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Eutered, according to Act of Congress, in tint year 1860, by 
J. B. LI 1'1'INCOTT & CO., 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District 
of Pennsylvania. 

\ )1^\ 


The contents of this volume have all been 
published during the life-time of the Author. 
This, it is believed, will not be considered dis- 
advantageous, as they have been revised and 
corrected by the Author, and were, by him. 
carefully prepared for issue in the present form, 
during his last sickness. His directions then 
given have been minutely and reverently car- 
ried out. 

The Editor deems it proper to say that the 
Funeral Sermon upon the occasion of the death 
of Bishop Doane, is here republished in oppo- 
sition to the wishes of some of his father's 
friends, whose judgment upon this point would 

have been final, had not his father expressed a 



preference, in his last illness, for its being in- 
cluded in this volume. 

This preference the Editor has felt it incum- 
bent upon him to observe, and he willingly 
bears the responsibility, whatever it may be. 

Burlington, N. J. 

December 12th, 1860, 


Introductory Memoir ....... 11 


Prominent Failings and Practical Errors among Ministers, 
39 ; Consequences of these Errors, 55 ; Causes which have 
produced these Errors, 61. 


His Childhood and Youth, 74 ; Collegiate Life, 80 ; Public 
Career, 83 ; Unquenchable attachment to the Union, 90 ; Cha- 
racter of his Eloquence, 93 ; Private and Social Character, 99 : 
His Religious Sentiments, 107 ; Sickness and Death, 112 : 
Lessons of Providence over his Grave, 116; Thankfulness to 
God for such Men, 116 ; Influence of Early Training, 119 : 
Value of Collegiate Education, 119 ; Excellence of a Noble 
Ambition, 120 ; Capriciousness of Public Opinion, 121 ; Homage 
of Intellect to Christianity, 122; End of Earthly Greatness. 123 ; 
Personal Religion the Highest Form of Worth, 124. 


Introduction, 129 ; Champlain — Father Jogues, 131 ; Old 
French War, 132 ; Washington sent to protest against Inva- 
sion of the Ohio Valley, 135: Meeting of First American Con- 
1* (v) 



gress, 135 ; Expeditions of Braddock, Shirley, and Johnson, 
137 ; Battle at Fort Edward, 141 ; Distinguished Men engaged 
in the Battle, 150 ; Circumstances which made this Battle 
renowned, 156; Forts around the Battle-field, 162; Effects 
of the Battle, 166; Monument should be erected, 168; Con- 
clusion, 168. 


Carroll College, a Good Gift to a Great State, 176 ; Its adap- 
tation to furnish Ministers, 176; Furnishes useful Public Men, 
180 ; Healthful Influence in the Common Schools and Acade- 
mies, 185 ; Important Aid to Morality and Religion, 191 ; 
Expedition to Upper Mississippi and Missouri, 194 ; Wisconsin 
admitted to the Union under Ordinance of 1787, 197 ; Elements 
of Wisconsin Greatness, .197 ; Its Advantages of Soil, 198; of 
abounding Forests, 198 ; of Mineral Resources, 199 ; of Trade 
and Commerce, 200 ; of Population, 200 ; of Education, 201. 


Superintendence of Divine Providence in the Affairs of Men, 
209 ; Triumph of Human Genius, Faith, and Perseverance, 
215; Advantages, Political, Social, Economical, and Religious, 
225 ; Approach of the Millennium, 238. 


Scriptural Doctrine of Slaveholding, 247 ; Introduction, 247 ; 
Slaveholding not a malum in se, 254 ; Relation of Master and 
Slave not that of Parent and Child, 255 ; Slaveholding not 
Lawful under all Circumstances, 256 ; Abnormal and Excep- 
tional, 257 ; Belongs to the adiaphora, 259 ; Testimonies of 
the Presbyterian Church, 262 ; Statement " Slaveholding is 
not Necessarily and under all Circumstances Sinful," philo- 
sophical in Form, 265 : Requires no Explanation, 267 ; Is the 
Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, 269 ; Commends itself 
to Consciences of Slaveholders, 270 ; Practical Power to resist 
Error, 272. 




The Church's Interest in Emancipation, 280 ; Does not bring 
the Church into the Province of the State, 281 ; Her Testimony, 
not Legislation over the Consciences of Men, 282 ; Emancipa- 
tion not a Reproach where Impracticable, 282 ; Testimony of 
the General Assembly, 284 ; Church has a Right to hold forth 
Emancipation, 288 ; Views of Old Testament Scriptures, 290 ; 
Influence of Christianity, 292; Injunctions of Scripture, 297; 
Spirit and Principles of Religion favourable to Natural 
Rights, 301 ; Duties of Christians as Citizens, 303. 


Universality of Slavery no evidence of approval by Chris- 
tianity, 306; Early Influence of Christianity, 307 ; Slavehold- 
ing not always without Reproach, 312 ; Worldly Causes not 
the Agents in Slavery Extinction, 313 ; Consistency of Slavery 
with Precepts of the Gospel, 315 ; Infidelity not the Source 
of Awakened Interest, 318; Views of Dr. Scott, 322; Sketch 
of Pro-slavery Opinions, 324 ; All Slavery Opposition not 
Alike, 326 ; Position of the Presbyterian Church, 327. 


Agreement of Dr. Armstrong with Truth of Proposition, 
331 ; Politics — Distinction between Scripture and Reason, 33:i : 
General Assembly, 343 ; Dr. Armstrong's Weapon, 346 ; His 
Syllogisms, 348 ; Explaining his Proposition, 351 ; Thoughts 
at the Close, 355. 


Emancipation not exclusively a Political Question, 359 ; 
Slavery and the Interests of the Life to Come, 362 ; Slavery 
and the Bible, 366 ; Things that avail or avail not, 369 ; 
Popular Errors, 373 ; Schemes of Emancipation, 380 ; Li- 
berian Colonization, 385 ; Free to be sent first, 387 ; Results 



of Colonization Society, 389 ; Expectations Concerning Li- 
beria, 390 ; Effects of entertaining Emancipation Scheme, 399 : 
The Work and the Way, 400 ; Church and Advisory Testi- 
mony, 403 ; History of Anti-Slavery Opinions, 405 : Con- 
cluding Remarks, 406 ; Dr. Baxter on Slavery, 409. 


On the New Emendations . . . ' 413 

Right of Presbyterian Church to this Discussion, 414 ; 
Emendation not Constitutional, 416 ; Notes or Comments not 
to be made, 420 ; Committee of Revision exceeded their Powers, 
422 ; American Bible Society should retrace its Steps, 424 ; 
Speeches of Drs. Breckenridge and Adjer, 432; Presbyterian 
Church at liberty to examine concerning Emendations, 433 : 
Committee no general authority to go behind the Translators, 
435 ; Report does not give all the Alterations in Words, 436 : 
Changes of Text, 438 ; Punctuation, 439 ; Brackets and 
Italics, 440 ; Variance between American and English Edi- 
tions, 443 ; Practical Lessons from the Attempt at Bible 
Emendation, 448; Origin of American Bible Society, 450. 

Protest of the Committee of Revision, and an Answer to it . 451 

Protest, 451 ; Answer, 455 ; Resolutions of the Board of 
Managers, right according to Precedent, 455 ; Give Validity 
to the Text of 1816, 456 ; Attribute Infallibility to no one, 
456 ; Aim at Restoring the Common Headings and Contents 
of Chapters, 456 ; Function of the Committee is confined to 
Collation, 457 ; Chairman of the Committee of Nine, 458 ; 
Resolutions imply no Reproach, but Official Disapprobation. 
458; Errors in Principle and Practice, 459; Resolutions were 
passed with a full knowledge of Facts, 459. 

On the Origin of the American Bible Society . . . 461 

British and Foreign Bible Society, 461 ; Its Influence, 462 ; 
Dr. Spring's Life of Mills, 463; Meeting at Burlington, 464: 
Elias Boudinot, 465 ; The Founder of American Bible So- 
ciety, 467 ; Report of New Jersey Bible Society, 469 : Of 
Philadelphia Bible Society, 470; Convention in New York, 
472; Dr. Boudinot's Circular, 474. 


DOANE ' 477 

Reasons for the fearful harshness of Human Judgments, 
479; Greatness of God's Mercies, 482; Bishop Doane, things 
to be remembered in judging, 485; His fine Mind, 487 ; Force 
of Will, 488 ; Energy and Self-denial, 489 ; Social Traits. 
491; As a Churchman, 492; Orator, 496; Writer, 497; The 
Privileges attending his Death, 498 ; Lessons at the Grave. 
502 ; Remarkable Funeral, 5,06. 


Introduction, 513; The Indian Gateway, 514 ; Champlain's 
Expedition of 1609, 518; The Old French War, 523; Mont 
calm's March against Fort William Henry, 536 ; The Attack 
and Massacre, 537 ; Abercrombie's March against Ticonderoga, 
542 ; The Attack and Repulse, 544 ; Fort George, 550 ; Cap- 
ture of Ticonderoga by Amherst, 552; By Ethan Allen,. 554: 
Centennial Lessons, 556; Champlain, 564; Howe, Amherst, 
Ethan Allen, 565 ; The Century's Call to God, 566. 


. (Jurtlandt Van Rensselaer was the third son of the 
Hon. Stephen Van Rensselaer, by his second wife, Cor- 
nelia Paterson, the daughter of Chief Justice Paterson 
of New Jersey. His father was a man of the most un- 
directed humility of heart, refined by nature and by cul- 
ture, whose religion was the religion of a Catholic Chris- 
tian, and who dignified the high civil positions he filled, 
by the courteous geniality of his manner. 

Among the many traits for which he was distinguished, 
not the least was his personal popularity. Among his nu- 
merous tenantry there was felt for him a general sentiment 
of affection and regard — and, even now, those who are the 
most virulent against his descendants, seldom mention but 
with respect and honour the name of the ;i Good Patroon." 
As an incident showing the deep impression his character 
produced upon various minds, it is related that, when 
"visiting Washington during the sessions of Congress, 
after several years of absence, in his simple, unobtrusive 
manner he entered the Hall of Representatives. The 
moment he was observed, there was so general a move- 
ment to press forward and salute him, that the business 
of the House seemed to have been entirely suspended." 

Of my father's mother, the Rev. Thomas E. Vermilye, 
her pastor and her friend, who knew her well, says: 
" Constitutional timidity, in some respects beyond what 



is common in her sex, served the more strikingly to set 
forth a moral firmness that was calm and considerate, 
but fixed, and perfectly immovable when judgment and 
conscience had decided the course of duty. Indeed, 
the sense of duty seemed eminently the governing spring 
of her whole conduct. It may be easily seen how ad- 
mirably these natural endowments formed her to bless 
the household scene and grace the social circle ; to be- 
come the wise and judicious counsellor of her honoured 
husband, and to exert the happiest influence in her ma- 
ternal relations. Admirable in each capacity, in the 
latter she was pre-eminent. She ruled her household 
with discretion, because she ruled herself with judgment 
and the fear of God." 

My father's childhood was passed in the city of Albany ; 
and the love of his birth-place, so natural to all men, was, 
in him, distinguished with a peculiar force ; it passed 
with him through all the varieties of his occupations, and 
went down with him to the grave. Throughout the 
whole of his life, though the best and most active part 
of it was spent without its bounds, he always regarded 
his native State as the foremost among her sisters, and 
clung, with a reverent affection, to the old Dutch city of 
his birth. It was' the home of his youth, the honoured 
residence of his parents. To him it was ever fresh and 
green with pleasant memories, or hallowed with sacred 
associations ; and it is here that, at his own request, he 
now reposes. 

He received his first instruction, in 1815, in Provost 
Street, Albany , at Bancel's, a thorough and celebrated 
French school-teacher of the day, where were educated 
many who have since been prominent in their respective 
callings. He afterwards attended school for about a year 
at Morristown, New Jersey (Mr. McCullough's), previous 
to completing his preparatory studies at the Academy at 


Hyde Park, New York, under the care of Dr. Benjamin 
Allen. Dr. Allen, who had formerly been Professor of 
Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in Union College, 
.was a man of high mental attainments, a rigid discipli- 
narian, thorough in his teaching, and punctilious in the 
respect due to him from his pupils. My father remained 
here from the fall of 1819 to 1823, when he entered the 
Freshman Class in Yale College. 

Of his life at college I have been able to gather but 
little knowledge ; and what reveals itself in letters and other 
manuscripts is mostly of a purely confidential character. 
His favourite studies seem to have been history, natural 
philosophy, and geology, with the latter of which he 
afterwards became more familiar during: a g:eolog:ical tour 
undertaken in company with Professor Amos Eaton. He 
was thoroughly conversant with the poetry and classical 
literature of England, and with the oratory of her truest 
statesmen. He endeavoured earnestly to accustom him- 
self to the habit of extemporaneous speaking, making it 
a practice to be upon his feet in Linonia Hall as often as 

He formed at college many pleasant and endearing 
acquaintances, and one friendship which walked with him, 
shoulder to shoulder through life, assisted him with frank 
and candid counsel, rejoiced with him in joy, and felt for 
him in sorrow ; cheered and comforted him in the hours 
of his last sickness, and has been tenderly shown in a 
tribute to his memory, honourable alike to the dead and 
to the friend, whose affectionate privilege it was to pro- 
nounce it. 

He was graduated in 1827 with honours above the 
average of his class, and after spending a short time in 
Albany, entered upon the study of the law in the law 
school connected with Yale College. He remained here, 
however, only about eight months, when he returned to 


Albany, and completed his preparatory studies for the 
bar at the office, and under the advice of Abraham Van 
Vechten. The relations which he sustained towards this 
distinguished and venerated lawyer, were of the most, 
affectionate and respectful character ; and when Mr. Van 
Vechten died in the winter of 1837, my father prepared 
an address commemorative of his life and public services, 
which I believe was never published, as the manuscript 
only remains among his papers. 

In December, 1829, he commenced a journey to New 
Orleans, accompanying his father, who had been accus- 
tomed for twelve years previous to spend his winters in 
the South, partly for pleasure, but chiefly for the bene- 
ficial effects of a warm and genial climate. It was prob- 
ably during this excursion that my father's thoughts were 
first turned to religion, by the death, at New Orleans, of a 
dear and valued friend, whose loss he keenly felt and 
deeply mourned. 

The record of the observations which he made during 
this period, is full, minute, and discursive ; containing, 
among other things, remarks upon the geological forma- 
tion of the country through which he passed, opinions 
upon the commercial and political advantages of the va- 
rious cities and States, detailing interviews with many 
distinguished statesmen and civilians, to whom he had 
the privilege of an introduction through the medium of 
his father's acquaintance. He paid a particular and 
thorough attention to the institution of slavery as it then 
existed in the Southern States ; and the views which he 
then formed concerning this vexed question, in its rela- 
tions to the Church, the State, and to individuals, were 
retained through life ; though modified, perhaps, by cir- 
cumstances and matured by experience, they were sub- 
stantially unchanged. "What these were, is told better 
than can be done in the words of another, by his Address 


delivered at the opening of the Ashmun Institute, and 
his controversy with Dr. Armstrong. 

Upon his return to the North in 1830, although apply- 
ing himself with renewed diligence to the study of the 
law, my father's mind seems for some time to have been 
in a state of disquietude and uncertainty with regard to 
religion. Under date of June 22d he writes : " Took a 
ride to Troy — I had the pleasure of Miss 's com- 
pany : she told me she hoped I would be a minister. This 
was the first time this subject was distinctly proposed to 
me : though I don't feel disposed to mingle with the 
world, I cannot think I am fit to be a minister." July 
6th, in a long interview with his father, to whom it was 
his filial custom to go for advice upon every important 
matter, he mentioned for the first time his preference for 
the Presbyterian form of government and worship, and 
adds: "He did not seem to like it, so I abandoned the 
idea, and intend joining the Dutch Reformed Church.'" 

Whilst in the midst of these doubts the time came 
when he had determined to apply for admission to the 
bar ; and he accordingly set out for Utica, the place ap- 
pointed for the examination of candidates, in company 
with his friend, Henry Hogeboom, with whom, and about 
forty others, he was admitted to practice on the 16th of 
July, 1830. 

In September of this year he conversed upon the sub- 
ject which then filled his mind, with the Rev. Nathaniel 
W. Taylor, D.D., at New Haven, who urged him forward in 
his disposition ; and it cannot be doubted that the counsel 
and persuasion of this eminent theologian went far to 
incline him churchward. 

He seems to have been almost settled in his determina- 
tion to become a minister upon the 10th of September, 
under which date he wrote a letter to his mother, from 


Boston, in which, after mentioning the serious nature of 
his reflections, he says : 

" This is not a sudden thought, nor the result of a ca- 
pricious and unreflecting moment. I have deliberated 
much, and weighed the consequences. I can't reconcile 
my present course and profession with my views of duty. 
It is in vain that I imagine to myself that I am better 
qualified for public life and the contests of the political 
world. I feel their vanity and unsatisfying pleasures; 
and my mind is only at ease when I contemplate my 
future course as a course of usefulness in the immediate 
service of God. 

" Who would have thought that I, the most unworthy 
of all your offspring, would ever have entertained serious 
thoughts of dedicating himself to his Maker ? But my 
past life, foolish as it has been, ought not surely — nor 
w ill it _ deter me from aiming at higher things. It is 
by the grace of God alone, that I am what I now am ; 
and it is upon the same grace that I rely to bless and 
prosper my good intentions. The reasons which have 
influenced "my mind in inducing me to abandon my 
present profession are these : 

" 1. I consider that every man is under obligations to 
his Maker, to pursue that course in life in which he 
thinks he can be most useful. 

" 2. A man of property, who has not the troubles and 
anxieties of business to divert his mind, is under peculiar 
obligations to make himself useful. 

"3. I consider and firmly believe, that those men are 
the happiest who devote themselves most to God. 

"4. My experience leads me to believe, that it is almost 
impossible for me to retain proper religious feelings, if I 
am occupied with the ordinary vanities and pursuits of 
the world." 

On Sunday, October 3d, he saw and heard, for the first 


time, Professor Charles Hodge, of Princeton : and on the 
17th of the same month he first partook of the com- 
munion. 1 Shortly after, he says : " I saw Boardman, and 
had a long talk with him on religious topics. This was 
my object in coming to New Haven. My mind is pretty 
strongly made up to devote myself by the grace of God 
to the ministry. I have no enjoyment in this world, and 
therefore wish to draw myself from it." November 9th, 
he talked finally with his father upon this subject, when 
(he writes) " we agreed that it was best for me to go to 
Princeton ;" and, starting immediately for Princeton, with 
the promptness which always went hand in hand with 
his decisions, he arrived there upon the evening of the 
same day. 

Having received his collegiate education at Yale Col- 
lege, and having been a frequent hearer and a warm ad- 
mirer of Dr. Taylor, it is not strange that his religious 
creed should have been coloured with some of the hues 
of the "New Haven Theology:" it would have been 
stranger still, to those who knew him, if he had hesitated 
to avow and defend his opinions at all proper times. His 
friend Dr. Boardman, in speaking of this portion of his 
life, says : " Many a time did we contest this ground in our 
daily walks at Princeton, and while nothing could exceed 
the candour and good temper with which he defended 
his opinions, he clung to them with that tenacity, which 
then and always, constituted a marked feature of his char- 
acter." When afterwards he was convinced of its inef- 
ficiency and error, he threw it aside with a single effort, 
and in the later years of his life spoke of it to a friend, as 
a system " all head and no heart." 

At the Theological Seminary at Princeton were passed 

1 These two facts are so mentioned in his diary, as to make the con- 
nection a more intimate one than that arising merely from the order 
of time. 

2* B 


some of the pleasantest days of his life, and he only left 
this seat df learning that he might complete his theolo- 
gical education in the midst of the people among whom 
he had already determined first to labour. It was his 
privilege to form a personal acquaintance with the emi- 
nent theologians who then occupied the chairs of the 
different professorships — Alexander, Miller, and Hodge ; 
which, with the two former, partook of the nature of a 
guardianship, authorized by the wisdom of experience ; 
and with the latter, ripened into as strong and reverent a 
friendship as my father's strong nature was capable of. 

In the fall of 1832 he left Princeton and went to the 
Union Seminary, Prince Edward Co., Va. ; and while here, 
the deep interest which he then and always felt for the 
African race, prompted him to read before the " Society 
of Inquiry," a paper upon " The personal duty of preach- 
ing the gospel to the slaves in our country ; " early taking 
his stand upon his duty with the candour and the manli- 
ness which were characteristic of his public avowals of 
opinion. After a journey through Georgia and the Car- 
olinas, undertaken with his honoured friend and asso- 
ciate, Rev. William Chester, I). D., he was licensed by 
the Presbytery of "West Hanover, in October, 1833, and 
commenced preaching to the slaves in Virginia, upon 
plantations in Halifax, Fluvanna, and adjoining coun- 
ties, chiefly upon those of Gen. John H. Cocke, Mrs. S. 
C. Carrington, and Gen. Carrington. Having been all 
his life known as the warm friend of the African race, 
never having hesitated to declare openly his opinions 
upon the duty of enlightening the slaves : having been 
appointed in July, 1833, by the American Colonization 
Society, their permanent agent for the central district, 
"to promote the great object" of their organization, it 
seemed to him fit that he should devote the first years of 
his ministry to the field where his heart and his duty 


called him. The masters in those days, afforded to the 
young minister every facility in their power, towards the 
amelioration of the condition of their slaves ; with one 
hand they welcomed him to their hearths and homes as 
an honoured guest, — with the other, helped him freely 
and manfully onward in his mission of education. The 
slaves all loved him ; he went around among their cabins, 
instructing the willing, comforting the sick, administering 
the consolations of religion to the needful. He prayed 
with them, preached to them, worked for them. Nor 
were his endeavours for their good confined within mere 
professional bounds ; they took a wider scope, and among 
his papers there is a set of " Regulations for a Christian 
plantation," which were laid before their owners, and in 
many instances adopted. When he left the plantation 
of Mrs. Carrington, in Halifax Co., he called upon the 
overseer, and in her absence requested that the servants 
should be assembled : this was done, and after preaching 
his farewell sermon to them, he parted with them, in the 
language of one of their own number, "all weeping." 

It will not be out of place to quote here from a letter 
of Gen. John H. Cocke, one of my father's staunchest 
friends in Virginia, and who assisted him upon his own 
plantation with all the kindliness and courtesy of a Chris- 
tian gentleman. 

"Bremo, Fluvanna Co., Va., Nov. 2d, 1860. 

" The strong and abiding sympathy which sprang 

up between us, grew out of the deep interest he felt in 
the welfare and religious instruction of the African race 
in slavery amongst us at the South ; and I believe his 
having devoted the first years of his ministry in that field 
of labour in Virginia, did more to awaken in our masters 
a sense of duty to provide religious instruction to their 
slaves, than the efforts of any other individual. He more 


than a quarter of a century ago, during his year's residence 
with us, dedicated, as far as my knowledge goes, the first 
plantation Chapel for the religious instruction of negroes. 
The spot upon which it stands was one of his own selec- 
tion. After walking over the adjacent grounds, and 
seeing its convenient vicinity to the three plantations 
around it, swarming with souls almost as ignorant as the 
heathen, he knelt down upon the naked earth in the bosom 
of a tangled thicket, and in the presence of the Rev. Saml. 
B. S. Bissell, now one of the Secretaries of the Amer. 
Seamen's Friend Society in the city of New York, and 
another witness only, dedicated the spot by a faithful, 
fervent prayer, to the purpose of his mission to the South. 
The chapel was soon erected upon the designated ground, 
and stands a cherished monument to the glory of God, 
and the good of man. 

" Since that time many more plantation chapels have 
been built by large slave-holders in Virginia, where reg- 
ular religious instruction at the expense of their masters, 
is given to the slaves." 

But his labours among the coloured population of Vir- 
ginia were permitted to last but little over a year. So 
early as February, 1833, when in Savannah, the most 
unwarrantable suspicions were uttered with regard to his 
mission at the South. These, though publicly met and 
fully refuted, foreshadowed difficulties, which he felt 
would sooner or later, cross the path of his duty. In one 
of his letters to a valued friend, Rev. S. S. Davis, of Au- 
gusta, Ga., under date of Nov. 29, 1834, he says : 

" Dear Brother Davis : 

" I write with much love in my heart flowing out towards 
you, and with a great desire to see you once more face 
to face. The summer of 1833 was to me a glad season, 


not only in lending my feeble aid to a good work, but 
also in forming an intimacy with a Christian brother, 
whose friendship I confide in, and most highly prize. I 
feel as if the time were coming, when every brother will 
have need of comfort, and help, and encouragement from 
his brother's heart. If this Southern Zion is not to be 
shaken like the forest, the issue is not in correspondence 
with the signs. I think I can discern a cloud already 
larger than a man's hand, which is to swell, and blacken, 
and thunder over the bulwarks of Presbyterianism. It 
will have small beginnings, but results terrible for a 
season to the southern churches. Are there not diverse 
symptoms in South Carolina of increasing disaffection to 
Presbyterian Christianity, and especially towards its min- 
isters who have enjoyed a northern origin ? The Vir- 
ginians are, I think, becoming more and more hostile to 
northern men, owing to an anticipated apprehension of 
their anti-slavery feelings. The States north of the Po- 
tomac, and the Western States will, in spite of every 
human effort, agitate the slavery question. You might 
as well quench the spirit of liberty which once burned 
in the hearts of the men of '76, as suppress the existing 
tendencies to revolutionary movements. I deeply and 
heartily grieve that the agitation of the question has as- 
sumed its present form. We can retard the tumult for 
a short time longer, but the crisis is at hand. Virginia 
has not religion enough in her to meet the issue. The 
Presbyterian church will take the strongest stand against 
slavery ; but the religion of her professors is not the re- 
ligion which will patronize emancipation. If we had 
apostolical Christianity, we could triumph gloriously over 
the opposition of gainsayers and the fiery hatred of for- 
mal professors. But as we have not got it in our hearts, 
we can't triumph. Northern men, who will not dastardly 
fall in and curse northern agitators, will have to leave the 


States, and I among that number. I have returned to 
my old field of labour among the children of Ham in 
this county, after a summer spent in a heartless manner 
at the North. During my absence, there has been some 
little excitement against me, which will continue among 
a certain set, who are always prepared to act against the 
Gospel. The planters, however, with whom I have to 
do, are still the firm friends of evangelical instruction 
among the negroes. I shall therefore proceed in my 
work, looking unto the hills from whence cometh strength. 
Pray for me when you remember this class of God's des- 
titute creatures, and when you think of ministers who 
come short of qualifications for their work. There are 
many difficulties, connected with this subject, which I 
have never felt before, and which are going to try me 
this winter severely. My relish for the work is, I thank 
my God, stronger than it has ever been; and I have 
given- myself up to it as long as God shall be pleased to 
consider me useful in it." 

When he found, as he did shortly after his ordination, 
in 1835, that his presence in Virginia subjected him to 
the most unpleasant suspicions, he felt it his duty to 
remain no longer where the purest and most disinterested 
motives were misconstrued by the violence of heated 
passion; and, accordingly, in October, 1835, wrote the 
following letter to the Presbytery of West Hanover : 

" To my Brethren and Fathers of West Hanover 

" After many anxious and painful feelings, I find it to 
be my duty to ask a dismission from the beloved Pres- 
bytery which first admitted me to the ambassadorship 
of Christ, and within whose bounds I have laboured in 
so much harmony and Christian fellowship. 


" The reasons for my departure you have a right to 
demand, aud I will therefore briefly state them hi all 
frankness, and yet with much sorrow. 

" I consider my usefulness in my particular vocation, at 
the South, to be almost entirely at an end. The Lord 
sent me amongst you, a stranger, to labour among the 
bondmen of the land of Virginia. I commenced the 
work in fear and trembling ; and yet not without hope 
that the prejudices which exist between your land and 
ours, would, after a time, at least, cease to interrupt the 
plans and operations of Christianity. That hope was 
beginning to be realized ; the times have changed, and my 
hope is gone ! A great excitement has sprung up ; 
prejudices, before violent, have received fresh and mighty 
impulses ; obstacles, scarcely visible a short time since, 
have now become mountains by the volcanic agitations 
of a rash and fiery fanaticism. Brethren, joyfully would 
I have laboured amongst you, and gladly would I return, 
if my presence, would be for good ! But the peculiar 
feelings of Southern men are not unknown to me at this 
fearful crisis ; and I wish to act in a way that will not 
at all impede the prosecution by others of the efforts in 
which I have been engaged. I know the irritability of 
the public mind, and the extreme jealousy of the inter- 
ference of foreigners, no matter with how good inten- 
tions they may come. Especially at this time would a 
Northern man, prominently interested in the slaves, be 
the means of arousing jealousy and bad feeling wherever 
he might go. He would be a rallying point for prejudice 
and evil surmises; and would keep up an excitement not 
only inimical to his own peace, but destructive of his 
usefulness. He would be the means of transferring the 
odium against himself to all others. The idea of per- 
sonal violence, I confess, has hardly entered into my 
calculations. I am so entirely conscious of the integrity 


of my motives, and the inoft'ensiveness of my work, 
that I cannot realize any difficulty on this point, however 
real may be the causes for apprehension. It is not this 
that deters me from revisiting your community. It is 
because my plans have been cut short; my influence im- 
paired; my facilities of operation ruined; my timid 
friends turned against me; my strong ones become 
doubtful ; and my whole prospects far more gloomy than 
when I first began. Give me aid and give me hope, and 
I can have the heart to work. But I cannot lean on the 
reed of my own littleness and live in despair. 

"I decline continuing operations which, as far as my 
instrumentality is concerned, I now utterly despair of 
bringing to any successful issue. I despair, my brethren, 
as a Northerner and a stranger. I despair as one inte- 
rested in a class of persons, with whom to sympathize is 
becoming more and more odious. I despair as a man 
looking at the political aspect of the times. I despair, 
as an ambassador of Christ, reviewing the course of God's 
Providence, and doubting the probability of the Divine 
interposition to preserve my plans, if recommenced, from 
interruption. If I was a Southern man, and enjoyed the 
advantages of a local origin, I should long hesitate before 
I abandoned the country. Or, if the excitement had 
been caused by myself, it would be my duty to return in 
vindication of my character and injustice to my cause. 
But, under present circumstances, I believe it to be alto- 
gether most prudent for me to withdraw from my connec- 
tion with the slaves, since my position has become too 
prominent for a Northerner to retain without increasing 
the prejudices against efforts of this kind. 

"Brethren, if there is work to be done amoDgst the 
benighted children of Ham, you are the men to do it, 
who were born and brought up on the soil; who are 
identified with the feelings and interests of the com- 


munity; who are the pastors of the churches, and the 
spiritual guides of the people. My own interest in the 
slaves is not only unchanged, but increased. It is in- 
creased by the fact that the difficulties to their salvation 
have been multiplied, and the improvement of their con- 
dition become more obnoxious, and, moreover, by the 
circumstance that I shall labour amongst them no more. 
Wherever I shall go, I shall still be their friend ; to re- 
member them at the mercy-seat ; to labour for them in 
active life ; to aid them in every way in which God may 
give me the grace and the power. But as a spiritual 
teacher, my efforts in their behalf are at an end. I con- 
sider myself recalled from the South by the same Provi- 
dence which sent me there. I bid adieu to it in sorrow, but 
with a conscience void of offence towards God and man. 
" I am sustained iu my course by the unanimous 
counsel of all my Christian friends and acquaintances at 
the North* and also by the advice of most of my Southern 
friends. I feel fully persuaded in my own mind, there- 
fore, that it is best for me, all things considered, to leave 
the South. And I accordingly request a dismission from 
your Presbytery, whose members I love, and shall ever 
love for their Christian spirit, and their much kindness 
towards me, and request a recommendation to the Pres- 
bytery of Albany. 

" Yours in the brotherhood of the Gospel, 


Turning his face northward in the fall of 1835, he oc- 
cupied his time in temporarily supplying vacant pulpits 
in various parts of the country, until, in the early part 
of 1836, he assisted in forming the First Presbyterian 
Church in Burlington, New Jersey. 

In September, 1836, my father was married to the 
youngest daughter of Dr. Cogswell, of Hartford, Connec- 


ticut; and, after declining calls to Natchez, Mississippi, 
and Bolton, Massachusetts, he removed, with his wife, 
to Burlington, and was installed pastor over the church 
in that city in June, 1837. This was his first regular 
pastoral charge, and his last. Here he worked faithfully, 
devotedly, unweariedly. To its people he was the most 
assiduous of shepherds, and of its principles of govern- 
ment and doctrine a bold and manly defender. 

The Rev. John Chester, the present pastor of the church, 
speaking of the four years of his ministry here, says : 

" During this time the church was fully organized, by 
having its officers appointed, and a flourishing Sabbath- 
school established. During the first year of his pastorate, 
the church edifice was completed, and dedicated to the 
service of God, on November 23d, 1837. It is an interesting 
fact that the sermon was preached by the Eev. Archibald 
Alexander, D.D. During the third year of his pastorate, 
the church was greatly blessed by an outpouring of the 
Spirit, God thus setting his seal of approbation to the 
undertaking by fulfilling his promise: 'In all places 
where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I 
will bless thee.' During these four years, four mission- 
aries had gone out from this church to foreign lands, one 
to India (Rev. Levi Janvier), two to Africa (Rev. Mr. 
Canfield and wife), one to the Sandwich Islands (Rev. 
S. C. Damon)." 

Though at his own request, and from convictions of 
duty, the pastoral relation with this congregation was 
dissolved in May, 1840, the interests of the church which 
he founded and built up were always near his heart. 
When its pulpit was empty he filled it; when its people 
needed advice he gave his counsel and time freely; and, 
on the morning of the day he died, remembered them to 
the last, in requesting a change in an arrangement which 
he feared might prove inconvenient to them. 


It is not permitted, in this connection, to omit men- 
tioning the names of three, now passed away, whose 
presence and friendship contributed much to lighten the 
lot of a pastor to a struggling and feeble church : — Thomas 
Aikman, one of his first elders, who brought over with 
him from his native Scotland the national loyalty for 
Presbyterianism, the right hand of his pastor in every 
good word and work ; Mrs. Rebecca Chester, a mother 
in Israel, whose heart was large enough for the whole 
parish, whose hand was as open and whose sympathy was 
as free as her wishes were liberal ; Charles Chauncey, 
whose name I trace with feelings of reverence and affec- 
tion — the great Christian lawyer, upon whose ripe wis- 
dom and experience my father leaned as upon a staff. 
Often when the labours of the day were over, the brief 
of the lawyer and the next Sabbath sermon of the minis- 
ter would be forgotten in the freedom of familiar conver- 
sation. Of Mr. Chauncey's letters, filled with the fra- 
grance* of a cultivated mind, I quote, with permission, 
the following, illustrative both of the personal friendship 
of this eminent man, and of the feeling with which, as a 
parishioner, he parted with him. 

" Philadelphia, May 11th, 1840. 
" My Dear Friend and Pastor : 

" Your letter was handed to me in the afternoon of 
Saturday too late for me to reply to it by any conveyance 
of that day. I have read it again and again, and have 
reflected upon it with intense feeling and solicitude, and 
I am by no means sure that I am duly prepared to write 
to you on this interesting subject. 

" I did not receive the intimation which you gave me 
the other day as seriously as it is now evident I should 
have done, perhaps because it came upon an unwilling 
ear. However, I only make this remark to account for 


my not urging the conversation to a more definite under- 

" My entire respect for you, my friend, forbids me from 
entering upon any discussion, or even in any measure 
expressing my feelings upon this most interesting and 
affecting and important step, when you have said that 
your mind has been made up, after mature deliberation, 
that you are fully persuaded that the church will get along 
much better if some one else will now take your place, 
and that you deem it wisest to keep to yourself your 
reasons for taking your departure. 

" It is my duty to you, however, to say, that I have 
absolute confidence in the integrity of your heart, and 
that you have decided upon the most deliberate and con- 
scientious consideration of your duty to God and the 
church. I cannot forbear to add, that, as one of your 
flock, I desire to offer you my humble but hearty thanks 
for the great and, I believe, profitable enjoyment and 
benefit which I have received from your faithful ministry. 
"I feel that we are in the hands of a God of infinite 
wisdom and boundless goodness, whose care is over even 
the sparrow, and who numbers the hairs of our heads. 
His smile has been upon our little church : and his bless- 
ing has accompanied your ministrations as his servant. 
We ought assuredly to trust, implicitly, that He will not 
forsuke us, and to beseech Him for that grace which can 
alone guide us in the path of duty. 

"Your kind notice of my family, in connection with 
you and yours, has afforded me and mine the most sin- 
cere gratification. I am truly thankful to God that I 
have been brought into that sweet and friendly communion 
of heart with you, which I hope and devoutly pray may 
endure forever. 

"I am, my dear friend, 

" Most affectionately yours, 

" Charles Chauncey." 


During his pastoral connection with the church at 
Burlington, he was elected to the Professorship of Sacred 
Literature in the University of New York; but this 
honour his convictions of duty led him to resign, though 
pressed to accept it by the urgent solicitations of friends. 
In answer to a request for any manuscript information 
upon this subject, made to the Rev. J. M. Mathews, D.D., 
who was, at this time, Chancellor of the University, and 
chiefly through whose influence the nomination was 
made, the venerable divine wrote the following letter, 
which may well be inserted here : 

"New York, October 24th, 1860. 
" My Dear Sir : 

" I do not find in my correspondence any letter of con- 
sequence from your respected father; but I have recollec- 
tions of him which could not well be refreshed by any 
such aids to my memory. 

" My first acquaintance with him was in his childhood, 
and my frequent intercourse with his father's family 
enabled me to see much of him as he grew up to man- 
hood. In his early years he discovered elements of cha- 
racter, which led me to expect from him all that he 
actually became in his after life. Especially from the 
time when he gave his heart to the Saviour he showed 
unusual maturity of mind for one of his age ; and this 
was the principal reason which led to his election, while 
he was yet comparatively a young man, to the Professor- 
ship of Sacred Literature in the University of New York, 
a chair which I was very desirous to have filled by a man 
who possessed both a sound intellect and a devout spirit. 
He declined the place, however, because, as he said, he 
was shut in to other duties from which he could not 
withdraw himself. 

" The success which attended his various labours in the 


Presbyterian Church, whether acting in behalf of her 
seminaries of learning in raising means for their support, 
or as Secretary of her Board of Education, is a matter 
of history known to us all ; and when I saw how happily 
he accomplished the objects he had chosen for himself, I 
was well persuaded that he was labouring in a field to 
which the Lord had sent him. 

" If I should add a word as to the prominent features 
of his life and character, I would say he was a man of 
singular simplicity of purpose in his Master's service. 
No side issues diverted him from what he felt to be his 
duty. Wherever it called him there he was ; whatever 
it required him to do, he at once undertook, undismayed 
by difficulties that he might have to encounter ; for to 
this singleness of purpose he added both a moral courage 
and an indefatigable industry, which are indispensable 
to a man who would accomplish important service to his 
Master. He has left behind him a wide breach in the 
ranks of the gospel ministry ; and the Church must look 
to 'Him with whom is the residue of the Spirit,' if she 

would see his place adequately filled 

" Yours most truly, 

"J. M. Matthews." 

Shortly after his resignation of the pastoral charge, he 
attacked what he conceived to be some of the errors and 
religious fallacies of High Church Episcopacy. In the 
discussion with Bishop Doane, which followed, and in 
which several replies and rejoinders were exchanged, it is 
needless to say that he stood his ground firmly and man- 
fully; and it may not be too much to add, that at the 
conclusion of the controversy, the young Presbyterian 
divine came out of the contest with his lance unsplintered 
and armour whole. 


During the" years 1841 and '42, his time was mostly 
occupied in preaching to an unsupplied congregation at 
Washington. At this time General Harrison was Presi- 
dent ; and in my father's diary frequent mention is made 
of interviews with him, and, among them the following 
interesting ones : " Met the President in Frank Taylor's 
book-store. He came in to buy a Bible for the White 
House— he said he found none there, but that there ought 
to be one." "Visited the President: he received me as 
usual, very kindly, and we had an interesting conversa- 
tion on religious topics. He seems to be a religious man ; 
manners frank and kind. A noble old man'! Feel sat- 
isfied with him as President." 

Harrison's death occurring while he was in Washing- 
ton, he delivered in the presence of Mr. Tyler and the 
Cabinet, a funeral discourse, endeavouring, as was ever 
his wont, to improve the dealings of God's providence 
for the good of those among whom his hand was felt. 
Washington was not the only scene of his labours ; he 
frequently preached at this period, upon the eastern shore 
of Maryland, and took advantage of the nearness to re- 
visit his first missionary field upon the plantations on the 
Roanoke and Dan rivers, where it was his pleasure to 
learn that the seed which he had sown, had produced 
many a sheaf, Ml and ripe for the harvesting. 

Returning to Burlington in the latter part of 1842, he 
nominally remained here for over a year, though hardly 
allowed rest from the journeys he was continually taking, 
to supply churches whose pulpits were temporarily vacant. 
In 1844 he was appointed by the Directors of the Theolo- 
gical Seminary at Princeton, their agent to raise a fund 
for its permanent endowment. He accepted the appoint- 
ment, and with untiring industry, traversed almost every 
section of the country from Champlain to Pontchartrain, 


and from the Hudson to the Mississippi. 1 It was in the 
exercise of his duties as agent, that he laid the foundation 
of an extensive personal acquaintance with the ministers 
of the Presbyterian Church: which led his friend Dr. 
Hodge, to say : " Of over nearly three thousand ministers, 
there is not one who was the object of so much personal 
confidence and affection ; not one whose face was familiar 
to so many persons, or who had effected a lodgment in 
so many hearts." 

It was on his return from a journey undertaken while 
agent, that he was informed of his election to the office 
of Corresponding Secretary of the Presbyterian Board of 
Education. This, the most important and arduous posi- 
tion of his life, " and that for which all his previous la- 
bours had been an essential part of his training," was 
accepted with sincere doubts of his own ability to perform 
its duties ; and after having been induced so to do, by the 
warm advice of friends, to whom the welfare of the Church 
and her children was a most cherished object. What his 
own fears and feelings really were, is shown in his letter 
of acceptance. 

"Burlington, K J.; April 22d, 1846. 

" To the Board of Education of the Presbyterian Church. 

"Respected Brethren in Christ: — 

" After anxious deliberation and prayer, I accept the 

appointment of Corresponding Secretary of the Board of 

Education of the Presbyterian Church. This appointment 

1 As an instance of the "abounding humour," which Dr. Boardman 
mentions in his discourse as one of his most characteristic traits, may 
be cited a passage from the diary kept during the period of his agency, 
where, after noting the fact of his having presented the claims of the 
Seminary to a wealthy gentleman in New York, he writes, "Refused 
on the ground of his being opposed to permanent endowments. 

"N.B. God had permanently endowed Mm with over half a million of 


conferred upon me most unexpectedly by a judgment too 
partial, it is feared, is undertaken with great distrust of 
my personal qualifications, yet with an humble reliance 
upon the King of Kings, for grace and fidelity to discharge 
its important duties. A sincere desire to serve the Church 
according to the leadings of Providence, has been the 
motive, so far as I know my own deceitful heart, that 
influenced my decision. Gladly would I have excused 
myself from this new service, if I had dared to do it. I 
feel, dear Brethren and Fathers, that I am not sufficient 
for these things. If the first announcement of the ap- 
pointment filled my heart with awe and trembling in the 
presence of the Lord, subsequent reflection has increased 
the conviction of fearful responsibility, which this position 
in the Church necessarily incurs. The difficulties in the 
way of my acceptance of this trust, were increased by the 
circumstance that I have been engaged in the prosecution 
of an agency for the Theological Seminary at Princeton, 
which I feel pledged to carry to its completion, if God 
permits. It has been thought that this effort is so near 
its accomplishment, that it need not, except for a limited 
time, interfere with the duties of my new appointment. 
My expectation is that the Board will grant me some in- 
dulgence in arranging and settling the affairs of my pres- 
ent agency, previously to entering fully upon the duties 
of Corresponding Secretary of the Board. 

