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^C --^r P^^ 



Book ^o. ^d / 


Bequeathed to 


(Not for circulation) 

^lT1^,'^/^ CHAMPAIGN 


Gift of the 
Urbana Free Library 


Late President of Illinois College 


J. o. 


^22 W. GREEN 

liRBANA, iLL.^^" 

Julian M. Sturtevant 

an Butobiograpbg 




New York .-. Chicago .-. Toronto 

Pttblisliers of Eiaitgclical Literature. 

Copyrighted 1896, by FLEMING H. Revell COMPANY. 



The following j)ages were written during the fall 
and winter of 1885, During the previous summer, 
while visiting in Cleveland, my father was persuaded 
to recommence an autobiography, at which he had 
made a beginning with mother's assistance, some 
years before. His son=in4aw, Mr. James H. Palmer, 
soon became his amanuensis, and they labored togeth- 
er until the work was suddenly interrupted January 
4th, 1886, by illness and death. My mother was 
called to her heavenly rest January 17th. Mr. Palmer 
followed her February 1st, and my father joined them 
on the 11th, of the same month. A few days before 
his death he requested me, at my convenience to 
revise the first draft of this work for publication. 
The work of revision, though much delayed by cir- 
cumstances over which I had no control and by the 
exa. ^ duties of my profession, has been a labor of 
lov e autobiography is my father's own work, 

ah together in his own words. I have ventured 

tc m the concluding chapter, a brief sketch of 

th -art of my father's life of which he was not per- 
mit 1 to make a record, with some incidents illus- 
trati:.g the character of my parents. 

The Editor. 


CHAP. I. BiKTH, Paeentage and Childhood 13 

Ancestry — District School — Freeman's Meeting — Warren 
Church — Preaching of Lyman Beecher — Early Religious Im- 
pressions — Uniting with the Church. 

CHAP. II. A New Home 37 

Financial Crisis following the War of 1812 — Migration to 
Ohio — Richfield — Frontier Communion Service — Tallmadge 
— Log»Cabin — Lost in the Forest. 

CHAP. III. A Staktling Suggestion 54 

Preparing for College — A Swarm of Bees — A Revival — 
Building a Church — Plan of Union Discussed — Leaving 
Home — Owen Brown's Prayer. 

CHAP. IV. The Pilgeimage 73 

"Ride and Tie" — In Warren Again — First Sight of Yale 
College — Examination — College Commons — What Yale did 
for us — A Struggle with Poverty. 

CHAP. V. Life in College — 91 

College Prayers in 1822— Methods of Instruction — A Math- 
ematical Problem — Religious Influences — College Disor- 
ders — Horace Bushnell's Window — Explosion in the Chapel 
— "The Blue Skin Club " — College Honors — Pneumonia 

CHAP. VL Impeoved Finances 106 

An Opportunity — A Morning Walk — Final Examinations — 
Graduation— Rev. Samuel H. Cox — Revival in New Canaan 
— " Coelebs in Search of a Wife" — Elizabeth Maria Fayer- 

CHAP VII. Theological Seminaey 121 

Dr. Nathaniel W. Taylor— Freedom of the Will— Theory of 


Moral Obligation — " Self Love " — Penalty — Atonement — Bi- 
ble Stadv. 

CHAP. VIII. Plans foe the FxrrrBE 133 

A Field Soaght — Theron Baldwin's Essav — Miss Caroline 
Wilder — " The Illinois Band" — An Opening Found — A TiVo- 
man's Consent — Signing the Contract — The American Home 
Missionary Society — Ordination, 

CHAP. IX. Westwaed Ho 143 

A Wedding Journey — Stage and Canal — Niagara Falls — A 
Woman's Courage — Tallmadge Once More — The Ohio River 
— " The Father of Waters" — St. Lotiis — A Hack for Jackson- 
Tille — Widow Gillams — An Adventure — Jacksonville at Last 
—Rev. John M. Ellis and his Wife. 

CHAP. X. Feeble Begixxtngs 1.57 

Jacksonville in 1S29 — A Rude Church — Shocking a Western 
Audience with a Manu.-cript — The Conflict of Sects — Peter 
Cartwright — A Remarkable Sermon — Illinois College. 

CHAP. XI. Peogbess 166 

Opening of the Institution — Early Schools in Illinois — Ex- 
pository Preaching — Becoming a Presbyterian — A Home — 
A Vacation on Horseback — A Serious Illness — Hon. Sam- 
uel D. Lockwood and his Wife — The First President of the 

CHAP. XII. The Deep Snow 178 

Difficulty of Securing a Charter — Mr. Beecher"s Dangerous 
Journey — A Hard Winter — A Great Sorrow — Old and New 
School — Preaching from an Outline — How Sectarianism has 
Hindered Christian Education. 

CHAP. Xin. Enlabgeieests 190 

New Professors — A New Building — Preaching in the Chapel 
— The Principles of Church Government — Laymen talk of a 
Congregational Church — The Plan of Union — Tried for 

CHAP. XIY. Othee Evests in 1833-S4 201 

The Cholera — A Visit to Cincinnati — Harriet Beecher Stowe 
— Congregational Church Organized in Jacksonville — New 


England Again — Called to Account — Dr. Wisner — Dr. Joel 
Hawes — Amherst. 

CHAP. XV. The Negbo 214 

Slavery in Illinois — Abolitionism — Elizur Wright — Murder 
of Love joy — Excitement in Jacksonville — Anti=Slavery Sen- 
timent in College — Dr. David Nelson at Quincy — Kidnap- 
ping at Jacksonville. 

CHAP. XVI. A Beight Pkospect Ovebclouded. . . . 231 
Rapid Growth of Illinois — Increased Endowment-^Mania 
for Land Speculation — Crisis of 1837 — Competition — Char- 
ter Secured — Function of the Christian College. 

CHAP. XVII. Gbeat Changes 239 

Great Sorrows — Explorations of Messrs. Baldwin and Hale — 
Monticello Seminary — Communing with the Disciples — Or- 
ganization of the College Society — Conference with Dr. Ly- 
man Beecher — Second Marriage— The Law of Marriage — Re- 
moval of Edward Beecher — -Returns East — A Brilliant Circle. 

CHAP. XVIII. New Relations 2.55 

Unjust Reports — Election to the Presidency — Meeting of 
the American Board — A Long Stage Ride — Dr. Joseph P. 
Thompson — A New Haven Club — An Interesting Discus- 

CHAP. XIX. A Cbisis. 267 

Sacrifice of the College Real Estate — Burning of the Dor- 
mitory — Additional Professors — Brooklyn Address — -With- 
drawal from the Presbyterian Church — Increase of the Col- 
lege Endowment. 

CHAP. XX. The Peogbess of Libeety. 277 

Uncle Tom's Cabin — The Republican Party — Effect of the 
Mexican War — The " Free Soil " Policy — Difficulty of Or- 
ganizing in Southern Illinois — Richard Yates — Abraham 
Lincoln — Correspondence with Governor Yates. 

CHAP. XXI. A Visit to England 302 

An Invitation — English Sentiment — A Breakfast — ^ Sir 
Richard Cobden — Aristocracy — English Abolitionists — A 
Visit in Scotland — Heury Ward Beecher — Mr. Joseph Warne 


—Bristol — Lay Preachers — Abington Beeks. 

CHAP. XXII. The Closing Yeaes 328 

Return Home — Death of Abraham Lincoln — Sermon before 
the Boston Council— The Sturtevant Foundation — Death of 
James Warren Sturtevant — Letter from Mr. Gladstone — 
Colorado— Retirement — Eightieth Birthday— Cleveland and 
Tallmadge— Death of Mrs. Sturtevant— Tribute to her 
Memory — Last Days— Funeral— How he appeared to His 
Children. . 


I begin to write this autobiography on the ninth 
day of October, 1885. I am an octogenarian, having 
completed my eightieth year on the twenty sixth 
day of last July. I am perfectly at leisure. My life 
has been consciously to myself a busy one. In my 
thirteenth year I commenced a course of study prej)ar- 
atory to entering college, with the intention of devoting 
myself to the Christian ministry. Very soon that pur- 
pose became so absorbing and controlling that even 
in youth I was never idle, my business being always 
pressing. It was, first, to prepare myself for college, 
then to enter college, then to accomjplish the college 
curriculum as thoroughly as possible, and then to 
obtain a theological education. Before completing 
my studies for the ministry, I had committed myself 
to my life work in Illinois, and by that covenant I 
was bound till the first of last June, when I resigned 
all connection with Illinois College, after fifty=six 
years of service. 

I spent most of the summer in visiting friends at a 
distance, and returned to my old home a week ago, to 
experience for the first time in my long life a sense of 
leisure. I have for the remnant of my days no master 
but God, and I hope the loving Father has still a 
little work for my hitherto busy hands. 

I am in good health and have yet considerable en- 
ergy, and I must not be idle. I shall be idle unless I 



set myself some task to which my hours shall be de- 
voted till it is accomplished, or till my Master calls me 
home. What shall this task be? There are many 
things I have desired to do which I have not done, 
and some are so dear to me that I cannot leave them 
unaccomplished without deep regret, esi^ecially since, 
had I been more scrupulously industrious, I might 
have completed most of them. But there is one 
thing which my most intimate and judicious friends 
have often advised me to undertake, and at which 
I have made some unsatisfactory efforts in times 
past. That undertaking now presents itself to my 
mind with more interest and hopefulness than ever 
before. It is to write an autobiography. 

My life seems to me to have been one of more 
than ordinary thoughtfulness. I have not only 
thought much, but I have thought independently. 
Some of my friends have undoubtedly imagined that 
so much independent thinking in some measure 
disqualified me for the sphere of action from which 
I by no means wished to withdraw. 

The truth is I have thought intensely on many sub- 
jects, not particularly because I wished to do so, but 
because circumstances forced these topics ui^on my 
attention, I have a strong desire before I die to show 
the relation which has always existed between my life 
of thought and my life of action. To me the former 
has always seemed an inevitable outgrowth of the lat- 
ter. One of the best of Dr. Horace Bushnell's pub- 
lished sermons has for its subject, " Every Man's 
Life a Plan of God." I accept this conception as a 
very serious truth, and religiously believe that it ia 
true in my own life. 


Our natural endowment is the gift of God, and He 
places us in an environment, which will develop our 
natural powers and help us to accomplish His plan 
respecting us. 

It is always a iDrofitable and in old age a very agree- 
able occupation devoutly to study the relations of 
those providential arrangements which have shaped 
our lives to the development of our powers, the forma- 
tion of our characters, and the accomplishment of 
whatever we have been permitted to achieve. 

In my own case, certainly, what I have thought and 
what I have done have been most intimately related. 
Had I been a mere theorist and not a man of action, 
or had I been a servant of personal ambition, my 
thoughts would have taken very different channels; 
or had I been forced to become interested in the 
same subjects which have engrossed me, I should 
doubtless have reached very different conclusions. I 
cannot divest my mind of the conviction, that if some 
of the wise and devout men of my cotemporaries, who 
earnestly resisted my oi^inions or refused to admit the 
necessity of those ecclesiastical reforms for which I 
pleaded, had been taught in the same school of ex- 
perience through which I providentially passed, their 
views would have been greatly modified. They might 
at least have understood how I came to believe that 
the Christian peoj)le of the past generation were 
attempting the evangelization of our country under 
conditions so unnatural and unfavorable as to render 
any satisfactory degree of success impossible. I shall 
lay down my life in the full faith, that the work so 
important to the world, will in God's good providence 


be accomplished when a different conception of the 
Church shall prevail. I wish to place it in the power 
of fair=minded, devout men to understand the way 
in which Providence has led me. I know not that 
those who are succeeding me will ever feel any 
particular interest in my history. 

Yet, it seems to me, that an honest, religious man, 
who in the beginning of his manhood consecrated his 
life to the work of home evangelization, on what was 
then the frontier, and who has spent fifty=six years in 
endeavors to lay the foundations of the Church of 
Christ on the borders of the wnlderness, must have 
learned lessons in the school of experience worthy 
of thoughtful consideration. But however that may 
be, I can perha^DS make no better use of the remain- 
ing months or years, if my life should be prolonged, 
than to spend them in placing an outline view of my 
life on record. 

J. M. S. 




I am no aristocrat. All that I know of my ances- 
tral history shows me to be allied to the lowly and 
not to the great of this world. Yet I do believe, that 
ancestry is an important element in everyone's his- 
tory. A year or two ago, as I was entering the lobby 
of the church in which I usually worship, one Sab- 
bath morning, I met a girl, with whom I have been 
acquainted from her infancy, and whose ancestors I 
have personally known as far back as her great= 
grandfather. As our eyes met, I detected an expres- 
sion which, like a flash of light, brought to my mind 
the features of a daughter of her great=grandfather's 
brother, whom I had known well in my childhood. I 
had not seen that relative in more than half a cen- 
tury, and it is probable that I had not thought of her 
for more than forty years. 

On reflection, I discovered that the same family re- 
semblance could be traced in many individuals scat^ 
tered through the five generations. The exx^ression 
is quite unmistakeably, a family type, and in this case 
the transmission was entirely in the male line, though 
the two extreme links of the chain were both fe- 
males. The whole number of links was seven. The 
number (five) of intervening links, corresponds with 



tlie number by which the iDersons, born in the early 
part of this century, find themselves connected with 
the first settlers of New England in the early part of 
the seventeenth century. Here is positive proof that 
types and personal peculiarities are difPused by he- 
redity over lines as long as that from the fathers of 
Plymouth, Boston, Hartford, and New Haven, to the 
men and women whom we have personally revered 
and loved. Any one of us may reasonably be ex- 
pected to resemble in temperament and character, and 
even in features, our honored ancestors, the original 
settlers of the Atlantic coast. Some characteristic 
traits are certainly inherited from them. Still more 
imijortant does ancestry appear when, to the influence 
of heredit)^ are added transmitted opinions and habits 
of thought and action. Thus the earnest joatriots and 
devout Christians, who laid the foundations of our 
civil and religious institutions, in the early part of the 
seventeenth century, have left their impress upon the 
whole line of their descendants. It can be obliter- 
ated only by a persistent violation of their principles. 
Earnest, God=fearing men, transmit to distant pos- 
terity their deepest convictions and most intense pur- 
l)oses. He who despises genealogical inquiry might 
surely be wiser than he is. 

I was born in Warren, Litchfield county, Connecti- 
cut, on the twenty=sixth day of July, 1805, thirty 
years and twenty^wo days after the Declaration of 
Independence. My parents were Warren and Lucy 
(Tanner) Sturtevant, both born in that part of Kent 
which was afterward erected into the town of War- 
ren, my father in the year 1779, and my mother in 
1782, both during the Revolutionary war, but both 


of them too late in the progress of the war to have 
retained any remembrance either of the British rule, 
or of the great contest. Mj' father was descended 
from Samuel Sturtevant, who was a resident of the 
town of Plymouth, Mass., in 1642, and who had sev- 
eral children. The farm on which he lived was 
known as the Cotton farm. His son, Samuel, was 
deacon of the Church of Plympton. He, also, had a 
numerous family. In our line of descent he is suc- 
ceeded by his son Nehemiah, and he, by his son Ne- 
liemiah, who married Fear Cushman, lived for a time 
in Halifax, Mass., and then emigrated, in the year 
1749 or '59, and settled first in Lebanon, Conn., from 
which place he removed the next year, to that part 
of Kent which is now \Yarren. He and his wife, 
Fear, had two sons and several daughters. Both he 
and his wife were laid in the old Kent burying^ 
ground, where I am told their gravestones still stand. 
Their two sons were named Peleg and Perez; the 
latter was unmarried. Peleg married Abigail Swift, 

daughter of and Abiah (Tupper) Swift, of the 

adjacent town of Cornwall, and had by her, children 
as follows: Fear, who married Arnold Saunders; 
Isaac, who married Lucy Hoj)kins; Warren, who 
married Lucy Tanner; Lucy, who married Cyrus 
Tanner; Abiah, who married Rev. Reuben Taylor; 
and Bradford, who married Sally Carter. 

Peleg and Abigail Sturtevant of the last paragraph 
were my grandparents, and Warren and Lucy Sturte- 
vant were my jDarents. Through Fear Cushman I am 
descended from several of the Pilgrims of the May- 
flower and other well known members of the Pilgrim 
band. My great^grandmother, Fear (Cushman) 


Sturtevant, was lineally descended from Robert 
Cusliman, the agent of the Pilgrim band, who pro- 
cured for them the Maj'flower and the Speedwell, 
and himself took passage in the latter vessel, but was 
obliged to put back on her proving unseaworthy, and 
who came out to Plymouth the next year in the For- 
tune, bringing with him his son Thomas. After a 
short stay he returned on business for the company?^ 
to England, where he soon after died. 

His son, then but a lad, remained with Gov. Brad- 
ford, in whose care he had been left by his father. 
He was afterward married to Mary Allerton, daughter 
of Isaac AllertoD and his wife Mary, and who had 
been a passenger with her parents on the Mayflower. 
One of the children of this marriage was Rev. Isaac 
Cushman, first minister of Plympton, He married 
Rebecca Rickard. One of their children was Lieut. 
Isaac Cushman, who married for his second wife 
Mercy Freeman, widow of Jonathan Freeman, and 
daughter of Major John or Jonathan Bradford and 
his wife, Mercy Warren. The oldest of the children 
of Lieut. Isaac and his second wife, Mercy, was Fear 
Cushman, who became the wife of Nehemiah Sturte- 
vant, the father of Peleg Sturtevant mentioned above. 

On the death of Gov. Carver, in the first year of 
the Plymouth colony, William Bradford became his 
successor in office. Kone of the Pilgrim band are 
better or more favorably known than he. His wife 
met her death by drowning just as they were landing 
on the shore of the New World. His son was Dep- 
uty Gov. William Bradford, who was followed in the 
line of succession by William, his son, and Maj. John 
or Jonathan Bradford, his crrandson, who has been 


mentioned as the husband of Mercy Warren and the 
father of that Mercy who married Lieut. Isaac Cush- 
man and was the mother of Fear Cushman. It thus 
apioears, that Fear Cushman Stnrtevant was de- 
scended from William Bradford, second Governor of 
the Plymouth colony, and his wife, who was also one 
of the Pilgrim band. It is also a highly probable 
tradition that she was descended through her grand- 
mother, Mercy Warren from the Warren family of 
the Mayflower. 

It is worthy of remark that all my ancestors, as far 
back as the founding of the colony, were adherents of 
the religious faith and simple polity of the Pilgrim 
fathers. All in the direct line and most of those in 
collaterallines were farmers. It is also just to say 
that I have never made the genealogy of my family a 
study. Had I done so I should doubtless have satis- 
fied, in some degree a curiosity, which greatly in- 
creased after most of those from whom I couW have 
gained information were beyond the reach of my 
questionings. Most of the meager details given 
above were furnished by the kindness of friends, es- 
jDeciall}^ by John Tillson, a friend and benefactor of 
Illinois College in its beginning and till his death in 
1853 a trustee of the same, and his noble and excel- 
lent wife, Christiana (Holmes) Tillson, both of 
whom were descended from the same Pilgrim ances- 
try as myself. They immigrated to this State from 
the town of Halifax, in the old colony, soon after its 
admission into the Union. The people of Illinois»in 
coming generations will never know how much they 
are indebted to them for many of the blessings they 


Of my mother's ancestry I have sought in vain to 
obtain information. Her father, Ephraim Tanner, 
was the proprietor of quite a large farm and carried 
on the trades of tanner and currier, being a tanner by 
trade as well as by name. He also did a considerable 
])usiness as a country merchant. His house, which 
was a very good one for that period, still stands di- 
rectly opposite the Congregational meeting house in 
Warren. He was a man of great activity and pub- 
lic spirit, and died in 1801 at the age of forty-seven. 
His tombstone still stands in Warren graveyard. He 
left the following children: Cyrus, who married Lucy 
Sturtevant; Cinda, who never never married; Lucy, 
who married Warren Sturtevant; Marvin, who mar- 
ried his cousin, Cornelia Tanner; Lydia, who married 
Silas Beekley; Joseph Allen, who married Orra 
Swift; Mirnada, who died in infancy; and Patty, who 
married Dr, Ralj)li Carter. It is said that grand- 
father and his five brothers all served at the same 
time in the Revolutionary army. His brother Eben- 
ezer was long a deacon in Warren, where some of his 
descendants still reside. Trial, another brother, 
settled and reared a family in Canfield, Ohio. Of 
my great-grandmother I only know that her name 
was Esther Newcomb. My ignorance of my mother's 
family is quite shocking, considering what means of 
information must at one time have been accessible to 
me, and here I enter my solemn j)rotest against the 
indifference to family history which then prevailed, 
an"d to a considerable extent still prevails in New 
England. It robs the family of that dignity which 
belongs to it in the divine plan and tends to barbar- 


Both my father and mother were reared in that 
competency which the New England farmer of those 
times derived from his own acres by the incessant 
and severe labor of himself and each member of his 
family. They did not know poverty, for their wants 
were supplied from steady and nnfailing resources. 
They were not rich, for their supplies were derived, 
not from the accumulations of the jDast, but from 
daily industry and frugality. One article in the 
creed of those New England fathers certainly en- 
joined industry and economy. No " idle bread " was 
eaten in their houses. My grandjoarents on both 
sides had large families, and when the paternal es- 
tates were divided th'ere was but a small portion for 
each. The education of my parents was confined to 
that furnished by the common schools of Connecti- 
cut, and even in these my father had but limited op- 
portunities. He was a good reader, wrote a fair 
hand, spelled with unerring accuracy, and, though 
he had never studied grammar, seldom fell into a 
grammatical error. He was a sober, thoughtful, 
amiable, religious man, of eminent common sense 
and sound judgment. 

My mother's education Avas a little better. She 
was fond of reading, and had a decided taste for fic- 
tion and poetry. She seems to me to have been an 
excellent judge of preaching and preachers, and most 
keenly enjoyed those higher examples of X3ulf)it elo- 
C[uence which she had the opportunity of hearing. 
In my childhood Dr. Lyman Beecher was jiastor in 
the adjacent town of Litchfield, and she always heard 
him with great delight. Mr. Beechers predecessor 
in Litchfield was Mr. Huntington, the father of the 


present Bishop Huntington. He was also an eloquent 
man and she greatly admired him. He afterwards 
became a Unitarian. Dr. Joseph Harvey, of Goshen, 
and the celebrated Samuel J. Mills, the father of the 
missionary of that name, were lights that often shone 
in our humble pulpit. The natural ability of both 
my parents seemed to me such as might have shone 
in a far different sphere if they had been educated 
for it. Beside their graves and those of others whom 
I knew in my childhood I am reminded of Gray's 
familiar words: 

" Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid 

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; 
Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed, 
Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre." 

Those who toil in obscurity all their lives, receive 
too little sympathy from the more pros^oerous, and 
what is worse, they receive far less respect and honor 
than they deserve. Those who fail to shine in con- 
spicuous i^ositions, only for lack of culture, are not 
altogether like the diamond forever concealed in the 

"Dark, unfathomed caves of ocean." 
There is an important function for high natural en- 
dowment in the places of obscurity. Dark and mis- 
erable indeed would be the condition of the toiling 
masses if all who possessed any extraordinary gifts 
were at once lifted out of the associations to which 
they were born, and left the masses that remained 
behind, to unmitigated dullness, uncheered by one 
spark of genius, one flash of wit, or one gleam of 
native wisdom. Obscure genius transmits the high- 
est forces of civilization and the best thought of every 
generation to the multitude by which, in the provi- 


dence of God, it must ever be surrounded. No 
scheme can be devised which will relieve all the best 
minds of each generation from the sphere of obscure 
toil. The necessity of securing men of power and 
culture for some important positions, which, never- 
theless, promise no high rewards or honors in this 
life, may make it needful in exceptional cases to offer 
special facilities to those who are preparing for these 
positions. But as a rule it is obvious that the divine 
constitution of society requires that the i^lace anyone 
is to occupy shall depend, not only upon his talents, 
but also upon his pluck and energy of will. Any 
social adjustment which interferes with this law is 
bad economy and worse philanthropy. It is unjust 
to those who are rising along nature's own rugged 
path, and injurious to society, whose places of high 
trust should be reserved for those who have proved 
their fitness under the natural forms of trial and dis- 

It is the order of Providence that the toiling multi- 
tude, that must always constitute the great mass of 
any people, should be the store-house from which the 
supply of the cultured and influential must continu- 
ally be recruited. It is not, as a rule, in the homes of 
wealth and luxury and social and professional emi- 
nence that the sturdiest manhood can be produced, 
It is often the product of many generations of hum- 
ble virtue. Nor am I at all sure that the man who 
rises to servo his generation in a conspicuous position 
has a more desiral^le lot than that of his obscure 

Religious principle was preeminent above all other 
characteristics in my parents. They had been edu- 


cated in the Calvinistic faith of the New England 
fathers, and learned the Shorter Catechism in child- 
hood, and diligently tanght the same to their chil- 
dren. It was the form in which they had received 
the faith; yet it was not the standard of their faith 
nor its object. They did not regard it as infallible. 
Of the statement there made, " No mere man since 
the fall is able j)erfectly to keep the commandment 
of God," they did not hesitate to say that they re- 
garded it as incorrect, and to give their reasons. The 
only object of their faith was God in Christ, and its 
only standard was the Word of God. 

I wish it were possible to convey to the reader a 
true conception of the little community into which I 
was introduced at my 1)irth. It was in many impor- 
tant respects unlike anything which now exists in our 
country, or, ^Drobably, in the world. Of the political 
changes which have come over the whole nation since 
I was ten years of age I do not intend here to .si)eak 
at length; I see their magnitude not without alarm. 
Then, the annual " Freemen's Meeting," held uni- 
formly on the first Monday in April, was a gathering 
of the legal voters of the town, to provide for the 
maintenance of social order and the general welfare. 
Personal rivalries there doubtless were, but neither 
state nor national politics had much influence in the 
government of the town. How greatly things have 
changed in this respect I need not inform the reader. 
At the present time the question which has prece- 
dence in the political action of the smallest town in 
Connecticut has generally little or no reference to the 
management of their local affairs, but to national and 
state politics. It is whether the support of that little 


community shall be given to the one or the other of 
the two great parties that are in perpetual conflict for 
the possession of the national government. 

Nor has the religious life of New England experi- 
enced less imj)ortant changes. The modern division 
of the Christian Church into many sects, each striv- 
ing to extend its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, often to 
the detriment of every other, was for the most i^art 
unknown to the New England of my boyhood. We 
had Baptist, Ejaiscopal and Methodist churches, but 
they were far too few in number to seriously impair 
the unity of the New England church life. The 
Baptists were numerous only in Rhode Island. Both 
they and the Methodist societies that were beginning 
to be organized here and there, usually sought loca- 
tions remote from the Congregational places of wor- 
ship and thus rarely came into competition with them. 
The world was then broad enough for all. There was 
no crowding. The consequence was that the church 
in any particular town was not regarded as the repre- 
sentative of some distinct denomination, but simply 
as a branch of the Church of Christ, " the Church 
Universal." We thought of ours as the " Warren 
Christian Church." If in my childhood I had heard 
our place of worship mentioned as Congregational I 
would have needed to ask an explanation of the un- 
usual term. Such was the vantage ground of the 
Connecticut churches at the time of which I am 
speaking, and the same thing might be said of the 
larger portion of Massachusetts and also of a consider- 
able part of Vermont and New Hampshire. I call it 
vantage ground, not, however, to Congregationalists 
as a religious denomination, but to Christianity. 


There existed a network of Christian churches, cover- 
ing every foot of the soil of the state, and bringing 
the opportunities of religious instruction and 
Christian worship within the reach of every inabitant. 
So complete a provision for the spiritual care and 
culture of a whole x)eople has never existed elsewhere. 

Such was the Warren church. On Sabbath morn- 
ing the congregation gathered from every hillside and 
valley along the highways and byways, to the one 
very homely, and in winter very uncomfortable, 
" meetingdiouse " — a hallowed sjjot, however, for 
which almost all the population felt more or less 
attachment. Through the worship there conducted 
each family was bound to every other, and a feeling 
of mutual responsibility was awakened quite in con- 
trast with the spirit prevailing in too many churches 
to=day. Often at the close of the Sunday service it 
would be announced from the pulpit that serious ill- 
ness had visited some home. The benediction was 
not pronounced until volunteer nurses had been sup- 
plied for every night in the week. The same provis- 
ion would be made on each succeeding Sabbath till 
the necessity had ceased. We deposited the sacred 
dust of our dead in " God's Acre," near by the hum- 
ble temple where they had worshipped. 

To the beneficent influence of such a church the 
district school was a most jDowerful auxiliary. It was 
not at that time absolutely free, though very nearly 
so, and care was taken that no child of any nationality 
or complexion should be excluded. A rudimentary 
education was secured to all. The entire territory 
was divided into a convenient number of school dis- 
tricts, and provision was made for sustaining a school 


in each. The iDastor of the church, who had ahnost 
invariahly received a collegiate education, was 
regarded as the special guardian of the schools in his 
parish. He often visited them and gave relig- 
ious instruction, especially in the Shorter Catechism. 
These visits greatly encouraged and iDromoted the 
good cause of education. The winter term of the 
school continued about three or four months, and was 
usually taught by a man; the summer term for about 
the same period, was generally in charge of a woman, 
the former receiving as salary about sixteen dollars a 
month, and the later about one dollar and a half a 
week. Board was free to teachers who were willing 
to live by turns in the families from which their 
puj)ils came, the length of time at each place being 
determined by the number of children attending 
school from that home. I remember well what a 
treat it was when it came our turn to have the school- 
mistress board with us, and accompany us to and 
from school. 

To the care of this school I was committed as soon 
as I reached the age of five or six years, although our 
home was a mile and a quarter from the schoolhouse, 
and I must often encounter in going and coming the 
fierce storms and formidable snowdrifts of one of the 
bleakest hilltoiDS in Connecticut. We were all so 
familiar with such hardships that they did not much 
ax^pall either my parents or myself. One of my earli- 
est teachers was jNIr. Homer Curtiss, who is still living 
at Waverly, in this state, at the remarkable age of 
ninety-seven years. Another of my teachers in that 
same school in very early childhood was Orra Swift, 
afterwards the wife of my mother's brother, Joseph 


Alien Tanner, who emigrated in 1835 from "Warren to 
Waverly, where he died in 1838, leaving the wife of 
his youth a widow, with one grown son and two 
grown daughters, and an infant son of their old age, 
Edward A. Tanner, D. D., now the president of Illi- 
nois College. Dea. Joseph A. Tanner was one of the 
noblest contributions that Connecticut ever made to 
the valley of the Mississippi, thoughtful, intelligent 
in the Christian faith, tranquil in temper and wholly 
consecrated to his country, to the Church of Christ 
and to God, 

In that school I continued for the most part, win- 
ter and summer, till the end of the year 1815, In it I 
learned to read and spell, and began to write, I also 
committed the Shorter Catechism, which I should 
have learned equally well at home had I not been in 
school. There I yielded as easily and cheerfully as 
the average lad to the will of the teacher. How im- 
portant to young and old that obedience to prof)erly 
constituted authority should be enforced. Much more 
than this I could not have learned with any advantage 
in any school, unless I had stored ^ly memory with 
hymns and other poetic selections and simple historic 
narrative. As I compare the school experiences of the 
first eleven years of my life with what I should have 
enjoyed in the costly and much lauded public schools 
of the present day, I must frankly confess that I 
greatly prefer the schools of seventy years ago to those 
now found in most of our large cities. The old New 
England school, however, could have been much im- 
proved. The tasks in reading and spelling might 
have been with great advantage varied by hymns, bal- 
lads, select paragraphs from classic authors, or even 


fiction. The parables of Jesus or other delightful 
Scrii^ture selections might have been substituted for 
the Catechism, for, though I acknowledge the excel- 
lence of many things found in it, I by no means regard 
that work as wefl adapted to the mind of average 
childhood. It abounds in certain metaphysical dis- 
tinctions and subtle generalizations far beyond a 
child's capacity. A child can commit the words to 
memory but cannot master the thought. 

I do not believe it would have been better to have 
substituted for the rude and simple arrangement of 
the Connecticut district school of 1815 a little arithme- 
tic, a little geography, a little diluted and simplified 
physical science, and a little of almost everything else, 
administered in the manner of modern times. Such 
treatment of childhood is well fitted to impress upon 
youth the wise man's declaration, "Much study is a 
weariness of the flesh, and of the making of many 
books there is no end." 

A child of ten or eleven cannot, as a rule, learn to 
any great extent either grammar or x3hilosophy. It is 
almost violence to his nature to imj^ose such tasks 
ujpon him. If not time lost, it is time misused. He 
can appreciate and enjoy simple poetry; can become 
familiar with pure English in speech and composition, 
and can acquire foreign languages by the same pro- 
cesses w'hich gave him the command of his mother 
tongue, I am confident that I finished the first twelve 
years of my life sounder in mind and purer in morals, 
and more robust for future mental acquisition, than I 
should have done had the last five of those years been 
spent in a modern graded school with all the "latest 


But the district school was only the first round of 
the ladder in the Connecticut system of education. 
In the times of which I am speaking no community 
in the world was giving a collegiate education to a 
larger proportion of its sons than was the state of 
Connecticut, Such an opportunity was oj^ened not 
only to the sons of the wealthy, but to those in mod- 
erate and even in straitened circumstances. Acad- 
emies and high schools of various degrees existed in 
many of the larger towns., where a more extended ed- 
ucation could Ije secured by the brighter puj)iL3, after 
graduating from the common schools, and where those 
whose parents desired it, could Ije prejjared for college. 
In this way the colleges exerted a constantly increas- 
ing influence on the pupils of the lower schools, and 
the whole community was imbued with the .si)irit of a 
higher education. To secure to children such an ed- 
ucation as their talents and tastes required was the 
earnest desire of the jjarents. If in the public schools 
any boy manifested more than ordinary mental capac- 
ity it was sure to be noticed, and he was encouraged 
and helped to seek a collegiate education. 

I now come to a very peculiar experience of my 
childhood that exerted a powerful, perhaps I ought to 
say controlling influence over my after life. It is 
difficult to present the facts wisely and truly, so as to 
afford the reader a faithful picture of the surround- 
ings. Let me anticipate by mentioning that my 
parents had three sons and one daughter. Of these, 
Efjhriam Tanner, older than myself by two years, 
died in December, 1881, at Cleveland, Ohio. My sis- 
ter, Hulda Monson, was five years younger than my- 
self. She died at Beardstown, Illinois, in 1860. Mv 


youngest brother, Christopher Cornelius, who still 
lives in Minneapolis, was eight years younger than 
myself. The two younger children were therefore not 
sufficiently mature to understand the events or sym- 
l^athize with the religious experiences which I am 
about to relate. My older brother and myself were 
accustomed to attend public worship regularly. Be- 
tween the morning and the afternoon service there 
was only an hour's intermission, and as a fire was 
never kindled in the meeting house, however cold the 
weather, we often spent this interval at the house of 
my maternal grandmother, directly across the street 
from the church, whither we went with many others 
to warm ourselves and get lunch. I am not aware 
that the ordinary exercises of public worship had in 
my childhood any marked influence upon my mind. 
Rev, Peter Starr, who was pastor of Warren church 
for more than fifty years, was an excellent, practical 
Christian, but, as far as I remember, he never arrested 
any particular attention by any of his pulpit utterances. 
He was a good man, and was greatly revered as a 
preacher by my parents, and their reverence inspired 
the same feeling in me, but he was not a brilliant man. 
If I am asked whether it is probable that a more elo- 
quent preacher would have exerted more influence upon 
one of my age than this godly divine, I can in reply only 
refer to the powerful impression produced upon my 
mind by the eloquent preaching of Dr. Lyman 
Beecher, who often exchanged with our pastor; for in 
those days the most eloquent preachers illustrated the 
parity of the clergy by exchanging pulpits with their 
less gifted brethren. 

I do not suppose that I comprehended the vast 


sweep of Mr. Beecher's intellect as he held his con- 
gregation almost spellbound on some great Christian 
theme, or that I fully understood all his lofty generaliza- 
tions, but I felt the power of his fervent enthusiasm and 
the glow of his magnificent imagination. It is truly 
a great delight to remember how I heard that noble 
man, who was then a mighty power through all the 
region around his parish and a blessing to multitudes 
who saw him only in the pulpit. I do not wnsh to 
be understood, however, as saying that the ordinary 
exercises of public worship, had no molding influence 
on my childhood. They brought religion to the fore- 
ground, and gave me habits of reverence for God, 
His Church and His holy Word. But the direct influ- 
ence, that impressed my mind and heart more than all 
else, came from the home life and from family wor- 
ship, my parents always giving to religion the prefer- 
ence above all other interests and themes. It was on 
the Sabbath that the power of our family religion 
was especially conspicuous. On returning home 
from the second service, worship followed imme- 
diately after our dinner, when parents and children 
gathered around the family hearth. The Shorter 
Catechism was first recited, each one repeating in his 
turn the answer to one question, the older children, 
however, being expected to repeat, at the proper time, 
the whole. This being finished my father read a 
portion of Scripture, occasionally accompanying it 
with a few remarks, and then we all rose and 
remained standing while he offered a short but fer- 
vent prayer. It was then generally sunset, and, in 
accordance with the early custom of New England, 
our Sabbath was ended. 


It is difficult to convey an idea of the strength of 
the imx3ressions sometimes produced by these domes- 
tic experiences, but I will record one incident. On 
a certain Sabbath after finishing the Catechism at 
family prayers, my father turned to the twenty fifth 
chapter of Matthew and read the judgment scene, 
commencing " But when the Son of Man shall come 
in His glory," without comment, and then immedi- 
ately offered prayer as usual. A sense of the awful 
majesty of that sacred j)icture came over my mind 
with such power as to almost overwhelm me. The 
thought flashed upon me with unspeakable vividness: 
I myself shall be there — one of those to be judged. 
The impression of that moment has never left me. It 
will be as lasting as my existence. The exercises be- 
ing ended I hastened to some diversion to relieve my 
mind from a thought so overwhelming. If I be 
asked whether I now believe that scene will ever be 
witnessed in reality, I answer that the question seems 
to me of little importance. Doubtless the magnifi- 
cent drapery of the scene had a powerful influence on 
my mind. Whether that tragedy will ever be liter- 
ally enacted by us all in one scene, I do not know; 
but the imagery is fitted to impress on the mind a 
truth grander and more massive than any which 
science has ever taught; the truth that every man 
shall be judged according to the deeds done in the 
body, and in consequence of ihat judgment be 
assigned to an eternal destiny. This truth is so 
deeply rooted in the moral intuitions of the soul that 
even childhood resj^onds to its presentation. The 
power of Scriptural imagery over the mind of youth 
is a very striking proof of the divine energy. I 


could not have been more than eight years of age 
when this incident occurred. My parents were 
neither poets, artists nor orators. Surely I was im- 
pressed only by the divine power garnered in the 
holy Scriptures. 

I do not remember the exact chronology of the ex- 
perience I am recording. It must have been but a 
few months after the occurrence just related that 
another event haj^pened which exerted a far greater 
influence over my life. One afternoon my brother 
Ephraim and I were left alone. We were engaged 
in such plays as are usual with children, when I 
became most painfully impressed with the thought 
that I was a great sinner before God, and alarmed at 
the thought of His displeasure. Greatly distressed 
in mind, I could not continue play. My brother was 
also much affected in sympathy for me. The thing 
which moved me most was, that really profane 
thoughts often came into my mind, thoughts which, 
though not uttered or entertained, would again and 
again intrude themselves. When mother returned 
she found us in great distress. She did what any 
wise. Christian mother would have done. She 
soothed us with the assurance that God is very merci- 
ful; that Christ came, suffered and died to save sin- 
ners, and that for His sake God would forgive all our 
sins, and Jesus would be our Savior forever. Her 
words reassured us and we retired for the night as 
cheerful as usual. The impression did not, however, 
leave us. After that we were far more thoughtful 
and religiously inclined. Our pastor visited us and 
gave much the same counsel as that bestowed by our 
mother. It was not a period of unusual excitement 


or religious effort in the community, but after some 
months of serious reflection it was suggested to us 
to unite with the church. 

To receive into a religious body persons so young 
as ourselves was then a great innovation. But the 
facts in the case seemed to our parents and friends to 
justify the step. We both readily accepted the pro- 
IDOsition, feeling that participation in the Lord's 
Supper was greatly to be desired, and supposing, as 
everyone else around us did, that communion with- 
out church membershii) would be imj)ious. Accord- 
ingly, a little before an api^roaching communion 
season, we appeared before the church and applied 
for examination and admission. The examination, in 
consideration of our tender years, was short and very 
simple. We were accepted, and on the next Sabbath 
our names were given out from the pulpit. On the 
communion Sabbath we presented ourselves, in ac- 
cordance with custom, in the broad aisle in the pres- 
ence of the congregation, and gave our assent to the 
creed and covenant and were accepted as members of 
the church in full standing. I was not yet ten years 
old. If I am asked what I now think of what was 
then regarded as my conversion, I answer that one 
thing in resi^ect to it is certain beyond any question. 
It was honest and natural, the spontaneous out- 
growth of my own nature and the religious influences 
around me. There was in it no stage effect. No 
pojDe, priest, or Jesuit, either papal or Protestant, 
IDulled the wires or worked the machinery. No one 
had said or done anything to me either fitted or in- 
tended to produce artificial results. The experience 
of us two brothers was entirely out of the ordinary 


course of things, and was treated by the church with 
cahn and deliberate good sense and practical wisdom. 
I recognize those conversions as the work of the 
Spirit of God. How the Spirit operates on the hu- 
man heart I know not. Through all the ages of 
Christian history, God has employed His Word in a 
way precisely analogous to this in producing great 
and beneficent changes in the lives of multitudes. 
The Scriptures seem to represent the power by 
which these changes are wrought as being the Spirit 
of God. It is the same power that conceived and 
portrayed the judgment scene in the twenty^fifth 
chaijter of Matthew. As such I accejit it. 

That experience has exerted a very important, and 
as it seems to me. most beneficent influence on my 
whole life. Fourscore years have i3assed, and yet I 
can truly say that what occurred subsequent to these 
events, was but the carrying out of my sincere com- 
mitment of myself which I then made to the Chris- 
tian cause. My heart rejoices in the step then taken. 
I have never regretted it. Never has the Christian 
life seemed like bondage, neither has it imposed any 
painful restraint. I was not held to it by fear, but 
by a hearty approbation and a deliberate choice. My 
conversion did not in any disagreeable way separate 
me from the companions of my childliood and youth. 
On the contrary, I had in after years great joy in 
welcoming large numbers of them to a religious life, 
and in consequence of it friendships were formed 
which have been most precious and enduring. If I 
have ever done any good in the world my early con- 
version and identification with the Church have been 
in great measure the cause of it. 


I imagine, however, that a critical inquirer asks 
with a sharp emphasis: " Do you think you really 
understood that creed and gave an intelligent assent 
to it?"' I have no embarrassment in answering: I 
neither understood it nor intelligently assented to it. 
On my part the transaction meant uniting myself 
with the Church of Christ. I neither knew nor 
thought whether or not I understood the creed. The 
church offered me the creed, and I accepted it be- 
cause she offered it. It was the Church of Christ 
and not the creed which I acce^Dted, If I still be 
asked whether I think it is wise and right to require 
candidates for admission to the church to assent to a 
creed which they cannot be supposed to understand, 
again I have no embarrassment in answering: No. 
The practice is absurd and a great deal worse than 
useless. I do not know that the rule requiring per- 
sons to assent to a prescribed creed as a condition of 
admission to the church prevails elsewhere than in 
the Congregation&l churches of this country, and in 
such Presbyterian churches as have borrowed it from 
their Congregational neighbors. It was not the 
custom of the early Congregational churches. Can- 
didates formerly made the confession of their faith in 
their own language. It is greatly to be desired that 
we return to the wiser usages of our fathers, and that 
our Presbyterian friends who have imitated our aber- 
rations, be reminded that it is not always wise to fol- 
low even Congregational examples. 

I was never taught, however, either by i^recept or 
example, that the church creed or the catechism was 
a standard of faith. They were always held as sub- 
ject to correction by the Word of God, and as being 


of no force or validity except as they agreed with it. 
Neither I nor my fathers before me have ever recog- 
nized any church authority which had the right to 
dictate in the matters of faith to any disciple. I was 
always taught to regard both creed and polity as open 
to all the reforms which truth might require. I can 
have no doubt of the j)i'opriety of allowing even 
childhood to commit and consecrate itself to Christ 
and His Church. We cannot attach ourselves too 
soon or too firmly to those profound certainties which 
even extreme youth is capable of discerning in the 
simple Gospel of Christ. My moral nature did early 
lay hold on those certainties, and for this I shall 
thank God forever. I believe that early commitment 
did much to hold me fast to that moral and spiritual 
truth which, like the nature of God, is everlasting, 
while on the other hand it has hel^Ded to make me a 
bold and ffee, yet reverent, advocate of all such re- 
forms as are needful to bring the Church into full 
conformity with the divine j)attern. .It was my pur- 
pose before closing this account of my early child- 
hood to have given some incidents indicating the 
peculiar severity of the life of New England farmers 
in the early part of the present century. But I find 
that my space will not admit of it. I must hasten 
into the more advanced periods of my history. 



During the period of which I have been speaking, 
difficulties were thickening around our humble home 
which soon resulted in a very great change being 
wrought in the scene and the conditions of our lives. 
Very soon after my birth, my father had disposed of 
his interest in the Sturtevant homestead, and had 
purchased a farm much nearer to the church and to 
the best school in the place. The amount of his pur- 
chase considerably exceeded his patrimony, and he 
was obliged to mortgage the farm for the remaipder 
of the purchase money. My parents were young and 
strong, and hoped soon by their own industry to 
cancel this mortgage, and to spend their lives and 
rear their children on that spot. But an irresistible 
necessity was laid upon them ere long, to abandon 
their home and remove to regions far away. Their 
farm was at the best rugged and barren, and under 
the most favorable circumstances their task would 
have been very arduous. These difficulties were im- 
mensely increased by changes which were coming 
over the country. At that time the industries of 
New England were almost wholly restricted to agri- 
culture and commerce, and these industries were mu- 
tually dependent. The wars growing out of the 
French Revolution and the career of the first Napo- 
leon, were then agitating the whole civilized world. 



England was not only the mistress but the tyrant of 
the seas, and her unscrupulous exercise of her su- 
premacy, seriously crippled the commerce of all neu- 
tral nations. From the beginning of Jefferson's ad- 
ministration onward, the policy of our government 
had been to resist English aggressions by discrimina- 
tions against English commerce, till finally in 1812, 
during the first term of Madison's administration, 
war was declared against England. The effect of 
these measures ui3on the industry of New England 
was to drive her commerce from the ocean, and to ut- 
terly prostrate her agriculture. Of the justice or ex- 
pediency of all this I have now nothing to say. 

Just or unjust, the result was the same. Thousands 
of farmers were rendered entirely unable to pay the 
interest on their debts, and at the same time support 
their families from the products of their farms. Out 
of this grew an immense emigration, especially from 
Connecticut, to that tract in the northeastern corner 
of Ohio, known as the Western Reserve, then famil- 
iarly called New Connecticut. The demand for a 
change came upon my father with a pressure which 
could not be resisted. There was no sympathy in his 
nature with the spirit of the adventurous fortune 
seeker. The insecurity of our western frontier as 
long as the war lasted, rendered any removal of his 
family to the new lands quite out of the question. 
As soon as peace was restored (in 1815), he began to 
arrange his plans for such a change, In the fall of 
that year, accompanied by his brother, Bradford, he 
made the journey to Ohio on foot to see the country 
for himself and to choose a situation. He returned 
with a favorable report, and he and my uncle ar- 


ranged as fast as they could to remove their families 
to the new western home the next spring. Both my 
parents deeply regretted this necessity. To my 
mother it was a source of life=long sorrow. It was, 
as it seemed to her, to separate her for the rest of her 
life from all her kindred and to debar her from those 
religious priviliges and facilities for the education 
of her children which were so precious to her and 
important to her family. She, however, yielded un- 
complainingly to the admitted necessity. How much 
there has been of such heart sickness in connection 
with those migrations that have at last caused the 
wilderness to rejoice, and the desert to blossom as 
the rose, is known only to Him who knoweth all 
things. De Toqueville, in his American Democracy, 
intimates that as a people we have no love for home, 
no natural patriotism. He could not have proved 
that assertion by the history of our family. Neces- 
sity made us emigrants. Surely those who trans- 
plant the home affections and all that is best in the 
institutions of their fathers, into the depths of the 
wilderness give the highest proof of natural patriot- 
ism. The financial disasters which came upon the 
people of New England from the causes mentioned, 
and from the competition with the West which soon 
began, would have reduced almost any other j)eople 
to extreme want. With that breadth of intelligence 
and energy of character for which they were distin- 
guished, they so met the various crises that real pow- 
erty has been almost unknown among them. They 
learned trades, established manufactures, became 
prosperous merchants in our cities, and migrated by 
tens of thousands to those cheap and fertile lands 


whose comiaetitive iDroductiveness was ruining their 
New England farms, and were everywhere among 
the most jDotent elements of our extending civiliza- 

All through the winter of 1815-16 preparations 
for our removal were in constant progress. By us 
children it was regarded with a curiosity that implied 
no appreciation of the importance to all our future, of 
what was going on. To our parents it was sad work. 

Yet, sadly as that winter passed in the home we 
were about to leave, there was one very bright spot. 
On a bitter cold day in mid=winter, my father and 
mother, and my mother's sister, Patty, together with 
my older brother and myself, attended the annual 
meeting of the Litchfield County Foreign Missionary 
Society. His Excellency John Cotton Smith, pre- 
sided. I had never seen a live governor before, and 
it was truly a great sight. The chief speaker was 
Dr. Lyman Beecher. Of course he greatly stirred 
our hearts by such a presentation of the then fresh 
theme of missions' to the heathen, as no man but he 
could make. It would be long before we should hear 
that eloquent voice again. Our hearts were so 
warmed by what we had heard that we scarcely felt 
the extreme cold while homeward bound. 

On the afternoon of May 28, 1816, we bade adieu to 
the home of my childhood and went to the home 
of my maternal grandmother to pass the night. The 
next morning we commenced our journey westward. 
When our caravan was assembled it consisted of two 
wagons, each drawn by a yoke of oxen with one 
horse harnessed before them. The wagons were 
strongly built for rough roads, and were covered with 


canvas stretched upon wooden b(jws, leaving the front 
end oijen. The party consisted of my uncle, with his 
wife and two children, my father, mother and four 
children, a brother and sister of my uncle's wife, and 
a young man who attached himself to our family; six 
children and seven adults. In the wagons were our 
beds and bedding, such provisions as we could carry, 
our wearing api^arel, and other necessaries for the 
journey. Our progress was of course slow, and for 
the most part the men and the larger boys were on 
foot, and sometimes even the women also. At night 
we expected to secure a room in which we could 
spread our beds. Our meals were i^repared from the 
resources which we carried with us, with such addi- 
tions as we found it necessary to xjrocure by the way. 
As we had chosen that season of the year when 
pleasant weather could be for the most part expected, 
our position was not very uncomfortable. Yet most 
people, accustomed to civilized life, would not have 
regarded it as a pleasant journey. 

Our route was from home to Fishkill Landing, on 
the Hudson; thence across the Hudson in a saihboat 
to Newburg; thence through portions of the states of 
New York and New Jersey to Easton Pennsylvania; 
thence through Bethlehem and Reading to Harrisburg; 
thence through Carlisle to Strasburg, at the foot of 
the Alleghanies; thence over the mountains through 
Bedford and Greersburg to Pittsburg. At Pittsburg 
we crossed the Alleghany River and followed the 
right bank to the Ohio, along the route now taken by 
the Cleveland and Pittsburg Railway, to the mouth 
of Beaver Creek. Thence we traveled to Canfield, 
Ohio, where we passed a Sabbath in the hospitable 


home of Trial Tanner, a brother of my grandfather, 
Ephraim Tanner. From that i^oint it was a short 
distance to Talhnadge, Summit County, Ohio, where 
we passed a few days among hosts of old acquain- 
tances, emigrants from Warren, before going to 
Richfield, Summit County, Ohio, where we considered 
our long journey ended. It was destined to terminate 
the progress of my westward migration for the next 
thirteen years. The distance jDassed over was more 
than five hundred miles, and the time required for 
making it was more than four weeks. It now requires 
less than twenty = four hours. 

Little space can be given to describing this journey. 
To such a boy as myself, just under eleven years of 
age, it was an event of great importance. To a mod- 
ern traveler, shut up in a railway carriage, perhaps in 
a sleeping berth, it is a matter of very trifling conse- 
quence. But as we traveled largely on foot, in the 
open air and sunlight, at the rate of less than twenty 
miles a day, and as new scenes occupied the mind 
almost wholly for a month, it furnished the best lesson 
in geography I ever learned. It gave me definite 
ideas of distances and magnitudes, and afforded me 
accurate and vividly^remembered concej)tions of the 
meaning of the words " mountains, rivers, plains and 
forests." It conveyed to me a new idea of the magni- 
tude of the world and particularly of our own country, 
taught me to observe the xjhysical features of our 
planet, and did much to translate my knowledge of 
geography from the abstract into the concrete. 

An incident will illustrate this. Somewhere be- 
tween Easton and Harrisburg we reached a little 
stream called Swatara too deep to be forded with 


safety. A scow was lying at the bank, but no ferry- 
man was at hand and we were obliged to wait an hour 
for his return. The tranquil stream fringed with 
willows, in " leafy June," and skirted with fields of 
wheat and grass, filled me with a peaceful delight. 
The boy became for the moment almost a poet, and a 
vivid picture of the scene remained with me. Forty^ 
eight years afterwards, on a journey to New York, I 
found myself one afternoon taking the train at Har- 
risburg for New York by what is known as the Allen- 
town Line, extending from Harrisburg to Easton. It 
was the old route over which I had not passed since 
my youthful journey with the emigrant party. I nat- 
urally took a seat near the window and looked for 
familiar objects. When after a time we crossed a 
bridge over a little stream I was confident that I 
recognized again the Swatara, and my fellow passen- 
gers assured me that I was not mistaken. The whole 
scene of forty=eight years ago was before me. The 
intervening years were annihilated, and I was a boy 
again in the company of emigrants. 

Eastern Pennsylvania was at that early day a well 
cultivated and highly productive country. The im- 
mense stone barns which were seen on almost every 
farm excited our wonder. Though there was at that 
time a very considerable trade over the mountains 
between Philadelxjhia and Pittsburg, carried on in 
immense wagons each drawn by four horses, no road 
had yet been built. A good turnpike was in process 
of construction, but only five miles of it had been 
opened to traffic. The trail by which we crossed the 
mountains was exceedingly rough and difficult. The 
wheels of our wagons went bounding along from one 


boulder to another, much as in a cart=path in some 
out-of-the-way place on a New England hillside. 
Almost the only vehicles we met were the immense 
wagons already spoken of. The size, strength and 
docility of the horses, and the skill and good nature 
of the drivers, excited our admiration. Our passage 
over Laurel Hill, the last mountain we crossed, is 
vividly remembered. 

We had not proceeded far in the ascent when it be- 
gan to rain. The air was chilly and very disagreea- 
ble. My mother, fearing to ride over a road so hor- 
rible, was on foot. On the toj) of the mountain there 
was a house at which travelers were kept, but my 
mother insisted on proceeding, because the house 
had no enviable rei3utation. So we continued our 
journey and descended the rocky slope, mother still 
preferring to walk. On reaching a place of some de- 
gree of comfort we were soon warm and dry, and for- 
tunately no harm was experienced from the exposure. 

At the time of which I am writing Pittsburg bore 
little resemblance to the great manufacturing city 
which now stands at the confluence of the Alleghany 
and Monongahela. We rested for our midday lunch 
amid cultivated fields which lay between the city and 
the. Alleghany. A bridge was in process of construc- 
tion across that stream, but we crossed by boat. 

The region traversed after entering the state of 
Ohio was mostly covered by forests of gigantic 
growth. We sometimes traveled miles through these 
woods without seeing a single human dwelling. On 
one such occasion, about midday, a thunder-storm 
broke upon us. The wind blew violently and the 
thunder rolled and reverberated through the forest. 


Trees, and branches torn from their trunks, fell 
crashing around us. This was a terrific experience 
for the women and the children, to whom such for- 
ests, even in nature's mildest moods, were strange 
and awe-inspiring. Such a migration is capable of 
exerting a i^owerful influence on the character. 

At Richfield, Ohio, my father and uncle had pur- 
chased jointly a small tract of land, with five or six 
acres of clearing, on which was a log house contain- 
ing but two rooms, one above the other, with no 
means of gaining access to the upper room except by 
a ladder. At this house the goods were to be unload- 
ed, and the two families were to commence house- 
keeping. It seemed a rather heart-sickening end of 
so long and wearisome a journey, but here we re- 
mained several weeks, doing what we could to make 
ourselves comfortable. It was midsummer, and we 
did not suffer from the cold, and were sheltered from 
the rain. The two brothers were a good deal unde- 
cided in relation to their future plans. The place 
was new and seemed so strange. Nearly all the few 
inhabitants were recent immigrants like ourselves. 
We had no church, no school, no roads. All these 
were to be constructed. 

