him opportunity to go to a school superior to 
that in the district where they resided, I proposed that Ezra should 
come and live in my family, do common chores for his board, and 
attend a school taught by a graduate of Dartmouth College. It was 
agreed to and the result was that Ezra, residing in my family about 
a year, became a Christian. He graduated with high honor in his 
class, at Dartmouth College, 1836; served as chaplain of the 
American Foreign Seamen's Friend Society at Cronstadt, in Russia, 
and at Havre, in France, about twelve years ; then became pastor 
of a church in Nashua, N. H., and of a church in Philadelphia, 
where he was known as one of the ablest, most eloquent and suc- 
cessful ministers in that city ; subsequently he was appointed pro- 
fessor of rhetoric in a college at Oxford, Pa. My " beloved son in 
the Lord," Rev. Ezra E. Adams, D.D., in life eminently useful 
and honored, died at the age of about fifty-five. 

One day, about the year 1850, a gentleman called at my study 
and introduced himself as Rev. John C. Gulliver, then pastor of 


a church in Norwich, Conn. He said he had long wished for an 
Rev. yohii C. opportunity to express to me personally, his grat- 
Gullive/; D. D. itude for benefits to him in his youth. Said 
he, " You remember attending a four-days' meeting in Andover in 
1833 ; I was then at Philhps Academy. I had conceived a 
strong prejudice against rehgion on account of having been pressed 
on the subject many times by different persons ; and my mind, 
moreover, was in a dark and confused state. I did not know what 
religion was, or what I could do to gain it. I had therefore de- 
cided not to trouble myself about it, and not even to attend the 
meeting. But as I heard you were to preach, and I knew you 
were a friend of my father, I concluded to go once. Your text was, 
' Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.' The discourse was 
addressed to the young. First, you told us that religion was a mat- 
ter of our own choice ; then what it was we were to choose, and why 
we should choose. I followed you from step to step ; I understood 
it ; I felt it ; and when, at the close, you proposed that we all make 
the choice, then and there, and do it, by covenant form, and sign 
our names to it, I was willing and ready. That sermon I have never 
forgotten." Suffice it to say that Rev, Dr. John C. Gulliver was after- 
wards called to a church in Chicago, then to the presidency of Knox 
College, at Galesburg, III, and is at this time pastor of a church at 
Binghamton, N. Y. , a man of distinguished ability and usefulness. 

Here I may remark, that this sermon to young people, on the 
choice of religion, I have preached on many occasions ; two editions 
of it have been printed — and I have heard of more instances of con- 
version from it than from any other that I ever preached. At 
Boscawen, a class of six or seven young women were awakened at 
one time. Of these one became the wife of a distinguished clergy- 
man. Rev. Horace Eaton, Palmyra, N. Y. At Portsmouth, a lady 
of about seventy years of age ascribes her conversion to it. 


The subject of this memoir, after a Hngering illness, for the most part happily 
without pain, died June 6, 1878. He was sustained ou his sick bed and in 
his dying hour by that Christian trust best expressed in one of his favorite 
passages of Scripture (Psalms 17-15), now engraved upon the shaft wliich 
marks his resting place : 

" / shall be satisfied when I awake with thy liketiess.'" 


From the Concord (N. H.) Daily Monitor, June ii, 1878. 

The funeral of the late Rev. Dr. Bouton took place this noon, and was carried 
out in accordance with his wishes expressed three weeks before his death. 

At 12:30 o'clock prayer was offered at the house by Prof. Henry E. Parker, 
of Dartmouth College, after which the remains were taken to the North Church, 
followed by the mourners, arriving at the church at i o'clock p. M. Seats in the 
body of the church were reserved for the mourners, and the pew occupied by 
the deceased when alive was draped with mourning emblems and ivy. The 
front of the choir was heavily draped with black, looped with the letter B in white 
flowers, sprigs of ivy and wheat heads, and one of the chairs upon the pulpit 
platform was also draped with black, as was the stand near it, surmounted with 
a bouquet of flowers. A bouquet of calla lilies was placed on a stand on the 
opposite side of the pulpit. 

The casket with the remains was placed directly in front of the pulpit, and at 
its head was a large cross of ivy leaves and wheat heads, and upon the casket 
was an elegant cross of ivy leaves, flowers, and wheat heads. 

As the body was borne into the church the Arion Quartette chanted a psalm, 
and the services began with prayer by Prof. Parker, followed with singing by 
the quartette of the hymn — 

"Jesus, lover of my soul." 

Rev. F. D. Ayer (pastor of the church) read at some length very appropriate 
Scripture selections, after which Rev. Dr. Cummings spoke of the intimate per- 
sonal relations which had existed between himself and the deceased for forty-six 
years, and of their last friendship. [Remarks given in full elsewhere.] 

The quartette sang beautifully 

" I cannot always trace the way," 
after which Rev. Mr. Ayer made a short address, in which he referred to the 
changes which had taken place in the church and community in the past fifty- 
three years, and delivered the messages which Dr. Bouton had asked him to 
speak before his death. [See extended report.] 

At the conclusion of his address, Rev. ^fr. Ayer offered a fervent prayer, after 
which the quartette sung 

" Rock of ages cleft for me," 

and the services closed with a benediction by the pastor. 

An opportunity was offered the congregation to look upon the face of the 
deceased for the last time, the quartette singing meanwhile, and Dr. Carter 
playing appropriate organ selections 


There was a large congregation present, embracing nearly all of the clergymen 
of the city and many from neighboring towns, besides official representatives of 
the city and State, and many of our leading citizens. Among the trustees of 
Dartmouth College were Gov. Prescott, Rev. Dr. Davis, and Hon. George W. 

The pall-bearers were Hon. George G. Fogg, Shadrach Seavey, Asa McFar- 
land. Judge H. E. Perkins, A. C. Pierce, and Judge J. E. Sargent. Joseph B. 
Walker Esq. superintended the funeral. 

At the close of the services in the church the remains were conveyed to the 
New Cemetery, followed by a long line of carriages filled with mourning friends, 
and buried in the family lot. 

The North Church was desirous of bearing all the expenses of the funeral, 
and will do so. This was a thoughtful act on the part of a church and society 
for which Dr. Bouton had given so many years of his hfe. 


In a ministry of fifty years, I have never been called to mingle my sympathy 
in a sorrow so deep and widespread as the one that calls us together to-day. It 
is an event which not only severs the most tender and hallowed ties of family and 
kindred, but it reaches to all conditions of society. Every heart exclaims, " I 
have lost a friend." 

My own heart is smitten with grief, which words fail to utter, as I stand be- 
fore you to speak of the virtues of one who has, through my almost entire minis- 
try, been my friend and fellow -laborer. 

My acquaintance with Rev. Dr. Bouton runs through a period of forty-six 
years, in which time we have been on terms of unbroken intimacy. We have 
exchanged pulpit labors once or twice each year — have lectured for each other, 
and held union meetings in the rural districts ; visited and superintended schools, 
and in various ways been united in our work in advancing the cause of religion 
and morality. When I began my labor as pastor of the First Baptist Church, I 
found him manfully working in the temperance cause, and I took my stand by 
his side. I was a little in advance of him in the anti-slavery cause ; but he was 
soon with me, and during that terrible struggle which threatened not only the 
Government, but the Church and the ministry, we stood shoulder to shoulder. 
And when the war of the rebellion broke out, and an expression from the minis- 
ters was called for. Dr. Bouton struck the key-note. of loyalty to the Constitution 
and Government, and all the clergymen of Concord responded in harmony. Dr. 
Bouton was my friend. True, we did not think alike on a few things, but we 
agreed on many. Our union was not mechanical, but spontaneous and sincere. 

He was a man of remarkable harmony of character, very decided, and clear in 
his convictions, sound in judgment, and uncompromising in his loyalty to the 
truth. In forming his opinion he was deliberate and discreet, and very seldom 
had occasion to retract. 