" I think also that it ought to be distinctly affirmed on 
my part, that my connection with the Board is only an 
experiment for a year. If, at the end of that time its 
affairs should seem to require a better superintendence, 
I shall cheerfully yield the place without any delay, and 
give the Church the opportunity to correct its judgment, 
by calling into the service a more competent person. In 
the mean time, however, I shall endeavour to devote my 



utmost capacity to promote the cause of religion in the 
Preshyterian Church, through this great department of 
Christian effort. And I earnestly entreat those, who have 
been instrumental in bringing upon me these new re- 
sponsibilities, to remember me at the Throne of Grace, 
that all my deficiencies may be supplied, and that the 
Holy Spirit may dwell in my heart richly in all spiritual 
wisdom and understanding. 

" May the Lord in his great mercy, bless this new rela- 
tion to be formed between us, and raise up everywhere 
faithful ministers of his word, through the agency of your 

"With sentiments of respect, 

"Your fellow servant in Christ. 


He resigned his agency in behalf of the Princeton 
Theological Seminary, having first collected and placed 
in the hands of its Directors, one hundred thousand dol- 
lars, as a fund for its permanent endowment, and imme- 
diately entered fully into the duties of his Secretaryship. 
It will only be stating facts to say, that from the moment 
of his acceptance of this office, till the time when the near 
approach of death compelled his resignation of it, he 
threw his whole soul into the cause of education ; travelled 
for it, preached for it, worked for it, wrote for it : that he 
canvassed the Church to her remotest borders for material 
support in her behalf ; enlarged the scope of her educational 
policy, and built it up " from a condition of comparative 
feebleness to strength and power." What value the 
Church, which he loved, and in whose service he laboured, 
placed upon his exertions, can best be learned from a let- 
ter sent to him during his last sickness, from the General 


"To the Rev. Cortlandt Van Rensselaer, D.D. 
"Beloved Brother in Christ Jesus: — 

" The General Assembly has learned with deep solici- 
tude of the afflictive dispensation which detains you from 
its present sessions. It has pleased Him whose " way is 
in the sea, and His path in the great waters," to visit you 
with a painful illness. We cannot permit you to suppose 
that the Church which you have loved and served so-well 
is unmindful of you in this season of trial. And we would 
do injustice to ourselves not to assure you of our united 
and cordial sympathy. 

" We are well aware that one who feels himself draw- 
ing near to eternity, and around whose couch of suffering 
the light of that " better country " is shedding its heavenly 
radiance, can stand in no need of earthly consolations. 
Nor would we offend your Christian humility by enlarging 
upon the services you have rendered to the cause of Christ, 
But we may, nay, we must magnify the grace of God in 
you, which has wrought so effectually to the furtherance 
of the Gospel amongst us through your instrumentality. 
We cannot accept your resignation of the important office 
you have just relinquished, without bearing our formal 
and grateful testimony to the manner in which its duties 
have been performed. With devout thankfulness to God, 
and under Him, beloved brother, to you, we record our 
sense of the eminent wisdom, fidelity and efficiency, and 
the noble disinterested liberality with which you have for 
fourteen years conducted the affairs of our ' Board of 

" Under your administration it has risen from a condi- 
tion of comparative feebleness to strength and power. Its 
plans have been matured and systematized. Its sphere 
has been greatly enlarged. It has assumed new and most 
beneficent functions. Your luminous pen has vindicated 
the principles which lie at the basis of true Christian 


education. And by your numerous publications, your 
sermons and addresses, your extended correspondence 
and your self-denying activity in visiting every part of the 
Church, you have, by God's blessing, accomplished a great 
work in elevating this sacred cause to its just position, 
and gathering around it the sympathies of our whole 
communion. Nor may we forbear to add, that in prose- 
cuting these manifold official labours, you have greatly 
endeared yourself personally to the ministry and member- 
ship of the Church. 

" Rejoicing as we do in the auspicious results of these 
unwearied exertions, we mourn this day the sacrifice they 
have cost us. While the Church is reaping the harvest — 
a harvest which we fully believe she will go on gathering 
until the Master comes to present her unto himself, a 
glorious Church — the workman who has done so much to 
prepare the ground and sow the seed, falls exhausted in 
the furrows. There, dear brother, we doubt not you 
would choose to fall — upon that field, to the culture of 
which you have dedicated your life. 

" On behalf of the Church we represent, we once more 
thank you sincerely and gratefully for all your labours 
and sacrifices. We lift up our hearts in humble and fer- 
vent supplication to our common God and Father, that 
his presence may be with you in this hour of trial. We 
hear with joy that he does not forget you ; that he is giv- 
ing you strength according to your day ; and that your 
peace flows like a river. We plead with him, that if it be 
possible, this blow may be still averted, and your health 
restored. But we desire to commit you into his hands. 
That Saviour in whom you trust will not forsake you. 
The divine Comforter will comfort you and yours. Your 
covenant God will be the God of your children. 

" To him the Triune Jehovah, we affectionately com- 
mend you ; praying that his rod and his staff may comfort 


you ; and whenever the summons shall come, an entrance 
may be ministered unto you abundantly into the ever- 
lasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

" On behalf of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
Church, in session at Rochester, New York, May 23, 1860. 
" John W. Yeomans, Moderator. 

Willis Lord, Stated Clerk. 

Alexander T. McGill, Permanent Clerk. 

A. G. Vermilye, Temporary Clerk." 

In connection with the foregoing letter, it will not be 
considered unsuitable to quote, from the discourses of 
the friends of his youth and manhood, some passages 
relating to his labours as Secretary, and their effects upon 
the Church. 

" In this service Dr. Van Rensselaer was indefatigable. 
He was one of the hardest- working men in the Church. 
He worked incessantly, even in the railroad car and the 
steamboat ; sitting at the board of the Directors, or of 
the Trustees, when nothing important demanded his 
attention, you would find him busily employed writing 
letters, making extracts from books, or taking notes for 
future use. He gave himself far too little rest. When 
he assumed the conduct of the Board of Education, its 
operations were confined to the support of candidates for 
the ministry. He probably increased his labours fourfold 
by including the organization and support of parochial 
schools, Presbyterial academies, and Synodical colleges. 
Not content with all this, he laboured incessantly with 
his pen. He published an annual volume of addresses 
and discourses on the general subject of Education ; he 
originated and conducted a monthly magazine, a work in 
itself almost enough to fill the hands of one person. He 
was constantly called upon to preach or to deliver public 
lectures in furtherance of the great cause in which he 


was embarked. All this service was rendered not only 
gratuitously, but at a large and constant pecuniary sac- 
rifice. This activity continued to the last. "When unable 
to leave his house, or even his bed, or to hold his pen, 
he still dictated, and employed the lust remnants of his 
life and strength in devising or recommending works of 
general utility. He was, therefore, truly a servant, a 
good and faithful servant, and he has now ceased from 
his labours and entered into the joy of the Lord. 1 

" It was not without the deepest distrust of his capacity 
for the work, that he accepted the post ; but there is no 
one in our Church to question, that he was ' called of 
God ' to engage in this service. Any formal review of 
his administration would be out of place here : it will not 
be attempted. Let it suffice to say, in justice both to the 
living and the dead, that under the wise and efficient 
management of his predecessors, the Board had entered 
upon a career of new and enlarged usefulness, and the 
Church was waking up to its importance as an indispen- 
sable agency in carrying forward its plans. Catching 
the true spirit of the institution, he threw himself at once 
into the work, and employed his noble powers in foster- 
ing and extending it, until death arrested his labours. 
That he did more than any other man during the last four- 
teen years, to imbue our Church with Scriptural views of 
education, to establish academies and colleges upon a 
sound basis, to direct the attention of pious youth to the 
Christian ministry, and to elevate this whole subject to 
something of its true position in the affections of the 
Church, will be conceded on every side without argument. 

" In accomplishing these objects, he had the invaluable 
aid of wise and vigilant colleagues, especially of one 
whose unwearied and efficient devotion to our educational 

1 Dr. Hodge's Discourse. Presbyterian Magazine for September, 
1860, p. 391. 


interests for many years, has won for him the lasting 
gratitude of the Church. In discharging the functions 
of his great stewardship, our brother spared neither time, 
nor labour, nor money. He wrote and published nume- 
rous essays and addresses in vindication of what he held 
to be the true theory of Christian training. With equal 
tact and ability he controverted false principles which 
had been tacitly incorporated in popular schemes of edu- 
cation. He expounded the true relations between the 
Church and her children ; and while illustrating their 
mutual rights and privileges, enforced with cogent argu- 
ment their reciprocal duties. He did much to rebuke 
those derogatory views of the sacred office which, to their 
shame be it spokeu, are entertained by many parents 
who presume to come to the Lord's table. He took many 
a deserving youth by the hand, and from his own purse, 
or through the kindness of friends, supplied him with the 
means of procuring an education. By his preaching and 
his pen, he did at least as much as any other individual, 
to raise the standard of liberality in the Church, and 
increase the annual contributions to all good objects. 
But why continue these specifications? No inventory 
can do justice to the subject. What part of the Church 
has he not visited on some errand of mercy ? What good 
cause has he not helped? What great interest of the 
common Christianity has not felt the genial grasp of his 
hand? What stream of bounty, flowing through our 
land, is not the broader or the deeper because his feet 

have pressed its margin ? 1 

" He was an incessant worker. He denied himself the 
relaxation which every literary and professional man 
requires as the indispensable condition of health. Nature 
is jealous of her rights. If they are invaded, she may 

1 Dr. Boardman's Sermon. Presbyterian Magazine for September, 
1860, p. 405. 


wink at it for a time, but it is only to make the retribu- 
tion more terrible in the end. We feel the humiliation 
involved in this dependence of mind upon matter, of the 
spiritual upon the animal nature : and we sometimes fight 
against it with a feeling approaching to resentment. But 
the principle is incorporated with the economy under 
which we are living. It came in with sin, and it will 
only go out with sin. As long as we are in this proba- 
tionary state, we must have the lesson of abasement con- 
stantly rung in our ears, that the deathless mind is a 
prisoner in its clay tabernacle — a servant to the very house 
in which it dwells. We must wait for the resurrection- 
body, before we can escape from this bondage. Like too 
many others, our beloved brother contemned this law. 
His ardour in the Master's cause blinded him to the im- 
perative demands of his own physical nature. His robust 
constitution resisted the aggression long, but at length it 
developed the germs of that insidious malady which car- 
ried him to the grave. We honour the motives which 
prompted to this fatal sacrifice ; but we must deplore the 
error which brought so beneficent a career to what, with no 
irreverent meaning, we feel to have been a premature 
close." 1 . . . . t 

" Our Boards are the arms of the Church. The history 
we have been reviewing, shows what eflicient implements 
they may become, as well for developing the resources 
of the Church, as for carrying forward its work. The 
Board of Education cannot revert to its former position. 
Dr. Van Rensselaer's administration has made it a 
different institution from what it ever was before. And 
it is now one of our prime duties, to see that it be pre- 
served and perpetuated in all the amplitude of its plans, 
and all the energy of its operations. These agencies are 

1 Presbyterian Magazine for September, 1860, p. 409. 


too vast, too complex, and too vital to the progress of 
Christianity, to be intrusted to feeble or unskilful hands. 
May it please God to raise up men qualified for this work 
— ' men that have understanding of the times, to know 
what Israel ought to do.' He alone can heal our breaches, 
and sanctity our losses." ] 

It will be deemed pardonable, I trust, if some reference 
is made, before passing to the closing hours of his sick- 
ness and death, to my father's sermon upon the death of 
Bishop Doane, where, after enumerating some of the 
reasons for the "fearful harshness of human judgments," 
he cautions his hearers against allowing the province of 
reason to be usurped by passion, and prejudice to take 
the place of candour. Probably no other act of his life 
has subjected him to such censure ; and yet, when all the 
circumstances of the case are considered, it may be 
doubted whether any other so fully proves his character 
for Christian courtesy and moderation. Controversies 
upon various subjects — among them one with the departed 
Bishop himself — had rendered him full of forbearance 
towards those dissenting from him in opinion ; the ex- 
perience of history had taught him that, under no sur- 
roundings, has passion a fuller and freer swing than 
when difference in religious faith is accompanied by re- 
sentment for pecuniary losses ; and in a spirit sans peur 
et sans reproche, he forgot polemical antagonism in the 
kindliness and the candour with which he strove to infuse 
into the community that conservative element which 
never brings "a blood-shotten eye to judgment." 

The reproaches of those who were authorized to utter 
them, were softened and balanced by letters of gratitude 
from the friends of the distinguished prelate. There are 
before me, as I write, letters from bishops and laymen, 

1 Presbyterian Magazine for September, 1860, p. 410. 



men and women, judges, merchants, lawyers, civilians, 
whose pages are covered with expressions of gratitude — 
with words full of tearful thanks — with sentiments of 
regard for one whom they did not know, but whom they 
esteemed for his liberal and catholic spirit. 

Assuming that those who censured him, for his stand 
upon this occasion, were right in their opinions (and it is 
not the province of the writer to affirm or deny their cor- 
rectness), this sermon is to be prized, and is prized, for 
its expression of that true-hearted Christian charity with- 
out which man is "nothing," and which, in its boundless 
scope, "hopeth all things." 

But the time was coming when the effects of his too 
incessant activity and labour was to show itself in weak- 
ness, sickness, and death. During the latter part of 
1859 his strength visibly decreased. In the month of 
December he was obliged to confine himself almost en- 
tirely to the house ; and in February, 1860, he became 
convinced that his life was in danger, at which time he 
wrote a letter to myself, dated February 17th, 1860, from 
which the following are extracts : 

"February 17th, 1860. 

"I admit your right to speak with some au- 
thority on the subject of my too long neglected health. 
And you did not transcend the just bounds of a son's 
privilege in giving me a good plain talk. As long as I 
felt that I had strength to do what I was undertaking to 
do, I did not feel that I was acting against my moral and 
physical nature. But my error was that my many plans 
and labours were gradually and imperceptibly undermining 
my general health. My eyes, through God's mercy, are 
now opened; and although too late, probably, ever to 
expect to be restored to my former robust health, yet I 
have fair prospects of continued life, at least as long as 
Providence favours me Perhaps they (the remedies 


prescribed,) may continue to be of service, as they certainly 
will, if God shall bless them. I have a firm faith in a 
superintending Providence and in the 'living God.' My 
hope and trust are in Him." 

In accordance with medical advice he started for the 
South on the 12th of last March, in company with his 
wife and the writer, in the hope that a warm and mild 
climate, even if it might not restore him to his " former 
robust health," would, at least, mitigate his disease and 
prolong his life. This is not the place, nor can it be ex- 
pected that any detailed account of his Southern journey, 
or of his sickness after his return, should be given here. 
It would be unnecessary to mention how his spirits were 
cheered by the hearty kindness he experienced from his 
Southern brethren and friends; how he enjoyed the pe- 
culiar advantages afforded to an invalid in Florida from 
the climate and genial air; 1 how the fluctuations of 
disease, at one time elevated, at another depressed, the 
hopes for his final recovery ; or how, at length, he returned 
home, with yearning of heart, to die there. It is sufficient 
to say, that the inexorable malady by which he was origi- 
nally attacked, though conquered in part, had terribly 
weakened his whole physical nature, and, in the end, 
precipitated a tuberculous disease in the lungs, which 
refused to yield to medical treatment, and whose progress, 
from the exhausted condition of his strength, was fear- 
fully rapid. 

Shortly after his return from the South he laid aside 
the harness of the Church, only when his shoulders had 
become too weak to bear its weight, and resigned the 
Secretaryship of the Board of Education in the following 
letter, dictated to another, when his hand was unable to 
use his pen. 

1 He attended church for the last time at Magnolia, Florida, in a 
email church, for whose erection, if I mistake not, he originally con- 


" Burlington, N. J., May 1, 1860. 

" James N. Dickson, President of the 

"Board of Education of the Presb. Church. 

" My Dear Sir : — It has become my duty, in the provi- 
dence of God, to present my resignation of the office of 
Corresponding Secretary of the Board of Education, to 
which, by the favour of the Board, I have been elected 
for the last fourteen years, the resignation to take effect 
at the Annual Meeting of the Board, if my life be spared 
so long. 

"The feelings, Mr. President, with which I part from 
you, the officers, and other members of the Board, my 
associates in the work of the office, our candidates, the 
co-operating ministers and elders in the Church, and the 
whole cause, in all its departments, how can I ever ex- 
press ? 

" God has wisely and righteously inflicted on me a se- 
vere, wasting, and still progressive disease, and I have a 
clear conviction that I obey his will in surrendering an 
office whose duties I can no longer discharge. 

" Glory be to his name, in health and sickness, in life 
and death ! 

" With my affectionate regards to all the gentlemen of 

the Board, 

" I am your fellow-servant in Christ, 

" C. Van Rensselaer, 
"By C. L. V. R." 

His frame of mind during his last sickness, can be no 
more truly or beautifully expressed, than in the language 
of his friend, Rev. Dr. Boardman, who was with him fre- 
quently at that time. 

" I have seen death in various forms. I have watched 
the progress of many a sufferer from the first stages of a 
mortal disease to its close. But his is the only instance 


I can recall, in which an illness prolonged through so 
many months, was attended with uninterrupted peace of 
mind. Almost all Christians have, in these circumstances, 
occasional seasons of darkness and depression. His sky 
was without a cloud. I do not mean that he had from 
the first an absolute assurance of his union with Christ. 
But he had such a hope in his Redeemer as never to have 
been left 'comfortless.' And this hope became stronger 
and brighter as he drew nearer his haven. 

" In the interviews already mentioned, I spoke to him 
of God's great goodness in preserving him from doubts 
and fears ; and said, ' You do feel assured of your pardon 
and acceptance, do you not ? ' ' Yes,' he replied with deep 
emotion, ' blessed be God, I do. In the early part of my 
sickness, I was in the habit of saying, I hope I have an 
interest in Christ. But I find I must give that up, and 
say, I Jcnozv whom I have believed, and am persuaded that 
he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him 
against that day.' And thus it continued to the close. 
There was no rapture, but perfect serenity and composure. 
Soothed by the assiduities of true affection — and there is 
no spot on earth where affection blooms with such beauty 
and fragrance as in a Christian home — he calmly awaited 
his summons to the skies." 

It may be mentioned here, that, with him, the interests 
of the Church were, until death, paramount to all things. 
The Annual Report of the Board of Education for 1860, 
was read to him by the assistant secretary before its pre- 
sentation to the General Assembly : letters were written, 
and when that was forbidden, dictated by him, to his 
brethren in the clergy, upon the educational policy of the 
Church and other topics near his heart. One, in particu- 
lar, commending his honoured and beloved associate sec- 
retary to the confidence and kindness of another brother, 


was among the last expressions of a friendship which had 
endured for nearly thirty years. 

No suffering, no pain, no physical grievance — nothing 
but the gradual diminution of strength, attended his dis- 
ease. On the twentieth of July, feeling the hand of death 
near upon him, he made the last disposition of his worldly 
affairs, and calmly awaited the time to die. 

No change was noticed, except that at the interval of a 
week or of a month, until Tuesday, the 24th of July ; and 
on Wednesday morning it was evident, even to the eye 
of hopeful affection, that all hope must be given up. 

About nine o'clock in the morning he requested to be 
carried out into the back verandah of his house, where he 
received the last summons. At about eleven o'clock, he 
said: "It is time to go — raise me up," which was done, 
and portions of the Scriptures and a prayer were read 
aloud. He continued thus for almost ten minutes, when 
he whispered : "lean endure to the uttermost ;" surely 
thinking that his conflict with Death would be severe. 
But God was kind to him, and laid his hand gently upon 
him. So quiet and peaceful was his end, that the son 
upon whose breast he was supported, could not tell by 
any tremor or sign of struggle, the precise moment of his 
departure. He died at about twenty minutes after eleven, 
on this beautiful summer morning ; resting in the faith 
which he had proclaimed and defended through life, look- 
ing up into the sky of his home, to the "Hills from whence 
cometh strength." 

He was buried, at his own express wish, in the Rural 
Cemetery at Albany, near the place where his honoured 
father reposes in his last resting-place. 


W II I C H M A Y h E I" S E F V L TO S O M E 





These "Plain Hints" made no small stir at Princeton Theologi- 
cal Seminary, at the time of their publication. They appeared in 
Mav, 1832, in the midst of the Old and New School excitement. 



Dear Christian Brethren — 

It is a painful and humiliating task to bring to view 
the failings of any of our fellow-men. More espe- 
cially is it painful, when those men are the public 
servants of Christ, m#iistering in holy things, and 
clothed with the authority of their Master. It 
would, as you may well suppose, be much more agree- 
able to the feelings of a Christian, to point out their 
excellencies, and those characteristics, which might 
be safely recommended for imitation. But this is not 
my object at the present time. It is designed to pre- 
sent for your meditation some prominent failings, 
which, I fear, are creeping in, or have crept in, " un- 
awares ;" and I wish to perform this unpleasant task 
with a frank, honest, Christian spirit. You have not 
much time to spend' with me — I shall therefore be 
brief. Consequently, I must use plainness of speech. 
That I shall speak the truth, also, you have a right 
to expect. 

I. Let us then attend to some of the prominent 
failings and practical errors among the ministers of 



tlif Church — and especially among your own number. 
It is my design to speak the truth, with a right spirit. 
in a plain manner, and in a few words. 

1. A great practical error, which is often seen in 
some of the ministers of the present day, is (shall I 
say it?) a deficiency of Christian humility. V ss, 
brethren! it has pained the followers of Christ to 
witness in many of His ministering servants, a spirit 
which is far from that of their meek and lowly 
Master. How many are there who fail to exemplify the 
humility of the Christian character, and who seem 
scarcely to possess, at all, this chief among the Chris- 
tian graces ! Would that the number of such were 
small ! It is fearfully great. This is an evil which 
is making alarming progress in the church ; impeding 
the usefulness of many, and opposing the growth of 
grace in their hearts. Brethren ! servants of Christ ! 
*• humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God ;" 
1 Pet. v. 6. Oh ! be humble, be meek, "serving the 
Lord with all humility of mind ;" Acts xx. 19. What ! 
Know ye not that an unhumbled spirit is not the 
spirit of the Gospel ? 

2. A superabundance of contentions spirit is a fail- 
ing which, in these " perilous times," is characteristic 
of many. "And there are that raise up strife and 
contention," Hab. i. 3, filling the church with discord, 
and even causing the contention to wax so sharp as 
"to depart asunder one from another." Acts. xv. 38. 


This is no illusion. Every one can say with the 
apostle, " I hear there are contentions among you." 
1 Cor. i. 11. Tt is commonly reported that there are 
some who habitually exhibit a contentious disposi- 
tion. Oh! what a spirit for the servant of Christ! 
" The servant of the Lord must not strive :" '1 Tim. 
ii. 24. Brethren, put away contentions. "Let all 
your things be done witli charity;" 1 Cor. xvi. 14. 
How long will Zion prosper, with a ministry which 
destroys her peace, and which causes her courts to 
sound with commotion ? 

3. Too much disregard ami disrespect for the opinions 
of others who differ from you, is another very promi- 
nent error. It runs throughout the whole church, 
but especially through some imrts of it. How often 
do we hear the opinions of the ablest men ridiculed 
in the most heartless manner, and held up to public 
shame and contempt! and that, too, by young men, 
who ought to know better. Christian brethren, this 
is not the Way to advance your cause. This is not 
the spirit of the Gospel. No. " Let each esteem others 
better than themselves ;" Phil. ii. 3. " Be gentle unto 
all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing 
those that oppose themselves;" 2 Tim. ii. 24. Be not 
"heady, high-minded;" 2 Tim. iii. 4. " Likewise, ye 
younger, submit yourselves unto the elder;" 1 Pet. v. 5. 
Age always demands respect, no matter with what doc- 
trinal opinions it may be associated. True it is, " great 
4 * 


nun are not always wise ; neither do the aged always 
understand" the truth ; Job xxxii. 9. Still it becomes 
all to pay due deference and respect to their superiors, 
and not despise the counsels of old age. We ought to 
be ready to receive the truth from any man, and espe- 
cially to avoid treating with contempt opinions which, 
after all, may be better founded than our own. " Me- 
ditate on these things;" 1 Tim. iv. 14. 

4. Another characteristic of some of your party 
is, that fhey exhibit too much zeal for their own canse, 
as distinct from the cause of Christ. For instance, 
some appear to take more interest in the Am. Home 
Missionary cause, on account of its being their own 
cause, rather than on account of its being the cause 
of Christ. They storm in the general assembly, and 
then nothing more is heard of them for a year. 
Others fight for a particular form of doctrine much 
more earnestly than they contend for the great fun- 
damental and essential doctrines of the Bible. Others 
are much more solicitous for New School theology, 
than for the prosperity of the Redeemer's kingddkn. 
" They have a zeal of God, but not according to know- 
ledge;" Rom. x. 2. "It is not an enlightened zeal — 
it is too often a zeal that would exclude others ;" Gal. 
iv. 17. Brethren! be zealous for your own cause, if 
it be right — " it is good to be zealously affected always 
in a good thing;" Gal. iv. 18. But be like Paul, 
"zealous towards God;" Acts xxii. 3. 


5. Another practical error, is too much confidence in 
the infallibility, 7'esistless efficacy, certain "predominance, 
etc., of your opinions. Many seem to think, that they 
only have the truth, and tha't verily " secret things 
belong to them and their children." As regards 
others, they are ready to exclaim " there is no truth 
in the land ;" Hos. iv. 1, Brethren ! is there not too 
much overweening confidence here? Have you right 
views of the real opinions of others ? Are you sure 
that all men, except yourselves, are, like Pilate, still 
obliged to ask. " what is truth ?" There needs much 
reformation on this point. No one acts wisely who 
deems his own opinions infallible. Some of your 
doctrinal views are no doubt correct ; but there is a 
fearful possibility that, as to others, you have not 
even '* the form of knowledge, and of the truth ;" 
Rom. ii. 20. But even were you well assured that 
you were in all points without error, this ought not 
to puff up. " If any man think that he knoweth 
anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to 
know;" 1 Cor. viii. 2. Let the truth therefore make 
you free from this boasting assurance. Remember, 
too, that it is not enough to have " the loins girt about 
with truth;" Eph. vi. 14. You must take the whole 
armor of God, lest, after all, you may not " be able 
to stand against the wiles of the devil;" Eph. vi. 11. 

6. Another characteristic is too much confidence in 
measures, weans, and men. There is a class who think 


that the work of the Lord must stand still, unless 
certain measures and means are employed, and unless 
men of a certain stamp. urge it forward. This opinion 
is too prevalent in certain sections of the Church, and 
threatens to impair its reliance upon the Lord of 
heaven. There is too much of that spirit which cries 
out "I am of Paul;" 1 Cor. i. 12. But is not this 
carnal? 1 Cor. iii. 4. There is too much absolute 
dependence upon certain measures — which are, beyond 
doubt, good in their way, but which are abused be- 
yond what is lawful. Many seem to think that 
everything depends on measures — and that with what 
measure they mete, it shall be measured to them 
again ; Matt. vii. 12. This idea has no warrant in 
the word of God. It is deceptive, of dangerous ten- 
dency, a fatal source of error to the ignorant. The 
Church cannot too deeply remember that Jehovah 
saith, " Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and 
maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departed from 
the Lord ;" Jer. xvii. 5. " Neither is he that planteth 
anything, neither he that watereth, but God that 
giveth the increase ;" 1 Cor. iii. 7. " I speak as to 
wise men : judge ye what T say;" 1 Cor. x. 15. 

7. Another characteristic is, There is too much 
philosophy in your preachiixj. Some talk in a very 
abstruse way, and mix up much metaphysics and phi- 
losophy with the simple truths of revelation. In 
many sections of the church, we are sure to be "en- 


countered by certain philosophers," Acts xvii. 18, who 
undertake to make all things plain, and to unravel 
the mysterious counsels of God. They are "skilful 
in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and un- 
derstanding science;" Dan. i. 4. They preach much 
about moral government; the manner of the Spirit's 
operation, and kindred things — many of which, 
though "hard to be understood," 2 Pet. iii. 1G, are 
nevertheless darkened by words "without know- 
ledge ;" Job xlii. 3. Brethren ! is this apostolic 
preaching? Is this the simplicity of the gospel '.' Is 
this the way to bring men to a knowledge of Jesus 
Christ ? Philosophy is good in its place — especially 
the improved philosophy of the 19th century — but 
in the pulpit, let there be no intrusion of learned 

8. There, is too little open and unequivocal ackmpw- 
ledgment of the necessity of the influences of the Holy 
Spirit. Brethren! with some of you, this appears to 
be an unwelcome subject. The main burden of your 
preaching is carried on without the Holy Spirit. You, 
no doubt, think that this is a w&y of winning souls 
to Christ, but is this scriptural ? Is it safe ? Are 
you not in danger of misleading the ignorant, and 
even the well-informed? Is there not danger lest 
some shall bring against you the appalling accusation. 
" we have not so much as heard whether there be 
any Holy Ghost ;" Acts xix. 2. This is an awful 


subject. We stand upon holy ground. Seriously 
consider this point. Beware of dishonoring God, 
even through a desire to serve Him. The influences 
of the Holy Spirit are characteristic of the Gospel ; 
John iii. 5 ; Gal. hi. 2. If any man preaches any 
other gospel, he perverts the gospel of Christ. 

9. There is too much vain and light familiarity with 
the name of God — his power — his desires, etc. Many 
preach in such a manner as almost to take the name 
of God in vain; Ex*, xx. 7. They take awful liber- 
ties with the name of the Most High — (a name 
which the Jews dared not pronounce) — and treat of 
sacred themes in the most irreverent manner. This 
is a harsh and painful accusation; but "I say the 
truth in Christ, I lie not;" Rom. ix. 1. It is too 
true. Some preachers are very fond of proclaiming 
ex-cathedra, what God could do, and what He could'nt 
do, — and in diverse w T ays, which it would be improper 
even to mention, they unconsciously take alarming 
liberties with the Holy One of Israel ! Nothing has 
a more pernicious influence. It diminishes our reve- 
rence for Him, before whom the angels veil their 
faces, and in whose sight the very heavens are not 
clean. It shocks all the feelings of holy devotion, 
and tends to banish from the mind that sacred and 
solemn reverence, which even to touch lightly is to 
wound. Let no one thoughtlessly take upon his pol- 
luted lips the name of the most high God. Let no 


one trifle with the perfections of the Lord of Hosts. 
Let no one deal lightly with the King of kings, before 
whom the Redeemed continually do cry, " Holy, holy, 
holy, Lord God Almighty ;' Rev. iv. 8. 

10. The facility of becoming reconciled to God is 
often greatly exaggerated, perverted, and rendered highly 
delusive. The gospel plan of salvation is often re- 
presented a.s the easiest system of practical obedience 
that can be imagined. There are no difficulties in 
the way. All that is to be done is to "change the 
governing purpose," and any man can do this at any 
time. In various ways, false and delusive represen- 
tations are made, which no doubt deceive many souls, 
and harden many others. True it is that " all men 
are commanded everywhere to believe in the Lord 
Jesus Christ," Acts xvii. 30, but " not every one that 
saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of 
Heaven;" Matt. vii. 21. It requires an agony, Luke 
xiii. 24 — a life of vigorous self-denial, Matt. xvi. 24 
— a life dependent for spiritual progress upon God, 
John iii. 27 — a life of faith in the crucified Redeemer, 
Acts xx. 21 — and of unqualified obedience to his 
commands; 1 John ii. 4. Oh! how many a soul is 
deceived by specious representations, and is led to be- 
lieve itself safe, when it is " in the gall of bitterness 
and bond of iniquity ;" Acts viii. 23. 

11. The great doctrine of the atonement, and of Sal- 
vation through a crucified Saviour, is too much in the 


back-ground. He who errs on this point, errs with 
danger to immortal souls. The atonement is tin- 
peculiar doctrine of revelation, and it therefore has 
a peculiar prominence in the apostolic writings. 
" Christ crucified " was the great doctrine of Paul ; 1 
('or. i. 23. Christ was his life, Gal. ii. 20; Phil. i. 
21 — Christ was his glory, Gal. vi. 13 — Christ his 
constant theme ; 1 Cor. ii. 1 ; 2 Cor. v. 14. If any 
man preached any other gospel, than the gospel of 
Christ, let him be accursed; Gal. i. 8. Brethren! 
It has often been observed with pain, that, of late, 
the doctrine of " Christ crucified " is not so promi- 
nent as in former days. It does not appear to pos- 
sess that conspicuous place in the system of some, as 
it does in the pages of revelation. Is this true ? Oh ! 
if it be so, let it be true no longer. Beware of error 
here. You make many professions of apostolic 
preaching ; but why do you differ from the apostles in 
this fundamental characteristic? Abandon not the 
apostles in this glorious peculiarity. Bemember that 
" other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, 
which is Jesus Christ;" 1 Cor. hi. 11. 

12. Another feature in your preaching is, that 
man's ability is too conspicuous by far. This, with 
many, is a favorite theme. Man is represented as 
the sole agent in the solemn affair of life and death — 
the independent arbiter of his own salvation. This 
doctrine is crowded forward, and brought to bear 


upon many an ignorant and unsuspecting mind. It 
is a doctrine, which, when made prominent, counte- 
racts the very feeling of humility and of entire de- 
pendence on God, without which no man can ever see . 
eternal life. It deceives the soul. It fills it with 
self-confidence, and pride, and a righteousness of its 
own — which prevents it from submitting unto " the 
righteousness of God;" Rom. x. 2. Whilst one set 
of men err sorrowfully on one extreme, some of you 
run into the other, making bad worse, and under- 
mining the whole system of grace. 

13. There is too much of violent appeal, and too little 
of the didactic, in, the pulpit. Some preachers are 
constantly striving to excite, and to "rouse" the 
Church. Their sermons are full of denunciation, or 
vehement appeal, or inflammable matter of some 
kind or other. Their motto seems to be, " What have 
\w to do with peace ?" 2 Kings ix. 19. The result 
is, that all instructive, didactic discourse, is banished 
from their pulpits, and the converts to Christ are 
ready to perish "for lack of knowledge;" Hos. iv. 6. 
How barren in the end, is this style of preaching ! 
How apt is it to excite the mind for a time, but to 
leave it blank at the last ! How much need, breth- 
ren, is there of caution on this point ! Be more pru- 
dent — be more watchful — be more "apt to teach!' 

14. There is too much preaching from made-up pro- 
positions, rather than from passages of Scripture. Such 

5 D 

• r .(l PL A J N HINTS TO 

kind of sermons are sometimes called "motto ser- 
mons," and have no other connection with the t< xt 
than that of mere consequents. This kind of preach- 
ing is, beyond doubt, highly useful at times, but when 
adopted as a new model of preaching, it is dangerous 
in a high degree. It insensibly leads to a neglect of 
the sacred oracles, and to a substitution of human 
wisdom in place of the divine word. It throws the 
Scriptures in the back-ground. It gives opportunity 
for much ingenuity, and often for much edification — 
but, as a characteristic, it is deeply injurious to the 
progress of truth. Beware. 

15. There is too much extravagance of mailer, ex- 
pression, and manner. How often do we hear, at the 
present time, sermons characterized by the strangest 
anomalies ! Full of out-of-the-way sentiments, ex- 
pressed in an out-of-the-way style, and ushered forth 
in an out-of-the-way manner. We are sometimes at 
a loss what to make of these things. And our sur- 
prise is not a little enlarged, when, unable to acqui- 
esce in such things, we are often accused of luke- 
warmness and enmity to the cause of Christ. Some 
of your ministers are utterly at a fault in this matter. 
They are so extremely extravagant as often to excite 
the pleasant emotions of laughter and mirth — and at 
other times, to rouse up all the feelings of the inner 
man in such a manner, as to make every one ready 
to exclaim : " Defend me from such preaching as 


that !" We have every reason to believe that this 
extravagant style of preaching is altogether out of 
place, and derogatory to the character of the Chris- 
tian ministry. The community is ready to listen to 
plain preaching and to pungent preaching; but the 
preaching of extravagance, it has not yet been tutored 
to endure. This is a new style which the simplicity 
of the gospel does not sanction — it is inconsistent 
with scriptural sobriety— it is like putting a new piece 
of new cloth to an old garment ; Matt. ix. 16. 

16. There is too little attention paid to the guarded 
statement of doctrine. Home preachers express their 
doctrinal views in the most rash and unwarranted 
manner. They seem willing to modify some of the 
mysterious truths of the Bible, in order to secure 
man's acceptance of them. For instance, there is 
nothing mysterious, in the connection of Adam with 
his posterity — the new heart depends on a mere voli- 
tion — the atonement is a nn r ■ chibition of God's dis- 
pleasure against sin, etc. etc. In this way, their 
hearers insensibly take up with loose views of truth, 
and are prepared to embrace almost any modification 
of error. Christian brethren ! how long will you talk 
at random from the pulpit? how long will you give 
occasion for your weaker brethren to stumble ? Rom. 
xiv. 15 ; how long will you unguardedly misstate the 
doctrines of revelation, abandoning "the form of 
sound words," 2 Tim. i. 13, and preventing many 


from being "able to come to a knowledge of the 
truth ?'" 2 Tim. iii. 7. A Christian minister ought to 
be peculiarly careful how he represents Christian doc- 
trine — especially in these days of loose talking, and 
dangerous innovation. 

17. There is too great a contempt of formularies. 
Many deride the prescribed forms of their church, 
wage war with the catechism, and "wax valiant" 
against all articles of faith, expressed in uninspired 
language. In this way, they exert a dangerous in- 
fluence in unsettling the opinions of men, and in pre- 
paring their minds for " every wind of doctrine ;" 
Eph. iv. 14. There are some, it is true, who impru- 
dently exalt the claims of the catechism, and who in 
their stiff notions " do always err ;" but this is no 
reason why others should disregard entirely the old 
forms of the church. Is there not some danger lest 
this contempt for formularies may have been engen- 
dered, in some, by a departure from certain articles 
therein contained? We would by no means state 
this as a fact, — but wherefore this outcry ? 

18. Tliere is too much exclusive claim to promoting 
revivals. Now, that revivals have been generally 
connected with the exhibition of truth in a particular 
manner, we fully believe. But why should this origi- 
nate, as it has in many parts of the church, the high 
claim to a special understanding of these solemn and 
mysterious manifestations of the Divine presence? 


It is not the fact of more numerous revivals which 
we dispute. But we are troubled at the arrogance 
which sometimes attends them. There is too much 
tendency to appropriate the fruits of the Spirit to 
particular views of truth, and to exclude others al- 
most from the possible participation of them. It is 
this self-sufficient, arrogant claim which we would, 
if possible, persuade you to abandon. How little is 
this like Paul's view ! " Let him that glorieth, glory in 
the Lord;" 1 Cor. i. 31. " Neither is he that planteth 
anything, neither he that watereth; but God that 
giveth the increase;" 1 Cor. iii. 8. "If a man think 
himself to be something, when he is nothing, he de- 
ceiveth himself;" Gal. vi. 3. Take heed, brethren, 
to your own selves. Attempt not to exalt yourselves 
beyond measure, lest ye " fall into the condemnation 
of the devil;" 1 Tim. iii. 6. Ye harm your fellow- 
laborers, many of whom are active in the cause of 
Christ ; and are as prayerful, as laborious, and as de- 
voted, as any of His servants. Labor with them in 
peace. Make no invidious comparisons. Be fellow- 
workers in advancing the Redeemer's kingdom. " Let 
each esteem others better than themselves ;" Phil. ii. 3. 
And let all the glory be " to the King, eternal, im- 
mortal, and invisible;" 1 Tim. i. 19. 

19. There is too little care and judgment in conducts 
ing revivals, and in pursuing measures designed to pro- 
mote them. How often are the followers of Christ 


grieved by the imprudent zeal and intemperate mea- 
sures of those who labor in revivals! True it is thai 
many are prejudiced on account of previous false im- 
pressions, and not a few are " stiff-necked." But still 
there is a large number of pious, enlightened, and 
devoted Christians, both in the ministry and out of it, 
who are compelled to dissent from much of the system. 
Not that they are opposed to revivals. Far from it. 
But must there be so many objectionable means used 
in promoting them? Must there be so much impru- 
dence — so many exciting measures — so much ma- 
chinery? Don't understand me as opposing any of 
your measures, when used by proper individuals. I 
am fully persuaded that a revival may be conducted 
by some of your most zealous men, with most glorious 
issues, through the Lord. But then, how many hasty, 
" heady " men, abuse all their excellencies ! It is to 
these that I speak, if perchance they will hear. Breth- 
ren ! Be prudent ! be prudent ! " Keep sound wis- 
dom and discretion;" Prov. iii. 21. Beware, lest in 
your zeal to gather all into the kingdom, your nets 
break, and your labors are lost. 

20. The last practical danger against which I would 
earnestly warn you is, that there is a tendency to an 
extreme in all tilings. In doctrine, and measures, there 
is danger of an extreme. All things are pushed too 
far. The sober middle ground is abandoned by too 
many. One moves ad extremum, and lo ! another 


follows, until the middle ranks are thinned to an 
alarming degree. This is human nature. A reaction 
will soon take place. Let it begin before more mis- 
chief is done. Beware of going too far astray, lest 
perchance you may never return. " Be vigilant; be- 
cause your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, 
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour;" 1 
Peter v. 8. 

And now, Christian brethren, what think ye of 
these things ? I have attempted to warn you against 
a score of practical errors — and the number might be 
swelled to three score and ten. But it is too painful 
and humiliating to enlarge. Have I exaggerated the 
account? Have I set down ought in malice ? Have 
1 wandered from the truth and spoken evil of the 
ministers of Christ? If I have, forgive me, even as 
you hope to be forgiven. And pray that God also 
would have mercy upon me. On the other hand, if 
any of you recognise any portion of truth in what 
has been said, bear with me, whilst I attempt, in a 
very brief manner, to lay before you some of the 
consequences of these errors, as inducements for you 
to abandon them without delay. 

II. Let us, then, consider some of the consequences 
of this course of conduct. 

1. The most obvious consequence is, that it Injures 
the cause of vital godliness. Clance over the differ- 
ent errors which have been pointed out, and tell me 


whether they are nut calculated to impede the pro- 
gress of vital piety in the church. A want of humility 
— a contentious spirit — pride of opinion — sectarian 
zeal — a love of philosophy — a neglect of the great 
(1 i rines of revelation — an undue reliance on human 
ability — a disposition to excite — extravagance — con- 
tempt of formularies — arrogant claims — extreme mea- 
sures — are these the omens of spiritual prosperity ? 
Oh ! what a danger of injuring the cause of our mas- 
ter ! Brethren, can ye not discern the signs of the 
times? "The sky is red and lowering;" Matt. xvi. 3. 
Oh! beware lest the rains descend and the floods 
come, and the winds blow and beat upon our Zion, 
Matt. vii. 27, and many perish in the waves of the 
Hood. Ministers of the living God, beware ! Seri- 
ously consider whether some of you are not doing 
something to injure the cause of vital godliness. It 
may be — thou art the man ! 

