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LIFE 



OF 



EDWIN H. CHAPIN, D.D. 



BY 



SUMNER- ELLIS. D-D. 



''His words seemed oncles 
That pierced their bosoms; and each man would tun 
Aod gaze in wonder on his neighbor's face, 
That with like dumb wonder answered him. 

You could have heard 
The beating of your pulses while he spoke." 



nSitt 9oTtiaits BitD lattttiatiow. 



BOSTON: 

UNIVERSALIST PUBLISHING HOUSE. 

1883. 



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Cstb 



By Univbrsalist Pubushinc^ HausE. 

• • :.: ••: ••••• • • ;•. * • 

• •••••• •• •-• •••••• • • 

, ••••••• 



FIFTH EDITION. 



. . UxiVBRSiTY Press: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 



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PREFACE. 



De. Chapin having left no record of Ids life, not 
even letters or notices of the press, and there being 
scarcely a reference to himself in his published works, 
the materials for this volume had to be gathered very 
largely from original sources, and the labor has been 
much greater than was expected when it was under- 
taken. A large reliance for facts was naturally placed 
upon Mrs. Chapin; but, while on the way to obtain 
these, the news of her sudden death was received. It 
is believed, however, that the leading facts in the life 
of this truly great man and almost peerless orator will 
be found in the following pages; and the author de- 
-sires to return thanks to the many friends who have 
kindly aided him in his work. 



S. E 



Cambbidqe, Mass., 

Sept. 1, 1882, 



M84156 



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CONTENTS. 



Paqs 

L Ancestet 7 

11. BOTHOOB 16 

III. Schooldays 85 

IV. 'Lifb AT Teot 89 

V. LiPB AT Utica 46 

VI. SSTILEXENT IN BjCHItONO 64 

VII. MiNisTBT IN Charlestown 79 

VIII. MiNisTET IN Boston 107 

IX. MiNiSTET IN New Yoek 115 

X. Pigeon Gove 158 

XL The Funeeal 173 

XIL The Teiuicphs op Elo^vence 1,89 

XIII. Obatoeical Resoueces 216 

XIV. Sermons and Lectuees 233 

XV. His Uniteesalism 254 

XVI. The Chapin Home 269 

XVn. An Odd-Fellow . 274 

XVIII. A Refoemee 285 

XIX. Watside Humanities 292 

XX. His Poetet 305 

XXI. His Wit 320 

XXII. His Libeaet 326 



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l^ist o! Sllustratfons. 



PoRTRA.IT Frontitpiece 

Church at New York 115 

Portrait 130 

Cottage at Pigeon Cote 158 

Fac-similes of Handwriting 233 



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LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 



ANCESTRY. '^ 

In the eighth generation of American Chapins stood 
Edwin Hubbell Chapin, the subject of this biography. 
Himself a '• believer in ancestry and in the feeling it 
kindjes," and referring with pride to the tradition that 
a " drop of the blood of the Black Douglas, the Scottish 
Knight ' without fear and without reproach,' ran in his 
veins," it will not be a misplaced act if we turn our 
attention briefly to the generations which have preceded 
him, from whom he derived his eminent gifts. 

Near the middle of the seventeenth century Deacon 
Samuel Chapin sailed from England and landed on our 
shores, stopped for a time with " ye godly people of 
Dorchester," and then moved, in 1642, to Springfield, 
Massachusetts, at that time the most western outpost of 
the New England colonists. With more courage than 
discretion, it may be, he dared the awakened hostility 
of the Indians, — a hostility which made it fitly the 
last ofl&ce of the household, before retiring at night, 
to examine the flint on the gun and oflTer a fervent 
prayer for protection,-— and wandered into the unpro- 
tected wilderness. 



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8 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

The heroic Deacon was a good Puritan. In him were 
combined a sound judgment, a fervent piety, a tender 
humanity, and a rare gift of enterprise ; and, with his 
noted contemporaries, Pynchon and Holyoke, he did 
much to give character and prosperity to the new set- 
tlement He was early appointed one of the magistrates 
*^: .T3t tBp.'lpVP; i'^^ tiot long after his appointment "his 
• 'commKsJfon ^srks* extended indefinitely." In the absence 
:;;d{:tiie*q;ti^istpr;Vfhe pioneer church, or in the interim 
•'•l!iel\^n"pastbtat^,*he exercised his talent of exhor- 
tation on the Lord's Day to the edification of the 
people, and was declared to be " exceeding moving in 
prayer." In November of 1665 it was voted in town- 
meeting " to allow Deacon Wright, Deacon Chapin, Mr. 
Holyoke, and Henry Burt £12 for their past services 
in the Lord's work on the Sabbath, to be distributed by 
the selectmen ; and that in future they would, allow at 
the rate of £50 a year, till such time c^ they should 
have a settled minister." 

To Deacon Samuel Chapin was bom, in 1642, Japhet, 
the eldest of his children. In Japhet reappeared the 
manly traits of his father — a sterling integrity, an ar- 
dent piety, a ready kindliness of heart, intrepid courage, 
and a rare thrift in business ; but there came to him, as 
there did not to his father, a call to put his courage to 
the most practical test Obeying the summons of an 
imperilled people, who talked by day and dreamed by 
night of«ihe horrors of massacre, he took up arms 
against the invading Indians. On the fly-leaf of an old 
account-book he informs us, in an interesting bit of 
autobiography, that he took part in the great fight at 
Turner's Falls. " I went out volanteare against ingens 



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ANCESTRY. 9 

the 17th of May, 1676, and we ingaged bate! the 19th of 
May in the moaning before sunrise, and made great Spoil 
upon the enemy, and came oflf the same day with the 
Los of 37 men and Captin Turner ; and came home the 
20th of May." But in spite of his brave fighting thus 
for the safety of his family, his beloved daughter Han- 
nah, three months after her marriage; was taken captive 
and borne into Canada. Holding firmly to the Puritan 
faith, striving with the hardships of a new settlement, 
steadily facing the terror begotten by the grim children 
of the forest, it is not to be wondered at that a visible 
shadow rested over his hardy spirit Of his father's 
death he pathetically recorded that " he was taken out 
of this troublesome world." In the path along which 
his own feet walked, he " saw more of thorns than of 
flowers." But when he finally fell asleep, "Rev. Mr. 
Williams, of Deerfield, wrote a lengthy letter to his 
children, Instructing them concerning the improvements 
they should make of his death, and speaking of him as 
having been a man of great piety." 

To Japhet was bom Thomas ; and to Thomas, Thomas 
junior; and to Thomas junior, Elijah; and to Elijah, 
Perez, who was the grandfather of Edwin HubbelL 
Through these generations the stream of life flowed in 
; a manner characteristic of its source. Perez was a 
doctor of excellent skill ; and very neariy on the hun- 
dredth anniversary of the engagement with the Indians 
at Turner's Falls, in which Japhet did vsJiant service, 
he was found in the thick of the battle at Bunker HiU, 
plying his surgical art for the comfort and security of 
the wounded. A^ graduate of Middlebury College, Ver- 
mont, he spent many years in practice, and died at 
Benson in that State. 



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10 LIFE OF EDWIN R CHAPIN. 

To Perez was bom Alpheus, the father of Edwin. In 
him the ideal Puritan appears somewhat modified. If 
the shadow of the past fell on him from behind, the 
cheery light of a new era shone in his face. He came 
upon the stage just at the time when the stem dignity 
of the earlier day was passing into the mellower and 
sweeter ripeness of the modem life ; and in him we find 
an early fmit of the approaching harvest He was a 
man eminent for wit and social graces, an excellent 
musician, with a special love of the anti-Puritan fiddle, 
an admirer and a student of the beautiful, and by pro- 
fession an artist — a painter of ideal scenes for his per- 
sonal delight, and of portraits for his daily bread. These 
are indeed new features in the Chapin portrait, but the 
old traits are by no iheans wanting. Into him an 
Apollo seems to have descended to keep company with 
the God of his fathers ; and we mark those sharp con- 
trasts of sentiment and expression, of gravity and mirth, 
of prose and poetry, of prayer and story, which were 
still more marked in his eminent son. In the parlor 
of a friend he was a fascinating guest, a conversationist 
of rare merits, happily seasoning good sense with pleas- 
antry, and stimulating free expression in others by a 
genuine modesty in himself. So captivating were his 
gifts that, in the space of two or three weeks from their 
first meeting, he had won the heart of Miss Beulah 
Hubbell, one of the fair and talented young ladies of 
Bennington, Vermont, consummated the period of court- 
ship, married her, and carried her away from the town, 
to be his companion and inspirer as he rambled from 
place to place in the pursuit of his art. " I never saw 
such company as grandpa was," says one of his grand- 



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ANCESTRY. 11 

daughters ; " he played the violin to please us, told us 
funny stories, extemporized enchanting romances with 
hid ready imagination, and made himself one of us. It 
was such a delight to go and see him I " To have sat 
by his easel for a portrait, while he spun his rare tissues 
of sense and nonsense, must have been an entertain- 
ment, and set the face into the best aspect for being 
transferred to canvas. 

Whatever he did was done ardently. With a com- 
mon enthusiasm he entered into a debate or told a story, 
painted a picture or worshipped his Maker, and at all 
times and in all places he was a magnetic presence. 
His portraits, many of which are still preserved and 
cherished, are hasty sketches, strong in likeness but 
deficient in finish. It was a theory with him, born no 
doubt of his temperament, that too much attention to 
detail, by the artist, not only imperils the truthfulness 
of a likeness, but weakens its effect on the beholder. 
To finish he would not sacrifice force ; and his portraits, 
strong but rough, indicate plainly that hia hand was 
withdrawn too soon from the process of his art On 
one occasion, while painting the picture of a weary and 
worn-out soldier of the American Revolution, the old 
hero, roused under the memories of the hour, erected 
himself into the attitude of a field-marshal, and ex- 
claimed, "Put in some of th6 fire of '76 ! '* We need 
not doubt the artist's success in answering the order. 
His ideal scenes are more carefully and fondly worked 
up, and two or three of his Madonnas are at least indi- 
cative of a latent patience in his hasty hand. His most 
ambitious pieces are "Christ Eaising Lazarus," which 
brings in a group of over forty figures on a canvas of 



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12 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

vast proportioiis, and " Christ Healing the Sick," which 
was put on exhibition in Boston at a ninepence for each 
admission. On the whole, it is evident that Mr. Cha- 
pin*s genius as an artist was greatly superior to his 
culture. 

In the course of time he fell under the fervid minis- 
try of the elder Beecher, and his devotions at once 
assumed an unaccustomed heat and zeal. The soul of 
Deacon Samuel Chapin, of the colonial church, seemed 
to reappear in his distant son. Having laid by his 
brush and passed into the filial charge of his son, who 
was already rising in fame, the old man now found no 
check on the open and to him inviting path to the altar. 
He became a familiar presence in the evangelical prayer- 
meetings of Boston. The ardor of a revival matched 
well his aroused spirit, and in prayer and song his voice 
was raised to a fervent key. At all hours of the day 
and the night he sought the shrine of worship. " When 
he should have been in bed, he was often on his knees 
in prayer," is the testimony of his widow, the second 
wife, who still survives him. The cheerfulness, so con- 
spicuous in his earlier days, seemed to disappear from 
many of his later hours. Feeling deeply by contrast 
the infirmities of age, incapable of toil yet dependent, 
and sharing a piety not so hopeful as that of the Church 
of to-day, he fell into frequent sombre moods ; and on 
the fourth day of March, 1870, at his home in Boston, 
he exchanged his earthly for his heavenly estate. In 
the last hour he was solaced by the sympathy of his 
devoted wife, and the affection and prayers of his bril- 
liant son and benefactor. From the Central Church, of 
which he had been for several years a member, his body 
was carried to its final rest 



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ANCESTBY. 13 

In the Chapin family, thus briefly noticed, the senti- 
ment of religion was a marked trait ; and as early as 
the year 1862 there had arisen among the. offspring of 
Deacon Samuel Chapin not less than twenty-five clergy- 
men bearing the family name, and as many more, no 
doubt, who bore the names taken by the daughters of 
the successive generations. Piety and eloquence were 
characteristic of the race; and it would not be easy 
to estimate the harvest of faith and virtue which has 
been reaped in our land, during two hundred and more 
years, from seed sown aud cultivated by the hands of 
this group of toilers in the Master's Vineyard. 

In the direct line of descent from Samuel to Edwin 
Hubbell Chapin the flesh appears to have been an ade- 
quate vehicle of the spirit. In the respective ages of 
the eight generations the stamina of the stock is well 
indicated. The number of the years of Samuel is not 
told in the "Chapin Genealogy," from which many 
of the foregoiug facts have been derived, but he lived 
to a good old age. Not less than fourscore winters and 
summers had he seen before he was summoned from 
the earth. Japhet lived threescore and ten years. 
Thomas filled the measure of fourscore and five years ; 
and Thomas junior, by a single year, overstepped this 
wide limit The years of Elijah were eighty^even ; of 
Perez, eighty-six ; of Alpheus, eighty-two ; and of Ed- 
win Hubbell, sixty-six. But while the latter failed 
thus to follow the law of hia family, and fill the mould 
of time for which he was evidently intended, there is no 
doubt that in the higher estimate of life as a succession 
of vital states — ideas, sentiments, achievements — he 
surpassed them aU, for his was a nature that bred 



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14 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

life with a signal rapidity and volume. He crowded 
into the hours and days and years a marvellous wealth 
of thought and feeling and activity. Like a wild 
mountain stream the vital current fairly rushed and 
roared as it passed through his being, and was the 
sooner spent. Apart from the fact that he was im- 
provident of his energies and careless of the laws of 
health, it could hardly have been otherwise than that the 
vast fires in the living engine, and the rush of the over- 
heated machine, should tell on its durability. " To Uve 
long it is necessary to live slowly," said Cicero ; but to 
live slowly was not in the power of Dr. Chapin. 

Not wholly an inheritance from the Chapins was the 
genius of this remarkable man. To his mother, and the 
generations of the HubbeUs, he was indebted for some 
of the strongest and finest traits of his life. The record 
of the Hubbell family in America — reaching from Eich- 
ard, who came here from England about the year 1650, 
to the present time — is one which reflects on it great 
honor. A numerous progeny, it has been as marked 
for worth and achievements as for numbers. To the 
" first of the name in America " a descendant has paid a 
grateful tribute in verse, in which the family type is 
made to appear. 

" Thou, far acioss Atlanta's surging breast, 
Mad'st liere thy home, loved, honored, blest ; 
Here reared brave hearts, concordant with thine own, 
Taught them to hate a tyrant and despise a throne ; 
A race with iron wills and iron laws, 
Firm as the granite hills in Freedom's cause ; 
Stem as the Roman who condemned his son ; 
Unchanging as those laws cut deep in stone ; 
With stalwart physique, rough, yet not uncouth. 
Surcharged with love of God and Man and Truth." 



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ANCESTBT. 16 

From their first home in Connecticut, the Hubbells 
have wandered abroad and made homes in most of the 
States of the Union. The poet, whose words have just 
been read, refers to Eichard Hubbell as the '' sire of a 
thousand sons." But wherever they have settled, integ- 
rity, industry, thrift, and honor have attended them to a 
large degree. In all our wars they have been among 
our bravest soldiers ; in the professions, they have risen 
to eminence ; in positions of public trust, from humble 
offices to membership in Congress, their skill and 
worth have been placed at the service of the people. 
From such a race E. H. Chapin drew some of the blood 
that made him what he was in the vigor and strength 
of his manhood. On the 29th of December, 1814, at 
Union Village, Washington County, New York, Dr. 
Chapin was born ; and here, in a humble country home, 
he lived those earliest years of life which lie back of 
memory, but not beyond the reach of many influences 
which make an enduring impression. 



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IL 

BOYHOOD. 

Apart from a fond father and mother and the se- 
clusion of a fireside, a boy needs many things, and 
especially these two, — a fixed habitation in city or 
country (better the latter) to supply the sweet ro- 
mances of memory to after-life, and a steady schooling 
under the same teachers to give an early solidity and 
system to the mind. As we look back from the distant 
reaches and altitudes of our mortal journey, the scenes 
made familiar to our early years are delicious enchant- 
ments, of which no life should be deprived ; while the 
timely discipline of our first schooldays strangely fash- 
ions the plastic mind into the mould of order ai\d prom- 
ise. From the haunts amid which is seated the old 
home, and from the old schoolhouse, whether in city 
or country, there moves forth with us, on whatever 
road we may travel, some of the best companionships 
of life, — memories and guiding influences which every 
one needs. But in these important particulars the lad, 
Edwin Chapin, was among the most unfortunate. Ex- 
cept in the love and care of his parents he had no early 
home. 

A wandering artist, roving from hamlet to hamlet 
and city to city in quest of faces to paint on his waiting 



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BOYHOOD. 17 

sqnaies of canvas, his father kept the little group on 
the move. No Arabian tribe was ever more given to 
shifting its encampments. It was a life of arrivals and 
departures, with hotels and boarding-houses for tempo- 
rary quarters. " For months together we did not know 
where the Chapins were," writes a venerable relative of 
the family ; '' and when at length the' mother and Edwin 
would surprise us, as they often did, by returning to 
the old home, the first inquiry would be : From what 
city or town have you come ? " 

As the environment of childhood, the scenery of his 
early life does not make a pleasing picture. An impul- 
sive and versatile boy, needing most of all repression 
and drill, the aid of fixed conditions and regular habits, 
he was kept in the constant whirl of events, hurried 
from scene to scene, drawn into the distracting meshes 
of diversity and novelty, until his gift of order and 
patient application, never equal to his gift of sponta- 
neity, had sufferedv serious damage. The habit of the 
systematic student is largely an inheritance from a 
very early discipline. " As the twig is bent the tree's 
inclined;" so is the grown mind in debt to its early 
direction, and the aid of the primary school cannot 
well be spared. But until his fifteenth or sixteenth 
year Edwin Chapin knew little or nothing of method- 
ical and scholarly mental action. Through following 
the family tent, never pitched long in one place, his 
tuition was necessarily intermittent and desultory. It 
was under strange teachers and with unknown children, 
in a round of cities and villages extending from Wash- 
ington to the Canada line, that he found a seat in 
the schoolroom, — and then only for a few weeks or 

2 



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18 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

months at a time, according to the demand of the 
special locality on his father's brusL In this method 
of schooling the interims of absence were broader than 
the periods of attendance; and the remarkable boy, 
who needed so much to have his wild and spontaneous 
power brought into subjection to the text-book and the 
tutor, was daily passing into a brilliant disorder, a 
romantic chaos of ideas and interests, a habitual va- 
grancy of mind, which it would not be easy henceforth 
to subdue. Even though seconded by the lessons his 
mother fondly imposed on him as they journeyed, such 
intermittent tutorage but poorly foiled the effects of a 
wandering life, and an ardent spontaneity was becoming 
the habit of the boy's study and thought. 

At length, when Edwin was eleven or twelve years 
old., the roving artist came to a halt in Boston, and over 
the family was spread a home roof. In an uninviting 
part of the city, at the head of Sudbury Street, near 
Court Street, the Chapins took up their residence. 
Two sisters, Ellen and Martha, had now been added to 
the family circle, the former of whom is its only surviv- 
ing representative. The gifted brother was now to be 
seen, not making his daily morning run to a school- 
house, but to a broker's office. As an errand boy he 
entered into the service of Aaron Dana, on State Street, 
then as now the haunt of the money-changers and spec- 
ulators ; and here, though still a mere lad, he must have 
gained some of the views and impressions of business 
life, which in after years were flashed from hi^ teeming 
brain as he discoursed to eager throngs of the *' Phases 
of City life," and of " Humanity in the City." 

But into the dryest details this romantic boy could 



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BOYHOOD. 19 

but infuse some fresh interest. If flowers had not been 
planted in his path, by the magic of his native gepius 
he could create them. In the midst of these dry scenes, 
there was at least one fresh souL The lad burst into 
poetry. Having swept the dingy floor, dusted the desks, 
run here and there with papers and verbal messages, 
gazed in wonder at the world around him, and given a 
ready ear to every story and each better word which 
was uttered, he still found time' to make and recite 
rhymes on the most various themes. His usual auditor 
was the boy in the office overhead. Calling him to 
the window to listen, young Edwin, with upturned 
face, would deliver from the sidewalk his hasty effu- 
sion. In this juvenile diversion he doubtless reached 
some higher pleasure than the charm of the mated 
words at the ends of the lines, even the deeper stir of 
a poetic instinct. Pressing his little poem by his native 
eloquence into the heart of the boy upstairs, and then 
throwing it into the waste-basket, we can well im.agine 
the zest with which he would seek another theme and 
create another ephemeral rhyme. 

With the boys of the West End, his rare and unsel- 
fish gifts, his wit, his ardor, his honor, his power to 
kindle them into a happy enthusiasm, made him a 
favorite ; and, when thirteen or fourteen years old, they 
elected him a member of their dramatic club, and at 
once promoted him to the conspicuous rank of poet and 
buflbon of the aspiring group. With an ambition char- 
acteristic of boys, this club had taken to itself its name, 
Siddonian, from the celebrated Mrs. Siddons of Eng- 
lish fame ; and it held its first meetings in a carpenter's 
shop on Pine Street; but some trouble having arisen 



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20 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

with their lessee, to whom they paid a mere pittance, 
thej decamped in the night time with their theatrical 
effects, and moved into a hall in the Circular Build- 
ing on Portland Street For a couple of years, at 
least, they were accustomed to meet in this place for 
discipline and pleasure. Here they enacted tragedy 
and comedy from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" to 
Sheridan's "School for Scandal," with the accompani- 
ments of song and recitation and feasting. As would 
be natural with boys, the pastime phase of their club 
life was made prominent Begging or borrowing a few 
dishes and cooking utensils, the juvenile histrions made 
f OS themselves banquets ; and now and then they turned 
themselves into a sort of gypsy camp, and marched out 
to Brighton, to a spot known as the Cave, and pitched 
their rude tent for the night, and cooked their supper 
and breakfast Amid these hilarious scenes young 
Chapin found the keenest delight, and rose to an easy 
ascendency through the exuberance of hi3 vnt and 
mirth. 

But in this Siddonian Company there was also a spirit 
of ambition and toil in the direction of the histrionic art 
No idlers at their tasks were some of these boys, since 
they were stagestruck in no ordinary degree ; and from 
their sports they turned with a yet keener relish to the 
performance of their parts on the stage. There was real 
genius among them; and genius passing into its own 
sphere of action supplies the supreme delights of life. 
From carnal feasting it turns to its own greater feasts 
of inspiration and achievement. Thus among these 
Siddonians there were those who were feeling the 
first raptures of their awakening dramatic gifts ; even 



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BOYHOOD. 21 

with a wild delight th&t must have lingered in their 
nightiy dreams, they grew conscious of a. power to 
sway the friendly audiences that gathered from time 
to time in their dingy hall ; and, as a result, the stage 
became their first love, and the theatre the scene of 
their lifelong toils and triumphs. In this little group 
of aspirants we find the two comedians, Charles H. 
Eaton and John P. Addams, who were for many years 
favorites with the Boston playgoers ; and here stood in 
conspicuous superiority the youthful R L. Davenport, 
who afterwards became famous in two hemispheres as 
a delineator of tragedy, and who has left to the honor 
of the stage and its high art, not only a bnlliant his- 
tory, but his eminent daughter. Miss Fanny Davenport, 
who, as a tragedienne, has risen to a high rank among 
the daughters of America. 

Between the two lads, Davenport and Chapin, a 
friendship sprung up that the flying years only con- 
firmed. In their lives was a kinship of genius that 
awakened mutual esteem and love. For, however it 
may have seemed to a superficial observer that young 
Chapin was mainly a wit and bom for comedy, to a 
deeper insight, such as young Davenport must have 
shared, there appeared in yet more conspicuous aspects 
the serious side of his life, and his strong sympathy 
with human greatness in its struggles and sorrows and 
triumphs. Under his wild exuberance were the throb- 
bings of a solemn heart His noisy pleasantries were 
only like an ornamented gate opening to the inner 
majesty of an imposing temple, in which pious Glorias 
or Misereres are rendered in fitting music. To this 
juvenile stage he indeed brought a comic song and a 



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22 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

humorous recitation, and so triumphantly did he render 
them that his comrades gave him stormy applause; 
and it was a very natural illusion, with these sport- 
loving youth, that their rollicking companion was 
chiefly a lover of fun and a candidate with rare pros- 
spects for comedy. But he also brought to the Siddo- 
nians, and their assemblies, "Marco Bozzaris," "Mark 
Antony," "Philip Exciting the Chiefs to Rise and 
Exterminate the English," and pieces of kindred 
sentiment ; and it was in these declamations that the 
more thoughtful and the riper in years saw and felt 
the most characteristic power in this lad's earlier and 
later life. Ever was his Mirth but the attendant on his 
Gravity. There being thus a common instinct and a 
responsive chord between the two boys, Davenport 
and Chapin, we need not wonder that the former, 
about to attempt the role of "William TeU," should 
caU the latter to be his first support in enacting 
the great tragedy ; and we might well envy thos^ who 
were privileged to see the two aspiring performers 
bearing their high parts. 

From the first coming together of these two gifted 
souls, we may turn to survey for a moment their last 
meeting face to face. Besting in his coffin, and fol- 
lowed in solemn procession by the brightest minds of 
New York City, the great tragedian was brought and 
laid before the pulpit made famous by the great 
preacher. Over the worn cushion and the open Bible 
bent the Reverend Doctor, himself feeble and fading, to 
take a last look at the noble face of his old comrade. 
With equal delicacy and depth of emotion he said, "I 
have known the deceased actor well, particularly in the 



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BOYHOOD. , 23 

younger years of my life, and I always knew him to be 
worthy -of love and esteem." 

Apart from the instruction of his home, it was with- 
out doubt in that humble Siddonian Society that 
Edwin Chapin found the best school of his early life. 
It was there his genius was first kindled to a fervid 
flame, and he felt himself in possession of a great gift 
of eloquence. There the secret of his life seemed to 
burst upon his vision, and to the high art of swaying 
the public he consecrated himself. He chose the stage 
as his first love, and it rose before him as the lure of 
the coming years. 

It was not without pride that his parents now looked 
upon their son, in whom a rare gift was thus making 
itself apparent. They were not insensible to the magic 
of his declamation and the lightning rapidity of his 
mental processes. But their pride was attended with 
anxiety and even alarm. Of Puritan training and pious 
predilections, they could but shrink with horror from 
the thought that their only and dearly loved son, for 
whom they had so often prayed, should take to the 
stage and give his life to the theatre. But so strongly 
rested the histrionic spell and purpose on him that their 
reproofs and persuasions seemed in vain ; and it is a cur- 
rent rumor among the relatives of the family that he 
once ran away with a theatrical troop and actually ap- 
peared in the more serious business of the public drama. 
However this may be, it is certain his mother said " I 
came near losing my boy," and that his father sent him 
to the academy at Bennington, Vermont, to keep him 
from the stage in Boston. 

When his little trunk was finally packed for the 



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24 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

journey, his mother took from it sundry well-wotn 
plays and declamations he had concealed in it, and in 
their place she deposited a copy of the Bible as her part- 
ing gift Her cup of joy would have been full could 
she have foreseen how prophetic was this act of tians- 
ferl 



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HL 

SCHOOLDAYS. 

Pleasant for situation among the Qreen Mountains 
is Bennington, of Bevolutionary and patriotic fame. 
Nestling close into the elbow of the enfolding arm 
of the mountain, it seems to be shielded from the 
northern and eastern blasts by barriers as friendly as 
they are imposing ; while it lies exposed on the south 
and west to the open sky, and all the charms of the 
mid-day and the setting sun. Well might an artist or 
poet covet the scene to awaken his best sensibilities ; 
for here blend, in a rare companionship, grandeur and 
beauty, forest and lawn, storm and peace, and mountain 
streams dashing into foaming cataracts or resting in 
lucid pools. Here every lofty or lowly mood of the 
heart may find sympathy and inspiration, as Ulysses 
foimd them in " craggy Ithaca," or Wordsworth in the 
beautiful Westmoreland scenery. 

One of the prettiest of the New England villages is 
the Bennington of to-day, befitting its surroundings as 
a jewel does its fine setting. Its twenty-five hundred 
citizens are noted for honor, refinement, and thrift. 
Along its tidy streets, inviting resident and stranger to 
a walk or drive, are seen neat cottages and stately man- 
sions, with a creditable array of churches and schools, 
stores and factories. 



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26 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

It was to this village, thus favored with a rare natural 
scenery, that Edwin Chapin, when fourteen or fifteen 
years old, was sent to attend schooL It was hoped by 
his parents that he would here both forget and acquire, 
— forget, if it were possible, the old lessons and loves 
he had brought from the Siddonian stage, and acquire 
the new lessons of the text-books, and a promising bias 
for life. 

Small as the village then was, much smaller than 
now, it nevertheless contained two rival academies. 
They were named the Old Line and the Pioneer. 
It was in the Pioneer that young Edwin's lot was 
cast This clioice between the institutions was, no 
doubt, determined by the fact that the headmaster of 
the latter, James Ballard, was in some way connected 
with the Hubbells, the relatives of Edwin's mother, 
who were both numerous and influential in the place. 

But the choice could not have been more fortunate 
Mr. Ballard was born to impress and inspire. In him 
were the blended traits of a Luther and a Melancthon, — 
the bold and energetic, and the gentle and tender ; and 
there can be little doubt that young Chapin, and others 
who have risen to fame in our land, were under obliga- 
tion to him for much of the noblest incitement and am- 
bition of their early life. Indeed, it is probable they 
ever after felt the impulse he imparted to them, even as 
the flying arrow to the end of its flight feels the im- 
pulse of the hand that bends the bow. As a past 
age lives in the present, and a Plato or a Paul starts a 
wave of philosophy or love that flows along the entire 
stream of time, so a teacher, if he be an original and 
noble soul, becomes an abiding power in the life of his 



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SCHOOLDAYS. 27 

pupils. A Thomas Arnold, of Eugby, became a part 
of the identity of a Thomas Hughes or a Dean Stanley. 
In a less famous way a Dr. Hosea Ballou mingled his 
life inextricably with the genius of a Starr King, and 
lent a tone to that enchanting voice which, by a suffi- 
ciently delicate ear, might have been detected in hia 
latest sermons in his California pulpit, or in his final 
recital of the Twenty-third Psalm on his deathbed. 
And Buch a teacher was James Ballard. 

His dominant traits were moral courage and an in- 
vincible will, and hence his energies rose with the dif- 
ficulties of his task. While yet a student in Williams 
College, from which he honorably graduated, he was 
sought as master of those district schools in the vicinity 
which were the most turbulent We are permitted to 
look at him in the midst of one of these scenes. " It 
was in Heath," wrote Dr. Holland, the lamented editor 
of " Scribner's Monthly," " that I was a pupil of Mr. 
Ballard, when he came to a district school to fill out a 
winter, broken by the turning of three masters out of 
school by unmanageable boys. It was one of the old 
time performances of which we do not hear much in 
these days. I remember his entrance upon his duties 
as if it Were but yesterday. I remember the words he 
uttered I could swear to them at this moment, though 
he spoke them fifty-three years ago: 'I come here to 
govern, and niot to b^ governed, and if you do not obey 
me I will flog you, if you are as big as Goliath. ' He 
was as good as his word, and he kept the school through ; 
and his memory is embalmed, I do not doubt, in the 
heart of every boy of that school now living. In my 
young imagination he was a hero of largest mould. ** 



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28 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

One of his assistants at the Bennington Seminary 
was Margaret Woods, daughter of the celebrated Ando- 
ver theological professor, and now the venerable Mrs. 
Lawrence, living at '' Linden Home, '' Marblehead ; but 
who will be best known to the readers of these pages as 
" Meta Landor," whose poetry and prose for .years graced 
the periodical literature of New England. Looking 
back across a half century to the young master of 
the Pioneer, she pays him this compliment: "He 
was a wonderful combination of energy and gentleness. 
I believe he feared absolutely nothing but wrong. 
There was not the least pretence or claptrap about him, 
but a straightforward, resolute, persistent carrying out 
of his purposes. I don't think he knew the meaning of 
cannot but he certainly did of vnll not" 

As the Norse heroes were thought to meet happily 
together in their Valhalla, or as the Sir Knights of 
King Arthur, Lionel and Bedivere, Lancelot and Tris- 
tram, met at the Bound Table, or as hero ever meets 
hero in glad recognition of their mutual pluck and 
power, so met William Lloyd Garrison and this young 
Bennington master ; and ever after were these intrepid 
souk fast friends. In common they shared a deep 
hatred of slavery and the full courage of their convic- 
tions. 

Early withdrawing his great energies from teaching, 
and preparing for the ministry, Mr. Ballard spent most 
of hi3 subsequent years in Grand Eapids, Michigan, in 
which city and state he was one of the leaders of the 
Congregational churches. In that rising city of the 
West, January 7, 1881, twelve days after the death in 
New York of his eminent pupil, Dr. Chapin, he peace- 



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SCHOOLDAYS. 29 

fully closed his eyes in their final sleep, his soul as full 

of courage on the verge of death as in the midst of life. 

From Wordsworth has been borrowed this fitting tribute 

to his character : — 

" But thou, though capable of eternal deed, 
Wert kind as resolute, and good as braye." 

In the fact that Mr. Ballard must be regarded as 
Edwin Chapin's only teacher in the technical sense, is 
found a justification of this extended sketch. Other 
teachers he had for brief seasons, but this one alone was 
permanent enough and powerful enough in this relation 
to mould and impel and inspire him in the way of 
study and aim. And every reader of this biography 
will rejoice that the brilliant youth, whose education 
had hitherto been so desultory and without promise, at 
length met a worthy teacher in whose strong and skilful 
hands, as clay in the hands of a potter, his plastic gifts 
were to be manipulated during a period of three or four 
years. Decisive years, indeed I As when a drifting 
ship on the broad sea is arrested and given to a pilot, 
and turned to a safe port, so was it when young Chapin, 
drifting no one knew whither on the wild sea of life, 
was taken in hand by tins ruling spirit of the Pio- 
neer. Through his teacher he found his destiny dawn- 
ing upon him; or rather we, who look on the scene 
from afar, observe it was thus. 

Of eloquence Mr. Ballard was an ardent lover, and 
the more impassioned it was the better it pleased him. 
It was no gentle breeze, but a whirlwind of oratory that 
he admired and sought in his models and his pupils. 
"He had a passion for elocution,** says Eev. Thomas 
Wright, one of his early students ; " and if in his own 



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30 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

case this passion often led him to overcharge with the 
powder of emphasis, there was not lacking the hot shot 
of earnest thought to be propelled by it " The fiery 
Demosthenes was his ideal In the great Irish orators, 
kindling to a stormy enthusiasm as they advanced in 
their orations, he found favorite examples to commend ; 
and with equal pride he pointed- to Patrick Henry and 
Henry Clay as American models for imitation. Before 
grace he placed energy as an oratorical accomplishment, 
and trusted less to thought than inspiration. Hence 
Edwin Chapin at once arrested his attention and won 
his pride and love, as a youth in whom the flame of 
eloquence kindled to a rare heat and glow ; and he at 
once set about training him for declamation. And the 
boy took to the discipline as a lark to its song, or a 
duck to the water. 

With an immense efiFect did he render the stirriug 
selections his master made for him ; and it was soon 
noised about the village that on Wednesday afternoons 
at the Seminary might be heard an eloquence that 
should not be missed. More and more the people 
came to sit under the pleasing spelL In the season of 
the year that would permit it, the little hall was for- 
saken and the yard outside was sought to afford ampler 
accommodation. Mr. Wright, from whom a word has 
already been quoted, says: "The speaking exercises of^ 
Wednesday afternoon were the great attraction of the 
week, the interest culminating when young Chapin ap- 
peared on the stage in Coleridge's ' Sailor's Eeturn,' or 
Byron's 'Isles of Greece.'" Even the students of 
the Old Line, the rival seminary, were drawn to hear 
the young orator of the Pioneer. " I once went over 



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SCHOOLDAYS. 31 

to Mr. Ballard's academy/' writes the Kev. J. A. Wright, 
" to hear Chapin declaim. The speaking was out under 
the trees. I shall never forget the declamation. It 
was the only thing of the kind that ever impressed me, 
but it captured my imagination and in fact melted 
my bones. The title of his piece I cannot recall, but it 
was a bit of blank verse, made of a scene in the Eevela- 
tion. Chapter VI. I think most of his school exercises 
were of a religious character. His poetical pieces were 
commonly on Bible themes." Upon the students of both 
seminaries he made a profound impression ; and one of 
the number writes that "the attempts of the other boys 
to imitate him were curious and sometimes ludicrous." 
In vain does the sparrow seek to be the nightingale, or 
the lynx aspire to mimic the roar of the lion. 

There is little doubt that the "bit of blank verse" 
above referred to, was written by him who delivered it ; 
and that the visitor from the Old Line was overpowered 
by the thought as well as voice of the young orator ; 
for Edwin Chapin was also the poet of the Pioneer. 
One who had written ephemeral stanzas, to deliver from 
a Boston sidewalk to a boy auditor in the second story 
of a broker's shop, was now composing more ambitious 
and enduring lines. In comic or serious humor the 
muse came often to his rapt soul, and he was pleased 
with her company. As there is a special affinity be- 
tween love and poetry, it is more than probable, if trar 
dition be true, that his poetic gift was now inspired 
by the tender sentiment As the poetic harp of a 
Dante was swept by the fingers of a Beatrice, so some 
gentle hand may have touched the strings of this 
youthful soul and drawn from it an unwonted music. 



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32 UFE OF EDWIN H. GHAPIN. 

He surely wrote under the heat of a true inspiration, 
and a number of his academy poems are still preserved 
and cherished. But as the discussion of his merits and 
demerits as a poet is reserved for a special chapter, the 
reader can only be gratified at this point with limited 
citations, with the hope that these will take a truer 
emphasis from standing in connection with the period 
of his life in which they were written. 

In a poem of this date, on the " Attributes of God," 
he begins each stanza by a repetition of the attribute 
it is to celebrate. He thus seeks to exalt it It is like 
the "holy, holy, holy T* in the Bible ascription, and 
reveals a sincere reverence. Three stanzas from the 
middle of the poem must suffice as a type of the whole 
composition. 

" Almighty, Almighty, Lord, — who could stand 
At the blast of Thy breath, or the weight of Thy hand ? 
Saints, angels, archangels, before Thee bow down, 
And rejoice in Thy fayor, bat quail at Thy frown. 

Omniscient, Omniscient, — our hearts Thou can*8t see ; 
Our actions, our thoughts, are all open to Thee ; 
Thou knowest each folly, each passion, each fault, 
The proud Thou wilt humble, the humble exalt. 

All-Present, All-Present, — although we may flee 
To the darkness of hell or the depth of the sea, 
To the cayes of the earth or the realms of the air. 
To the desert or mountains, God, Thou art there ! " 

The "Burial at Sea" is another of his schoolday 
poems, and one whose simple pathos has touched many 
hearts. Over it mother and maiden have often wept, 
and stronger hearts have been moved by its afE^ting 
narrative. When it finally appeared in the " Southern 



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SGHOOLDATa 33 

literary Messenger," it was copied by many of the 
periodicals of the day, one of these calling it a "great 
poem in small words." 

" Buiy roe not in the deep, deep sea 1 " 
The words came faint and mournfuny 
From the pallid lips of a youth, who lay 
On the cabin couch where, day by day, 
He had wasted and pined till o*er his brow 
The deathshade had slowly passed ; and now, 
When the land and his fond-loved home were nigh, 
They had gathered around him to see him die. 

" Bury me not in the deep, deep sea, 

Where the billowy shroud will roll over me. 

Where no light can break through the dark cold wave, 

And no sunbeam rest sweetly upon my grare. 

' It boots not,* I know I have oft been told, 

' Where the body shall lie when the heart is cold,' — 

Tet grant ye, oh, grant ye this boon to me. 

Bury me not in the deep, deep sea 1 

" For in fancy Fve listened to well-known words^ 
The free, wild wind, and the song of birds ; 
I have thought of home, of cot and bower. 
And of scenes that I loved in childhood's hoar. 
I have ever hoped to be laid, when I died. 
In the churchyard there on the green hillside ; 
By the bones of my fathers my grave should be, — 
Bury me not in the deep, deep sea 1 

'* Let my death slumber be where a mother's prayer 
And sister's tears can be blended there. 
Oh, 'twill be sweet, ere the heart's throb is o'er. 
To know, when its fountain shall gush no more. 
That those it so fondly has yearned for will come 
To plant the first wildflower of Spring on my tomb. 
Let me lie where the loved ones can weep over me^ — 
Bury me not in the deep, deep sea. 
8 



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34 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

'* And there is another; her tears would be shed 

For him who lay far in an ocean- bed. 

In hours that it pains me to think of now, 

She hath twined these locks and kissed this brow. 

In the hair she has wreathed shall the sea-snake hiss T 

The brow she has pressed shall the cold wave kiss ? 

For the sake of that bright one who waits for me, 

Bury me not in the deep, deep sea ! 

** She hath been in my dreams" —His voice failed there. 
They gave no heed to his dying prayer. 

• • ■ . a a 

They have lowered him slow o'er the vessel's side ; 
Above him hath closed the solemn tide. 
"Where to dip her ^ing the wild fowl rests, 
Where the blue waves dance with their foamy crests, 
Where the billows bound and the winds sport free, — 
They have buried him there, in the deep, deep sea. 

A singular theme for a young man yet in his teens 
to treat in a young lady's album is — "The Grave.*' 
Earely has a youth paused to reflect on this subject 
enough to be stirred by it to those deep feelings that 
seek to take form in poetry. The youthful heart 
naturally turns away from the resting-place of man to 
contemplate the arena of his activities, and is much 
more likely to sing of war and fame, or to paint before 
its reader a scene of romantic peace and joy amid the 
vales of time. It shrinks from a gaze at the darkness 
and decay of the tomb. But Edwin Chapin, the most 
gleeful of youth, sat down and turned his own mind 
and the mind of some gentle friend to the final home 
of earth. 

" The young and the noble, the brave and the fair. 
In the cold silent tomb now are taking their rest ; , 

The shroud is wrapt round them, they calmly sleep there. 
And the clods of the valley repose on each breast. " 



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SCHOOLDAYS. 35 

In this serious poem of four stanzas, as also in that 
on the " Attributes of God/' is revealed the inmost soul 
of Edwin Chapin. A pious gravity, a solemn rever- 
ence, was ever his ruling trait But he was also a rare 
lover of fun ; and of this love he made an honest con- 
fession in the following lines by which, while at the 
Academy, he dedicated a Miss Pierson's scrapbook. 

*' The world's a scrapbook ; and *t is filled 

With things of strange alloy, — 
With scraptt of pleasure, scraps of pain, 

And scraps of grief and joy. 
But give me scraps with humor filled, 

With scraps of fun and glee, — 
They'll drive away the scraps of pain, 

And scraps of misery." 

But our portrait of this academy boy has not yet 
received all its colors. He was more than orator 
and poet, and the inspirer of a profound admiration of 
his rare gifts. ^ Not always along these high and sol- 
emn paths did he walk. He was also a wit and a 
mimic, something of a ventriloquist, a singer of comic 
songs, a felicitous story-teller, a provoker of laughter of 
the loudest type. "He was facetious and funny," 
writes a relative, " but large-hearted, manly, and noble." 
He was full of stage antics, — at one moment doing the 
clown, and at the next falling into the most tragic atti- 
tudes. What Macaulay wrote of Garrick is partly true 
of the academic Chapin. " Garrick often exhibited all 
his powers of mimicry for the amusement of the little 
Bumeys, — awed them by shuddering and crouching as 
if he saw a ghost, scared them by raving like a maniac 
in St Luke's, and then at once became an auctioneer. 



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36 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. * . 

a chimneyHSweeper, or an old woman, and made them 
laugh till the tears ran down their cheeks." It wad a 
favorite trick of young Chapin to imitate the singer 
who got a hundred dollars for a song, — fifty for start- 
ing it, and another fifty for stopping the unearthly 
music. " His face was flexible as his voice," says Mrs. 
Lawrence, from whom we have already quoted; "I 
have a distinct recollection of his grimaces, and of the 
mirth they provoked; and I remember thinking he 
would probably find his career on the stage." A hu- 
morous composition of his on "Timothy Ticklepitcher " 
is still remembered at Bennington. " He never studied, 
but always had his lessons," is a tradition yet cur- 
rent ill the village. "Do you remember," said the 
writer of these pages to an elderly lady of the place, a 
relative of Chapin, "of any fix that this hilarious youth 
got into while here ? " " None that he didn't instantly 
get out of, " was her swift and proud reply. He was 
never at a loss for a repartee. In the homes where he 
boarded he had his own names for the children, and 
the cats and dogs, and to every name he hitched im- 
promptu rhymes. To form a jingle of words suited the 
celerity of his mental action, while puns fell Around 
him like leaves from the trees in autumn. 

Thus strong in shades and lights is the portrait of 
this young student at the Pioneer. Rivals in their 
claims to his heart were Gravity and Mirth. At these 
two extremes of sensibility he stood conspicuous. A 
priest could not have been more grave, nor a clown 
more gay. But since mirth shows less reserve than 
gravity, is less a grace for private hours, the mistake 
was naturally made by his companions of reading his 



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SCHOOLDAYS. 37 

future from the wrong page in the book of his lifa 
" The students at Bennington," writes Rev, Dr. Pierson 
of Michigan, himself a student there, "generally pre- 
dicted that Ghapin would distinguish himself as an 
actor or as a poet I think none of us at that time 
dreamed that his tastes would incline him to the pul- 
pit** But they were deceived, as one looking at the 
newly poured wine might think it all foam and sparkle. 
For he who at that age of life was writing such poetry 
as we have read from his pen, declaiming blank verse on 
a scene in Eevelation, and who neglected not to seek 
lus closet daily in prayer and meditation, — as it was 
known at his Bennington home that he did, — must have 
been borne on by an undercurrent of piety that was 
stronger than any other tide that swept through his 
being ; and a pulpit was the real goal toward which he 
was moving. 

After four years in the academy, and in the home of 
Deacon Aaron Hubbell, he entered the home and the 
service of Henry Kellogg, lawyer and post-master at 
Bennington. Mrs. Kellogg was a Hubbell, and shared 
a family interest in the young man newly installed in 
her household. Here he spent two years as a clerk in 
the post-office. But literature was his lure, meanwhile, 
and the seminary and the rooms of its students were 
lus favorite haunts. Again we quote from Dr. Pierson. 
"After the labors of the day Chapin would come up to 
the seminary and to our room, and I have a very vivid 
recollection of his there reciting comic pieces greatly to 
our amusement and that of our visitors. Sometimes he 
would take part in the debating societies of the older 
scholars in one of the schoolrooms. I recollect that on 



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38 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

one occasion the poetry of Byron was the subject of dis- 
cussion. Chapin was present and, after listening to the 
remarks of others, rose and spoke at length in such 
strains of eloquence as completely overpowered the 
audience and carried it with him." 

It was during these two years that influences con- 
spired to turn his attention to the law as the profession 
he would follow. As he had been lured by the stage, 
so now, but with a less powerful spell, the bar rose 
to attract him. It was, no doubt, more the pressure of 
circumstances than the impulse of his nature that deter- 
mined this choice. By the fact that he was living with 
a prosperous lawyer, and made daily conversant with 
legal transpirings, the law was made to seem to him the 
nearest and most natural calling to which he could give 
his mind and devote his years. And so, with a new 
suit of clothes, and forty dollars in his pocket, with such 
an education as he had been able to obtain in four 
years, and with an honest and ardent heart, he left fair 
Bennington by the mountains, of which he ever retained 
tender recollections, and turned his face toward Troy, 
New York. 



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IV. 

LIFE AT TEOY. 

From Bennington to Troy by stage was a trip often 
made, fifty and more years ago, by young men seeking 
to begin their career in the world. Over that pleasant 
road have passed some of the notable men of the 
country. And hither came Edwin H. Chapin in May 
of 1836, with twenty-one years of life resting on his 
head and heart, a new suit of clothes on his back, a few 
dollars in his pocket, and a great hope leading him on. 

But he only tarried here for a few months, as if some 
fate were pushing him on to other scenes. Before May 
of 1837 he had left Troy; and he left it not as he came, 
along a road cheered by the radiance of a flaming am- 
bition, but by a path over which hung a cloud. On 
his heart had broken an unlocked for storm, and, like 
a shattered vessel, he went forth to seek a haven of 
safety. 

During his brief stay in Troy he had touched the 
borders of the three great kingdoms — Law, Politics, 
and Eeligion ; but this swiftness of vicissitude and stress 
of experience seemed to be too much even for his ardent 
and active temperament to bear. While in each of 
these three provinces he stood conspicuous, in the last 
he became an object of pity and solicituda 



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40 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

On his arrival from Benniiigton he entered the law- 
office of Huntington & Van Schoonhoven. Here he 
took up the task of turning his forensic dream into a 
reality, and daily wrestled with Blackstone and Kent 
and legal forms. In an atmosphere void of all poetry, 
save that which he brought to it or created in it, he sat 
down to make himself master of the law and of the dry 
details of the court. But he must have felt like a wild 
bird brought from the free air of the mountains and 
shut in a stifling cage ! It is the testimony of a fellow 
law-student and friend, the Hon. Martin I. Townsend, 
LL. D., ex-member of Congress, and still a resident of 
Troy, not that young Chapin bent fondly over the legal 
pages, but that " he was a cheerful, social young man, 
much given to declaiming choice selections from the 
classics and the dramatists." In his native domain of 
fervid eloquence he seems to have made a deeper im- 
pression on the tablets of memory, than at his new task 
of reading law. 

But, nevertheless, Mr. Townsend contends that "Cha- 
pin would have been as conspicuous at the bar as he 
was in the pulpit, had he been as faithful to its 
demands." While admitting his love of literature, for 
he was ever discussing the merits of the famous books ; 
acknowledging his passion for authorship, for he was 
much given to writing for the "Troy Budget;" and 
conceding his proneness to oratory, since he was ha- 
bitually declaiming eloquent passages from the great 
orators and poets, — still he saw in him, as he thought, 
that subtle gift of logic and latent patience which lie 
at the base of forensic success. If he had inherited a 
talent from Demosthenes, so would Mr. Townsend claim 
that he held an equal gift from Solon. 



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UFE AT TBOY. 41 

But by another intimate friend this view of the case 
was iK>t entertained. For some reason Chapin left the 
office of Huntington & Van Schoonhoven, and entered 
(hat of Judge Pierson. Witbthe son of the latter, now 
the Eev. Dr. Pierson of Michigan, he had been on inti- 
mate terms at Bennington, and this friendship may have 
had some influence in determining him to leave one 
law-office for the other. Of his early companion Dr. 
Pierson writes: — 

"I left Mr, Ballard's school in November of 1835, and 
went to my home in Troy, my parents having moved there 
that fall. The next time I saw Chapin he was a student in 
the law-office of my father, who was surrogate of the county. 
While a law-student he had a host of friends in Troy, and I 
never knew of his having an enemy there or elsewhere. But 
the study of the law was not congenial to his tastes. His 
mind was not of a legal cast. It was too imaginative and 
poetical. He did not like the dry reading of law-books, 
but found his delight in reading biography and history and 
poetry. It was a great relief to him to throw aside Black- 
stone and take up Gibbon or Byron. I think he himself be- 
came soon convinced that he could not succeed in the legal 
profession." 

As between the verdict of the eminent lawyer and 
that of the eminent clergyman, it may not be possible 
to determine where lies the exact truth. Since Chapin 
early withdrew from the study of the law, it can only 
be a matter of conjecture to what success his gifts 
would have borne him in that profession. " If he had 
not equalled a Webster, he would have rivalled a 
Choate," some one has said ; but we have no means of 
measuring the speed and distance one may make along 



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42 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

a path he has never travelled. It cannot be proved 
that Homer would have made a great general or Napo- 
leon a great poet, Channing a superior business man 
or Astor a fine preacher.. It seems to be well settled 
that there is no such thing as a universal genius, but 
that all genius comes limited to some special bias. It 
is probable that no one can turn with equal ease and 
promise to any task, drawing at will a philosophy from 
the depths of meditation, or bringing down a great poem 
from the heights of Parnassus, or threading the labyrinths 
of a constitutional debate, or mounting the orator's 
stand with absolute mastery. Sailing its rare boat for 
the wrong port, genius is often doomed to make head- 
way against wind and tide, and to the sadness of never 
reaching the desired haven. It is probable that Chapin 
was not equally fitted for the bar or the pulpit ; and in 
the fact that he lost heart for the law in the eight or ten 
months he gave to the study of it, we have a seeming 
confirmation of Dr. Pierson's statement that he dis- 
trusted his fitness for its pursuit, and felt the real bent 
of his genius to be in another direction. It was deny- 
ing to his Pegasus the use of his native wings. A born 
poet and orator, how could he love the severe exactitudes 
of juridical study and practice ? Yearning for a free and 
fervid inspiration under the touch of sentiment, how 
could he submit to a patient and heavy plodding ? 

It is the opinion of Mr. Townsend that Chapin, while 
fitted for the law, was weaned from it by the fascination 
of the political platform, which offered him a theatre 
of eloquence. In the Fall of 1836 occurred the Van 
Buren campaign, and it was at Albany that the excite- 
ment culminated ; and Troy failed not to feel the near 



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UFE AT TROT. 43 

commotioiL The romantic candidate was not only a 
Bon of the Empire State, but a chief spirit in the famous 
" Albany Regency," and in that section the conflict was 
doubly intense. To the election of Van Buren young 
Chapin and Townsend gave their .hearts and voices. 
Together they "stumped" Rensselaer County, each 
making twenty or more speeches. From the platforms 
in the halls, or from dry-goods boxes brought into the 
public squares, the youthful orators harangued the 
people ; and who can doubt that these modern Trojans 
would have drawn a line from old Homer, had he been 
one of their listeners! Not wholly unlike the elo- 
quence of Ulysses could theirs have been, and of that 
ancient orator the poet says, "he sent his great voice 
forth out of his breast in power, and his words fell like 
the winter snows." Of Chapin's speeches Mr. Town- 
send affirms : " They were as successful in their line as 
his sermons were afterwards. Everybody patted him 
on the back and praised him for them. They were 
rough-and-tumble, but perfectly charming." In har- 
mony with this is the testimony of Dr. Pierson. 
"Chapin took part," he writes, "in the presidential 
campaign of 1836, and I well remember hearing mem- 
bers of the Van Buren party speak in most exalted 
terms of his eloquent speeches at their political meet- 
ings." From one platform to another he was followed 
by enthusiastic hearers, not for instruction, but for en- 
tertainment, just to hear his speech repeated, and feel 
anew its magnetism. 

Here once more Chapin laid his hand on his real 
sceptre, and was filled with delight. He rose to that 
oratorical supremacy which was his birthright In this 
impetuous rushing out of his soul through his lips, and 



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44 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

in the responsive hush or the outburst of applause that 
followed, he found that strange rapture that ever comes 
when genius touches the path of its true destiny. As 
he swept on in his torrent of speech in behalf of his 
favorite candidate, and as the Dutch farmers and vil- 
lagers warmed their hands and strained their throats in 
recognition of his marvellous eloquence, he must haye 
felt indeed an inward ecstasy and sighed for some per- 
manent rostrum from which to survey the crowds that 
would gather around him. Hence we are quite ready 
to hear Mr. Townsend say : " I found him gloomy after 
the campaign, and I said to my friends, 'He finds it 
dull to come back to the law-office and delve at the 
table alone, with none to applaud.* Within a short 
time he revealed a great depression of spirit." As one 
forsakes a, natural friend who enchants, to cultivate a 
a love for one not after his heart, so did he retire from 
the rostrum to the study of law. 

But this is not the whole secret of the confessed 
gloom which darkened around that ardent souL The 
young law-student and orator had fallen a victim to a 
religious revival, carried on after the Burchard style,\ 
probably by Burchard himself, having the depths of his 
spiritual life broken up for the first time, and after the 
most alarming fashion. Always pious in no ordinary 
degree, he now became in a measure religiously unbal- 
anced. Ever had his soul been the dominant power of 
his life, but now it was hurled into a wild and melan- 
choly supremacy. Under the terrific impulse his judg- 
ment yielded for a little its serene control, and, late at 
night, he was found in prayer at the street comers, and 
frequently wandered in a state of absent-mindedness, 
absorbed by the new and awful thoughts and fears that 



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LIFE AT TBOT. 45 

swept before him. His days were filled with anxiety, 
his nights with terror. Life having assumed thus sud- 
denly solemn and even fearful aspects, the law became 
still less interesting to him as a calling, and the minis- 
try rose to his notice as perhaps a solemn duty, if not 
a privilege. 

It is a tradition at Troy that he went to Eev. Dr. 
Beman, an old-fashioned Calvinistic clergyman of the 
city, to consult about his spiritual estate and the new 
purpose taking shape in his soul, but that he received 
no special encouragement toward the ministry, as his 
conversion was not wholly of an approved type. 

With the life-plan he had formed a few months before 
thus broken up, and his new aspiration unencouraged, 
he left Troy, amid cloud and storm, and went to visit 
his parents and sisters, who were residing' for a little 
time at Bridgewater, near Utica. " In great distress of 
mind he came to us," says his sister, who is still living. 
His mental and emotional distraction she well remem- 
bers, and recalls the efforts of his parents to re-estab- 
lish his peace of mind and cheer his depressed heart 

To such an experience as ibe had thus encountered, 
no temperament was ever more exposed. Not given to 
logic and deliberation, but ever prone to cast himself on 
some wild torrent qf impulse, he was just the one to 
offer himself a captive to a Burchard or a Finney. As 
one in natural sympathy with their fiery zeal, he gave 
them a ready ear and an eager heart ; but, with their 
fervor that charmed, he had also accepted their dark 
errors, which bore to him a " fear that hath torment " 
and a gloom which rested like a pall on his life. It 
was from these he fled» and sought the peace of his 
homa 



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LIFE AT UTICA. 

Having enjoyed amid the sympathies of his home 
at Bridgewatex a brief refuge from the religious storm 
that had swept over his soul, Edwin Chapin went with 
his father to Utica, where the rambling artist had some 
orders to fill The father and son went into temporary 
quarters near the office of the " Evangelical Magazine 
and Gospel Advocate," a Universalist paper published 
by Rev. A. B. Grosh and 0. Hutchinson, the former 
being its editor and the latter its business manager. At 
thi3 office were kept on sale the books of the Univer- 
salist sect, — especially those of an expository character, 
which were the ones mostly sought in that early day, 
— and also a limited supply of general literature. 

Into this humble retreat for the friends of Univer- 
salism in Utica and the regions round about, came one 
day young Chapin. By what motive he was drawn 
hither we know not. In an idle hour he may have 
merely drifted into this obscure nook. It may be he 
was drawn to the place by the sign that indicated that 
here a newspaper was published, for already a news- 
paper had come to stand in signal favor with his hearty 
as a medium of bearing his thoughts in prose and 
poetry to the public. He was by instinct and habit an 
author. As an academy-boy and as a law-student, he 



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UFE AT UTICA. 47 

had written much for publication. Hence he found a 
fascination in the newspaper office, as a sort of gateway 
between his private musings and mental creations, and 
the kindling hearts of his readers. He may have come 
thus into the " Magazine and Advocate " office only to 
contemplate the open avenue, at that time, indeed, ro- 
mantic to him, leading from an inspired seclusion to the 
light of day. But the guess better suits the mood in 
which the young man was then pining, that he had 
learned that here was held and advocated another view 
of religion from that in which he had been reared, and 
with which, in its more terrific aspects, as painted by a 
Finney or Burchard, he had recently struggled and was 
still struggling ; and that he embraced the opportunity 
thus open to him to make some inquiries about this new 
theology called Universalism. 

But failing to know the secret influence that turned 
his steps in this direction, it is certain that he came 
hither, and that he came again and again, as if some 
pleasant attraction drew him to the place. It proved 
to be the turning point of his lifa On that morning or 
mid-day or evening walk that first bore him to the door 
of this newspaper office, we seem to see resting, like a 
pyramid on its point, the great career he finally made 
for himself in the Liberal Church and in the world. 
Here was the first step in the special journey he after- 
wards so grandly accomplished. It may have been a 
random or a self-directed step, or, as some would like to 
think, a step inspired and urged by Providence; but 
there it rises to our view in its broad significance ! The 
old picture of a vast cloud hanging over the sea, grad- 
ually retreating into a little vase on the shore, is here 



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48 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

reversed. For the idle or conscious impulse of a moment 
expands into a great and solemn biography. 