It was our uniform custom to confer with each other on all questions relating 
to the good of society, and as he was my senior in age and in the pastoral office, 


I always felt safe in leaning upon his judgment ; and I never parted with him at 
the close of one of these interviews without feeling strengthened and encour- 

My visits during his last sickness were to me exceedingly instructing and com- 
forting. In my first calls he spoke hopefully of the future. He spoke of his 
gratitude to God for having allowed him to live and labor in such a period in the 
history of the Church and the world, and he added, " If my work is done, I am 
ready to depart." After this I found his mind calm and trusting in the merits of 
Christ. There was a beauty and a charm in his closing life which reminded me 
of the setting sun, which glows and sparkles as it comes forth from his chambers 
and rejoices as a strong man to run a race, but gathers all its charms and beauty 
into its setting beams. So the Christian life develops all its charms and beauty 
as it dissolves into the light of heaven. 

Our father and friend has passed from our sight, but he has left a precious 
legacy in the memories of a stainless, useful life. We shall meet him no more 
here, but we shall meet him before the throne of Go^ and the Lamb. 


This is not the assembly which greeted the young pastor-elect in Concord 
fifty-three years ago. All the members of the ordaining council have passed on 
before. Most of that audience have also gone. What experiences have been 
passed since that day by the few who are left, and by the homes here repre- 
sented ! .Then how little, too, was known of the story to come, and to-day none 
can tell it, for the lips just closed were the only ones to utter that. 

It were proper here to recall some of the changes, civil and religious, which 
have marked the fifty years gone. There is much that might be said of the 
relations held and the part borne by our venerated father and this servant of God 
in these changes. Leaving these, my duty here is plain, though not easy. Like 
himself, always preparing for the coming, he made arrangements for this hour, 
and three weeks ago committed to me liis wishes, which in these services we 
try faithfully to follow. 

Said he : " Express first of all my unfaltering confidence in Christ and the 
Gospel. There is my trust. I thought when preaching I was preaching the 
truth ; I think so now." 

Here we have the key as well as the inspiration of his life. He felt his 
obligation to Christ, and tried to meet it. His was an intelligent faith, and 
definite as well. He was faithful to his convictions — ready to declare and 
willing to defend them. His opinions were well weighed, calmly considered, 
and then he regarded them as fixed. They were real things to him. 

"Express then," said he, " my unabated affection to the church. I love it — I 
have loved it all the time. Speak then of my relations to it from your own 

The relation of this church to its pastors has been exceptional. No other 
church in the State — very few in the land — can speak the blessing of such a 
record. Founded in 1730, till 1867 — one hundred and thirty -seven years — it 


had but four pastors, all of whom lived and died among the people ; and to-day 
we lay the precious form of this fourth one beside kindred dust with grateful 
memory of the past. 

The length of his pastorate (forty-two years) should be noted. Many of you 
were born and reached maturity and called but one man your pastor; so that 
eleven years ago. when I came, most of you who were active had never seen a 
pastor installed over your church. 

Of the fidelity and labor in this long pastorate, the best testimony is what so 
many of you are to-day, and feel you owe to this father. He was never idle. 
Gifted with good and even powers, he made the most of them, applied them to 
definite ends and continuous labors. He was genial, industrious, self-possessed, 
and methodical. So by daily fidehty he made the transient yield a grand 
residuum of the permanent, and brought together and left as the result of these 
years much that will endure. As a pastor, he became familiar with all these 
tamilies, gathering up and preserving their histories, remembering their experi- 
ences, and following sons and daughters as they went away, to rejoice in every 
good thing a son or daughter of Concord did or received. He was the sharer of 
all your prosperities, a counselor and comtorter in all your sorrows, and bore a 
relation in those years to the whole community which no other can hold. The 
changes since his earlier ministry .will forbid any one pastor in the city to take 
the place now vacant. 

The period covered by his ministry has been the most difficult and trying of 
any in the history of the church and city. When he came here there was but 
one church building, and the people gathered in the "Old North." As the town 
grew the church grew, and soon colonies went out and their churches, with the 
prayer and benediction of the pastor, were planted around the mother church. 
Other denominations organized churches, and now at his death in the limits of 
the city there are eighteen churches. 

To live in peace and labor on in these changes required fidelity, patience, 
charity. These he had, and so still "the fellowship of the churches " is not 
merely a name in Concord. 

The results of this ministry we cannot yet reckon. Some are seen; many are 
forces still at work ; 772 were received by him to the membership of this 

While pastor of this church he also exerted a marked influence upon the 
churches of the State, and was a help, often a pioneer, in all the religious enter- 
prises of the State and the land. It is not too much to say that for the past fifty 
years no man has exerted a larger influence, or held a higher place in the eccle- 
siastical history of New Hampshire, than Dr. Bouton. 

Everything that pertained to the weal of this community had a place in his 
thought and heart. He was a citizen as well as a minister, and guarded faith- 
fully every interest of all the people, and gave his hearty support to every work 
or reform that seemed to him right. A generation must pass away before the 
name of Dr. Bouton can be uttered here without awakening precious memories 
of a faithful life. 

When, after 42 years of service, and 137 of the history of the church, in 1867, 


he laid down, by resignation, the work of this pastorate, and you called another 
to take it up, he welcomed the young pastor, and gave him affection as though 
he were his son, and gave him respect as though he were his equal. 

I wish to say here, from my heart, that I have lost a friend, a father. I have 
never regarded his presence in the public worship or elsewhere as a restraint. 
It has been an inspiration and cheer to see him, devout and prayerful, in the 
worship he loved so well. I have always been glad to see him, and hear his 
heart speak to us in the place of prayer, and his counsel and friendship have been 
a privilege. He has loved us to the end. On the other hand, I say with unfeigned 
gratitude, that in these years I have never heard in any home, or from any lip, 
one word save of respect and affection for him. 

To have lived in a community, held so many and delicate relations to ail the 
people of it, for more than fifty years, and to depart bearing to the grave the 
grateful and gathered memories of all the people, never to have broken their 
respect or confidence, or affection for him, is no small achievement. 

He outlived the church that welcomed him. Only one of all that membership 
remains with us — one sister beloved in so marked a sense, alone survives the 

This shepherd saw all the flock safely folded before he went in. 

A few months ago he began to feel the strange pressure of an unseen hand. 
It was a new sensation to him, who had always been so well. Till then he had 
been laid aside by sickness only about four weeks in all the fifty-three years. He 
had loved life, loved work, and loved them still. He yet had a great dread at 
the thought of outliving himself. He said that when his work was done he 
wanted to go, and hoped God would say — "Servant, come up higher." As we 
see now, his work was done. It seems to us completed, filled up, just as he 
began to fail, and he stayed just long enough to show us how an aged Christian 
may calmly die. Strange that he broke so suddenly, said we at first, but soon 
we saw it was but the fitting close of a finished life. He had worn so evenly 
that we did not know how thin the casket had become. 

The 23d of last March was the 53d anniversary of his settlement. He was 
to have preached the next day, as had l^een his custom annually. 

He failed during the week, and Sunday morning was too weak to preach, but 
able to attend the service. It was the last time he entered the courts of the 
Lord's house, which he loved so well. I know not his thoughts as he sat 
there — the memories tender, grateful, sad, that came thronging to the mind ; 
the hopes and anticipations that kept him company. 

Soon confined to the house, and then to the bed, he gradually went down, as 
evenly as he had lived, just as though this were now his work. Not in rapture, 
but in calmness, self-possession, the spirit mellow and the mind clear, he came 
to the end. His words were words of affection to all the loved ones and the 
friends who came — words of testimony and faith unfaltering in Christ. He 
loved the expressions of confidence, as, " I know that my Redeemer liveth ; " 
"I know in whom I have believed." He loved the hymns of faith and hope, 
as, "Jesus, lover of my soul; " " My faith looks up to Thee; " "O to grace 
how great a debtor ; " " Rock of ages," &c. The last morning of his life he 


wished to be taken to the window to look again up the street he loved, but was 
too weak. He was strong enough to gaze with rapture on the "heavenly 
land." He whispered words of affection to the dear ones about him — whis- 
pered, "Satisfied," and soon the great victory was won without a single strug- 
gle, and he who had served his generation fell on sleep. 