Our Sabbaths came and went as of old, but they 
brought with them little except memories, which 
taught us how " blessings brighten as they take their 
flight." From those days onward the 137th Psalm 
has always possessed for me a peculiar charm. '"'By 
the rivers of Babylon there we sat down, yea, we 
wept, when we remembered Zion." At last a report 
came that on the next Sabbath public worship was 
to be held in a log house at Brecksville, a church was 


to be organized, and the Lord's Supper observed. 
The officiating minister was to be Rev. Wm. Han- 
ford, of Hudson, one of the most indefatigable mis- 
sionaries then laboring in that part of Ohio. Brecks- 
ville is now almost a suburb of the great city of 
Cleveland. It was then a little new settlement in the 
woods. Between us and the j)lace, which was four or 
five miles distant, lay a literally trackless forest. I*t 
was, however, almost instantly resolved that my fath- 
er, uncle, brother and myself would attend church 
Sabbath morning. After an early breakfast we start- 
ed, taking with us a pocket compass as a guide. The 
place of worship was a humble log cabin home. 
After a sermon, in which all were profoundly inter- 
ested, some fifteen persons united themselves by mu- 
tual covenant as a Christian Church. That organi- 
zation, if I mistake not, still exists. The Lord's 
Supper was then observed. It mattered little to me 
that the bread was distributed from a common din- 
ner plate, and the wine poured from a common earth- 
ern pitcher into glass tumblers. At no time in my 
life have I enjoyed a Sabbath more intensely. The 
two boy communicants attracted the notice of Mr. 
Hanford, who came after service and conversed with 
our party. The acquaintance thus begun had an im- 
portant influence upon the future of my brother and 
myself. That Sabbath was a bright day in the re- 
cord of my life; a day in which my Christian faith 
had been much confirmed, and in which, though I 
had then no such thought, it had become nearly cer- 
tain that I would obtain a collegiate education and 
devote my life to the Christian ministry. 

It is not to be wondered at that my parents were 


very reluctant to make Eiclifield their home. Its 
utter lack, for the time, of schools and church privi- 
leges seemed an insuperable objection to a perma- 
nent stay. Accordingly, my father soon arranged his 
business interests by surrendering all his rights in 
the Richfield property to his brother, and purchased 
a small piece of excellent land in Tallmadge, on 
which b}^ the toil of his hands a farm could be made; 
for the virgin forest still covered it all. 

We soon removed to Tallmadge and prepared for 
the erection of our new home. I find no words that 
can do justice to the hospitality so generously ex- 
tended to us while our cabin was in xjrogress of erec- 
tion, by the immigrants from Warren who were al- 
ready in the town, esj)ecially by Deacon Salmon 
Sackett and his family. The preciousness of Chris- 
tian brotherhood is often touchingly illustrated amid 
the hardships of a new settlement. Winter was 
almost upon us before our rude cabin was ready for 
occupancy. Well do I remember the day we took up 
our abode in it. It was the 29th of November, 1816. 
The undergrowth only had been removed, leaving the 
giants of the forest, some of them more than a hun- 
dred feet in height, towering far above our frail shel- 
ter. Our chimney was constructed by cutting away 
a portion of the logs on one side of the cabin and 
building in the opening thus made a fireplace of 
stones laid in clay, and projecting outside of the 
wall. Above the stone=work, raised only high enough 
to avoid contact with the fire, the chimney was fin- 
ished with sticks daubed with clay. The fireplace 
was very large, and I often stood partially within it 
and looked up the chimney at the tree tops which 


were waving far above it. Primitive as that habita- 
tion was, its rudeness was not its worst feature. It 
was entirely inadequate to protect us from tlie sever- 
ities of such winters as those we found in northeast- 
ern Ohio. This was especially true of a house fresh 
built from green logs. That was a long and dreary 
winter. The rheumatism with which my father suf- 
fered and the colds of my mother an d the rest of the 
family are painful to remember. 

Though the cold was often intense and the school 
was a mile and a quarter distant, we boys were seldom 
absent or late. Punctuality and regularity were en- 
forced upon us. Ours was one of the best teachers I 
ever had. She enabled me at eleven years of age to 
study English grammar with j)leasure and much pro- 
fit. She was herself a product of the New England 
common school. When the spring opened in that 
year (1817) other and graver matters than school re- 
quired our attention. The forest was to be converted 
into fruitful fields from which the support of a family 
must be derived, and that could be done only by the 
combined labor of one man and two boys. As soon 
as the winter school was closed father, brother and 
myself all gave ourselves with such strength as we 
possessed to that work. To the unpracticed eyes of 
my mother, and the children, it seemed almost impos- 
sible, without crushing the cabin, to fell those trees 
that still surrounded it. When the time came for 
cutting one immense tree that stood near the house, 
my mother, with her two younger children, took a posi- 
tion beyond the reach of the tallest limbs and waited 
for the catastrophe. After many hard strokes of the 
murderous ax the top was first seen to waver and then 


to move steadily, and then to rush to the ground with 
awful force and a thundering but harmless crash. I 
do not wonder that the great Mr. Gladstone even in 
the dignity of his old age is fond of felling trees. It 
is grand sx3ort even for British statesmen. Not more 
than ten rods from the cabin we found lying upon the 
ground a chestnut tree which must have fallen several 
generations before the woodman had begun to invade 
those forests. As it lay there the trunk measured 
more than six feet in thickness. The time since its 
fall could only be conjectured from its state of partial 
decay, but the durability of chestnut timber, even 
when exposed to the weather, almost surpasses belief. 
Visiting that spot a few months ago, I was convinced 
that the very rails split in the years 1817 and 1818, 
from freshly fallen chestnut trees l^y my father's hand, 
I in a feeble way assisting, still formed the boundaries 
of the old fields. I could see no reason to doubt that 
they would last fifty years longer. 

That old trunk was surrounded by a little forest of 
tall, sturdy hickories which had doubtless grown from 
nuts accidently dropped there, after the ancient trees 
had ceased to shade the ground. The immense log 
was so water=soaked that it was scarcely combustible. 
We cleared away the huge mass by cutting the hick- 
ories, heaping them against it and firing the -pUe. 
Thus little by little we dried and consumed it. Many 
a weary day did we toil around that fallen monarch. 
So is it ever. Accumulations of rottenness and cor- 
ruption can only be removed by long and patient toil. 

I shall close this story of our first season in the 
great Ohio forest with an incident. As w^e had no 
fenced fields the two or three cows on which we large- 


ly depended for our living were pastured in the open 
forest on the west border of which our cabin was situ- 
ated. It contained from thirty to forty square miles 
unbroken by a single farm or cabin. The searching 
for our cattle in that great wild pasture was not with- 
out serious perils to those unaccustomed to the woods. 
Even persons of considerable experience were liable 
to be lost in that trackless forest. 

One beautiful Sabbath evening in October, during 
our first season in the cabin, after dinner and family 
worship, father and mother started out together to 
drive home the cattle, the cow bell being within hear- 
ing. The four children were left behind. In the 
dusk of the evening the cows came home, but 
father and mother were not with them. As we 
learned afterward, they had walked carelessly on in 
tlie direction from which the sound had been heard, 
without noticing the bell. When next they stopped 
to listen for it the sound had ceased. Conjecturing 
that the belbcow had laid down, they walked on in 
the same direction. Just as they had concluded that 
they must have passed her they came to a swamp, the 
situation of which was well known to my father. 
But he was unable to assure himself whether he was 
on the east or west side of it. In the meantime the 
wind had risen and the heavens were overcast with 
clouds. Soon a light was seen through the clouds 
near the horizon, which they assumed to be the eve- 
ning twilight; but it was the light of the newly risen 
moon in the east. Supposing they had discovered the 
proper points of the compass they were reassured and 
set ofiP, as they thought for home, but really toward 
the southeast into the heart of the great forest. Soon 


the sky was overcast with heavier clouds, and the 
wind rose to alarming violence. After rambling for 
a time, while the wind was roaring and the trees were 
falling around them, my father realizing that they 
were lost, suggested that they should stop in as com- 
fortable a place as could be found, and wait for the 
morning. To this my mother utterly objected. "If," 
said she, " we stop we certainly shall not get home to 
the children; if we keep going, it is possible that we 
may." This was decisive. So they pushed on, avoid- 
ing obstacles in their way by going around rather 
Ihan through them, as one direction was as likely to 
be right as another. 

We children at home soon became very anxious, 
and used every means at our command to make a 
noise in the hope that we might thus guide their be- 
wildered way. We pounded on the end of a log with 
the head of an axe. We climbed to the roof of the 
cabin and hammered upon it, but all in vain. At 
length daylight was quite gone, and we were in de- 
spair. The nearest neighbors were half a mile away, 
and to search for our parents in that great forest in 
such a night was hopeless. We retired to the cabin, 
kejit the fire and lights burning, and with many tears 
sat down to wait for what might ccme. 

After wandering for hours, father and mother came 
suddenly uj^on what my father's i^racticed eye recog- 
nized as an opening in the forest where a tree had 
been cut. He examined by the sense of feeling and 
soon found the stump. In the original survey of the 
lands a township five miles square was first marked 
off. Its boundaries were indicated by a line of blazed 
trees. This square was then divided into four equal 


parts by public roads extending north and south and 
east and west tlirough its center. These roads were 
indicated by two lines of blazed trees, and by the 
letter " H," carved on any tree which was found to 
stand exactly on the line of either side of the road. 
My father conjectured that the stump which he had 
found marked a familiar spot in the road which ex- 
tended along the south side of our farm. This road 
was indicated in the survey, but was not open for use. 
By feeling the neighboring trees, the two sides of the 
road were found, and also a tree marked with the letter 
" H." This assured them that they were on the east 
and west road, and probably only a half mile from 
home. But how to get there was the question. It 
was not very difficult for two persons to follow one of 
these blazed lines in total darkness. One would re- 
main near a blazed tree till another similarly marked 
could be found, which in turn was kept till the next 
was discovered, and so on. It yet remained for them 
to determine in which direction home lay, since a 
wrong course would carry them yet deeper and deeper 
into the forest. After traveling as it seemed a long 
distance they came again upon the swamp. There 
father left mother by a blazed tree until he had satis- 
fied himself by examing the edge of the swamp for 
some distance that they were on its western side. 
They had traveled half a mile in the wrong direction 
and were now one mile from home. They then re- 
turned by the same slow process, feeling their way 
from tree to tree until they reached home about mid- 
night, to the great joy of all. 

That same night, an excellent yoke of oxen which 
my father had recently sold had been left in a field 


where the great trees had been girdled to facilitate 
clearing of the land. In the morning both were found 
close together dead, with a fallen tree lying across 
them. This incident bears testimony to the terrors 
of that stormy night. 



During that year a suggestion found its way to our 
humble cabin which was as surprising to us all as 
though it had been si^oken from out the voiceless for- 
ests around us. It came from Rev. William Hanford, 
our ministerial acquaintance of that bright Sabbath 
at Brecksville, and grew out of the great lack of min- 
isters of the Gospel in that new country. New as 
Tallmadge was, it had an incorporated academy of 
which Elizur Wright was then princii3al. Mr. Han- 
ford was his son-indaw, as was also Rev. John Seward, 
an efficient missionary settled at Aurora. The prop- 
osition was that my brother and myself should enter 
on a course of study in preparation for college and 
the Christian ministry. Mr. Seward strongly sec- 
onded Mr. Hanford's suggestion and Mr. Wright 
offered us free tuition. Nothing could well, seem 
more absurd. How could our father spare us from 
the work of the farm and the forest? Should his 
natural helpers forsake him now that they were just 
beginning to be helpers indeed? True, I was in re- 
spect to muscular strength but a feeble boy, and 
could be spared with very small loss, but it seemed 
out of the question for him to do without my brother 
who was now fourteen, and for his age unusually vig- 
orous and helpful. Besides, the resources of the 
family were so narrow that my parents could not 



afford any assistance to their sons in pursuing a col- 
lege course. 

To us lads the plan seemed utterly impracticable, 
and we expected and even wished our parents to re- 
ject the proposition. I was especially averse to. it, 
for the idea of going far from home among strangers, 
under circumstances so peculiar and so remote from 
the life to which I was accustomed, a^Dpeared intolera- 
ble. I appreciated the generosity of our friends, but 
thought I had no wings for so ambitious a flight. 
Unexpectedly to us the suggestion was favorably en- 
tertained by both our parents. First of all earthly 
things they desired a superior education for their 
children, and their highest ambition was to train 
their sons for the Christian ministry. Our advisers 
assured them that there were no insurmountable ob- 
stacles, and that funds were contributed to aid deserv- 
ing young men in preparing for the ministry. My 
vague and unreasoning dread was not removed, but 
my conscience was appealed to and the appeal pre- 
vailed. When the winter of the academy opened we 
were both on hand with our Latin grammars. 

It was fortunate for me that my i^arents had chosen 
Tallmadge for their place of residence. The town 
was remarkable for certain laeculiarities in its mode 
of settlement, which had originated in the mind of 
Rev. David Bacon, the father of the distinguished 
Leonard Bacon, D. D., of New Haven. A graphic 
account of his father's life published some years ago 
by the latter in " The New Englander " will furnish 
the curious reader with the details of this plan. Kev. 
David Bacon had made arrangements with the origi- 
nal proprietors of the town that they were to sell 


farms to such persons only as he approved. His ob* 
ject was to form a settlement composed of select men 
and women, so homogeneous in their religious be- 
lief that they would easily coojjerate and form one 
Christian church. It is true that after a time some 
of the saints whom Mr. Bacon had gathered around 
him proved themselves less than saintly, and a quar- 
rel obliged him to leave his charge before his plan 
was fully carried out. But enough had been done to 
secure in a great measure the end at which he aimed. 
A character had been given to the town which at- 
tracted such emigrants as Mr. Bacon had desired, 
and repelled the opposite class. The consequences 
of such a good beginning appear in Tallmadge to this 
day. When my father came the church organized by 
Mr. Bacon seven years before was already strong and 
efficient, having a settled pastor and regular worship, 
and a large congregation. Tallmadge was at that 
time as purely a Congregational community as that 
in which I was born, although we did not recognize 
the church where we worshiped as Congregational, 
but only as the Church of Christ. The confusion of 
tongues had not yet reached it. In the providence of 
God I knew nothing through all my childhood and 
youth of that strife of tongues which sectarian divi- 
sions always produce. 

It was a part of Mr. Bacon's plan to found a col- 
lege at Tallmadge, but unfortunately after his re- 
moval that idea was relinquished. The academy 
however, did good service for many years. To it, 
and especially to its excellent principal, I am under 
life=long obligations. Under his gratuitous instruc- 
tion in the fall of 1817 I commenced the study of 


Latin. To a boy of twelve years, having little book= 
knowledge besides that contained in the Bible, the 
Shorter Catechism and the schoobreaders, and with 
the unphilosophical modes of teaching Latin then in 
use, the beginning of the study was neither interest- 
ing nor encouraging. The winter was spent in com- 
mitting to memory Latin paradigms, the use of 
which I did not know, and rules which I could not 
comprehend, and translating a few j)ages of the His- 
toriae Sacrte. The whole winter was spent toiling as 
if in a dark hole where I could neither see what I 
did nor fully know what I was trying to do. Of 
course I seemed to myself to have accomplishea 
nothing. Doubtless we now have better methods of 
teaching Latin, though they are still far from per- 
fect. We should teach language first and grammar 
afterward. To reverse this is to begin at the top of a 
chimney and build downward, or to harness the cart 
before the horse. 

Spring came and the school closed, not to be re- 
sumed till the following autumn. It was indispensa- 
ble that we should return immediately to the forest 
and the farm, for our services were imperatively 
needed there. Not that anyone supposed that I 
could accomplish much, for I really could not, yet I 
did as well as I could, and it was not particularly 
aggreeable that my efforts were habitually ridiculed. 
Almost every day I heard 

" Little strokes 
Fell great oaks." 

Nevertheless my feeble efforts did fell many trees. 
Meanwhile I found little comfort in the thought of a 
life of study. As we toiled through the summer the 


future presented little of hope or cheer, though I was 
not consciously unhappy. I thought as I looked 
back that my generous teacher and kind friends must 
have had enough of trying to teach Latin to so poor 
a scholar, and I had no desire to return to that dark 
hole. I was mistaken, for when the winter term 
opened both our parents and teachers expected us to 
resume our classical studies and we reluctantly com- 
plied with their wishes. Happily discouragement 
did not long continue. Light soon began to break 
in, for before the season closed, I was convinced that 
I could learn Latin, and that I had a better chance 
of success as a student than as a farmer and forester. 
I began to look forward to college with hope instead 
of aversion. My father's removal to Ohio, which 
would have seemed the worst thing for a boy like 
myself, considerably hastened the progress of my ed- 
ucation. Perhaps indeed I should never have gone 
to college had it not been for the Tallmadge academy 
and the great demand for educated ministers in the 

I must now go back a little in my story, to men- 
tion a seemingly trivial incident which had neverthe- 
less an important bearing upon our plans for secur- 
ing an education. Before the completion of our 
cabin in Tallmadge, and while we yet remained in 
the hospitable home of Deacon Sackett, a swarm of 
bees came out from one of his hives at the end of 
August. This was an unusual occurrence. The 
deacon hived the bees and gave them to my brother 
and myself, saying, "They will not survive the cold 
winter, but may furnish you a little honey for the 
winter's use." They did, however, survive the win- 


ter, whether by reason of unusual industry or because 
they had robbed one of the Deacon's hives, which 
from that time ceased to flourish, I cannot teU. They 
were carried to our forest home and soon so multi- 
plied as to be of considerable importance. 

My brother and myself had the sole care of the 
bees, or perhaps I should have said my brother had, 
for I was only a humble assistant. They required 
much attention, for we were without books or instruc- 
tion in bee=culture and were left to the resources of 
our own ingenuity to devise methods for their man- 
agement. That summer we made almost as much 
progress in our studies as we should have done in 
school, although we gladly assisted when necessary 
on the farm. Our increased interest and added hope- 
fulness led us to improve our spare moments, and 
while we were watching the bees we read Virgil and 

I am convinced by many years of observation as a 
teacher that I make no disgraceful confession when 
I acknowledge that we used translations whenever 
they could be obtained. When we were about to 
commence a book of Virgil's JEneid we borrowed a 
copy of Dryden's Virgil and read the book together. 
We would then, dictionary and grammar in hand, 
take up the Latin. We did not expect to rely on the 
translation for the exact construction of sentences. 
It gave us only the general course of thought. In 
this way we could read the book from the Latin in 
much less time, and, as we thought, with equal thor- 
oughness. In this manner we read Virgil and Cice- 
ro's Orations, no translation being required either for 
Caesar's Commentaries or Sallust, when at a later day 


we read the latter's works. Our method of study 
seems to me a rational one. We learned the lan- 
guage first and its grammar afterwards, as children 
do, and made much more rapid progress than we 
could have done with oidy the grammar and diction- 
ary. During the winter of '19 and '20 we made good 
progress in both Greek and Latin. The summer 
found us again at our books, farm work and bee=cul- 
ture, and life was full of joy that was greatly aug- 
mented by the fact that during that summer and the 
following autumn Tallmadge was visited by a season 
of quickened religious feeling and activity such as is 
commonly called a revival of religion. How came it 
to occur? I can give but one answer: — "The wind 
bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound 
thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and 
whither it goeth." The i^astor of the church was a 
good, true man, without any special gift by which 
such a popular movement could be artificially pro- 
duced. Its occurrence was as unexi^ected to him as 
to anyone else. He had no assistance from other 
ministers. There were individuals in the church who 
had unusual earnestness in jDrayer for the gift of 
God's Spirit, and the devout had for weeks previous 
often met in each other's houses to pray for this 
blessing; but these meetings were entirely j)rivate 
and unostentatious in their character, just such 
meetings as people honestly believing in the efficacy 
of prayer would naturally hold and enjoy. Religious 
meetings of a public character were not appointed with 
unusual frequency till it became known that an un- 
wonted interest in religious things existed in many 
minds in different parts of the town. This was not 


a mere transient excitement, for it continued many 
months. During much of this time the imstor was 
himself absent, but public worship was held on the 
Sabbath as usual, a sermon being read by some mem- 
ber of the church. Two or three religious meetings 
were appointed each week, at 5 o'clock P. M. in dif- 
ferent parts of the town, either at schoolhouses or 
at private dwellings. My brother and myself, with 
other members of our family, usually attended 
these meetings. Our farm work was carried on with 
no less energy and success than in other years. Ris- 
ing early in the morning, we husbanded all our time 
so that when the hour of meeting arrived our day's 
work was practically accomplished. In two or three 
instances, in the course of our pastor's absence, pas- 
tors of neighboring churches spent a few days with 
us. Visits from house to house by the deacons and 
other zealous members of the church were frequent 
and there was much jDersonal conversation. 

Among the persons deeply moved by this religious 
revival was one whom I ought to mention by name, 
as he sustained for several years a very intimate rela- 
tion to my life, and especially as he has been by no 
means unknown to fame, Elizur Wright, Jr., the son 
of the principal of our academy. He was about a 
year older than myself, and my classmate. He pro- 
fessed to be converted, and with much appearance of 
earnestness united among many others with the 
church. I was already intimate with him and loved 
him. He had enjoyed much better advantages than 
myself, and I regarded him as my superior both in 
natural talents and in acquisitions. I greatly re- 
joiced in his conversion, and was for several years 


more intimate with him than I have ever been with 
any man who was not a relative. Through all those 
years I found him a faithful friend, ready and sym- 
pathetic in my hours of need. It gives me great 
l^leasure to make this record of him. 

As a result of this revival changes were wrought in 
the opinions and characters of many individuals, 
which affected for the better their whole subsequent 
lives, and lasting impressions for good were made up- 
on whole families and in fact upon the entire com- 
munity. The number added to the church was not 
far from one hundred, and among them were found 
almost the whole circle of young persons with whom 
my brother and myself had been associated. Our 
relations to them during this season of revival were 
very delightful to ourselves and perhaj)s beneficial to 
them. For myself, I find that the bonds of affection 
then forged still bind me closely to the people of that 
beautiful town. In all these more than sixty years 
no place has been dearer to me than Tallmadge. I 
revisit it with peculiar delight, and still find among 
the living some who allude to that season as the 
beginning of their religious life. 

There was no intermixture of sectarian rivalries in 
that revival. No union meetings were agreed upon, 
leaving to the future the division of the converts 
among the different denominations. We had no de- 
nominational jealousies to guard against, no sectarian 
interests of our own to be guarded. Our union was 
natural, spontaneous, and we supposed permanent. 
The great transaction in which we were so deeply 
interested knew but two parties: Christ and the 
world He died to save. In Christ all of His follow- 


ers are one, and nothing in the religious organization 
of our community tended to mar our perception of 
that oneness. Surely that was the natural and prim- 
itive condition of the Church. Nor can it be denied 
that its present divisions obscure the fact of its unity 
and narrow our conceptions of Christian brotherhood 
and CO operation. I need not assure the reader that 
there was great moral power in such a complete unity 
of Christian people. 

During all these years Tallmadge had no church 
building. An academy was built and used both as a 
schoolhouse and a plRce of public worship. After 
its destruction by fire it was rebuilt, and the church 
was still longer delayed. It was inconveniently small 
for our congregation. In almost all our services some 
were compelled to stand, and this sacrifice, in accord- 
ance with the code of politeness of the period, fell 
especially upon boys like myself. In the fall of 
1820 it became an evideiit necessity to provide a 
church adequate to the necessities of the congrega- 
tion. This was not an easy thing to do, for that por- 
tion of Ohio bordering on Lake Erie, though rich in 
agricultural resources, had absolutely no market for 
the surplus of its productions. The Erie canal was 
hardly yet projected. It was often difficult for the 
prosperous farmer to raise sufficient cash to pay his 
taxes. The best of wheat could not command ten 
cents a bushel. How then were the farmers of Tall- 
madge to build a church? It was possible only in 
one way. The house must be built of timber cut 
from their own forests, or of stones quarried from 
their own hills by the hands of their own mechanics, 
and paid for from the products of their own fields. 


Fortunately they had an excellent architect of their 
own number, Lemuel Porter, from Waterbury, Conn. 
He drew a church plan and provided the specifica- 
tions. The building committee then called a public 
meeting at which the x^lan and the specifications were 
accepted and every man was requested to state what 
he would furnish. Provision was soon made for 
every stick of timber. A day was appointed some 
time in the early winter on which all this timber was 
to be brought to the site selected for the sanctuary. 
As the time drew near, signs of prei)aration were every- 
where visible, and it was evident that there w^ould be 
few Tallmadge men who would not participate in the 
happy event. To stimulate ambition the chairman 
of the building committee, Reuben Beach, from my 
owai native town, made a public offer of a gallon of 
whiskey to the man who on the designated Monday 
morning should "land the first stick of timber." 
Many teams were on hand very early. In fact, it was 
yet in the small hours when the prize was claimed 
and x^romptly given. Only a few months ago I saw 
the wooden gallon bottle in which it was delivered. 
Those men are not to be judged by the standard of 
the present. That was before the i)hrase "total ab- 
stinence " was coined, or the loractice of it accepted 
as a rule of morals. The enthusiasm of that occasion 
was not the boisterous mirth of a bachanalian revel, 
but the rational earnestness of men wdio w^ere deter- 
mined to erect an edifice in wdiich they and their 
children might assemble for religious instruction and 
worship. I co=operated in the raising of that church 
in 1822. It stands to-day in excellent order, a model 
of country church architecture. Its shingles were all 


made from a single chestnut tree and have never 
needed renewal. A part of the tree not wrought into 
shingles is now lying where it originally fell. On a 
recent visit to the place, I brought away a fragment 
as a relic. 

At this point, it is proi^er to mention a discussion 
which gave me my hrst impressions of those ecclesi- 
astical divisions which have since caused me so much 
sorrow. Almost all of the churches of the Western 
Reserve were originally Congregational, being chiefly 
comiDosed of emigrants from New England. A few, 
however, were Presbyterian, connected with the Synod 
of Pittsburgh, having been organized by emigrants 
from western Pennsylvania. It was a favorite idea 
of almost all the ministers, whether of Presbyterian 
or Congregational origin, that it was desirable to com- 
prehend within one organization both the Congrega- 
tional and the Presbyterian churches in the United 
States. It was difficult and sometimes impossible to 
persuade these churches to renounce the polity of their 
fathers for the Presbyterian form of church govern- 
ment. During my residence on the reserve the Presby- 
terian churches of that region were erected into the 
Presbytery of the Western Reserve, and to facilitate 
the comprehension of the Congregational churches un- 
der the same jurisdiction, that Presbytery was permit- 
ted to frame for itself a constitution supplementary to 
the constitution of the Presbyterian Church, contained 
in its book of discii^line, granting to Congregational 
churches coming under the jurisdiction of the Presby- 
terian Church the privilege of conducting their internal 
affairs according to the usages of Congregational 
churches. Most of the latter adopted the plan without 


much hesitation. Some of the leading men in the 
Talhnadge church were, however, strongly averse to the 
scheme, and raised objections which caused much delay 
and debate. Several committees of the Presbytery vis- 
ited the church and endeavored to remove objection and 
secure acquiescence. As the constitution j^rovided 
for changes in the organic instrument, several amend- 
ments were from time to time made to obviate objec- 
tions raised in the Tallmadge church. Finally it 
came to this: that as the constitution was amendable, 
it was feared that the jjarticular article extending to 
Congregationalists the enjoyment of their own mode 
of church government, would, after a time, be abol- 
ished. This fear was reported to the Presbytery, and 
to remove it a clause was introduced into the consti- 
tution providing that this particular article should 
never be amended. 

This change silenced the opponents for a time, and 
the amendment was adopted by a majority of the 
church against tlie judgment of some of its most 
influential members. Though I was a minor and 
therefore not a voter, I was an attentive listener 
during all these animated discussions. I did not 
fully understand the difference between the two sys- 
tems, and had imbibed no strong preference for one 
or the other. I could not symphathize with or com- 
prehend the zeal of the ministers in recommending 
the merging of Congregationalism in Presbyterianism, 
and did not clearly see our need of the good care 
which they promised us, or discover what they could 
do for us. Neither did I understand why they could 
not co-operate with us as we were, as well as if we 
were comprehended in the Presbytery. On the other 


hand I did not quite see why those among ns who 
were opposed to the union were so intense in their 
opiDosition. Time showed me, long afterwards, that 
the question had bearings I did not then appreciate, 
and which were imperfectly understood by those to 
whom I listened. The plan of union in one respect 
wrought injury to Presbyterianism. The compre- 
hension of large numbers of Congregational churches, 
with their separate church government, within the 
pale of Presbyterianism, was the principal cause of 
the great disruption that came a few years later; 
an event which all must feel to have been a very sad 
chapter in the religious history of our times. The 
shock of that disruption caused a large portion of the 
churches formerly Congregational to return to the 
simpler church system of their fathers. The plan of 
union was also unfortunate for Congregationalism. 
It did not, as its friends had hoped, prevent the 
division of the Western Reserve between the two de- 
nominations. But by it, the Presbyterian party 
was greatly strengthened and the Congregational 
party greatly weakened. 

During the winter of 1820-21 we were given to 
understand that in the judgment of our teacher we 
might be j)repared to enter college the following 
autumn. He was a much better Latin than Greek 
scholar, and in this resjiect his pupils were like their 
teacher. We had read more Latin than is now re- 
quired for admission to any of our colleges. Pursu- 
ing our studies to a considerable extent without a 
teacher, we generally read our Latin authors several 
times over. We often wrote out the translation of an 
oration of Cicero or a book of Virgil entire. I be- 


came so familiar with the ^iieid, the Georgics and 
the Bucolics of Virgil, that in later years I some- 
times amused my friends by promising that on hear- 
ing two consecutive lines from either of them read in 
Latin, I would without fail immediately tell from 
which book they were taken, and give the train of 
thought or narrative accompanying them. This 
familiarity with the Latin authors has been a great 
advantage to me. 

In Greek I was much less fortunate. We had no 
access to Greek authors. I had only the "Grseca 
Minora," a rather meager selection from various 
authors, and the Greek Testament. Through my 
preparatory and collegiate courses I had access to no 
Greek dictionary except the Schrevellii Lexicon. It 
was never intended to be a thesaurus of the lan- 
guage, but only of Homer and the Greek Testament, 
and the meaning of Greek words was given only in 
Latin. These very limited appliances for study had 
the advantage of throwing me upon my own resources. 
When unable to grasp the meaning of a Greek word I 
taxed my memory to recall other passages in which I 
had met it before, and from the collocation of the 
word 4 in those passages I determined the exact sense 
in which the word was used. I was thus forced to go 
back of the dictionary and emi3loy the methods by 
which dictionaries are made. But from defective 
preparation I labored under difficulties in Greek 
through my whole college course and my subsequent 

Where shall we go to college, how shall we raise 
money enough to get there, and how shall we live 
when there? These three questions had now come to 


the front. As to the first of them, our friend Wright 
had decided to go to Yale, and my brother and I were 
also bent on accompanying him. But the question of 
ways and means would have troubled more experi- 
enced financiers than ourselves; indeed it would have 
troubled them more than it did us. They would have 
insisted on a definite solution, but we were inclined 
to act on the maxim, " Never cross a bridge till you 
come to it." If we could find a way to reach Yale 
College, we determined to trust for the means of 
living there to the resources that might develop them- 
selves on the spot. It may appear strange that our 
parents should consent that two sons, one of whom 
had not reached the age of seventeen while the other 
was scarcely nineteen, should trj^ their fortunes at 
Yale with absolutely no resources to depend upon. 
It was a venture which nothing could excuse but 
their firm trust in Providence. It must also be re- 
membered that we had a grandmother and an uncle 
and aunt living only forty miles from New Haven to 
whom we could go in case of necessity. 

We at once addressed ourselves to the problem of 
raising the money for our journey. We naturally 
took our friend Wright into our counsels. So far as 
ready money was concerned, he was in almost the 
same predicament as ourselves, for although his father 
had considerable property it could not be sold for 
cash. Without him I know not how we could have 
solved the problem. Our beehives were our only 
resource. Beeswax was one of the very few things 
that met with ready sale, and a little of our delicious 
honey could sometimes be sold for cash. At first it 
seemed impossible to make our little capital suffice 


for the long journey. Yet a way was found. Wright 
obtained from his brother^n-law, Rev. Wm. Hanford, 
to whom we had been indebted for so many acts of 
kindness, a horse, which though too old to be of much 
use in his missionary journeys, was quite adequate to 
the trip we proposed to take. We were able to pro- 
cure, by selling j)roperty which we felt able to spare, 
a onediorse vehicle which, though worn and unsightly, 
was thought to be safe for^the purpose. Another young 
man who, though not a student, wished to join us in 
an inexpensive trip to New England, was permitted to 
do so on condition of his sharing equally in the out- 
lays. In the wagon were stored such provisions as 
could be carried, ready cooked for use by the way, 
and our necessary wearing apparel. Besides the 
boxes which contained these supplies there was room 
for a seat for two persons. Thus equipped, we consid- 
ered ourselves ready for the journey. 

I regret that I have lost the exact date of that 
eventful start, the outset of my new life, but it was 
doubtless in the month of June, 1822. - 

I well remember the events of that morning and 
the call we received from Mr. Owen Brown of Hud- 
son, father of the famous John Brown of the Harper's 
Ferry raid. He was a tanner by trade and one of the 
worst stammerers I ever knew, but known in all that 
region as a conspicuously religious man. I remember 
well my distress when once sent to his house upon an 
errand, and obliged by certain circumstances to 
remain there for the night, at the thought that I must 
listen to the reading of the Bible and the offering of 
prayer by one who stammered so badly. I need not 
have been concerned. He read the Scriptures almost 


without hesitation, and when we rose according to the 
custom and he began to pray, his voice became per- 
fectly clear and distinct and his utterance free and 
flowing. I have seldom joined in a prayer of equal 
freedom, aiDjDropriateness and fervor. His son, after- 
wards so celebrated, was present, being at that time 
in business with his father. 

But I return to the day of our departure from home. 
It was a day long anticipated with ardent hope and 
yet painful apprehension. In the six years that we 
had lived in that cabin the aspect around it had 
greatly changed. Much of the forest had disappeared. 
Not only upon our farm but on the neighboring 
acres, it had given place to cultivated fields. The 
cabin, however, remained the same, except that 
another room had been added. As we saw our enter- 
prise that morning there was much in it that was 
distressing. It seemed hard and cruel to leave as we 
did our parents and the two young children. For 
ourselves the journey seemed adventurous, perilous, 
and even chimerical, 

I do not wonder that after breakfast that morning 
when we gathered once more for family prayers and 
my father read for our parting Scrii^ture lesson the 
twenty=seventh Psalm, which begins: " The Lord is 
my light and my salvation ; whom shall I fear ? The 
Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be 
afraid? " — I say, I do not wonder that when he came 
to the tenth verse, "When my father and mother 
forsake me, then the Lord will take me up," his voice 
became utterly choked and he could proceed no 
further. We were weejping in silence together when 
Mr. Owen Brown providentially came in. He com- 


prehended the situation at once, took the Bible from 
my father's hand, read the Psahn, and offered a prayer 
full of fervor and pathos. The prayer ended, we said 
our farewells, and drove from that humble but dear 
abode to which as my home I was to return no more. 
The i^lan to leave it was not my own. Only by a long 
and painful discipline were my feelings brought to 
accept it. That was a sad morning to us all, yet far 
away in the future we discerned a region bright with 
hojDe. Only twice after our departure for college, and 
then for only brief visits, did I return to that spot 
endeared to my heart by such a multitude of tender 



That eventful journey need not occupy in this nar- 
rative a space in proportion to the labor and the 
anxiety it cost us. The peculiar character of 
that outfit might well have caused some speculation 
in the minds of those whom we met by the way. 
Few would probably have guessed from our appear- 
ance that we were a company of youth on our way 
to drink at those fountains of knowledge ojjened by 
our ancestors in the land of our birth, five 
hundred miles away. Our mode of traveling was 
not new, and it already had the name "ride and tie." 
Our wagon could only furnish seats for two, and our 
horse must not be overtaxed. Two of us drove three 
or four miles, tied the horse by the road side, and 
walked on. The others walked till they came to the 
horse and in their turn rode three or four miles, pass- 
ing the first two on the way. Thus the days passed. 
There was not much danger that the horse and vehi- 
cle would be stolen; for tramps were rare in those 
days, and besides, our turnout was not very tempt- 
ing to thieves. The first Sabbath was spent in Erie, 
Penn. We passed through the site of Buffalo with- 
out suspecting that the mouth of that little creek 
marked the future location of a beautiful city. The 
second Sabbath we rested at Geneva, N. Y., where 
my mother's brother, Cyrus Tanner, resided. 



Though our coming was a surprise, he and his 
family received their "backwoods" cousins very 
kindly. We attended with them the First Presby- 
terian Church, a beautiful structure, and greatly en- 
joyed the preaching of their pastor, Rev. Dr. Axtell. 
We spent the third Sabbath at Canaan, N. Y., only 
a short distance from Canaan, Conn., from which 
place friend Wright's father had emigrated to Ohio, 
and where also Silas Beckley, the husband of my 
mother's sister Lydia, resided. As we stopped on 
Monday at my aunt's door our vehicle and its pas- 
sengers excited no small wonder; and though our 
coming was not entirely unexpected we were not at 
first recognized by our relatives. On giving our 
names we were joyfully welcomed, and there we re- 
mained several weeks before continuing our journey 
toward New Haven. My uncle and aunt, gravely 
questioning the wisdom of our plans and doubting 
whether two boys just from the back woods could really 
be fitted for college, proposed to place us for the two 
months and a half intervening before the opening of 
the fall term under the instruction of their pastor, a 
graduate of Yale, that he might assist us in supply- 
ing deficiencies. We distrusted ourselves, and glad- 
ly accepted the proposition. Our studies were re- 
sumed immediately and continued till within two or 
three weeks of the opening of the term. 

Our vehicle then conveyed us to Warren, which 
was about twenty miles on the direct road to New 
Haven. The emotions that filled my heart on return- 
ing to the scenes of my youth can never be forgotten 
or described. I lived my childhood over again 
that day. That Friday afternoon (the next Sabbath 


being the communion) was the time for the "Pre- 
paratory Lecture." As we drove along the principal 
street of the town we recognized nearly all the faces 
of those returning from the lecture. Even those who 
had changed much, like ourselves, we knew by their 
family resemblances. We were recognized by no 
one. We were like j^neas entering into Carthage 
under the cloud in which Venus had involved him. 

" Infert se septus nebula, mirabile dictu. 
Per medios, miscetque viris: neque cernitur uUi." 

We drove directly to what had been from my ear- 
liest recollection the home of my grandmother, where 
my loved uncle, Joseph A. Tanner, then lived. 

We were admitted as strangers, and though every 
face was as familiar to us as those we had left at the 
cabin home, no one recognized us till we made our- 
selves known. Then we were received as lost sons 
returned. To have left a childhood home at eleven 
years of age, and to return to it after distant wander- 
ings at seventeen, is an impressive experience. The 
vivid recognition of familiar faces and objects fills 
one with a strange delight. Every hill and valley, 
every stone by the roadside, is charged with some 
sweet memory of " long, long ago," and of the loved 
ones who hallowed those years. 

The past seemed to have taken possession of the 
present, and we were boys again. To this almost 
perfect restoration of the j)ast, there was one very 
striking exception. While the minutest objects were 
recognized and everything seemed set in its true re- 
lations, the scale of the whole scene was greatly re- 
duced. Nothing was so long or so broad or so high 
as imagination had conceived. What was seen was 


but a miniature of wliat was remembered. The hill 
had been dwarfed. The plain at its top had been 
shortened. The bowlder had been diminished in size. 
All our ideas of distance and magnitude are relative. 
To an infant, the journey across the room seems long. 
When he can walk all over the house his first impres- 
sions are corrected. When we have only ranged the 
streets of our native town, and have climbed its hills 
and explored its valleys with the short steps of early 
boyhood, our conceptions of its extent are in har- 
mony with the mental vision of childhood. But with 
larger observation the horizon expands, and hills, 
mountains and plains are judged by a new standard. 
A similar change takes place in our estimate of time. 
How slowly the moments come and go in our child- 
hood. The middle age days are as hours. To old 
age years are as months, and the world grows small 
as we prejDare to leave it. The distance from the 
earth to the planet Neiitune may, in some future 
time, appear to us no greater than that from New 
York to London does now. 

The short interval before the opening of the 
term was spent in visiting dear friends, and in mak- 
ing pre^jaration for our new life. My warmdiearted 
uncle Josejih, gladly furthered our plans and under- 
took to convey us to New Haven in his own vehicle. 
When at last we were on our way the three boys were 
under no ordinary excitement, and my staid and 
sober uncle was almost equally moved. Such a load 
he had never before carried to New Haven, The 
day was fair and the hills and valleys of Connecticut 
were radiant with soft October sunlight. Well do I 
remember our first view of salt water, and the feeling 


it awakened, as suddenly on reaching the top of a 
ridge we caught sight of Long Island Sound 
stretching far away in the distance. Just as the 
evening shadows were beginning to fall we drove 
down Elm Street, turned into College Street, and 
passed in front of the row of buildings somewhat 
resembling barracks, which then furnished a home 
for Yale College. Excitement rose to fever heat. 
That was our Mecca: our pilgrimage was ended We 
turned down Chapel Street and took our lodging for 
the night at a very unpretending " Inn" on the left 
hand side of Chapel, just below the corner of 
Church Street. My uncle saw the good, fatherly 
President Day that evening and told him what sort 
of a load he had brought to market. The president 
gave him kindly encouragement, and directed us to 
Ijresent ourselves for examination at nine o'clock the 
next morning. 

The examination proved that we really did know 
something of the Latin and Greek languages, but 
the test did not seem to us very severe. It lasted 
perhaps an hour, and then we were informed of our 
admission to the Freshman class. We were happy 
lads. Having learned the dining hours, and by what 
door to enter the dining hall, we were admitted to 
such provisions as Yale supplied both for soul and 
body. As all the college rooms had been engaged, 
we found a small room not far away which we could 
occupy till a vacancy should occur. My uncle depos- 
ited our few effects in our room, and now, as he had 
seen us fully entered as college students, he left us 
with a light heart. If, as I believe, the petitions of the 
devout avail with God, I owe much to that crood uncle's 


prayers. If it should seem to any of my readers that 
my enthusiasm to obtain an education at Yale Col- 
lege was excessive, my reply is that the institution 
proved all that I had fervently anticipated. There 
is nothing in my life to which I look back 
with more entire approbation than the journey thus 
ended at New Haven. Yale, or some other college 
very much like it, was an indisi^ensable condition of 
my entering any career in which I could have used 
for the good of my fellow=men the talents, great or 
small, which God gave me. 

As I have intimated, my first college experience 
was eating dinner. I was about to say it was in the 
old College Commons. That would have been a mis- 
take, for in the language of the time it was at the 
New College Commons. The old one was a one 
story building which had become too small for the 
purpose and was now used as a laboratory by Profes- 
sor Benj. Silliman. The New Commons was a rather 
comely edifice, the upper story of which long con- 
tained the "cabinet of minerals." It consisted of 
two large dining halls, with a stairway between them, 
leading down to a large basement kitchen. The 
Seniors and the Sophomores occupied the south 
room, and the Freshmen and Juniors the north room. 
Three times a day these two halls were densely 
packed with about three hundred students. At the 
ringing of the old college bell at one o'clock I joined 
the crowd that was pressing toward the door leading 
to the Freshman tables. For a day or two each one was 
allowed to find his own seat. On a platform against 
the wall, and raised high enough to overlook us all, 
was a small table at which two or three persons look- 


ing not much older but a great deal more dignified 
than the rest of us, took their seats. They were tutors- 
Soon one of them struck two or three smart blows on 
the table with the handle of his knife, and at the signal 
all rose in their places while a tutor invoked the di- 
vine blessing in a few words. We then took our 
seats again, when a wonderful clatter of knives and 
forks began. What a contrast this was to dinner in 
the dear old cabin at home. There was a sudden 
pause in the clatter, followed by a loud outburst of 
laughter. A tall figure of very singular appearance 
had just entered the door. He was as youthful as 
the rest of us but his hair was as white as the driven 
snow. His complexion was also wonderfully white, 
until astonished at the sensation he had caused, he 
blushed deeply as he hastened to a vacant chair. 
His dress indicated that he was from the country, 
though the costume was not half so rustic as my 
own. That man bore the now long-honored name of 
John P. Cowles. He had his revenge upon us for 
that rudeness, for on the day of our graduation he 
delivered the valedictory. 

That group of students was a strange medley. The 
families of merchant princes of New York, Boston 
and Philadelphia; of aristocratic cotton planters; of 
harddianded New England farmers; of Ohio back- 
woodsmen, and even the humblest sons of daily toil 
were there, sitting at the same tables. However dis- 
tasteful this might be to many, there was no help for 
it. Those who wished to be educated at Yale, the 
Alma Mater of so many distinguished men, where 
the name of John C. Calhoun of South Carolina was 
still held in honor as a favorite pupil of Dr. Dwight, 


were compelled to accept tliis indiscriminate inter- 
mingling of the rich and the poor. Yale College in 
1822 was the most democratic portion of American 

A question will here naturally suggest itself. How 
was I, with my confessedly meager resources, to be 
admitted at once into such a boardingdiouse? Our 
venerable mother Yale, had some peculiar ways in 
dealing with her numerous family of boys. She took 
into consideration the iDeculiar conditions and 
needs of each student, and did not treat all exactly 
alike. She kindly permitted me to enjoy the good 
things of her dining rooms and her halls of instruc- 
tion with the full understanding that I would pay my 
way as fast as I could. None of her bills were due 
till the end of the term. I was then expected to pay 
what I could and give my note for the rest. From 
those students who had abundant resources a bond* 
with responsible endorsement was required, covering 
the full amount of the indebtedness each would be 
likely to incur in the whole four year's course, while 
from those who, like myself, had no money and in a 
business way no credit, no security was required but 
a personal note with evidence of a disposition to pay 
as fast as possible. In further evidence of Yale's 
liberality I will mention that I several times found 
credit in my term bills which rejDresented no pay- 
ments by myself into the treasury. This very un- 
usual and liberal system seems to have worked well 
in my case. It enabled me to continue in college, 
which would otherwise have been impossible. And 
in the end I paid all charges made against me on 
the college books, both principal and interest. The 


generous treatment received from the Yale author- 
ities I shall hold in lifelong grateful remembrance. 

I will not pass without honorable mention the aid 
received from the American Education Society. I 
made early ax^plication for its assistance, and quar- 
terly appropriations were kindly forwarded during 
the first three years of my life in college. My college 
course would scarcely have been possible without it. 
During the most of my Senior year, and throughout 
my seminary studies, I voluntarily dispensed with 
Society aid, though not without a severe struggle. I 
felt so keenly the difficulties inseparable from a proper 
administering of charitable funds, and the complica- 
tions which often arise in distinguishing the worthy 
from the unworthy, that I chose to be independent. 
But who will ever know what that declaration of inde- 
pendent cost in personal sacrifices? Perhaps the 
''perfect system" for aiding young men and young- 
women in preparing for the life struggle has not even 
yet been discovered. It is sometimes said that " We 
weaken Christian character by bestowing too much 
aid." No such mistake was made in my case. The 
aid generously given me was not too abundant. All 
that I received from that source was not sufficient to 
pay my board. It is certainly very difficult to so bestow 
aid upon struggling humanity as not to pauperize it. 
We are trying to solve this problem on an immense 
scale in our public school system. May that attemjpt 
not prove a sad and disastrous failure! With the un- 
bounded kindness and generous assistance received, 
my whole college and theological seminary life was 
one long struggle with the "res angustae domus." Yet 
I am by no means sure that that struggle was not 


eminently salutary, or that it could have been made 
less severe except to my disadvantage. I have great 
faith in that divine Providence which adapted the con- 
ditions of my training to the work I was to do. Surely 
the conditions of my childhood and youth were well 
fitted to train me for a life of patient endurance. I 
might have been quite willing to have dispensed with 
much of that discipline, but my heavenly Father an- 
derstood the case better than I did. 



A picture of that assemblage at prayers on the first 
evening of my college life might perhaps interest more 
recent graduates. We were gathered in the old, old 
Chapel, not the one which was abandoned when Bat- 
tell was consecrated, but the still older one that must 
have come down from Revolutionary times and was 
abandoned in 1824. It occupied the lower stories of 
the building since known as the Athenseum. 

The pulpit, situated on the west side of the room, 
was very high and was hexagonal in shape, as was 
also the sounding=board over it. The room was en- 
tered from the front by a single door. The seats were 
in parallel rows fronting a central aisle, which ex- 
tended from the door to the pulpit. The ground floor 
was occupied by the Seniors, the Sophomores and the 
Juniors, the Freshmen being accomodated in the gal- 
leries that projected from three sides of the room. 
Yale had at that time about 850 students. When all 
were assembled the little chapel seemed densely 
packed from floor to ceiling. While the last bell was 
ringing the president entered, when all arose and the 
Senior class, occupying the seats fronting the aisle, 
bowed resiDCctfuUy, and the bow was very gracefully 
returned. I cherish in pleasant memory these mani- 
festations of respect to persons rendered venerable by 
age or honored by official station, and regard their 



gradual disappearance from American life with pro- 
found regret. At evening prayers, a tutor briefly 
invoked a blessing, read a short portion of Scripture, 
announced a hymn to be sung by the excellent choir, 
and then offered prayer. This simijle service being 
ended the president descended from the pulpit, the 
students remaining quietly in their places till he 
passed down the aisle, he receiving and returning the 
obeisance of the Senior class as on entering, Then 
the crowd closed behind him, and the students re- 
paired to the dining'hall for supper. The study hours 
were from seven till nine, during which period every 
student was expected to be in his room deeply engaged 
in work, an expectation, however, not always realized. 
Morning prayers differed from the evening service 
only in the absence of singing. In this service, the 
tutor of the day read the Scri^Dtures, and the presi- 
dent offered the prayer. Morning prayers and the 
recitation which immediately followed preceded 
breakfast. It is wonderful that this monastic cus- 
tom survived so long in our American colleges. I 
was always punctual in attendance u^Don these early 
exercises, but it was impossible for me to derive any 
benefit from them. It was simply a matter of endur- 

The course of instruction in Yale from 1822 to 
1826 would now be regarded as very faulty and inade- 
quate; yet it did exert a great and salutary influence 
over the student. It accomplished admirably certain 
ends in the development of mind, and those ends can- 
not be ignored in our present improved methods with- 
out irreparable injury. Its power lay in its fixed and 
rigidly prescribed curriculum, and in its thorough 


drill. For the first three years of the course the work 
of instruction was chiefly done by the tutors. These 
were generally recent graduates who had attained 
high distinction in their several classes, and had not 
yet entered on the professional careers to which most 
of them were destined. Each class was separated by 
lot into two or three equal divisions, each under the 
care of a tutor. My own class was the first one 
thought large enough to require three divisions. 
Each tutor generally met his division three times 
daily. Of course if the tutor were thoroughly capa- 
ble it was no misfortune to pursue all the several 
branches under one instructor; but if he were incom- 
petent or inefficient his pupils suffered correspond- 

The tutors were, however, generally excellent drilh 
masters. They could hardly be said to teach at all, 
their duties being to subject every pupil three times 
a day to so searching a scrutiny before the whole 
division as to make it apjDarent to himself and all his 
fellows either that he did or did not understand his 
le.csons. In the course of the recitation the tutor 
would furnish needed explanations and put those 
who were trying to improve in a way to do better 
next time. It was considered no part of his duty to 
assist his jjupils in prej)aring for recitation. In that 
task the pupil was expected to be entirely self=reliant. 

Soon after entering college I made an experiment 
which showed my ignorance of this system, and 
taught me a salutary but not very agreeable lesson. 

One of the studies of the first term was arithmetic, 
the text book being exceedingly difficult and ab- 
struse. In our examination for admission arithmetic 


was not mentioned, and I knew very little of it, 
having taken it np only at odd intervals by myself, 
as curiosity prompted. One day I found my lesson 
utterly ineompreliensible, and in great trouble I went 
to the tutor for help. He bowed me out of his room, 
telling me that it was not customary in Yale to help 
a student in his lessons until after the recitation. 
You may be sure that I never again tried that exper- 
iment. My friend Wright was already an arithme- 
tician, and as soon as he knew my perplexity he very 
kindly gave me his assistance. But when he ac- 
cepted an ofifer to teach a New London school for 
three months, that prop fell out from under me. 
While accompanying him to the stage=ofRce, I told 
him very seriously that I should probably not be in 
college when he returned on account of my miserable 
scholarship. His ridicule did not insi^ire me. Still 
I thought it advisable to make one desj)erate effort to 
walk alone. I did so, and finished arithmetic with 

Let me say here that I do not regret the limited 
time given to arithmetic in my early childhood. I 
understood arithmetic far better when I had finished 
that treatise at Yale than I should have done had it 
been jDart of my daily bread for seven years of my 
boyhood, in accordance with our j^resent public 
school system. In these days i)upils are often 
wearied with arithmetic before the process of mental 
development has rendered it possible for them to \\i\- 
derstand it, and similar abuses exist as to many other 
branches. We exhaust the youthful energies by im- 
pertinent interference with nature's processes, and 
waste the resources of the taxpayers by legislative 


appropriations to meet the requirements of a "sys- 
tem" directly at variance with the laws that govern 
mind. A child's mental development can no more 
be hurried than that of growing corn. If the sugars 
corn in my garden is not ripe enough for the table, 
I discover the fact after I have torn open the husks 
in a few cases and examined the kernels, and I leave 
it to grow. We are less wise with our children, and 
excuse our folly by claiming that we cannot wait till 
they have reached twelve or fifteen years of age 
before teaching them the science of numbers. Time 
is just as indispensable in developing the ideas of 
number and quantity as in bringing to perfection the 
kernels of corn. The idea of unity is a profound ab- 
straction and cannot be imparted until the mind 
reaches a certain stage of development. 

The stern discipline of Yale College was of great 
importance to us all. It made us feel the necessity 
of bringing our full strength to our daily tasks. It 
increased the zeal and earnestness of the diligent, 
and made the strong stronger. It comj)elled the slow 
and inert to j)ut forth all their energies. If they 
failed to do so, or lacked the capacity necessary to 
master such a curriculum, it soon taught them what 
it was important for them to learn as quickly as pos- 
sible, that college was no place for them. There can 
be no greater mistake than to suppose that everyone 
who is to fill an imxDortant place in the world should 
be sent to one. There are millions who are capable 
of living eminently honorable and useful lives to 
whom a collegiate education is neither desirable nor 
beneficial. Colleges should afPord the best possible 
preparation for those adapted to a professional or 


literary career. It is desirable that the preparatory 
school or the college should weed out those pupils who 
are not adajDted to pursuits demanding the j)ower of 
sustained and independent logical thinking. For their 
own good they should be led by another road to other 
callings, equally honorable and not less important to 
the welfare of society. Our children should be 
trained for the pursuits to which they are adapted. 

I cannot forbear giving an incident which illus- 
trates, from my own experience, the effect of college 
discipline. When we had finished arithmetic and 
commenced algebra, I resolved never again to be 
caught napping. My other tasks were easy and 
consumed but little time. Determined to succeed in 
algebra, I kept considerably in advance of the class 
that I might have time to wrestle with special diffi- 
culties. This custom I maintained through my whole 
mathematical course. I was nearly a month in ad- 
vance of the recitations, when I came upon a very 
difficult problem to which I resolved to appropriate 
the next Saturday halfdioliday. Immediately after 
dinner that day I was seated at my table, problem in 
hand, and during the whole afternoon I toiled without 
making any perceptible progress. The sun went 
down. That was the signal for laying aside all secu- 
lar studies for at sunset Sabbath commenced. Algebra, 
slate and pencil, were laid aside, and the usual arrange- 
ments made for employing the evening religiously. 
But the problem had taken full possession of me. Do 
what I would, read what I might, thatproplem assert- 
ed itself. My conscience protested and rebelled in 
vain. That problem would not down. There it was 
in the foreground and in the foreground it would stay. 


At the usual time I extinguished my light, retired and 
slej)t, but only to dream of the problem. Saljbath 
morning came and I prepared to spend the Sabbath 
as usual, religiously, but there was nothing in my 
mind but that jDroblem. At the customary hour I 
repaired to the chapel to engage in public worship 
and hear one of the always able and often brilliant 
sermons of Prof. Eleazar T. Fitch. But for me, se- 
verely as my conscience was condemning it, nothing 
was interesting but algebra. In the course of the 
sermon the solution ^3 resented itself as clear as sun- 
light. I was at ease and lighthearted for the rest of 
the day, for I was sure that so clear a solution could 
not escaj)e my memory. As soon as the sun set, Sab- 
bath was over, and I committed my solution to writ- 
ing, though I was far enough from being satisfied 
with my Sabbath work. 

The severity of this drill was in some degree relaxed 
during the Junior year. The more severe parts of 
the course in mathematics were completed during the 
first two years, and a portion of the time of the third 
year was given to an excellent course of exp)eri mental 
lectures on mechanics and physics, and to the lec- 
tures and other*instructious of the j)rofessor of rhet- 
oric. During the Senior year the class was entirely 
under the instruction of the j)resident and the pro- 
fessors. It is in this part of the course that the 
greatest improvements have been made in these latter 
years. So far as the knowledge of chemical science 
then extended, the lectures on chemistry by Prof. 
Benj. Silliman, Sr., could hardly have been better. I 
have said that the tutors could scarcely be said to 
teach. Prof. Silliman was pre-eminently a teacher. 


Step by step he led us to irresistible conclusions, 
demonstrating the truths of his utterances by emi- 
nently successful experiments. He quickened thought 
and stimulated investigation. 

Certainly the Yale of that day was far from being 
all it might have been. The tutors were good drilh 
masters, but they often lacked culture and the true 
literary spirit. They did not bring their students as 
they might have done into sympathy with classic 
authors as models of literary excellence. The jDrofes- 
sor of the Latin and the Greek languages, Prof. James 
L. Kingsley, seldom lectured, but often instructed his 
classes in certain favorite authors. He once taught 
our class, and at the end of the lesson as he closed 
his book, he said, " Young gentlemen, you read Latin 
horribly and translate it worse." In another instance 
he astonished us while closing a series of readings of 
Tacitus Agricola, by saying, " Young gentlemen, you 
have been reading one of the noblest productions of 
the human mind without knowiiig it." We might 
justly have retorted to these severe and perhaps de- 
served rebukes, "Whose fault is it?" In mental, 
moral and social science our instruction was far from 
satisfactory. Nor am I sure that we have very greatly 
improved upon it since then. It seems to me that 
we yet lack any treatises on these subjects which at 
all meet the demands of the present time for philo- 
sophic inquiry. I confess that I resign my own hum- 
ble connection with instruction with a painful con- 
sciousness of a great unsupplied want. No justice has 
yet been done to the intuitional nature of the rational 
soul. In a word, in sxoite of drawbacks, I am forced 
to say that from 1822 to 1 826 Yale was probably do- 


ing better work than any other college in our country. 
It had an excellent system of drill, which it ought 
never to relinquish or relax unless it resigns that j^art 
of a liberal education to some other equally able and 
thorough institution. But the Yale of 1S26 would by 
no means meet the present demand for liberal culture 
and acquisition. 