** Among the strangers who were in the habit of coming 
in to look over our stock of books," writes Mr. Hutchinson, 
"I one day noticed a young man, apparently deeply in- 
terested in examining some of our prominent Universalist 
publications. Having an eye to business, I entered into con- 
versation with him, with the view of ascertaining his wants, 
when he informed me he did not come in to purchase, but 
would like to look over some of our books, as they treated of 
subjects of especial interest to him. He then explained that 
his name was Chapin ; that he was stopping at a hotel near 
by in company with his father, an artist, who had come to 
Utica for the purpose of painting the portraits of some of the 
leading men of the city ; and that it would give him pleasure 
to spend some time in examining our books, especially such 
as related to theological points in which he felt a deep inter- 
est. Perceiving that he was not only an earnest searcher 
after truth, but the possessor of a brilliant intellect, I deter- 
mined to afford him every facility in my power, and assured 
him he was welcome to spend as much time in the store as he 
pleased, calling his special attention to such works as Smith 
on the Divine Government, Ballon on the Atonement^ Wil- 
liamson's Argument for Christianity, and other works which 
seemed to meet his wants. Thenceforward he spent much 
time in the store, where he soon became acquainted with Mr. 
Grosh and his brothers, and Rev. Dolphus Skinner, and other 
clergymen and prominent laymen who were in the habit of 
frequenting the place." 

The proneness of the son to make a daily visit to this 
Universalist resort stirred the fears of his father, who 
directly placed him in the law-office of J. Watson 
Williams, at a salary of $300 a year. But the new 



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UFB AT UTICA. 49 

link had been forged in the fire of the soul and could 
not be broken. The law-student's heart was now in the 
"Magazine and Advocate" office, kindling with the 
broader spirit and hope of Universalism, and feeling a 
new love of God taking the place of the old fear, which, 
in the few recent months, had darkened into a despair. 
The die was cast, and the throw could not be recalled. 
And so the young man went to work for his money on 
one side of the street, and stole across to the other for 
spiritual comfort and genial companionship. Before 
long his name appeared in the " Magazine and Advo- 
cate." On the first day of July, 1837, he had written 
a patriotic hymn for publication, and gave this paper a 
joint privilege with another to print it Mr. Grosh 
thus introduced him and it to his patrons : " By the 
kindness of our esteemed friend, Edwin H. Chapin, 
author of the following Independence Hymn, we are 
enabled to give it to our readers one week earlier than 
if we had been obliged to wait to copy it from the 
* Observer,* to which it was first sent for publication." 
In this period, from the editorial pen, Chapin's name, at 
length so familiar and so honored, appeared for the first 
time before the Universalist public ; and in this hymn, 
which would do credit to a riper muse, we have the first 
beams from the star that finally shone with such mag- 
nitude and lustre in»our sky. The poem is in the form 
of a nation's prayer, and is laid on the altar with a 
reverent hand: — 

Crod of this People ! Thou whose breath 
SweU*d the white sail, and wing*d the breeze, 

And sped the Exiles' trembling bark, 
In safety through the stormy aeas — 
4 



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50 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

To whom oar trusting sires look'd up 
For strength to rive the Tyrant's chain ; 

Whose wings were 'round them as a shield, 
Amid the thickest hattle rain — 

From the old Pilgrims' altar-rock, 

Far to the sounding Western sea 
A Nation wafts the voice in song, 

And pours the heart, in pray'r, to Thee 1 

Hush'd be the peal of booming gun, 
^ Hush'd be the lofty piean now ; 
While low before each holy shruie 
We close the eye and veil the brow. 

And, Father, be the pray'r we breathe. 

Of thanks to Thee for mercies giv'n ; 
For others* weal ; for peace and light. 

That tears be dried and fetters riv'n. 

And when again the shouts ring loud. 

And when they tell of storied glen. 
Of haunted stream and hallowed sod, 

Linked with the deeds of mighty men. 

When the old Charter meets our sight. 
And when our " banner floats the skies" ; 

Oh (hen^ may grateful thoughts of Thee 
Blend with our purest memories 1 

Still, Father, be our nation's Guide 

By night or day ; in darkness bow'd, 
Or rais'd to Honor's dazzling height ; — 

Be Thou our ** jnUar " and our " cloud," 

That when beside our lowly graves, 
Our children*s children bend the knee. 

They still may praise for blessings giv'n. 
And shout the anthem " we are free ! '* 

A sect could hardly choose a better form of advent 
than this for one who, in after years, would be its glory 



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LIFE AT UTICA*. 51 

and its pride, since he came thus in the power of the 
two great sentiments, so important to the world — Re- 
ligion and Patriotism. Bowing at these most signifi- 
cant altars set up on our planet, the altar of a God 
and the altar of a nation, he was first seen hj the de- 
nomination which he was to honor, and which would 
honor him. 

In the column with this poem, which appears to have 
been written for the " Observer," we have Chapin's first 
words written expressly for Universalist readers. In 
them he turned his face and heart openly to the people 
he was to love and serve so devotedly in after years, 
and on this account an interest centres in them that 
will justify their transfer to these pages. 

" Messrs Editors : — The following apothegms I have 
culled from a work with which, from a slight glance at one 
of its volumes, I have been much entertained. It is entitled 
' Laconics ; or the best words of the best authors ; ' and is 
indeed a ' collection of gems ' from the richest Literary Cas- 
kets. Although it has been before the public these few years 
past, yet if its contents prove as pleasing to many of your 
readers as they have to myself, I am sure they will be grati- 
fied by seeing some of them published in your valuable and 
wide-circulating journal. To many, they may be as * familiar 
as household words.' To many new and originaL Be that 
86 it may, to a^ I trust these friendly and ' sage advisers ' 
will prove interesting and instructive. Should you see fit to 
publish them, I will endeavor from time to time to continue 
the selections. £. H. C.** 

A dozen apothegms were drawn from the book and 
set under the above communication ; and, as every one's 
task that is done from the heart is a mirror of the life. 



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52 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

SO in these selections, which were continued in three 
successive numbers of the paper, we have at least some 
significant etchings, if not a full portrait, of this young 
man's genius and temper. Three traits of his life are 
made to appear — his high literary instinct, his love of 
condensation, and his humanity. He gathered these 
flowers and fruits from no common bushes. By a nat- 
ural taste he took to the finest colors and flavors. But 
equally did he love the mtUtum in parvo of these rare 
bits of greatness. With lus ardent temperament, pro- 
lixity had no chance to find favor. He could not wait 
on the slow pace of thought, leisurely travelling on 
through long periods and multiplying words in the 
ratio of its weakness. No Alexandrine measure, that 
"like a wounded snake drags its slow length along," 
could hold his rushing impulse. Hence he revealed 
himself in his early love of Laconics, and all through 
his life he was wont to create them in the white heat 
of his own mind. As the eager Spartans, according to 
Plutarch, "jerked out great sayings," so Ghapin would 
hurl a great theme into a period, or paint a vast picture 
with a dash of lus pen. But in these selected words 
the moral credit of the young man is most conspicuous. 
In the high principles and sentiments which served as 
touchstones to his soul, as he pondered over these terse 
pages, we have a sign of his true nobility. A humane 
period caught his eye as surely as Blondel's sweet song 
caught the ear of the Lion-hearted Prince. It is a 
pleasing tradition with the Mohammedans, because at- 
testing the greatness of their Prophet, that, as he walked 
the earth, everything beautiful, birds and flowers, the 
finest music and the rarest thoughts, flew to greet him ; 



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LIFE AT UTICA. 53 

and 80 are the generosity and honor of young Chapin 
mirrored in the noble Laconics which offered themselves 
for his pen to transcribe. -" The EngUsh punish vice ; 
the Chinese do better, they reward virtue," is the first 
in the triple list, and drawn from Goldsmith. From 
Lord Herbert he quoted ; " He that cannot forgive oth- 
ers, breaks the bridge over which he must pass him- 
self ; for every one has need to be forgiven/' In Sir 
Philip Sidney's words, " A just man hateth the evil, but 
not the evil-doer," he discovered the text of the true 
reformer, and foreshadowed the spirit he was destined 
to exemplify in himself. With like good taste and 
moral instinct he completed his task of culling Laconics 
for his readers, and thus attended by the Muse and the 
great authors he rose in the Universalist horizon. 

With plenty of esteem and good-will to confer on 
their new and brilliant acquaintance, and but little 
money, Grosh & Hutchinson made up their minds to 
offer him an increase of fifty dollars a year in salary if 
he would come into their office. On his first appear- 
ance in their paper they had discovered that he could 
greatly aid them in conducting their literary columns 
and in general proof-reading, Jtfid their offer was made 
at once, and it was at once accepted. With the greater 
pay ranged on the side of the greater inclination, hesita- 
tion was out of the question ; and now, with a lighter 
heart than ever before, the young man crossed the street 
from the law-office to meet his newly found friends, 
whose service he was to enter, and to steadily breathe 
an atmosphere that had charmed him. 

And this delight was the greater from the fact that 
Mr. WiUi^tms, too practical to enter into his poetical 



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54 LIFE OF EDWIN fe CHAPIN. 

and speculative tendencies, had spoken with disfavor, 
if not with derision, of his Fourth-of-July Hymn, and 
other pieces from his pen. These criticisms touched a 
tender spot. The Muse, a jealous creature, will not 
be spoken ill of. The fire of real genius cannot stand 
cold water. A Dr. Franklin's father might well enough 
laugh at his son's boyish doggerel, and tell him that 
"poetry led to the poorhouse and he had better not 
cultivate it;" for the lad had no poetic gift to feel 
the sting of such derision. His poetry was only a part 
of his worldly policy, to be held to or given up accord- 
ing to its financial value. He tells us of one of his 
poems that *' sold prodigiously," and no' doubt this was 
the one that lay nearest to his heart. It was a ballad 
on the capture of a celebrated pirate. But a Chapin's 
gift of poetry was too real, and too intense ancl devoted, 
to be calm under any but a helpful criticism, or to 
allow a business view of its value. It was to him as 
sacred as the Delphic Oracle to the Pythian Apollo. 
And so, be'tween repulsion on one side of the street and 
attraction on the other, he came eagerly into the ofiice 
of the " Magazine and Advocate," and in a very cheerful 
spirit went about his work. 

Bapidly his mind and heart took on the faith of 
which this paper was the organ ; and the dark cloud, 
that lowered around him at Troy, now rolled away and 
left a blue sky above his head. His conversion seems 
to have been silent and without a struggle, and at once 
he became buoyant and happy. So easily and swiftly 
did he take to the new faith, it would almost seem that 
without knowing it he had been a convert to it in ad- 
vance. As the sun shines in all its glory behind the 



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LIFE AT UTICA. 55 

cloud and tempest, so behind his darKened sky must 
have beamed the star of a universal hope. In his hu- 
manity Universalism must have been latent, even as it 
seems to be in all love ; for the more love, the more 
heaven and the less hell, are the order of history. 
Hence, as the cloud was dispersed, he stood in the 
Uberdl fold in full form, and at peace with himself 
and his God. In a few weeks he had made up his 
mind to enter the Universalist ministry, but was wisely 
advised by Mr. Grosh to cherish his new purpose at 
least six months in his thoughts before taking any de- 
cisive step toward the pulpit 

Amid this new cheer thus dawning upon him, he 
entered the pleasant home of Eev. Mr. Grosh as a 
boarder; and the busy editor and sermon-maker de- 
clares that, amid his studies, he '' had often to read the 
riot act, to disperse Chapin and the children from their 
romps." The young student was as full of sport as of 
ambition for study. Manifesting his love of rare books, 
it is well remembered, to this day, that " he read, sung, 
whistled, and made puns all at the same time." It 
was a strife between the boy and the man in him, with 
remarkable achievements on both sides. 

When lie had been two months in the employ of 
Grosh & Hutcliinson, these gentlemen announced to 
their patrons that they had engaged an assistant edi- 
tor, and were liberal in their praise of the unnamed 
person. In their next issue, on the 22nd of September, 
they printed the following item : " The assistant edi- 
tor commences lus labors in advance of the next volume 
in order that he and our readers may become somewhat 
acquainted with each other. The careful reader will 



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56 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

see by the initiab, E. H. C, that it is the same Edwin 
H. Chapin who furnished the Independence Hymn for 
our columns in July last." Thus rapid was his pro- 
gress, from an inquirer in this office to an assistant editor, 
and a preacher in aim and preparation. But whatever 
Chapin did he was under a constitutional necessity of 
doing swiftly and with all his might. No youth or 
man ever hammered cold iron less than he, or was 
more disqualified for slow processes. His vision was like 
the flash of the lightning, and his conclusions followed 
as speedily as the reverberations that accompany the 
electric flame. 

He was twenty-two years old when he was thus pro- 
moted to the editorial chair ; and a brief study of his 
work, beginning with October of 1837, and ending with 
May of 1838, will reveal some significant colors to 
transfer to the portrait of the workman. In some of 
his themes we recognize echoes from the academy. 
Such are his editorials on " Day Dreams," " The Debat- 
ing Club," and "Mixed Metaphors," in the latter of 
which he ventured to criticise Shakespeare, accused 
Scott of making "a royal oak cast anchor," and de- 
clared : " I do not like to see winged creatures swim- 
ming, nor dwellers in the deep mounting sunward, nor 
trees walking, nor diamonds scattering perfume, and 
the like, — for I cannot bear to see the order of nature 
perverted even in metaphor." 

Of natuie he had already, in youthful prose and 
poetry, revealed his deep appreciation and love ; but in 
his editorials he disclosed a special interest in this di- 
rection. It was at this period a lucky chance befel 
him, through which he reached a degree of ecstasy in 



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UFE AT UTICA, 67 

view of the beauty and glory of the outward world 
In a moment of sport he put on Mr. Grosh's spectacles 
for lengthening the too short vision, and lo ! the earth 
and the heavens were new to him. He thus discovered 
the secret of his near-sightedness, and that by the aid 
of glasses a larger and a fairer world was henceforth to 
be his. In rapture he beheld the contrast; and for 
months he revelled in the improved scenery of nature, 
making it the theme of conversation and of his elated 
pen. " Have our readers in this vicinity," he inquired 
in an editorial, evidently inspired by this incident, " no- 
ticed the appearance of the heavens these few evenings 
past at sunset ? For our part, we have witnessed colors 
in the firmament more splendid than ever decorated an 
eastern palace, or glowed in dreams of fairyland. Just 
at the going down of the sun, there have shot athwart 
the western sky all beautiful hues, strange and gor- 
geous, emerald and crimson, and varied tints, as if the 
robes of angels had been flung over the battlement of 
the far heavens, or else 

' The home 
, And fountftin of the rainbow were revealed.* " 

A similar thrill of joy is in all the periods of this 
composition, as if the sense of new riches had just been 
stirred within him. In a more thoughtful but not less 
grateful strain, he soon wrote an editorial on the text in 
Genesis, "and there was light." "Ah I what a moment 
must that have been," he exclaimed. ** when first the 
clear, glad light broke over the earth which before had 
been 'without form and void,' and which dispelled the 
darkness that until then had rested 'on the face of the 
deep.* Then sprang into existence beauty, life, and 



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58 UPE OP EDWIN H. CHAPm. 

J07." In a brief season a poem burst from his soul on 
" The Waters," in which he vividly and fondly painted 
their changing aspects. The first lines of some of the 
stanzas will sufficiently indicate the range and rapture 
of his vision : — 

« Oh ! mighty are the waters ; " 
''Oh I loTelj are the waters ; " 
" Oh I glorious are the waters ; " 
"Oh t pleasant are the waters." 

But in religion Chapin revealed himself in these 
editorial months in a light at once strange and almost 
unaccountabla With surprise at least, if not with a 
degree of wonder, we contemplate his attituda A new 
convert, he scarcely made a reference to the doctrine 
he had embraced, of the final salvation of all souls, 
and wrote not a word in defence of it Meanwhile 
he wrote an editorial parrying "A Recent Attack on 
Phrenology," and another in advocacy of that science. 
When most young men, newly converted and full of 
the spirit of championship, would have rushed into the 
thick of the theological strife, marshalling the argu- 
ments pro and c(wi, he stood serenely above the militant 
arena, and seemed indeed to be quite unconscious of it 
Shall we, therefore, doubt the fact of his conversion? 
Not at all In hints and implications his UniversaUsm 
is too evident to be called in question. And, moreover, 
the native honor of the young man would have forbid- 
den his holding a place in form which he did not hold 
in spirit In fact, a Sir Walter Raleigh was not more 
the soul of honor than was Edwin Chapin, and his 
good conscience would not have suffered him to stand 
before the XJniversalist public as one of its rank and 



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LIFE AT UTICA. 59 

file, as he surely did stand, nor to meditate entering its 
ministry, if the faith had not taken the form of a 
conviction and possessed lus heart. Another point in 
evidence of his conversion to the doctrine is found in 
the fact that Mr. Grosh,who knew best the secrets of 
his associate's mind, had no doubt of his acceptance 
of this faith. Indeed, such a doubt would have barred 
Ghapin from the seat he was daily occupying in the 
office, and to which he was welcomed with pride. 

How then shall we account for the fact that his pen, 
left to the largest liberty, wrote not a paragraph nor 
period in defence or advocacy of his new faith ? It may 
be said he saw an excess, instead of a lack, of this kind 
of writing in the paper he was engaged on ; and that he 
refrained from a needless, performance, and sought to 
supply a department for which he had a special gift 
beyond any contributor to its columns. In this view of 
the case there may be a degree of truth. And it may 
also be said, he felt his crudeness as a young convert, 
and modestly and wisely yielded to the senior editor the 
offices of debate and exegesis, for which he was emi- 
nently fitted. Mr. Grosh had advised him to cherish 
his new faith in his thoughts at least six months before 
presuming to preach it, and says : " I think he saw the 
propriety of my views' about his preaching, and applied 
it to his writing and publishing also. " 

But while these explanations may in part explain the 
silence in question, there can be little doubt that the 
main cause of it will be found in the very constitution 
of Chapin's inner life. His course at that time differed 
not from his method in all the subsequent years of his 
Ufa The same general silence about Universalism as 



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60 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

a doctrine ever charactaized him. When he finally 
parted from this paper, so full of argument and exe- 
gesis, and went to his ministry where the faith was 
little known, and his own mind had time to ripen out 
of crudeness, still was the same silence maintained; 
and to the end of his days he rarely touched on this 
special theme. Hence it is probable that his reticence 
from beginning to end had a common source, and that 
source, no doubt, was in himself ; as every great silence 
or great utterance has its condition in the souL In his 
supreme interest in life as a present reality, by reason 
of his living it so intensely and greatly, his interest in 
any theory of its future became a comparatively subor- 
dinate thing. The richness of its possession drew his 
thoughts from its prospects. To-day stood as a tower- 
ing mountain before which to-morrow was hidden, and 
only at wide intervals did his mind fly over to contem- 
plate the unseen vales and the yet higher mountains 
that might lie beyond. In present life he was absorbed, 
— his nature bred it so rapidly and in such volumes 
through his contacts with nature and man and books 
and religion ; and hence he wrote repeated editorials, in 
eloquent and urgent terms, on " The Spirit of Religion," 
but only incidentally treated of the hope it brings to 
man. Not rejecting the latter, he dwelt more con- 
stantly and ardently on the former. Early and late^ 
this was his genius and lus order of work. In short, 
he was a disciple and advocate of those practical prin- 
ciples of religion that are common to all the orders, 
that address all souk, and that stand free from the 
strifes that rage on the arena of controversial theology. 
Hence, in one of the editorials above referred to, he 



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UFE AT UTICA. 61 

wrote : '* The banner we plant on our ramparts shotild 
not be the banner of a sect, the banner of a party, but 
the banner of Christ, the banner of salvation ; and in 
our midst should be altars and prayers, and strivings 
for spiritual strength and the spirit of religion." In 
another of this series of articles he wrote : " Brethren, 
practical religion is the great essential of Christianity. 
We may toil, we may strive, we may work merely to 
build up a sect, — and yet, what boots it all ? It is 
far better to have brought one stray sheep back to the 
Shepherd's Fold, to have turned the footsteps of one 
Prodigal homeward to his Father, to have poured 
light and gladness on the path of one sin-darkened 
wanderer." 

Hence his remarkable reticence was not a policy 
based on the conditions of the hour so much as it was 
an outgrowth from his own nature. In the spirit of 
religion, and not in its theory, was his supreme interest 
Before expectation he ranked experience, and wrote 
and spoke, from first to last, in the interest of a present 
salvation. 

During these months of editorial work, Chapin ne- 
glected not to cultivate his oratorical gift. In the 
Berean Society — a company of young people who 
met once a week on winter evenings^ in the Universalist 
Church, to discuss religious and social topics, and to 
read a paper of original contributions by its members — 
the young editor stood without a peer as a writer and 
speaker. In both wit and wisdom he excelled, and his 
fervent voice was without a rival Across the sweep of 
forty years comes the remembrance of some of his 
speeches. One on Slavery is said to have avrakened all 



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62 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

the thunders of eloquence which were pent up in his 
being. One of his eflforts has passed into tradition 
as his " tearing speech." The honor of closing a de- 
bate had been accorded to him, and for some reason he 
came to his task wearing a friend's coat, which was too 
small for him. His friend saw the peril of the garment, 
and secretly hoped it would not be equal to the strain 
to which the orator in an excited moment would put it. 
His hope wa& fulfilled. In the midst of a stormy cli- 
max, a rent was made in the garment, and its owner 
whispered aloud to the Boanerges, " Chapin, you are 
ripping my coat*" **\yell, let her rip," quickly re- 
sponded the intended victim of the joke, and then 
added, with raised voice and expanded gesture, a free 
rendering of Sewall's famous couplet : — 

•• No pent-up Utica shaU contnwt my powers ; 
Bat tlie whole boundless continent is ours.' 

Another tear was the result of the frantic gesture, 
and a hearty applaxise rewarded the mishap. 

At length the six months wherein he was silently to ^ 
cherish his purpose to preach had passed away, and, 
encouraged by Mr. Grosh, who now understood him 
and confided in him, he made ready his first sermon. 
But his hilarious habits, his obtrusive levity, — more 
obvious to the people than his secret devotions, though 
not more real to him, — had awakened distrust of his 
fitness for the pulpit ; and one and another went to his 
teacher to file their remonstrance. They dreaded com- 
edy in the sacred desk. Tliey did not desire to have 
the people, in the high hour of the Sunday service, 
mortified with a piece of wit, instead of lifted up and 



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LIFE AT UTICA. 63 

blessed by a serious deportment and a reverent dis-* 
course. But Mr. Grosh knew better than they the 
deeper gravity of the young man, and urged him on to 
his sacred calling. He knew the supremacy of the so- 
berer side of Chapin's Iife» and. that when engaged in a 
divine service his exuberant wit would be as if it were 
not ; and hence he encouraged his clerical aim. 

On the 9th of March, 1838, the senior editor inforn^ 
his readers of the accession of a young man to the min- 
istry, and then added, " I think I may promise the an- 
nunciation of another next week. Will our readers 
keep their ears open to hear it ? " A week later the 
awakened curiosity was allayed by the printing of the 
following item in the " Magazine and Advocate : " — 

** Last Sunday Brother E. H. Chapin, our worthy associate, 
delivered his first sermon in Spencer's schoolhouse, Litch- 
field, to the congregation to which Brother McAdam statedly 
ministers. Those who heard it speak of it as very creditable 
to him, both in manner and matter ; and when we say to 
our readers that he is as good in the former as in the latter, 
they will ki)ow what that encomium means. We anticipate 
a course of usefulness and honor for our friend, and pray 
that the divine blessing may ever rest on him and his 
labors." 

Thus the devout youth and the bom prince of oratory 
mounted his real throne — the pulpit. As the star 
finds its orbit, and moves gloriously in it, so had he 
found his true sphere, arid easily rose to great useful- 
ness and fame. In the following May he left Utica 
for Richmond, Virginia, and entered upon his first 
pastorate. 



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VL 

SETTLEMENT IN EICHMOND. 

In May of 1838 Edwin H. Chapin went to Rich- 
mond, Virginia, to begin his work as a minister of the 
Gospel. In two months from the preaching of his first 
8erm6n he assumed the responsibility of a pulpit and a 
parish. With no college or theological school behind 
him, from which he had brought the helpful resources 
of discipline and well directed reading, he entered upon 
his task in utter self-dependence, — or leaning only on 
himself and Yna God, in whom his native trust had but 
ripened with the passing years. 

He was now twenty-three years old, not bulky in 
person as in after-life, but plump, and then, as ever, 
averse to physical exercise, save as the aroused spirit 
compelled the flesh. His life was from above down- 
ward, not from below upward, and his body waited on 
his souL With his arms and legs he was awkward, 
and his fingers were all thumbs. But his eye was deep 
and glowing, his face mobile and earnest, his voice to a 
rare degree powerful and rich ; and in character he was 
modest to bashfulness, jovial to the point of being bois- 
terous and putting the proprieties in peril, religious as a 
Fenelon, full of tenderness and magnanimity as a Wil- 
liam Penn, and with the soul of honor like a Channing. 



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SETTLEMENT IN BICHMOND. 65 

He was a rare specimen of consecrated and magnetic 
young manhood, carrying in his gifts better resources 
than the schools can confer ; and thus armed * in him- 
self, though unequipped from the armories from which 
the yoimg minister usually starts out on his warfare, he 
at once rose to conspicuous popularity. 

He had, however, one acquired source of success, to 
which many ministers, young and old, are quite indiffer- 
ent, — he brought to his task the helps and honors of 
literature. Of the great books he had been a good 
reader from his earliest years, and their aidful power 
was upon him. No mean educators for the pulpit 
are the poets, since in them is the genius that kin- 
dles the gifts that open into a happy rhetoric and a 
moving eloquence, while they inculcate a religion that 
is broad and divine, a sjmthesis of the more universal 
ideas and sentiments of the kingdom of God. 

Beyond any two professors of theology in the English 
realm, have Coleridge and Wordsworth been the teachers 
and inspirers of those English clergymen who, in our 
time, have attained to the finest spiritual insights, 
opened out to the Church the best views of religion, and 
touched the popular heart with the truest fire of elo- 
quence. It is the high office and the mission of litera- 
ture to give freedom to the mind, elevation to the 
tastes, range and vividness to the imagination, facility 
to the tongue and pen ; while the books on theology too 
often cramp and damage the talents that should appear 
in the sermon, and turn the pulpit from a " lively ora- 
cle" to a dispenser of sleep and death. In the literary 
department of culture, thus helpful to the minister, 
young Chapin was strong ; and his magnetic manhood, 

5 



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66 LIFE OF EDWIN H. GHAPIN. 

thus panoplied, bore him on to an easy and remarkable 
victory in the proclamation of a plain morality and a 
broad and simple piety. At once the best minds in 
Bichmond felt his sway, and his chastened and charged 
wand drew the intelligent crowd around him. 

Not without surprise and wonder can any one trace 
hia career through the brief two and a half years of his 
Richmond ministry. The honor of being the first ora- 
tor in the South, a realm full of orators, was accorded 
to him by such men as Thomas Ritchie of the " Richmond 
Enquirer." In two months after his advent in the city, 
he preached in his -own church a Fourth-of-July dis- 
course, which was published and favorably noticed in 
the *' Richmond Compiler." Aware of the prejudice that 
would then exist against a stranger from the North, he 
conciliated that prejudice, with the skill of a veteran 
orator, as follows: — 

"Fellow-citizens, I have stood by the grave of the first 
martyr of liberty at Lexington, and my feet have pressed the 
green sod of Bunker's Hill. Several years of my life have 
been passed near the field of Bennington, where the brave 
mountaineers defeated the Briton, and gave the first impulse 
to those successes which resulted in victory. And now I am 
far from my birthplace, in your clime of the Sunny South. 
Yet I am not an alien here. I can look proudly around me 
and exclaim, 

* This 18 my own, my native land.' 

I am yet surrounded with monuments of my country's fame. 
I stand in a place hallowed by great names of my nation. I 
am in the vicinity of Yorktown, crowned with the glory of 
triumph. I am in the home and birthplace of Lee and 
Henry and Jefferson and Afadison and Marshall I I am on 



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SETTLEMENT IN RICHMOND. 67 

« 

the soil that embosoma the ashes of Washington. Ton are 
proud of these ; so am I, — what American is not f '' 

Wliat a vantage ground he thus won to himself, from 
which to discuss the unity of the nation, and the condi- 
tions of its greatness and peace ! They who heard his 
oration were entranced, and they who read it were edi- 
fied ; and when Independence Day again came round, 
many of the foremost citizens honored the young orator 
with an invitation to address the public on such a 
national theme as he might choose. He accepted the 
invitation, and in the First Baptist Church — so writes 
the Hon. Henry K. EUyson, now of the " Richmond De- 
spatch" — "he delivered to an immense assemblage of 
our people one of the most eloquent Fourth-of-July 
orations ever heard by them." Mr. Thomas Bitchie 
pronounced it " the finest oration to which he had pver 
listened.'' When it finally came into print, in answer 
to a wide demand, the editor of the " Southern Literary 
Messenger," an ably conducted magazine, " devoted to 
every part of literature and the fine arts," thus noticed 
it in his columns : " We were so fortunate as to hear 
Mr. Chapin deliver his address to a numerous and de- 
Ughted auditory, and, charmed as we were on the occa- 
sion, we were somewhat disposed to ascribe a part of 
the thrilling eflfect to the fine elocution of the orator. 
Having given it, however, an attentive reading since its 
appearance in type, justice requires the acknowledg- 
ment that the high praise bestowed upon the perform- 
ance is due to its intrinsic merits. Mr. Chapin's 
style is unique and graphic He represents to the 
mind's eye a succession of vivid pictures, which are 
worm with life and redolent of beauty. He narrates 



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68 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

events with remarkable power, — grouping all their 
striking incidents with such force and effect as to en- 
chain the listener's attention irresistibly." Thus had 
he fired the hearts of these eloquence-loving Southrons 
by his youthful oratory, and they were loud in their 
praise of his gift 

With an oratory thus kindled by the love of great 
and useful principles, and commended by a fine lite- 
rary taste, Chapin was soon brought to the Lyceum 
platform. The Lyceum was then in its infancy, the first 
organization of the kind having been founded in 1826 
by Josiah Holbrook, of Connecticut, who finally became 
a Lyceum fanatic and projected in Ohio a debating 
village which he named Berea. But the spirit of the 
colonized debaters for their chosen calling soon expired, 
and, instead of a town of wranglers, Berea became a 
hamlet of peaceful citizens. " A convention was held 
in Boston, November 7, 1828, to promote the interests 
of the lyceums, and to further their wide-spread organ- 
ization. Among those who took part in tliis meeting 
were Webster, Everett, Dr. Lowell, and George B. Em- 
erson." In 1838 a lyceum was instituted in Bichmond, 
and on the 3d of April, 1839, Chapin gave its anni- 
versary address in the State Capitol. But before this 
he had been called to the lecture platform in this city 
in a way that touched his heart and made a fixed im- 
pression on his memory. This call came from the Eev. 
£. L. Magoon, now of national fame as a Baptist min- 
ister and an author. Magoon, Chapin, and others, 
looking to the public good and seeking also a vent for 
their pent-up fires, " started a course of popular lec- 
tures, each speaker to provide his own arena and illu- 



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SETTLEMEKT IN RICHMOND. 69 

minate all comers gratis." Each orator was. to furnish 
eloquence and pay the bills. Chapin gave tna lecture 
in his own church, to an audience that crowded its 
limited space, and his effort was a triumpji in every 
particular. Its theme was lofty, its treatment thought- 
ful and touched with a happy literary embellishment, 
and its delivery earnest and overpowering. " One of 
the hearers," writes Mr. Magoon, " then a young and 
obscure mechanic, now the distinguished co-proprietor 
of the * Richmond Despatch * (Henry K. Ellyson), said 
to me, ' That lecture by Chapin was really great, and 
should be repeated before a larger assemblage.' ' Very 
well,' said I, ' let him come to the Second Baptist Church 
next Monday evening, and we will all endeavor to se- 
cure him a worthy audience.' " By this novel and lib- 
eral proffer the public heart was touched and won, and 
the people flocked to hear the young orator. But the 
heart most affected was his own, and never was he 
more eloquent than in this hour of generous recognition. 
" It was the oratory of a noble child of God," says Ma- 
goon ; and the occasion was ever looked back to by 
Chapin as the first round in the ladder of his ascent as 
a lecturer. He was wont to refer to Mr. Magoon as 
"the father of his fame." We may well confess the 
generosity of this Baptist hand that thus swung open 
the gate leading to the lecture platform ; but, had it 
been withheld, the orator's gifts would at an early day 
have burst every barrier and carried him in triumph 
before the lyceums from Richmond to Montreal, from 
Boston to St. Louis. 

Before the lyceum assembled in the State Capitol 
he said: "I lay down as the motto of my discourse 



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70 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

the broad maxim that intelligence is essentially requi- 
site to the prosperity of a nation." He defined pros- 
perity to be " all that relates to progress, happiness, and 
safety ; " and the intelligence that would master these 
high ends he set forth as " the clear perception of truth 
and duty, and the universal diffusion of that percep- 
tion." From an able treatment of these propositions, 
he passed to a discussion of the methods by which in- 
telligence may be disseminated. 

To a key thus lofty was his voice pitched in this first 
lyceum lecture, and it was never afterward lowered by 
a tone. To him the platform and the pulpit stood for 
a common mission. They who heard him twenty years 
from this date will have no trouble in detecting his 
identity in the following passage from his lecture in 
the Virginia Capitol : " A man is not now, like the 
athlete of old, distinguished by his physical superiority, — 
by his speed in the race, his power in the pugilistic com- 
bat, his precision in guiding the cheviot steeds, or his 
skill in hurling the swift javelin, — but he has a part to 
perform in the intellectual arena, if he would come out 
from oblivion and become an acting portion of the age ; 
and well should he be girded and prepared for the task. 
That mighty weapon, reason, should be ever ready and 
bright in his hands, and he should exercise and inure 
himself to the conflict of mind with mind." 

Before the Madison Debating Society of Eichmond, 
in 1840, he gave a lecture on " True Greatness," which 
was published in pamphlet by the society. Apart from 
usefulness he claimed there could be no true great- 
ness, and ended his plea for virtue and love, as the 
needed inspirers of talent, with the following appeal : 



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SETTLEMENT IN BICHMOND. 71 

" Strive, then, after true greatness, my friends. Strive 
for the welfare of humanity. Labor in your vocations, 
whatever they may be, but do not shut up your sympa- 
thies within the narrow limit of self; let them flow 
out, broadly and warmly, for the race. Act for your 
country, for duty, for Grod; and may you enjoy the 
blessed experience of the truth that usefulness is the 
test of true greatness." 

But Chapin's great work at Richmond was in his 
pulpit and his parish. From May to September he 
preached without ordination. In the latter month he 
went North to take on himself two of the great vows 
that man is permitted to assume, — the marriage vow 
and the ordination vow, — in the one of which he pledges 
love and devotion to a woman, and in the other fealty 
to God and religion. At a conference of the New York 
Central Association held in Knoxville, Madison County, 
on the 26th and 27th of September, 1838, he received 
a letter of fellowship and ordination. The sessions 
were on Wednesday and Thursday, and at one of the 
earlier meetings Chapin had preached with great effect, 
and was appointed by general request to give the 
"Addresses" at the close of the Conference. The 
ordination took place on Thursday afternoon. Rev. D. 
Biddlecom read the Scripture and offered an invocation. 
Rev. A. B. Grosh, the special friend and teacher of the 
candidate, preached a sermon from the words of Paul 
to Timothy : " Preach the word ; be instant in season, 
out of season ; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long- 
suffering and doctrine." Rev. Job Potter prayed the 
prayer of Ordination. Mr. Grosh delivered the Scrip- 
tures and Charge. Rev. M. B. Smith gave the Right 



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72 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Hand of Fellowship in behalf of the churches. Then 
followed the Addresses by Eev. E. H. Chapin. 

"These addresses," writes Mr. Grosh, "were custo- 
mary at all the Associations of that day, and concluded 
the meetings. They were made — 1st, to the preachers; 
2d, to the delegates ; 3d, to the congregation ; 4th, to 
the church or society ; 5th, to the choir. They gener- 
ally embraced contrasts of present with past conditions 
of the cause, — sometimes reminiscences of persons and 
events of note, — exhortations to duty, diligence, &c., to 
go home and apply the lessons taught and the plans 
laid out by the meeting. They were intended to inspire 
brotherly love, zeal, enthusiasm, and afforded an oppor- 
tunity for an eloquent speaker to make the close of the 
feast its choicest portion." It was in the deliverance 
of these addresses that Chapin's voice was first heard 
as an ordained minister ; and to this day are well re- 
membered the inspiration and power of his utterance. 
To strong and glowing thoughts he added a spirit of 
tender devoutness, which gave a signal prophecy of his 
future usefulness. 

In a few days after his ordination he was married at 
Utica. The record of the event is here quoted from the 
"Magazine and Advocate." "In this city, on the 15th 
inst., by Rev. A. B. Grosh, Rev. E. H. Chapin, corres- 
ponding editor of this paper, and pastor of the First 
Congregational Church of Christ, in Richmond, Va., 
to Miss Hannah Newland, of this city." To this wor- 
thy young woman, as sound in judgment as devoted in 
her affection, he had been introduced by Mr. Hutchin- 
son, who first gave him a welcome, in his little book- 
store, to Universalist books ; and to the end of his life 



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SETTLEMENT IN RICHMOND. 73 

both the woman and the Universalism were his constant 
and beloved companions. 

Eeturning to Richmond from his eventful journey to 
the North, he bent his energies almost exclusively to 
pulpit and parish work. He was at once missed by the 
readers of the "Magazine and Advocate/' who had 
come to look with desire each week for the light that 
shone from this brilliant star ; and Mr. Grosh, in mak- 
ing his December promises to his patrons in view of a 
new volume, expressed the "hope that Br. Chapin's 
contributions will be more frequently visible than they 
have been during the honeymoon." But his hope was 
in vain. The young man had found another bride that 
shared also the rapt devotions of his heart. The rival 
queen was Eloquence ; and from the path along which 
she led him he could not turn aside then, nor ever 
after. From that time to the end of his days his pen 
was mainly the servant of his voice. In the preacher 
was absorbed the writer. He moulded his style for 
delivery, and suited his periods to the public ear. Aside 
from a few poems and hymns and brief editorials that 
the years drew from him, he wrote henceforth only 
sermons and lectures. But no one can doubt that in 
thus narrowing the tides that poured from his inner 
life, he gave to them greater depth and power. Sacri- 
ficing poetry and essay and narrative to the sermon, he 
became the more effective in the pulpit ; and the crowd 
was soon drawn to his church as by an irresistible 
magnet. 

In the two and a half years at Richmond he wrote 
and preached a course of lectures and some practical ser- 
mons, which, with slight revisions, were finally published 



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74 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

in two volumes, and have found readers and admirers in 
all denominations. They were his " Lectures to Young 
Men," and " Discourses on Various Subjects. " In these 
volumes we have ample evidence that his was a re- 
markable ministry for a young man on whom the schools 
had conferred little aid. Only a rare greatness could 
have risen to such triumphs. It will not be easy to 
find, in all the history of pulpit orators, a parallel 
to this victory of the years between twenty-three and 
twenty-seven. 

The popular tract from his pen — "What Univer- 
salism is not" — is one of his Bichmond sermons, and 
shows his full acceptance of the doctrine of the salva- 
tion of all souls. The sermon had this more positive 
title : " Universalism ; what it is not, and what it is. " 
Having informed liis hearers that *' Universalism is not 
Atheism," "is not Skepticism," "is not Deism," "is 
not a doctrine which instnicts its followers to make 
light of sin," "is not a doctrine which teaches that the 
sinner may pass unchanged to heaven and happiness, " 
and " is not a doctrine which teaches that man shall 
be saved from punishment," he turned to inform them 
what this doctrine is. "It is a doctrine," he said, 
" which teaches that all mankind will finally be saved 
from sin and its consequent misery. This is an impor- 
tant sentence in our discourse, for it is a position of 
which our opponents seem not generally aware. Be it 
remembered that we do not enter the arena of discus- 
sion to argue against punishment, — against future 
punishment, — but against the endless duration of sin 
and misery. We do not believe that evil is ultimate 
in the government of God. We believe there will be 



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SETTLEMENT IN RICHMOND. 75 

a period when the last enemy shall be destroyed, — 
when man shall bow in moral subjection to his Maker, 
and worship Him in the 'beauty of holiness.'" 

Not without a great debate and struggle with his 
heart, we may well believe, did Chapin withdraw his 
facile pen from inditing poems and writing editorials, 
for which it had a strong bias. For the haunt of the 
muse and for the newspaper office he shared a great 
love, and could only forsake them reluctantly, as one 
whose judgment compels his inclination. For the 
"Literary Messenger" he furnished a poem now and 
then, as if to ease his lyric passion, and in a quiet way 
stole into the publishing sanctum to do a little editing. 
For this interest and aid Mr. White, the publisher, felt 
truly grateful, and to the stipulated compensation, if 
there were such, he added the gift of a gold watch and 
chain. 

Meanwhile Chapin had issued the prospectus of a 
religious journal to be called the " Independent Chris- 
tian." The ideal of a platform broader than a sect 
haunted him. His chief interest was in those more 
spiritual and vital ideas of religion common to all the 
orders, and he conceived and put forth the plan of a 
paper that should especially recognize and urge these 
views. In the era of general narrowness he was a 
broad-church man, and sighed to reach a hand across 
every partition wall and, in a hearty fellowship, grasp 
the hand of every one who held with him the great 
essentials of Christianity. But he was as one bom out 
of due tiine. He was too early for a movement of this 
sort "The patronage promised," writes Rev. J. C. 
Burrus, of the "Notasulga Herald," "did not justify 



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76 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIM. 

the undertaking/' and the beautiful vision of a religious 
journal of that scope faded from his broad and ardent 
soul. But he still kept his faith in the idea and the 
spirit he would thus advocate ; and, often urging the 
theme in after years, but never seeing his bright dream 
take the form of reality, he finally, amid the even- 
ing shadows of his life-day, turned to the " festival of 
redeemed souls, where there shall be no sect names, no 
party names ; where, through God's grace and Christ's 
victory, we shall know one another, not by sectarian 
symbols, but the white robe and the palm ; where there 
are no congregations but only one congregation ; where 
there are no pastors or people, but one great flock, and 
one fold and one Shepherd." 

In these early years, as ever after, he kept up his 
interest in great and good books ; but he read literature 
as a preacher of the gospel, that he might draw from its 
rich resources wisdom and ornament for his sermons, 
and the influences that should kindle the gifts of in- 
sight and eloquence in his own nature. He knew i he 
value of genius to awaken genius. He knew the stim- 
ulating air of Parnassus, and the inspiration to be 
found in the groves where the wise ones have medi- 
tated. He had thus early caught the book fever. On 
the 2nd of May, 1840, he wrote to Richard Frothing- 
ham, Jr., of Massachusetts, the well known historian 
of the " Siege of Boston : " "I have succeeded in pro- 
curing a copy of Bolingbroke's philosophical works. I 
procured four volumes at auction, and, strange to tell, 
happened to have the odd volume that just supplied 
the break in the set. I see occasionally, in the Boston 
papers, a sale of old books advertised that makes my 



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SETTLEMENT IN BICHMOND. 77 

mouth water." A few months later than this he sent 
this chatty paragraph in a letter to the same friend : — 

" So much for more serious matters of business. Xow for 
a little literary chat Have you bought any new books 
lately ? I have purchased Bronson's ' Charles £11 wood * and 
Guizot's 'Washington/ and I have also sent for Guizot's 
'English Eevulution' — though whether I shall retain this 
latter, or sell it to a friend in Richmond or to the library of 
the Richmond Lyceum, I do not know. It is my intention 
to make a special study of the history of England from the 
Reformation to the departure of the Pilgrims, or rather to the 
Revolution of 1688 ; and there to take up the annals of our 
own country. A period fraught with great principles and 
brilliant events bearing on human progress, — is it not 1 I 
also intend to study particularly the character of CromwelL 
1 think the results would furnish valuable matter for & couple 
of lyceum lectures. It is my intention this winter to deliver 
a course of six lectures, probably Sabbath evenings, to busi- 
ness men. What do you think of the project? I liave 
been reading with some interest 'Sartor Resartus/ I am 
pleased with it There is a good paper in the last ' Christian 
Examiner' on 'The Pulpit,' containing hints which in my 
sphere, such as it is, I will endeavor to practise upon. Have 
you read it) In the July number of the same periodical 
Mr. Ellis has a fine article on ' Christian Antiquities in Rome.' 
Tou have read the ' Dial ' I presume. What think you of it 1 
And how comes on the ' History of Charlestown ? ' And do 
you still cling to the idea that there can be no such thing as 
a ' tyranny of the majority 1 * I hope you do ; it will be a 
fine bone to be picked between us." 

However much Richmond honored and loved her 
young minister, his fame could not be limited to her 
borders. There is good evidence that the eye of Abel 



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78 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPm. 

Tompkins of Boston, ever on the watch for a facile pen 
to contribute matter for him to print in magazine or 
book, and on the lookout for any superior preacher that 
might arise in the order, was first turned from New 
England to this glowing star in the southern sky. 
Visiting Washington in the early part of 1839, he made 
a flying trip to Richmond to see Chapin. Like fore- 
ordained friends the two men met The mutual re- 
spect fostered at a distance flamed into a swift and 
abiding affection ; and, writing to a friend, Chapin said, 
" I have seen Tompkins and found him a man after my 
heart." From this date it became one of the evident 
events of the near future that Chapin would be called 
to Boston or vicinity. The strife between the two 
regions soon began, and Eichmond had finally to yield 
in the unequal contest But to this day she remem- 
bers and honors her eloquent young preacher. Gladly 
would she have kept him, but she held not back her 
parting blessing as he passed from her borders to toil 
in a wider field. 



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VII. 
MINISTET IS CHARLESTOWN. 

In September of 1839 the General Convention of 
Universalists met in Portland, Maine. From his South- 
em home to this Northern city Mr. Chapin journeyed 
by stage and boat, to attend the meetings of this body, 
and to bring himself into a more direct fellowship with 
the ministers and the people whom he had only greeted 
from his distant isolation, with his pen. Dusty and 
weary he arrived in Boston on the J 3 th, not a stran- 
ger in the city, since here he had spent some of his 
youthful years, but a stranger to the friends he was to 
meet. It was a day of grief in our borders, for in 
Charlestown was reposing in the silence and majesty 
of death, and waiting the solemn hour of burial, the 
body of the Eev. Thomas F. King, the beloved pastor 
of the Universalist Church in that city, the father of the 
brilliant Starr Xing, and the friend of truth and hu- 
manity. The hour came, and with it " a spontaneous 
closing of the places of business, an impressive service 
in the church, a great funeral procession, and a gather- 
ing of thousands on the ancient burial-mound of Charles- 
town." On the fresh grave of a pastor, no warmer or 
more grateful tears were ever shed. 

" On the evening of the day of this scene," says Eich- 
ard Frothingham, Jr., in his " Tribute to Thomas Starr 



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80 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

King/' "a young man, a stranger in the place, occu- 
pied the vacant pulpit, and discoursed of Faith ; and, 
as the church was draped in mourning for the recent 
bereavement, the lesson was enforced with uncommon 
efifect. The preacher followed his manuscript until 
near the close of his sermon, when, summoning the 
event of the hour for illustration, he left his notes and 
abandoned himself to his theme; then his deep rich 
voice was full of emotion and had a pathos and power 
which thrilled the large and breathless assembly. It 
was eloquence, for it was inspiration of souL" This 
eloquent young man was Edwin H. Chapin. So eager 
were Abel Tompkins and others to listen to the charm 
and power of his voice and to feel the magnetic sway of 
his soul, thjB fame of which had arrived in advance, that 
even in the midst of their sorrow, when silence and 
meditation would have been the more natural, they 
were moved to call an extra meeting and solicit a ser- 
mon from the Eichmond pastor. 

He gave his consent to preach. The evening brought 
a full church. But the demand of the hour was special, 
since the great shadow was still resting on the people, 
and every heart was in such a tender mood that no vio- 
lence should be done to it. Only in the spirit of. the 
day could an evening service be fitly made ; but if thus 
made, having the emphasis of the previous service in 
its favor, it could not fail of a marked efifect By both 
instinct and judgment the preacher struck the true key- 
note for the hour, and made a music that comforted 
and cheered the souls who listened to it If the strain 
rose to majesty, it also fell to the tendcrest pathos. By 
his strong and vivid treatment of Faith, and especially 



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MlinSTBY IN CHABLESTOWN. 81 

by turning the farHshiuing beams of this divine light on 
the glorified form of their late pastor and friend, he 
filled his hearers with a comfort and peace which were 
only equalled by their gratitude and admiration. 

It was thus in a chance hour that he won a vacant 
pulpit, in which, with the elder King as his predecessor 
and the younger King as his successor, it was an honor 
to stand. 

But the place he had won he did not occupy until 
the December of the following year, fifteen months 
from the date of his first sermon. The overture of the 
parish, made with little delay and great emphasis, was 
readily accepted by his heart, but did not draw his 
conscience into a prompt consent. He would deal hon- 
orably by Eichmond. He was less the servant of in- 
clination than of duty. On the 4th of November, 
James K. Frothingham, " chairman of the Committee of 
the Universalist Society in Charlestown;' addressed 
him in these terms : — 

"Many of our members, who heard your discourse on the 
evening after the funeral of our late Rev. Bro. King, have ex- 
pressed a desire of hearing you again and of becoming better 
acquainted with you ; and the committee have instructed me 
to communicate this to you with a view of learning whether 
your situation and engagements will admit of your visiting 
us and preaching to us several Sundays, — and, if so, how early 
and for what length of time, — hoping that a better acquain- 
tance with each other may be the means of estabUshing a 
more intimate relation between us." 

Seven days later Chapin replied from Eichmond: 
"I will visit you as proposed, if practicable, in the 
month of January. It is, however, doubtful whether I 

6 



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82 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

shall be able to do so. As I am situated at some dis- 
tance from any ministering brother, there will be some 
difficulty in making an arrangement by which I can 
supply my pulpit during my absence, and unless I can, 
I shall be unable to leave." 

On the first of January he found himself in the midst 
of a course of Lectures to Young Men, which had 
awakened great interest and drawn a crowd of young 
people to hear them. He now felt the pressure on him 
of a duty on behalf of the public. A flowing tide he 
would not permit to ebb. Hence he wrote to the 
friends in Charlestown to " Set me down for the first 
three Sundays in February, and expect me this time to 
fulfil my appointment, unless I am disappointed in my 
reasonable expectation of obtaining a supply. I hope 
your patience will not be wearied by this postponement 
In your goodly land of ministers, you can hardly realize 
the difficulties which attend the catching of a stray one 
in this isolated region." 

On the first of February he arrived in Charlestown, 
having arranged for three Simdays' absence from his 
home. The fame of his Lectures to Young Men 
had created a desire on the part of the Charlestown 
friends to hear them ; and it was finally decided that 
he should give three of them on the Sunday evenings 
and the remaining three on the Thursday evenings of 
his stay in the city. In thought these lectures were 
brilliant as cut diamonds, in sentiment they were noble 
and elevating, in rhetoric they were remarkable, and in 
the fervor and force with which they were delivered thfey 
were truly majestic. No such eloquence had ever been 
heard in that ancient pulpit. But the people were not 



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imnsTBT m chablestown. 83 

more thrilled hj them, than were they astonished that 
they could be the production of one so young. But, 
meanwhile, his more ordinary sermons had struck the 
deeper and more spiritual chords of the soul ; and like 
his distant ancestor, Deacon Samuel Chapin, the emi- 
nent Puritan, he had proved himself to be " exceeding 
moving in prayer." Under the devout magic of his 
voice the passages he read from the Word of God re- 
vealed their deepest secrets, and to the oft heard hymns 
he gave a strange newness. By a most skilful manage- 
ment of emphasis and by fitness of feeling he made the 
successive pictures of thought to stand out in strong 
relief ; and many a one said, '' Never did I hear such 
reading before ! " 

In the young man the leaders of the parish, men of 
culture and discrimination, saw a rare nobility of soul, 
an unusual insight and power of mind, and the signs of 
a coming greatness as a pulpit orator which would 
place him among the few who, like Chrysostom the 
golden-mouthed, and Bossuet and Chalmers and Chan- 
ning, had made eloquence the eminent servant of the 
Church and of the highest human interests. And all 
the more to his credit was it, in their estimation, that 
he bore his gifts so modestly, and was an ardent seeker 
after new sources of power, through a larger help from 
God, a deeper and wider fellowship with Christ, a 
closer sympathy with humanity, and a better acquain- 
tance with literature. 

On the evening of the 23d of February the parish met 
in full force and in a spirit of unusual enthusiasm, and 

"Eescived: That in the belief that Rev. E. H.Chapin will 
prove fidthfol to the cause of his Master, that he will shun 



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84 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

not to dedaie the whole counsel of God, and that he is gifted 
with ability to declare the Glad Tidings of the Gospel in 
demonstration of the spirit and of power, we hereby extend 
to him a frank, cordial, and unanimous invitation to assume 
the pastoral charge of this Society." 

To the hearty and flattering overture thus made 
to him, he was in a mood to give a prompt and 
eager acceptance; but his sense of duty to the cause 
in Bichmond checked his response. Toward the flock 
he had gathered and loved, he felt the responsibility of 
a shepherd. If they had learned to love his voice, 
calling them to the green pastures of the kingdom, so 
had he an affection for them and a pride in their enthu- 
siasm, as well as a feeling of obligation. Hence bis re- 
ply, while it clearly revealed his desire, frankly stated 
the possible obstruction that might stand in the way of 
its realization, namely, the failure to secure a successor 
in his pulpit The correspondence now took the form 
of urging and impatience on the one side, and of an 
unwilling but conscientious hesitation on the other. 
On the 2d of May he answered a personal appeal from 
Richard Frothingham, Jr. in these words : " I think the 
horizon of promise is now quite clear, and that the 
prospect that I shall settle with you is fast brightening. 
There is only one ify and that is, if we can get a minis- 
ter here." In September the situation had not changed, 
save from a less to a greater impatience on both 
sides. On the 8th of the month he again wr6te to 
Mr. Frothingham, showing a little restiveness under 
the rumors that had gone abroad that he had agreed 
to settle in Charlestown and was disregarding his 
agreement : — 



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MINISTBY IN CHARLESTOWN. 85 

" I believe I have always, in my communications to your 
society, stated that my settlement in Charlestown was corUin- 
genty depending on my procuring a preacher for the society 
in Richmond. Is it not so 1 I should be sorry to have any 
misunderstanding arise, or to be guilty of anything that 
might look like a breach of promise on my part. I have 
used efforts to obtain a preacher for my society, and as yet 
have failed, although I am not without hopes. Should I 
make every reasonable endeavor and fail, I had supposed it 
was understood that I remain in Virginia. I merely make 
this statement as showing my impressions upon the subject, 
and not as implying that I have given up the idea of going 
to Charlestown — no, not by any means." 

During the fall a decision was reached, and the 
first Sunday in December was set apart for the be- 
ginning of his ministry in Charlestown. But there 
came another halt in the progress of events. This time 
nature interposed and held the young minister amid the 
snowdrifts of New Jersey. On Monday, the 7th of 
December, he wrote from New York as follows .: '* An- 
other disappointment! but I think a justifiable one. 
Here I am. The snow blocked the cars in New Jer- 
sey, and made them six hours later than usual ; but 
had I arrived here I. should have been worse oflf 
than I am now, for the boat that left here Saturday 
afternoon only got twenty miles on her route .and then 
put in." 

But the blockaded, pastor-elect, having sermons but 
no pulpit, either made himself known to, or was discov- 
ered by, a Universalist, who was one of a little group 
of believers who had formed the nucleus of a society. 
The result was a morning and evening service on Sun- 



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86 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

day by Mr. Chapin, in which he edified and astonished 
his hearers. Their hearts were warmed and thrilled, 
and on their memory was made an indelible impres- 
sion. And it was to the future parish, of which these 
few hearers were the nucleus, that Mr. Chapin was 
destined to minister for thirty-two years. At the 
twenty-fifth anniversary of that ministry, amid a vast 
throng of people tumultuous with their greetings, A A. 
Peterson, Esq., referred to the "cool reception given him 
by the violent northeast snow-storm," on the occasion 
of his missing the Boston boat and failing to appear in 
his Charlestown pulpit. 

But even now the path to the office he had accepted 
did not appear to him quite clear of obstacles, and he 
was not sure that, although he had arrived in Charles- 
town, he should reach the pulpit and the pastorate 
that stood so near to him. It was another case of con- 
science. In that day of the textual defence of Univer- 
salism, he felt that to doubt the explicitness of the 
Scripture proofs of the doctrine would, especially in 
New England, be regarded as a defect or short-coming 
so grave as to debar him from the ministry there ; and 
such a doubt had a few months before come over him. 
He saw at a glance that he could not adopt the method of 
a Ballou or a Streeter in his defence of Universalism ; 
and he felt that so great might be the popularity 
of that method among the Charlestown people that 
he would not be welcome unless he came with the 
cherished armor buckled on and burnished for the 
battla In the following letter he frankly confessed 
his doubt, and placed himself at the disposal of the 
parish: — 



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MINISTRY IN CHARLESTOWN. 87 

Richmond, Ya., NoTember 27, 1840. 

Brbthrbn, — The time is near at hand when it is contem- 
plated that I shall assume the pastoral charge of your Society. 
To you, I doubt not, the prospect of a regular ministration of 
the Word is looked forward to with much joy. To me, the 
hope of a connection with you in all those dear bonds that 
unite a pastor and his people gives deep satisfaction. You 
have been, my brethren, long deprived of a settled minister, 
and when I consider the time which you have waited for me, 
the good preparation you have made for my coming, the 
kindness with which you treated me on my visit to you, I 
should be ungrateful and unjust indeed did I not find my 
heart full of warm and sincere thanks. I have, my brethren, 
an important matter now to communicate to you, which has 
been purposely delayed until this time for reasons given be- 
low, and which I wish you to receive and ponder in the 
same spirit of love and candor as that in which it is given. 

It is but right that a people who are about to settde a pas- 
tor should know precisely the position which he occupies 
among the many sects of the Christian world — should know 
precisely his theological views. I am not one to keep mine 
back, or to be afraid to speak them, whatever unpopularity, 
hatred, or scorn may follow the announcement. About the 
fore part of last August I found my views in relation to the 
great question of human salvation assuming the following 
form. While I do most truly consider the doctrine of Uni- 
versal Restoration as the most consistent with the best results 
of reason, with all our conceptions of the Divine Character, and 
with the spirit of Scripturov I do not see it so clearly revealed 
in the Bible as that I should feel justified in pronouncing it 
a plain unequivocal doctrine of the Gospel. Understand me. 
I believe that it can be deduced from Scripture by collateral 
arguments and by irresistible inferences ; but the texts that 
are relied upon as unequivocally teaching it are to me not so 



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88 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

satisfactoiy as I wish they were. As to the doctrine of end« 
less misery I most surely reject it, as I never was more iirm 
in my convictions of its inconsistency with the benevolent 
spirit of Christ and the attributes of God, and I believe that 
the most rational and consistent doctrine is that of the UtU- 
versal Salvation of the human family from sin and death. 
My reason assents to it, my analogical experience supports 
it, my philosophy feels its truth, my deductions from the 
Bible are on its side. If all men are raised from the dead, 
as the Gospel says they shall be, it appears to me conclusive 
that all shall be saved. If I could find in the Bible the 
doctrine that some would never rise from the dead, I should 
view it as the only faith that could stand by the side of the 
doctrine of the Restitution. But I cannot find this doctrine 
there ; and I am led to the conclusion expressed above, that 
the most probable, the most consistent faith, is the faith of 
Universal Restoration. 

There are texts in the Epistles of Paul that lean strongly 
to the Universalist interpretation, yet they can have other 
meanings, or at least other meanings can be so plainly de- 
fended as to leave my mind in doubt as to what is their true 
interpretation. There is another class of texts, which are 
adduced as supporting the Universalist interpretation, that I 
deem local and limited in their application. But I do not 
purpose here to discuss the reasons for my present doubt; 
more examination, very possibly, may cause me to see with 
that clear light which my brethren possess. This is the im- 
portant point, brethren, which I wished to communicate to 
you. As to my other views, they are in accordance with 
yours. I reject the doctrine of the trinity, of a vicarious 
sacrifice to appease the wrath of God, of total depravity, 
original sin, etc. etc. 