How different, dear friends, to us who stood around that bed, weeping and 
then kneeling in prayer as the freed spirit went home, was that hour from the 
hour it was to him. To us, loss ; to him, glory. So we prayed, "Let me die 
the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." 

As that spirit passed on, methinks I saw two, an aged Christian that was, now 
touched of immortality, and that Christian's Saviour, go through that valley, on 
the one side of which were smitten hearts, on the other side of which were 
waiting saints. 

To you whose inheritance is his name, his example, there is abundant com- 
fort in the memories of this life, in the work so well done, in the Gospel he 
loved and preached, in the hope to him now realized. How small a part of the 
righteous can die. Much of this life is left. May the same calm faith which 
supported him in life, which cheered him in death, be your stay in these days of 
trial. " The Eternal God be thy refuge, and underneath thee the everlasting 

It is the wish and prayer of my heart— uttered in something of the same faith 
and love with which the husband and father breathed it on you so calmly and 
tenderly that last Sabbath night in the home — that " The Lord bless thee and 
keep thee; the Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto 
thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace." 



By arrangement of the Hopkinton Association, preached in 

THE First CoNa. Church, Concord, N. H., 

Sunday, June 16, 1878. 

By Prof. HENRY E. PARKER, D.D., Dart Coll. 

Ac(s 13: 36, first part of the verse. "For David, after he had sei'ved his 
own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep. ^' 

These words contain a biography. Few as they are, they are the story of a 
man's life down to his death ; the life-story of an eminent and extraordinary 
man. In the royal annals of the Hebrews no name stands out more conspicuous 
than that of King David. Romance never painted a life of such varied experi- 
ence and of such striking scenes. He emerges from ruddy-faced boyhood a 
hero, startling us by his deeds of prowess. He goes down into the lair of wild 
beasts ; single-handed he slays a bear and a lion. The armies of Israel and 
Philistia are face to face ; he is the only Hebrew undismayed. He accepts the 
giant champion's challenge, is victorious, and lays the head of his haughty foe at 
his monarch's feet. He becomes the favorite and the son-in-law of that monarch. 
His hand, as skillful in evoking melody from the harp as mighty in wielding 
arms, his voice, as potent in song as in the battle-cry, are employed successfully 
to soothe his monarch's perturbed spirit, till the jealousy of the monarch bar- 
barously seeks his life, and hunts him through the wilds and fastnesses of the 
land. The fugitive is as chivalric as he is capable and brave. His loving heart, 
his nobleness of soul and genuineness of character so win the heart of ihe mon- 
arch's son that nothing extinguishes the love inspired but death. When, in 
time, he is himself seated upon the throne, it is, by the achievements of war and 
statesmanship, to give such fame and power to the Hebrew monarchy as it possessed 
in his reign alone. The powerful monarch of Egypt was shut up in the valley of 
the Nile. The predatory Arabians were driven to their deserts. The mon- 
arch who had Damascus for his capital was subdued, and ceased to be a danger- 
ous foe to Israel. The Mesopotamians no longer ventured away from the banks 
of the Euphrates to molest the country of the Hebrews. The Western Assy- 
rians were pushed away to the realms of the North. Moab, Edom and Ammon, 


Israel's perpetual foes, were conquered; and Philistia, which had held the 
Hebrews in such subjection that not a smith's forge, for the manufacturing a 
weapon of war or an implement of agriculture, was allowed in the land, had its 
power utterly and finally Ijroken. Nor does David only advance his kingdom by 
extensive conquest; he does as much for it morally and intellectually. The 
priestly order is revived ; the neglected rites of worship are restored ; the mon- 
arch himself, foremost in their observance, greatly aids by his own lyre and pen 
the service of song and praise. His incomparable lyrical productions, in con- 
nection with the intellectual genius of his son and successor, make the Periclean 
age of Hebrew literature ; which also, as always happens where one age is 
blessed, blessed thereby every following age. 

King David's power was as absolute as that of any Oriental monarch ; but 
he was the only one who did not make his greatness and successes simply sub- 
serve his own personal aggrandizement and self-indulgence. His kingly charac- 
ter is a model in its sinking self in the welfare of his realm, in its forgetting per- 
sonal prerogative while giving prestige to that religion of which his nation was 
chosen of Jehovah to be the representative. Not a perfect man, yet, even as 
compared with the best of men, so true and loyal to Jehovah, the Divine affec- 
tion spoke of him as the man after God's own heart. 

When the halo of long subsequent years had gathered about the memory of 
this great king, and an admiring, gifted son of his own race will present a pic- 
ture of him, as he takes his easel and pencil, what is the dazzling portrait he 
presents to our admiring gaze ? Here you have it: " For David, after he had 
served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto 
his fathers !" That is all. " Served his own generation by — in accordance with 
— the will of God;" that is, piously served his own generation : — to say that was 
enough, in depicting the most princely spirit, the most royal character, the most 
kingly of earthly kings. We stand before the picture and look and wonder, it 
is so simple, and so strange. Of David, the greatest of human kings, the chief and 
inspired lyrist of all ages, the " man after God's own heart " — in telling what he 
did, and what he was, to say this, and only this, " he served his own generation 
by the will of God," is certainly a unique biography, a remarkable panegyric. 
But no better could be merited or given. Yet, it is so introduced by the Apostle 
in the address where we find it, that we cannot well resist the conclusion that he 
does introduce it not simply as characterizing King David, but as what should 
characterize every man in his own generation. He brings the statement in very 
much as if he only sought to say : " David did what it is every man's duty to do, 
what is the universal duty." 

A few weeks ago I sat down in the sick-room of Dr. Bouton, and had my last 
conversation with him, my long revered father in the ministry and personal 
friend ; we had our last Scripture reading and season of prayer together. He 
gave me an epitome of his life — very modestly, and recognizing God's provi- 
dence over it all — gave it as a Christian would. At the end, asking me to open 
the Bible — that copy which had always been the one for use on his study table, 
and which, as I took it, he spoke of with a smile of attached affection as lovingly 
recognizing what had been so serviceable — "There, brother," said he, " please 


open to that passage in Paul's speech in the Acts where he alludes to David." 
— this 36th verse of the 13th chapter — " For David, after he had served his own 
generation by the will of God ;" " that is what I have wished my life might be, 
a serving of my own generation by the will of God, a servant, nothing else." 

Let us glance at his life, and see how far this simiile yet sul)lime ambition to 
serve his generation was realized. 

And, first, let us look at the providence which prepared him for rendering 
service to his generation. He always regarded and spoke of himself as emi- 
nently "a child of Providence." It always seemed to him that God, in a marked 
way, had connected Himself with every part and passage of his life. 

Dr. Bouton was born at Norwalk, Connecticut, June 20th, 1799. He was 
in the sixth generation in descent from John Bouton, a man of Puritan sympa- 
thies and character, who came to this country in 1635, one of the early settlers 
of Connecticut, and an original proprietor of the town of Norwalk. According 
to tradition and general belief, the Boutons of England were originally French, 
and Huguenots, who fled to England in tlie limes of the Huguenotic persecu- 

Tlie mother of Dr. Bouton was Sarah Benedict, a descendant in the fifth 
generation from Deacon Thomas Benedict, also one of the early settlers of Con- 
necticut, and of whom it is recorded " that with his wife he walked in the midst 
of his house with a perfect heart." It was not merely a matter of pride and 
thankfulness, but, as our friend ever regarded it, one of the Providential bless- 
ings, that he was a descendant from a worthy and godly ancestry. 

The youngest of a very large family supported from the paternal farm only 
by care and thrift, yet always well supported, he was brought up under the 
wholesome influence of the frugality and industry of those days. A pious mother 
taught him to pray daily, the first thing at the morning's waking and the last before 
the slumbers of the night. He heard a pious father's voice leading the devotions 
of his household, as they knelt together at the family altar each morning and 
evening ; these services varied on Sabbath evenings by an earlier hour, and by 
the children's repeating the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, and the singing by 
all of Christian Psalms and Hymns. His parents carefully cultivated in him 
good habits, conscientiousness, and principle. His father had, on occasion, a 
happy sententiousness of expression, and his aphorisms, pregnant with sound 
sentiments and useful counsels, the son never forgot. 