2. This course of conduct injures the cause of that 
form of truth you adcocate. You are known as the 
advocates of new views in theology — some of which 
are probably correct — but concerning all of which the 
community is in much doubt. Now, if these errors 
are some of the characteristics by which you are 
known, will not the community mistrust your cause ? 
What better rule is there, than that " by their fruits, 
ye shall know them"? Matt. vii. 16. Believe me, 
your cause has already suffered more from the ob- 


jectionable conduct of its advocates, than from any 
other quarter. No cause can sustain itself, with a 
multitude of such advocates. The sober sense of the 
community is against them. Though truth will ulti- 
mately prevail, it never will prevail, when thus de- 
fended by imprudent and distrusted sectarians. If 
you wish your cause to prosper, change much of your 
conduct. Become more humble, above all things. 
Be more kind-hearted to those who differ from you. 
Be less contentious. Depend more upon God, and 
less upon yourselves. Unless you do so, you may 
rest assured that your cause will be injured in the 
opinion of a sober-minded community. 

3. This course of conduct injur-* your own char- 
acter. A Christian minister ought to be above suspi- 
cion, lie ought to "provide things honest in the 
sight of all men," Rom. xii. 17, and to "abstain from 
all appearance of evil;" 1 Thess. v. 22. The least 
departure from the example of his Master is vigilantly 
noticed, and set down as a defect of character. You 
need scarcely wonder, then, that the character of 
some is already much injured in the estimation of the 
Christian community. Many departures from the 
scriptural standard have been observed. Can an ar- 
rogant, extravagant man, engage in " holy things," 
and his character be unimpaired? Can a contentious 
minister long escape the vigilance of the church ? 
No ! He that wanders from the true apostolical 


standard is well known throughout the community, 
and his character " suffers loss ;" 1 Cor iii. 15. 

4. Your usefulness, as Christian Ministers, is very 
much impeded. This is very clear. It is impeded 
within the limits of your immediate influence ; and 
besides, many of your brethren are afraid to admit you 
to their pulpits. By a more sober course of conduct, 
your usefulness might be much more extensive, both 
at home, and elsewhere. Is this nothing ? 

5. This conduct confirms your adversaries in their 
opinions. Many, without much examination, arc no 
doubt prejudiced against you, and become strength- 
ened in their views, by the unaccountable imprudence 
constantly exhibited by some of your number. No 
better course could be devised to confirm your oppo- 
nents, than to continue to set them so bad an exam- 
ple of the power of the truth. 

6. It creates unnecessary dissensions in the church. 
Many of the present ecclesiastical strifes might be 
avoided by Christian forbearance. But your present 
course scatters firebrands among the combustibles. 
It provokes controversy — it arrays many of your 
brethren against you — it causes party to rally — it 
excites, disturbs, exasperates, alarms — as well it 
might. And whilst these things continue, when will 
contentions cease from among you? Ans. Never. 

7. It prejudices unbelievers, provokes atheism, infi- 
delity, blasphemy, etc. Some ministers, in their ex- 


cess of zeal, seem to disregard altogether what the 
world thinks of them. They take no heed to their 
conduct, but move right on as bold as lions. That's 
all very well. But suppose it does injury ? Suppose 
their denunciations, and measures, and whole course 
of conduct rouse up, and concentrate the array of 
slumbering infidels — suppose they prejudice well- 
meaning, intelligent unbelievers — suppose they em- 
bitter the feelings, and harden the heart against the 
reception of the truth. Is all this nothing ? Must 
ministers be so independent as to care not for the 
consequences of their conduct ? Ought they not, like 
Paul, to attempt " by all means," to coneiliate all 
men ? What saith the Scriptures ? " Walk in wis- 
dom toward them that arc without;" Colossians iv. 5. 
"Have a good report of them that are without;" 
1 Tim. iii. 7. ei Study to be quiet, and do your own 
business;' - 1 Thess. iv. 11. " Be ye wise as serpents, 
and harmless as doves;' Matt. x. 16. 

8. It deceives and ruins souls. There is great rea; 
son to fear that some are excited into the church, and 
in various ways, imbibe exceedingly loose views of 
the nature of true repentance. It is to be hoped that 
instances of such awful delusion are rare. Brethren ! 
Consider whether or not, this be a legitimate conse- 
quence, of the style of preaching, and general course 
adopted by many of you. I forbear to enlarge. 

9. This conduct jeopardizes the peace and pros- 


perity of the Church. It draws off its energies from 
the great end of its institution — the salvation of souls; 
and introduces discussions that are hostile to the inte- 
rests of a spiritual community. It is, moreover, in 
many respects, a great departure from the established 
customs of the church. You have introduced serious 
modifications of doctrine, and some have probably 
interwoven with them much error. There has been 
a great disturbance of the elements. Many even 
imagine that the old sanctuary has been invaded by 
unhallowed feet. The community is full of excite- 
ment and alarm, — and in such a distracted state as 
seriously to threaten its spiritual welfare. Kash, 
overbearing conduct, attended by persevering innova- 
tions, is, therefore, at this crisis, dangerous in the ex- 
treme. Some have done already too much to injure 
the prosperity of Zion — and its peace — is peace yet 
within her walls ? Every sober observer of the times 
must tremble for the ultimate consequences of con- 
duct which has already wrought so much mischief 
in the church. 

10. This course of conduct is not followed, in the 
Jong run, by its expected advantages. It is difficult to 
enumerate the ultimate advantages of extravagance, 
contention, loose preaching, an exclusive spirit, and 
such characteristics. They can't do any good. Are 
they not a real injury? Do they not prevent the 
exercise of just so much sober, useful effort? They 


do no good to yourselves, but " contrariwise." Do they 
any good to others ? What good ? Might not the 
same, and is not the same, and much more good ac- 
complished by others, who pursue a different course ? 
There is very great reason to believe the course of 
some, so far from being attended by its anticipated 
advantages, is, in reality, every way injurious. 

Brethren ! in view of some of these consequences, 
which might easily be extended, let me ask are none 
inclined to pause ? Are you willing to persevere in 
spite of all the warnings of your brethren, and the 
bad consequences which have manifestly followed the 
career of many ? Are you inclined to desist, or are 
you even doubtful what it is your duty to do ? Or 
do you ridicule these things ? Bear with me, then, a 
little longer, whilst I attempt, as a Christian friend, 
to lay before you some of the causes which may have 
had some influence in introducing some of these evils 
in the church. 

III. Let us then candidly, but very briefly inquire 
into the cause*, which have produced errors, leading 
to such dangerous consequences. 

1. A want of communion with God. This is the 
source of much of our difficulties. Some of our min- 
isters are not those prayerful, spiritually minded men, 
who live as if they were " strangers and pilgrims on 
the earth ;" Heb. xi. 13. They do not cultivate, as 
they ought, communion with God and their Saviour. 


They do not live and walk under the influence of the 

Holy Spirit. Oh! how are we all deficient here! 
This deficiency easily develops itself. Is it not owing 
to this, that there is so much bitterness and unchris- 
tian feeling in the church? "For ye are yet carnal : 
for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, 
and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as m< 
1 Cor. iii. 3. Ts it net owing to tins that there is so 
much lighl and trifling familiarity witli the name of 
God, and sacred tilings ? Does not this account for 
the self-sufficiency, extravagance, and all the kindred 
failings of some of our ministers? Brethren! "Ex- 
amine yourselves — prove your own selves." 2 Cor. 
xiii. 5. 

2. The depravity and deceitfulness of your own 
hearts. Ministers are fallible men, prone to err, and 
to deceive themselves. Their voluntary depravity 
admits of no excuse, they being the judges. It leads 
them astray from God and the path of duty. " From 
whence come wars and fightings from among you ?" 
The question is as easily answered as asked. Con- 
sult every page of Scripture, and the honest convic- 
tions of conscience. Cannot most of the disorders 
of the church be too well accounted for on the prin- 
ciple which Jeremiah laid down? Jer. xvii. 9. 

3. An honest zeal for the truth leads many astray. 
It is not the first time that good intentions have pro- 
duced bad consequences. Many ministers of the pre- 


sent day. with the very purest motives, and the most 
honest and ardent desire of doing good, are carried 
away into rash and imprudent conduct. Their zeal 
prevents them from keeping " the paths of judgment ;" 
Prov. ii. 8. 

4. A false zeal for your oum cause leads many into 
devious piths. This sectarian zeal occasions not a 
little trouble. It is generally warm as a firebrand. 
It excites bad feeling, championism, and all the sad 
attendants of a misguided and perverted enthusiasm. 
Guard against this furious spirit; — Read 2 Kings, Oth 
and 10th. 

•"). Another cause of sundry failings is a limited ac- 
quaintance with human nature. Ministers are very 
often very ignorant of those with whom they have to 
do. They understand men as single individuals, much 
better than as members of society, sustaining rela- 
tions, each with another. Hence, in their intercourse 
with others, and in their efforts to do good, they often 
fail. Some think they can succeed without the aid 
of others, and accordingly treat them with cold in- 
difference. Some think that the customs of society 
are foolish, and accordingly trample upon them. Some 
think that the best way to advance a cause is to be 
noisy, self-sufficient, overbearing. In various ways, 
this limited acquaintance with human nature displays 
itself, and works mischief. 

6. The opinion* and philosophy of your opponents, 


the old style of preaching, etc., have an undue influence 
in urging many beyond proper bounds. You think 
you have the truth, and are in possession of the most 
efficacious mode of preaching the word. In your 
opponents you see much that detracts from the full 
power of the gospel. Some of them express their 
opinions in such a harsh, ultra- Augustinian style, and 
preach with such dull, frozen, orthodox formality, 
that you involuntarily err on the opposite extreme. 
Hence you are unguarded in stating doctrines, ex- 
travagant in your expressions, violent in your preach- 
ing, sectarian in your spirit, etc. etc. These things 
ought not so to be. Let not the failings of others 
cause you to stumble, but rather let them teach you 
useful lessons, and keep you in the right path. 

7. The conduct, fierce opposition, unchristian mis- 
representation, etc., of some of your opponents, may ac- 
count for some of the same spirit in some of you. 
You are held up to the world as Pelagians, accused 
of sundry heresies, and in various ways persecuted by 
some, " beyond measure." This has led many to arm 
in self-defence; but they have neglected to put on 
the armor of God. Recrimination has followed ac- 
cusation, and mutual invective has caused Zion to 
mourn. Brethren ! ye should " walk charitably ;'" 
Rom. xiv. 15. Be no longer led astray by the follies 
of others, but " let your moderation be known of all 
men ;" Phil. iv. 5. 


8. The peculiarity of some of your doctrinal views 
may be a cause of some of your practical errors. 
Your views may be wrong, although you may so con- 
fidently think them right. Those of some of you are 
in all probability wrong. Do not these lead you into 
errors of conduct ? Or is it no matter what a man 
believes ? 

9. The imprudent example of some of the chief men 
of your party is a cause of many going astray. Some 
of your most influential ministers do unquestionably 
go beyond all unreasonable bounds. And this un- 
questionably leads others to do the same. Where 
will this end ? If we have a generation of such men, 
will Zion prosper ? Ought not the younger brethren 
to beware lest they follow the blind? Luke vi. 39. 
It is to be feared that many have been injured by the 
imprudent example of some. 

10. Too little love to God and to His cause, is the 
fruitful source of present evil to the church. How 
much is it to be feared that many ministers are defi- 
cient in the primary qualifications for their great 
work ! Need we wonder that some depart from the 
humble, and self-denying example of their Master, 
when they do not appear to possess the real spirit of 
the gospel ? Brethren — is the love of God predomi- 
nant in your heart? Do you love the Lord your God 
with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with 
all your mind, and with all your strength? Mark 

6* E 


xii. 30. Do you sincerely love the cause of God, so 
as to prefer Jerusalem above your chief joy ? Psalms 
cxxxvii. 6. Oh ! examine well your hearts ! What 
carefulness should be wrought in you ; yea, what 
clearing of yourselves ; yea, what fear ; yea, what 
vehement desire; yea, what zeal; 2 Cor. vii. 11. If 
our ministry was more devoted and spiritually minded, 
would we hear of so much commotion, and dissatis- 
faction, and insubordination in the church ? Is there 
not utterly a fault here ? And what else is the cause 
of it, unless it be a want of fervent, sincere, heartfelt 
love to God, and to our Lord Jesus Christ ? 

I have thus, Christian brethren, attempted to point 
out some of the causes, which, there is reason to fear, 
have had a. fatal influence on the minds of some, in 
causing them to err. You have already been called 
to view some of the errors which may have been more 
or less connected with these causes, together with 
their injurious consequences to the church. The 
whole subject is now left for your own candid conside- 
ration ; and may God grant His Spirit to enlighten, 
and His wisdom to direct. 

In conclusion, let me ask you, Christian brethren, 
with what feeling have you read these pages ? Have 
you felt a self-sufficient, and confident assurance, that, 
as for yourself, you are exempt from any of these 
failings? Then there is reason to believe you are 


under their influence. There is every probability 
that you are the very man who ought to take heed 
to them. Examine again. Be honest. Let not the 
adversary triumph over you, and take you " captive 
at his will;" 2 Tim. ii. 26. 

But perhaps you belong to a party, whose errors 
have not been pointed out. Don't embrace the delu- 
sion that the " strictest sect" is infallible. Think not 
to say within yourselves, " we have Abraham to our 
father;" Matt. hi. 9. Reflect how far your own con- 
duct may have contributed to drive others to an ex- 
treme, and to injure the cause of your Master. But 
I feel no disposition to enlarge. Permit me, merely 
to say, that if you have read over the errors of your 
brethren with a feeling of complacency, and without 
deep sorrow of heart, it is a very bad sign. 

But perhaps some unbeliever, or scoffer, may fall 
across these pages. My dear friend ! amuse not your- 
self with the faults of others. Unless you repent of 
your own, you will certainly perish ; Acts hi. 19. "If 
the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the un- 
godly and the sinner appear?" 1 Pet. iv. 18. 

Finally ; how much reason have all for humility, 
and for sincere repentance before God ! Is it not a 
cause of deep humiliation that the ministry of Christ 
is so worldly-minded, so beset with error, and so little 
devoted to the cause of their Master ! Let all, there- 


fore, humble themselves under the mighty hand of 
God, 1 Pet. v. 6, and earnestly strive that the same 
mind may be in them which was also in Christ Jesus ; 
Phil. ii. 5. 

May the Lord, in his mercy, have mercy on us all, 
and to His name shall be the glory forever. 


1 69 | 

An Address, delivered before the citizens of Burlington, N. J., at 
the City Hall, November 4th, 1852. 



Friends and Fellow-citizens : 

New Jersey, with her sisters of the Confederacy, 
stricken in Providence, mourns at the grave of 
Daniel Webster. 

As one of the "old thirteen," — ever dear to the 
departed statesman, — New Jersey claims to partici- 
pate in his obsequies. The achievements on our soil 
were often the theme of his glowing praise. Trenton, 
and Princeton, and Monmouth, were fields, whose 
memories of renown were cherished by him as dearly 
as those of Lexington, and Concord, and Bunker 
Hill. Our own honored Richard Stockton, too, was 
his intimate, personal friend ; and the equally distin- 
guished son, New Jersey's high-souled Senator in 
Congress ; and Frelinghuysen, gracing literature with 
the laurels won in the halls of legislation. Nor can 
it be forgotten that the last cause at the bar, 1 argued 
by the giant lawyer-statesman, was in our own Capi- 
tal, on the banks of the Delaware, in the presence of 

1 The case of Goodyear vs. Day, the celebrated Patent case, 
argued at Trenton. 



our great men, and in sight of the records, the sta- 
tutes, and the heraldry of New Jersey. 

In the town of Marshfield is a sepulchre, inscribed 
with the name of Daniel Webster. Death, like truth, 
is severe in its simplicity. A few letters tell its tri- 
umph ; a little dust is its victory. That noble form, 
lately animated with life, lies in silence amidst earth 
and graves. Quenched is the full eye which delighted 
in the researches of knowledge, in the glance of the 
stars of heaven, in the woods, and fields, and streams, 
and sea, in the countenances of listening men, and in 
the pleasant charms of a rural home. He has gone. 
With his friendship, his learning, his eloquence, his 
love of country, his genius, his wealth of public ser- 
vice, Webster has gone down to the grave. 

At this season of national bereavement, it is a duty 
and a privilege to attempt to gather up some of the 
materials which make his memory a precious inherit- 
ance of our own and of future generations. In giving 
method to the present Address, it is proposed to offer 
some account of Mr. Webster's early youth ; to form 
an estimate of his public life and services ; to con- 
sider his social and religious character, and death; 
and to unfold some of the lessons to be learned at his 

I. The youth of Daniel Webster has a congruity 
of promise and of excellence, which it is pleasing to 
record. From the solemn grave of the illustrious 


departed on the shores of the Atlantic, let us turn to 
his birthplace among the hills of New Hampshire. 

God's sovereignty, exercised throughout the earth, 
was seen in the town of Salisbury, N. H., where was 
born one of the greatest of men. Amidst the rude, 
majestic scenery of nature ; the son of reputable and 
pious parents ; far away from the scenes of wealth 
and turmoil; Daniel Webster, a creation of God, 
entered the world. In the year 1782, thousands of 
children were born, but the pre-eminent among them 
was the son of Ebenezer and Abigail Webster. Nor 
since the 18th of January, of that year, has there 
appeared on earth an intellect, whose towering ma- 
jesty has reached, in the range of human elevation, 
the aerial height of this New Hampshire child. God, 
in his sovereignty, gave that mind to that human 
being, arranged the time and circumstances of his 
birth ; ordered for him the training and the memories 
of a blessed home ; and carried on the designs of 
Providence in his future career of usefulness and 

It was fit that a child of God's predestined great- 
ness, should be consecrated to the service of his 
.Maker. On "Meeting-House Hill" stands the old 
Puritan Church, where "the rude forefathers" met 
to worship the King of kings. It is a bright and 
beautiful morning, according to tradition, when Ebe- 
nezer and Abigail Webster set out for the house of 


God, accompanied by their children, and carrying 
their new-born infant for the holy rite of baptism. 
The Rev. Jonathan SearJe, the minister of the parish, 
dressed in the robes of the olden time, is at his post, 
in the high, magisterial Puritan pulpit. After prayer, 
the reading of the Word, and a hymn, the sacrament 
is to be administered. The young, mysterious infant 
is brought forward, no one knowing or dreaming 
" what manner of child this was to be;" the vows are 
taken; and in the presence of God, and angels, and 
witnessing men, Daniel Webster was baptized "in 
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 

That old church has long since crumbled into ruin. 
Minister, parents, and child are also now in the dust ; 
but the ceremonies of that day have an interest which 
yet lingers around the old " Meeting-House Hill." 

Daniel Webster is indebted, under God, to nothing 
more than to his youthful training. Without this, he 
would have been a wreck, cast up and torn to pieces, 
in early dishonor, upon the terrific precipices of human 
passion. For the elevation of his public sentiments, 
for the integrity of a long career, for w hatever of re- 
straint was experienced in social life, and whatever of 
solace hovered around his dying bed, he was under 
obligations to the honored and beloved parents who 
were the guardians of his childhood and youth. 

His first teacher was his mother. Other children 


had she already nursed and taught ; but the youngest 
boy was the darling, and she prophesied great things 
of her Daniel. There she sits, in her quiet home, 
with the young child on her knee, teaching him the 
letters of the alphabet, and telling him how great 
and good is God. It has been said that the extraor- 
dinary genius of the future statesman descended from 
the maternal line ; and it is certain that Mrs. Web- 
ster was a woman of uncommon intellect, of warm 
affections, of true piety, and of commanding influence 
in her household. It is nevertheless true that the 
father was also an eminent man, both in public and 
private life. Daniel thus writes of his father, thirty 
years after he had been in the grave : " He had in 
him what I recollect to have been the character of 
some of the old Puritans. He was deeply religious, 
but not sour ; on the contrary, good-humored, faceti- 
ous, — showing, even in his age, with a contagious 
laugh, teeth all white as alabaster, — gentle, soft, play- 
ful ; and yet having a heart in him that he seemed 
to have borrowed from a lion. He could frown (a 
frown it was) ; but cheerfulness, good humor, and 
smiles, composed his most usual aspect." 

There can be no doubt that the parents' nurture 
of their son left its influence upon all his future life. 
The Hon. Eufus Choate alludes to " that training of 
the giant infancy on Catechism and Bible, and Watts s 
version of the Psalms, and on the traditions of Ply- 


mouth and Fort William Henry, and the age of 
Washington and Franklin." All that father and 
mother could do, to bring up their child in the true 
principles both of Church and of State, was done by 
these pious, republican parents. The glorious doc- 
trines of the Bible, and the ennobling truths of public 
liberty, were the seed sown into the furrows of his 
mighty soul. 

On the easterly side of the road, a short distance 
from the family mansion, between two buttonwoods, 
stood the log schoolhouse, taught by Thomas Chase. 
Here the future statesman commenced his public edu- 
cation. Reading, writing, and arithmetic, with in- 
struction in the Bible and Catechism, formed the 
grand outlines of an old-fashioned, New England edu- 
cation. Like the hills of New Hampshire, these con- 
stitute the granite range of the soil, from whence flow 
the tributaries and the rivers of future acquisition. 

Into the log school of Salisbury the little boy with 
a high forehead and black eye went daily to obtain 
the rudiments of an English education. The hand 
that is learning to write in the rude copy-book is at 
some future day to draw up our grandest documents 
of State, and to sign treaties with foreign powers. 
Here were acquired those pure Saxon words which 
were to become the regalia of a king of orators ; here 
the reading, which opened to his clear intellect the 
stores of ancient and professional knowledge; here 


the early taste for thoroughness and simplicity. How 
great has been the influence of the schoolhouses of 
New England in training up generations for useful- 
ness in Church and State, and for the sacred duties 
of domestic life ! Happy for Daniel Webster that 
the schoolmaster was abroad in his day ! Long may 
the common schools of our land flourish, with en- 
larged blessings for the people ; and may they never 
teach human learning to the exclusion of the higher 
knowledge of Christ ! 

Agricultural pursuits had, in after life, an absorb- 
ing influence on Mr. Webster. Where did he acquire 
his fondness for engaging in the cultivation of the 
field, and his skill in successfully managing the farm ? 
Where else than on the old homestead ? He used to 
follow the horse in the plough, was taught to handle 
the sickle, knew how to rake and stack hay, drove 
the cows to pasture in the morning, and home again 
at night ; in short, he was trained from a boy to do 
the work of a farm, and he never ceased to love these 
joyous and hearty occupations of his youth. The 
old Salisbury fields were the agricultural school where 
he became imbued with the taste and knowledge 
which afterwards made him a farmer of the highest 
grade, both in science and in practice. 

Agriculture, as an occupation, has a useful influence. 
It gives a practical direction to the mind ; it culti- 
vates habits of industry ; promotes self-reliance and 
7 * 


independence ; gives hardihood to the frame ; fosters 
the attachment of home, and brings God and his pro- 
vidence into a peculiar kind of contact with every- 
day life. Deem not the farm-work of this boy an un- 
important affair of his early days ! Among humble 
and pious farmers, he is, with them, getting good and 
doing good. 

" Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, 

Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke ; 
How jocund did they drive their team a-field ! 

How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke ! 

" Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, 
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure ; 
Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile, 
The short and simple annals of the poor." 

No ! On that retired farm, there is one who will 
arise to a grandeur of fame, which the ambition of 
few will be bold enough to aim at. He will be heard 
of again at Washington ! He will be heard of at 
Marshfield ! 

The following is Mr. Webster's own account of the 
circumstances which resulted in his going to Exeter 
Academy, a celebrated institution, founded in 1781 
by the liberality of John Phillips, LL. D. : 

" On a hot day in July, — it must have been one of the last 
years of Washington's administration, — I was making hay with 
my father, just where I now see a remaining elm tree, about the 
middle of the afternoon. The Hon. Abiel Foster, M. C, who 
lived in Canterbury, six miles off, called at the house, and came 
into the field to see my father. He was a worthy man, college 


learned, and had been a minister, but was not a person of any 
considerable natural powers. My father was his friend and sup- 
porter. He talked awhile in the field, and went on his way. 

" When he was gone, my father called me to him, and we sat 
down beneath the elm, on a hay-cock. He said, ' My son, that 
is a worthy man, — he is a member of Congress, — he goes to 
Philadelphia, and gets six dollars a day, while I toil here. It is 
because he had an education, which I never had. If I had had 
his early education, I should have been in Philadelphia in his 
place. I came near it, as it was. But I missed it, and now I 
must work here.' ' My dear father,' said I, 'you shall not work 
Brother and I will work for yon, and wear our hands out, and 
you shall rest,' — and I remember to have cried, and I cry now, 
at the recollection. ' My child,' said he, ' it is of no importance 
to me ; I now live but for my children ; I could not give your 
elder brother the advantages of knowledge, but I can do some- 
thing for you. Exert yourself — improve your opportunities — 
learn — learn — and when I am gone, you will not need to go 
through the hardships which I have undergone, and which have 
made me an old man before my time.' 

" The next May he took me to Exeter to the Phillips Exeter 
Academy, and placed me under the tuition of its excellent pre- 
ceptor, Dr. Benjamin Abbott, still living." 

Mr. Webster entered Phillips's Academy in May, 
1796, at the age of fourteen, and remained there nine 
months. He greatly endeared himself to Dr. Abbott, 
and made considerable progress in the acquisition of 
the Latin language, in composition, and in declama- 
tion. His intellectual and social faculties received a 
kindly development among the ninety boys at the in- 
stitution. After leaving Exeter, Mr. Webster was 
placed for six months in the family of the Rev. 
Samuel Wood, D.D., of Boscawen, who superintended 


his studies, and persuaded him to apply for admis- 
sion, without delay, into Dartmouth College. 

Although Mr. Webster did not begin his Greek 
grammar until June, he entered college in August. 
This was in 1797, when John Wheelock, LL. D., was 
president. Mr. Webster chiefly distinguished him- 
self, in the words of Dr. Shurtleff, by " attending to 
his own business," and pursuing his studies with dili- 
gence. Virgil and Cicero were his favorite Latin 
authors. Watts on the Mind and Locke on the Un- 
derstanding developed his metaphysical acumen ; and 
his style of speaking was nurtured by reading Burke, 
Pitt, Ames, Hamilton, and other distinguished orators. 
While in College, in the Junior year, Mr. Webster 
delivered a Fourth of July oration, which showed 
that he well understood American history and the 
origin of our Constitution. This remarkable produc- 
tion — for a young man — was published in the year 
1800. The following extracts will be read with 
interest : 

" The solemn Declaration of Independence is now pronounced, 
amidst crowds of admiring citizens, by the supreme council of 
our nation ; and received with the unbounded plaudits of a grate- 
ful people. 

" That was the hour when heroism was proved — and the souls 
of men tried. 

" It was then, ye venerable patriots (speaking to the Revo- 
lutionary soldiers present), it was then you lifted the indignant 
arm, and unitedly swore to be free ! Despising such toys as sub- 
jugated empires, you then knew no middle fortune between liberty 
and death. 


'• Firmly relying on the protection of heaven, unwarped in the 
resolution you had taken, you then, undaunted, met— engaged — 
defeated the gigantic power of Britain, and rose triumphant over 
the aggressions of your enemies. 

" Trenton, Princeton, Bennington, and Saratoga, wercthe suc- 
cessive theatres of your victories, and the utmost bounds of 
creation are the limits to your fame ! The sacred fire of freedom, 
then enkindled in your breasts, shall be perpetuated through the 
long descent of future ages, and burn, with undiminished fervor, 
in the bosom of millions yet unborn." 

The young orator alludes to the Articles of Con- 
federation and to the Constitution in the same terms 
which characterized his subsequent speeches in the 
Senate of the United States : 

" No sooner was peace restored with England (the first grand 
article of which was the acknowledgment of our independence), 
than the old system of Confederation, dictated, at first, by neces- 
sity, and adopted for the purposes of the moment, was found in- 
adequate to the government of an extensive Empire. Under a 
full conviction of this, we then saw the people of these States 
engaged in a transaction which is undoubtedly the greatest ap- 
proximation towards human perfection the political world ever 
yet witnessed, and which, perhaps, will forever stand in the his- 
tory of mankind without a parallel. A great Republic, com- 
posed of different States, whose interest in all respects could not 
be perfectly compatible, then came deliberately forward, discarded 
one system of government and adopted another, without the loss 
of one man's blood." 

Mr. Webster's future eminence was clearly pre- 
dicted in college. Professor Sanborn says : " By the 
unanimous consent both of teachers and classmates, 
he stood at the head of his associates in stud}* ; and 
was as far above them in all that constitutes human 



greatness as he is now." Anecdotes of him, treasured 
up in the traditions of succeeding classes, were told 
for many years. His collegiate course was the means 
of nurturing and developing the greatness which gave 
honor to New England and the whole country. For- 
tunate the institution which enrols Daniel Webster 
among its alumni ! 

There is something sublime in the association of 
this name with school teaching. Twice did this 
mighty man of intellect condescend, as teacher, to 
train the intellect of others. Once during a college 
vacation, and again at Fryeburg in Maine, shortly 
after he was graduated. It was at the latter place 
that he was more particularly known as a teacher. 
The town of Fryeburg will ever be celebrated as the 
sphere which exercised the training talent of the im- 
mortal statesman. The object of Mr. Webster, in 
securing the situation, was honorable to his heart. It 
was for the purpose of assisting his brother Ezekiel 
through college. His salary as teacher was only $350, 
or at the rate of about $1 a day ; but by becoming 
assistant to the Register of Deeds, he was enabled to 
defray his own expenses, and to contribute to the 
education of his beloved brother. 1 

1 " Mr. Webster's son, and one of his friends, have lately 
visited Fryeburg, and examined these records of deeds. They 
are still preserved in two huge folio volumes, in Mr. Webster's 
handwriting, exciting wonder how so much work could be done 
in the evening, after clays of close confinement to the business 


Daniel Webster, a teacher ! Well done, thou glo- 
rious son of Puritan ancestry. The office honored 
thee, as thou honored it. Second only to the min- 
istry in its capacities of usefulness, it needs the ser- 
vices of the greatest and of the best. What thou hadst, 
thou didst bestow ; and teachers will thank thee for 
the recollection of thy labors, and for thy impressive 
professional example. 

The Rev. Dr. Osgood, of Springfield, Mass., re- 
lated 1 that Mr. Webster boarded with his father for 
seven months, whilst teaching at Fryeburg. and that 
during that time he [Dr. Osgood] became intimate 
with him. Dr. Osgood bore testimony to the manly, 
moral, and religious character of Mr. Webster, who 
"at one time seriously entertained the idea of studying 
for the ministry" Such a testimonial, coming up 
from the cherished memories of half a century, exalts 
the young teacher in the hearts of other generations. 

II. Mr. Webster's public life now opens before us. 
The Connecticut River, on the banks of which stands 
Dartmouth College, sweeps downward to the sea. 
Thus the career of the graduated youth swells into 
the vast affairs of the world. 

of the school. They looked also at the records of the trustees 
of the academy, and found in them a most respectful and affec- 
tionate vote of thanks and good-will to Mr. Webster when he 
took leave of his employment." — EvereWs Memoir, p. xxvii. 

1 In a speech on the occasion of Mr. Webster's death. Dr. 
Osgood is an Orthodox Congregational minister. 


The anticipations of Mr. Webster's early life had a 
glowing fulfilment in a long career of distinguished 
professional and political service. In his public rela- 
tions, he may be contemplated as a lawyer, a states- 
man, an orator, and a writer. Would that a more 
competent person stood before you, to do justice to 
this various greatness ! 

Whilst teaching school in Fryeburg, the eye of 
Daniel Webster first rested upon Blackstone's Com- 
mentaries, as the book of professional study. 1 He, 
who was born and educated in New Hampshire, and 
who spent the strength of his days in Massachusetts, 
and at Washington, was sent to Maine to learn law. 
The calling, which Providence had in view for the 
young man, was promoted by bringing him in contact 
with Blackstone in a country village. The principles, 
then acquired, were at the foundation of all his future 
legal attainments. 

Admitted to the bar in 1805, he was drilled to the 
drudgery and honors of the profession, in close com- 
petition with the intellect of Jeremiah Mason, and 
other distinguished men. In the midst of a growing 
and extensive practice, he cultivated his powers by 
study and general reading, until finally he was sur- 
passed by none in his vocation. His knowledge of 
the elementary principles of law was profound ; his 
learning, in the application of precedents, and in the 

1 He borrowed the book, not being in a condition to buy it. 


citation of statutes and authorities, was minute ; and 
his skill in managing a case, and in pleading before a 
Court or Jury, was eminent. Daniel Webster has 
never had a superior in the combination of qualifica- 
tions requisite for an accomplished lawyer. In the 
language of Eufus Choate, " he was by universal de- 
signation, the leader of the general American bar; 
and was one, 

' The whole Law's thunder born to wield.' " 

His reputation as a lawyer was established in the 
eyes of the nation by his argument in the celebrated 
Dartmouth College case, at Washington, in 1818. On 
that occasion, he appeared before the Supreme Court 
of the United States in all his eminence of law and 
oratory, winning the judgment of the Bench by his 
logic, and moving the audience even to tears by his 
pathos. 1 The tradition of that speech — the technical 
outlines being alone preserved in his Works — makes 
it one of the grandest forensic efforts ever put forth. 
No lawyer in this country has been engaged in as 
many great cases as Daniel Webster, or managed 
them with more ability and success. He was equally 
great in civil and in criminal cases. His knowledge 
of human nature was abreast of his legal learning. 
His eye was a searcher of character. His . capacity 

1 It is said that the dignified Chief Justice Marshall did not 
escape the contagious sympathy of the occasion. 


to unravel circumstantial testimony, and to present it 
with precision and power to a jury, was one of the 
many professional adaptations, which, at times, made 
him terrible towards the guilty. The murder case at 
Salem gave opportunity for displays of this nature. 1 

Some of the other celebrated cases, in which Web- 
ster's fame is enshrined, are the steamboat case of 
Gibbons and Ogden, that of the Charles River Bridge, 
the United States Bank, the boundary of Massachu- 
setts and Rhode Island, the Dorr Rebellion, the Girard 
Will, the Gaines estate and the Goodyear patent. 

Mighty man in a mighty profession ! His name is 
associated with the weightiest judgments of Courts, 
the most intricate questions of civil and constitu- 
tional law, the dearest rights of mankind, the most 
severe displays of intellectual competition, and scenes 
of the most commanding and effective eloquence ! 

Although the sciences of law and of government 
have common principles, and maintain general rela- 
tions of affinity and correspondence, they are by no 
means identical ; nor does professional eminence in 
the one necessarily lead to equal honor in the other. 
On the contrary, an eminent lawyer rarely makes a 
great statesman. Daniel Webster was both. Law 
and statesmanship were the double sciences through 
which his great mind gave expression to its diversi- 
fied powers. This remarkable combination heightens 

1 See his Works, vol. vi., p. 41. 


immeasurably his eminence in each profession. To 
be great in either, is greatness indeed; but to be 
great, and so great, in both, is the achievement only 
of genius, gifted superlatively. 

Mr. Webster's early predilections seem to have 
been towards public life. This is indicated in his 
Junior oration at Dartmouth College, an oration ex- 
hibiting both political knowledge and party enthu- 
siasm. The young student, when at Fryeburg, did 
not confine his studies to Blackstone. At this same 
place he committed to memory Fisher Ames's cele- 
brated speech on the British treaty — a speech abound- 
ing in comprehensive investigations of political sci- 
ence and history. He thus began early in life that 
double work of law and government, which was per- 
fected in the world-renowned reputation of an event- 
ful public career. 

Mr. Webster's first speech on entering public life, 
as he himself says, 1 was in behalf of the system of 
common schools — a beginning worthy of the log 
school-house boy, of the Dartmouth College } r outh, 
of the Massachusetts Senator, and of the United 
States Secretary of State. In 1813, at the age of 
31, Mr. Webster, then residing at Portsmouth, took 
his seat as Representative from New Hampshire in 
the Congress of the United States. His maiden 
speech, delivered the same year, on the Berlin and 

1 Speech at Madison, Indiana, in vol. i., p. 403, of his Works. 


Milan decrees, placed him in the front rank with 
Clay, Calhoun, Lowndes, and the other leaders in the 
House. The distinguished Lowndes remarked : " The 
North had not his equal, nor the South his supe- 
rior." 1 Mr. Webster's most celebrated speeches in 
the Lower House were on the embargo, the increase 
of the navy, the bank, the Greek revolution, the 
Panama mission, and the tariff: in the Senate, on the 
tariff, Mr. Foot's resolution, nullification, the United 
States Bank, the French spoliation bill, the public 
lands, the power of removal from office, the national 
defence, the currency question, internal improve- 
ments, the annexation of Texas, the independent 
treasury, the boundary treaty, the compromise mea- 

His statesmanlike capabilities, as Secretary of 
State, were signally displayed in the settlement of 
the Northeastern boundary, the Caroline and Amis- 
tad cases, the relations with Mexico, the German 
Zoll-Verein, the Hulseman letter, Central American 
affairs, China and the Sandwich Islands, and the right 
of fishery. Mr. Webster's diplomatic and official 
papers, embracing the relations of the United States 

1 Chief Justice Marshall, in a letter to a friend, says : "At 
the time this speech was delivered, I did not know Mr. Webster, 
but I was so much struck with it, that I did not hesitate then to 
state that Mr. Webster was a very able man, and would become 
one of the very first statesmen in America, perhaps the very 


with the principal nations of the earth, embody an 
amount of intricate political disquisition, creditable 
to his intellect, his wisdom, and his learning. 1 His 
administration of the State Department will be chiefly 
associated with " The Treaty of Washington," and 
the boundary question. This treaty was negotiated 
under circumstances of extreme embarrassment ; Eng- 
land, on the one hand, never feeling better prepared 
for war than in 1842, and our own people being 
strongly clamorous for an uncurtailed boundary line. 
The controversy, however, of nearly half a century 
was settled amicably and honorably to both nations. 
A necessary element in the character of a states- 
man is devotion to his country. The sources of 
Daniel Webster's patriotism were the Bible and Ame- 
rican history ; to these he had been led hy a mother's 
piety and a father's example. The father's personal 
services and reminiscences, in the war of 1776, were 
rallying points of hereditary patriotism; and natu- 
rally served to associate, w T ith more than ordinary 
vividness, the principles of the Revolution with those 
of the Mayflower compact, of Plymouth Rock, and 
of Pilgrim heroism and suffering. Nurtured under 
the inspirations of Bible truth, and of Puritan and 
Revolutionary history, Daniel Webster was a true 
lover of his country. Referring to the early history 
of New England in his Address at Plymouth Rock, 

1 See Webster's Works, vol. vi., pp. 247-530. 


he exclaimed: "Who would wish for other emblazon- 
ing of his country's heraldry, or other ornaments of 
her genealogy, than to be able to say, that her first 
existence was with intelligence, her first breath the 
inspiration of liberty, her first principle the truth of 
divine religion." 

Mr. Webster's patriotism was displayed in a long 
public life by his unquenchable attachment to the Unkm. 
Thoroughly and minutely acquainted with American 
history, deeply realizing the radical defects of the 
Articles of the old Confederation, convinced of the 
necessity of the permanent Union of the States, and 
glorying in the wisdom of the Constitution as it is, 
he put forth his whole powers in perpetuating Ameri- 
can liberty on its ancient covenanted foundation. He 
ever maintained that our present Constitution was 
formed, not by the separate States, but by the people 
of the whole United States. This was the ground- 
work of his argument against Nullification. His 
soul was with the people as the framers of the Con- 
stitution. To their wisdom in adopting this instru- 
ment, he always gave due homage. For example, in 
his speech at Faneuil Hall, in 1838, he said that the 
mechanics of Boston " saw as quick and as fully as 
any men in the country, the infirmities of the old 
Confederation, and discerned the means by which 
they might be remedied. From the first, they were 
ardent and zealous friends of the Constitution. They 


saw the necessity of united councils, and common 
regulations, for all the States, in matters of trade and 
commerce." 1 Tue Constitution, the Constitution 
originating in the want* of the people, and approved 
by their own wisdom, were ideas which illuminated 
the way of his whole political career, and which 
il ashed their light amidst the splendor of his most 
sublhne eloquence. Mr. Webster's political reputa- 
tion will be identified not so much with one particu- 
lar measure, as with the grand principle of constitu- 
tional integrity which pervaded all his counsels and 
opinions. He was the man for the Union, for "the 
country, the whole country, and nothing but the 
country." The crown of his statesmanship will re- 
ceive its highest glory, — not in the laurel leaves of a 
general renown, but in the " bright particular stars " 
of the American Union, set in jewelled brightness 
upon his brow, adorning and adorned. 

The conclusion of his celebrated speech, in reply 
to Colonel Hayne, presents the leading principle of 
his public life. 

"Wlien my eyes for the last time shall be raised to behold the 
sun in heaven, may they not gaze upon the broken fragments of 
a dishonored, but once glorious Union ; upon States dissevered, 
discordant, and belligerent ; upon a land rent with civil feuds, 
and drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood. Let their last feeble 
and lingering gaze rather behold the glorious ensign of the Re- 
public, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full 

1 Yol. i., p. 430. 


high advanced — not one stripe erased or polluted, not one star 
obscured — but streaming in all their original lustre, and bearing 
for its motto no such miserable interrogatory, as ' What is all 
this worth V nor those other words of delusion or folly, ' Liberty 
first and Union afterwards;' but everywhere, spread all over in 
characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they 
float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the 
whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true Ameri- 
can heart, ' Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and in- 
separable. ' " 

The characteristic of Calhoun was his earnest dia- 
lectic power, which stormed the intellect, — but often 
in vain. Clay possessed a pathetic, soul-stirring elo- 
quence, which commanded the homage and the emo- 
tions of the multitude. Webster's impressive majesty 
of thought commonly captivated the understanding ; 
but when, on special occasions, he wielded the thun- 
derbolts of his great right arm, and the lightning of 
his outbreaking soul flashed athwart the firmament, 
there was an awe in the spectators, seldom felt among 
men. Calhoun was the metaphysical reasoner ; Clay, 
the popular orator ; Webster, the philosophical Sena- 
tor. Of the three, Clay had the most personal in- 
fluence and the greatest tact; Calhoun was equal to 
either in honest purpose and zealous, manly deter- 
mination ; Webster was sublime in towering genius, 
comprehensive argumentation, and bold, Saxon ut- 
terance. Each was independent and lofty-minded. 
Although Carolina, Kentucky, and Massachusetts, 
are well-nigh unanimous, each in favor of her own 


son, the general voice of the nation would probably 
give to Calhoun more of bold, metaphysical subtlety 
(in the best sense of that word) ; to Clay more of 
winning and accomplished oratory ; to Webster more 
of influential reasoning, literary acquisition, and en- 
during impression. 