With these, as I have said, I reject the doctrine of endless 
misery, annihilation, etc. With my other views, my reason 



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imnSTBY IN CHABLESTOWN. 89 

and my hope, bound together with golden cords of scriptural 
teaching, hold the sublime and beautiful doctrine of Uni- 
versal Salvation. 

Now brethren, you have a right to demand of me why 
this was not made known before. 

This is my answer. As I have said, it was not until the 
fore part of last August, about the time of my last visit to 
the North, that I found my views settling in this form. I 
had no intention of imposing myself upon any man, or set 
of men, with a mask on. This is what I cannot do. I hold 
it to be the right of any man to have, when he doubts, the 
benefit of investigation, and that he is not bound to disclose 
to the loud-mouthed and exaggerating public every shadow 
of opinion that falls athwart his mind. Had I remained 
with the society here I should probably have announced my 
views ere this ; as it is, I have reserved this announcement 
until now. My brethren, were there such a state of things 
as I would see in the Christian Church, when the pastor 
should be sought, not for the precise doctrinal views he 
might hold, but for his capacity to feed the intellectual and 
religious wants of his hearers, and to minister to them in joy 
and sorrow, in life and death, I should feel that this state- 
ment would not be required of me. 

My capacity you have ahneady passed upon ; such as it is, 
should you see fit to settle me, it shall be devoted to the great 
cause of God and humanity — of Liberal Christianity — of the 
religion of love, and not of fear. My sermons have dwelt . 
but little upon the points of doctrine. I have labored more 
for spiritual advancement, for moral and intellectual progress, 
than for sects or parties. The character of my preaching will 
be the same as ever. If under these considerations you 
see fit to settle me, I am ready. If not, I can but acknowl- 
edge that you will do me no injustice. I know that your 
society is an Independent one. I mean to be an Indepen- 



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90 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

dent preacher. Act, brethren, not so much for me, ae for 
your own interests and your duty. I leave here next Wed- 
nesday (the Ist December) and shall be in Boston, if nothing 
occurs to prevent, on Saturday morning the 4th, prepared, 
should you see fit, to fulfil my appointment for the foUowing 
Sunday. 

God's blessing be on you all, and may He guide you in 
your deliberations is the prayer of your grateful brother, 

E. H. CHAPIN. 

In this case of conscience the parish saw no case 
whatever, and returned the prompt reply : " We are 
ready to receive you most cordially as our pastor." As 
they would not turn against the sun on the score that 
a spot, " a wandering isle of night," moved over its 
broad bright disc, no more would they reject on so 
slight a discount so complete a disciple of the broad- 
est faith. In this reply we have, without doubt, the 
thoughts and words of Eichard Frothingham, Jr., since 
it is signed by his name *'in behalf of the Society;" 
and in the closing paragraph is reflected a regard for 
the freedom of the pulpit which is worthy of this 
patriot and historian, and which would be a true glory 
and source of progress if held by the Church gener- 
ally. " We would have our minister * an Independent 
Preacher;' one who would not be bounded by creed or 
sect ; one who would yield to no dictation but that of 
his own conscience; one who would make Duty his 
principle of action, and Truth his guiding star; one* 
who would stand ready to reflect whatever of new light 
he may receive, upon the people of his charge. Eob- 
inson, two centuries ago, charged his people never to 
be afraid to receive new truth from God's Word. • 



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MINISTRY IN CHABLESTOWN. 91 

Shall we refuse to accept a liberty that is two centu- 
ries old?" 

On the Second Sunday of December Chapin entered 
the Charlestown pulpit as preacher and pastor, and 
greeted the people who had waited fifteen months for 
lus coming. But their patience they never regretted, 
so amply was it rewarded by a ministry at once rich in 
thought, consecrated in spirit, unequalled in the elo- 
quence of its proclamations, fertile of personal friend- 
ships, and prosperous in the more outward offices of 
adding greatly to the numbers and revenues of the 
parish. 

His Installation occurred on the 23d of December, in 
the presence of a large and happy congregation. On 
the service the Eev. Thomas Whittemore invoked the 
divine blessing. Eev. Benjamin Whittemore read se- 
lections from the Bible. Eev. Otis A. Skinner preached 
a sermon. Eev. Hosea Ballou offered the Installing 
Prayer. Eev. Hosea Ballou 2d gave the Charge to the 
new pastor, and put a copy of the Bible in his hand as 
the true light of his life and the guide of his preaching. 
The Fellowship of the churches was pledged by Eev. 
Henry Bacon. The society was addressed and coun- 
selled by Eev. Sebastian Streeter. The Eev. R G. 
Brooks concluded the service by returning thanks for 
the hour, its high interests and its cheering hopes. 

From these memorable hands the young minister 
took the Ark of the Covenant, and for five years he 
bore it in and out before this people in sacred fidelity 
to his vow. In the life of Chapin they were years of 
great activities and developments, of great triumphs 
and flattering prospects, of high lights and deep shad- 



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92 UFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

ows, of grand marches on radiant moants and of pen- 
sive walks in the deep vales. Of all tho years of his 
life they were perhaps the most plastic and formative ; 
and, while the ore of his being was thus at its whitest 
heat, it was brought under the most favorable pres- 
sures. He had come to the best school the country 
could ofifer him, a school truly polytechnic and with 
competent teachers ; and he came in the true humility 
and ambition of a pupiL Far more than Chor!estown 
needed hira, he needed Charlestown ; and since hi^ ful- 
ness, from which he gave, was not equal to the void in 
his being which he hastened to fill, it must in truth be 
confessed that he conferred, however great were his 
bestowments, less than he received. 

In another chapter his relation to the Eeforms will 
be treated; but it must be said here that it was in 
Charlestown he budded and flowered and bore signal 
fruit as a Reformer. He had come from the South in a 
state of indifference, at least, toward the causes which 
were then agitated in the North, such as temperance, 
anti-slavery, anti-capital punishment, and a universal 
brotherhood. By nature he clearly belonged with the 
reformers, for his heart was broad as the ell-encircling 
sky, and his moral sense keenly alive to the distinctions 
of right and wrong and of good and evil; with the 
very elect in humane oflSces he had a birthright 
place; but in Richmond circumstances had not con- 
spired to draw his thoughts and lure his heart in this 
direction, as there was a time when Wilberforce was to 
be found in the social clubs and not in the reform 
leagues, and when Clarkson had not pledged his will 
to the setting free of the oppressed All the reformers 



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MINISTBY IN CHABLESTOWN. 93 

have waited for the clock of time to strike the favored 
hour in which they should awake from sleep and an- 
swer the morning drum-beat calling to a change of base 
and a new form of warfare. For Clarkson that hour 
was struck at college, where he joined the contestants 
for a prize-essay on the theme : " Is involuntary servi- 
tude justifiable?" It was while journeying on the 
Ck)ntinent with his Christian friend, the Eev. Isaac 
Milner, that the caU to be a reformer fell on the ear of 
Wilberforce. And so for Chapin was sounded the note 
of appeal as he passed into the atmosphere of Charles- 
town and New England, — an air hot with the breath 
of agitation, and resounding with the voices of Gkirrison 
and Parker, Pierpont and Gough, Horace Mann, Charles 
Spear, and their comers. At once the young minis- 
ter mounted all the platforms, and was everywhere in 
demand as the orator of the reforms. 

But if a new trumpet tone, a clarion note of agitation, 
was here drawn from his being, so also was a new minor 
chord touched in his soul, and often heard in his preach- 
ing. Here he fell under his first great sorrow, in the 
death of his first-bom, Edward Channing Chapin. His 
early hope in the child, indicated by the gift of its mid- 
dle name, seemed to be happUy confirmed as month by 
month the young life unfolded. " Little Eddie," writes 
Eev. J. H. Famsworth, then residing with the Chapins, 
''was the brightest and sweetest of children, and the 
light of the house." In one of his letters from Bich- 
mond to Richard Frothingham, Jr., the father proudly 
sent "greetings from my infaiit Eddie." The advent of 
this child had opened a great fountain of affection in the 
young minister toward all children, as well as for this 



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94 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

one he called his own ; and in a new light he saw their 
little joys and sorrows. "The child's grief," he said, 
" throbs against the round of its little heart as heavily 
as the man's sorrow ; and the one finds as much delight 
in his kite or drum as the other in striking the springs 
of enterprise or soaring on the wings of fame." 

But when the fatal shadow lowered over his cherished 
boy, 

"All his hopes were changed to fears. 
And all his thoughts ran into tears 
Like sunshine into rain ! " 

Like the reed to the sweep of the tide, his stout and 
buoyant heart bowed under the grief. From this time 
on there was, however, a tenderer and sweeter strain in 
his sermons, a more subdued and trustful note in his 
prayers, than had been )ieard in them before. From the 
radiance of Christian hope the cloud soon took a silver 
edge, and he preached a memorable discourse on the 
" Mission of Little Children." And directly there came 
other pathetic and solacing sermons to join this, as in 
the evening sky one star after another comes forth to 
light the shaded scene. Into the volume entitled " The 
Crown of Thorns," these pensive, prose lyrics were 
gathered, and many are the readers they have oom- 
f orted. With this first sorrow, it is very evident, a new 
and finer influence dawned in Chapin's ministry, and 
never faded from it. Only from the heart does t^e voice 
take its tones, and his acquired from this experience a 
touch of pathos that ever gave it a higher power. 

At this period another tendency began to make its 
appearance, which proved at once a good and an evil, a 
source of applause and of reproach, and which, no doubt. 



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HINISTBY IN CHARLESTOWN. 95 

led to the first break in bis bealtL It was a tendency 
.to an undue absorption or engrossment in the theme 
that occupied him. Toward a single point the currents 
of his life naturally converged and rushed. His ardent 
and intense temperament exposed him to this excess of 
concentration; and his tasks had now so multiplied 
that he could accomplish them only by becoming lost 
in them, as it were. To meet the demands made on 
him required an oblivion of much that might well have 
engaged his thoughts and feelings. Considering his 
age, still under thirty, the demand upon him was simply 
enormous. Aside from the calls of his parish, the gen- 
eral public clamored for his eloquence. The lyceums 
must have him to give prestige to their courses. The 
Odd Fellows claimed him on all their festive occasions. 
The friends of temperance knew full well the value of 
his voice as an aid in their work, and made constant 
and urgent appeals for his presence on their platforms. 
At installations and ordinations he was frequently called 
upon to be the preacher. At college Commencements 
his oratory must be heard. Of the Massachusetts Legis- 
lature he was elected chaplain. . Of the State Board of 
Education he was appointed a member. Before the 
Governor and Council he was called to preach the Elec- 
tion Sermon. In fact, the imposed tasks became so 
numerous and important that he could only make ready 
for them and discharge them by a sort of concentrated 
vehemence. At the peril of his health and the risk of 
n^lecting social demands and duties, he permitted him- 
self for a time, quite in accord with the ardent genius 
of his nature and his love of serving, to pass into these 
self-centered and frenzied toils. 



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96 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

While great good was thus accomplished for the many 
causes he had espoused, and his oratorical fame was en- 
hanced, there began to appear other results, which were 
regarded with anxiety. The superb machine began to be 
rent by its own activity. His exaltations were followed 
by depressions equally marked. He who was so radiant 
and meteor-like became often a darkened orb. With 
the mainspring of his life half broken at times, it was 
the serene and strong will of 'his wife that buoyed him 
up and bore him on. The great enthusiast, swept on by 
torrents of impulse, had his hours when he needed to be 
cheered and urged ; and in these seasons Mrs. Chapin 
was both a wisdom and a magnetism. 

At length his mind showed signs of weariness and dis- 
inclination to work, and he asked for and was granted a 
season of rest. In his note of request he wrote that, " with- 
out laboring under any specific bodily complaint, I find 
myself unfitted for the mental action and labors of my 
oflSce, and by eminent medical counsel I have been ad- 
vised to suspend for a short time my pulpit and paro- 
chial duties, and avail myself of the benefits of a journey." 
From this season of recreation he returned greatly im- 
proved, and resolved to better observe the laws of bodily 
and mental health. The following item was soon pub- 
lished in the " Trumpet " by Eev. Thomas Whittemore : 
" Brother E. H. Chapin, having come to the conclusion 
that duty to himself will require him to discontinue the 
delivery of promiscuous lectures and addresses in differ- 
ent places, requests me to give public notice to that effect 
to save himself and others the trouble of writing letters." 
But the wise resolution was easier made than kept In 
each case where there was need of eloquence, the people 



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MINISTRY IN CHARLESTOWN. 97 

saw a special reason why Chapin should be heard ; and 
so prone was lus heart to serve, it was easy to make 
it appear to him that it was even so. Under a kindled 
impulse he would often answer with a Yes when a 
little later, his reason would dictate a negative; but 
conscience would compel him to keep his promise, be 
the peril in so doing whatever it might be. And so the 
tide of his oratory rolled on, sweeping the crowds along » 
with it 

But it was not only at the cost of the best conditions 
of mind and body that he permitted himself to be swept 
thus into rapt engrossments, but it was also at the sacri- 
fice of ideal social bearings. He began to meet people 
as if he met them not ; even toward his best friends he 
wore at times an air of indifference. Lost in his moods 
of exalted musing and enthusiasm, which approached 
the morbid in degree, he took on at times an air of 
social coldness, and almost of social aversion, when his 
heart, back of the inner commotion that possessed him, 
was warm and kind as ever, and incapable of a real 
discourtesy. He was the victim of his moods. It is 
the testimony of Professor Tweed, than whom he never 
had a more admiring parishioner and cordial friend, 
— their common gravity and wit aiding their hearts to 
a happier fellowship, — that he has often had Chapin 
meet him at one hour of the day as a boon companion, 
and at another hour, as a stranger meets a stranger. It 
could but happen that they who understood him not 
should mistake this self-engrossment for social neglect, 
and lay at his feet the • charge of violating the law of 
good socieity. 

But this self-centering habit, a confessed misfortune, 
7 



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98 LIFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

also involved him in some felicitous blunders, over 
which he and his friends had many a hearty laugh. 
Thus one Monday morning he took a horse and chaise 
from a Charlestown livery stable and drove to the 
" Trumpet " oflBce in Boston, where he spent, as was his 
wont, a little time in converse with the ministers of his 
sect who had assembled there ; but he did not observe 
his turnout sufficiently to identify it Even the color 
of his horse he did not fix in mind, and could not have 
told probably, when out of sight of it, whether his vehi- 
cle had two or four wheels. From a brief and impetuousi 
visit in the office before which his carriage stood, he 
hastened up the street to visit a bookstore and make a 
purchasa Here his oblivion of outward circumstances 
took on a yet more intense degree. He became lost in 
a book or a theme; and when he left the store, he 
mounted the firsib carriage he came to and drove home, 
enjoying by the way, no doubt, some eloquent ecstasy. 
On arriving at the stable the proprietor, observing and 
smiling at his plight, remarked that he hoped Mr. 
Chapin had proved a good jockey, and brought home a 
round sum of money for boot as his end of the bargain 
of swapping teams. For a worn out and shabby car- 
riage he had exchanged a stylish one, and for a value- 
less horse he had parted with a fine steed of another 
color. In due time his mistake was happily rectified, 
and was richly enjoyed all round. 

About the same time, while absent from his home, 
he carelessly put on his short body a very tall man's 
coat instead of his own, and, looking like a man in a 
train, came home thus attired. These ionocent takes 
were exceedingly enjoyed by lus humorous friend Dr. 



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HIKISTRT IN CHABLESTOWN. 99 

Ballou, later the honored president of Tufts College, 
who referred to them in a rollicking poem entitled 
"The Pilgrimage of Childe Edwin (Edwin H. Chapin) 
and Childe Cyrus (Cyrus H. Fay). A Eomaunt In 
two Cantos." The Pilgrimage was a four-mile walk, 
in darkness and mud, from the home of Dr. Ballon in 
Medford to the nearest omnibus stand from which a 
. ride into Boston could be obtained. The two pilgrims 
had reached tl^ railroad station too late for the la^t 
train to the city. With a formal invocation of the 
"Muse of Fifery" the sage Doctor began his poem, and 
introduced his heroes in the second stanza : — 

"There were two rude and gi-aceless imps of sin 
Who served the DevU, their Dad, with aU their might ; 
(Ah me ! the wicked pranks they gloried in !) 
Childe Edwin this, and that Childe Cyras hight. 
Were horse ai^d chaise left fastened in his sights 
ChUde Edwin stole them straight in open day ; 
Or, bolting into houses, he would dight 
Himaelif in pilfered coats, and then away 
Swift through the country in his harlequin array." 

In a mood of similar abstraction he was one day 
passing the office of a prominent lawyer and politician 
of the city, a stranger to him, but who had a strong cu- 
riosity to meet him. Richard Frothlngham, Jr., being in 
the office at the time, hailed his pastor and called him 
in, and introduced him to the lawyer. But the great 
preacher was incommunicative. His mind was so busy 
in its own realm as to take little note of his present 
relations, and while occupying his seat he began mus- 
ingly to punch the broken plastering on the wall with 
his cane. After a season of manifest failure with 
his tongue and conspicuous success with his stafT, he 



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100 UFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

arose and excused himself, and moved on his way. " He 
is an odd genius/' said the lawyer, " but I must hear him 
preach." The next Sunday, taking a seat with Mr. 
Frothingham, he was thrilled by the outbursts of elo- 
quence from the pulpit. The man who had impressed 
him by his strange reticence had now overpowered him 
by his marvellous speech, and he hardly knew whether 
he were in the body or out. At the close of the service 
he was asked how he liked Mr. Chapin, '* Like him ? " 
was his reply, " If he will preach like that he may 
punch my old office aU to pieces I" 

In the terse and quaint Scotch style of Rev. A. G. 
Laurie, an intimate friend of aU the parties named, an 
amusing sketch of Chapin's ardor is furnished : — 

Dr. Ballou, — clarum et venerahUe nomen, — Starr King, 
and Chapin were climbing one of the White Mountains. 
Quietly climbed the Doctor ; vehemently Chapin ; and, qmzr 
acally observant of the she wings, of their two opposite tem- 
peraments, after them loitered Starr. At every coigne of 
vantage paused the Doctor, took in effect of light and shade, 
and with sigh of satisfaction took up a new point of view. 
Deliberately drank he in the glories, to be settled in his mind 
forever. Just as lasting afterwards was their impression on 
Chapin's mind, but at first he swallowed them at a gulp. 
Then ever on to some new headland clomb he, with a cry 
thrown over his shoulder, " Come on. Doctor, come on." Pa- 
tiently for long forbore the Doctor ; for how he loved Chapin, 
and how Chapin loved him ! But at last his irritation and 
his sense of its comicality broke out together, and as Chapin 
nudged him to "on, on, on," with his hand on Chapin's 
shoulder he stayed the impetuous, and, full in his face, said : 
" Chapin, when you go up to Heaven, and get inside the gate^ 
you 'U seize the arm of the receiving angel and cry, * Here, 



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MINISTBY IN CHABLESTOWK. , .Iftlf 

86^ come now, what have you got to stqw' 4. feUqjwtl ' : ^^iicl, ' 
taking in the view in a twinkling, you '11 shag him forward 
to another point, and cry, * Now, now, what next 1 what next % ' 
And with that * What next ' you '11 hurry through all eternity.'* 
Then pealed Starr King ; and, recognizing the truthfulness of 
the Doctor's take-off of himself, shouted aloud among the 
hills the victim and the hero of the joke, while softly and 
soundlessly smiled the Doctor. Characteristic, I think, is the 
anecdote of the good-tempered cynicism of Starr King, of the 
placid humor and fun of Dr. Ballou, and of the eneigy, the 
impetuosity, the glorious boisterousness of Chapin ! 

Among the honors that were conferred on Chapin by 
his Charlestown friends, and that he took to his heart, 
was the giving of his name to a ship by a formal ser- 
vice. A Mr. Gondolpho, a Spaniard and a Boman 
Catholic, seeking a church of his faith, entered by mis- 
take the Universalist Church, but was so well pleased 
that he came again and again, and at length took seats 
as a regular attendant. Very soon his admiration for 
the eloquent minister ripened into esteem and friend- 
ship. From a poor man he became a rich one, and 
entered into business at Mobile, Akbama. At the 
North a vessel had been built for him, and he honored 
his former pastor by giving it his name. The' following 
account of the ceremonial of chriatening the craft is 
taken from the "Trumpet and Universalist Magazine:'* 

The ship (or more correctly the barque) E. H. Chapin 
was the scene of a very interesting serv'ice on Wednesday of 
last week. She then lay at Lewis Wharf in Boston. By the 
invitation of her owner, James Gondolpho, Esq., of Mobile, a 
large company of ladies and gentlemen assembled in her el(»- 
gant cabins by eleven o'clock. At twelve precisely the com- 



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•:^.ll)2/-/ • ••': -.JSIFE OF EDWIN H. GHAFIK. 

: r: fsipf Vafl ^^4* Jvge^er on the promenade deck, under a 
•* • beautiful *awmhg, when a very fervent prayer was offered by 
£ev. 0. A. Skinner of Boston. Mr. Chapin was then intro- 
duced to the audience. He said he felt himself peculiarly 
situated. Hia own name, as a compliment to himself, had 
been given to this vesseL He was thankful for so high a 
mark of respect He then went on to speak of the dangers 
and vicissitudes of the sea, and sai(f that we who dwell upon 
the land think too little of the wonders, sublimities, and 
beauties of the sea, and the dangers, privations and trials of 
those who do business thereon. He spoke of the advantages 
of the great commerce of the ocean, how it brought distant 
nations, as it were, together, and linked them to each other 
more strongly than if it were done with hooks of steeL His 
mind having been drawn to this subject, he should henceforth 
take a deeper interest in what appertained to the mighty deep. 
It was the custom, he said, when an individual had been 
honored by having a vessel called by his name, for him to 
present her with a set of colors. For obvious reasons he 
^ asked to be excused from the customary presentation, but he 
begged leave to present to the vessel a copy of. the Holy 
Scriptures. Here he laid an elegantly gilt copy of the Bible, 
properly inscribed, upon the burnished head of the capstan. 
This was more than a suit of colors. It was chart and com- 
pass. He recommended it to the attention of the officers, 
passengers, and crew. He showed how true a guide it was in 
sailing over the stormy ocean of human life. 

As in his editorial work at Utica and in his ministry 
at Bichmond, so in his spirit and preaching at Charles- 
town, Chapin was the broad-churchman. An undoubt- 
ing Universalist, he still sought a wider fellowship, and 
urged mainly the principles and sentiments of the Gos- 
pels which are held in common by all the sects. His 



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MDOSTBT m CHABLESTOWN. 108 

attitude is well set forth in a single period from the pre- 
face to a volume of his sermons published at that time : 
** The great principle to be propagated and established in 
the souls of all men is not this or that particular ism, but 
the Spirit of Christ" The idea of the unity of faith 
was most congenial to him ; and whenever and wherever • 
that idea was set forward it kindled him like an electric 
spark, and his eloquence became easy and fervid. An 
exceptionally stirring speech, remembered to this day 
by some who heard it, was thus generated in one of 
Ids conference meetings. A Methodist from the State 
of Maine, a plain farmer, was in the meeting and had 
enjoyed it. At length he rose, and, making himself 
known, said, among other things : " I was one day sitting 
on a log with my Universalist neighbor, and I said to 
him, * Suppose, neighbor, we try and see how much alike 
we are in religion, and not how we differ ; ' and I must 
tell you we were pretty much one after alL" By this 
Uttle homely touch of a great fact, Chapin was swiftly 
exalted into one of his most impassioned moods of elo- 
quence, and thrilled the little company around him as it 
had rarely been stirred before by human speech. " The 
effort was magnificent," are the terms by which Eev. 
Mr. Famsworth, who heard it, describes it. The little 
spark from the Methodist's heart kindled a flame in his 
own soul. 

At Charlestown Mr. Chapin's salary, fourteen hundred 
dollars, although reasonably large for the time, was not 
equal to his fame nor to his expenditures. Every ap- 
peal to his generosity he met with an open hand. The 
aged artist, his father, was now almost wholly dependent 
on him, and had his needs met with a filial liberality. 



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104 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

The young minister, living in this more literary realm, 
had acquired a miserly greed for books, and those of the 
rarest and costliest type, and through the ardent and 
blind impulse of the moment he made debts which on 
the morrow he could not easily meet; but generous 
friends came to his aid, and sheltered him from the 
shower of unmet obligations. Meanwhile larger salaries 
were offered him in New York and Boston, which, with 
the wider fields of influence thus opened to him, lured 
him with a sway he could but feel and confess, and 
which, in the light of duty, he came to regard with favor. 
He accordingly accepted an invitation from the School 
Street Church in Boston, and became colleague with 
Rev. Hosea Ballou, at a salary of two thousand dollars. 
The following letter of resignation needs no com- 
ments : — 

Charlestowk, November 1, 1845. 

Brethren, — After, I trust, due deliberation, I have con- 
cluded to ask of you a dissolution of our present connection, 
in order that I may be at liberty to accept a call which I 
have received from the Second Universalist Society in Boston. 
I therefore now respectfully tender to you my resignation of 
my office as Pastor of your society — the connection to dose 
at such a time as you may indicate. 

Thus much formally. But, brethren, a connection of 
almost five years cannot he coldly broken. The conclusion 
at which I have now arrived fills me with emotion, and I 
should do injustice to myself and to you did I not say 
80. Those five years exist with all their vicissitudes and 
their results, and they can never be obliterated from my 
memory. The kindness and indulgence which I have ex- 
perienced at your hands, the acquaintances I have formed, 
the seasons of communion we have had together, the words 



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MINISTBY IN CHABLESTOWN. 105 

which I have spoken and you have heard, and all the facts 
and opportunities of mj ministry among you, have estab- 
lished a relation between us which cannot be broken by any 
changesr The connection between pastor and people is only 
excelled in nearness by that of the family ; and I no\v 
pen the words which, on my part, dissolve that connection 
with sad and prayerful emotion. But though I shall soon 
cease to break unto you the Bread of Life as your settled 
Pastor, as the Preacher and the Friend I shall always enter 
your pnlpit and your houses as coming homey and shall always 
feel that you are still my people. 

I trust, brethren, that in forming my decision I have not 
acted with an eye merely to my own interests. I have not 
been, nay, I am not now without some fears that my leaving 
you may be injurious to the interests of your society ; but 
I have reason, on the whole to believe it will not prove a 
permanent injury. I trust you will soon find a Pastor upon 
whom you will unite, and who will advance your temporal 
and spiritual interests. For your welfiEu^ in these respects I 
do now and shall ever earnestly pray. Commending you to 
God for guidance^ blessing, and all needed good, I subscribe 

myself^ 

Yours Fratenially, 

E. H. CHAPIN. 

In its reply to this decisive but cordial letter, the so- 
ciety with regret accepted the situation, and returned a 
not less kindly reply. The following extract from its 
communication will be read with interest : — 

After a connection of almost five years, we cannot contem- 
plate a separation without painful emotion. They have been 
years of harmony and prosperity with us as a society, and of 
uninterrupted friendship as individuals, in which you have 
been very near to us in our joys and our sorrows, and have 



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106 UPE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

toacfaed our hearts by your powerful Christian appeals. We 
feel that this connectioii has been mutually happy and profit- 
able. The past will linger in our memories ; change shall not 
alter it^ nor time oblite^te it. And when as a Preacher you 
may enter our pulpit, or as a friend may enter our homes^ 
be assured you will ever be welcome as one of us. 

In the painful act of accepting the resignation you tender, 
we find consolation* in the thought that you will be en- 
gaged in a more extended field, — that labors, so satisfactory 
to us, will be extended to brethren of the same faith ; and, 
also, that you will still be in our immediate neighborhood, 
so that, though the pastoral tie may be severed, yet the 
friendly intercourse may continue. 



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VIIL 

MINISTEY IN BOSTON. 

The time had come when the venerable Hosea Bal* 
lou had filled the measure of his more active ministry 
in the School Street Camrch and Society in Boston. For 
years he had gone in and out before this people, who 
honored him for his virtue, admired him for his ability, 
and loved him for his devotion to their interests. He 
had been one of the great preachers of his time, — strong 
in logic, shrewd in the processes of his thought, impas- 
sioned in spirit, mighty in the Scriptures, — and had 
converted many thousands to hia views in a manner so 
signal they could name the date and the place of their 
conversion. If the phrase "I was converted to Uni- 
versalism by Father Ballon" could come flying from 
all the lips which have spoken it to some printer's stand 
and be put in type, its repetitions would fill a good 
sized volume. But time and toil tell on every life, and 
their work had been wrought on the stalwart frame 
and native vigor of the aged pastor ; and the question 
of a colleague came before the parish as one upon which 
they must act, alike out of regard to the need of their 
old friend of rest, and of the cause for a more active 
servant. 

For many reasons the people turned to the Charles- 
town minister as their first choice. They had come to 



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108 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

know the Christian sweetness and ardor of his spirit, 
the untiring industry of his brain and hand, the charm 
and power of his eloquence; and they felt confident 
that eager crowds would press to their ancient temple 
on every Sunday if he were the minister in charge. 
' And to these determining reasons for giving him a call 
was added another in the hearts of some of the leading 
members, a personal friendship already strong and 
sealed with the stamp of time. Accordingly on the 
28th of September, 1845, a imanimous invitation was 
extended to him, with an offer of $2,000 as salary, to 
settle as colleague with Hosea Ballou. 

The invitation was accepted With deep emotions 
of sadness, but with a sense of rightness in the act, as 
is indicated at the close of the previous chapter, he 
withdrew from Charlestown and took up the work in 
Boston, and was installed on Wednesday evening, Jan- 
uary 26, 1846. On this occasion the Scripture was read 
by Eev. T. D. Cook ; the blessing of God invoked by 
Rev. A. Hichbom ; the sermon was by Eev. Hosea Bal- 
lou; Installing Prayer, by Eev. Sebastian Streeter; 
Charge, by Eev. Hosea Ballou 2d; Fellowship of the 
churches, by Eev. Otis A. Skinner; Address to the so- 
ciety, by Eev. C. H. Fay ; and closing prayer, by Eev. 
A- P. Cleverly. At the conclusion of his sermon, the 
senior pastor " made a very affectionate and sincere ad- 
dress to the candidate in which he invoked on him 
great prosperity in lus new relation, and assured him of 
the faithfulness and integrity of the society in their deal- 
ings with him." 

His ministry in Boston was brief, reaching through 
a period of only two years, and was not marked by 



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MINISTBY IN BOSTON. 109 

anything special in the way of development or incident 
Coming from Richmond to Charlestown, he had made 
in the latter place the great advance steps of his life. 
Under the shadow of Bunker Hill he caught a new 
vision of Liberty, and amid the temperance agitation 
of that time he gave his heart to Total Abstinence, and 
put his hand to the pledge ; and for these great causes 
he became the eloquent advocate. Here also he had 
acquired a new and tenderer sentiment in his soul, a 
more pathetic tone in his voice, through the discipline 
of his first great sorrow — an acquisition as permanent 
as his life ; and here his moods of enthusiastic abstrac- 
tion, in which his friends even failed to arrest his notice, 
became characteristic And with these developments put . 
forth, like buds burst into full bloom, he removed to 
Boston only to keep the even tenor of his way ; or if any 
change came to him, it was merely a change to greater 
activity and influence, through the demand imposed by 
his growing fame. "Mr. Chapin always seemed in a 
hurry," is the way in which one, then a child in his 
parish, states her remembrance of him; and another 
says of his pastoral calls : " He came and went," — thus 
indicating a marked brevity and haste in his social in- 
terviews. In part to his constitutional impetuosity, but 
in a larger degree to necessity, must we ascribe this 
obvious hurry, for the demand now made on his pen 
and voice was almost without limit. As reformer, lec- 
turer, and preacher on many special occasions his field 
of toil was New England, — his hearers and admirers, 
the eager crowds of her population ; while in the nar- 
rower sphere of his own pulpit he met on Sundays 
enthusiastic throngs, many of whom, hearing him for 



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110 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

the first time, marvelled at the speU his eloquence 
wrought on them. And for all these services his prep- 
aration was careful and laborious. Being naturally 
timid and distrustful of his powers, he bent every 
energy to the work of making ready for the triumphs he 
won. Never is the man whose success lies along the 
path of sentiment and impulse so sure of himself and of 
his goal as the man whose triumph is of the intellect ; 
for while the latter may know in advance just how it 
will be with him, and hence will quietly make ready for 
hig task and be at peace, the former can never foretell 
his measure of success, and will be nervously anxious 
and especially painstaking in advance. Thus was it 
with Chapin. For his many special and ordinary ser- 
vices before the public he made a careful and even 
. solicitous preparation, which left him no time to loiter 
by the way and indulge in extended social intercourse. 
To the seeming neglect of his friends, he must needs 
hastily greet them and pass on. 

It is probable that his courage in preaching the re- 
forms was never put to a severer test than in the School 
Street pulpit. Father Ballou was not a Radical to blaze 
an advance path through these kingdoms just then being 
newly entered with the daring purpose of conquest, and 
to call upon those lingering behind to come forward. 
The conservatism of his parish was considerable, and he 
had not much disturbed it. But Chapin came to the 
place with all the enthusiasm of a new-bom reformer, 
and the prestige of the favorite orator of the reforms, 
and made slavery, intemperance, and war the frequent 
objects of his rebuke. The power and pungency with 
which he treated these themes are set forth in a remi- 



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MINISTRY IN BOSTON. Ill 

niscence by his successor, Dr. Miner, in these words : 
*' I remember on one occasion, in the suburbs of Boston, 
when, after discussing the great waste in a somewhat 
more general way occasioned by intemperance, he asked 
his auditory to reflect upon the waste that would be 
involved in gathering up the cereals of the Common- 
wealth, converting them into whiskey, taking the whiskey 
down to the end of Long Wharf, knocking in the heads 
of the barrels, and spilling the whole into the dock; 
and, said he, 'would it be any less a waste if you were 
to strain that whiskey through human stomachs and 
spoil the strainer/" To men still bound by the chains 
of the old drinking custom, and more or less engaged, it 
may be, in the liquor traflSc, his outspoken reproofs 
bore a pungent sting, and they grew restive and hos- 
tile. But he had the courage of his convictions and 
moved calmly on in his radical course, and won not 
only a tolerable peace for himself, but the grounds of an 
easier victory by the more radical man who came after 
him to this field of conflict. 

In a manner which drew upon him the anxiety of some 
of his brethren, he betrayed at this period the native 
catholicity and toleration of his spirit. A fresh wave of 
Eationalism, flowing across the ocean from Germany, 
was just then sweeping over the American Church, and 
bearing away on its fascinating crest one and another of 
the clergymen of the various orders. Especially were 
Unitarian and Universalist ministers and laymen in- 
clined to cast themselves on this flowing tide, and to 
try the open sea of reason and intuition, unguided by 
any chart of divine authority. The venture was pleas- 
ing to a restless and bold but noble order of souls, like a 



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112 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Theodore Parker, Orestes Bronson, and a Ralph Waldo 
Emerson. Against these leaders and their more ob- 
scure followers Orthodoxy was everywhere aroused, 
and strove to draw them from the tide or drown them 
in it. The Universalists had their full share of these 
come-outers, as they were then called, or these en- 
tranced wave-riders to deal with; and with a con- 
scientious vigor the leaders of the order set about the 
tmwelcome task. But Chapin did not take up arms in 
the conflict. While not adrift himself on the wide 
sea, he still did not break his fellowship with those 
who were, but rather conceded they might be sailing 
within the circle of the Christian horizon, and that 
Christ might yet be the pilot on their small boat and 
to the little crew. He contended there were various 
approaches to the grand haven of Christian experience 
and life, and that Parker and the rest might still be 
moving in the right direction, even if not employing 
the Orthodox compass. Sharing himself a fuller ac- 
ceptance . of Christ than they did, he was not in favor 
of denying to them the Christian name. He evidently 
regarded tliem as within the pale of the Broad Church, 
which was to him at that time and ever afterward the 
ideal church, and felt they were to be met and associat- 
ed with in the name and spirit of Christian fellowship. 
This attitude a£fected not his relations with his more 
exacting brethren, beyond awakening in them the sense 
that he was more tolerant than logical 

During his Charlestown ministry he had been twice 
invited and urged to settle in. New York City. The 
Fourth and the Orchard Street societies entered into a 
generous rivalry to secure the young minister, but the 
Charlestown remonstrance prevailed against them. 



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MINISTRY m BOSTON. 113 

But now the voice of appeal came once more from the . 
Fourth Society, a young and growing and ambitious 
assemblage of thrifty men and aspiring women, who 
shared some of the best blood in Gotham. In fact, a 
delegation came to him in the bold determination to 
assume full powers and n^otiate a settlement before 
they returned. Sharing in large degree the New York 
aptness for setting forth the greatness and proipect of 
their city, it was a tempting perspective they opened 
before him, and it failed not to tell on his heart and 
hopa 

Variously biassed, he accepted the call to New 
York, and on the 5th of February, 1848, wrote his let- 
ter of resignation, a brief and business-like note. For 
the effect of hia withdrawal on the society he had no 
anxiety, since he had pretty well assured himself that 
his successor would be the Rev. A. A. Miner, then a 
successful minister in Lowell, and now a man known to 
the whole country and wearing fitting titles of honor. 
At the parish meeting which accepted Mr. Chapin's re- 
signation, a call was extended to Mr. Miner to succeed 
him as preacher and pastor ; and on the first Sunday in 
May, the one in New York and the other in Boston en- 
tered upon pastorates which were to extend through the 
remainder of their lives. For thirty-two years Dr. 
Chapin ministered to liis admiring people ; Dr. Miner 
is still the honored shepherd of his flock. 

The regret in view of his leaving Boston and New 
England was general, and among his brother ministers 
and intimate friends it was especially felt, for he was 
to them a friend in whose friendship the finest qualities 
of head and heart were displayed. He was simple, 

8 



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114 UFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

frank, social, thoughtful, affectionate ; and in addition 
to fchis, he was a tower of strength in their midst And 
not without some expression of their regard and good 
wishes for his success in his new field could they permit 
him to leave them. *' When it became known," wrote 
IJev. Thomas Whittemore, " that his intention to go was 
formed, there were several sad yet pleasant meetings 
of his friends. The mind very naturally reverts to one 
at which the writer was present The thoughts of all 
were fixed on the fact of Mr. Chapin's speedy removal 
to New York. It was the last opportunity of meeting 
previously thereto, — perhaps the last they would ever 
enjoy of being all together on the earth. After an hour 
of free and generous intercourse,,and when the party 
had left the table and convened in the parlor, a billet 
was handed to each person, which, on being opened, was 
foimd to contain appropriate stanzas. Gathered around 
the piano, the company with voice and heart, chanted 
the words in the tune of " Auld Lang Syna" This affec- 
tionate parting with Mr. Chapin fittingly took place at 
the residence of Abel Tompkins, who was the first to 
welcome the young preacher as he came to this vicinity 
from his Southern home; and, meanwhile, meeting 
almost every day, they had mingled their thoughts and 
sympathies like two brothers. The hymn for the occa- 
sion was written by Eev. John G. Adams, and breathed 
the hope of a final meeting where friends shall no 
more part: — 

"This thought, loved brother, be with thee, 
As now thoa bid'st fareweU 
To this long tried fraternity 
With other hearts to dwelL" 



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IX 

MINISTRY IN NEW YORK 

On the first Sunday of September, 1838, a little 
group of Universalists met in the Apollo Rooms on 
Broadway, and listened to a service conducted by Rev. 
William Whittaker. In that day of small things the 
number assembled seemed hopeful, and the spirit of 
courage possessed them. Electing Mr. Whittaker as 
their leader, they continued their meetings, and on the 
11th of November organized as the Fourth Universalist 
Society. On the first Sunday of December they began 
to hold their meetings in the New Jerusalem Church on 
Pearl Street, and rented at once forty-three of the fifty 
pews in the humble structura The remaining seven 
were soon taken, and there were earnest calls for more. 
A committee was appointed to look for ampler quar- 
ters, and a church on Duane Street, near Chatham, 
was leased for two years, and on the following April it 
was occupied. It was the third home of a society not 
yet a year old. At the close of the two years the society 
removed to the lecture room of the College of Physicians 
and Surgeons on Crosby Street. Resting here a couple 
of months, like an Arabian encampment, it went into 
its new church on Elizabeth Street on the first Sunday 
of May, 1841. In three or four years, as if smitten by 



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116 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

a migratory mania, it sold this church and returned to 
the Apollo Eooms, where it held its first meetings and 
from whence it started on its wanderings. 

But if the rolling stone gathers no moss, the moving 
society had steadily augmented its ranks, and ripened 
an ambition to do some signal thing at its next turn. 
In short, it had come to the determination — at least, 
its leaders had — to engage the Eev. E. H. Chapin of 
Boston as its minister, purchase a commodious temple 
in as good a location as possible, and command the 
favor of the public by its enterprise, while securing to 
itself the benefits of a great leader and a rare oratory. 

It was no sudden spasm of ambition which thus seized 
the rising men in this roving assembly of UniversaHsts. 
For some years Mr. Chapin had been their favorite, the 
man after their heart, their ideal as leader along the 
lofty walks of Christian thought and life. Since the 
time when, in 1840, he had been providentially delayed 
on bis journey from Eichmond to Charlestown by a 
driving snow-storm, and became a chance occupant of 
their pulpit for a Sunday, his spirit and voice had 
haunted the few of them who had made his audience. 
On various occasions they had, meanwhile, secured his 
services, and the evidently growing power of the man 
deepened their desire to claim him as their preacher 
and pastor. Even more than the cooler and calmer 
Bostonians, it may be, they felt the special greatness of 
his gifts, and foresaw for him in their city a career of 
usefulness and fame of no common order. "ViTiile he 
was yet a minister in Charlestown they had sent him 
an urgent call, emphasized by an offer of increased sal- 
ary, to come and take up the work in their midst ; and 



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MINISTRY IN NEW YORK. 117 

their appeal was not unregarded by him. In fact, he 
submitted the matter to his people for their advisement; 
and they thus addressed his rising thoughts of leaving 
them: — 

" Resolved, that this society entertains with unfeigned re- 
gret even the thought of the dissolution of a connection which, 
in our part, is now so harmonious, profitable, and satisfactory ; 
and confidently hope that our beloved pastor, on his part, 
will see his path of duty to lay in its continuance." 

This hearty remonstrance modified his view of duty 
as they hoped it would; and he remained two years 
longer as their pastor, and supplemented this term by a 
two years' settlement in Boston. 

But the time had now come for another overture 
from New York, which, not less urgent than those of a 
former year, could be emphasized by increased wealth 
and numbers. Knowing the frame of mind in which 
the society stood, but bearing no message from it, three 
men, Messrs. William Banks, George A. Hoy t, and J. B. 
Close, went on to Boston with the solemn purpose not to 
return till they could bring back the tidings that Mr. 
Chapin had been secured as minister to the Fourth 
Universalist Society. In true Jacksonian spirit they 
empowered themselves to act without official advice, 
and they mutually vowed deafness to a negative answer 
to their entreaty. 

But they found Mr. Chapin in a good condition for 
listening to their combined eloquence. Since their former 
invitation, New York had been a growing attraction to 
his enthusiastic souL In her rushing and roaring tides 
of life he felt a sympathetic thrill, as for something 



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118 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

with which his own bounding pulses kept pace. With 
a wild zest he had visited the eager metropolis from 
time to time, and with unspeakable pleasure had kindled 
the quick enthusiasm of her crowds from platform and 
pulpit. And hence, on a very broad ground, the appeal 
of the three men was not unwelcome. But more specifi- 
cally it called him to a sole pastorship from a divided 
one, in which, while he was free from friction and an- 
noyance and even cheered by a personal friendship, yet, 
by reason of the wide contrast in spirit and style be- 
tween himself and his senior, he could not have been 
entirely at his ease. A long and powerful ministry so 
unlike his own, and constantly suggested by the presence 
of its revered source, made an atmosphere in which he 
could but feel a degree of restraint Hence in the New 
York call he saw an invitation to a more ideal freedom. 
But the more potent special bias in favor of the Appeal 
he found in the financial offer of the three men. Mr. 
Chapin had no love for money, but he had a great need 
of it With his generous hand, overruled sometimes by 
a blind impulse, especially in the bookstores, he scat- 
tered more than he gathered. As in Charlestown, so in 
Boston, he found his obligations maturing faster than 
his income. In his moments of ardor he made debts 
which came round in Ms calmer hours to haunt him. 
It was at this point the New York committee, speaking 
in their own name, met him triumphantly. They 
pledged him for three years an increase of a thousand 
dollars a year on his present salary, and would assume 
and immediately discharge his unmet dues. Thus va- 
riously weighted, the scale was made to tip in favor of 
New York, and the happy three returned to report their 



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MDnSTBY IN NEW TORE. 119 

victory to their enthusiastic associates, who had waited 
years for this hour to arriva 

At once a church was purchased on Murray Street, 
and on the 7th of May, 1848, Mr. Chapin, then thirty- 
four years old, entered on his ministry with the Fourth 
Universalist Society, — a ministry that was to continue 
unbroken for the remainder of his life, a period of 
thirty-two years, and which was to be more noted for 
its fruits than for its duration. Up to this date the mi- 
grating band had been ministered to by Revs. William 
Whittaker, I. D. Williamson, Moses Ballou and Thomas 
L. Harris. This was its period of stniggle and self- 
sacrifice and slow growth. " Ere its days of prosperity 
were reached," wrote one of the pioneers, " it had a 
hard and toilsome path to follow. Dark clouds often 
overshadowed it, but the silver lining was seen, and 
each one took courage. Faithful men and working 
women were ready to do and suffer to establish it." For 
parishes, as for men, it is no doubt good that they should 
be called to bear the yoke in their youth ; but of these 
early toils and contests with limitations, the members of 
the Fourth Society who came to it after Mr. Chapin's 
gifts had made it prosperous and popular, have known 
and thought as little, it may be, as the children of 
wealthy homes, which were once poor, know and think 
of the labors and hardships of their parents. 

The installation of Mr. Chapin as preacher and pas- 
tor to this people took place on the 8th of June. At 
this service Eev. R P. Ambley invoked the divine bless- 
ing. The Eev. I. D. Williamson read a fitting se- 
lection from the Bible. The Sermon was preached by 
Eev. Thomas Starr King. The Installing Prayer was 



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120 UFE -OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

by Eev. Menzies Eayner ; the Charge and Presentation 
of the Scriptures, by Eev. Otis A. Skinner ; the Eight 
Hand of Fellowship in behalf of the churches, by Eev. 
T. B. Thayer ; and the Address to the Society, by Eev. 
Henry Lyon. 

It was a graceful tribute of friendship in Mr. Chapin 
to invite the youthful King, then but twenty-four years 
old, to come on from Charlestown, Massachusetts, to 
preach the sermon on this important occasion. During 
the years of Chapin's ministry in that city King had 
been his parishioner, an admirer of his genius and the 
spirit of his life, cheered and blessed by his sermons, a 
frequent visitor at his study for philosophical and 
religious conversation, and more and more his com- 
panion and friend. In his letters he often referred 
with pride and gratitude to his pastor. In one of 
these he wrote : " I love him for his manly and free 
thought, his enlarged Christian charity, — capable of 
seeing the excellencies of his opponents and the defects 
of his own sect, — and, above all, for his practical ap- 
preciation of the realities of religion and the spiritual 
world. Seldom have I met a man who with a heartier 
communion sympathized with a great doctrine wliich 
every day becomes more important and more real and 
more dear to me, — the doctrine of a Universal Provi- 
dence." But this appreciation and love were recipro- 
cated, and Chapin was happy to say of his friend at a 
later day: " His name was felicitous, for he was a star in 
intellect, — lofty, clear, shining like a star, — and king 
in his large nature, swaying us, ruling us, by the sover- 
eignty of his munificent love." With the affection of 
Paul coimselling Timothy, Chapin preached the sermon 



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MINISTBY IN NEW YORK. 121 

at King's ordination; and now, after two years, Timothy 
liad shown such proficiency in wisdom and eloquence 
that he W6is asked to counsel Paul and his people as 
they were about to enter into new relations ; and his 
wise and brilliant discourse justifies the friendly con- 
fidence which had been reposed in him. 

No sooner had Mr. Chapin begun his work in New 
York than he was seen to be the right man in the right 
place. At once were his talents recognized and his 
success assured. The ardent hope of the leaders of the 
enterprise found an early fruition in the crowd which 
came to their church, and was ready to assume respon- 
sible relations with the movement. Men of wealth and 
influence sought the be^t pews, recognizing the cost as 
trivial in view of the great blessing they got in return, 
— in the uplifting of their thoughts, the kindling of their 
noblest sentiments, the awakening of their imagina- 
tions, tlie fostering of their trust in God and their good- 
will toward men, and in their newly experienced 
raptures in the House of God as the waves of a mighty 
eloquence swept over them. Hither also came the poor, 
for in full sympathy with them was the preacher's 
heart, and to them he preached the generous gospel of a 
common humanity, the innate worth of character, and 
the bending of God with equal favor over palace and 
cot in which the law of love has a like fulfilment. Sor- 
row found a balm of healing in the prayers and sermons 
of this temple. Here the reformers were encouraged, 
sinners tenderly pleaded with, the young men inspired 
and cheered on, the upright in their dealings invested 
with a mantle of honor, the true statesman heartily 
approved, the tolerant in spirit commended in the 



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122 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

name of a broad Christianity, and the pious home 
into a diviner atmosphere. With a magnetic oratory 
he touched the best life of souls, and they came in 
crowds to place themselves under his genial and mighty 
power. 

It was not long before it begun to be manifest that 
the Murray Street pastor was to become New York's 
favorite preacher, the one to be most sought on Sunday 
and talked of on Monday ; and it became evident that 
the church, which had been bought on his account for 
its cdmmodiousness, must on his account be sold as 
imequal to the demand of the people, and larger quar- 
ters be secured; for it was now no novel occurrence 
for eager feet to press to its doors when there was no 
room for them within, every seat and standing-place 
being occupied. 

At length a relief from this pressure was sought, but 
not founds in the purchase of the large church on 
Broadway, near Spring Street, then owned and occu- 
pied by the Unitarian Society of which Eev. Dr. 
Bellows was pastor. On favorable terms, $93,000, the 
purchase was made, and on the first Sunday of Novem- 
ber, 1852, the newly acquired temple was taken 
possession of, with an appropriate recognition of its 
advantages over the one they had left, and of the fresh 
hopes and responsibilities of its new occupants. At 
the evening service " about two thousand people were 
present, and hundreds went away unable to gain ad- 
mittance." The new enterprise was inaugurated with 
an " overflow," which was but a prophecy of the com- 
ing years of prosperity. One hundred and seventy of 
the two hundred pews were already rented. And for 



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MTNISTBY IN NEW YOBK. 123 

fourteen years, while Dr. Chapin went in and out as 
the preacher in this church, its fame in the city, in the 
whole country, and in foreign lands, as the theatre of a 
marvellous eloquence, and the oracle, of a sweet and 
saving gospel, a broad and generous CHristianity, a 
universal religion, was far beyond the aspects of the 
place. Vastly greater than the temple was he of the 
rapt heart and eloquent tongue who ministered in it ; 
and, like a patrician mantle cast over a plebeian form, 
he covered it with a glory not its own. A roomy and 
comely building, it was the rare genius of the preacher 
which filled it with an air of the divine, made it 
solemnly cheerful with great visions of love and hope, 
turned it into a moimt of higher communion and rap- 
ture, and, year after year, blessed the eager throngs 
which crowded through its vestibule. 

The notable scene became the frequent theme of the 
newspaper correspondents, and their sketches were all 
the more interesting in that so many of their readers 
had seen the original ; for among the things not to be 
missed on a visit to New York, was a Sunday at Dr. 
Chapin's church. Indeed, not a few business men and 
professional men from all parts of the land, called to 
make hasty trips to the city, were accustomed to so 
time them as to include an opportunity of listening to 
the thrilling eloquence in the Broadway Church. In 
the weeks or months of their absence the potent spell 
rested on them, and they were moved to seek its source 
again and again. From a racy writer in the "Salem 
Register," the following sketch is taken as one of the 
many attempts to portray the scene. He painted it as 
it appeared to a stranger :— 



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124 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Approachmg the humble entrance he walks into a long 
wide entry, rather a dark one, — walks on, his eyes turning 
right and left, half incredulous, half suspicious there's a hoax 
about it ; which suspicion, however, is soon dissipated as he 
comes to the inner doors and spacious gallery-ways ; which sus- 
' picion he is a little ashamed of as one of these doors opens and 
he looks into the great church, elegantly but modestly finished, 
made impi'essive by two rows of pillars reaching from roof 
to floor, — its Gothic architecture of dark shade relieved by 
soft light coming in at curtained windows and giving it the 
devotional appearance. No one seems to offer the stranger a 
seat, and he thinks he '11 step up stairs ; perhaps the seats are 
free up there. He goes up and, as he arrives, reads a notice 
in big letters, " Strangers are particularly requested not to take 
seats, except under the direction of the trustees." " Gra- 
cious ! that is kind of mean," says our stranger to himself. 
He keeps saying so to himself, till at last the thought strikes 
him (curious it did n't strike him before) that every seat 
in the house is let ! " Well, if a man hires a seat he ought to 
have it;" and our pious stranger grows disappointed and 
charitable at the same moment The prospect is dubious. 
It 's too bad. He wanted to hear Chapin in his own pulpit, 
and amid his own admiring people. He is on the point of 
leaving the premises. Happy fellow I he. is prevented. He 
has got there early, and some one has told him he can use 
one of those boards that run across the windows. He does 
not hesitate a bit to accept even that fare. He plants him- 
self on one of the boards. It 's just as good a seat as any, 
only it is not so genteel. He goes to the farthest one, so that 
he can look right down on the pulpit, and there he sits. 
Now they are beginning to' flock in. Group after group pour 
through the doors and throng up the stairs. Gentility par- 
ades itself fresh from the tailor's press, and plumed bonnets 
sail along the aisles to the music of rustling silks. Not half 



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MINISTBY IN NEW YORK. 126 

an hour, and those two bandied and twenty-five pews are 
packed full, while around the doorways, above and below, are 
throngs who account it no hardship to stand, well knowing, 
as they do, that that voice will be heard, though it spoke 
from the remotest comer of a St. Peter's. 

The minister has come in. He came in at a private door, 
unnoticed by our stranger, who was probably watching for 
him in the wrong direction. There he sits, a stout, fat, robust, 
swarthy-faced, black-haired, gold-spectacled, genial-looking 
minister ; and while yet a tardy worshipper or two are tend- 
ing toward their reserved places, he rises, looks his flock over 
— as does the shepherd — and announces the hymn, and the 
tune to which it is to be sung. He reads it in a deep, meas- 
ured, solemn voice, and as the people look on they see a 
meaning they did not suspect in that hymn. It touches a 
chord in them that vibrates, and when the singing begins, 
it is generally a familiar tune, the whole congregation join 
— far more devotional is this — and fill the large house with 
a hearty harmony. The singing closes, and there follows 
a chapter of Scripture, pronounced in a resonant, yet sub- 
dued and effective voice ; and if there occurs in it some pas- 
sage well-known to his childhood, but become trite through 
oft repeating, it very likely has for him now a fresh import 
It now seems like divine speech indeed. The Scripture is 
pronounced, and he that pronounces it leans on the open 
Bible in momentary silence, the congregation still sitting, 
and begins the utterance of a prayer. It is a short prayer, — 
obedient to Christian rule, — but comprehensive, leaving un- 
asked no needful thing, leaving unacknowledged no blessing 
received. Another hymn, read as before, sang as before, and 
Whitefield, whom Hume has come twenty miles to hear 
preach, rises and gives you the text. Perhaps it is in these 
words : " What think ye of Christ 1 " Twice he repeats it, 
"What think ye of Christ?" and the multitude is hushed, 
nor refuses to be 



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126 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

" held by his melodiouB harmony, 
In willing chains and sweet captivity." 

He proceeds to tell them that, in this era of general in- 
telligence, all have some opinion touching Christ; that the 
character who, in two thousand years of history, has figured 
the chief, necessarily enlists a universal inquiry respecting 
him ; and as number the various answers to the inquiry, so 
number the classes of men of whom he would speak. There 
is a Speculative class, a Sceptical class, an Indifferent class, a 
Faithful class. On these severally he descants, administering 
rebuke, expressing pity, applying exhortation, according as it 
seemeth just. He has notes before him, but he scarcely sees 
them. He grows warm; holy fire kindles his brow, and 
the sweat rolls down his earnest face. He grows bold, his 
arms sway to and fro, indignation flashes in his eye ; and he 
does not refrain to affirm that he would rather see a man stay 
at home of a Sabbath and study his Bible, though he study 
to refute, than see him come up with grave visage to slumber 
under the droppings of the sanctuary. Again he softens and 
becomes tender. His countenance beams with triumphant 
hope, and he pleads the matchless love of the Son of God. 

Now he has forgotten all about his notes. Perhaps he 
wonders how he ever wrote those dumb words. Yea, he 
seems to have forgotten the words he spoke in the beginning ; 
for now, with arms uplifted and voice ringing through the 
vaulted church, he declares : " Finally, brethren, there 'are 
but two classes of men in the world ; one has turned its 
back on Christ and, forgetful, reckless, grovelling, hurries in 
its doi^Tiward course, unenlightened by gospel truth, unsus- 
tained by redeeming love ; the other, a glorious company, 
with face toward the living Jesus, presses upward' with more 
than mortal confidence, sometimes falling a step backward, 
but, ever brave, ever strong, it gathers energy and struggles 
on to reach the gieat high place. Oh, he sees them in the 



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MINISTRY IN NEW YORK. 127 

ranks rmnumberedy their spiritual armor girded on, their 
lances couched aud glistening in the heavenly effulgence. 
Let us join them. There is Paul away up there, the halo of 
glory about him. There are saints waving palms and beckon- 
ing us thither, and the strings of celestial harps are sounding. 
Let us join the jubilant army ; let us live forevermore ! " 

The sermon is preached. The preacher is silent, for a 
moment silent. The still audience draws the long breath 
that eases the overcharged heart, and he^ leaning forward, ut- 
ters the simple prayer of the Saviour. Another hymn, the 
benediction, and the congregated people retire slowly, 
thoughtfully, feeling wiser, better, happier, their fraternal 
sympathy strengthened, their sense of responsibility increased, 
and revolving perchance, in the recesses of the heart, those 
words of solemn significance : — 

" Our life is short ; 
To spend that shortness basely — 'twere too long. " 

In the crowded vestibule, which the above writer 
calls "a long, wide entry," the standard inquiry was: 
" Does Dr. Chapin preach to-day ? " And a negative 
reply to this question sent a shadow of disappointment 
over the heart, and set the feet to moving away in 
quest of some other temple where eloquence was to be 
heard, or to seek one or another of the many attractions 
of the city to a stranger. But now and then it hap- 
pened that this inquiry was omitted, and strangers 
took their seats to find, not Dr. Oiapin in his accus- 
tomed place, but some clergyman who had been called 
to conduct the service for the day. At once the retreat 
began, and, singly or in groups, timidly or boldly, the 
disappointed ones left the church. To spare his sen- 
sibilities the strange minister was ordinarily notified, by 
the sexton or some trustee, of this imavoidable occur- 



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128 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

rence ; but not every one met the case so coolly as did 
the philosophical Scotchman, Eev. A. G. Laurie, who 
thus relates his experience: — 

I had been warned that, seeing a stranger in his pulpit, 
the people would leave. " All natural,'* said I. And leave 
they did. In the vestibule, group after group whispered the 
sexton, and turned out. When I reached the pulpit the 
dribble increased. As I rose to the second hymn, half a 
dozen in the gallery slided to the door. Then said I : " I know 
that from all the country, visitors in New York flock to this 
church to hear Dr. Chapin. None is gladder than I that 
they do. None considers it more natural, than that when 
they see another in the pulpit, many should leave. I am 
pleased to see that, from consideration for the quiet of those 
who stay, the leavers move gently. I shall therefore sit 
down for two minutes, that those who have come to hear 
Dr. Chapin may go freely, and leave in peace those who have 
come to worship God." 

The reader will not fail to find in this generous 
acquittal a shrewdly administered rebuke. 