He seems to have had a happy boyhood in that large, affectionate family and 
Christian home, amid the light labors assigned him on the farm, which he has 
recorded were a pleasure to him, and in the healthful recreations and amuse- 
ments which he entered into with the zest of a cheerful, healthy, active boy. 
During his entire boyhood and youth he seems to have been kept untainted 
from all bad and questionable habits. 

In those days it was the uniform custom for every boy like him either to re- 
main at home on the farm, or learn a trade. He chose the latter ; and being 
fond of books, he selected the trade of a printer, as likely to furnish him abun- 
dant opportunity for reading, and for storing up that information he so ardently 
desired. His opportunities for education, up to this time, had not been very 


great, but they were the best Norwalk afforded ; his father, for some reason, 
seeking advantages for him which the other children had not, and which were 
appreciated and improved by the son. 

He was hardly fourteen when he was apprenticed, after the old style of in- 
dentures, for seven years, or until he should be twenty-one, to a Mr. Nichols, 
printer in Bridgeport, proprietor and publisher also of a newspaper there. 
He always attributed his subsequent fondness for statistical, antiquarian, and 
historical pursuits to his having been connected with that office. He was in Mr. 
Nichols's office, in Bridgeport, during the latter part of our last war with Great 
Britain, and when the shore of Long Island Sound was exposed to occasional 
descents upon it by English vessels of war, greatly to the alarm of the inhabitants, 
who, at such times, fled inland, burying or otherwise concealing their movable 
valuables. Too young to enlist, our friend joined a company of boys under a 
Captain Lacy, who were regularly drilled, and kept themselves ready for ser- 
vice, as they might be ordered, in any emergency. An occasion occurred on 
the entrance of two British vessels of war into the harbor of Bridgeport, which 
threw the place into great consternation, when this company, with the other 
guards along the coast, were directed to be in instant readiness to repel the land- 
ing of the enemy if they should make the attempt. The signal gun agreed upon 
for giving notice of the disembarking of the English was one night fired, and 
the youthful company, with the other guards, were called out. They spent the 
night under arms upon the shore, but no attack occurred, and in the morning 
the vessels weighed anchor and sailed away. It is mentioned that the women of 
the family begged in tears, for fear he might be killed, that he would not go out 
with the company that night; but in vain; his fowling-piece and place in the 
company were as sturdily assumed that night, as on any previous Saturday after- 
noon's drill. The fearless though boyish enthusiasm then, became in later years 
that open, dauntless patriotism which was his marked characteristic. There oc- 
curred also at this period a couple of incidents illustrating the power of that 
good home-training he had received. It was his duty to sweep the office each 
morning, and on one such occasion he found among the rubbish a bill of five 
dollars. He was tempted to pocket it and say nothing about it ; but the re- 
flection that it was not his prevented, and he advertised the finding of it in the 
paper. The lawful owner shortly appeared with gratitude and a reward, although 
conscience had already more than rewarded him. 

He had always at home been brought up to a careful observance of the 
Sabbath, and to attend divine service twice during the day. His employer 
rarely attended divine service himself, and never required him to attend. One 
Sabbath forenoon he thought he would visit a young man, a near kinsman, in a 
neighboring village. On reaching it, the Connecticut Sabbath quiet of the 
place so rebukingly impressed him with the idea that he was not spending the 
Sabbath in an appropriate way, that, without calling upon his kinsman, he at 
once retraced his steps, attending service in Bridgeport the same afternoon, and 
resolving that he would never again be found unnecessarily leaving the Sabbath 
public worship ; and he never was. Down to the close of his long life he was 
never again voluntarily absent from Sabbath service a single half day. 


He had spent a couple of years with Mr. Nichols, when there occurred an 
event, which, in every sense, proved the crisis of his life : and, for that matter, 
of his eternity, too. Though always a moral and conscientious youth, his 
morality and conscientiousness had not become religion. On a visit to his 
father, at this time, the latter had some earnest religious conversation with him, 
and just as he was leaving to return to Bridgeport, in bidding him good-bye, 
the father told him how interested he had always been in his spiritual welfare, 
often praying for him, and ending with simple words, but spoken in tears, 
" My son, you are now old enough to be a Christian." It made a very deep 
impression. As that Providence, who, as he felt, always followed him, ar- 
ranged it, it so happened that he found on entering the stage-coach, a midship- 
man of the Navy and a pious student of Yale, between whom there sprang up 
an earnest religious conversation, which further affected him, deepening the 
impression already made. As the same Providence would have it, at this time 
there occurred a general religious interest at Bridgeport, most favorable also in its 
aid and influence for him ; and, as the result of these combined Heaven-directed 
influences, he made, on the morning of his sixteenth birth-day, upon his knees in 
prayer, a solemn, and, as he ever afterwards trusted, a true consecration of him- 
self (in his own words), " to the service of God his Benefactor, to the reception 
of Christ as his Saviour, and to religion, as, under all circumstances, to be his 
chief concern." Those first words of that solemn act of consecration, that 
dedicating of himself fully and forever " to the service of God," are the interpre- 
tation of his subsequent life. He then and there gave himself up unreservedly 
to be a servant of God —to render Christian service in any, every way, and any, 
everywhere. In consonance with this, happy and at peace himself, he at once 
began to seek to bring others to the same religious consecration which had 
blessed his own soul. By letter and conversation he sought to bring relatives, 
friends and associates to embrace religion also. He took' part in the social 
meetings of the church ; with some other young men of kindred spirit he held 
religious meetings in the neighborhood, like the young men of our Young Men's 
Christian Associations, with an earnest zeal never to grow cold, and an effort 
to do good not to cease except with life. 

His becoming a Christian soon awakened in him new and fiigher aspirations 
in regard to a calling. He began to long for a collegiate education and the pro- 
fession of the ministry. On conversing with his pastor, he found the latter had 
been thinking of the same thing with reference to him, approving heartily of his 
wishes. His father, too, on learning of his son's wishes, cordially sympathized 
with them. But there were his indentures : four years more remained before he 
would have served out his time. On presenting the matter to his employer, the 
latter, after a week's deliberation, then told him he was loath to part with him, 
and would do his utmost to make it for his interest to remain, but mentioned a 
sum for which the indentures should be canceled, if he still so desired. The 
offer, under the advice of friends, was accepted ; his father, by the sale of a piece 
of the farm, meeting about a third of the sum required, and numerous friends, in 
Bridgeport and Norwalk, voluntarily making up the remainder. There must 
have been, in their view, no ordinary promise in the youth, for them to volunteer 
their gifts as they did. 


He at once began fitting for college, studying at home and reciting twice a 
week, for a few months, to a gentleman keeping a private school in an adjoining 
town. The family pastor, a good scholar, who had also encouraged him in 
the course he was taking, then offered to aid him in his studies, and to him he 
recited during the following winter. The distance was two miles away, and 
several families in the neighborhood offered him a home during that period — 
families who became his life-long friends. 

The following year he received a most unlooked-for invitation, from the Con- 
gregational pastor in New Canaan, Connecticut, to come and attend the academy 
there, with the promise that there should be no expense to him for either tuition 
or board ; and the invitation was gratefully accepted. Certainly, there was 
something not at all common in this young man, to raise up such friends, with 
such unusual and extraordinary offers as these ; and such circumstances were 
among the causes which led Dr. Bouton so habitually to speak of himself as the 
child of Providence — such circumstances as these, quite as much as more than 
one perilous accident, which befell him at different times, and came near proving 

He had only been at the academy in New Canaan some six months, when an 
offer, similar to that which led him thither, came from the Congregational 
clergyman in Wilton, inviting him, free of all expense, to come and enjoy the 
instruction of a superior teacher instructing in Wilton. This offer he accepted, 
many excellent families here also giving him a home, more as to a visiting friend 
than anything else. The heads of these various families, in those different 
places, who made him their welcome guest while he was fitting for college, were, 
many of them, superior people, and of great value to him in many ways. He 
also, during all this period, kept up his earnest Christian work, which, in many 
instances, was greatly blessed. 