Daniel Webster's oratory became his personal ap- 
pearance, like the drapery of a classic statue. There 
was a harmony in his presence, and in his words ; in 
the light of his eye and the light of his thoughts ; in 
his compact muscular form, and his arguments ; in 
the majesty of his brow, and the full-meaning, solemn 
enunciations of his truth. He was a man equal to 
emergencies. Indeed, emergencies were necessary 
for the full development of his powers. He was or- 
dinarily calm and argumentative. His address was 
in winning the understanding ; but when needful, 
reserved forces of passionate eloquence were mar- 
shalled forth, at the sound of his great voice, with 
consummate skill and success. He was not aggres- 
sive by nature. His tremendous prerogative was 
defence. Constitutionally conservative, he stayed 
himself upon the established principles of American 
liberty and national policy. The subjects that gave 
scope to his powers were usually fundamental ones. 
Great themes exercised his greatness. He was a 
fearful antagonist, if compelled to vindicate his own 
opinions, and descend into the arena of personal con- 


flict. His reply to Colonel Hayne, has nothing su- 
perior in the whole history of parliamentary gladia- 
torship. 1 His rejoinder to Colonel Hayne is equally 
celebrated as a specimen of close, succinct, unanswer- 
able ratiocination. Mr. Webster was ordinarily con- 
cise. He spoke to the point. He did not " draw out 
the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of 
his argument." He respected his subject as well as 
himself. His presence excited awe in a deliberative 
body. Although generally slow and distinct in hi^ 
enunciations, his great thoughts came out as fast as 
the most attentive audience could follow them. His 
eloquence belonged to the North, rather than to the 
South or the West ; but it received homage from all 
sections of country, from all classes of society, and 
from all orders of intellect. There was nothing pro- 

1 The writer happened to be travelling at the South when this 
debate occurred. After reading the speech of Colonel Hayne, 
he felt that the North had received a terrible castigation, and 
was held up to the derision of the Republic. Nor did it seem 
possible, even for Webster, to turn that tremendous attack, On 
arriving at Augusta, Ga., the whole town was talking of }Jr. 
Webster's reply, which was everywhere pronounced triumphant. 
Nothing but reading the reply satisfied me that the people bad 
given a true judgment. On arriving at Charleston, Colonel 
Hayne's residence, the same judgment was freely rendered. The 
following is an extract from the speech of the Hon. R. Barn- 
well Rhett, recently delivered before the Charleston bar, on 
the occasion of Mr. Webster's death : "As an orator, he lives in 
his speech on Foote's resolutions, the greatest oratorical effo t 
ever made by an American statesman.'''' This speech of Mr. 
Webster will be found in vol. iii. of his Works. 


vincial about it. On the contrary, it was pure, ele- 
vated, human, Anglo-Saxon. The oratory of Web- 
ster will go down to posterity with applause. In the 
monumental column of the world's eloquence, formed 
by the contributions to the illustrious of all ages, the 
name of the Massachusetts Senator will appear with 
those of Demosthenes, and Cicero, and Burke, and 
Fox, and Patrick Henry and Clay; and if any stones 
in the column have a brighter polish, or more exter- 
nal beauty, not Grecian marble itself will attract more 
eyes than the enduring granite, inscribed with Webster. 

The aptitude of a noble mind is a pleasing exhi- 
bition of the various endowments God has given to 
human nature. We have contemplated Jurist — 
Statesman — Orator — these three ; but Writer com- 
pletes the square on which is demonstrated the entire 
problem of Webster's mysterious greatness. 

The remark about to be made may excite at first 
surprise, but it will stand the test of examination : — 
that the English language does not exhibit purer and 
more classic models of efficient literature than Daniel 
Webster's addresses at Plymouth Rock, at Bunker 
Hill, and in commemoration of Adams and Jefferson. 
These alone would immortalize any man. They are 
better known throughout the United States than anv 
similar productions of human genius. They are the 
familiar orations in schools, academies, and colleges, 
to develop, and to develop nobly, the elocution of the 


young men of our country ; and they will contribute, 
throughout all coming generations, to form the taste, 
the style, and the thoughts, of American statesmen 
and public speakers. May I be allowed to introduce 
here an extract from his Bunker Hill Oration ? 

" We consecrate our work to the spirit of national independ- 
ence ; and we wish that the light of peace may rest upon it for- 
ever. We rear a memorial of our conviction of that unmeasured 
benefit which has been conferred on our own land, and of the 
happy influences which have been produced by the same events 
on the general interests of mankind. We come, as Americans, 
to mark a spot which must be forever dear to us and our pos- 
terity. We wish that whosoever, in all coming time, shall turn 
his eye hither, may behold that the place is not undistinguished 
where the first great battle of the Revolution was fought. We 
wish that this structure may proclaim the magnitude and import- 
ance of that event to every class and every age. We wisli that 
infancy may learn the purpose of its erection from maternal lips, 
and that weary and withered age may behold it, and be solaced 
by the recollections which it suggests. We wish that labor may 
look up here, and be proud, in the midst of its toil. We wish 
that, in those days of disaster, which, as they come upon all 
nations, must be expected to come upon us also, desponding 
patriotism may turn its eyes hitherward, and be assured that the 
foundations of our national power are still strong. We wish 
that this column, rising toward heaven among the pointed spires 
of so many temples dedicated to God, may contribute also to 
produce, in all minds, a pious feeling of dependence and grati- 
tude. We wish, finally, that the last object to the sight of him 
who leaves his native shore, and the first to gladden his who re- 
visits it, may be something which shall remind him of the liberty 
and the glory of his country. Let it rise ! let it rise ! till it 
meet the sun in his coming ! — let the earliest light of the morn- 
ing gild it, and parting day linger and play on its summit !" 

Let Mr. Webster's orations be carefully and criti- 
cally examined, and there will be found pure, vigor- 


ous diction ; a style which, whilst it is neither elabo- 
rately ornate nor carelessly free, conveys with elegant 
precision the simplicity of truth ; thoughts grand and 
inspiring ; pleasing, classical, and appropriate illustra- 
tions ; minute and copious learning ; graphic descrip- 
tion ; a reverence for God and for the solemn things 
• >f religion ; all interwoven with passages of sublimity 
and beauty, and compacted in the texture of finished 

Mr. Webster's writings properly include his wdiole 
works. By these his reputation is to be tested. His 
literary orations, his Congressional speeches, his legal 
arguments, his occasional addresses, his diplomatic 
and official papers, his miscellaneous letters, form a 
unity of mental achievement which cannot fail in all 
future time to command admiration. The specimens 
given to the public of Mr. Webster's easy, off-hand, 
familiar letter-writing, are equal to anything of the 
kind that has ever appeared. The variety of the 
subjects in Mr. Webster's works is as remarkable as 
the general excellence which marks the treatment of 
them all. 

One thing about Mr. Webster's writings is a fortu- 
nate attainment. I refer to his love of pure, old, 
strong words. No man has done more to retain the 
Saxon element in our literature. In his speeches, 
writings, and conversation, Daniel Webster was true 
to his mother tongue. To use one of his own allu- 
9 G 


sions at the Royal Agricultural Society in England, 
he loved "the hith and lew of the old Savon race." 1 

Daniel Webster's works have recently been pub- 
lished in six splendid octavo volumes. They are the 
repositories of great thoughts on great subjects ex- 
pressed in great words. Mr. Everett states that, in 
preparing the works of Mr. Webster for the press, 
almost everything was left to his editorial discretion 
in matters of taste. But one thing Mr. Webster en- 
joined. " My friend," said be, "I wish to perpetuate 
no feuds. ... I have sometimes, though rarely, and 
that in self-defence, been led to speak of others with 
severity. I beg you, where you can do it without 
wholly changing the character of the speech, and thus 
doing essential injustice to me, to obliterate every trait 
of personality of this kind." Mr. Everett well adds : 
" But I need not tell you. fellow-citizens, that there 
is no one of our distinguished public men, whose 
speeches contain less occasion for such an injunction." 
Mr. Webster's writings are pervaded with high moral 
sentiment, and with references to sacred subjects 
adapted to impress the mind with reverence. In the 
language of one of his friends 2 to the citizens of 
Springfield, Massachusetts : 

" It is fortunate for us and for posterity that so many of his 
speeches have been so well preserved ; and that his works havf 
been collected and published while he lived to superintend the 

1 Yol. i., p. 438. 2 Eeuben A. Chapman, Esq. 


publication, and to adorn them with such exquisitely beautiful 
and touching dedications to those relations for whom he felt so 
warm an affection. Those works, and others which will yet be 
added, are of the richest treasures of the country. There is yet 
one — a history of the Administration of "Washington, which he 
had long been engaged to some extent in preparing, but which 
it is to be feared is left incomplete. Xo man was so competent 
to write this history as he; for he knew all the history of this 
country by heart. He ouce remarked of himself, that it was but 
a little that he knew ; but if he knew anything, it was the his- 
tory of this country. He added, that at the age of fourteen 
years he became interested in the study of this history, and had 
never lost that interest, nor ceased to make it a study." 

Daniel Webster's Works will serve admirably to in- 
crease and to perpetuate his reputation. Whilst they 
are splendid contributions to American literature, 
they are guardians, for posterity, of his fame as Jurist, 
Statesman, Orator, and Writer. 

III. Having attempted to form an estimate of Mr. 
Webster in the prominent varieties of his public life, 
let us turn to his more private and social traits of 
character, and to the solemn scenes of his death. 

It is acknowledged by all that Mr. Webster's great- 
ness shone in the social circle no less than in public 
life. Though not as readily accessible as some men. 
and having an appearance, which might, at times, be 
called dignity, and, at times, reserve, he had never- 
theless a large, social heart, which beat true in its 
friendships, and which was generous and warm in its 


A writer, who knew him well, thus remarks of his 
more familiar intercourse : ' 

" Mr. Webster was never seen to more advantage than within 
his own household, at the family board, or in strolling with him 
over his farm at Marshfield, or standing with him upon the sea- 
beach and looking out upon the ocean before us, which, like the 
scope of his intellectual vision, appeared boundless. 

" We have enjoyed these things, and there are no events in our 
life in which we have experienced more pleasure. As we write, 
they involuntarily rise before us, like blessed visions of other and 
better days. To hear him converse upon the past, the present, 
the future, in a familiar, colloquial manner, to listen to his great 
thoughts expressed in the purest words of our language, and won- 
der how he could thus speak and think, are joys which we cau 
find no words to express. 

" His fund of anecdote and of personal reminiscence was inex- 
haustible. No one could start a subject, relating to history, and 
especially to American Congressional life, about which he could 
not relate some anecdote connected with some. of the principal 
characters, which, when told, would throw additional light upou 
the narrative, and illustrate some prominent trait in the charac- 
ters of the persons engaged in the transaction. This great gift 
he possessed in a degree unsurpassed. Mr. Webster's ' table 
talk' was fully equal to any of his more elaborate efforts in the 
Senate. He could' talk, to use a somewhat misnomeric expres- 
sion, as well as he could speak. He had a keen sense of the 
ludicrous, and loved and appreciated nice touches of eccentric 

The manner in which Mr. Webster was accustomed 
to speak and write of his father and mother, his sisters 
and brothers, his wife and children, indicates the true 
sensibilities of his nature. The following language 

1 In the Boston Alias. 


of one of his friends ' beautifully expresses the sen- 
timents, doubtless, of all who knew him. 

"Upon a near and familiar approach to most great men, they 
dwindle to the size of common men. Their greatness is only 
seen on special occasions, and after much preparation. Bnt he. 
though familiar and frank as a child, though never attempting to 
display his superiority, appeared greatest in his most familiar and 
careless conversation. It may be said of him, as travellers say 
of the Pyramids, that one can only appreciate their full size 
when standing at their base. I have heard in his private con- 
versation, higher specimens of eloquence than his published works 

"Great as his powers of argument and eloquence were, that 
which gives the brightest lustre to all his public addresses, is the 
lofty tone of moral purity that pervades them. This moral purity 
of sentiment was founded in a reverence for God and for the 
Christian religion. His private conversation, his most intimate 
friends testify, was never blemished by a profane, irreverent, inde- 
cent, or unseemly expression." 

Mr. Webster had a strong sympathy with nature. 
The works of creation afforded relaxation and delight 
to his mind. A taste for agricultural pursuits, which 
was early sown in the rich mould of his genial nature, 
was cultivated, as he had opportunity, and yielded 
harvests of enjoyment in his summer and autumnal 
years. In his speech on the agriculture of England, 
delivered at Boston, in 1840, he commenced by 
saying : 

" Mr. Chairman : I would observe in the outset of 

1 Reuben A. Chapman, Esq., in his address before the Spring- 
field bar, Massachusetts. 



these remarks, that I regard agriculture as the lead- 
ing interest of society ; and as having, in all its rela- 
tions, a direct and intimate bearing upon human 
comfort and national prosperity. / have been fam iliar 
with its operations in my youth ; and I have always 
looked upon the subject with a lively and deep in- 
terest." ' 

About the year 1825, Mr. Webster purchased a 
part of his Marshfield estate, which he afterwards 
enlarged by other purchases until the farm included 
about 2000 acres, " extending from a beach at the 
north, nearly two miles in length, on which the ocean 
dashes its ever-rolling waves, to a low range of pictu- 
resque hills on the south and southwest," This large 
plantation embraced every variety of upland and low- 
land ; and although much indebted to nature, it owed 
more to the laborious, reclaiming processes of a scien- 
tific and masterly agriculture. Mr. Webster attended 
by personal oversight to the practical working and 
general management of his farm. Thus, in his letter 
to John Taylor, he gives the following directions about 
one of his farms, whilst attending, at Washington, as 
Secretary of State, to the great political interests of 
the nation : 

Washington, March 17, 1852. 
John Taylor : Go ahead. The heart of the Winter is bro- 
ken, and before the first day of April, all your land may be 

1 Webster's Works, vol. i., page 443. 



ploughed. Buy the oxen of Captain Marston, if you think the 
price fair. Pay for the hay. I send you a check for $160, for 
these two objects. Put the great oxen in a condition to be turned 
out and fattened. You have a good horse-team; and I think in 
addition to this, four oxen and a pair of four-year-old steers will 
do your work. If you think so, then dispose of the Stevens 
oxen, or unyoke them, and send them to the pasture for beef. I 
know not when I shall see you, but I hope before planting. If 
you need anything, such as guano, for instance, write to Joseph 
Buck, Esq., Boston, and he will send it to you. 

Whatever ground you sow or plant, see that is in good condi- 
tion. We want no 'pennyroyal crops. "A little farm well 
tilled," is to a farmer the next best thing to a "little wife well 
willed." Cultivate your garden. Be sure to produce sufficient 
quantities of useful vegetables. 

Mr. Webster was interested in agriculture, mind 
and heart and soul. Thoroughly conversant with its 
philosophical principles, he was also an enthusiast in 
their practical application. His crops were large ; 
the pastures kept in good order ; drainage thoroughly 
attended to ; the agricultural implements of the best 
description ; the cattle of a superior quality ; in short, 
the Marshfield estate presented an example of tho- 
rough, prosperous, intelligent management. 

Mr. Webster paid particular attention to his cattle. 
He loved a fine animal, and knew wherein consisted 
its good points. He was an excellent judge of stock. 
Among his numerous animals of foreign blood, were 
Devon s, Alderneys, Ayrshires, Hertfordshires, and 
Durhams. His interest in these amounted almost to 
a friendship. It is an affecting incident that, during 


his last sickness, he ordered his favourite herds to be 
driven up towards the house, in a position to be seen 
from his window; and there, for the last time, his 
admiring eye looked upon their well-bred proportions 
of beauty and strength. 

Mr. Webster's address on "the agriculture of Eng- 
land," to which allusion has been made, contains a 
large amount of useful matter. Beginning with the 
primary elements which enter into the consideration 
of the agriculture of a country, which he defined to 
be four, — "climate, soil, price of land, and price of 
labor" — he makes some general remarks on each, and 
then goes on to discuss a great variety of practical 
questions of the highest interest to American agri- 
culturists. The address contains a mass of agricul- 
tural information, compact as a rich wheat-field, and 
goldened all over with the natural color of his ripe 
literature. It concludes as follows : 

"Agriculture feeds us ; to a great degree it clothes us; with- 
out it we should not have manufactures, and we could not have 
commerce. These all stand together, but they stand together 
like pillars in a cluster, the largest in the centre, and that largest 
is agriculture. Let us remember, too, that we live in a country 
of small farms and freehold tenements ; a country in which men 
cultivate with their own hands their own fee-simple acres, draw- 
ing not only their subsistence, but also their spirit of independ- 
ence" and manly freedom, from the ground they plough. They 
are at once its owners, its cultivators, and its defenders. And 
whatever else may be undervalued or overlooked, let us never 
forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important 
labor of man. Man may be civilized, in some degree, without 
great progress in manufactures and with little commerce with his 


distant neighbors. But without the cultivation of the earth, he 
is, in all countries, a savage. Until he gives up the chase, and 
fixes himself in some place and seeks a living from the earth, he 
is a roaming barbarian. When tillage begins, other arts follow. 
The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization."' 

Mr. Webster's general information on the branclu s 
of knowledge, which are cognate to agriculture, was 
extensive. He understood a good deal of chemistry. 
botany, 1 natural history, mineralogy, geology. No 
branch of learning was alien to him, as an agricul- 

Mr. Webster's recreations were of the out-door kind. 
He loved fishing, gunning, riding, walking, sailing. 
His boat, which was called the -'Home Squadron," 
often tested his skill at navigation, in these re. 
tions he was hearty, and up to any one in skill and 
enjoyment. His habits of early rising gave him a 
long day, and no man had a better right to pleasant 
relaxation. He ever delighted in 

"The breezy call of incense-breathing morn ;" 

and the exhilaration of the early sun was spread 
through the habits of his life, whether at Washington 
or on his farm. 

1 The writer remembers his astonishment, many years ago, 
when, in walking about his father's grounds in Albany, with this 
statesman (the only character in which he was then known to 
in • . Mr Webster seemed perfectly familiar with every variety 
of tree-, some of which were rare, and referred to Michaux' 
North American Sylva, and other standard works on botany, as 
he would to Vattel's Law of Nations. 


His mansion, with all its sights and associations, 
was Webstcrian. It is a large, massive structure, 
combining the antique and tbe modern, raised upon 
a knoll above the general outline of the surrounding 
scenery, in full view of the rolling sea, and in the 
midst of the associations of Pilgrim history and the 
remnants of Pilgrim graves. 1 Its internal arrange- 
ments are those of convenience and taste, with plenty 
of room for friends, a large library, and the miscella- 
neous appurtenances of a gentleman-farmer's home, 
specially adorned with a collection of medals, voted 
to General Washington by the old Congress. 2 

Yonder magnificent elm, which stands near the 
mansion, and which has seen a century of storms, 
sheltered its proprietor for the last time, about a fort- 
night before his death. Going out to reciprocate the 
salutations of a wedding-party who had called to see 
him, he returned after a few minutes into the house ; 
leaving his last footmark upon his beloved Marshfield 

1 Plymouth Rock is about twenty miles off, and on a clear day 
the scene of the Mayflower's landing may be discerned. The 
graveyard, where many of the early colonists of the parish were 
buried, is within a mile of the mansion. Here is the grave of 
Governor Winslow, and also of Peregrine White, the first-born 
child of the Colony. Near by, stood the old parish church, built 
next after that of Plymouth. 

2 These medals were offered to Congress; but that body being 
slow to purchase them, they were presented by private liberality 
to Mr. Webster's family. Since the death of the great Wash- 
tngtonian. are they not to be deposited with some national in- 
stitution ? 


farm, and taking the last out-door glance upon its 
beautiful and variegated outline. 

Would that a man, so great, had borne through 
life a consistent religious character ! Here his great- 
ness, alas ! fails. Whatever may have been latterly 
his religious feelings and exercises, his moral example 
cannot be held up to the unqualified admiration of 
American youth. 

The great question, after all, that decides human 
character and destiny is, "Was he religious?" That 
many have entertained doubts in reference to the re- 
ligious character of the distinguished man who has 
now ended his earthly probation, is an admission due 
to truth. It is not denied, and ought not to be con- 
cealed, that Mr. Webster's character during periods 
of his lifetime, suffered serious loss from charges of 
immorality. To what extent these were true, or 
false, it is impossible to affirm; doubtless they were 
much exaggerated. And who can say that the delin- 
quencies charged were not either backslidings from 
general Christian steadfastness, or sins repented of in 
the later exercises of his soul, and washed away by 
the blood of an atoning Saviour? 

There are certainly many interesting illustrations 
of the strength of the religious sentiment in the mind 
and conscience of the great statesman. His early 
religious training, under the parental roof, was 
thorough and enduring in its impressions. He ac- 


quired a taste and reverence for the Bible which 
never forsook him, and committed to memory the 
Catechism and the larger portion of Watts's Psalms 
and Hymns. Under the care of Dr. Abbott of Exeter 
Academy, and of Dr. Wood of Boscawen, his reli- 
gious convictions must have been cultivated and 
strengthened. In his college course, Dr. Shurtleff 
testifies to the fidelity with which he discharged his 
general duties, and to the un deviating strictness of 
his moral character. When he taught school at Frye- 
burg, Dr. Osgood, who lived in the same house with 
him, says that he was a professor of religion, and even 
had thoughts of entering the ministry. His first wife 
was the pious daughter of a Congregational clergy- 
man. So far, all betokens .well. Evangelical reli- 
gion, deeply rooted in his mind, seems to have been 
exerting also a practical influence on his life. 

After Mr. Webster's settlement in Boston, few par- 
ticulars about his religious sentiments and habits have 
been divulged to the public. It is well known, that 
at this time, or shortly after, the great mass of the 
educated and influential professional men of the city, 
were Unitarians. Almost all the old churches had 
departed from the ancient faith of New England, and 
Park Street Church was not yet founded. It is stated, 
in one of the papers, that Mr. Webster attended the 
Brattle Street Church — Unitarian — for sixteen years. 
Unitarianism at that time, however, was in a com- 


paratively latent form, and many persons attended 
the old churches, partly from choice, and partly from 
necessity, who never enrolled themselves as Unita- 
rians. Certainly Daniel Webster has never been 
claimed as a Unitarian. He was always a believer 
in the divinity of Christ, and in the fundamental doc- 
trines of the Evangelical Faith. An orthodox Con- 
gregational clergyman, who had charge of a parish to 
which Mr. Webster formerly belonged, says that, upon 
one occasion, the distinguished statesman "spoke of 
how the cause of orthodoxy was protected in the 
north of Boston by the indefatigable Dr. Morse, of 
Charlestown," a man who was "always thinking, 
always reading, always writing, always preaching, 
always acting"— of the Rev. Dr. Codman, " who main- 
tained the cause at the south, at Dorchester, and of 
other clergymen of that day." Mr. Webster, on be- 
coming an inhabitant of Dorchester, where he spent 
the summer for a number of years, called upon Dr. 
Codman, and, in the course of the conversation, he 
remarked : " Sir, I am come to be one of your parish- 
ioners, not one of your fashionable ones, but you will 
find me in my seat both in the morning and after- 

Mr. Webster, in the latter years of his life, attended 
the Episcopal Church, of which his wife was a mem- 
ber. He himself had joined the Congregational 
Church, in Salisbury, in early life ; and this accounts 


for the fact, that he occasionally partook of the sa- 
crament, where he happened to he, with members of 
different denominations. Such acts show the power- 
ful, indwelling sense of the claims of religion ; and 
as he was the farthest possible removed from hypo- 
crisy, they are the expressions of a sincere belief in 
the doctrines and requirements of the Gospel. 

For the last two years of his life, the great states- 
man seems to have given himself up more and more 
to religious duties. The Rev. Dr. Shurtleff, of Dart- 
mouth College, in referring to the subject, 1 " spoke of 
his last interview with Mr. Webster in Boston, about 
two years ago, at his (Mr. Webster's) invitation. 
Knowing that great men are liable, from their posi- 
tion, to fail of receiving personal exhortation from 
the clergy, he resolved to do that duty which early 
intimacy, and as pastor in the college for a long 
period, made fit. He did so, and found Mr. Webster 
not only kindly disposed, but even anticipating him 
in the free communication of his personal religious 
feelings. Dr. Shurtleff said : ' I found his views of 
Christian doctrine and the claims of Christian duty 
perfectly coincident with my own.' " 

There are many other concurrent testimonies to the 
same purport. The pastor of the Orthodox Church 
in Marshfield, unequivocally expresses an entire con- 

1 At a late meeting of the officers and students of Dartmouth 


fidence in Mr. Webster's religious character. In the 

address at the funeral, reference is made to his habit 
of engaging, at least at times, in family worship ; and 
the pastor applies to Mr. Webster these words : "lam 
bound to say, that in the course of my life, I never 
met with an individual, in any profession or condition, 
who always spoke and always thought with such 
awful reverence of the power and presence of God. 
No irreverence, no lightness, even no too familiar allu- 
sions to God and his attributes, ever escaped his lips. 
" Those who knew him best, can most truly appre- 
ciate the lessons, both from his lips and his examph-. 
teaching the sustaining power of the Gospel." 

In the light of these various evidences, especially 
when viewed in their connection with his sound train- 
ing in the faith and his early attention to religion, 
the hope may be charitably indulged, that Daniel 
Webster relied for salvation upon the blood of our 
Lord Jesus Christ ; 1 and yet a little child, or a poor 
slave, may, in the kingdom of God, be greater than he. 

1 The caution of the writer in speaking on this subject, may 
seem excessive, and even repulsive to those whose views of reli- 
gious truth are more lax than the Westminster standards. I 
have, however, according to my own religious convictions, al- 
luded to this solemn and delicate question, and endeavored to 
obey the claims of Christian charity. There are persons, on the 
opposite extreme, who will doubtless censure even the expression 
of a hope. I trust that the language employed will not, on the 
whole, offend many of the followers of Christ. God alone knows 
the heart. This prerogative the writer has not attempted to invade. 

112 E D LOG Y ON 

The hope of his religious character is strongest 
when we approach his dying bed, and behold him in 
the hour when heart and flesh fail. 

The startling intelligence is brought that the great 
statesman is dying ! Disease is invading the frame 
which God built for the abode of living greatness. 
The body is but dust, but dust in mysterious glory ! 
i; It is said that when Thorwaldsen, the Danish sculp- 
tor, was residing in Rome, he visited the studio of our 
countryman, Powers. In looking about the room, he 
discovered a plaster cast of Webster. He inquired, 
with surprise, whether it could be possible that it was 
the actual representation of any man ; and after a 
long and careful examination, he pronounced it supe- 
rior to the highest conception of mental strength and 
dignity which the ancients had been able to express 
in their busts of Jupiter." That wonder-compelling 
cast, though brittle, is to outlive the majestic head 
that gave it form. The cheek, which once corres- 
ponded with its outline, is now wan and shrunken 
with disease. The arch of his • massive, intellectual 
brow, is already shaken by the failing keystone of 
lite. The "large, black, solemn-looking eye," alone 
shines with unabated strength, lighting up the im- 
pending ruin, and casting rays which will soon, in 
expiring, render the darkness more visible. Ah ! 
Immortal Orator ! Art thou on the bed of death ? 
Heaven sustain thee there ! The terrific work of 


bodily destruction is going forward under the arrange- 
ments of that Providence which is concerned in all 
births, all lives, all deaths. Let us approach the scene 
with awe ; and may God be Avith us when our own 
time shall come ! 

On Thursday morning, Mr. Webster despatched his 
last public business ; in the afternoon, gave some di- 
rections about his farm ; and in the evening, executed 
his will, which had been previously prepared. "Du- 
ring all these transactions, and throughout the whole 
evening, Mr. "Webster showed an entire self-posses- 
sion, and the most perfect composure and clearness 
of all his faculties, speaking with his peculiar aptness 
of phraseology, words of kindness and consolation to 
those around him, and expressing religious sentiments, 
appropriate to his condition, with the greatest sim- 
plicity and earnestness. His voice was as clear and 
distinct as it ever was, and his mind showed constant 
evidence of those qualities of exactness and power 
which had so strongly characterized his career." 

On Friday afternoon, he asked to have the people 
employed in his family and upon his farm, called in ; 
and after giving them much earnest advice upon mat- 
ters temporal and spiritual, he bade them a last farewell. 

On Saturday evening, being told that his end was 

approaching, he summoned, first the female members 

of his family, and then the male ; and addressing to 

them appropriate words of farewell, and of religious 

10* H 


consolation, bade adieu to them for ever. In the 
course of these interviews, he remarked : " What would 
be the condition of any of us without the hope of im- 
mortality ? What is there to rest that hope upon but 
the gospel ? " ' He also remarked : " My general wish 
on earth has been to do my Maker's will. I thank him, 
I thank him for the means of doing some little good ; 
for these beloved objects, for the blessings that sur- 
round me, for my nature and associations. I thank 
him that I am to die under so many circumstances of 
love and affection." l 

Shortly after the interviews with his relatives and 
friends, as if speaking to himself, he said : " On the 
24th of October, all that is mortal of Daniel Webster 
will be no more." 

He now prayed in his natural, usual voice — strong, 
full, and clear — ending with, " Heavenly Father, for- 

Jesus Christ.", 

Conversing with great exactness, he seemed to be 
anxious to be able to mark to himself the final pe- 
riod of his dissolution. 

He was answered that it might occur in one, two, 
or three hours, but that the time could not be defi- 
nitely calculated. 

" Then," said Mr. Webster, " I suppose I must lie 
here quietly till it comes." 

1 George T. Curtis, Esq. 


The retching and vomiting now recurred again ; 
and Dr. Jeffries offered to Mr. Webster something 
which he hoped might give him ease. 

The dying statesman remarked : " Something more, 
Doctor — more. I want restoration." 

Between ten and eleven o'clock, he repeated, some- 
what indistinctly, the words, "Poet, poetry — Gray, 

Mr. Fletcher Webster repeated the first line of 
the elegy — " The Curfew tolls the knell of parting 

" That's it, that's it," said Mr. Webster ; and the 
book was brought and some stanzas read to him, which 
seemed to give him pleasure. 

From twelve o'clock till two, there was much rest- 
lessness, but not much suffering ; the physicians were 
quite confident that there was no actual pain. 

A faintness occurred, which led him to think that 
his death was at hand. . While in this condition, 
some expressions fell from him, indicating the hope 
that his mind would remain to him completely until 
the last. 

He spake of the difficulty of the process of dying, 
when Dr. Jeffries repeated the verse : 

" Though I walk through the valley of the shadow 
of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me — 
thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." 

Mr. Webster said immediately : " The fact — the 


fact ! That is what I want ! Thy rod — thy rod! 
thy staff— thy staff!" 

Only once more did he speak after this. On arous- 
ing from a deep sleep, he uttered the words : " I still 
live." The close was perfectly tranquil and easy. 
He died on the 24th of October, about a quarter 
before 3 o'clock, in the morning. 

Thus, by a beautiful coincidence, his departure 
occurred early in his own favorite part of the day — 
early in the morning. In his letter, on this topic, he 
said : " I know the morning — I am acquainted with 
it, and love it." We trust that, through the infinite 
srace of Christ, he had reason to love that last morn- 
ing, and that its light was to him, spiritually, "as 
the light of the morning icJien the sun. riseth, even A 


IV. As Christians, and as citizens, it becomes us 
to endeavor to search out some of the lessons of 
Providence, in. the light and gloom of the grave of 

1. Let us thank God for raising up such men, in 
His providence, and look to Him for their suc- 

Webster came from the hands of God. His vast 
intellect, in fitting union with a noble frame, was 
workmanship Divine. His life, although not free 
from censure, and in nothing perfect, has left influ- 
ences so generally favorable to our national prosperity, 


that a thankful acknowledgment is due to the Maker 
and Ruler of all. The mind, which enabled the 
jurist to plead, the statesman to devise and execute, 
the orator 

" The applause of listening Senates to command," 

that mind, so fertile in resources of power, and so 
exerted in behalf of his country, her laws, and her 
rights, was given and sustained in reason to the last, 
by Him, in whom we all " live, and move, and have 
our being." Let God have the glory of his genius, 
his wisdom, his eloquence, his public services, his 
political influence, and his solemn death. 

Whence but from heaven can the succession of 
such men be expected ? To God alone can the nation 
look for public characters, who shall be equally able 
and equally willing to serve the United States of 
America. In time past, God has given to our country 
great minds as well as great natural landmarks. 
Bounded with mighty oceans, and coursed by vast 
rivers, and prairies, and mountains, our land has been 
the birth-place of Washington, and Franklin, and 
Henry, and Jefferson, and Adams, and Marshall, and 
Jay, and many other names of national immortality. 
But never have appeared simultaneously in American 
history three statesmen of superior mental greatness 
to Calhoun, Clay, and Webster. The general mourn- 
ing, which followed the departure of each from the 


theatre of their common fame, shows a nation's esti- 
mate of its great public loss. And never was mourn- 
ing more universal, and less interrupted by party 
prejudices, than over the last of the three — the 
Champion of the Constitution. In the beautiful lan- 
guage of one of America's chief poets : ! 

•'The great are falling from us; to the dust 

Our flag droops midway, full of many sighs; 
A nation's glory and a people's trust 

Lie in the ample pall where Webster lies. 

" The great are falling from us, one by one, 
As fall the patriarchs of the forest trees ; 
The winds shall seek them vainly, and the sun 
Gaze on each vacant space for centuries. 

" Lo ! Carolina mourns her steadfast pine, 

Which, like a mainmast, towered above her realm ; 
And Ashland hears no more the voice divine 
From out the branches of her stately elm. 

"And Marshfield's giant oak, whose stormy brow 
Oft turned the ocean tempest from the west, 
Lies on the shore he guarded long : and now 
Our startled Eagle knows not where to rest." 

But God will continue to give us great men, if we 
put not undue confidence in them. There are sap- 
lings in our American forests which may yet attain 
to equal elevation with Upland, or Hanover, or Salis- 
bury growth ; and the American eagle, when it no 
more shall find high resting-places for its glory, will 

1 T. Buchanan Read. 


soar away into heaven and die in the light of the 
dazzling sun. 

2. The influence of eaely religious training and 
of association in the formation of character is one 
of the plainest inferences. 

Daniel "Webster was well trained and well se - 
<-iated all his early years. He was cradled, and nur- 
tured, and fellowshipped by the wise and good. Few 
men have had better influences to grow up under 
than the Salisbury boy. until after he left his Frye- 
burg retirement, and came to Boston. Early edu< ■- 
tion marked its traces upon his character, distinctly 
visible. Like the even flow of a crystal current 
wearing into the rock of the mountain, his training 
wrought into the solid range of his thought and soul. 
Fathers ! mothers ! take care of your children ! 
Without thorough religious influences, there i- littl 
hope of future restraint upon their passions, or of the 
right application of their talents. Unattended to in 
their early days, your sons will grow up to become 
like the deceitful brook — dry in the season of need, 
and pouring down wild torrents in every storm. 

3. The value of an academical and collegiate 
education is another important lesson. 

If Daniel Webster had not been furnished with the 
discipline of a complete education, his mind never 
could have received that intellectual expansion which 
made him so srreat anions: his fellows. The academv 


and college are the workshops of busy minds. He 
was early indentured to his profession, and acquired 
his civil and political skill from lessons in the ancient 
classics, in philosophy, history, and literature, and 
from the mind-sharpening processes of youthful com- 
petition and industry. The rule of greatness is early 
diligence and acquirement. There are indeed excep- 
tions to this rule, but never exceptions like unto 
Daniel Webster. Such men are men of trained at- 
tainment, of early-wrought cultivation; not left to 
the rare contingency of self-development, but nur- 
tured out by the skilful influence of preparatory 
study, mental discipline, and learned acquisition. 
Our academies and colleges are the training-places of 
able public and professional men. Let them be sus- 
tained and multiplied ! Let learning be honored ! 

4. A great encouragement is presented in the life 
of Daniel Webster to the laudable aspirings of 


Ambition, misdirected and earthly, is a curse to 
the soul that harbors it. But there is a pure and 
commendable desire to do one's best, which is alike the 
dictate of patriotism and of Christianity. Webster 
once engaged in the commonest employments among 
men. Reputable but lowly, his intellect and perse- 
verance elevated him to the highest stations and 
honors of his country. Many a common school-boy 
will feel the influence of his example ; many a stu- 


dent of Dartmouth and other American colleges will 
be stimulated by the rising fortunes of the farmer's 
son; and many a teacher, toiling over the double 
work of instructing others and of self-instruction, 
will gain energy from the scenes of Fryeburg, which 
led up to the heights of legal and political distinc- 
tion. All, of every condition and age, may learn 
t'mm Webster to do their best for their country. But 
a right ambition stops not there. And if he failed, 
in any respect, in the fulness of a true example, let 
all remember that it is our duty to do our best for our 
country and for our God. 

" Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's, ■ 
Thy God's, and truth's." 

5. The capriciousness of public opinion is one of 
the truths of the occasion. 

Public men cannot count upon a full reward of 
their eminent services at the tribunal of popular 
favor. This life is a life of discipline ; and none need 
its trials and disappointments more than those who 
mingle in the great scenes of the world's affairs. Nor 
are any more sure of experiencing disappointments in 
large, embittering measures. Every statesman at 
times is made to realize the capriciousness of public 
opinion, and 

"Finds the people strangely fantasied." 

Mr. Webster received many testimonies of high na- 


tional homage, and yet the highest was given not to 
him, but to far inferior men. It is no departure from 
truth to say that Harrison and Taylor never once 
breathed the intellectual inspirations which were the 
daily motions of Webster's soul. And yet such men 
were preferred before him. But no fame of theirs. — 
though the fame of battles and of victories, — can 
equal the triumphs of genius, wrought by thee, 
Statesman, Jurist, and Orator, of a deathless renown ! 
Thou wast spared the sight of the last contest, and 
the fruitless efforts of a faithful few! God himself 
withdrew thy illustrious name from the struggle, 
wrapping thee away from the dust of an inglorious 
arena in the majestic pall of a statesman's mantle ! 

6. The homage paid by intellect to Cheistianity 
is illustrated in the life of this great man. 

Mr. Webster's public speeches and addresses, 
throughout out his whole career, are pervaded with 
religious thought, and the acknowledgment of Chris- 
tianity. It is stated by his Marshfield pastor that he 
contemplated writing a book on the Evidences of 
Christianity, so much interest did he entertain in that 
great subject. Behold, then, another great name 
added to the long list of those whose highly culti- 
vated intellects sustain the religion of Jesus Christ on 
its external and internal evidences. Let the sceptic 
pause in view of the confounding testimony of such 
an array of minds, capable of far-reaching discrimi- 


nation, of severe investigation, and patient deduction 
of truthful conclusions. 

Among Mr. Webster's many public declarations in 
homage of religion, are the following sentences of an 
address delivered in commemoration of his old friend 
and compeer, Jeremiah Mason: 

"But, Sir, political eminence and professional fame fade away 
and die with all things earthly. Nothing of character is really 
permanent but virtue and personal worth. These remain. What- 
ever of excellence is wrought into the soul itself belongs to both 
worlds. Real goodness does not attach itself merely to this life ; 
it points to another world. Political or professional reputation 
cannot last forever ; but a conscience void of offence before God 
and man, is an inheritance for eternity. Religion, therefore, is a 
necessary and indispensable element in any great human cha- 
recter. There is no living without it. Religion is the tie that 
connects man with his Creator, and holds him to his throne. If 
that tie be all sundered, all broken, he floats away, a worthless 
atom in the universe, its proper attractions all gone, its destiny 
thwarted, and its whole future nothing but darkness, desolation, 
and death. A man with no sense of religious duty is he whom 
the Scriptures describe, in such terse but terrific language as 
living 'without God in the world.' Such a man is out of his 
proper being, out of the circle of all his duties, out of the circle 
of all his happiness, and away, far, far away, from the purposes 
of his creation." 

7. The end of eaethly gkeatness is seen at the 
Marshfield grave. 

There is an appointed season unto man of life 
and of death. Both his soul and his dust are under 
providential doom; and generation after generation 
passes away, amidst crumbling thrones and universal 


instability. Human elevation, at best a tottering 
pinnacle, falls at death. 

" The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, 

And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, 
Await alike th' inevitable hour : 

The path of glory leads but to the grave." 

The death of Webster is the expression of a uni- 
versal law — of a law which regulates the setting, as 
well as the rising, of the star of human destiny. 
This great man, closing his eyes in death, declares, 
with speechless solemnity, more eloquent than living 
utterance, that "political and professional reputation 
cannot last for ever ; but a conscience void of offence 
towards God and man is an inheritance for eternity." 
" Political eminence and professional fame fade away 
and die with all things earthly. Nothing of character 
is really permanent but virtue and personal worth." 

8. Personal religion, the highest form of worth, 
is the true glory and joy of a statesman. 

Alas! that the character we have been contem- 
plating should fail in inspiring the same trust in its 
religious attributes as it commands in its other forms 
of greatness ! If the illustrious statesman had ex- 
hibited the transparent and consistent piety of Wil- 
liam Wilberforce, or John Jat, what an amount of 
service might have been rendered in the spiritual 
kingdom, as well as in the political world ! The 
example of public men, and especially of great public 


men, is influential on a large scale. May God never 
curse our country with greatness dissevered from 
goodness ! The religion of Jesus Christ, which is the 
only true basis of individual character, is the only 
safe support of the State. 

Pergonal piety includes more than an acknowledg- 
ment of Christianity as a system of religious belief; 
it has holier exercises than a mere respect for sacred 
things; it implies more than an outward morality, 
however severe. Originating by the grace of God in 
"faith in our Lord Jesus Christ," it "works by love, 
purifies the heart, and overcomes the world." Works 
are the evidence and the expression of faith ; and 
trust cannot be sincere, however clear may be credence, 
without the accompanying fruits of righteousness. 
Religion, heartfelt and sustaining, is the want of our 
nature. The highest attainments of worldly fame 
can never satisfy the immortal soul. It grasps for 
something that is divine and enduring. All else is a 
reed, — brittle and deceitful, — which no one may rest 
upon in a dying hour. "A rod — thy rod ; a staff — 
thy staff" — " that is what we want" when we go out 
to walk alone in the valley of the shadow of death. 




An Historical Discourse, on the occasion of the centennial eelebra- 
tion of the Battle of Lake George, 1755, delivered at the Court House, 
Caldwell, N. Y., September 8th, 1855. 



Citizens of "Warrex County axd Visitors at the Lake : 
The echoes of a hundred years resound throughout 
the mountain-passes. The roar of provincial cannon 
thunders amidst the flash of Battle ; and, from noon 
to the setting sun, armies contend for victory on the 
shore of the peaceful and trembling lake. 

To-day the great events of other generations are 
marshalled by memory into their original order and 
commanding position; and as Americans, victorious 
then, as in a greater conflict, we are assembled to 
commemorate the triumphs of the olden time. — 
Eighteen hundred cmd fifty-five sends back to seventeen 
hundrt d and fifty- five the congratulations of a century, 
over the inheritance deeded and signed on the battle- 
field of Lake George on the 8th of September. 

Lake George and vicinity is the classic ground of 
the Old French War. Every hill-top threw the sha- 
dow of warlike scenes into the lake, and its southern 
and northern shores were spectators of the decisive 
events which at length ended in the subjugation of 
Canada and the prosperity of the old American colo- 

I (129) 


nies. A very brief notice of the discovery and ante- 
cedent history of the lake, will open to us a view of 
the Old French War and the battles of a former cen- 
tury. It will be my object, as a sort of ranger, to 
bring some account to you here, at the old head-quar- 
ters, of the events that occurred on this field of his- 
torical interest. 

The sun and stars of thousands of years have im- 
aged the glory of God in the crystal waters of the 
beautiful lake. Ages before the Indian tracked his 
path along the mountains or glided his canoe through 
the depths of the water-valley, this landscape had 
reality in all the grace and grandeur of a divine crea- 
tion. Before Iroquois, or Saxon, or Celt, looked with 
delight upon the foliage green of the hills, or the 
emerald green of the lake, nature worshipped here 
in festival solitude and silence on the altar dedicated 
to the well-known God. The history of the lake, 
like the mist that sometimes covers its waters, ob- 
scures the far distance. 

" In the horizon of the Past, 
The cloudy summits of lost cycles rise, 
Like cumuli, far onward to the point 
Where distance vanishes in dreaminess." 

The Indians were the original and undisputed pro- 
prietors of this secluded heritage, — the domain of the 
Six Nations, or Iroquois, including both this and the 
adjoining lake on the outskirts of their hunting- 


ground. The first European or civilized man who is 
known to have penetrated this glorious Indian re- 
serve, was the celebrated Champlain. In 1609, at 
the head of an expedition of savages from Canada, 
against the Iroquois, he ascended the lake which now 
bears his name ; and in his account of the expedition, 
he refers to the "waterfall" between the two lakes, 
which he himself " saw," describes this lake as being 
three or four leagues in length, and mentions the dis- 
tance from its head to be about four leagues to the 
river which flows towards the coast of the Almou- 
chiquois, or New England Indians. Having given 
his own name to the larger lake, which was the scene 
of his achievements, Champlain was content to be- 
queath to the lesser lake the renown of his own record 
and an untitled nobility of nature. 