The moral and religious influences to which I was 
subjected in college were in some respects strongly 
analogous to the intellectual, as I have just described 
them. The pupil, often young and inexperienced 
and surrounded by conditions of life so strange that 
he hardly dared think for himself or to speak above a 
whisi^er, was thrown at once upon his own moral re- 
sources with scarcely any help from without, He 
would thus acquire great moral strength or be over- 
borne by the current of evil. One of the greatest 
faults of Yale at that time was the absence of any so- 
cial relations between the instructors of all grades and 
the students. Professors and tutors held themselves 
aloof from the students and met them only in an 
official capacity. For the most part a student could 
hope for sympathy and help in his moral and religious 
struggles only from his fellow students. Something 
like half of the undergraduates were j^rofessing Chris- 
tians, and a very large proportion of these were firm 
and consistent in that profession. Among those who 
had little conviction or feeling, I am happy to say 
that a considerable number were always pure in their 
morals and free from sympathy with vice. It must, 
however, be owned that a considerable number were 
dissipated and licentious, and that those whose moral 
convictions were feeble were in circumstances of great 


temptation. There was a perpetual conflict between 
forces in alliance with virtue and those in sympathy 
with vice, and in res^Dect to certain individuals it long 
seemed doubtful whether good or evil would prevail- 

Preaching has always been a power for good in 
Yale. At this time Eleazar T. Fitch was Professor of 
Divinity and College Preacher. For the most part 
he had no personal intercourse with the students, but 
as a preacher he had great influence. The statutes 
of the college required that he should in the course 
of each successive four years deliver to the students 
in the chapel a full course of lectures on theology. 
These occupied onehalf of each Sabl^ath. It must 
be admitted that such lectures had not much tendency 
to edify a body of young men like those who made 
up his audiences, but the discourse for the other half 
of the day was practical, and these ever served to 
strengthen the religious convictions and moral j^ur- 
poses of the students. 

Preaching was not confined to these Sabbath 
services. Practical discourses of great value were 
occasionally delivered on other evenings of the week. 
Though attendance upon these was voluntary, the 
chapel was usually well filled. There were three men 
whose discourses on these occasions left on my mind 
a strong and delightful impression. They were Prof. 
Nathaniel W. Taylor, D. D., of tlie department of 
Didactic Theology, Prof. Chancey A. Goodrich, 
of the department of Rhetoric, and Rev. Thos. 
H. Skinner, D. D., who, though he did not reside 
at New Haven was a frequent visitor there. When 
I call to mind what preaching did in my time 
for the students at Yale I cannot help thinking that 


any educator whose views of religion furnish nothing 
that can be used in the way of preaching to strengthen 
students in the paths of righteousness and guard 
them from the seductions of vice, ought to suspect 
that there is more in religion than he has yet seen. 
A religious system which cannot be used for the 
salvation of young men amid the temptations of 
college life, is shallow and false. It is a religion from 
which the Lord has been taken away. A few months 
before Dr. Skinner's death I had the pleasure of 
meeting him at the house of Dr. Thayer at Newport, 
R. I. and of telling him how precious the memory of 
those sermons had ever been to me. 

During the whole of my life in college the Friday 
evening i3rayer=meeting was kept up and was gener- 
ally well attended. It was indisj)ensable to the 
maintenance of our religious life. In it we recorded 
each week our adhesion to Christ, and revived our 
consciousness of religious obligation and of the sacred 
fraternity which bound us together. Here, as in all 
the previous conditions of my religious life, I knew 
nothing of sect. The college church with which most 
of us were connected was to us only the Church of 
Christ in Yale College. It represented to us only the 
great brotherhood of Christ. There was no general 
religious awakening in college during my student 
life, though many individuals were converted and 
publicly professed their faith in Christ. Few of those 
among my classmates who were borne down by the 
current of vice lived to reach middle life. Of those 
who passed that goal, there were very few who did 
not before that time become decidedly and openly 
Christians. Our class gatherings in these latter 


years, though well attended, have been as devout as 
prayer=meetings. We sing together with almost equal 
fervor patriotic songs and evangelic hymns. 

During my college life there was a period in which 
the government and internal discipline of the institu- 
tion were in a state of singular disorder; I might even 
say of anarchy. Hazing and all its attendant mean- 
nesses were astonishingly prevalent. The evil seemed 
to threaten the very foundation of the institution. 
One Saturday evening in November we heard above 
the noise of a very violent northeast storm a sharp, 
shrill whistle, the ordinary signal for mischief, and 
the next instant a crash accomjpanied by the abundant 
ring of broken glass. My roofn was in South Middle 
College, south entry, front side, corner room. We 
hastened down stairs and found all three windows in 
the middle suite of rooms below completely demol- 
ished, both glass and sash entirely gone. One of the 
occupants of the rooms, thus violently thrown open 
to the storm, was Horace Bushnell, since well known 
to fame. His birthplace was on the hills of Litdifield 
County, only a few miles from our own, and he ac- 
ceiDted our freely-offered but rather scant hospitality 
for the Sabbath . The rascals escaped in the darkness 
and storm, and were, as far as I know, never detected. 

The fall term of the college year, 1823-24 was 
marked by great disturbances and many deeds of 
violence, as well as by the notorious fact that a con- 
siderable number of the students were dissipated and 
licentious. The acts of violence were no doubt the 
work of a very few, while a much larger number had 
more or less sympathy with them. As I think of it 
at this distance, it seems almost incredible that the 


body of the students should have been so deeply 
imbued with the spirit of hostility to the college 
government. This was largely owing to the fact I 
have stated of there being no bonds of j)ersonal 
affection between the instructors and the students. 
In this state of things it was easy for the dissolute 
and the wicked to maintain a public opinion which 
regarded it as in the highest degree dishonorable to 
give information against any fellow student, no 
matter what crime he might commit or what evil 
consequences might result from his vices. The per- 
petrators of all this mischief governed the college 
with a terrorism seldom surpassed. I knew nothing 
that I could have communicated to the authorities if 
I had desired to do so. The rogues were not likely 
to admit me into their counsels. But I felt that the 
wicked bore rule, and my soul had a longing for tran- 
quillity and social order which no words could express. 
My brother preferred to sjDend the vacation of two 
weeks which occurred about Christmas at college. I 
gladly availed myself of an opi)ortunity, and spent a 
delightful fortnight in the tranquil homes of my loving 
kindred at Warren. The days passed all too soon, and 
I must return to the turmoils of student life. Reach- 
ing my room in the early evening twilight I found 
there my brother and my friend Wright. I dropped 
into a chair and almost without saying a word gave 
vent to my feelings in an outflow of tears, more 
suitable to my childhood than to that manhood for 
which I had need to gird myself. A few moments 
passed in that unmanly way relieved me, and I 
returned to my usual cheerfulness and devotion to 


Our room was separated from the chapel only by a 
narrow, open space. One night we were startled 
from our slumbers by a frightful explosion. At six 
o'clock on a chill, cloudy, winter morning, the bell 
summoned us to prayers in the chapel. But what a 
wreck did we behold ! The exj^losion had been produced 
by a large package of gunpowder wrapped in a strong 
paper and tightly wound with twine. A small bel- 
lows=nose had been inserted for the touch-hole, and 
this connected with a fuse, which on being fired 
would leave time for the escape of the villains from 
the building. The powder was placed between the 
communion table and the pul^Dit. Every pane of 
glass in the chapel was shattered. The white pulpit 
was blackened with smoke to its very top, and the 
communion table was reduced to kindling wood. 
The chill winter air rushed through the room without 
obstruction. The last bell was ringing, and the Pres- 
ident entered. His demeanor on that occasion was 
most characteristic. From the moment he entered 
the chapel till he left it no one could have discovered 
by any word he spoke, or any gesture or move- 
ment of a muscle of his face, or even any tremor of 
his voice that he was conscious of what had hap- 
pened. Services were performed in every respect 
just as usual. It was perfect self=government. To 
my youthful taste, however, it was self government 
misapx^lied. I would rather have witnessed a little 
thunder and lightning on the occasion. I thought 
it was called for. 

Immediately after prayers four persons met at our 
room: the two occupants of the room, our friend 
Wright, and Wyllys Warner, afterwards treasurer of 


the college. We were of one mind. This could be 
endured no longer There was a term of reproach 
and ignominy which was freely applied to anyone 
suspected of reporting to the authorities. It was the 
custom to call him a " Blue Skin," and no one who 
was not in Yale College at the time, can have any con- 
ception of the peculiar sting which the term carried. 
We decided to disarm that scorpion. We solemnly 
pledged ourselves to each other to communicate to 
the authorities every violation of the order of the col- 
lege of which we could get any information. We 
called our league " The Blue Skin Club." With 
such a name and such an aim, we determined to in- 
crease the membership as fast as possible. We com- 
municated our plan first to those of whose approba- 
tion and co-operation we were sure. Thus we widened 
the circle cautiously but rapidly, till in a short time 
we had about a hundred pledged to co=operation, 
without having communicated our plan to anyone not 
in sympathy with us. 

Then the secret came out, and the whole institu- 
tion became a boiling caldron. But the work did 
not stop, for in a few days a large majority of the 
students were members of the Blue Skin Club. The 
minority resolved on vengeance. One evening three 
ruffianly fellows visited our room with the pur- 
pose of chastising us. Their plan was known to our 
friends who assembled in neighboring rooms in suffi- 
cient numbers to protect us from harm, and as soon 
as the altercation began we outnumbered the mis- 
creants three to one. A heavy cane raised by one of 
the enemy was quickly seized from behind by a 
friendly hand, and the ruffians were ordered peremp- 


torily to leave the room. Hesitating, they were fol- 
lowed to the stairs by many feet, and warned that un- 
less they hastened their steps their descent was likely 
to be inconveniently accelerated. The outrage was 
immediately reported to the authorities, and the of- 
fenders were summoned before them and summarily 
dismissed from the college. A meeting was called to 
express the sympathy of the class for our fellow stu- 
dents under censure from the " tyrannical govern- 
ment " of the college. A stormy scene followed, but 
the verdict was overwhelmingly on the side of right. 
In that meeting no tongue was more potent than that 
of Elizur Wright. His remarkable i")ower of sarcasm 
and ridicule was effectively employed in behalf of 

In a very few days the excitement died out, 
and tranquillity reigned. The moral and Christian 
principle of the students saved the college. Yet it 
was several weeks before the apprehension of further 
outrages sufficiently subsided to make it safe in our 
judgment to suspend the oi:)eration of our organiza- 
tion, or omit the nightly watch which we had 
maintained during the struggle. One result of those 
experiences was that a band of men who have since 
stood shoulder to shoulder in many a moral conflict, 
learned to trust each other. Most of them have now 
passed from earthly battlefields to the triumphant 
host on the other side of the " dark river." 

One other circumstance ought not to be omitted. 
On the SabT)ath following the great outrage at the 
college chapel, Prof. Fitch i^reached his celebrated 
sermon from the text: " Have no fellowship with the 
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove 


them." Napoleon's address to his troops at the bat- 
tle of the iDyramids was not more thrilling and ef- 
fective than that sermon. Its impressiveness can 
hardly be understood without some further explana- 
tion of the x^eculiar atmosphere which surrounded us. 
The lack of personal intercourse between instructors 
and students in those times now seems almost incred- 
ible. When we met a professor or a tutor in the 
open air we were required to raise our hats, but any 
attempt to address him would have been accounted 
an extreme rudeness and would have been sternly re- 
pulsed. There was one tutor who would sometimes 
take a student as a companion in his walks, but it 
was well understood that his exceptional course was 
distasteful to his fellow tutors and not apx^roved by 
the professors. On the other hand, a student seen in 
any such unusual intimacy, would l^ecome an object 
of suspicion to his fellows. Of course the college 
government could have no student allies. 

In the time of which I am writing, Yale was the 
favorite college of the southern planters. From the 
days of John C. Calhoun, almost to the war of the re- 
bellion, the number of southern students was large, 
though it greatly diminished in the latter part of that 
period. I would not speak harshly of these gentle- 
men as a class. Among them were men of gentle- 
manly accomplishments and pure morals, but it must 
be admitted that the atmosphere of a southern planta- 
tion was not favorable to the training of youth in 
habits of self government. Southern students often 
showed, that the close relations with the sons of small 
farmers and mechanics in which they found them- 
selves, were very distasteful to them. Another liter- 


ary society had recently been added to the two al- 
ready existing: the " Linonian," and " Brothers in 
Unity"; which two, dating back to Revolutionary 
times, had formerly divided the students nearly 
equally between them. This third society " left New 
England out in the cold," being composed mostly of 
Southerners, and admitting none from north of New 
York City. It naturally exerted some influence to 
separate southern and northern students and to 
create a feud among them. To us, it seemed that the 
southern faction disliked especially, that part of the 
northern students who made no secret of the fact 
that their resources were limited, they being in some 
cases paid for waiting on their fellows at the 
table, and for ringing the college bell to summon 
them to early prayers. It was hard for them to rec- 
ognize these northern men as equals, and to see 
them frequently bear otf the highest college honors 
was almost too much for human endurance. Of 
course these haters of honest toil were a unit against 
the college government, and almost indiscriminately 
they condemned the poorer students as its servile 

In the series of events just recorded, the facts 
seemed to justify their prejudices. The insurrection 
against that terrorism by which they and their north- 
ern allies were threatening the very foundations of 
the college, had originated with the " Mudsills " of 
northern society. This circumstance greatly inten- 
sified the contest, and drove the defeated party to 
desiDeration. Were not the events here described 
premonitions of the Great Rebellion ? Even in 
1824 no student in Yale College could make an utter- 


ance against the wrongs of slavery in a college essay 
or oration without incurring the risk of insult and 
even of violence. 

The cities of New England were at this early time 
.much corrupted and domineered over by the arrogant 
spirit of slaveholders. Schools and colleges, manu- 
facturers and merchants, were bidding for southern 
patronage. Hotels and boarding houses sought sum- 
mer boarders from the sunny South. Parents of 
beautiful and well educated daughters were glad to 
see them married- to planters. All these things in- 
creased southern pride, and made Yale College a dif- 
ficult place for one like myself. How necessary to 
our country, and to civilization as well, was the ex- 
termination of African slavery in America. It was 
not an easy thing for the liunil)le and obscure trio who 
had left Tallmadge in circumstances so unpromising 
about a year and a half before, to occupy such a j)o- 
sition as we did in that conflict. We did not thrust 
ourselves into it. We were placed there by our 
principles and the providence of God. He placed us 
in it and sustained us in it, and to Him be the praise. 

The rivalry for college honors, which was very in- 
tense in those days, had great influence on my col- 
lege life and on the formation of my character. I 
have often doubted whether it was on the whole for 
good, but my conviction now is that it was decidedly 
beneficial. It was, however, like almost everything 
else which I encountered in college, a severe proba- 
tion to me. It called my powers into more perfect 
exercise, and strengthened my moral principles by 
temptation overcome. I think, by the grace of God, 
that I did keep my excited ambition in subjection to 


my j)rinciples. The desire for college distinction 
took stronger hold upon me because, previous to en- 
tering college, my inferiority in all contests with 
those of my own age had greatly discouraged and de- 
pressed me. Here, in the pursuit of those highly 
dignified and honorable ends which had called us to- 
gether, I could maintain a fair equality with the fore- 
most comx^etitors. I had entered a new world in 
which I need not be a weakling, and it is not to be 
wondered at that a fresh element of hopefulness came 
into my life, and that I devoted myself to my studies 
with an ardor which was in some degree exceptional. 
I felt that success would promote my future useful- 
ness. Heretofore, I had been outdone by everyone 
and I resolved that hereafter I would not, if I could 
help it, be outdone by anyone. The first assignment 
of college honors w^as then made at the close of the 
first term of the Junior year. It only designated fif- 
teen of the class, five from each division, as forming 
the highest grade of honor, and I was satisfied and 
greatly encouraged to find my name among the fif- 
teen, out of our class of more than one hundred. In 
accordance with the universal custom of the time, my 
brother and myself celebrated the event by placing 
brandy and wine before the numerous friends who 
called to ofPer their congratulations. Not to have done 
so would have been universally regarded as at least un- 
social; so greatly have times changed. We naturally 
thought our conduct innocent, for in those days the 
college servant regularly carried to the retiring=room, 
adjacent to the examinationdiall, a store of choice 
liquors, for the use of the instructors and the minis- 
ters wdio conducted the examinations. 


I was not destined to pass through college in un- 
interrupted peace. In February and March, 1826, 
my classmate and dear friend, Reuben Hitchcock, 
also from the Western Reserve, became very ill with 
pneumonia. My brother was absent, having taken a 
school at Goshen, Connecticut, and a considerable 
share of the responsibility for the care of the invalid 
fell upon me. An eiDidemic pneumonia was prevail- 
ing in the city and in college. One evening I took my 
X)lace by his bedside with gloomy forebodings. One 
student had already died of the disease, and I feared 
that my friend would be the next victim. I was 
quite inexperienced in nursing, and felt almost totally 
unfit for the charge I was to assume for the next 
twenty^four hours. It was a terrible night. My 
classmate was delirious, and constantly sought to es- 
cape from the bed. The morning brought little re- 
lief to him or to me, but I remained at my post till 
evening, when I returned to my solitary room in a 
violent chill. This was followed by a high fever, 
and that by a drenching perspiration. In the morn- 
ing I was found very ill with pneumonia, and was re- 
moved to the home of three maiden sisters, Miller by 
name, and attended by Dr. Eli Ives, the father of the 
family of physicians of that name. Better nursing 
and medical care were impossible. Several days 
passed, of which I have no recollection except that of 
distressing dreams. My life-long friend, Theron 
Baldwin, in spite of roads blocked with snow, brought 
my brother to my bedside. But they were obliged 
to travel on horseback, and did not arrive until the 
crisis had passed. 

Upon the seventh day of the disease Dr. Ives, on 


leaving for the night, told my friend Wright, who re- 
mained by me with all the fidelity of a brother, not 
to send for him if I was worse before morning, as he 
could be of no use. During the night a crisis came, 
with a favorable turn. Such, however, had been the 
violence of the attack that for several days there was 
but faint hope of my recovery. Convalescence once 
established, my restoration was more rapid than could 
have been reasonably exx^ected. That illness enlisted 
a degree of sympathy from both instructors and 
classmates that deeply affected me. Among my 
classmates the bitter hostility which had contin- 
ued in some minds as a result of the conflicts of 1824 
was laid to rest; and some, who had been particularly 
unfriendly, expressed the warmest sympathy and an 
earnest desire for my recovery. By a spontaneous 
movement my classmates presented me a consider- 
able sum of money to lighten the pecuniary burdens 
of my illness. Prof. Denison Olmstead, who had 
recently succeeded to the chair of mathematics and 
natural i:)liilosoi)hy, made vacant by the death of 
Prof. Dutton, exhibited a deep interest in me, and a 
life-long friendship was established between us. I 
ought also to mention that my friend Hitchcock 
speedily recovered. 

Before I was able to return to my studies the spring 
term ended. The beginning of my illness virtually 
closed my student life in college. When the final as- 
signment of college honors was made, I was permit- 
ted to retain my position among the first fifteen. 
Whether I should have obtained one of the three 
highest honors had my sickness not interfered, of 
course I cannot tell; but I was assured that I stood 


verj^ close to those who did obtain them, and I was sat- 
isfied and thankful. 

My illness conspired with several other circum- 
stances to bring ujDon my brother and myself that 
s^jring a financial embarrassment such as we had 
never before experienced, and to create the necessity 
for immediate efforts for relief. Our credit was not 
impaired, but during nearly four years we had been 
to some extent mortgaging the future to supply the 
needs of the present. We must begin to meet these 
obligations. After the May vacation of four weeks, 
the summer term continued only about six weeks be- 
fore the final examination, and the remaining six 
weeks of the term were given, very unwisely, as I think, 
to the Seniors as a time in which to prepare for 
commencement. We had both hoped to secure 
schools before the first of May, and to be absent from 
college six weeks of the term, returning only for the 
examination, as was frequently done. In this we 
were disajDpointed, but Providence provided for us 
better than our hopes. 



My illness had prevented me from seeking a situa- 
tion at the most favorable time. Even when May 
came, I was too weak to accept an ofiPer, had one 
presented itself. When the term opened we were 
both without situations. We had given up our 
room in college, and had taken temporary lodgings 
outside. On the first day of the term we sat in our 
room depressed and very anxious. Little did I real- 
ize how sunny a place Providence was preparing for 
me, or how essential that place was to my future hap- 
piness and usefulness. Well was it for me that I was 
unemployed. As we sat looking each other in the 
face, too much discouraged to form plans, and quite 
destitute of material out of which to form them, a 
fellow^ student entered the room with an open letter 
in his hand. It was from the principal of the acad- 
emy at New Canaan, Conn., stating that he found his 
health quite inadequate to the work of the school, 
which he had taken on the first of May. He com- 
mitted to our friend, under the authority of his em- 
ployers, the responsibility of securing a successor, and 
mentioned five persons to whom the place might be 
offered, my name being the last of the five. Three 
had already declined; the fourth was not in town, and 
therefore the offer came to me. The place was an ex- 
cellent one, both as to respectability and compensa- 



tion. My immediate predecessors in it were Milton 
Badger, long the honored secretary of the A. H. M. S., 
and Theophilus Smith, afterwards pastor at New 

It may be guessed that I did not hesitate. At two 
o'clock that afternoon, with a light heart I took the 
stage=coach for my destination. From New Haven 
to Norwalk is thirty^one miles, in those days a jour- 
ney of five hours. The stage fare was $2.50. That 
same journey is now made in less than an hour at a 
cost of seventy-five cents. I spent the night at an 
exceedingly comfortable hotel, and in the morning 
walked to New Canaan, five miles back from Norwalk. 
The heartsease and youthful joyousness of that morn- 
ing walk in June in the cool, tranquil air, under smil- 
ing skies, over swelling hills, through green valleys 
and fragrant forest resounding with the songs of birds, 
beside crystal brooks murmuring in their pebbly 
channels, are delightful even in the dim pictures of a 
far^ofP memory. It was not so much hope for the 
future as enjoyment of the present that brought hap- 
piness. It was the response of a young and sensitive 
spirit to the sweet influence of nature and nature's 
God; a most fitting introduction to what was before 

I found my school a serious affair. It was unusual- 
ly and unexpectedly large that summer. The pupils 
were of various ages, from seven years up to maturity. 
That was before the days of graded schools. Most of 
the pupils were boarding scholars from the neighbor- 
ing city of New York. I was the only teacher. It 
was yet two months before I should be twenty-one, 
and I was without experience as a teacher. Though 


five feet ten inches in height. I was very slender and 
pale, partly from my recent illness, and as beardless 
as a maiden. I did not appear to be more than eight- 
een years old. My employers must have wondered 
tliat my name was even the last on the list of candi- 
dates recommended for a position so important. 
However they made no objections. The incumbent 
kindly consented to remain two or three days, and 
then I assumed entire charge. I was soon convinced 
that it was impossible for a single teacher to instruct 
and goverii such a school, and said so frankly to my 
employers. To my great joy they at once authorized 
me to procure an assistant. I sent immediately for 
my brother, and in a few days had the pleasure of 
welcoming him to New Canaan. He was two years 
older than I, and in a^Dpearance much more than that, 
and though two inches shorter, he was stronger and 
more robust. He had had some exj^erience in teach- 
ing, and was easy and self=possessed, while I was 
timid and bashful. 

It was therefore very natural that he should soon 
seem the j)rincipal rather than the assistant. This 
gave me increased confidence, since my ambition was 
only by our joint efforts to control the school and pro- 
mote the best interests of all. We were soon assured 
of success. The school became so large that the pro- 
prietors were fully convinced that the employment of 
an assistant was a necessity, and that I had procured 
an excellent one. 

Memory delights to linger among those halcyon 
days. My labors, though arduous, did not exhaust 
me. Our debts seemed no longer formidable. My 
brother drew me into society, and I was better pre- 


pared to enjoy it than ever before. I rejoiced in the 
present like a singing bird, and was full of trust and 
hope for the future. 

When the time arrived for the Senior examinations, 
we were permitted to suspend the school for two or 
three days. Taking a chaise, we drove through the 
beautiful villages that lie along the Sound; passed 
our examinations; heard our Latinized names read as 
recommended for the degree of A. B.; and partici- 
pated in the festivities of Class day, which then 
occurred six weeks before the Commencement. 
These festivities consisted of an elegant dinner in 
the Commons Hall, with the Corporation and faculty 
of instruction and government, and an oration and 
looem delivered by members selected by the class. 
Leaving New Haven about sunset, we drove back 
over the same lovely road in the bewitching light of 
a full moon, and reached our lodgings in the small 
hours of the morning. How buoyant we were in 
spirit they only can know who remember the joyous- 
ness of youth. Such was the summer that followed 
that dark and frowning spring. 

New Canaan was then a country town, almost 
without a village. Yet it carried on a considerable 
l)usiness in the manufacture of shoes. It was as 
purely a Congregational community as any in which 
I had lived, the Episcopal church which had existed 
there being for the time in a state of suspended 
animation. Most of the people attended the Congre- 
gational church, which on Sabbath morning was 
filled almost to overflowing. The membership did 
not, however, correspond at all with the size of the 
congregation. The church had very few communis 


cants under forty years of age, and yet the number of 
young people in the congregation was unusually 
large. This spectacle greatly moved my heart. I 
deeply felt that those multitudes of youth and young 
married peox^le ought to be brought to Christ. 

My brother and I soon found other praying per- 
sons who sympathized with us in that feeling. We 
privately instituted a series of weekly meetings at 
private houses, to pray for "the consolation of Israel," 
and to be continued until the blessing should appear. 
At that time the only week=day service held by 
public appointment in the town was the conference 
that met at private houses in the different neighbor- 
hoods. We were also present there as often as pos- 
sible, but seldom found more than eight or ten of 
the older members of the church in attendance. In- 
stead of being a prayer meeting, the time was de- 
voted to the discussion of the most abstruse doctrines 
of Calvinism. This bill of fare was neither satisfy- 
ing nor spiritually nutritious. The Rev. William 
Bonney was the j)astor; a devout, good man, but at 
that time quite destitute of fresh thought, and with 
scarce any power to awaken the thoughts and move 
the hearts of the peox)le. Those who attended church 
did so chiefly from a sense of duty or as a matter of 
form. I keenly felt that such an order of things, if 
continued, must bring that church into desolation, 
and leave the people without God in the world. 
What could we do but pray for our Father's help 
in such a time of need. Experience abundantly 
demonstrates that the power of the Gospel over a 
community cannot be maintained without a living 
ministry; a ministry, capable of interpreting the 


gospel in the language of the present, and applying 
it to the wants, the dangers and the delusions of the 
jjassing generation. A minister that repeats the 
words of a doctrine, in the unvitalized forms of the 
past is as powerless as the senseless parrot. Our 
little praying circle was regularly attended, and in it 
we often experienced a season of great religious fer- 
vor; but for a long time there was no cloud visible 
even from the top of Carmel. 

Our Yale Commencement was held on the second 
Wednesday of Sej)tember, and we of course sus- 
pended school for a few days to attend it. The most 
important event to me during those days was a ser- 
mon by the Rev. Samuel H. Cox, on " The Educa- 
tion of Young Men for the Christian Ministry." He 
was the most brilliant among the rising pulpit 
orators of the time. I had never before heard such 
an overwhelming torrent of eloquence. His words 
had nothing in common with the superficial sensa- 
tionalism that so often curses the modern pulpit. 
Profound sincerity was his most characteristic qual- 
ity. He affected my mind, by the truthfulness and 
grandeur of his conceptions, the fitness of his diction, 
and the magnificence of his imagery. He had a most 
jorofound grasp of his subject, and the keenest per- 
cejition of all the analogies by which it could be 
illustrated. My admiration of his genius was great; 
but the most powerful effect of the sermon upon my 
mind was the confirmation of my faith in the Gospel 
as a means of renovating human character and win- 
ning back human society to its proper allegiance to 
God. It made me exult that I was a Christian, and 
increased my ardor to fill some position, however 


lowly, in the Christian ministry. It did not excite 
my ambition. The standard of puli)it oratory which 
it set before me was so high that it no more sug- 
gested the thought of my becoming a great pulpit 
orator, than the reading of Milton's finest passages 
inspired me with an ambition to become his equal as 
a x^oet. Like Niagara or an Alpine landscape, it 
affected me with a simple wonder, and filled my soul 
with admiration and delight. Samuel H. Cox was 
not always eloquent, but he spoke at times with 
almost supernatural inspiration. He afterward be- 
came Dr. Cox, and it will be remembered that at first 
he rejected the title almost scornfully, calling the two 
D's "semidunar fardels," but after reflection he 
apologized for his reply as savoring more of pride 
than of Christian humility, and accepted the honor. 
Whether his first or second thought was the wiser 
I am not sure. 

A Yale Commencement in 1826 differed very 
greatly from a similar occasion in the present. It 
was to the students and the outside public much 
more exciting and imj)ressive. Then, as now, it was 
held in the Center church. There were both morn- 
ing and afternoon sessions, with the Commencement 
dinner between. At each session the house was 
crowded to its utmost capacity, and many half=fledged 
orators were heard, or rather they spoke, for few of 
them could be heard. My own subject was trite, and 
my little effort had no other merit than that of a di- 
rectness and force that came from earnest thinking. 
In the few moments allotted for conversation before 
dinner I was greatly astonished to receive a few words 
of kindness and commendation from the admired 


preacher of the evening before. This was the begin- 
ning of a long=continued and agreeable acquaintance 
with Dr. Cox. 

Commencement is passed, and the pilgrims to Yale 
in 1822 are alumni of Yale in 1826. How changed 
was I ! Yale had fulfilled all the promises she made 
even to my imagination. The trio of the pilgrimage 
is now to be dissolved. My friend Wright, who had 
engaged in teaching at Groton, Mass., and there en- 
tered with all his enthusiasm into the Unitarian con- 
troversy as a co=worker with the Rev. John Todd, 
afterwards the honored pastor at Pittsfield, Mass.; 
and my brother, who left our school in October in 
order to permit the proprietors to employ a cheaper 
assistant when the school was usually smaller, both 
left my side. Until then I had lived in the society 
of two comi)anions older and stronger than myself. 
Now I was left alone, to meet the storms of life, if 
storms came, single handed. My brother and I 
had been almost inseparable from infancy, and had 
possessed almost a common personality. We were 
generally thought of and mentioned together. My 
responsibility in the school would henceforth be 
greater, and my work more difficult, but the studies 
were familiar, and I had so gained experience and 
confidence that I was no longer anxious about the 
discii^line. It was a great blessing that such a season 
of tranquil happiness was granted me before the 
struggles which were to come. 

Early in the autumn the Sabbath evening prayer 
and conference^meetings were resumed for the sea- 
son. They were generally held at private houses in 
different parts of town. I always attended these meet- 


ings, and took more or less part in conducting them. 
Before long an unusual interest in religious things 
was manifested, which soon became quite general, 
and many were seeking the Lord. One or two addi- 
tional meetings were appointed each week, and 
all were crowded. This state of things continued 
throughout the winter and even until late in the 
spring, when a large part of the young iDCople had 
committed themselves to a Christian life. Within a 
year from the first manifestation of increased spirit- 
ual interest, more than one hundred were added to the 
church, and both the religious and moral aspects of 
the place were greatly changed. To have enjoyed 
and participated in that great movement of God's 
Spirit I count one of the great felicities of my young 
life. Those delightful religious experiences recalled 
the great revival in Tallmadge, and bound me for 
life to New Canaan with ties of religious affection no 
less precious and enduring than those by which I 
was already bound to Tallmadge and my dear, native 
Warren. Each of these places has been home to me 
all my life. 

I revisited all three of them in 1883, and in each re- 
ceived a welcome which made my heart glad. The 
dear fathers and mothers were indeed gone; but their 
children and grandchildren received me in the name 
and in the spirit of those who had jDassed beyond the 
river. If you wish to form enduring friendships, you 
must bind them by religious and spiritual ties. 

Certain marked characteristics distinguished this 
revival and the one in Tallmadge, Ohio, previously 
mentioned, from all others which I have y^itnessed. 
These differences are, I think, chiefly traceable to a 


single cause; the absence of church rivalry. In com- 
munities situated as those were, Christian people can 
afford to sow good seed and wait patiently for the 
harvest. Through the gift of the Spirit the ingather- 
ing will surely come, and will continue so long that 
no part of the precious harvest need be lost. It M-ill 
not be necessary to multiply meetings beyond the 
obvious needs of the hour, or to push the instrumen- 
talities of religious excitement to the point of either 
physical or mental exhaustion. Under the baneful 
influence of church rivalries revivals lose much of 
their natural and spontaneous character, and such 
scenes as I have described become impossible. A 
religious movement in which the several churches of 
a large village are each seeking to rival the others, is 
vividly pictured in Bayard Taylor's " Hannah Thurs- 
ton." Unfortunately the author of that story fails 
entirely to recognize the honorable motive lying at 
the bottom of such meetings, and sees only the rival- 
ry which mars and imi^airs their spiritual power. 
Nevertheless, any Christian man may read that pas- 
sage with f)rofit. " Fas est etiam ah hoste doceri.'''' 
We treat the ingathering of souls, much as we do the 
harvest of wild blackberries, when we hastily pluck 
them before they are ripe, lest in the multitude of 
pickers we lose them altogether. I have often wit- 
nessed the spectacle of several village churches, all 
holding daily meetings for weeks in succession, with 
audiences so small that their combined numbers 
would not have filled the largest church building in 
the town, until each attendant wore an expression of 
weariness and discouragement painful to Ijehold. 
The effort exhausted the Christian force of the place 


instead of augmenting it. What we regard as our 
denominational necessities are largely to blame for 
such a siDectacle. We try to take the whole matter 
of revivals into our own hands, and expect to create 
them to our order. It is but a few days since I saw 
the announcement in a daily paper that on such a 
day a certain church would " commence a series of 
revival meetings." In the same spirit as that which 
I have narrated in another chapter, an eminent pre- 
siding elder said of one of his brethren, "He has 
kicked up quite a revival ! " By such means revivals 
lose their sacred character as the work of the Divine 

The religious work of that winter, together with 
severe labors in school, impaired my health. Even 
school duties alone became too heavy a burden. In 
the later fall months I often reached home at night 
with a feeling of utter prostration. I sought to rem- 
edy the evil by exercise. This might have afforded 
some relief if I had used it in moderation. I often 
walked three or four miles before breakfast, return- 
ing quite exhausted. I had so much faith in exer- 
cise as a restorative from the effects of confinement 
and mental strain, that I persisted in it in spite of ex- 
cessive fatigue and daily declining strength. Had I 
not at last become convinced that this method of 
treatment was ill adapted to my case it is probable 
that I should have entirely broken my constitution. 
I ceased my long walks, and treated myself more ten- 
derly, and was thus enabled to perform my school 
work without interruption until I was quite restored, 
as I thought, by the spring vacation. But under the 
severe labors of the summer term I again became so 


enfeebled that I was compelled to employ a substi- 
tute for two or three weeks, which I sj^ent in a quiet 
farmdiouse at Rockaway, L. I. In that delii^htful 
spot, sea air, sea food and surf loathing quickly re- 
stored my appetite and brought back my former 
vigor. Since that experience I have never favored 
college exercises, religious meetings or athletic sports 
before breakfast. I am sure that severe labor, eitlier 
mental or physical, before taking food in the morn- 
ing has always been injurious to me. 

Such a mixed school as was mine at New Canaan, 
though it enjoyed a very high rejaulation as a place 
in which to prepare for college, ought never to exist. 
Some of my pupils were ec[ual in ability to any I 
have ever taught. Their standing on entering col- 
lege and their subsequent career proved this beyond 
a question. But it was impossi])le to do them all 
justice. For example, in teaching Cicero, I was able 
to hear them read only a few of the most difficult 
passages in the long lessons which they had prepared. 
I had no time to inspire them with enthusiasm or to 
cultivate in them an appreciation of Cicero as an 
orator and a man of genius. Most of the day was 
spent in dealing with classes of every variety of age, 
capacity and industry, in arithmetic, algebra, geogra- 
phy and English grammar, to which must also be 
added history, rhetoric and logic. 

I do not think that the faults of that school could 
be altogether remedied by our modern system of grad- 
ing. The tnjuble was to a considerable extent due to 
errors in which we have even exceeded our fathers. 
"VYe have gone beyond them in urging a great variety 
of studies upon minds too immature to do them 


justice. In spite of the enormous expense of our 
systems of education, it is a question whether we have 
studied the wants of our children as zealously as we 
have tried to carry out our own theories. 

In New Canaan I first met and loved the woman 
who soon became my wife. This was by far the most 
imxDortant event of my life there. Before telling 
frankly, as I mean to do, the story of our acquaint- 
ance, I wish, at the risk of evoking a smile, to acknowl- 
edge my obligation to a certain old-fashioned book. 
That volume is Hannah More's "Coelebs in Search of 
a Wife." I read it before I was seventeen years old 
and was greatly charmed not only by its simple and 
sprightly style, and its pictures of character and 
society and of tranquil English country life, but 
especially by the exalted conception of womanhood 
which i)revades and adorns it. It inspired me with 
reverence for the true woman and for marriage. The 
cultivated classes in English society, in honoring 
Hannah More as they did, greatly honored them- 
selves. I cannot help thinking that a comparison of 
Hannah More with George Eliot is more creditable to 
the last century than to the present. 

It must be confessed that what is called love at first 
sight is not always an exj)ression of our higher na- 
tures. Yet I confidently believe that the impression 
made on me at our very first acquaintance by Eliza- 
beth Maria Fayerweather was largely the result of 
Hannah More's influence. The merry girl of twenty 
unconsciously revealed in many ways a womanly 
character which M'as fitted to impress one whose mind 
and heart were already filled with a high idea of 
womanhood. From the first I keenly enjoyed her 


society; but instead of seeking]; to excite in her a cor- 
responding feeling, I put myself under great restraint 
lest I should disclose to her my feelings. I did not 
yet sufficiently know her character, especially her 
moral and religious principles. It was my solemn 
and deliberate purpose not to unite my life with 
that of any woman who was not in perfect sympathy 
with me on religious subjects, however agreeable to 
me she might be in other respects. In fact I was 
sure that no one whose sentiments were not in har- 
mony with my own could long be a very agreeable 
companion. I was resolved that unless I was fully 
satisfied upon those points I would, at whatever cost, 
part from her hand=free, the tender feelings she had 
inspired being known only to myself. 

I saw her occupying a conspicuous place in the so- 
ciety, which from the necessity of my j)osition I much 
frequented, and surrounded by young men who seemed 
to me more likely than myself to win her regard. My 
life plans demanded that I should be married. It 
was only when, after nearly a year, I had become fully 
assured of her Christian character and her interest in 
the cause to which I had given my life, that I made 
known to her the secret of my heart. Then I found 
that my reserve had created the impression that I did 
not think much of her, and she was as much surprised 
at my declaration as if I had revealed my feelings at 
our first interview. 

I regard my acquaintance with that noble woman 
as among the most kindly provisions of God's provi- 
dence in my behalf. It seemed as if heaven had or- 
dained that we should meet. She was a little less 
than a year younger than myself, but much riper in 


character, and had received an excellent education 
under my able predecessors in the school at New 
Canaan. Her mother was a sister of Rev. James 
Richards, D. D., then at the head of Auburn Theolog- 
ical Seminary. At the home of another uncle, Mr. 
Abraham Richards of New York, (one of the firm of 
A. & S. Richards, well known in the commercial world 
and doing business at New York, Liverpool and Sa- 
vannah) she had silent considerable time, and had thus 
added to the simple habits of her country home some- 
thing of the larger ideas and cultivated tastes and 
manners of the city. She was eminently qualified by 
sound and cool judgment and by her first=rate com- 
mon sense to be my wise adviser amid the perplexing 
questions with which I was soon to be surrounded, as 
well as to be the head and ornament of my home. 
Deeper and better than all, her heart was an inex- 
haustible fountain of affection. Most graphically 
did the wise man draw her portrait, "She openeth 
her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law 
of kindness." 

I was exceedingly anxious to return to New Hav- 
en, in October 1827, and devote myself entirely to 
the study of theology. But insufficient resources 
obliged me to continue the school for another term. 
The winter school, however, was always less crowded 
and heterogeneous than the summer term, and I was 
able to return to theological study on the first of the 
following April in e xcellent health. There I found 
the task before me a severe one, because I was obliged 
by lack of money to teach an hour or two daily in a 
school for young ladies. 



Nothing could well have been more agreeable to 
my tastes than my surroundings during my theologi- 
cal studies at New Haven. I was encircled by culti- 
vated minds whose tastes and aims were in harmony 
with my own. I had much to enjoy and as little of 
the disagreeable to endure as we have any right to ex- 
pect in this world. It must be confessed that the in- 
terest of the theological department of Yale was at that 
time chiefly concentrated in one man, Nathaniel W. 
Taylor, D. D., professor of Didactic Theology. He 
had a wonderful magnetic jiower over young men eager 
to understand religious truth. When I became his 
pupil he was in the midst of his celebrated course of 
lectures on moral government. I believe that Dr. 
Taylor was raised up to furnish what the theological 
world at that time greatly needed, a lucid and dis- 
criminating statement of those intuitions which lie at 
the foundation of all religion, morality, authority, 
government, society and civilization. I had thought 
enough to have become quite conscious of the diffi- 
culties which environ the subjects, and was prepared 
to receive Dr. Taylor's clear statements with enthusi- 
asm and to appreciate the light they shed upon prob- 
lems which before had seemed encompassed with 
obscurity. Those lectures had in them nothing of 
the spirit of negation. They held the mind fast to 
those fundamental truths on which all moral and re- 



ligious obligations must rest. No one who really com- 
preliended them could have become a skeptic. He 
convinced us that the ideas of duty and authority rest 
as securely on the certain and inevitable intuitions of 
the soul as the sciences of geometry and physics. He 
rescued our minds from the innumerable fallacies 
which originate in vague thinking and confused modes 
of exj)ression, and shari^ly distinguished between the 
fundamental principles of theology and those indefi- 
nite speculations with w^iich they are often com- 
mingled. Dr. Taylor gained the full confidence of 
his pupils by the positive assurance that we may know 
and impart truth, and by the faith which is inspired 
in the impregnable foundations of our Christian 
hope. It is not my jDurpose to appear as a critic 
of Dr. Taylor as a theologian. It is, however, 
appropriate for me to state as clearly as I am able, the 
influence which he exerted on my own theological 
thinking. That is a jDart of my history. I shall, how- 
ever, attempt to trace his influence only in respect to 
a few fundamental questions. 

On the "Freedom of the Will," he did little to re- 
lieve my difficulties. He always professed to be a 
disciple of Edwards; yet I was unable to reconcile 
many of his teachings with those of that great meta- 
physician. Under his instruction I failed to reach 
the conception that the mind itself is the cause of its 
own volitions, an idea which I now regard as funda- 
mental to the whole subject. 

Though it is true that there can be no choice with- 
out the iDresence of two objects, each of which is in 
the soul's view more or less desirable; that is, the soul 
cannot choose without a motive; yet it has the power 


to make either of the two opposite choices in all pos- 
sible states of the motives. 

The desire for one of the objects may be very 
strongly excited, and for the other very feebly, yet 
the soul has the power, under the pressure of moral 
obligation or a conviction of permanent advantage, of 
choosing that for which desire is most feeble and 
of rejecting that for which desire is strongest. If 
this be not so, then desire and not the will is the con- 
trolling power in the hearts of men, just as it cer- 
tainly is in the lower orders of animals, and man has no 
more moral nature than the brute. Though Dr. Taylor 
was far from teaching this last doctrine, yet he failed 
to prove clearly to my understanding the absolute as- 
cendency of the will over all forms and degrees of de- 
sire, and therefore failed to make plain the distinc- 
tion between a moral and an irrational nature. Give 
us this fundamental conception and the doctrine of 
the will is short and simple. To this conclusion I 
came long afterwards by carrying out those very 
lines of thought which Dr. Taylor had originated in 
my mind. 

Dr. Taylor was very severely criticized for teaching 
that all sin is voluntary. His position on that ques- 
tion brought complete relief from difficulties wdiicli 
had greatly perplexed me, and afforded similar deliv- 
erance to thousands of honest minds. If we in.sist 
that God condemns men for evil inclinations which 
lie back of all choice on their own part we shall fail 
to vindicate our theology before men of candid and 
discriminating minds. I can never be too grateful 
for the light Dr. Taylor afforded on this important 


Another theme on which his teachings were much 
criticized, and in respect to which there is still an 
honest difference of opinion, is the theory of moral 
obligation. On this question my mind was always 
much interested, and I heard him with earnest atten- 
tion. I think he has been wrongly judged because 
his phraseology was not altogether felicitous, for I 
fully accepted at the time the view which I under- 
stood him to teach, and which I have since held with 
entire confidence. 

He did not agree with Paley, in teaching that the 
notion of right is the result of mere association, edu- 
cation and custom, but held that it originated in an 
intuition. He did not, however, use that phrase. 

If Dr. Taylor had enjoyed the clearer light which 
has been shed by the definitions of later scholars up- 
on the phraseology which describes the intuitional 
function of the intellect, he would have been under- 
stood as holding to the intuitional origin of the idea 
of right as truly as Dr. Wayland or Bishop Butler. 
Dr. Taylor differed from these distinguished men not 
in debating whether right is an intuition, but upon 
the question what it is which the mind discerns by 

Those two writers held that right is an ultimate 
idea intuitionally discerned. Dr. Hopkins has shown 
the fallacy of this in his "Law of Love." The system 
which I supposed myself to have received from Dr. 
Taylor teaches that the soul intuitively discerns that 
the idea of the greatest good, on the whole is the 
universal and only antecedent of the idea of obliga- 

If, with Dr. Wayland, we hold that right becomes 


an ultimate intuition, we are placed in the same rela- 
tion to moral as to esthetic questions. " Do giisfibus 
non est dispiitandiim.'''' There is no room for argu- 
ment about the beautiful, not because there is no 
difference of opinion about it, but because beauty is 
an ultimate intuition. If riglitness is an ultimate 
quality of moral actions, which is intuitively dis- 
cerned without a known standard by which actions 
are to be tested, then the " non est disjJutanduni " 
applies also to morals. Dr. Wayland evidently feels 
this difficulty when in the same section he makes the 
will of God as manifested in natural and revealed 
religion to be ultimate and not the intuition of right. 
Doubtless the manifested will of the Creator is decis- 
ive so far as it relates to the character of an action; 
but that surely does not account for the origin in the 
human soul of the idea of right, which was the par- 
ticular point at issue in Dr. Wayland's paragraph. 
Dr. Taylor taught that the soul intuitively recognizes 
its obligation to do that which will promote the great- 
est good; Revelation teaches what actions will have 
that effect. 

Our professor was very sharply censured for the 
position in which he placed " self dove or the desire 
of haj)piness " in relation to moral choice. I think 
no philosophic term in the English language has 
caused so much confusion or widespread discussion 
as the word selfdove. Dr. Taylor always intended to 
use it as synonymous with the desire of happiness; 
but his use of it occasions much perplexity and mis- 
understanding. The word love is used in philosophi- 
cal treatises in two quite different senses. It is some- 
times a mere impulse implying no act of the will. At 


other times it is used to express a choice of one thing 
in preference to another; a deliberate purpose. In the 
term selfdove it should be understood to imj^ly a 
mere impulse, or rather the generic impulse. Each 
appetite or desire is self==love acting in some specific 
direction. It would obviate much confusion to dis- 
pense with this term altogether and employ in its 
stead the desire of good, or of happiness. 

When a writer speaks of the love of one's neigh- 
bors and almost in the same sentence of self dove, he 
will confuse his hearers and perhaps himself, if by 
love in one case he means a deliberate choice, and in 
the other a mere impulse to seek happiness. Yet 
writers and speakers err at this point. Self-love and 
the love of one's neighbor are not in contrast. The 
wicked man is not one that has too much selfdove. 
He is his own worst enemy. The virtuous man has 
not less self dove than he. The wrong=doer is persist- 
ently destroying his own haj)piness. The good man 
is ever securing his own highest welfai'e. Let us call 
that desire of good by which all human activity is 
impelled, the desire of hapj^iness. Let us place it at 
the root of all our active powers and recognize it as 
the one generic impulse comprehending in itself all 
specific impulses. We shall then see clearly that the 
virtuous man is he who subordinates this and all the 
impulses comprehended in it to the deliberate pur- 
pose to promote with all his powers the highest good 
of all, while he only is truly the wicked man who 
refuses to control his life by this law of love. We 
shall then tell the wicked man to his face that he is 
his own worst enemy, and the virtuous man not that 


he loves himself less than others do, but that he is 
securing his own highest welfare. 

We shall then be prepared to understand the first of 
that remarkable series of resolutions which President 
Edwards invariably read once each week: " Besolred: 
that I will do whatsoever I think most to God's glory 
and my own good, profit and x^leasure on the whole," 
etc. President Edwards saw clearly enough that the 
purpose to do whatsoever is " to God's glory " is per- 
fectly in harmony with the resolution to do wliatso- 
ever is " to my own good, i)rofit and pleasure, on the 
whole." The imrpose to secure those rich blessings 
for myself will lead me to follow precisely the same 
line of action as the i^urpose to do what is most for 
God's glory. 

The system of which this is a faint outline I re- 
ceived from Dr. Taylor. The phraseology is my own. 
According to this system the selfish man is the man 
who is determined to secure his own happiness with- 
out regard to the welfare of others; while the benevo- 
lent man is he who deliberately determines to seek 
his own highest good by promoting the greatest good 
of the whole. 

Dr. Taylor's teaching respecting the penalty for 
disobedience of law under a perfect moral government 
was very original, and it strongly arrested my atten- 
tion. He held that the function of penalty is to make 
upon the subjects the strongest i^ossible impression 
of the moral governor's abhorrence of sin, and that 
no penalty can be adequate to this purj^ose short of 
the greatest amount of suffering which the ruler can 
inflict and the guilty subject endure. This suffering 


must, of course, be endless. His argument was de- 
rived a priori from the nature of moral government, 
but was confirmed, as he claimed, by the Scriptures. 
At the time I could not reply, and therefore received 
his teachings as valid. Subsequent reflection, how- 
ever, began to shake my confidence in his position 
and finally deterred me from using it in the puljjit. 
I think there is a fallacy in the a priori argument. 
It is not intuitively evident that the extremest possi- 
ble severity in punishing violators of his law is the 
only method by which a moral governor can manifest 
his supreme regard for law and his abhorrence of its 
violation. He can make this manifestation quite as 
much by the effort he makes to win back and restore 
to allegiance any who may have revolted from his 
authority. The infliction of penalty is one, and only 
one, of the ways in which a moral governor may man- 
ifest his regard for his law. The employment of suita- 
ble agencies to reform the guilty is as truly essential 
to the maintenance of his authority as is the j)unish- 
ment of the incorrigibly rebellious. 

It is impossible to properly treat this subject with- 
out viewing it in connection with the subject of the 
atonement. It has long seemed to me a great defect 
in our theology that we seem to assume that a moral 
governor may rightly administer his government by 
mere rewards and punishments without a iDroper rem- 
edial system. There is nothing either in the Scrip- 
tures or outside of them to justify such an assump- 
tion. The authority of any moral governor over his 
subjects depends on the confidence which he inspires 
that his M'hole heart and character are in harmony 
with a righteous law. It is quite as necessary in 


order to such coiitideuce that he should devise and 
carry into execution appropriate measures for reform- 
ing- the faHen as that he should show his displeasure 
against the incorrigibly guilty. The idea of a gov- 
ernment administered over a race of fallen subjects, 
propagated through unnumbered generations aud yet 
not hopelessly beyond the reach of reform, without 
any reformatory system is to my mind utterly revolt- 
ing. A government so administered cannot insiDire 
the confidence of its subjects in the perfect rectitude 
of the governor. 

Our theology seems almost to have overlooked this 
principle, yet it seems to me intuitively evident. We 
all know that the higliest, the crowning excellence, of 
the Christian character is manifested in self^^^sacrific- 
ing effort to bring sinners to repentance. The man 
who lacks that one element of Christlikeness, can 
hardly be recognized as a disciple, however fault- 
less he may be in other respects. The sacrifice of 
His only Son on the cross to save sinners is admitted 
to be the very highest manifestation of God's right- 
eousness. How can He so impressively exhibit His 
abhorrence of sin in any other way? Does a parent 
best exhibit his preference of virtue to vice by the 
severity with which he punishes bis erring child, or 
by the earnestness and expensiveness of his efforts to 
reclaim the fallen? The untutored human heart an- 
swers without the least hesitation. 

Dr. Taylor taught the governmental view of the 
atonement. I do not know that his method of stat- 
ing it was j)articularly novel or attractive, but at the 
time I accepted his views without a doubt. It was 
not till endeavoring to emiDhasize his idea in preach- 


ing that I found an insurmountable difficulty. Ac- 
cording to that theory, God is supi^osed by the atone- 
ment to have made a manifestation of His abhorrence 
of that sin which is the transgression of His law as 
great as He would have made by the infliction of the 
full penalty on every transgressor. To this statement 
I soon began to feel a very perplexing objection. I 
was entirely unable to see how the death of Christ 
did make such a manifestation. Therefore Dr. Tay- 
lor's view of the atonement seemed to me shorn of all 
power to move the soul. In view of this objection I 
was obliged to fall back on wdiat is substantially Bishop 
Butler's view of the matter. The Holy Scriptures 
teach that the death of Christ on the cross was a 
necessity in order that God " might be just, and the 
justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." 

Surely the preservation of moral authority has two 
indisiDcnsable conditions: the infliction of an adequate 
penalty on the persistent and incorrigible ofPender, 
and such an administration of the government as will 
provide the most effectual possible means for the 
reformation and restoration of the fallen. If the gov- 
ernment either refused to pardon any, however peni- 
tent, or pardoned with easy indifference those who, 
self=moved, might repent, while it made no painstak- 
ing and self=sacrificing efforts to secure the reforma- 
tion of transgressors, its subjects would have little 
faith in its moral rectitude. Such a ruler would not 
seem to love righteousness supremely or to hate sin 
with a perfect hatred. This requisite of a perfect 
moral authority the mediatorial system supi^lies. The 
atonement expresses God's supreme desire to reclaim 
the perishing and restore the lost to holiness and the 


hapi)iness wliicli virtue insures. It is the effort of 
the Heavenly Father to bring His lost children home. 
In this way the Cross manifests most impressively 
God's supreme righteousness. 

Two tilings are to me inconceivable. One of them 
is that such a being as our God can ever be propitious 
to an impenitent sinner. The other is that such a 
being can under any conditions be uni)roi)itious to a 
truly i)enitent sinner. Between these two inconceiv- 
ables there is amijle room for the redemptive system, 
without which the Gospel is no gospel. The eternal 
punishment of the wicked appears to me just as cer- 
tain as the existence of incorrigible sin. And I do 
not see how a sober minded man can doubt the reality 
of either. There is a fatal stage of moral disease 
toward which every imiDcnitent sinner is constantly 
tending. So far from there being any reason why he 
should encourage himself with the hoi^e of a proba- 
tion in future life, he has the greatest reason to fear 
that he may terminate his own probation long before 
his soul leaves the body. 

I have given so much space to Dr. Taylor's theology 
because no other mind has exerted so great an influ- 
ence on my thinking as his. He did not teach us to 
follow his instructions blindly, or to accept anything 
upon his authority, l)ut cultivated in us the habit of 
self-reliance. He had arrested my attention, awak- 
ened my enthusiasm, and impressed his system indel- 
libly upon my mind. His teachings became the start- 
ing point, not the end of my religious thinking, and 
they greatly assisted me in constructing the theologic 
house in which I have since lived. This house has 
undergone many changes, having been limited here 


and extended there, but it is still the same house, and 
here I shall abide till the end, ever thankful to God 
for so long a lease. 

I can hardly sufficiently deplore the lack of impulse, 
given to Bible study at New Haven in my time. No 
study of theology in its technical form can be so use- 
ful to the student and the preacher, as familiarity with 
those concrete teachings which are the glory of the 
Scrij^tures. The knowledge of a theological system 
is by no means a substitute for the truth expressed in 
the living language of the imagination and the pas- 
sions. To gain command of this for the purpose of 
popular utterance, we must know the glowing imagery 
of the poets and prophets of old, the very words of 
Christ Himself and feel the holy enthusiasm of these 
who saw the Lord and heard Him speak. I am grate 
ful to the Theological Seminary for what it did for 
me; it might have done much more. 



It is neither possible nor desirable to confine the 
attention of a group of theological students exclu- 
sively to that course of jDreparatory study on which 
they are engaged. They should view the broad field 
and ascertain for what peculiar form of labor they are 
best fitted, being ready to go into whatsoever part of 
the world the Lord may call. The minds of my fel- 
low^students were always open to such inquiries, and 
in our social devotions these questions were [)romi- 
nent themes. It gives me great pleasure to saj^ that 
the spirit manifested in the seminary was admirable. 
If there was any disposition toward j)lfice=seeking for 
worldly advantage it was so overborne by a spirit of 
consecration to the Master's service that it was sel- 
dom expressed. A large number of the aljler men 
among us were really attracted toward distant mis- 
sionary fields rather than toward wealthy congrega- 
tions near us. 

Our own country at that time presented considera- 
tions to candidates for the Christian ministry in some 
resi)ects novel and striking. The people of the 
United States, then chiefly limited to the Atlantic 
slope, had just begun to realize that our population 
would ere long cover all the vast region of unequalled 
natural resources lying between the AUeghanies and 
the Rocky mountains, and fill it with prosperous states. 