He entered the sophomore class in Yale College in the autumn of 1818. 
Seeing no other way in which college expenses could be met, he had seriously 
debated whether he should not remain out a year or two, and by teaching, or in 
some other pursuit, earn money before taking his place in college. But the 
same kind clergymen who had befriended him while fitting for college, agreed to 
pay at least a hundred dollars a year into the treasury of the Connecticut Educa- 
tion Society, if he might be received as a beneficiary. This aid, with that of 
other friends, enabled him to meet college expenses ; while he gave undying 
gratitude to those friends, and praise to the Divine Providence that gave them to 

As he enters college, the young sophomore pens these resolutions : 

Resolved — I. That I will make it a rule to rise at about five in the morning, 
and retire at about ten o'clock in the evening. 

2. That the first exercise in the morning, and the last at evening, shall be 
private devotion. 

3. That about ten hours in the day shall be devoted to study, two to reading, 
four to exercise, and seven to sleep. 

4. That I will be regular and constant at prayers in the chapel, and on all the 
services, properly, of the college. 


5- That I will endeavor to oppose vice and promote virtue among the 
students in all ways which my circumstances and duty will permit, and keep a 
strict watch over my own conduct and conversation. 

6. That in all my pursuits I will aim to keep the glory of God and the inter- 
ests of the Redeemer's Kingdom in view. 

Appended to these resolutions was the following prayer: "O Thou, who 
knowest all my desires, and who searchest the hearts of the children of men, let 
Thy strength be made perfect in my weakness, that I may be able to keep these 
resolutions, now solemnly made. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me 
from evil. Suffer me not to dishonor the cause of Thy well-beloved Son, but by 
Thy grace enable me to live ' soberly, righteously, and godly,' through Jesus 
Christ. Amen." 

We need not wonder that, though he entered college in advance, with a hur- 
ried and defective preparation, he yet never yielded to discouragement, never 
remitted diligence ; ranked in the highest fourth of his class ; received the honor 
of a part at Junior Exhibition, and two parts at Commencement on graduation ; 
delivered, in Senior year, an oration before the Religious Society of the college ; 
was president of one of the two great literary societies of the college ; was a 
member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society ; was not absent, during his whole col- 
lege course, from any recitation, or lecture, or prayers in the chapel, unless out 
of town; and never had to give an excuse for not being prepared, nor ever 
received a reproof or reprimand; and was honored by a premium from the 
Faculty, and another from the president, for excellence in English composition ; 
while as a Christian he was as consistent and as earnest in Christian work and 
influence as when fitting for college ; and his vacations — as some grateful return 
to those Christian ministers who had proved such fast, serviceable friends — he 
spent in their parishes, aiding them much as an evangelist ; and his labors ot 
this sort were attended with the blessing of God in a remarkable degree; they 
were very acceptable, and accompanied by many conversions. 

On leaving college, and having ultimately the ministry in view, the same 
practical question occurred as before entering college — how shall means be ac- 
quired for pursuing professional study in the seminary ? The same friends as 
before stepped in, urging him not to delay ; they would see that he did not lack 
for means ; and the way was, as he delighted ever to say, providentially opened 
for him to the Theological Seminary. 

It was in the autumn of 1821 that he entered the Theological Seminary at 
Andover, and the three years spent there were years of great pleasure and profit ; 
so admirable were the advantages, and so congenial the pursuits. One of the 
long vacations of his seminary course he spent, by solicitation, in religious 
labor among the colored people of Salem, Mass. ; and to his interest in those 
people at that lime he attributed his subsequent interest in efforts in behalf of the 
colored race, first in connection with the Colonization Society, and afterwards 
with the Anti-Slavery Society. 

Another seminary vacation he spent in missionary work upon the Island ol 
Martha's Vineyard. 

On the graduation of his class from the seminary, the eminent Faculty as- 
signed to him the Valedictory Addresses. 


On entering the seminary, as when he entered college, he carefully laid out 
his time, and definitely shaped, with prayer and pains-taking, the courses he 
would pursue, the motives which should actuate him, and the objects he would 
seek, that he might gain the most and best from his seminary course. There are 
also recorded a few brief resolutions of his while in the seminary, which are of 
especial interest as showing, that, beyond his careful planning and earnest endeavors 
with respect to his intellectual and rhetorical culture there, he, with the humble, 
conscientious spirit of the true Christian, searched out and deeply felt the im- 
perfections of his heart and character, and unceasingly bent himself to their cor- 

He writes : "In my intercourse with students and others, I detected in my- 
self some glaring defects of character, which growing out of my natural temper, 
and somewhat, perhaps, out of the leading part I had been accustomed to take, 
I found it very necessary to cure. I was, indeed, habitually conscious of great 
imperfections ; my heart knew its own bitterness, and its own carnal tendencies 
and propensities. I was much in the habit of inspecting my motives, and vary- 
ing passions and emotions. I knew- by experience what the Apostle meant, of 
the conflict between the flesh and the spirit ; and so deep was my consciousness 
of indwelling sin-of 'the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride 
of life,'— so often did wrong motives and evil thouglits spring up ; so far below 
the true Christian standard did I daily fall, that humiliation and repentance 
before God entered into my daily internal experience. But the particular defects 
I allude to," he further writes, "and which I determined if possible, to over- 
come, are indicated by a series of resolutions, which I made the second term of 
my seminary cour&e. 

"I. Resolved, That I will not dispute with any of my brethren, but whenever 
a discussion is requited, I will advance my opinion with reasons for it, and then 
dismiss the subject. 

<'2. I will not contradict, but carefully guard against positiveness of opinion, 
always remembering that I am very fallible, and hable to be mistaken in the 
plainest and most simple matters. 

" 3. In intercourse with my brethren I will aim to treat them according to the 
Spirit of the Apostle's direction : ' Let each esteem others better than himself.' 
«4. I will guard against hasty, uncharitable, and censorious remarks." 
Long afterwards— fifty years— to these resolutions he appended the following 
words : " Those or such like resolutions T have found important to be kept in 
mind, in all stages of my experience, in all social and public relations in life. 
' My sin, in this regard, is continually before me ' ; I am not yet cured." Few 
would have thought" this of that man so remarkable for self-poise and self-con- 
trol. 1 never knew him to be otherwise, even under very trying circumstances. 
Early in Ufe, when in the printing office at Bridgeport, he one day heard a sud- 
den outcry of distress, and looking out, saw the people running in a certain direc- 
tion. Joining them he found that a little boy, four or five years old, had fallen 
from the wharf. While others looked on, he threw off his coat and shoes, and 
jumped into the water. Though the boy had ceased to struggle, he succeeded in 
rescuing him, and in bringing him ashore. Blacing him with face downwards 


upon his own knees and gently rolling him, the water flowed from his mouth and 
nose, and before long the little boy showed signs ofhfe. As soon as he was 
able to walk he took him to his mother, teUing her what had happened, and that 
he had saved him from drowning. The mother never even thanked him. His 
comment upon this in after years was : " I have often wondered what kind of a 
mother she was. " So I have seen his face paled, his lips and voice quivering from 
the sense of great injustice done him by others, but I never heard anything se- 
verer fall from his lips, than that he wondered at their course. 

Immediately after leaving Andover, he was engaged by a committee of emin- 
ent gentlemen from Boston, to commence a new enterprise in the north part ot 
that city, which proved successful; out of it ultimately growing the Salem 
Street Church. Soon after he had engaged himself to this enterprise for a defi- 
nite period, he received a request from the Congregational Church in Concord, 
N. H., to spend a few Sabbaths with them as a candidate to succeed the Rev. 
Dr. McFarland, who had recently resigned. This request he felt obliged to de- 
cline on account of the previous engagement with the committee in Boston. 
Through this committee, however, the request from Concord was not long after 
renewed. The Boston Committee came to him, telling him what they had been 
solicited to do, and saying that while they were perfectly satisfied, and desired 
him to remain, if he wished, they would release him from his engagement to 
them. The result was his accepting a release from his engagement in Boston, 
and coming to Concord, to preach for seven weeks as a candidate, commencing on 
the last Sabbath in October. At the close of this period, without having received 
any intimation what would be the decision of the church and people, he decided to 
return to Andover, and spend the winter there in further study. The first of Jan- 
uary following, however, he received froin the Concord Church and Society a re- 
quest to become their pastor. This request, after careful deliberation, consulta- 
tion with good advisers, and much prayer, he accepted. His winter for study in 
Andover, however, was to be completed, as previously planned. It was during 
this winter that his mind, under God, struck out the idea of a National Home Mis- 
sionary Society ; an idea which took hold of the minds and hearts of others, extend- 
ing and deepening its hold till, as the result, the American Home Missionary So- 
ciety was formed, with all the boundless benefits flowing from it. That idea 
alone was sufiicient to crown any man's life with enduring fame. 