The next European who is known to have tra- 
versed these regions, was Father Jogues, a French 
Roman Catholic missionary, who, in 1646, was com- 
missioned to ratify the treaty of peace made between 
the French and the Iroquois. On his way from Can- 
ada to the Mohawk, he arrived at the outlet of the 
smaller lake on the eve of the festival of Corpus 
Christ i, or sacrament of the body of Christ, and, in 
commemoration of the event, he gave it the name of 
St. Sacrament. 

From this time not much is known of the annals 
of the lake, till General William Johnson encamped 


upon its shores, with his army of provincial soldiers, 
in 1755. During the interval, however, it is quite 
certain that the lake was more or less used as a 
channel of intercommunication with Canada, both in 
furtherance of friendly commerce and of hostile mili- 
tary expeditions. When General Johnson reached 
the lake, he affirms that "no house was ever before 
built here, nor a rod of land cleared." The ancient 
trees of the forest welcomed the old soldier in their 
unbroken and waving battalions, and gave him good 
ground to encamp upon, good lake-water to quench 
his thirst, and a good clear sky for his canopy. 

The Old French War originated in the long hered- 
itary national animosities between France and Eng- 
land. The British queen and the French monarch 
exchanged no visits of royal courtesy in those days ; 
and, instead of banquets and feasting at Windsor and 
Versailles, martial music and the display of arms 
were everywhere the mutual salutations. The treaty 
of Utrecht, made in 1713, guaranteed to England all 
Nova Scotia, with its ancient limits, and to the Five 
Nations, as subject to Great. Britain, the peaceable 
enjoyment of all their rights and privileges. The 
treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, was so indefinite 
in its terms, that, although a peace was agreed to, on 
the basis of the treaty of Utrecht, no settlement was 
made of the difficulty which had given rise to the 
war in America. There was a vague agreement that 


the boundaries in America should remain as they 
were before the war ; but for a quarter of a century 
before the war the lines had been the subject of per- 
petual contention. Thus provision may almost be 
said to have been made by treaty for the speedy 
opening of a new campaign, and the fires of war 
were to be rekindled on the very altar of peace. 
What rendered the indefinite terms of the treaty 
peculiarly exceptionable and unfortunate, was the 
fact that the French had erected, in 1721, a fort at 
Crown Point, within territory always claimed by 
Great Britain and the Iroquois. So intent, indeed, 
had France been on territorial aggrandizement, that 
before the signing of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. 
in 1748, she had erected nearly twenty forts, beside,- 
block-houses and stockade trading-places, on soil 
claimed by Great Britain. The peace on her part 
was merely a truce to prepare more extensive plans 
of commercial and military operations ; and, like the 
brief interval granted lately for the burial of the 
dead at Sebastopol, which the Russians emplo} T ed to 
strengthen their fortress, so France, at Aix-la-Cha- 
pelle, truced England into inactivity, whilst she her- 
self wove the banner of war and burnished her armor 
for a long campaign. Without regard to treaty stipu- 
lations, France commenced prosecuting her schemes 
of aggrandizement, not only in the American Colo- 


nies, but in Nova Scotia, in the East and West In- 
dies, and in the Mediterranean. 

The object of France in North America was to 
obtain possession of the great valley of the West, 
and to connect Canada and Louisiana by a chain of 
forts and trading-places, and thus hem in the colonies, 
and, perhaps, eventually gain possession of them, and 
secure a communication for Canada with the ocean 
through New York. When the Ohio Land Company 
was chartered, in 174'J, with a view to the settle- 
ment of the territory between the Monongahela and 
the Kanawha, the Governor-General of Canada sent 
an armed band of three hundred men down the Ohio 
Valley, to retain possession of the country in the 
name of France, and to expel the English traders 
from its borders. In every practicable manner, the 
French aimed at maintaining the vantage-ground 
which English inactivity had enabled them to seize. 
They attempted to proselyte the Six Nations, to 
foment disturbances among the Indians in general, 
to undersell the British traders, to gain possession of 
Lake Ontario by building a large vessel of war, and 
still further to increase their power, they had turned 
their trading-house at Niagara into a fort. 

The first blood shed by the French within the 
limits of the old thirteen colonies, in the Old French 
War, was at the Indian village of Piqua, in Western 
Ohio, in the year 1752. A contest which was to 


determine the future destiny of the mighty West, 
thus commenced on its own territory ; and its influ- 
ence was to be felt throughout Europe, in Asia, and 
in the West Indies, as well as in North America. In 
1753, the French detached a body of twelve hundred 
men to occupy the Ohio Valley, and the Governor of 
Virginia despatched George Washington to protest 
against the invasion. This brave young man, then 
only twenty-one years of age, traversed the forests of 
Maryland and Western Pennsylvania as far as Fort 
Le Boeuf, which was within a few miles of Lake 
Erie. The French commander of the forces, Le 
(Jardeur de St. Pierre, who was afterwards slain at 
the battle of Lake George, maintained the right of 
his sovereign to the soil. In 1754, Washington, now 
a lieutenant-colonel, was sent with a regiment to pro- 
tect P>ritish rights in the West, and to finish the fort 
at the forks of the Monongahela and Alleghany 
rivers; but, after an engagement with Jumonville, 
he was compelled to retreat to Fort Necessity, to 
capitulate, and to withdraw the English garrison to 
the east of the Alleghanies. France, at this time, 
was dominant throughout the valleys of the Ohio and 
Mississippi, and England had not in the great West 
a flag to cast even a shadow on the soil. 

In June, 1754, the first American Congress met in 
the city of Albany. Its principal object was to devise 
measures of defence, and to conciliate the Iroquois 


Indians, whose sachems assembled at Albany for con- 
ference. This first Congress is famous for the Plan of 
Union it proposed for all the Colonies on the basis of a 
Federal Government. Benjamin Franklin was the 
author of the measure, which, however, did not meet 
with sufficient favor to secure a trial at that time. 
The same illustrious man foresaw the future great- 
ness of the country ''back of the Appalachian Moun- 
tains," and advised the immediate organization of two 
colonies in the West — the one on Lake Erie, the 
other in the valley of the Ohio, with its capital on 
the banks of the Scioto. Franklin, as a statesman. 
displayed on this occasion a penetration of intellect 
as vivid as the lightning which, as a philosopher, w r as 
flashed down to him from heaven. 

In view of the alarming state of things in the 
Colonies, England despatched General Braddock, as 
commander-in-chief, with two regiments of regular 
troops. War had not yet been openly declared be- 
tween England and France; but both nations were 
actively pursuing their belligerent plans in anticipa- 
tion of a speedy crisis. 1 Braddock arrived in Vir- 
ginia in the spring of 1755, and summoned a council 
of the governors of the Colonies at Alexandria. 
Three expeditions were determined on. The first, 
under Braddock himself, was to march to the Ohio, 

1 War was not declared until the following year — by England 
on the 18th of May, 1156, and by France on the 9th of June. 


obtain possession of Fort Duquesne, and then pro- 
ceed according to circumstances. The second, under 
Governor Shirley, was to reduce Fort Niagara, and 
to maintain possession of Oswego. The third, un 
General William Johnson, was to take possession of 
Fort St. Frederick, at Crown Point, and drive the 
French from the colony of New York. The lattei 
expedition was, perhaps, the most important of the 
three. The province of New York was more ac- 
cessible than any other to the enemy; Fort St. Fre- 
derick, Fort Niagara, and Fort Presentation, were 
encroachments upon its immemorial jurisdiction ; the 
province was central to the other provinces ; its chief 
city had the finest harbor on the Atlantic coast; ■ 
the council-fires of the Six Nations burned at Onon- 
daga, the head-quarters of these influential and brave 
tribes of Indians. 

The rendezvous of both Shirley's and Johnson's 
expedition was Albany. Most of the troops designed 
for Johnson's command arrived there before the 
end of June, and were obliged to remain for some 
time in camp, waiting for the artillery, boats, provi- 
sions, and other necessaries. In the meanwhile, the 
provincials became discontented with the inactivity 
of a long encampment; and Major-General Lyman 
was obliged to make short marches in the line of des- 
tination in order to prevent them from disbanding. 
When he had advanced to the "great carrying-place." 


he waited for the arrival of General Johnson, and 

commenced building a fort on the east side of the 
Hudson, which was afterwards called Fort Edward, 
" in honour of the second prince of the blood of that 
name/' On the 8th of August, General Johnson set 
out from Albany, with the artillery and other stores, 
and reached the "great carrying-place " on the 14th, 
having been detained two days by some dissatisfac- 
tion on the part of the Connecticut troops. On the 
22d, a council of war was held to determine what 
route should be taken to Crown Point; and it was 
the unanimous opinion of the council that the road 
to " Lake St. Sacrament appears to them the most 
eligible, and that it be immediately set about." It 
was further resolved to send forward two thousand 
men, to cut the road and to build " a place of arms 
and magazines " at the head of the lake. In addi- 
tion to the new r s of Braddock's defeat, which had 
reached the army about a month before, the spirits 
of the troops were now depressed by a report that 
the French were advancing towards Crown Point in 
overwhelming numbers; and the Indians declared 
that the English were no match for them, but must 
be surely defeated. Johnson writes that he ought to 
have eight thousand men, and that the reinforce- 
ments ought to advance as rapidly as possible. 

On the 26 th of August, Johnson sets out for Lake 
St. Sacrament, a distance of about seventeen miles; 


and, after three days' marching, reaches there, or rather 
here, on the evening of the 28th. What a sight was 
such a lake to an army of men that had never before 
looked upon its mountain-guarded waters ! Often did 
Johnson, and Lyman, and Williams, and Hendrick 
with their companions-in-arms, gaze with wonder at 
a scene whose enchantments are fresh with the 
morning light and renewed with the setting sun. 

"Alas! beside that beauteous wave 
Shall many an unreturning brave 
Find his last bivouac — the grave ! 
In his lost home his name grow dim, 
And low woods sigh his requiem 1" 

The name of the lake was changed by Johnson 
from St. Sacrament to Lake George, " not only in 
honour to his majesty, but to ascertain his undoubted 
dominion here" — a name now become historical, and 
properly enough commemorative of provincial times, 
and of the important events that occurred under the 
reigning king. 

The plan of operations arranged by General John- 
son was to construct a fort, proceed up the lake with 
a part of the army, as soon as the boats arrived, 
and take possession of Ticonderoga; and, waiting 
there until the rest of the army came up, proceed to 
attack Crown Point. On the evening of the 7th of 
September, however, the Indian scouts bring intelli- 
gence that they had discovered a large road cut from 


South Bay, and were confident that a considerable 
number of the enemy were marching to the "great 
carrying-place." Johnson, surprised and perplexed, 
perhaps doubts the report. About midnight, intelli- 
gence comes that the enemy were discovered four miles 
this side of the " carrying-place." Nothing, however, 
was done for the safety of Fort Edward until the 
next morning', when a council was called. In the 
language of General Johnson, "the Indians were ex- 
tremely urgent that one thousand men should be de- 
tached, and a number of their people would go with 
them, in order to catch the enemy in their retreat from 
the other camp, either as victors, or defeated in their 

The enemy proved to be a French force of nearly 
two thousand men, regulars, Canadians, and Indians, 
under the command of Baron Dieskau. This French 
general had arrived at Quebec in the spring, with 
nearly two thousand regular troops. His original 
plan was to proceed up the river St. Lawrence to 
Lake Ontario, and to capture the fort at Oswego. — 
But Montreal was so much alarmed, at the news of 
an English army on its march to Fort Frederick, and 
perhaps into Canada, that the Baron was importuned 
to proceed to the defence of Fort Frederick, which 
he finally consented to do with great reluctance. 
Having waited some time for the approach of the 
English army, he determined to go and meet them 


himself. His scheme was bold and precise. Pie v, as 
to attack Fort Edward first, which was defended by 
a garrison of only four hundred men ; then to fall 
upon the camp at Lake George, where victory was 
supposed to be within his reach, as the camp was re- 
ported to be destitute of either artillery or intrench- 
ments ; and afterwards desolate Albany and Schenec- 
tady, and cut off communication with Oswego. It 
seems, however, that when Dieskau was within two 
miles of Fort Edward, the Indians refused to attack it, 
on account of their peculiar dread of cannon; but, 
on their declaring a willingness to attack the camp, 
Dieskau changed his plans and turned towards the 

It is Sabbath-day in the provincial camp. The 
bustle of war does not prevent the arrival of wagons, 
work at the fort, and preparations for the campaign. 
But God is not forgotten by all. A venerable chap- 
lain, 1 whose locks are white with age, is seen taking 
his station in the shade of the forest-trees. He is 
the chaplain of Williams' regiment, the third regi- 
ment of Massachusetts, and Williams is there. With 
him are Ruggles, and Titcomb, and Whiting, and 
other officers. The soldiers of New England attend 
with reverential appearance ; and Hendrick and a 
band of Iroquois loiter in the distance, with their 

1 Rev. Stephen Williams, of Long Meadow, Massachusetts. 


eyes turned to the assembly. After singing, — per- 
haps the 46th psalm, to the tune of "Old Hun- 
dred," — prayer is offered up to the God of their fathers. 
The Puritan preacher then takes for his text the 
words of Isaiah : " Which remain among the gravi e 
and lodge in the mountains." Were these words, 
alas ! prophetic ? Let us turn to the narrative. 

The detachment of one thousand provincial troops, 
despatched to arrest Dieskau's progress and to aid 
Fort Edward, was commanded by Colonel Ephraim 
Williams, of Massachusetts. It set out between 
eight and nine o'clock on Monday morning, and con- 
sisted of three divisions. Colonel Williams starts in 
advance with the first division of five hundred men. 
halts at Rocky Brook, about half a mile from the place 
where the attack occurred, and waits for the other 
divisions under Hendrick and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Whiting. The Indians soon follow, in command of 
the great Mohawk chief. Being advanced in years, 
and corpulent in person, he rides on horseback. Erect 
in the dignity of a noble Indian presence, the old 
sachem has cast his last look on the lake, and taken 
the road into the forest in pursuit of the enemy. 
During this halt of Colonel Williams, the enemy 
place themselves in ambuscade. Our party then 
march forward, the Indians leading the way, and 
enter the defile. One of the enemy's muskets going 
off prematurely, they are discovered, and immediately 


they commence the attack on our Indians. The war- 
whoop resounds through the woods, and volleys of 
musketry from the Abenakis Indians on the left, and 
from the regulars in front, strew the ground with the 
dying. The brave old Hendrick falls, — a conspicuous 
mark to men of unerring aim. The Mohawks, un- 
certain and alarmed, move back to where Colonel 
Williams is, a short distance behind ; and at the 
same moment our troops march up to their support. 
The engagement becomes general. At this time, in 
the early part of the engagement, Colonel Williams 
mounts a rock for the purpose of reconnoitering ; and. 
in the act of ordering his men to go higher up the 
hill on the right, he is immediately shot down. It 
soon became evident to our officers that the French 
had posted themselves on both sides of the road for 
the purpose of surrounding and cutting off the de- 
tachment. A retreat was therefore ordered, which 
was conducted with consummate skill by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Whiting, of New Haven, who had previously 
distinguished himself at the taking of Louisburg, 
Nova Scotia. The firing had been heard at the 
camp, about two hours after the departure of the de- 
tachment. It drew nearer and nearer. Our men 
were retreating ; and General Johnson orders Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Cole, at the head of three hundred 
men, to cover the retreat, which was accomplished 
with some success. Although defeated by superior 


numbers, our men had fought bravely. Rallying for 
a short time behind the Bloody Pond, they brought 
many of the enemy to the earth. It was afterwards 
found that nearly one half of the killed on both sides 
had Mien in the desperate preliminary encounter of 
the morning. 

The Americans were encamped about a quarter of 
a mile from the head of the lake, being protected on 
either side by a low, thick-wooded swamp. After the 
•march of the detachment, General Johnson drew up 
some heavy cannon from the margin of the lake, a 
distance of about five hundred yards from his front. 
Trees were also felled to form a breastwork, the 
proper intrenchments having been unaccountably 
neglected. On some -of the eminences to the left, 
where Fort George now stands, cannon were drawn 
up and advantageously posted. After these hurried 
preparations of a few hours, our retreating soldiers 
come in sight in large bodies, with the enemy in full 
pursuit. Among those who climb the intrenchments, 
Hendrick and Williams are not seen. All is confu- 
sion. But, behold, Dieskau halts ! For nearly fif- 
teen minutes, when within one hundred and fifty 
yards of the encampment, the French general, instead 
of making a bold advance upon the lines, which the 
disorder of the retreating corps might have made 
successful, is compelled to pause, as though Provi- 
dence had issued to him a superior command. The 


cause of this delay is not fully ascertained. It may 
have been owing either to the surprise at finding ar- 
tillery arrayed against him, and the consequent diffi- 
culty of bringing the Indians up to the conflict, or it 
may have been with the view of giving time for the 
Canadians and Indians to get on either flank, and 
make a simultaneous attack with the regulars posted 
on the centre. Whatever was the cause of the delay, 
it probably lost Dieskau the victory. The provincials 
had time to rally, and to reduce their plan of defence 
to better order ; and when the French opened their 
fire, the distance was too great to produce much 
effect. The artillery of the provincials gave them 
an advantage in the battle. It was served by Cap- 
tain William Eyres, an English officer, despatched bv 
General Braddock to accompany the expedition. The 
battle at the camp began between eleven and twelve 
o'clock; and the wonder is that the French, with 
inferior numbers, and without artillery, could sustain 
the conflict for more than four hours. The attack on 
the centre by the regulars was obstinately persevered 
in for more than an hour. This proving unavailing, 
Dieskau then attacked the right, where, on account 
of there being no cannon, there seemed a better pros- 
pect of success. A heavy loss of the provincials 
occurred in this quarter, in the regiments of Titcomb, 
Ruggles, and Pomeroy ; but their bravery corres- 
ponded with the emergency, and the enemy could 
13 K 


gain no advantage in that direction. In their attempt 
to pass over the intrench ments, the old-fashioned 
musket;, in the hands of brave New England farmers, 
did terrible work. The battle on the right raged for 
nearly two hours, when Dieskau again attacked the 
front, and then the right and the left, and at last 
attempted to come in on the rear of the army, when 
General Lyman, perceiving the danger, ordered some 
shells to be thrown, which, together with the fire of 
sonic thirty-two pounders, made the enemy retire in 
great disorder. The Indians, who. at an early period 
in the battle, had taken possession of the rising 
ground near where Fort William Henry now stands, 
were soon terrified by shots from a cannon, which was 
in position on one of the eminences near Fort George. 
After a long conflict, sustained chiefly by the regu- 
lars, the French begin to fly. Victors in the morn- 
ing, the survivors hurry back at the setting sun, van- 
quished, wearied, and dreading their doom. Dieskau, 
severely wounded, is taken prisoner. 

As the English neglected to pursue, the French 
halted about three miles from the camp, near Bloody 
Pond and Rocky Brook, where the engagement of the 
morning had been renewed. The halt at this parti- 
cular spot seems to have been partly owing to the 
desire of the Indians to obtain plunder, and to secure 
the scalps of those who had fallen in the early en- 
gagement ; but it is a busy day, and they must think 


of their own scalps. At seven o'clock in the evening, 
a reinforcement from Fort Edward of two hundred 
men falls unexpectedly upon them, under the com- 
mand of Captain William McGinnes, of Schenectady. 

After a contest of two hours, our party gained 
possession of the baggage and ammunition of the 
French, which was conveyed to the camp the next 
morning; and the French retreated still farther 
towards Lake Champlain, having learned the danger 
of encamping for the night too near their foe. 

The victory was decisive. If the enemy had been 
pursued without delay, the whole body might have 
been cut off and made prisoners. General Johnson's 
first error was in neglecting an immediate and vigorous 
pursuit. General Lyman urged it with unusual ve- 
hemence, and the spirit of officers and men, aroused 
by war and flushed by triumph, was equal to the 
endurance. When the tide of battle is once turned. 
it sweeps against the vanquished with terrific im- 
petuosity. If that tide in our affairs had been taken 
at its flood, it might have led our army to the double 
fortune of a victory on the battle-field and the cap- 
ture of the enemy in their flight. Instead of pur- 
suing, our army retired to their encampment on the 
shores of the tideless lake, content, like it, with 
repose after the surges of the day. General Johnson 
excused his conduct by the plea that he had reason 
to expect a renewal of the attack, and that it was 


dangerous to weaken the main body by detachments 
to scour the country. But the enemy was in no con- 
dition to rally after the loss of their General and of 
almost all the regular soldiers ; and the true way to 
strengthen the main position of the victors was to 
take advantage of the enemy's defeat by throwing 
out detachments to cut them off before reaching their 
boats on Lake Champlain. The enemy were far more 
fatigued than the Americans, in consequence of their 
forced marches towards the camp ; and there can be 
little doubt that, had the opinion of General Lyman 
and other officers prevailed, Dieskau's band would 
never have seen Ticonderoga or Fort St. Frederick. 

General Johnson's second capital error was in not 
carrying forward with alacrity the immediate object 
of his expedition — which was the reduction of Crown 
Point. The idea seems early to have gained entrance 
into the General's mind, that the victory at Lake 
George was glory enough for one campaign. Only 
ten days after the battle, on the 18th, he writes that 
it is doubtful whether the expedition can advance to 
Ticonderoga this year. At a council of war, how- 
ever, held four days later, the officers unanimously 
decided that it was best to proceed as soon as the 
expected reinforcements had arrived. Governor Shir- 
ley remonstrated with Johnson against his reluctance 
to push forward his army, and, in a letter to him 
dated the 25th of September, says : " If nothing 


further could be done in this campaign than gaining 
Ticonderoga, yet that would be carrying a great point 
for the protection of the country behind, this year, 
and facilitation of the reduction of Fort St. Frederick 
the next spring." 

Whilst waiting for reinforcements, it was decided 
to build a fort — the officers being in favour of a small 
stockade fort, capable of holding one hundred men. 
whilst Johnson desired the erection of a large one, 
capable of defence against an army with artillery. 
Finally, Johnson's plan was adopted. The months 
of September and October passed away in sending 
out scouts and in fort-building, until the men became 
dispirited, wearied, and desirous of returning home. 
Towards the end of October, the council of officers 
decided that, on account of the lateness of the sea- 
son, the disaffection of the soldiers, and the want of 
supplies, it was inexpedient to proceed with the ex- 
pedition. At this time there were four thousand five 
hundred men in the camp. The great objects of the 
army were thus unaccomplished ; and, instead of oc- 
cupying Ticonderoga, which of itself would have 
been an important position in advance, the delay 
enabled the enemy to gain possession of it and fortify 
it, greatly to our subsequent loss and disadvantage. 

Notwithstanding General Johnson's apparent errors 
in not taking full advantage of his victory, it is cer- 
tain that the battle of Lake George has points of 


honourable distinction, worthy of a centennial com- 

Considering its time and circumstances, the battle 
of Lake George had a number of distinguished men 
to give character to the conilict. On the side of the 
enemy, who took the aggressive on the occasion, was 
Baron de Dieskau, an officer of some distinction in 
the armies of France. Be had been selected as a 
commander able to take charge of the important work 
i)i' superintending the military operations of the em- 
pire in the Western World. ;i Boldness wins " was 
Dieskau's maxim. This he exemplified, at least in 
part, in marching with about two thousand men to 
find the enemy, and into the very centre of our mili- 
tary operations. Fortunately for us, " boldness " did 
not "win" on that occasion. Dieskau, at the head 
of his forces, employs in vain strategy and military 
skill. The language of France and its crown-lilies 
of white are unheeded and dishonoured in the forests 
of America. The brave general receives a deadly 
wound ; and he who had rallied battalions on the fields 
of Europe, and had sailed up the St. Lawrence and 
Lake Champlain with the ambition to win a fame in 
the New World, sits upon a stump, in the midst of 
his slain, with hopes blasted, projects thw r arted, army 
defeated, wounded in body and in spirit, and with 
the doom of death darkly before his eye. Dieskau, 
after his capture, informed General Johnson that, 


only a few hours before, he had written to the Gov- 
ernor-General of Canada that he was driving the Eng- 
lish before him like sheep, and that he expected that 
night to lodge in General Johnson's tent. The ex- 
pectation was verified ; as prisoner, and not victor, 
Dieskau entered the American camp ; and, instead of 
the congratulations of victory, he received the honest 
sympathies of American soldiers towards a defeated 
and wounded general, carried within their intrench- 
ments on a blanket. After the lapse of a century, 
those sympathies remain fresh and unimpaired. Ho- 
nour to the memory of the gallant and unfortunate 
Dieskau ! 

Another of the distinguished men in the French 
ami}- was Le Gardeuk de St. Pierre. He was a 
brave officer, and remarkable for the zeal and energy 
with which he advanced the interests of his king, 
especially among the Indians, with whom he had 
very great influence. He had confronted Washington 
three years before at Fort Le Bceuf, which was con- 
structed in Western Pennsylvania for the mainte- 
nance of the claims of France. It was chiefly through 
his instrumentality that the Indians of Dieskau's ex- 
pedition were gathered together and organized. Ho 
received his death-wound in the forests in the morn- 
ing, and his earthly greatness came to an end in the 
battle of September 8th, 1755. 

On the English side, General Johnson, the com- 


mander-in-chiefj was a distinguished character in th< 
province. He had been superintendent of Indian 
affairs for several -years, and possessed an acute mind 
and executive talents of a high order. His private 
morals were bad; but, like other public men of thai 
day and this, his moral demerit was. unfortunately, 
no bar to his public renown. The King of Great 
Britain conferred on him a baronetcy, and Parliament 
voted a tribute to his triumph of £5000. The name 
of Sir William Johnson will go down to posterity 
with titled honors and military distinction. 

Major-General Lyman, the real hero of the battle 
in the estimation of some, directed the movements 
of the provincial army the greater part of the day. 
The command had devolved upon him in consequence 
of a wound received by General Johnson in the earl} 
part of the engagement;, which compelled him to with- 
draw to his tent. Lyman was in the thickest of the 
fight, and guided the movements of the field with 
discretion and energy. He was an accomplished, edu- 
cated man, high in rank at the bar, a civilian of 
some eminence, and deserves well of his country for his 
military services on September 8, 1755. It is not to 
the credit of General Johnson that he does not even 
mention the name of General Lyman in the official 
account of the battle. Nor was it very courteous in 
Johnson to change the name of Fort Lyman, at the 


carrying-place, to Fort Edward, which he did only a 
few days after the battle. 

Colonel Ephraim Williams was a prominent actor 
in the scenes we commemorate. In the former war 
of 1744, he commanded the line of forts on the west- 
ern side of the Connecticut river, and resided princi- 
pally at Fort Massachusetts, which was about three 
miles east of what is now Williamstown. In passing 
through Albany, on his way to the seat of war, he 
made his will on the 22d of July. After giving cer- 
tain legacies to his relatives, he bequeathed the re- 
mainder of his property to the founding of a free- 
school on the western frontiers of Massachusetts, at 
a place Avhich received the name of Williams town, in 
honour of the donor. In 1790, the sum had accu- 
mulated to nearly $20,000; $0000 of which was 
used, with a similar amount from other sources, in 
erecting a large building for the academy. In 1793, 
the academy was chartered by the State as a college. 
and was called Williams College. It was a great 
thought in the mind of Williams to establish an institu- 
tion of learning. His fame rests upon a more enduring 
rock than the reconnoitering-stone of a military offi- 
cer ; and his monument is seen, not merely by glances 
in a mountain-ravine, but on the highway of nations 
and in the heathen as well as the civilized world. — 
It was Williams College that sent out the first Ameri- 
can missionaries to Asia; and her graduates have 


the honour of originating the American Board of 
Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The alumni of 
the College last year erected ;i tasteful monument to 
the memory of its founder. His remains were disin- 
terred some twenty years ago. A stone, with the 
initials E. W., 1705, marks the original plaee of his 
burial, which was a few rods south of the monument, 
on the western side of the old road. 

Old Hendrick, the Mohawk sachem, fell in the 
battle of Lake George. He was the greatest Indian 
chief of his day. Sagacity and moderation were the 
basis of his character. Brave in the field, he was 
wise in council. His integrity was incorruptible; 
and his friendship to the American colonies, whose 
chain was consecrated at council-fires, was strength- 
ened in the heat of trial. Two characteristic anec- 
dotes are told of him, as incidents of the battle of 
September 8th, 1775. His opinion being asked in 
regard to the number of men at first proposed for the 
detachment of the morning, he replied : " If to fight, 
too few; if to be killed, too many." The number 
was accordingly increased ; but General Johnson pro- 
posed to send them out in three divisions. Hendrick 
took three sticks, and, putting them together, said : 
" Put these sticks together, and you can't break them ; 
take them one by one, and you will break them 
easily." Previously to the setting out of the detach- 
ment, Hendrick harangued his people in strains of 


fervid eloquence. He was among the earliest killed. 
He had advanced so far into the ambuscade that the 
fire from the flank hit him in the back. He was at 
the head of the Indians, as represented in Blodget's 
view of the battle, and must have fallen several hun- 
dred yards in advance of Williams ; probably a third 
of the way between the monument and the present 
toll-gate. The Indians on our side sustained the 
chief attack of the morning. Out of two hundred 
men they lost nearly one-fourth, and every one of 
their officers. They complained to General Johnson 
that they had been sacrificed by the backwardness 
of our men. The sticks mentioned by old Hendrick 
had not been tied closely enough together. 

Israel Putnam, who afterwards became a famous 
general in the American Revolution, and who shared 
with Warren and Stark the glories of Bunker Hill, 
was a private soldier in the battle of Lake George. 
He was one of Williams' men in the detachment of 
the morning. Lake George was a training-place of 
his future greatness. He was frequently employed, 
after the battle, in reconnoitering the enemy. He 
was the ranger of the lake. He was the scout of the 
mountain. His eye could detect an Indian's trail, 
and take unerring sight with his old musket at any 
mark worthy the snap of the flint. The rotund, 
jovial figure of "Old Put" has been often imaged in 
the waters of the lake and shadowed along the moun- 

1 : 't'» BATTLE OF 

tain glens; and, in the regiment of Lyman, no man 
did heavier work than he on the 8th of September, 

The famous John Stark was in the army, as lieu- 
tenant; but, as the New Hampshire regiment was 
stationed for the defence of Fort Edward, it is pro- 
bable that Stark was on duty there,' and not in the 

Other distinguished officers and men were on the 
battle-field, and among them was the brave Colonel 
Titcomb, who was the only officer killed in the en- 
campment, and whose regiment, posted on the ex- 
treme right, was obliged to sustain the brunt of Dies- 
kau's attack on that side. The graves of Titcomb, 
McGinnis, and the other officers who fell, are, no 
doubt, with us to this day ; and, although the dark 
oblivion of a century intercepts their individual re- 
cognition, tradition points the present generation to 
the "officers' graves." 

Let us now notice some of the circumstances which 
gave to the battle of Lake George a renown beyond 
the mere numbers engaged in the contest. 

I. The battle of Lake George is memorable in de- 
feating a well-laid, dangerous scheme of the enemy, 
and in saving the province from scenes of bloodshed 
and desolation. If Dieskau had succeeded in over- 
throwing Johnson in his intrenchments, his advance 
upon Fort Edward would have been easily successful, 


and from thence his march to Albany would have 
been triumphant. Old Hendrick, at the Convention 
of the preceding year, had warned the province of 
its danger. "You are without any fortifications," 
said he : " It is but a step from Canada hither ; and 
the French may easily come and turn you out of 
doors." The conflagration of our northern settle- 
ments would have been followed by the desolation of 
Albany and Schenectady; and, although Dieskau 
must have soon been compelled to retreat, it is im- 
possible to estimate the bloodshed, plunder, and gene- 
ral losses which might have taken place, had not God 
ordered it otherwise. His providence was on our 
side. The victory of Lake George undoubtedly res- 
cued the province from injury and woe beyond com- 
putation. Considered, therefore, in its immediate 
strategical results, the battle was one of the import- 
ant engagements of American history. 

II. The battle of Lake George is remarkable for 
its influence in rallying the spirit of the American colo- 
nies. Much had been expected from the three expe- 
ditions sent against the French ; but disappointment 
and sorrow had already followed Braddock's terrible 
defeat. That event had occurred only two months 
before, on the 9th of July. It was more than the 
moaning of the forest-pine in the ears of the solitarj- 
traveller ; it was the blaze of lightning falling upon 
the mountain-oak in his very path, followed by the 


crash of thunder. All the provinces were amazed, 
awe-struck, paralyzed, for a time; but, recovering 
from the first shock of the calamity, they were 
aroused to avenge their loss. Their hopes were 
turned to Lake George and to Niagara, and not in 
vain. Johnson's victory was received as the precur- 
sor of a recovered military position and fame, and 
was hailed as the means of deliverance from a bold 
and cruel foe. Few battles ever produced more im- 
mediate results in rekindling patriotic and martial 
enthusiasm. Congratulations poured in upon General 
Johnson from every quarter. Not only were the 
colonies filled with rejoicing, but the influence of the 
triumph went over to England, and the deeds of our 
fathers at the camp of Lake George became familiar 
to the ears of Royalty and were applauded by the 
eloquence of Parliament. The moral effects of a 
battle in which the forces arrayed against each other 
were comparatively small, have rarely been greater 
and more decided in the whole range of military 

Til. Viewed simply in a military aspect, the battle 
of Lake George was the only successful achievement, 
within the thirteen colonies, during the campaign of 
1755; which is another item of its various renown. 
Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela, and Shirley's 
retreat from Oswego, brought ruin upon the expe- 
ditions framed for the reduction of Forts Duquesne 


and Niagara. Although the northern expedition failed 
in its object of reducing Fort Frederick, it had a show 
of glory in the brilliant success of a hard-fought battle. 
Success in one direction often overbalances disappoint- 
ment in another. The victory of General Johnson 
was the great event of the campaign of 1755, solitary 
in the honors of its military triumph, and shining 
out, bright as Mars, from the clouds of night. 

IV. The victory of Lake George occurred in the 
series of campaigns that ended in the conquest of 
Canada, and of the valley of the Great West. Here, 
in the forest, was the base of a line of operations on 
which were wrought out great problems of war. The 
mountains of the lake were landmarks to conduct 
our armies from summit to summit of achievement, 
until, passing over all barriers, they found their rest- 
ing-place in the valleys of St. Lawrence and Missis- 
sippi. Unknown results of territorial acquisition, 
and of political and religious destiny, lay concealed 
in the expedition which started for the capture of a 
single fort on Lake Champlain, and for the defence 
of the limited boundary-line of a province. God dis- 
poses of man's proposals. The lucid purposes of an 
all-comprehensive Providence undiscernible by mortal 
eyes, are brought to pass by the majestic develop- 
ments of events apparently remote in their relations 
as trivial in their magnitude. The American victory 
of Lake George was not an isolated item of one cam- 


paign. It was more than a simple triumph in an un- 
broken wilderness, — a military achievement of the 
New England and New York yeomanry, which saved 
themselves from destruction. Far higher its moral, 
political, and warlike connections. It headed a series 
of successes that were followed by the gain of king- 
doms. It animated the determination of the country 
to take decisive measures for deliverance from French 
aggressions and agitations. "Canada, my lord," 
wrote a distinguished New Yorker, in reviewing the 
operations of the campaign, " Canada must be de- 
molished, — Delenda est Carthago, — or we are un- 
done." ' The result was not anticipated at the be- 
ginning, but the natural tendency of the contest was 
the overthrow of French dominion on the continent. 
Johnson's victory had a true influence of relation to 
this end. As the southern inlet near Fort George 
joins itself to the lake, whose waters flow to the 
north, and, tossed over cascades and waterfalls, pass 
into the St. Lawrence, so the expedition of 1755, 
identifying itself with a vast expanse of agencies, 
pressed forward the natural current of its direction, 
over the rocks and reverses of campaigns, into Canada. 
But Canada was only a part of the great acquisitions 
of the war. The whole Northwest was wrested from 
France, together with the valley of the Mississippi 
lying easterly of that river, with the exception of 

1 Review of Military Operations, etc., p. 143. 


the island of Orleans. Thus we stand to-day at one 
Of the fountain-heads of American destiny. 

A . The battle of Lake George was furthermore 
memorable in its suggestions of provincial prowess, 
and in its lessons of warfare to the colonies preparatory 
to their independence. The battle was fought by 
provincial troops, and chiefly by the hardy sons of 
glorious New England. The veteran regulars of Old 
England had been beaten in the forests of "Western 
Pennsylvania, or remained inactive in the Niagara 
expedition. Through some unaccountable cause, the 
expedition, which was on the direct line to Canada, 
and nearest to the French reinforcements, known to 
be at hand, was consigned to the exclusive care of 
native colonial soldiers ; and bravely did they do 
their duty. On these shores provincial prowess sig- 
nalized its self-relying and unaided capabilities; and 
in this battle and in this war the colonies practically 
learned the value of union and the unconquerable 
energies of a free people. Putnam, and Stark, and 
Pomero}^, came here, as to a military academy, to 
acquire the art of warfare ; and they all exercised 
their experience at Bunker Hill. George Washing- 
ton, himself, as a military man. was nurtured for 
America and the world amid the forests of the Alle- 
ghanies and the rifles and tomahawks of these French 
and Indian struggles. Lake George and Saratoga 
are contiguous not merely in territory, but in heroic 
14* L 


association. Correlative ideas, evolved under va r v ing 
circumstances, they are proofs of the same spirit of 
liberty, the same strong energy of purpose, 

"And courage quailing not, though hosts oppose. " 

The battle-scenes of the Old French War and of the 
Revolution, are match-pictures in the gallery of his- 
tory, to be handed down together to all generations. 
The influence of the Old French War, as the training- 
field of the American Revolution, was incalculably 
great. During all this period, too, apolitical conflict 
was going on in almost all the provinces, between 
their legislative bodies and the commissioners of the 
plantations in England ; so that, while resisting from 
principle what were regarded as arbitrary exactions. 
the colonies were becoming conversant with their own 
military and political strength, which was laying itself 
up in store for the crisis of revolutionary emer- 

In view of these considerations, the battle of Lake 
George well deserves some prominence of the coun- 
try's annals. 

A few words about the forts must not be omitted 
on this historical occasion. 

Fort William Henry was built by General John- 
son, just a century ago. The original site of the en- 
campment extended from the lake a quarter of a mile, 
or upwards, with the old road as the centre, being 


flanked by the marshy land, and having the irregu- 
lar eminences, on one of which Fort George was after- 
wards built, as part of the encampment. A few days 
before the battle, the site where Fort William Henry 
now stands, was selected for the building of a picketed 
fort, to contain one hundred men ; and Colonel Wil- 
liams was charged with its erection, under the man- 
agement of Captain Eyres, the engineer. General 
Johnson was, from the beginning, opposed to a pick- 
eted fort, and in favour of a regular military struc- 
ture, capable of resisting artillery. This contest be- 
tween Johnson and his officers was probably the index 
of opposite views in regard to the campaign at that 
time, — Johnson wishing to remain at Lake George 
and construct a large fortification, while the officers 
aimed at putting up a temporary defence and pro- 
ceeding at once to Ticonderoga and Crown Point. 
After a contest of nearly a month, during which time 
General Johnson managed to secure the opinion of 
the general-in-chief and the acting governor of the 
State in favour of his views, and it becoming evident 
that the expedition could not advance this season, 
the council of officers n greed to change the plan of a 
small stockade fort into a more regular work, capable 
of holding five hundred men. This opinion was 
arrived at on the 29th of September, and the new 
fortification was immediately commenced, prosecuted 
with some vigour, and finished in about two months. 


The name William Henry was given by Genera] 
Johnson "in honour of two of the royal family." — 
The site of the fort always had opponents. It was 
"faulted by Montresaor, the chief-engineer;" and 
General Johnson was early obliged to vindicate it 
from the objections still prevailing. 

The history of Fort William Henry is a short and 
mournful one. It capitulated, after a brave defence, 
to the French general, .Montcalm, on the 9th of Au- 
gust, 1757, and a large part of the garrison were 
inhumanly massacred by the Indians. The vestiges 
that remain are hallowed by ancient recollections; 
and the proprietors of the soil have patriotically 
determined that the site shall be forever reserved 
and kept free from the encroachments of modern 

The eminence at Fort George was " lined out " by 
General Abercrombie in 1758 — the year following the 
destruction of Fort William Henry ; but the mason- 
work was not built until the following year, 1759, by 
the army under General Amherst. Its site was part 
of Johnson's original encampment. It was also the 
encampment of a division of Colonel Monroe's army 
when Fort William Henry capitulated. The garrison 
at that time embraced about five hundred men, and 
the intrenchments around the eminence held seven- 
teen hundred. One of the first things that Montcalm 
did was to post a large detachment on the road to 


the south, for the purpose of cutting off supplies from 
the rear, and of harassing the communication be- 
tween the intrenchments and the fort. The emi- 
nence was intrenched by General Abercrombie, after 
his defeat at Ticonderoga. In that disastrous action 

the English had about two thousand men killed and 
wounded. One of the Highland regiments, com- 
manded by the gallant Colonel Grant, went into the 
action eight hundred strong, and came out with the 
loss of nearly one-half. The Presbyterian clergyman, 
before the engagement, ended his few remarks In- 
saying : " My lads, I ha'e nae time for lang preach- 
ments ; a' I ha'e to say is, nae cowards gae to heaven." 
Fort George has no special renown on the pages of 

Fort Gage was built in 1759, while General Am- 
herst was at the lake. It was named in honour of 
General Gage, who commanded the light infantry. 
Gage was with Braddock at the time of his defeat. 
He afterwards received the appointment of general, 
and subsequently was governor of Massachusetts — 
the last provincial governor that the old Bay State 
allowed in her councils. 

The battles, the forts, the intrenchments, the ruins, 
the roads, the graves, of this vicinity, are all memo- 
rials of the Old French War. That war resulted in 
the most important conquests. It was, in fact, a war 
of Protestant against Roman Catholic Christianity ; 


and on its issues the destiny of the mighty valleys of 
the West was pre-eminently dependent. God raised 
up William Pitt, " the great Commoner," to preside 
over the affairs of England at this critical period ; 
and through his glorious administration, commencing 
in 1757, England recovered her position among the 
nations, and resumed her wonted superiority on the 
continent. Prussia was the only power that strug- 
gled with her, side by side, against the common foe. 
The greatest trophies won by England, during the 
war, were in this Western World. The possession of 
Canada, and the peaceable enjoyment of her North 
American colonies, were rewards worthy the struggle 
of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom. 