To the Christian patriot, this promise of the near 
future was a stimulus to greater activity in the work 
of home evangelization than had been before attained 
or even conceived. It was a stimulus both to hope 
and to fear There was hope that if churches and 
schools kept pace with the tide of migration, and 
these vast solitudes were presently filled with an 
intelligent and Christian population, our country 
would become a blessing to the whole earth. There 
was reason for fear lest, without the institutions of a 
Christian civilization, these coming millions would 
be given over to the superstitions of all grasjjing 
Rome or to the horrors or a godless infidelity. There 
was a great awakening to the urgency of home evan- 

Nowhere was this new impulse more powerfully 
felt than in our theological seminaries. In ours it 
became in a measure absorbing. The " Society of 
Inquiry " held monthly meetings at which we were 
edified by papers and addresses from our own mem- 
bers, or from others who could give us special infor- 
mation about the various departments of home and 
foreign missions. These meetings were occasions of 
much interest and great devotional fervor. At the 
meeting of the society held in December, 1828, a pow- 
erful and highly stimulating essay was read by Rev. 
Tlieron Baldwin, of whom mention has already been 

My lifedong intimacy with this noble man began 
on that evening. He was already in a measure jjledged 
by a providential event to a missionary life. His 
elder brother, Abraham Baldwin, had labored with 
signal success among the French in Canada during 


the last part of his very short hut useful iiiiuistry. 
He died among kind Christian friends, but far from 
his kindred. At the time of his death he was affi- 
anced to Miss Caroline Wilder, of Burlington, Vt., a 
lady of culture who was in thorough sympathy with 
the missionary cause. My friend, Theron Baldwin, 
went at the urgent solicitation of his relatives to the 
scene of his brother's late labors, to learn the story of 
his last illness and take charge of his effects. On the 
journey it was his good fortune to become acquainted 
with" Miss Wilder, whose charming character and 
heroic Christian devotion subsequently won his heart. 
On his return she accom^Danied him to his father's 
house, and her influence doubtless increased the spir- 
itual power of the essay which so impressed me on 
that eventful evening. 

Returning to his room, after the meeting that night, 
Mr. Baldwin fell in with his college classmate, Mason 
Grosvenor, who was also my friend. In the conversa- 
tion that followed, Mr. Grosvenor suggested the out- 
lines of a plan which not long afterward became the 
germ of an a.ssociation. This organization among 
the Yale theological students was, in the hands of 
Divine Providence, the princijoal agency in founding 
Illinois College. Mr. Grosvenor's plan was to form 
an association of theological students, known to each 
other and bound by mutual ties, for the purpose of 
co-operating in the work of home missions. A front- 
ier state, or territory likely soon to become a state, 
was to be selected as a common field of labor. It was 
proposed to establish there an institution of learning, 
and by the united efforts of the association to foster 
its growth and efficiency, while the members strength- 


ened each other's hands in the use of all evangelical 
instrumentalities. By this means they hoped to 
secure co=operation, which is often so difficult to ob- 
tain among the scattered population 'of the frontier, 
and to avoid that peculiar isolation which is among 
the greatest disadvantages of a home missionary on 
the borders of the wilderness. The concej)tion was 
certainly felicitous. It awakened great interest in 
the minds of my two friends, and led not only to the 
organization of the Illinois band, but to the formation 
of other bands of theological students destined for 
the West. The most famous of these was the Iowa 
band, which was organized in Andover Seminary in 
1842, and which has been a most efficient agency in 
the evangelization of a great state. 

In consequence, probably, of my early frontier ex- 
perience I was soon taken into the counsels of those 
most interested in this jolan, and I co-operated with 
great enthusiasm in its development. Very shortly 
after Mr. Grosvenor's suggestion a communication 
appeared in the "Home Missionary" from the pen of 
Rev. John M. Ellis, a minister in the employment of 
the American Home Missionary Society, then sta- 
tioned at Kaskaskia, Illinois, but expecting soon to 
remove to Jacksonville. In this communication, Mr. 
Ellis gave a sketch of a seminary of learning projected 
by himself and a few friends in that state to be estab- 
lished at Jacksonville, and invited the help of eastern 
friends. Mr. Grosvenor immediately wrote to Mr. 
Ellis informing him of the plan of our organization 
and suggested that the association might be disposed 
to choose Illinois for its field, and assist in the estab- 
lishment of the proposed seminary, should its aims 


and j)urposes be fcjuiul in harinoiiy with our plans 
To convey a letter to Illinois and receive an answer 
would at that time require about two months instead 
of four days as at j)resent. In the meantime a number 
of earnest young men were considering the question 
of entering into such an association. It was with all 
of ns the grave problem of a life investment. The 
more it was considered, the more it grew in favor. 
My personal knowledge of the urgency of the work 
of home evangelization made the question compar- 
atively easy. With the wants of the frontier so 
distinctly before me I could not think of going to a 
foreign field, or of seeking a settlement in any of the 
churches in the older states. I felt that Providence 
had selected the valley of the Mississippi for my 
home, and I dared not desert it in the emergency 
which I felt was upon it. I highly apx^reciated the 
advantages of the proposed association, for I dreaded 
the isolation of the frontier. It is proper also to 
state that my associates told me from the beginning 
that they would need my services as teacher in the 
new institution. This plan suited my tastes much 
better than entering the pastorate. 

Long before Mr. Ellis' reiDly was received the asso- 
ciation had taken form and i^ersonality, though we 
had not yet affixed our signatures to any written 

Some of us wished before doing that to wait for 
Mr. Ellis' letter, so that the i)i'oposed plan might be 
rendered more definite. The answer came in due 
time, inviting us to select Illinois as our western 
home and placing the constitution of the proposed 


seminary in our hands to be modified to suit our 

In my own case it may readily be supposed that as 
the happiness of two persons was involved, both were 
to be consulted before the decision was reached. The 
whole subject was laid frankly before Miss Fayer- 
weather, and without the least attempt to conceal the 
trials incident to the location of our home five hun- 
dred miles west of civilization. She was far from 
being a romantic girl. At twenty two years of age 
she was a woman of rare thoughtf ulness and sobriety, 
and, judging correctly of the future, cheerfully ap- 
proved the plan. I signed the compact, and that 
signature bound me to a lifework that continued 
while great states were born and nations rose and 
fell. * 

* The document here mentioned is still preserved with the 
signatures appended, and a cordial and complimentary endorse- 
ment from President Day and Professors Taylor and Gibbs. 
It is as follows: 

Believing in the entire alienation of the natural heart from 
God, in the necessity of the influences of the Holy Spirit for its 
renovation, and that these influences are not to be expected 
without the use of means; deeply impressed also with the desti- 
tute condition of the Western section of our country and the 
urgent claims of its inhabitants upon the benevolent at the East, 
and in view of the fearful crisis evidently approaching, and 
which we believe can only be averted by speedy and energetic 
measures on the part of the friends of religion and literature in 
the older States, and believing that evangelical religion and 
education must go hand in hand in order to the successful ac- 
complishment of this desirable object; we the undersigned 
hereby express our readiness to go to the State of Illinois for 
the purpose of establishing a Seminary of learning such as shall 
be best adapted to the exigencies of that country — a part of us 


to engage in instruction in the Seminary — the others to occupy — 
as preachers — important stations in the surrounding country — 
provided the undertaking be deemed practicable, and the loca- 
tion approved — and provided also the providence of God permit 
us to engage in it. 

Thekon Baldwin, John F. Brooks, 
Mason Geosvenob, Elisha Jenney, William Kieby, 

Julian M. Stuetevant, Asa Tuenee, Je. 
Theological Department Yale College, Feb. 21, 1829. 

Mr. Ellis' vep]}' being satisfactory, the organiza- 
tion was speedily completed. A plan for the i^roposed 
institution was drawn under the supervision of Pres- 
ident Day of Yale and several other eminent profes- 
sors, and was forwarded to Mr. Ellis with a pledge 
that as soon as the constitution was formally accepted 
we would procure $10,000 with which to commence 
the work, and remove to Illinois. As soon as the 
facilities of those " slow times " permitted, we received 
a formal acceptance of our offer. According to the 
constitution proposed the institution was to be con- 
trolled by ten trustees, seven of whom were to be men 
composing the association at Yale College, viz: Theron 
Baldwin, John F. Brooks, Mason Grosvenor, Elisha 
Jenney, Wm. Kirby, Julian M. Sturtevant and Asa 
Turner. The remaining three trustees were to be 
elected by the subscribers to the fund of two or three 
thousand dollars, which had already been raised in 
Illinois. With these funds the beautiful site on 
which Illinois College now stands was obtained,and a 
beginning made by erecting a small two story brick 

These arrangements and the public expectation 
which had been awakened created an unlooked-for 
necessity, which was that the institution should 


commence operations at the beginning of the next 
year, 1830. No time therefore was to be lost. I was 
ahnost immediately dispatched to New York to lay 
our plans before the officers of the American Home 
Missionary Society, and to consult with other friends 
of home missions in that city. This was to me a 
grave responsibility, considering my youth and 
inexperience. But how could I decline? This was 
my introduction to Rev. Absalom Peters, then the 
only secretary of the American Home Missionary 
Society, and to his assistant, that truly good man, 
Eev. Charles Hall. Dr. Peters received me with all 
the kindness with which I can conceive of Paul 
receiving his son, Timothy, and Mr. Hall seconded 
all our plans with an enthusiasm equal to our own. 
They invited such friends and directors of their 
society as were accessible to meet at the Home Mis- 
sionary office to hear the statement of our plans, and 
to give such counsel as might seem advisable. The 
principal persons present at that meeting, besides the 
secretary and his assistant, were Rev. Gardner Spring, 
D. D , the honored pastor of the old brick church, 
then in the full vigor of manhood, and Rev. John 
Matthews, D. D., Dutch Reformed, Chancellor of 
the University of New York, Matthias Bruin, and 
Rev. Erskine Mason, the last two much beloved and 
honored Presbyterian pastors in the city. At that 
time, no Congregational minister held any public po- 
sition in New York or its vicinity. The American 
Home Missionary Society was then the trusted organ 
of the Congregational, Presbyterian and the Dutch 
Reformed churches in iDromoting home evangelization 
in the newer parts of our land. The three churches 


together included a large part of the population of 
New York, New Jersey and New England. This 
noble fellowship of the Christian people of the Atlan- 
tic seaboard in the work of home missions is one of 
the brightest memories of the past. 

Before this body of representative men I presented 
our plans and asked for hearty support, especially 
through the American Home Missionary Society, 
Our plans were unanimously approved. The Home 
Missionary Society gladly agreed to send us to our 
chosen field and to provide as far as was necessary for 
our support. They also j^ledged their endorsement 
and countenance to our educational plans. 

It was now apparent that two of our number must 
commence work in Illinois the following autumn. 
This was a disappointment, as at that time none of us 
would have finished his theological course. Having 
been already designated as a teacher it was necessary 
that I should go, as the institution was to be opened 
at the beginning of the following year. Mr. Baldwin, 
who was nearer the completion of his divinity studies 
than any of his brethren, was selected to accompany 
me. Though very reluctant to lose one year from his 
course of study, he consented, it being his determina- 
tion to return and finish his course in the future, but 
this he never found time to do. I had less regret at 
this abridgement of my course, because my work was 
to be in the professor's chair rather than in the puli)it 
Could I then have foreseen that I should preach at 
least one sermon a Sabbath for nearly the whole of 
my life, I might have regarded the matter very differ- 


With the assistance of Mr. Ellis, who came east for 
the purpose, the $10,000 which we had pledged was 
raised with little difficulty. On Thursday, August 
28th, 1829, Mr. Baldwin and myself were ordained to 
the Christian ministry at Woodbury, Conn., the 
charge being given by Rev. Matthias Bruin of New 
York, as a representative of the American Home 
Missionary Society. In this charge I distinctly 
remember a sentence which at the time gave me some 
pain. " Do not " said he, " shock the prejudices of a 
western audience by the sight of a manuscript." 
That, thought I, may be good advice, but if so, all the 
worse for me, for it seemed as if I could never follow 
it. I was destined to experience no small trouble on 
that subject. The voice that delivered that charge, 
so full of enthusiasm in the cause of home evangeli- 
zation, was in less than three days silent in death. 
Mr. Bruin was stricken down in his x^ulpit the follow- 
ing Sabbath morning. Mysterious and unsearchable 
are the ways of Providence. On that morning, 
August 30th, I preached my first sermon in the dear 
old church at New Canaan to a large congregation, 
most of whose faces had become in the last three 
years as familiar as though they had been the com- 
panions of my childhood. They heard me with great 
indulgence, for I cannot think that the deep interest 
manifested could mean more. 



The mornincf following the Sabbath mentioned at 
the close of the last chapter, I awoke to a train of 
very serious reflections. 

That morning, even before breakfast, I was to meet 
a small party in the parlor, to be united in marriage 
with the woman who had been for more than three 
years the object of my constantly increasing attach- 
ment. Our nuptial day had come, yet I thought 
anxiously and sadly of what was before me. for I 
never jiass through one of life's great changes without 
experiencing, temporarily at least, a painful recoil; 
the result of the weak conservatism of my nature. In 
view of the future, that was truly an anxious hour. 
How dare I in my youth, and with such a pros^Dect 
before me, take the responsibility of the care, support, 
and protection of the noble woman who had consented 
to leave her loving kindred that morning and intrust 
her all to me? How dared her friends intrust her to 
my care? Thus I queried with a feeling almost of 
guilt for proposing to make her my associate in an 
enterprise so full of uncertainty, self-sacrifice and 
peril. But the appointed hour had come, and I must 
go on trusting to the deliberate judgments of calmer 
hours, and resting on the care and protection of God. 

The excellent mother of my bride was not with the 
small circle of relatives. Six months before we had 



followed lier remains to their long resting place. 
Previous to her death she had lovingly ajjproved our 
intended nnion. 

I found the bride dressed for a journey; the begin- 
ning of a new life^journey for us both. 

The solemn marriage vows were exchanged, and we 
received the loving congratulations of the few friends 
present, only seven of whom remain; one of these 
being my lifedong friend, Rev. Flavel Bascomb, D. D., 
of Hinsdale, Illinois. After an excellent breakfast, 
taken joyfully in the midst of expressions of love and 
tenderness never to be forgotten, we said good^by 
and departed for a round of short visits. First we 
stopped at Warren, the dear old home of my grand- 
mother, and where my uucle, Joseph A. Tanner, and 
other dear relatives, still lived. Afterwards we visited 
in New Canaan, at the house of my uncle, Silas Beck- 
ley, and my mother's sister, Lydia, and then at Glas- 
tonbury at the home of my mother's sister, Patty, the 
wife of Dr. Ralph Carter. Reaching New Haven I 
was in season for Commencement, and found many of 
my classmates assembled to celebrate the third anni- 
versary of our graduation. With others I received 
the Master's degree. My boyish dream of college life 
was an accomi)lished fact. Its influence had been 
wrought into the very texture of my being. 

From that day I was a student of Yale no more. I 
had embarked on the great ocean of life, intrusted 
with a cargo of incalculable value. Who can tell 
what hopes had been formed and what fervent 
prayers had ascended in behalf of the sacred cause of 
home missions, as represented in the enterprise for 
which I was in the future to be held largely responsi- 


ble. It seemed unfortunate that interests so momen- 
tous should be committed to one so young and inex- 
perienced. Only seven years had passed since the 
farewell, so sad and seeminglj' so hopeless, at the ob- 
scure log=cabin in Tallmadge at the beginning of our 
" ride and tie " pilgrimage. It was not possible that 
the boy of 1822 could possess the wisdom necessary 
for the resiDonsibilities of 1829. . After spending three 
or four days at New Canaan, completing arrange- 
ments for our long journey, we bade farewell to New 
England, now no less dear to me than if I had never 
had a home elsewhere, and turned our faces toward 
the setting sun. 

I can mention only a few incidents of that journey. 
At that time most of the i:)assenger traffic between 
Albanj' and Buffalo was carried on by two stage lines 
One of these corporations was long established and 
wealthy, but it utterly ignored the Sabbath. The 
other, known as the "Pioneer Line," was undertaken 
and managed on strictly Sabbath=keeping principles, 
and for that reason it was patronized by many con- 
scientious peoi^le. We traveled from Schenectady to 
Utica by canabboat, and then took the Pioneer Line 
to Buffalo. Reaching Rochester early Friday morn- 
ing we rested one day, laartly because we greatly 
needed rest and jjartly for the purpose of calling on 
an acquaintance. On Saturday morning we again 
took the stage and drove rapidly to Lewiston, where 
we ferried across the Niagara, and were driven thence to 
the Falls. We surveyed the stupendous cataract from 
Table Rock, and were ferried across the boiling flo( d 
in a skiff. We ascended the bluff on the American 
side by the stair=case, and then visited Goat Island. 


For the rare pleasure of this first view of the Falls 
we were indebted to the shari^ comxDetition of the 
two stage lines, and particularly to what was then 
called in derision "the holy line." Thence we drove 
along the left bank of the river, then on to Black 
Rock, and crossed over to BufPalo, where we passed 
the Sabbath. 

From Butfalo to Erie we went by steamboat, and 
thence to Cleveland by stage. The last part of that 
journey, taken on a moonless night and over the hor- 
rible roads for which that regi(ni is famous, was suf- 
ficient to test the courage of a bride on her first trip 
west. And I can bear witness that if you do not 
find bravery in a young wife following the husband 
of her choice to some new home in the wild West, 
especially when both are animated by a high moral 
aim, you are not likely to find it . anywhere. I once 
heard a clergyman say in a lecture: "Heroism has 
become extinct." I was sure he could have had little 
acquaintance with the wives of home missionaries. 

Our next stopping place was Tallmadge. I had 
visited the dear old home only once since leaving it 
seven years before. That was in the fall of 1825. At 
that time the first cabin, rendered more comfort- 
able by the addition of a single log room, still re- 
mained. I now found, greatly to my satisfaction, 
that the log cabin was no more. A small adjacent 
tract of land had been purchased on which was a 
frame house, affording some degree of comfort and 
convenience. It was a great pleasure that I had been 
able to meet part of the expense of this purchase. 
The reader need not be told that there was a joyful 
meeting. All felt how empty I had gone out, and how 


loaded with the gifts of God I had returned. I had 
received a great deal more than I had exi^ected or 
sought. God had answered our prayers in enabling 
me to prepare myself for future service to His cause; 
but He had given me personal prosj^erity and hojDes of 
happiness even in this life. Of this I had no dream; 
it had in no way entered into my thought. 

I found many changes. My brother Ephraim, 
had in the fall of 1837 accepted a tutorship in the 
then newly established Western Reserve College at 
Hudson, Ohio. From this position he retired after 
one year, married, and became principal of the Tall- 
madge Academy. Our friend Wright had also ac- 
cepted the chair of mathematics and natural philoso- 
phy at Hudson, and was already married. How hap- 
l)ily and rapidly the three or four weeks at Tall- 
madge jDassed, reviving old acquaintances and friend- 
shix^s and revisiting the scenes of my early youth. 
That place was as dear to me as it could have been 
had I never known a New England home. It 
would have been a great delight, had the call of duty 
permitted, to have made the Western Eeserve my 
home and the field of my life work. 

When our time was expired we again bade adieu 
to the loved ones at home. Alas ! it was my final 
adieu for this world to my beloved mother. We 
were driven by my father to Wellsville on the Ohio, 
where we hoped to find a steamboat bound down the 
ri ver. But no boats were running and we were 
obliged to take the stage for Wheeling. Here we 
embarked in a j^oor craft, the best to be had in the 
low water of autumn. The Ohio, at that time, lay 
low down between its high and heavily timbered 


banks, with only here and there an insignificant vil- 
lage on its shores. We waited a few hours at the 
landing in Cincinnati, then the growing metropolis 
of the West, and claiming a population of twentyfive 
thousand. At Louisville we were obliged to change 
boats, and there we spent the Sabbath. 

We were rejoiced to find a steamboat advertised to 
leave for St. Louis at nine o'clock Tuesday morning 
From our hotel to the landing was more than two 
miles, and an early start seemed necessary lest, miss- 
ing that boat we should have to wait long for another. 
I hurried my dressing, hurried my wife, hurried 
breakfast, and hurried the hackman, all the time won- 
dering at the coolness of those around us. Little I 
knew of the ways of the western steamboats. We 
found the boat with no steam up and no signs of 
speedy departure. And there she remained, as my 
friend Dr. J. P. Thompson once said, "Lying all day." 
Night was upon the river before we were off. After 
considerable experience I confess that traveling on 
rivers in low water is a very serious discipline, 
Sand=bars occur in most unexpected places, and once 
aground it is impossible to foresee when you can pro- 
ceed. Sometimes the captain seems waiting for a 
rainfall to raise the stream. 

At length, having traversed nearly the whole 
course of the Ohio, we reached the spot where Cairo 
now stands and began to feel the stronger current of 
the Father of Waters. Just at that moment our 
captain, standing on the bridge of the boat and iDoint- 
ing down the Mississippi, cried out, " There is the 
high-road to New Orleans." The thought thrilled 


me, for with that great river system I felt that the 
experiences of the rest of my life were to be identi- 
fied. In our long journey by water there was little 
scenery of particular interest. At what is called the 
" Grand Tower," where the Mississippi breaks through 
the Ozark mountains, the scenery becomes for a short 
distance romantic and impressive. At that point the 
river bluffs rise from the water's edge on both sides, 
and the tower is a rock= island rising peri^endicularly 
from the stream as high as the adjacent bluffs. Geo- 
logicall}' speaking, the sx3ot is of great interest. 

An incident of the voyage illustrates the disadvan- 
tage I experienced in those days from my youthful 
aj)pearance. Soon after taking passage on one of the 
boats I was met on the deck by a youth apparently 
not more than seventeen years old, who ajiproached 
me very confidentially with the remark, '" We shall 
have to keep very straight; there is a minister on 
board." By "' the minister," he must have meant my 
friend Mr. Baldwin, who was our traveling compan- 
ion. Later in the voyage, when we had religious ser- 
vices on board, he must have been surprised to find 
that it was I who preached. 

Steamboat traveling in those days was very slow. 
Sometimes our speed did not exceed two and a half 
or three miles an hour. Before we reached St. Louis, 
another Sabbath had passed. At last with great joy 
we found ourselves safely landed in that city; for we 
had begun to realize a danger of which we had not 
thought when we planned our journey — the danger 
that winter might render navigation very slow and 
very dangerous, or even suspend it altogether. Be- 


sides, we were glad to think that we were now only 
one hundred miles, as the roads ran, from our future 

Our reception in St. Louis deeply afPected us. We 
had been expected by good Christian friends, and 
were received not as strangers, but as loved kindred 
" of the household of faith." We were hospitably 
entertained as guests, and received courteous atten- 
tion from Rev. Wm. S. Potts, pastor of the only 
Presbyterian church in the city, and from other ex- 
cellent Christian families. We were already being 
welcomed to our new home, which no longer seemed 
far off among strangers, I long ago ceased to won- 
der that the New Testament so strongly insists on 
the duty of Christian hospitality. Its value to early 
evangelical work in the valley of the Mississippi is 
beyond computation. 

It was no easy matter to accomplish the little rem- 
nant of our journey. Jacksonville is only about 
twenty miles from the Illinois river, but as yet that 
stream was navigated only by an occasional steam- 
boat, and it was not probable that another would 
make the voyage before spring. There was no stage 
line, the weekly mail being carried on horseback. 
The only feasible plan was expensive. We must 
hire a team and driver to convey us. That problem 
was made comparatively easy by an unexpected meet- 
ing with Mr. James G. Edwards, a gentleman from 
Boston who was on his way to Jacksonville with his 
wife and her sister for the purpose of establishing a 
newspaper. We made their acquaintance by some 
accident which I have now forgotten. They were 
Christian people and had been attracted to Jackson- 


ville by a knowledge of the very movements of which 
we were a part. Such meetings, stranger than fiction, 
have not been unusual when immigration was con- 
centrating at some point in the West. 

Mr. Baldwin wished to procure a horse and leave 
St. Louis fully equipped for his missionary work. 
He always " meant business." We hired a hack 
which would carry four persons, in which the three 
ladies accompanied by myself were to proceed to 
Jacksonville. Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Edwards remained 
behind until the former could purchase a horse. 
With this and a wagon which Mr. Baldwin was to 
return to St. Louis while on some early missionary 
tour, they followed us to Jacksonville. For many 
years afterward that excellent riding horse, lean and 
raw-boned, but hardy and easy-going, was almost as 
much identified with home missions as its rider. 
Never were master and horse more perfectly fitted to 
each other. 

On Thursday of the week after our arrival in St. 
Louis I crossed the Mississippi about midday with 
two ladies fresh from their native Boston and my 
wife, — all utter strangers to frontier life. I expected 
to be amused by some things which they might con- 
sider serious. Our driver informed us that we were 
to stoj) for the first night at widow Gillam's, a most 
comfortable place on the left bank of the Mississipj)i, 
directly opposite the mouth of the Missouri. The 
great river has since then so encroached upon the 
bank that the widow's farm and the site of the house 
where we spent the night are now in the middle of 
the stream. It proved as our driver had said an ex- 
cellent place in some respects. There was plenty of 


clean wholesome food, but on asking for two rooms I 
was told, as thono-li I had made a strange and unrea- 
sonable request, that they could give ns Imt one 
room for the party. This was decidedly a new and 
trying experience to the ladies. Nor did the dancing 
flames in a great open fire place that rendered our 
room so light and comfortable on that chilly night 
greatly increase their satisfaction. But the food was 
acceptable, the beds were clean, and the linen was as 
white as could be found in our own homes. 

The next morning we started early and took break- 
fast at Alton, now Upper Alton. The j^resent city 
was not then in existence. The scanty breakfast was 
hardly a fair specimen of what might be expected in 
a frontier log house of entertainment, but the bill 
was very moderate. Our journey lay through thinly 
scattered white oak forests and over j^rairies vanish- 
ing in the dim distance like the horizon at sea. 
AVith these prairies which imagination easily covered 
with the dress of spring and converted into a beauti- 
ful park, the ladies were greatly delighted. The 
ground was covered with a light and melting snow, 
which made traveling slow and tedius. I longed 
to ascend some mountain and view the landscape, but 
the plain extended far and wide in all directions. At 
Hickory Grove, where the prosperous city of Jersey- 
ville now stands, we found a single house and a little 
farm. Our hotel for the night was Squire Pickett's 
log house, now in the heart of the prosperous village 
of Kane. Alas! what trouble my three ladies had 
that night. I confess that the beds and board were a 
little too much for me. An early ride through the 


forest took us to a very comfortable breakfast at Car- 
rolton, already a considerable village. 

The ride into Jacksonville was not so easy as was 
expected. Our way followed the course of the pres- 
ent Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Kailway. Little 
we knew of railroads then. We passed over the 
sites where now stand the towns of Whitehall, 
Roodhouse, and Murrayville. Just as the sun was 
setting, our driver exclaimed: " I swear I. seed a wolf." 
I was doing my best to quiet the frightened ladies, 
when suddenly our carriage plunged into a deep hole, 
from which the driver and his team were utterly una- 
ble to extricate it. It would be impossil)^e to pro- 
ceed further that night. It was idle to blame our 
driver, for the uidjridged mud hole extended the en- 
tire width of the road. It was Saturday night, and 
rapidly growing dark, and Jacksonville was seven 
miles away. No house could be seen. Happily the 
wolves were also out of sight, although to the excited 
fears of the ladies they seemed to be all around us. 
Presently the bark of a dog revealed the proximity of 
some settler's cabin. The driver soon found the 
house, and returned with the word that the inhabit- 
ants would entertain us for the night. The cabin 
proved to be one that contained but a single room, fin- 
ished in the most primitive style of log cabin archi- 
tecture, and it was the humble abode of a father and 
mother with several children, one of them a woman 
nearly grown. Yet we were kindly welcomed, with 
no sign of reluctance. We were very hungry, but a 
few questions showed that the resources of the cabin 
were very scanty. They had no bread, milk, meat 


coffee, tea or flour. A chicken was taken down from 
its roost in the corner of the great chimney, and its 
neck was wrung before our eyes. We were sure it was 
fresh. Mrs. Edwards, with that rare tact which is a 
fine substitute for experience, came to the rescue. 
Said she to our hostess: " I know you are tired, let me 
get the supper." She dressed the chicken, and in the 
one cooking dish jarepared first the chicken, then the 
corn bread, and then tlie sage tea. The table was a 
rough plank swung up by the side of the wall. An 
iron spoon containing lard and cotton rags for a wick 
with its handle stuck in a crack between the logs, af- 
forded light. My wife and I had between us one 
spoon and one fork. The Boston ladies had a sin- 
gle knife and a fork. A neighbor dropped in while 
we were at sujoper, and humorously alluded to our ex- 
cellent appetites. Such is life on the frontier. 

After supper, the moon having risen and now shin- 
ing as brightly upon us as over ancient cities and 
marble palaces, the driver summoned all hands to 
extricate the carriage from the mud. By the help of 
our host and his good-natured neighbor this was 
soon done. In one corner of the room was what 
passed for a bedstead. The hostess having learned 
by a whispered question addressed to Mrs. Edwards 
that I was a minister, announced that the preacher 
and his lady should have the "stead." The rest of 
the company, including the family of our host and 
the driver, were forced to sleej) on the floor. How 
ardently the ladies wished themselves back at widow 
Gillam's! Before retiring Mrs. Edwards, with the 
wolves still in her mind, secured from our hostess a 
promise that the door should be fastened. In the 


morning it was found to have been made secure by 
rolling a large pumpkin against it. 

By daylight we were on our way toward Jackson- 
ville, and on our arrival were driven at once to the 
house of Mr. Ellis, where we had been expected the 
night before. The house, like others around it, was 
very small, but the inmates of a palace could not 
have received us with a heartier welcome. The 
western words of greeting, "alight! alight!" were 
never more heartily uttered. Soon the whole party 
with all their effects were stored in the little rooms, 
and very quickly we were partaking of a hearty 
breakfast that seemed all the more enjoyable on ac- 
count of the discomforts of the long journey. " Haec 
qnoque meminesse juvihat.^'' During the repast, 
greatly to my surprise I was informed that an ap- 
pointment had been made for me to preach that 
morning in place of Mr. Ellis, who was still at the 
East. I must begin at once the work for which we 
had undertaken this wearisome journey, and accepted 
a home on the frontier. 

Kev. John M. Ellis was one of the first mission- 
aries of the American Home Missionary Society. He 
came to the borders of the Mississippi in 1826, and 
had labored mostly at Kaskaskia, an old French town, 
and then the capital of the state. Perhaps more pru- 
dent than I, he had gone out unmarried. A French 
Protestant lady of excellent education, unaffected 
piety, and great vivacity, was the woman who was 
disp)ensing his hospitality that Sabbath morning. 
Mrs. Ellis was in every way worthy of her husband, 
and was an excellent helper in his work. In that lit- 
tie home she opened a school for young ladies, some 


of^ whom were her boarders. Such women accom- 
plished ill the frontier settlements what would have 
been considered impossible elsewhere. Alas! how 
soon her work in this world was to end! 



Jacksonville was then a village of onlj^ two years' 
growth from the naked prairie. We had sometimes 
met those who had seen it, and had curiously asked 
Mhat sort of a place it was. The almost invariable 
answer had heen: "It is a beautiful place." Evi- 
dently our informants did not mean that a beautiful 
town had actually been built there, but that the spot 
possessed exceptional surroundings. The great 
prairie here breaks from its usual monotonous level 
into a variety of swelling hills, found nowhere else in 
the state. In two cases the hill tops were adorned 
by very beautiful natural groves, which gave to the 
region a most unusual charm. 

On the east side of one of these groves, and on a 
crest one mile west of the village center, was the site 
selected for Illinois College, and there it stands to= 
day. The village itself was very unattractive. The 
people generally without capital, could yet show few 
signs of thrift, and good lumber was beyond the 
reach of any but the very wealthy. There was no 
scarcity of timber, but it was hard wood, mostly oak, 
unfit for finishing lumber. M(jst of the houses were 
covered with boards split from oak logs four feet in 
length, and nailed on without shaving. Many roofs 
were covered in the same way. Small houses and 
many log cabins were built in hope that better lum- 



ber would soon be accessible. The census of 1830 
gave Jacksonville a population of a little over 600. 
This was the little town that we saw in its somber 
autumn robes on that Sabbath morning, November 
15, 1829. 

When breakfast and family worship were over it 
was time for church. Neither the ladies nor the 
minister needed a change of garments. A hasty 
toilet was entirely siifficient. My young wife was 
never more beautiful than in the traveling hat and 
habit in which she had met me at the nuptial altar 
and she wore these that morning. Mrs. Ellis took 
her baby boy, about a year old, wn-apxjed warmly, and 
led the way, the rest following as best they could 
over the soft ground from which the snow had lately 
melted. There were no sidewalks in those days. 
She ran, rather than walked, the entire distance, more 
than a quarter of a mile, though picking her way like 
ourselves to avoid the mud, and we kept her in sight 
only by stepping briskly. I carried my Bible, hynin^ 
book and manuscrij)t sermon. 

The church was a room about eighteen or twenty 
feet square, built of unhewn logs, the floor being 
made of split logs called " puncheons," with the split 
side U13. There was no pulpit and no special place 
for the preacher. He must sit where he could, and 
lay his books either in his lap or at his side. The 
seats were a little ruder than I have ever since seen 
in a jjublic f)lace. " Horses," like those used by me- 
chanics to support staging, but of a suitable height 
for a seat, were placed in rows across the room, and 
on these were laid common split fence rails, ujDon 
which the congregation were seated. Yet these un- 


comfortable sittings were filled by serious and atten- 
tive people, and some were compelled to stand about 
the open door. Indeed I am convinced that every- 
thing about this worshiping assembly was better than 
the sermon. I did " shock the prejudices of a west- 
tern audience " by a very full sight of a manuscript, 
not because I desired to do so but because I could 
not help it. 

I stood before that congregation, rising just where 
I happened to be seated and read from a manuscript. 
I could see from their countenances that many of 
them were thinking, " I wonder if that young man 
calls that preaching." No disrespect however was 
shown and no criticism of my effort ever reached my 
ears. It was not necessary. I was sufficiently dis- 
satisfied. The congregation being dismissed, a few 
friends gathered around us and we began our ac- 
quaintance with our neighbors. Dr. Hector G. Tay- 
lor and his wife invited us to dine, with them, and 
their hospitable house proved to be our home for the 

I had been anxious lest the hard external features 
of our new life should distress my young wife. I 
was surprised to find her less disturbed than myself. 
She had expected to encounter the rudeness of the 
frontier, and was prepared to meet whatever it might 
bring. She never uttered any lamentations, or in my 
sight shed any tears. She was cheerful and spright- 
ly and often made herself merry over the oddities 
which we encountered, though she was careful never 
to wound the feelings of others by an untimely dis- 
l^lay of amusement. I, on the other hand, was 
greatly distressed. I had expected the rough exter- 


ior, but had not realized my own unfitness for the 
new situation. The manuscript sermon and the 
problem of preaching in such a community caused 
me great perplexity and distress. Mr. Ellis would 
be absent yet for several weeks, and I was expected 
to supply his pulpit and render other pastoral servi- 
ces till his return. As I had little else on my hands, 
this gave me time to wrestle with the problem. I 
tried preaching from manuscript once more, but with 
increasing disgust. I then began to commit my ser- 
mons to memory, and finding after a few trials that 
I could do that ^with great ease, I followed that 
method for some time with considerable satisfaction. 
But the relief was temporary. The question how I 
should preach soon returned, and for months, and 
even for years, it occasioned me much anxiety. 

But the most distressing and perplexing isroblem 
which confronted me in my new field was the discord 
which prevailed among Christians. I wish to speak 
with all charity of the men who are gone, and of the 
churches which, modified not a little by the broader 
views of our times, still remain. But I shall no 
doubt do the best service to the truth by relating 
events just as I saw them. Those were crude times, 
and the introduction of New England ideas of educa- 
tion and theology in a community largely southern 
in its opinions and prejudices, and accustomed to an 
uneducated ministry, could not have been accom- 
X^lished without some pretty sharp conflicts. There 
was, however, one special cause of alienation and 
discord which was and is a great evil in Christendom. 
In Illinois I met for the first time a divided Chris- 
tian community, and was plunged without warning 


or preparation into a sea of sectarian rivalries which 
was kejDt in constant agitation, not only by real dif- 
ferences of opinion, but by ill judged discussions and 
unfortunate personalities among amijitious men. 

At the time of which I am writing the only congre- 
gations sustaining regular Sabbath services in Jack- 
sonville were the Presbyterian and Methodist Epis- 
copal. The Methodists, who were far the more 
numerous, worshiped in a large private house. The 
third Sabbath after my arrival the Presbyterians 
expected to use the court house instead of the school- 
house then undergoing repairs. The Methodists 
generally occupied the court house for their quar- 
terly meetings. Hence there arose a collision of 
appointments for which no one in particular was to 
blame. On Sabbath morning I found the court room 
in which I expected to j)reach already occupied by 
the celebrated Peter Cartwright and a large congre- 
gation of Methodists. Of course I had no alternative 
but to take my seat with the congregation and join in 
the worship. As it was a quarterly meeting the 
Lord's Supper was to be observed after the discourse. 
Under such circumstances one would naturally have 
expected a tender evangelical sermon, full of those 
truths which commend themselves to every Christian 
heart. Judge my astonishment at hearing instead a 
bitter attack upon Calvinism, or rather a caricature of 
that system, held up now to the ridicule and then to 
the indignation of the hearers. It must have been 
known that there were many Presbyterians present. 
Mr. Cartwright could hardly have been ignorant of 
the fact that the man who had come here to lay the 
foundations of a college was one of his congregation, 


and yet he took particular pains to ridicule collegiate 
education, repeating the alread}^ stale and vulgar 
saying: "I have never spent four years in rubbing 
my back against the walls of a college." Mr. Cart- 
wright himself must have greatly changed his views 
when, thirty years later, he accepted with apparent 
satisfaction the title of D. D. and was generally 
called Dr. Cartwright. 

I left the court house at the close of the service 
with many sad thoughts. Is it true, I asked myself, 
that in the field where my life is to be spent the 
Church of Christ is a house divided against itself? 
Am I to find the bitterest enemies of my work in a 
separate caraj) of the Lord's i^rofessed followers? 
Here where ignorance is so prevalent am I to find 
eminent ministers of the Gospel disparaging and 
ridiculing my humble efforts in the cause of edu- 

The same somber religious aspects presented them- 
selves wherever I turned my eyes. The community 
was ^perpetually agitated by sectarian prejudices and 
rivalries. It was deemed wise to omit our service on 
a certain Sabbath for the accommodation of a few 
Cumberland Presbyterian families who desired to 
hear a minister of their own order. Of course I was 
in the congregation. The speaker was not "apt to 
teach." He was without even average intelligence or 
culture, and commenced his sermon with much hesi- 
tation and evident uncertainty. After s^Deaking 
fifteen minutes, without any trace of connected 
thought, so far as I was able to perceive, certainly 
with no distinct propositions, he suddenly began to 
rant. His words were spoken so rapidly and in so 


high a key that few could be iindevstood. Nothing 
seemed clear but the frequent repetition of cant 
words and phrases void of connection, all accompa- 
nied by a vehemence of tone and gesture that aston- 
ished and distressed me. He suddenly ceased, an- 
nounced a hymn, prayed and dismissed the congrega- 
tion. The house being densely filled and the air 
stiffling it was an inexpressible relief to escape into 
the open air. To my amazement I was assured on 
the way home by a lady of our own congregation, 
from whom I had hoped for better things, that we 
had heard a most excellent sermon. My cup was 
full! Was this woman a fair tyj)e of the people 
among whom my future life was to be spent? Was 
sect so strong that in order to prevent our commu- 
nity from being further divided religiously we must 
listen on Sabbath morning to such a shower of 
emptiness and stupidity? These were queries, how- 
ever, to be communicated only to the one who could 
perfectly sympathize with me. 

No words can express the shock which my mind 
experienced. The transition from those harmonious 
and united Christian communities in which my life 
had hitherto been passed, to this realm of confusion 
and religious anarchy was almost overpowering. Is 
this, I asked myself, the proper relation of Christ's 
disciples to each other? As large a proportion of the 
l^eople around me in Jacksonville were members of 
Christian evangelical churches as in the other com- 
munities in which I lived; but here every man's hand 
was against his brother. The possibility of Christian 
co=operation was absolutely limited to these little 
cliques into which the body of Christ was divided. 


For the first time I was forming an acquaintance 
with the Church under the influence of sectarian prej- 
udices. And now after fifty years I still feel that I 
did not attach too much importance to the manifes- 
tations of divided sentiment among Christians around 
me, or overestimate the evil tendencies of sectarian 
divisions. This condition of the Church was not tem- 
IDorary or local. In all the valley of the Mississippi, 
during the infancy of society, when moral forces 
were weakest, and when the bonds which held civil- 
ized society together were subject to the greatest 
strain through immigration, the conservative power of 
the Christian religion was greatly enfeebled by just 
such sectarian conflicts as those I witnessed in Cen- 
tral Illinois. 

Even at this day, though the aspects of denomina- 
tionalism have been greatly modified, and though the 
courtesies of Christian life are far better observed 
and the external relations of the different sects are 
far more fraternal, it is true, as it was fifty years ago, 
that different denominations exhibit too much of the 
spirit of rivalry and too little of the spirit of co-ope- 
ration for the upbuilding of God's Kingdom in this 
world. It is even now impossible to secure the fel- 
lowship) of all the religious people of Illinois in any 
work of faith and charity, however obviously impor- 
tant to the general welfare. The opinions then 
formed of the tendencies and the inevitable results of 
the sect system have been constantly confirmed. 

During all these experiences my friend and fellow^ 
laborer, Mr. Baldwin, had been absent at Vandalia, 
then the capital of the state, having chosen that as 
his field of labor, and I had been left to navigate the 


tnmultuous seas as best I could, alone. He came to 
Jacksonville in December to attend a meeting of the 
western subscribers to the college, called to elect 
three trustees according to the jjlan before agreed 
upon. I was greatly encouraged and helloed by his 
wise and sympathetic counsels. At this meeting a 
resolution was passed (certainly without any consul- 
tation with me) bestowing upon the institution the 
name of Illinois College. At the first meeting of the 
Board of Trustees held immediately after the election 
mentioned above it was ordered that the institution 
be opened for the reception of students on Monday, 
January 4, 1830, and that I should take entire charge. 



As soon as jDossible after it was known that the 
association of young men in Yale College would co* 
oj)erate in founding an institution of learning, the 
erection of a small two story brick building had been 
commenced on the beautiful site chosen for the col- 
lege. That building was far from comx)letion on 
Monday, the 4th of January, 1830, but one large room 
was ready for use. In it I found on that morning 
nine pupils assembled for instruction. It was the 
day of small things, but its insx)iration was drawn 
from faith in God and the future. After reading 
from the Bible I briefly addressed the young men. 
The very sjjirit of our enterprise was expressed in my 
first sentence. " We are here to=day to open a foun- 
tain where future generations may drink." I then 
offered prayer committing the whole enterprise for 
the present and the long future to the care and pro- 
tection of God. 

Three or four of the pupils had already made some 
progress in the acquisition of the Latin language, and 
were looking forward to a collegiate education and to 
the Christian ministry. One or two more manifested 
a desire to commence classical study. The rest 
wished to pursue rudimentary branches only. Of 
the thirty or forty students received during the first 
year, very few had plans beyond a limited English 



education. This was not surprising, for there was 
then no school in the state at which a youth could 
have prepared for college. We had no public school 
system. The few log schoolhouses found in those 
portions of the state where settlements had been com- 
menced had been built as cheaxoly as possible by a 
few neighbors at their own expense. They were ex- 
pected to serve only a temporary purpose. Any man 
who found himself out of employment felt at liberty 
to seek the neighborhood of an unoccux^ied school- 
house, circulate his prospectus, and obtain subscrip- 
tions for a three or four months' school. If the 
X^ledges were satisfactory he oxDened his school and 
conducted it in his own way. No board of education 
interfered with him. He was a law unto himself. 
In most cases the ijarents had absolutely no guaran- 
tee for his moral character or his fitness to teach. 
The state had a school fund, the interest of which 
was distributed to such schools as complied with the 
conditions of the statute. There were, however, no 
l^rovisions for permanent school districts. Of course, 
under these circumstances, we could not reasonably 
expect to receive from the community around us 
l^upils who had made any considerable progress in 
study. In two or three years the increased reputa- 
tion of the college began to attract young men more 
or less advanced in classical study, who wished to 
acquire a collegiate education. 

I now found myself leading a very busy life. From 
nine o'clock in the morning until four in the after- 
noon I was steadily employed at the institution, 
which was a mile from my boarding place. 

My time out of school was fully occupied in caring 


for the general interests of the college and in conduct- 
ing its correspondence. After Rev. Mr. Ellis returned 
I became Superintendent of his Sabbath-school, and 
devoted much of my time to its interests, for Mr. 
Ellis kept himself and all his co=workers busy. I 
was frequently invited to preach for him, and having 
no time to commit my sermons to memory my old 
troubles returned. I was certainly in no danger of 
" shocking my audience by the sight of a manuscript, " 
for I had no time to prepare one. I must either i^reach 
unwritten sermons or not preach at all. Making the 
best preparation I could, I would go before the au- 
dience with an abstract of the sermon I intended to 
deliver, but invariably with the same result. I was 
mortified and often disgusted because I had not 
carried out the intended line of thought. Many 
unguarded expressions painful to remember had been 
uttered, and my discourse seemed to me to have been 
rambling and illogical. After every such effort I 
felt I could never again speak extemporaneously. I 
seemed to be losing the power of close and logical 
thinking. Apparently others did not so judge, for I 
was constantly importuned to preach. After resist- 
ing as long as possible I invariably consented to try 
again, with the same result as before. 

After a time I w^as invited to occupy each Sabbath 
afternoon with an expository lecture on the Sunday- 
school lesson. In this I found great benefit and re- 
lief. The intimate association between the words of 
the text and the comments I proposed to make held 
me to the intended line of thought, and I retired at 
the close of each address with some degree of satis- 
faction. In these expository discourses I learned to 


"think on my legs." If my experience is worth any- 
thing, expository preaching, with thorough prepara- 
tion and a faithful adherence to the spirit and mean- 
ing of the sacred text, furnishes the best training for 
the extemporaneous preacher. 

Other grave and unexpected questions began to 
arrest my attention. When I received my commission 
from the American Home Missionary Society, strange 
as it may seem I had absolutely no opinions about 
church government. I wished to form none, for I 
entertained almost contempt for the whole subject. 
Dr. Taylor's very able lectures in respect to it did not 
produce the slightest impression on my mind. I felt 
that I must attend to weightier matters,- such as 
preaching the Gospel, and leave the tithing of mint 
and anise and cummin to those who had more faith 
in such things. I could not live in Jacksonville 
in the midst of such scenes of religious conflict with- 
out seeing my mistake. Did Jesus intend that His 
followers should live in such unhappy relations with 
each other? The whole subject of church organiza- 
tion and church government became invested with 
the highest religious importance. 

When I was ordained by a Congregational council I 
supposed, as did all my fathers in the ministry, that 
on reaching my field of labor and presenting my 
certificate of ordination I should be immediately 
received into the Presbyterian Church. At my ordi- 
nation it was not asked whether 1 accepted the doc- 
trines of the Westminster Confession of faith, nor 
are candidates for Congregational ordination now 
asked that question. The simple truth is that at 
that time I had never read that confession. My 


parents who taught me the Shorter Catechism did not 
treat it as infallible, and gave their own reasons for 
objecting to some of its doctrines. They regarded 
the Word of God as the only standard of orthodoxy. 
They were no theologians; but if the Westminster 
Confession had been placed before them they would 
certainly have exercised their right of private judg- 
ment in discussing it, as freely as they did in respect 
to the Shorter Catechism or a published sermon. 

I had deemed it unnecessary to study that confes- 
sion before presenting myself for admission to the 
Presbytery. At a very early day, however, curiosity 
led me to examine a copy which accidentally fell into 
my hands. In the form of church government accom- 
panying the Confession I found substantially the fol- 
lowing questions j)roposed to all candidates for ordi- 
nation either as ministers or elders: "Do you accept 
the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of the 
Presbyterian Church as containing the system of doc- 
trine taught in the Holy Scriptures?" " Do you ap- 
prove of the government and discipline of the Presby- 
terian Church in the United States?" 

Assuming that these questions would be propound- 
ed to me whenever I should apply for admission, I 
felt comiDelled to examine that Confession of Faith 
and prepare myself to answer the "constitutional 
questions" intelligently. I had not pursued the sub- 
ject far before it became evident that I could not 
answer in the affirmative without violating my con- 
science. Mr. Ellis, who was my trusted counselor, 
bade me fear not, as those questions were never pro- 
pounded to ministers coming with clean papers from 


Congregational bodies. He also said that no person 
was expected to make those affirmations in such a sense 
as to imi^ly his belief in every jaroposition contained 
in the Confession of Faith and the Catechism. They 
were to be accepted only "for substance of doctrine." 
This statement was not altogether novel, but to this 
day it has never given me any satisfaction. It has 
always seemed to me an indefensible violation of good 
faith for a man formally to accept a doctrinal state- 
ment which he can only make his own by doing vio- 
lence to the obvious meaning of some of its phrases. 

The declaration that I receive the Westminster 
Confession of Faith as "containing the system of doc- 
trine taught in the Holy Scriptures " is literally un- 
true. That some of the doctrines taught in the 
Scriptures, perhaps most of them, are contained in 
that confession, would be readily admitted; but cer- 
tainly all of them are not. For example, the doctrine 
that under all conditions God will as surely forgive 
a penitent sinner as a loving father will receive a 
penitent prodigal son, is most clearly taught in the 
fifteenth chapter of Luke. Certainly this truth is not 
recognized in the Confession, and the fact that it is not 
has been for ages a source of controversy, perplexity 
and confusion. I was, however, relieved for the time 
by the information that I .should not be called upon 
to assent to "the constitutional C[uestions." 

The reader must not infer from the space here given 
to ecclesiastical cpiestions that my chief energies at 
that time were expended upon them. Far from it. 
Those questions were intimately connected with my 
work, and suggested great practical problems which 


called on every lover of God and .men for a solution. 
But I had no time for connected study and reading 
upon such themes. 

My chief energies must be given to the school. I 
sought not only to secure satisfactory progress in those 
branches which my jjupils were pursuing, but to ex- 
cite their curiosity and inspire them with the love of 
knowledge. I spent considerable time in making 
choice selections from English literature, which I read 
to my XDupils, thus cultivating their literary tastes and 
filling their minds with noble thoughts and stimulat- 
ing imagery. It seemed to be an excellent method 
with pupils such as mine were. The circumstances 
were not very inspiring to my own mind, but my zeal 
for the enterprise called out my best efforts. The 
Saturday holiday was generally fully occupied in pre- 
paring for the Sabbath. Meanwhile we were busily 
planning for the completion of our building, for 
which we felt great need. This was accomx^lished in 
the early spring. One day I showed my wife a vacant 
house of hewn logs which occupied the very spot 
where now stands the principal building of Illinois 
College, and suggested to her that the serious incon- 
venience of our present narrow quarters and of living 
so far from my work might possibly be avoided by 
repairing the old house and making it our temporary 
home. The whole asj^ect of the f)lace was most re- 
pulsive, and I did not wonder that for the first time 
she met a suggestion of hardship with a burst of 
tears. But she soon recovered her composure and 
agreed with me that we should really be more com- 
fortable by making the change. We made such im- 
provements as were practicable, and about the middle 


of March began housekeeping on College Hill. Our 
home was very humble, but very happy, and neither 
of us have ever had an earthly home far from that 

In the same month of March the Presbytery of Illi- 
nois, then attached to the Synod of Missouri and in- 
cluding all the Presbyterians in Illinois, met at 
Si^ringfield. I could not leave my work, and Mr. 
Ellis suggested that I should send my letter and make 
application for admission. I doubted the proj^riety 
of becoming a minister of the Presbyterian Church 
without having given assent to the constitutional 
questions prescribed by that body to all her officials. 
My friends and associates whose theological views 
did not differ from my own felt no such difficulty. I 
must either enter by that door or quit the field and 
relinquish my enterprise. Finally their view pre- 
vailed with me. I sent my letter and became a 
Presbyterian minister. In May of the same year the 
General Assembly passed a regulation that ministers 
coming from Congregational bodies should in future 
assent to the constitutional questions. So quickly 
was the door closed by which I had entered. 

In our April vacation I visited my friend, Mr. 
Baldwin, at Vandalia, about eighty miles distant. 
Leaving Jacksonville after dinner on a little Canadian 
pony, I passed few human habitations until I reached 
a log cabin at the head of Apple Creek, twenty miles 
from home, where I spent the night. It was a ''hard 
place " then, but is now the flourishing and beautiful 
town of Waverly. The next morning a ride of twenty 
miles over an utterly uninhabited jorairie took me to 
the head of Macoupin Creek, where I paused to re- 


fresh myself and the pony. About twenty miles more 
over another perfectly wild i)rairie brought me to 
Hillsboro. In the middle of that plain a drenching 
shower accompanied by a high wind struck us directly 
in the face and my pony in spite of all my efforts turned 
his head away from the storm, and refused to proceed 
until the gale had subsided. At the close of the short 
temj)est I rode on to the house of Mr. John Tillson. 
He, with his beautiful and excellent wife, Christiana 
Tillson, have ever since held their places among my 
choicest friends. In that beautiful home the hum- 
blest missionary was sure to find himself surrounded 
by all that is charming in Christian civilization. Of- 
ten since then their walls have sheltered me and their 
greeting has cheered me. 

The next morning I pursued my journey twenty 
miles further to Vandalia, where nearly a week was 
spent with Mr. Baldwin discussing plans for the fu- 
ture. He was boarding in the hospitable family of 
Hon. James Hall, afterward a resident of Philadel- 
phia, and well known for his graceful and si^irited 
contributions to periodical literature. 

Returning, I generally followed my former route, 
but leaving Apple Creek cabin in the gray morning 
and following the directions of my host I swept away 
over the trackless prairie, around the head of Apple 
Creek and the Mauvaisterre and found no timber until 
I crossed the last named creek, a mile east of Jackson- 
ville. Far out upon the prairie that morning I dis- 
covered at no great distance a large brown wolf of the 
most dangerous character. He, however, made ofp 
without showing any disposition to attack me. Re- 


turning from such a journey I found my house of logs 
a very delightful home. 

In the summer term following, the school had so 
greatly increased in numbers and in the variety of 
studies pursued that I gladly accepted the offer of a 
young lawyer by the name of Stone, then spending 
the season at Jacksonville to assist me. He was an 
excellent scholar and an amiable and interesting asso- 

June came bright and joyous to all the world, and no- 
where more so than on College Hill. On the 7th a dar- 
ling boy came to our arms and hearts, but with him came 
great anxiety and apprehension. The season was ex- 
ceptionally stormy and the frequent showers were 
accomj)anied by high winds that drove the rain into 
the crevices between the logs, and drenched the interi- 
or until the water ran down upon the floor. My wife 
took cold, and had a feverish attack, followed by pro- 
tracted complications which rendered her illness long 
and critical. I was inexperienced in the care of the 
sick, and felt by no means competent to minister to 
the wants of my wife and child. Under those trying 
circumstances I know not M'liat we should have done 
had it not been for the kindly assistance of Mrs. Ed- 
wards, of whom I have i)reviously spoken, and Mrs. 
Lock wood, wife of the Hon. Samuel D. Lock wood of 
the Supreme Court of the state. A sister or a mother 
could not have been more sympathizing or assiduous. 
Through the watchful care of these friends, and the 
kindness of a gracious Providence, health came at last 
to mother and son and our home was again full of 



Justice and afPection demand that more should be 
said of Judge and Mrs. Lockwood. They came to 
make Jacksonville their home almost immediately 
after our arrival. It was through the kind offices of 
Judge Lockwood that the college obtained the beautiful 
site on which it now stands. He had contemplated 
building his own house on that spot, but made it a 
free gift to the college on condition that the institu- 
tion should be located there. His name deserves 
most honorable mention, and among the faithful, per- 
sistent, and efficient benefactors of Illinois College. 
He was one of the first to whom Mr. Ellis communi- 
cated his project for an institution of learning. 
When Mr. Ellis i^roposed to make a tour of observa- 
tion through the counties of Greene, Morgan and 
Sangamon, then lying on the northern frontier of the 
peox)led j)ortion of the state and beginning to be rap- 
idly occupied by settlers, Judge Lockwood proposed 
that his clerk, Thomas Lippincott, afterwards an 
efficient and beloved minister of the Gospel, should 
accompany him and furnished a horse and all the 
funds necessary for the expedition. This tour proved 
to be of great importance to our future. Many pat- 
riotic and Christian men became thereby acquainted 
with the project and greatly assisted the undertak- 

During the summer and autumn of 1830 much cor- 
respondence took place between the trustees already 
residing in Illinois and those who were still at New 
Haven, in relation to the selection of a president for 
the institution. In the autumn Kev. Edward Beecher, 
then pastor of Park Street church in Boston, was 
elected to, and accepted, that position. I already knew 


him well and had great confidence in him, and my 
heart rejoiced that the leading responsibility of the 
institution was soon to pass into the hands of a man 
so competent, so strong and so devoted. 



It was to be yet a year and a half before Mr. Beeclier 
would enter upon the work of in.struction. He, how- 
ever, visited us in December, I80O, for the purpose of 
becoming acquainted with the situation of the enter- 
prise and its needs, and to qualify himself to speak and 
act for it in the eastern and middle states. Almost 
immediately after his arrival he was summoned to 
Vandalia, where the legislature was in session and ef- 
forts were in progress to obtain a charter for Illinois 
College. The opportmiity of meeting the lawmakers 
of the state and learning their views in that early day 
was not lost, but after weeks of trial the bill was de- 
feated and the hope of obtaining a charter postponed 
to a time in the indefinite future. The prejudices 
that defeated it were so absurd that we can hardly 
realize the i^otent influence they then possessed. The 
most prominent argument was the alleged discovery 
that Presbyterians were planning to gain undue in- 
fluence in our politics, and were proposing to control 
the government of the state in the interest of Presby- 
terianism. There were only a few hundred Presby- 
terians at that time in the entire state. 