He was ordained as pastor of the church in Concord, March 23d, 1825 ; 
here to remain as pastor — his only pastorate — for forty-two years. 

And so the desire and anticipation of his hfe —serving Christ and his Church 
by preaching the Gospel — were to be answered. But the young man of twenty- 
five trembled as he undertook the charge; as well he might. He might any- 
where, indeed. But the parish over which he was settled was very large, co-ex- 
tensive with the town, intelligent, and influential. There were few parishes any- 
where more important, none in the State, none requiring more ability, acquisi- 
tion or labor. But he met the responsibility, and met it well ; though he never 
could have done it except as possessed of more than ordinary ministerial capital, 
and this well husbanded and well expended. His physical constitution and 
health were excellent ; always kept so by strict temperance in all things, by hab- 


its of the utmost regularity in regard to diet, sleep, study, and exercise. As in 
college, and in the seminary, his time was anew adjusted, such hours assigned 
for study, such for writing, such for classical, and such for general reading, and 
such for visiting his people. Order and system rigidly regarded, alone enabled 
him to accomplish the immense amount of work he did accomplish. In those 
days three preaching services on the Sabbath fell to his lot, besides frequent re- 
ligious services in various parts of the town during the week. At that time 
clergymen in all our towns were expected to superintend the schools. For 
many years this was a part of his duties faithfully attended to. 

In his preparations for the pulpit his texts were selected early in the week, 
examined in the Hebrew or the Greek, the theme carefully developed and 
studied, and his Sabbath morning sermon written during Wednesday and Thurs- 
day ; his Sabbath afternoon sermon written during Friday and Saturday ; and 
when I became acquainted with him, in 1850, he did not allow himself to dine 
Saturday till the latter sermon was completed. 

For twenty-five years, too, he prepared an extempore discourse to be deliv- 
ered in the old Town Hall, a service always numerously attended, and attended 
by many who, perhaps, otherwise would not have attended Divine service at all. 
Dr. Bouton's sermons were systematically planned, thoroughly studied, logi- 
cally and lucidly put, plainly illustrated, practical, with a definite purpose always 
apparent, impressive, certainly effective. His delivery was good, his voice dis- 
tinct and well modulated. If by some he would not be called an eloquent . 
preacher, he was better ; he was always instructive, and failed not to secure the 
true end of a sermon, namely, a religious impression. In every religious ser- 
vice he was appropriate and met the occasion. There were no singularities, no 
affectations, no extravagances. He was varied and affluent in his methods and 
measures. Now it was an exegetical sermon, and now a doctrinal ; now a 
biographical, and now an historical sermon. Now he would have a series of 
discourses upon tb° articles ot belief ; now upon the Decalogue, and now upon 
the Lord's Prayei . Now he noticed anything especial in the circumstances of 
his people, and now anything similar in the circumstances of the nation. Now 
he would bring before his people some vivid and useful account of the recent 
meeting of the State Association, or of the American Board, or, if any marked 
occasion had temporarily taken him to a distance, he would be sure to find some 
aspect of it fit to be '"ormally noticed, and made to give fresh interest to his pul- 
pit. The State Fast and Thanksgiving occasions always received especial atten- 
tion. Besides the regular Sabbath and week-day services of his church, there 
were Bible Classes, and Inquiry Meetings, and District Lectures, and Family 
Conferences, the latter an especial invention of his, pleasant and profitable ; 
they were gatherings in private parlors, where, with hymn and prayer, questions 
of moral and religio ■ application were brought in, and mutually, freely con- 
versed upon. 

He was always cheerfully ready to lend his presence and influence in all mat- 
ters of public welfare and concern. The Temperance Cause had from the first 
no stauncher advocate than he. 

So it was in all matters pertaining to public morals and instruction. He had 


a wide and strong influence in the town, the region, and the State. He was 
constantly being called to sit in Ecclesiastical Councils and other religious bodies, 
and perform the various duties incident to such positions. 

But such references as these do but very partially disclose the Christian ser- 
vice that he accomplished ; nor does the mention of his more than three thou- 
sand written sermons, his thirty-five printed discourses, and his more than 
thirty-five hundred extempore but studied sermons. The number of conversions 
— that high and only satisfactory end of the true pastor's labors — better indicate 
the value of his ministry. There were years in succession of continued revival 
interest during his pastorate, and as many as nine different and especial seasons 
of revival. While he was pastor, about eight hundred were added to the church, 
between six and seven hundred on profession of their faith. With a rich experi- 
ence of the truth of the Gospel in his own heart, and having been accustomed, 
from the early beginnings of his Christian efforts, to see the fruits of such efforts 
in conversions, he had unbounded faith in the Gospel of Christ as the wisdom of 
God, and the power of God unto salvation. Under this conviction he labored, 
and the results he looked for, preached and labored for, came. 

After the resignation of his pastorate, he still continued to preach quite ex- 
tensively in towns about, and still acceptably and usefully. This period of his 
ministerial career he happily called his " supplementary ministry." The pas- 
torate, however, had been his love and joy ; it met his highest ambition. He 
was eminently a good pastor, entering into all that concerned his people with 
ready sympathy, tact, and adaptation. He was a wise counselor ; he was a safe 
deposit of troubles entrusted to his confidence, and a helper in their burden ; he 
especially interested himself in the young; he was a guide to the religious en- 
quirer ; his prayers and presence lighted up the sick-room, and knowing what 
grief and sorrow were himself, the tenderest ties having been sundered by death 
in his own household again and again, he knew both how to feel for and to com- 
fort the afflicted and bereaved. He was thoroughly devoted to the people of his 
charge, their servant in Christ ; it was all he asked to be. From the time he 
began to look towards the ministry till he finished it, he well illustrated those recent 
words to the young men of Oxford by the great English art-critic, whose aesthetic 
attainments do not surpass his Christian culture. "Having thus cultivated," 
Ruskin says, " in the time of your studentship, your powers truly to the utmost, 
then, in your manhood, be resolved they shall be spent in the true service of 
men ; not in being ministered unto, but in ministering." 

From the time the Rev. Dr. Belknap wrote his History of New Hampshire, 
that work without a rival or peer, as some have thought, in all the State histories 
of this Union, historical pursuits have not been uncongenial to the Clergy of 
our State. Several of our best town histories have been written by clergymen. 
When, fifty years ago, the young minister of the Concord church, in his pastoral 
visits and duties, used, in the saddle, week by week, to speed over every hill and 
valley, nook and corner of the wide township, he became acquainted with every 
inhabitant, and more and more with the items of interest in family history, and 
the history of the town. Sometimes the facts interested him to such an extent 
that he would make transcripts of them and file them away. The facts rapidly 


multiplied, till, finally, the thought struck him that it would be desirable to have 
them permanently preserved ; and then came the gradually formed purpose that 
he would attempt the preparing a history of the town, and he did it. A score 
of years were spent in the diligent gathering of materials, and then three more 
of untiring labor with the pen in preparing those materials for the press, when 
the large volume was issued ; — a great service done for the town and city of his 
adopted home. 