Into the fourteen years of his Broadway ministry 
came the four years of our Civil War ; and it was to no 
ordinary test that the patriotism and courage of Dr. 
Chapin were subjected. His was largely a parish of 
merchants, and some of these were not only engaged 
in a Southern trade, but were also the victims of a 
pro-slavery bias. Of their opinions they were tenacious, 
and of reproof for holding them they were feverishly 
jealous. In the city their party was large and some- 
what defiant, and in many instances its individual 
members would hush the voice of the pulpit from its 
advocacy of the Union cause. Dr. Chapin was thus 



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MINISTBT IN NEW TORE. « 129 

confronted ; but he kept the even tenor of his way as a 
patriot, and now and then, under provocation, smote 
the opposition with a telling blow. Around his pulpit 
for many months he kept the national flag gathered in 
graceful folds^ and into his sermons and prayers he 
steadily breathed the spirit and often introduced the 
theme suggested by the sacred symboL 

But not unfrequently amid his sharp rebukes of the 
spirit of the rebellion, active in the South and sympa- 
thetic and illy concealed in the North, and his outspoken 
encouragement of the aim to subdue it, were there 
demonstrations of disapprobation and even enmity in 
one and another of his congregation. In several in- 
stances he openly resented these displays of opposition. 
Thus, as one slammed a pew door and tramped heavily 
down the aisle, he said: " I shall not go out of my way 
to seek these topics, but when they are fairly before 
me I shall not turn aside to avoid them, though your 
pew doors should clap to like platoons of musketry." 
On one occasion he read an anonymous letter to his 
congregation, which he had just received, and in which 
his preaching was characterized in bitter terms, and 
then made the broad announcement to his people: 
" While you have absolute control of your temple, you 
have no authority over my conscience." 

A lover of peace and harmony, and alarmed at war, 
he still confessed the dread necessity of resort to arms 
under the circumstances, and followed the councils of 
State and the national army with an intensity of anx- 
iety and hope which robbed him of his sleep. By our 
reverses in battle he was greatly depressed, and by 
our victories he was not less elated. From Europe, 

9 



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130 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

whither he went in 1862 to seek relief from his bodily 
infirmity, he wrote to a member of his society : " I have, 
like every loyal American, been very much troubled 
about our dear country. I think the aspect of affairs is 
better now — better, not so much on account of great 
military movements and victories, as on account of the 
renewed loyalty and consolidated feeling of the North. 
The result of all that I have seen thus far is, if possible, 
an increase of love for the institutions of my native 
land, and a confirmation of my faith in true democracy." 
On his return, his spirit had lost none of its loyalty, 
but his voice had gained in power, and in his pulpit, on 
the platform, at the raising of flags, he eloquently advo- 
cated his country's causa In her interest, struggling 
thus with fate, he wrought out some of his mightiest 
thoughts and his most telling rhetoria 

But it was reserved for him at the close of the war, to 
make, before the State officials end the assembled cit- 
izens, one of the most pathetic and jubilant and there- 
fore thrilling speeches of his life, — on the return of 
the battle-flags to the custody of the Commonwealth. 
By these shattered and soiled symbols, brought from 
the fields of conflict and hard-earned victory, he was 
deeply moved. They touched his patriotism, kindled 
his pride in view of the sovereignty of the Republic, 
reassured his hope of the future, moved his sense of 
honor and humanity toward the brave men who had 
returned with sunburnt faces and scars, bearing these 
tokens of their loyalty, or had fallen in the bloody 
strife, still cheering on their standard-bearers, and 
awakened his sorrow and pity for the many sad homes 
which the war had stricken. Thus aroused by the 



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A^'-a 46 



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• -•- • 



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MINISTRY IN NEW YORK. 131 

suggestions of the occasion, he rose to one of the mem- 
orable triumphs of his eloquence. 

From the Broadway Church, ever to be remembered 
as the temple in which Chapin won many of his great- 
est triumphs of oratory, in which a host of soub were 
thrilled, cheered, comforted, made more rich in spirit 
and firm in faith, the society removed, in December of 
1866, to its new church at the corner of Fifth Avenue 
and Forty-fifth Street On this temple it has expended 
nearly a quarter of a million of dollars, and now holds 
the property free from debt Here also for a period of 
fourteen years, as in Broadway, the great preacher 
taught the people, and made many souls happy and 
strong in the spirit of the broad and sweet gospel he 
inculcated. This was to him a sacred shrine, since it had 
been created under the inspiration of his own ministry ; 
and here he set forth the mature and chastened thought 
of his later years. To the crowd his presence became 
less magnetic, his voice less thrilling, his message less 
captivating ; but to souls seeking nearness to Christ, and 
spiritual communion and the hopes of religion, his Fifth 
Avenue ministry was especially helpful. With a di- 
minished force, his services assumed a riper and richer 
spirit 

In Mr. Chapin's New York ministry there appears 
an evident growth of interest in the institutions of 
Christianity and in the Church-days. More and more 
he emphasized these in his thought and speech. To 
Christmas, Palm Sunday, and Easter he gave his whole 
heart, and on these occasions his services were distin- 
guished by fitness and fervor. Nor was he unmindful 
even of some of the Saints' Days, as they came round in 



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132 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

the cirde of the Church-year. In these traditional 
seasons he found a historic witness of the reality and 
power of the religion of Christ, and a fitting appeal to 
special ideas and sentiments connected with the king- 
dom of God and the growth of the souL Ever was he 
in the spirit at the church-meeting and the communion 
table, and seemed grateful for the nearness of his Savior 
on these occasions. 

But amid the array of forms and the recurrence of 
festivals, he wanted no creed to limit or rule his mind. 
In these high hours he would have before him the 
personal Christ, and not a formulated theology. He 
once said: "I do not know of any other Church standard 
than this — the life of Christ, the spirit of Christ;" 
and at the great Centennial Mass Meeting of Univer- 
salists held in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where the 
American branch of the order started, he said, in a 
sermon given at the service of holy communion: "There* 
ia a deeper Church than the UniversaUst Church; it is 
the Church of Christ" 

At his annual church-meeting, over which he waa 
wont to preside, a worthy brother, revering the creed, 
waa accustomed from year to year to move the adoption 
by the church of the Winchester (Universalist) Con- 
fession of Faith; but, writes one who was regularly 
present, " the Doctor would at once become excited, and 
oppose it vigorously." But out of regard to the Doctor's 
wish in the case, the annual motion was withheld at 
the meeting following his. death, its maker saying: "I 
should expect, if I made it, to see the Doctor start out 
from the desk, and resist it as he always did." 

To the waiting and eager crowds which assembled in 



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MINISTBY IN NEW YORK. 133 

his church, Dr. Chapm was wont to come as from a 
Mount of Transfiguration. From wrestling with his 
theme and with the Holy Spirit, it may be for hours, 
he came thoughtfully, silently to the temple, and 
needed not to warm his l^eart after reaching his pulpit^ 
for it was already on fire. In the busy season of lec- 
turing, when, as Dr. Sawyer tells us, " it was no un- 
common thing for him to leave home on the first train 
out of New York on Monday morning, and not enter 
his own door until Saturday evening," he often spent 
the Saturday night — save that he would catch an hour 
or two of rest on the sofa in his study — in his prepara- 
tion for the Sunday. When others were asleep he was in 
the rapture of unfolding some great topic, or of holding 
face to face converse with the source of all inspirations. 
Under the wakeful stars he continued his rapt vigils. 

The Sunday mornings he habitually gave to thought 
and prayer, mainly the latter, in the seclusion of his 
study. Even when away from home, and to occupy a 
strange pulpit, he sought this sacred privacy in which 
to kindle the flame of love and worship on the altar of 
his heart " Before starting for church," says his inti- 
mate friend Charles A. Eopes of Salem, from whose 
door he went annually, on one of his vacation Sundays, 
to occupy the Universalist pulpit in that ancient city, 
" he kept his room ; and on his way to church he was 
all absorbed, silent, did not want to talk ; but he was 
like a boy when his work was over." At home his 
retirement within himself and oblivion of others, that 
he might make ready for his public service, was more 
marked. He seemed to become lost in musing and 
devotion ; and it was ordinarily by the urgent importu- 



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134 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

nity of his wife that he was drawn away from these 
moods, to take his seat in the carriage that was waiting 
to cany him to church. She rarely succeeded in get- 
ting him there in time. Oftener than otherwise he 
entered his pulpit ten or fifteen minutes late, especially 
in the most active years of his life. Even when to her 
importunity was added a resolution passed by the board 
of trustees, suggesting greater promptness, he still left 
his private sanctuary reluctantly and lingeringly. To 
the church he was wont to ride in deep thought Si- 
lently, or with the fewest words possible, the sexton 
handed him the notices for the pulpit, for at all inter- 
ference he was manifestly impatient. In the words of 
one who had heard him for thirty years, and knew him 
intimately, "he wanted no one to come between him 
and his preparation." Even the form of courtesy he 
would violate rather than imperil the mood of emotion 
and power into which he had raised his spirit. Happy 
and sovereign in his ardor, he thus jealously guarded 
the ecstatic spell he had drawn on by his meditations, 
as the Sibyl inspired herself by her contortions, and 
would reach his pulpit with the flame undiminished. 

Into the whole service the sacred impulse was borne, 
but it gave to his first words a magical sway. Even 
though spoken in seeming calmness, his earliest utter- 
ance betrayed the heat of pent-up fires, and his hearers 
swiftly put themselves to watching and waiting for the 
bursting out of the suppressed flames. As Minerva is 
said to have sprung in full armor from the brain of 
Jove, so Chapin came to the church with eloquence 
fully developed in his soul, and ready to leap forth a 
spirit of beauty and power; and his audience became 



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lONISTBY IN MEW YOBK. 135 

at once aware of this full-grown Presence. Instead of 
making an anvil of his congregation, on which to ham- 
mer his coldness into a pleasing and effective warmth, 
he had generated the needed glow in advance, and there 
was an instant kindling of hearts to his preliminary 
words. A writer in " Harper's Weekly " discovered this 
swift command of attention, and wrote of it in the fol- 
lowing terms : *' Before the appearance of the preacher 
the suppressed hum of voices in conversation struck a 
stranger as. irreverent, but the first tones of his voice 
wove a spell which hushed and subdued the mass of 
humanity before him till the final Amen was uttered." 

•It was by no ordinary labor that Dr. Chapin brought 
his parish to its rare degree of prosperity. Not only 
was he intensely active on Sunday from early morning 
till late in the evening, but on no day of the week did 
he find leisure. By temperament he was an enthusias- 
tic worker at whatever he laid his hand to; and by 
reason of his superb execution, tasks crowded upon him 
with a clamorous demand. Eeviewing his ardent and 
often excessive toils he once said to a friend : " I look 
upon my career as if I had been driving a coach and 
four at a rapid rate down the side of a mountain." But 
80 dominant was his impulse to drive on and make the 
longest distance in the shortest time, that he seemed in- 
capable of checking his speed even when he was con- 
scious of peril. He could not be a moderate toiler. 
He only took rest when he was spent, as the wheels of a 
mill halt when the head-water or the steam is exhausted. 
When the vital machinery broke by overuse or misuse, 
as it did now and then, he stopped, but reluctantly, to 
make the necessary repairs. 



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136 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

The making of two sermons a week was his regular 
task, and hj an imperious demand they had to be ser- 
mons of no ordinary merit They must equal the great 
fame of the speaker, and the vast and intelligent assem- 
bly to which they were to be delivered. To be in his 
pulpit twice every Sunday was the rule of his ministry, 
the burden imposed on him by his fame, the tax laid on 
his distinguished gifts. On this basis his salary had 
been in a measure adjusted, and many of the pews 
rented; while he could but feel an obligation to the 
many strangers from all parts of the land, who came to 
hear his voice and be blessed by his message, — to re- 
spect their desire and honor their compliment. " Few 
ministers," said Dr. Bellows, addressing Chapin's people, 
" have been so constantly in their own places on Sun- 
day as Dr. Chapin. Indeed he has so much spoiled 
you for any voice except his own, and has so made this 
church a place of eager pilgrimage from the hotels and 
strangers' homes in New York, that it has been a sort 
of necessity that he should steadUy occupy his own 
pulpit, and speak to his own audience." By reason of 
this necessity he became a maker of sermons to an ex- 
tent seldom reqiiired at the hand of a minister, and has 
left the marvellous number of eighteen hundred and 
twenty-five manuscripts. The traditionary "barrel," 
which the clergyman is said to turn every now and 
then, would hardly hold this bulk of written paper. It 
makes the brain weary to think of the vast amount of 
thought it must have required to treat nearly two thou- 
sand themes, and to treat them freshly and strongly ; 
and the hand shrinks before the immense manual toil 
involved, as the old clock grew tired and paused under 



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MINISTBY IN NEW YOBK. ' 137 

the contemplation of the millions of strokes that would 
be required of it. It would not be too much to say 
that Dr. Chapin wrought out in sermons at least two 
thousand topics, giving to them hard study and exhaust- 
ing emotion ; for many of his manuscripts must have 
been given away, or used up by the printers in making 
his printed volumes and in newspaper ofl&ces, while few 
of his briefs from which he spoke in his pulpit are 
preserved. 

But the making of sermons to this extent was only 
a small fraction of Dr. Chapin's labors. He was the 
pride of the city, and in demand on countless occasions 
which required special and sometimes extensive prepar- 
ation. His name was sought to rally the public, and 
his voice to add delight to the hour in which the people 
met. Speaking to his congregation at the twenty-fifth 
anniversary of his settlement, Dr. Armitage said : — 

There was a time when it was your sole privilege to love 
and honor and trust your pastor, because then he belonged 
to you. So there was a time when the Kooh-i-noor diamond 
belonged exclusively to the man who discovered and prized 
and hoarded it. But its possession in the diadem of Great 
Britain, for a quarter of a century or so, has made it the prop- 
erty of the whole empire ; just as the weight and worth and 
soul-light of your pastor, for twenty-five years, have made 
him the property of this whole metropolis. 

Ever was his voice at the call of humanity, for he 
had not the gift to say No where his heart was enlisted. 
The two words Temperance and Charity were enough 
to rally him under any circumstances, and lead him 
forth in heat or cold, in calm or storm, to make his 
stirring appeals; and it was no uncommon thing for 



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138 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

him to hunt his way to two platforms in a single even- 
ing, in order to serve two distinct causes. He would 
often go to grace a festival with his fervor and wit, for 
he was not averse to toiling in the interests of pleasure; 
but he loved better to give himself to the more serious 
demands of society for his services. 

It was his special delight to aid a weak church and 
encourage a struggling minister, by the gift of a lecture 
in their behalf ; and in this matter he was quite indif- 
ferent about denominational names and lines. In nearly 
all the temples in and around New York, and there were 
many of them, which sought to escape the scorn and 
shame of death by debt, through getting some money 
by lectures, his eloquence — and he \fas never more 
eloquent than on these beneficent occasions — was 
sooner or later heard. Full well he knew the value of 
his gift to such enterprises, and he was happy to place 
it at the service of all who needed it He would some- 
times foresee the demand and volunteer his aid. In a 
cordial letter to the presiding officer on his twenty-fifth 
anniversary, Eev. Dr. Burchard sent the following 
testimoilial : — 

Dr. Chapin and myself have stood side by side as per- 
sonal friends, as advocates of virtue, ^mperance, and human 
rights, for the past twenty-five years. During that time I 
have received from him many tokens of personal esteem and 
brotherly kindness. When in a season of unparalleled and 
protracted sufiering, and apparently nigh unto death, he came 
to my bedside and ofiered fervent prayer, and spoke words of 
comfort and hope. Since then my heart has been in full 
sympathy .with him. When the twenty-fifth anniversary of 
my own pastorate was near at hand, and I was desirous that 



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MINISTRY IN NEW YORK. 139 

it should be celebrated oyer a church entirely free from an 
oppressive debt, he was among the first and the freest to re- 
spond to the call for sympathy and aid, by oiferihg to give 
one in a course of lectures which crowned the effort to 
relieve the burden. 

This, however, waa only one of the many hands 
which, inspired by his generosity, could have sent a 
grateful testimonial to the large and happy group gath- 
ered around him at the close of the twenty-five years of 
his New York ministry ; and each tribute would have 
been an indication of the labors he took upon himself 
apart from the making of two sermons a week. 

But we must follow him into the wide lecture-field, 
stretching from Maine to Illinois, if we would get a 
fuller view of the extent of his toils. During half 
of the year, for many years, he spent most of the days 
in the cars, and of the evenings on the lecture-platforms; 
and often a part of the night had to be taken from the 
hours due to sleep, that he might make some distant 
point to meet an engagement These constant trips 
were often attended by special hardships and expos- 
ures : cars too cold or too hot, rides in sleighs through the 
sharp air of mid-winter, meals at irregular hours and of 
every possible order of badness, — from bad materials 
to bad cooking, — and the worst of beds in the worst 
of rooms. Amid one of these trials of body and soul 
he was happily sketched by the facile pen of George 
William Curtis: — 

' Some years ago, in the height of his prosperous lecturing 
career, the Easy Chair met him at the Albany EaLLroad station 
in the early evening of a winter day. He was snatching " a 



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140 LIFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

bite" and a cup of coffee; and^ as the bell rang, they hurried 
to the train, Chapiii carrying a lumbering bag and shawls, 
and laughing and joking as they climbed into the car. He 
had been out all the week, starting early on Monday morn- 
ing, after preaching twice on Sunday. He had lectured every 
evening during the week, travelling hard all day. " Up be- 
fore light," he said gayly, "eating tons of tough steaks and 
bushels of cold apples, whizzing on in these stifling cars, and 
turning out just in time to swallow a cup of tea, and off to 
the lecture." It was tremendous work, as only the fully ini- 
tiated know. But he made it all a joke, and his swift tongue 
flew humorously on from incident to incident, and presently 
began to discuss the new books and the new articles in the 
magazines with sharp and just discrimination. Suddenly the 
train stopped, evidently not at a station. The night was cold 
and stormy. Presently the conductor passed, and Chapin 
asked to know the reason of the delay. The conductor re- 
plied that there was some derangement of the locomotive, 
and Chapin said quietly, " This is bad business for a man 
who has to preach at eleven o'clock to-morrow morning, and 
whose sermon is not begun." His companion remonstrated ; 
but Chapin's eyes twinkled as he answered : '^ Oh, you lay- 
men ki)ow nothing about it. Bums sang the Cotter^s Satur- 
day Night, but the Minister's Saturday Night is yet unwritten. 
At least," he said laughing, ''this one is likely to be unwritten." 
It was past midnight when the train reached the city. "Good- 
night," cried the hearty voice. " Go home and go to bed ; I'm 
going to work." The next time the Easy Chair met the 
preacher, it asked about that sermon. "Oh, that was all 
right I went home, and there was a bright fire in my study, 
and a brew of hot coffee, and I finished that sermon just as 
the sun rose." And the next morning probably he was off 
again for another week of the same kind* 



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MDHSTBY IN NEW YORK. 141 

Only the toughest fibre of flesh, cheered by a spirit 
which made the best of the situations, could have en- 
dured such wear and tear of the constitution for a score 
of years as he seemed to; but to this exposure we 
must ascribe in part, no doubt, the fact that he broke 
in health at sixty and died at sixty-six. 

But in forming an adequate schedule of Dr. Chapin's 
labors the fact must not be left out of the account 
that he was a constant and vehement reader, when not 
otherwise employed. He was a man of books and 
of eager reading habits to an extent equalled by but few 
in our land. For a period of twenty years, between 
his earlier ministry when his purse was thin, and his 
later ministry when his powers were spent, there is 
little doubt that he averaged buying a book a day ; and 
of these volumes, always of a high order, often exhaustive 
treatments of the greatest themes, he gained more or 
less knowledge by his swift mental activity. He swept 
over their pages with an eager glance for their salient 
points, as an eagle sweeps over the landscapes. He 
wrestled with their great themes, not critically and 
patiently, but with an intensity of interest and aim of 
which but few minds are capable. And to books he 
added, to a prodigal extent, newspapers and maga- 
zines, whose columns he scanned with a swift glance. 
Around him in his study these lighter issues from 
the press swarmed in a wide-spread confusion, and 
wherever he went were his companions. At all times 
and in all places, where propriety did not forbid, he 
was reading. A characteristic scene is set before us 
in the following period from the pen of Greorge William 
Curtis: — 



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142 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

His old associates on the lecture platform will never for- 
get his cordial greeting in the car, as he looked up from the 
last new book on theology or philosophy or science or fic- 
tion, one hand resting upon the travelling-bag distended with 
the latest reviews and magazines, European and American, 
while the other grasped the new-comer, and drew him to a 
seat, and to a flood of meny, shrewd, kind, humane conver- 
sation that followed. 

To be asleep, or intensely active, was a necessity of 
his being ; and as a lover of books, bibliolater, in fact, 
his activity, to a large degree, took the form of reading. 

As a pastor he was not given to going from house to 
house, as most clergymen do ; but he was very faithful to 
the sick and the sorrowing, and made no discrimination 
between the rich and the poor in his attentions, — or if 
any distinction, it was one in favor of the latter. Notices 
of sickness among lus people, and of funerals which oc- 
curred in his absence from the city, were often left with 
the sexton ; and for these he would inquire on Sunday, 
and embrace the earliest opportunity to make lus pas- 
toral visits. But for the ordinary " call " he had little 
aptness and less inclination. He was not a patient 
waiter while the lady of the house lingered to dress her 
hair and robe herself in finer attire. Having no book 
or magazine along with him, he knew not how to oc- 
cupy the restless moments, but only counted them by a 
frequent gaze at his watch, and computed their value if 
devoted to study. The brevity of the touch-and-go in- 
terview forbade the drawing on of any congenial rush 
of thought or feeling, and he was not content or at ease 
in conversation if he were not kindled. If not thus 
made self-forgetting he was painfully self-conscious. 



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MINISTKT m NEW YORK. 143 

silent or hesitant in speech, bothered to know what to 
say next, awkward with his hands, ill at ease generally, 
and wishing himself away. He did not like to meet 
strangers when he felt there rested on him the duty of 
making the time pass profitably. While he was a happy 
frequenter of a few homes, he shunned the many, as 
one who felt he could neither derive nor impart any 
benefit from the few moments he might be able to spend 
in them. 

To the end of his days Dr. Chapin was the persistent 
and ardent laborer, and often went to his tasks when he 
should have gone to his bed, or on some restful excur- 
sion. Far beyond the measure of his strength were the 
desire of his heart and the urgency of his wilL " His 
fiery soul was untamed by sickness or age," said Dr. 
Pullman, his friend and neighbor in the ministry, " and 
only physical infirmities checked him from, the driven 
and push of his best days." He often preached when 
he had to climb the pulpit stairs by the aid of the rail- 
ing, and to lean on the desk, while speaking, in order to 
make himself secure. In the midst of the most acute 
pains he would rise from his sofa and go and deliver his 
sermon or attend a funeraL As his physician, the cele- 
brated Dr. James R Wood, was one day prescribing for 
him, the hour came for him to go to his church to speak 
to a group of mourners who were to pause there on 
their way to the cemetery with their cherished dust, 
that they might have the comfort of his trustful 
prayers and hopeful words. The Doctor said to him, 
"Mr. Chapin, you are not able to go to the church," 
** Well, I am able to be carried there," was the reply. 
" But you cannot ascend the pulpit after you are there," 



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144 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

added the physician, "Then I can stand in front of 
it," was the response. " But 70U are not strong enough 
to stand," replied the man who had his health in 
charge. " Then I can sit and talk, which is the more 
apostolic manner," was the rejoinder. " You will faint 
away," said the Doctor, striving to set before the sick 
man the most dubious prospect. " If I do," was the 
reply, ** somebody will come with a smelling-bottle and 
bring me to, and I shall go on." When the carriage 
came for him he made his way to it with painful eflfort, 
and went to the funeral, leaving his faithful physician 
in his library. 

He not only contCDded thus with pain and weak- 
ness, but with a serious embarrassment caused by his 
false teeth, which the best of dentists in his latest years 
could not make secure in their place. They seriously 
checked at length his freedom of utterance, and utterly 
kept him back from those moments of abandon and 
high climax in which he so much delighted and from 
whence he sent forth his most characteristic power, for 
he feared their fidelity to their duty. By reason of 
their treachery he was compelled to move cautiously 
and timidly in his discourse, and it may be on this ac- 
count he gave up extemporizing, since he could not be 
as self-conscious and sure of his safety as in reading. 
He was often in the dentist's hands, and not seldom at 
his church on Saturday to test some new workmanship, 
that he might know how far to trust it on Sunday. But 
he took up the cross heroically and would not lay it 
down. Like a Spartan he fought with all of his infirm- 
ities, but a stronger fate compelled him to yield inch 
by inch tjie sharply contested ground. 



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MINISTBY IN NEW YORK. 145 

In consideration of his growing ailments and evident 
need of assistance, the people from time to time brought 
before him, in some graceful manner, the thought of a 
colleague or assistant ; but the idea was not a congenial 
one to him. He saw in it the hint of incapacity in 
himself, which he was reluctant to contemplate. He 
avoided the signs of decline in his own powers, as ab- 
horrent to his heart and will ; and would be blind to 
the " shadow feared of man,'* which began to walk by 
his side in aspects plainly seen by all other eyes. " It is 
a fearful thing," said he, while at the zenith of his 
power, " to have my reputation as a preacher, for I must 
at length disappoint the people and myself by failing 
gifts ; " yet he fought against the inevitable to the end, 
as the wounded hero persists in pressing on in the 
thick of the battle. To the No-surrender order belonged 
his mighty spirit, — or to the order which gives up only 
when even the forlorn hope is taken away, and the case 
is hopeless, but which may surrender then as gracefully 
as it had contended heroically. Thus was it with Chapin. 
When at last he was utterly spent, and the flame of 
life flickered near the socket, and Rev. Dr. Ryder of 
Chicago, who had been invited by the parish to be its 
active minister — Dr. Chapin to remain as pastor emeri- 
tus — went to consult with him about the matter, 
tenderly introducing the subject, the spent minister 
exclaimed in ready submission and eloquent phrase: 
"Oh, I see; I am to vacate the quarter-deck, and you 
take command ! " Still he never wanted to share the 
quarter-deck with another, but he would be sole com- 
mander so long as he could stand in the sacred place of 
authority and power by leaning on the pulpit He had 

10 



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146 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

the persistent courage and will of John Wesley, of 
whom Crabb Eobinson writes : " The last time I saw him 
he stood in a wide pulpit, and on each side of him stood 
a minister, and the two held him up, having their hands 
under his armpits." While to such as these life re- 
mains, and is inspired by its great inner impulses, labor 
is a necessary part of their existence. They know not 
how to 

<* Husband out life's taper at the close, 
And keep the flame from wasting, by repose." 

But while Dr. Chapin labored thus faithfully, in his 
days of health and of infirmity, for the good of his 
people, he got from them in return for so great de- 
votion a glad and even proud recognition of his gifts 
and labors, and a steadily increasing salary, till it 
reached the liberal sum of twelve thousand dollars, to 
which were also added many generous presents. At 
the twenty-fifth anniversary of his settlement, Dr. Bel- 
lows said truly, addressing the society, " you could not 
have found a better minister, and he could not have 
foimd a better people." By the law of personal attrac- 
tion, and the spirit of his ministry, he drew to himself 
the ardent and generous, the men and women of heart 
and impulse, by whom his dues were not likely to be 
left unrequited, nor any pains spared to add to his 
happiness. Their first act in his behalf was a bene- 
faction. Even before he came to them they established 
their claim to his gratitude, by gathering up and dis- 
charging his unmet obligations. Jfot long after his 
settlement they placed on his life a liberal insurance, 
with a paid-up policy, — a favor he came near losing 
through a strange fear of the necessary medical exami- 



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MINISTRY IN NEW YOBK. 147 

nation. On his approach to the physician for this pur- 
pose his heart flew into a wild commotion, and gave so 
many strokes in a minute as to rule him out of the 
required exhibit of bodily soundness. The doctor sus- 
pected his nervousness, and asked him to call again in 
a few days. In another flurry he came to meet the 
ordeal, and proved unequal to the test Not long after, 
the physician went to his house, caught him in his 
normal condition, and found his heart behaving so 
commendably that he at once made out the required 
certificate of health in his favor. In his best days 
Dr. Chapin was haunted by the fear of some lurking 
disease, and never had the courage of a calm self-exami- 
nation on the side of the flesh. He was more or less 
the victim of his imagination, and needed that those 
around him should re-assure him of his good condition. 
But in this instance his timidity came near involving 
him in the loss of a parish favor. 

Later in his ministry his people were moved by 
the generous desire to help him to a house and home. 
They accordingly purchased for him the spacious and 
elegant residence, No. 14 East Thirty-third Street, at a 
cost of twenty-five thousand dollars, thirteen thousand 
of which they paid at the time of the purchase, trusting 
that from his large salary and ample income from his 
lectures he would be able to pay the remainder ; but 
the debt stood for years uncancelled. With the growth 
of his means came an equal growth of demands. The 
house itself, his family, his library, the long train of 
suppliants for one cause or another, the daily dribble 
for nameless items, and foreign trips for health and 
pleasure, kept his income and outgo steadily balanced 



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148 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Meanwhile his people had gained in wealth, and had 
lost none of their pride, gratitude, or generosity in be- 
half of their eminent preacher ; and when the twenty- 
fifth anniversary of his settlement came round, they 
made up a purse of ten thousand dollars to be applied 
toward the payment for the house. It was a free and 
spontaneous gift, the overflow of hearts he had him- 
self filled with reverence for God and good-will to men, 
and with admiration for his own talents, gratitude for 
his services, and esteem and love for his character. In 
presenting the gift to him, before the great concourse 
of his friends, the Rev. Dr. Pullman rightly said of it : 
" It is ten thousand thanks to you." 

The presentation occurred in the evening. The after- 
noon had been given to addresses of reminiscence and 
congratulation, amid which Dr. Chapin was silent, but 
deeply affected. The speakers were Eev. Moses Ballou, 
Dr. Bellows, Dr. Armitage, Rev. J. Smith Dodge, and 
Rev. E. C. Sweetser. Of the Doctor's silence Mr. Pull- 
man aptly remarked in opening his presentation address : 
" It was quite funny to think we had a meeting in this 
church, and here was minister after minister getting up 
and talking, and for the first time in the memory of man 
Dr. Chapin was silent. I thought, now we are having a 
good time; we have Chrysostom bound, the 'golden 
mouthed ' gagged." But when Mr. Pullman had deliv- 
ered to him the rich gift, it was his turn to speak, and 
his words are at once a tribute to the generosity of his 
people and a witness of his own gratitude: — 

It has been said that I was gagged this afbernoon. What 
do you suppose I am to-night 1 I am gagged all over ; 
mouth and breath and soul, eyes and brains, are gagged with 



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MINISTBY IN NEW YOBK. 149 

this solid and Biibstantial liberality, and nobody can expect 
me to make a speech now. I only desire to extricate myself. 
I don't ex^tly know who I am or where I am. I have been 
beaten about the head and heart to-day with kindness until I 
am completely stunned ; and now, to-night, I am overwhelmed 
with this mountain Joad, so that I cannot struggle, as it were, 
out of this generous and blessed encumbrance. What can I 
do ? I think silence on my part would be more expressive 
than any attempt at speech. I feel all that you have said 
and all that this conveys, and this people will credit me 
enough to know that if I don't make any speech, it is not 
because I lack, feeling, but because I am choked with the 
sense of this kindness and this respect. I know this is in* 
deed an honest testimony. This is no back pay ; I am not 
in need of it. I have been paid amply and generously by 
this people, and it comes from a treasury of hearts richer 
than all the treasury of the United States, ten thousand 
times amplified. Every dollar of it is a warm and loving 
heart-beat, and it throbs with vital sympathy and generosity. 
My friends, the best I can say to you is that I appreciate it 
and feel it, and from my heart of hearts I thank you. 

The small unpaid margin due on the house was finally 
paid by bis friends, making the liberal gift of twenty- 
five thousand dollars in three instalments. But the 
generosity of the people toward their minister found 
other channels along which to flow. In several in- 
stances he was given leave of absence to make trips to 
Europe for rest and recovery of health, and meanwhile • 
his pulpit was supplied. In more personal and private 
ways he was constantly remembered, one hand or 
another almost daily opening to confer on him a gift. 
As freely as they had received from him the best of 
blessings, so freely would they return to him the tokens 
of their gratitude. 



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150 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

But the time at length came when the people saw, 
with sorrowful hearts, that their great and loved leader 
along the paths of the Kingdom "was nearing the limit 
of his earthly ministry. With the opening of the year 
1880 his condition was critical, and there seemed to be 
little ground on which to base a hope that he would 
make the circle of the twelvemonth. The services he 
came to the pulpit to conduct cost him much efifort and 
exhaustion, and the heart of the people was greatly 
saddened as well as blessed by them. It was the pain- 
ful view of greatness in ruins, a tender and mighty 
spirit unsupported by the body in its brave and persist- 
ent ambition to do yet more for God and man, a gra- 
cious and powerful friend reduced to weakness. " With 
inexpressible sadness," said Henry Ward Beecher, "I 
used to meet Chapin in the last months of his life, and 
say to myself, * The superb machine is shattered by over- 
use and misuse, and cannot be repaired.' " With a like 
pity all eyes now looked upon him. But to his own peo- 
ple, in whose hearts he had so large a place, the contrast 
was most afifecting as he stood before them on Sunday, 
so weak on the throne where they had been wont to see 
him a* very monarch of power, struggling and failing 
where great inspirations had so often and surely borne 
him to the grandest triumphs of speech. It was 
the pathetic view of a heroic friend striving against 
« fate. 

On Palm Sunday he preached his last sermon, and 
on the first Sunday of May he came to the church to 
meet his people for the last time. The service in the 
pulpit was conducted by Eev. J. Smith Dodge, but at 
the communion table Dr. Chapin received into the 



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MINISTRY IN NEW YORK. 151 

fellowship of the church two old friends, Mr. and Mrs. 
Seymour J. Strong. It was his final act in the temple, 
and was a joy to his heart ; for nothing pleased him 
more than to welcome souls to a visible unity with 
Christ as the sign and seal of a spiritual oneness. We 
may well believe he would have chosen to lay down 
his ministry thus, in his own church and at the cele- 
bration of the Lord's Supper. 

Advised by his physician to make the trial of one 
more trip to Europe, he sailed on the 22d of May. Be- 
fore his departure he wrote to his people the following 
brave and affectionate message; it was his last to 
them : — 

To the Congregation of the Church of the Divine Paternity, 

My dear Friends and People, — It was my wish and 
my hope to have spoken to you a few words personally be- 
fore my departure for Europe, and to have seen you all 
face to face ; but the condition of my voice and my physical 
weakness forbid that privilege. Let me then in this man- 
ner take leave of you for what, I trust, will prove but a short 
time. Let me thank you for the great kindness, considera- 
tion, and patience on your part, interwoven with consecrated 
memories of many years. I exhort you to be firm in your 
faith and your loyalty to the church, and the great truths 
and interests associated with it. Do not forsake these, or 
become indifferent or discouraged. May God bless and keep 
you each and all May He bring us together in due sea- 
son, to meet in the meditations and the worship of this 
blessed house* But in humble submission to His will, I 
now bid you an affectionate good-bye. 

Your Friend and Pastor, 

E. H. CHAPIN. 



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152 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

The trip proved in vain. The ocean offered no rest, 
the foreign air no balsam, equal to his great need ; and 
on the 7th of August he returned to seek the grateful 
comfort of his home and to be among his people. At 
his summer home at Pigeon Cove, and in his home in 
the city, he spent the few remaining months of his life. 
Under the most watchful care and tender nursing, with 
his family around him, he yielded patiently and pain- 
lessly day by day to the course of his disease, which 
the doctor called "progressive muscular atrophy," — a 
decline through the failure to absorb nutriment In 
the city he lingered in his spacious and cherished study 
most of the hours of the day, and not a little of his 
time he spent in prayer and meditation. For one, two, 
or even thr^e hours at a time would he be thus en- 
gaged ; and only by the counsel of his physician, and 
the interference of his wife or the nurse, could he be 
kept from thus yielding to his spirit to the injury of 
his body. Called from prayer he would directly return 
to it. With the fading of memory, the repose of the 
mental powers, and the surrender of the will, his soul 
asserted an undue supremacy, and his altar became to 
him the chief desire of his life. As all else vanished in 
the shadows, God and Christ and Heaven came more 
inft) view, and early and late he would be with these 
supreme realities. Pleased to have around him his 
wife and children and grandchildren, glad to greet the 
friends who came to see him, ready to give ear to any 
news of the day which was announced to him, awake 
to the iipport of every inquiry made of him, he sought 
the first moment of relief from these to give himself to 
worship. It was a marked instance of the " ruling pas- 
sion strong in death." 



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MINISTRY IN NEW YORK. 153 

With unfailing regularity for years he had been 
accustomed to pray three times each day with his 
family, beginning and closing the busy hours and paus- 
ing in their midst with reverent and grateful thoughts 
to Him who guards the night and fills the day with 
blessings. "On no account would he set aside his 
prayers/* says his daughter. Nor did he neglect to 
mingle with these prayers at the home altar the read- 
ing of the Word of God ; and habitually he read at the 
table on Sunday morning the One Hundred and Twen- 
ty-first Psalm, beginning : " I will lift up mine eyes unto 
the hills from whence cometh my help," or the Eighty- 
fourth, opening with the words: "How amiable are 
thy tabernacles, Lord of Hosts!" But now in his 
last days, with no demands of toil on him, and with 
the shadows of earth's night lowering around him, he 
gave his soul more than ever before to thoughts of God 
and immortality. Amid the eclipse of the visible, he 
sought the solacing vision of the invisible, and prayer 
was the mount on which he stood. 

It was his wish to d.ie in some favored moment when 
ho one, not even himself, should take note of the pass- 
ing change. From a farewell scene he sensitively 
shrank. If, as the Arab proverb has it, " Death is a 
black camel which kneels at every one's gate," he 
would have no herald to announce its arrival, but would 
mount as in a sleep. He had made his the sentiment 
of Mrs. Barbauld expressed in those lines which 
Wordsworth said he wished he had written : — 

" Life I we Ve been long together, 
Through pleasant and through stormy weather. 
' Tis hard to part when friends are dear ; 
Perhaps 't wiU cost a sigh, a tear. 



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154 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Then steal away, give little waniiDg ; 

Choose thine own time ; 
Say not Good-night, but in some brighter clime. 

Bid me good morning." 

This wish of the sick man's gentle heart was ahnost 
completely realized. On Sunday, the 26th of Decem- 
ber, he woke to greet the morning light and his family, 
as he had done on a few previous days, in a painless 
but exceedingly weak condition of body. He spent 
most of the sacred hours in prayer or in sleep, now 
and then entering into a brief conversation with those 
around him, and indulging in one or two bits of pleas- 
antry. In the evening he grew still weaker, but wished 
the family to retire and leave him with his nurse, who 
had come, through his tender and faithful offices, to be 
regarded by him as a friend. He bade them Good-^ 
night in a pleasant and hearty tone of voice; and it 
proved to be his last word to them. The nurse aided 
him to bed, and in a few moments discovered he was 
unconscious. Summoning the household, they could 
only stand by in silence and see the peaceful ending of 
his mortal life, the closing of his brilliant and noblQ 
career in which they had shared so largely and richly. 
Just before midnight he drew his last breath, and the 
great and gentle soul passed into the company of the 
redeemed ; 

"And doubtless unto him is given 
A life that bears immortal fruit, 
In such high offices as suit 
The full-grown energies of heayen." 

Alike were the manner and the place of his death 
after his own choice. No man ever loved his family or 
his library better than he, and with these around him 



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MINISTRT IN NEW YORK. 155 

he spent his last days and hours. He once said : " If I 
had but four breaths to draw, I would draw one of 
them amid the sacred privacy of home," naming where 
he would draw the others. Dear to him were the faces 
which beamed upon him there, and the friendly books 
that looked down from their places to greet him. 

For forty-two years Mrs. Chapin had given to him 
the great strength of her character, the. thoughtfulness 
of her mind, the devotion of her heart; and he had come 
to confide in her in very many matters as a child trusts 
to its mother. In some important particulars she was 
a fortunate counterpoise to his own deficiences. She 
was of a singularly firm and even temperament, while 
he was prone to oscillate between the extremes of ec- 
stasy and depression, -^ to-day soaring to the mount of 
transport, and to-morrow walking pensively in some 
sombre valley ; and hence it was often her lot to raise 
him from his moods of despondency, by imparting to 
him the cheer of her vision and the fortitude of her 
wilL Her ambition was greater than his, and she 
spurred him on to achievements he otherwise would not 
have won, but from the toils of which in some in- 
stances, most likely, it were better that he had been 
spared, and ui^ed to seek rest. By her rare adminis- 
trative talent — a talent not found in the circle of his 
gifts — she was a constant and efficient aid to him, by 
wise counsels, as a writer of most of the letters due from 
his hand, and as a manager of his business affairs. To 
her he entrusted the entire management of the household, 
and gave himself wholly to his profession. She heartily 
shared his interest in the church and in humanity, and 
carried dignity, a high moral sentiment, and a steady zeal 



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156 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

intx) her labors for these great causes. Thus mutually ' 
blessed by their four decades of married life, they were 
not long separated. On the 22d of July, 1881, while at 
her home at Pigeon Cove, the messenger came unan- 
nounced and bore her to the side of her absent com- 
panion ; and from her home in New York her body, 
queenly in death, was carried to share with his the long 
repose at Greenwood. 

As he loved and honored his wife, so his heart went 
out in a strong and tender affection for his children 
and grandchildren. As a chief pleasure of his life he 
sat in their midst, and lived and toiled for them. His 
home seriousness was not of the monkish order, which 
would forbid jests and smiles, and impose thorny gir- 
dles. He invited mirth to season the domestic life, 
and would set the house to ringing with the laughter 
he provoked by his wit and frolic. Among the chil- 
dren he was often like a child in playfulness. With 
impromptu rhymes about their trifles he delighted to 
divert them, and often tested their skill at solving 
conundrums, most of which were original and ofiF-hand. 
A single query put to his daughter in her younger 
years is characteristic of his sportive habit. She was a 
short and plump girl, seeming smaller than she really 
was, and a dark brunette, with a good Spanish face as 
one would meet in Madrid ; and he addressed her with 
the question: "Marion, why are you like a famous 
Boston publishing house?" She gave it up. "Be- 
cause,** said he, "you are little and brown" (Little & 
Brown). 

Two sons survive him, Frederic H. Chapin and Dr. 
Sidney H. Chapin, and one daughter, Mrs. Marion 



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MINISTRY IN NEW YOBK. 157 

Chapin Davison. Of the five grandchildren to whom 
he gave his patriarchal benediction, little Ethel Davi- 
son — the pet and companion of his months of sickness, 
following him through the bookstores, riding with him 
in the parks, and even going to the Monday ministers' 
meeting with him, a fresh tendril clinging to the falling 
oak — has passed from earth, to find, no doubt, her strong 
and tender earthly friends " watching and waiting at the 
Beautiful Gate " to give her their hearty welcome, as 
when, after a night of slumber, she came to them with 
her fresh morning face. 



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PIGEON COVE. 

Between Massachusetts Bay and Ipswich Bay lies 
a rocky, grovy, romantic reach of land known as Cape 
Ann. It is mainly occupied by the three towns, 
Gloucester, Eockport, and Annisquam. For sea views 
and sea air it is not surpassed by any part of the New 
England coast, and we may well believe the tradition 
that it was a favorite haunt for the Indians, as it is now 
the chosen summer resort of the cultivated. Even the 
rudest eye could not miss its charms, nor the most stolid 
flesh be insensible to the cool and refreshing breezes 
which, during the heated term, sweep across it 

The credit of making the first survey of this land is 
given to Captain John Smith, a romantic Enghsh ad- 
venturer, who came here in 1614, and foUawed the 
coast from Penobscot Bay to Cape Cod. Coming fresh 
from some Oriental adventures, and bringing a grateful 
memory of the kindness of a Turkish lady whose name 
was Tragebigzanda, he conferred upon the Cape, though 
a loyal subject of England, the name of his Moham- 
medan benefactress. Whittier saw the poetry in the 
scene and set it in verse : — 

" On yonder rocky Cape which braves 
The stonny challenge of the waves, 



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PIGEON COVE. 159 

Midst tangled vine and dwarfish wood 
The hardy Anglo-Saxon stood. 
Planting upon the topmost crag 
The staff of England's battle-flag ; 
And, while from out its heavy fold 
* St. Geoige's crimson cross unrolled. 

Midst roll of dram and trumpet blare. 
And weapons brandishing in air. 
He gave to that lone promontory 
The sweetest name in all his story." 

But a people who cared little for a Turkish woman, 
and whose tongues did not take readily to the burden 
of an Oriental term, soon found reason for re-naming 
their region after their own queen, the gentle Anne. 

The northernmost point of the cape, commanding a 
full view of Ipswich Bay and an outlook upon the 
broadest part of Massachusetts Bay, became known as 
Pigeon Cove, and its most prominent elevation as Pigeon 
HilL On their journey north, before crossing the 
water to New Hampshire or to the coast of Maine, these 
migratory birds were wont to assemble in great numbers 
at this point, and to make a landing on their return 
flight. Even now small flocks of pigeons are often 
seen here, while they are rarely found in other parts of 
the State. 

The Cove itself is a suflScient recess in the rocky 
bluffs to contain a small village, which, before the 
transformations wrought in the interest of summer resi- 
dents, was of most humble aspects. To-day the ancient 
buildings, small and rude in form, quaintly mingle with 
the larger and more ornamental modem structures, such 
as boarding-houses and hotels. Nowhere are the con- 
trasts of old and new more striking. 

Outside of the. Cove, stretching along the rugged 



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160 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

bluffs which rise from the sea to the west, is a rambling 
street of spacious summer homes, and among these 
stands the picturesque cottage built by Dr. Chapin, and 
occupied, for a decade of summers at least, by the Chapin 
family. It is located on a site which was a great favor- 
ite ^vith its builder, commanding an unobstructed sea 
view, and having a gradually sloping ledge, six or eight 
rods deep, from its waterside to the ocean, serving as a 
pleasant promenade. A few rods to the west is 
" Chapin's Gully, a great notch cut into the shore 
of solid granite where it is highest and boldest" The 
notch may be forty or more feet wide, and at its en- 
trance from the land side is a broad rock, "at low tide 
halt in the water/* known as Chapin's Eock. This 
rocky enclosure seems made for a private bath, and here 
for nearly thirty summers was Dr. Chapin accustomed 
to go, with a chosen friend or two, to take his sport 
-with the salt sea-water- 

Back of the sea-wall, stretching away toward the vil- 
lages of Annisquam and Rockport, are most inviting 
rambles by winding paths, through fresh plots of green 
tfward, and through oak and pine groves, and on to 
rocky outlooks from which land and sea may be easily 
6canned, and a hundred vessels counted on a favoring 
day, with their white sails gleaming against the dark 
wajbera. But beyond Pigeon Hill or some near eminence 
Dr. Chapin rarely wandered, preferring to sit on his 
veranda, with a book in hand or a friend at his side, 
and to let nature, as land, sky, and sea, drift in on his 
receptive souL His heavy form and clumsy walk niled 
him out of the company of the light and nimble, who 
took happily to long strolls over the rough country. 



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PIGEON COVE. 161 

And better than he loved the land he loved the sea, 
and entered with a keen sympathy into all its shifting 
moods. Its dreamy summer haze, in which the idle 
vessels seemed like phantoms, soothed him to a delight- 
ful rest. The storm, dirkness, and mystery of its 
depths, and its boundless reaches, were a perpetual sug- 
gestion to him of the infinite ; and he could say with 
the poet : — 

" In gentle moods I love the hills, 
. Because they bound my spirit ; 
But to the broad blue sea I fly, 
When I would feel the destiny, 
Immortal souls inherit" 

He loved the breaking of the day over the waters, 
and the morning newness and freshness of the ocean 
air. The broad, white lights, under the mid-day sun, 
pleased him. The cool eve, at the close of a burning 
day, the gloaming, the kindling of the lighthouse lamps 
on the rocky points, the rising of the moon and the 
brilliant path it lit up across ^the watery plain, the 
music of the darkened waves plashing against their 
rocky wall, — he took in the full inspiration of the 
evening scene, and went to his night's sleep as frOm a 
fitting prelude, to which he would add a reverent read- 
ing from his Bible and a trustful prayer. Nor was the 
wild uproar of the storm out of harmony with his soul, 
which rose gladly with the tumult into the mood of 
rapture ; and amid the double commotion he would re- 
peat the lines of Tennyson : — 

" Break, break, break. 

On thy cold gray stones, Sea ! 
And I would that my ton^e could utter 
The thoughts that arise in me." 
11 



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162 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

/ 

"If I had but four breaths to draw," he remarked 
once when speaking in Faneuil Hall, " I should wish to 
draw one of them in the air of home and sacred duty, 
one of them in the gorge of the White Mountains, one 
by the broad and foamiug sea, and the other in old 
FaneuU HalL" 

But not more by his love of the ocean, more loved at 
this point, where it had grown familiar and assumed 
friendly relations than at any other, was he annually 
drawn to Pigeon Cove, and filled with a boy-like impa- 
tience as the time drew near for the trip, than by the 
free and happy social life he there enjoyed with his 
friends, who, from year to year, made it their rule to 
meet him by the sea. For at least twenty summers he 
boarded with the Norwoods, who first kept the old 
Pigeon Cove House and later the new, and here came 
regularly a group of his Charlestown parishionets, Eich- 
ard Frothingham and his family, T. T. Sawyer and his 
family, Starr King, and others, to renew, as fellow-board- 
ers, happy associations with the man they honored and 
loved. Frothingham and Sawyer finally built their sum- 
mer homes near the Chapin Cottage. Here he annually 
met Eev. Henry C. Leonard, than whom he had no more 
intimate friend, the twain sharing in common gravity, 
levity, simplicity, and a gift for long sittings in sweet 
converse. Often his most intimate New York friends 
came on to visit him at the Cove, since they could rarely 
find him, or find him unoccupied, at his city home. 
With the burden of ten months of hard toil — in his study, 
in his pulpit and parish, and on at least a hundred lect- 
ure platforms from Maine to Iowa — lifted from his soul, 
he revelled in his emancipation and gave his heart freely 



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PIGEON COVE. 163 

to his friends, contributing, as seemed most to their 
\ choice, serious converse, or stories and flashes of wit. 

In his earlier day, at the old Pigeon Cove House, he 
was the life of the evening in the parlor. Into the 
games he entered with a zest that was as diverting to 
tlie guests as the players themselves. His hearty laugh 
rang through the building, and his wonted exclamation, 
" Capital, capital 1" as a good hit was made in any piece 
of sport, was as cheering to others as it was relieving to 
himself. 

If any one ventured, ais one now and then did in 
sport, to play on him some joke, he was sure to parry 
the undertaking like a skilful fencer, and turn the 
laugh on the person who made the assault On one oc- 
casion, with mock solemnity of form and speech, a pump- 
kin, with a face cut on one side of it, was presented to 
him as a bust wrought by some great artist. The scheme 
had been conceived and conducted by his friend William 
H. Richardson, who made the presentation. Mr. Chapin 
promptly rose and responded, saying he had " long been 
aware of Mr. Richardson's friendship and generosity tow- 
ard him, and they could all now gee, since he could not 
give him his own head, he had given him the next thiug 
to it" Returning thanks he took his seat, and Mr. Rich- 
ardson took the hearty laugh that followed. With a no 
less apt reply did he turn back Starr King's attempt to 
comer him. It was at the dinner table, when all tlie 
guests were listening to the banter of the two witty 
friends, that King said : " Chapin, I have just been think- 
ing of the difference between you and me. You have rep- 
utation and I have character." Before the laugh had time 
to get under way, Chapin replied : " You are right, King. 



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164 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

I have a good reputation and you have a bad charac- 
ter." Mr. King well knew his challenge for a fine retort 
would bring one, but it is probable he did not foresee the 
response as it came. 

It was his delight in the earlier years to take two or 
three good friends, like Starr King and the Rev. Henry 
C. Leonard, and stroll away to the Chapin Gully, and, 
after the exhilaration of a bath, to sit on the Chapin 
Rock and tell stories and frolic with wit, or engage in 
more serious convene. One can but wish these stony 
walls might whisper the wise and meriy words which 
have fallen against them from these lips now silent. 
More interesting than romance would be the recital; 
better than medicine for the dyspeptic would be the 
hearty laughter thus provoked. As a sample of the 
feasts here served, a single pun from the lips of Chapin 
may be repeated. In those long-ago days when Starr 
King was still a Univeraalist minister, but was often 
accused, by the " straitest of the sect," of preaching the 
doctrine too "indefinitely," he and Chapin had just 
come from a bath, when the former said : — 

"Doctor, I can't hear very well; I have some water 
in my ear." 

" Well," replied Chapin, " I am glad of it ; anything 
to make you a little more deaf in it {definite)!* 

The sense of the pun is remote but apt, and must 
have drawn a hearty laugh from him at whose laxity of 
creed it was so deftly aimed. 

Seated on the Chapin Rock, the brilliant King would 
sometimes favor the select group with one of his rare 
readings or recitations. In his most interesting volume 
on "Pigeon Cove and Vicinity," the Rev. Henry C. 
Leonard, one of these friendly triumvirs, says : — 



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PIGEON COVE. 165 

Who of the company that used to ramble with him 
(King) will ever set foot on our shore, or hear the stir of 
leaves and the twitter of birds in our woods, without a 
thought of himi Sometimes the ramblers rested an hour in 
the shade of the pines where the sleeping sea, whispering as 
if in dreams, just made itself heard. Then he of youthful 
but regal presence, and of marvellously musical tongue, read 
the poetry of Wordsworth or the prose of Ruskin, making 
more vital and glowing the thoughts of either. Once, after 
a stroll and a refreshing bath, the same audience gave ear to 
the same orator and interpreter, in the amphitheatre-like pit of 
Cliapin's Gully. None of the company so favored will 
ever forget the spell of the moments while he recited the 
stirring, musical lines, then new to all, of Tennyson's ''Bugle 
Song." 

Into the serious or festive moods of the citizens of 
the little hamlet by the sea Mr. Chapin entered with a 
quick and unaffected sympathy. On all special occa- 
sions of sorrow or joy he placed his eloquence at their 
service. Thus was it when the Atlantic cable had 
been successfully laid, linking the two lands, England 
and the United States, in immediate contact, and the 
people would celebrate the event with a commingling 
of gravity and festivity. He consented to be the 
orator of the day, and entered into all the arrange- 
ments with a hearty co-operation. From the Pigeon 
Cove House, where he boarded, were suspended the 
British and American flags, with the words, " Atlantic 
Telegraph," made of oak leaves sewed on a white can- 
vas, stretching between the two flag-poles. England 
and America were personified in the procession by two 
young ladies dressed in white; and John Bull and 



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166 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Brother Jonathan by two men, the one short and 
plump, and the other tall and gaunt, and each clad m 
character. From an old captured gun thirteen shots 
were fired in honor of the original States, and . one each 
for England and America. After the reading of a 
poem by T. W. Higginson, the Poet of the Day, Mr. 
Chapin mounted the platform, and " from a humorous 
introduction proceeded to consider the event in four 
aspects: 1. its Utility; 2. its Poetry; 3. its Human- 
ity ; and 4. its Divinity, or Providential significance. 
He closed with an apostrophe to the ocean and the 
telegraphic wire." To the familiar hymn, sung to the 
tune, " God Save the Queen," he added the following 
stanza, which was chanted with emphatic fervor by a 
thousand voices : — 

" God keep us all in peace ; 
Let truth and love increaao 

Both realms between. 
Long may the iron band 
Stretch forth from strand to strand 1 
God bless our Fatherland I 

God bless the Queen 1 " 

At his boarding-place in the evening there was a 
fine show of fireworks, and " amid the happy scene his 
clarion voice often rung out in peals of laughter." The 
occasion, looking to a greater fraternity of nations, had 
been one to touch the deepest sentiments of his soul, 
and fill him with joy. 

But amid all the rest, and free and easy social life of 
the seaside, Dr. Chapin never forgot his Maker, nor 
neglected his daily devotions at the altar of worship. 
No conditions were permitted to rule out his reverence, 
or to hush his voice of prayer. He was much less a 



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PIGEON COVE. 167 

wit than he was a worshipper, and no company, how- 
ever congenial and hilarious, could lure him from his 
shrine. Wherever the morning and the mid-day and 
the evening found him, there he set up his altar and 
suspended every interest of mind and heart that he 
might engage in prayer. The spirit and habit of the 
man in this respect are well disclosed by an incident 
which transpired in another place. It is related by 
J. S. Denms, who was at the time of its occurrence the 
pastor of the Warren Street Universalist Society in 
Boston, and an intimate friend of Mr. Chapin, who was 
still a resident of that city. 

When I first knew Mr. Chapin he held his inner self 
aloof, and I saw little of him when out of his pulpit, except 
his levity. But gradually, and at first almost shyly, he 
opened the door to his deeper questionings and longings, 
and at last talked freely of his spiritual contests and vic- 
tories, of his purposes and aspirations. I have heard him in 
public when most commanding and eloquent, when his moral 
and spiritual greatness and insight seemed more than human ; 
but I have been alone with him when he moved my wonder 
and reverence immeasurably more. I recall one such occa- 
sion when I had driven with him out from Boston in the 
bitter cold, and heard him lecture to a small and, as I 
thought, stolid audience. He evidently lacked inspiration, 
and we went to our cheerless hotel quarters almost silent. 
Our rooms adjoined, a door opening between them. In his 
room was a nearly burned-out fire. We sat before it a few 
minutes, when he took from his satchel a Testament and read 
John's account of our Saviour's touching address to his dis- 
ciples, beginning with " I am the true vine." His voice was 
low and tremulous, and at last almost a whisper. Closing the 
volume, and holding it in his hands, he knelt and prayed. 



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168 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

The prayer was not long, but it was so simple, so humble, so 
pathetic ; it so anxiously besought the Divine support and 
guidance and spirit ; he brought his loved ones for help and 
blessing with such tender solicitude; he thanked Heaven 
with such fervor and catholicity for the words and work of 
all good men ; he left the race to the great providence of God 
with such quiet trust, and looked forward to the life beyond 
with such childlike confidence and hope, that I said to my- 
self then, and the thought has grown with me ever since : 
" What wonder that he so moves others when his whole brain 
and heart and soul are so loyal, so chastened, so consecrated ! " 

But this touching experience of Mr. Dennis was not 
exceptional. Many have been thus surprised and im- 
pressed by the scrupulous fidelity of Mr. Chapin to his 
devotions, as well as by his simplicity and tenderness in 
theiiL " Nothing could keep him from his prayers," is 
the testimony of his daughter. Thus at Pigeon Cove 
he would call the merriest group to the evening worship 
before retiring for the night ; and on Wednesday even- 
ings, when there was a prayer-meeting at the little village 
church, he would leave the happiest social circle and go 
to mingle his devotions with the ten or twenty souls who 
would assemble for song and prayer. It mattered not 
that these were the humblest of disciples, and gathered 
in the plainest of rooms, — he loved their spirit and was 
helped by their sympathy, and was more than repaid by 
surrendering a festive hour for one of worship. The 
Eev. Mr. Vibbert, at one time pastor of the Pigeon Cove 
parish, says : "Dr. Chapin would come to our little con- 
ference meeting and speak most eloquently to tien or 
fifteen persons, and he would sometimes come when he 
was so feeble that some member of the family would 
follow him for fear he would fall by the way." 



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PIGEON COVE. 169 

On each returning summer he was accustomed to give 
the parish a Sunday's service which became known as 
Chapin's Sunday. On this day the people, rich and 
poor, boarders and citizens, flocked to hear the eloquent 
preacher ; and he made an annual appeal, at the end of 
his kindling service, for contributions to defray the cur- 
rent expenses of the society, hoping to draw -aid from 
his wealthy hearers. His meeting was often held in 
some grove, or on some rocky blufif, to give the crowd, 
wliich would be mostly shut out of the little church, a 
chance to attend and engage in the worship. 

"On one occasion, never to be forgotten," writes Miss 
Duley, " I heard him at Pigeon Cove when he preached an 
out-of-door sermon to a vast multitude collected, one perfect 
summer day, on the rocks. He seemed to translate to his 
rapt audience the very sound of the wind and waves. His 
topic was the Love of God. 'What else,' said he, 'will sup- 
port us when the great waves are washing to our lips and 
eternity is pressing in upon us ! * " 

To preach by the sea was his delight, it so inspired 
him by its fresh air and its mystery and power, and fur- 
nished him such grand figures of speech. In his own 
poem on "The Waters" he had sung its effect on liim- 
self: — 

" It is the souVb interpreter, 

That vast, mysterious sea, — 
A scroU from which the spirit readsy 
And knows eternity." 

But aside -from the Chapin Sunday at the Cove, he 
ordinarily occupied on the sacred day, by an appoint- 
ment holding over from a previous year, a pulpit in 
Boston or vicinity, to which the people would crowd to 
enjoy an annual feast of eloquence. On the following 



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170 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

morning, having made, if possible, a hasty call at the 
Universalist publishing office, aud told a new story or 
two to the assembled ministers, and visited a book-store 
to make some purchases, he would take an early train 
away from the dusty and stifled town and seek again the 
grateful coolness and odor of the ocean. 