Mr. Beecher did not remain at Vandalia till the end 
of the conflict, but returned during the Christmas 
holidays to Jacksonville. Simultaneausly with the 
commencement of his journey occurred the historic 



"deep snow," and he found himself weather = bound at 
Hillsboro, but at the hospitable home of our dear 
friends Mr. and Mrs. Tillson. There he met Mr. 
Charles Holmes, a noble friend and benefactor of Ill- 
inois College. He was an unmarried brother of 
Mrs. Tillson, and resided at Quincy. He was very 
anxious to return home at once, by way of Jackson- 
ville, but such a journey now seemed impossible. 
Snow covered the entire country to the depth of at 
least three feet on the level. The storm ended in 
rain, which freezing as it fell formed a coat of ice not 
quite strong enough to bear a man's weight. On the 
top of this there fell a few inches of fine snow, as 
light as ashes. When the storm ceased and the bright 
sun beamed down upon the landscape a fierce north- 
west wind arose, and for weeks swept over the prai- 
ries, filling the air with drifting snow so blinding and 
choking in its effect that it seemed impossible for a 
man to make headway against it. It was not like a 
storm among the hills of New England, where the 
light snow is presently dejiosited beyond the reach of 
the wind. In this level country, with no forests and 
no fences, there were no sheltered spots, and the 
drifting continued till the surface was softened by 
the sun, or till the wind ceased. Both Mr. Beecher 
and Mr. Holmes were accustomed to the stern winters 
of Xew England. The former was reared on Litch- 
field Hill in my own native county. They were not 
very likely to be frightened by a snow storm. Mr. 
Holmes owned a powerful horse, and harnessing him 
to a temporary sleigh constructed by the joint inge- 
nuity of the two gentlemen, they undertook and 
accomplished the perilous task of crossing the forty= 


mile prairie tbroiigli that body of snow and in the 
face of the blizzard. 

On arriving Mr. Beecher found us contending with 
the effects of the storm upon our rude^ inadequate 
log house. The blast had forced the drifting snow 
through every crevice and rendered the house utterly 
untenantable. We were obliged to take shelter for 
the remainder of the winter in some of the new and 
imperfectly finished rooms of the college building. 
Mr. Beecher also occupied one of the rooms and 
remained with us till March, aiding in the work of 
instruction whenever his assistance was necessary. 
One whose life had been silent in southern New Eng- 
land can form little conception of such a winter. It 
was impossible to break out snow paths in the New 
England fashion. On driving a team through the 
snow the track behind it would be almost immediately 
obliterated by the wind. From College Hill to the 
village a path was at last obtained only by driving in 
the same track until the snow was rounded up like a 
turnpike. The newness of the country greatly 
increased the hardships of that winter. Our fuel was 
yet in the forest, and even much of our food supj)ly 
remained still in the fields covered by the deep snow. 
The j)opulation around us was almost wholly from 
the south and had no conception of such a winter. 
They were well nigh paralyzed by the task imposed 
upon them. 

No morning dawned upon us for many days when 
the thermometer registered less than twelve degrees 
below zero. For three weeks it scarcely thawed even 
on the sunny side of the house. The biting wind was 
incessant. Had our railroads then been in existence 


I fear they would have proved for the time useless 
The deep cuts would have filled with drifts, and even 
modern api3liances could hardly have kept them open. 
For nine weeks this snow covered the gTound for liun 
dreds of miles in every direction. What a welcome 
visitor was returning sj)ring. 

As soon as traveling became practicable Mr. 
Beecher returned to the East, taking with him Mr. 
Baldwin, for the i)urpose of raising as large a sum as 
possible for the college. For several years we were 
almost entirely dependent for our resources upon 
friends at a distance. The early settlers of this 
entire region were poor. Wealthy emigrants from the 
south crossed the " Free State," as Illinois was then 
somewhat contemptuously called, and located in Mis- 
souri where they could retain their human chattels. 
Those who had no slaves preferred to settle in Illi- 
nois where their labor would not be degraded by the 
companionshiiD of the enslaved negro. From these 
settlers little help could be exiDected in the erection 
and the equipment of a college. Furthermore, sectar- 
ian divisions would have been effectual in depriving 
us of helj) from our own community, had the people 
been far more wealthy. The Presbyterians, from 
whom alone we could exiDCct co=operation, were but 
a feeble band. The first of these obstacles time raj)- 
idly removed, but the second still hinders the union 
of the entire community in college building. 

Spring came, and with it a great sorrow. Our dar- 
ling boy suddenly sickened and died in our arms after 
an illness of but a few hours. Xothing remained for 
us but to tenderly bury his loved form in a grave sur- 
rounded by a little wooden enclosure on the lone 


prairie, and go on with our work. My wife's heart 
was almost broken. She never recovered the full 
buoyancy of her spirits, though several years of 
happy married life still remained to us. 

By this time we were beginning to feel the early 
vibrations of that religious earthquake which a few 
years later divided the Presbyterian Church into two 
rival bodies of nearly equal strength. That agitation 
from its commencement exerted a disastrous influ- 
ence upon our community. One of the principal 
causes of alienation was the rise and progress of the 
controversy about Taylorism, or the New Haven The- 
ology. The Presbyterian Church west and south, 
was composed of two classes of x^eople sej)arated by 
very marked characteristics. One class was of New 
England origin. It had been to a great extent 
brought into the Presbyterian Church under the plan 
of union between Congregationalists and Presbyter- 
ians, negotiated between the General Assembly and 
the General Association of Connecticut, near the be- 
ginning of the present century. The other class was 
largely of Scotch origin, and adhered very closely to 
the church of John Knox and the original from 
which it was copied, the church of John Calvin. 
These Presbyterians had never been in full sympathy 
with the "iDlan of union," and regarded religious 
ideas imported from New England with i^eculiar dis- 
trust. This suspicion had been greatly intensified by 
the controversy then in progress in New England. 
It was perceived that the newly awakened zeal of the 
East for home evangelization was rapidly swelling 
the numbers and increasing the influence of the New 
England party. Active efforts were made to arrest 


the progress of these ideas and to strengthen the 
bands of ecclesiasticism against their encroachment 
njjon tlie Church. 

The American Home Missionary Society, with 
headquarters in New York City, represented in a 
measure the movement from New England. The 
advocates of a stronger ecclesiasticism carried on 
their home missionary operations through the Assem- 
bly's Board of Missions which had its seat in Phila- 
delphia. These two missionary organizations, though 
both endorsed by the Presbyterian Church, w^ere soon 
brought into sharp rivalry. There is no doubt that 
the Assembly's board sharply watched those who 
were commissioned by the Home Missionary Society, 
and in certain instances made strenuous efforts to 
abridge their influence. Nor can it be denied that 
what was transpiring at Jacksonville was regarded 
with suspicion at Philadelphia. 

The brethren misjudged us. We were not propa- 
gandists of Taylorism or of anything else save the 
Gospel of Christ. We were not seeking to gain an 
influence in the Presbyterian Church. Our only pur- 
pose was to do an earnest and honest work in laying- 
foundations for the kingdom of God. Most of us had 
then no thought of ever organizing Congregational 
churches in Illinois. We had no fear that Presby- 
terians would oppose such plans as ours. On the 
contrary we took it for granted that we should have 
their sympathy and help. 

Rev. Wm. J. Frazer, who was sent from Philadel- 
phia to a pastorate near us, assumed the duty of 
watching us and counteracting our errors. He 
proved to be a very unscrupulous man, as was shown 


by his being, a few years later, deposed from the 
ministry. Is it not wonderful how great an influence 
for evil a coarse, bad man can exert, when he plays 
upon ecclesiastical passions and prejudices? We 
immediately felt a disturbing element in our com- 
munity. He influenced a few students, and induced 
them to bring evil reports against us and to misrep- 
resent our actions and teachings. All this was im- 
mediately reported at Philadelphia. There were in 
the state Presbyterian ministers, some of whom were 
men of influence and popular power, who encouraged 
him in his efforts to suppress " heresy." Party lines 
were drawn, and Jacksonville became the bone of 
contention. Our ecclesiastical jiosition became ex- 
ceedingly galling and uncomfortable, and our good 
work was sadly hindered. 

In the summer of 1831 I began to find relief from 
my troubles about iDreaching topical sermons without 
a manuscrii^t. That summer Mr. Ellis had obtained 
the assistance of some of the neighboring ministers 
in holding a few daily meetings. One afternoon he 
came to me saying that a sermon must be preached 
on a certain topic, and that the other clergymen con- 
curred in the request that I should deliver it. I 
earnestly begged to be excused. I could not bear to 
read the carefully written discourse I had on the sub- 
ject. Abstracts had invariably failed to help me. If 
I looked at my outline I lacked the sympathy of my 
audience, and soon became confused. If I kept my 
eye on my audience and neglected my abstract, I 
wandered from my subject. Finally I determined to 
try one more experiment. I prepared a brief abstract 
and left my manuscript at home. In that effort I 


somehow discovered the art of preaching from notes. 
To my great relief I found that I could construct an 
outline that would perfectly represent to my mind a 
topical sermon and guide me in its delivery. I after- 
wards found that I could by a little study recall the 
suggestions of an outline and preach from it sub- 
stantially the same sermon I had delivered 
months or even years before. From that time I 
think that my discourses from carefully prei^ared ab- 
stracts were more logical than those I had previously 
written. I once heard Dr. Samuel H. Cox speaking 
to the theological students at Andover, and answering 
the objection that unwritten sermons are apt to be 
verbose and illogical, exclaim with a most characteris- 
tic intonation: "The Lord deliver us from extem- 
poraneous written sermons ! " Amen ! 

After that, it was my rule to accept, unless j)re- 
vented by other engagements, all invitations to 
preach. My seemingly insurmountable problem was 
solved, and I have preached much without interfering 
in the least with my duties as an instructor. If I 
had plenty of time for preparation I improved it. If 
I had less it was still possible to make the most of it, 
and trusting to the stimulus of the truth, the 
l)resence of an audience and the promised help of the 
Holy Spirit, to preach as best I could. 

My enlargement as a preacher had, however, an- 
other cause which ought to be mentioned. During 
these years the method of my religious thinking was 
undergoing a very important change. At first I 
viewed religious questions chiefly from the theological 
standpoint. I was trying to j)reacli the theology 
learned at school. I soon began to see that the tech- 


nical dress of thought is not that which is best fitted 
to influence the majority of listeners. If we would 
convince the j)eoj)le we must present the truth not 
in the abstract, but in those concrete forms through 
which the intercourse of the world is chiefly carried 
on. I remember having said to my wife at dinner, 
in the early days of our married life, when she and I 
comfjosed the entire dinner party, '" One thing I am 
resolved to do in preaching, whatever else I may fail 
in; I will translate whatever religious ideas I possess 
from the technical terms of the schools into the pop- 
ular language of everyday life." 

During all these months, in spite of bitter and 
groundless attacks, the school made steady progress 
in the number and quality of its pupils. In our im- 
mediate vicinity the number who sympathized with 
Mr. Frazer constantly diminished. Our unaggressive 
efforts to found a college and to preach the simple 
gosj)el of repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus 
Christ, gave little advantage to our enemies where we 
were known. Of course we could not i^revent injury 
being done to the good cause by one who was cajja- 
ble of sowing the seeds of suspicion and distrust 
among those who were in a large measure ignorant of 
us and of our work. No doubt these misrepresenta- 
tions did considerable harm, and aided in driving the 
wedge that finally produced a division in the Presby- 
terian Church. 

It seems my duty to record another incident that 
strikingly illustrates the condition of ecclesiastical 
affairs around us, although I am not certain of the 
year of its occurrence. The anniversaries of certain 
religious societies in which Presbyterians co=operated 


. were held in Vandalia in December, and duriui^ the 
sessions of the Suiireme Court and the Legislature. 
Many leading ministers of this denomination partici- 
pated. On the occasion in question the delegates 
had been invited to a dinner jjarty just outside the 
city limits. While walking thither an able and re- 
spected defender of strict ecclesiasticism surprised 
me by saying in the hearing of others: " Brother 
Sturtevant, I have a ijroposition to make by which it 
seems to me we can all work together in harmony. 
It is that you and your friends should co=oj)erate with 
us through the Assembly's Board of Missions in 
drawing the pastors of our churches and our home 
missionaries as far as may be from the west and 
south, and in return, we will co-operate with your 
college." The x^roposition shocked me exceedingly. 
I felt it to be a personal insult to suppose me capable 
of entertaining it for a moment. I replied in sub- 
stance that if our college were good and worthy he 
could not afford to opj)ose it; if it were bad and un- 
worthy its character and influence would not be im- 
proved by the agreement which he proposed. Of 
course, the chasm between us was widened. Was it 
my fault? I knew not how to conciliate men who 
a.sked and expected me to act on such jirincixjles. 

Such experiences convinced me that the Presby- 
terian Church was then composed of incongruous and 
incomx^atible elements which could not co exist 
under such a constitution without unceasing strife. 
I found it impossible in the midst of such conflict- 
ing elements to live a life of tranquil consecration to 
my work. Our efforts to build up an institution of 
learning were greatly obstructed and embarrassed. I 


felt that freedom from my ecclesiastical connection 
would be far preferable to the relations in which we 
stood. My friends, Beecher and Baldwin, recognized 
with me the great disadvantages of onr position, but 
advised patient waiting for the relief that was sure to 
come in the disruption of the Presbyterian Church. 
Mr. Beecher once ventured the remark that we could 
construct from the fragment of the Presbyterian 
Church then known as " New Schoor' an ecclesiasti- 
cal system far better than either Presbyterianism or 
the Congregationalism of New England. I urged 
that no change in the organization of either branch 
was likely to follow their separation, as then each 
party would be more zealous than ever in its adher- 
ence to the old constitution, and since each wtnild be 
anxious to be considered the true Presbyterian 
Church. Perhaps no immediate deliverence from 
our troubles was at that time j)ossible. Being the 
youngest of our fraternity, I could only submit to the 
policy of bearing "the ills we have" in hope of 
providential deliverance in the near future. 

I cannot leave this painful subject without pointing 
out one disastrous result of these ecclesiastical and 
sectarian conflicts which continues to this day. 
Public opinion in this region was then almost unan- 
imous in favor of intrusting the higher education to 
institutions established and controlled by religious 
people, rather than to those founded and governed by 
the state, or by any other political body. In this 
respect, the principle upon which our institution was 
based met almost universal approbation. Had the 
Christian j)eople of Illinois then united to sustain it, 
or any other college established on like principles, 


they could easilj' have given it so much of strength 
and iDublic confidence that it would have been above 
the competition of all non Christian institutions. It 
was, then, these ecclesiastical and sectarian rivalries 
which prevented the religious part of the community 
from aquiring a controlling influence on the higher 
education. After a time intelligent and patriotic 
men, seeing the denominations entirely incapable of 
uniting for a great undertaking and even weakened 
by internal dissensions, began to despair of colleges 
founded on the voluntary principle, and to turn 
toward the state as the only hojDe for great and well= 
equipped seats of learning. We still look to our 
Christian colleges for an expression of those moral 
and religious convictions in which many churches 
agree. It is a great misfortune that an opportunity 
was lost and faith in the voluntary princij)le even 
temf)orarily weakened. It was these divisions, and 
not any defect in our religion, which left us like 
Samson shorn of his strength. 



The mission of Mr. Beecher and Mr. Baldwin to 
the east in the spring of 1831 for procuring an en- 
largement of the resources of the College was quite 
succesful. It is probably impossible to ascertain now 
how large an amount was actually brought into the 
college treasury. Large subscriptions were obtained 
that were to be paid in annual installments, but 
before the time for payment arrived commercial dis- 
aster overtook many of the subscribers, and our losses 
in consequence were large. The funds collected 
how^ever, seemed, to justify the trustees in reorgan- 
izing the institution in the spring of 1833 on a consid 
erably enlarged scale. The distinction between the 
college proper and the preparatory department was 
clearly defined. Four classes were formed, and as 
many departments of instruction were provided for. 
The department of Mental, Morafand Social Philoso- 
phy was assigned to President Beecher; that of Latin 
and Greek to Prof. Truman M. Post, now Rev. Dr. 
Post of St. Louis; that of Rhetoric and Oratory to 
Prof. Jonathan B. Turner; and the department of 
Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Astronomy to 

In the previous year a large building had been com- 
menced, 104 feet long, 40 feet wide, and four stories 
high, with a basement for a boarding establishment. 



It had also two wings, each two stories high, designed 
to be occupied by President Beecher and myself, 
with our families. The situation of the college, a 
full mile from the village, rendered these additional 
accommodations a necessity. Unfortunately the 
building was jpoorly planned and imperfectly built. 
Good material at that time was very scarce, and it 
would have been difficult for any one to build well. 
But I keenly felt that had I jpossessed more exper- 
ience it might have been somewhat better than it was. 
It was not an ornament to the beautiful site, a fact 
that occasioned much sorrow in after years. Every 
room was however speedily occupied. As many 
students as could be accommodated within a conven- 
ient distance apjolied for admi.ssion, but they were 
very diverse in their attainments and aims. Far less 
than half were fitted to enter any of the college classes 
The rest were provided for in the preparatory dej^art- 
ment, some ultimately to enter college, and others to 
pursue the various branches of a purely English 
education. One teacher was constantly engaged in 
this preparatory and miscellaneous department. The 
president and the professors also bestowed upon it, 
in addition to the onerous duties of their own depart- 
ments, much labor. 

The instructors were all religious men, and 
thus far all of New England birth and educa- 
tion. This would certainly have been inexpedient 
had it not been unavoidable. The case reminds 
me of a correspodence between the Rev John M. 
Peck, a distinguished and very able Baptist mission- 
ary in this state, and myself. Mr. Peck wrote sug- 
gesting the possibility of the Baptists endowing a 


department of instruction in the college, provided 
they could retain the right to designate the incum- 
bent. I replied, warmly approving of his proposition 
and added that if the imcumbent should be a western 
or a southern man it would be all the better. Mr. 
Peck thanked me for the fraternal spirit of my letter, 
but reminded me that, "the West and South produced 
the raw material, and were not yet manufacturing 
regions." That M^as exactly the condition of that 
part of the country, yet it annoyed many of the people 
around us that all the professors were " Yankees." 

It was deemed important by all the teachers, that 
some method should be devised whereby the Sabbath 
should be used by the students as a day of religious 
instruction and culture. The young men represented 
all classes, and various religious opinions, and we 
had no wish to introduce among them influences of a 
sectarian character. We earnestly desired to teach 
them the great universal truths of Christian faith and 
morality. I see nothing to regret but much to rejoice 
over, as I now review the position then assumed by 
the instructors in relation to the religious training of 
our students. The time will never come when 
teachers will not be under sacred obligations to pro- 
vide for the moral and religious training of their 
pupils. Religion and morality are and ever must be 
fundamental in the formation of character, and can- 
not be dispensed with in the formative period of life. 
The churches of the town were so remote that it 
seemed necessary to provide some religious instruction 
in our chapel on the Sabbath, but the college re- 
sources were inadequate to pay for the services of a 
special instructor. Therefore Mr. Beecher and I 


consented to preach alternately morning and afternoon 
each Sabbath, and for many successive years this 
arrangement was continued. It is delightful to 
remember that the fraternal co=operation of President 
Beecher and myself in that labor of love was never 
disturbed by the slightest jar. Great blessings came 
to the students through those services. Many were 
won to Christ and a religious life, not a few of whom 
devoted themselves in the various denominations to 
the Christian ministrj'. Those labors, though severe, 
were richly rewarded, for in sx^ite of conflict and con- 
fusion without, the college was a scene of tranquil, 
earnest religious life. 

The organization of the Congregational church in 
Jacksonville brought to me some perplexing jiroblems. 
As early as 1832 it became very apparent that I was 
not alone in my dissatisfaction with the Presbyterian 
Church in its then agitated condition. It seemed 
to lack the essentials of a spiritual home for persons 
of New England birth and training. Others beside 
myself were inclined to sus^Dect that the agitations 
were largely due to the constitution of that church, 
The controversy about the " New Haven theology '' 
had originated in New England, and might reasonably 
have been exj^ected to produce there its most disaster- 
ous results. Yet it had there expended its utmost 
force without manifesting any tendency to disrui)t 
religious society. But as soon as the agitation crcssed 
the Hudson and extended itself in the domain of the 
Presbyterian Church it began to threaten a great 
division. Immigrants from New England exi^ecting 
to unite promptly with the Presbyterian Church 
hesitated in the presence of so much strife. As I 


have already said, I came to this state with no definite 
opinions about church government, but the experience 
of the first three years had compelled me to reflect, 
with painful earnestness and deep solicitude, upon 
the foundations of the church. The more I thought 
upon the matter the more evident it seemed to me 
that the divided condition of our religious community 
was the result of man's assumption of authority over 
the Church, for which the New Testament gave no 
warrant whatsoever. At first I knew so little of the 
subject that I had no idea whither these principles 
might lead me. I was so strongly repelled by all rig- 
id and complicated systems of church government 
that I feared for a time lest my new convictions 
should ultimately exclude me from all existing forms 
of church organization. I was in a honor of great 
darkness lest my conscience should compel me to 
stand alone. But words cannot express my surprise 
and delight when farther study showed me that the 
simple forms which seemed to me wholly Scriptural 
and practical were really identical with those already 
described in the teachings of our Congregational 

It was natural that I should talk much on this sub- 
ject with intimate friends. I saw Mr. Baldwin only 
occasionally, and believe that at that time he regarded 
the matter as one of little practical importance. But 
in our daily intercourse Mr. Beecher and myself 
discussed all questions with the utmost freedom. He 
deemed the Congregational system of church govern- 
ment theoretically sound, but thought its introduction 
into the valley of the Mississippi at that time impract- 
icable and undesirable.- He told me that he had ex- 


pressed the opinion in New England that independ- 
ency of the local church was an element of the 
millennium, and that he regarded the time not yet 
ripe for its introduction among us. It would occasion 
a division in the already feeble ranks co operating 
with us which would leave him utterly discouraged 
about the work which he had undertaken. I keenly 
felt the force of his view. But neither of us could 
prevent the division which he deprecated. 

Some time during that winter Eliliu Wolcott and 
Dr. M. M. L. Reed requested a private interview with 
Mr. Beecher and myself, and we appointed an even- 
ing to receive them. Their object was to inform us 
that thirty or forty residents of the town had resolved 
to organize a Congregational church, and to invite us 
to unite in the organization. Mr. Beecher listened but 
uttered not a word of sympathy with Congregational- 
ism. He expressed his conviction that the attempt to 
establish a Congregational church in Jacksonville at 
that time would result only in weakness and disaster, 
and kindly entreated them to desist from their pur- 
pose. I assured the gentlemen of my growing attach- 
ment to the principles of Congregationalism, and my 
belief that the time for the organization of such a 
church in our town was not many years distant, yet I 
joined with Mr. Beecher in deprecating immediate 
action. It was obvious that a sanctuary in which all, 
whether of Presbyterian or Congregational affinities, 
might assemble for worship had become an urgent 
necessity to the Christian cause. Subscriptions were 
already in circulation to secure such a building, and 
a site had l)een selected. I earnestly urged them to 
remain with the Presbyterian church and assist in 


meeting this great present want of the community. 
I expressed the oi^inion that the rajDid growth of the 
church would soon justifj" the formation of a second 
church, which could be made Congregational, and 
that thus their purpose could be accomplished with- 
out serious loss to the Master's cause. I assured 
them that I would then unite with them in the 
organization. At the close of the interview they 
again assured us that their object had not been to 
consult us with reference to the propriety of the step 
they were about to take, but to invite us to go with 
them, and that the organization would none the less 
be effected without us. 

In reviewing the conversation of that evening in 
the light of the present, it seems to me very difficult 
to decide with certainty what really was the jDath of 
wisdom. It then seemed to me a duty to define the 
ground of principle on which I stood. I saw, or 
thought I saw, the necessity of introducing among 
the religious discords of that community the Congre- 
gational conception of the church. I hold now that 
the more intense sectarian divisions become, the 
greater the need of introducing that true element of 
order. My faith in "denominational comity in home 
missions " is not unlimited. Denominational rivalries 
sometimes reach a point where Congregationalism 
alone can afford even temxwrary relief. 

The fact that Jacksonville had more churches than 
were needed was no proof that a Congregational 
church was not an urgent necessity. It has seemed 
to me ever since that if all the New Haven Associa- 
tion could have been induced to retrace their steps 
and stand firmly on Congregational principles, the 


history of the college and of the great enterprise of 
evangelization with Mhich it was connected might 
have been more tranquil and more prosperous. But 
it is unlikely that any human influence could have 
united us in such a policy. Besides, we should have 
lost the countenance and support of the American 
Home Missionary Society, as such a step would have 
shocked and utterly alienated our New England 
friends and supporters. 

The leading minds in the New England churches at 
that time fully believed in the plan of union, and ac- 
cepted the fruits which it was i)roducing. They con- 
sented to the limitation of Congregationalism to New 
England, and surrendered with little regret the vast 
territory west and south of the Hudson to Presby- 
terianism. They would have rebuked our rashness 
and withdrawn their confidence. It still seems to me 
that if the brave band of laymen who formed the Con- 
gregational church at Jacksonville could have been 
induced to wait for a more propitious time it would 
have been better, but on that point I am not positive. 
Perhaps, since I could not re^jress my convictions or 
by any means avoid some obloquy from their expres- 
sion, it would have been better to have attached my- 
self at once to the unpopular cause. Let the right- 
eous judge. The wide divergence of opinion on this 
jjarticular subject never in the least disturbed the 
kindly intimacy between Mr. Beecher and myself. 
His position, however, gave great satisfaction to that 
party in the Presbyterian Church who had hitherto 
cooperated with us, while my own created a certain 
measure of suspicion and distrust. 

It would be difficult now for one not familiar with 


the details of the struggle to form any conception of 
the intense hostility by the New School party in the 
Presbyterian Church toward the spread of Congrega- 
tionalism west of the Hudson. They regarded New 
England immigration as the chief means by which 
their numbers and injfluence in the church were to be 
augmented and considered the organization of Con- 
gregational churches a violation of good faith. They 
held that the compact between the General Assembly 
of ihe Presbyterian Church and the General Associa- 
tion of Connecticut was a solemn league and covenant 
between competent powers, whereby New England 
was permanently guaranteed to Congregationalism, 
and the whole region west, "even to the going down 
of the sun," was consecrated to Presbyterianism. 
They failed to see that the subjection of Congrega- 
tional churches or individuals to such a compact made 
by others was a denial of the fundamental principle 
upon which Congregational church government is 
founded. Under these circumstances the position 
which I felt it my duty to assume was exceedingly 
uncomfortable and undesirable. 

Events shortly occurred which tended to confirm 
the Congregationalists in their course, and at the same 
time to enlist the public sympathy in behalf of the 
professors in Illinois College. Early in the year 
1833 Mr. Frazer manifested a determination to push 
matters to an extremity. He j)referred before the 
Presbytery charges of heresy againt President Beech- 
er. Rev. Wm. Kirby, then a teacher in Illinois Col- 
lege, and myself. In the early spring we were placed 
on trial before the Presbytery assembled at Jackson- 
ville. When a trial for heresy was added to all the 


other elements of unrest then existing among us, I 
felt that I was indeed navigating a stormy sea, but I 
did not fear the result. I felt assured that if Mr. 
Frazer should succeed in ejecting us from the Pres- 
byterian Church, New England would sustain us, and 
that our work would be helped rather than hindered 
by the change. But the trial itself was a great an- 
noyance to me. It shocked my tastes and humiliated 
and disgusted me. President Beecher was first ar- 
raigned. He listened to the charges, plead "Not 
guilty," and in a calm, scholarly, courteous and Chris- 
tian manner, offered his defense. 

As we were walking home together that evening, I 
told the president that his plea was excellent, but un- 
der the circumstances I should pursue a somewhat 
different course; that the community needed to dis- 
cover how bad a man our prosecutor was, and that I 
thought it right to induce him to show his real char- 

The next morning I was arraigned before the Ec- 
clesiastical Court; a "Court of Jesus Christ," as it 
was solemnly affirmed to be. I refused to admit that 
any human tribunal had a right to try me for my re- 
ligious opinions. I told them that the charge was 
two=fold, "that I held doctrines contrary to the stand- 
ards of the Presbyterian Church," and "doctrines 
contrary to the Word of God." To the former I de- 
clined to make any plea whatever. I acknowledged 
that I had never formed my opinions with reference 
to the standard of the Presbyterian Church, and that 
I never would. I stated that I had never given my 
assent to those standards, and that I did not intend 
to do so. Whether I was constitutionally a minister 


of the Presbyterian Church or not, I left it for thenl 
to decide, I myself having nothing to say on the sub- 

As to the charge that I taught doctrines contrary 
to the Word of God, I plead '' Not guilty," and pro- 
ceeded to defend myself, and did not hesitate to make 
my defense convey a pointed criticism upon the the- 
ology of my prosecutor, I did him no injustice, but 
before I had sx)oken long he broke out, as I expected 
he would, in a storm of angry passion which so re- 
vealed his own character and sx^irit as to render a 
long defense on my part unnecessary. 

Mr. Kirby followed briefly, and we then submitted 
our case. The Presbytery, by a large majority, voted 
us " Not guilty." 

From the known composition of that body we felt 
it could not have been otherwise. Our prosecutor 
immediately gave notice of an appeal to the Synod, 
which did not however meet till the following Octo- 
ber. When in due time this body assembled Mr. 
Beecher and myself were absent, both unfortunately 
having been detained because I was prostrated by an 
attack of intermittent fever while we were traveling 
l^y stage from Louisville to St. Louis. For reasons 
never explained to me the case was not prosecuted 
before the Synod. Had it been, it is x^robable the 
decision would have been against us, and that we 
should have been under the necessity of defending 
ourselves before the General Assembly. Though Mr. 
Frazer continued to enjoy the favor of his party for 
some time longer, he seemed after that trial to have 
lost his power to disturb and annoy Illinois College. 



Just at the close of the year 1832, the apartments 
in the new building which had been appropriated for 
the use of myself and family were finished, and M'e 
took possession. For nearly twenty years afterward 
they were our home — a home of many joys, and, alas! 
of some great sorrows. 

Early in the summer of 1833 Jacksonville was vis- 
ited by the cholera After the first fatal case the 
disease spread with alarming rapidity. In the twi- 
light of the same day on which we had heard that 
the terrible scourge had reached our town, my wife 
and I were returning from a ride, when we were in- 
formed that the family of Kev. J. M. Ellis had been 
attacked, that Mrs. Ellis was already dead and that 
the oldest child was in the final stage of the malady. 
The next morning we buried mother and son in the 
same grave, and within forty=eight hours the remain- 
ing child and a niece of Mrs. Ellis were also among 
the dead. It was many days before the sad intelli- 
gence reached the husband and father, who was in 
Indiana whither he was preparing to remove. 

Before this terrible calamity the school taught by 
Mrs. Ellis had given place to the female academy of 
which Miss Sarah Crocker was principal. We 
brought Miss Crocker, who had been with Mrs. Ellis 
and who was already suffering with alarming premon- 



itory synitoms, to our own house. By prompt medi- 
cal attention she escaped, and was soon afterward 
able to go to New England. For six weeks the pest- 
ilence raged around us. Most of those who could do 
so fled from the town, and in a few days not more 
than four or five hundred people remained. Of these 
more than one in every ten fell a victim to the 
disease. The Presbyterian pulpit was at that time sup- 
plied by Rev. Lucian Farnham, a young minister from 
Andover, who had joined the Association of Theologi- 
cal Students at New Haven and had come west with 
his wife, an esteemed acquaintance of Mrs. Sturtevant 
and myself. One of the last victims of the pestilence 
was Mrs. Farnham. President Beecher and myself 
performed the sad funeral services, and with our 
wives followed her remains to the grave. A few 
hours afterward both our wives were attacked. But 
the pestilence seemed to have sjpent its energy, and, 
though both were very ill they speedily recovered. 
It seems remarkable that, though prevailing around 
us on several occasions, cholera has never again been 
epidemic in Jacksonville. 

I must add one more sad incident to those already 
mentioned. Dr. Aldis S. Allen, and his estimable 
wife, Eliza Weeks, a native of Jamica, Long Island, 
arrived from Bridgeport, Conn, just at the outbreak 
of the disease. Dr. Allen was a Yale graduate of the 
class of 1827 and was known to President Beecher, 
James Berdan Esq. and myself, but he was stricken 
down with the epidemic before he had time to make 
his arrival known to any of us. Mr. Berdan and his 
friend and roommate, Pierre Irving, a nephew of 
Washington Irving, and since then his biographer, 

OTHER EVENTS IN 1833-34 103 

first discovered Dr. Allen and sent word of his alarm- 
ing condition to President Beeclier and myself. We 
found him in the collapsed stage of the disease and 
evidently near his end. In sj)ite of our best effoits 
he died in a few hours and was laid in the college 
burying ground. His bereaved wife remained with 
Mr. Beecher's family and mine until she could find 
an opportunity to return to her friends in the East. 
Her sister was the wife of Rev. John Blatchford, 
D. D., who soon afterward became well known here and 
who was subsequently pastor of the First Presbyter- 
ian Church of Chicago. Our long and haj)py 
acquaintance with the Blatchford family began with 
this sad incident. 

When the pestilence had passed and those of the 
community who had been returned to their usual 
vocations, President Beecher and myself visited Cin- 
cinnati for the purpose of attending a teachers' con- 
vention. By this time the facilities for travel were 
greatly imjDroved and we made the journey mostly by 
stage, taking the daily line from Jacksonville to St. 
Louis, and thence riding day and night across South- 
ern Illinois and Indiana, to Louisville. Thence we 
traveled by boat to Cincinnati. The week spent 
there in the hospitable family of Dr. Lyman Beecher 
was a wonderful rest after the cares, anxieties and 
sorrows of the j)revious months. 

The sessions of the convention were very interest- 
ing, and it was a great jileasure to exchange views 
with the noble men and women there assembled. 
Here I first became acquainted with Harriet Beecher 
who was then about twenty-one years of age. She 
was not beautiful, but possessed attractions with 


which no mere beauty could have invested her. She 
seemed quite unconscious of her rare gifts, yet her 
ordinary conversation sparkled with gems such as 
genius alone can produce. The impression I then 
formed of her dramatic power was scarcely exceeded 
by that which was afterwards produced upon me by 
her brilliant story, " Uncle Tom's Cabin." 

I could not then afford the long and expensive 
journej' to the home of my parents at Tallmadge, yet I 
have ever since regretted that limited resources and 
the demands of my work prevented me from doing so, 
for in the following November my dear mother died. 
It was during our stage ride home, that President 
Beecher and myself were detained by the attack of 
intermittent fever, mentioned elsewhere. We reached 
home just in time for Mr. Beecher's inauguration as 
president of the College, which was to us all a most 
joyful occasion. 

Very soon after this important event the Congrega- 
tional church of Jacksonville was organized. Its 
founders were moved in their action by a deliberate 
conviction of duty, and were influenced by such con- 
siderations as the followijig: 

They distrusted the Presbyterian Church be- 
cause of its distracted condition and suspected that its 
division were in part the result of its very constitu- 
tion. This suspicion might have been confirmed had 
they known the history of Presbyterianism, especial- 
ly in Scotland. It was also doubtless strengthened 
in their minds by the recent ecclesiastical trial. 

They felt, and I certainly concurred with them, 
that the sect system often placed Christian peoj)le in 
false and mischievous relations to each other. Seek- 

OTHER EVENTS IN 1S33-34 205 

ing a remedy for this intolerable evil, they found 
none save in such a constitution of the Church as 
would recognize no condition of Christian fellowship 
except Christian character. This led them logically 
and irresistibly to Congregationalism. Other organi- 
zations might welcome all without questions or 
pledges, but they exacted conformity to their view of 
an ordinance, or demanded from their teachers the 
acceptance of a formula of belief which was not from 
God. The constitution adoj)ted by the Church at its 
organization and still remaining in force contains 
these among other articles: — 

Article III. Candidates for admission to this church shall 
have liberty of conscience as to the mode and subjects of bap- 
tism, and no qualification shall be required as a condition of 
membership but credible evidence of Christian character. 

Article IV. This church regards divisions and contentions 
among professing Christians as unsanctioned by the Word of 
God, and injurious to the cause of true religion; and it enjoins 
upon all its members to watch against in themselves, and dis- 
countenance in others, all sectarian and party feelings and pre- 
judices, avoid as far as possible religious controversy, and en- 
deavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace with 
all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. 

Their organization did not mean to them the organ- 
ization of a new sect in Jacksonville, but the empha- 
tic assertion of a principle which carried out would 
put an end to our divisions. 

They probably saw with more or less distinctness 
another reason for their organization which had to me 
great force. It was the wrong of enforcing the ac- 
cei^tance of such a creed as that of the Presbyterian 
Church by ecclesiastical censures and penalties. If 
any one replies to this that the creed is imposed only 
" for substance of doctrine," I reply that the (qualify. 


ing phrase surely cannot make the act of subscription 
mean less than a declaration that the creed is an em- 
inently felicitous statement of Christian doctrine. 
How many of us are prepared to accept the standards 
even in that sense? 

Surrounded as we then were by sectarian controversy, 
it was most unfortunate that we should be required to 
defend not our real opinions but the " ipsissima 
verba " of standards which contained what we felt to 
be unfortunate statements of the truth. When our 
shrewd adversaries attacked the creed which we were 
supposed to have endorsed, we could not deny that 
we fully accepted it or use the better statements of 
later students without seeming to deserve the impu- 
tation of insincerity and double dealing. He who 
publicly commits himself to a form of words which 
he does not in his heart believe, wrongs himself and 
the community in which he seeks to exert an influence. 
History demonstrates the utter futilily of any attempt 
to hold men to a system of belief by requiring their 
assent to a verbal statement. Few errors can be more 
harmful than the insincerity involved in a solemn 
utterance made with a mental reservation. The liv- 
ing children of God will certainly in time outgrow 
the most careful statement, and your creed will re- 
main a monument to the vain effort of the past to im- 
pose its thinking upon the future. Our only guaran- 
tee for the permancy of our opinions is their truth. 

Providence gave me a much nearer relation to the 
organization of the Congregational church of Jack- 
sonville than I had intended to assume. Rev. Asa 
Turner, pastor of the newly organized Congregational 
church at Quincy, who had been relied upon to pre- 


side and preach the sermon on that occasion, sent 
word a few days before that he conld not be present. 
Rev. Wm. Carter, a licentiate and a member of our 
Yale Association who had just arrived from Connect- 
icut, consented to preach the sermon. The organiza- 
tion was to take i^lace on the Sabbath. On the 
Friday evening previous, as a last resort, application 
was made to me to take i^art in the service, and 
receive the members of the new organization into 
covenant relations as a church — a service which was 
regarded as belonging only to an ordained minister. 
Knowing the disfavor such an act would meet from 
those who had sent me to Illinois, and the displeas- 
ure it would cause in many whose sympathy and help 
the college sorely needed, I regarded the invitation 
as very unfortunate. I took twenty=four hours for 
consideration, and sought counsel of Him in whom 
alone I could hope to find wisdom. On Saturday 
evening I consented to comply with their request. 
The novelty of the occasion had drawn together a 
congregation that completely filled the Methodist 
Episcopal church, the largest house of worship in 
town, kindly loaned for the occasion. After an ex- 
cellent sermon I began the formal service of organi- 
zation by saying that some might think it strange 
that a minister of another denomination should offici- 
ate at the organization of a Congregational church. 
I stated that I had two reasons for doing so: — first, 
that it was my custom to unite with any Christian 
body in appropriate acts of worship, and I saw no 
reason why the present occasion should be an excep- 
tion; second, that I cordially apjjroved of the princi- 
ples of church government which these brethren were 


about to adopt. I thought it an excellent opportu- 
nity to declare my indejjendeuce and assert my con- 
victions, and though there were, as I foresaw, some 
painful consequences, I have never regretted it. 

At that time the church of Jacksonville had 
no nearer neighbors than eastern Ohio, except 
the four churches at Princeton, Mendon, Quincy, 
and Naperville, all but the first organized during the 

Nor had we then any reason to expect that other 
churches of this denomination would be soon orga- 
nized in that region. Those three churches were the 
first evidence of open revolt against the operation of 
the " Plan of Union." At the time of which I write 
most of the Congregational churches in New Jersey, 
north-eastern Pennsylvania, northern Ohio, and 
Long Island were under the guardianship of the 
General Assembly and were rajiidly becoming ab- 
sorbed in the Presbyterian body. Had not some 
stand been made against this movement Congrega- 
tionalism would soon have become extinct in all parts 
of the United States except New England. From 
the Congregational Year=Book of 1885, it ajjpears 
that there are in New England 1,481 Congregational 
churches, and west and south of the Hudson 2,602. 
Within fifty years a greater number of Congrega- 
tional churches have been established in the west 
and south than ever existed in New England. It 
should also be stated here, with emphasis, that the 
reason why our fathers had consented to limit Con- 
gregationalism to the East was the fact that they had 
lost sight of the fundamentally anti=sectarian princi- 
jDles of their system. They unwisely consented not 

OTHER EVENTS IN J 833-34 209 

to propagate it westward in order to restrict the num- 
ber of sects in that great region, when they should 
have remembered and enforced the broad scriptural 
rule of Christian fellowshiiJ wherever they establish 
their homes, and held it sacred as the only solvent by 
which all Christian sects can become one in Christ 
Jesus The Congregationalism of to-day is not half 
conscious of this, its only right to be. 

Until our denomination can become more fully 
aware of its mission its progress will be slow. Unless 
it adheres to its one great function; that of uniting 
men in the Gospel which teaches " repentance toward 
God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ," and puts 
no other yoke upon their necks; it will ultimately be 
absorbed into the great religious bodies bound to- 
gether by the strong but unscriptural bands of eccle- 
siastical authority. 

In the spring of 1 834 it was deemed expedient that 
I should go east, principally to look after the collec- 
tion of funds i^reviously subscribed. The journey 
afPorded my wife an opportunity to revisit the home 
of her youth, and allowed me to pursue some studies 
in my own department of instruction. On the way 
we were delayed over a Sabbath in St. Louis, where 
we were again the recix^ients of most delightful 
Christian hospitality. I preached twice in the First 
Presbyterian church, and once in the newly organized 
Second church, Rev. Edwin F. Hatfield, pastor, 
afterward the well known Dr. Hatfield of New York, 
long the genial Clerk of the General Assembly. 

Various events delayed our return till the follow- 
ing spring. The year had proved very valuable to 
me. It gave me opportunity for intercouse with 


many cultivated minds, and greatly broadened my 
mental vision No man can think safely unless he 
understands the thought of his day and generation. 
Although eastern people naturally cared little for 
events occurring at a place so remote and obscure as 
Jacksonville, I soon found that my action in helping 
to organize the Congregational church had not been 
overlooked by the Home Missionary Society. Call- 
ing early at the New York office, my heart full of joy 
in the hope of a pleasant interview with the officers, I 
received a very fraternal welcome from the secretary. 
Rev. Dr. Peters and his assistant, Eev. Chas. Fall. 
But the former soon began to call me to account for 
the countenance I had been giving to Congregational- 
ism in Illinois. I was astonished to find that neither 
a straight=forward narration of the circumstances, 
nor any other vindication I could offer availed to allay 
his displeasure. In the presence of one so much my 
superior in age and reputation I was overawed and 
silent as he proceeded to administer the rebuke which 
he deemed the case required. Deeply distressed and 
almost heart-broken, I left the office. It seemed to 
me that I must abandon my field of labor. At last, 
however, after days of mental darkness, wdiile sitting 
alone reviewing the whole subject and seeking de- 
voutly for wisdom from on high, I seemed to find 
relief when lifting my hand I brought it down with a 
forcible gesture, exclaiming, " I can not do other- 
wise, so help me God." I dismissed the painful con- 
versation from my mind and did not report it and it 
never troubled me again, and never disturbed my 
kindly relations with Mr. Peters. This was by no 
means the only incident in which I found that my 

OTHER EVENTS IN 1S33-34 211 

conduct in that matter was disapproved by men 
whom I honored and revered. 

After the meetin,<jj of the General Association of 
Connecticut that year, I had the good fortune to form 
the acquaintance ef Rev. Dr. Wisner, Secretary of 
the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign 
Missions, we having met in the stage and traveled 
together from Hartford to Boston. That was a day of 
delightful sunshine, not less within than without our 
conveyance. The overflow of his great soul in utter- 
ing high and noble Christian thoughts, his loving 
sym[)athy with all the wants of humanity, his keen 
appreciation of the beautiful in nature, and his bril- 
liant wit and sparkling humor, made the entire jour- 
ney a great delight. His life was to irradiate earth 
but for a brief space. Though already in the middle 
of life he died suddenly the next winter with scarlet 

I visited Amherst, Mass., during the following 
winter for the purpose of examining the new philo- 
sophical apparatus which the college had just le- 
ceived. When the stage sto^jped in the early morn- 
ing twilight at Hartford, Dr. Joel Hawes of the Center 
Church took his seat beside me, and I soon learned 
with great satisfaction that we had the same def-tina- 
tion. While a student in college I frequently heard 
him preach, and greatly admired his vigorous style. 
I had recently been strongly impressed by reading 
his tribute to the memory of the Pilgrims. My hope 
was that I should now obtain much light on that sub- 
ject. Leading the conversation in that direction, I 
soon succeeded in opening a fountain of delightful 
thought and feeling. He hardly knew the condition 


of the soil on which he was sowing broadcast wi ch a 
liberal hand. 

He greatly confirmed me that day in my determin- 
ation to adhere to the broad ijrinciples of Congrega- 
tional fellowship). At one i^oint in the conversation 
he exclaimed with a very significant and characteristic 
gesture, " I tell you, sir, there is no power in the 
Church of Christ but the power of truth and love." 
Tliose words I shall never forget. God grant that I 
and my children and my children's children may ad- 
here to them forever! 

At Amherst I met a most interesting literary circle. 
It included among others Professor, afterward Presi- 
dent Hitchcock, Prof. Snell, Miss Mary Lyon and 
her friend and associate, Miss Caldwell, since well 
known as Mrs. John P. Cowles of Ipswich, Mass. 
The ladies were at that time much absorbed in found- 
ing the Holyoke Seminary. Both of them were 
sprightly and vivacious conversationalists. Miss Lyon 
impressed me as a remarkable woman. She had 
thought on many subjects and on all of them her 
thinking was fresh and suggestive. She had, how- 
ever, one fault, shared almost equally with another 
woman for whom I had an equal admiration. Miss 
Catherine E. Beecher. This common fault was that 
in the earnestness with whicii they would pursue an 
argument when the conversation had become spirited 
and controversial, they led me to forget that I was 
conversing with a woman, and tempted me to forget 
that courtesy ever due to the sex. I have no know- 
ledge of having given ofPense to either, but I re- 
proached myself more than once on their account. 

Words cannot express the pleasure I experienced 

OTHER EVENTS IN 1833-34 • 213 

that season in the natural scenery of New England. 
Its hills and valleys, its clear brooks running over their 
pebbly bottoms, its bays and rivers, the magnificent 
prospect revealed on every hand by the inequalities of 
its surface, its villages lovely in their neatness even 
when architectural adornment was wanting, were in 
striking contrast with the monotonous levels, the tur- 
bid rivers, the muddy brooks and the unfinished towns 
of the region where I had spent the j)revious five 
years. Time and travel have taught me how to ap- 
preciate my Western home. Landscape gardening, 
especially the judicious use of trees, can make any 
country beautiful; and our prairie soil is unequalled 
for the growth of trees. Many of the most admired 
portions of England do not surpass our Illinois home 
in natural advantages. 

We returned to Jacksonville the following spring, 
thoroughly invigorated and much instructed and en- 
joyed with a keen relish our hearty welcome home. 



To those who have reflected little on the subject, it 
may seem strange that the "negro question" should 
bear any important relation to an enterprise that 
proposed only to preach the Gospel and to found 
a college in a state from which slavery was excluded 
and where very few colored i^eople were to be found. 
Its bearing on our enterprise would be obvious to any 
one familiar with the relation which negro slavery has 
sustained to American freedom and civilization. We 
could not possibly have escaped our share in the con- 
flict. Of all assaults upon our enterprise, the most 
unavoidable, the most violent, and the most jirotract- 
ed, concerned this subject. This was not because I 
and my associates gave ourselves at the beginning es- 
pecially to the cause of emancipation. We did, how- 
ever, recognize the obligation to face that and every 
other moral and social question, and to give our votes 
and personal influence on the side of truth and right- 
eousness. If the advocates and sui^porters of slavery 
had allowed us to do this we should have pursued our 
work without molestation or hindrance. This neither 
we nor any other friends of freedom were x^ermitted 
to do. Hence the force of the storm beat upon us 
just in proportion to the conspicuousness of our po- 
sition and the weight which men attached to our in- 
fluence. That a certain degree of animosity existed 



from the first between the peoi^le of the South and 
those of New England, admits of no denial. The 
root of this antipathy seems to extend back to the 
times of the conflicts between the Cavaliers and the 
Roundheads in old England. If, however, this an- 
tipathy had not been intensified by a difference in the 
institutions of these two portions of our country, it 
would have produced no serious consequences, and 
in the course of a few generations would have entirely 
disappeared. Unfortunately, the system of slavery 
which was early introduced in the South and, being 
favored by the climate and by the hereditary ideas of 
the peoi^le, rapidly extended itself there, while it 
gradually died out in New England, produced such a 
difference of institutions as would naturally perpetu- 
ate and increase the unfriendly feeling. 

The population of Illinois in 1880 was very largely 
of Southern origin, and its attitude towards this sub- 
ject was quite peculiar. Many Southern emigrants 
had chosen this state for a home because slavery was 
not tolerated here. They were jDoor and wished to 
find a spot where their labor would not be degraded 
by contact with the negro either in freedom or slav- 
ery. They wished to live in a free state, but were de- 
termined not to labor with emancipated negroes as 
their equals before the law. They hated the aristo- 
cratic slaveholders, the free negro, and above all j)er- 
sons who were susi^ected of favoring emancipation. 
Nowhere did the idea of freeing the slaves and per- 
mitting them to dwell as equals among the whites ex- 
cite more violent opposition than in southern Illinois. 

The existence of slave4iolding States on the south- 
ern and much of the western border, separated from 


US only by great rivers also greatly excited the pas* 
sions of the pro=slavery party. St Louis, then the 
only mart of extreme western commerce, was the 
intensely heated focus of hostility to Abolitionism. 
Every hint of a popular movement, every newspaper 
paragraph looking toward emancipation, aroused in- 
tense indignation and created strong suspicion against 
all believed to possess northern sympathies. It is not 
difficult to perceive that this wretched state of affairs 
greatly retarded educational progress in general and 
our college in particular. 

The beginning of the anti-slavery agitation as led 
by Mr. Garrison very nearly coincided in time with 
the beginning of our work in this state. From the 
first there was in our institution itself a tendency 
toward a manly denunciation of slavery. Among our 
students were a number of young men of marked tal- 
ent and promise from Bond County. Several came 
from Ripley, Ohio; a community whose earley anti= 
slavery history was exceptional. Others w'ere reared 
in eastern Tennessee within the limits appropriated 
to slavery, yet so isolated among the mountains that 
they never had become pro=slavery. It was certain 
therefore that strong utterances in behalf of emanci- 
pation would meet a hearty res^Donse in the college 
itself. All material necessary for the " irrepressible 
conflict " were present with us; intense opposition to 
slavery within the institution, and intense sympathy 
with it outside. 

No one could have had a greater love for equal 
rights than myself, for anti=slavery sentiments had 
come down to me from honored ancestors. But up to 
the period of which I am speaking my oj)inions on 


the subject differed little from those generally enter- 
tained in the northern states. I was opposed to 
slavery, but had not thought of an effort to abolish it 
in the United States as a XDractical undertaking. It 
seemed to me and to others around me an intolerable 
evil fastened upon us by our past history, but one 
which admitted of no immediate remedy. Our 
fathers had so framed the Constitution of the United 
States as to permit its continuance, and I found no 
provision granting the right to abolish it. As soon 
as Lloyd Garrison and his co^laborers began to de- 
nounce slavery as a sin against God which ought to 
be put away by instantaneous repentance I admitted 
its sinfulness, and as a patriot trembled in view of 
the righteous vengeance of God in consequence of it, 
but these denunciations seemed to me barren of any 
practical results. How could the nation be brought 
to repentance? The president and his cabinet could 
not abolish slavery. The courts had no power for its 
removal; Congress could not do it. The agitation 
which produced so much distress proposed nothing 

I by no means affirm that these agitators never pre- 
sented practical issues. In many cases they certainly 
did. When Wendell Phillips made his sj^eech in 
Faneuil Hall in defense of the individual rights of 
citizens which had been invaded in the person of Mr. 
Garrison, who had been led through the streets of 
Boston with a halter around his neck for no other 
offence than denouncing negro slavery, he spoke to a 
very practical issue, and the better class of peoj^le not 
only in Boston but throughout the North were in sym- 
pathy with him. But when anti^slavery orators de- 


nounced the Constitution of the United States as " a 
covenant with death and a league with hell," without 
suggesting any i^ractical steps towards its ammendment, 
that was unpractical declamation. True the Constitu- 
tion protected slavery; but it also i^rovided for its own 
amendment, and it was the function of a true reformer 
to point out how that very Constitution should be 
used in abolishing slavery and defending the rights of 
the negro. 

When those zealous orators defended the rights of 
fugitives from slavery and urged upon the citizens of 
the free North their obligation to protect and defend 
in every possible way these aspirants for freedom, all 
human enactments in the Constitution or outside of 
it to the contrary notwithstanding, they acted the part 
of true and practical reformers; for there are times 
when good citizenshij) has no higher expression than 
the loyal acceptance of a penalty for breaking a law 
which conscience forbids one to obey. But when, as 
was often the case, an orator addressing a northern 
audience expended his fiery eloquence in denouncing 
slavery as a sin against God and calling upon his 
hearers to put it away by immediate reioentance, he 
was as " one who beats the air." Such oratory tended 
rather to irritate than to convince men. This state- 
ment in part explains the attitude of many good men 
at the North toward the agitators of those years. They 
answered such utterances by saying " We are not 
guilty of the sin, and cannot put it away by repen- 
tance. We are no more responsible for it than for 
polygamy in Turkey. You should go south with 
your denunciation." True, those things could not 
have been said in those days at the South, but that 


was no reason why the righteous indignation of the 
abolitionists should exjjend itself upon those who 
were in no way responsible for the wrong. 

The true statesmen of the anti=slavery revolution 
were the men who thought out and advocated those 
practical lines of political action which were within 
the limits of the Constitution and commended them- 
selves to all thoughtful and candid men. When legit- 
imate and practicable modes of action against slavery 
were suggested they attracted immediate attention, 
and their supporters multiplied with great rapidity. 
When John Quincy Adams, " the Old Man eloquent," 
on the floor of the House of Representatives vindi- 
cated the right of petition as the inalienable jjosses- 
sion even of the meanest slave in the land, the nation 
listened with reverence and awe. To all righteous 
men his words were " as water to the thirsty soul." 

Let Mr. Garrison and his early associates have all 
the honor which their bravery and their self sacrific- 
ing devotion deserve; but the impartial future will 
hardly give them credit for that wise insight and 
sober thoughtf ulness which are essential to the great- 
est reformers. Those who stood aloof and regarded 
them with dread and aversion were not all poltroons 
and cowards. They were not imbeciles or bigots, for 
many of them would have rallied to the standard of 
emancipation sooner than they did had not wise and 
sober-minded leaders been wanting. 

One of the earliest converts to the intense aboli- 
tionism of Mr. Garrison was my long tried friend 
Elizur Wright. From tlie time of our graduation we 
maintained a very active correspondence, often writ- 
ing to each other weekly. This continued for five or 


six years, and I greatly enjoyed his racy and incisive 
letters. Our views often differed, but each tolerated 
the other's opinions and defended his own as well as 
he could. For instance, his position on the subject 
of total abstinence w^as much more extreme than my 
own. After a time, to my great delight, he was ap- 
pointed i^rofessor of Mathematics and Natural Phil- 
osophy in Western Reserve College, a position he 
was well qualified to fill. Before long, however, he 
with two other officers of that institution, President 
Chas. B. Storrs and Professor Beriah Green, became 
ultra abolitionists, and plunged with characteristic in- 
tensity into the controversies which were nowhere 
more intense than on " the Western Reserve " in 
Ohio. Disastrous convulsions in the college soon 
followed, and Professor Wright and Professor Green, 
who was also a very able man, resigned. Both of 
them were among the founders of the Anti=Slavery 
Society, and Mr. Wright vras one of its secretaries. 

President Storrs was as yet a young man, but he 
exceeded in effective eloquence most, if not all, of 
the public speakers I have heard. No man ever 
moved me so profoundly. The terrible energy of 
his mind and the passionate intensity of his soul 
stirred to its depths by a theme so absorbing and ter- 
rific, was too much for a feeble body. He was at- 
tacked with consumption, and died before he reached 
his prime. Up to the time of Mr. Wright's connec- 
tion with the an ti ^slavery agitation our correspond- 
ence had continued, and on my jjart was very highly 
valued. His letters, bristling with anti=slavery sen- 
timents, did not displease me though I freely criti- 
cised what seemed to me his untenable positions. At 


first he continued to reply, but soon bis letters 
ceased. While I have been writing these pages, the 
mournful intelligence of his death has reached me. 
I will utter no word of reproach against Elizur 
Wright. We loved each other, and he acted the part 
of a firm and faithful friend in many a scene of trial 
and sorrow. 

Since his death a writer signing himself " Temple- 
ton" has given a sketch of his life in the Boston 
Herald. He professes to have received his knowl- 
edge from Mr. Wright himself. He once mentions 
quite incidentally my own name, but in a spirit 
which I am reluctant to believe Mr. Wright would 
have sanctioned. Few events in my life have pained 
me more than this alienation from the friend of my 
early years, especially in view of the suspicion that 
its cause was his utter defection from the Christian 
faith, once as precious to him as to myself. " Temple- 
ton's" effort to make the impression that Mr. Wright 
was never in active sympathy with the Christian 
Church is unworthy of one who professes to be a 
friend of the truth. During the four years of our 
college life no student of Yale was more thoroughly 
identified with the Church than he. I have no spe- 
cial knowledge of the cause of his defection. To his 
own master he standeth or falleth. 