The historical work he did in other ways, and at other periods, was extensive ; 
but the great labor of his life, in this line of effort, was after the resignation of 
his pastorate. When the desirableness of a State Historian became evident, that 
our State Records might be suitably compiled and put in permanent form, before 
they became quite illegible or lost, a work, in the view of those best acquainted 
with matters, of imperative necessity, it was equally complimentary to those 
whose discernment and courtesy led them to select him for the office, and to him 
for his manifest and peculiar fitness for it. During the eleven years he filled this 
post, issuing, nearly at the rate of a volume a year, the publication of the entire 
documentary history of New Hampshire from the Provincial period, the care and 
labor required were very great. Few could have had the ability and patience to 
have endured and completed it. It was, perhaps, too much even for his hitherto 
tireless vigor. It was the last work of his life, and it was every way a crowning 
work ; it will be an honor to him as long as the memory of the History of the 
State shall last. 

Other books, and numerous other publications also proceeded from his pro- 
ductive and useful pen. 

Yet his chief honor remains to him as the faithful minister of Christ, especially 
to this First Church in Concord, watching over and promoting its interests for 
so many years ; who, as the place rapidly grew, saw daughter after daughter of 
the parent church depart, depart with his approval and benediction, till the whole 
present sisterhood of churches, throughout the town and then the city, became 
beautifully established ; who was the instrument, under God, of so many Chris- 
tian conversions, both here and elsewhere, some of them of exceptional interest, 
some of the converts themselves becoming honored and successful ministers of 
the Gospel; joyful and tireless in laboring to do good, often spending the vaca- 
tions of his pastorate, as he had spent those of his college and seminary life, in 
Home Missionary and Evangelistic labor; as an excellent, exemplary, successful 
Christian minister he was best known, and deserved to be most honored. And 
he was honored ; honored by his people, honored by his fellow-citizens, honored 
by his brethren in the ministry, honored by numerous posts of respect and trust : 
for example, he was Trustee of the N. H. Missionary Society for twenty years, 
and its President for six ; Vice-President of the Am. Home Missionary Society ; 
Trustee and President of the Ministers' and Widows' Charitable Fund; Direc- 
tor of the N. H. Bible Society, and of the N. H. Education Society; President of the 
N. H. Historical Society, and Corresponding Member of Historical Societies in 
several other States; Corporate member of the Am. Board of Commissioners for 
Foreign Missions for twenty years ; Trustee of Dartmouth College for thirty- 
seven years, the Secretary of its Board of Trust for twenty-one, and receiving 


his degree of Doctor of Divinity from the College twenty-seven years before his 
death. Thus was he honored of men ; and he was honored, too, of Heaven, in 
that long ministerial life of his without a stain, and of conspicuous useful- 

I had from his own lips an incident connected with his Trusteeship in Dart- 
mouth College, which so pleasantly and vividly represents him, that I will give 
it in his own words. " On the resignation of Dr. Lord, in 1863, the Trustees of 
the College were at once thrown into a strait of responsibility and perplexity, 
with regard to a successor. They judged it necessary to be unanimous in their 
choice ; but yet no one was presented who seemed to have all requisite qualifi- 
cations to fill so important an office. Thrice the Trustees met to consider the 
question. Different nominations were made, but no one, in whose choice they 
were united. All became anxious. Near the close of the third session, at nine 
o'clock in the evening, the Trustees adjourned, to meet next morning, and try 
once more for their choice of a President. I was not only anxious, but became 
nervous, so that I could not sleep. * From side to side I turned,' but found no 
rest. I tried to quiet myself by counting numbers, but in vain. I then said to 
myself, I will try to find a President for Dartmouth College. Is there any man 
in New Hampshire who will do ? I thought over many names. No. Is 
there any man in Boston ? No. In Massachusetts ? No. Go to Connecticut. 
Do you know of one in Hartford ? No. Is there no one in Yale College that 
will do ? No. Now go to New York. Among the eminent ministers in the 
city, or at Brooklyn, will no one answer the purpose ? All these questions, in 
just about this form, ran through my mind. I paused. I thought of one and 
another, and shook my head. At last, occurred the name of Asa D. Smith, Pas- 
tor of a Presbyterian Church in New York. I held my breath. Asa D. Smith ! 
Asa D. Smith ! I clapped my hands, and spoke aloud. That is the man ! Again 
I pondered the name, Asa D. Smith. I knew him ; that is the man. My 
nerves were quieted. I soon fell into a sweet sleep, and awoke in the morning 
fresh, with the name of Asa D. Smith in mind, and on my tongue, as the coming 
man, sure President of Dartmouth College ! This nervous soliloquy was like a 
vision. I sa7v Dr. Smith — himself a graduate of the College — as a young man 
when I first made his acquaintance; as pastor of a church in New York city; of 
fine personal presence ; of high reputation ; of honorable position ; a ready 
speaker ; of executive qualities ; very agreeable manners ; of competent alnlity 
and learning; of sound doctrine, and exemplary Christian life. That is the 
man ! 

" The Board met again at nine o'clock. I nominated Asa D. Smith for Presi- 
dent — briefly related what I knew of him — with the vision of the night. Most of 
the Trustees knew him, and in half an hour he was elected President of Dart- 
mouth College, by an unanimous vote. He proved to be the right man in the 
right place — serving the College with distinguished ability for thirteen 

When from loss of health President Smith resigned his office, he sent the fol- 
lowing characteristic note to Dr. Bouton, informing him, in pleasant allusion to 
the circumstances of his own nomination, of the necessity of making another. 


Dartmouth College, 

Hanover, N. H., Dec. 22d, 1876. 
My Dear Dr. Bouton : 

Endeared to me by memories and associations reaching far back into the by- 
gone years. It must be said once more " Ecce somniator venit.'" You must 
dream again ; and may the angel of the Lord appear to you in a vision of the 
night ! Yours, most truly, 


The following words of Dr. Bouton, written not long since, while touching in 
their expression, indicate a most sweet spirit. " In resigning my pastorate, I 
did not resign the work of preaching, whenever and wherever I should have op- 
portunity. I therefore held myself in readiness to perform such service as I 
might be invited unto. Preaching the Gospel was my chosen work ; I hoped 
never to fail of opportunities to do it, as long as my ability remained. Thanks 
again to the Great Head of the Church, who found work for me to do ! By in- 
vitation from the church in West Concord, after the death of Rev. Mr. Tenney, 
I supplied them one year ; then I preached six months for the church in Canter- 
bury; six months for the church in Pembroke; six months for the church at 
Hillsboro' Bridge; about three months for the church in Candia; nearly the 
same time for the church in Chester ; three months for the church in Boscawen ; 
and the same for the church in Fisherville. I also supplied at different times, the 
churches in Henniker and Warner, and repeatedly at sundry times, the First 
Church in Nashua. From 1867 to 1870, besides preaching twice on the Sabbath, 
in places as above named, I performed the duties of Chaplain in the Asylum for 
the Insane, preaching regularly for them at five and a half o'clock p.m. every 
Sabbath. I estimated that for seven years, about two-thirds of my time on the 
Sabbath was employed in preaching. Often since, but less frequently, I have 
been invited to like service ; but I find as age has advanced, and — as I take for 
granted — my capability for acceptable service has diminished, I have only oc- 
casional opportunities ; to this I humbly submit, as the wise ordering of Divine 
Providence; ' One generation goeth and another cometh.' Having, as I humbly 
trust, ' served my generation, according to the will of God,' in the ministry, 
now more than fifty years, I ought certainly to be willing to step aside, and allow 
other, younger and better men, to fill the vacancies and supply the needs of the 
churches. I covet no place and cherish no envy. I quietly enjoy my Sabbaths, 
at home, reading and meditating on things divine ; and, in hours of worship, sit 
as a docile hearer and worshiper in the House of God. I cherish the promise : 

' ' ' Even down to old age, I will be with thee, 
I will never leave and never forsake thee.' 