The peace of 1763 enabled King George III., who 
had recently ascended the throne, to carry out his 
design of overawing the colonies by arbitrary power. 
William Pitt, the man of the people, resigned his 
office, and a different policy prevailed. The Ameri- 
can Revolution ensued, and France, our former colo- 
nial enemy, became our effective ally against England. 
The Revolutionary War is naturally the one that 
most deeply stirs the heart of our patriotism; and 
1776, the liberty-epoch in American annals, has a 
national priority over every other historical period. 
Yet not in vain does 1755 claim honour in these 
regions of the lake. Here the associations of the 
Old French War predominate; and history, interro- 


gating nature, learns from mountain, and lake, and 
water-brook, and plain, that armies here fought for 
the rights of crowns and for vast territorial domains. 

thou Lake, islet-decked as with gems for maiden 
beauty, and intelligent, in the depth of thy clear 
waters, in scenes of the olden time, we hail thee 
to-day, Reminiscencer and Teacher ! And you, ye 
Mountains, where come the four seasons, monarchs 
of the solitude, to pay the tribute of the year, hail 
to you for the sight of your majestic presence, for the 
voiced memories of a century, for your glens, rever- 
berating with solemn sound the achievements of our 
sires ! Ye Forts, weak in triple confederacy, the 
work of man and the contrivance of war, we rejoice 
that your mission is over, and that ye stand like 
antiquarians, with relics in your hands, rather than 
as warriors equipped for the battle-field ! And you, 
ye graves, mounding hill-top and plain, scarcely dis- 
tinguishable from the furrows of the harvest-field, — 
ah ! Death, who digs deeper than the plough, has 
sown in you the seeds of resurrection, — seeds which 
the storms of centuries do but harrow for the reaping 
at the in-gathering time; ye are fertile with the 
bodies of men; and, when earth shall be buried in 
the ruins of its final doom, ye shall bring forth your 
tenants clothed with immortality ! 

Every view of the lake and every pass of the hills 
has some tradition of ancient deed and story which 


this day commemorates. In the midst of the scenes 
of our historical festival, let us use our patriotic emo- 
tions in perpetuating the records of the past century 
in some consistent and enduring form. I venture to 
propose that a monument be erected at the old battle- 
field of Lake George, on one side of which an appro- 
priate memorial of the contest shall be engraved, and 
on another side an epitaph to the courageous Colonel 
Titcomb and the other officers who died in defending 
their country. I also venture to suggest that another 
monument be erected to the memory of Hendrick, the 
famous Mohawk chieftain, near the spot where he is 
supposed to have fallen. Monuments are of great 
public use. They are pages of history to the people ; 
they are the rallying-points of earnest patriotism ; 
they are records of national gratitude ; they are me- 
morials of God's providential interposition ; they are 
pleasing objects of sight to the spectator and travel- 
ler, and have been regarded by all civilized nations 
as worthy of the public expenditure, interest, and 
care. Thus may the old century receive fresh homage 
from the new, and an increase of glory emblazon on 
our country's flag the inscription woven in upon it at 
Lake George, of September 8th, 1755. 

One hundred years — one hundred years — are gone. 
Rapid is the roll of centuries. Majestic clouds in 
the firmament of time, they fleet away, bearing on 
their diversified forms the light and shade of human 


destiny. Everywhere, as here, is seen the vanity of 
earthly scenes, except as they are connected with the 
ends of an everlasting kingdom. Eesults endure, 
but generations perish. Sleeping are the warriors 
that fought, the councillors that schemed, the people 
that acted. The Celtic sway of the Bourbon, once 
dominant on the lake, is silent as the graves of Cham- 
plain and Montcalm. The Iroquois have vanished 
from the forests and valleys of their ancient hunting- 
grounds ; and the hardy race of Anglo-Saxon ancestry 
now occupy their possessions amid the land-marks of 
civil liberty and the institutions of the Eeformation. 
Welcome the new century in the procession of ages ! 
May the eras of human improvement be contempora- 
ries of its advancing cycles, and its calendar abound 
in festival blessings for our country and the world. 
And to thee, old century, farewell ! The good of 
the past shall never die. When mountain and lake 
shall flee away in the retinue of time, and the earth 
and the firmament be scrolled up for eternal judg- 
ment, the history of these scenes, and all human 
histories, shall be perpetuated in honour so far as 
they were tributary to the history of redemption. 




An address delivered before the Pbilomathean Society of Carroll 
College, Waukesha, Wisconsin, July 15th, 1857. 



Gentlemen of the Philomathean Society, 
And Friends of the College : 
The first "commencement" of the first Presbyte- 
rian College in the United States, took place in the 
year 1748. The accomplished and beloved Burr, the 
first President of the College of New Jersey under 
the Charter, presided on the occasion. The com- 
mencement was held at. Newark, then a small vil- 
lage, not as large as Waukesha at the time Carroll 
College was located here. Governor Belcher, the 
friend of religion and the patron of learning, was on 
the platform; and around him sat a company of 
honored Trustees ; of ministers, Samuel Blair, Pier- 
son, Pemberton, Gilbert and William Tennent, Treat, 
Arthur, Jones, and Green ; and of laymen, Redding, 
President of the Council, Kinsey, Shippen, Smith, 
and Hazard. It was a great day in the annals of our 
Church and of the State. From that small but il- 
lustrious beginning, a score of Colleges have come 
into life of Presbyterian parentage ; and now another 
claims admittance into the Republic of Letters, fresh 
15* (173) • 

1 74 T H E A D V A N T A G E S 

with the bloom of Academic youth, and holding high 
the armorial bearings of a great State emblazoned 
with " Forward." All hail to thee, daughter, Wis- 
consin-born ! Salve, Collegium Carrollense ! 

The first commencement of the College of New 
Jersey possessed fewer auspices of greatness than the 
one with which, young gentlemen, you are now con- 
nected. The College of New Jersey in 1748 had no 
building, no Professors, no endowment, no permanent 
site, and only twenty students. The population of 
the adjacent States of New York, New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Delaware, and Virginia, did not exceed that 
of Wisconsin at the present time; ' and the Legislature 
of New Jersey, with a persistent monopoly of refusal, 
declined then, as it has ever since, to bestow a pecu- 
niary grant upon the institution. Far more favored at 
its first commencement is Carroll than the College of 
New Jersey. Its permanent site is on a beautiful 
elevation, an appropriate symbol of education, with 
its campus thick-set with rock beneath and with ver- 
dure above, mingling the utile dulci, — a location, an- 
cient with the memorials of Indian antiquity, and 
modern with the sight of one of the most thriving 
towns in Wisconsin. The College has probably the 
largest and ablest Faculty that ever graced the first 
commencement of a similar institution ; it possesses 

1 In 1749, New York had 73,448 inhabitants; New Jersey, 
about 50,000 ; and Pennsylvania about 180,000. 


an endowment which, with its building and grounds, 
is estimated at fifty thousand dollars ; its catalogue 
enrols forty-five students in the regular classes ; and 
there is a prospect of educational sympathy and pe- 
cuniary aid from the State. In short, everything 
betokens a prosperity quite unusual at so early a 
period of collegiate life. 

The first graduating class at Princeton contained 
six students, — the same number that would have 
graduated at Carroll, if God had not called away 
Marsh to perfect his education in Heaven's great 
University. Who could have foretold, a century ago, 
the blessings that were to accrue to the world from 
the infant institution over which Burr then presided ? 
Nor can any prophet, though endowed with Wiscon- 
sian enthusiasm, declare the unutterable advantages 
to Church and to State, which are to go down from 
generation to generation, from Carroll College, whose 
administration under our own beloved Savage, has 
been so auspiciously initiated. A happy day, indeed, 
to you, Sir, the honored President, who may affirm, 
with a deep experience, 

"Hie dies, vere mihi festus, atras 
Eximet curas." 

Young gentlemen, we stand to-day at one of the 
fountain-heads of Western destiny. A College is 
among the active forces of life and immortality ; it 
is a perpetual power to supply motive, and influence. 


and action, from mind to mind, in all the providential 
developments of human society. There is a little 
stream among the mysterious latitudes and longitudes 
of the great West, where Lewis and Clark stood with 
the delight and wonder of first explorers. It is the 
supply source of the " Father of Waters." As the 
Mississippi controls the irrigation, the agriculture, the 
eommerce, the resources of the great West, so insti- 
tutions of learning, the upper sources of civilization, 
direct the political and religious destiny of the world. 
( Jarroll College claims a share of homage, among the 
activities which are to shape the destinies of the 
West. On this, the first "commencement" occasion 
of its collegiate existence, I choose as a suitable theme 
for a public Address, the general advantages of Col- 
leges ; or, more particularly, I venture to offer a Plea 
for Carroll College, as a good gift to a great 

I. Among the general advantages which commend 
Carroll College as a good gift to Wisconsin, is its 


Religion is of supreme importance to men, as private 
individuals, and as citizens of a commonwealth. Our 
intellectual and moral constitution, in union with a 
resurrection body, declares the wisdom, power, and 
authority of God. Obedience to His government, 
through the grace of His Son, our Saviour, can alone 
elevate human nature to its true position and glory. 


Forgiveness of sin, sanctification of spirit, providen- 
tial guidance, usefulness in life, and eternal happiness 
beyond the grave, are the great proposals which Chris- 
tianity heralds to a fallen world. Young gentlemen, 
religion is the grandest, sweetest theme that can ever 
enlist a mortal's immortal mind. 

As members of a community, as well as personally, 
all men have an interest in the advancement of the 
Gospel. Virtue and morality are indispensable to 
the well-being of society. The nature and the exe- 
cution of the laws, the maintenance of the public 
credit, the preservation of social order, the adminis- 
tration of justice, the peaceable enjoyment of life, 
liberty, and property, whatever gives value to citizen- 
ship, and supplies patriotism to the State, must have 
its best guarantees in the principles and sanctions of 
God's holy word. The farmer, the merchant, the 
mechanic, with all classes and professions of society, 
are immeasurably benefited by the prevalence of reli- 
gious principle. Worldly thrift has a close relation 
to morality. Speculators understand the wisdom of 
the policy of donating lots for churches in new towns 
and cities. Outward prosperity is one of the attend- 
ants on religion. " Length of days is in her right 
hand, and in her left hand riches and honour." Reli- 
gion is the only safeguard for the great social and 
political interests of a commonwealth ; it is the only 
hope for the salvation of the soul. 



God has made provision for personal and public 
religious wants, by establishing a sacred profession, 
whose object is to keep the plan of redemption before 
mankind. The theme of heaven's everlasting Song, 
must be held up to human view, with the prominence 
of its own glorious and intrinsic merit, and with the 
grace of its adaptation to human hearts and human 
tongues. The Christian ministry is the selected in- 
strumentality. It is a vocation, magnified by the 
example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was Himself 
a minister of righteousness, by the divine original 
and gifts of the sacred office, by the promise of the 
Spirit's presence in the discharge of its functions, and 
by its indispensable agency, as proved by Scripture 
and Providence, in promoting the welfare of king- 
doms and the salvation of souls. 

To assist in furnishing ministers to the Church is, 
therefore, a great work. This is one of the aims of a 
Christian College. It was distinctly set forth by our 
fathers in the ' establishment of their first collegiate 
institution at Princeton. Presbyterians have always 
acted on the principle of securing, by God's grace, an 
educated ministry. Piety and learning are as har- 
monious as the light and the heat of the clay, or the 
grain and the green of harvest. Since miracles have 
ceased, and inspiration, the gift of tongues, and the 
discerning of spirits, are no longer imparted to pro- 
phets and teachers, the Church supplies the absence 


of these miraculous endowments, as far as possible, 
by the industrious use of means in the cultivation of 
the natural powers of the mind. The Reformation 
in the Church took place under the directing energy 
of men of learning. Wickliff was nurtured into 
greatness at the University of Oxford, and John Huss 
prepared for immortality at the University of Prague. 
Luther, Calvin, Knox, Cranmer, and the host of Re- 
formers, were men of mighty erudition. They were 
indebted under God for their influence to thorough 
and extensive mental acquirements, as well as to fer- 
vent piety. The service of the sanctuary requires 
the most perfect qualifications. As the candlestick 
of the temple was made of pure beaten gold, and 
gave light to the worshipper from its seven branches 
of exquisite workmanship, so the most costly and 
varied cultivation of intellect and heart should be 
brought into requisition to show forth the light of the 
new dispensation, and to illuminate the world with 
the truth as it is in Jesus. Ministers are expounders 
of the wisdom of God. They are ambassadors from 
heaven. They are charged with the highest depart- 
ment of instruction. They are defenders of the faith. 
They are brought into contact with human nature in 
its various forms of stupid superstition, of callous 
indifference, and of adroit, untiring skepticism. Of 
all men, ministers have need, in every age, of mental 
training of the highest kind attainable. Institutions 


of learning have thus a direct and influential relation 
to the prosperity of the Church. Without Colleges, 
the land could not be blessed with the ministrations 
of learned and gifted men, able " rightly to divide 
the word of truth." 

Colleges have been remarkably successful in the 
training of a learned and pious ministry. At Princeton 
College, out of its 3584 graduates, 670 have become 
ministers of the Gospel, or nearly a fifth of the whole 
number. At Jefferson College", Pa., and Centre Col- 
lege, Ky., one-third of the graduates have entered the 
ministry. Out of 30,000 young men who have been 
graduated at Presbyterian and Congregational Col- 
leges, about 8000 have become ministers, being nearly 
one-fourth of the whole number. You see, gentle- 
men, from these statements and statistics, one item in 
the value of Colleges. The Church has an intense 
interest in their prosperity. Heaven watches their 
origin and growth. The kingdom of the Lord Jesus 
Christ is extended throughout the earth by ministers 
educated in these institutions of learning. 

II. A second advantage of a College, and of Carroll 
College, is that it furnishes the useful public men 
to the State. The commonwealth is the institution 
of God. It is an ordinance of the King of kings, 
established for high political and moral purposes ; and 
it claims, under the limitations of rectitude, supreme 


allegiance and universal homage. " The powers that 
be are ordained of God." The supply to the State 
of well-trained and able professional men is in obedi- 
ence to the clearest providential requirements, and it 
aspires to the good of the commonwealth and the 
glorv of Heaven. 

Education, in the first place, strengthens the wind. 
It fits it for use, and enables it to employ its faculties 
for the public welfare. Education is not theoretical : 
it is verily utilitarian. It has practical value. The 
power of mind is increased by training. If the pros- 
perity of a country be promoted by bringing into cul- 
tivation new acres of land, and by the production of 
additional manufactures by the industry of the people, 
so is it advanced by the cultivation of more intellect, 
and by the additional mental strength acquired in 
institutions of learning. All college graduates do 
not, indeed, become legislators, or executive officers, 
or lawyers and judges ; but the State has at least a 
wider range from which to obtain its supplies, and 
more strength of mind in its employment when that 
supply is obtained from educated men. And even 
though these individuals should never be called into 
public life, the State has still the benefit of cultivated 
talent and influence in the spheres in which they 

Secondly. A collegiate education enlightens the 
mind. It imparts knowledge; and "knowledge is 


power." A public man ought not to be ignorant. 
You will all maintain that a person who cannot read 
or write, is unfit to hold office in Wisconsin ; and 
further, that the higher the office, the better informed 
ought the incumbent ordinarily to be, in order to fill 
it well. Now, a college possesses materials in its 
studies to qualify men for the highest engagements 
of professional life. History, political economy, the 
classics, literature, mathematics, general learning, 
give an enlargement of view which belongs to the 
true qualifications of a statesman. 

A collegiate education disciplines the character. 
Learning inculcates lessons of self-reliance, patience, 
subordination, a proper appreciation of ourselves and 
of others. The associations of college life, outside 
of the class-room, assist the other appliances of edu- 
cation in opening the eyes of the ignorant, and in 
unfolding the true relations of individuals to each 
other and to society at large. The daily intercourse 
of students, their alliances of friendship, their con- 
tact with each other as debaters in the Literary Socie- 
ties, all unite with the natural tendency of literary 
habits and acquisitions to improve and discipline the 

Furthermore, a collegiate education fosters the true 
spirit of liberty, which is another element in the 
qualifications of all public men. A liberal education 
brings the mind into communion with the master 


spirits of antiquity, who generally plead for popular 
rights. The study of history excites sympathy with 
liberty. The acquisition of knowledge in general 
opens to the soul the great truths and laws of the 
universe, which make a man feel his independence 
and the dignity of his nature. A student's natural 
position is in the ranks of freedom. In the first 
graduating class of Princeton was Richard Stockton, 
a signer of the Declaration of Independence. John 
•Witheespoon, the President of the College, was an- 
other of the eminent signers, foremost in zeal for his 
country's cause. The College of New Jersey has the 
glory of enrolling on its catalogue one-fifth of the 
signers of the Declaration of Independence. Wil- 
liam Graham, President of the College at Lexington, 
Va., collected a company of soldiers, and at their 
head boldly marched against the foe. Four-fifths of 
the graduates of Princeton passed from the walls of 
the College into the Revolutionary army, and their 
blood fertilizes every battle-field from Quebec and 
Ticonderoga to King's Mountain and Fort Moultrie. 
The very names adopted by our colleges, in the last 
century, show their appreciation of liberty. The old 
college building at Princeton was named Nassau Hall. 
in honour of William of Nassau, the Defender of 
freedom. The College in the valley of Virginia took 
the name of Liberty Hall ; whilst the other college, 
east of the Blue Ridge, called itself "Hampden Sid- 


ney" after two great champions of human rights. 
Nor has the old spirit yet become impaired ; for out 
here in the far West, in the middle of another cen- 
tury, Presbyterians have called their college " Carroll" 
after one of the illustrious signers of the immortal 
document of our Liberties. 

The history of other colleges, in existence at the 
time of the Revolution, confirms the view taken in 
this Address. Harvard and Yale have been imme- 
morially for freedom. Out of the twenty-one repre-, 
sentatives sent by Massachusetts to the old Conti- 
nental Congress, from 1774 to 1789, seventeen were 
graduates of Harvard. Time would fail me to enter 
more largely into statistics. These facts show, not 
only that colleges foster the spirit of liberty, but that 
they furnish a large number of useful public men to 
the State. 

As a specimen of the State-aiding power of Col- 
leges, let me just add that Princeton College alone 
has furnished a' President of the United States, two 
Vice-Presidents, four Judges of the Supreme Court, 
six members of the Cabinet, nearly one hundred and 
fifty members of Congress, and about twenty-five 
Governors of different States, besides a large majority 
of the Judges of her own Supreme Court, and other 
public men. Carroll College has yet to make out her 
catalogue of eminent public service ; but it cannot be 
doubted that this institution will produce a true and 


honorable proportion of worthies in the executive, 
legislative, and judicial departments, and in all the 
learned professions of public life. 

III. Another advantage of a College is, that, being 


exerts a healthful influence on the common schools 


It is the honour of Colleges that they identify them- 
selves with the success of all other institutions. Their 
influence pervades society. They are the sources of 
an enlightened public opinion, from which streams of 
practical benefit flow down to the people at large. 
Colleges form a natural part of a system of education. 
They are the sun, around which revolve the large 
and the lesser stars. To deny a college its true rela- 
tions to the general system, is to disparage the power 
of first causes, as well as to disbelieve the demonstra- 
tions of experience. Intellectual culture descends 
from the higher to the lower conditions of society. 
It works its way down, through many obstacles, to 
the masses of the people. The leaders in the gene- 
ral efforts for popular education have been those who 
had the power of appreciating its necessity and bene- 
fits. A large number of the Pilgrims were educated 
in the Universities. Had Providence permitted the 
first settlers in the Mayflower to be ignorant and il- 


literate men, common schools would not have consti- 
tuted from so early a period the glory of New Eng- 
land. The first movement, in this country, for the 
universal education of the people, was the foundation 
of a College. Harvard College preceded the common 
school system, as its natural and nurturing cause. 
The same is substantially true, it is believed, of the 
history of com:;; on schools in every State where they 
exist by public law. Yale, Dartmouth, Bowdoin, and 
Brown Universities and Colleges preceded common 
schools, or grew up contemporaneously with them as 
sources of their prosperity. Columbia and Union 
Colleges, in New York, Princeton and Rutgers Col- 
leges in New Jersey, the University at Philadelphia, 
and Dickinson, Jefferson, and Washington Colleges in 
Pennsylvania, all antedated legal provisions for the 
general education of the people. Marietta College 
and the State Universities in Ohio, Hanover, Wabash, 
and all the colleges in Indiana, but one, are older 
than the beginning of taxation to support common 
schools. The Universities of Michigan and Wiscon- 
sin, and Carroll and Beloit Colleges, were founded in 
advance of the establishment of the lower institu- 
tions, or in such connection with them as to show r 
that they were natural and necessary parts of a com- 
plete system. Experience had already demonstrated, 
in other States, the great and indispensable advan- 
tages of Colleges. Enlightening and quickening in- 


liuences go forth from them to create a sound and 
active public opinion, and to prepare the way for the 
establishment and support of academies and common 

Allow me to be a little more specific. Colleges 
further benefit the public educational system in two 
ways, which few persons will call in question. 

1st. By increasing the number and elevating the 
qualifications of teachers. The life of a school system 
depends upon the persons who administer it. The 
chief question which immediately relates to the pros- 
perity of common schools, is, — How can teachers be 
obtained in sufficient numbers, and of the right quali- 
fications ? The common schools, of themselves, can- 
not send forth large numbers of good teachers, because 
the} 7 do not ordinarily carry the education of scholars 
far enough to qualify them for the great art of teach- 
ing. No employment in society requires more intel- 
lectual vigor and general thrift of learning than the 
office of a teacher. Ignorant men, although they 
may have good common sense, cannot ordinarily pro- 
duce any other than ignorant scholars. A stream 
will not rise above its source. Hence, we find, that 
the best common school teachers are those who have 
resorted to higher institutions for the purpose of pre- 
paring themselves for their work. The State has 
discovered the necessity of establishing Normal 
Schools, as the means of creating good teachers for 


the common schools. If it be asked, whether Normal 
Schools and Academies will not do the work without 
Colleges, the reply is, that Colleges sustain the same 
relation to Academies and Normal Schools that the 
latter do to the public schools. Where can the 
supply of well-qualified teachers for these interme- 
diate institutions be obtained, except from the higher 
institutions, such as the Wisconsin University, and 
Carroll and Beloit Colleges ? All the educational in- 
stitutions of the State, from the highest to the lowest, 
exert a reciprocal influence upon each other, and each 
imparts life and vigour to the whole. The people are 
beginning to understand this matter, and the preju- 
dice against Colleges is yielding to the conviction that 
they sustain an important relation to academies and 
common schools. The supply of teachers, both as to 
number and qualifications, is connected with the op- 
portunities and the incentives presented by Univer- 
sities and Colleges. 

2dly. Besides this direct advantage conferred by 
Colleges on the State system of schools, there is yet 
another : Colleges offer to the pupils of common 
schools the facilities of obtaining a higher education. 
What a great calamity it would be to the State, if the 
tens of thousands of its children in common schools 
were forever shut out from the opportunity of increas- 
ing their stock of educational knowledge ! Some of 
them, at least, will naturally aspire to farther acqui- 


sitions. There is a tendency in learning to stimulate 
the desire for more. Many a boy will be excited to 
aim at higher attainments than the common school 
undertakes to impart ; and under right influences will 
be led to go to an academy and then to a College. 
In proportion as the common school system becomes 
improved in the qualifications of its teachers, the 
number of youth, who desire to pursue a more ad- 
vanced education, will be increased. Colleges depend 
upon the common schools and academies for a supply 
of pupils, just as the latter depend upon Colleges for 
a supply of teachers. 

These general views are sufficient to indicate the 
advantages of a College in its connection with all 
other institutions of education. Carroll College 
claims the capacity to increase the prosperity of the 
academies and common schools of Wisconsin. 

There is yet another idea that deserves attention. 
Colleges, as parts of an educational system, convey re- 
latively their greatest benefits to the poor. A College 
opens its gates to all, and invites equally the rich, the 
middle classes, and the poor. Equal opportunity is 
Guaranteed to all. This is a relative advantage to the 
poor, because the poor do not naturally possess equal 
power with the rich, either in founding or sustaining in- 
stitutions of learning. The plan of endowment adopted 
by Carroll College, is designed to cheapen education 
to the lowest point consistent with rigorous necessity. 


The larger the endowment fund, the less will be the 
price of tuition, and there are already scholarships 
to support the more need}' students. Here, again, in 
the pecuniary aspects of the case, the relative advan- 
tage is with the poor. But the greatest of all the ad- 
vantages to the poor is in the actual results. Educa- 
tion knows no distinctions in theory, and, practically. 
it eradicates them all. It takes a young man out of 
a condition of poverty, and gives him the intellectual 
resources, the cultivated tastes, and even the man- 
ners of a higher life. It exerts an enlightening and 
humanizing influence, which removes all artificial 
barriers. Nothing, like education, so confounds the 
distinctions of rank. Like the railroad, it cuts through 
hills, and builds its embankments over valleys. High 
and low places must alike conform to the law of its 
great energetic level. A College brings to the poor 
and middle classes the opportunity of furnishing their 
sons with all the appliances that assist in obtaining 
the highest posts of influence and usefulness in so- 
ciety. If any class ought to possess and exhibit a 
kindly feeling towards colleges, it is the poor. Carroll 
College is the friend of all, but especially of those 
who constitute the masses. It thus sympathizes in 
spirit with the common-school system, and whilst it 
offers equal opportunities to every child in the State, 
the poor receive the greatest relative gain. 


IV. A fourth consideration to prove that a College 
is a good gift to the State, is that it aifords an im- 
portant means of imbuing the youthful mind with cor- 
rect principles of morality and religion. 

A godless education is a very dangerous experi- 
ment. The omission of divine truth in a course of 
training, virtually assumes that the immortal part of 
our nature is of comparatively little value. How 
much better is it to take the scriptural view, and to 
train up young men "in the way they should go," 
thus preparing them for this life and for the life to 
come ! The incidental compensations, which are to 
be found in private and public religious instruction. 
in the household and. in the sanctuary, do not justify 
the exclusion of Christianity from the literary course. 
The founders of Carroll College adopted, as a funda- 
mental principle, the inculcation of religion with all 
other acquisitions of knowledge. The book held in 
the greatest reverence here, is the Bible. The motto 
on the seal of the Corporation is " 6 Bt3?.iog :" and 
the Bible was the first book to form the nucleus of 
the library. Ought not Christians to honour the 
word of God in the institutions that train their youth ? 
Even the Pagans acknowledged their gods in their 
systems of education, as do the Chinese, the Hindoos, 
the Mohammedans of the present day. If religion 
be a good thing, it is a good thing to teach it. Insti- 
tutions of learning afford remarkable facility for reli- 


gious instruction. A place can be found for divine 
truth, if there be a will to give it place. Our Pres- 
byterian colleges all assign to religion more or less 
prominence. Other denominations have also their 
religious colleges. Some of the considerations, which 
urge religious instruction as a part of the literary 
course, are these : 

1. It is right to honour God in all things, and 

2. The human soul has moral as well as intel- 
lectual faculties ; and true education implies the 
development of our whole nature. 

3. Religious truth is the most important of all 

4. Youth is the most suitable time to attend to the 
doctrines and duties of religion. 

5. God has blessed in a remarkable manner efforts 
to convert young men in colleges. Exactly one cen- 
tury ago, in 1757, the first revival of religion took 
place in Princeton College. The great Samuel Da- 
vies, in writing about it, said : " This is perhaps the 
best news I ever heard in my life." President Finley, 
in giving an account, said : " God has done great 
things for us. Our glorious Redeemer poured out His 
Holy Spirit oh the students of our College ; not one 
of all who were present was neglected ; and they 
were in number sixty." Other revivals occurred 
under Dr. Witherspoon ; a very remarkable one under 


Dr. Green ; another under Dr. Carnahan ; and another 
in the first year of Dr. Maclean's administration — in 
each of the last three, about fifty students were hope- 
fully brought to the knowledge of the Saviour. Jeffer- 
&m has been frequently blessed with extensive revivals 
of religion. Oglethorpe University had five revivals 
in seven years. Centre College, Ky., has enjoyed fre- 
quent outpourings of the Divine Spirit ; and during 
the last session about thirty-five of the students have 
professed a hope in Christ. This revival was, as it 
were, a chariot of fire, to prepare the President, the 
good and great Dr. Young, for his ascension to glory. 
Congregational, and other Presbyterian, Colleges have 
been in like manner favoured with the displays of 
' God's abounding mercy. In one year, 130 students 
in Yale College came out for the first time on the 
Lord's side. In Middlebury College, it is stated that 
every class for the last forty years has seen a revival 
in some part of its college course, and that at Amherst 
no class has ever graduated without beholding God's 
gracious power in a revival. These facts demonstrate 
the tendency and reward of religious efforts in col- 
leges ; and there cannot be a doubt that, if more 
attention had been paid to the direct inculcation of 
religious truth, still greater results would have been 
manifested in the number of College-born heirs to 
the kingdom of heaven. Here, gentlemen, is seen 
the true glory of a Christian College. 
17 N 


These institutions, as we have attempted to show, 
prepare ministers for the service of the Church ; they 
send out useful and enlightened public men for the 
employment of the State, and for the liberal profes- 
sions ; they assist in giving efficiency and prosperity 
to the public educational system ; and they imbue the 
minds of a large number of well-trained and influen- 
tial youth with the spirit and principles of true piety. 

I have thus, young gentlemen, endeavored to plead 
the cause of Colleges, and of Carroll College in par- 
ticular. If my observations have been correct, Car- 
roll College is a good gift to the State ; and it is a 
gift the more considerate, useful, and valuable, be- 
cause Wisconsin is a gkeat State. 

Before alluding to the present and prospective 
greatness of Wisconsin, permit me to refer to two 
historical associations, which possess no little interest. 

From Wisconsin, the expedition set out, which dis- 
covered the Upper Mississijipi and the Missouri River*. 
One hundred and thirty-two years before the Wiscon- 
sin expedition, 1541, De Soto had stood upon the 
banks of the Mississippi. Reaching it at the 4th 
Chickasaw Bluff, below Memphis, he ascended the 
river to New Madrid ; and then striking off into the 
western woods in the mad adventure for gold, he 
wandered about until he reached the Washita, which 
brought him again to the Mississippi. His enfeebled 


frame, however, yielded to disease; and the illus- 
trious Spanish chieftain was buried at midnight, near 
Natchez, in the great river, whose waters, like human 
generations, sweep onward without a returning tide. 
The Spanish expedition had started from Cuba, 
through Florida. The next was to enter upon its 
discoveries from Canada, through Wisconsin. At so 
early a date did the two extremes of our future Re- 
public meet, in the spirit of western research and 
adventure, Florida and Wisconsin giving the Missis- 
sippi to the United States and world. 

In 1673, May 17th, Marquette, the Roman Catho- 
lic missionary to the Hurons, and Joliet, the envoy 
of the Canadian Governor, set out from Michilimac- 
kinac, with five Frenchmen, in two canoes. Behold 
them braving the rough waters of the lake with 
steady hands at their wave-beaten oars, encountering 
at the outset the trials that make heroes. " Our joy," 
says Marquette in his narrative, " at being chosen for 
this expedition, roused our courage, and sweetened 
the labour of rowing from morning till night." They 
at length glide into the propitious harbor of Green 
Bay, and enter the Fox River, which they ascend 
through Lake Winnebago to the portage, often drag- 
ging their canoes over the rapids and shallows. The 
portage of about a mile is crossed, and then and there 
on Wisconsin soil, France for the first time waves the 
banner of Louis XIV in the Valley of the Missis- 


sippi. Alas ! the Envoy of the State and the Mis- 
sionary of the Church, as they float down the beau- 
tiful Wisconsin, little realize what rivers of blood are 
to flow, before this fair region is to be wrested, first 
by England from France, and then by the American 
Colonies from England. 

On the 17th of June, the explorers reached the 
mouth of the Wisconsin, where they are greeted with 
the sight of a large and unknown river. It is the 
great northwestern flood rolling along in lucid and 
peerless majesty. Like a friendly Indian chief, ap- 
parelled in the dignity of the primeval forests and 
with fearless bow and arrow in hand, it is hailed as a 
guide to the far-off regions known only to the sons 
of the soil. The French canoes sail with delight 
upon the Mississippi. In a few days, they meet the 
wild waters of the rushing, conquering Missouri. 
Onward they go, past the beautiful Ohio, nor stop 
their explorations until they reach the Arkansas. 
The explorers, satisfied that the Mississippi enters 
into the Atlantic, now return homeward. They are 
the first civilized men that ascend the Illinois ; and 
crossing over to the site of Chicago, they take a canoe 
on Lake Michigan, and return thanks to God at Mi- 
chilimackinac. Thus Wisconsin has an ancient his- 
torical glory, connected with the discovery of the 
great rivers of the great valley. 

Another interesting historical fact sheds a glory 


over Wisconsin. Its territory is included within the 
jurisdiction of the Ordinance of 1787. Wisconsin is 
the last State contemplated by that great national 
compact, and she came into the Union whilst the 
ordinance was yet universally acquiesced in as worthy 
of a free and great people, and consonant with the 
spirit of '76. That ordinance of liberty was drawn 
up by a graduate of Harvard College, Nathan Dane ; 
it was originally proposed by Jefferson, the champion 
of democracy, on a still larger scale ; and it finally 
received a unanimous vote of the Northern and 
Southern States in the old Confederation. Without 
meddling with party politics, I may affirm that it is 
an honour to any State to spring into existence with 
the segis of liberty in her right hand ; to draw her 
first constitutional life under an ordinance excluding 
forever human servitude, and to commence a career 
of greatness with the inspirations and the institutions 
of " Independence now and forever ! " 

Wisconsin has elements of greatness. With an 
independent life of only nine years, it already ranks 
among the first-class States of the Republic. Wis- 
consin has been gradually educated to its present 
position. It received a common-school education, when 
the Northwest was an undivided possession of the 
United States, and when Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, 
Michigan, and Wisconsin were school-fellows, with a 
big play-ground used in common. Wisconsin received 


an academical education in the territorial academy 
with Michigan ; and when the latter took its degree 
as a State, Wisconsin pursued a collegiate education 
in its own territory, and in 1848 took the diploma of 
a State graduate ; when, freed from authority, it 
entered upon active life in the great Western world. 

Wisconsin has great advantages of soil. A consi- 
derable part of the State is prairie land, black as 
servitude, but free with a native liberty of marvel- 
lous productiveness ; and the prairies are of the best 
kind, "rolling" through the vista in "oak-opening" 
grandeur. The Southern division of the State is sup- 
posed to be able to support as large, if not larger, 
population than any other equal area in the United 
States. All the forms of agriculture flourish in this 
exulting soil ; and as a grain-growing State, Wiscon- 
sin will make itself known in the markets of the 
world. Agriculture is the main basis of general 
prosperity. It is the ruling power of human industry. 
The farmers govern the subsistence of the nations ; 
and where agricultural resources abound, as in Wis- 
consin, materials exist for a great and flourishing 
commonwealth . 

In addition to the resources of agriculture, brought 
from the earth by human industry, Wisconsin pos- 
sesses immense natural resources in her abounding 
forests. No prairie State has such overshadowing 
advantages of splendid imperial timber. The ever- 


greens of Wisconsin are among the glories of nature ; 
they cover a large part of the State, estimated at 
about a fourth part ; and their superiority of quality 
is as decisive as their extent of quantity. The Wis- 
consin pine commands the market of the West and 
Southwest, and finds its way up all the tributary 
streams of the Mississippi, and down to New Orleans, 
and away to foreign ports. The Maine, New York, 
and Allegheny pine, shrinks from comparison with 
the forest fulness of Wisconsin. Chicago has already 
become the greatest lumber market of the world ; but 
whence are derived its principal supplies? From 
well-timbered Wisconsin and Michigan. 

Wisconsin is equally distinguished for its mineral 
resources. Its lead is sold throughout the whole 
country, and in foreign markets. Two-thirds of the 
Galena lead is Wisconsin. Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette 
counties are the chief Cyclopeans around the smelting 
fires of the Northwest. A large quantity of the ore 
never comes to Galena, but is shipped at other places 
along the Mississippi and the Wisconsin Rivers. Iron 
exists to a considerable extent in the northwestern 
portion of the State ; and the copper region is like- 
wise included, in part, within its boundaries. There 
can be no doubt that Wisconsin possesses vast mineral 
resources, rivalling those of other States. Weighed 
in the huge scales of commercial value, her mineral 


products move the lever with a power only inferior 
to Pennsylvanian ponderosity. 

The trade and commerce of Wisconsin are rapidly 
developing. With the Mississippi on the west, Lake 
Michigan on the east, and Lake Superior on the 
north ; with the fine harbors of Milwaukee, Racine, 
Sheboygan, Green Bay, and Superior ; with railroads 
described on the State in all geometrical figures to 
make sure the demonstration of the problem of its 
greatness ; and with a location commanding the trade 
of a large section of country, Wisconsin is becoming 
a commercial, as well as an agricultural, a lumber, 
and a mineral State. Manufactures are also hum- 
ming in the air; and, like the rumbling of the wheels 
of an approaching locomotive, foretell that in this 
department, too, Wisconsin will be up to time. 

Its population, made up of the sittings of many 
kingdoms, contains some of the finest of the wheat. 
The hardy, enterprising sons of New England are 
here, having acutely guessed their way to as beauti- 
ful a heritage as ever fell to the lot of the most de- 
serving. New York is represented with a numerous 
and worthy progeny, mostly grandchildren of New 
England, with a slight engrafting of Stuyvesant 
stock. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have sent their 
proportion of honest yeomanry from hills and valleys, 
pine-barrens, wheatlands, and coal fields, to help to 
subjugate a better region. The Southern and South- 


western States have a worthy representation among 
this congress of races, where two-fifths count two- 
fifths. The West is here with its giant force of agri- 
culturalists and omniculturalists ; and almost every 
kingdom of Europe, including the domain of St. Pat- 
rick, St. George, and St. Andrew, St. Denys, St. Law- 
rence, and other calendric heroes, sighing for Lake 
Michigan and government prairies, has come straight 
for Wisconsin ; and, fortunately, the best foreign 
population that has reached America in this century 
is here, in the Badger State. The intermingling of 
these different classes and races, will be of the high- 
est advantage to its prosperity. 

In education, Wisconsin has wisely resolved not to 
be behind any State of the Republic. Her large fund 
for education, is to be sacredly applied to the enlight- 
ening of the people. A liberal common-school sys- 
tem has been established, which is richer than the ' 
soil of prairies, the ore of mines, or the trees of for- 
ests, and a State University stands in full view of the 
Capitol, the creation of its sovereign power, and the 
reflection of its supreme legislative wisdom. The 
Legislature, at its recent session, made an additional 
advance in promoting educational interests, by the 
adoption of measures which allow pecuniary grants 
to normal schools, and even to colleges. This is 
among the most important and liberal schemes de- 
vised by a State for the advancement of the public 


welfare ; and if the scheme can be executed in the 
spirit of its good intentions, without creating unplea- 
sant disputations, or stimulating presumptuous and 
doubtful claims upon the public munificence, the 
Ordinance of 1857 will shine with no unequal glory 
alongside of that of 1787, — both having in view the 
highest good of a free people. 

Wisconsin has every sign of a great State. Its popu- 
lation is increasing with almost unparalleled rapidity, 
and its resources of every kind are multiplying so 
last, that the slates in the common schools are too 
small to calculate the future. Although the last 
State formed on the soil purchased by the blood of 
the Revolution, she walks in the procession of States 
with equal honour in her eye, and hope garlanding 
her brow, bearing aloft the thirtieth star of the Ame- 
rican Banner, as though, were all others gone, she 
'could well maintain her own. To found a new Col- 
lege in Wisconsin is a noble enterprise. It is a good 
gift to a great State, better than the regalia of 
power, the trophies of war, or the monuments of 
ambition. May the gift be welcomed and cherished 
by the people, and Carroll College receive a just share 
of public sympathy and support among the rising 
institutions of rising, great Wisconsin! 

Young gentlemen, you are about to go out into the 
active duties of life. Carrying with you the convic- 


tion that religion is the friend of man, administering 
hope to conscience, peace to mental conflicts, solace 
in affliction, counsel in trouble, and rest and glory 
beyond the grave. One of your number has already 
been called from the scenes of time. Marsh has led 
the way of the class of 1857, to a better world. We 
remember him on our literary anniversary. His 
vacant seat pleads with mute eloquence the instability 
of human hopes. Like the pine, by the blows of the 
destroying axe, or the cypress, before the power of 
the storm, he has fallen. But to human mortality 
there is a resurrection of life ; and Marsh shall stand 
among the saints who pass from Wisconsin graves 
into the radiant presence of their Lord. 

Young gentlemen, if you do not already possess re- 
ligion, delay no longer to secure it. It is a sad reflec- 
tion to graduate " without hope and without God in 
the world." Delay is perilous. The shadows lengthen 
fastest as the sun draws nearest to the horizon. Let 
me say, as a friend, that the year immediately suc- 
ceeding college life, is often one of more than ordi- 
nary thoughtfulness and solemnity. Observation has 
brought to view the fact, that a considerable number 
who went through college life without religion, have 
embraced it in that serious interval which imme- 
diately succeeds their graduation. Few, very few, 
after this period, apparently give themselves much 
concern about the salvation of the soul. 


Arise to serve your country and your God. The 
age calls for zealous patriotism, purity of motive, 
steadfastness of principle. A grand field of useful- 
ness is presented in this grand State. Wisconsin 
must have seemed to the Indians a land favored by 
the Great Spirit, Methinks the council fires of con- 
federated tribes have been on the prairies and by the 
lakes where the State Capitol now stands, one of the 
glorious sites worthy to be the seat of Liberty and 
constitutional power. Where the Dacotahs and Win- 
nebagoes once held their hunting and fishing grounds, 
the sons of Wisconsin now dwell in the genial quiet 
of advancing civilization. Oh, young gentlemen, you 
have a mighty State to live and work in ! 

Lake Michigan is named, on the oldest French 
maps, " Le Lac des Illinois," the lake of the Illinois, 
or of men. Wisconsin, from her eastern to her west- 
ern shores, expects her sons to keep alive this imme- 
morial appellation. Higher than ancient Indian or 
French suggestion is the authority, "Quit ye like 
men." Even the savages of the olden time rightly 
judged this fine region of country to be worthy of 
men of a noble order. Let Wisconsians ever rank 
high in the race of men ; and let Carroll men stand 
among the foremost in Wisconsin ! 




18 (205 

An Address, delivered at the Telegraphic Celebration, in the City 
Hall, Burlington, New Jersey, September 1st, 1858. 



My Fellow-citizens of Burlington: 
Ladies and Gentlemen. 

The union of the two hemispheres is a festival 
event in the history of the great globe. America, 
from Greenland to Magellan, thrills with continental 
joy at the pressure of the sister hands of Europe, 
Asia, and Africa. And the mighty hemisphere of 
the East, in one family three, receives, with kindred 
emotion, the welcome grasp of a long-separated and 
absent member of the terrestrial household. 

The globe is now in electric union. Ye winds, who 
have swept over American forests, and African des- 
erts, and Asiatic mountains, and European plains, a 
new agent, swifter far than your aerial speed, is a 
visitant of the four quarters of the globe. Ye stars 
of light, who chronicle new achievements in the infi- 
nite universe, record in the book of ages the laying 
of the thought-wire that speaks to nations through 
separating gulfs. Ye mountains, sublime in the peaks 
of everlasting hills, let your primeval rocks and ver- 
dure respond to the human enterprise which has 



mounted your Alpine heights, and has now thrown 
the rein of mastery over your submerged depths, and 
guides its way across the rugged mountain-path of 
waters. And thou, old ocean, majestic in the billows 
of thy might, that anthem the praise of God from 
shore to shore, — thou, who leadest the intercourse of 
nations by outspreading sail and grander steam, to 
thine azure deep is committed a new trained ele- 
mental power, from the hands of Him who rules the 
waves and directs the storm. 

The air, the sky, the earth, the sea, send greeting 
to the festival of men, and make one with the nations, 
in their simultaneous celebration of an influential and 
great event in the history of the nineteenth century. 

Occasions like the present have their high moral 
purposes. They serve to explain and illustrate the 
discovery they celebrate ; they magnify to its true 
proportions the triumph of mind over matter ; they 
secure to society an interval of intellectual and genial 
festivity; they exert an elevating and educating 
influence on the popular mind ; they render homage 
to providential developments in the world's affairs ; 
and they assist in bringing God to view as the great 
and glorious Ruler of the Universe. 