Br. Chapin was both loved and esteemed at Pigeon 
Cove by its frank and trusty people, to whom he had 
become a familiar presence ; and sad, indeed, were these 
kindly hearts when it was apparent that he had come 
there for the last time. This was in the summer of 
1880. In the winter previous he had visited the place 
to see his dear friend the Eev. Henry C. Leonard, who 
was sick unto death. All the way from New York, 
himself broken in health and haggard in look, he had 
journeyed to meet his old comrade once more, and s6j 
to him a cheering word, and take a final look at his 
benignant face and a last grasp of his friendly hand. 
Gladly the two friends met, but it was painfully evident 
that both had wellnigh numbered their days on earth. 
Having called at Charlestown on his way, to see the his- . 
torian Frothingham, who was sick and near unto death, 
yet hoping for the return of health, he told Mr. Leon- 
ard of this hopeful frame of mind, aud said: "Well, 
Henry, that is the way for sick people; if I was going 
to die soon, I would not thank any one to tell me of it." 
"Neither would I," said Henry. "And when Dr. Chapin 
left, knowing my husband must soon die," writes Mrs. 
Leonard, "it was' a hand-shake and 'God bless you, 
Henry,* and a parting no more to meet in the flesh." 

Before returning to the place in the following Aug- 
ust he had become a confirmed invalid, weak and 



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PIGEON COVE. 171 

almost helpless, with many signs of the coming change 
written on face and form. Meanwhile, by advice of 
his physician. Dr. James R Wood, he had tried in vain 
the virtue of a trip to Europe, departing on the 22d of 
May and returning on the 7th of August. Besting a 
little at his home in New York, he started for the las^ 
time on the familiar trip to Pigeon Cove, not now eager 
and hilarious as of old, but patient and silent In sad- 
ness his old friends saw his helplessness, and one and 
another volunteered to roll liim in his invalid chair 
from place to place, as a sort of sacred service. So 
many and eager were the hands waiting to take their 
turn at the kindly act, that the man employed for 
the task was hardly permitted to perform it. But 
not alone by their own -hearts were these friends 
compensated for their kindness, for he was still both 
wise and witty, and charmed them with his rare say- 
ings, while his gratitude was manifest to alL Many 
were the puns perpetrated from this rolling-chair, and 
some of them are cherished as among his best, and 
seem glorified as the happy utterances of a dying man. 
These bright strokes of wit, amid the gathering cloud 
of death, seem like the fabled notes of the dying swan, 
into which she pours her most cheerful tones. 

As characteristic of the man it is fitting that a 
couple of these bright flashes amid the shadows should 
be here perpetuated. As a friend was one day rolling 
him, and discovered the wheel-marks of his carriage 
made on a previous day, he remarked : "I see, Doctor, 
you have already left your tracks here." " Yes," re- 
sponded Chapin, " I was once a popular preacher, but 
all I am good for now is to go about the streets leaving 



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172 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. ' 

4;racts (tracJcs,)" On one occasion some friends had 
rolled him to the residence of the Frothinghams, an^ 
lifted him and his carriage up two or three steps on to 
the veranda, that he might be one of the company there 
gathered for a social hour. During his stay Mrs. Froth- 
ingham rolled him about on the platform for their 
mutual diversion, and also treated him to some lemon- 
ade and cake. As he was about to leave he gratefully 
returned his thanks, saying, " Mrs. Frothingham, you 
have been very kind to me ; you have given me lem- 
onade, some cake, and a roll,'* 

From the middle of July to the middle of September 
was the ordinary period of Chapin's stay at Pigeon 
Cove ; and during this time he would read in his 
hasty way many books and magazines, re-write an old 
lyceum lecture which hard usage had worn out, or 
write one on some new theme, think into form and 
spirit a course of sermons for his pulpit during the 
coming winter, and preoccupy his mind and heart 
with texts of Scripture and topics for his more ordinary 
discourses. And thus would he return to his people 
with new sources of mental power, as well as a fresher 
spirit and a more buoyant physical lifa 

" As music, when rapt voices die, 
Vibrates in the memory," 

so lingered the inspirations of the sea in Chapin, and 
for months they reappeared in the clearness and force 
of his thoughts, the ardor of his sentiments, and the 
sway of his eloquence. 



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XI. 

THE FUNERAL. 

It is a solemn hour when the gifted and powerful, 
laid low hy death, are borne by friendly hands to the al- 
tar where the funeral rite is to be observed and the last 
look taken at the honored face ; but the solemnity leaves 
a deeper sadness when the distinguished departed has 
lived his life out of his heart, and been a helper of souls 
in the most sacred and tender ways. As the endear- 
ment is thus greater, the sorrow will be the more in- 
tense. Grief is bom of love. The sad wail is a note 
from the stricken heart At the funeral of a mighty 
statesman, if he has been only a maker or modifier of the 
laws, there will be a dignified mourning, but sighs and 
tears will not be conspicuous amid the scene. But if 
the statesman has been also a sweet and kind soul, 
cheering the people in dark hours by his sympathy, 
blessing them by a kindly wisdom, showing his love in 
little wayside acts of humanity, like an Abraham Lin- 
coln, then will there be around his bier the breaking 
down of hearts, and sighs and tears will tell of the 
great sorrow within. 

Thus at the funeral of Dr. Chapin it was evident 
that one specially dear to the people was mourned. 
Li every aspect of the scene it was made apparent that 



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174 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

"a man of heart and sacred ministries, in which many 
had shared,^ had passed away, and that a grateful love 
sought to pay him its feeling tribute. The draping of 
his church for the solemn hour, the hushed throng 
of people, women in tears and strong men bowing in 
grief, rich but plaintive masic, and tender words by 
friendly and eloquent lips, told the story in a most 
touching way of Chapin's hold upon the aflTections. 
The scene was a testimony, not so much to the 
brilliance of his gifts, as to the strength and 
beauty of his charabter, his simple piety and broad 
humanity, his bold stand for the just and true, and 
his Good Samaritan readiness to pour oil on the 
wounded heart. It was not his eloquence that held 
sway in this sad hour, but the finer and nobler quali- 
ties* of his lite. 

The sombre drapery of the temple was everywhere 
relieved, as was fitting, by some brighter color, indi- 
cating that grief was blended with gratitude and hope. 
The brilliant stained glass window behind the chancel 
was shrouded in black cloth, but over this were trailing 
festoons of smilax, with many white roses abloom on 
the flowing green. At the centre of the window was a 
large tablet of white flowers, and on this snowy disk 
were wrought in violets the words : " He is risen." A 
large floral field, from which a golden sheaf had been 
gathered, bore the device: " Our Shepherd." It was a trib- 
ute from the pastorless flock. The empty pulpit wore a 
black robe adorned with lilies and other fragrant white 
flowers. Crosses, crowns, and wreaths were placed in 
every possible situation ; and waving high in the air 
were triumphant palms, telling of victory on earth and 



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THE FUNERAL. 175 

joy in heaven. The fronts of the galleries and the or-' 
gan were made expressive of this hopeful sorrow, by a 
skilful blending of lights and shades; and the large 
clock, with its hands arrested at the points indicating 
the moment of his last breath, 11.47, near the midnight 
hour, hung like a silent monitor wreathed with vines 
and flowers. Esteem and love had done their best to 
express in symbols their deep grief. 

At. an early hour the crowd began to gather into the 
solemn temple, which the great preacher had glorified 
and made a sacred shrine. As men and women took 
their seats it was observed that many wept, and many 
softly whispered their praises of the great and good 
minister, and breathed their regrets that they should 
never again hear his voice and feel the touch of his 
mighty flaming spirit and cheering lova Rapidly and 
silently the pews filled and the aisles were occupied, 
j9ave the reserved space ; and a crowd waited patiently 
on the sidewalk, in the bitter December day, hoping for 
admission, or desiring to see the coffin which contained 
the cherished form. They must somehow do honor to 
the dead preacher and friend of man. 

As the funeral procession entered the church and 
moved slowly up the aisle with its sacred dust, the vast 
audience, rising to its feet, seemed overwhelmed with 
grief, sobs were heard from all quarters, tears fell from 
many eyes, hearts seemed breaking with their great sor- 
row. Meanwhile, the organ was sighing the funeral 
march by Mendelssohn. When the casket had been de- 
posited in its place and the cortege was seated, the choir 
sung the dirge, " Sleep thy last Sleep," in a hushed, 
far-away tone, and the closing note was followed by a 



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176 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

moment of absolute silence, as if hearts were absent 
with the departed. The impressive pause was broken 
by the voice of President Capen of Tufts College, who 
read from the Bible and led in a simple and fitting 
prayer. " Oh, rest in the Lord," was sung, and the Eev. 
Dr. Pullman, appointed to conduct the services, rose 
and said : — 

Dearly beloved brethren, — Under the sense of a heavy, 
remediless, and, for us, unspeakable loss, we have sought to dis- 
charge this service in some manner which would comport with 
the dignity and simplicity of the character of our departed 
brother; and we have therefore asked our friends, some of 
those who knew him and loved him, to come here and speak 
the words which for us, to-day, are impossible of utterance. 

The speakers were Kobert CoUyer, Henry Ward 
Beecher, and Rev. Dr. Armitage, all of whom had 
come close to the heart of Chapin, and had some rem- 
iniscence of his life to set before the people, to show 
him in the light in which he had impressed them. So 
far as space will permit, it is fitting that their testimo- 
nies, in their own words, should appear on these pages. 
Mr. Collyer said : — 

I could not but feel, dear friends, when I opened my paper 
the other day and read that line, ** Dr. Chapin dead," that a 
mist of sadness had fallen on the brightness of our Christmas 
time, all over this city and all over this land Where joy 
was, there would be a touch of deep and very painful sorrow 
in tens of thousands of homes, because we all know together 
how deeply and tenderly our dear brother dwelt in the heart 
of this nation. He was not only your friend and mine, 
he was not only a brother to the ministers who have gathered 
here this morning about his dust^ but I always used to feel 



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THE FUNERAL. 177 

that he had the widest and warmest friendship of almost any 
man I ever knew or heard o£ Long before I met him in mj 
residence, far away from this city and far from the scene 
of his labors, in the wild western couiitry, on the prairies 
and lone places where a handful of men dwelt together, or in 
some utterly lonesome place? as I can remember as I am 
speaking to you, where some one family dwelt, as it was my 
lot now and then for many reasons to travel through that 
country, the man of all men, of whom all men, as it seemed 
to me, would speak most tenderly and lovingly, was Dr. 
Chapin. 

The wilderness and solitary places were glad for him ; the 
desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose because he has lived 
his life. Men would come here &om far and wide to catch 
some mighty word out of his heart, take it with them, and 
it would become a mighty word in their hearts again. So 
that word had a permanent value. Seldom can we pass for 
good current coin, with the sealed mark on it and full weighty 
through other churches and through our community. Some- 
times, in proportion to the height to which a man attains in 
his own denomination of Christian folks, may be the question- 
mark that other denominations write against his name. I 
have heard men of every name and denomination speak of 
* Dr. Chapin ; but I never to my recollection (and I have been 
trying to find out if I might not be mistaken) heard a man 
on this earth yet speak of him with a btit. It was always 
with a loving and large loyalty, as of a man they could trust 
utterly, a man they could love utterly. All over the land where 
I have been travelling it has been the same j among all the 
people I have met it has been the same. 

I wish I could allow myself the time to say the word 
which is in my heart; but I got up especially to say that it 
has lain in my way to see him a good deal during the months 
of his feebleness. We lived not far apart; and I think I was 

12 



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178 UFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

very selfish about it ; for whenever I wanted "to get myself 
into some sort of accord with divine faith, if I could but 
think the dear man would like to see me, I would try and 
persuade myself that would be the way to do it, and I would 
go and talk with him. I could not help him, but I wanted 
him to help me. Saturday afternoons, when the Sabbath 
drew on, I wanted to feel the touch of the divine spirit ; I 
went to see him ; and it was so sweet, so lovely, to be with 
him an hour and have him talk with me. He did not talk 
much about those mighty matters that sometimes shake the 
soul and sometimes lift it up into heaven. We sat down and 
talked like two brothers of many things ; once and again he 
would touch the old, grand days through which he had come ; 
and 1 would tiy to tell him in some way of something he 
had done, something I remembered; and it would touch him. 
But he was too humble to make much of it ; he left all that 
with God. But he was so bright, so cheerful. The joy of 
the Lord was his strength. I used to think that was his 
secret, and having struck this mighty truth to which he con- 
secrated his life so utterly, — of the love, the eternal love, the 
limitless love, the perfect love of God, — he might even have 
made this the psalm of his life : '' When the Lord turned 
again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with 
singing." The love of God was the psalm of his life. Where 
is the man who has sung that psalm more grandly, more ten- 
derly, or with deeper and diviner purpose ) It is the psalm 
that came out of his heart which beats no longer for us on 
the earth. 

Mr. Beecher came to the funeral of his long-tried and 
genial friend, not as to a house of mourning, but to a 
place where the notes of triumph and hope were to be 
sounded. His thoughts were of a great victory won, a 



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THE FUNERAL. 179 

worthy victor crowned, and his voice refused to fall into 
the minor key. With his keen zest of health, whose 
laws he scrupulously observes, his sorrow had been to 
meet Dr. Chapin in the later years as one whose body, 
worn and wasted, was no more an adequate instrument 
for his grand and fiery genius. He had compassion on 
the ardent intellect and teeming heart which were set at 
a sad diasdvantage by their alliance with a broken ma- 
chine, which seemed to have got beyond the possibility 
pf repairs. He saw the time had arrived for his eman- 
cipation, and that be was fitly called from bondage to 
liberty. He said : — 

I suppose that I have been asked to be present and take 
part iu these services because I knew Dr. Chapin and because 
I loved him. I did know him ; I did love him. We were 
thrown together for a whole voyage, and we were thrown 
together for short journeys many, many times, and we met 
together in various ways and divers places. And he was of 
that nature that once having opened himself and mingled his 
confidence with reciprocal confidence, there never could be 
any pause or hesitation afterward. 

I am not come here, my friends, to mourn, nor to help any 
that mourn to mourn more. When the apostle declared at 
the close of his life that he had fought a good fight, that he 
had kept the faith, that the time of his departure was at 
hand, that a crown was laid up for him, he did not intend 
that to be a requiem, nor the key-note to sorrow. We do not 
grieve when the young man steps out well equipped in life, 
with prospects before him; and yet that is the time for sor- 
row, if any. When a man has fought hfe's battle all the way 
through and victoriously come to the end, that is no time for 
sorrow. Here has a great battle been fought, and a complete 
victory has been won; and I am here to congratulate you. 



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180 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

members of this Christian communion, and I am here also to 
minister to those who are so near and so dear, as that their 
very love, so twined with the charities of his love, will be 
filled with the gladness that ought to attend the departure of 
a soul so radiant as his was. I thank God that he has gone, 
that the golden door has opened. On the other side of life no 
sun shall go down again, and no winter shall come again to 
him. He stands where God is the light, and where the heart 
of God, through love, gives love and joy and every pleasant 
thing. Shall I mourn over himi I thank God for what he 
was. Every man has the chart of what he is to be marked 
out in him at birth. He was the son of an ancestry that 
inherited the promises of God; and he received as his birth- 
right the accumulated moral tendencies that belong to" a Kew 
England Puritan ancestry. It worked out in this, that moral 
considerations lay at the base of every consideration through- 
out his life. I thank God that he gave to him that moral 
courage that has enabled him on some great questions to take 
the right side, and, having taken it, to fight, not with bloody 
weapons, nor with bitterness, nor with wrath, nor with ascetic 
conscience, but with love. It was that spirit of sympathy 
with mankind that allied him to the great Redeemer and to 
the fundamental conception of the High Priest, — one that 
could have compassion on the ignorant, and on those that 
are out of the way. His great heart went out to those that 
needed him. 

There are two styles of instructors, both honorable; one of 
whom makes conscience the- standpoint, and finally brings in 
love as an argument and accompaniment of the result. The 
other takes love for the standpoint, and brings in conscience 
as a di3criminating element, a measuring and dividing influ- 
ence. This is seldom absolutely pure. Men that have the 
element of benevolence also are more or less equipped with 
Conscience. Men of a stem conscience have, though you 



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THE FUNERAL. 181 

cannot find it always, a centre of sympathy and love. But 
Dr. Chapin belonged to that number whose soul was filled 
with love. The irpepressible personality of his disposition 
carried him in those ways that should give the largest sweep 
and scope to love ; and all his deeds in life were inevitably 
influenced by that central element in his temperament, a 
spirit of sympathy with the unfortunate ; . and it made his 
life and that of those around about him blessed. 

His mind travelled very widely, — not as an explorer, but as 
one travels round and round the globe to bring home some- 
thing of the scientific treasures that belong to the air and to 
the sea and to every land. He kept himself in the front line 
of what was thought and what was found out by every prin- 
cipal man in his day and generation. Neither in his mind 
was it a heterogeneous mass, inchoate and undigested. He 
had a singular power of melting into his personality what- 
ever he gathered from other persons ; when it came to him 
afterwards it was his. I am not an ox because I eat ox ; I 
turn it into myself, and make it work as I want it to work. 
He was not all other men because he took from them ; he 
took it into his own economy and his own disposition, and it 
was his. He had the power, too, of making the greatest use 
of things that in themselves were sometimes coarse, and cer- 
tainly homely and of little account. As in the kaleidoscope 
you may take a bit of glass, a J)utton, a hundred little things 
of no worth when alone, but once shut up in that darkened 
glass they fall into forms of beauty, into every figure conceiv- 
able. So it was in the power of Dr. Chapin*s mind to throw 
abroad his net and bring in everything, and when he came to 
use his acquisitions, how symmetrical and kaleidoscopic they 
finally became! 

With all these gifts in him, he never sought himself; he 
was not a self-praiser ; he did not walk about in an atmos- 
phere of seK-consciousness. He had the sense of humility' 



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182 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

that apparently, as it were, drew him inward to a deeper 
consciousness. 

It is a great thing to have been permitted to live as he 
lived, and what he did nobody knows now. He was a seed 
sower. Don't look for him in his coffin ; I know he is not 
here ; he has risen. Don't look for him in his church. But 
look where you please, only God knows how great was his 
wealth of influences, how diverse, widespread, and differing 
in their elements. He has made himself a part of his day 
and generation, — a monument, if there could be a monument. 
As tliere can be no monument to the sea, so can there be no 
monument to a man who has diffused his spirit throughout 
the whole breadth of the ocean of humanity. It is a great 
thing to have lived a healthy life, continually having that life 
consecrated to the best end of liuman life, — a life of conscious 
daily communion with God, a life of love, a life of trust. 
Such was his life. Now the best part of it lias begun. The 
infirmitiea that clouded his later days are over forever. It 
was as if a bath of pain were needful to appear before the 
King. God gave him what discipline He knew to be needful 
for him, and at last He has taken him ; and I am here to say 
to him, "Hail! and farewell ! " — for a little time, for a little 
time. He walks in glory, and we go darkly on yet a few 
days. 

Between Dr. Chapin and Dr. Armitage, of the Fifth 
Avenue Baptist Church, there had ripened through 
thirty years of pleasant intercourse the full bloom of 
friendship, and it was fitting that the voice of the latter 
should be heard in this solemn hour when love and 
memory and hope were alike busy. Speaking in high 
terms of his friend's piety, his loyalty to Christ and 
his love of man, he dwelt mainly on a personal inter- 
view with him near the end of his days, when the 



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THE FUNEBAL. 183 

sands of life had wellnigh run out of the mystic glass. 
He said : — 

Two weeks ago to-day, just before the setting of the sun, I 
went from the side of a loved friend, whom I had buried, to 
the bedside of Dr. Cbapin, not supposing that a couple of 
brief weeks would bring us to the parting and him to the 
dust. It is my custom in entering a sick-chamber, .especially 
the sick-room of a friend, to enter very cheerfully, trying to 
carry a beam of sunshine if I think it is possible, and utter a 
word of cheer. How beautifully he greeted that visit. I 
found him in his study, lying upon a sofa. The moment I 
entered his room, and Mrs. Chapin announced the name, he 
tried to rise ; and, rising perhaps half-way, he said, " I am 
delighted to see you ; come in, thou blessed of the Lord." 

I saw that his mind was clear, but in half an hour's con- 
versation there were now and then slight lapses of memory. 
All the other faculties of heart and soul seemed to be active. 
We entered into a very cheerful conversation about you, dear 
brethren, as a church, about your future — much more about 
you than himself. I said to him in a semi-playful way : 
" Now, Dr. Chapin, you know that ministers' wives always 
say that they have no pastor, and I am sure that we pastors 
have none. Will you allow me to-day, as your old-time 
friend, to be your pastor]" 

He smiled, put out his hand, and said, " Welcome, pastor, 
welcome." 

" Now," I said, " in doing pastoral duty, Doctor, let me 
call your attention to the beautiful words of our common 
Master, who said to his disciples : ' Go preach, and Lo ! I am 
with you all days, even to the end of the world ' ** — quoting 
the passage from the version of 1380. "Now," I said, 
" Doctor, what a wonderful opening of the Redeemer's mind 
this promise grants you : Lo ! I am with you all days ! In 
days of prosperity when in the pulpit, in days of atlversity 



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184 LIFE OF EDWm H. X3HAPIN. 

when in the sick-room, in days of sunshine, in days of dark- 
ness, in days of full power, and in days of full weakness.'' 

He said, " How precious that is ! " 

I said : " Doctor, do you realize now the sweetness of the 
promise of Christ in your broken condition 1 " 

He looked at me with the simplicity of a babe ; but I saw 
a tear moisten his eye and a little tremulousness mingled with 
his voice, as he said : '* My dear brother, what should I do 
without Christ ? Christ is everything to me now." So he 
spoke of the loving Eedeemer. 

I said : "Well then, may I have this consolation. Doctor, 
of knowing that you, who have been in the ministry so long, 
labored so hard, done so much to lift up other minds and 
pour consolation into disconsolate hearts, — that you to-day 
realize the same breadth and fullnees and sweetness of con- 
solation in Christ that you have ministered to others 1 " 

He simply made this answer : " Doctor, Christ to me is 
aU in aU." 

I asked him if it would be pleasant to have a word of 
prayer. He made an effort to rise, as if he greeted the prop- 
osition with great joy. I said : " No, Doctor, you can't rise ; 
do nothing ; lie quietly, and I will kneel at your side with 
my hand in yours ; let us give each other to God our Father 
to-day." 

He said, " Well, we wiU." I bent at his side, and with 
such simplicity and brotherly love and confidence in God as 
I could summon, sought the blessing of heaven upon him. 
He joined in the prayer; he buried his brow in one hand, 
and held my hand with the other. He seemed to glow with 
love. I asked the Lord to give him strength, and if possible 
to spare him to the Church, and presented those wishes at the 
Throne of Grace which any of your hearts would prompt un- 
der similar circumstances. At the close of a brief prayer, as 
I said " Lord, Lord, grant these things to thy servant for 



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THE FUNERAL. 185 

Jesus Christ's sake/' holding my hand with a firm grip, and 
lifting up his eyes toward heaven, in the same ringing, fer- 
vent, strong voice that you have heard so often from his lips, 
his whole nature said, " Amen 1 " 

Referring to what had been said of CHiapin's love of 
Christ, Dr. Pullman, in a brief dosing address, added 
these fitting words : — 

Whoever has spent a day in his house, whoever has 
joined him in the simple morning service, in which he 
acknowledged God and the mercies of the day, had there an 
insight into the simplicity of that heart, which was as a little 
child's in the midst of all the gifts and graces with which ho 
was endowed. Know his Saviour 1 Love his Lord Christ? 
Why, men and brethren, it was that that set him in this pul- 
pit, and that kept him there, and that made the late dark 
days of life all open and bright before him. 

But the best tribute paid to Dr. Chapin was the as- 
sembly itself which gathered around him. It was a 
notable body of people, attesting the order of his merits, 
the scope of his influence, the range of his friendships. 
Every one had plucked some flower or fruit from his 
tree of life, and came to cast an evergreen in his coffin. 
Here were those graced with the richest scholarship of 
the time, and those for whom the schools had done little. 
Here the rich and the poor met in a common sorrow. 
Genius came to confess its loss, and the weak in faith to 
lament that the strong staff on which they leaned had 
been broken. Those he had morally braced to meet the 
temptations of life, and such as felt themselves to be 
spiritually his children, were present to do him honof. 
Here met the white heads and tottering forms from the 
Chapin Home, and the fresh and sportive children and 



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186 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

youth from the Sunday School; and from all sects of 
Christians, the devout ones came to confess him a 
brother in Christ, and to rejoice that a crown had been 
given him in heaven. 

Some months after the service Mr. Beecher said to 
the writer of these pages : " The audience at Chapin's 
funeral was remarkabla It came the nearest being a 
representation of the Church Universal I ever saw, or 
am likely to see in the flesh. Chapin made no sores. 
His thoughts were sweet and noble, and everybody be- 
lieved in him. Not another minister in New York 
could draw such a diversity of people to his burial" 
The city papers noted and commented on this aspect of 
the congregation, and one of them printed the following 
classified but partial hst of clergymen in attendance : — 

Rev. Dr. James M. Pullman, of the Church of Our Sav- 
iour ; Rev. Dr. E. H. Capen, President of Tufts College ; 
Rev. S. A. Gardiner, of the Third Church, and Rev. Almon 
Gunnison, of All Souls' Church, Brooklyn, — all promi- 
nent Universalist ministers ; Rev. Dr. N. F. Morgan, of St 
Thomas's Church ; Rev. Dr. John Cotton Smith, of the Church 
of the Ascension ; Rev. Dr. Morgan Dix, of Trinity Church ; 
Rev. Dr. R. S. Rowland, of the Church of the Heavenly Rest ; 
Rev. Dr. Stephen H. Tyng, Jr., of the Church of the Holy 
Trinity ; Rev. C. C. Tiffany, of Zion Church, Madison Avenue ; 
Rev. Dr. F. C. Ewer, of the Church of St. Ignatius ; and Rev. 
Edmund Guilbert, of the Church of the Holy Spirit, — all rep- 
resentatives of the Protestant Episcopal pulpit ; Rev. Henry . 
Ward Beecher, of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn ; Rev. Dr. 
William M. Taylor, of the Broadway Tabernacle ; Rev. Dr. 
John Hall, of the Fifth Avenue Church ; Rev. Llewellyn D, 
Bevan, of the Brick Church ; Rev. C. S. Robinson, of the 
Memorial Church ; Rev. Thomas S. Hastings, of the West 



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THE FUNEBAL. 187 

Church, Kev. S. D. Burchard, of the Murray Hill Church ; 
Rev. M. R. Vincent, of the Church of the Covenant ; and Rev. 
James D. Wilson, of the United Church, — all Presbyterians ; 
Rev. Dr. Thomas Armitage, of the Fifth Avenue Church, and 
Rev. R S. MacArthur, of Calvary Church, — Baptists ; Rev. 
Dr. William Ormiston, of the Collegiate Church at Fifth 
Avenue and Twenty-ninth Street, and Rev. K B. Coe, of the 
Collegiate Church at Forty-eighth Street, — both Reformed 
Dutch ; Rev. Dr. J. P. Newman, of the Central Methodist 
Church ; Rev. Robert Collyer, of the Church of the Messiah, 
and Rev. Dr. Henry W. Bellows, of All Souls* Church, — 
Unitaidans ; Rev. Father Hecker, Roman Catholic; and Rev. 
Dr. Gottheil, of the Temple Emanu El, Jewish. 

One can but wish that from some eminence the spirit 
of the great preacher and broad-church disciple may 
have looked down on this scene, which was so much 
like a consummation of his early dream and the ideal of 
his whole Ufa On some higher ground, common to 
all the sects, he desired to have Christians meet and 
fellowship each other ; and that his own cofl5n should be 
beyond precedent the visible centre of such an assem- 
blage, must have seemed to him, had he witnessed it, 
like a benediction on the idea he had so long cherished 
and so earnestly advocated. It must have been a joy 
to him to have known that he himself had preached 
the gospel they all accepted, and lived so much 
in its spirit that they came up from the churches of 
every name to confess him a brother in Christ, and 
to crown his memory with a common wreath of esteem 
and praise. It was, indeed, a fit tribute to the breadth 
of his religion and the scope of his humanity. He 
loved them all, and they in return loved him, and 
it was a scene on which heaven could smile, as these 



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188 LIFE OF EDWIN H. GHAPIN. 

brethren, forgetting their sectarian names, came in the 
broader name of the Eedeemer to do honor to one who 
had been his humble but devoted disciple. 

When the impressive service had ended, and the 
throng of people had silently and thoughtfully moved 
away, the funeral procession took up its solemn march 
to Greenwood Cemetery, where the honored dust was 
laid to its final rest But the vision of that form thus 
laid low still remains, the echo of that voice now 
hushed in the grave is heard all over the land, and the 
generous beat of that ardent heart, now so quiet, is yet 
felt by a grateful multitude. 



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XIL 

THE TEIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCK 

For immediate mastery over man there are two 
rivals, Music and Eloquence ; but to which belongs the 
crown of ascendancy it may^not be easy to decida It 
may be held by some that Art and Letters should be 
counted among rivals for instant impressiveness ; and 
it is to be granted that Picture, Statue, and Book bear 
a marked sway at the moment of their contact with 
the souL "The room in the Dresden Gallery where 
stands the Sistine Madonna alone," says a thoughtful 
traveller, "is always filled with visitors, men and 
women, from all parts of the world. They sit en- 
chanted before the celestial vision of purity, sweetness, 
patience, tenderness. . . . The silence is scarcely dis- 
turbed by a whisper, never by a loud voice. The 
people enter and depart as if the place were a temple. 
Many sit there by the hour, and more than once I saw 
tears start from the gazing eyes, and roll down worn 
faces unchecked." Wide and deep and powerful is 
the instant sway of the great paintings, and especially 
over those whose sensibilities are prepared to receive 
their influence ; and to the chiselled marble, given the 
form and only lacking the life of greatness and grace, 
belongs a vivid impressiveness; while many are the 



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190 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

books before which their readers are spellboimd and 
borne into rare hours of exaltation and renewaL 
When Montaigne called books a " languid pleasure," 
he must have had in mind, not the volumes through 
which genius pours its fine and fiery tides on us, but 
the more common order of literature. On the contrary, 
a book may raise a tumult in our minds, set our hearts 
into a more rapid and hardy beat, and drive sleep 
from our eyes through all the watches of the long 
night. 

But while we may grant to Art and Letters the credit 
of a direct influence which is indeed great, stUl must 
we accord to Music and Oratory a higher rank as agents 
that work instant stirring effects in the mind and heart 
of man ; and their advantage lies in this, that while 
the artist is absent from his art and the author from 
his book, the musician and orator, coming with the 
same messages borne by Picture and Sculpture and 
printed page, are on hand in their own inspired person- 
alities to enforce their arguments and appeals. They 
give themselves with their gifts. Thus Music and 
Eloquence are called by Plato the " living arts ;" and as 
they come glowing from the heat of the spirit, they 
kindle and inflame as no other arts can. Apart from 
life they are nothing, but when this mystic force, in 
the degree in which it abounds in genius^ is added to 
great ideas and sentiments, we havo the very climax 
of human power over man. 

But to which of these two rivals for direct impres- 
sion and sway we should assign the first rank, may be 
as difficult a question to settle as that on which the 
owl is said to be ever musing by day, — namely, whether 



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THE TRIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 191 

the egg or the owl came first in the order of the crea- 
tion. On one ground, at least, the claim of eloquence 
seems to entitle it to precedence as a potency : while it 
may be as impassioned as music, it addresses more of 
the group of gifts which make up the greatness of 
human nature and constitute the basis of feeling and 
action. It touches more of the strings in the living 
harp, and draws a deeper and more various nlusic. It 
reaches with its mighty hand the rarer keys in the 
organ of life, and awakens the stronger chords and the 
more passionate notes. It is the chief mission of music 
to stir and enchant the aesthetic sensibilities, whose 
main end is their own gratification. It is mostly a 
pleasure-giving art, and as such it may surpass oratory. 
But it is the office of the latter, while not leaving the 
finer emotions untouched, to command the reason with 
a logic wholly outside the sphere of music, to arouse 
the conscience by appeals to which music can give no 
clear and strong voice, and to awaken, by more explicit 
teachings, the sentiments of reverence and humanity. It 
is a broader and stronger art. As it engages more of 
the powers of genius in its creation and deliverance, so 
it pours along as a fuller and more diverse tide or tor- 
rent of inspiration and power. 

Hence the triumphs of oratory make a conspicuous 
chapter in the annals of man( and among those 
triumphs there are none, perhaps, more marked in our 
day than those attained by Dr. Chapin. In him the 
secret ot eloquence, caught by so few of the sons of 
men, was held as a scarcely diminished inheritance 
from the greatest masters of speech ; and it is no dis- 
credit to the very elect of oratory to add his name to 



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192 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

the short roll As we would place a Tennyson or Long- 
fellow in the small group of great poets, so would we 
rank a Chapin with the limited band of famous speak- 
ers, by whom audiences have been hushed into a rapt 
silence or roused to a tumult of enthusiasm. 

His eloquence took a wider range and reached a more 
general audience than that of most of the great orators, 
while its effect seemed not to be abridged by its breadth ; 
and since he spake thus on universal themes in terms 
common to the simple and the wise, his praises have 
been spoken in all quarters and by every class. Many 
a child' has confessed to the sway of his words. 

Eev. 0. F. Safford writes: — 

I was fourteen years old when I first saw and heard Cha^ 
pin, and I distinctly recall my sensations under his oratory. 
As soon as he began to speak I was lifted into a trance. I 
had the sense of music, and of all beautiful things. Never 
before had I felt such a transforming power in human speech. 
Something like twenty-eight yeara have passed a^ray since 
then, — so I am astonished to find, — yet I can now recall 
that address in all its points, my memory of it remains so 
distinct It was spoken with the accompaniment of the rag- 
ing storm ; the flashes of the lightning through the windows 
seemed harmonious with the continual blaze of his spirit, and 
the reverberating thunder seemed the proper echo to his 
intensely emphatic words. It was wondrous music with a 
wondrous accompaniment In closing he painted a word- 
picture of a sunrise in the Alps, as a symbol of the spread 
of light and virtue among the people, — a piece of fervid elo- 
quence absolutely overwhelming in its dramatic vividness 
and moral grandeur. When he had closed and taken his 
seat, for some moments, even minutes they must have been, 
the audience remained transfixed, breathless, spellbound 



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THE TBIUMPHS OF ELOQUSMCB. 193 

So one oonld move or speak. Every one in the hall had 
been seemingly magnetized by the oiator. At last the chair- 
man rose and crossed the platform to where Chapin sat. This 
broke the spelL Some one now began to applaud ; soon the 
applause became general and increased almost to wildness. 
As I went home that night I was scarcely conscious of walk- 
ing on the earth. 

This boy's rapture was much like that of young 
Hazlitt, who walked ten miles to hear Coleridge preach, 
and who returned to his home to make this record in 
his diary of the poet's oratory : "His words seemed like 
sounds from the bottom of the human heart, and I could 
not have been more delighted if I had heard the music 
of the spheres." • 

Another witness to the impression made by Chapirfs 
eloquence on childhood is found in the following pleas- 
ant reminiscence from the pen of Eev. J. Smith Dodge. 
It was given in the presence of Dr. Chapin, at the twen- 
ty-fifth anniversary of his settlement in New York : — 

I don't know how many years ago it was — I was a little 
boy then, and it most have been pretty soon alter the Society 
went into the Murray Street Church, — that one Sunday even- 
ing my father proposed' to me to go down with him and hear 
Mr. Chapin preach : — 

" No, I thank you," said I. 

" Well, why not 1 *• asked he. 

"Why? Because it's no use my going to churcb in the 
evening ; I always go to sleep." 

" Well, but you won't go to sleep here," said my father. 

" Oh yes I shall ; I have tried not to do it a great many 
times in different churches ; but it is no use my going, I shall 
sorely go to sleep." 

18 



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194 UFE OF EDwm a chapin. 

" Now," said my father, " if you will go with me and hter 
him preach, and you get to sleep while he is preaching, I 
will give you half a dollfir/' 

Well, that was an inducement which surpassed anything 
as yet proposed to me that afternoon, and I now consented to 
go down to Murray Street. We lived in Bond Street There 
were no horsecars, and the omnibuses did not run on Sun- 
day. I remember it was in the cold season of the year, and 
we had a pretty brisk walk. Of course I did not expect to 
go to sleep immediately after taking my seat, and I listened 
through the opening service, and heard the music and what 
else there was, until the preacher stood up to preach. And 
now for my half dollar ! You must understand that I am a 
good sleeper ; I have slept on steamboats, close to the machin- 
ery. I have slept, in the aggregate, thousands of miles in 
railroad cars. I have slept at the Cataract House with the 
window open and Niagara just outside. But I did not sleep 
there. Chapin was too much for me ; and if you will believe 
me, through the whole course of the long sermon, that re- 
morseless man kept my eyes wide open and my mind on the 
strain. 

Alike did he impress and arouse the rude fisherman, 
the rough miner, and the subtle philosopher, as we 
may learn from the testimony of his early parishioner 
and eminent friend, Starr King. It was a story King 
liked to tell, how a Pigeon Cove mackerel-catcher com- 
plimented the eloquent preacher on the mastery of his 
speech. As he was rowing the two famous ministers 
in his dory on an August day to the fishing-grounds, 
Mr. King asked him if he ever went to church. " No," 
said he, " I never goes to meetin', but I am goin' to hear 
Old Chapin who comes round here every summer, for 
my chummies say he 's a buster.'* This humble but not 



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THE TSIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 195 

insignificant praiae was enjoyed by King in an uproar 
of laughter, and by Chapin in an unsuccessful attempt 
at silence. But some years later the former wrote 
from California, after a trip through the gold-diggings, 
"In the mining regions, among the foot-hills of the 
Sierras, in huts amid the rocky grandeur of the Yo- 
semite, I have heard men speak in gratitude of sermons 
heard, years ago in New York, from Dr. Chapin." 

But while giving thus the testimony of the rude and 
humble to the effective eloquence of his friend, in yet 
more emphatic terms does King speak of the sway of 
that eloquence over his own souL He says : — 

I have been moved by Dr. Chapin in recent years, as 
many thousands have been, in the midst of great assemblies^ 
when tlie cloven tongue of fire sat upon his soul, and the 
divine afllatus moved through his nature, as a gust through 
an organ. All that his conscious thought did was to touch 
the keys. The volume and swell and sweep of the musio 
were of the Holy Ghost, flowing now in a wild surge through 
his passionate imagination, and waking the noblest chords of 
the religious nature of his hearers to devout joy, — now in a 
simple passage of melody from the heart, plaintive and tender, 
that persuaded tears from the sternest eye. He seemed to 
me, then, to be not a single nature, but the substance of a 
hundred souls compacted in one, to be used as an inspiring 
instrument in the service of the loftiest truths. 

In a jubilant strain of compliment at a May Festival 
of Universalists in Faneuil Hall, Starr King responded 
to a sentiment in honor of absent friends, thus allud- 
ing to the great orator: — 

What can be said fitly, by any single speaker, when we 
come to another name that is in all your minds 1 What can 



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196 LIFE OF EDWIN H. GHAPIN. 

be aaid that is adequate of K H. Chapin, — God bless him I 
Call upon the band to respond with all its instruments, if 
you would do proper honor to him, and to the feeling of this 
assembly for him. Kay, sir, some great organ should be 
wakened in answer to his name. Let the master draw the 
diapason, and open the pedal of the great leviathan of music, 
and he cannot let loose such a thrilling surge of passion as 
has swept this hall when Chapin has poured from his breast 
stormy denunciations of injustice, and fervid prophecies of 
future good ; and then let him draw the sweetest Hute-stop, 
and he cannot pour out melody so pleading and pathetic as 
the Holy Spirit breathes through the tender, sunny, and 
melting tones in which Chapin portrays and illustrates the 
infinite love. 

If it "was a sign of military genius in Napoleon that 
he quelled the French mob with cannon balls, it must 
surely be a mark of oratorical power in Chapin that he 
subdued with words a riotous demonstration in New 
York. The scene may be best painted in the words of 
Rev. Dr.. Bellows, who was a witness of it 

I recall an incident which happened in the very first years 
of his ministry in this city, and nearly thirty years ago, when 
at a public dinner, where a military company were either guests 
or escort or both, an uproar arose under the influence of wine, 
which threatened the whole occasion with disgrace. The 
presiding oflBicer and several of the public men present tried 
in vain to still the tumult and bring the disorderly military, 
already coming to blows, to their senses. The disorder in- 
creased and seemed uncontrollable, when suddenly Dr. 
Chapin rose, and in tones of thunder, and with now a com- 
manding and now a pleading authority and deference of 
manner, and a swelling eloquence, half humorous, half stem 
rebuke, addressed the boisterous rioters. In a short time, he 



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THE TRIUMPHS OP ELOQUENCE. 197 

actually outstormed their foxy, amused, abashed, and out^ 
witted their temper, interested and moved them to forget 
their quarrel, and did not sit down until he had coaxed and 
cowed and subdued the rioters by a tremendous display of 
personal energy and consummate tact and an oyerwhelmiug 
flood of eloquence and persuasion. It was the greatest 
triumph of off-hand speech, used in the most effective way, 
at the most useful and 'critically perilous moment, that I have 
ever witnessed. It saved the occasion, and spared the com> 
pany, what was becoming every moment more probable, the 
necessity of breaking up and leaving the place, at the very 
commencement of the intellectual part of the festival, in the 
hands of a mob of half-tipsy and thoroughly self-abandoned 
and quarrelsome persons. 

In 1850 Mr. Chapin made his first trip to Europe as 
the travelling companion of B. B. Mussey, Esq., of 
Boston, by whose generous purse his expenses were 
defrayed. In the sailing-vessel, the " New World,'* the 
voyage was made in twenty-one days, and before Mr. 
Chapin saw again his native land, although the journey 
was a brief one, he had made some oratorical triumphs 
which are still graphic memories with those who heard 
^them, and which survive in both English and American 
records. 

As fellow voyagers on this vessel the Eev. Henry 
Ward Beecher and Chapin met for the first time, and 
begun a friendship which, growing with the years, proved 
the source of much mutual delight and benefit The 
two men were wont to meet ever after only to have 
their wit kindle and flash, and a current of more serious 
thought set pouring through their minds. The eminent 
orators fell sick on the ocean, but finally rallied as the 



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198 LIFE OF EDWIN H. GHAPIN. 

vessel passed into an unusual calm, in which there was 
little movement ahead, but a i;pgular lifting up and let- 
ting down of the craft on the recurrent waves. After 
some days of this wearisome delay the. two men met on 
the deck in the early morning, and Mr. Beecher's salu- 
tation was : " Well, Chapin, we are still steadfast and 
unmovable." " Yes," was the reply, "but we are always 
a-bounding." 

But these knights of the golden tongue could not be 
let off without some speech-making to their fellow- 
passengers. The commander of the vessel, Captain 
Knight, was a good man, a friend of the temperance 
i-eform, something of an orator, and a great lover of 
eloquence, and he called for two addresses on temper- 
ance. "Chapin was well over his seasickness, and made 
a rouser," says Mr. Beecher; "but I spoke sickishly, and 
the Captain told me if I could not speak better than that 
on shore, he would never come to hear me preach.*' 

It was, however, before the Peace Congress at Frank- 
fort-on-the-Main, to which Mr. Mussey was a delegate, 
that Chapin made one of the most thrilling speeches of 
his life. The theme was to him a familiar and favorite 
one ; the occasion was one of world-wide significance ; 
the importunity of the American delegates that he 
should speak had been urgent, and he came to the plat- 
form with all his rare gifts at their best. 

Rev. J. W. Hanson, D.D., writes, nearly twenty years 
after the event: — 

The scene passes before my mind's eye as though it 
occurred yesterday. I had repeatedly sohcited him to speak 
aa the exponent of the Liberal Church in America, repre- 
sented in the Congress by Rev. J. T. Sargent of Boston, 



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THE TRIUMPHS OP ELOQUENCE. 199 

Rev. Dr. Hall of Providence, Rev. W. C. George, B. B. Mus- 
8ey, myself, and possibly others, but be bad declined. I 
personally solicited Elibu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith, 
himself worthy of being named among the orators of the 
age, to invite him, but was assured that the rule had been 
adopted to announce no speaker who had not previously con- 
sented to respond, and that Mr. Chapin had declined his 
urgent invitation to address the Convention. Disappointed, 
we concluded that our church must go unrepresented, for 
who would venture to speak on such an occasion, when he 
who should be heard was silent? 

Cobden, Liebig, Goqueiel, Girardin, George Dawson, and 
other less distinguished men had spoken eloquently. When 
the German Baron presiding announced Herr Shahpeen, the 
unfamiliar sound excited no interest in me till I saw the well- 
recognized figure moving toward the tribune. 

Let the reader imagine a circular room surmounted by a 
dome, containing three thousand people of different nation- 
alities, — perhaps three hundred English, as many French, 
thirty Americans, and, with the exception of a few of other 
countries, the rest German. There was no especial expect- 
ancy on the part of the multitude, for perhaps not more than 
ten in the vast throng had ever heard him speak. Cobden, 
in a vice-president's chair, was writing indifferently. The 
orator mounted the rostrum, we fancied, with a little embar- 
rassment. His firat sentence rung like a clarion on the 
delighted ears of the multitude. Before it was finished Cob- 
den raised his pen and turned his head to listen, and, drop- 
ping his pen, lifted his hand into the position for rendering 
applause ; and with the end of the sentence he gave the signal, 
which was responded to by the English present, as only the 
English pleople can respond, and was taken up by the Amer- 
icans and prolonged by the rest, most of whom could not 
understand a word spoken, but who knew from the tones of 



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200 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

the voicey the action of the speaker, and thai indefinable 
magnetism that goes to the soul, that the impassioned orator 
was before them. Indeed, one little Frenchman was perfectly 
wild with gesticulation ; hands, feet^ shoulders, body, were 
all in motion as though he were hung on wires. Elihu Bur- 
ritt, addressing him in French, inquired if he understood the 
speaker. " Qui, oui,'' was the answer, smiting his heart with 
vehement emphasis, where, no doubt, the orator found a re- 
sponse, though his hearers understood not a word of English. 

I kept my eyes on Cobden, who held one hand upraised 
during each sentence, and brought it upon the other at the 
pause, when the enthused throng, taking its cue from him, 
went into paroxysms of enthusiasm. Women waved their 
kerchiefe, men swung their hats. The noise of hands 
and feet and cheers filled the air at the end of nearly every 
sentence. We never saw such enthusiasm. All the rest of 
the speakers produced nothing like it. . . . The language 
and sentiments were worthy of the great occasion. I had 
previously heard the speaker in the pulpit and on the plat- 
form, and recognized, passage after passage, the gems of sev- 
eral grand sermons and lectures ; but they belonged to the 
subject and occasion as thoroughly as ^though then and there 
conceived, and all were woven together in one splendid tissue, 
as if the inspiration of the moment had created the sublime 
thought, the magnificent diction, the divine utterance. I 
never listened to an effort apparently more extemporaneous, 
nor one more finished and perfect; nor did I ever see an 
audience hang so spellbound on the lips of man, For forty 
minutes, that seemed scarcely five, the sublimest sentiments, 
embodied in words of golden fire, poured into all souls and 
inspired all « as we venture to say none of them were before 
or have been since wrought upon. For myself, I sat breath- 
less, delighted, proud of our cause and the man who could 
thus represent it. 



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THE TBIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 201 

In this' Peace Congress, held in the Parliament House 
of Germany, was an American Indian whose wild heart 
had heen tamed by the spirit of Christianity, and who 
went as a delegate from his tribe, the Ojibways, to bear 
their Pipe of Peace to the assembled sons of the gentle 
Eedeemer. His Indian name was Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh, 
but he had taken the English name, Copway, to mark 
his conversion and set himself in easier commerce with 
the outside world, as it was the custom with ancient 
travellers to take a name familiar to the people they 
were about to visit. His presence in the Congress was 
the occasion of great curiosity and enthusiasm. A 
correspondent of an English paper wrote : — 

The ladies direct their eyes no longer to the finely bearded 
men on the left ; the beardless Indian Chief, with the noble 
Boman profile and the long shining, black hair, takes their 
attention. He bears in his hand a long and mystically orna- 
mented staff which looks like a princely sceptre, and wears a 
dark blue frock, with a scarf over his shoulders, and bright 
metallic plates on his right ann. The Frankforters are sorry 
he wears a modern hat, instead of a cap with feathers, yet 
this mixture of European elegance with Indian nature has a 
striking effect, which is increased by the reflection that he 
has come from the forests of the New World with a message 
of Peace to the Old World. 

On this abor%inal, as well as on Cobden or Girardin, 
the great speech of Chapin fell like a whirlwind. In 
the following simple narrative he has left his remem- 
brance of the scene : — 

I might have done something toward leaving a good im- 
pression of the speaking powers of an aboriginal American, 
had not a portly Yankee come forward and taken from my 



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202 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

hand the laurels. But glad I am that it is an American who 
has won the best expression of feeling and approbation from 
the people. The speeches of Girardin and the matter-of-fact 
Cobden had shaken the pillars of the immense building in 
which the multitude were assembled, but the speech was yet 
to be delivered. The name of Chapin was called, and the 
man who answered to that name passed by my side and went 
up to the tribune* No sooner had he commenced speaking 
than there was felt to be something beyond the power of 
language, or the mere expression of ideas. The audience 
listened. Frequent applause escaped the assembly. He enu- 
merated the i-easons why we should expect peace, and the 
blessings which flow from it. In a few words, in vivid flashes, 
he pictured the whole course of improvement and reform 
which had followed the invention of the printing-press. The 
Bible was on its way ; the sails of every land, and the 
mighty power of steam, were urging on the period of univer- 
sal peace; oceans, lakes, rivers, air, electricity, all things 
were in motion to spread the event wliich is the desire of the 
nations. As he closed, the applause of the assembly made 
the very building tremble. In the midst of this thundering 
applause he again passed me, and as soon as he sat down I 
arose, not knowing what I was doing, and said it was well 
worth while to come four thousand miles to make such an ad- 
dress; and then sitting down and turning to my English 
friends I whispered, " Beat that if you can 1 " Certainly this 
was very injudicious, inasmuch as it might have been con- 
strued into an insult ; but I could not help it, foi my nerves 
had been so run away with that I lost all my self-command. 

The English papers spoke in terms of unsparing praise 
of this American orator. One of them declared : — 

He commands admiration by the kingly majesty and 
sublime beauty of his thought. Now he flings a page of 



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THE TRIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 203 

meaning into a single aphorism ; now he electrifies his spell- 
bound hearers with a spontaneous burst of eloquence ; now 
he dissolves their ejes to tears by a wi2ard stroke of pathos ; 
now he controls their hearts with the sovereign power of a 
monarch who rules the mind-realm. He infuses his soul into 
his voice, and both into the nerves and hearts of his hearers. 

• 
On his return to Liverpool to embark for America, 

the citizens demanded of him a speech, and he ad- 
dressed an enthusiastic crowd in one of the largest 
halls in the city. Of this effort the following report 
is from the " Liverpool Mercury " : — 

Rev. K H. Chapin of New York, the gentleman whose out- 
burst of eloquence made such an impression at the Peace 
Congress at Frankfort, delivered an address on Temperance, 
on Tuesday evening, at the Tuckerman Institute, the Rev. F. 
Bishop in the chair. The room was crowded to excess, and 
never was deeper impression produced at such a meeting than 
that which followed the appeals of this eloquent orator. He 
carried the audience completely with him, at one moment 
rousing their consciences by enforcements of the duty of the 
temperate to aid the movement for the sake of their perishing 
brethren, and at the next awakening all their better sym- 
pathies by the pathos with which he depicted the personal, 
social, and moral evils that flow so plentifully from intemper- 
ance. At the close of the address, a large number of persons 
pressed forward, evidently under deep emotion, to join the 
Temperance Society connected with the Institute. 

But the oratorical triumphs and honors of this Euro- 
pean trip were not at an end yet On the home-bound 
vessel, as on the ship that bore him to the Old World, 
he gave his fellow voyagers a sense and a memory of 
the majesty and beauty and sway of human speech 



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204 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

that stands solitary in the scope of their experience. 
The story is best told in the words of Mr. John E. 
Warren, who himself made a part of the scene : — 

In the year 1850 I had the good fortune to be a fellow- 
passenger with Dr. Ghapin on the return voyage from Eu- 
rope to the United States. The trip was an unusu^y long 
and stormy one. Our vessel, which was one of the old Collins 
Line, sustained considerable damage, and there were periods 
when it seemed scarcely probable that we should ever reach 
an earthly port. Among the passengers was a stout, burly 
gentleman, whom nobody appeared to know, but with whom 
we all became acquainted, as people do at sea. A common 
danger has a strange dissolving power. The ice of conven- 
tionality melts away, and human hearts are drawn together 
by an invisible force. The oneness of mankind is never so 
strikingly shown as at such a time, when the skies are dark 
and men are alone upon the broad ocean, with only a plank 
between- themselves and eternity. Our " mutual friend " 
suffered not a little during the passage. with seasickness. 
But he bore up under this peculiar trial with a sweetness of 
temper that Job himself might have envied. So far from 
entering any complaint against Providence, or cursing the day 
he was born, as some of us similarly afflicted were tempted to 
do, our companion, on the other hand, seemed rather to en- 
joy the curious discomfort to which he was subjected. 

He was as gay as a lark, overflowing with wit and humor, 
while many of us were in thd dumps. There was no end to 
the pleasant tales with which he beguiled us. Anecdotes, 
such as are wont to keep the table in a roar, flowed from his 
lips as from an inexhaustible spring. He was never tired of 
talking nor we of listening. And thus was the tedium of the 
way reheved. 

Charmed with our entertainer, we had no idea who he 



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THE TRIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 205 

was, nor did we take any pains to iind out. He was so 
natuialy so simple, and so unaffected, that it did not occur 
to us ho might perhaps turn out to be an angel or a great 
man in disguise. He was a most agreeable companion, and 
that was quite enough for us. 

Toward the close of the voyage it began to be whispered 
about that our delightful comrade was a clergyman, and 
that his name was Chapin. This report at first not only 
caused surprise, but struck us as altogether absurd. There 
was nothing about the man suggestive of the cloth, or calcu- 
lated to give one an impression that he either was or thought 
he was holier than other men. That he was a preacher of 
any sort was a conception that had not. entered our minds. 
It was the last thing we should have imagined. The clergy, 
as a rule, even when they try to be familiar, are in a sense 
isolated and remote. There is a subtle something which lies 
between them and us, and which marks them out as beings 
of another class. In the case of Dr. Chapin, as he appeared 
among his shipmates at this time, this mysterious and inde- 
finable element was entirely wanting. He was not at all 
like a saint, but like a man among men, and it was on this 
account that he won all hearts. 

If our miraculous story-teller was indeed a preacher, we 
must hear him preach. Upon that point we were determined. 
Somebody said that he had seen the name of a Mr. Chapin in 
the ''London Times," mentioned as having made a most 
eloquent address before the Peace Convention which had 
recently met at Frankfort-on-the-Main. This was sufficient 
to whet our curiosity to the highest pitch. Could this be the 
man f He looked as little like an orator as a preacher. But 
in this world it is not safe to judge men by their looks. A 
rude garment of flesh may hide from us the beauty of the 
soul, until the lightning of the spirit breaks through its en- 
vironment Sunday came, and we made up our minds that 



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206 UFE OF EDWm H. CHAPm. 

our new discovery must be tested ; ouz man must speak. Bat 
there were difficulties in the way, and for some reason he 
seemed indisposed to gratify us. He begged hard to be let 
off ; said his sermons were out of reach, that he did not like 
to speak without preparation, etc. But we were inexorable. 
Speak he must ! Seeing there was no escape, he finally said 
that at the dinner-table he would make a few remarka The 
cabin was as still as death when he arose. We all felt that 
it was a solemn occasion. We had passed safely through a 
terrible storm, aud were now nearing port. Our voyage was 
nearly ended, and soon we were to be scattered, each to his 
own, to meet on earth no more. Those who have been to 
sea know what this feeling is. It is strong and deep, likQ the 
sea itself. No language of mine can give even the faintest 
idea of the effect upon us of the words to which we that day 
listened. The writer has heard none like them since. AVords, 
forsooth I They were living, burning thoughts I The spell 
they cast upon us was like that of some grand symphony, 
whose divine music rings in one's ears forever. None who 
were then present can have forgotten the wonderful scene. 
Many of us for the first time then realized what a mighty 
thing true eloquence is ! Every one present was moved as 
he had never been moved before. 

I cannot describe it. It is indescribable. A whirlwind 
from some upper sphere seemed to sweep over us, and our 
souls bent beneath its power. Strains, sweeter than those of 
an aeolian harp, fell upon our ears and sank into the depths of 
our hearts. It is only once in a lifetime that one can expect 
to hear such eloquence as that It is only once in a lifetime 
that a great orator strikes his highest note. Even Dr. Chapin 
never struck that note again. The Voyage of Life, — that was 
his glorious and pathetic theme ! At such a moment, how 
impressive, how appropriate ! There were few dry eyes when 
the orator, in closing, alluded to the dangers which were past^ 



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THE TBIUMPHS OP ELOQUENCE. 207 

and the bitter parting that was to come, and spoke of the 
time when we should all meet where there would be no more 
parting and " no more sea ! '* 

If, in the trial of eloquence on shipboard, Mr. 
Beecher, as he frankly confesses, though laying the 
blame in some measure on the state of his health, 
fell behind Mr. Chapin, there transpired, in after years, 
a still more conspicuous matching of the two men in 
speech, in which the former owned up, in the most apt 
way, that he was beaten. In this instance, also, he was 
set at a disadvantage, since, by mistake, the two men had 
been invited to speak to the same " toast," and Chapin 
was called on first It was on the occasion of the Na- 
tional Publishers and Booksellers' Dinner in the Crystal 
Palace, New York, The crowd was large' and full of 
intelligence and fame, and the speakers were Milburn, 
the " blind preacher," Chapin, and Beecher. Mr. Wesley 
Harper led Mr. Milbum to the platform, where he made 
one of his gentle and tasteful speeches, an address as 
fitting in thought as finished in phrase. He was fol- 
lowed by Mr. Chapin, whose topic was " The Power of 
the* Press." The. theme was great, and could not have 
been more congenial to the speaker. A careful prepara- 
tion for the effort, and a sympathetic crowd, served to 
move in him all his powers of eloquence. It was in the 
time of the Crimean War. Sevastopol had fallen, the 
Eedaii had been taken, the combined armies had con- 
quered ; and from this history of the hour he drew an 
inspiration and a figure of speech which told on his 
hearers like an electric shock. 

** I love to hear," said he, " the rumbling of the steam-power 
press better than the rattle and roar of artillery. It is silently 



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208 UFE OF EDWIK H. CHAPIN. 

attacking and vanquishing the MalakofEs of vice and the Re- 
dans of evil, and its approaches cannot be lesisted I like 
the click of the type in the composing-stick of the compos- 
itor better than the click of the musket in the hand of the 
soldier. It bears a ledden messenger of deadlier power, of 
sublimer force, and a surer aim, which will hit its mark, 
though it is a thousand years ahead.*' 

With many strokes of thought and rhetoric equally 
pertinent and overpowering he moved through his half- 
hour of eloquence ; and excited men in the rear of the 
room mounted the chairs and tables in their enthusiasm, 
and rent the air with their wild and oft-repeated huzzas. 

When Mr. Beecher was called to make his speech, he 
came forward shaking hi3 head and smiling a smQe 
which seemed to say in clearest terms : " I am outdone ; 
I give it up/' As reported in the " New York Evening 
Post," his words were as follows : — 

I know what my fate is on this occasion. Afber the pro- 
foundly eloquent remarks of the reverend brother who has 
just preceded me, what could I say that you would care to 
listen to 1 He has finished, but his resounding voice still fills 
this vast building ; and in trying to say anything after him I 
am reminded of an ^periment, which I once made when a 
boy, to ride behind two other boys astride a lean, bare-backed 
horse. I see you anticipate the result. You are right. I 
slid off over the crupper ! I wouldn't like to try that feat 
again, with so many looking on as there would be here. 