" I also indulge a hope, that when my end comes, 

" ' Then, in the hist'ry of my age, 
When men review my days. 
They'll read Thy love in every page. 
In every line, — Thy praise.' " 


As of late, I have been going over, somewhat minutely, the history of Dr. 
Bouton's life, and reviewing my own recollections and impressions of him, I have 
seemed to be walking in the sunshine of a long and genial day. I have thought 
of his simple, courteous manners — his affable, cordial ways — his kindly smile and 
greeting — his serene and sunny spirit — his conversation, always instructive and 
agreeable, and his friendly acts. His boyhood seems to have been bright and 
happy, his youth ever buoyant and happy also ; his mature and ministerial life 
he loved and enjoyed very much ; and when his last work was done, and there 
seemed to be nothing remaining, except, with mental power and soul's emotions 
strong as ever, to wait for the welcome to the service of a better world, wonder- 
ing himself at the perfect calm and serenity with which his spirit contemplated 
the speedy change — as I have thus been passing and re-passing over the whole, 
I have, as I said, seemed to be walking in the sunshine of a long and genial day, 
like one of these in this pleasant June. His was truly a complete and finished 
day — a fair morning, a bright noon, a calm, clear sunset ; the Psalmist's gifted 
son long ago delineated it; "The path of the just is as the shining light, that 
shineth more and more unto the perfect day." 

He has left a character and life to be admired, coveted, cherished, imitated. 
A very bright example is his of what one, though not possessing extraordinary 
or overshadowing abilities, only tireless capacity and willingness for work, with 
high aims, abounding good sense, and the grace of God in the heart, what such 
an one can become and accomplish. His life is a monument, destined to endure, 
noticeable, happy in its proportions, and written over with testimonials of un- 
blemished character, devoted usefulness, and ministerial worth. 

But I am trenching on forbidden ground. " Should you speak of me, after I 
am gone," said he to me, " do it not eulogistically. Say I have sought to be a 
servant. Early in life a tract published by the American Tract Society, made a 
great impression on me : its title was ' No life acceptable to God which is not use- 
ful to men.' I have tried to lead a life acceptable to God by being, if possible, 
useful to my fellow men. Say that I have sought to be a servant ; — to serve my 
Saviour and His church ; to serve my people ; to serve my town and the com- 
munity ; to serve my state, and to serve my country." Well, then, dear friend, be 
it as thou didst choose. The motto on the coat-of-arms of the Prince of Wales 
" Ich Dien " (I serve), thou meritest to be thy motto more than any English 
Prince that I wot of. I will leave thee with the text which seemed to thee to 
furnish the best ideal of a life to be coveted and sought: " David after he had 
served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep." 


From the First Congregational Church of Concord, June ^th, 1878; Rev. F. 
D. Ayer, Clerk. 

Whereas, It has pleased our heavenly Father to remove from our midst by 
death, the ;enerable ar.d esteemed former pastor and teacher of th. church and 
soctty Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Bouton, we deem it fitting that the event should .e- 
ceive from this church something more than a passmg notice. 

As a church, therefore, we desire to express our deep sense of the loss we ave 
sustained in his death, and to place upon record our appreciation of his hfe 

"Tn the death of Dr. Bouton, we each mourn the loss of a tried friend, a safe 
counselor, a valued citizen, and a Christian gentleman. 

To his family we tender our sincere sympathy in their severe affliction, and 
assure them of our constant prayer that the memory of his life may be blessed to 
them and to this church. . 

The following resolution, introduced by J. B. Walker, Esq., was unanimously 

'XL, That Dea. C. P. Stewart, Dea. E. A. Moulton, Bro. Mark R. Holt, 
Dr. Wm. k Carter, M. H. Bradley, J. C. Thorn, Chas. T. Page, Mrs. M^H. 
Bradley. Mrs. K.Gerrish, Mrs. Geo. H. Marston. Mrs. J. B. ^^^^1^-' ^rs. 
Perry Kittredge, Miss Anna Moulton, Mrs. A. G. Kittredge. be a committee to 
communicate the foregoing resolutions to the family ^'^\^^T:Z' :Z:Z 
our desire that his funeral services be attended in our church; ^^^ ^ ^^^ ^ 
allowed to participate in the expenses incident thereto; and generally to make 
such arrangements as they may deem proper. 

From the Men.mac Conference of Congregational Churches, ^^f -^^' ^J^' 
June, 1878; Rev. S. S. N. Greeley, Moderator; Rev. John W. Colwell, 
Whereas, God in his Providence has recently taken from us our revered father 
and beloved brother. Rev. N. Bouton, D. D.. therefore- 

Resolved, That the Merrimac Conference bow with sorrowful, but submissive 
hearts, to the sad Providence that has taken from us one who has stood so long 
olz n's watch-tower and guarded all our Zion's interests with the grea es^ 
dUigence and fidelity ; whose place none can fill. While we miss his presenc n 
our conferences and councils and deliberations, we will remember with joy 
It anoter mansion is filled in heaven. To the family afflicted we would ex- 
press our deepest sympathy in this heavy sorrow. 


From the Concord Congregational Church Union, West Concord, N. //., Oct. 
2/^th, 1878; Rev. F. D. Ayer, Sec'y. 
Whereas, we miss at the meeting to-day, for tlie first time since the organiza- 
tion of this Union, the presence of the late Rev. N. Bouton, D. 1)., therefore — 

Resolved, That while we bow with reverent hearts to the Providence which 
has removed from our midst, him, under whose ministry at Ihe mother church, 
these sister churciies were organized, and whose blessing and prayer they then 
and ever since have had, we do here record our appreciation of the Christian 
character and faithful work of the late Dr. Bouton, thanking God that he was so 
long spared to give his counsel, example and prayer to these churches, which 
will ever keep in grateful remembrance his life. 

Resolved, That we, brethren and sisters of these churches, do hereby express 
our heartfelt sympathy to the family in whose affliction we are also afflicted. 

From the Address of Bishop Niks, delivered at the Annual Convention of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New Hampshire ; Concord, 
Sept. 2<,ih, 1878. 

" Departing somewhat from my customary ways, 1 would here offer a tribute 
of respectful affection to the memory of a distinguished citizen of this State, and 
of Concord, and a straightforward Christian man, not of our Communion, the 
late Rev. Dr. Bouton. 

"Endeavoring always, 1 am sure, to do the Divine Master's will, as he under- 
stood the indications of that will, Dr. Bouton lived before the world an honest 
and good man, a man of public spirit, diligent, interested in whatever is true, 
and in whatever concerned the common weal. Fifty years thus lived here, up- 
right and al)ounding in honorable labors, entitled him to be revered throughout 
this commonwealth, and he died lamented of all good men. During his last ill- 
ness I was glad that in more than one congregation of the diocese, prayers were 
offered in his behalf. A strong, sterling character ought, in these times, to be 
held in especial esteem." 

From the New J/ainpshire Historical Society, at its Annual Meeting in Concord, 
June \2th, 1878; Hon. W. H. Y. Hackett, in the Chair; Hon. Amos Had- 
ley, Rec. Sec''y. 

Resolved, That we have learned with profound sorrow of the death of our late 
associate, Rev. Nathaniel Bouton, D. D., who has been for half a century a de- 
voted friend of this Society, and who for the past thirty-four years has discharged 
with marked ability the duties attaching to the office of its Corresponding Secre- 

Resolved, That Joseph B. Walker, Esq., be hereby requested to prepare a 
memorial sketch of the life and services of Dr, Bouton, giving therein due atten- 
tion to his labors as an historian, and present the same to the members of this 
Society at their next annual meeting, or at such other time as the President and 
Standing Committee may deem advisable. 


Poted, That the manuscripts and pamphlets presented by the late Dr. Bouton 
to this Society be accepted, on the conditions upon which they have been offered, 
and that they be placed by the Librarian upon shelves selected for the purpose, 
and there plainly designated as the Bouton Papers. 

From the New Hampshire Antiquarian Society, at its Annual Meeting in Con- 

toocook, July 17///, 1878; Rev. Silas A'etchum, President; Charles Gould, 

Rec. Scc'y. 

Resolved, That in the death of the late Rev. Nathaniel Bouton, D. D., this 

Society loses a valuable honorary member, the Church one of its most devoted 

clergymen. Society one of its purest members, the State and the Nation one of 

their most distinguished Historians and Antiquarians, and we recognize his busy 

life, so full of good works, as being one worthy the emulation of us all. 

Resolved, That the New Hampshire Antiquarian Society tender to his be- 
reaved family their tenderest sympathy in their loss, and may "He who careth 
for all" be their strength and support in this their hour of affliction.