A trifling incident which occurred during the last 
months of my correspondence with Mr. Wright will 
illustrate to my readers the volcano over which we 
felt ourselves to be living. A neighbor asked me 
very seriously one day, " Do you keep any abolition 
documents in your house"? I thought of Mr. 
Wright's letters which I had carefully filed, and of 


other free utterances of my libertj'^loviiig friends, 
and answered that I certainly did. He very solemnly 
admonished me to burn all such dangerous docu- 
ments at once. I disregarded his advice, not because 
the possession of such a private correspondence 
really carried no danger with it, but because that 
peril seemed small among the many that sur- 
rounded us. 

Providentially, Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy became the 
prominent representative of abolitionism in that re- 
gion, because he was the editor of the St. Louis Ob- 
serv^er, in which anti-slavery sentiments were frankly 
expressed, not in the violent j)hraseology of Garrison 
and Phillips, but in mild, temperate, and gentle- 
manly language. We often entertained Mr. Lovejoy 
at our house. Bold and fearless, he was nevertheless 
an amiable, afPectionate, and lovable man. When 
driven by the mob from St. Louis he unwisely, as I 
thought, established his ipaper at Alton, only twenty- 
five miles distant by steamer. In and around Alton, 
in spite of the excellent character of that commu- 
nity, there was a rough and vicious element easily 
controlled by unscrupulous agitators, and certain to 
be influenced and, in a time of excitement, reinforced 
by the mob at St. Louis. My fears were soon real- 
ized, and Mr. Lovejoy's printing press was thrown 
into the river. 

This brought sharplj' before Mr. Lovejoy and his 
friends the question whether to retire to some safer 
place or to make a determined stand at Alton, and l)ring 
another press and defend it at all hazards. Just at 
this crisis, in Nov. 1837, the Presbyterian Synod of 
Illinois, with which body almost all the clerical ad- 


herents of Mr. Lovejoy were identified, met at 
Springfield. The most earnest of these were invited 
to meet one evening to discnss the sitnation. I was 
present at that meeting. The more moderate and 
cautious view of the situation had no advocate in tliat 
assembly but myself. I argued that the bringing 
of another anti slavery press to Alton would produce 
nothing but disaster. Experience had shown that 
the press could not be defended in that community. 
I advised them to retire from the field, after making 
a solemn protest against the violence which had been 
there done to the cause of freedom rather than to ex- 
pose life and property to farther violence. One speaker 
replying to my argument said with a tone of ineffable 
coutemj)t: " Slavery is like an old lion that has lost 
both teeth and claws, and can only growl." Of 
course my position was not popular. I went too far 
against slavery to win the favor of its advocates, and 
not far enough to gain the approbation of its as- 

An anti-slavery convention was to be held at Alton 
the next week after the meeting of the Synod. All 
Mr. Lovejoy's friends were urged to be present, and 
President Beecher had resolved to attend. I was 
strongly inclined to go, and should have been jDres- 
ent but for two reasons It was inconvenient for two 
members of the college faculty to be absent at the 
same time, and I had jiromised to j)erform a mar- 
riage and could not well break the engagement. 

President Beecher has himself given a graphic ac- 
count of that convention in his " Alton Riots." In 
the sessions of that body he was a prominent figure, 
and perhaps more than any other individual was held 


responsible by the public for its action. After the 
adjournment of the convention, while the public 
mind at Alton and St. Louis was still quivering with 
excitement, it became known that the new press was 
hourly expected. Mr. Beecher lingered a little to 
await the result. The press arrived by boat in the 
night, and Mr. Lovejoy and President Beecher went 
at once to the landing, saw the press stored in the 
warehouse, and stood guard till morning. At day- 
light the president took the stage for Jacksonville. 
The night following, abundant symptoms of danger 
being apparent, Mr. Lovejoy and a number of his 
friends armed themselves and repaired to the ware- 
house to defend their property. I need not relate the 
rest of the sad story. Before morning Mr. Lovejoy 
was shot by the mob and instantly killed while vainly 
attempting to defend his press from destruction. 

If Mr. Lovejoy *s friends were right in advising him 
to imperil his precious life in defense of that press, 
did not consistency demand that another press should 
be procured and yet more desperately defended? If 
I was cowardly to advise before Lovejoy 's death the 
abandonment of a paper at Alton was it not also cow- 
ardly to al^andon the Alton Bluff after the noble man 
had there made a martyr of himself? I have never 
been ashamed of the counsel given at Springfield. 

The events just recorded placed Mr. Beecher and 
his immediate friends at Jacksonville in imminent 
jDeril. Our friends far and near were greatly alarmed. 
There was evident danger that a ferocious mob would 
make an immediate attack u]X)n the head of the institu- 
tion and upon the college buildinsg. For me and the 
other instructors only one course of action was now 


possible. Though President Beecher was the imme- 
diate object of hostility, all of us were threatened, 
and the very existence of the college was endangered. 
It was no time to discuss the action of the conven- 
tion, the death of Mr. Lovejoy or the expediency of 
Mr. Beechers course. He had committed no crime, 
and had only advocated the freedom of the press and 
exercised the right of free speech which belongs to 
every citizen of a free country. It was our duty to 
stand by him at whatever hazard. In this we were 
unanimous. Threats were abundant but no actual 
violence was attempted, and the excitement gradually 
subsided. But it left in many minds a feeling of 
intense hatred, not only toward Mr. Beecher but 
toward us all. And it should be borne in mind that 
these hostile feelings were not confined to such per- 
sons as generally composed the mob, but affected 
many individuals of wealth and social standing and 
even of religious reputation. 

This feverish state of the community was a great 
obstacle in the way of the college. It greatly limited 
the number of our students. The secular newspapers 
of St. Louis were widely circulated in all the south- 
ern portion of Illinois, and were intensely hostile in 
their utterances concerning us. The prejudices thus 
excited could not be argued away, though in the prog- 
ress of a generation they have been lived down. For 
many years we were constantly exposed to annoyances 
in the immediate vicinity of the institution. 

As has already been intimated, there was much 
anti= slavery sentiment among the more thoughtful 
and earnest of our students. At our public exhibi- 
tions, which occurred two or three times a year, the 


young men were often disiDosed to give free utterance 
to their convictions on such subjects, and neither our 
tastes nor our principles permitted us to repress them 
by any stringent restrictions. On the other hand 
these exhibitions were generally supervised by certain 
men of ruffianly habits and pro^slavery prejudices 
who wished to act as the self^constituted guardians 
of the moral and social proprieties of the occasion. 
The consequence was that the trustees of churches 
not otherwise unfriendly were reluctant to grant the 
use of their places of worship for our exercises, lest 
these gentlemen might express their feelings in such 
a way as to injure the buildings. The history of our 
town in those years is a sad story. " My soul hath it 
in remembrance and is humbled." 

Jacksonville was not worse in that respect than 
most towns in that region. It might have been bet- 
ter. In some towns a different state of things pre- 
vailed. Quincy was not better off in respect to the 
character of the i^opulation in and around it than 
most of its neighbors, but it possessed a band of reso- 
lute, patriotic men who from a very early period 
defended the right of free speech. When a pro= 
slavery mob drove Dr. David Nelson from eastern 
Missouri and j)ursued him to Quincy with the intent 
of wreaking their vengeance on him there, those noble 
men successfully defended him. Some of them were 
abolitionists, but some were simply good men and 
good citizens. John Wood, afterwards governor of 
the state; Joseph T. Holmes, then engaged in secular 
business in Quincy but subsequently a highlydion- 
ored Congregational minister ot Griggsville, Willard 
Keyes and others who stood with them, deserve to be 


held in everlasting remembrance. Similar things 
might have been done in other towns had such men 
been there to do them. 

I select one out of many incidents which might il- 
lustrate our unhappy condition in those years. 
About the year 1834 a family of wealth, historic rep- 
utation and high social position immigrated to this 
state from Kentucky, and selected Jacksonville as 
their home. They brought here two of their slaves, 
a man and his sister, under a contract that they should 
be free at a certain age, perhaps it was twenty=five. 
After a time these colored people were told that they 
were already free according to law as their master had 
brought them into a free state. Seeking legal advice 
they were told that such was really the fact and were 
urged to take immediate steps to i^rocure the recogni- 
tion of their rights. In order to do this they were ad- 
vised to withdraw from their master and mistress 
without permission and to take charge of their own 
affairs, and in accordance with the counsel of their 
attorney they left home. Soon afterwards the man 
was seized by four armed men while engaged in cut- 
ting wood near the house of a negro family with whom 
he boarded, who gagged him, tied his hands Ijehind 
him and hurried him through the streets to the house 
of his late master. There he was forced into a car- 
riage, driven to Naples on the Illinois river whence he 
was shipped on a steamboat bound southward, and 
thereafter all trace of him was lost. The whole pro- 
ceeding was without the slightest pretence of legal 
formality. A bill of indictment for kidnapping was 
found against the leader of this gang, and nothing 
could be more obvious than his guilt under the laws 


of the state. The trial was held in Jacksonville under 
all the recognized forms of law, but resulted in a ver- 
dict of acquittal. 

" Then I, and you, and all of us, fell down, 
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us." 

The shock to the whole community occasioned by 
this outrage is beyond description. Its immediate ef- 
fect was a horror so great as to produce paralysis. 
The very life blood of society seemed to pause. All 
readers of Uncle Tom's Cabin must have noticed the 
power with which at several points Mrs. Stowe de- 
picts the tendency of hopeless oppression to produce 
atheism in the public mind. When after the terrible 
whipping on Simon Legree's plantation Uncle Tom 
spoke to Cassy of his faith in God, she quickly 
replied: "There's no God here." The effect of that 
outrage on the people of Jacksonville and its vicinity 
was a striking illustration of the same tendency. EfPort 
to resist the tyranny that was over us seemed utterly 

If the hearts of men had expressed themselves in 
words they would have said in relation to slavery: 
"God no longer governs; Satan is enthroned." This 
utter paralysis did not, however, long continue. When 
the immediate shock was over and men had time to 
reflect, anti=slavery sentiment was greatly strength- 
ened and the conviction that slavery must be over- 
thrown began steadily to win converts on all sides. 
Nothing else in our local history did so much to 
weaken the i^ro^slavery party. The leaders in this 
transaction were the men who had held the bludgeon 
of slavery over us for many years. Aside from their 
political sentiments they were men of respectable 


standing in the community, but as a result of this 
kidnapijing they and all others in sympathy with them 
or who in any way sustained the outrage suffered 
permanent loss of influence. I ought also to say that 
great efforts were made to obtain possession of the 
girl who was claimed for slavery, but she fell into the 
hands of friends who bravely, skilfully and success- 
fully i^rotected her. She was soon taken into the 
family of Elihu Wolcott, who already occupied a 
leading position among the abolitionists of Jackson- 
ville and of the whole state. He brought suit for her 
freedom and finally obtained for her free papers under 
the seal of the supreme court of the state. In her 
case the law was vindicated. It would have been 
equally so in the case of her brother, had he not been 
robbed of his liberty by that deed of open violence. 

The events just related occurred in 1838. From 
that time onward there was in our community a slow 
but steady progress of the anti=slavery sentiment. 
The number those who openly entertained it increased, 
and the asperity with which they had been regarded 
sensibly diminished from year to year. The obstaclt s 
which our college had experienced from that source 
were no longer of any serious magnitude. 

To the small though steadily growing Congrega- 
tional church, organized as we have seen amid so 
much obloquy, the credit of the steady x^rogress of 
anti=slavery sentiment must in no small degree be at- 
tributed. To it the i^ersecuted slave woman just 
spoken of owed her safety and ultimate deliverance. 
In it the negro, however persecuted and despised 
elsewhere, was recognized and treated as a brother. 
From its very organization it was known as the "Abo- 


lition Church," and those not willing to extend Chris- 
tian fellowship to all of God's children, whether white 
or black, rich or poor, would not seek membership 
there. It has always stood forth in bold relief as the 
representative of freedom, intellectual, personal and 
ecclesiastical. This spirit has not greatly promoted 
its growth in members and wealth, but has made it a 
power for good wherever its influence has been felt. 



The period extending from the early settlement of 
Chicago, about 1831-1837, was marked by great pros- 
perity in the states of Illinois and Missouri. Previ- 
ous to this immigration was mostly from the south 
and the southeast, the settlers coming across the 
country in emigrant wagons, or reaching their desti- 
nation by way of the great rivers. With the founding 
of Chicago a great immigration began to flow from 
the east and northeast by way of the lakes. In 1831 
northern Illinois was almost an unbroken wilderness 
excepting the small settlements which had gathered 
around the rich lead mines in its north=^western 
corner. A wonderful change now took place. A 
remarkably enterj^rising and intelligent population 
poured through the northern gate and quickly over- 
flowed the prairies, till the streams of immigration 
from the north and the south met far to the north of 
Jacksonville. Central Illinois was also gaining rap- 
idly in wealth and population. Agriculture was 
greatly extended, flourishing towns and cities were 
multiplied, and the eager immigrant saw nothing 
b3fore him but a prospect of unlimited wealth and 

To those intrusted with the management of Illinois 
College this seemed a favorable time for establishing 
it on a firm foundation by an ample endowment. In 



those days a great many citizens of the state already 
in their own estimation and that of their friends, 
possessed great and rapidly increasing fortunes. At 
first the college was practically without competition. 
The broad field from the Ohio to Chicago and Galena 
was all its own, and the outlook was certainly very 
encouraging. President Beecher was in great measure 
released from his duties as instructor that he might 
devote himself to the work of endowment. For some 
time the success of the undertaking equaled our most 
sanguine expectations. Large pledges were cheer- 
fully made with cheering assurances that the college 
should never lack funds. In a few months subscrip- 
tions deemed good for the amount of 175.000, had 
been obtained. As it was also a time of great finan- 
cial i^rosperity in the east, President Beecher 
extended his efforts there, and we were soon led to 
the comforting conclusion that financially the future 
of the college was secure. 

These cheerful prospects affected the financial 
management of the institution. Larger expenses 
were incurred and arrangements were made for the 
future in accordance with our promised increase of 
income. I did not deem the plans of the trustees 
extravagant or unwise in view of our large exjjecta- 
tions. Their only mistake lay in the fact that, in 
common with the entire community, they assumed 
that the apparent wealth upon which their subscrip- 
tions depended for their value was a jDermanent 
reality. It soon became apparent that in this as- 
sumption not only the West, but the whole country, 
was under a fatal delusion. 

The present generation can scarcely conceive how 


great that delusion was. Every village with the 
smallest prosiject of growth, and even some uninhab- 
ited spots in the wilderness, had a large area staked 
off into towndots and platted in a highly ornamented 
style for the information of j)urchasers. And those 
lots were actually sold at stiff city prices. The larger 
towns were already great cities on i^aper. Alton, with 
a population of four or five thousand, had staked off 
all the sorrounding bluffs. A short time before his 
death Mr. Lovejoy had predicted in the Alton 01)- 
eerver, that in ten years the city would contain 50,000 
inhabitants. From Peru to Ottawa, about sixteen 
miles, the whole Illinois bottom and even the top of 
Buffalo Rock was platted for a continuous city. Even 
in Jacksonville, then containing a population of not 
more than twelve hundred, speculation was so active 
that a man could hardly keep pace with the real 
estate transfers in the vicinity of his own dwelling. 
The sale of these western " city lots " was not confined 
to the western market. Land titles came gradually 
to form a part of the circulating medium in New 
York, Boston and Philadelx)hia. 

The year 1837 brought an unprecedented financial 
crisis, and the delusion vanished like a dream. The 
inevitable pay day had come. Every creditor de- 
manded payment, and few debtors had anything 
wherewith to pay. In a few months almost all the 
banks from the Mississippi to the Atlantic suspended 
specie payment. Unoccupied city lots were no 
longer assets, for they could no more be sold than a 
milliner's stock when it is years behind the fashion. 
Men who a few months previous believed themselves 
to be worth hundreds of thousands, now found them- 


selves hopelessly bankrupt. Perhaps so great a collapse 
was never before experienced in the financial world 
as that which occurred in the states of Illinois and 
Missouri. In these states the crash affected not only 
city property, but immense tracts of government 
land which had been entered on speculation, and in 
which millions of dollars had been invested. For a 
period of ten years these lands found few buyers. 
Many despaired of ever again finding a market for 
them, and thousands of acres were sold under the 
hammer for the payment of taxes. 

The reader does not need to be informed what 
under the circumstances became of the magnificent 
subscriptions to Illinois College. Most of them 
proved utterly worthless. Little either of principal 
or interest was ever paid, and we were confronted 
with an almost overwhelming disappointment. The 
college found itself with increased debts and expend- 
itures surrounded by a disheartened and poverty^ 
stricken community. In the older portions of the 
country where capital is abundant and exists in stable 
forms the recovery from such a collapse is often 
rapid, but in our region there was little real capital. 
Our supposed wealth had no solid basis. It was a 
creature of the imagination; a palace in the clouds. 
Under such circumstances the progress toward recov- 
ery was very slow. From 1837 to 1847 it was scarcely 
perceptible. Unoccupied town lots, and to a consid- 
erable extent unimproved lands, were not projjerty in 
its true sense. They produced nothing but taxes. 
This was the darkest period in the history of Illinois 
College. To conduct it safely through that trial was 


the most difficult task its trustees and faculty ever 

A new obstacle to the j)rogress of collegiate educa- 
tion in this state had grown up during the last years 
of our supposed prosj)erity, in the excessive multipli- 
cation of institutions of learning. A mania for col- 
lege building, which was the combiijed result of the 
prevalent speculation in land and the zeal for denom- 
inational aggrandizement had spread all over the 
state. It was generally believed that one of the 
surest ways to promote the growth of a young city 
was to make it the seat of a college. It was easy to 
approj)riate some of the best lots in a new town site 
to the university, to ornament the plat with an ele- 
gant picture of the buildings " soon to be erected," 
and to induce the ambitious leaders of some religious 
body eager to have a college of its own, to accept a 
land grant, adopt the institution, and pledge to it the 
resources of their denomination. These arrange- 
ments were entered into righteously, inconsiderately 
and ignorantly. The righteousness was largely on 
the side of the land speculator, the religious men en- 
gaged in the enterprise having little conception 
of the resources necessary to found a college worthy 
of the name, or of the broad co=operation indispen- 
sable to its success. They had neglected to count 
the cost. 

It has already been stated that our first application 
for a charter was defeated. In 1835, the legislature 
passed a bill chartering four colleges, of which ours 
was one. This bill, though in other respects satis- 
factory, contained two illiberal limitations, one for- 


bidding the corporations to hold more than 620 acres 
of land each, the other prohibiting the organization 
of theological departments. Both these restrictions 
were subsequently repealed. After the passage of 
this act similar charters became very abundant. 

This multiplication of colleges was exceedingly 
disastrous to the interests of liberal education. 
Every denomination must have its own institution. 
The small sums of money which could be gathered in 
a new community for educational purposes and the 
very limited number of students prepared to pursue 
the higher branches were distributed among so many 
so=called colleges that it was impossible for any to 
attain a position worthy of the name. The far=seeing 
friends of learning became discouraged in attempting 
to found institutions in communities so divided. If 
any fundamental principles have been established by 
the history of democratic institutions, one of them is, 
that it is better to rely on voluntary action than on 
state intervention, whenever the former is adequate 
to the attainment of the end. The history and the 
present condition of Harvard, Yale, Williams, Am- 
herst and many other seats of learning both in New 
England and out of it, afPord the most complete dem- 
onstration that the voluntary principle will accom- 
plish far better results than can be attained by insti- 
tutions under political control, and limited in their 
religious teachings, as such schools must always be. 
In the valley of the Mississippi we have failed to at- 
tain equal success because of our denominational divis- 
ions, and have thus unwittingly consented to divorce 
the higher education from religion. We wisely sep- 
arate the Church from the State, and then foolishly 


give over into the hands of the latter the control of 
our institutions of learning. This is one of the most 
bitter fruits of our sectarian divisions — a result whose 
final consequences no man can foresee. 

We never sought for Illinois College any ecclesias- 
tical control, and would never have submitted to it. 
We always desired to place it in the hands of patri- 
otic, religious men, that it might be managed not for 
a sect in the Church or a party in the State, but to 
qualify young men for the intelligent and efficient 
service of God both in the Church and the State. It 
was never intended to be a Presbyterian or a Congre- 
gational institution, but a Christian institution 
sacredly devoted to the interests of the Christian 
faith, universal freedom and social order. W^ould 
that the Christian people of the state could have 
united with us in giving it such a character and such 
a far reaching influence that no institution founded 
by the state could have equalled it in strength and 

If any one asks why I did not resign my position 
when obstacles were so multiplied around us, I an- 
swer, it was because I had an abiding conviction that 
an institution such as we were seeking to establish 
was a jjermanent necessity in the center of this great 
and wealthy state, and I believed that in some way 
and at some time the means would be found whereby 
our conception could be realized. It seemed wrong 
to abandon the field and sacrifice results already 
achieved. I thank God that He has given me some 
tenacity of purpose. It has always been very hard 
for me to abandon an enterprise which I have delib- 
erately undertaken. 


Under the long continuance of these depressing 
circumstances we were compelled to ask help from 
our eastern friends. The work of solicitation fell 
chiefly upon Mr. Beecher, though it was to him a 
great and oppressive burden, It exhausted his vital 
energies in a kind of labor which under the most fav- 
orable conditions would have been distasteful to him, 
but which at that time was encompassed with spec- 
ial difficulties and embarrassments. It diverted him 
from the sphere of instruction in which he delighted, 
and almost excluded him from those literary and 
theological pursuits to which he was intensely de- 

To myself this was a time of abiding quietly at 
home and patiently enduring hard labor performed 
under little stimulus of hope. Still I was not un- 
happy. I loved to teach, and was fond of my depart- 
ment of instruction. I met my classes from day to 
day with the enthusiasm of one full of his theme, and 
was able to inspire the enthusiasm of my pupils. No 
man need ask a happier home than I had, though 
the ^^ res angusfce do))nis^'' were sometimes incon- 
venient, and I suspect more inconvenient to my wife 
than to myself. But she bore the inconvenience 
bravely and with a cheerful buoyant spirit. We 
were happy in each other and happy in our growing 
family of children. My reputation, and for the most 
part my influence, were confined within a compara- 
tively limited circle. That did not trouble me. I 
was not as yet, certainly, ambitious of a wide rei^uta- 



Before the summer of 1839 we had no reason to 
complain that the climate of Jacksonville was insalu- 
brious. Malarial fever in those days had not been 
supi^oscd to be prevalent in our region, although I 
had one sharp attack and a few other cases had oc- 
curred. My health had been better than I had ever 
expected to enjoy, and my endurance in the line of 
my pursuits was greater than that of most men, al- 
though I was still of feeble muscle. In August, 
1839, my wife was seized with this terrible fever. 
The attack was severe, and in accordance with the 
custom of the time powerful remedies were freely 
employed. After long and watchful nursing the 
fever was arrested, but complete recovery did not 
follow. When at last she was able to resume her ac- 
customed place in our home she continued to be very 
feeble. I was anxious, but the physician spoke of 
no danger. Immediatly after our cheerful Christmas 
dinner I was obliged to leave for Springfield on im- 
jjortant college business. 

On New Year's day I received intelligence that she 
was worse, and hastened home as sj^eedily as i3os- 
sible. I found her still able to sit up, but her 
deathly joallor and exhausting cough alarmed me. 
Her physician gave me little encouragement. On 
the 29th of January another son was born to us, des- 



tined however to follow his mother to the silent 
grave when only six months old. Hope for the 
mother flashed across my mind, but it was only a 
dream. In a very few days, on the 12th of February, 
while a bright sun was shining, she called for a cup 
of tea, and observing the joy I manifested at her 
being able to swallow, she said with a glow of affec- 
tion as bright as that of the days of our earliest love: 
" I thought it would comfort him." A few moments 
afterwards her lovely features passed into the rigidity 
of death, and I saw my Elizabeth no more. In 
dreams I have often seen her since, and once in \}^v- 
ticular, in aspect so radiant that I cannot forbear 
relating the incident. 

More than forty=one years after her death I had 
been a little ill, but had so far recovered that I had 
preached that evening, and without unusual fatigue 
had retired to rest. In my dreams Elizabeth stood 
before me with a countenance of ineffable brightness 
and glory, unearthly in her beauty, yet her identity 
was as perfect as when we dwelt together in the 
flesh. She called to me, and then said distinctly: 
" I never loved you so much before." She then ap- 
proached and embraced me. I tried to answer, but 
in the intensity of my effort I awoke and the bright 
vision had vanished. I found myself in a state of 
most intense excitement, and a trembling had seized 
my whole body. It was several minutes before I re- 
covered my comiaosure. I build no theory on all 
this, for it was but a dream and as a dream I let it 
i^ass, yet it made uj)on my mind an ineffaceable im- 
jjression, and left with me an abiding hope that 
when I am no longer able to look upon this world 


with bodily senses, I shall meet her in like angelic 
brightness, and with like assurances of undying 

When she left me, however, there was no such an- 
gelic vision. I was oppressed with unutterable sorrow. 
The brightness of that winter day quickly passed 
like all earth's joys. The sky was overclouded, rain 
and sleet followed in the night, and the moaniiigs 
of the temijest without were in solemn harmony with 
the sorrows within my soul. Two days afterward, in 
the face of a cutting wind and under frowning skies, 
we laid her to rest uj)on the snow clad prairie beside 
the little infant whose death she had mourned so ten- 
derly. I wonder if most persons in the first agony of 
such a sorrow experience the same difficulty as my- 
self in appropriating to themselves the ordinary relig- 
ious consolations. I was told, for example, " You 
should rejoice for her sake. Your loss is indeed 
great, but great as it is, her gain is far greater." My 
sober judgment told me that this was true, but I 
found it imj)ossible to draw consolation from it. I 
could not then conceive how she could be happy any- 
where far awaj' from her lonely and sorrowing hus- 
band and children. Ultimately my mind accepted 
that view; but for the jaresent there was only one 
consoling thought. It was the assurance of the un- 
failing kindness, wisdom and love of a Heavenly Fa- 
ther. I opened not my mouth because God had 
done it. 

My cup of sorrow seemed full, but another great 
affliction was in store for me. My oldest surviving 
child bore the name of her dear dejjarted mother, and 
was as beautiful in person as she was gentle and lov- 


iiig. She was the light of our home, and I may say 
of the neighborhood. She was scarcely eight years 
of age when her mother died, and though childlike in 
bearing and spirit she was mature in character. Noth- 
ing could give her so much happiness as to do some- 
thing to cheer and comfort her father. A little more 
than nine months after her mother's death, during 
which time she enjoyed perfect health and grew daily 
in loveliness, she was taken ill while her aunt was 
preparing her for church. The progress of her dis- 
ease was rapid and irresistible, and on the next Thurs- 
day, after much suffering she followed her dear 
mother to the unseen world. 

How i^recious after they are gone, is the memory 
of such dear ones so full of health and life and beauty, 
of wisdom and tender love. When reason ultimately 
triumphs over the first agonies of bereavement we 
devoutly thank God that we have loved and been 
loved by dear ones, so bright, so pure and so true. 
Such loveliness cannot die. It is only transplanted 
to the garden of God. My heart moves me to attempt 
a pen portrait of the noble woman who for more than 
ten years was the joy of my heart and my home, my 
ever trustworthy helper and adviser. She was worthy 
of the " monumentum oereperennius.'''' But no words 
of mine can do her justice. God will take care of her 
precious memory and her still more precious self. In 
my view her noble crown of perfected womanhood 
far outshines all the honors ever won by the achieve- 
ments of genius and eloquence. 

My friend Mr. Baldwin, having accomplished his 
mission for the college at the east, married the Miss 
Wilder who has already been mentioned in these 


pages and returned, in 1832, to this state and to the 
work of exploration and church=building in the serv- 
ices of the American Home Missionary Society. 
In this work he was assisted by our mutual friend 
Rev Albert Hale, also one of the New Haven Band 
and well known for many years as the devoted and 
successful pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church 
of Springfield, only thirty^five miles from Jackson- 
ville. The missionary tours of these two brethren 
extended from the Ohio river to the northern bor- 
der of the state, and their good results continue to 
this day. About the year 1837 or '38 that generous 
l^hilanthropist Benjamin Godfrey of Alton, erected 
in the neighborhood of that city the welbknown 
Monticello Female Seminary, and invited Mr. Baldwin 
to become its x^rincipal. Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin were 
admirably adapted to the work which was thus opened 
to them, and entered into it with great enthusiasm. 
He continued to be a trustee of Illinois College, and 
freely employed his time and gave his wise counsel 
in its interest. We maintained an active correspond- 
ence, in which all questions of public interest were 
freely discussed. But one thing deters me from 
drawing largely upon that correspondence in prepar- 
ing these iDages. We freely discussed persons as well 
as measures and the letters are therefore in many 
instances too personal for the public eye. 

Almost from the beginning of my life in Illinois 
the disastrous divisions of the religious community 
had forced upon my attention the subject of church 
government. At first the subject was not often 
mentioned in our correspondence, because I was 
aware that it did not weigh upon his mind as it did 


upon my own. But as time passed, my convictions 
on this subject grew more and more intense. The 
proverb, " Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth 
speaketh ? " is as true in my case as in that of most 
men, and a theme of such deej) interest and practical 
importance naturally influenced my conversation 
with my friends. After a time many tongued rumor 
spread abroad the insinuation that my thinking was 
wild, erratic and dangerous. Many of my friends 
became alarmed for me, and my enemies, of whom I 
had some new ones since the organization of the 
Congregational church in Jacksonville, thought that 
they had found an occasion against me. The story 
soon reached Mr. Baldwin's ears. He did not hesitate 
to rejDort it back to me at once and to warn me very 
kindly of the danger to which he thought me exposed. 
His fears were excited not so much lest I should fall 
into dangerous error, as that I should weaken the 
confidence of the public in my soundness and injure 
the reputation of the college. His letter opened the 
whole subject in our correspondence. 

In the course of the corresi^ondence I proposed to 
meet all criticism by publishing a full and frank state- 
ment of my ecclesiastical opinions, but Mr. Baldwin 
wisely urged that such a statement at that time would 
be misunderstood and misrepresented. I therefore 
prepared a careful and candid statement for his use 
and requested him to show it to some judicious friends 
both here and at the East. I am glad to be able to 
say that the views so stated were so satisfactory to 
him and to other friends that all apprehension on 
their part was allayed and my intimate friendship 


with Mr. Baldwin was placed upon a sure foundation 
for the rest of our lives. 

While this corresi3ondence was in progress I was 
unexpectedly called to take part in a transaction 
whose results seemed to be far more important than 
any of the particij)ants suiDposed. 

From a very early period in the history of Jackson- 
ville the people known as "Disciples," the followers 
of Alexander Campbell of Bethany, Virginia, were 
very active. They were then regarded with much 
distrust by other denominations, and in fact were 
scarcely considered an evangelical body. Having 
occasion to sx)end a night a few miles from Jackson- 
ville, at a house of entertainment kept by a prominent 
member of this body, I was invited by him to i^reach 
on some Sabbath before long, in the church near his 
house. As it was my practice to embrace every 
opportunity to preach the gospel I accepted the invi- 
tation, leaving it to him to fix the day. After some 
delay the appointment was announced. On reaching 
the place on the appointed day I found a large meet- 
ing of the Disciples in progress and several of their 
prominent preachers in attendance. The great 
congregation gave close attention to my discourse. 
It would appear that my utterances on that occasion 
were orthodox, since Dr. Lyman Beecher after 
listening to the same sermon, delivered two or three 
years later in his church in Cincinnati, cheered 
me at its close by exclaiming in his characteristic 
manntr, "That's right!'' 

When I promised to preach for the Disciples it did 
not occur to me that the question of joining with 


them in the communion service was also involved. 
But since it is the invariable custom of that denomi- 
nation to follow the Sabbath morning discourse with 
the observance of the Supper, I i)erceived the moment 
I entered the church that I must face that question. 
There was not much time to think. Nor did I see 
much reason to hesitate. These people had been 
listening with profound and reverential attention to 
what I believed to be the gospel. I saw no reason to 
doubt that they received it intelligently and sincerely, 
and I could not refuse to join with them in breaking 
bread in the name of the Lord. And I am bound to 
say that I have seldom witnessed a more reverent and 
devout observance of that rite. At the close of the 
service strong men with whom I was acquainted in 
business relations but whom I had never before met 
in Christian worship, sang " Rock of ages cleft for me," 
with tears rolling down their cheeks. I could say 
with Peter, " I perceive that God is no respecter of 
persons." God taught me that day to beware how I ■ 
called any body of professed Christians "common or 

The report of my doings on that Sabbath startled 
the community, the story could not have been circu- 
lated with greater rapidity or repeated with more 
emi^hasis had I committed an infamous crime. A 
few defended my action, but most of my good neigh- 
bors were shocked, and especially those who had 
been offended by my sympathy with the Congrega- 
tional movement. I had no remedy but to wait till 
Christian' common sense should revive and reassert 
itself. I had not long to wait. In my judgment, no 
other event ever did so much to break down in this 


community unchristian barriers around the Lord's 
supper. Men soon began to understand the true 
meaning of Paul's words: " Let a man examine him- 
self, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of 
that cup." By a providential coincidence the tables 
were soon turned in respect to my relation to the 
Disciples. Among our early preachers in that vicini- 
ty were some whose teachings seemed to most of us 
to justify the severe things which had been said of 
the denomination. Not long after the incidents just 
related a man of this character became consijicuous 
among them. Many of his utterances seemed to 
sober-minded Christian peojile really horrible. Some 
peox^le were, of course, so absurd as to assume that 
because I had recently " communed " with members 
of that denomination I could be held in some sense 
responsible for his teachings. Partly for this reason, 
and partly impelled by my own horror of his almost 
blasphemous doctrines, I began openly and earnestly 
to preach against his views, and endeavored to expose 
them by fair and lucid arguments. These discourses 
were received with enthusiasm. 

Before many weeks an invitation came to hold ser- 
vice in a neighborhood a few miles distant where I 
had never preached and where the Disciples were 
numerous and aggressive. I knew the meaning of 
the invitation, and without the least hesitation 
accepted it. I found it convenient to spend the Sat- 
urday night previous to filling that api)ointment with 
an acquaintance in the same neighborhood, a member 
of a distant Presbyterian church. In anticipation of 
my coming he had appointed a prayer-meeting for 
that evening at his house. Among the persons who 


assembled came the erratic preacher whose strange 
teachings had aroused all this storm. Perceiving 
that he would probably be among my auditors on the 
morrow I asked myself the question, " Shall I go on, as 
Iliad intended, to assail his shocking doctrines? " I 
felt that I ought to do it and to make as thorough work 
of it as jjossible. The meeting next morning was held 
under the shade of overhanging trees and a great 
multitude, consisting mostly of Disciples, Methodists 
and regular Baptists listened with what seemed to me 
remarkable attention to my argument which lasted for 
two hours and a half. I saw no sign of impatience at 
its length. Perhaps the most attentive auditor was 
the preacher of " strange doctrines," and when I had 
finished he gave notice that he would reply at the 
same place in the afternoon and invited me to be pres- 
ent. I said that it would be impossible for me to do 
so, as a i)i"evious engagement obliged me to return 
home immediately. As might have been expected 
that man rapidly declined in influence among his 
former supporters. Nor did the transaction XDermanent- 
ly disturb my own most friendly relations with the 
Disciples, which have continued till this day. It is 
my belief that no portion of the religious community 
around us has grown in grace more rapidly than that 
denomination. If my efPorts have in any degree con- 
tributed to that end I am thankful. I ascribe their 
remarkable progress to the fact that from the begin- 
ning they have consistently held that, " The Word of 
God only is the rule of our faith." 

From 1837 onward the financial embarrassments of 
the college increased. Both the impoverished condi- 
tion of the community and our religious divisions 


rendered it impossible to secure much aid in our 
own neighborhood. If relief came at all it must come 
from distant friends. Under the circumstances the 
thought occurred to Mr. Baldwin that the work of 
raising funds for collegiate education in the West 
might with advantage be committed to an association 
or committee residing in the East. This suggestion 
seemed the more timely and important since five other 
institutions of learning in the West were in conditions 
painfully similar to our own. Indeed the greatest 
difiiculty in raising funds east at that time arose from 
the seemingly rival claims of sister institutions. In 
April, 1848, a meeting of the representatives of West- 
ern Reserve, Marietta, Wabash, Beloit, and Illinois 
Colleges, and Lane Theological Seminary, was held 
at the last named institution for the i^urpose of decid- 
ing on the expediency of forming such an association. 
At that meeting I represented Illinois College. Most 
of the institutions sent delegates, and the formation 
of such an organization was after free and full discus- 
sion unanimously approved. All the institutions ulti- 
mately acceiDted the arrangement. The Society for 
Promoting Collegiate and Theological Education at 
the West was dulj^ organized, and Mr. Baldwin was 
invited to become its secretary, to reside in or near 
New York. He accepted this position after long and 
painful deliberation, though at a great sacrifice to 
himself and family. 

I spent the week during the sessions of this body 
of delegates in the family of Dr. Lyman Beecher. 
In addition to his duties as Professor of Theology in 
Lane Seminary he was pastor of the Second Presby- 
terian Church of Cincinnati. Owing to illness he 


was unable to preach the following Sunday, and I 
was i3ersuaded to remain and supply his pulpit. On 
Sabbath he accompanied us to church, telling me 
however that I must preach and also administer the 
Lord's Supper, as he was unable to speak. Before 
dismissing the congregation I asked him in a low 
tone if he felt able to say a few words. Arising as if 
relieved by the opportunity, he poured forth from 
his overflowing soul for nearly half an hour, the 
most magnificent strain of evangelic eloquence I 
have ever heard. 

During the evening of that day I had a long and 
very familiar conversation with the venerable patri- 
arch, in the course of which I ventured to ask how 
he acquired that perfectly easy and natural tone that 
invariably characterized his delivery. He replied in- 
stantly, "I didn't acquire it, for I always had it." 
Just so; " poeta nascitur nonfit.^'' To me it is an oc- 
casion of devout gratitude that I have known such a 
man so intimately. During all his residence in the 
West he favored Presbyterianism. Several times on 
meeting him after a long separation almost his first 
question would be: "How are you getting on with 
those rabid Congregationalists in Illinois?" My 
ready reply, " We should get along well enough with 
the rabid Congregationalists if it were not for the 
rabid Presbyterians," was always received with the 
utmost good nature. After he returned to the East, 
he had little difficulty in finding out where he 
belonged. His great heart was with the freedom of 

Other great changes took place on College Hill. 
One of them was in my own house. As the reader is 

Hannah Richards Sturtevant 


already informed, the same sad year which removed 
from me the wife of my youth removed also two of 
our children. There remained two sons, one six 
years old and the other four, and a daughter of two 
years. I did not then, and still less do I now, sub- 
scribe to the doctrine that a man thus loainfully be- 
reaved at the age of thirty=four best honors the mem- 
ory of the departed by remaining unmarried. The 
sweet remembrance of years of conjugal happiness is 
not a preparation for a life of loneliness. 

Hannah Richards Fayerweather, the youngest sis- 
ter of the dej)arted one, had been a constant member 
of my family from a i^eriod prior to the birth of my 
eldest surviving child. She had shared with her 
older sister the cares and burdens of rearing them 
all, and from the time of their mother's death had 
taken, as far as might be, the mother's iDlace. It 
seemed that nothing could be so well for me and my 
children as that she should become the wife and the 
mother. Accordingly on the third of March, 1841, 
we were married, and experience has abundantly jus- 
tified the wisdom of the step. 

A discussion which arose in connection with this 
marriage introduced me to a new field of public ac- 
tivity. At that time, and I believe even now under 
the rules of the Presbyterian Church, the limitations 
of inter^marriage are the same for persons whose con- 
nection is by affinity as for those who are connected 
by consanguinity. This rule is understood to pro- 
hibit marriage with the sister of a deceased wife. 
When I informed my friend President Beecher that 
I wished him to officiate in such a marriage he inti- 
mated that he had no objection to the proposed ar- 


rangement if my conscience was clear on it, but that 
he regarded such a marriage as contrary to the scrip- 
tural rule. He stated his reasons for that opinion 
and I, after taking time for reflection, replied to 
them. After reconsidering the matter he cheerfully 
consented to perform the ceremony. I had from the 
first no doubts on the subject. 

Only two or three months after our marriage the 
celebrated McQueen case came, by appeal from the 
lower courts, before the General Assembly for final 
adjudication. The trial was long and tedious, and as 
it seemed to me the argument for the prosecution 
was utterly weak and fallacious. Neither my con- 
science nor my social relations were in the least dis- 
turbed, but I keenly felt that in deposing McQueen 
from the ministry for marrying the sister of his de- 
ceased wife the Assembly had committed a great and 
cruel wrong, and that he had been unrighteously 
prosecuted and very weakly defended. I was confi- 
dent that it could be triumphantly shown that what- 
ever the Presbyterian law might be, there was no di- 
vine law against him. I wrote out my argument in 
the case and published it in the Biblical Repository, 
then edited by the Rev. Absalom Peters D. D., for- 
merly secretary of the American Home Missionary 
Society. The general favor with which that article 
was received greatly encouraged me to contribute to 
the periodical j)ress, and my contributions have since 
been almost voluminous; to the Biblical Repository; 
The New Englander; The Congregational Review; 
The Continental Monthly; The Princeton Review, 
and several of the leading religious weeklies. Pre- 
vious to writing the article mentioned I had little 


ambition for authorship. I cannot dismiss this topic 
without remarking how powerless among intelligent 
Protestants is ecclesiastical law when clearly shown 
to be unsustained by the Word of God. About the 
time of the McQueen case some of the ablest and 
most influential men in the Presbyterian ministry 
notoriously violated that law without their action 
ever being called in question. 

In the spring of 1842 President Beecher found the 
pressure upon the college finances so severe that, 
with the consent of the trustees, he determined to 
remove to the East with his family in the hoi^e that, 
being constantly on the ground, he might find there 
some effectual means of relief. This step proved the 
beginning of a very great change. President Beech- 
er and his family had been for ten years a very im- 
portant factor in the life of the college and in the so- 
ciety of Jacksonville. It was largely owing to the 
presence of that family that there had existed about 
the college a social circle which might well be called 
brilliant. Our style of living was plain and frugal, 
and nothing of the brilliancy associated with fash- 
ionable gayety and extravagant folly attached to our 
circle. Genuine culture enlivened by eminent x)ow- 
ers of conversation we did have. Music and spon- 
taneous outbursts of wit and innocent mirthfulness, 
accompanied by refined tastes and a love for the beau- 
tiful, gave an unusual charm to those days. To this 
the frequent and sometimes protracted presence with 
us of different members of the " Beecher family " 
very largely contributed. 

To this day I can almost hear the ringing laugh of 
Catherine E. Beecher I am still refreshed by the 


quickness and pungency of her wit and her charming 
voice in song. Her gifts could be fully appreciated 
only by those who had been favored with her intimate 
acquaintance. In social life her words were winged 
arrows of gold. The man who ventured to debate 
with her on any question on which she had thought, 
and she never would debate on any other, needed to 
be well equipped. No one will ever forget 'Charles 
Beecher, who mingled in those scenes, or his violin. 
Thomas K. Beecher spent several years with us as a 
student and received his diploma at my hands. But 
there were others in our faculty who had contributed 
their full share to the charm of those days. Truman 
M. Post, Jonathan B. Turner and Samuel Adams 
were men who would call out the brightest and best 
thoughts of any circle in which they mingled. The 
removal of President Beecher and his family was an 
irreparable blow to Jacksonville both socially and 



The events which followed Mr. Beecher's change 
of residence were of great importance both to him 
and to the college. The muchneeded iDecuniary aid 
for the college could not be obtained at once. He 
liecame more and more interested in the literary and 
theological inc^uiries towards which his attention had 
long been directed, and felt the need of the libraries 
of the East in the pursuit of his studies. He could 
not hoije to do justice to himself in bringing the re- 
sults of his investigations before the public while he 
continued to carry the great burdens of the strug- 
gling college. Accordingly, in the spring of 1844, 
having received an invitation to the pastorate of the 
Salem Street Church, Boston, he sent his resignation 
to the trustees and accepted the call. 

The selection of President Beecher's successor 
proved a difficult problem and occasioned something 
akin to a collision between the ecclesiastical and re- 
ligious parties nearest the institution. It is needless 
to say that the use of my name in connection with 
the position was not the result of any effort on my 
part. The correspondence between Mr. Baldwin and 
myself was maintained at this time with even greater 
frequency and freedom than usual, and was not in 
the least disturbed by the fact that both our names 
were urged for the position. I believe the under- 



standing between us was perfect, and that each felt 
sure that there was no selfish ambition in the other's 
heart. I repeatedly assured him that I was quite 
content to serve the college in the position I then 
held, and should be well pleased with his election to 
the presidency I was the more ready to take this 
position because I wished to avoid an occasion which 
would call into active expression any opposition 
which individuals might fgel to my suj^posed relig- 
ious views and principles. If my opinions about the 
Church, the Lord's Supper and kindred toxDics were 
again brought before the community I must be true 
to my convictions and defend myself. But I wished 
to avoid controversy. I desired to preach, in the col- 
lege and out of it, with whatever power I jDossessed, 
" rej)entance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus 
Christ," and if possible, to avoid discussions which 
would disturb the water in which I sought to fish for 

The July meeting of our Board of Trustees, after a 
discussion of candidates, adjourned till the last week 
in November without taking any definite action. The 
postponement seemed unfortunate, since it left room 
for those personalities which I had deprecated. Re- 
turning late in November from New England, where 
I had been busy for four months in the interest of 
the college, I found our community in a state of un- 
usual excitement. 

At the October meeting of the Synod of Illinois 
attention had been called to the alleged prevalence of 
transcendental opinions in Illinois College, and to 
the rumor that some of the professors were responsi- 


ble for it. The persons accused were not present, 
and I, though a member of Synod, had received no 
notice of the intended attack. The Synod, although 
no ecclesiastical body had ever been invited to exer- 
cise visitorial powers in the institution, appointed a 
committee to attend a meeting of our board and in- 
quire into the truth of these rumors. The committee 
consisted of Rev. Hugh Barr, of Carrolton, Dr. A. T. 
Norton, of Alton, and Dr. J. J. Marks, of Quincy. 

At the November meeting the two first named came 
before the board bearing a list of the rumors in circu- 
lation to the detriment of the college, prepared by Dr. 
Marks. They were courteously received and it was 
arranged that they should meet the faculty in the 
jjresence of the l)oard. At that meeting frank state- 
ments were mude by the professors, and questions 
were invited and freely asked. At the same time the 
professors were requested to prepare careful accounts 
of their theological and ecclesiastical views for the use 
of the Prudential Committee. These statements were 
copied and sent to Mr. Baldwin, and through his kind 
efforts were reviewed by some of the leading thinkers 
of New England. I have now before me the com- 
ments of Dr. Bacon, of New Haven, and President 
Hopkins ui)on those documents, each of them heartily 
endorsing the western professors. 

The friends of the college were not well j)leased 
with the subsequent action of the Synod of Illinois 
in respect to these rumors. When that body met at 
Springfield in 1845 the Committee on Illinois Col- 
lege had no report to make. Considering the cur- 
rency given to injurious reports by their appoint- 


ment, and the abundant facilities for investigation 
furnished them, we felt that we should have been 
either vindicated or condemned. 

After a long and painful discussion in which I was 
constrained to bear some part, the Synod unanimous- 
ly adopted the following minutes: 

"Whereas, the committee appointed to make certain inquiries 
relative to Illinois College have made no report, and whereas 
we are informed that the matters in question are engaging the 
attention of the trustees of the college, therefore 

Resolved, that the Synod dismiss the subject, while they wish 
it understood that the Synod have preferred no charges and 
they do not endorse any of the rumors unfavorably affecting the 

Resolved, that the Synod have reason to believe, and do most 
earnestly pray that the board of trustees and faculty in their 
united capacity may and will go forward in the great work of 
literary and Christian education to which they are called to the 
full satisfaction of the friends of education." 

But I must return to the November meeting of the 
Board of trustees. On the day following the confer- 
ence with the Synodical committee the board (one 
member having been excused at his own request 
from voting) unanimously elected me to the presi- 
dency of the college. At that time there were only 
three Congregationalists in the Board, and one of 
them, Rev. Asa Turner, was absent, having sent in 
his resignation. My election was not therefore the 
triumph of one church over others. 

The delicacy of the situation had of course pre- 
vented me from conversing with the students about 
the election of a president, and I was not aware that 
there was any general enthusiasm for my election 
among them. But soon after dark that evening the 
college bell rang merrily and I was summoned to the 


front of the building, to find every window brilliantly 
illuminated. The lights in the fourth story had been 
ingeniously arranged to s^Dell my name, the fourteen 
windows giving just room for a window to each letter 
and the two periods after the initial letters J. and M. 
The slope between the college and the town and the 
very wide i)rairie beyond was then almost devoid of 
trees and the illumination could thus be seen for a great 
distance. I was greeted with a great burst of applause 
and returned to my house astonished, bewildered and 
humbled. I felt myself utterly unworthy of such 
demonstrations. After carefully considering the 
matter for about two weeks I determined to accept 
the ijosition; for while the difficulties of the situation 
arose before me in appalling magnitude, and I was 
almost overcome by the conviction of my own insuf- 
ficiency for the trust, I did not dare in view of all 
the known factors of the j)roblem to refuse. 

The trustees had elected me to the presidency with 
the understanding that I would with it undertake 
the professorshiij of Mental and Moral Science, in 
place of the chair I had previously occupied. 

This arrangement was entirely satisfactory to me; 
for though I had greatly enjoyed teaching mathemat- 
ics and j)hysics, I had also a growing interest in the 
new department, and entered upon it with zeal and 
hoj)efulness. If my new position had not involved 
such great burdens with respect to the finances of 
the institution it would have been all that I could 
have desired. Even with that drawback it has 
brought me great happiness for many years. Even in 
my old age I have resigned the work of teaching 
mental and moral science with great regret. 


111 one respect my financial responsibilities brought 
substantial advantages. Between the years 1835 and 
1844, with the exception of a few visits to St. Louis, 
Chicago and other places in the region, made for the 
purpose of performing ministerial services, my life 
had been almost wholly confined to " College Hill." 
When in the latter year I was called East, words can- 
not express how bright and beautiful the outside 
world appeared to me, and especially Xew England 
where I spent the summer and Autumn. Xine years 
among the monotonous scenery of Illinois, not then 
adorned as it now is by the work of the architect and 
the landscape gardener, prepared me to revisit, with 
great delight, the varied scenery to which I had been 
accustomed in my childhood and in my youth 
Traveling that summer along the valley of the 
Connecticut and across the southern part of Xl-w 
Hampshire, and spending some time in the charming 
suburbs of Boston, my enthusiastic sight^seeing must 
have amused my feUow travelers who had spent all 
their lives in New England, The sight of clear 
streams, grand and venerable mountains, or even of 
hillside pastures covered with granite boulders filkd 
me with irrepressible delight. After many long 
drives in the black mud of the j^rairies it was a 
pleasure to travel by stage in the rain over the hard 
roads of the East. I contrasted the snow=white foam 
in the wake of a steamer on Long Island Sound with 
the yellow water of the Missouri. Xatural scenery 
seemed to act on me in those days like a gentle stim- 
ulant. My spirit was cheered and my health was 
greatly improved. I was also grateful to discover 
that my communications to the periodical press had 


made many friends in i^laces where I supposed I was 
an entire stranger. 

This journey also brought me much heli^ and en- 
couragement in the study of religious questions 
Hitherto my thinking had been to a great extent sol- 
itary, without books or time to read them. My 
views, when expressed, had so often been received 
with suspicion and even with obloquy, that I was be- 
coming timid in my intercourse with men. I was 
eager to learn the opinions of others, but shy and 
cautious in ex^jressing my own. I sometimes suf- 
fered from the apprehension that there might be 
something distorted in my mental development 
which, if I fully disclosed myself, would shock my 

Of all this I was rapidly relieved. From day to 
day as I formed new acquaintances and learned the 
views of the men I met, I found that in my western 
residence I had not grown out of sympathy with the 
fathers and brothers of New England but into it, and 
that as I disclosed the results of my own thinking, 
first cautiously and then with freedom, my opinions 
did not shock and rei3el, but attracted attention, 
excited interest and won friendship and confidence. 

During that year I attended for the first time a 
meeting of the American Board of Commissioners for 
Foreign Missions. I take great pleasure in record- 
ing the impression which was made ui^on me by that 
meeting. As it advanced and I grew in symiwthy 
with the sweet religious spirit pervading it, the im- 
pression that I was in a holy place deepened, and 
I recognized in my own soul that fundamental con- 
ception of the gospel, " The field is the world."' As I 


left that meeting I felt in the very depths of my 
being that whatever difficulties and perplexities I 
might encounter amid the labyrinths of theological 
speculation or ecclesiastical inquiry I would never 
cut myself loose from the x^ractieal communion with 
saints which I had enjoyed on that occasion. I knew 
that the ark of God was there and that in the fellow- 
ship of faith and good works I had found the true 
Church of God. 

" For her my tears shall fall, 
For her my prayers ascend, 
To her my cares and toils be given, 
Till toils and cares shall end." 

From that purpose I have never wavered, and I 
have spent my subsequent life in laboring to the 
utmost of my power to break down the human devices 
which hinder this only true Christian fellowship. It 
was almost immediately after this meeting that I 
returned home to take my part in the events and 
experiences connected with my election to the presi- 
dency of the college. 

About the first of January, 1845, it became neces- 
sary again to go east and cooperate with Mr. Baldwin 
in an effort to obtain pecuniary assistance for the 
college. I imagine that many of my readers have 
very little conception of what a winter's journey from 
central Illinois to New York City then meant. In 
my case it was a stage ride pursued night and day 
from Springfield, Illinois to Cumberland, Maryland. 
Before we reached Terre Haute the mud had become 
so deep that the stage-coach was exchanged for a mud= 
wagon, that is, a common lumber wagon with a canvas 
cover stretched over bows of oak, and no springs 
except the small ones attached to the seats. The 


short seats, intended for two, frequently held three, 
and brought heads and bows so near together as to 
threaten us every moment with concussion of the 
brain as the vehicle lurched from side to side. In 
spite of the greatest diligence we did not make more 
than sixty-five or seventy miles in twenty=four hours. 
One look at the hovels opened for the entertainment 
of travelers reconciled me to ride on in discomfort 
rather than to try to rest in such places. 

About midnight on Saturday night the stage stopped 
for the night, and I for the Sabbath, at a very com- 
fortable place in Richmond, Indiana. How charming 
was the refreshment of that day of rest! On Monday 
morning, to my great satisfaction, the mud^wagon 
gave place to a fine Concord coach which carried us 
in comparative comfort at the rate of seven or eight 
miles an hour over the macadamized national road. 
The road had been projected to run as far west as St. 
Louis, but the scruples of our statesmen about the 
limitations of the constitution had caused it to stoj) 
at Richmond. Some politicians are very conscien- 
tious in the interest of their party. Unfortunately 
they did not think so much of limitations in some 
matters less imjoortant for the peoijle. Our past 
fatigues were now almost forgotten as we sj)ed on to 
Dayton, Columbus and Wheeling. Then came the 
magnificent scenery of the passage across the Alle- 
ghauies, until at Cumberland, Maryland, we took the 
railroad train which carried me to my friends in New 
York before another Sabbath. 

Of the various labors I encountered, the successes 
which delighted and the failures which disheartened 
me in the efPort to build np the finances of Illinois 


College, it would be tedious to speak. In February 
or March I spent a fortnight in New Haven. The 
severe labors of that period were wonderfully light- 
ened by the delightful companionship in which I 
there found myself. My old friendship with Doctors 
Bacon and Dutton was renewed and strengthened. 
I made the acquaintance of Dr. Josej)h Thompson, 
then pastor of the Chapel Street Church and after- 
wards widely known in connection with Broadway 
Tabernacle in New York. For the precious inti- 
macy enjoyed with those three men through all the 
rest of their lives I desire devoutly to thank God. 
Surely the joy of such friendships with the conse- 
crated and hallowed servants of God's kingdom is 
among the greatest joys of his children here on earth, 
and abundantly repays them for any sacrifices they 
may be permitted to make in the service of that 

I was invited to spend an evening at a club com- 
jaosed of the men I have named, and others of a kin- 
dred spirit. When the comi^any were assembled Dr. 
Dutton surprised me by saying: "I suggest that in- 
stead of the regular order w^e hear from Brother 
Sturtevant his views of the relation of the Lord's 
Supper to the government and discipline of the 
Church." I protested that I could not speak before 
such a company on such a subject without a mo- 
ment's preparation. But my objections were over- 
ruled with the kindly assurance that all present were 
brethren, and that they desired to ask questions and 
have me answer them. Accordingly the evening un- 
til a late hour was spent in a deeply interesting dis- 
cussion of the subject suggested. Drawn out in part 


by their questions, I stated my belief that the Lord's 
Suj)per is designed to be a Christian ordinance, but 
not an instrument of church power; that it belongs 
only to the Church inorganic and universal; the 
Church which has no government save that which 
Christ himself exercises by his word and his Spirit. 
I denied that the rite sustains any relation to the 
government of the local Church, or was ever intended 
to enforce its discipline. I affirmed that whenever 
men assumed the right, at that table to which the 
Lord invites those who know in their hearts that they 
love Him in sincerity and truth, to admit or exclude 
their fellows, they acted without any warrant in the 
Scriptures and committed a usurpation in the house 
of God. I contended that the purity and sanctity of 
the service needed no protection but the moral forces 
of truth and love, and that a minister had no func- 
tion at the table but that of a presiding officer ap- 
Ijointed by his brethren, to whom he did not adminis- 
ter the rite since all united as brethren with joyful 
concurrence to celebrate it. 