Eejoicing in the victory of his friend, with a generous 
good-nature, he took his seat ; and he afterward said of 
Chapin's speech: "It was magnificent, like corusca- 
tions of fireworks." But when Mr. Beecher came to 
speak at the funeral of his friendly and genial rival, 



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THE TBIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 209 

whose rapt lips were silent now forever, he paid him a 
yet wider compliment : — 

I have now been for more than forty years a speaker and 
conversant with all speakers, and I have never met or heard 
a man who, in his height and glow of eloquence, surpassed 
or equalled him in many quahties. It was a trance to sit 
under him in his ripest and most inspired hours ; it was a 
vision of beauty ; the world seemed almost dark and cold for 
an hour afterward. 

Without peers in the American pulpit, and almost 
every Sunday put in comparison and contrast by many 
people, Chapin and Beecher knew no waning of friend- 
ship, and were mutually glad in each other's victories. 

The speaker was to be pitied whose lot it was to be 
called to the platform after Dr. Chapin had spoken, for 
in him the eloquence of the occasion was sure to cul- 
minate, and any further words would be but as the sigh- 
ing of the breeze after the roar of the gale. As Rev. 
Dr. I. M. Atwood has truly said : "After all the ora- 
torical princes had competed for the crown, and Chapin 
was summoned, there never was any dispute as to who 
was king. In uplifting, thrilling, overpowering, unre- 
portable eloquence, he left all contemporaries far behind 
him." Many a one, blessed with a rarely gifted tongue, 
has refused to come after him. On one occasion the 
eloquent Starr King, with a voice as golden and musical 
as that ascribed to a Chrysostom, and a thought and 
fancy which ever charmed the people, refused to speak 
except he could precede Chapin. It was at one of the 
series of May festivals held by the Universalists in 
Faneuil HalL The president of the day was Professor 
B. F. Tweed, who had assured King that his request to 

14 



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210 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

come first should be granted An intimate friend of 
both the favorite orators, the Professor knew full well 
that this was the true order of succession. But by 
some blunder of the toast-master Chapin's "senti- 
ment" was read first, and, amid a tumult of applause, 
he rose and spoke for twenty minutes or more, hurling 
wit and wisdom and emotion into a wild torrent of elo- 
quence. Meanwhile, King had retreated to a corner of 
the hall, and sealed with a vow his purpose not to 
speak. After Achilles what hope for Patroclus ? 

The president summoned the Eev. Thomaa Whitte- 
more, a hero and a genuine wit, to lead the forlorn 
hope, thinking thus to atone the mishap of the pro- 
gramme in reference to King, and to give him time to 
rally his fallen courage. But, when at length he called 
upon the graceful and fascinating speaker, he got but a 
shake of the head in response. After a little delay, for 
the cheering to pass, he said : " The audience will toler- 
ate a king, but not a kingdom {King drnnh). We all 
know he is aching (a King) to speak. He seems just 
now to be a 'thinking {thin King)'* This run of puns 
had the desired eflfect, and not in vain after the tempest 
did he wave his magic wand over the people. 

On the lecture platforms Chapin made some of his 
great triumphs, and a good-sized book would not contain 
the adjectives put in the superlative degree by the news- 
papers, in twenty years, as descriptive of his eloquence. 
The current epithets were : ** unequalled," " matchless," 
" simply magnificent," " never such thrilling outbursts 
of oratory heard before." Eeporters were often over- 
powered, and dropped their pencils in the midst of his 
stormy passages, and awoke at the close of his lecture, 



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THE TRIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 211 

as from an opium dream, to find they had nothing to 
bear away for the space set apart for their reports. They 
often begged of him the loan of his manuscript to make 
up afterwards what they were unable to accomplish as 
he proceeded, and would leave it at his hotel during the 
night, or meet him at the train in the morning and give 
him his manuscript and their hearty thanks at the same 
time, and steal the privilege of an interview. He was 
often set in comparison with the contemporary favorites 
of the lyceum audiences, and given the first rank. An 
instance of this measuring in his favor is happUy told 
by Harper's " Easy Chair " : — 

During the days of his lyceum lecturing no man was more 
popular upon the platform ; indeed, probably no one was so 
universally popular as he. Jones, who used to lecture in the 
same courses, said that he was proceeding one evening to ful- 
fil an appointment, and as he sat, dismal and homesick, in the 
cold car, he heard two men upon the seat before hii^ talking, 
as they approached the city, of the lectures and the lecturers. 

" Have you ever heard Chapin ] " 

"No." 

''Well, there's nothing like it; he's the king of them 
aU." 

"Who lectures to-night 1" 

"Jones." 

" Oh, Jones. Ever heard Jones 1 " 

"Yes." 

"How is her' 

" Good speaker, but tedious — tedious." 

Jones said that his head sank upon his bosom ; but that 
when he afterward told the story to Chapin, the generous 
king of them all shook and shouted with glee, and cried : 
" Pshaw ! he knew ye, Hal, he knew ye, and meant to have 
his joke." 



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212 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

It is one of the tests of eloquence, that it is equal to 
the conquest of prejudice and the capture of the mind 
and heart in spite of their stubborn resistance. When 
the tongue proves stronger than the defiant will, then it 
has won the credit of oratory. Philip of Macedon, on 
hearing the report of one of Demosthenes' Philippics, 
or orations against himselt paid the orator the compli- 
ment of saying : " Had I been there, he would have 
persuaded me to take up arms against myself." Of 
Burke's eloquent impeachment of Warren Hastings, the 
latter said: "As I listened to the orator I felt for 
more than half an hour as if I were the most culpable 
being on earth." Thus in the " Arabian Nights " the tri- 
umphant story-teller, Scheherezade, compelled the cruel 
Sultan to spare her life in spite of his fixed purpose to 
take it And with a similar sway, on one occasion. Dr. 
Chapin straightened out a bigot, who had curled himself 
up in sectarian defiance. He was one of the old-time dea- 
cons who held Universalist ministers in holy contempt, 
but who, out of respect to his ofl&ce in the temperance 
order, had come on the platform with others where the 
eloquent Chapin was to speak. Witji a frowning glance 
at the orator whom he had never seen before, he bent his 
head near to his knees and fixed his eyes rigidly on the 
floor. In a few moments after the discourse got under 
way, and the telling climaxes began to recur, it was ob- 
served that the deacon's head began to lift a little. 
Soon his face became visible to the audience. By de- 
grees he assumed an upright posture in his chair, with 
his face actually aglow with interest, and his mouth 
open in wonder. No one had ever seen the deacon look 
so upright and tall before ; and it was solely the rare 



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THE TBIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 213 

power of Dr. Chapin's eloquence that overcame his 
sectarian curvature. 

It was a significant witness of Dr. Chapin's triumph- 
ant eloquence, that those who were wont to hear him 
generally regarded his last effort as his greatest. Their 
latest tumult of emotion made it quite impossible for 
them to exercise a rational remembrance. "I had a 
dear old friend," says Eev. Dr. T. J. Sawyer, " to whom 
I had preached fifteen years, — and who ought by that 
time, I thought, to know something about poor preach- 
ing, 7— who subsequently became a constant hearer of Dr. 
Chapin, and used to come every Monday to the office of 
the ' Christian Ambassador,' which I was then editing, 
to tell me about the preceding Sunday's sermons ; and 
his report, besides some account of the subject and 
mode of treatment, which he was quite competent to 
give, was always summed up by the remark, that ' yes- 
terday Dr. Chapin exceeded himself ! ' " And this was 
indeed the impression which the great mass of his hear- 
ers carried away with them from almost every service. 
The Eev. Thomas Whittemore rarely heard him speak 
that he did not report in the " Trumpet," of which he 
was editor, that " the orator went beyond himself," " he 
never spoke with such power before," " he surpassed 
his own high standard of eloquence," or a similar state- 
ment of transcendency. It was the illusion of a present 
great emotion in contrast with one of equal greatness, it 
may be, from which memory, " the fading sense," had 
permitted something of vividness to escape. 

In a series of "Pulpit Portraits," John Eoss Dix 
drew one of Dr. Chapin as he stood pouring his tide of 
eloquence over an evening audience which filled the 



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214 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

pews and aisles and pressed up the pulpit stairs of the 
Broadway Church. Studying the sermon and watching 
its effect he says : " Some of the most nervously sensi- 
tive of his audience will not sleep very soundly to-night, 
nor^get to sleep very early; it is an opium dream, an 
enchantment, a fairyland through which he haa led 
them." Eeferring to the effect of Chapin's sermons on 
him, Mr. R B. Fellows, an old parishioner, thus ex- 
presses himself : " I knew I had heard what I ought to 
Tiave heard, and what I wanted to hear ; and yet so 
carried away was I, I could not recall what had been 
said. I wa& lost in feeling. I seemed in a rapture. It 
was heaven." Even so cool a head as that of Richard 
Frothingham, the historian, was intoxicated by the 
magical stimulus of Chapin's preaching, and he con- 
fessed to walking home from church repeatedly as one 
who seemed not to be in the flesh and walking on the 
ground. He had been lifted into a holy ecstasy. After 
the manner of one of whom Paul speaks, "he was 
caught up into Paradise," but he could not tell what he 
had heard, nor could he set forth his emotions. He 
had been a lotus-eater while sitting in his pew, had 
breathed ravishing odors from celestial fields, and went 
away in a rapt and sweet bewilderment The eminent 
United States Senator, Henry Wilson, himself a Con- 
gregationalist, was accustomed to hear Dr. Chapin 
whenever he spent a Sunday in New York ; and on one 
occasion, having been so moved in his heart as to ex- 
press himself by audible sobs and the tears of a holy 
gladness, he remarked to a regular attendant at the 
church, " You know not what a sacred privilege you 
have who can hear this great preacher every Sunday ! " 



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THE TRIUMPHS OF ELOQUENCE. 215 

" He rules my emotions with tiie power of a monarch," 
wrote some one in the " New York Metropolitan ; " and 
the Hon. William H. Seward said, " No preacher ever 
so impressed me." ** In a state of religious indifference, 
but for old acquaintance' sake," says Mr. 0. Hutchinson, 
" I went to hear Chapin in Murray Street, and he shook 
my lethargy all out of me." In him the Eev. L. C. 
Browne found his dream of the orator and minister 
fulfilled: — 

In early time I had a loved ideal 
Of heaven-tuned eloquence from haman tongue, 

And sought in vain to find the vision real 
In the long-perished years when life was young. 

At length I saw and recognized the being 

Bom of young fancy while the heart was warm, 

And I was satisfied and charmed in seeing 
My early dream fulfilled in living form. 

No man could blend so much of force and beauty, 
Such radiant imagery with tones so grand. 

Such strong persuaidon to the way of duty. 
Such skill to move, to soften, and command. 



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xm. 

ORATORICAL RESOlTRCEa 

It is a legend of Plato that, when an infant, his 
father, Aristo, took him and his mother and went to 
Hymettus to sacrifice to the Muses, and while they were 
engaged in the divine rites the bees of that fiower-land 
came and distilled honey on the lips of the child. 
Hence the sweetness of his words and the charms of 
his voice. The pleasing story is a hint of the fact that 
all rare gifts are derived from nature, that the great artist 
is in league with Apollo, the great poet is born and not 
made, and the great orator comes with a conferred outfit 

In this view of the case there is a large degree of 
truth; and hence in any just analysis of the eloquence 
of Dr. Chapin there must be a prompt recognition of 
his inherited good fortuna To the end of effective 
speech his body was a facile and powerful agent. It 
engaged the eye at a glance by its largeness and evident 
animation, its every step being firm and energetic, and 
its sitting posture full of positiveness and life, as if 
mighty inner forces were only held in temporary check 
by the power of will ; and thus he aroused expectancy, 
which is ever a prime advantage with oratory, by sim- 
ply coming before an assembly and taking his seat 
For when the eye beheld him, the ear would hear hinL 



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ORATORICAL RESOURCES. 217 

What the corporeally less favored speaker has to do 
by a studied exordium he accomplished by hia mere 
presence, and could omit that difficult part of the art of 
oratory, which has to do with the fostering of a prone- 
ness to listen. And m his case this proneness was of 
the best type, because hia apparent personality,, divested 
of all suggestion of the trivial, struck the deeper life of 
the observer and set the soul on the alert He came 
before the eye as the vivid embodiment of higher forces, 
and with the air of one bent on the most serious busi- 
ness. His was no classic and ideal form which art 
would seek to copy ; in movement he was father awk- 
ward than graceful ; on his fiEice were no soft and fluent 
lines or fresh tints ; and his raiment was never a happy 
fit. Not at all to graces of this kind was his personal 
sway due, for then had it been less powerful ; but 
rather to the graphic manifestation of character — the 
thoughts that breathe, the emotions that thrill, and 
energies that move with the might of nature's forces ; 
and hence the best that was in man rose to greet him 
as he moved with a sort of roll, like a ship toiling in a 
heavy sea, to his pulpit or platform, and eagerly the 
ear waited to listen. 

But if his bodily presence was thus a power in itself, 
— a speech in silence, a sufficient exordium, — it indeed 
grew to a startling and awe-inspiring figure under the 
magnetiam of his soul, as he moved through the scen- 
ery of hia discourse. In the life of Dr. Chapin there 
is nothing more remarkable than the fact that, while he 
was physically disinclined to exercise, — seeking a seat 
as his first choice, hazarding health rather than compel 
himself to take a walk, ordering a carriage to convey 



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218 UFE OF EDWIK H. CHAPIN. 

him a couple' of hundred rods sooner than go on foot, — 
still was his body a swift and facile and willing servant 
of his soul, and it was equal to the largest demand laid 
upon it by his rapt emotions, as the great organ in the 
Boston Music Hall is equal to the rendering of the vast 
and stormy harmonies of Bach. At the first wave of 
the wand of sentiment, he threw off his bodily inertia, 
and rose, like a giant from sleep, to an overwhelming 
energy. As a tree sways and vibrates in a gale, so 
would his massive form toil and strive as some strong 
gust of feeling swept down on it,* and his audience 
would fairly lose its breath for a time amid the wild 
rush of emotion he would thus summon to their hearts. 
In the lofty passages of oratory it ia doubtful if any 
speaker ever addressed the eye more overpoweringly ; 
for in the show of passion a Demosthenes could not 
have surpassed him, — nor a Peter the Hermit in vehe- 
mence, nor a Luther in hot energy, nor a Kowland Hill 
in the rush and force of climaxes, nor a Patrick Henry 
in the majesty of declamation. When his inner gifts 
were in full play he was a most thrilling embodiment 
of eloquence ; and so unstudied and real w^ere his outr 
bursts that the eye scarcely needed the aid of the ear to 
interpret them, and to bear to the soul their full forca 

But his voice was another of his rare physical advan- 
tages as an orator. Only once in a very long time does 
nature endow a public speaker with such a voice. Its 
great volume was fully equalled by its fine qualities. 
It was at once strong, flexible, and rich in its tones. 
" Oh, hear that voice I " has been the exclamation of mul- 
titudes who have chanced to catch its notes on the side- 
walk or in the car. 



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ORATORICAL RESOURCES. 219 

" I recall distinctly the first time I ever saw Dr. Chapin," 
writes Miss Sarah G. Daley. ** It must have been, I think, in 
the earlier years of his being at Pigeon Cove, for I was quite 
a litUe girl. I was at the waterside with my grandfather, 
who was busy about his boat, when two gentlemen drove up, 
and asked my grandfather if he could set them across 'Squam 
River to Coffin's BeacL He could and did. I remember 
distinctly with what pleasure I listened to every word uttered 
by the voice that sounded to my childish ears like some rare 
instrument. I had never heard such a voice, I thought. It 
was some days later' that I learned that the gentleman with 
the wonderful voice was E. H. Chapin." 

And it was a rare instrument she heard, — a finely 
strung vocal organ, whose power and mellowness struck 
the ear as alike remarkable. It was so grand and vari- 
ant and musical, that to have heard only its tones, apart 
from the aid of words, would have enchanted the ear. 

It was not the dry, thin, hard voice of the intellect, 
heard so often from the professor's chair, and not infre- 
quently from the pulpit, but a ' voice rounded and 
enriched by emotion. 

"He never had to put the pebbles of Demosthenes into his 
mouth," said Dr. Bellows, ''to conquer aqy natural obstacles 
to dear utterance. Theodore Parker said of Samuel J. May 
that Nature made his voice to say the Beatitudes with. God 
made our friend Chapin's voice to ring through vast crowds 
of humanity, — to startle the indifferent, to fasten the attention 
of the careless, and to rivet the ears of listening thousands. 
Clear as a clarion, and loud as a park of artillery, it has been 
the apt vehicle for thoughts that breathe and words that burn. 
For his tuneful throat has been only the passage for a current 
of impassioned feeling and vigorous thinking ; and eloquence 
in him has been the volcano's flame, fed fiN>m a fiery heart of 



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220 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

inexhaustible earnestness, and ever-active brooding on life's 
great problems. Nature made him for an orator, and Divine 
Grace adopted him as one of her most potent mouthpieces." 

There was no idea so grand, no sentiment so lofty or 
beautiful or ardent, that his voice did not seem to glo- 
rify as it gave it utterance. The hearer was often 
startled at the fresh sense he would read into, or out of, 
the most familiar words. The old became new as he 
enunciated it, and the weak strong, and the strong sov- 
ereign. Saadi tells us of "a man with a feeble and 
harsh voice who was reading the Koran, when a holy 
man passing by asked him what was his monthly sti- 
pend' He answered, * Nothing at all.' The man in- 
quired, ' Why, then, do you take so much trouble?' He 
replied, ' I read for the sake of GroA' The other rejoined, 
* For the sake of God do not read ; for, if you read the 
Koran in this manner, you will destroy the splendor of 
Islamism.' " But no splendor of Christianity ever suf- 
fered through being rendered by the soul-touched voice 
of Dr. Chapin. 

But a supple and powerful body and a facile and 
ample voice do not make an orator, but are only the 
needful agents or instruments of the oratorical genius, 
which is a higher gift What the superb organ is to 
the gifted musician and his music, such are the bodily 
powers to the eloquent souL They are not the basis of 
oratory, but only its aids. Back of action and voice 
lies the secret of speech that charms and overpowers. 
In all ages the wise ones have heaped satire on the 
rant and noise, bom of the abundant flesh, which affect 
to be eloquenca The Scotch proverb says : " The great- 
est bummer is never the best bee;" and Shakespeare was 



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ORATORICAL RESOURCES. 221 

deeply incensed at the speaker who substituted sound 
for sense: " Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a ro- 
bustious periwig-pated feUow tear a passion to tatters, 
to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who, 
for the most part, are capable of ilolhing but inexpli- 
cable dumb-shows and noise. I would have such a fel- 
low whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-Herods 
Herod. Pray you, avoid it." In a like spirit of impa- 
tience does the great London preacher, Spurgeon, rebuke 
this corporeal excess in oratory : " It is an infliction, 
not to be endured twice, to hear a brother, who mistakes 
perspiration for inspiration, tear along like a wild horse 
with a hornet in its ear, tiU he has no more wind and 
must needs pause to pump his lungs full again." 

In his earlier life Chapin may have been sometimes 
betrayed by the exuberance of his physical powers into 
this fault so exposed to satire. The subtle mind of 
Starr King, his youthful parishioner, detected at a 
glance, as his eloquent young pastor entered the pulpit, 
the order of oratory which was about to be displayed. 
If Chapin came with poor outfit for the service he dashed 
into the pulpit with a sort of frenzy (as King noticed), 
rushed from seat to desk and desk to seat, worked his 
body into a fever and sweat, gave his arms to a wildness 
of gesture, and pressed his voice to an uproar. Chapin 
confessed to having lost the favor of the Boston Mer- 
cantile Library Association by the boisterousness of his 
first lecture before it His ordinary preaching, in that 
heyday of his life, when his inner resources scarcely 
balanced his outer energies, was, no doubt, as largely 
mixed with physical forces as the laws of a sound criti- 
cism would allow. It was, however, a coveted and not 



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222 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

injurious magnetism jto the people, who flocked to have 
the fiery currents sweep through them, and a sure sign 
of a riper greatness of no ordinary type, since it is the 
law of eloquence, with the advancing, years, to draw 
less of its sway from the body and more from the 
soul. 

Passing to a study of the higher sources of Chapin*s 
oratory, we shall find the chief merit must be accorded 
to his rare spiritual ardor or enthusiasm, which seems 
to be the prime quality of all effective genius, the secret 
of greatness in art, music, and poetry, as in speech. 
Without its aid great talents will lie dormant, but by 
it they will be set at their best and made mighty in 
power. Every one knows what advantage lies in being 
kindled ; for he who could say nothing before, can say 
anything now, and with rare logic, imagination, and 
force ; sterility becomes suddenly fertile, as if the sandy 
desert were to bloom and bear fruit in abundance ; cow- 
ardice gives place to courage, or we have exchanged our 
fawn for a lion. Is man the same being to-day he was 
yesterday, — now so aerial and lithe, full of rapt visions, 
eager for better communions, having down his rare 
books for rare occasions, or fleeing to gaze again and 
worthily at some fine landscape or work of art, but then 
only a mole without eyes in some dark comer, or a 
foolish bat flying blind in the open day? The same and 
not the same ; the same plus a heat that has set free the 
frozen and pent-up currents, or a quickened sensibility 
that gives him to himself, installs him in full command 
of his powers, and befriends him at whatever task he 
attempts, as a crisp air gives quickness and vigor to our 
whole being. In this gift of emotion, thus effective, 



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ORATORICAL RESOURCES. 223 

Chapin took rank with the most ardent souls known in 
the history of man. 

It is not enough to say that he warmed toward his 
theme; he indeed flamed as he mused on it and spoke of 
it In the years of his prime he only needed to engage 
his thoughts and rise to his feet to have the inner fires 
set to burning like a furnace. " His capacity of glow," 
said Dr. Bellows, " never failed in any public address 
to make that which only smokes under the heat of 
other orators to flame from his lips." Or, to turn from 
fire to water for a type of his enthusiasm, we find it set 
forth by Mr. Beecher : " His eloquence was not a canal 
but a rushing river." 

But Mr. Chapin did not violate the true law of 
oratory by a monotony of enthusiasm and energy. He 
was the master of climaxes, and was studied by a For- 
rest, a Davenport, a Lawrence Barrett, that they might 
catch his art of hurling his whole being tumultuously, 
and seemingly at his pleasure, into a single period or a 
paragraph, making it startling like the flash of light- 
ning and the crash of thunder, and then instantly as- 
suming a calmer mood. The swiftness and sweep of 
his alternations were surprises even to the masters of 
passion. Said Forrest, " Chapin beats the tragic stage 
for explosive effects." Indeed so great and perfect 
was his command of his muscles and vocal powers and 
passions that, if he saw fit, he could make a thrilling 
climax of a platitude, electrify and awe his hearers with 
a commonplace, make a molehill play the part of a 
mountain with its crags and caverns and clouds ; and 
the reader of one of his printed sermons would hardly 
be able to tell where, in the preaching of it, if it were 



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224 LIFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

preached in his mid-years, he swept his audience into 
breathless moods of wonder and rapture. In fact, he 
did it very much at his pleasure ; or rather, he yielded 
his swift and strong feelings and mighty powers of ex- 
pression to the touch of a kindling phrase, of which the 
ordinary reader would take no nqte. There are not 
wanting many telling climaxes on his printed pages, for 
to such the ardent writer is ever borne, but he felt and 
made more than others would detect 

In this rare heat and glow, diffused in all his being as 
he spoke, now a serene fire and now a wild flame, and 
ever increasing as he moved through his discourse, we 
have the prime secret of his eloquence. He was earnest, 
ardent, enthusiastic, and therefore he was eloquent. 
The art of his oratory was primarily in the heart of it 
Because he had more sentiment and passion than others 
was he more mighty in speech. 

The remaining sources of his eloquence are to be 
found in those intellectual and moral, conditions which 
are tributary to enthusiasm, making it a greater cer- 
tainty, raising it to a higher level, giving it more com- 
manding forms, and rendering it more nobly effective. 
Whatever else there may be, without heat there is no 
eloquence j and Dr. Chapin looked well to the supply 
of fuel with wh'ch to kmdle and inflame the heart To 
this end he sought great themes for his sermons, since 
these would greatly stir his soul and arouse his senti- 
ments. Not only had he the gift of looking his subjects 
into their broadest proportions, but he sought broad 
subjects, before which he would naturally kindle, as 
before a great work of art or a towering mountain. The 
deeps of the inner life are not likely to be broken up 



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OBATOBICAt RESOUHCES. 225 

and agitated at the contemplation of a trifle, an empty 
whim, a theme so trivial and remote from the life of 
man as a moral and religious being that its discussion 
were a matter of indifiference. The soul is rational, and 
rises before its topic in proportion to its greatness and 
value. A penny print cannot affect it like a great fresco, 
nor a petty conceit like a solemn question of faith and 
ethics. Hence Dr. Chapin chose such vital and in- 
spiring subjects as would arouse him as he mused on 
them. A list of his themes, filling the space of a chap- 
ter, would be excellent reading for clergyman and lay- 
man, as showing the shrines at which his soul was set 
aglow in its contemplations, and before which every 
one would be likely to offer an earnest worship. Turn- 
ing from the thin and useless topics too often discussed 
in the pulpit, the mere bric-a-brac of theology, the meta- 
physical puzzles of the creeds or the temporary caprices 
of the hour, about which the soul has no concern, how 
great and stirring do his subjects appear : " The Divine 
Providence," "The Principle of the Divine Kingdom,'' 
" Faith and its Aspirations," " Life in ChrLst," " Ideals of 
life," " The Inward Springs," " Longing for Righteous- 
ness," " Overcoming the World," " The Spiritual Resur- 
rection," "The Heavenly State." Solemn appeals are 
these to the heart in every age and place, and in the 
study of them it will find its noblest sentiments stirred, 
as well as its richest joys enhanced. 

While Dr. Chapin avoided trivial topics, and those 
which address the intellect chiefly, — the dogmas around 
which debate raises its din and dust, while the soul 
turns away its gaze and waits to hear a better word, — he 
also left untouched^ because they are uninspiring, all 

15 



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226 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

subjects on which his mind was not made up and his 
heart full of confidence. He avoided the chill of doubt 
in making his messages for the people. He felt the 
incompatibility of skepticism and enthusiasm, of a dis- 
tracted men^l state and an earnest frame of spirit, of 
a suspended faith and an effective eloquence, and se- 
'lected his subjects from the circle of his convictiona 
He was not open to the criticism of the celebrated Eow- 
land Hill, that " some ministers choose dubious themes, 
which they treat hesitatingly, as a donkey mumbles this- 
tles." He dealt in great affirmations, and hurled his 
whole being unimpeded along the channel of his 
thought. He would be on the best of terms with 
his subject, — a full believer in it, an ardent lover of 
it, — and then glow before it in his study, as he unfolded 
it, and in his pulpit, as he bore it to the waiting people, 
that it might affect them as it affected him. 

Another fire at which he warmed and kindled his 
soul, and enhanced his eloquence, is the mystic but 
mighty flame of beauty. In the words of Plato: 
"Beauty is a kind of tyranny to which man gives 
himself in a ready captivity." In the classic picture 
Beauty rides on a Lion, to signify its majesty and sway; 
or, in Mr. Emerson's phrase, " Beauty is the form under 
which the intellect prefers to study the world." It Ls 
one of the secrets of the universe which is most inspir- 
ing of love, enthusiasm, activity, and power. He who 
is its creator, and adorns his work as he executes it, will 
not tire at his task, but will realize a growing ardor and 
power in its performance. Thus the orator is touched 
by the music of his own voice, kindled by the felicity 
of his rhetoric, aroused by his happy tropes and similes, 



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ORATORICAL RESOURCES, 227 

braced by his lucky condensations, and cheered by the 
skill of his arguments ; and Dr. Chapin's eloquence was 
under a heavy debt to these helps to emotion. He 
asked Beauty to come and sit by him as he made his 
sermon or meditated his speech, that she might breathe 
her inspiring breath on his souL 

Karely has a preacher equalled him in the art of orna- 
mentation, and thousands upon thousands of entranced 
listeners have exclaimed : " How beautiful ! how grand ! '* 
as his glowing imagery passed before them, not aware 
that that imagery had reacted on the soul of the speaker 
and the deeper sentiments of their own being, making a 
divine enthusiasm the ally of the aesthetic delight 
"The orator must be, to a certain extent, a poet," says 
Mr. Emerson. "We are such imaginative creatures, 
that nothing so works on the human mind, barbarous 
or civil, as a trope. Condense some daily experience 
into a glowing symbol, and an audience is electrified." 
But speaker and hearer are alike susceptible to the magic 
of beauty, and awaken at the touch of the imagination, 
as Memnon's statue awoke at the streaming in of the 
morning sunlight A commonplace period is a poppy, 
and invites sleep in the one who makes it and in the 
one who listens to it A platitude is a sponge dipped 
in morphine. A common thought in a common 
dress is uninteresting and tiresome to everybody, 
and a continuous procession of such will set all 
parties to yawning. But periods that are fresh and 
strong and decorated, , and paragraphs in which the im- 
agination plays its part, will set thought and sentiment 
at a vast advantage ; and to this source we must trace 
one of the secrets of Dr. Chapin's eloquence. His man- 



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228 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

uscript was illuminated, and he waa the first to glow 
before the magical radiance. He created around him a 
pictorial realm, and was inspired by the scenery. He 
found a happy incitement in a terse phrase, and his soul 
rushed into a graphic figure of speech. He could com- 
pel force into a platitude, but a strong and poetic state- 
ment aroused all the powers within him. 

Nor mu^t we overlook his humane spirit in our at- 
tempt to account for his enthusiasm in the pulpit and 
on the platform. A loving heart makes eloquent lips. 
For those we love we can speak with a fervor to which 
indifference, or a cold art, can make no approach. It is 
a standard demand in the books on oratory, from Quin- 
tilian to the latest writer, that the speaker must be in 
full sympathy with his hearers, that he may success- 
fully engage himself and them. "Love is the sap of 
the gospel, the secret of lively and effectual preaching, 
the magic power of eloquence," said the great French 
preacher, Abh6 Mullois. " The true evangelical fervor 
comes with aflfectionate interest in souls," says Dr. 
Storrs ; and Phillips Brooks, in his Yale Lectures, de- 
clares that " no man preaches well who has not a strong 
and deep appreciation of humanity." But Chapiu had 
a great and tender heart toward every class of his 
hearers, — a keen sympathy with the poor and the sor- 
rowing, a swift pity for the sinful, a sincere regard for 
those struggling to conquer temptation, a ready and 
hearty interest in those striving to realize a true ideal 
of life, a ready compassion for the honest skeptic, es- 
teem for the pure and good, and an abounding gladness 
in all joy ; and in this humanity of his heart lus themes 
rose before him as beneficent opportunities, and his 



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OBATOBICAL B£SOUBC£S. 229 

words became touching and powerful as he wrote and 
spoke for the good of souls. 

Another source of his eloquence was his deep and 
fervent piety. In all ages the most inspired lips have 
been touched by the Divinity. From Isaiah to Dr. 
Channing, faith in God, and a keeping of the soul in 
unity with the Holy Spirit, have quickened the genius 
of the great preachers and made their words welcome 
and effective. In the light of immortality the preach- 
er's ofiSce is magnified; under a divine' government, sin 
and holiness assume gravest aspects ; and he who goes 
to his pulpit with the strongest conviction and sense of 
these facts will go most in the spirit of his service. He 
will not stand there as an idler, nor a time-server, nor 
a seeker of his own glory, but as one who has a most 
serious business on his hands, to which he would com* 
mit every gift of his being. In Dr. Chapin's implicit 
and ardent faith in God we must see pne source of his 
fervid eloquence. On this point the Eev. C. R. Moor 
truly remarks : — 

The religious resource of his oratory must ever rank as the 
most special and the highest ; this entered largely into and 
determined very much tjie quality of whatever was noblest 
and best in all he did and said. They who heard him only 
on the lecture platform, or when he was considering subjects 
that did not legitimately require and to which he could not 
thus bring the full force of his religious powers, never fairly 
heard him at all. More than all things else, he was a relig- 
ious genius j in every best sense he was pre-eminently a 
Christian preacher, whose eloquence had large root in the re- 
ligiousness of his natural constitution and large flowers and 
fruitage in the atmosphere of the Kingdom of Heaven. His 



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230 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

Christian zeal, enthusiasm^ and passion, that might have swept 
him into fanaticism hut for their halancing and hence conser- 
vative forces, were thus turned into currents of deepest, 
truest life, and breathed through congregations as mighty 
winds of the 'Spirit. His volumes of sermons, — Crown of 
Thorns, Hours of Communion, Lord's Prayer, and The Beati- 
tudes, — preached for the most part during the earlier years 
of his ministry, are illustrations of his reverence for and faith 
in the simplest and highest truths of religion, as themes by 
which sacred eloquence, the highest of all eloquence, could 
most effectually educate and bless mankind. It was a direct 
consideration of the pure Gospel — some scene in the life of 
Clirist or his apostles, some special principle or influence of 
Christianity — that always most inspired the mind and heart 
and tongue of this master of oratory, and by which he most 
thrilled and helped his hearers. He was so much of a relig- 
ious genius, and he had so large Christian culture, that he saw 
symbols, suggestions, and lessons of moral and spiritual life 
everywhere. They filled nature and human history and ex- 
perience*- the whole world — so full to his vision, that it 
seemed very easy for him to shower these upon the souls of 
his fellow-men in richest abundance. But the Cross of Jesus 
was the sign of it all ; around that centred his greatest and 
holiest thoughts and feelings, there glowed his most lofty, 
tender and impressive speech. 

Among his oratorical resources must also be noted 
the mood of engagedness and emotion into which he 
was wont to bring himself on the eve of speaking, by 
secluded musing and prayer. He sacrificed all else to 
the generation of enthusiasm in his own heart. He 
made sure of his emotion before coming to the public 
to address it, not willing to risk even his quick and 
strong sensibilities to the fortune of the hour. He was 



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ORATORICAL RESOURCES. 23.1 

self-exacting as an anchorite, who spends an arduous 
preliminary season in making ready for his matin or 
vesper servica It might be said of him as it was of 
Whitefield: "He was the prince of preachers without 
the veil, because he was a Jacob within the veil. His 
face shone when he came down from the Mount, be- ' 
cause he had been so long alone with God on the 
Mount" As an athlete dare not come to the arena un- 
less he has set every nerve and muscle at its best by a 
fitting excitation, so Chapin feared to und^-take his 
sacred task, not merely in sluggish or frivolous frame of 
mind, but unless he had made sure of being in the 
spirit and power of his service. To this end he devoted a 
preliminary hour, or, it may be, the entire Sunday 
morning. He sought solitude and its high offices. He 
mused that he might set the fires burning. Amid the 
currents of spiritual influence, which never sweep over 
the soul except to freshen and inspire it, he sought to 
place himself. With his theme he wrestled in advance. 
By a sense of the needs of the people he would awaken 
his heart 

" I have Been Dr. Chapin," says Rev. C. R Moor, " when 
he was soon to speak on almost every variety of occasion and 
theme, and generally under circumstances that rendered his 
being alone, or having complete possession of himself^ the 
most difficult ; but I recall no such time that he did not find 
a vacant room or office, or, if this kerned impossible, retire 
into himself quite as surely, while his body remained with 
friends, and sometimes with the multitude. When I was 
pastor in Portland, for several years in succession he gave one 
of the hottest of the summer Sundays to my people, always 
preaching three sermons, and probably never preaching better. 



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232 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

He usually made his home, while in the city, with his es^ 
teemed friends, James L. Farmer and family; but I remem- 
ber, as clearly as if it were yesterday, one day he gave to me 
and mine, and nothing of that home visit do I recall more 
distinctly than the fact that at least an hour before each 
service he began to walk his room with a quick, firm step, 
peculiarly his own at such times, which was continued, with 
seemingly increasing rapidity and solidity, until the church 
bells struck their last call. I hear those footsteps of twenty- 
five years ago at this moment as certainly as I heard 'a voice ' 
that day \viiich * is still,' or possess now any of the life deeply 
quickened then in the congregation as it came from one who 
gave because he had received, and who knew the meaning of 
every kind of true preparation more thoroughly than most 
successful men far less gifted by nature." 



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XIV. 

SERMONS AND LECTURES. 

Persistence of habit must be regarded as one of the 
marked traits in Dr. Chapin's life. That which he had 
become accustomed to do seemed to assume a sacred 
aspect before his eyes, he put such zest into the per- 
formance ; or it impressed him as a necessity, by reason 
of the awkwardness which he often experienced in strik- 
ing out and following some new order or method. Thus 
having in early life made Pigeon Cove his summer resort, 
he kept on doing so to the end of his days, spending 
more or less of the heated terms at this place for thirty- 
one years. Year after year he had his pocket diary of 
one size and style, and, if it might be so, of one man's 
make ; and, says his bookseller, " it was often a heavy 
job to fill his little order for a diary." In the fashion 
of his manuscripts this adherence to habit stands out in 
a conspicuous degree. At least sixteen hundred of his 
eighteen hundred and twenty-five written sermons are 
as like in form as they could possibly be under the 
changes which have taken place in the paper-making 
art. The small-size " note paper *' was the measure of 
his page, and the area of the writing, as well as its 
style, appears in the printed fac-similes. For more than 
thirty years he held to this precise form, which every 



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234 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

miniBter but one in a thousand would declare to be the 
worst form possible, generating a cramped penmanship, 
imposing a hardship on the eyes, and giving steady em- 
ployment to one hand to turn the leaves and hold the 
small, perverse manuscript from closing. All who were 
wont to hear Dr. Chapin will recall the tax levied on 
his attention by this form of his sermon. While it was 
true of him, as of the old Scotch woman's minister, 
"The gude man ha' a pith wi' his paper," it is quite 
likely that pith was at times less pungent than it would 
have been had his page been more open and his chi- 
rography bolder. In Dean Swift's advice to a clergy- 
man even Dr. Chapin might have found a useful hint: 
" Let me entreat you to add one half-crown a year to 
the article of paper, to transcribe your sermons in as 
large and plain a manner as you can, and either make 
no interlineation, or change the whole leaf; for we, 
your hearers, would rather you should be less correct 
than given to stammering, which I take to be one of 
the worst solecisms in rhetoric. " 

But, while Dr. Chapin had full command of the size 
of his manuscript and could thus gratify his habit of 
persistence, there is one diversity in the aspect of his 
written sermons over which he had no control. How- 
ever it may have given pain to his eye, time wrought 
its inevitable contrasts. Between the deep buff of his 
earlier manuscripts, bathed for a generation in New 
York smoke and dust, and the fresh whiteness of his 
recent ones, there is a wide breach in color, and a couple 
of fac-similes of this non-uniformity would be at least 
amusing. In many instances the great preacher brought 
about an amalgamation of the two colors, setting them 



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*trtri^ c^ 



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y^^^^^^ :^^&L»- i^ -^^.c^ OJ<l-V ^^-^ 



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SERMONS AND LECTUBES. 235 

in the same manuscript, like the marrying of an octo- 
roon and a blonde, or the blooming of a tea rose and a 
white rose from the same stem. He often sewed an 
ancient and modem manuscript together; in a few 
instances three sermons of different ages were tangled 
into one. He knew the art of clerical economy, and 
eked out a new discourse by stealing from an old one, 
or gave to an old one a modem finish, as an old house 
is sometimes given a new story and a fresh style. His 
more frequent transit, however, was from the white to 
the yellow, as if in the treatment of his theme it came 
over him that among his hundreds of manuscripts he 
had one or more in which he had made the points he 
now had in mind, and hastened to avail himself of the 
labor-saving suggestion. 

His manuscripts reveal yet another stroke of econo- 
my in toil to which he often resorted. From his writ- 
ten themes he frequently extemporized at a later date, 
and made his briefs or notes on the pages opposite 
the written ones. Thus the same manuscript carries the 
sermon in two forms, and has done a double service. 
Here are the etching and the full painting ranged side 
by side, but the moving pictures flashed on the vision 
of the people must have been much the same. On 
some of his sermons appear two or more dates, indica- 
ting their repetition, and generally at not very wide inter- 
vals apart, as if the themes were still haunting his soul 
and appealing for a second or a third deliverance ; and 
occasionally the word Repeated appears on the front 
page. But it is a comfort to know that this hard- 
worked mmister was thus not wholly blind or averse to 
some arts of easing his tasks. 



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236 UKE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

But the most remarkable feature of Dr. Chapin's 
manuscripts is their uniform incompleteness. It is very 
doubtful if in sermon or lecture he has left a com- 
pleted composition. In no habit was he more persist- 
ent that in that of beginning to write with evident 
care and fulness, and ending with illegible phrases and 
words; and it is easy to trace, as he advances, his lapse 
into fragmentary paragraphs and periods and degener- 
ated chirography. This tendency appears in the printed 
fao-similes, which are an earlier and a later page of the 
same discourse. In a few pages from the start his 
manuscript shows signs of haste in his hand, and soon 
becomes sketchy and unreadable; but, as he wrote, 
the real sermon rose and rushed toward an ideal 
completeness. The worse the manuscript the better 
the sermon. A compelled haste may now and then 
have been responsible for this method of work; but 
it was no doubt mainly due to psychological con- 
ditions, the laws and processes of his inner life. No 
sooner would he get fairly to musing on hia theme and 
opening it out on paper than his mind would so kindle 
and his impulses so acquire impetus that his pen was 
utterly powerless to make record of his swift visions 
and rapt feelings, and did little more than indicate by 
meagre scrawls the grand unfolding of his discourse as 
a mental and spiritual achievement. As a hurrying 
traveller through a forest cannot delay to make a road, 
but only blazes a tree here and there to keep him on 
his path if ever he passes that way again, so Dr. Chapin, 
swept forward by a whirlwind of thought and feeling, 
could not pause to write out with plainness and fulness 
his sermons, but dashed on, only leaving such hasty 



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SERMONS AND LECTURES. 237 

traces of his course as would enable him in his pulpit 
to find again the lofty path he had traversed in his 
study. It may also have been in part a policy with 
him to leave these unwritten gaps and conclusions, 
since he knew his rare gift of oflfrhand speech, by which 
he could fill the Voids with thrilling climaxes. For the 
fullest deliverance of himself, and the best effects on 
his hearers, he may have sought moments of entire 
abandon to the rush of thought and feeling. He could 
wisely trust his emotions to a spontaneous utterance, 
since they were of that intensity and elevation that 
hurled them into forms of beauty and power, as crystals 
burst under great heat into charming shapes. 

But passing to a deeper view of Dr. Chapin's sermons 
we fail to find in them some traits for which those but 
partially acquainted with his character would naturally 
look. An exuberant wit, still are his sermons uni- 
formly serious. A hearty lover of fun, having an eye 
to detect puns in almost every combination of words, 
freely seasoning his conversation with the spice of wit, 
it was yet a rare occurrence in his preaching that he 
drew a smile from his hearers. It would be difficult to 
find a jest in his dozen or more volumes of published 
discourses. They are cheerful but never witty ; full of 
sunny thoughts and sentiments, but free from all face- 
tiae. He now and then approached satire, but rarely 
surrounded it with an air of levity, as did the witty 
Sydney Smith. If his thrusts were sharp, they were 
still more serious than humorou& It is not probable 
that he had a theory on this matter to which he con- 
formed his practice, but that his gravity was the real 
and free mood of his spirit Intellectually he would 



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238 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

agree with Cowper, that "*tis pitiful to court a grin, 
when you should woo a soul, to break a jest when 
pity would inspire pathetic exhortation, and to address 
the skittish fancy with facetious tales when sent with 
God's commission to the heart;" but he would also 
accord wisdom to the statement of Miltx)n, that " even 
this vein of laughing, as I could produce out of grave 
authors, hath oft-times a strong and sinewy force in 
teaching and confuting." It was no doubt due to his 
temperament that he was kept thus from blending 
gravity and levity. His native ardor bore him exclu- 
sively into one mood or another, so that when devoted 
to sacred things his wit was as if it were not ; and when, 
on the other hand, he gave himself to frolic, it was with 
an equally undivided surrender to the passing mood. 
His current feeling was so marked and strong it pre- 
cluded the intrusion of a counter-feeling. He was too 
intense to be versatile. 

To this trait of his character we must also ascribe, 
no doubt, the absence of literary allusions and quota- 
tions from his sermons. A constant reader of the 
choicest books, a student of the poets and dramatists, 
versed in the legendary and folk-lore of many lands an 
eager reader of the best works on art, familiar with the 
authors who treat of social and moral philosophy, and 
conversantwith all the Broad-church writers from Tauler 
to Martineau, — a very devotee, in short, of high and 
quotable literature, — still he rarely made a reference, and 
more rarely a quotation, which indicated the range of his 
reading. In his earlier years he was much more given 
to reflecting his wealth of literary treasures than later 
in life. His first and last book reveal a marked con- 



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SERMONS AND LECTURES. 239 

trast in this respect, not that the former is at all pedan- 
tic, but that the latter is strangely exempt from all echoes 
and glimpses of the great authors. Mainly as an uncon- 
scious influence, a wisdom and beauty and energy as- 
similated and made personal, does literature at length 
reappear on. his written and printed pages. No more 
in name and phrase, or but rarely, do we find Homer 
and Milton, Raphael and Euskin, Fenelon and Chan- 
ning, pressing into his composition ; bitt there can be no 
doubt that, as the fragrance of the flowers fills the air 
unseen, the fine spirit of these sons of genius pervades 
his inspired and glowing periods. It was not in vain 
that he had communed with them , and perhaps we get 
the more of them in spirit, as we get less in formal 
allusion. It was said by the eloquent Dr. Alexander, 
in his later ministry : " I am less and less in favor of 
quotation in sermons. My tendency used to be very 
much that way; but as my manner becomes warmer 
and more practical, I let these brilliant patches alone.** 
So did Dr. Chapin sacrifice literary embellishment to his 
fervor and impetus in the hour of composition or of 
extemporaneous discourse. He rose above the frame of 
mind which is discursive and can freely range the field 
of literature, and pause to recall and set in form a 
happy quotation or to consult and quote from the orig- 
inal text- In his ardor he freely created the phraseology 
which would best serve his purpose, and cared not to 
look about for less glowing and graphic terms. A high 
inspiration is self-suflBcing, and hindered, rather than 
helped, by any attempt to borrow assistance. 

Nor do Chapin's sermons, in manuscript or in print, 
disclose to the reader many of the looked-for passages 



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240 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

by which he wrought overwhehning effects in delivery. 
The majority of his climaxes may have been extempo- 
raneous, outbursts from his soul in the moments of 
its rapture ; but they were not all thus independent of 
the written page. He often seized upon the periods his 
pen had cast and rendered them startling to the hearer- 
He would turn a paragraph into a battery by which he 
would electrify and thrill his audience. Into a phrase 
he would hurl a tempest of passion. But this he did 
very much at his pleasure, or in response to the instan- 
taneous concentration of the fire in his soul. Hence 
his manuscripts were especially dependent on his mar- 
vellous personality. It required his kindled heart and 
magnetic voice to break their steady energy into a most 
impressive diversity of efifects. They were supple instru- 
ments in his hands, and made to work wonders beyond 
anything that the reader would suspect. While they 
are full of beauty and strength which cannot be hidden 
from the eye, he made them tenfold more grand and 
impressive to the ear. 

In like manner will the reader look in vain to Cha- 
pin's sermons for references to himself. He rarely in- 
dulged in a word of autobiography, but treated his 
themes on the most impersonal grounds. In this he 
may have been modest beyond what is wise ; for, while 
there .is a vanity in many a preacher which makes him 
tedious in his garrulity about his own experiences and 
deeds, there is a use to be made of personal history, of 
inner and outer events, which, while imparting a human 
interest, may serve to unfold and enforce divine truth. 
A bit of autobiography is often a source of pleasure and 
instruction, and to a biographer it is a desideratum; but 



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SERMONS AND LECTUBES. 241 

Dr. Chapin modestly avoided to speak of what was per- 
sonal to himself. With a master's hand he painted the 
portrait of his Saviour, but never sketched his own face 
as a side picture. He shrunk from being an ofl&cial 
figure-head in the Church. " Men have," said he, " a 
great deal of respect for. the clergyman on account of 
his oflSce. I do not want any such officious respect I 
do not want any of that feeling for the parson as a sort 
of embodiment of cold ecclesiastical formalities, — for 
instance, that kind of respect for the clergyman that 
will check a man from swearing in his presence ; ' Ah, 
I beg pardon ; I see there is a minister present' Never 
beg my pardon for swearing ; if you don't care about 
offending God, you need not trouble yourself about 
offending me.'* As a star is lost in the effulgence of the 
sun, so in his pulpit would he be lost in the greater light 
of the Divinity, — lost to his own self -consciousness and 
to the consciousness of his audience. He preached not 
himself, but the Gospel 

The traits in Dr. Chapin's sermons which most com- 
mend them are their broad and lofty themes, and the 
sincere and poetic earnestness with which they are 
treated. No man ever shared a keener or stronger sym- 
pathy with human life, for in him life was abound- 
ing riches, a charged and surcharged battery, a majestic 
and swift tide, a thrilling pilgrimage, a stirring drama, 
a grand warfare. That which is indifferent to the low 
and sluggish nature was all-absorbing to hia living soul. 
In his more placid hours he might say with Emerson : 
" Life is sweet as nitrous oxide ; " but he was oftener in 
a mood of more intense delight, and could exclaim with 
Schiller : ** Oh God I how lovely still is life 1" But a 

16 



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242 UFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

stronger adjective would better serve' his frequent ex- 
perience, and with the Persian Dabistan he could cry 
out : " Oh Life I thou art the Flame of flames 1 " , Open 
to almost any page of his printed sermons and this fa- 
vorite word will greet you, standing alone like the even- 
ing star, or in groups like the shining clusters of the 
later night. It is the theme of many of his sermons ; 
and of his twenty-two courses of sermons which remain 
in manuscript, in full or broken sets, the following gen- 
eral titles are characteristic: Discourses on Life, 
Elements of Modem Life, Conditions of Personal and 
Social Life, Phases of Life, Eeligion in Every-day Life, 
Spheres of Life and Conduct, Spheres of Life and Duty, 
Life Lessons from the Book of Proverbs ; and to these 
may be added the title of one of his published volumes, 
— Moral Aspects of City Life. The little word was so 
great with meaning as he shaped it out of his experi- 
ence that it fairly haunted him, and he returned again 
and again to the theme. He was so much a man of the 
heart aijd the imagination that he cared not to contem- 
plate principles and sentiments in the abstract, but 
grew enthusiastic over them as they took the forms of 
life and experience. Hence his love of history, legend, 
folk-lore, and anecdote. It was when the universal -be- 
came personal and passed into living aspects, taking to 
itself love, hope, virtue, heroism, filling public and pri- 
vate spheres, toiling and striving, traversing the arenas 
of tragedy, comedy, romance, saintship, that his interest 
was enlisted and his genius fired with passion to 
paint the scenes and aid the actors in the midst of 
them. "The crowd in the city," said he, "affords 
comparatively little interest, when we contemplate it 



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SERMONS AND LEGTUBES. 243 

merely as a crowd. But when we resolve it into its in- 
dividual particles, and consider each of these as endued 
with the attributes and involved in the conditions of 
humanity, our deepest sympathies are touched. Every 
drop of that great stream is a conscious personality. In 
some shape the Universe is reflected in it. In some 
way it takes hold of the reality of life ; and the living 
organism of which it is composed both acts and suffers, 
receives from the world around it and contributes to 
it." Thus in personality, and the play of the invisible 
principles of the universe in daily deeds and feelings, he 
found a favorite topic of discourse. 

And it was for this reason that Christ was so often 
the theme of his preaching. In him he saw religion 
taken out of its abstract form, and brought home to the 
heart and set before the imagination. He felt it a 
privilege to turn from the creeds, so cold and barren, and 
fix his gaze on a living Christianity in the Son of God. 
He phared a devotion to his Master that any Saint of 
the Romish Church might have envied. To him he 
gave his love ; him he glorified with his reverent and 
poetic genius ; and to him he most desired to lead his 
fellow-beings, that like Mary they might sit at his feet 
and be helped. In a sermon of his early life, preached 
at the ordination of Kev. C. H. Fay, he defined the 
office of the pulpit in the following words: — 

It should exhibit Christ to the world. Not the Christian- 
ity of the Church, not the Christianity of the Creed, — but 
Christ as he lived, Christ as he taught, Christ as he appeared 
in all his moral power and loveliness, apart from the systems 
and tenets of men, Christ as he spoke at Olivet, Christ as 
he piayed in Gethsemane, Christ as he wept at the grave of 



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2i4 LIFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Lazaras^ Christ as he died upon the cross, Christ as he 
arose from the sepulchre. Here is enough to move the heart, 
to start the penitential tear, to call forth from the welling 
fountains of the spirit gushings of love and tenderness. Oh ! 
there is a houndless theme opened for the preacher in the 
character of Jesus. Here are topics for his discourses, ex- 
amples for his imitation, and the noblest motives that can be 
brought to bear upon the universal mind. 

To this early conception of the office of the Christian 
pulpit he remained steadfast to the end of his days ; for 
it was a conception alike congenial to the native bias of 
his heart and imagination, which demanded that the 
universal should become personal, — and kindling to 
his gifts of eloquence, by its appeals to love, grati- 
tude, veneration, and a soldierly devotion to a great and 
worthy leader. 

Of God and man, duty and dastiny, law and compen- 
sation, he often treated in his sermons; but always 
strove to set these themas in concrete and living forms. 
He brought them on the arena of life, and invested 
them with a human interest. He treated them picto- 
rially and graphically, as a great artist or poet bodies 
forth the unseen. 

His references to nature are as poetic and reverent as 
they are frequent. He approached it as if it were a 
shrine, and his soul gladly confessed its deeper signifi- 
cance, the light within the light, the beauty which is 
the soul of the beautiful, the love that glows in all its 
forms and outgoings. 

" It is a great thing," said he, '* to see the spiritual truth 
that all nature symbolizes. Take that familiar and grand fact 
I saw on the veige of Niagara. There were the crystal battle- 



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SEBMONS AND LEGTUBES. ' 245 

ments ; theie was the rainbow round about the throne ; there, 
ascending and descending, were outlines of spirit-forms, with 
their sweeping, glorious garments of white ; there, in perpet- 
ual acclamation, with the voice of many waters and with the 
voice of mighty thunderings, went up the ascription, ' Allelu- 
jah 1 for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth ! ' " 

As an expression of a more quiet sympathy with 
nature, a conscious rest of the soul under her mystic 
sway, a silent reading of her far-oflf tokens of love, a 
drawing of hope and trust from her calm immensities, 
the quotation given below can but soothe and bless the 
reader : — 

In calm, fine nights of the latter summer, when the woods 
are clothed with the luxuriance of maturity and the com 
stands fully ripe, •— > in the clear midnight, when all else is 
still, — there comes a manifestation as of the conscious earth 
communing with the conscious universe. There rises a low, 
deep murmur of the sea upon its shores, and the leaves shiver 
with a sudden ecstasy, and a light of answering gladness rip- 
ples along the firmament and sparkles to the edge of the 
remotest constellations. It is as if nature herself knew the 
counsel that embosoms all things, and for a moment confessed 
the glorious purpose. This may be fancy, but surely it sym- 
bolizes a consoling fact. As in space, so in the immensity of 
God's plan and among the ministering influences of his Prov- 
idence, our world is carried onward, — with the graves of the 
saints and the martyrs on her breast, and the crescent good 
slowly spreading over her ; and the seeds of truth and right- 
eousness, planted with great pains and buried often in seem- 
ing defeat, are swelling with life and bursting into victory. 

As it was said of Mrs. Siddons that she was tragic in 
all things, — even stabbing the potato she took from the 



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246 UFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

dish to her plate, and asking for her fan with a his- 
trionic air, ^- so it may be said of Chapin's genius : pre- 
eminently spiritual and moral, it never began to act but 
it fell into the making of a sermon. His earliest poems 
'were sermons. His speeches in the Van Buren cam- 
paign, when he was a law-student, could not have been 
anything but sermons. The many speeches he made 
during the years of his popularity as a speaker, however 
they may have started off amid an effervescence of wit, 
directly passed into a serious temper and treated some 
grave problem of life ; and usually the division between 
the sport, which was for an instant, and the ardent 
preaching which followed, was as marked as that be- 
tween the glittering froth and the deep-hued wine below 
it, or between the gay crest of some Oriental bird and 
the sober plumage which covers its body. His editori- 
als, with rare exceptions, were sermonical in theme and 
spirit, and the great majority of them had been preached 
in his pulpit as parts of his sermons. His lectures, what- 
ever their titles may have been, and their drapery of 
history and reference to current events and anecdote, 
were essentially sermons. On the platform he was the 
preacher still, seeking to enhghten and inspire souls by 
a discussion of moral truths and principles. Every one 
of his sixteen published works was first preached in his 
pulpit Even as a necessity is laid upon the acorn, in 
case it passes into germ and shrub and tree, to become 
an oak, so he seemed compelled by some deeper sway of 
his genius to bear every topic into a higher than tem- 
poral light, and to discuss it with reference to " buUding 
and being." On this ground Mr. Emerson, who says 
that "necessity does everything well," would account 



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SERMONS AND LECTXJBES. 247 

for their power as sermons. "A fortunate necessity is 
superior to art/' says iEschylus ; and no one can doubt 
the good fortune of Dr. Chapin as a preacher, in this com- 
manding proneness to think and feel in the direction of 
the true, the beautiful, and the good, and to plead ever 
for more saintly living. 

A list of his published volumes will be read with 
interest as an index of his character and work. It 
bespeaks the practical mind, as well as the devotional 
heart. If the creed is absent from it, the spirit and 
worth of religion as a presence in daily life are made 
manifest. 

Duties of Young Men^ exhibited in Six Lectures ; with an 
Anniversary Address, delivered before the Richmond Lyceum, 
1840. Abel Tompkins, Boston, pubhsher. 

Discourses on Various Subjects, 184L Abel Tomkpins, 
publisher. 

The Philosophy of Reform ; a Lecture delivered before the 
Berean Institute, in the Broadway Tabernacle, New York, 
January 20, 1843 ; with Four Discourses upon the same gen- 
eral topic, deHvered in New York and Brooklyn, 1843. C. 
L. Stickney, New York publisher. 

Hours of Commui^ion, 1844. Abel Tompkins, publisher. 

The Crown of Thorns, a Token for the Sorrowing, 1847. 
Abel Tompkins, publisher. 

Duties of Young Women, 1848. Geo. W. Briggs, Boston, 
pubhsher. 

Discourses on the Lord's Prayer, 1850. Abel Tompkins, 
publisher. 

Characters in the Gospels, illustrating phases of character at 
the present day, 1852. J. S. Redfield, New York, publisher. 

Moral Aspects of City Life, 1853. Henry Lyon, New 
York, publisher. 



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248 LIFE OF EDWIN H. OHAPK 

Humanity in the City, 1854. De Witt & Davenport^ 
New York, publishera* 

Chnstianity the Perfection of True Manliness, 1854. 
Henry, Lyon, publisher. 

Select Sermons, 1859- Henry Lyon, publisheti 

Discourses on the Beatitudes, 1853. Abel Tompkins, 
publisher. 

Extemporaneous Discourses, 1860. 0. Hutchinson, New 
York, publisher. 

Lessons of Faith and Life, 1877. James Miller, New 
York, publisher; 

Church of the Living God, 1881* James Miller, pub- 
lisher. 

"Select Sermons'* was republished in 1869, by 
Williamson & Cantwell, of Cincinnati, with the title, 
** Providence and Lifa" This issue has a brief but appre- 
ciative biographical introduction by Eev. A. IX Mayo. 
"Extemporaneous Discourses" was republished in 
1881, a few months after the author's death, by 
James Miller of New York, with the title, "God's 
Requirements, and other Sermons." 

In 1846 ''The Fountain, a Temperance Giff* was 
edited by Rev. John G. Adams and Rev. E. H, Cha- 
pin, and published by George W. Briggs of Boston. 
Three of the articles in this volume were from the pen 
of Mr. Chapin The Temperance Movement, An Appeal 
to the Influential Classes, and the Young Drunkard. 
In the preface the editors jointly ** invoke Heaven's 
blessings on our Fountain. May its living waters 
gush out and flow forth in gladness to many a soul." 
During the same year these genial coworkers compiled, 
and Abel Tompkins published, Hynvns for Christian 



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SERMONS AND LECTURES. 249 

Devotion, especially adapted to the Universalist Denom- 
ination. This hymn book was compiled with true spir- 
itual and poetical insight, and is found in many of the 
churches of the order at the present time. 