Fellow-citizens of Burlington, it is becoming to the 
dignity of this ancient city, and to its educational 
and industrial spirit, to unite with other cities in this 
and in distant lands, in celebrating the successful 


laying of the Atlantic Telegraph. This is one of 
those leading and happy events in human history, 
which, when it occurs first, anticipates the emotions 
and honours of future triumphs of the same kind. 
Now is the time and the hour ! Our celebration, on 
the appointed day, brings us into heartfelt connection 
with the general joy and praise ; and the telegraphic 
poles of Burlington exchange signals with the wires 
on Albion's cliffs, and return the festival flashes, 
which puke with the power of life, from our com- 
mercial metropolis to the outstretched boundaries of 
this great Republic. 

The subject of our meditations shall be, some of 
the lessons taught by the laying of the Atlantic 
Telegraph. If I have succeeded in reading any of 
them, I desire to signal to you their true import, and 
to stand for a few minutes in sympathetic, electric 
union with your minds and hearts — an operator, to 
explain some of the signs and the seasons in the 
horizon of the awe-struck world. 

I. The first lesson of the submerged telegraph is 
clearly the superintendence of Divine Providence 
in the affairs of men. The time and the issuing of 
this event proclaim the hand of God. Occurring a 
century, or half a century ago, it would have been 
incongruous to human affairs. The world was not in 
a condition to appreciate or profit by an invention 
which antedated its necessity. God arranges all 
18* o 

210 S I G N A L S PE M 

things so tli a t everything shall be in its place, at the 
right time, in the mighty system of his advancing 
Providence. The clock on the dial of ages strikes, 
only when the seconds and minutes make up the 
hour. As the discovery of America was not demanded 
by the condition of the world, prior to the bold and 
hopeful adventure of the divinely guided Columbus. 
so an oceanic telegraph came into being only when 
the wants of the nineteenth century sought it out 
among the ordained inventions of a responsive Pro- 
vidence. The discovery of America in 1492 stands 
related to the counsels of God, just as the laying of 
the Atlantic telegraph in 1858. God is in history. 
Divinity overshadows every event with grandeur, 
and cdves to it. like the stars, its right ascension in a 
sphere of glory. 

The successful issue of the event we celebrate, as 
well as its time, brings to view Divine Providence. 
Man walks beyond the bounds of his domain, when 
he undertakes to thread over, by the line of his skill, 
mountain peaks, submerged in ocean depths. Adven- 
turous was he, who first unfurled a sail upon the bil- 
lows of the defiant deep ; but what language can 
express the boldness, and even hopelessness, of that 
enterprise that seeks to conquer, not space on the 
surface wave, but on the unexplored mud and cavern 
in. the darkness of the distant bottom ? To what but 
the interposing help of Divine Providence can be 


ascribed the successful deposit, in the lower parts of 
the boisterous ocean, of a wire, measured in size by 
a human finger, and in length by a twelfth part of 
the distance around the globe ? 

In 1857, the first Atlantic experiment was made. 
On the 5th of August of that year, two ships, well 
named — the "Agamemnon," after an indomitable 
Greek chieftain, and thus representing the spirit of 
men ; the " Niagara," after the great cataract, and 
representing the wonders of nature — these two ves- 
sels set sail with the mysterious cable, one end of 
which is held by the Old World, as the pledge of its 
firm faith in the enterprise. Five days out from land. 
on the 11th of August, the slender cord, intended to 
reach the New World, is broken by the heaving of 
the vessel; and the part submerged, of three hun- 
dred and forty-four miles, is left a buried and irre- 
coverable fragment amid the curves of the Atlantic 
plateau. Thus perished the hopes of the first expe- 
dition. Man's ability was inadequate to the work. 

On the 10th of June, 1858, the undaunted ships 
again set out. Violent storms forebode disaster. The 
Agamemnon is shaken to and fro by the sea, as if to 
exult over the frailty of human workmanship, and 
the vessel barely escapes wreck. At last the cable is 
joined in mid-ocean, and the ships part for the two 
hemispheres. On the first day the wire is broken on 
the Niagara, on the second day at the bottom of the 


ocean, and on the fourth day on the Again em i 
Three failures, with the loss of three hundred and 
thirty-five miles of cable, again rebuke human impo- 
tency. The Niagara returns in gloom, followed by 
her cheerless but not discomfited compeer. The con- 
viction settles on the popular mind that the enter- 
prise is beyond human power. And so it is. But 
not beyond God's. The Lord on high is mightier 
than the waves of the sea. 

On the third expedition the noble ships reached 
their mid-ocean rendezvous on the 27th of July, true 
to each other as the needle to the pole, and eager to 
make the magnet available at the bottom of the ocean 
as on its surface. The splice was effectually, but this 
time rudely made ; and " the apparatus was then 
dropped into the sea without any formality, and in- 
deed almost without a spectator ; for those on board 
the ship had witnessed so many beginnings to the 
telegraphic line, that it was evident they despaired 
of there ever being an end to it." The fact is, that 
public opinion, both on sea and land, had reached 
such a point of depression and of renunciation of 
human ability, as to produce the general feeling that, 
without the special interposition of Providence, the 
work must prove a failure. Thus did God prepare 
the world to put its trust in Him alone. Where else 
is. trust safe? 

The ships now slowly part from each other in the 


concealed glory of a successful mission. Painful 
anxiety keeps watch on both vessels. The pilots 
scan the sea rather than the stars, and the interest is 
at the stern and not at the prow. Never did mater- 
nal affection note, with more tenderness, the breath- 
ings of a new-born infant, than did the electricians 
the continuity of life developed by this wonderful 
child of nature in the cradle of the deep. Day after 
day passes without disaster ; but, like the crisis be- 
tween life and death, apprehension only increases 
until complete safety is announced. The logs of both 
ships show the variety of contingencies which alter- 
nately cherished or depressed hope. The story of the 
double passage reads, indeed, like the romance of the 
adventures in the earlier voyages of discovery. But 
here is the higher moral sublimity of a great and 
well-matured enterprise, throwing its lights and sha- 
dows over the scene ! What dangers encompass the 
daring work ! Behold the little line, sparkling by 
day in the sunbeams, and in the night leaving its 
slight, phosphorescent track of foam, like silver, on 
the billows. Is it to reach, at last, its twofold desti- 
nation ? What perils of wind and storm, of waves, 
and icebergs, and whales, has it to encounter ! What 
perils of Yankee vessels dashing up with unapologiz- 
ing curiosity to spy out the mystery of the strange 
proceedings ! What perils from the uncoiling of the 
spiral heaps of those miles of wire ; from splicing and 


running out from one part of the ship to another ; 
from the standing still, as on one occasion on the 
Agamemnon, of the paying-out wheels of the ma- 
chinery, when the vast ship hung on to the frail cord ; 
above all, what perils from crossing the unknown 
heights and valleys of the sea, unvisited by man, save 
by a few plunges of his long sounding-line, or by his 
own lifeless frame asleep in the watery sepulchre ! 
Columbus on the prow of the Santa Maria, in search 
of the New World, depicts the double gaze, easterly 
and westerly, of the eager hearts on the Agamemnon 
and Niagara. The water at length shallows; the 
sounding-line telegraphs approaching land; the two 
harbors are won, and God is glorified. 

On the 5 th of August, the cable is landed on both 
shores. The Niagara's portion is carried up in glad 
but toiling procession to the station-house ; and the 
end being placed in connection with the instrument, 
the deflection of the needle on the galvanometer shows 
a good electrical condition in the cable. And then 
and there, in the silence of the awe inspired by suc- 
cess from heaven, and amid the rude scenes of the 
station-house in the wilderness, the good Captain 
Hudson, assembling his men, remembers God and 
prays. Few of earth's scenes were more sublime 
than that one, in the forests of Newfoundland. It 
stands out in the foreground of history, like Colum- 
bus kneeling before God on the soil of the New World, 


or De Soto planting the cross on the banks of the 
Mississippi, or Brewster and the Pilgrims praying and 
singing psalms at the landing-Rock of Plymouth. Let 
this scene go down to posterity among the grandest 
memorials of our national history ! 

The religious services were introduced by a few 
appropriate words, beginning with these : " The work 
has been performed, not by ourselves: there has been 
an Almighty hand over us and aiding us ; and with- 
out the divine assistance, thus extended, success was 
impossible." In the same spirit of '• glory to God in 
the highest," Captain Hudson sent his first telegraphic 
announcement in the memorable words : " God has 


This great truth, then, of God's holy Providence in 
the world'* affairs, is Hashed from Valentia to Trinity 
Bay, from Europe to America, and around the circuit 
of the globe, up into the bright arches of the eternal 

II. Another of the lessons, signalled by the Atlan- 
tic Telegraph, is the triumph of human genius, faith, 


Let it be distinctly acknowledged, that every en- 
dowment of man is from God. It is the inspiration 
of the Almighty that giveth understanding. The 
triumphs of man's intellect are his own, only as the 
aided emanations of a created instrumentality. 


The human mind, like the stars which differ in 
glory, has its variations of capacity. The mass* - 
are scarcely perceptible on the map of the firmament, 
inferior glimmerings, or nebulae undistinguishable in 
the vast abyss of being. The morning and the eve- 
ning star is solitary in the grandeur of its brightness. 
Superior intellects are rare; but with what power 
they attract and rule ! Great men in science and the 
arts, whose inventions and discoveries advance civili- 
zation, reign to distant ages. 

Man's intellect, however, is comparatively feeble in 
its best estate. The children of a succeeding genera- 
tion often know r more than was at first discerned by 
the mind of inventive genius. Three considerations 
modify, without disowning, the homage due to the 
triumphs of the human mind. First, new discove- 
ries and inventions generally originate from small and 
suggestive incidents, and not from independent, origi- 
nal investigation. Thus, the falling of an apple sug- 
gested to Newton's mind the principle of gravitation. 
The idea of the telescope grew out of the experiment 
of a boy, who, in using two lenses, found that a church- 
steeple was brought nearer in an inverted form. The 
properties of the magnetic needle were discovered by 
u some curious persons who were amusing themselves 
by floating a loadstone, suspended upon a piece of 
cork, in a basin of water, which, when left at liberty, 
was observed to point to the north." The art of 


printing derived its origin from the effort of a man 
in Haarlem to amuse his children by transferring to 
paper some letters he had cut on the smooth bark of 
a tree. A new epoch was created in the department 
of galvanism,, or animal electricity, by Madame Gal- 
vani's notice of the convulsions in the muscles of 
frogs by the contact of metals. Electricity for tele- 
graphic purposes was first stumbled upon by Oersted, 
of Copenhagen, who observed that an electric current; 
transmitted through a wire placed parallel to a mag- 
netic needle, either above or below it, caused the 
needle to deviate to the right or left, according to the 
direction of the current. In short, the triumphs of 
genius in the arts and sciences, generally owe their 
origin to suggestive and casual incidents, and not to 
the original determinations of the human intellect. 

Secondly. Discoveries and inventions are the work 
of more than one mind. Not to multiply illustrations, 
let us take the single subject of Electricity, the great 
agent in telegraphing. Dr. Gilbert, of Colchester, is 
the first to record, in 1660, the phenomenon of elec- 
tricity, which he produced from various substances. 
Seven years later, Otto Guericke, of Germany, brought 
out the electric machine, now so common, although 
still an object of wonder. In 1730, Stephen Grey 
divided all material substances into electrics and non- 
electrics ; and shortly after, Dufaye discovered the 
phenomena of attraction and repulsion. The experi- 


merits of Kleist, Cunceus, and Muschenbrcek, dating 
from 17 40, led to the discovery of the Leydcn jar in 
1 755. About this time, Franklin proved by hi* little 
kite the identity between electricity and lightning, 
and gave a new impulse to the science, by estab- 
lishing the universality of the fluid in nature. About 
1780, Cavendish laid the foundation of chemical elec- 
tricity, by decomposing air and water by moan* of 
this agent. In 1790, Galvani, and in 1800, Volta, 
added to the advances of this science, by the discove- 
ries of animal magnetism and the construction of the 
Voltaic battery. And in 1819, Oersted announced 
the discovery of Electro-Magnetism, or the relations 
between Electricity and Magnetism, which constitutes 
the basis of the telegraphic art. These successive 
developments of this particular science, serve to show 
that, however great are the successes of intellect, no 
one mind can ever lay open the treasures of even a 
single vein in the strata of knowledge. 

In the third place, it requires time to bring all dis- 
coveries into practical use. Even after the leading 
principle has been discovered, the human mind is 
slow in applying it to its practical ends. The power 
of steam was long known ; but it was not until 1765 
that Watt's invention of performing condensation in a 
separate vessel from the cylinder was applied to the 
steam engine ; and still more notable, it was not 
until 1807, or nearly half a century later, that Fulton 


succeeded in propelling a steamboat on the Hudson 
river; and not until 1830, that steam was success- 
fully applied to railways." 

The Electro- Magnetic Telegraph, like the Steam 
Engine and other inventions, is the creature of gradual 
development. Oersted in 1819 discovered the prin- 
ciple of electro-magnetic power; and in 1820, the 
celebrated Ampere proposed to apply the principle to 
a telegraph, with the crude suggestion that as many 
magnetic needles and as many circuits should be em- 
ployed as there were characters to be indicated. 
Schelling and Feclmer proposed the employment of 
fewer needles. Gauss demonstrated, afterwards, that 
the appropriate combination of a few simple signs was 
all that was necessary to form a language for tele- 
graphic purposes. Sturgeon, of England, was the first 
to construct an electro-magnet by coiling a copper 
wire around an iron of horse-shoe shape. Barlow, of 
England, in 1825, failed to render his telegraph avail- 
able, on account of the rapid diminution of the gal- 
vanic action with the distance, under the arrange- 
ments which he made. The great desideratum was 
to propel the galvanic power through an indefinite 
circuit of wire. In 1831, Professor Joseph Henry, 
now Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, showed 
by his experiments how enormously more powerful 
magnets might be constructed, while the battery 
remained the same ; and he also showed how and why 


the battery might be so arranged that the rapid dimi- 
nution of the effect of galvanism might be prevented, 
so that the effect could be 'produced m sufficient intensify 
at a great distance ; that is, so that we might tele- 
graph. Professor Henry's discovery attracted much 
attention in the scientific world; but he did not him- 
self undertake to invent a machine for telegraphing, 
or to decipher the language of electro-magnetism. In 
1833, Weber, of Gottingen, found that a wire for tele- 
graphic purposes on land required no special insula- 
tion; and in this year, in connection with Gauss, set 
in operation a telegraph between the Observatory of 
Gottingen and the Cabinet of Natural Philosophy, by 
means of a wire a mile and a half long. Tn 1835. 
Professor Morse, of New York, constructed in the 
University of New York, an electro-magnetic Tele- 
graph, about a third of a mile long, and transmitted 
the word "Eureka" to paper. In 1837 much pro- 
gress was made. In June of that year, Cook and 
Wheatstone, of England, took out their patent, using 
a deflective point ; in July, Steinheil constructed a 
telegraph between Munich and Bogenhausen, em- 
ploying a deflective needle to make dots and marks, 
as representatives of the alphabet; and in October 
of the same year, Professor Morse filed his caveat, 
which gave a general outline of his present system. 
In this paper, Professor Morse dates his inventions 
back to 1832, the year following Professor Henry's 


discoveries ; but telegraphing, under his superintend- 
ence, did not go into practical use on a large scale, 
until the completion of the Washington and Balti- 
more line in 1844. At first, two wires were consi- 
dered necessary to make the circuit, one at the ter- 
minus and the other back. Stevnlieil, however, dis- 
covered that one-half of the circuit could be formed 
by the earth, and that double wires were unnecessary. 

In the matter of veritable telegraphing, in the 
present acceptation of that word, Professor Morse, of 
New York, is justly entitled to pre-eminence among 
all the inventors of instruments that applied the pre- 
viously discovered principles. So many minds have, 
in fact, co-operated to produce the telegraph to its 
present working order, that it may be called the 
invention of the age, rather than of any individual. 
Nevertheless, Professor Morse, more than any one 
man, has the credit of bringing the telegraph into 
practical use on a large scale ; sustaining to the tele- 
graph the same relation that Fulton does to steam 
navigation. 1 

Even after the operations of the telegraph were 
successful on land, it was a bold thought to drop the 
wire into the bed of the ocean for international com- 

1 In this brief sketch of the discoveries and inventions relating 

to the Telegraph — which has been compiled from the various 

sources accessible to the public — the intention has been to be 

impartial, and to give to each individual his due share of honour. 



munication. But time assists the triumphs of genius 
and perseverance. In November, 1851, the subma- 
rine telegraph was laid between Dover and Calais, a 
distance of 231 miles; and on the same day guns 
were fired at Dover by means of the electric spark, 
communicated from Calais. Franklin had, however, 
anticipated the experiment in another mode, and had 
fired spirits by an electric current over a river, a cen- 
tury before, in 1748. Planting his Leyden jar, or 
battery, on one side of the Schuylkill, the philoso- 
pher, as an electro-King, commanded the electric cur- 
rent to the other side on a wire, and then summoned 
it to return by way of the river and earth. Perhaps, 
before long, some Yankee hand, fond of exploits, may 
apply American electricity, through the Atlantic 
Ocean, to the touch-hole of British cannon, to as- 
tonish the Royal Lion and the Londoners ! Various 
submarine telegraphs have been set in operation since 
1851 ; but the greatest of nil is the Atlantic Tele- 
graph of 1858. 

It does not detract from this great submarine work, 
that so many instrumentalities were necessary to its 
execution. Almost every philosopher has made some 
contribution to the elucidation of its scientific prin- 
ciples, especially Oersted, Gauss, Sturgeon, Henry, 
Weber, Steinheil, and Wheatstone; almost every 
inventor has aided in bringing it into practical use. 
especially Gauss, Weber, Wheatstone, Morse, and 


Steinheil ; hundreds have assisted in laying the 
Atlantic cable — Brooke and Berryman in sounding 
and surveying the ocean path ; Maury in foretelling 
the time of genial skies ; Armstrong in applying gutta 
percha as the insulating material ; Field in organizing 
the companies, furnishing the means, and superin- 
tending the whole work; the manufacturers, Glass 
and Elliott, and Newell, whose cunning skill wrought 
the ingenious wires ; Berdan and Everett, who in- 
vented the paying-out machinery; Woodhouse and 
Canning, the engineers ; Bright and Whitehouse, the 
electricians; Preely and Hudson, Dayman and Old- 
ham, the commanders ; Morse and Bache, in their 
constant and valuable counsel from beginning to end ; 
the British and American governments, who supplied 
the vessels ; the gallant tars and laborious working- 
men, who encountered toil day and night ; — but, 
whatever number of persons may have been employed, 
intellectually or physically, in laying the Atlantic 
cable, it is certain that the work done is a great work, 
and that the mind of man, which fathomed the idea 
and anchored it in the deep, has a mighty range for 
its exploits, even from the stars of heaven down to 
the chambers of ocean's darkness. 

Whilst due honour should be awarded to all, on 
both sides of the Atlantic, who have aided, by thought 
or hand, this transmarine achievement, the names 
that will be forever most dear to American minds are 

22-1 SIG N A LS F ROM 

Franklin, Henry, Morse, and Field : — Franklin, for 
identifying lightning with electricity, and thus con- 
necting earth with the heavens; Henry, for devising 
the means and demonstrating the practicability of 
telegraphing through an indefinitely long circuit of 
wire ; Morse, for reducing the electric current to a 
written language ; and Field, for successfully execu- 
ting the great sub-Atlantic enterprise. 

The present commemoration holds in special honour 
the laying of the Atlantic cable. This work involved 
three separate and special classes of difficulties : — 1 . 
The organization of the men and means for the enter- 
prise, including the immense cost of the experiment, 
which was about two millions of dollars. 2. The 
making pf the right kind of cable, which involved 
the greatest skill in the selection of materials and in 
their mechanical combination into one cord. 3. The 
laying of the line at the bottom of the ocean, which 
required the space of two large vessels, careful coil- 
ing and uncoiling, and paying out into the sea by the 
most ingenious machinery. 

The present celebration gives mingled homage to 
science, art, and practical skill. Taken all together, 
the combinations of the Atlantic Telegraph consti- 
tute unquestionably one of the greatest triumphs 
ever accomplished by the human intellect. The event 
teaches a lesson of faith, energy, and perseverance, 
to universal man. . 


III. Another lesson of the Atlantic Telegraph is 
that it brings great advantages, political, social, eco- 
nomical, and religious, to the world. Many benefits, 
numerous as its own seven-fold cord, are wrapped up 
in the inventory of those mysterious strands. 

1. The promotion of the friendship of nations is 
one of the first natural advantages of the Atlantic 
Telegraph. The division of the world into different 
nations by means of mountains, rivers, and oceans, 
is a part of the arrangements of infinite goodness. 
Great ends of mercy, as well as of retribution, were 
answered by the confusion of tongues and the disper- 
sion of mankind. In the progress of nges, the diver- 
sity, necessary to the best interests of the race, was 
to be relieved by the providential preparations for a 
more genial intercourse. The sharp, repulsive preju- 
dices and rude hostilities of the earlier eras of civili- 
zation were to be superseded by a system of attract- 
ing influences. At the present day all the tendencies 
of the world's advancement are towards intercourse, 
unity, and peace. The swift communication of 
thought is the best harbinger of universal concord. 
As the original dispersion of mankind was accom- 
plished by the confusion of language at the tower of 
Babel, so its reunion in the bonds of peace is pro- 
moted by the creation of a new, universal language, 
outstripping the resources of combined human tongues. 

The wire itself symbolizes the union of all lands, 


226 S J G N A LS FROM 

and the fraternity which grace is to give to tin. 
nations. Higher than physical juxtaposition is the 
intellectual and moral nearness of vision that out 
strips the course of the sun. and becomes a universal 
source of light and genial attraction. The very ex- 
istence of neighborly tics sanctifies intercourse. Never 
did Science before thus re-echo, from the deeps of 
the sea, the hosannahs, which rang through the fir- 
mament at the birth of the Prince of Peace : " Glory 
to God in the highest; on earth peace, and good-will 
towards men." 

As a specimen of the connection between the dif- 
fusion of intelligence and national peace, it may be 
stated that if there had been a telegraph, the last war 
with Great Britain might have been avoided. The 
British Orders in Council, which restricted our com- 
merce on the continent, and which constituted one 
of the prominent causes of our Declaration of War 
in 1812, were actually repealed before that declara- 
tion was made, although the slow rate at which in- 
telligence then travelled, prevented our receipt of the 
intelligence in time. So also the great battle of New 
Orleans was fought after the preliminaries of peace 
were signed ; but there was no telegraph to flash an 
armistice into the smoke of the contending armies. 

In proportion as the nations are brought into daily 
communication, mutual respect and sympathy are en- 
gendered. Diplomacy will cease to be a mischievous 


appendage to thrones and cabinets. And since no 
movement can occur in national policy without its in- 
stantaneous communication to the whole world, it is 
clear that the Telegraph must become the Oracle of 
Peace. Congruous to its character, is its first enun- 
ciation of peace with China, and intercourse estab- 
lished between the civilized world and three hundred 
millions of, hitherto, self-inclosed barbarians ! 

No two nations on the earth ousrht to be united bv 
firmer bonds than those two, whose telegraphic sta- 
tions now respond flash to flash. War between Eng- 
land and America would imperil the interests of civil- 
ization. Welcome to all Anglo-Saxon hearts is the 
new union-tie, which enables the Royal Queen and 
the Republican President to exchange, on the same 
day, mutual congratulations in behalf of fifty millions 
of kindred freemen. May the British lion and the 
American eagle ever dwell in peace together, and the 
little child of the telegraph lead them ! In the el< ■- 
quent language of Governor King, of New York, at 
a recent celebration : "For England I have a noble, 
kindred feeling. In common she speaks the language 
of Shakspeare, Milton, Bacon, and Newton; and 
united, we may walk down the future centuries, a 
mutual benefit, and the hope of struggling nations." 

2. Another benefit of the Atlantic Telegraph is in 
its relations to commerce. A merchant 1 justly re- 

1 Mr. A. A. Low. 


marked, in the New York Chamber of Commerce, of 
the newly-laid telegraph : " We hail this as a com- 
mercial enterprise, carried into effect, more than for 
any other purpose, to answer the demand of a grow- 
ing commerce, — of a commerce guided by the light 
of an advancing civilization." 

Intelligence aids commerce in many ways. First, 
it places the operations of commerce upon the true 
and broad foundation of knowledge. Secondly, it 
gives regularity to its laws. Thirdly, it stimulates 
its advance into all quarters of the globe. And 
Fourthly, it gives equality to all who engage in its 

A knowledge of the state of the markets in all 
parts of the world, at the time of acting, must effect- 
ually check rash and illegitimate speculation. The 
telegraphs in our own country have already equalized 
prices throughout its length and breadth, and regu- 
lated exchanges with the most exact precision. The 
same results will be now obtained for commercial ope- 
rations between Great Britain and America, and 
eventually for the whole world. The quotations of 
the business of tjie day on the Royal Exchange and 
at the Bourse, whose transactions close an hour or 
two before those in Wall Street begin, will have a 
daily influence upon the American market. And 
soon, the Exchanges of all the capitals on both hemi- 
spheres being in full telegraphic and commercial 


union, Commerce will possess the advantage of a new 
power, worthy of the mysterious winds that waft her 
ships, and of the grand seas that bear them in their 

It is a remarkable fact, that one of the earliest mer- 
cantile results of the Atlantic Telegraph, was to com- 
municate the information of renewed intercourse with 
China, thus placing American vessels, trading with 
that distant land, on the same footing with English 
or other foreign vessels, which otherwise would have 
had the start of ten or fifteen days. 

The Atlantic Telegraph is to Commerce what the 
gathering of facts is to Science. It encourages, en- 
larges, purifies, invigorates, and confirms its domain. 
Let Commerce, then, bring her offerings from afar, 
gather her tributes from every shore, and wherever 
the> winds swell the glad sails of her ship, do homage 
to this new benefactor of the great mercantile world. 

3. The advantages of the Telegraph to the various 
branches of mechanical labor are incalculable. Know- 
ledge and civilization are the allies of human indus- 
try. Every new invention tends to mitigate human 
toil, to dignify labor, to increase the sources of com- 
fort, and to elevate the working classes, intellectually, 
morally, and politically. The laborer with his barrow, 
the blacksmith at his forge, the boat-builder in his 
yard, the shoemaker with his last, the tinman at his 
instruments, the carpenter with his saw, the mason 


with his trowel, the hatter at his block, the painter 
with his brush, the printer at his types, the tailor 
with his needle, in short, all mechanics, of every oc- 
cupation and grade, — and work is honourable in all ; 
idleness is vice — I say, all mechanics are interested 
iu, and benefited by, every discovery and invention 
of the age. It might have seemed to some a singu- 
lar and incongruous thing, to see workingmen in New 
York turn out in a procession, two miles in length, on 
the day the success of the laying of the Atlantic 
cable was announced. With a full band of music and 
with banners, the hardy workmen, in their everyday 
clothes, marched in a festival procession, which ex- 
tended from Union Square to the Park. This was 
the testimony of men of sense to the general value 
of the new improvement, and to its influence on their 
own interests and happiness. Whatever promotes 
the prosperity of the city and of the country, helps 
the cause of the laborer and the mechanic. This 
principle is as true as the hammer to the head of the 
nail, or a plummet dropping straight down by the side 
of a wall. 

When the workingmen of New York had assem- 
bled in the Park, the President of the Commissioners 
of the Central Park thus forcibly addressed them : 

" Fellow-citizens and fellow-icorhnen of the Central 
Park : This procession of laboring men of the city, 
turning spontaneously from their daily work into line 


of two miles long, with ploughs, drays, spades, and 
all the insignia of labor, adds a most significant fea- 
ture to the celebration of this most wonderful achieve- 
ment of time. While bankers, and brokers, and ship- 
owners, and manufacturers, are all fathoming the 
influence of this event upon their peculiar vocations, 
the intelligence of the laboring man is not behind in 
discovering its bearings upon his interests and the in- 
terests of labour throughout the world. Movement, 
activity, transportation by rail and by ship, by land 
and by sea, are the life of this great market-place of 
the West and of the East. All inventions facilitating 
the exchange of material products and articles, and 
the interchange of thought, must enhance the great- 
ness of this metropolis ; and it is not singular that you 
who are engaged in a work that is to add beauty to its 
greatness, should sympathize in an event that so deeply 
concerns its advancement. Whatever tends to equal- 
ize the prices of commodities, operates to arrest those 
sudden periodical shocks that paralyze trade and 
manufactures, and bear so heavily upon labour. This 
the ocean telegraph must do, and I find a chief grati- 
fication in a faith that points out to me this result. 
While officials speak of this event in the language 
of state, this demonstration of labor shows that the 
great heart of the people beats with an enthusiasm 
worthy of the day, and of the wonder of ages. It 
cannot be that this new avenue of thought, that 


brings the civilized people of the earth within an 
hour of each other, will ever fail to subserve the 
highest interests of humanity." 

4. The power of the telegraph in extending tht 
knowledge and influence of republican institutions will 
aid to bless the world. Our country has remained 
isolated from the nations until the well-being of its 
free institutions has been well demonstrated in its 
history. The Old World has felt some of the move- 
ments of liberty ; but its irregular fires of inspiration 
have been followed by desolation. Before the influ- 
ence of America in overthrowing tyranny could be 
fully felt upon the earth, it was necessary to bring 
its system of government into closer proximity with 
the Old World. Steamships and the press have al- 
ready contributed to this result ; and now, the quick 
light of the telegraph exhibits, side by side, the insti- 
tutions of freedom and the thrones of tyranny. The 
cause of liberty always gains by light. The increase 
of knowledge tends to the political regeneration of 
the earth, and to the establishment of the great prin- 
ciples of popular government from pole to pole. — 
" The tyrants of the world will quail under the 
searching glances of an argus-eyed public sentiment. 
The present system of telegraphing is, as it were, 
blending the mind of the world into one stupendous 

All inventions are in freedom's favour. It has 


been said that the locomotive was a great democrat ; 
and so it is, in the true sense of that word. In the 
same enlarged signification, the Atlantic Telegraph 
is a true republican. Railways and electric wives 
unite in unfolding the glories of self-government to 
expectant nations ; and even the interest taken by 
Americans in the very celebration of the Atlantic 
Telegraph, goes up, like a jubilant shout, to cheer the 
hopes of the oppressed, and to warn Tyranny of its 
doom. Soon may Freedom's be a universal do- 
minion : 

"And henceforth, there shall be no chain, 
Save underneath the sea, 
The wires shall murmur through the main 
Sweet songs of liberty." 

5. The influence of the telegraph upon the press 
will be salutary and powerful. More than any other 
department of business, the press feels the power of 
this great enterprise, which establishes almost instan- 
taneous communication with all parts of the world. 
The Telegraph will not only stimulate the desire of 
the people for intelligence, but it will throw increased 
ability and activity into the press, in order to meet 
the growing demands of the public. The newspa- 
per is one of the great institutions of the age. If 
its necessity has ever before been questioned, all doubt 
of its power and usefulness vanishes before the land- 


ward and seaward telegraphs, whieh send to the press 
the contributions of all nations. 

6. Science shall receive rewards from her own 

The ocean telegraph has been already of use to 
science, by showing what modifications the electric 
wave undergoes under such new circumstances. It 
will serve, if it endures, to throw light upon the ve- 
locity of galvanic electricity, and enable the electri- 
cian to investigate the general laws of the fluid, when 
thus constrained. 

The Atlantic Telegraph can also be employed in 
determining the difference of longitude between ob- 
servatories, or stations, in Europe and America, and 
may be brought into use for certain astronomical 

It is, in short, a piece of philosophical apparatus on 
a grand scale. The electrician will cherish it w ith 
the love of the astronomer for his telescope, or the 
chemist for his retort. Its connection with farther 
discoveries is a certainty in an age of physical 
inquiry. 1 

1 The "London Morning Post" says, that it is understood 
that, the Atlantic Cable transmits the electricity with sufficient 
rapidity, but that it retains it, time being required for its dis- 
charge, after it has been communicated to the wire. The first 
signal is transmitted instantaneously ; but the wire does not 
readily part with the charge, and the electricity it retains pre- 
vents the effect of a second signal from being perceived on the 


Among the rewards of science, on this occasion, is 
the universal homage yielded by the multitude. No 
longer regarded as an aristocrat of high pretensions, 
living in the seclusion of a grand, but selfish and use- 
less domain, Science is welcomed as the handmaid of 
industry and the arts, and obtains from the masses 
to-day the most triumphant honours. This restora- 
tion to her true position is proof of her native dignity 
and worth. Never has Science received so hearty 
and gracious a demonstration to her praise. Whilst 
Jupiter places at her feet the thunderbolts of the 
firmament, and Neptune the trident of the Ocean, 
and Vulcan, the miraculous implements of Cyclopean 
forges, the crown of glory is placed upon her head 
by the Queen of Beauty, amidst acclamations which 
fill the conclave. 

7. The benefits which the telegraph will confer 
upon the cause of Religion, are as certain as that Re- 
ligion's is the greatest cause on earth. Christianity 
has, in the first place, a common interest in all that 
relates to the advancement of society. Whatever 
cultivates good-will among men, facilitates commerce, 

distant instrument. The difficulty, which was experienced in the 
Telegraph to the Hague, was overcome by discharging the wire 
after each signal, and this was done by sending the electrical cur- 
rent in the reverse direction Such an arrangement does not seem 
to be sufficient to put the Atlantic Cable in satisfactory working 
order. Science, however, will doubtless discover a remedy in 
due time. 


stimulates industry, enlarges the sphere of free insti- 
tutions, benefits the press, and aids science and know- 
ledge, advances religion too. Every new discovery 
is tributary to the kingdom of Christ. Of how much 
use to religion has been the telescope, the microscope, 
the compass, the loom, the printing-press, the steam- 
engine ! Thus will it also be with the Atlantic Tel- 
egraph, through the general relation between the 
progress of society and the cause of truth and right- 

But further than this, religion derives a direct 
advantage from the use of the telegraph, like the 
secular interests of society. A knowledge of the 
state of mankind in every nation, constitutes the 
basis of evangelical effort, and stimulates the prayer 
and zeal requisite to carry on it's operations. If the 
angels of heaven were to descend, as visible messen- 
gers, to report daily the condition of the world, they 
would perforin the service that the telegraph, in the 
name of heaven's King, is commissioned to do, through 
the inspirations of its swift-winged words. Every 
agent on earth is God's agent to execute his will. 
The luminary that compasses the circuit of the hea- 
vens, and the time-defying spark that pervades the 
cable of the deep, have each, in their origin, purpose, 
and results, a relation to Deity. God carries forward 
the plan of redemption by means of the vast system 
of events, which, each and all, small and great, old 


and new, make up the glory of Providence. Tele- 
graphs ride over mountains, and leap through the 
seas, that they may prepare the highway of the Lord, 
and be the forerunners of the chariots of his sal- 

It is easy to realize that this great invention of 
the century impresses upon the mind and heart of 
the religious world the idea of unity, and thus aids 
in creating a power, antagonistic to the injurious sepa- 
rations and alienations, too long prevalent in the 
Church. A better era is at hand. Unity is the 
familiar lesson among the religious demonstrations of 
Providence. Unity is the loving truth of Gospel 
grace. Unity springs from genuine Christian inter- 
course, like the morning light, to bless the world. 
Unity gladdens the train of enlarged evangelical 
efforts among the millions of mankind. Unity is 
celebrated by the moral influences of each world- 
related event. Unity is transmitted, with the love 
of God. to the Church, in every new memorial of His 
power and glory. 

Such is a brief view of the general blessings radi- 
ating from this work of light, whose success we are 
met to celebrate. 

It is not, indeed, to be disguised that the telegraph 
may also be employed for purposes of evil. If Satan 
transformed himself into an angel of light, it is no 
marvel if he still use the agency of light in strength- 


ening his influence and dominion. But, for the pur- 
poses of the wicked, light is the most hazardous and 
self-destructive of all weapons. The devil, in his 
attempts to quote Scripture, was overwhelmed by the 
replies of the Son of Man. All assaults upon the 
cause of truth and liberty through the telegraph, will 
bo repelled by the avenging power of right, in the 
Providence of the Most High. 

TV. Another thought is transmitted through the 
Atlantic Telegraph, as a commemorative lesson to 
the immortal minds that celebrate its achievement. 
Tt is that this great event is among the most impress- 
ive, as well as the latest, of the providential indica- 

The age in which we live is intense with activity, 
change, and progress. There seems to be a mar- 
shalling of events to terminate a great and triumphant 
campaign. Behold the nations of Europe sighing 
after a better day amid the gloom of ancient systems, 
the Ottoman empire expiring in desolate impotence, 
the great and portentous commotions that have swept 
over India's plains, the Jews looking to Palestine 
with revived national aspirations, the unfolding of 
the gates of China to the intercourse of a long- 
excluded world, the grand preparations on the Paci- 
fic's shores, the opening of Central America as the 
highroad to the recovery of the kingdoms farther 
south, the numerous and industrious explorations in 


Africa, as if to connect her, in time, with the general 
movement of this electric age ; and, above all, behold 
the progress of Christianity in every land, and espe- 
cially the existing revival of religion which is gilding 
the mountain-tops, and breaking in with glory upon 
the darkness of thousands and ten thousands of 
human hearts ; — all these, with other providential 
declarations in the political and religious world, an- 
nounce a crisis in human history. The horoscope of 
Time points to great changes in the zodiac of nations; 
and all the events on this world of wonders seem to 
be propelling it towards a sublimer destiny. The 
kingdoms of the earth, as at the Advent of Christ, 
are in providential training, with a great expectation ; 
and just at this period, the telegraphic achievement 
towards universal progress and unity startles conti- 
nents into awe. 

What is the consummation, foretold by this com- 
bination of uniform signs ? It is no less than the 
millennium — when the Lord shall reign King of 
nations as He is King of saints. This event, accord- 
ing to Prophecy, cannot now be far distant. Its 
exact period is, doubtless, beyond the computations 
of the human mind. Biblical scholars differ about 
the time of the commencement of the latter-day 
glory, mainly because they differ about the commence- 
ment of certain eras, spoken of by Daniel and John. 
in reference to the duration of the reign of Antichrist, 


whatever may be meant by that term. Many stu- 
dents of prophecy in the Protestant Church have 
fixed upon the year 18GG as the one that is to wit- 
ness "the beginning of the end." 

Assuming the year 606 (the time when the Empe- 
ror Phocas conferred on Boniface III the title of Uni- 
versal Bishop), as the year for the commencement of 
the persecution of the Church, they add to it the 
1260 years, which mark the precise time of the reign 
of Antichrist, and thus arrive at the result of 1866, 
as an important era, preliminary to the Millennium, 
if not actually introductory to it. Some, however, 
reckon the 1260 years from the year 756, when the 
Emperor Pepin gave temporal dominion to the Uni- 
versal Bishop, and thus fixed the millennial epoch in 
the year 2016. Admitting this latter computation 
to be the most probable, the interval between 1866 
and 2016 is not longer than might be expected, for 
putting into complete and successful operation all the 
means requisite for the full introduction of the Mil- 
lennium ; although God may bring it to pass at any 
period, like the sudden and universal illumination of 
the firmament by His messenger lightnings. - 

There can be little doubt that the millennial glory 
is to begin before many years. One of its antecedents 
is the preaching of the Gospel to every creature, a 
great spiritual work, which is in the course of vic- 
tory. The prediction that in those days " many shall 


run to and fro, and knowledge be increased " is being 
remarkably fulfilled by the aspects of the times. The 
text places intercourse and knowledge in conjunction; 
just as the railway and the telegraph, which are the 
champions of each, and each of both, are usually 
found in juxtaposition. The telegraph will soon sway 
its amazing power in every realm; yea, it already 
reigns. " There is no speech, no language ; their 
voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through 
all the earth, and their words to the end of the 
world." The quick, pervading nature of the tele- 
graph is suited to a day of knowledge. Its cord har- 
monizes with the universal song : " Glory to God in 
the highest; and on earth peace, good-will toward 
men." Soon will it announce that nations have 
beaten " their swords into ploughshares and their 
spears into pruning-hooks," and that a the earth is 
filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, 
as the waters cover the sea." 

Nor is there any agent in nature that so well sym- 
bolizes the instantaneous transactions of the resurrec- 
tion morn. " In a moment, in the twinkling of an 
eye, at the last trump ; for the trumpet shall sound, 
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we 
shall be changed." Amidst these scenes of miracu- 
lous transition, there shall be " no more sea," and 
" Time shall be no longer." 

Help us all, heavenly Father, to be prepared for 
21 Q 


these great events of immortality ! And may our 
beloved land, with its banner of stars as an ensign 
among the nations, be among the foremost to promote 
the glory of the latter-day, and to utter with its tele- 
graphs and its voices, " the kingdoms of this world 
have become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his 
Christ ; and he shall reign forever and ever ! " 




The Letters and Rejoinders on Shareholding, contained in thi> 
Scries, were called forth by the letters of Rev. Dr. Armstrong, of 

Dr. Armstrong's letters can h*> found in the "Presbyterian Maga- 
zine" for 1858. 





I. On the Scriptural Doctrine of Slaveholding page 241 

IT. On Emancipation and the Church 276 

III. On the Historical Argument for Slaveholding 30B 

IV. On the Scriptural Doctrine of Slaveholding 330 

Y. On Emancipation and the Church ; the Schemes of 

Emancipation; African Colonization, etc 351» 




To the Rev. George D. Armstrong, D.D. : 

Your three Letters on Slavery have been read by 
me with great interest. They cover ground, not often 
distinctly included in the field of discussion, and they 
exhibit diversities of sentiment which rightly claim 
a candid consideration. 

The appellation of a " Conservative," which you 
have been pleased to apply to me, gives me satisfac- 
tion. I have always professed to be " conservative " 
on this exciting subject; repudiating, on the one 
hand, the fundamental principle of fanatical aboli- 
tionism, which makes slaveholding always and every- 
where sinful, and, on the other hand, rejecting with 
equal conscientiousness the ultra defences of slavery, 
which constitute it a Divine ordinance, in the sense 
that civil government is " ordained of God," and 
which claim for it an undefined permanence. 1 

1 I am a little surprised that, in the popular classification of 
"Abolitionist, Conservative, and Pro-slavery man," you so qui- 
etly assume the appellation of the latter. Whether I admit the 
propriety of your proposed designation of " Philosophical, Phi- 
losophico-Scriptural, and Scriptural," you will better understand 
after you have read my letters. The only true division is Scrip- 
tural and Unscriptural. 



I follow your example in making a few preliminary 

1. Some of our mutual friends, who are fearful of 
the agitation of slavery in our Church, have advised 
me not to reply to your letters. But if any danger 
was to be apprehended, the alarm ought to have been 
sounded before so much had been written from the 
other side of the line. It is quite probable that a 
brief notice of my brief review would have been 
allowed to pass without any answer. My position, 
however, is very much changed, after three long let- 
ters, containing an elaborate and skilful attack on the 
conservative views prevalent in the Presbyterian 
Church, have been extensively circulated. I am glad 
that you concur with me in the opinion that the dis- 
cussion of the points at issue between us " cannot 
involve any agitation of the Church." 

2. The whole truth pertaining to this subject is of 
the utmost consequence. Slavery is among the pro- 
minent practical questions of the age. The destiny 
of several millions of human beings is more or less 
affected by the views of ministers and others, who, 
like yourself, possess an extensive influence in the 
formation of public opinion. I cannot shrink from 
any lawful responsibility in candidly and boldly 
maintaining what I conceive to be the true philosophy 
and morals of slavery, as set forth in the Scriptures, 
and in the testimonies of the Presbyterian Church. 