These oi)inions were very earnestly discussed, some 
questioning, some combating, and some defending 
them, but no one appeared to discover in them any 
alarming divergence from the foundations of the 
Christian faith. My own conviction of the truth and 
the importance of the principles enunciated thr.t 
evening has steadily increased ever since, as I have 
had time to think and read more widely on the sub- 
ject. I have traced those i^rinciples into a much 
wider circle of logical relations and seen more fully 
their illustrations in ecclesiastical history, and now I 
believe that before the conflict of sects comes to an 


end, and tlie divisions of Christendom are healed, the 
doctrine of " the power of the keys," as it was under- 
stood by the reformers of the sixteenth century and 
by their Catholic opponents, must be renounced. 
This doctrine assumes that whatever grace of God 
comes to His people through x^^rticipation in the 
Lord's Supper is locked in a sacred chest, of which 
the organized Church alone holds the key. This doc- 
trine was held alike by John Calvin, John Knox, and 
Poi^e Gregory VIP. in the plenitude of his s^^iritual 
despotism. It leaves room for endless disputes about 
the possession of the true key, and always gives the 
advantage to the hierarchical churches. Substitute 
for this the sim^Dler teaching that the ordinances be- 
long to the Church universal, to be used freely by all 
as expressions of faith and fellowship, and the causes 
of division will to a great extent have passed away. 
Nothing then will hinder the union of the multitude 
of the disciples around the Christ of the New Testa- 
ment, the Christ of the miraculous conception, the 
crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension. At 
last we shall understand what our Lord meant when 
he said, " My kingdom is not of this world." 



The aid of the " Society for Promoting Collegiate 
and Theological Education at the West " brought 
partial but by no means adequate relief to the col- 
lege. Our heavy debt incurred during the financial 
crisis of 1837 was a burden so grievous that for a 
time it threatened the very existence of the institu- 
tion. Our large amount of real estate, the gift of our 
friends, now oppressed us, since all excejot the build- 
ing site was subject to taxation. In 1846 the finan- 
cial agent of the college urged that it was impera- 
tively necessary to relieve the Board of these bur- 
dens. In order to accomplish this he proposed that 
all the property of the college except the buildings, 
the land reserved for a site, the library, and the 
chemical and philosophical apjDaratus, should be of- 
fered for sale at a price barely suflB.cient to lift our 
debt. Thi§ I opposed as an unnecessary sacrifice. 
I had already secured liberal subscriptions for tlie 
payment of the debt, conditioned on the whole sum 
being pledged, and I believed that by patience and 
zeal the trustees could pass the crisis. It seemed 
certain that at no distant day the property would in- 
crease greatly in value. 

I suggested another plan which appeared j^ractica- 
ble and easy. The bonds of the State of Illinois 
were selling at that time in Wall Street at the very 



low price of 16 or 17 i)er cent, of their face. My 
proj)osition was to offer the disposable property of 
the college in exchange for State bonds. I doubt- 
ed not that in those depressed times w^e could sell 
our lands for as much in State bonds at their 
face value as it would bring in cash in prosperous 
times, and I had full faith that our state bonds would 
in due time be worth their face. Several of the fore- 
most financiers of the State were present in the 
Board of Trustees, and such was the general deiores- 
sion that they received my proposition with a storm 
of sarcasm and ridicule. Would I sell the rich lands 
of Illinois for dishonored bonds not worth the paper 
on which they were printed and on which not one dime 
would ever be paid? After hearing them, I said, 
"Gentlemen, you are financiers and ought to know 
about such matters. I am but a preacher and a stu- 
dent and supposed to be ignorant of them. But please 
remember my words. The bonds of the State of Il- 
linois will be paid to the last dime, jjrincipal and in- 
terest. If ten successive legislatures repudiate them, 
the eleventh will be sure to j)rovide for their i)ay- 

"Go, gentlemen," said I, "and select any piece of 
land in the state which you would like to purchase, 
learn from its owner the price, and then estimate the 
whole share of the state debt which lies against that 
IDiece of land and add that to the price asked for it, 
and the united sum will not be found to be more than 
one quarter or one half the price which the land is 
sure to command in a few years." 

I believed moreover that if a communication were 
made to the legislature of the state, that seventy-five 


or a hundred thousand dollars of the bonds of the 
state (for that was about the sum I expected to raise) 
were held by Illinois Colles^e and jjerpetually devoted 
to educational interests, the legislature would make 
the interest of those bonds a part of the annual ex- 
penses of the state and that thus our property could 
be converted into a substantial productive fund at 
about its real value. My argument availed nothing, 
the Board naturally deferring to the financiers. With 
unspeakable heart-sickness I saw the proi^osition of 
the financial agent accej)ted and arrangements made 
for sacrificing the property. This was perhaps the 
only important measure in respect to which I was in 
a minority of the trustees while at the head of the in- 

Immediately after the adjournment of the trustees 
I wrote to Mr. Baldwin, predicting the results which 
might be expected from this action. Some eight or 
ten years afterwards, when iDrosiDerity had returned to 
the country, Mr. Baldwin sent me a copy of that let- 
ter that I might see how events had fulfilled my pre- 
dictions. Those predictions were made in sorrow, 
and I saw their fulfillment with still greater sorrow. 
Financiers, however shrewd, sometimes stand too 
near the questions at issue to form correct judg- 

The finances of the college now presented a very 
simple problem. We must keep the finances of the 
institution within the income provided for it, and ap- 
peal to the public, not now for the payment of an old 
debt or of taxes on unproductive land, but for a per- 
manent endowment. In the year 1819 an effort was 
commenced which laid the foundation of the i^resent 


permanent fund. It was begun very timidly, but 
with an earnest purj)ose. At the annual meeting of 
the trustees that year I projiosed that we should begin 
with an effort to raise a fund of ten thousand dollars 
none of the subscription to be valid until the full sum 
should have been pledged. Before the meeting ad- 
journed the X3lan was j)ut in form and two subscriptions 
of $1,000 each and several smaller ones were recorded. 
My own subscription of one thousand dollars was to 
be i)aid in ten equal annual installments, but the 
amount was at least equal to one=fourth of all my 
worldly possessions. It was also agreed that as soon 
as the first ten thousand dollars was subscribed we 
should at once attempt to secure another ten thousand 
upon the same terms. Rev. William C. Merritt, a 
graduate of the college, was employed to prosecute 
the work, which prospered rather beyond our expec- 
tations. It was not long before the sum of thirty 
thousand dollars had been secured, and since that 
time the college has had a permanent fund. 

And here I anticipate somewhat by mentioning a 
serious disaster which befell us about the last of De- 
cember, 1852. Just at the close of the holiday vaca- 
tion our largest building was burned. It was four 
stories high, the fire was in the roof and therefore 
difficult of access, and Jacksonville had then no fire 
department. Nothing of the building was saved ex- 
cei3t the south wing where my family had resided for 
twenty years, and from which we had removed to our 
j)resent home only a few months before. Our small 
college library was in that building. With great dif- 
ficulty the books were saved in a somewhat damaged 
condition. The worst is yet to be told. An insurance 


policy of several thousand dollars had been allowed to 
expire only a few weeks previous — through whose 
carelessness it is not worth while to inquire — and only 
three thousand dollars of valid insurance remained. 

When the students returned for the winter term 
they found only the ashes of their college home. A 
few left the institution, but most of them sought 
board in town and proceeded with their studies. Our 
chapel, and recitation and lecture rooms, were not 
destroyed. For my own part I had felt so keenly the 
evils to which students living in college dormitories 
were exposed both in my Alma Mater and in Illinois 
that I was in no haste to rebuild. Those evils were 
somewhat increased by the fact that we were obliged 
to receive so many young men almost entirely desti- 
tute of previous discipline. I was weary of enforcing 
police regulations, so imperative in securing good or- 
der in and about the premises and yet alwaj^s to some 
extent ineffectual, and longed to put the young men 
under the restraints of life in private families. 

Subsequent experience and reflection have, however, 
convinced me that college dormitories possess on the 
whole certain advantages and cannot well be dis- 
pensed with. If student life, for any reason, does not 
center within the college buildings, the unity of the 
institution and its power for good are greatly im- 
paired. Students living outside the walls have less 
of that home feeling which does so much to make 
them loyal to their Alma Mater. It is esj)eciall)^ 
easier to carry out a system of moral and religious 
training where there is at least a nucleus of the stu- 
dents living togelher in the college. Such religious 
influences are worth more than anything else in the 


formation of character. Without them the best police 
regulations are futile. 

I was not alone in thinking that new dormitories 
might well be deferred for a time. Meanwhile it 
seemed important to take immediate steps for the 
erection of a really good building for instruction. 
We were obliged to proceed slowly and more than 
four years passed before the structure was completed. 
At the opening of the fall term of 1857 we took pos- 
session of the ample and jDleasant rooms now chiefly 
used for the public purposes of the college. 

I return to an earlier period that I may record im- 
portant changes that occurred in our faculty before 
the fire. These resulted from our successful efforts 
in obtaining funds in 1849 and 1850, and from the 
previous resignations of Professors Turner and Post, 
the latter to accept a j)astorate in St. Louis, and of 
Rev. William Coffin, who had succeeded me in the 
department of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. 
Prof. Rufus C. Crampton had succeeded Prof. Coffin, 
Prof. Nutting had taken the place of Prof. Post, and 
Prof. William D. Sanders that of Prof. Turner; the 
last two being chosen as Presbyterians in order to 
meet the wishes of our Presbyterian friends in the 
Board of Trustees and outside of it. 

Up to this time, while we had been careful that our 
teachers should be earnest, religious men, they had 
been chosen without much regard to denominational 
bias. Liberally educated young men were not then 
numerous in our state, and we had naturally gone for 
teachers to New England where the supply was 
most abundant. In the interest of harmony therefore 
I and others exerted ourselves to find suitable Pres- 


byterian candidates for the vacant chairs, and the 
unanimous choice of these two professors was the re- 
sult. The new arrangement was highly acceptable to 
our Presbyterian friends and caused no displeasure 
among Congregationalists. We had an able and, as 
we believed, a jDopular faculty. The religious divisions 
of the college seemed to be past and we felt that an 
era of peace and good feeling was before us. 

In 1855 I still retained my connection with the 
Presbyterian Church. I had tried to be fully under- 
stood by my brethren of that denomination. My lan- 
guage had invariably been: "I am not a Presbyterian. 
I came among you as a Congregationalist, and as such 
I have continued with you. My connection here is 
fraternal rather than ecclesiastical. For years I have 
uniformly excused myself from voting upon questions 
of ecclesiastical politics. If with this understanding 
it is desirable that I continue with you, I shall seek 
no change." I had, however,- always maintained my 
unrestrained liberty of free utterance on all subjects, 
religious and ecclesiastical ones not excepted. 

Early in that year I received an invitation to de- 
liver an address before the American Congregational 
Union at its anniversary to be held in May in the cit_y 
of Brooklyn. As that was the first opportunity I had 
ever had of giving utterance before a fitting audience 
to my views of the constitution and order of the Chris- 
tian Church I accepted the invitation. No man has a 
right to occupy a position which forbids him to speak 
his convictions on such a theme. I regarded my 
opinions on that subject as the result of the teaching 
providences of God, and I felt sacredly bound to speak 
what I knew and testify what I had seen. To have 

I ^ J b il^MlC^t »^ 


been silent through fear of giving offense would have 
been, in my estimation, treason to the cause of truth 
and righteousness. 

The Church of the Pilgrims, of which Dr. Kichard 
S. Storrs was and still is the honored pastor, was se- 
lected for the place of meeting. My theme was, 
"The Unsectarian Character of Congregationalism." 
The discourse occupied an hour and three-quarters in 
delivery, and was repeated by special request without 
abridgement the next Sabbath evening to an audience 
that crowded the Broadway Tabernacle in New York. 
It was also published in pamphlet form by Draper of 
Andover. No one who had not found his way alone 
to what seemed to him the truth, and who had not 
experienced years of loneliness and opposition, can 
understand the joy which filled my heart at the recep- 
tion given to my utterances by those great assemblies 
of intelligent Christians. It gave me special pleasure 
to be informed that my old friend Dr. Absalom Pet- 
ers, who had so severely rebuked me in 1834 for the 
countenance I had been giving to Congregationalism 
in Illinois, said to his friends as he left the Church of 
the Pilgrims: "Hitherto I have been a Presbyterian. 
Henceforth I am a Congregationalist." That great 
and good man afterwards expressed himself to the 
same effect more than once in my presence. 

It soon became evident that the college needed a 
much larger endowment, and the trustees proposed to 
raise a fund of fifty thousand dollars. The subscrip- 
tions were conditioned uj)on the entire amount being 
pledged before the first day of June, 1858. Prof. 
Sanders, an earnest and very efficient man, consent- 
ed to assist me in procuring pledges. Our denomi- 


national difPerences seemed to have mostly disap- 
peared. I had withdrawn from the Presbyterian 
Church because my connection with it no longer 
seemed to promote harmony and facilitate coopera- 
tion, and the change had been made so far as I could 
judge without any interruption of good feeling. 
Neither Prof. Sanders nor myself were withdrawn 
from the work of instruction while raising the endow- 
ment funds. The labor was great and success some- 
times seemed almost impossible. As the first of June 
drew near the pressure greatly increased, and when 
less than a fortnight remained and we lacked several 
thousand dollars of the needed subscriptions it be- 
came apparent that this deficiency must be supplied 
by the i^eople of Jacksonville and its vicinity. 

At this crisis a very influential member of the 
Board of Trustees, having sought a private interview, 
assured me of his great interest in our success, and 
suggested as a means of securing it that I should an- 
nounce that I would not hereafter engage in ecclesi- 
astical discussions such as my recent address before 
the Congregational Union. He asked if other college 
presidents of known wisdom and prudence, such men 
for exami^le as Dr. Hopkins of Williams College, did 
such things. In rej^ly I told him that at the close of 
my discourse in Broadway Tabernacle Dr. Hopkins 
had sought me out, thanked me and assured me that 
he thought my address would do much good. I told 
him that the trustees could have my resignation at 
any moment but that I would remain at the head of 
the college only as a free man, at perfect liberty to 
speak and publish at my own discretion. 

We toiled on, and before the first day of June ar- 


rived the full amount had been pledged. I announced 
the good news to Mr. Baldwin in New York by refer- 
ing to Psalm 126: 1-3; " When the Lord turned again 
the caf)tivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our 
tongue with singing: Then said they among the 
heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them. 
The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we 
are glad." 

It now seemed to us all that the prosperity of the 
college rested on an assured foundation. Presbyter- 
ians and Congregationalists and patriotic public spir- 
ited men who were connected with neither denomina- 
tion were cooperating in making its foundation 
broader and stronger, and yet the liberty of its in- 
structors had been maintained. 



In the study of revolutions such as the overthrow 
of slavery in the United States, we are apt to overes- 
timate the forces which appear in oj)en conflict, and 
to undervalue the more tranquil influence of thought 
guided by the providence and the Spirit of God. 
The progress of anti=slavery opinion in the state of 
Illinois was like the sunshine. It came as the King- 
dom of God always comes, and no one had reason to 
exclaim: " Lo here, or, lo there! " 

Since the martyrdom of Lovejoy, two notable events 
have been the waynnarks of our progress. Both were 
national in their influence and character. One of 
them was the publication and wide circulation of 
'• Uncle Tom's Cabin." Up to that time, in those 
portions of the Northern states peopled by immigra- 
tion from the South, anti=slavery sentiment had never 
been fully emancipated from the ban under which 
Southern oj)inion had placed it. Personal violence or 
open insult no longer prevailed, but such sentiments 
were treated with contemi3t, and those who uttered 
them to some extent forfeited social position. In 
most of the churches such utterances were frowned 
upon, and the preachers who indulged in them were 
made conscious that i:)ublic odium rested upon them. 
The charge of favoring the freedom of the slave in- 
jured the reputation of any man or institution to 
which it attached. 



Uncle Tom's Cabin seemed to end as if by magic 
this unnatural siDell upon men's freedom of utterance. 
The book sold with astonishing rapidity, and was al- 
most universally read. A few incorrigible devotees of 
slavery were full of anger, but they were quite over- 
powered by the tide of x^ublic opinion, and were soon 
glad to retire in moody silence. The poj)ular heart 
was stirred, and old prejudices were forgotten, and 
convictions long repressed were freely uttered. Mrs. 
Stowe's pictures of slavery and its influence on indi- 
viduals and society were so grax^hic that those who 
knew slavery best could not help recognizing their 
truth. The book became the chief theme of conver- 
sation in all social circles, until people were ashamed 
to confess that they had not read it. For the first time 
in our history abolitionism became popular. I have 
never witnessed any other such revolution in i)ublic 

The philosophy of the marvelous influence exerted 
by that book merits the x)rofoundest investigation. It 
was not the efl^ect of genius alone, though without 
genius it could not have been produced. The vivid- 
ness of its j)ictures, its accurate delineation of charac- 
ter and especially of the negro character, the touches 
of wit and mirthfulness with which even the most 
sorrowful scenes were intermingled, were all efifective. 
But deeper than these was the profound aim; to paint 
a great national crime in all its enormity and if pos- 
sible to eliminate the horrible system from our civili- 
zation. Without this holy purpose which pervades 
every page of the book its publication would have 
produced no marked results. Of course the wave of 
popular enthusiasm gradually subsided, but its influ- 


ence was permanent. It was no longer a crime to utter 
anti^slavery sentiments. The domination of slavery 
north of Mason and Dixon's line bad passed away 

The other great landmark in the progress of liberty 
was the organization of the Republican party from 
1854 to 1856. And here I must say a few words 
about my own political history, though it may seem 
to some of my friends absurd or even discredital)le. 
In the first Presidential election after reaching my 
majority I was not able to participate because of a 
recent change of residence. In 1832, I had been but 
three years in Illinois, and had so little sympathy 
with the two parties then contending for the control 
of the state that my conscience would permit me to 
vote with neither. When the slavery question began 
to agitate the public mind my unwillingness to ally 
myself with either of the great i^arties M'as much in- 
creased. I regarded slavery as the foremost national 
issue, and utterly distrusted both parties with respe( t 
to it. Yet no statesmanlike or even intelligible line of 
political action was suggested by others. In fact my 
first vote for a President was cast for Martin Van 
Buren in 1849. Then it was not the candidate Init 
the i)latform that won my support. I had as little 
respect for the career of the nominee as the most zeal- 
ous of his opponents, but I recognized the Free Soil 
[)rinciples of the Buffalo jjlatform as expressing the 
only issue upon which, at that time, any considerable 
portion of the American jieople could be brought to 
concerted action against slavery. I not only accepted 
the platform with enthusiasm, but I had hope that 
under the lead of ex=President Van Buren a new 


party might be organized with sound anti^slavery 
principles, which would rapidly attract adherents. 

In this, however, I was disappointed. In 1852 I 
saw no reasonable hope that anything of importance 
would be accomplished by the Liberty party, and I 
regarded the other two parties with constantly in- 
creasing distrust and aversion. In what was known 
as the compromise of 1850 the two had united in 
such action as was intended and expected on both 
sides to render any further jDolitical action against 
the- system of slavery impossible, and thus to render 
the bondage of the enslaved race and of the nation 
perpetual. I cannot even deny that the iron had 
entered my own soul until I was almost tempted to 
say about God what Cassy said on Legree's plantation 
"He is not here." It was to my mind the most 
hopeless crisis of the great conflict. I could not vote 
for a Whig or Democratic administration. I saw no 
hope in any other direction. The Divine resources 
are infinite, but when the Republican party was or- 
ganized it seemed to us the only method by which 
deliverance could possibly come to the nation. And 
even that method would have been seemingly impos- 
sible if the way had not been opened for it, as the 
way of Providence is so often opened, by the mad- 
ness of its enemies. 

When in 1820 the Missouri Compromise was 
accepted, most northern peojile believed that it would 
be faithfully adhered to, and that slavery would there- 
by be confined within comparatively narrow limits. If 
anyone will take the trouble to trace on the majD the 
line which then separated us from Mexico he will see 
that this expectation was seemingly well founded, 


But the accession of Texas and the immense terri- 
tory acquired by the Mexican war, gave the South 
room for vast expansion south of the line fixed by 
the Missouri Compromise, as the permanent bound- 
ary between freedom and slavery. Even with this, 
however, the South was not satisfied. In coopera- 
tion with its numerous adherents in the North it soon 
openly avowed its purpose to trample on the Missouri 
Compromise and to extend the system of slavery to 
all parts of our unorganized territory, wherever mas- 
ters might choose to migrate with their human chat- 
tels. Southern leaders were evidently determined 
not only to maintain that equilibrium in the 
United States Senate between freedom and slavery, 
which had been so jealously guarded since 1820, but 
to secure for slavery a perpetual ascendency. The 
institution which at first asked only for a tolerated 
existence, next claimed full equality with freedom, 
and now clearly revealed to thoughtful men its pur- 
pose to hold perpetual sway in the councils of the 
great republic. 

It is not strange that the discovery that such an 
issue was upon us filled patriotic men at the North 
with alarm and horror. Just at this crisis the Free- 
Soil jjolicy advocated by the James G. Birney wing 
of the abolitionists and most clearly and distinctly 
announced in the BufPalo platform of 1848, began to 
be ojaenly and eloquently championed by many of 
the able and most influential statesmen of the North. 
Men from all parties were drawn as by a common im- 
pulse toward the new banner. It became evident 
that upon that issue alone the North could be rallied 
to defend itself against the alarming encroachments 


of the slave-power. The disintregration of the Whig 
party became inevitable. Old line Whigs as they 
were called, abolitionists who under the lead of Bir- 
ney remained faithful to the Union, and a great mul- 
titude of Democrats, found themselves standing 
shoulder to shoulder in the determination that sla- 
very should not be naturalized, and therefore should 
not be x^ermitted to encroach further upon the 
national domain. An absolute necessity created a 
new jDolitieal organization to express the general sen- 
timent. The madness of the slavery propagandists 
had created the Republican party. "Whom the 
gods will destroy they first make mad." 

The organization of the Republican party in cen- 
tral and southern Illinois was, however, no easy task. 
The Whig party had been strong here, but its ad- 
herents were very largely the followers of Henry Clay, 
and they still regarded him with implicit confidence. 
When, therefore, it became evident that the Whig 
party throughout the North was breaking uj), it 
became a very serious and doubtful question what 
course the Whigs of this region would take. Most of 
them did not desire the further extension of slavery. 
They desired to establish freedom, not slavery, in 
the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska. They 
M'ished to create no more slave states, but they were 
not abolitionists. They did not wish to convert the 
slave states in which they were born and reared into 
free states. They were ready to resist any effort to 
give freedom to the negroes in the midst of their 
masters. They therefore regarded with susj^icion 
and aversion any party which seemed to favor eman- 
cipation. Here, therefore, the situation was exceed- 


iiigly critical. In noriherii Illinois the Republican 
party organized itself, but in central and southern 
Illinois it was a grave question whether an organiza- 
tion could be effected. 

The only prominent politician in the neighborhood 
upon whom we could depend as a leader was Richard 
Yates, the first man who received the degree of A. B. 
from Illinois College, delivered to him by myself in 
the absence of President Beecher. He had already 
served one term as a Representative in Congress, 
having been elected by the Whig party, and had 
there shown a greater degree of sympathy with anti= 
slavery princix^les than was generally expected either 
from a Whig or a Democrat. The open violation of 
the Missouri Compromise had filled him with an in- 
dignation which he had not been slow to express. 
To him anti-slavery men naturally turned for leader- 
ship. He hesitated. It was not strange that he 
should, for he had bright political prospects, and his 
future career was at stake. At this juncture I had 
a long interview with him. He was frank, warm=^ 
hearted and generous. I entreated him to become 
our standard-bearer and assured him that he would 
not lack for followers. He jiromised to do what he 
could, and well was that promise redeemed. 

He was a good leader, and rapidly succeeded in in- 
spiring his old Whig associates with his own enthu- 
siasm. Wise and politic, he assured them that they 
were organizing not an abolition but a Free=Soil party, 
whose sole object it was to prevent the further exten- 
sion of slavery over territory hitherto free from its 
blighting influence. He f>roposed to leave slavery 
undisturbed in the states where it already existed, 


saying to the accursed thing: "Hitherto shalt thou 
come but no further." I did not then, neither do I 
now, regard the KeiDublican party as the less worthy 
of confidence and honor because it guarded against 
attacking the "peculiar institution" in the slave states. 
Without that limitation it could not have been organ- 
ized at all in this region. The leaders of the party 
wisely proposed to do what they could, not what they 
could not, accomplish. They assailed the institution 
just where it could be successfully attacked. If the 
abolitionists had been as wise and discriminating 
from the very beginning of the agitation they Would 
have gathered many more adherents. Society would 
have been far less violently convulsed, and perhaps 
slavery would have been more speedily abolished, and 
with far less sacrifice of blood and treasure. 

That period brought into striking prominence an- 
other man who was destined to become even more 
famous than Governor Yates. That man was Abra- 
ham Lincoln. Nothing ever seemed tome more won- 
derful or more obviously providential than the raising 
uj) of Mr. Lincoln for that great crisis. The times 
called for one born and reared in the midst of slavery 
and the i^overty and ignorance which it produced 
among the poor whites — one who could meet people 
of Southern birth and move them by a style of elo- 
quence that should go straight to their hearts, but one 
who was nevertheless imbued with the highest con- 
ception of moral obligation and was able to grasp 
those great principles which underlie the whole fabric 
of free institutions. He must be a statesman capable 
of viewing social and political questions from the 
highest moral standpoint. I have known but one 


man in whom these combinations existed, and that 
man was Abraham Lincoln. 

There is one view of the conditions of Mr. Lincoln's 
early life in relation to which it is very difficnlt for 
any of ns to do him justice. We have other examples 
of men who have made their way from penury and 
obscurity through all the difficulties which their po- 
sition involved to high intellectual culture and the 
broadest and most liberal statesmanship. Mr. Gar- 
field was such a man. But there is one great differ- 
ence between the career of Mr. Garfield and that of 
Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Garfield was born and reared in a 
community in which the advantages of an elementary 
education were oj)en to all, and in which the whole 
people were imbued in a greater or less degree with 
the spirit of liberal learning. In those elementary 
schools the advantages of which he enjoyed, friend- 
ly eyes were watching and friendly hands were 
laid upon him in affectionate encouragement. Edu- 
cated men sought him out and advised him to seek a 
liberal education. In 1880,, during the Presidential 
canvass, the widow of the Rev. John Seward of Au- 
rora, Ohio, wrote a letter to Mr. Garfield reminding 
him that her husband had thus encouraged him in his 
early struggles. . Mr. Garfield replied and very grate- 
fully acknowledged the fact. It was from that same 
Rev. John Seward that I received at an earlier date 
much of the inspiration that induced me to enter col- 

But Mr. Lincoln was lifted up towards higher at- 
tainments by no such surrounding atmosphere of in- 
telligence. No such pervading spirit of culture stim- 
ulated him. No common school blessed his childhood. 


The sphere of his activity and his culture was limited 
to the hard toil and coarse fare of the log cabin, the 
forest and the corn field. He had actually reached 
man's estate before he acquired the first rudiments of 
an education. That in spite of the extreme disadvan- 
tages of such a position he should have attained the 
culture, the knowledge, the wisdom and the stirring 
eloquence that fitted him for his great destiny and for 
the eminent services he was to render to liberty, to 
our country and to civilization itself, was an achieve- 
ment without a parallel. Long before he was thought 
of as a candidate for the Presidency, I knew him in- 
timately. He stood in the foremost rank among the 
most truthdoving men I have ever known. Whether 
at his law office, in the drawing-room, at the bar, in 
the halls of legislation, or on the rostrum, he was in- 
capable of sensationalism. His constant aim was to 
express truth in its own simple naked impressiveness. 
If you could reach the very center of his mental ac- 
tivity you would always find there some moral truth 
from which everything radiated. He was a true and 
righteous man. This was the Moses whom God had 
raised up to lead his people out of Egyptian bondage, 
and yet he never had the advantage of the arts of civ- 
ilization taught in the palace of Pharaoh. To have 
known Lincoln I esteem one of the greatest blessings 
of my early settlement on what was then the frontier 
of our civilization. 

It was only with the uprising of new political is- 
sues that we began to realize Mr, Lincoln's power or 
to appreciate his character, although as a law.yer and 
as a politician he had already acquired a high reputa- 
tion, having served one term as a Whig in the nation- 


al House of Representatives. In the conflicts which 
followed he seemed to have found his element and 
entered upon the work for which he was born. I re- 
member the first speech I heard from him on this 
great issue as though it were but yesterday. He ad- 
dressed an audience of not less than two thousand 
peox^le gathered from Morgan and the surrounding 
counties. He, like Yates, spoke guardedly, propos- 
ing only to confine slavery within its existing limits. 
But that did not hinder him from striking terrible 
blows at slavery itself. He. sought to move his audi- 
ence to prevent the further extension of slavery. It 
was therefore perfectly legitimate to show that slav- 
ery was a very bad thing. And this he did with tell- 
ing force. No man ever knew the hearts of his hear- 
ers more perfectly than Abraham Lincoln. He was 
perfectly familiar with all their passions, j)rejudices 
and hatreds, and yet was able so to construct his ar- 
gument as to avoid offending their prejudices, and to 
so convince them that they received his utterances 
with clamorous applause. That day I first learned 
that Abraham Lincoln was a great man. In a meta- 
phorical sense he commanded the winds and the 
waves and they obeyed him. He even drew his argu- 
ment from the deeps of natural theology. " My 
friends,'" said he, " we know that slavery is not right. 
If it were right, some men would have been born 
with no hands and two mouths, for it never was de- 
signed that they should work, but only eat. Other 
men would have been Ijorn with no mouth and four 
hands, because it was the design of the Creator that 
they should work that other men might eat. We are 
all born with a mouth to eat and hands to work, that 


every man may eat the products of his own labor and 
be satisfied." 

It is impossible fully to estimate the beneficent in- 
fluence on the people of central and southern Illinois 
from the great political agitation which followed the 
organization of the Republican party. It was more 
than a great political movement. It was a great 
moral" upheaval. Previous to that time, at least since 
the year 1824, the moral element had been scarcely 
discernible in our politics. From that time onward 
to the close of the war the moral element seemed to 
be almost the leading one in public affairs. In Mr. 
Lincoln's sjieeches it was always paramont. His ap- 
peal was to the moral convictiofls of his hearers. In 
that respect it would be difficult for anyone not fa- 
miliar with our previous political condition to form 
any adequate conceiDtion of the change wrought 
among us by the presidential canvas of 1856. In 
our j)art of the state the newly organized party was 
still greatly in the minority, but it was evidently the 
growing aggressive force. 

The contrast between the two great party leaders, 
Mr. Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, was very 
remarkable. The latter was then in the zenith of his 
popularity. He was a perfect master of all those 
artifices by which men win their way to the hearts of 
the multitude. Men whom he had once met he never 
forgot, and he knew how to greet them with a certain 
ajjpearance of cordiality which made the imjDression 
of great and affectionate regard. Each man was 
made to feel that he was the very one that the great 
leader particularly desired to meet. Yet Mr. Doug- 
las' power was by no means limited to these vulgar 


arts. He was very strong as a i^opular orator, but 
the source of his power was in great contrast with 
that of Mr. Lincohi. He knew all the jjassions, 
tastes and prejudices of the masses he expected to 
win as well as Mr. Lincoln did, but he employed that 
knowledge for a very different purpose. While Mr. 
Lincoln used his familiarity with human nature for 
the puriDose of finding access for the truth to the un- 
derstanding and heart, Mr. Douglas employed the 
same knowledge with consummate adroitness to ac- 
complish his own ends, whatever they might be. 
Mr. Lincoln's truthfulness was unquestioned. Mr. 
Douglas' success as a lawyer lay largely in his utter 
indifference to the line that separates truth from 
falsehood. If he could but win he did not hesitate 
about the means. Mr. Douglas was perfectly confi- 
dent of his own power of so arraying ^aopular passion 
and prejudice against the party he oj^posed as to 
overwhelm it. Mr. Lincoln was equally confident 
that under the government of the Supreme Ruler of 
the universe, truth would prevail and righteousness 
would triumph. The influence of the two men upon 
their followers corresponds precisely with this con- 

An instance once occurred in an audience which 
Mr. Douglas had just been addressing. Immediately 
after he ceased an enthusiastic admirer in the crowd 
declared that he believed that Douglas was a greater 
man than Jesus Christ. We may be sure that Mr. 
Lincoln never left such an impression. His admir- 
ers always regarded him as the minister of truth and 
righteousness. He made them feel that the truth 
which must ultimately prevail is not a matter of hu. 


man opinion, but is the expression of immutable 
principles and accords with the law of God. This 
contrast explains, at least in part, the moral revolu- 
tion which Mr. Lincoln and his co-laborers intro- 
duced into our politics. 

The success of the Republican party in its first 
Presidential campaign was very remarkable. The 
obstacles to be encountered were gigantic; the pre- 
judices to be vanquished seemed insurmountable. 
Though through the division of the Whig element 
between the Republicans and the Know Nothings the 
Republicans were defeated on the national issue, still 
we elected our state ticket by a handsome majority. 
Jacksonville itself, notwithstanding the large pre- 
ponderance of the Southern element in our popula- 
tion, was carried for the Rejpublicans by a consider- 
able plurality. If I had formerly been remiss in the 
duties of a citizen I did what I could to atone for it 
in that canvass. I must confess, however, that as in 
1848 my enthusiasm was not inspired by the can- 
didate. I endeavored at the outset to create in my- 
self some zeal by reading the life of General Fre- 
mont, Ijut I soon found that my fervor was more 
likely to be chilled than to be intensified by the 
process. I therefore said and thought little of the 
candidate, but rejoiced to do what I could to advance 
the righteous j)rinciples embodied in the j)latform. 

The most important conflict in which Mr. Lincoln 
was ever engaged in this state was a series of debates 
between him and Mr Douglas, in 1858. Many con- 
sider his speech delivered near the beginning of 
that contest in the representatives' hall at Springfield, 
the greatest effort of his life. With great pleasure I 


recall its impressive opening. Outside were the 
noisy demonstrations of a great Democratic parade. 
The room was filled to its utmost capacity with grave 
and thoughtful men. I shall never forget my emo- 
tions as the tall form of our leader rose before us 
and he gave utterance to the memorable words : " A 
house divided against itself can not stand. I believe 
this government cannot endure permanently half 
slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to 
be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall; but 
I do expect that it will cease to be divided. It will 
become all the one thing or all the other. Either 
the opponents of slavery will arrest the further 
spread of it, and place it where the public mind 
shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate 
extinction, or its advocates will push it forward until 
it shall become alike lawful in all the states old as 
well as new, North as well as South." This was new 
doctrine for the latitude of Springfield, yet never did 
a statesman choose the ground he was to stand upon 
more wisely or define it more boldly, or defend it 
more irresistably. I know that some of the old-time 
abolitionists present were startled and alarmed at 
the frankness of Mr. Lincoln's position. One of them 
intimately known to myself, one of Mr. Lincoln's 
greatest admirers, sought an interview with him the 
next day and entreated him to modify his language, 
assuring him that on the issue he had made our de- 
feat was inevitable. Mr. Lincoln heard him with 
respectful attention, but replied with kindly firmness, 
" I will not change one word. I have rewritten that 
paragraph again and again. It xjrecisely expresses 
the position on which I will make the fight." It was 


not long before the doubter fully concurred in the 
wisdom of the decision. There is reason to believe 
that Mr. Douglas himself ^Yas entirely confident that 
on that issue Mr. Lincoln could be easily and utterly 
routed. Mr. Douglas was no judge of the x^ower of 
truth, while Mr. Lincoln fully believed in his heart 
that no arts of a demagogue could stand before it. 

During the progress of this campaign I happened 
to be at our railway station one day when the train 
arrived and Mr. Lincoln emerged from one of the 
cars. He was on his way to speak at the town of 
Winchester, a few miles from Jacksonville. As we 
walked together to the hotel, a quarter of a mile dis- 
tant I said: "Mr. Lincoln you must be having a 
weary time." " I am," said he, " and if it were not 
for one thing I would retire from the contest. I 
know that if Mr. Douglas' doctrine x^revails it will 
not be fifteen years before Illinois itself will be a 
slave state." So keenly did he feel that slavery 
must be arrested before it subjugated the whole nation. 
It was this conviction that impelled him. He, of all 
men, deserved to be called the Father of EmanciiDa- 
tion in the United States. 

In that contest for the Illinois senatorship Mr. 
Douglas was destined to win one more victory and 
his oi^ponent to experience one more defeat. But 
that contest left Mr. Lincoln on the highway to the 
White House. It made him known to the nation as 
the statesman whom God had raised up to lead the 
host that fought under the banner of liberty. 

As an orator, Mr. Lincoln had one remarkable 
characteristic. His perfect candor invariably won 
the confidence of his hearers at the outset. He was 


always careful to disentangle liimself from any fallacy 
into which the advocates of his own cause might 
have fallen. His friends would often be astonished 
at the magnitude and importance of his concessions. 
He seemed to be surrendering the whole grouml of 
the debate, leaving not a square foot upoiv which his 
own argument could rest. Yet in the sequel he made 
it gloriously apparent that the rock foundation of his 
cause was left, where no man could overthrow it. He 
forced even his bitterest opponents to l^elieve that he 
was at least candid and sincere. I am inclined, how- 
ever, to think that in his varied practice in the courts 
his candor may have sometimes stood in the way of 
his success. One eminent lawyer said of him after 
his cruel assassination, " Mr. Lincoln was an excel- 
lent supreme court lawyer, but he was too candid not 
to sometimes damage a bad cause." I fear that few 
eminent lawyers lay themselves liable to that criti- 

Mr. Herndon, Mr. Lincoln's law partner, has been 
at great pains to assure us that Mr. Lincoln was not 
a Christian, but an unbeliever. Mr. Herndon was a 
very incomx:)etent interpreter of the mind and the life 
of his partner. He had no correct discernment of 
the real line that separates the Christian from the 
infidel. How does he interpret the golden words ad- 
dressed by that great man to the crowd assembled 
around the railway station to witness his departure 
from Springfield for Washington? What was the 
meaning of the seemingly earnest request for the 
prayers of that great multitude? He recognized 
the greatness of the task before him and declared that 
without Divine hell) he should certainly fail. Were 


those the words of a devout believer in God and in 
prayer, or of an infidel and demagogue, i)rofessing a 
devotion which in his heart he despised? We can- 
not accept Mr. Herndon's theory of Mr. Lincoln's 
character. There is nothing surprising or difficult of 
exi3lanation in the fact that Mr. Lincoln had not 
hitherto openly professed his faith in Christ by unit- 
ing himself with some Christian church. Up to this 
time, and still later, there must have been in his 
mind something of the same confusion of ideas under 
which Mr. Herndon still labored when he pronounced 
his distinguished partner an unbeliever. Alas! How 
many there are still among us whose minds are in- 
volved in the same confusion. Mr. Lincoln had not 
then, it seems to me, learned to distinguish between 
Christianity as set forth in the life of Jesus Christ 
and in the clear concrete form in which He taught it, 
and the Christianity of the modern creed of technical, 
metaphysical theology. He regarded the latter as 
the Christianity of the Church, and believed that in 
uniting himself with a church he professed implicit 
faith in all the statements of its creed. He was too 
candid, too cautious, too conscientious to make such 
a profession till he found his own mind in assured 
harmony with it. He took the Church at her word 
and thought that to be a Christian he must believe 
all that the Church teaches. He felt that for him to 
j)rofcss such a faith tin Christianity would be hypoc- 
risy, and conscientiously forebore to do it. In after 
years and through deeper and sadder experiences he 
understood better the real meaning of faith in Christ, 
and though to the hour of his violent death he never 


joined the Cliiircli, lie did very openly declare himself 
a Christian. He confessed Christ before men. 

I must say that it seems to me the Church might 
learn wisdom from the experience of such a man as 
Abraham Lincoln. Do we bring before the minds of 
the multitude before whom we are witnesses for 
Christianity a just, i^ractical, concrete conception of 
the Christian character and life? Not one of us be- 
lieves that the acceptance of the whole system of the- 
ology set forth in Calvin's Institutes or in the Thirty^ 
nine Articles is necessary to a true and living faith 
in Christ. Why then do we insist on the reception 
of theological systems in such a way as to make upon 
the minds of thousands of thoughtful men the im- 
pression that nothing short of the declaration of a 
belief in them, whole and entire, can justify any man 
in professing his faith in Christ? Christianity is not 
a system of metaphysical philosophy. It is "reiaent- 
ance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus 

Surely we should make the practical conception of 
Christian character and life so prominent in all our 
constitutions and methods of procedure, and in all 
our pulpit utterances that men will no longer con- 
found the acceptance of metaphysical statements with 
that living faith that forms character and saves the 
soul. If we preached the theology of Jesus more 
and that of the schools less, our hearers would under- 
stand the gospel better and be more readily persuaded 
to confess Christ before men. 

It is not necessary to j^rolong the consideration of 
the great political struggle which placed Mr. Lincoln 
at the head of the nation, and thus furnished the 

l'~*-r-f^-emC ■* ■•^•^,,3 »■ ».»iifc.^t><.- ■■Sfjfc- O , T i »• tk m I ' m m, mt m ' 9 - 


South with the utterly groundless pretext for the re- 
bellion by which he was at last compelled to issue 
the proclamation of emancipation. It was a military 
necessity, else with his views of the Constitution he 
never would have issued it, but to his heart it was 
also a precious opportunity. The agitation of the 
ocean by the fiercest gale is no adequate illustration 
of the Presidential canvass of 1860. The hurricane 
only stirs the surface of the ocean. That j^olitical 
excitement moved the community to its very depths. 
The mighty passions that affected millions of hearts 
simultaneously, the elevation of men's souls with pat- 
riotic fervor, the hoj)es of many for the speedy tri- 
umi^h of righteousness, alternating with inexpressible 
horror at the thought of its defeat, the x^rofound ad- 
miration with which the defenders of the right were 
regarded, and the unspeakable aversion excited 
against those who were seeking to exalt opj)ression; 
all these conflicting elements mingling in our own 
streets and around our own firesides rapidly formed 
and intensified iudividual and national character. It 
is in such convulsions as this that princij)les are 
tested, and by them the course of civilization for long 
future ages is determined. In the progress of the 
great struggle that followed I had good reason to 
know by personal observation that other nations had 
scarcely the faintest conception of the magnitude of 
the events transpiring in the United States. 

The war of the rebellion has passed into history. 
It is worth while, however, to observe how differ- 
ently the election of Mr. Lincoln was regarded by the 
great mass of American citizens who composed the 
Republican party on the one hand, and the adherents 


and advocates of slavery, in the 8 )uth, and all over 
the world, on the other. Tiu» former had no ex- 
pectation, most of them hardly a fear, that a war 
would result from Mr. Lincoln's election. With 
them it was not a declaration of war, but a 
peaceful yet emphatic assertion of their opinions, in 
strict accordance with the laws and the Constitution 
of their country, and they could not believe that their 
brethren in the South were rash and wicked enough 
to raise an armed insurrection because they had been 
defeated, in a lawful way, at the polls. 

On the other hand Southern statesmen and their 
sympathizers in the North did expect that the elec- 
tion of Mr. Lincoln would be the signal for the out- 
break of a gigantic armed rebellion. When the news 
of Mr. Lincoln's election arrived in Jacksonville, a 
great ecclesiastical convention was in session here. 
On hearing the announcement, a very prominent 
member of that body, an enthusiastic adherent of Mr. 
Douglas, wept like a child, " Now," he said, " there 
will be war." While we of the North scarcely be- 
lieved the conflict possible, and while Mr. Lincoln's 
sagacious secretary, Mr. Seward, was saying: "The 
contest will be over in ninety days," it was perfectly 
understood throughout the British empire that there 
would be a great civil war in the United States. The 
South already i^ossessed sufficient influence in 
EuroiDe to produce a general conviction that if the 
EejDublican party carried the election the dissolution 
of the Union and civil war were inevitable. Nothing 
can be more certain than that during all the tremen- 
dous excitement of the canvass, war and bloodshed 
were far from the thought of the Republican leaders 


and the great mass of Republican voters. They 
believed in liberty and were determined to vote for it 
within the limit of the Constitution. The one party 
meant peace and liberty for the long future, the other 
meant slavery and the shedding of as much blood as 
should be necessary to perpetuate it. 

[The following extracts from my father's corres- 
pondence with President Lincoln and the dis- 
tinguished " war governor " of Illinois will illustrate 
what has been said in this chapter. — Ed.'\ 

Springfield, Sept. 27, 1856. 
My Dear Sir: 

Owing to absence yours of the 16th, was not re- 
ceived until the day before yesterday. I thank you for your 
good opinion of me personally, and still more for the deep 
interest you take in the cause of our common country. It pains 
me a little that you have deemed it necessary to point 
out to me how I may be compensated for throwing myself in the 
breach now. This assumes that I am merely calculating the 
chances of personal advancement. Let me assure you that I 
decline to be a candidate for congress, on my clear conviction . 
that my running would hurt and not hel}} the cause. I am wili- 
ng to make any personal sacrifice, but I am not willing to do, 
what in my own judgment, is a sacrifice of the cause itself. 

Very Truly Yours, 

A. Lincoln. 
Springfield; 18th September, 1862. 
My Dear Sir: 

I steal a few moments from the more immediate 
duties to say a word to you. ... I have only time to say 
that I leave here for Chicago on Saturday morning, and from 
thence go to attend the Governor's meeting at Altoona, Pa. I 
wish, before I arrive at that meeting, to hear from you respect- 
ing your views of the present state of the country. We are 
passing through a terrible crisis. No one can look a day ahead, 
or tell what a moment may reveal. Disasters, political and 
military, have led to speculations regarding military despot- 


isms, and looking to the dismemberment of our once free and 
glorious government, and the general upheaval of the founda- 
tions of society. As for myself, I have to act day and night and 
have but little time to think or ponder upon the great historic 
events of the hour. I therefore request your assistance and 
cooperation. I know you have the country's welfare at heart. 
You have time to scan the signs of the times. Your heart beats 
responsive to all true progress, and your views will have weight 
with me and assist me in determining my course. . . . 

Hoping to hear from you at length I remain, with high 

Yours Truly, 

Richard Yates, Governor. 

Illinois College, Sept. 20, 18G2. 
My" Dear Sir: 

Yours is just received. . . . My mind is of late 
most solemnly impressed with the unwavering conviction that the 
war is an inevitable, a logical necessity of our history. The 
Constitution was intended to guarantee and perpetuate freedom 
— freedom of thought, utterance and action — the individual 
moral freedom of every man. The system of slavery is, in all 
its spirit and jirinciples, contradictory to this. So it has always 
shown itself in all our history. The most precious and funda- 
mental provisions in the Constitution, always have been utterly 
inoperative in all those states in which slavery is dominant 
What freedom of speech was there ever in South Carolina? 
When did a citizen of Massachusetts enjoy all the privileges of 
citizenship under the constitution in that state? Witness the 
case of Mr. Hoar at Charleston. When could the mail regula- 
tions of the United States be executed in the Slave States? How 
much force has there been for years past in our laws against the 
slave trade? The most fundamental provisions of the Constitu- 
tion have always been resisted and rendered inoperative wher- 
ever slavery reigns. And this resistance has been growing more 
intense year by year, till it has culminated in the present 
rebellion. . . . 

The semblance of union between the free principles of the 
Constitution and slavery is now no longer possible. The advo- 
cates of slavery are thoroughly aroused. They see with vivid 


clearness the contradiction between the glorious personal, moral 
freedom of the Constitution and their system. They will never 
consent to reunion on the old terms. The only union which 
they will not resist to the death is the union of Valandigham, 
which regards freedom of utterance against slavery as not less 
treasonable than armed rebellion. 

How then can the nation be restored to peace and unity 
again? Not by compromise between the two contending forces; 
that has been sufficiently tried. One of three things must 
happen. Either (1) Freedom must bear universal sway, or (2) 
The whole nation must be subjected to a relentless slaveholding 
despotism, or (3) We must plunge into the unfathomable deep 
of dismemberment. Between these three the nation must make 
its choice. The second is, I trust in God, not only inadmissable 
but impossible. There are millions who will resist it till all our 
rivers run blood. 

I believe the third to be impossible. I have no hope that any 
attempt to divide our territory and our resources between the 
forces of freedom and slavery so that each shall, in peace, enjoy 
and develop its own, can result in anything but generations of 
conflict and blood. I think we are shut up to the first as our 
only hope of peace and prosperity. 

If this conclusion is admitted, then the Union has but one 
enemy. That is not Jeff. Davis; not even the Southern Confed- 
eracy. It is slavery. Against that we must earnestly, openly 
direct all the storm and fury of war. We must hasten to make 
known in every slave cabin in the South, and in the mansion of 
every master, that the Federal Government invites the slave to 
frsedom, and to put forth his own efforts in vindicating it 
against the unrighteous claims of his oppressor. So far as 
loyal masters can be reconciled to this policy by compensation, 
we must compensate them. . . . 

I pray the God of our Fathers to give to that noble band of 
executive chief Magistrates of these loyal states, wisdom to dis- 
cern the path of the nation's safety, and holy energy and cour- 
age to pursue it, in the face of all difficulties and dangers, till 
freedom triumphs, and a peace is established on the durable 
foundations of justice to all men. If my voice could be heard 
in their presence, I would say: 'In the policy which I have 


pointed out, I see, if not a certainty, at least a hopeful possibil- 
ity of peace and freedom to our dear country. I cannot discern 
even a possibility of such an outcome from any other line of 

Yours very respectfully and affectionately, 

J. M. Sturtcvant. 



The eflPect of the war upon all the institutions of 
learning in the valley of the Mississippi was very 
disastrous, and for two reasons: First, it drew the 
choicest young men of the country from the i)eaceful 
walks of learning to the camp and the battle-field. 
For a time many of the colleges were almost without 
students. In that respect the effects of the war were 
for the last three years of its duration nearly as dis- 
astrous as was the French Kevolution to France. 
Again, the depreciation of the currency which resulted 
from the Legal Tender Act shattered our finances. 
The salaries of the teachers had been very moderate 
before the war, and when reduced in value by a 
depreciation of the currency to less than fifty cents 
on the dollar they became entirely inadequate to the 
support of the teachers and their families. The in- 
stutitutions had no resources from which to draw for 
any increase of salaries. For these reasons the period 
of the war was one of great depression and embarrass- 
ment to Illinois College. 

In the winter of 1863 the Senior class broke down 
entirely, not a single member being left. My duties 
as instructor were entirely with that class. In this 
state of things my friend Eliphalet W. Blatchford, of 
Chicago, a graduate of the class of 1845, proposed to 
pay my expenses to England on condition that I 



would go abroad as a representative and advocate of 
tlie Northern cause. It was regarded by him and 
many others as exceedingly imjjortant that no pains 
should be spared on our part to correct the false im- 
pressions then prevailing in England and Scotland 
respecting the principles involved in the war and its 
relations to the freedom of the negro. I could not 
hesitate to accept the i^roi^osition, though I feared at 
the time that my friend had greatly overestimated 
my ability to render any valuable service on such a 
mission. Had I known before leaving home the 
state of British sentiment toward America as I found 
it during the first fortnight of my stay in England, I 
should never have consented to undertake the journey. 
Between the date of Mr. Blatchford's proposition 
and the sailing of the steamer there was an interval of 
scarcely ten days, but at the time apj)ointed I was on 
the deck of the " City of Washington " bound for 
Liverpool. During those ten days I had a painful 
recurrance of my inborn aversion to great changes. 
I had no sooner accepted Mr. Blatchford's generous 
offer and begun in earnest to prepare for the voyage 
than I was filled with a most unreasonable dread of 
placing the Atlantic ocean between me and my native 
land, and engaging among unfamiliar scenes in a serv- 
ice which seemed to me so difficult and important. 
\Yhile on the way to the pier it would have been an 
unspeakable relief to have turned my face homeward. 
But T have never yielded to those morbid impulses. 
On board I found my dear friends Colonel and Mrs 
C. Gr. Hammond of Chicago, who were to be my fel- 
low passengers. When the steamer was well under 
way down the harbor my unreasonable depression 


vanished, and I felt as light and cheerful as a bird on 
the wing until I succumbed to a malady that spares 
neither light hearts or strong wills. When we crossed 
the bar off Sandy Hook and felt the first swell of the 
ocean, without the slightest warning I was smitten 
with a desiderate seasickness that kept me a close 
prisoner several days. One morning the genial cap- 
tain sent a delegation, among whom was Col. Ham- 
mond, to my state=room to bring me on deck. After 
much hesitation, persistent trials and many failures 
with the help of a strong man on either side I was 
taken before the smiling commander, and was finally 
left by my friends in a comfortaljle spot to breathe 
the fresh air and sleep. From that time I gradually 
recovered, and was able to greatly enjoy the latter 
part of the voyage. 

Two sights in the last half of our trip particularly 
impressed me, the first being an iceberg which, 
though seen from a long distance, plainly revealed 
the beautiful green color of glacial ice. The second 
was a burial at sea. The deceased was an English- 
man who had been among the early immigrants to 
California, where he had amassed a fortune by many 
years of toil. He was returning to England, where 
he exj)ected to enjoy the fruit of his labors. Grreatly 
prostrated by the voyage, he died in mid=ocean. 
Nothing could dissuade the captain and sailors from 
their determination to bury him in the sea. Accord- 
ingly the body was placed in a rough deal box heavily 
weighted at the foot, and born to the gunwale, upon 
which it rested till the captain with uncovered head 
reverently read the burial service. At the words 
" dust to dust and ashes to ashes " the sailors standing 


with uncovered heads pushed the coffin outward. It 
assumed a vertical position in the air and instantly 
disappeared beneath the nii<>hty waters. Meanwhile 
the enu:ine that was proj)elling us rapidly onward 
missed not a single revolution. The scene left a most 
painful impression upon my mind. 

The length of ocean voyages has been consider- 
ably abridged since 1863. On the afternoon of the 
12th day we sighted the Irish highlands and about 
sunset off Cape Clear the pilot came aboard. During 
the same evening we transferred the mails for Queen- 
stown and continued the voyage. That was a beau- 
tiful moonlight evening, and I shall never forget the 
enthusiasm with which my fellow passengers and I 
listened to American patriotic songs rendered by 
excellent singers on the deck. We were on British 
waters, but our hearts were in the beloved land on 
the other side of the sea. Rising betimes next morn- 
ning I found the vessel skirting the Irish coast so 
near, that fields and dwellings could be distinctly seen. 
The beautiful mountains of Wales were soon in view, 
and we turned northward into St. George's Channel, 
In the dusk of the evening we entered the Irish Sea 
and headed directly for the mouth of the Mersey. 

When I awoke next morning we were safely docked 
at Liverpool, and a bright dream of my childhood had 
been realized. On landing we were amused at our 
futile efforts to secure a two- horse carriage to convey 
Colonel and Mrs. Hammond and myself, with our 
" luggage," to the Washington Hotel. We then 
learned that there were no such carriages for hire in 

We had not been long upon the streets before we 


were shocked by the discovery that the whole city 
was in a state of high excitement and seeming exul- 
tation over certain reports of serious reverses to the 
Union army, which had come over on the same 
steamer with ourselves. Although in the mother 
country and hearing on every hand the mother tongue, 
we constantly listened to expressions of sympathy 
with the enemies of the Union cause. We could 
hardly believe our ears. This painful experience 
which continued, though with cheering interruptions, 
as long as I remained on British soil, filled me at 
first with discouragement, but a few liberal meals in 
a good British hotel and a night's lodging in a good 
English bed restored in some degree my cordial 
feeling toward my English cousins, and I was j)re- 
pared to enter with good courage and good temper 
upon the patriotic undertaking which was before me 
Few experiences of my life have astonished me 
more than the representations made by eminent 
Englishmen with respect to British public sentiment 
at that time. In adresses that have been quoted in 
our jDeriodicals, and in speeches I have myself heard, 
these distinguished men have evidently intended to 
represent that the great majority of the English 
common people were during the war decidedly in 
favor of the Union cause. I am sorry to say that I 
have never conversed with an observant friend of our 
cause from this side of the water who was in England 
in 1863 without finding a witness to the incorrectness 
of such statements. I x)urpose in this chapter to give 
from my own observation some illustrations of the 
symioathy entertained in Great Britain for the South 
in that crisis in our national history. 


Almost immediately upon my arrival I be<2;an to 
present letters of introduction, with which I had been 
kindly furnished, to Ensj^lishmen of hii^h standing and 
known sympathy with the Union. One of these was 
addressed to David Stuart Esq., a prominent mer- 
chant of Liverpool, and brother of George H. Stuart 
of Philadelphia, the well known patriot and philan- 
thropist. My reception was most cordial. Having 
been invited to preach on the following Sabbath at 
the United Presbyterian church of Birkenhead, 
where Mr. Stuart resided, I accomiDanied the family 
home to dine. When the couA'ersation at the table 
turned toward American affairs, I felt warranted by 
the pronounced and intelligent Union sentiments of 
my host in expressing myself with joerfect freedom. 
I was not a little surprised to find among the mem- 
bers of the family jiresent some who were as intense 
in their Southern sympathies as was the host in his 
adherence to the North. I encountered similar div- 
ision of sentiment in the homes of several other well 
known English advocates of the Union cause. Such 
facts magnify America's debt of gratitude to those 
w^ho were her friends in those dark hours. 

I arrived in London during the May Anniversaries, 
and a few days later was invited to a soiree at New 
College, London, an institution under the control of 
the Congregationalists. Here as everywhere the 
general topic of conversation was the " Great Ameri- 
can Conflict,'' for that was then almost as universal a 
theme in England as in America. During the 
evening, in the presence of several leading ministers, 
the famous Newman Hall, well known and always 
higly honored in America, uttered these words: "I 

M» ■!■ HH ■» - 


am for tlie North by all means, but I well understand 
that you are only fighting for a boundary line. The 
restoration of the Union is impossible." And he 
strongly emphasized the last word. I answered, "You 
perceive, gentlemen, that I cannot reply on such an 
occasion as this. I need time to define and explain." 
John Graham, one of the party, at once invited all of 
the group to breakfast at his house on the next day 
but one, saying: "We will hear this thing out." All 
were present at the aj^pointed time exept Mr. Hall, 
who excused himself on account of an unexpected call 
to the country. My conversation with him was 
unfortunately never resumed. 