In 1860 Rev. Orren Perkins collected many of the 
gems from Chapin's printed works, and these were pub- 
lished in a large and handsome volume by Abel Tomp- 
kins, imder the general heading, "Living Words." On 
the titlepage Mr. Perkins set the ambitious motto: — 

"Jewels five words long, 
That on the stretched forefinger of all time 
Sparkle forever ; " 

while Rev. Thomas Starr King, in an introductory letter 
sent from San Francisco, ventured to claim much in 
behalf of Chapin's gift of condensing broad areas of 
light into brilliant flashes. A paragraph from his letter 
will be read with interest: — 

Each new volume by Dr. Chapin has borne testimony to 
advancing and ripening power. This one, doubtless, will 
show, more potently than any other which the public has seen, 
the breadth and vigor of the intellectual gifts which ho has 
so faithfully dedicated. Books of this character are pecu- 
liarly adapted to our American hurry and impatience of elab- 
orate and artistic address. Very often the best thing in a 
sermon or speech — the only original paragraph or passage — 
is an illustration or an aphorism, or a sudden gleam of imag- 
ination which condenses the meaning of the discourse, or sets 
an old truth at an angle where it glows like a gem. Whoever 
masters this one passage holds the value of the whole effort. 
The richest minds of the pulpit are those which sprinkle their 
pages most freely with these seed-thoughts, or from whose 
extempore utterance can be caught the most of the sentences 



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250 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

which are lenses for the rays of Christian truth. Diffuaeness 
is especially the vice of pulpit speech. The formula which 
Carlyle stated as to hobks is peculiarly true of sermons: 
" Given a cubic inch of respectable Castile soap, to lather it 
up in water so as to fill one puncheon, wine-measure." Vol- 
umes like Mr Beecher's "Life Thoughts" save for us the solid 
matter, and give us what is vital in the preacher, disengaged 
from what is mechanical There are comparatively few who 
can bear this test of husking off the accessories, and selecting 
only the original germ -passages which are quickened by the 
preacher's own insight and experience. The poverty of many 
a fair looking discourse is patent when this process is tried 
upon it. The volume of selections from Dr. Chapin's sei^ 
mons and writings will show, I am sure, that his mind is one 
of the richest, as well as that his heart is one of the most fer- 
vent and simplest;, that is now in communion, as a preacher, 
with our American life. 

Before the lyceums of the country Dr. Chapin gave 
the following lectures : — Orders of Nobility ; Social 
Forces; Modern Chivalry ; Building and Being; The Old 
and the New ; The Roll of Honor ; Man and his Work ; 
Woman and her Work ; The People ; The Age of Iron ; 
Europe and America ; John Hampden, or the Progress 
of Popular Liberty ; Columbus ; Franklin. 

In these lectures there is more of the head and less 
of the heart than in his sermons, and for this reason 
they were less favorable to an overwhelming eloquence. 
In them his genius did not come into ite freest and full- 
est play, since there is less of the divine in them at 
which he so readily kindled. They surpass his sermons 
in rhetoric, but fall below them in feeling. They are 
more studied and less inspired, more didactic and less 
poetic, more logical and less lyrical, more fitted to 



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SERMONS AND LECTURES. 251 

awaken admiration and less to subdue the soul to won- 
der and awe, and sweep it into a holy rapture. Their 
scenery is less mountainous and romantic, and their at- 
mosphere not so morning-like and refreshing. They are 
more removed from the high region of First Causes and 
the arenas on which the heavenly lights descend, and 
hence were not so likely to engage the oratorical powers 
of the speaker, which were mainly tenants of his souL 
At a long range their arguments suggest the forum and 
their dramatic passages the stage, while the pulpit, 
which was Chapin's real throne, is not made to appear 
in fullest view. Only as the musical theme plays 
through the variation does the sermon linger and bear 
rule in the lecture ; and by as much as it fails to be the 
sole genius of the composition, by so much are the fer- 
vor and sway of the orator diminished; and yet for 
twenty-five years he was an acknowledged prince on the 
lyceum platform. 

The lecture on the Orders of Nobility is one of his 
earliest and best, and seems to have been a favorite with 
its author as well as the public. It remains in two 
well-worn manuscripts. To secure a bolder and plainer 
handwriting all of his lectures are copied into blank- 
books of letter-paper size, and for durability they are 
bound in flexible leather covers. The more used lectures 
are in duplicates of this form, the one worn and soiled, 
the other fresher and brighter ; and the dates of re-writ- 
ing indicate that he usually made this a vacation task. 
On the older copy of Orders of Nobility is the record of 
ninety places in which he delivered it ; and in the later 
copy, which is a revision and improvement, he made 
note of two hundred and forty-seven deliveries- The 



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252 UFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

prices which this lecture brought range from twenty- 
five to two hundred and fifty dollars. When some one 
asked him what he lectured for, he replied : " For f-a- 
m-e, fifty and my expenses." But this was in the 
long-ago, when lecturing was a more serious but less 
paying service than it has been in more recent years. 
If we take, however, the low figures indicated by the 
witticism of the author, as the average price for each 
delivery, we shall find the income from this lecture 
reaching the liberal sum of sixteen thousand eight hun- 
dred and fifty dollars. It is probable that twenty thous- 
and dollars would be a closer estimate. But this 
was only one of several lecture mines from which 
he quarried. Modem Chivalry must have been de- 
livered nearly as many times. Hia most worn man- 
uscript contains this lecture, but in it is no record of 
places or prices. It is probable, however, that it must 
have served on nearly three hundred platforms. A 
later copy gives information of seventy deliveries. Even 
his much more recent lecture, on Building and Being, 
was given one hundred and thirty times^ and in one 
season, 1874-5, it brought him the handsome reward of 
three thousand and thirty dollars. His John Hamp- 
den appears with three titles — "John Hampden and 
his Times," " John Hampden and his Times, or the Pro- 
gress of Popular Liberty," "John Hampden, or the 
Progress of Popular Liberty " — and in five manuscripts, 
which do not indicate any great degree of service. On 
one is the record of thirty-two deliveries, with prices 
ranging from one hundred to one hundred and twenty- 
five dollars. 

But while Dr. Ghapin thus turned genius and toil 



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SERMONS AND LECTURER. 253 

into money, a fair and legitimate exchange, he carried a 
great blessing to the public through his lectures. He 
gave better than he received. In thought his messages 
from the platforms were progressive, in spirit they were 
chaste stiid noble, in rhetoric they were surpassingly bril- 
liant, and in the eloquence of their delivery they were the 
sources of an enthusiastic delight In some degree they 
were witty and satirical, and sent ripples and waves of 
laughter through his audiences ; but in the main they 
were glowing discussions of great and useful themes, 
and made the world better and happier. 



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XV. 

HIS UNTVERSALISM. 

A Schoolmate of Dr. Chapin, the Eev. X A, White, 
D. D., of Michigan, in a letter to the "New York 
Evangelist," written soon after the death of the elo- 
quent preacher, said : — 

The remarkable thing about Chapin is his getting into a 
Universalist pulpit, for his education was after a strictly Or- 
thodox pattern But he carried to that pulpit a 

goodly youthful training and a knowledge of the Scriptures. 
And though I have not heard him preach, I have many times 
heard from his preaching ; for people at the West who visit 
New York, are apt to hear celebrated preachers of any de- 
nomination. The testimony of such was, when they heard 
him, that '' there was nothing in his sermons of Universallsm, 
or that in any way marked his denominational connection." 
I have heard, too, that this has been a subject of complaint 
with Universalists. 

While the sense of his loss was fresh in the public 
heart, Mr. Beecher said in the " Christian Union : " — 

Probably a stranger might have attended his ministry for 
ihany successive Sundays, and surmised his denominational 
relations only by his uniformly tender and sympathetic por- 
traitures of God. 



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mS UKIVERSALISM. 255 

The editor of "Harper's Weekly," near the same 
date, wrote: — 

Chapin was the reverse of dogmatic in his spirit, and he 
seldom referred to the distinctive doctrines of TJniversalism. 
Only once did the writer of this notice hear such a reference ; 
at the funeral of Horace Greeley he spoke briefly but point- 
edly of Mr. Greeley's firm adherence to the faith of the 
Universalist Church* 

In terms similar to the above has Chapin often been 
referred to by editor and correspondent, and in private 
conversation; and not seldom has a statement been 
pressed, through ignorance or a questionable motive, to 
the extent of a denial of his faith in the final salvation 
of all souls. But to all who may give to this chapter a 
careful reading, it will be evident that such a statement 
rests either on a partial view of facts, or on a wish 
which is " father of the thought." That both of these 
errors should have transpired has been quite natural. 
On the one hand, his TJniversalism, having been re- 
vealed more in the sp^irit of his preaching than verbally, 
might easily be missed by such as heard him only to a 
limited extent, and were watching for an open assault 
on Calvinism and the eternity of punishment, and 
trimming their ears to hear a formal declaration of the 
creed of universal redemption ; and on the other hand, 
it has been exceedingly human and pleasant on the part 
of those not of the Universalist sect, to claim one so 
full of piety and so popular, as being of their per- 
suasion. « 

From the start, as a youthful editor in Utica, to the 
end of his ministry, he maintained a uniform habit of 
making but an occasional statement of his faith in the 



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256 LIFE OF £DWIN H. CHAFIN. 

final triumph of good over all eviL It is probable this 
was never the main point of any sermon .he wrote or 
preached. It was never his uppermost thought. Not 
in the form of a proposition to defend, but rather as an 
inference from premises already defended, did it come 
into his discourses. It was the veiled statue always 
standing at his side in the pulpit, whose drapery he 
lifted now and then, as with an impromptu but ardent 
hand, — and none could mistake the figure. The 
graphic form was distinctive UniversaUsm. Its identity 
with that which stood constantly derobed by the side 
of a BaUou and a Streeter is unmistakable. 

Whoever chanced to make one of Chapin's audience 
when he thuS unveiled the statue needsd no voice to 
tell him he was ia a UniversaUst churcL We may 
listen to a single witness, as the representative of many. 
A member of the English Parliament, William Edward 
Baxter, came to visit our country, and on lus return 
wrote a book entitled: "America and the Americans," 
in which, among other eminent clergymen, he speaks of 
Chapin. He thus reports his sermon : — 

He preached from Lnke, 19 th chapter, 4l8t verse, — Jesus 
weeping over Jerusalem. It was in some respects the great- 
est rhetorical effort at which it has been my good fortime to 
be present, either on this or the other side of the ocean. For 
brilliancy of description and splendor of imagery I do not 
think it could well be excelled. I can almost fancy that I 
hear him yet apostrophizing the Holy City, as looking down 
from Olivet he pointed out its temple and ps^aces, and re- 
called the associations connected with it in the minds of both 
Jew and Gentile, the Christian and the Mussulman, the 
American who dwells in a new country far away over the sea, 



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HIS UNIVERSALISM. 257 

and the Aiab who feeds his camels by the ruins of Tadmor 
in the wilderness. I thought of the well-known passage in 
'' Tancred," descriptive of Jerusalem by moonlight ; but Cha- 
pin attempted and succeeded in a higher flight than was ven- 
tured on by the genius of Disraeli. The. speaker proceeded 
to say that his text illustrated, in the first place, " the intense 
humanity of the Saviour/' under which head he declared that 
the majority of Christians at the present day remove him 
from their sympathies in a vain attempt to do him honor. 
This part of his discourse was distinguished for its touching 
and stirring appeals and its undisguised Socinianism. In 
the second place he remarked, the text showed " the philan- 
thropy of Christ," of whom he spoke as a manifestation of 
the Divine love. Then followed a wonderfully eloquent 
peroration on the love of God to men, which he declared was 
the one and the only moral influence fitted to regenerate the 
world ; and he called upon the congregation to look forward 
to that happy time when the influence of God's love shall be 
felt by all who need it, and when universal humanity shall 
respond ^' Hosanna in the highest." 

In a discourse written and preached during his min- 
istry in Richmond, entitled — "Universalism: What it 
Is, and What it is Not," and which is now one of the 
most popular of the tracts issued by the Universalists, 
he made the following point: — 

In regard to the extent and duration of punishment, there 
is a difference of opinion among us, as there is on other points 
among other sects, who yet maintain the same general views. 
Some hold that sin and its consequences extend not beyond 
the resurrection state ; others, that the effects of sin, at least, 
are felt in another existence, and that, therefore, misery is 
produced to those upon whom they operate. The last is the 
opinion of your speaker. But it is sufficient for the present 

17 



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258 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

occasion to say that all XTniveisalists believe in complete pun- 
ishment for sin, and therefore Universalism is not a doctrine 
which teaches that men may do evil with impunity ; but it is 
H doctrine which teaches that all mankind will finally be 
saved from sin and consequent misery. This is an important 
point in our discussion, for it is a position of which our oppo- 
nents seem not generally aware. Be it remembered that we 
do not enter the arena of discussiou to argue against punish- 
ment — future punishment — but against the endless duration 
of sin and misery. We do not believe that evil is ultimate 
in the government of God. We believe there will be a period 
when the last enemy shall be destroyed, — when man shall 
bow in moral subjection to his Maker, and worship him in 
the beauty of holiness. 

In a sermon on " The Heavenly State," he substan- 
tially repeats the doctrine set forth by the previous 
selection. 

I am willing to say, and deem it proper that I should, 
that I do not hold that death destroys the effects of sin. 
The argument from identity that I have employed above, it 
seems to me, naturally leads to this conclusion. If we look 
upon the soul as the seat of thought and motion, I can con- 
ceive that, even tabernacled in a body that is not liable to 
physical death, the soul can suffer the consequences of its 
guilt. It seems to me that in the future life there may be a 
distinction of good and bad. I have not, then, been stating 
the glories of heaven as the immediate possession of all at the 
end of this life. I have represented it as the true Christian's 
home, to which, in every storm and every peril, he may look 
with faith's clear vision, and be comforted and strengthened. 
But were I to pause here, I should lay myself open to mis- 
understanding on the other hand. It is at the po^dtion of 
endless punishment that I halt. Between endless and limited 



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HIS UNIVERSALISM, 259 

letribution in the future world there is an infinite difference. 
The arguments which support the one cannot be pressed into 
the service of the other. I would ask, then, those who hold 
the doctrine of endless punishment : Can you reconcile it 
with your best ideas of heaven and immortality 1 

A firm disciple of the doctrine of free-will, and of the 
fact that God will never subject the will to compulsory 
pressure, he still felt no misgiving, as do the Uncertain- 
arians, as to the issue of that freedom under the moral 
government of God. In full accord with its personal 
liberty, he felt that every soul will at length be saved 
and join in the great song of redemption. In the eter- 
nal perversity of the finite will against infinite wisdom 
and love, which is the ground on which eternal punish- 
ment is now predicated, he no more believed than he 
believed in the power of man's puny arm to resist the 
sweep of Niagara. In the day of Divine power the 
soul, he felt, will be a willing captive. On the vast 
arena of moral conflict and discipline, — with God and the 
angels and all loving and holy powers on the one side, 
and the sinner on the other, he foresaw, as in a vision 
of implicit faith, the banner of a universal victory raised 
at last on the divine side. 

" Believing as I do," he observes in his sermon on " The 
Joy of the Angels," "that the upshot and result must be final 
good for all, I cannot hold to that upshot of final good as 
coming by any desecration of man's personality. If I could 
believe that, with all these influences brought to bear upon 
him, — the greater loves of the nobler spheres, — man could 
still hold on to perverse, selfish sin, then I could believe in 
endless sin. I believe God poised man upon free action, and 
that all the good that comes to him must come, not from 



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260 LIFE *0F EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

external pressure, but from his own choice, influeDced, 
perhapSy by that pressure. Therefore I say there is no 
barrier on the side of Heaven. Here stands man, untouched 
in his freedom and personality, moving onward to a wise 
and holy result, in perfect consistency with that freedom 
and personality/' 

In God he saw a wise and beneficent Creator, and a 
Buler equal to all the demands of the universe, and 
hence he declared : " I cannot think that evil is ulti- 
mate in the designs of God, or that his designs wiU 
not be accomplished." In these words we have an echo 
of Dr. Johnson's celebrated statement: "We know 
that God is infinite in wisdom, in power, and in good- 
ness ; that therefore he designs the happiness of all his 
creatures ; that he cannot but know the proper means 
by which this end may be obtained ; and that, in the 
use of those means, as he cannot be mistaken, because 
he is omniscient, so he cannot be defeated, because he is 
almighty." Dr. Chapin, like Dr. Johnson, believed in 
the undisputed supremacy of the divine sceptre, when 
the great battle shall be fought to its end. The contest 
is an unequal one and the victory assured. Already 
the tendency of the strife indicates its issue. Good 
slowly gains upon evil ; errors have fallen on many a 
field in the great conflict with truth ; cruelty has felt 
the sway of love ; and the kingdom of darkness recedes 
from the kingdom of light. With the process of the 
suns, measured by a wide sweep, we may see the ripen- 
ing of the divine purpose, and hope flies on from the 
pages of history to read the final account of a triumphant 
God. " Limited as is our sight," observes Dr. Chapin 
in a sermon on Humility and Hope, " seeing through 



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mS UNiy£BSALISM. 261 

a glass darkly, still we see ei^ough of the working of 
this stupendous mechanism of things to look for the 
victory of Goodness over all forms of evil — for uni- 
versal light and peace." 

As a child confides in its father and mother, so he 
trusted in Providence, and his heart was steadily 
cheered. To him the " bow in the cloud " was no un- 
meaning symbol, but on it he read the prophecy of the 
rolling away of all the darkness and storm of the uni- 
verse, and the coming of the clear and peaceful day. 
Under God all will be well in the end. " Every atom 
of that dishevelled water [at Niagara] is held in the 
curve of nature/' said he, " and descends by law, and 
combines and sweeps onward to the broad lake. So 
with human events : they are governed ; they accom- 
plish a majestic course ; and over their maddest plung- 
ing, their most terrible anarchy, there arches the 
superintending Providence.'' Hence the passages in the 
Psalms and the New Testament which breathe the 
spirit of a boundless trust were the ones he of tenest read. 
His favorite hymns were those that wore full of confi- 
dence and love in the direction of the Everlasting 
Father. In Bryant's over-watched " Water Fowl," he 
saw the symbol of himself, and quoted to his own heart 
the closing stanza : — 

"He who, from zone to zone. 
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, 
In the long way that I must tread alone. 
Will lead my steps aright." 

But the love he saw around his own path, hedging all 
fatal digressions, persuading to the goal of all good, he 
saw bending over every child of the Infinite Father, and 



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262 UFE OF EDWIN H. pHAPIN. 

bringing it at last out of the Wilderness into the Land 
of Promise.. Discoursing of Humanity in the City, 
he said: — 

All the belts of civilization intersect along its avenues. It 
contains the product of every moral zone. It is cosmopolitan, 
not only in its national, but in its spiritual sense. Here you 
may find not only the finest Saxon culture, but the grossest 
barbaric degradation. There you pass a form of Caucasian 
development, — the fine-cut features, the imperial forehead, the 
intelligent eye, the confident tread, the true port and stature 
of a man. But who is this that follows in his track, under 
the same national sky, surrounded by the same institutions, — 
that stunted form, that villanous look. Is it Papuan, Bush- 
man, or Carib ? ... There sits the beggar, sick and pinched 
with cold ; and there goes a man of no better flesh and blood, 
and no more authentic charter of soul, wrapped in comfort, 
and actually bloated with luxury. There issues the whine of 
distress, beside the glittering can'iage-wheels. There, amidst 
the rush of gayety, the selfish, busy whirl, half-naked, shiver- 
ing, with her bara feet on the icy pavement, stands the little 
girl, with the shadow of an experience on her that has made her 
pretematurally 0I4, and, it may be, driven the angel from her 
face. Still, we cannot believe that above that wintry heaven 
which stretches over her, there is less regard for the poor, 
neglected child than for that rosy belt of infant happiness 
which girdles and gladdens ten thousand hearths. Aiid here, 
too, through the brilliant street and the broad light of day, 
walks purity enshrined in the loveliest form of womanhood. 
And along that same street by night, attended by fitting shad- 
ows, strolls womanhood discrowned, clothed with painted 
shame, — yet, even in the springs of that guilty heart not 
wholly quenched. 

But as over himself, as over the whitest saint that 
has ever graced our planet, so over all this confused 



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HIS UNIVERSALISM. 263 

mass of human life, he saw the bending arch of a Di- 
vine Providence, and read on it the promise of universal 
salvation. Not as Dante saw the many groups of sin- 
ners passing into the world of doom through a gateway 
over which was written : " Whoso enters here, let him 
leave hope behind," did Dr. Chapin see any souls mov- 
ing in hopeless paths. "The Infinite Fatherhood encir- 
cles all," said he ; and in the face of the seeming chaos 
through which humanity is groping on its way, he 
quoted the trustful stanzas of the poet : — 

" Each, where his tasks or pleasures roll, 
They pass, and heed each other not. 
There is, who heeds, who holds them all. 
In His large love and boundless thought. 

These struggling tides of life, that seem 
In wayward, aimless course to tend. 
Are eddies of the mighty stream 
That rolls to its appointed end." 

In his reading of Scripture, Dr. Chapin drew his Uni- 
versahsm more from the spirit than from the letter of 
the Sacred Book. "By a single text,'* said he, "you 
may prove transubstantiation; you may prove the trin- 
ity or the unity, or total depravity. Taking simply the 
textual letter alone, you may prove eternal damnation 
or universal salvation ; you may prove anything by a 
single text" Approached in this superficial manner, 
with an eye to verbal forms merely, the Bible, he felt, is 
a book " where each his dogma seeks, and each his dog- 
ma finds ; " but he who reads it with a broader view is 
the one who will read it aright. And in his sermon last 
quoted from he tells us how one of these narrow inter- 
preters, blind to the broad and loving and soul-seeking 
spirit of the New Testament, — 



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264 LIFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Sees the phrase " everlaBtiug punishment," and without re- 
gard to the great fact that the word eternal is to be inter- 
preted by the subject with which it is connected (if it is the 
" eternal hills," they cannot be as enduring as the " eternal 
God,** if it is the " eternal priesthood of Aaron," it cannot 
mean as much as the " eternal kingdom of Christ "), he takes 
a text, alone, by itself, and crowds it to its extreme literal 
meaning, and upon that builds the dark, crushing, and terri- 
ble dogma of eternal damnation. For that stands simply 
upon the strict interpretation of words ; the human heart re- 
jects it, the human reason rejects it ; but the sharp textualist 
thrusts forward the phrase "everlasting punishment," and 
upon that builds his dogma. 

When some one asked Chapin if he thought Univer- 
salism was running down, he replied: "Yes, I think it 
is running doum and out into every sect in Christendom ; " 
and, as one sees with delight the dark cloud receding 
from the shining of the sun, so with pleasure did he 
witness the yielding of the old faiths, created in a 
sterner era, to this version of Christianity, which is at 
once old and new. " The modem doctrine of endless 
punishment, set forth by Joseph Cook,** he exultantly 
remarked, "resembles the old as the domestic cat resem- 
bles the Bengal tiger.** Addressing the graduating class 
of Tufts Divinity School, on the 9th of June, 1?78, he 
referred more at length, but with no less evident satis- 
faction, to the drift of theological thought away from 
the Calvinistic standard, toward the creed of universal 
redemption, with which, as it will be seen, he variously 
identified his own conviction. In his language to these 
young men, candidates for the Universalist ministry, we 
find at once a note of triumph and a confession of denom- 



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HIS UNIVEBSAUSM. 265 

inational relations. The passage is indeed significant, as 
standing among his final words to the public, and given 
on an occasion which rendered them conspicuous : — 

Although as Universalists we have made no change of latv- 
tucUy there is decidedly a change of climate, and we may be in 
danger of being too popular. I need not dilate upon the ex- 
traordinary transformation that has passed over the theolog- 
ical world. With a few verbal qualifications, thinking men 
in aU the sects have come to the conclusion that while there 
may possibly be an endless something that is evil, it is no^ 
endless misery. At least, the entire substance and sting of 
the doctrine of endless punishment have been extracted and 
cast aside. The bars have been loosened and the coals have 
dropped out. Nothing is left but a mere formal grating of 
abstract propositions. We have been lifted from the blaze of 
vindictive fire into the thin ether of metaphysics, and left to 
vindicate our faith in view of some inconceivable perversity 
of the human wilL And let us not neglect the illustration 
furnished by our fathers in the faith. Without any great 
learning or critical apparatus, guided by clear reason and the 
deep instincts of the human heart in simple loyalty to con- 
victions, they affirmed this so-called heresy, until now we see 
this apparent element of discord dissolving into an element of 
unity. But this view of the divine government is to be val- 
ued not chiefly as a dogma, but as an influence, a transform- 
ing power — the power not of mere logical assurance, but of 
the infinite love of God in the soul of man. With this con- 
viction of the evangelical efficacy of the truth you hold, go 
forth to your chosen field of labor. 

While the occasional listener to Dr. Chapin's pulpit 
efforts, and casual reader of his published sermons, might 
miss such passages as have now been quoted, which set 
his faith in Universalism beyond a question, to his reg- 



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266 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

ular hearers, and those who read him widely, they are as 
conspicuous as mountain peaks rising from broad plains, 
and as certifying as if they recurred on every passing 
Sunday. To them the veiled statue, ever standing by 
him, was no uncertain figure; for once, and again and 
again, had they seen the drapery removed and the fair 
form standing in full view. As they who have heard 
the Vox Humana in some great organ know full well, 
when the master at the instrument leaves the pleasing 
pipe silent, that it is there holding its music in reserve, 
so they who were wont to hear Chapin preach knew 
that back of his grand and inspiring terms, in which he 
set forth the universally accepted truths, this special 
word was ever waiting to be spoken. 

Dr. Chapin was not a debater, not given to aflBrming 
or denying the disputed points of theology. He was 
no text-explainer, manifested no exegetical talent, cared 
not to divide the mind of his audience by any discus- 
sion, but preferred to draw its heart into a saving sym- 
pathy with some great moral principle or humane 
sentiment. He sought to awaken in his congregation, 
not a strife of thought, but a unity of spirit. "I 
would like to have such a sermon," says one who is 
a disciple of the broad faith, but who loves the spirit- 
ual things of religion still better, "that if a stranger 
were present he would not know he was in a Univer- 
salist church, except perhaps by the great love and 
hope that might pervade the discourse." Such were 
the sermons, for the most part, which Dr. Chapin 
preached. They did not reveal his creed, but they 
filled the temple with a sacred light, disclosed visions 
of truth and life which every eye was blest in behold- 



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HIS UNIVEBSALISM. 267 

ing, melted all hearts into a common sentiment of love, 
hope, worship, aspiration, gratitude, or consolation. In* 
the words of a writer : — 

His converting power was immense, only that he converted 
men to a love of the good and heautiful, rather than to any 
creed or special form of faith. He converted men from par- 
tial, embittering creeds, and from all sectarianism, to a larger 
and nobler appreciation of the great Chiistian truths — the 
paternity of God and the brotherhood of man. One halii^ we 
doubt not, of his vast audiences — for vast they were, crowd- 
ing even upon the steps to his pulpit, where they sat and 
drank in the words of hope and promise that fell from his 
tongue, even as the bees of Hymettus clustered around the 
lips of Plato — was composed of persons who were not pro- 
fessors of, and very likely not sympathizers with, his creed, — 
persons who might hear him preach for months, nor learn 
nor think nor care what his formal creed was. For this rea- 
son it is that he exerted such a wide spread and potent 
influence. His eloquence brought the most diverse creed-men 
together, and then sanctified to them the great spiritual and 
practical truths taught by the gospel and by nature. 

His supreme interest was not in a creed, but in Christ 
and in the Christian spirit among men, making life 
sweet and beautiful and strong. With a monk's de- 
votion to the personal Saviour, and a poet's gift to set 
him forth in all the glory of his spirit and power, he 
would make religion chiefly a love and aspiration 
toward this great souL Hence he said : — 

If ever there arises — as I verily believe there will — a 
church as broad as the earth, ample as the free spirit 
of God Almighty, and glorious as the truth that came from 
heaven, a church of devout men and free niind:3, a church 



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268 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

that shall not be hedged in by intellectual limitations, but 
bound only by one great cord of unity, that cord will be 
union with Christ Jesus. Then meeting wdth him, taking 
hold of him, touching him, we shall come together. Oh, 
these crooked roads of diversity through which the sects have 
wandered, these briers and thorns of controversy, these 
weary speculations ! Come out of them ; come to the centre 
from which you have diverged, and you shall meet , Jesus 
Christ, — Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Universalist. 
We may not agree in a statement about Him, but believing 
in Him, and touching Him, we shall all be one. 

But mbre and more, with (the passing by of the years, 
did he come to think a more formal statement of Uni- 
versalism essential ; and he expressed a regret to Eev. 
Dr. Pullman, who, moved by the wide interest taken 
in the Canon Farrar discussion of " everlasting punish- 
ment," was in the midst of a course of doctrinal ser- 
mons, that he could not join him in such a work. " I 
can 't do it," was his expression. He felt himself to be 
comparatively powerless in a discussion, and that it 
was his mission to bless and save souls by drawing 
their attention to undisputed themes. From the Gen- 
eral Convention of Universalists he was rarely absent, 
and in the educational institutions of the order he was 
deeply interested. Among the later acts of his life, 
when too weak to preach, was a visit to some of his 
wealthy parishioners, in company with President Capen 
of Tufts College, to urge on them the claims of that 
school. Under the banner of the Universalist Church 
he early enlisted, and to the end, by word and act, he 
stood true to his colors. 



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XVL 

THE CHAPIN HOMR 

Among the fruits of Dr. Chapin's ministry, which 
may be regarded as a wide and various harvest of char- 
acter, comfort, and good deeds, none is more character- 
istic than the Chapin Home for the Aged and Infirm. 
Begotten and fostered by his life and teachings, regu- 
lated in its methods according to his broad and generous 
views, it stands before the public as a fitting tribute to 
his humanity, and rightly bears his honored name. 
From the first annual report, made in 1874, the follow- 
ing quotation will be read with interest and approval : — 

Two thoughts seem to have been in the minds of those 
who conceived the project : first, that the best monun^ent to 
him who has nobly served his brother man is that which will 
best illustrate the spirit of his life ; and second, that our city 
needed an institution whose charities should be as broad aud 
beneficent as the genius of freedom is divine and universal. 
The Chapin Home was the outgrowth of these sentiments. It 
is at once a memorial to Rev. K H. Chapin, D. D., whose 
name it bears, — being erected by his friends in the city which 
has been blessed with his ministry for over a quarter of a 
century, — and a home where the aged and infirm may find 
that loving care so much to be desired in the decline of life. 
And that it may fitly commemorate the beloved and honored 



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270 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

preacher, and harmonize entirely with the Christian thoughts 
that gave it birth, they who ask its shelter are not required to 
state their articles of faith. The question is not, " What is your 
creed 1 " but " what is your need, my brother or my sister 1" 

The Act of Incorporation, applied for by Mrs. Edwin 
H. Chapin and twenty other women, passed May 1, 
1869; and it is stated in the Act, that "The general 
business and object of said corporation shall be to pro- 
vide a home and support for aged and infirm persons." 
To the conditions " aged and infirm," the constitution 
adds "worthy," since it was the purpose to gather into 
the Home a group of the needy ones in the afternoon of 
life, who could spend their remaining time on earth hap- 
pily together, amid scenes more suggestive of home and 
social intercourse than of charity ; and all the appoint- 
ments of the institution are tenderly and delicately 
ordered to this end. " The rooms are all furnished hand- 
somely, but not alike," as one of the reports affirms, 
" the desire of the managers being to have them har- 
monious in color and comfort, but to avoid the pain- 
ful uniformity that usually characterizes philanthropic 
institutions." The beautiful pictures on the walls have 
been mostly transferred from the parlors of the wealthy 
and benevolent. Into the ample library have been 
gathered not a few of the choicest of books, better even 
than are found in the average home. In the style of 
their raiment the members of the Home are permitted 
to gratify their personal tastes, which gives a pleasing 
variety. As at a generous fireside, -their friends are 
made welcome ; and the lady managers mingle in the 
venerable company much like kindly neighbors and 
friends, or even as younger sisters and daughters. In 



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THE CHAPIN HOME. 271 

sickness an affectionate care is bestowed ; and for no 
part of his flock did Dr. Chapin share a more personal 
and tender concern. He went often to see them, some- 
times climbing the many steps leading to their rooms or 
their assembly parlor with painful effort; and many 
were the kindly and cheering words he spoke to them, 
the filial pleasantries by which he entertained them, the 
comforting prayers he offered with them, and the beau- 
tiful and touching tributes he paid them as they fell 
asleep in the hope of an eternal youth, " where the in- 
habitants never say, we are sick " or old. Indeed, a 
charity so homelike and ideal is rarely to be met with. 
At the first anniversary after the death of Dr. Chapin, 
Dr. Howard Crosby said truly : " The Chapin Home is 
not like most charitable institutions, which are little 
better than prisons, but a true home in the full sense of 
that sweet word." 

By the terms of admission only those can become 
members of the Home who are " not under sixty-five 
years of age." But the larger portion of the venerable 
group must have moved on to the eightieth milestone 
on the journey of life, and are here waiting in comfort 
and peace, as on the highest height of time, for their de- 
parture to the heavenly city. Rescued from the cold 
and harsh waves which beat against the aged poor, here 
they find shelter and rest as in a sunny haven ; and 
whoever pays them a visit will bless the great preacher 
who inspired this unspeakable favor for their last days ! 
Cheered thus at* the evening of life, soothed in their 
sickness, made tranquil in death, and buried with affec- 
tionate r^rd, — the spirit of Dr. Chapin must be seen 
ever standing amid these mercies and urging them on. 



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272 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

The death list of the Home for the year in which 
he also went to join the absent ones, suggests with pa- 
thetic force his usefulness in time and Ids honors in 
eternity. "From among the most aged of our house- 
hold," says the report, **five have gone to their final 
rest : Mr. Samuel Pryor died January 22, aged eighty- 
seven years ; he had been an inmate two years. Mrs. 
Elanor Williamson died January 23, aged one hundred 
and four years; she had been an inmate two years. Mrs. 
Emeline Hubbard died April 8, aged seventy-three 
years ; she had been an inmate eight years. Mrs. Eliza- 
beth Romaine died April 8, aged eighty-three years ; she 
had been an inmate five years ; and Mr. Brewster Jar- 
vis died April 11, aged eighty-one years; he had been 
an inmate eight years." It must have been a scene to 
enhance the joy of the angels, as this venerable group, 
in the Better Land, gathered around their benefactor 
and friend to bear him their greetings ! 

While "only ladies of the Universalist Denomination 
of Christians shall be eligible to election as Trustees of 
the Institution," the administration of the charity is 
carried on in the most unsectarian form and spirit 
Only on this ground would Dr. Chapin consent to its 
being founded in his name. Hence the Sunday services 
at the Home, which are held regularly, are conducted 
by preachers of every denomination except the Eoman 
Catholic The second annual report, in 1875, says: 
"The number of inmates is thirty-five. Six of these 
are Presbyterians, mne Episcopalians, three Baptists, ten 
Universalists, two Unitarians, four Methodists, and one 
Moravian." The fourth report says : "There are at pres- 
ent thirty-five inmates, representing nearly every denom* 



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THE CHAPIN HOME. 273 

ination of religious faith." The eighth report says: 
'* There are forty-seven inmates," but makes no reference 
to sectarian names, a silence that would be most conge- 
nial to Dr. Chapin. The Christian love he felt, and 
mused on and enjoined, was broad as humanity and 
impartial as the sunshine. And the Trustees of the 
Home, referring to the loss of their great leader, well 
say: "Let us look to it that the standard raised by our 
departed friend is not lowered, that the principles he 
inculcated are exemplified, that the lessons of love he 
taught are the rule and governance of our conduct So 
shall, this Institution be a witness to our fidelity and 
love, a monument sacred to his name and memory." 

The Chapin Home is located on Sixty-sixth Street, 
New York. It is a handsome brick building with 
brown stone facings, and has a frontage of one hundred 
feet. It is five stories high, exclusive of turret. It 
contains sixty-seven rooms, besides closets, pantries, and 
bath-rooms on each floor. It is heated by steam and 
lighted by gas, each room having a heater and burner, 
and each floor hot and cold water. The annual cost of its 
support ia about ten thousand dollars, which is furnished 
by contributions from its friends, — mostly by members 
of the Church of the Divine Paternity, of which Dr. 
Chapin was the beloved pastor. From its foundation in 
1869, to the time of her death in 1881, Mrs. Dr. Chapin 
was its active and honored president. If earthly good 
accomplished rises as a memorial to our credit in heaven, 
then wiU the Chapin Home be regarded among the glo- 
rified as an honor to these two souls that gave to it so 
much of influence and active service. 

18 



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XVII. 

AN ODD-FELLOW. 

In the Order of Odd-Fellows Chapin became eminent 
as an officer, editor, and orator. As he was rising tow- 
ard the zenith of his power and fame, some of his best 
hours and days were given to the defence and advance- 
ment of this organization. By its practical benevolence, 
its aim to render into life the beautiful sentiment of 
love, he was drawn to it as the needle is drawn to the 
magnet Its terms Brotherhood and Belief, — so often 
recurring in its literature, its formulas, addresses, 
and poems, — touched and enticed his broad and gen- 
erous heart Its keynote was in full accord with that 
which was sounding in his own soul and in his pulpit 
eloquence; and, while he grandly chanted this noble 
strain outside, he hastened to join the fraternal chorus 
witliin. 

Nor was he indifferent to the social hours he found 

among these banded brethren. He took to the friendly 

interchange of ideas and encounters of wit for which 

the Lodge furnished an opportunity. With heart and 

voice he could join in singing the Odd-Fellow's favorite 

stanza : — 

"Where Friendship, Love, and Truth abound, 
Among a band of brothers, 
The cup of joy goes gaily round. 
Each shares the bliss of others/' 



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AN ODD-FELLOW. 275 

But no sooner had he taken his place in this 
Older, than his gifts were drawn into the most active 
service. 

Of the " Symbol, and Odd-Fellow's Magazine," pub- 
lished monthly in Boston, and having a wide circulation 
and influence in New England, he was made sole editor. 
To great acceptance for two years he filled tliis import- 
ant position, and finally retired only out of regard to 
his failing health and need of rest In his first edito- 
rial he paid the Order the following compliment: — 

We believe it is calculated to soften those asperities that are 
induced by our isolated and selfish individaality, that it is 
calculated to awaken sympathy by those bonds of intimate 
acquaintanceship which it creates, that it banishes those 
prejudices which are the results of ignorance, and which a 
knowledge of our brother man is apt to dispel, that it excites 
emotions of kindness and generosity, and is eminently cal- 
culated to make the stranger a friend, and the adversary a 
brother. If these are its tendencies, and we think they are, 
then is ours a charitable institution, an association pecu- 
liarly devoted to the spirit of love, — to the kindly emotions, 
the generous deeds, the voluntary sacrifices, the beautiful 
amenities that spring from that great principle, and bless 
those with whom they come in contact. 

In a later editorial he afl&rmed : — 

We place Odd-Fellowship upon this single ground, — that 
it is an agent in relieving the distress that is in this world, 
and cherishing aud diffusing the great sentiment of human 
brotherhood. On this ground its claims can be defendedy 
and it will stand ; and we can show that it possesses a pecu- 
liar efficacy for the accomplishment of these results. 



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276 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

While giving his editorial pen mainly to the promo- 
tion of brotherly love and relief, he sometimes placed 
it at the service of other interests that enter into the 
well-being of man. He enjoined all the virtues on the 
brotlierhood with a signal emphasis, while he pleaded for 
temperance with a zeal only second to that with which 
he advocated humanity. Occasionally he burst into 
some poetic inspiration, and painted before his many 
patrons some pleasing scene, as if he would enchant 
their leisure hours. One of these dainty pictures he 
wrought out as " Thoughts for the Summer-time," put- 
ting the interest and skill of some great landscape 
painter — a Turner or a Bierstadt — into the scope and 
detail of his sketch. Eead amid the snows of Decem- 
ber this prose idyl restores to the very feelings the air 
and aspects of June. 

** It has kept for after treats, 
The essences of summer sweets." 

But how liable is one's finest hope to be dashed with 
disappointment! Thus the mother who decorates her 
baby for a show finds the whole effect spoiled by the 
perverse behavior of the little one. An exquisite statue 
is broken by being carelessly lifted to its place, and the 
poor artist's heart is more marred than his marble. And 
thus Chapin's delicately finished editorial, sent from his 
hand as a gem to please by its lustre, was sadly damaged 
in printing. In the next issue of the "Symbol" he 
indulged in the following pleasant wail: — 

Dear Reader, — We are not one of the best of penmen. 
We write after the most approved fly-tracks that we know of, 
but the printer cannot always decipher us, though he gen- 
erally does better than we expect In our leading article in 



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AN ODD-FELLOW. 277 

the last number, however, we are called upon to pay a pen- 
alty for our cramped penmanship, that we are not willing 
to suffer without explaining to you. If you did us the honor 
to read our " Thoughts for the Summer-time," in about the 
seventh line of that article your eye caught these words, by 
which we intended to carry out the simile of nature as a 
temple : " Its psaltery is the flushed and kindling clouds." 
If you noticed this, no doubt you were somewhat puzzled 
to know what kind of cloud music this might be. But we 
did not so write. For the word psaltery substitute the word 
upholstery, and we flatter ourselves that our idea will seem 
clearer. In the thirteenth line, too, instead of *' toave of the 
dewy grass," we wrote odor or fragrance ; we confess we do 
not exactly know which, but it was something of the kind. 
A little further along we spoke of the ocean that " unrolls 
its mottled splendor before us.*' Alas ! it was printed wreathed 
splendor. And in the very same line, when we were endeavor- 
ing to describe as well as we could the Summer heaven, by 
speaking of its ** serene and darry aspects," our picture was 
overclouded by the printer, who made it ''serene and stormy 
aspects." On the next page, the fourth line from the top, we 
wrote that every sinew of nature " is strained and husy ; " but 
the whole anatomy of the flgure has been changed, and it reads 
"strained and 6o»y," and goes pn to speak of "every ele- 
ment in the sprigs of the mountain," when we meant the fly- 
tracks to say springs. In the fifteenth line from the top, for 
preferable read palpable^ and we shall be better suited. 
So shall we be if, in the eighth line from the bottom of that 
page, for the word dimnity you substitute the word which we 
wrote, charity ; we certainly have a right to ask for charity 
here. We will not decipher further now. 

If there is any truth in the oft-repeated conceit that 
a bad penmanship and genius go together, the former 



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278 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

being the sign of the latter, then is Chapih's title to a 
high rank among the gifted well established. Simply 
iearful was the responsibility of a proof-reader who, as 
in the above case, ventured to take his " most approved 
fly-tracks" and carry them without help of their 
author to the printed paga In 1842, two years prior 
to the date of "Thoughts on the Summer-time," he 
gave an oration before the Odd-Fellows of New York, 
in the Broadway Tabernacle. The electrified brother- 
hood, as with one voice, pleaded for it in print. The re- 
sult was a pamphlet " entered according to the Act of 
Congress;" but on the margins of the pages of a copy 
sent by Chapin to an editorial friend, he entered thirty- 
eight publisher's mistakes, ranging all the way from the 
very serious to the extremely amusing. In a moment of 
sport he remarked to a brother Odd-Fellow that the 
Order had poured over him its applause and slung at 
him its types. He was keenly sensitive to a misprint, 
and yet no one was oftener the victim of maltreatment 
in this particular. 

The hour in which he delivered this Tabelnacle Ora- 
tion was one of the great hours of his life, both in the 
inspiration and eloquence that filled it, and in its sequel. 
Drawing to him the attention and admiration of leading 
men in that eloquence-loving city, and especially among 
the Universalists, it at once set New York into a sharp 
rivalry with Charlestown, and later with Boston, for 
the privilege of listening every Sunday to the might 
and magic of his pulpit oratory. 

" By the way he said Brethren, as he came before 
the vast assemblage of strangers," observes one who 
heard him, " he captured every heart, and the storm of 



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AN ODD-FELLOW. 279 

applause burst before he went any further." The en- 
tire introduction is as fine in spirit as felicitous in rhet- 
oric, and will be ever read with a pleasure second only 
to that produced by listening to it. 

Brethren, — I am happy to greet you upon this anniver- 
sary, happy to meet you surrounded by your insignia of 
Friendship, Love, and Truth — emblems of great and*beau- 
tiful ideas that hover in the van of the race, ideas that live in 
the proudest chisellings of the sculptor and breathe in the 
deepest thoughts of the poet, and yet find a home by every 
fireside, a shrine in every beating heart. You have come up 
here to-nigljt, and swdet music wafts its melody around you. 
But it has no martial strength, it bears no stormy memo- 
ries of conflict. It speaks of kind words and gentle offices, 
and thrills us with a loftier sentiment. From yon rustling 
banner-folds great truths shed down their light upon ns; 
but they reveal no dogmas of sect, no hackneyed maxims of 
party; they are watchwords of humanity, written on the 
brow of every man. Here is assembled a vast, dense multi- 
tude, like those throngs that of old waited upon some mighty 
spectacle or purple victory. But no motive like this has 
summoned us. In all this array and circumstance we answer 
not to the Past, but to the Idea of this Present Age. There- 
fore, again do I greet you. And this allusion to the Idea of 
the Present Age may lead to some considerations that will be 
found appropriate for us at this time. 

He discussed the topic, the Present Age an Age of 
Amelioration, and drew vivid and hopeful pictures of 
Love moving abroad among men on her mission of re- 
form and comfort. In art, in literature, in the laws, in 
asylums, in fraternal organizations for social and chari- 
table ends, he saw this queen of a better age gaining place 



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280 LIFE OF EDWIN. H. CHAPIN. 

and power, and hailed her coming as one who had given 
her his whole heart. In his notice of this discourse 
Eev. Thomas Whittemore said : " It is full of printers' 
blunders, but every sentence sparkles with gems." 

Not less signal was Chapin's oratorical triumph 
among the Odd-Fellows in Boston. On the 19th of 
June, 1845, the Order from all the regions round came 
up to the ancient city to hold a high festival in 
commemoration of the revival of the Order in Iflassa- 
chusetts. The morning hours of the memorable day 
were given to exercises in Faneuil Hall, the most 
notable part of which was a lengthy and able oration 
by James L. Ridgely, Corresponding Secretary of the 
Grand Lodge of the United States. About noon, eight 
thousand men, wearing the insignia of the Order, fell 
into the procession, which marched through prominent 
streets to the music, made in fitting alternation, by 
twenty-four brass bands, — the line of march ending at 
the grand pavilion erected for their accommodation. 
Plates were set for seven thousand men. At the close 
of the banquet Chapin spoke eloquently to the senti- 
ment: "The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts — behold 
her resurrection 1 " But the climax of his oratory was 
reserved for the evening gathering in Faneuil Hall, 
where were assembled many of the patriarchs and oflB- 
cers of the order, with a brilliant and happy concourse 
of men and women, The best portrayal of the scene 
is in the words of one who saw it, and is here 
given : — 

Old Faneuil Hall in flowers! The dingy pillars were 
wreathed with garlands of roses and evergreen, and its heavy 
Doric capitals bore on their plain mossy brows unwonted 



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AN ODD-FELLOW. 281 

clusters of Flora's loveliest gifts. The beautiful parasites 
clung in fragrant arches about the ancient windows, and de- 
pended in graceful festoons from the time^tained walls. How 
brilliant the lights ! how inspiring the music 1 The banners 
of the Order glistened as they waved fix)m the front galleries, 
or hung in beautiful relief against a back-ground of green 
leaves and tinted flowers. How delicious the atmosphere, as 
if the clear west wind had brought its fragrant burthen into 
the midst of our close and sultry habitations ! . • . And 
eloquence had found its inspiration. Chapin, ever fervid and 
felicitous, moved every soul, prepared as all were to respond 
.with deep feeling to his impassioned appeals. Skilfully, as 
a true master of oratory, did he use the many and varied 
influences which the place and the occasion aff*orded, invok- 
ing the spirits of the mighty dead to quicken the aflections of 
tlie living. Patriotism and philanthropy were the great 
themes of which he spoke, and in their advocacy he en- 
tranced his hearers with the glowing spirit and graceful 
charms of his oratory. 

Before the Odd-Fellows of Maryland, assembled at 
Baltimore, he gave one of his best orations, on the Prac- 
tical Eecognition of Human Brotherhood tke Great Want 
of Society. It was his old and favorite theme, and 
never did he throw into it more compactness of tliought, 
more of the fire of deep feeling, the rich fertility of 
imagination, or the overpowering vehemence of delivery. 
But of this effort Chapin was always pleased to say ; 
" I failed to keep my level, commencing on a lofty plane 
and concluding on a lowly." The discourse was pro- 
nounced in Howard's Grove, near the city, a very ele- 
vated platform having been provided for the orator and 
the officers. In front of the platform, but in immediate 
contact with it, a reading-desk had been mounted on 



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282 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

separate standards to bear up the speaker's manuscript 
" After Mr. Chapin had become pretty well warmed up 
with his subject," writes Rev. James Shrigley, then a 
resident of Baltimore, " the front part of the platform 
gave way and left the orator clinging to his desk, his 
feet dangling in the air. On being relieved from this 
unpleasant predicament, he mounted a box some 
three feet high and proceeded with his discourse, with 
manuscript in hand. But seeing the people resting 
their eyes on the high desk, which looked much like a 
gallows, he cried out in his ringing voice : ' Mind not 
high things, but condescend to men of low estate I ' " 
His happy turn of the calamity was taken as a pleasant 
part of the occasion, and holds a place in memory with 
his eloquent plea for a more practical recognition of 
human brotherhood. 

A more formal statement of the history of Chapin's 
connection with the Odd-Fellows, and of the esteem in 
which he was held by them, will be found in the follow- 
ing quotation from the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge 
of Massachusetts for the year 1881 : — 

From the records of Friendship Lodge, No. 10, of the city 
of Richmond, we learn that K H. Chapin was admitted a 
member of that lodge December 31, 1838. His card of clears 
ance from Friendship Lodge bears the date of January 4, 1842. 
This he deposited in Bunker Hill Lodge, No. 14, Charlestown, 
Mass., and was admitted a member. In August, 1843, he 
was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of 
Massachusetts, a position which he tilled with credit to himself 
and honor to the Fraternity. In August, 1844, he was elected 
Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of the United 
States for that year. In this position he gave evidence of his 



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AN ODD-FELLOW. 283 

wonderful gifts and accomplishiuents, which he did not hes- 
itate to use for the advancement of Odd-Fellowship. He was 
appointed chairman of the committee to revise the work of 
the Order, and much of the beautiful language contained in 
the several degrees, before the last revision, is attributed to his 
gifted pen. 

" The Remembrance Degree,*' another writes, " was made 
up partly of the old matter, and the manuscripts submitted 
by Chapin, the eloquent opening lecture of the Noble Grand 
being his production. Then taking up th^ Scarlet Degree, 
recourse was again had to the beautiful conceptions of moral 
duty embodied in the manuscripts of Chapin, from which 
were selected the opening charge of the Vice-Grand, and also 
the first paragraph of the lecture of the Noble Grand." 

The great field of labor which now opened before him in 
other directions evidently demanded all his time and attention, 
for we do not again find him actively engaged in the work of 
the Order. But we recall with pride and gratitude that, in 
the early days of the revival of Odd-Fellowship, he was able 
to give to our beloved institution the weight of his great name 
and character, the aid of his unequalled eloquence, the support 
of his clear judgment and eminent learning. 

The entire Order was stimulated by his enthusiasm, and 
became instructed in its principles and tenets as by his voice 
and pen they were displayed and elucidated. His words and 
wisdom will continue to greet the accession of every new ^ 
brother, and will fall with never-tiring repetition upon the ear 
of the whole Fraternity. \ 

We join with all our hearts, and with a fraternal satisfac- 
tion, in the praises widely bestowed upon our departed brother, i 
While we rejoice that for a time, in no limited measure, his 
great gifts were lent to us, we do not fail to recognize that his 
commanding spirit found in many ways fullest employment 
in the service of God and humanity. As a Christian min- 



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284 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

ister he was so high in position, so eloqnent in discouise, so 
catholic in method, that he seemed lifted above all denom- 
inational limitation. As a platform instructor, always engaged 
upon lofty themes, he so tasked his energies to respond to 
continual demand, that it might almost be said that the whole 
country had at some time been his auditor. 

Desiring to place on record our appreciation of his worth 
and character, we would offer the following resolutions : — 

Hesolved, That as members of this R W. Grand Lodge, as 
citizens of this Commonwealth and of our common country, 
we realize the great loss sustained in the death of Edwin H. 
Chapin, P. G. Master. 

A feeling of sadness pervades us when we contemplate that 
we are no more to be instructed and uplifted by the magnetic 
power of his living words ; that the sympathetic heart, which 
for upwards of threescore years was continually pulsating, 
and by voice and pen exerting a powerful influence for every 
true reform, has ceased to beat. But in the abundant fruits 
of his labor we find the results of his having carried into 
practice the noble principles which in his earlier days he had 
done so much to engraft upon the flourishing tree of Amer- 
ican Odd-Fellowship. 



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XVIIL 

A REFOEMEE. 

Dr. Chapin might be hot or cold, but he could not 
be lukewarm, and when at length he came from the Con- 
servative South to the Eadical North, and was touched 
by the genius and aim of a more progressive type of 
society, he at once took the side of the reforms : and, 
blending a rare zeal and an overwhelming eloquence, 
he was hailed far and wide as the master of the plat- 
forms. Dignified as a Father Mathew, loving the 
right with all the zest of a Garrison or Parker, — if 
not hating the wrong so severely, — holding in com- 
naand the wit and pathos of a Gough, he also shared, 
what these did not, the most intense ardor, and the 
golden tongue of the great orator. No one of all the 
reform speakers could so successfully conquer apathy, 
and sweep his audiences into a tumult of enthusiasm 
as soldiers in the army of reform. Garrison and Parker 
may have been more convincing, but they were less 
moving, and often they set enmity into a defiant tem- 
per by their asperity, while he conquered hatred by 
love. He seldom drew from the vocabulary of invec- 
tive, and ever spoke more in sorrow than anger of 
wrong-doers. If he was less dramatic than Gough, he 
was greatly his superior as a master of the conscience 



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286 UFE OP EDWm h. chapin. 

and heart John Pierpont was more poetic and caustic, 
but not so broad in spirit nor so mighty in word. 
Horace Mann was his peer in kindness and catholicity, 
but took no rank with him as an orator. 

It is not difficult to trace the sources of Chapin's 
devotion to the reforms. He was a man of large heart, 
and felt a keen sympathy with every condition of man- 
kind. He also shared no ordinary vision of good and 
evil, virtue and vice, holiness and sin, and of the expe- 
riences of such as are living in one or the other of these 
states, since his was the graphic and strong vision of the 
moral genius. As Angelo saw no ordinary scenes invit- 
ing his brush and chisel, because he looked out from no 
common depth and power of feeling, as Milton saw 
*' with larger, other eyes than ours," because of his vast 
poetic sensibilities, so the fervid soul of Chapin beheld 
the varied lot of man in the strongest lights, and he was 
greatly moved by his conceptions. His were no half- 
views of the conditions of society, such as the sluggish 
nature shares, but he saw the living scenes in all theii* 
vividness. He missed none of the lights and shades 
which rest on the landscape of life. With a glad eye 
he noted the fine-cut features, the open brow, the manly 
bearing, the look of honesty, sobriety, and peace ; and 
with the most acute pain he beheld, to quote his own 
words, " dark minds from which God is obscured ; de- 
luded souls, whose fetish is the dice-box or the bottle ; 
apathetic spirits, steeped in sensual abomination, un- 
moved by a moral ripple, soaking in the slums of animal 
vitality." And seeing thus, with no dull eye, the beauty 
of the true life, and the darkness and deformity of sin, 
he was moved by the intensity of his vision to be an 
ardent reformer. 



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A BEFORMKR. 287 

He was also cheered in this work by his faith in hu- 
man nature. In man's lowest estate he saw something 
hopeful, — a spark of divinity, there covered but not 
quenched, an image of God, marred and defaced but 
not wholly obliterated, and capable of being restored to 
its primal beauty, or even of being exalted into the 
more positive aspects of the divine, as the restored por- 
trait of some ideal saint may still be improved by a finer 
art. The jindying germ, in man, of the true life, escaped 
not his searching and sympathetic eye. " The human 
soul is a great deep," he affirmed, " and we must take 
into view the nebulous possibilities that are brooding 
and waiting there, and notice the films of light that 
reveal themselves even in the darkest spaces. . . . That 
son of infamy is still a man, though hia manhood is 
crushed and disfigured ; he is still the offspring of God, 
not unwatched by him, not outside the circle of his 
help. Why, then, should you and I cast him off and 
stand aloof? . . . Who says amy man is hopeless, utterly 
degraded, fit only to be destroyed ? He falters from the 
confidence of Christ. . . . The mystery of this soul en- 
shrined in flesh, even though it be sinful flesh, is that 
there is in it that which enables it to claim kinship with 
God." He discovered a moral sense in the most de- 
praved, a capacity of hope and aspiration in every child 
of God, a power to rise in those who have sunk the 
lowest ; and, holding such a view of human nature, he 
approached it with reverence and confidence, and pleaded 
with it tenderly and earnestly to turn from sinful paths 
and walk in the ways of honor and gladness. 

His zeal as a reformer was, moreover, a natural out- 
growth from his creed, as the oak from the acorn, or 



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288 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

the eagle from the royal egg. Between his }iead and 
his heart there was the most intimate friendship, and 
his ideas passed by a short and rapid current into 
speech and act Hence his doctrines of the universal 
fatherhood of God, the common brotherhood of man, 
and a common salvation for all through renunciation of 
sin and turning to righteousness, inspired him with the 
broadest sympathies and a holy enthusiasm to aid in 
working out the great issue. Of these convictions he 
felt the full force, and could not rest from the toils they 
imposed. Fraternity was his great watchword, and 
fellow-helpfulness the strong impulse of his heart ; and 
for years, while in full health and strength, it was his 
meat and drink to do service for erring and sinful man, 
— in pointing out to him the better way, painting before 
him the beauty and gladness of virtue, and inciting him 
to rise, like the Prodigal in the parable, and turn from 
the dreary wilderness to the Paradise whose gates are 
ever open to the penitent. 

It was on the basis of this all-inclusive premise of 
reform found in his creed, that the scope and diversity 
of his words and toils on behalf of his kind may be 
accounted for. He confessed his kinship with the 
race of man, and fell into no narrow channel of sym- 
pathy and work. He did not love a drunkard and 
hate a bigot, nor strive to save man from the hardships 
of his lot and leave woman to be the victim of injustice 
and cruelty. From his lips fell the most impassioned 
arguments in favor of peace among the nations of the 
earth, liberty for every citizen of the state, temperance 
in every life, equality of rights in man and woman, 
toleration of every form of faith and doubt, and broth- 



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A REFOBMEB. 289 

erhood in all the walks of society, instead of caste and 
hostility. For justice toward all and malice toward 
none, for right against might, for the suppression of 
every wrong and the triumph of every form of good, 
he pleaded with all the fervor and force he was able to 
put into words ; and among the possibilities of literature 
is a compendium of arguments for all the reforms 
drawn from his sermons and speeches. 

But he saw no redemption for man save in the name 
and spirit of Christianity. In superficial reformatory 
devices and fanatical panaceas he had no faith, but in 
the simple motives and sanctions which Christ awakens 
he believed with all his heart. He placed great re- 
liance on spiritual covenants, but not so much on formal 
ones ; and hence he was. no disciple of Fourier, no 
advocate of the phalanx or community as a means of 
redeeming man. He agreed with Emerson, who, criticis- 
ing the defect of the Brook Farm scheme, said : " Spoons 
and skimmers you can lay undistinguishably together, 
but vases and statues require each a pedestal for itself.'* 
Into a personal relation with God and Christ and virtue 
he would bring the soul, as ite true condition and the 
secret of its strength and safety. While he worked 
with some of the more general reform organizations, he 
still made organization subordinate to moral and re- 
ligious appeals. " It is too late," he said, " for reform- 
ers to sneer at Christianity ; it is foolishness for them 
to reject it. In it is enshrined our faith in human pro- 
gress, our confidence in reform. ... If any one 
maintains reform as a substitute for Christianity, he 
attributes to the stream the virtues of the fountain ; he 
ascribes to the arteries the central function of the heart 

Id 



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290 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

For from Christianity beats the great pulse of the 
world's hope. ... A man that has the spirit of 
Christ in him has the spring and energy of all positive 
power. . . . That life of Christ I It has achieved 
unspeakable victories — victories which mailed hand 
and armed host never could have accomplished. It 
overturned the marble gods of Greece; it plucked do- 
minion from the throne of the Csesars; it tamed the rude 
barbarian as he stood exulting amid the ruins of an- 
cient civilization ; it carried its meliorating power into 
the very heart of the Middle Ages ; it spoke in the grand 
doctrines of the Eeformation; it came with the Pil- 
grims through the stormy ocean of December ; it is in 
the van, far in the van, of the noblest efforts and the 
best hopes of the present age. . . . Eeligious prin- 
ciple operating through individual hearts — this is the 
great want of the age." 

He was in the fullest sense of the term a Christian 
reformer, with one hand clinging to God and Christ, 
and with the other reaching forth to rescue the sin- 
tossed from the wild and fatal waters. Standing on 
the firm shore of the divine, he sought to draw thither 
the morally wrecked and drowning ones for safety and 
peace. In kindling the sacred instincts and aspirations 
he placed his main trust. As the best means of saving 
the erring he sought to make them see and feel their 
rank and privilege as children of God and heirs of im- 
mortality, and to look ever up to the perfect ideals. 

In the temperance reform he had a deeper and more 
active interest than in any other ; but while he was the 
orator of the organizations he was not a member of 
them. He advocated the pledge as a help to the weak. 



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A REFORMER. 291 

** For multitudes," he said, " the simple fact of signature, 
the tremulous vrriting of a name, the making of a mark, 
has had a binding sanction, that no silent resolution 
and no verbal declaration could have secured." He also 
looked with favor on the law as a possible help in this 
work of reform. It might be made to check the sale of 
intoxicants, and thus limit temptations along the path 
of the weak. Like many others he had a hope in pro- 
hibition, which has not yet been realized in experienca 
He often repeated a little story, at one period of his life, 
to illustrate the power of the law. There was a wager 
between two New Orleans men that one of them could 
not stand for ten minutes the bites of the mosquitoes 
on his naked shoulders. When the long and trying 
moments were nearly at their end and the bet likely to 
be won, some one behind the foolish hero touched his 
exposed flesh with the lighted end of a cigar, which 
sent him away with a leap and the exclamation: ^'I 
can stand the mosquitoes, but a gallinipper is too much 
for mel" The gallinipper being a larger mosquito, 
with a much sharper bite, was too pungent an opposer 
for his purpose to withstand ; and thus did the great 
orator seek to show the advantage the law might have 
over moral suasion in breaking down the persistence of 
the liquor-dealer. Withstanding the assault of words, 
he might quail before the sherifTs warrant 

But far above pledge and law did Chapin place moral 
appeals and Christian sympathies as the best aids in 
bringing man to a true character and an ideal behavior. 
Ever inspired and guided by principle himself, he felt it 
was the basis of all right life. To it he looked in hope, 
and with it ho wrought in faith. 



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XIX. 

WAYSIDE HUMANITIES. 

That Dr. Chapin had a broad and strong love of man 
must be evident to all who kave read of him as an Odd- 
Fellow and a Reformer. We saw him borne into those 
relations by the humane impulse of his heart; and if in 
later years he ceased to be the former, and was tlie lat- 
ter only in a degree, it was not that love had become a 
faded and withered plant in his heart, but solely on the 
ground that his energies were taxed to their utmost, 
even bayond the limit of safety, in other offices of love. 
His position as a preacher had assumed a signal pres- 
tige, and he keenly felt the privilege and responsibility 
of his sermons as avenues of blessing to his fellow- 
beings ; and along them he poured, in ample volume, 
the warm stream of his sympathy in the various forms 
of instruction, reproof, incitement, spiritual quickening, 
aud solace. In his weekly congregations, gathered from 
all parts of the land and from all lands, and crowding 
])ews and aisles and pulpit stairs, his heart found a rare 
province for toil. In noticing a volume of his sermons, 
the editor of the ** Christian Register " said : " If we were 
to describe the distinctive peculiarities of Mr. Chapin's 
preaching, we should say it is affectionate and humana 
It breathes throughout a generous, hopeful, and frater , 



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WAYSIDE HUMANITIES. • 293 

nal spirit.'' Wbenever his theme led him, as it often 
did, to speak of the common brotherhood of man, his 
liearers were sure to be stirred by his most impassioned 
eloquence. 

" I am a man/' said the Eoman poet, " and nothing 
pertaining to humanity is foreign to me;" and such 
was the breadth of Chapin's sympathy, as seen in ser- 
mon and prayer and lecture and essay. 

His genuine kindliness is betrayed in the fact that 
he saw the good and not the evil in man, as a rule. He 
was no cynic He never looked through a blue glass at 
the peopla He never sneered like a Voltaire, nor 
scorned like a Byron, nor chafed with contempt like a 
Carlyle, nor even fell into a momentary fit of suspicion 
like Mr. Emerson, who said the reformers are seeking 
to save those who are not worth saving. , On the con- 
trary, he was always in a good humor toward the raca 
In man he saw something great, and he honored and 
loved him as a child of God, and threw over him the 
rosy arch of hope. " The old cynic took a light to find 
a man ; but we find men eveiy where," said Chapin, " in 
the poorest home and in the darkest lane. Beneath the 
coarsest vestment there throbs a human heart, upon 
the most degraded brow a mother's hand of love has 
been laid, and through the dimmest eyes there shines a 
quenchless souL" No bitter word ever slipped from 
his rapid pen, or fell from hia swift tongue. "For thirty 
years I have heard him preach," says Mr. Fellows, " but 
I never heard him say a word against anybody. He 
criticiBed institutions and reproved sins, but was gener- 
ous toward men." It is the testimony of one of hisi 
most intimate friends, Charles A. Hopes, that "he never 



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294 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

spoke ill of any one.** It is doubtful if he were capable 
of entertaining unkind thoughts of any one in his sin- 
gularly tolerant and generous mind. 

While referring the reader who would study the 
wider scope of Chapin's humanity to other chapters of 
this book, it is proposed here to call attention to some 
of the tender trifles to which this strong man stooped, 
and in which, as the sky is mirrored in a drop of dew, 
the greatness of his heart is reflected. He needs no 
rosary, the thread of^ whose life is thus strung with the 
small beads of love, as he moves along in the obscure 
walks. In this more private record may be reflected the 
prime credit of the soul. Here is best seen, it may be, 
the actual spirit of the man. As the blazing meteor 
passes into a cold and dark stone as it leaves its con- 
spicuous place in the sky and falls on the earth, so many 
a luminous spirit before the public darkens and chills 
as it enters the private walks. Only when lifted up 
should they be looked at. But it is not so with Dr. 
Chapin ; but, rather, there is a finer spirit and beauty 
of love to be seen in this man's life as we follow him 
in the hidden byways of his pilgrimage. 

In the early days of his ministry he chanced to 
meet with a worthy young man in whose soul was 
sounding a call to the ministry, and learning that 
his means were sadly unequal to his ambition and 
promise of usefulness, he took him to his home and 
gave him bed and board and encouragement and in- 
struction for some months as a gratuity. At every 
suggestion of payment he closed the young man's 
mouth, and bade him share in peace of mind the prof- 
fered hospitality and help. He had once been poor 



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WAYSIDE HUMANITIES. . 295 

himself, and knew what it was to stand gazing up the 
mountain of education without money to purchase an 
ascent, and had hastened to his profession without much 
help from the schools, as a necessity of his lot in lif & 
And hence his heart was made happy by thus aiding 
Eev. J. H. Famsworth over an interposing barrier into 
the ministry he has honored for many years, and still 
loves and serves. 

Carefully folded and preserved in hia pocket, he car- 
ried for several years a little flower which a child had 
sent him. To his fond eye the withered leaf was beau- 
tiful and the folded bloom was precious. He who 
yearned toward the waiting crowd, and bore humanity 
up in his daily prayers for God's blessing, paused in his 
grand career to throw his arms around a little child and 
cherish a rose it had plucked for him. 

Another keepsake of his was so humble a piece of 
mechanism as a bootjack, over which a poor mechanic 
had spent affectionate and grateful hours to serve and 
please his pastor. At length its maker was brought to 
the Chapin Home in poverty, to spend the rest of his 
days amid the aged ones there cared for. " In his final 
sickness," writes Mrs. "Wallace, then matron of the in- 
stitution, "Chapin often visited him, and, coming a 
day or two before he died, read to him from the Bible 
and prayed with him ; and, on bidding him good-by, 
said : ' Brother Inglee, I have something to remind me 
of you, — a bootjack you made for me many years ago, 
which I shall prize more highly than ever when you 
are absent from us.' ' Have you got that yet ? * said the 
old gentleman with a glad expression in his eyes. That 
night I watched with him, and many times did he speak 



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296 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

of it, — 80 many^times, I at last asked him to tell mc all 
about it * Well/ said the old man, ' I got just as nice 
a piece of mahogany as I could find and made that 
thing, and put two rows of brass nails on the edge. It 
was handsome. I took it to him one New Year's day. 
He seemed pleased, but did not say much. I have often 
wondered if he used it. But he has; and to think that 
he should speak of it now ! * Afterward I spoke to Dr. 
Chapin about it, saying : * Your prayer and visit were a 
great comfort to Brother Inglee, but the mentioning of 
that bootjack did him more good tlian either.' " 

Another touching little picture Mrs. Wallace has 
painted in which the warm tint of love is conspic- 
uous. " There was at the Chapin Home," she writes, 
"an aged and poor Scotch lady, a member of the 
Doctor's church, and made comfortable by it during' 
her last days. Mrs. Chapin and I had watched with 
her, and, seeing the end was near, Mrs. Chapin said : 
' I will go home and notify the Doctor before he leaves 
on his lecturing tour, for I do not think she will last 
during the day.' He came, prayed with her, and, bid- 
ding her good-by, said comforting words to her, mean- 
while laying his hand gently on her head. Almost 
her last words were these : * His voice was sae sweet, 
his prayer sae comforting, but aye, that hand ^on my 
head!' The daughter of this old lady, a school-teacher,, 
and the mainstay of her mother, had died a year pre- 
vious. She was sick a long time. Dr. Chapin was very 
attentive to her. She often spoke of his visits and of 
his kindness to her. I well remember his offering my 
husband money to supply her wants, and asking him to 
get her a rocking-chair, as she was sitting up in a hard, 



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WAYSIDE HUMANITIES. 297 

low-backed chair." " It was to the poor, the sick, and 
the dying," Mrs. Wallace adds, "that Mr. Chapin showed 
a tenderness and sympathy of the rarest type." It is 
also the testimony of Mrs. Jameson, one of his most 
intimate friends, at whose home it was his custom to 
take his Monday lunch, that " the kindness of his heart 
was seen in the time of trouble and sorrow, and for that 
sympathy every one loved him. I never knew him to 
neglect to visit any one when in trouble, and especially 
the poor." 

While making a brief European trip in 1872, one of 
the members of his Sunday-school, Elsie M. Odell, had 
fallen sick and died. Her funeral was attended by Eev. 
Charles Fluhrer of the Universalist Church in Harlem. 
On his return Mr. Chapin, having learned before sailing 
from the other shore of the Atlantic, or directly on land- 
ing in New York, of the sdrrow which had befallen one 
of his families, ordered his carriage to be driven to the 
home of the afflicted before permitting himself to be 
taken to his own residenca It may well be doubted if 
one preacher in many thousands would have been 
thus overruled by his sympathy with sorrow, and been 
borne from the welcome waiting him at his own door, 
to mingle his prayers and tears with the sad ones in 
whose house was a vacant chair. " It shows the large, 
tender-heartedness of the man," as Mr. Fluhrer truly 
observes, "and that love was his only directing impulse 
for the time being." 

The sight of a stranger in humble circumstances and 
in evident need was sure to arrest his attention and 
enlist his sympathy, and he was often a prompt volun- 
teer in the noble army of helpers. There appeared ia 



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298 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

the "New York Tribune," soon after his kind heart had 
ceased to beat, the following letter, which is an inter- 
esting part of the general eulogy then pronounced on 
him: — 

To THE EdITOE op THE TrIBUNE *. — 

Sir, — I would like to lay a fragrant little flower upon the 
grave of the great aud good man who has gone out of the 
Church of the Divine Paternity into the Church of the 
Saints above. Men are known, not from their public utter- 
ances, or their professional work of whatever kind, but from 
their unstudied acts among those to whom they can never 
look for favors, either of applause or advancement ; and it ia 
from a side view into the simple-heartedness of the man, un- 
der circumstances which left no doubt of utter spontaneity, 
that I have been able for a long time to place an estimate 
upon Dr. Chapin's character, which I could not otherwise 
have obtained. I happened, some ten years ago, to be on a 
Hudson River railroad train going to Albany. In my car, a 
few seats ahead of me, sat Dr. Chapin, buried in books and 
newspapers, and apparently so absorbed as to bo impervious to 
ordinary sights and sounds. On the opposite side of the 
car were two untravelled countrymen, who seemed, from their 
fitful conversation, to be at a loss as to the station they should 
stop at, and the means of reaching their destination. Their 
remarks were not obtrusive, and they seemed to have a deli- 
cacy about troubling any one with inquiries, and yet it was 
easy to see that they were in a serious quandary. The ordi- 
nary traveller, who prides himself on attending to his own 
business and letting other people do the same, would find 
this a good opportunity to put his maxim in practice. Not 
80 Dr. Chapin. He laid his books and papers quietly aside, 
crossed the aisle and pleasantly accosted the countrymen. 
Afler getting at their difficulty he explained to them in the 



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WAYSIDE HUMANITIES. 299 

mnat clear and painstaking way the course to pursue, leaving 
nothing whatever to be inferred.. He then went back to his 
seat^ and in a moment was buried in his reading, evidently 
thinking nothing of what ho had done, but feeling that sort 
of relief which comes from knowing that some one else is 
relieved. Had he but glanced at the faces of the men be 
would have been amply repaid for his trouble, but this would 
have been too jnnch like exacting some return for a service 
he could not help but render. Little did the countrymen 
know who had so kindly served them, but I did, and it was 
to me the best sermon I ever enjoyed from the great preacher 
and greater man. 

Amid another scene we witness his interest in the 
lowly and the obscure. At the close of one of Lis 
lyceum lectures he met his old friend the Rev. Mr. 
Grosh, in whose home and editorial office, many years 
before, he spent happy days at Utica. " So eager was 
he," writes Mr. Grosh, *'to learn of his office-companions, 
that he seemed quite indifferent to the distinguished 
people around him, who were waiting for an introduc- 
tion. His heart was lost in the recollection of the 
humble friends of his early life." 

As through a keyhole we can see the distant moun- 
tain looming in its massive glory, so through a tender 
word, a little favorite story, we may discover the great- 
ness of a human heart. Unspeakable may be the credit 
that lies behind a smile, or that is revealed in so trivial 
an act as relating an incident. The glory of Abraham 
Lincoln, made conspicuous in that high hour when he 
enjoined love toward all and malice toward none, was 
seen in a more distant view, but in no diminished lustre, 
as he retold for the twentieth time some little anec- 



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30d LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

dote in which a tender sentiment made the turning- 
point, the golden hinge, to his loving eye. And thus 
was the kindness of Chapin's heart seen in favorite 
stories as in a mirror. Of these a single one, reported 
by Mrs. Jameson as having been often repeated at her 
lunch-table, will serve as a sample. A rich man and 
his son met a poor German and his dog. The rich 
man's son took a fancy to the poor man's dog, and 
asked his father to buy it for him. The father's reply, 
that it was only a cur and not worth the having, did 
not check the lad's importunity ; and the man turned 
to the poor German and asked him for what money he 
would sell his dog, and got the touching reply : " It is, 
sir, only one cheap dog, worth no money, but you could 
not buy it ; for the wag of that dog's tail when I come 
home I would not sell for all your money." The ten- 
derness of the little story made it very pleasing to the 
heart of Mr. Chapin, and by each repetition of it he 
revealed his sympathy with the poor man in his love 
for his homely cur. 

With all this love in his soul, running broadly like a 
river in his regular work, and rippling like musical 
brooks in his private hours, he still wore the seeming of 
coldness sometimes toward those he met, — holding his 
lips sealed when words were looked for, moving bruskly 
away when it was expected he would linger, and va- 
riously running counter to the usages which an ideal 
courtesy demands. At times his social habit seemed to 
do violence to the law of hia life as it appeared in his 
general thought and spirit, and in countless little ex- 
hibitions of the chief grace. It was much as if the 
sun should at times move before us like a darkened orb. 



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WAYSIDE HUMANITIES. 301 

It is the testimony of one who knew and loved him 
well, the Eev. Dr. Atwood of the Canton Theological 
School, that " he was not a particularly approachable 
man. He had his. friends and favorites with whom he 
was as cordial and companionable as a boy; but he 
was not easy in general society, nor did he appear to 
care to meet strangers or to make new acquaintances. 
Many who admired and loved him from afar were baf- 
fled in any attempt to cultivate familiarity." 

How shall we account for his appearance thus in two 
rSleSf — in one of which the heart gave the chief inspi- 
ration, and in the other of which it failed to move him ? 
How could he be at one hour so luminous with the light 
of love, and at another hour so seemingly destitute of this 
finer radiance ? Here is indeed a problem to be solved, 
a paradox to be explained. It was said in the chapter 
on Chapin at Charlestown, that a "tendency began 
to make its appearance which proved at once a good 
and an evil, a source of applause and of reproach, and 
which, no doubt, led to the first break in his health. 
It WHB a tendency to an undue absorption or engross- 
ment in the theme that occupied him.** Both temper- 
ament and the demands laid upon him conspired to 
draw him thus into moods of self -exaltation and almost 
of morbid frenzy, in which the outside world fell from 
his view, and he met friends and strangers, as if he 
met them not^ or, at least, gave them but a cold and 
compelled notice. He had no ill-will toward them, but 
was simply oblivious in their presence. He was in his 
own world of thought and feeling, and was held there 
l^y a law of engrossment, of whose sway the ordinary 
temperament knows but little, and the man of few and 



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302 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

light tasks almost nothing. In these rapt hours he 
seemed to lack the capacity to flee from himself, even 
to heed so imperious a demand as that of social cour- 
tesy, and friends and strangers alike shared the apparent 
neglect. Says Professor Tweed, one of his best friends : 
" I never suspected Chapin of losing his heart for me, but 
I have met him many tunes when he made no show of 
it" He was the victim of abstraction, the slave of his 
reigning idea and impulse. " His head was so full of 
what he was thinking about, that all else was crowded 
out," is the statement of Mr. Marshall, for thirty years 
one of his parishioners. On Sunday mornings the social 
instinct and the gift of conversation seemed to forsake 
him, and whoever met him before he ascended his pul- 
pit was likely to have an interview which, though it 
might not disturb one who knew him well, could ' 
hardly fail to astonish and trouble a stranger. And 
even after the service was closed by his benediction the 
enchaining spell often rested on him, and he was not 
easily got at for anything more than a shake of the 
hand. Strangers often wondered at the impetuous haste 
with which he left them as they lingered to greet him 
and say some words of grateful praise ; even those who 
had some claim to notice might not fare any better than 
others in their efforts to gain it. He was still in the 
midst of his mental and emotional maelstrom, and, if 
not entirely oblivious of the laws of etiquette, his was 
not that calm frame of mind that would permit him to 
properly regard them. He was still swept on by an 
unspent ardor that made an easy and deliberate conver- 
sation quite impossible. 
But on another ground we may account, in part, for 



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WAYSIDE HUMANITIES. 303 

Chapin's seeming recoil from friends and strangers, thus 
disappointing their desire and expectation. What he 
could not do with a heat and enthusiasm, he could not 
do well or with pleasure, and shrunk from attempting 
to do ; hence he was not himself and not happy in ordi- 
nary conversation, and was indeed almost incapable of 
it It was hammering at cold iron, and he was consti- 
tuted for working metal only when it was raised to a 
white heat. The process was too slow, the results too 
trivial Since he had not the patience for it, it was to 
him a sort of martyrdom, and so he fled from it as the 
warm-blooded animal flies from the chill of the northern 
air. He was a poor conversationist, in tl^e ordinary 
sense of that word, and felt embarrassed when subjected 
to the necessity of a commonplace colloquy ; and, with- 
out meaning any disrespect to others, but unconsciously 
following the bias of his spirit, he would often make an 
ungraceful retreat from a desired interview. " Even in 
our ministers' meetings," says Rev. Dr. Pullman, "we 
had to start Chapin by some special impulse in order to 
have his voice heard." "He needed one like himself to 
converse with," says one who knew him well By a 
high theme or a happy story he could always be kindled 
and drawn out, and rendered a marvel of brilliance and 
gladness ; but for a chat about such trifles as make the 
staple of ordinary conversation he was disqualified. He 
seemed under some inborn necessity of being great and 
conspicuous, or of being nothing and standing apart 
from the gaze of watching eyes. 

He was also smitten by the ancient and recent in- 
firmity of bashfulness. There was a shyness in his 
blood that led him to a desire to escape from the eyes 



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304 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

which were too closely fixed upon him. "Bashfulness," 
said Aristotle, " is an ornament in youth, and a reproach 
in old age ; " but if this latter charge be true — which 
may well be doubted — it is a reproach they cannot 
escape whose ancestors have forced on them the shrink- 
ing fibre. Nature is steadily perverse and refuses to 
yield her whims even ; and so they who are bom in 
bashfulness will die in bashfulness. They can never 
lay oif the sensitive mantle in which fate has robed 
them. And in Dr. Chapin we have only another in- 
stance of genius loving best its own hidden sphere, or 
its chosen work, with a familiar friend or two. 

It is to be further said of his seeming lack of afiFabfl- 
ity toward strangers, that it may have grown into a 
sort of habit in his later years, when his fame drew 
toward him, in addition to the persons who might fitly 
seek his presence, an army of curiosity-mongers, venti- 
lators of vapid schemes, hunters of autographs, and 
social imbeciles. " A tedious person," said Ben Jonson, 
" i3 one a man would leap a steeple from ; " and not a 
few of this sort turned their feet to Dr. Chapin's door, 
or confronted him on the streets, and he was obliged to 
practise a degree of social fencing in justice to himself 
and his great work. 

But after the view we have had of Chapin's humanity, 
— in its scope like the arch of the sky, and in its details 
like the sweet flowers that spring up by hidden paths, — it 
is hardly needful that we detain the reader with an ex- 
planation of a seeming discrepancy in his life in this 
particular. His general spirit and work of love — broad 
as his life, at once the heart of his eloquence and the 
inspiration of his toil, — is his sufficient defence, and the 
brightest jewel in the crown of his fame. 



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XX. 

HIS POETRY. 

" Sad is his lot who, once at least in his life, has not 
been a poet,'' says Lamartine; and we must believe 
there are few of the better order of minds that pass the 
romantic age between childhood and maturity without 
at some moment dallying with the muse. Many of 
these only write clandestinely, and timidly and fondly 
read the rhymes to which a mystic warmth in the 
heart has given shape. It is likely that an equal num- 
ber for once or twice aspire to that extent of publicity 
afforded by a newspaper comer. With a small group 
of the poetic band the sweet flame is less ephemeral ; 
the eye continues longer "in a fine frenzy rolling," 
and more ambitious flights are ventured. But or- 
dinarily the short-lived bloom of the tree in spring, 
which soon gives place to the soberer tasks of growing 
leaves and fruit, is the symbol of the poetic outburst of 
early life. But we may well rejoice, as Lamartine sug- 
gests, that even for a day or an hour only the soul falls 
in love with the Muse and essays the divine art of 
poetry ; for never after will the fine sensibilities then 
felt, the romantic tints then discovered in earth and 
sky, the radiant hopes in mortal progress and immortal 
glory then cherished, the sense of the divine then ex- 

ao 



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306 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

perienced, fade wholly away and leave life quite as 
prosy as it would otherwise have been. If 

" 'Tis better to have loved and lost. 
Than never to have loved at all," 

— the experience remaining as an enchanting memory 
and an unspent tenderness, — so there is a real blessing to 
all after years, when toils and cares press on the hands 
and the heart, from these youthful poetic visions and 
raptures. 

In the large group of those who have given some 
hours in the morning of life to the making of poetry 
stood Dr. Chapin ; and his success so far transcends the 
ordinary achievements in this province that it merits a 
passing consideration in this record of his life. 

The celerity of his mind — seeing at a glance the rhym- 
ing possibilities of the language, the words which mate 
in a vocal harmony — and the musical sense of his ear 
made him in early life a constant rhymster. He may 
indeed have prattled in rhyma At twelve years of age 
he made rhythmic jingles for his amusement as a broker's 
errand-boy, and read them to a comrade to divide with 
him their charm of melody, which must have been 
about their only charm ; and at fifteen he was poet to 
the Siddonian Club. In his academy days higher 
poetic gifts opened out, and for a few years he wrote 
lyrics in which he gave signs of promise as a poet 

For the beautiful in nature and life he had a poet's 
love. With a true poetical temperament he touched 
the divine, and lingered fondly on the confines of 
mystery. "If," as Goethe says, "it does not injure 
the poet to be superstitious," he shared also a degree of 
that merit like a poet he was tender, pathetic, im- 



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HIS POETBY. 307 

passioned, and so blessed with ideality, fancy, imagina- 
tion, the creative instincts, that he could glorify the 
common, and turn every scene into romantic aspects. 

But his defeat as a great poet, had he pursued the 
high calling, would 'most likely have been brought 
about by the ardor and haste of his impulses, which 
would have refused to wait for a constructive or 
Miltonic imagination, had he shared it, to work out its 
vast and sublime pictures. He probably lacked the 
patience and repose of the great poet, of whom Mr. 
Emerson says : — 

" God, who gave to him the lyre, 
Of all mortals the desire, 
For all breathlDg men's behoof 
Straightly charged him, Sit aloof." 

But Chapin could hardly have obeyed this divine com- 
mand, to which all the great poets — from Plato in his 
grove. Homer in his unknown nook, Milton in his 
blindness, Tennyson and Whittier and Longfellow in 
tlieir solitudes — have been obedient He was a life rush- 
ing into passion and expression, and his vehemence 
would have caused him to overleap that long interval 
of brooding over his theme and the dawning of remoter 
lights and grander visions, in which all great and en- 
dearing poetry has been written. His genius was too 
eager to permit him to be a master-builder with the im- 
agination, and his pictures are flashes rather than 
labored and overpowering creations of the poetic art. 
Even a sustained allegory or colloquy in composition 
would have been beyond his power, by reason of its 
slowness of process. Hence Ms poetry, which is rich in 
fancy, charming in its lyrical and musical qualities. 



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308 UFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

ideal in tenderness and pathos, pure and noble in senti- 
ment,-— flies the deeper depths in which the famous 
poets have found their power and from which they 
command the mind and heart of the ages. 

Ghapin was a lover of a musical refrain or cadence 
at the end of a stanza, and wrote several poems in this 
style. Of this we have a sample in the following quo- 
tation from a pleasing little poem given as a valedictory 
at the close of his academic life at Bennington, which 
was also at the close of a school term : — 

Things of earth should ne*er enskve us, — 

Earthly things are all but droea ; 
But like Him who died to save ub. 

May we humbly bear the cross ; 
Dear companions, 

May we humbly bear the cross. 

Then resisting each temptation, 

Onward for the heavenly prize I 
Oh ! secure the great salvation, 

Seek a home beyond the skies ; 
Dear companions, 

Seek a home beyond the skies. 

An obscure scene of suflfering or sorrow, glorified by 
some touch of beauty, by some triumph of love, or by 
some great light of faith shining through it, was to him 
a favorite theme around which to place a poetic wreath. 
In his own experience he may have felt the truthfulness 
of the wise saying of Donne: "He tames grief that 
fetters it in verse;" or with Tennyson he may have 
found that 

'* For the unquiet heart and bndn 

A use in measured language lies, ^ 
The sad mechanic exercise 
Like duU narcotics numbing pain." 



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HIS POETRY. 309 

As by instinct he allied pathos with poetry ; and many 
of his songs begin in the minor key, but sing themselves 
into a major strain before they reach their close, the 
muse seeming to serve him as a comforter. Of this 
order is his poem entitled — 

THE ITALIAN GIRL. 

She lay by th' open window. Calmly fell 

The first, faint shadow of the coming death 

Upon her pallid countenance ; and passed. 

Slowly and sadly^ fcom her full, dark eye 

The light of life and beauty. It was not 

An unexpected messenger who breathed 

A chill and blighting o'er her throbbing heart. 

And called her spirit from commune with earth 

To its far home of glory. She had known 

Of its approach, and watched — nay, wished — the time 

That brought its solemn coming ; and she bowed 

In silent and in sweet humility. 

When the strange thrill that shot across her frame 

Told her that shadowy messenger was there. 

Yes, she was ready. There was but one tie 
That held her soul to earth, and that was twined 
In the fond, bursting heart of one who stood 
In agony beside her dying conch, 
Shedding thick-falling tears upon her brow. 
It was her mother ; but e'en this dear tie 
Faith taught her how to sever, and blest Hope 
Told her would reunite in yonder heaven. 

Her story was a simple one. She was 
A flower of Italy, the soft, bright land 
Of sunlight and of music. She had grown 
In humble beauty 'neath a mother's care — 
For years the sole light of that mother's home. 
Retired, she lived thus, till she saw and loved 
And wed a stranger from our western clime. 



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310 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

With him and that loved mother then she left 

The scenes and shrines of childhood, for the Lmd 

Of him who won her love. A gale arose 

Upon their voyage. The ship survived its power ; 

But /en, whose forms had glided o'er its deck, 

filept in an ocean sepulchre. And he 

Among them ! He, her hope, her very hearty 

Was swept beneath the billow and the storm t 

They came here. With the little they had saved i 

From once-sufficient wealth, they bought a home — I 

A pleasant cottage home. There she, of whom | 

We tell this gentle story, day by day, i 

Was wasting with no visible disease. 

But with a growing sickness of the heart ; 

And though, at first, they fondly hoped again 

To tread their birth-land, and to look upon i 

Its vineyards and its beauty, and that she 

Might pass to rest ^side the hallowed graves 

Where slept her kindred — yet that happy dream 

Soon faded, and she bowed herself to die 

Calmly, as we have seen, with a blest faith 

Bright*ning with every moment, and a hope 

Fledging new pinions for her struggling soul. 

And thus she lay till, startled by the tears 
That on her forehead fell so frequently. 
She raised her eyes with a sweet, patient smile. 
And to her mother breathed these gentle stiuina : 

" I am dying, dearest mother ; I am going to that land 

Where our loved that went before me dwell, a blest and glorious 

band. 
Weep not, dear mother, but let faith still make thy spirit strong. 
For in that clime of happiness we '11 meet again ere long. 

'• I know you '11 want me, mother — your hearth will be so dim 
When you see no more my cherished form — and you '11 miss my 

evening hymn ; 
And my voice no more will blend in prayer, nor breathe above my 

lute; 
To you 'twill seem aU pleasant tones of joy and hope are mute. 



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fflS POETBY. 311 

*' And oh ! I've yearaed to look once more upon bright Italy, 
Where the golden sunlight ever rests and the soft winds float so free ; 
'Twould have been so grateful to have died among my native bowers, 
And passed down gently to my grave, mid the music and the flowers. 

" But Tm going to a brighter clime, a home that beams for me 
With a light so pure that mortal eye may never hope to see, — 
Where radiant streams roll fresh along, ' fast by the throne of God,' 
Mid harps and songs, an angel land, by blessed spirits trod. 

" Oh ! earth was dark and hopes were crushed, and my spirit's depths 

were sad. 
Till God lifted up his countenance, and all was light and g^ad ; 
Then be thy heart not desolate ; on thy vision, pure and free, 
His light, who lighteth all, will shine, —in Him thy trust shall be. 

** Weep not, weep not, for time and death, they cannot long divide ; 
Soon, dearest mother, thou wilt rest in the green grave by my side. 
Let these parting words be sweet to thee as some bright seraph's 

song: 
Thou wilt follow me, dear mother — we shall meet again ere long ! " 

It was at 
The goigeous time of sunset, and the hues 
Of many glories lingered in the skies, 
And filled the earth with beauty and with smiles. 
Through the small lattice of a cottage-room. 

The solemn sunbeams rested. Solemn T Ay 

It was the room of death. There knelt and bowed 
That mother by her dead Italian gil-l I 

Go, search the scroll of history ; go, read 

The cenotaphs that laud the mighty dead ; 

Bring record of all proud triumphant deaths ; 

The warrior in the red fight cloven down, 

'Mid helms and glaives and banners, and with smilee 

Grasping his wreath of glory, — or the sage, 

Unshrinking, cold, and passionless, enwrapt 

Within his mantle, " sitting down to die " — 

Bring all of these and others' dying hours, . 

And show one trait so calm, so beautiful 

With heaven's own beauty, as the Christian's death. 



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312 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

His poem on the Battle of Bennington, which he re- 
cited with great eiSect, while yet in his youth, at a 
celebration of that important event by citizens of the 
r^on, is entitled to a high place as a battle-song. Its 
spirit is truly patriotic, its movement lofty and heroic, 
its historical references apt, and its grateful tribute to 
the men who fought for the cause of liberty is as full of 
feeling as it is of dignity. The following stanzas well 
describe the humble aspects but heroic temper .of the 
ranks as they marched to the field, and the spirit of 
their brave commander, and fairly represent the entire 
composition : — 

Theirs was no gorgeous panoply, 

No sheen of silk or gold ^ 
No wrought de^ce of battle blazed 

Upon their standard-fold ; 
But the free bann^ of their hills 

Waved proudly through the sform, 
And the soiled garb of husbandry 

Was round each warrior-form. 

They came up, at the battle sonnd, 

To old Walloomsac'a height : 
Behind them were their fields of toil. 

With harvest-promise white , — 
Before them, those who sought to wrest 

Their hallowed birthright dear ; 
WhUe through their ranks went fearlessly 

Their leader's words of cheer. 

"My men ! — there stand our freedom's fooa^ 

And 8?iaU they stand, or fall ? 
Ye have your weapons in your hands, 

Ye know your duty, all. 
For me, this day we triumph o*er 

Yon minions of the Crown, 
Or Molly Stark a widow is 

Ere yonder sun goes down ! " 



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HIS POETBT. 313 

One thonght of heaven, one thought of home, 

One thought of hearth and shrine ; 
Then, rock-like, stood they in their might 

Before the glittering line. 
A moment, and each keen eye pansed. 

The coming foe to mark, — 
Then downward to its barrel glanced. 

And strife was wild and dark. 

But let the reader turn from this stately and solemn 
war-song, to another which celebrates the final reign of 
peace, and note the fitting jubilancy that enters into its 
measure and spirit. Chapin's fine sensibility guided 
him to a true poetic art This poem is based on the 
words of Isaiah : " And they shall beat their swords 
into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks ; 
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither 
shall they learn war any more ; " and one may ahnost 
fancy that the great prophet himself would gladly have 
heard this echo of his utterance I 

There sweeps a rash of armies past with banners proud and high, 
And clarions waft their thrilling strains triumphant to the sky : 
No dread munition in tlieir ranks, no fearful steel, they bear ; 
No " warrior-garments rolled in blood," no panoply they wear ; 
But on each brow the olive-wreath is twining fresh and green. 
And in each lifted eye the light of peace and joy is seen. 

• . • I • • 

Gfty barks, with music on their decks and pennons to the breeze. 
And silks and gold and spices rare are out on foamy seas : 
Safely their bright prows cleave the waves ; there is no foe to fear ; 
No murderous shot, no rude attack, no vengeful crew is near. 
Where battle stitxie o'er ruined heaps, and carnage shook its brand, 
And red blood gushed, the purple grapes and clustering harvest stand ; 
And dews from bending branches drip and quiver in the flowers. 
And merry groups are rushing out from cots and shady bowers : 
" There is no sword our hearths to stain, no flame our roofs to spoil ; 
There are no robber-hordes to seize the treasures of our toil : 



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814 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

Ho t sing ye, then, the harvest-song, and twist the Tiny leaves. 
And let your shining sickles laugh among the plumy sheaves ; — 
The falchions we 'U to ploughshares turn, the days of strife axe o'er ; 
The spears we '11 beat to pruning-hooks, there shall be war no more ! " 

Nation with nation strives no more : the golden chain of love. 

Through the wide earth, links soul to soul, descending from above ; 

The Indiau by his hundred streams, the Tartar in his snows, 

The Ethiop 'neath the burning sun, its gentle impulse knows. 

From every tribe, in kneeling ranks, upon the silent air. 

Up to the Throne of Thrones, go forth the sacred words of prayer : 

''All praise to Him whose hand alone, whose own right hand hath 

done 
This blessed work, and made the hearts of all his children one t " 
Then, like the strains Ephratah heard hymned by the angel choir. 
From every lip a song breaks forth and sweeps o'er every lyre. 
The peopled mart, the temple-aroh sends out the jubilee ; 
It echoes from the forest-shrines and green isles of the sea : 
" Our falchions we '11 to ploughshares turn, — the days of strife are o'er ; 
Our spears we 'U beat to pruning-hooks, — there shall be war no 

more ! " 

Dr. Chapin's muse did not desert him even in the 
earliest years of his ministry, and he wrote a few hymns 
which will be likely to hold a permanent place among 
the favorites for special occasions in Church work. It 
was said by Wordsworth that "Poetry is most just to 
its divine origin when it administers the comforts and 
breathes the thoughts of religion," and it was Chapin's 
special gift to make it the oracle of the soul. In spiri- 
tual lyrics or hymnology he would have found his true 
vein as a poet, and we may justly regret that he did not 
add more hymns to the number he has left for the use' 
of the Church. In their elevation of tone and spirit, as 
well as in their free and musical flow and their felicity 
of rhymes, his hymns remind us of Moore, Bowring, 
and Pierpont 



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fflS POETRY. 315 



ORDINATION. 

Father ! at this altar bending, 

Set OUT hearts from world-thoughts free ; 
Prayer and praise their incense blending. 

May our rites accepted be : 
Father hear us. 

Gently draw our souls to Thee. 

Deign to smile upon this union 

Of a pastor and a Hock ; 
Sweet and blest be their communion : 

May he sacred truths unlock, — 
And this people 

Plant their feet on Christ the Rock. 



Be his life a living sermon. 

Be his thoughts one ceaseless prayer : 
like the dews that fell on Hermon, 

Making green the foliage there. 
May his teachings 

Drop on souls beneath his care. 

Here may sin repent its straying. 
Here may grief forget to weep ; 

Here may hope, its light displaying, 
And blest faith — their vigils keep. 

And the dying 
Pass from hence in Christ to sleep. 

When his heart shall cease its motion, 
All its toils and conflicts o'er ; 

"When they for an unseen ocean. 
One by one, shall leave the shore, — 

Pastor, people, there, in heaven, 
Kay they meet to part no more. 



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316 LIFE OF. EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 



FOR A CHARITY MEETINO. 

When long the soul had slept in chains. 

And man to man was stem and cold ; 
When love and worship were but strains 

That swept the gifted chords of old, — 
By shady mount and peaceful lake, 

A meek and lowly stranger came ; 
The weary drank the words he spake. 

The poor and feeble blessed his name. 

Ko shrine he reared in porch or grove, 
Ko vested priests around him stood ; 

He went about to teach, and prove 
The ^ofty work of doing good. 

Said he to those who with him trod : 

** Would ye be my disciples ? Then 

Evince your ardent love for God 
By the kind deeds ye do for men." 

He went where frenzy held-its rule. 

Where sickness breathed its spell of pain, - 
By famed Bethesda's mystic pool, 

And by the darkened gate of Nain. 
He soothed the mourner's troubled breast, 

He raised the contrite sinner's head ; 
And on the loved one's lowly rest 

The light of better life he shed. 

Father, the spirit Jesus knew. 

We humbly ask of thee to-night, 
That we may be disciples too 

Of him whose way was love and light. 
Bright be the places where we tread 

Amid earth's suffering and its poor, 
Till we shall come where tears are shed 

And broken sighs are heard no more. 



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HIS POETRY. 317 



CHRISTMAS. 

Hark I hark I with harps of gold. 

What anthem do they sing — 
The radiant clouds have backward rolled^ 

And angels smite the string. 
" Glory to God I " — bright wings 

Spread glistening and afar. 
And on the hallowed rapture rings 

From circling star to star. 

" Glory to God I " repeat 

The glad earth and the sea ; 
And every wind and billow fleet 

Bears on the jubilee. 

Where Hebrew bard hath snng^ 

Or Hebrew seer hath trod. 
Each holy spot has found a tongue : 
"Let glory be to God." 

Soft swells the music now 

Along that shining choir, 
And every seraph bends his brow 

And breathes above his lyre 

What words of heavenly birth 

Thrill deep our hearts again, 
And fall like dewdrops to the earth f 
" Peace and good- will to men ! " 

Soft ! — yet the soul is bound 

With rapture, like a chain ; 
Earth, vocal, whispers them around. 

And heaven repeats the strain. 

Sound, harps, and hail the mom 

With every golden string, 
For unto us this day is bom 

A Saviour and a King 1 



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318 LIFE OF EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 



DURING OR AFTER A STORM. 

Amid sarrounding gloom and waste, 

Fron^ature's face we flee ; 
And in our fear and wonder haste, 

Nature's Life, to thee I 
Thy ways are id the mighty deep. 

Thy tempests as they blow, 
In floods that o'er oar treasures sweeps 

The lightning, and' the snow. 

Though earth updn its axis reels, 

And heaven is veiled in wrath. 
Not one of Nature's million wheels 

Breaks its appointed path. 
Fixed in thy grasp, the sources meet 

Of beauty and of awe ; 
In storm or calm all pidses beat 

True to the central law. 

Thou art that law, whose will — thus done 

In seeming wreck and blight — 
Sends the calm planet round the sun. 

And pours the moon's soft light 
We trust thy love ; thou best dost .know 

The universal peace, — 
How long the stormy force should blow. 

And when the flood should cease. 

And though around our path some form 

Of mystery ever lies, 
And life is like the calm and storm 

That checker earth and skies. 
Through all its mingling joy and dread. 

Permit ns. Holy One, 
By faith to see the golden thread 

Of thy great purpose run. 



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HIS POETRY. 319 

It is a current tradition that Dr. Chapin wrote this last 
hymn during a thunder-storm. It has also been said 
that he wrote it at sea, at the close of a tempest which 
aJl on shipboard despaired of outriding. These render- 
ings of history are impressive, but they are as untrue 
as they are romantic. The real fact in the case is given 
by Eev. John G. Adams : — 

The hymn was written in my study at Maiden, where 
most of the work of compiling our hymn book was done by 
us. . It was in July, in the afternoon of a very hot day. We 
were nearing the end of the aftemooD's work, and were 
about closing up our package of copy for the printer, when 
in searching for a hymn to be placed in the miscellaneous 
department, suitable to be sung during or after a destructive 
storm, we could find none, in the many other books we had 
used, which satisfied us. As I had written one hymn myself 
expressly for the book, I now soHcited Mr. Chapin to famish 
one in this emergency. I was not surprised that he objected, 
considering the oppressive heat and his weariness ; but my 
plea — and his willingness to do the best under the circum- 
stances — prevailed ; and applying himself to the task, he soon 
wrought out that admirable hymn. 



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XXL 

HIS WIT. 

A Chapter on Dr. Qiapin's Wit revealed itself as a 
necessity to his biography, but as a terror to his biog- 
rapher, like dropping a note from the musical scale 
would be the omission from his life of this conspicuous 
trait; but wit is one of the dishes which must be 
served hot or not at all, except at the risk of spoiling 
the feast As a note of the musical scale may be en- 
chanting in the musical combination amid which the 
composer has placed it, which would be quite ineffect- 
ive as a separate tone, so wit must share the aid of 
its accessories, or it will prove witless ; but the acces- 
sories are often so subtle and evanescent, so impossible 
of reproduction, that when the wit has been once 
spoken it will thenceforth remain stale and insipid, like 
champagne when the cork has been withdrawn. " Wit 
is the god of the moment, but Wisdom is the god of 
the ages," says Bruyfere. For its best effects it must 
share the happy conditions of its origin; but who is 
able to reanimate with all its mercurial life a dead 
scene? The age of miracles is past. 

It has been the aim of the writer of these pages to per- 
mit Dr. Chapin's pleasantries to fall into the composition 
as they came to claim a place, hoping thus to secure 



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ffls WIT. 321 

them a more fitting siirrouDdmg and to render less 
needful a special attention to them, with an attempt to 
supply the accessories. It may be that enough has al- 
ready been 'contributed from the store of his wit to in- 
dicate its type, and to give it its due prominence ; for 
this trait in Iiis life, conspicuous as it was, was still but 
incidental as compared with the more serious attributes 
which have been treated. It was only as the blossom 
on the tree, the ripple on the broad, deep river, the 
meteor in the wide expanse of the sky. 

In Dr. Chapin the distinction between wit and humor 
is brought into full view. If humor is like the steady 
twinkle of the star, and wit like the sudden flash of 
the lightning, then Chapin was no humorist, but he was 
a wit. He was ordinarily in a grave and thoughtful 
mood, with at least the distant shadow of a cloud on 
his face, but he was occasionally — and especially when 
touched by the mercurial wand of a Starr King, a 
Beecher, or a Barnum — raised to the highest pitch of 
frolic; and then, to quote Mr. Beecher's words, "his 
wit flashed like the spokes of a wheel in the sun." 

The primal law of his life — that whatever he did he 
must do with all his might, and conspicuously — reap- 
pears in his gift of jocularity, rendering quite impossible 
a quiet humor stealing along amid the mental activities, 
like a king's jester in a royal procession, but making 
it signal for rare triumphs. By his intense tempera- 
ment he was denied the privilege of blending the serious 
and the sportive as do the less fervid; but in this loss of 
versatility there was the gain of point and power, which 
is always the reward of concentration, or doing one thing 
at a time. 

21 



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322 UFE OP EDWIN H. CHAPIN. 

The essence of every piece of wit is surprise, a light 
not looked for, the disclosure of a lurking sense or un- 
expected association, the showing of odd resemblances 
in things unlike, or strange contrasts in things similar; 
and nothing of this sort, when Dr. Chapin was in a 
merry mood, was missed by his swift eye. Since wit is 
of the nature of a surprise, a flash, the instant arrest of 
the mind from its foreseen path and diversion to an 
unlocked for and eccentric association of ideas, the 
celerity of his mental processes made him master of the 
amusing art Quick as lightning was his detection and 
delivery of a piece of wit. Thus in the midst of an 
outdoor speech at College Hill, as the cars on the Lowell 
Bailroad went thundering by only a few rods from him, 
and confused alike speaker and hearer, he instantly ob- 
served : " It is difficult to conduct a train of cars and a 
train of remarks at the same time. It is a train of cir- 
cumstances unfavorable to a train of thought" 

As he was one day limping along by the aid of a 
cane, and suflfering a twinge at every step from a rheu- 
matic foot, he was met by one who sought to engage 
him in a religious conversation, and led off by asking 
him if Universalists did not believe that people got 
theii; punishment as they went along. " Yes, that's my 
case exactly," said he, and hobbled away, leaving the 
inquirer to ponder on the wisdom of the reply. 

At a Sunday-school meeting, in which Eev. Dr. Pull- 
man gave an account of a new enterprise among his 
teachers, — namely, the sending of a committee to visit 
the " flats " in the neighborhood and invite the children 
not going to any other school to attend theirs, — Dr. Cha- 
pin rose and said: "I like the new enterprise very 



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ffls WIT. 323 

much ; but I ^wish that Brother PuUman and his teachers 
would now choose a committee to visit the sharps in 
their vicinity and get them to come to church." 

Some urgent matter connected with his church led 
the trustees to hold a meeting on Sunday, just before 
the evening service. Their session held them beyopd 
the proper time, and they crept slily into their pews 
as the congregation was standing and singing the hymn 
after the prayer just preceding the sermon. At the 
close of the service one of the number observed to him 
that his trustees came in after prayers. " Well," said 
he, " I don't know who needs to come in after prayers 
more than my trustees.** 

As he was one day intently reading a poster announ- 
cing that a famous opera company would perform Eos- 
sinfs celebrated oratorio Stabat Mater, the Rev. Dr. 
Emerson accosted him with a salutation, and was in- 
stantly greeted in return with this conundrum: "In 
what respect were Rossini and Bishop Berkeley alike ?" 
Mr. Emerson did not see the point and surrendered. 
" Because," said Chapin, " they both made a stab at 
Tuatter" Berkeley was an idealist, and ruled matter 
out of existence. 

As he and a party of friends were one day riding up 
the Catskill Mountains in an old and overloaded car- 
riage, some one observed that one of the wheels creaked. 
"Oh," said Chapin, "it complains because it's tired,'* 

He lectured one evening before the New Haven 
Lyceum, and, desiring to take the nine o'clock train to 
New York, found he must close his lecture a little early 
and hasten with all despatch to the station. To save a 
bit of hindrance he requested the audience to remain 



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324 UFE OF EDWIK H. CHAPIN. 

seated till he had passed out. Closing with a grand 
climax, he seized his manuscript and strode down the 
aisle, but had left his hat behind. Meanwhile the 
crowd had pressed into the patliways of exit, and ren- 
dered the prospects of securing both his hat and the train 
quite dubious. A friend in the hall, aware of his fix, 
lent him his broad-brimmed slouch. The next day 
Mr. Chapiu sent it back, and said in a note of gratitude 
to his friend : " Your kindness and your hat overcame 
me very much; hoth vrere felt." 

When he and Mr. P. T. Bamum crossed each other's 
paths it waa like the meeting of Greek and Greek, and 
instantly the tug of war began between the famous 
punsters. A single pass at arms must be taken as the 
type of their many contests. Mr. Bamum held a 
Poultry Show in the old Museum . Building. After 
three or four days of exhibition, Mr. Chapin visited it, 
but found the air aroxmd these many fowls was not as 
salubrious as it is among the mountains in June. 
Meeting the great showman he said to him : " I thought 
you were going to charge more than twenty-five cents - 
for admission ; but I find you only take twenty-four." 
"That isn't so," said Bamum, "I take twenty-five." 
" Yes," replied Chapin, " but you give every one back 
a scenty 

Sitting down one day on Eev. Dr. Emerson's stove- 
pipe hat, he instantly rose and passed the crumpled 
thing to its owner, saying : " You ought to thank me 
for that, for your hat was only silk, but now it is 

While these pieces of wit — to which many others 
might be added — seem trivial as compared with the 



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ffls WIT. 325 

sober greatnees and nobility of the man's life, and there 
is almost a disposition to apologize for their presence 
here, yet it must be remembered that they were a part 
of his experience, and supply a color which is essential 
to a complete portrait of him- His wit was fellow to 
his wisdom, piety, humanity, imagination, enthusiasm, 
eloquence, and most have its place in the conspicuous 
grovtp. And it is to be said to his honor, that he ever 
carried the gift in kindness. He never turned it into 
a sting. It was said of Ben Jonson — let us think, 
wrongly — that " he would sooner lose a friend than a 
jest ; " but no one ever had an occasion even to suspect 
this of Dr. Chapin. Only for the pleasure of others and 
himself did he permit his tongue to utter a witty word. 
Nor can we fail to rejoice that the hard-working man, 
given overmuch to solemnity and earnestness, found 
these reliefs, and possibly a longer, as well as a happier 
life, by reason of this play of his wit 



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XXIL 

HIS LIBRARY. 

Few private libraries in this country have been col- 
lected with so much of enthusiasm and liberality of 
expenditure as was that of Dr. Chapin. He was a rare 
patron of the booksellers ; but they loved him far less 
for his interest in their latest bulletins and his free pur- 
chases, than for the ready wit, the keen intelligence, 
the fine social qualities, and the true friendship he 
brought to their stores to enrich their deeper life. Bet- 
ter was the good cheer he brought with him, the strong 
thought, the swift and brilliant repartee, than the full 
purse; and many are the pleasant reminiscences the 
booksellers have to relate of their genial customer. 
Around him would gather a choice group of listeners as 
he talked of books, or discussed the questions of the 
hour, or told the latest stories. 

Dr. Chapin was not only a reader of books, but to 
some extent a worshipper of them, and liked to have 
around him even such as he never read. It was not 
altogether the contents of a book that charmed him, but 
ihe age of a volume, its history, or its scarcity, had for 
him a pleasing effect. 

He gathered a library of nearly ten thousand volumes, 
the printed catalogue of which makes a book of two 



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HIS LIBBABY. 327 

hundred and sixty-eight pages; but a study of this 
cat£Jogue gives no clue by which to trace even the life- 
calling of Dr. Chapin. I)i was a miscellaneous collec- 
tion of rare and valuable works which he made, with 
less completeness in the department of theology thaji 
in several other lines of reading. Aside from his devo- 
tion to books for some special charm they might share, 
he was ruled in his purchases by his supreme interest 
in human life. Hence he gathered almost everything 
which fell under his notice in the form of folk-lore, 
legends, anecdotes, ballads, biography, history, social 
philosophy, practical Christianity, and poetry. A book 
that touched any one of the great questions of civiliza- 
tion, and dealt with the vital interests of humanity, was 
quite sure to find a place in his library. He sought 
everything in the line of progressive thought. He was 
a lover of the Broad-church literature, as an inspiration 
to his soul and an aid to his preaching. He had the 
power of easily melting into his own personality the 
thoughts and philosophy of the advanced theologians of 
the day. They spoke for him a native language. His 
tendency in this direction is indicated by the fact'' that 
he had gathered to his shelves twenty-two works by 
Maurice, twelve by Kingsley, ten by Martineau, eight 
by Stopford Brooke, and thirteen by Dean Stanley. He 
had little interest in what is called systematic theology, 
oY in Biblical criticism, but sought to make himself 
familiar with the philosophy and spirit of religion, that 
he might enjoy himself the deeper and diviner things 
of the kingdom, and make a better sermon for his pul- 
pit He read books as a preacher. The practical part 
of his library bears upon the themes he would discuss 



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328 LIFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN.. 

on Sunday ; and when a parishioner suggested to V>iTn 
once that he might be extravagant in the matter of 
book-buying, he replied, "You are the last one who 
should complain, because you will be the first who will 
get the benefit of my purchases." 

He felt, what every preacher may well feel, that the 
English classics are especially helpful to the clergyman ; 
and there is scarcely a work in that department of lit- 
erature that did not stand upon his shelves. He sought 
the most costly editions of the British dramatists, essay- 
ists, poets, orators, sermon-makers, and historians, and 
these were among his most read volumes. He found in 
them strength and beauty, the deepest insights into 
human life, a rare suggestiveness, a kindling influence, 
and a better — because a more natural — religion than 
he found in the formal books of theology. 

For old books he had a tender regard, and delighted 
to bring new accessions to his list of venerable volumes ; 
and it was an enchantment to listen as he told the story 
of their origin and history. He cherished them as a 
memorial of bygone eras, a sort of mental ancestry that 
survives the natural term of book-life. "We were 
amused," says Eev. Almon Gunnison, " at seeing a touch 
of this book-lover's infirmity in the Doctor. Guiding 
us through a dry and dusty stratum of old works, his 
keen eye detected the absence of some musty copy of a 
priceless first edition. He remembered that he had 
loaned it, and it had not been returned. It was easy to 
see that he was annoyed and disappointed. He pro- 
tested that he would not lose the book for a hundred 
dollars." He had fourteen volumes printed before the 
year sixteen hundred, sixty-five volumes printed be- 



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fflS LIBRARY. 329 

tween the years sixteen hundred and seventeen hun- 
dred, and four hundred and forty-seven volumes which 
came from the press during the century preceding the 
present Many of these old books were clumsy speci- 
mens of the printer's art, but to his eye, which had 
acquired a strong antiquarian bias, they were as idols 
to be revered. 

At least three quarters of his library was made up of 
English prints, and with a scrupulous fidelity he sought 
the first editions, which are so precious to the lovers of 
books. Of a work or an edition of which a limited 
number only was printed, he spared no pains or cost to 
secure a copy. If the press gave to the world but a 
hundred copies, he set the booksellers of New York 
and London on the search to make him the happy pos- 
sessor of one copy. Illustrated works were great temp- 
tations to him, and in spite of their cost he gathered 
several hundreds of them into his library. Of Dora's 
illustrations he had the Legend of the Wandering Jew, 
Dante's L'Infemo and Le Purgatoire et Le Paradis, Les 
Contes de Parrault, Don Quichotte de la Manche by 
Cervantes, La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate, Fables de 
La Fontaine, Tennyson's Elaine, Guinevere, and Vivien, 
Hood's Poems, Condon : a Pilgrimage, (Euvres de Rabe- 
lais, L'Espagne par le Baron CL Davillier, the Rime of 
the Ancient Mariner, Milton's Paradise Lost, Fairy 
Realm, Le Capitaine Fracasse, and eleven fine plates 
from L' Album de Gustave Dor6. He had a copy of 
Dickens, illustrated with proof impressions from de- 
signs by Darley, Gilbert, Cruikshank, Phiz, and others 
Of this edition but a hundred copies were printed, and 
his copy brought, at the auction sale of his books, two 



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330 UFE OF EDWm H. CHAPIN. 

hundred and eighteen dollars. He had in his libraiy 
twenty-five different works by John Rnskin, ten of 
which were illustrated. His copy of Ruskin's Modem 
Painters, in five volumes royal octavo, sold for one 
hundred and ninety dollars ; the Stones of Venice, in 
three volumes, for one hundred and twenty-three dol- 
lars. His Dibdin's Decameron, with numerous fine 
illustrations on copper and wood, was bought at one 
hundred and fourteen dollars. His Bryan's Biographi- 
cal and Critical Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, 
in three volumes, with about six hundred extra illus- 
trations, comprising portraits, rare plates, etchings, 
including original engravings by Albert Durer, Rem- 
brandt, Hollar, and others, sold for two hundred and 
two dollars ; and his copy of Peter Cunningham's Story 
of Nell Gwynn and the Sayings of Charles the Second, 
inlaid to large folio size, and extra illustrated by the 
insertion of one hundred and forty-nine rare and fine 
portraits and plates, was bid off at two hundred and . 
ten dollars. At the sale of his library, quite a number 
of his illustrated voliunes brought between one and two 
hundred dollars, and many works not illustrated, but 
rare and curious and tempting to book-worshippers, sold 
at prices nearly as high. The entire library brought at 
public sale the handsome sum of twenty-three thousand 
dollars, which is probably less than half its original 
cost. 

In the department of ballads his library was, no 
doubt, most complete. His collection of these tales of 
the people set in verse is quite noteworthy. " I know a 
very wise man," said the poet Fletcher, " that believed 
that if a man were permitted to make all the ballads. 



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mS UBRABY. 331 

he need not care who should make the laws of a 
nation." Dr. Chapin seemed to comcide with this 
estimate of their influence and value, and sought their 
pathos and power for hisr own soul, and to render him a 
greater master of the sentiments. He felt their sway 
over the heart, and found in them happy illustrations 
of the simplicity of a tender and touching rhetoric. 
They were studies in the art of sermon-making. Hence 
we are not surprised that he had brought to his library 
thirty-eight different collections of ballads. 

Dr. Chapin's reading habits, like all his habits, were 
characterized by enthusiasm and persistence. He read 
books with great haste, sweeping over a page to catch 
its salient points, as the eye of a painter glances at a 
landscape. He was like Gladstone, who^ it ia said, 
could master a book in fifteen minutes. He went 
through a volume as Sydney Smith went through an 
art gallery, taking in the general impression but not the 
detail of the scene. He was content in many cases to 
study merely the iodex and three or four chapters of a 
book, for he thus made himself the possessor of its sub- 
stance and value. In this way he obtained a vast gen- 
eral knowledge of books and an extensive culture, with- 
out being critical in any department of learning; and 
not without honor to themselves did Harvard College 
confer on him the degrees of A. M. and D. D., and 
Tufts College the degree of LL D. His genius, in- 
dustry, and attainments, and the worthy use he made of 
learning, entitled him to such a recognition in the world 
of letters. He was no more devoted as a patron of 
books, than he was faithful as a friend of humanity, in 



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332 UPE OF EDWm H. CHAPm. 

transmuting his wisdom into beneficent oflSces. When 
his star sunk in the west a great and useful L'ght dis- 
appeared from among men; but many are the hearts 
which will delight to catch its lingering radiajice in the 
words he spoke and in the life he lived. 



UnlTenity Pren : John WilKm aod Sod, Ounbridga 



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RETURN 



MAIN CIRCULATION 



ALL BOOKS ARE SUBJECT TO RECALL 
RENEW BOOKS BY CALLJNG 642-3405 



DUE AS STAMPED BELOW 


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AliUJIS 






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UNIVHISITY OF CAl 


IFORNIA. BERKELEY 



FORM NO. DD6 



BfRKELEV, CA 94720 



UC BERKELEY LIBRARIES 

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CDM7«1D7D22 



R841S6 






THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNU UERARY 



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