Breakfast was served at 9 o'clock. After two hours 
at the table we retired to the parlor, where the con- 
versation was continued till after 2 P. M. My posi- 
tion was that we were indeed fighting for a boundary, 
but that boundary was the original one, and it would 
be far easier to reestablish that than to draw across 
the continent a line that should mark the limits of 
two separate nations. Such a permanent separation, 
I contended, could be accomplished only by foreign 
intervention a method that would prove surprisingly 
difficult and expensive to any nation possessing the 
temerity to attempt it. I urged that without foreign 
intervention, the war must go on till one party or the 
other was exhausted, when the victor would restore 
and govern the Union. 

There was one special reason why the English 
could not, at that time, understand the issues of our 
war. I was taught from childhood to venerate 
England. I love her and her scenery and many of 
her institutions still seem to me as parts of my dear 


native land. But to sjieak the plain truth, deep down 
in the heart of every Briton there is the assumption 
of a political sagacity to be found nowhere outside of 
Albion. DeTocqueville says of us Americans that 
we are not far from having reached the conclusion 
that we belong to a suj)erior race of beings, because 
in our hands alone democratic institutions have 
proved successful. But, wutatis niufdiKlis, the re- 
mark would apply with still greater pertinency to the 
English. They have established and so maintained a 
limited monarchy as to secure under it a high degree 
of prosperity and social order, while nearly all other 
experiments in the same direction have proved signal 
failures. In the time of which I am writing a major- 
ity of the Queen's subjects enjoyed the comforting 
assurance that they alone understood the i^rinciples 
of free government. 

Englands liberty is unique. It's like never has ex- 
isted and never can exist outside of that emj)ire. I 
admire England's institutions. I venerate her states 
manship. The conflicts of the past have brought 
about in her a marvelous balance of forces. The 
monarchy, the aristocracy and the jpeople have each a 
place in the system, and the strong conservative ten- 
dencies of an old and wealthy community are har- 
monized with the j)rogressive impulses of a singularly 
energetic race. I believe that the attempt to trans- 
plant the English idea of a limited monarchy to other 
lands will alwnys ])rove a disastrous failure. 

At the time of my visit an American was con- 
fronted on every side by the claim of political superi- 
ority. He was really deemed incapable of under- 
standing or discussing politics, having never been 


taught in the English school. Forgetting England's 
many civil wars, our cousins assumed that the war of 
the rebellion proved the essential weakness of our 
whole system. "The bubble has burst" exclaimed a 
noble Lord in the English Parliament. " The Great 
Republic is no more," echoed the London Times, and 
millions of English voices reiterated the sentiment. 
Americans argued against this prejudgment almost 
in vain until our cause had been vindicated by the 
God of Battles. 

At an early day I presented a letter of introduction 
from my much esteemed friend, Dr. Joseph P. 
Thompson, to Sir Richard Cobden. He received me 
with every mark of kindness, and ajjpointed an early 
day to welcome me to breakfast at his house. It was 
perfectly "unceremonious, none being present except 
himself, his wife and his daughter. This was precise- 
ly what I desired. Few conversations in my life 
have equalled that one in interest and instruetiveness. 
Mr. Cobden in a conversation of two hours in length 
exhibited no trace of the prevailing national preju- 
dice. He placed me perfectly at my ease, and an- 
swered all my inquiries with the utmost i^ossible 
frankness and fairness. Greatly to my own astonish- 
ment he confirmed all the impressions I had thus far 
formed respecting the attitude of the English people 
toward the American conflict. I begged earnestly 
that he would explain it. He replied nearly as 
follows : 

"There is nothing unaccountable in it. We are 
governed by an aristocracy and a State Church. 
These institutions stand at the head of society and 
are able to make their influence penetrate far down 


into the lower strata. You are governed without an 
aristocracy and a State Church, aud those who are 
interested in jjreserving these institutions fear that 
if you continue to prosper as you have done, the com- 
mon people will be led to conclude that we also may 
dispense with these expensive luxuries. They there- 
fore rejoice to see you in trouble, and those larg^ 
portions of the English people over whom the aris- 
tocracy and the State Church are able to extend their 
influence sympathize with their leaders.' 

I parted with Mr. Cobden with i^rofound feelings 
of gratitude for my own and for my country's sake, 
and full of admiration for his character and his ca- 
reer. England should be held in everlasting honor 
for having produced such a statesman. His acquain- 
tance with the whole history of our struggle and all 
the princix^les which it involved was most comprehen- 
sive, accurate and thorough. Xo American knew us 
better than Richard Cobden. 

As I was taking my leave he followed me to the 
door, and looking out upon the street he noticed that 
it vras sloppy from recent rain. Alluding to the fact 
he added, " But you will not mind English mud. 
You are from Illinois." He had previously visited 
Jacksonville, having come to investigate the affairs 
of the English colony west of the city, and had 
floundered in Illinois mud. The soul sunshine of 
that morning seemed to banish all the shadows that 
had gathered on my pathway in England, and was 
worth all the trouble of my transatlantic voyage. 

I was at first greatly astonished at Mr. Cobden's 
representation of the influence exercised by the Eng- 
lish aristocracy upon public opinion. But subse- 


quent observation fully confirmed his views. It is 
nearly as difficult for an American to understand the 
position of the British aristocracy as it was for an 
Englishman to comprehend that Congress had no 
power to abolish slavery in the United States, a fact 
that not a dozen English subjects with whom I con- 
versed could grasp. The circumstance in relation to 
the nobility which caused me the greatest x>ei"ple'xity 
was the influence it exerted over the lower classes, 
and especially over that portion of the common 
people whose wealth and influence placed them near- 
est to it in rank. It is my impression that I was not 
very unlike other Americans in supposing that a 
commoner, independent in fortune, and a Congrega- 
tional dissenter in his religious connections, would 
regard the aristocracy with all its numerous peculiar 
privileges much as we would regard a privileged class 
among ourselves. If such sentiments exist in Eng- 
land they are certainly of very recent origin. While 
conversing with some of the most intelligent and lib- 
erahminded Congregational ministers I found it nec- 
essary to be exceedingly cautious not to indicate in 
any way my anti^aristocratic feelings, lest the conver- 
sation should be diverted from American affairs. 
Any disparaging utterance with respect to the aris- 
tocracy w^ould at once rally all hearers to its defense, 
and thus for the time at least exclude America from 
the discussion. At a delightful social gathering in 
Bristol I was betrayed into the assertion that England 
is the most aristocratic country in the world. The 
earnest but good=natured protest of the entire com- 
pany soon forced me to retreat as gracefully as cir- 


cumstances would permit, although none well versed 
in English history will dispute the proposition. 

Aristocracy must be seen and studied to be under- 
stood. Americans often said in days: "It is 
not the English people who are against us, it is the 
aristocracy." Had they understood the problem bet- 
ter they would have known that if the aristocracy 
were against us the great body of the English Church 
would also oppose us, and the Church and the aris- 
tocracy combined would carry the British Enii^ire 
with them. Mr. Cobden's remark was strictly true. 
The influence of the aristocracy and the State Church 
penetrate to the lowest stratum of society. We often 
erroneously divide English society into two great There is Ijut one word that can explain the 
social order of Great Britain. That word is )'(()ik'. 
But there are not simply two ranks, there is an in- 
definite number of them, each quite distinctly and 
permanently marked. Ancient laws and immemorial 
usages have created and maintained the privileges of 
the aristocracy. Custom has done the rest. It has 
separated the social pyramid into an indefinite num- 
ber of parallel planes, each stratum rejDresenting a 
distinct class. 

Hence it came to pass that the Independents with 
whom I had most frequent association, some of them 
occupying i^ositions second only to the aristocracy it- 
self, seemed more anxious to maintain their own su- 
periority over the ranks below than to encroach upon 
the single rank above them. They regarded their 
superiors with peculiar reverence and affection, and 
some even cherished the hope of gaining admission to 


the highest rank, if not for themselves at least for their 
children. This is the only key which can unlock the 
social problem of England. Reverence for rank holds 
English society with all its extremes together, and 
seems to unify the whole. 

In my numerous conversations on the American 
conflict I often attempted to confirm the opinions 
which I expressed upon cognate questions by the au- 
thority of Mr. Cobden. I found it, however, of little 
use, for I was almost sure to meet the same reply, em- 
phasized by a sneer: "Cobden isn't English." True, 
Mr. Cobden was the father of that system of free 
trade in which every Englishman then gloried as an 
honor and blessing to his country, but it was well 
known that he was not an advocate of the j)erpetuity 
of the aristocracy and the State Church, and had not 
the least symjDathy with the Southern rebellion, and 
therefore even Independents of eminent intelligence 
were willing to charge him with having abjured his 

My excellent friend, President Porter of Yale Col- 
lege, had given me a letter to a bookseller in London, 
saying that he was an original character whose con- 
versation would greatly interest me. In one of our 
interviews he gave me his history. Just after reach- 
ing his majority he was left with the care of a wid- 
owed mother and several brothers and sisters. In or- 
der to meet their necessities, he cut short his education 
and immediately became a bookseller. He prospered 
and educated his younger brother at Oxford and fitted 
him for the Church. " Now," said he, " that brother 
will not visit me. He says that I ought not to expect 
it because I keep this bookstore. It would not be 


proper, as we are not of the same rank. One day," 
he continued, " not long since, as I was on the street, 
I saw him apiDroaching arm in arm with the Bishoi) 
of Oxford. Just before we met I heard him say to 
the Bishop, ' will your Lordship excuse me for a mo- 
ment while I sjDeak to my bookseller?' He stepj)ed 
aside and held a brief conversation with me and then 
rejoined the Bishop. The worst of it," he added, "is 
that his statement was false, for I am not now and 
never was his bookseller." Subsequently the same 
man said to me: " I attend church, and after the con- 
gregation is dismissed while yet in the church ray ac- 
quaintances will recognize me in a very friendly way, 
but afterward on the street they meet me as an utter 
stranger." I asked him if he attended the Estab- 
lished church. He replied that he did. "That," 
said I, "seems very strange, for the Established 
church is the key=stone of the arch under which you 
are crushed." He saw the inconsistency but ofPered 
no apology. I fear that by attending the Established 
church he won and retained customers. In reflecting 
upon this conversation his statement seemed almost 
incredible. I therefore embraced an early opportun- 
ity to ask i^ersons familiar with the usages of Eng- 
lish society whether such things could really be true, 
and was invariably answered, " Nothing is more j)rob- 
able." This story may shed some light on the con- 
dition of English society. 

In addition to that particular cause for English 
sympathy with the rebellion which Mr. Cobden had 
so clearly pointed out, there was another lying nearer 
the surface and to which my attention was more fre- 
quently called, as it greatly influenced the commer- 


cial classes. I can best explain it by relating an inci- 
dent. At Charing Cross. London, there was a geo- 
graijhical bookstore kept by ]\Ir. Wilde, a parishioner 
of Kev. Newman Hall. I often called at this store 
for American papers, and almost invariably found the 
proprietor ready for a chat about the great rebelliun. 
He was a good natured but very j^lain siDoken man, 
who never hesitated to call things by what he thought 
to be their appropriate names. In one of these con- 
versations, he said: "I will tell you the root of the 
whole difficulty. You are too strong over there and 
carry yourselves with too high a hand. If we get into 
any difficulty with you. you must have it all your own 
way to keep the peace. We think you would be more 
manageable were you divided into two confederacies. 
We would then make such commercial arrangements 
with you as would more largely promote English 
prosperity." "That," said I, ''in western phrase is 
'acknowledging the corn." 

I heard similar sentiments again and again. High- 
minded and religious men, even abolitionists, seemed 
willing to aid in dissolving the American Union at 
the risk of establishiug a slaveholding republic over 
its territory. At the time of the American Eevolu- 
tion England valued her colonies chiefly because they 
consumed her jDroducts and afforded a more extended 
field for her commerce. I was previously disappoint- 
ed to find indications of the same spirit in 1863. In- 
stead of that loving interest in her scattered children 
as representatives of English liberty and English 
Protestantism which I had exi^ected to find in the 
mother country, I often found an alhabsorbing devo- 
tion to the interests of British trade. When Enuiand 


acknowledged the independence of the United States 
she by no means relinquished the hope of retaining 
her commercial supremacy on this side of the Atlan- 
tic, and that hope, still lingering in her heart, explains 
her attitude in 1863. 

"A friend of the North," whom I met at a hotel 
table in Callander, Scotland, said in very soothing 
tones, "Oh, I am very friendly to your country, but it 
is vastly better for you to be divided." I assured him 
that I appreciated such friendliness at its full value, 
and, though some such friends were afterwards hon- 
ored as if they had proved our staunch defenders, it 
ought to be remembered that we do not owe it to 
them that America is not cursed to=day with a slave- 
holding confederacy. All honor be given to the Prince 
Consort, and to every other true British friend who 
stood by us at the critical moment when English and 
French intervention seemed imminent. 

Strange as it may seem, English and Scotch aboli- 
tionists, who had fought the battle of freedom in the 
British Colonies, opjjosed the Union cause. To illus- 
trate: One bright afternoon while tarrying a few 
days in Edinburgh, as the sun was hanging lazily 
above the northwestern horizon, seeming to an eye 
unfamiliar with such a spectacle to be about "to go 
around," as Tacitus has it, and not set, I took a long 
walk into that portion of the city lying west of Salis- 
bury Crag, which I had not previously visited. On 
my return about nine o'clock, as the shadows of even- 
ing were just beginning to settle down uijon the city, 
I found myself in front of Holyrood Palace. Though 
I had visited that place before, I felt doubtful as to 
my most direct route to my lodging o^^posite Sir 


Walter Scott's Monument. I inquired the way of a 
gentleman of resi^ectable appearance walking near me. 
As lie M^as going in that direction and was familiar 
with the region, he offered to accompany me. He 
said, "You are a stranger?" "Yes," I rej)lied, "an 
American." As I had hoped, the conversation imme- 
diately turned to the American conflict. Said my 
comrade very sharply, "They are a set of rascals on 
both sides." I instantly stopped and turned my face 
toward him. He as quickly halted and eyed me 
sharply. Said I, " Sir, for you to speak thus of my 
country in the hour of her trial is a sin against God." 
He was silent. We paused a moment longer and 
then walked on. He reopened the conversation in a 
more tender and gentle spirit, and gave me an oppor- 
tunity to explain the attitude of Mr. Lincoln and the 
dominant party toward slavery. We conversed in 
this strain till we reached the bridge which spans the 
deep chasm dividing Princess Street from the Old 
Town, just at Scott's Monument. Here our ways 
parted, but we lingered and continued the conversa- 
tion for a long time. He proved to be a prosperous 
paper manufacturer, and a life long abolitionist. Be- 
fore we parted he asked me if I would present my 
views to a j)ublic assembly, and upon being assure I 
that I would gladly do so, promised to do his best to 
gather an audience and find some one to preside. I 
heard afterward of his earnest efforts, which however 
were unsuccessful, perhaps for want of a suitable 

The difficulty with this man was that he had be- 
lieved, with most British abolitionists, that there was 
no honest hostility to slavery in the Republican par- 


ty. Their ideas were logically deduced from the 
teachings of Mr. Grarrison and his associates. " Slave- 
holding," Mr. Garrison had said, "is a sin against 
God, and is therefore an evil removable only by im- 
mediate repentance." It was not believed that Mr. 
Lincoln or any of his party had ever really rexjented 
of the sin of slavery, therefore they could by no 
means be admitted into the charmed circle of Eng- 
lish abolitionism. Had these men known Mr. Lin- 
coln better they would have realized that he was no 
more unregenerate in regard to the sin of slavery 
than was Mr. Garrison himself. If he had ever been 
in sympathy with slaveholding he had certainly ex- 
perienced a change of heart, and so had millions of 
his fellow Republicans. 

Another incident will further illustrate this sub- 
ject. I had accepted an invitation to breakfast at the 
house of a prominent Indei^endent minister, who was 
not su^jposed to favor the Northern cause, and was 
seated at the right of my hostess. The host, being at 
the other end of the long table did not for some time 
address me, but finally ojaened the conversation with 
the remark: "That Mormonism in your country is a 
very horrible system." "Yes," I replied, "but not 
half so horrible as the system of slavery we are strug- 
gling to destroy." " Ah," continued he in a tone that 
seemed to lack sincerity, " if you were only opposing 
it (IS slavery." Said I, " If anyone will only help de- 
stroy such a system I will not stop to ask him as to 
wJiat he opposes in it." The conversation termina- 
ted there. It was delightful, though somewhat rare, 
to meet those who were in thorough sympathy with 
the practical opposition to slavery which was the im- 


pelling force in our great struggle. Notable among 
these were Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel of London, 
James Douglas of Cavers, Scotland, Rev. John 
Brown D. D. of Dalkeith, Scotland, with a circle of 
excellent peojjle who surrounded him, Rev. David S. 
Russell and Rev. John Batchelder of Glasgow. All 
these and a few more that might be mentioned un- 
derstood us ijerfectly. They knew our history, our 
principles and our aims, and had no less confidence 
in the result of the struggle than we had ourselves. 
But they were by no means popular men in Britain 
at that time. They were like the witnesses of the 
apocalypse that proi^hesied in sackcloth. 

The few days passed in the hosiaitable home of 
James Todd, Esq. of Dalkeith, were a sunny spot in 
my sojourn in Britain. It was there I learned to 
love and honor a Scotch religious home. Had I 
been a brother or a father they could have done no 
more to make my stay delightful. Two sons just ap- 
proaching manhood vied with their i^arents in con- 
tributing to my enjoyment. 

My visit of a few days with James Douglas of Cav- 
ers was exceedingly pleasant and instructive. I had 
made a little speech at the dinner of the Congrega- 
tional Union of England and Wales, being a delegate 
to that body from the American Congregational Un- 
ion. At the close of the banquet Mr. Douglas intro- 
duced himself to me and extended an invitation to 
visit him whenever I should be in Scotland. On my 
way from Edinburgh to his house I found opportu- 
nity for a brief visit at Melrose and Abbotsford. 
The memory of those scenes will be precious as long 
as I live. 


At Hawick I was met by Mr. Douglas with his 
carriage and driven to his residence three miles dis- 
tant. Most of this journey was through his own es- 
tate. Only one who had spent his life in the new 
world, and much of it on the frontier, can appreciate 
my impressions as we drove foi- half a mile through 
that ancient jjark, and paused at last at that mediae- 
val castle, for such, though modenuzed and im- 
proved, Mr. Douglas's mansion really was. My re- 
ception was most courtly and yet very cordial. The 
family consisted of Mr. Douglas and his estimable 
wife, and a young gentleman, her brother. A so- 
journ of four days afiPorded me a delightful impres- 
sion of British country life. One of the days was 
spent in a drive with Mr. Douglas to Jedburg. My 
accomplished host invested the beautiful scenery of 
the Tweed country with new interest, through his fa- 
miliarity with all its many historic and literary asso- 
ciations, and enlivened our excursion by snatches 
from Scott, both in poetry and prose, illustrating the 
scenes through which we were passing. These he 
recited with the greatest fluency and appropriateness. 
We rambled about the ancient abbey, and visited the 
quaint dwelling where Mary Queen of Scotts was 
compelled for a time to hold her little court 

During my stay at the Douglas mansion I preached 
at Hawick on the Sabbath, and once on a week day 
delivered a lecture on the American conflict, at which 
Mr. Douglas himself presided. The address was well 
received, not however without some dissent, frankly 
though good-naturedly expressed to me after the 
audience had retired. 

I gladly embraced every oj^portunity while in Great 


Britain to speak publicly in behalf of my country. 
The truth is that during the war of the rebellion few 
Americans were granted a public hearing on that sub- 
ject. Henry Ward Beecher, thanks to his great re- 
nown, was heard by many thousands, and wherever 
he spoke the matchless power of his eloquence and 
the force of his indomitable will swept everything be- 
fore him. The triumph of his genius has no parallel 
in modern history, and even to this day his fellow 
citizens cannot fully appreciate the greatness of his 
achievements at Liverpool and Exeter Hall. The 
storm of angry questions which assailed him expressed 
the very heart of the English masses at that time. An 
American who had met precisely the same questions 
in drawing^-ooms, hotels, railway carriages, and in 
crowded streets, can better than most men appreciate 
Mr. Beecher's victory. That Mr. Beecher should 
have been able in those times of excitement to hold 
his position and control those great crowds by the 
vigor of his thought, the quickness, appropriateness 
and sharpness of his replies, and at last to overwhelm 
his hearers by the fervor of his emotions and the re- 
sistless tide of his eloquence till he stood before his 
assailants an unquestioned conqueror, proves him the 
peer of any man who has ever come to the rescue of 
his country in the hour of her greatest danger. 

I preached in a few dissenting pulpits, never, how- 
ever, with any reference to politics in America or slav- 
ery in the abstract, and delivered a number of lectures 
in different joarts of the United Kingdom. In these 
lectures, and in very many personal conversations, I 
sought to accomplish as much as possible for a better 
public sentiment on American aflPairs. No other part 


of my life has svirj)assed those months in mental 
activity. I saw much that was both interesting and 
instructive, but through it all I could never f()r<^et the 
conflict that imperiled the very life of my beloved 
country. After my return home I prepared and de- 
livered in several places in this and adjacent states a 
lecture on the relations of British opinion to the 
great rebellion. It was x^ublished under the title of 
■' Three Months in Great Britain." I sent a copy of 
it to Mr. Cobden, at whose suggestion it was repub- 
lished in England by Thomas B. Potter Es(p, who 
upon thedeathof Mr. Cobden succeeded him in Parlia- 
ment. Mr. Potter placed upon the title page Burn's 

"Oh wad some power the giftie gie us 
To see ourselves as ithers see us." 

I bore several letters of introduction to Joseph 
Warne of Oxford, who was for many years the Eng- 
lish correspondent of the New Yorli Indei3endent, 
and had thus become widely known among the read- 
ers of that Journal. An American consul could hardly 
have exceeded him in helpful offices to our countrymen. 
He possessed the highest equalities both of mind and 
heart. He was a faithful and intelligent Christian, a 
pillar in the little Bajitist church which had an ob- 
scure and almost unrecognized existence in Oxfcjrd. 
He had never been connected with the University, 
but by his own efPorts had attained a scholarship and 
an independence of thought that won respect even in 
university circles. A man of modest demeanor, sim- 
ple habits and unpretending manners, he had been 
for thirty years, notwithstanding the changes of ad- 
ministration, the postmaster of Oxford, a ijosition 


that far exceeds in imj)ortance and dignity that which 
is conferred by the same office in mnch larger towns 
in America. He not only had charge of the city 
office but also of the minor offices in the adjacent dis- 
trict, with the ijower of appointing and removing his 
subordinates. In politics he was a quiet and unob- 
trusive man, but always an advanced liberal. In 
reference to the American conflict he was as intelli- 
gently American in his sympathies as Mr. Cobden 
himself. It confers no small honor on the British 
goverinnent that so able and liberal a man should be 
able to hold such a position undisturbed through so 
many political changes. 

Very soon after my arrival in Liverpool I forwarded 
my letters of introduction to Mr. Warne and men- 
tioned that I intended to visit Oxford before long. I 
received a prompt reply inviting me to come at my 
earliest convenience. A letter to F. Eastman Esq., 
then American consul at Bristol, elicited a similar 
response. After attending the May Anniversaries in 
London I made arrangements to visit first Bristol and 
then Oxford. 

My circle of acquaintances so widened at the 
meeting of the Congregational L^nion of England and 
Wales at London that I received more invitations to 
visit difPerent parts of Great Britain than the duties 
connected with my mission permitted me to accept. 
Allow me to say in passing that the most i)owerful 
address at that meeting was delivered by the famous 
Dr. Vaughn, long the editor of the British Quarterly, 
and one of the rei^resentatives of English Congrega- 
tionalism at our National Council at Boston in 1865. 
Dr. Vaughn was a man of unquestioned eloquence 


and literary ability, but it was very apparcnit when I 
met liim in London that lie had no sympathy with 
the North in our great struggle. Rev. George Smith, 
pastor of the Independent Chapel at Poplar, London, 
was Secretary of the Congregational Union. Though 
always civil in our interviews, he never failed to give 
unmistakable indications of his aversion to our 
He also was a delegate to the Council at Boston. He 
came to America, but hastened at once to Canada and 
never reported at Boston. I did not w^onder, for in 
the interval between our meeting in London and the 
asseml)ling of the Council at Boston the Southern 
Confederacy had collapsed, and the Union had been 
reestablished, so that his position in Boston might 
have proved uncomfortable. I have not seen him 
since he declared his belief that the restoration of the 
Union was impossible, and when reminded of North- 
ern victories, recently reported, replied that the truth 
of those rex3orts was very doubtful and that should 
they subsequently prove true it would be all the 
worse for Unionists in the end. 

I greatly enjoyed the generous hospitality of Mr. 
Eastman, our consul at Bristol, and was charmed by 
the natural scenery of the quaint old town, and 
esiDCcially by the ancient cathedral whose half ruined 
walls yet show the marks of the attentions it received 
from Cromwell's Ironsides. I preached in the Inde- 
XDcndent Chapel where Mr. Eastman and his family 
attended worship, and subsequently attended a small 
social gathering of the congregation. I was happy 
to find among them some lay preachers who honored 
the Lord as tradesmen during the week, and rendered 
good service in pulpits on the Sabbath. The results 


accomplished in England by these lay=preacliers 
suggest useful lessons to American Congregation- 
alists. Not a few of the lights of English Independ- 
ency have found their way to the pulpit and to high 
influence in the Christian ministry by this very route. 
Such men often render invaluable services to feeble 
and pastorless churches. 

I accej^ted an invitation to preach at Abington 
Berks, where I was to enjoy the hospitality of a j)rom- 
inent manufacturer. At dinner soon after my arrival 
I met a brilliant company of ladies and gentlemen, 
all strangers to me except the pastor of the church at 
which I was to preach. I found that my fellow 
guests, though very good-natured and courteous 
people, were mostly Southern sympathizers. Eager 
to make on such a circle a favorable impression for 
my country, I was watching with keen interest the 
lively conversation that turned almost wholly on 
American affairs, when a gentleman, as though he 
had something of more than ordinary importance to 
say, remarked: " I have long wondered that the South 
does not abolish slavery for the sake of procuring 
from England and France the acknowledgement of 
their independence. I then laid down my knife and 
fork and said: " I too have long wondered that Satan 
does not make up his mind to serve God," A laugh 
followed, and my neighbor after a minute's pause 
said: " I am answered." I then explained that the 
primary object of the South was the perj)etuation of 
slavery, not the independence of the Southern Confed- 
eracy, which they valued only as a necessary condi- 
tion for the enslavement of the negro. I am quite 
sure my hearers comprehended at that moment what 


they had not understood before. A very good 
audience gave excellent attention to my sermon in the 
evening. I have never since met any of the acquain- 
tances formed on that da v. 



The last chapter stoj^s just where the writer and 
his amanuensis rested at the close of a certain day, 
with no premonition that their work was ended. 
Serious illness jorevented its resumption, and in about 
three weeks all the hands that had been busy with 
the book had ceased forever from labor. 

I take it for granted that the reader will wish to 
know something of the unfinished story. My father 
made a short trip to the Continent after his tour in 
England, and returned home early in September much 
refreshed and greatly delighted with his journey. 
He at once resumed his college duties and his Sab- 
bath afternoon discourses in the chapel. During the 
following months many congregations listened to a 
lecture in which he gave his imjDressions of England. 
In the winter of 1864-5 he was occupied in securing 
an endowment for the Latin i^rofessorship in Illinois 
College, of which his cousin, Edward A. Tanner, 
afterward his successor in the presidency, was the 
first incumbent. 

His delight when the war of the rebellion at last 
came to an end could be appreciated only by one who 
witnessed the " sacred joy " of all patriotic hearts in 
those days. His emotions in view of the assassination 
of his friend. President Lincoln, are expressed in the 




>> \ 

.i" ■* 


following extract from a letter written at Illinois 
College, Ai^ril 14, to his daughter Miss E. F. Stur- 

" What a day! But yesterday we were rejoicing as 
no other people ever rejoiced. To day we are mourn- 
ing as no other peojjle ever mourned. This is no 
assassination of a usurping despot that waded to jjow- 
er through the Ijlood of his countrymen, but of the 
truest friend of liberty that ever sat in the seat of au- 
thority. What these villains intend I know not, and 
care little, for they will be defeated. But what God 
intends concerns us more, and that I do not by any 
means understand. May God strengthen us all to 
stand at our post in this awful hour! All business is 
suspended, all places of business are deeply draped in 
mourning. Thousands are vowing vengeance on what 
remains of the rebellion; thousands more are utterly 
paralyzed, overwhelmed with horror and sorrow. Ar- 
rangements are made for a public meeting of citizens 
on Monday afternoon in view of this awful tragedy. 
It sems to me, if anything was wanting to fill up the 
measure of our hatred of the rebellion and of the 
cause of the rebellion, this is it. May the Lord 
tranquilize our spirits and give us faith in Him in 
this dark hour." 

In June 1865 he delivered the opening sermon at 
the National Council of Congregational Churches in 
Boston. The ojiportunity atforded him great delight 
and the reception accorded to the discourse, in which 
he expressed with great earnestness his view of the 
church, filled his heart with gratitude to God. The 
controversy with Bishop Huntington which grew out 
of that discourse was on both sides a fine illustration 


of the candor and courtesy which ought always to 
characterize theological discussions. 

The early months of the year 1866 were devoted to 
efPorts in behalf of the "Sturtevant Fcundation," an 
endowment for the presidency of Illinois College. He 
regarded this as one of the most important undertak- 
ings of his life. He did not wish to make Illinois 
College a Congregational institution. Neither did he 
wish to have it managed by a compromise between 
denominations. In a communication offering this 
fund to the trustees (after stating that a ijroposition 
had been made that "action should be taken by the 
trustees assuring the iDublic that in all future appoint- 
ments the board of trustees and the faculty shall be 
equally divided between New School Presbyterians 
and Congregationalists and the position of president 
shall be held alternately by these two denominations '' ) 
he says among other things: "Our conception of the 
college, which in the early fervor of our youth we 
united with others in endeavoring to found, was that 
it should be controlled by sound evangelical men, 
who could be trusted to administer it for Christ and 
His Church, and that in administering it they were 
bound to appoint to the various parts of instruction 
trustworthy evangelical men of the highest qualifica- 
tions for their respective departments, and that beyond 
this they were not to be held resjsonsible for the de- 
nominational relations of the candidate. We acknowl- 
edge and keenly feel that the trustees are bound to 
deal imj)artially with the two denominations. But by 
impartiality we understand that the prospects of no 
man for election to any place in the institution siiall 
be damaged or benefitted by the fact that he belongs 


to one of these denominations rather than the other." 

When therefore this fund was accepted upon those 
terms and his loved and trusted friend, E. W. Bhitch- 
ford of Chicaj^o, became one of the trustees, lie greatly 
rejoiced. Nor did the denominational position of the 
college afterwards cause him serious anxiety. 

In May, 1869, he received through his friend, Mr. 
S. M. Edgell of St. Louis, an invitation to participate 
in an excursion on the new Kansas Pacific railroad. 
Gen. Custer i^lanned a buffalo-hunt for the benefit of 
the party. My father with others was driven to the 
chase in an army ambulance. Among the excursion- 
ists were Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Fairbanks, at whose 
delightful home in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, father and 
mother spent a part of the following summer. In the 
spring of 1870 he was called to attend the funeral of 
his most beloved friend, Theron Baldwin D. D. 

In the summer of 1872 my parents were suddenly 
summoned from New England to the bedside of their 
son, James Warren, who had for several years held an 
honorable i^osition in the general office of the Hanni- 
bal & St. Joseph R. R. at Hannibal, Mo. His illness 
proved lingering and painful. He was removed to 
Jacksonville, where he died May first. 1873. Although 
very quiet and retiring my brother had mental gifts 
which in some respects greatly resembled those of his 
father by whom his death was severely felt. 

During the latter part of my father's life most of 
his summers were sj)ent in some cooler climate than 
that of central Illinois, and during these vacations 
much of his two books, "Economics" and the "Keys 
of Sect," were written. In all such work UKjther was 
his amanuensis and invaluable assistant. 


The following note from the great English states- 
man, Hon. W. E, Gladstone, is i3reserved for the com- 
pliment it pays to America, and it mentions some of 
the work he was doing at that time. 

11 C arlton=House=Terrace, S. W 
March 6, '75 
Rev. Sir:— 

I have to acknowledge your letter of February 10 and the Re- 
view you so kindly sent me. I shall examine with great interest 
your article on Church and State. 

It has been given to America to solve many problems; but 
there are others in respect to which she will probably have to re- 
main content with half=solutions. It may be that one of these 
is that deep subject of the relations between Church and State 
which it is so difficult entirely to sever from the relations between 
the State and Education. 

I remain Rev. Sir, 

Your faithful servant, 

Rev. Dr. Sturtevant. 

During the summer of 1875 my parents, with one 
of my sisters, visited me in Denver, Colorado. To 
my surjjrise they insisted upon a camping tour in 
the mountains, sleeping upon the ground and living 
entirely in the open air for more than a week. This 
romantic life they greatly enjoyed, although mother 
sometimes acknowledged on rising in the morning 
that " the Rocky mountains were hard." Father's 
outburst of delight when he saw from Denver the 
mountains which had been covered with snow during 
the night was like that of a boy, and his enthusiasm 
was yet more unbounded when we came suddenly 
upon the panorama of snowy peaks as seen from Belle- 
vue. In spite of the recent breaking of his ankle 
he walked many miles up the mountain sides. One 


Saturday night we camped in a beautiful l)ut very 
lonely spot in the heart of the mountains. There we 
slept well, though I had been frightened from my 
trout fishing that evening within a (quarter of a mile 
of our tent by the growling of mountain lions among 
the rocks behind me. Father often afterwards spoke 
of that Sabbath as among the brightest in his life. 
In the afternoon we sat in the door of our tent and 
sang, " Oft in the Stilly Night," recited from the one 
hundred and twenty fifth Psalm, " They that trust in 
the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be 
removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are 
round al)out Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about 
his people from henceforth even forever," and then 
sang again, one old hymn after another. 

In 1876 father resigned the presidency, though he 
continued to occupy the chair of mental and moral 
philosophy. It was very hard for anyone so intense 
and active as he, and so devoted to what he had 
undertaken, to relinquish any part of his life work; 
yet he felt the necessity of relief from executive re- 
sponsibility. He spent the summers of 1877 and '78 
in New Haven, going there in April and working 
diligently upon the " Keys of Sect." He never lost 
his early affection for Yale, and highly esteemed 
every opportunity of friendly intercourse with its 
president and professors. His eastern relatives and 
friends always gave him a cordial welcome, and his 
love for them was unabated to the end. In 1879 he 
remained west and delivered the semi=centennial 
address at Illinois College. In December 1883 he 
delivered a historical discourse at the semi centennial 
of the Congregational church in Jacksonville. 


In February 1884 lie was brought very near to 
death. To show how he retained his mental vigor I 
may mention that watching beside him when his ex- 
treme weakness and emaciation caused me to fear 
that he would pass away before the dawn of the 
morning, I found it impossible to restrain him from 
discussing the most profound and exciting public 
questions. Only a few days later he dictated from 
his pillow an article on " The Private Ownership of 
Land," which was isublished in the Princeton Review 
of March 1884. 

During the succeeding summer he visited at seve- 
ral i^laces in the East, especially with Mrs. Baldwin 
at Charlotte, Vermont. On the thirteenth of August 
he had the misfortune to fall upon a rock at Greenwich, 
Connecticut, and fractured his hip so severely that his 
friends, and among them some exjoerienced surgeons, 
believed that he would never walk again. Through 
a kind providence he was placed in charge of Dr. 
L. P. Jones, whose skilful and very tender care 
enabled him to return home with comparative com- 
fort before the end of October. A few weeks later 
he was able to walk with the assistance of a cane. 

In 1885 he was released from all duty in connec- 
tion with Illinois College. The 26th of July in that 
year was the eightieth anniversary of his birth. It 
was arranged by the members of the family that the 
event should be celebrated by inviting a great num- 
ber of his old friends to surprise him with letters of 
congratulation. Nearly all to whom the suggestion 
was communicated promptly responded with the 
most gratifying expressions of esteem- and affection. 
Among them were communications from his former 


colleagues in the work of instruction, his brothers in 
the ministry, his fellow pioneers, his early and his 
later pupils and his best4)eloved relatives, and even a 
telegram from Mr. E. W. Blatchford on the other 
side of the sea. His neighbors would not allow the 
day to pass without coming to express in person 
their esteem for one who had lived in Jacksonville 
nearly fifty six years. Prof. Rufus C. Crampton 
was their sj)okesman, and since among all those men 
of marked intellectual and spiritual gifts with whom 
father had the honor to be associated no one was 
more worthy to sj)eak of him here, I embody his 
remarks, as follows: 

"To be spokesman for a company like this, on this occasion, 
would be a pleasing duty to one conscious of ability to give fit 
expression to the thoughts and memories of the hour. We come 
to offer you, our dearly beloved friend, what we have little right 
to expect our friends will offer us, earnest and heartfelt congrat- 
ulations upon this anniversary which marks the attainment of 
fourscore years. 

Although, as we measure time, your life has spanned two gen- 
erations, yet this generation most properly claims you as its 
own. For physically your later years have been well=nigh as 
vigorous as the earlier. Your falls have not been falls from 
grace, but only instances in which you were subject to the laws 
of gravitation and inertia. 

Is it not in these late years that you have seen the unfolding 
of the plans and hopes of early manhood? You realize now 
more fully than when it was made,the meaning of that consecra- 
tion to a grand life work of nearly sixty years ago. Looking 
back but little more than half that interval of time, I well re- 
member your visit to my native village on the mountain side in 
New England, your enthusiasm for the work of Christian educa- 
tion at the West. The contagion of this enthusiasm led me to 
become one of the humblest of your co laborers. It is no small 
•work in which you have borne the chiefest part, to lay so broad- 


ly and well the foundations of Illinois College. Even at present 
we feebly appreciate its importance. 

Fifty graduating classes have felt your influence, quickening 
thought, elevating character, widening mental and moral vision, 
giving new views of duty and privilege in a life of consecration 
to Christ, as they have gone out to be leaders of society, Church 
and State in this great valley of the "West. Future generations 
will rise up and call you blessed, as tlie man to whom the cause 
of Christian culture is more indebted than to any other in con- 
nection with Illinois College, as its name shall be greater and its 
impress stronger in the midst of a mighty people. 

In my own experience and contact with men I have had occa- 
sion to know that, with very many, the college was favorably 
known through its president, rather than the president through 
the college. Your well known preeminence and success in the 
presidency was one of the reasons which made it difficult for 
several years to find a successor. For twenty=two years I was 
a member of the faculty while you were our presiding officer. 
Though during those early years of my professorship there must 
have been many shortcomings and mistakes more evident to 
your experienced eye than even to my own, I never received 
from you any word that left a sting, only words and acts of com- 
fort and encouragement. "While in the faculty always facile 
2)rincej)s, your only desire was to be what your position required 
that you should he jJrimiis inter 2JO res. For all the stimulus of a 
noble example, the strengthening of words of wisdom and cheer 
that I have received in the experience of our personal relation- 
ship, I most sincerely thank you, and I am sure that in this I 
shall be heartily joined by all who have sustained similar rela- 

Yours has also been a leading part in the discussion of the 
political, economic, social and moral questions of the last forty 
years. It is great praise to say of a man that he always, even to 
his latest years, lives in advance of the age; that his ideas and 
principles are the germs of thought and progress for others, and 
that only those who come after him will fully realize his ideals. 

For example, the utterance of twenty years ago before a na- 
tional council, was it not the crisis of a new departure, a quiet 


but grand movement for completer religious liberty, for inde- 
pendence from sectarian dictation and control? Have we not 
already seen great changes, so that there is no denomination of 
the Protestant churches that does not at least profess Christian 
union and unsectariau motive? There was demanded on that 
memorable occasion the voice of one known to be in advance of 
the thought of the time, even in the most liberal body of 
churches. The leaven of truth is working and it will leaven the 
whole lump. Slowly jierhaps, but surely, the churches of Chris- 
tendom will come to the ideal of a universal, complete brother- 
hood in Christ. If it could only be in your day! 

I am aware that it often requires no little courage to tell a 
man, to his face, before his friends, the plain truth about him- 
self. But there are times when a part of the truth must be told 
at whatever sacrifice, at least enough to suggest what the whole 
would be if it were told. 

And so your life flows on in this community where you are 
best known as one whose heart beats in ready sympathy with 
every true interest of humanity, whose intellect is clear and 
strong to advocate and defend all truth, whose influence is pow- 
erful to lead our social, civil and religious activities in the di- 
rection of a freer life and a larger liberty. 

And we, a few of your many friends and neighbors, with love 
sincere, with respect not unmixed with reverence, assemble to 
offer our greeting in this place hallowed and endeared by all the 
blessed memories and associations of a Christian home; by the 
clustering lives and affections of the devoted wife who appreci- 
ates the true sphere of woman and nobly fills it, and of children 
and grand children whose younger lives have become a part of 
your own, and who in return receive into their hearts and minds 
a pure and holy influence hallowed and endeared even by be- 
reavement, and the tender recollections of those who have gone 
before; we meet here to thank you for what we as individuals 
have received, for what society and Christianity have gained, to 
rejoice together in a life 'which reminds us, we can make our 
lives sublime.' 

Our prayer is that you may long live to enjoy the fruits of 
your labors, and the pleasure of a Christian home, the best fore- 


taste of the bright home beyond in the mansions prepared for all 
the children of our Heavenly Father. ' Et serus in coeluni re 
deas!' " 

The following is from a letter written soon after 
these events to Mrs. Theron Baldwin: — 

My dear Mrs. Baldwin: — 

The contract into which I entered with my 
brethren of the "Illinois Association" in February, 1829 was 
finally terminated on the 1st. of June, 1885, having controlled 
the greater part of the activity of my life through more than 
fifty=six years. I cannot help feeling that the results of my life 
must now be regarded as chiefly in the past. How small they 
now seem to me I cannot express to you or to anyone; but 
whether they be really great or small they have greatly depend- 
ed on the cooperation of your dear, departed husband. How 
greatly I have missed him and how much I have moui'ned his 
loss in the fifteen years since he left us I cannot express. How 
much I have lacked his wisdom in counsel, his cooperation in 
times of difficulty and conflict, and his sympathy in trials, joys 
and sorrows! It is a great comfort to me to know that our 
friendship was a perfectly unselfish one, and that for that reason 
it was never interrupted by any jealousies, suspicions or aliena- 
tions. I believe we never for a moment distrusted each other; 
that we did truly rejoice in each other's joy and bear each oth- 
er's trials and sufferings. 

Considering that I have passed the eightieth annual milestone 
I am vigorous both in mind and body. Since the fracture of my 
thigh I have not attempted any long feats of walking, yet for 
short distances my lameness is but trifling. I still intend to try 
to do some work for the Master. The themes to which I have 
devoted my attention for so many years, religious, ecclesiastical 
and social, were never more interesting to me than to=day. I 
am compelled to think about them as ever, whether I speak or 
publish upon them or not. Most profoundly do I feel in respect 
to them all, that "there remaineth much land to be possessed." 
Especially I mourn that our Congregationalism is still to a very 
great extent unconscious of its strength and knows not the 
function which God hath raised it up to perform. It tries me 


that many consider it only almost as good as other sects, es- 
pecially as Presbyterianism, instead of recognizing it as God's 
own instrumentality for breaking all the bands of sect and fus- 
ing the whole Christian brotherhood into that spiritual kingdom 
which the Son of Man came to establih-h. In vifcw of this state 
of facts my soul is sometimes exceedingly sorrowful and ready 
to cry out, "How long, Lord, how long!" I am not discour- 
aged. Sect is too mean and hateful a thing to last forever under 
the government of God. The kingdom of God has the promise 
of universal dominion. 

Accept, my dear sister, the assurance of my affectionate sym- 
pathy with you in all your trials and sorrows, and in all your 
hopes and joys. I am sure God will be with you to the end. 

Yours very affectionately, 

J. M. Stuktevant. 

As soon as my parents were a little rested after so 
many exciting experiences, they came to my home in 
Cleveland, Ohio. The visit which followed seems like 
a dream; too full of unalloyed felicity for this earth. 
By common consent we avoided all disagreeable top- 
ics, all painful memories. I shall never forget those 
long conversations, especially my father's stories of 
the past, beautiful in the golden haze of sunset. We 
talked of our beloved country and of that " mother of 
us all," yet dearer to his heart, the Church of God. 
His undiminished interest in all living questions, and 
his invincible hopefulness as to the issue of all prob- 
lems, were to me a promise of immortality. One Mon- 
day I was able to gather in my study and around my 
table more than twenty Congregational ministers that 
they might hear him tell how God led him out of the 
gloom and discouragement of sectarian strife into the 
clear preception of that simple unsectarian church 
which he afterwards recognized in the Congregation- 


alism of our fathers. It was partly due to the interest 
exiDressed on that occasion that he finally promised to 
undertake this biography. 

We went to Tallmadge, where he had such a wel- 
come from old friends as warmed his heart. We vis- 
ited the now deserted site of the first cabin and saw 
the chestnut rails "his feeble strokes" had helped to 
split in 1816. We followed the course of an old road 
where his parents were once lost. We worshipped in 
the ancient church, and were even shown the wooden 
vessel which had held the gallon of whiskey given as 
a prize for the first stick of timber brought to the spot 
for its construction. We stood by the graves of his 
parents while he gave orders for a simple headstone 
to mark the spot. Every memory seemed beautiful 
and precious. He was living his life over again, and 
every scene was touched with the glory of gratitude 
and the brightness of hope. 

During his visit in Cleveland he preached several 
times with freshness and force. The following out- 
line of his last discourse, transcribed just as he pre- 
pared it for use, will give some idea of his method of 
preparation for the pulpit: 

Luke 18:22 and 19:8, 9. 

Seeming conflict between the words of Christ in these two 

Show that this conflict is seeming, not real. Like a true phy- 
sician our Lord treats each individual case according to its indi- 

One principle is recognized and insisted on in both cases. 
That principle is the necessity of entire consecration and it is 
equally insisted on in both cases. 

I. The case of the ruler. 

The principle of the necessity of total abstinence is enforced 
in the young ruler. 


This principle is not only applicable to the case in the text but 
to a multitude of others. There is but one way to overcome an 
inordinate love of money, and that is to give freely of our pos- 
sessions to promote the welfare of our fellowmen. I once heard 
Henry Ward Beecher say to his congregation, etc. 

My brethren, giving to the Lord of our substance is a neces- 
sary part of worship. 

II. The rule of entire consecration to the Lord is not in the 
least relaxed in the case of Zacchaeus. He had shown by his 
voluntary profession that he could be trusted with the adminis- 
tration and use of wealth. 

There is need of accumulated wealth, and the Lord has need of 
a style of Christian character that can be entrusted with it. Our 
Lord meant all that he said in the parable of merchantman seek- 
ing goodly pearls. What is meant by entire consecration. 

III. The Lord requires this entire consecration not merely 
from professing Christians but from every man that lives. 
"The earth is the Lord's " etc. 

IV. The Lord will punish the withholding of this rightful 
claim in the present life. 

In our own hearts. The family. In our posterity. 
Finally. The blessedness which will follow now and forever 
from this consecration. 

Late in September my parents returned to Jack- 
sonville and father began at once the first draft of 
this book. Both he and mother seemed stronger than 
usual. January 4, 1886, he dictated the last para- 
graj^h as it is printed. The book was not finished. 
But his training in God's earthly school was almost 
completed. It remained only to watch beside two 
dying beds, and stand, strong in faith but fast fail- 
ing in body, by the graves of two of his loved ones. 
On Thursday, the 7th, Mr. Palmer returned very ill 
from Chicago. The two homes were in the same 
yard, and in times of trouble were one household. 
The weather was intensly cold. On returning from 


a visit to Mr. Palmer on the afternoon of January 
13tli mother was seized with a congestive chill. On 
Friday she was much worse, and from that time she 
sank rapidly until the end. Father struggled against 
despair, sometimes exclaiming, "O my dear wife, you 
are better! I know you are better!" Though in great 
distress and often delirious, mother did not forget 
others. More than once she made an effort to plan 
what would be for the comfort of the family after she 
was gone. She charged her daughters to take care of 
their father, little thinking how brief their opportu- 
nity would be. When told that she had probably 
only a little while to live and asked if she was afraid 
to die, she answered: "No, though I should like to 
live ten years longer if it were the will of God." 
Then she began to repeat that inspired liturgy of the 
dying, the twenty^hird Psalm, and evidently joined 
in father's prayer which followed, even mingling her 
own sw^eet voice with theirs when her daughters 
sang, " How gentle God's commands." 

All through Saturday night she was painfully 

" Crossing over, 
Waters all dark and wide." 

When the sun dawned on Sabbath morning she 
had found 

" Peace on the other side." 

No one should attempt my father's biography w^ith- 
out saying something of her who walked by his side 
for so many years. Even at the risk of seeming too 
partial to her who was to me all that a mother could 
be, I shall venture to speak of her character. Her 
sincerity, good judgment and self-control explained 
her strong influence in the home. Every child whom 


she reared remembered single, quiet acts, or brief 
sayings of hers, which left a life long impression. 
Once a boy came into her presence wiping the milk 
and dirt from his clothing and the hot angry tears 
from his cheeks, as he exclaimed: "I can't milk that 
kicking cow, and I won't."' None of us knew that 
mother could milk. We would have been ashamed 
to see her attempt it. Most women would have had 
a conflict with that boy. Mother flushed for a mo- 
ment, and then without the least appearance of haste 
or emotion took the pail and went to the barn, from 
which she presently returned with the milk, and 
without one word oi comment. The boy has never 
forgotten the mortification of that hour, or the lesson 
it taught him. Once a wild college lad appealed to 
her for help in dressing a slight wound, the origin of 
which he dared not confess. He muttered some- 
thing, I blush to say, about falling into a brush heap 
in the forest. Many women would have asked ques- 
tions, or told father. Mother tenderly dressed the 
wound, muttering only three words. I can hear 
them yet: " Singular brush heap!" 

Her devotion to her household left no room for 
thoughts of self. Strange as it may seem, I fear that 
her seeming indifference to her own comfort some- 
times tempted us to forget it too. Father was so de- 
pendent upon her cheerful i^resence and tender care 
that when they were withdrawn he ceased to live. 
She had five children of her own beside three of us, 
left by her older sister, and entertained a great deal 
of company. Much of the time without hired help, 
she managed to have us all fed and clothed upon a 
very limited income and without debt. Yet she was 

Ui Julian m. stuetevant 

able to teach the children Latin and Mathematics 
and act frequently as father's amanuensis, and with 
it all she brightened our young lives with many of 
those inexpensive pleasures, which add so much to 
the memories of childhood. During all those years 
of ceaseless cares and worries not one of her children 
remembers a moment when her speech or action over- 
leajjed the self-control which conscience and faith 

Her selfcontrol came not so much from natural 
placidity as from Christian princixDie which had been 
strengthened by her habit of choosing each morning 
a text from the Bible which should be her guide and 
insi^iration for the day. Once a thoughtless boy sat 
down with unbrushed clothing upon a delicate white 
wrap which had been laid for a moment across 
a chair. An expression of distress and vexation 
passed over her face, and then she said in very gentle 
tones: " My son, how could you do that? " An older 
son, at home on a visit, began to laugh, and when she 
asked the reason of his merriment replied: "I thought 
you were going to spoil my boast that mother never 
said an angry word." The tears, which for a mo- 
ment she could not restrain, showed that her compo- 
sure was not the result of natural indifPerence. I 
cannot say less of one to whom M^e owe so much. 

The most terrible wounds do not always bleed ex- 
ternally and so my poor father showed the severity of 
the shock he had experienced, at first only by his ef- 
forts to resist its effects. When I reached home a 
few hours after mother was gone I was astonished at 
his apj)arent cheerfulness, and I could not under- 
stand it until I noticed that he gently changed the 


subject whenever we were iiii-linecl to dwell upon his 
loss. Previous to the funeral, which took pluc-e in 
the home and was conducted ])y mother's beloved 
pastor, Rev. Henry E. Butler, the family ijjathered in 
the south room to look once more upon the face so 
dear to our hearts. Father stood erect and calm be- 
side the coffin, and asked the oldest son to offer 
a brief prayer. Then he said, "This dear hand has 
written almost all that I have published about the 
Church," and in a few words commended the same 
cause to his children. This most characteristic ut- 
terance, though it veiled feelings he could not trust 
himself to express, was an illustration of the i^lace 
which the dear Church of God ever held in his 
thoughts. The promise, " They shall prosper that 
love thee," was surely for him. It was soon ai^i^ar- 
ent that he was making a brave fight to live, though 
he felt that " without her it was impossible," and ac- 
knowledged that " to live was to suffer." 

He began to work somewhat regularly, doing a 
little on the revision of his book, but generally try- 
ing to divert his mind with other writing. In the 
evenings he greeted very cheerfully the friends who 
called, and listened with pleasure and sometimes 
with amusement to readings from the "Life of Sam- 
uel Johnson." He conducted family prayers as 
usual, and on January 28th, the day of prayer for 
colleges, iDresided at a public meeting. Of course he 
was often in the sick chamber next door, and on the 
first of February did what he could to comfort and 
uphold his beloved eldest daughter when her hus- 
band passed to his rest. Tliis second shock affected 
him greatly. Sunday, February 7th, was a cold, 


clear day. He attended church, and assisted Mr. 
Butler at the communion table. Many have men- 
tioned his impressive appearance on that occasion. 
He seemed so very frail and yet so bright and full of 
courage that a stranger said, " It seemed like listen- 
ing to a disembodied spirit." The drift of his re- 
marks was that the aim of Jesus Christ and of Chris- 
tianity was to lift men up and this we must do by 
holding up Christ. Nothing else is worth living for. 

The next day he looked a little more feeble. He 
had taken a slight cold, which he felt was the begin- 
ning of the end. His physician saw nothing alarm- 
ing in the case, at least nothing but his depression of 
spirit. The next day he had evidently failed, but the 
doctor could find no evidence of disease. On Wed- 
nesday it was plain that he could not last long. 
That evening those of the family who were in the 
house gathered around his bed; the twenty=third 
Psalm was read, and his youngest son offered prayer 
to Him who alone can uphold us in such an 
hour. Most of the night he was wakeful. Over 
and over again he said as if leaning on the 
words, " Thy rod and thy staff," and once he said, 
" O my son, you have no idea of the j)rostration of 
dying." As the day began to dawn a sudden change 
passed over his face, and in a few moments he was 
gone. It seems wonderful that a form so slight and 
a constitution seemingly so delicate could have en- 
dured eighty years of almost constant activity. 

Among the multitude who gathered at his funeral 
there were few, if any, who were in Jacksonville as 
early as 1829. Very few were left who could tell the 
changes of that region in those fifty-six years. The 


great trees ou the college campus, many of Iheiu 
jjlanted by his hands or inuler his direction, and 
ah-eady rivaling iu size the mouarchs of the original 
forest which occupied a part of the site, were fit types 
of the institutions which he had seen jjlanted and 
reared in the state of his adoption. 

From the old home his body was reverently borne to 
the Congregational church where the principal address 
was delivered by the eloquent and beloved Dr. Tru- 
man M. Post, himself so soon to pass away. Dr. Post 
was one of the early professors of Illinois College, an 
honored pastor of the church, and father's lifedong 
friend. Representatives of the churches, the college 
and the community also made tender and appropri- 
ate remarks, and then father's remains were laid to 
rest in the beautiful Diamond Grove Cemetery with 
those of his kindred and his many friends of earlier 

Of my father's f)ublic life and influence it is not 
for me to write. To his own household he seemed 
remarkable for his earnestness. To me, in my child- 
hood, that trait of his character seemed positively 
awful. I never knew anyone to whom duty seemed 
so sacred or the service of God so glorious and joyful 
a reality. He realized what so many of us try to 
feel that he and all that he had belonged to God. If 
he ever refused to give to a good cause it was with evi- 
dent pain and oidy because some other duty seemed to 
forbid. In the midst of his great struggle to maintain 
the college, when his household had known for many 
months the real meaning of jjoverty, he received 
what seemed to us a large sum for some extra service 
as a preacher, and came to tell us, his face radiant 


with delight, while visions of needed supplies rose 
before us until he added, as if giving the best news 
of all, " and that will ijay for those repairs on the 
College Chapel." The lesson was severe but salutary 
for us. 

His honesty included not only uprightness in 
business, but absolute fairness alike to friend and 
foe. A debt temporarily incurred weighed on him 
almost like a disgrace. Once, many years ago, I 
noticed that he was greatly troubled about a horse he 
had recently purchased, and I tried to comfort him 
by the assurance that the animal seemed to me an 
excellent one and quite worth the price he had paid 
" My son," said he, " that is not what troubles me; I 
fear I have not paid enough for her." 

Once a fellow citizen who had done that which so 
outraged his strong sense of justice that, as was his 
way in such cases, he seldom mentioned the man's 
name (perhaps because the subject was painful to 
him), was accused of serious wrong doing and made 
the subject of public investigation. Father, while 
reading his morning paper one day, suddenly ex- 
claimed, " They are doing injustice. I can not 
stand that." He promptly addressed a note to the 
gentleman, suggesting that, if his testimony would 
serve the cause of justice nothing which had taken 
place need hinder his being summoned as a witness. 
His offer was of course promtly accej^ted. 

Father's religious life was emotional; but neither 
he nor those who knew him best ever thought of it 
in that way, because it was far more than anything 
else practical. His prayers were by no means formal 
or stereotyped, but certain expressions did often 


recur and were uttered in tones which expressed very 
strong emotion. He would say in the chajjel, "Grant 
Lord, if it be thy will, that this institution may be a 
copious fountain of blessing to many generations. 
But whether it is copious or not, may it at least be 
pure." He would pray in his family, " Lord, grant 
that, whether we are rich or poor, honored or forgot- 
ten, no child of this family may be found fighting 
against God or become an enemy of His kingdom on 

May those prayers be fulfilled in all the future of 
Illinois College, and to the very last generation of his 


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