No servant of Christ should exhibit a false timidity 
when providentially challenged to defend the right. 

3. Your candour and courtesy are models for my 
imitation. We undoubtedly entertain sentiments in 
regard to slavery, coincident in the main, but varying 
in importance according to the standpoint of different 
readers. Neither of us is a prejudiced partisan. Like 
yourself, although born at the North, I have lived at 
the South, and have learned, both there and here, to 
sympathize with my brethren who are involved in 
the evils of this perplexing social system. In Vir- 
ginia I completed my theological education, was li- 
censed and ordained by "the laying on of the hands 
of the Presbyter}'" of West Hanover, and com- 
menced my ministry as a missionary to the slaves 
on the plantations of the Roanoke and Dan Rivers. 
These personalities are mentioned to show that we 
are, in some respects at least, on a level in this dis- 
cussion. It is better for ministers of the same Church, 
who mutually appreciate each other's objects and 
position, and who endeavour candidly to arrive at 
the truth, to hold a Christian correspondence on 
slavery, than for boisterous and uncharitable parti- 
sans to break lances for victory in a crowd of excited 
spectators. The present opportunity is a good one 
for mutual explanations, which may possibly produce 
a nearer approximation to agreement than is indi- 


cated by the line of separation marked out by some 
of your arguments. 

4. The discussion embraces the whole subject of 
slavery, and not merely the points which might by 
some be placed within the limits of Church authority. 
According to your judgment, " the points on which 
we differ He entirely outside of the proper range of 
ecclesiastical action." I shall hereafter express my 
views in regard to this particular opinion, contenting 
myself, for the present, with the simple affirmation, 
that I write with all the light I can obtain from the 
Bible, and with whatever illumination the Spirit of 
God may graciously grant. Without discussing at 
present the precise range of ecclesiastical action, I 
shall endeavor to seek "the truth, the whole truth, 
and nothing but the truth." 

5. The general form of a discussion depends upon 
the positions of those who engage in it. When I 
discussed the subject of slavery in 1835, my object 
was to examine and expose the two fundamental 
principles of ultra abolitionism : viz., that slavehold- 
ing is always and everywhere sinful, and that eman- 
cipation is an immediate and universal duty. On the 
present occasion, I am called upon to defend the scrip- 
tural doctrine against arguments which seem to ad- 
vocate (in a comparatively mild form) ultra pro- 
slavery views. The Bible, as well as the Presbyte- 
rian testimony founded upon it, points to a clear, deep 


channel between these two dangerous passes. The 
Assembly's testimonies of 1818 and 1845, I regard 
as scriptural, harmonious, and, for the present at 
least, sufficient ; occupying, as they do, the true posi- 
tion between two extremes, and vindicating the 
opinions of those whom you rightly call "conserv- 

I now proceed to the subject of your first Letter, 


Your statement is : " Slaveholding is not a sin in the 
sight of God, and is not to be accounted an offence by 
Ids Church^ 

My statement is : " Slaveholding l is not necessarily 
and in all circumstances sinful" 

My statement was written currente calamo, without 
any intention to propound an exact formula of the 
scriptural doctrine. Some might prefer to either 
statement one in these words : " Slaveholding, in 
itself considered, is not sinful," or "All slaveholding 
is not sinful;" or " There is a slaveholding, which is 
consistent with the Christian profession." I adhere, 
however, to what I have written ; because, whilst my 
original form of statement includes the lawfulness of 
the relation, in itself considered, it also more clearly 
expresses the idea that circumstances may render the 

1 I have substituted "slaveholding" for "slavery," iu order to 
remove all ambiguity in the terms. 


continuance of the relation wrong. It 'brings out, in 
my judgment, more scriptural truth on the subject 
than any of the forms mentioned, and especially than 

All admit that slavery, in a worse form than that 
which now exists in this country, prevailed through- 
out the Roman empire. As a system in actual opera- 
tion, with its cruel laws and usages, the Apostles 
could have no more approved it than they did the 
despotism of Nero. And yet they nowhere con- 
demned the relation itself as necessarily sinful. Des- 
potism maintains a relation to civil government an- 
alogous to that which slaveholding sustains to the 
household. Absolute authority may exist in both 
relations, under certain circumstances, without sin. 
The inspired writers uniformly treat both despotism 
and slaveholding as forms of society which circui n- 
stances might justify. 

The Bible contains no formal statement of the doc- 
trine of slavery, but enforces the duties growing out 
of the relation. A correct statement of the scrip- 
tural mode of treating slavery might be in these 
words : "All masters and all slaves are bound to per- 
form their relative duties, arising from legal authority 
on the one hand, and from enjoined submission on 
the other." You had, undoubtedly, the right to ex- 
hibit the doctrine of slaveholding in the more abstract 
form, propounded in your volume. But, I think that 


the reader of your volume and letters does not re- 
eeive the full impression of scripture truth and ex- 
hortation, properly pertaining to this subject. Your 
unqualified statement that " slaveholding is not a sin 
in the sight of God," seems to me to fall short of a 
perfect formula, even from "the admitted, scriptural 
premises" adduced, and by me cordially acquiesced 
in. I submit a brief commentary on these " ad- 
mitted, scriptural premises," by way of developing 
the argument. 1. If " slaveholding does not appear 
in any catalogue of sins," this fact proves that it is 
not malum in se. It is also deserving of notice that 
slaveholding does not appear in any enumeration of 
virtues and graces. 2. The Apostles received slave- 
holders to the communion, and so they did despots 
and their abettors in Caesar's household. 3. Paul 
sent back a fugitive slave, and would also have sent 
back a deserter from the imperial army. 4. The in- 
junction to slaves to obey their masters does not 
approve of slavery, any more than the command to 
submit to " the powers that be," implied approbation 
of Nero's despotism. 5. The distinctions of slavery 
in regard to the interests of Christian life are, like all 
other outward distinctions, of comparatively little 
importance ; and yet the general injunction of Paul 
on this subject was : "Art thou called, being a slave ? 
care not for it. But if thou mayst be free, iise it 
rather." 6. The Christian doctrine of Paul respect- 


ing the mutual duties of masters and servants is 
clearly wholesome, and utterly subversive of modern 
abolitionism ; but whilst it proves that the relation is 
not in itself sinful, it does not sanction the relation 
as a desirable and permanent one. 7. Christian min- 
isters, who preach to the slaves insurrection, instead 
of submission, and who denounce slaveholding as ne- 
cessarily and always sinful, are on unscriptural and 
dangerous ground. 

In my judgment, your " admitted scriptural pre- 
mises" do not warrant the unqualified statement of 
doctrine which you have laid down. My commen- 
tary is simply designed as a rebutter to your too broad 

Slaveholding, in itself considered, is not sinful; 
that is to say, it is not a malum in se; or, in other 
words, it is a relation that may be justified by circum- 
stances. When we say that the relation itself is not 
sinful, we do not mean, by the expression, a mere ab- 
straction; for slavery cannot be conceived of apart 
from a master and a slave. But we mean that slave- 
holding, as a practical relation, depends upon certain 
conditions for its justification. What is malum in se 
cannot be justified by any circumstances ; the law of 
God always condemns it. But slaveholding being 
among things "indifferent" in morals, it may be right 
or wrong, according to the conditions of its existence. 


Hence your definition, which excludes circumstances, 
comes short of the full Scripture doctrine. 

Three sources of your defective statement, as it 
appears to me, deserve consideration. 

1. You have erred in placing the relation of mas- 
ter and slave on the same basis with that of parent 
and child. Your illustration assumes too much on 
this point. There are specific and fundamental dif- 
ferences between these two relations. The marriage 
relation is divinely constituted ; it existed anterior to 
sin ; it is normal in its character and permanent in 
duration ; and it is honourable in all. Whereas the 
relation of master and slave cannot be said to be more 
than providentially permitted or sanctioned ; it origi- 
nated, as you admit, by the wickedness of "man- 
stealing," and by a violation of the laws of God ; it 
implies an abnormal condition of things, and is there- 
fore temporary ; and it must be acknowledged, that 
it is in discredit generally throughout Christendom. 
The two relations are quite distinct in their nature. 
That of master and slave is not, indeed, in itself, sin- 
ful ; but it cannot be looked upon with the compla- 
cency with which the parental relation is contem- 
plated. The parental relation and slaveholding, pos- 
sess, of course, some affinities. They may fall into 
the same category, if the classification be made wide 
enough ; for both belong to the social state, and have 
relative duties. Or, if the classification be made even 

P R E S B Y T E l; I A N VIE W S 

narrower, they may still be arranged under the same 
category, for both imply the possession of absolute 
power. But, if the classification be into natural rela- 
tions, and those relations which arise from circum- 
stances, then marriage goes into the former category, 
and slavery into the latter. It is only within a cer- 
tain compass, therefore, that we can reason from one 
to the other, without danger of pernicious fallacies. 

2. In the second place, your unqualified proposi- 
tion that " slaveholding is not sinful," mistakes the 
scriptural view by implying its lawfulness everywhere 
,ind under all drcumstahces. The relation of master 
and slave may be lawful in Virginia at the present 
time. But is it lawful in New Jersey, or in New 
England ? And will it always be lawful in Virginia ? 
I apprehend not. The good of the slave and of the 
community is the great law controlling the existence 
of the relation. If a slaveholder were to remove from 
Virginia into New Jersey, your proposition loses all 
its virtue, and collapses into error. Slaveholding is 
sinful by the laws of that State ; and even if there 
were no law prohibiting its existence on the statute- 
book, could the citizens of New Jersey become slave- 
holders under the plea that " slaveholding is not a sin 
in the sight of God ?" Again, is it clear, that citizens 
in the Free States can always lawfully enter into this 
relation, when they remove into States where the 
laws sanction it ? Under the shelter of your propo- 


sition, they might do so; but it is certain, that there 
are tens of thousands of Christians in the Free States. 
who could not enter voluntarily into this relation 
without involving their consciences in sin. Slavery, 
even in the Slave States, where it may lawfully exist 
at the present time, is abnormal and exceptional, and 
is to be justified only by circumstances. This your 
definition overlooks. 

3: In the third place, your statement passes by the 
testimony of the Old Testament dispensation. Moses 
found slavery an institution in existence, and treated 
it as an admitted evil. Tolerating it under the pecu- 
liar condition of society, the laws of the Hebrew 
Commonwealth were framed with a view to mitigate 
its evils, to restrict its limits, and finally to discounte- 
nance it altogether. The distinction between the 
lawfulness of enslaving Israelites and Gentiles, with 
various other discriminating regulations, shows that 
Moses took circumstances into view in his legislation 
on this subject. Even under the Jewish dispensation, 
your statements would not have been, received as a 
full and definite exposition of the true doctrine of 
slavery. My original statement, that " slaveholding 
is not necessarily and under all circumstances sinful," 
accords better, both with the letter of the Old Testa- 
ment dispensation, and the spirit of the New. than 
does yours. 

What I especially insist upon, in a scriptural state- 
22* R 


ment of the doctrine of slavery is, that the relation 
itself shall not be confounded with the injustice of 
slave laws on the one hand, nor separated, on the 
other hand, from the providential circumstances or 
condition of society, where it claims a lawful ex- 

If you therefore ask, generally, why, in my state- 
ment, I qualify the relation by the words "not neces- 
sarily and in all circumstances sinful," I reply, that 
the possession of despotic power is a thing to be justi- 
fied, and for which a good reason is always to be 
given. Marriage is to continue as long as the race, 
and is in its own nature everywhere lawful. Not so 
with slavery. You, yourself, contend in your book, 
that it was originally wrong, and that the men- 
stealers in Africa, and, inferentially, the. slave-buyers 
in America, of that generation, sinned against God by 
their mutual traffic in flesh and blood. Slavery does 
not, like marriage, arise from the nature of man. It 
exists only from the peculiar condition of the slave 
class. And, therefore, a scriptural statement must 
not ignore a reference to providential developments ; 
and it is right to characterize the relation by words 
which qualify its lawfulness. 

Again. If you ask how circumstances can make 
a relation sinful, which, in itself, may be lawful, I 


reply, that circumstances always control the moral 
character of those relations and actions, which belong in 
morals to things " indifferent," or the adiaphora. Some 
things, like idolatry and manstealing, are mala in sc, 
and can be justified by no circumstances whatever. 
Other things, like polygamy, were tolerated under 
the old Testament dispensation, but not under the 
New. Other things, as slavery, were tolerated under 
both dispensations ; but neither under the Old nor 
the New dispensation was slavery recognized as law- 
ful, apart from the circumstances of its origin and the 
attending conditions. The circumstances, in the midst 
of which slaveholding §nds itself, will always be an 
element to enter into its justification, or condemna- 
tion, at the bar of righteousness. 

Again. If you press me still closer, and ask more 
particularly, how the qualifying and restrictive lan- 
guage employed by me, is consistent with the lan- 
guage of Scripture in regard to the duties of masters 
and slaves, — which many interpret as giving full and 
universal sanction to the system of slaveholding, — 
I reply, first, that the mere injunction of relative 
duties, as has been already intimated, does not imply 
full approbation of a relation, which circumstances 
may for a time render lawful, and the duties of which 
require clear specification. The general duty of sub- 
mission to the established government, does not prove 


that all despots are sinless in obtaining and in retain- 
ing their absolute power. Servants are required to 
be subject not only to good and gentle, but to froward 
masters, who make them suffer wrongfully. (1 Peter 
2 : 18, 19.) This, however, does not make such fro- 
wardness and cruelty, on the part of the master, sin- 
less. And, generally, the meekness with which we 
are required to bear insult and injury, does not jus- 
tify those wrongs. Doddridge says : " I should think 
it unlawful to resist the most unjust power that could 
be imagined, if there was a probability of doing mis- 
chief by it." But this cannot make what is wrong 
and pernicious in any particular form or circumstances, 
sacred, divine, and immutable. Polygamy, which 
w r as tolerated under the Old Testament, under certain 
conditions, was a relation of mutual rights and obli- 
gations ; but was polygamy, therefore, on a level with 
the marriage relation, and was it an institution that 
could be perpetuated without sin ? Certainly not. 
Nor does the exhortation to masters and servants 
imply anything more than that the prescribed rela- 
tive duties are to be discharged as long as the relation 
may be lawfully continued. Secondly, the duties of 
submission, heart-service, etc., on the part of the 
slaves, and the corresponding duties of the masters, 
belong to my statement as much as they do to yours. 
The performance of these mutual duties is essential 
to the solution of the problem of slavery, and to the 


inauguration of the new circumstances which may 
make its continuance a wrong. Thirdly, slaveholding 
not being a malum in se, no scriptural exhortation 
against the relation under all circumstances, would 
have been consistent with truth and righteousness. 
Hence, neither despotism nor slaveholding receives 
from the Scriptures the undiscriminating anathemas 
hurled by modern fanatics. Their temporary justifi- 
cation depends on circumstances of which the rulers 
and masters of each generation must judge, as in sight 
of the Ruler and Master in heaven. Fourthly, The 
general spirit of the doctrines and precepts of the 
Bible operates unequivocally and decidedly against 
the permanence of slavery in the household, or of 
despotism in the State. An emphatic testimony is 
rendered on the pages of revelation against these re- 
lations, whose origin is in human sins and woes, and 
whose continuance is justified only by the public good. 
Instead of precise rules, which the wisdom of God 
has not prescribed for the eradication of all the evils 
of society, the Gospel substitutes sublime and hearts 
moving principles, which make the Christian " a law 
unto himself," and transform, through the Spirit, 
human nature into the image of the divine. 

After all, we both agree in the fundamental posi- 
tion that slavery may exist without sin ; that the 
relation, in itself considered, is not sinful. You 


prefer your statement of the doctrine, and I prefer 
mine. You imagine, in comparing my statement 
with Scripture, that you discern " discord," and catch 
the sound of " quavering notes ;" whilst, to my ears, 
your statement sounds like an old tune with unplea- 
sant alterations, and withal, set on so high a key as 
to endanger falsetto in unskilful voices. It is my 
honest conviction that my formula approaches the 
nearest to the true doctrine of Scripture. 

The correctness of my form of statement is, I think, 
confirmed by several considerations. 

In the first place, this mode of stating the scriptural 
doctrine of slavery coincides with the testimonies of tlie 
Presbyterian Church. 

The General Assembly of 1818 uses the following 
language : 

"We do, indeed, tenderly sympathize with those portions of 
our Church and our country where the evil of slavery has been 
entailed ; where a great, and the most virtuous, part of the com- 
munity, abhor slavery, and wish its extermination as sincerely as 
any others ; but where the number of slaves, their ignorance, and 
their vicious habits generally, render an immediate and universal 
emancipation inconsistent alike with the safety and hapjriness of 
the master and slave. With those who are thus circumstanced, 
we repeat that we .tenderly sympathize. At the same time, we 
earnestly exhort them to continue, and, if possible, to increa;>e 
their exertions to effect a total abolition of slavery. We exhort 
them to suffer no greater delay to take place in this most inte- 
resting concern, than a regard to the public welfare truly and 
indispensably demands." 


Here, it will be seen, the doctrine of our Assembly 
is, that circumstances control the continuance of 
slavery. This relation is justifiable, or otherwise, ac- 
cording as " the happiness of the master and slave " 
and " the public welfare " are promoted by it. 

The paper adopted by the General Assembly in 
1845, by a vote of 168 to 13, assumes the same prin- 
ciple, and substantially adopts the form of my origi- 
nal statement. It says : 

"The question, which is now unhappily agitating and dividing 
other branches of the Church, is whether the holding of slaves 
is. under all circumstances, a heinous sin, calling for the disci- 
pline of the Church." p. 812. "The question, which this As- 
sembly is called upon to decide is this : Do the Sci'iptures teach 
that the holding of slaves, without regard to circumstances, is a 
sin ?» p. 812. 

You perceive that the question is stated in words 
which resemble very much the words of a " Conser- 
vative." Further : 

" The Apostles did not denounce the relation itself as sinful." 
• The Assembly cannot denounce the holding of slaves as neces- 
sarily a heinous and scandalous sin." p. 812. "The existence 
of domestic slavery, under the circumstances in which it is found 
iu the southern portion of the country, is no bar to Christian 
communion." p. 813. 

Whilst my statement of the doctrine of slavery 
coincides with the utterances of the Church, many 
will think that yours comes far short of it. What- 
ever added explanations may cause it to approximate 
to the language of the General Assembly, the naked 


words are as dissimilar, as a leafless tree is from one 
of living green. 

As yon frequently quote Dr. Hodge, I also will take 
the liberty of exhibiting the opinions of the distin- 
tinguished Professor, in their true connection with 
the point at issue. I ask your particular attention 
to these extracts from the Biblical Repertory, which 
might be extended, if necessary : 

"An equally obvious deduction [from the Scriptures] is, that 
slaveholding is not necessarily sinful." 1 1836, p. 277. 

"Both political despotism and domestic slavery belong in 
morals to the adiaphora, to things indifferent. They may be 
expedient or inexpedient, right or wrong, according to circum- 
stances. Belonging to the same class, they should be treated in 
the same way. Neither is to be denounced as necessarily sinful, 
and to be abolished immediately under all circumstances." 
p. 286. 

" Slavery is a question of circumstances, and not a malum in 
se." " Simply to prove that slaveholding interferes with natural 
rights, is not enough to justify the conclusion that it is neces- 
sarily and universally sinful. 1,1 p. 292. 

"These forms of society [despotism, slavery, etc.], are not ne- 
cessarily, or in themselves, just or unjust; but become one or the 
other according to circumstances.' 1 '' p. 295. 

" Monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, domestic slavery, are right 
or wrong, as they are, for the time being, conducive to this great 
end [intellectual and moral elevation] or the reverse." p. 302. 

" We have ever maintained that slaveholding is not in itself 
sinful; that the right to personal liberty is conditioned by the 
ability to exercise beneficially that right." 1849, p. 601. 

"Nothing can be more distinct than the right to hold slaves 
in certain circumstances, and the right to render slavery per- 
petual." p. 603. 


These quotations prove that Dr. Hodge unites with 
the great body of our Church, north and south, east 
and west, in limiting the lawfulness of slaveholding 
by the very terms of its formal definition, at the same 
time that he earnestly contends, with all who are on 
scriptural ground, that the relation, in itself con- 
sidered, is not sinful. The " conservatives " of the 
Church everywhere uphold all the testimonies of the 
General Assembly, in their true spirit and very letter. 

Another consideration, confirming the belief that 

my statement is the better of the two, is that it is 

more philosophical in its form. The conditions of an 

ethical proposition relating to slavery, as furnished by 

yourself, are threefold. 1. The proposition must be 

in the usual form of ethical propositions. 2. It must 

be so expressed as to require no explanations. 3. It 

should cover all the ground which Christianity covers. 

1. The usual form of ethical propositions in regard 

to the adiaphora, or things indifferent, includes a 

reference to circumstances. Whether the proposition 

be expressed in a positive or negative form, is not of 

much account, provided the meaning be clear. Your 

own statement is a negative one ; but the difficulty 

is that its meaning is not plain. If the word despotism, 

or war, be substituted for slavery in our respective 

statements, I think you will see at once that your 

statement does not express the true idea, so well as 



mine. The proposition that " despotism, or war. is 
not a sin in the sight of God/' is not a true ethical 
proposition. Because, like slavery, despotism and 
war seek their justification in circumstances. Cir- 
cumstances cannot he omitted from a philosophical 
proposition on " things indifferent." 

Your objection to my statement appears to be that 
it does not clearly admit the morality of slavehold- 
ing, but that it acquits the master with a sort of 
; ' whip and clear him" judgment. This latter expres- 
sion, if I understand it, means " strike first, and then 
acquit." Very far from such a rude proceeding is the 
intention, or tendency, of my argument. The force 
of it is simply to put the slaveholder in a position 
which demands him to justify himself before God, 
which every Christian ought always to be ready to 
do. I explicitly maintain that the relation may be 
a lawful one, and that the Christian performance of 
its duties often brings peculiar honour upon the slave- 
holder, and calls into exercise some of the most 
shining graces of the Gospel. But slaveholding, al- 
though not malum in se, is not a natural and perma- 
nent phase of civilization. Like despotism or war, it 
is to be justified, or condemned, by the condition of 
things and the necessities of the case. It does not, 
in itself, imply an unchristian spirit, or unchristian 
conduct; and hence our Church has always refused 
to recognize it as under all circumstances an " offence" 


and " a bar to Christian communion." My proposi- 
tion throws no suspicion, or reproach, upon any one 
who is in a true and justifiable position ; and the very 
fact that it includes circumstances as an element in 
the solution of its morality, proves it to be philoso- 
phically sound. 

2. If the proposition, in order to be correctly stated, 
must require no explanations, I think that my form 
has considerable advantage over yours. " Slavery is 
not necessarily and in all circumstances sinful" is a 
general proposition, containing, without the need of 
explanation, the ethical truths on the subject. Your 
proposition, " Slavery is not a sin in the sight of God," 
is liable at once to the doubt, whether it is intended 
to be a universal or a particular proposition ; that is, 
whether you mean to say, "no slaveholding is sinful," 
or only that "some slaveholding is not sinful." The 
needed explanation, against which you protest, is 
actually given by you in another part of your let- 
ter, where you say that your statement by no means 
" involves the idea that all slaveholding is sinless in 
the sight of God," or in other words, some slavehold- 
ing is not a sin. How this could be expressed with 
more rigid accuracy than in my formula of " slavery 
is not necessarily and in all circumstances sinful," it 
is for you to show. Why my formula does not more 
exactly express your belief than your own, which 
you would substitute for it, is also for you to show. 


Your statement fails to endure the philosophical test 
brought forward by yourself. It must have explana- 
tions, before the reader can even understand whether 
it is a universal or particular proposition. 

Permit me to add, that even some of your expla- 
nations seem to need explanation. For example, in 
your illustration about the despotism of France, you 
say that this despotism is "at the present day, de- 
manded by the general good of the French nation," 
and then go on to say, that " the time may come when 
the general good will demand a different form of 
government in France." Here you propound my doc- 
trine exactly ; and if you will only allow this expla- 
nation about despotism to enter into your proposition 
about slaveholding, it becomes identical with my own. 
But inasmuch as you insist, that " every general pro- 
position shall be so expressed as to bear examination," 
"apart from, all explanation" you prove that your 
proposition, as it stands, is not a general, but a par- 
ticular one, and that mine is really the universal and 
the philosophical proposition. Again ; }^our proposi- 
tion demands explanation, as a practical standard of 
right conduct as well as of sound philosophy. The 
proposition, that " slaveholding is not a sin," requires 
explanation, if you apply the doctrine to the first 
generation, who, as is generally believed, wrongfully 
purchased the slaves, and thus abetted manstealing. 
and entailed this unnatural relation upon succeeding 


generations. It requires explanation, if, anywhere 
at the South, the good of one or more slaves, and the 
glory of God, would be promoted by their emancipa- 
tion. It requires explanation in the Free States, 
where slavery is prohibited by law, and where the 
welfare of society does not require the existence of 
this institution. On the other hand, my proposition 
that " slavery is not necessarily and in all circum- 
stances sinful," expresses the truth without explana- 
tion." No proposition can be expected to define the 
circumstances under which slavery in every instance 
may be justified or not. It is sufficient for the pur- 
poses of a general statement, to give slaveholding a 
place among things indifferent (adiaphora) , and to 
imply that it is not a permanent institution, based, 
like marriage, upon the law of God, but one that 
owes its continuance to the necessities of the public 

3. If the proposition must cover all the ground 
covered by the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, 
then I think that your statement again suffers in 
comparison with mine. This point has been already 
discussed. The substance of the scriptural doctrine, 
in my opinion, is briefly this : First. Slaveholding, in 
itself considered, is not sinful ; or, it is not a malum 
in se. Secondly. It is a relation of mutual rights 
and obligations as long as it exists. And, thirdly. 
The general spirit and precepts of the Gospel are 


opposed to its perpetuity. I consider that my propo- 
sition, in this and in other respects, meets your ethi- 
cal conditions better than your own. 

A third collateral consideration, in favour of my 
form of stating the scriptural doctrine of Slavery, is. 
that it commends itself more to the enlightened con- 
science of the Christian slaveholder. 

Christians, whose minds and hearts are imbued 
with the spirit of their Lord, cannot regard with 
complacency an institution, whose origin is in wrong, 
and whose continuance depends upon the inferior con- 
dition of a large class of their fellow-men. During 
my residence at the South, of three years, I do not 
remember of hearing any justification of slavery, ex- 
cept that which appealed to the actual necessities of 
the case. It was everywhere said : " The slaves are 
not fit to be free ; neither their own nor the general 
welfare would be promoted by immediate emancipa- 
tion." The lawfulness of continuing the relation 
under such circumstances could not be called in 
question. I am confident that the enlightened con- 
sciences of southern Christians, prefer a definition of 
slavery which includes the providential aspect of the 
case. No abstract proposition, like yours, will place 
the vindication of slavery on high enough ground to 
pacify the consciences of those Christians who hold 
their fellow-men in bondage. 


But whilst the language of ray statement of the 
doctrine really justifies, with a high reason, the law- 
fulness of the relation, if lawful under the circum- 
stances, the other advantage it has over your state- 
ment is in keeping the conscience awake to the obli- 
gations of improving the condition of the slaves, with 
a view to a restoration of their natural rights in a 
more perfect form of society. If slavery is only to he 
justified by circumstances, the inquiry must press 
itself upon the conscience of the Christian master, 
whether, in the first place, the circumstances and 
condition of society constitute a sufficient plea, in his 
judgment, for his present position as a slaveholder ; 
and in the second place, whether he is doing all lie 
can, as a citizen of the State, and a member of the 
household of Christ, to remove all unjust enactments 
from the statute-book, and to break down the barriers 
of intellectual and moral degradation, which are in 
the way of ultimate emancipation. Although " slavery 
is not necessarily and in all circumstances sinful," it 
may become so under circumstances where the eleva- 
tion of the slave concurs with other conditions in 
rendering his emancipation a benefit. 

I claim, therefore, that my statement of the doc- 
trine of slavery surpasses yours, both in its power to 
relieve the conscience, if charged with the guilt of the 
existing relation, and in its power to alarm the con- 
science, if in danger of neglecting the whole duties 


implied in the relation. My knowledge of southern 
Christian society gives me boldness in placing this 
view of the subject before the minds and hearts and 
consciences of my brethren ; for never has it been 
my privilege to be brought in contact with purer and 
more devoted servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, than 
are to be found in the Southern States. With all 
deference, and in all confidence, I submit to them the 
truthfulness of the positions taken in this letter. 

There is still one more consideration that gives 
scriptural weight to my form of stating the doctrine 
of slavery, namely, its practical power to resist error. 

The fundamental principle of ultra abolitionism is 
that slaveholding is in itself sinful. The only efficacious 
mode of encountering this fanaticism, is to show from 
the Bible, that it rests upon a false foundation. The 
doctrines that abolitionism cannot resist, are, first, that 
the relation itself must neither be confounded with the 
unjust laws which define the system, nor wdth the inade- 
quate performance of the duties of the relation ; and 
secondly, that slaveholding is not malum in se, but 
right or wrong according to circumstances. This 
double-edged sw r ord of truth will pierce to the dividing 
asunder of the bones of rampant abolitionism. Indeed, 
some of the distinguished leaders of that faction have 
virtually conceded the scriptural efficiency of these 
positions, and the great mass of people in the Free 


States will do homage to their truth. The doctrine 
that " slavery is not necessarily and in all circum- 
stances sinful," is the contradictory of the abolition 
dogma ; and its establishment in this very form, will 
most effectally arrest the encroachments of error, and 
vindicate the cause of righteousness in a perverse gene- 
ration. Your bare statement, however, that " slave- 
holding is not a sin in the sight of God," does not 
meet the case ; like a spent arrow, it falls short of 
the mark. It is a correct statement, to a certain 
extent ; but it does not include providential circum- 
stances, which necessarily enter into the morality of 
slaveholding. As a weapon to do battle with, your 
proposition invites assault, without the power to 
repel. It lacks the scriptural characteristic of fight- 
ing a good fight. It carries with it no available and 
victorious force. It provokes the conscience of the 
North ; it lulls the conscience of the South. 

This last sentence indicates an evil on the other 
extreme. Ultra pro-slavery is as much to be depre- 
cated as ultra anti-slavery. The idea that slavehold- 
ing is a divine ordinance, and that it may be lawfully 
perpetuated to the end of time, is a monstrous doc- 
trine, — derogatory to the spirit and principles of Scrip- 
ture, to the reason and conscience of mankind, to the 
universal sway of Providence, and to the glory of 
Christian civilization. A distinguished slaveholder 
of the South, who owns several hundred slaves, and 



who is not a communicant in. the Church, after hear- 
ing an ultra pro-slavery sermon, came out of the 
house of Gocl ? expressing strong disapprobation of 
such sentiments; and, stamping his foot on the 
ground, declared that he could not endure them. 1 1»- 
added that his only justification, before God and the 
world, for holding slaves, was in the necessities of 
the case. The attempt to fortify slavery by extrava- 
gant and unreasonable positions can only do harm. 
Extremists on one side always beget extremists on 
the other. Anti-slavery at the North has been the 
means of developing, to an extent before unknown, 
ultra pro-slavery at the South. The institution is 
now claimed, by some, to be a divine ordinance, like 
marriage or civil government; African bondage is 
sought to be justified by the original diversities of the 
human race ; and even the righteousness of the slave- 
trade itself is now openly vindicated in this land of 
liberty and age of light. One strong objection to 
vour statement of the doctrine is, that it seems to 
give countenance to erroneous and exaggerated views. 
It will be accepted, I fear, by the ultra pro-slavery 
party, as a good enough statement to be inscribed 
upon their banners. I cordially acquit you of any 
intention to contribute to the propagation of extreme 
opinions. But ought not a Presbyterian minister, of 
your position and influence, to be arrayed against 
such sentiments, beyond the possibility of misconcep- 


tion ? Hitherto, little impression has been made on 
our Church by ultraists on either side. We at the 
North are able, with God's blessing, to maintain the 
scriptural ground against anti-slavery fanaticism ; and 
we ask our brethren at the South to repel the irrup- 
tions of pro-slavery fanaticism with equal determina- 
tion. In order to do this successfully, the South needs 
a more guarded statement of doctrine than the one 
you have propounded. That statement is practically 
inefficacious in resisting ultraism on either side. 

For these various reasons, I adhere to the belief 
that my original proposition on the subject of slave- 
holding, although not, perhaps, as perfect as might 
be. is substantially correct, and is more scriptural and 
comprehensive than yours. 

Yours truly, 

C. Van Rensselaer. 




To the Rev. George D. Armstrong, D.D. : 

I certainly did not expect, when I penned the para- 
graph which you find fault with in your second letter, 
to become engaged in a controversy about " Emancipa- 
tion and the Church." My standpoint was that of 
a private citizen, and I gave utterance to a sentiment, 
which, I supposed, would find a response in the bosom 
of any Christian slaveholder on his plantation. The 
idea of expounding the duty of the Church, in its 
official capacity, was not in my mind at all. I ask 
you to look at the plain terms of the paragraph : 

" We regard the Christian instruction and elevation 
of the slaves as a means to an end, and that end is 
the recovery of the blessings of personal liberty, when 
Providence shall open the way for it. The higher 
end is the salvation of their souls." 

This paragraph simply declares the Editor's private 
opinion in regard to the providential antecedents 
which must necessarily exist, prior to the fitness of 
the slaves for the blessings of personal liberty. A 
Christian man ought also, as I supposed, to have the 
end in view, as well as to keep the means in operation. 


I might, perhaps, have fairly declined any formal 
reply to your second letter, on the ground that you 
transcended the real intentions of my statement. 
But inasmuch as the inference you have drawn from 
it may be a natural one, and is an opinion I really 
hold, and the arguments, by which you attempt to 
oppose it, are, in my judgment, unsatisfactory, I shall 
accept the opportunity of discussing what you seem 
to insist upon, — the subject of " Emancipation and 
the Church." 

You begin by attempting " to strip the proposition " 
of what you are pleased to call its " adventitious sup- 
port." I beg leave, however, to insist that its Chris- 
tian drapery shall remain upon it, and that it shall 
retain the firm support of its own Bible truth. The 
blessings of personal liberty have not been considered 
by me, in this discussion, in any other sense than in- 
cluding well-being. The whole morality of slave- 
holding depends upon conditions of social and public 
welfare, as I have endeavored to show in my first 
letter. This is also the fundamental idea in the state- 
ment, which you desire to lay violent hands upon. 
My statement contains three ideas, which ought to be 
a sufficient guard against the impression that I was 
in favour of emancipation without an adequate pre- 
paration. These three ideas are, first, a work of 
Christian instruction among the slaves; secondly, 
their elevation, as a result of this instruction ; and 


thirdly, a progressive condition of society, which, 
under Providence, would render emancipation prac- 
ticable and beneficial. Could anything more be ex- 
pected to render my meaning plain, and to include 
well-being as an element in the recovery of freedom ? 

The expression "when Providence shall open the 
way for it," gives the latitude required in a question 
of this sort. True well-being was the precise thought 
in my mind ; for, as you justly remark : " Providence 
never does open the way for any change, unless well- 
being is to be promoted thereby." Judge, therefore, 
my surprise, when I find you not only imputing to me 
the opposite view, but also trying to rob my proposi- 
tion of the support of Divine Providence, whose glo- 
rious wisdom and power are so deeply concerned in 
the solution of this intricate problem. My view of 
the blessings of personal liberty magnifies well-being. 
Instead of admitting, therefore, that my statement 
involves a petitio prwcipii, I hold that the real peti- 
tion is from Dr. Armstrong to alter my proposition to 
suit his own views. This petition I respectfully de- 
cline. I cannot allow any one to banish God and his 
providence from my meditations on this subject. I 
choose to retain the whole paragraph, just as it was 
written, and more particularly the words you desire 
to exclude. 

The terms, " when Providence shall open the way," 
are used in exactly the same sense as the words, 


•• when God in his providence shall open the door for 
their emancipation," — an expression employed by the 
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, in 
1815, to convey the same idea on the same subject. 
The question of the time of emancipation is wisely 
left to the counsels of the Most High. Whether it 
shall be long, or "before very long," depends, in no 
inconsiderable degree, so far as human instrumentality 
is involved, upon the views of those who, like your- 
self, occupy influential positions in the southern sec- 
tion of the Church. But whether the time be long 
or short, it will be when " Providence opens the way," 
or " when God in his providence shall open the door." 
Not until then, will emancipation be consistent with 
the true enjoyment of "the blessings of personal 
liberty." On this particular point, there does not 
appear to be any real difference of opinion between us. 

We also agree in regard to the chief and higher 
end, which the Christian slaveholder should keep 
before him. The salvation of the souls of his slaves is 
the continual burden of a pious master's heart. To 
be instrumental in bringing to his plantation-house- 
hold the knowledge of the true God and of redemp- 
tion by Jesus Christ, is the primary duty and privi- 
lege of the relation. No language can exaggerate 
the magnitude of this responsibility ; no enlightened 
Christian conscience can resist the power of its appeal. 

The point on which we differ is, whether the Church 


lias any authority to contemplate emancipation as a 
righteous and lawful end. This, although a compara- 
tively inferior matter, is nevertheless one of real in- 
terest and importance. And, in order that 1 may not 
be misunderstood, I request the attention of my bro- 
ther, Dr. Armstrong, to a few brief explanations. 

1. In the first place, an interest, on the part of the 
Church, in emancipation, does not imply an undut 
regard for the temporal, above the spiritual welfare of 
the slaves. The chief duty is to preach " Jesus Christ 
and Him crucified." No work on earth compares 
with that of religious teaching and preaching. The 
vast concerns of immortality should ever be upper- 
most in the aims and enterprises of the Church. And 
yet present well-being has such connections with eter- 
nal life, as to claim a just share of Christian interest 
in all generations. The position of the Presbyterian 
Church has always enabled her to preach the Gospel 
to both masters and slaves. Ours is not an agitating 
Church. Her testimony on emancipation, as I shall 
presently show, has been uttered firmly and fear- 
lessly ; but, unlike modern reformers, or other Churches 
less favored of heaven, we have not magnified slavery 
above the higher interests of the kingdom of God. 
nor substituted vain clamor and restless agitation in 
the place of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost," 

2. In the second place ; to keep in view emancipa- 


tion as an end, which naturally follows the use of 
lawful means, does not bring the Church into the exclu- 
sive province of the State. Slavery has both moral 
and political aspects. In the letter of the General 
Assembly to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, in 
1846, the following remarks have a place : 

" The relations of negro slavery, as it exists in the 
States that tolerate it, are twofold. Chiefly, it is an 
institution purely civil, depending absolutely upon the 
will of the civil ' power in the States respectively in 
which it exists: secondarily, it has various aspects 
and relations, purely or mainly moral, in regard to 
which the several States permit a greater or less 
decree of intervention." 

Our Church has always avoided interference with 
the State, in matters that are outside of her own ap- 
pointed work. She has not claimed authority over 
the political relations of slavery ; nor attempted to 
extend her domain over subjects not plainly within 
her own province. It is only where slavery conies 
within the line of ecclesiastical jurisdiction — that is 
to say, in its moral and religious aspects, — that our 
Church has maintained her right to deliver her testi- 
mony, in such forms, and at such times, as seemed 
best. She has " rendered unto Csesar the things that 
are Cesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." 
Let no man attempt to despoil her of this joy. 

3. In the third place, the Church's testimony, in 


favour of emancipation, as a righteous end, must be 
distinguished from legislation over the consciences of 
men. Testimony differs from ecclesiastical law. It 
has different objects and purposes, and has a wider 
latitude of application. A Church judicatory may 
express its opinions, and attempt to exert its influence 
in a particular direction, within its lawful sphere, 
without pretending to make laws to bind the con- 
science. There are, indeed, duties devolving upon 
masters, whose violation is justly made the subject of 
discipline. But there are various views of slavery, 
which the Church, however desirous of their general 
adoption among her members, has presented only in 
the form of opinion, or testimony. Acquiescence in 
these views, as for example, those on emancipation, 
has never been made a test of Church communion. 
Dissenters from testimonies of this nature have no 
more reason to complain, than the minority in our 
public bodies have, in general, reason to complain' of 
the decision of the majority on other questions, which 
come up lawfully for consideration. 

4. Emancipation, as an end to be kept in view. 
doe* not imply reproach, where emancipation is, for the 
present, impracticable. In my first letter, I have en- 
deavoured to show that slaveholdino- is not necessa- 
rily, and under all circumstances, sinful. There may 
be conditions of society where the continuance of the 
relation is among the highest demands of religious 


obligation. But even in such cases, an enlightened 
view of duty would, in my judgment, acknowledge 
emancipation to be an end, worthy of the Gospel of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. The two ideas of the lawful- 
ness of the existing relation, and of the ultimate end of 
emancipation, are perfectly consistent and harmonious. 
The maintenance of the latter idea conveys no re- 
proach upon the scriptural view of slaveholding. It 
is antagonistic only to the unscriptural view of the 
permanence of slavery, as an ordinance of God, on a 
level with marriage or civil government. 

5. The time of emancipation, as I have already 
intimated, the Church has left to the decisions of 
Providence. Circumstances vary so much in society, 
that no rule can have a universal application. It is 
sufficient to keep emancipation in view, and to labour 
to secure its attainment as speedily as circumstances 
will permit, or "when Providence shall open the 

Having made these explanations in the hope of 
disarming prejudice, and conciliating good will, I 
shall proceed to show, first, that my views of 
" Emancipation and the Church," are sustained by 
the testimony of the General Assembly, whilst yours 
differ from it ; and, secondly, that the testimony of 
our Church is sustained by the Word of God. 

The testimony of the General Assembly on eman- 
cipation is important, as an exhibition of the general 


sentiments of the Presbyterian Church on this greal 
social question, and particularly as showing its inter- 
pretation of the Scriptures. 

The first deliverance of our Church on the subject, 
was made in the year 1787, by the Synod of New 
York and Philadelphia, which was at that time our 
highest judicatory, and was in the act of forming our 
present ecclesiastical constitution. 

The deliverance is as follows : 

"The Synod of New York and Philadelphia do highly ap- 
prove of the general principles in favour of universal liberty that 
prevail in America, and the interest which many of the State- 
have taken in promoting the abolition of slavery ; yet, inasmuch 
as men, introduced from a servile state, to a participation of all 
the privileges of civil society, without a proper education, and 
without previous habits of industry, may be in many respects 
dangerous to the community ; therefore, they earnestly recom- 
mend it to all the members belonging to their communion, to 
give those persons who are at present held in servitude, such 
good education as to prepare them for the better enjoyment of 
freedom ; and they moreover recommend that masters, whenever 
they find servants disposed to make a just improvement of the 
privilege, would give them a peculium, or grant them sufficient 
time and sufficient means of procuring their own liberty, at a 
moderate rate ; that thereby they may be brought into society 
with those habits of industry that may render them useful citi- 
zens ; and, finally, they recommend it to all their people to use 
the most prudent measures consistent with the interests and the 
state of civil society, in the countries where they live, to procure 
eventually the final abolition of slavery in America, " 

In 1793, this judgment was reaffirmed by the Gen- 
eral Assembly, and again reiterated by the Assembly 


in 1795, with the remark that "they trust every consci- 
entious person will be fully satisfied with it." Its 
brevity, its comprehensiveness, its conservative tone, 
and its scriptural authority, make this testimony de- 
serving of great attention. The General Assembly, 
in 1815, testified to the same effect : 

" The General Assembly have repeatedly declared their cor- 
dial approbation of those principles of civil liberty, which ap- 
pear to be recognized by the Federal and State Governments in 
these United States. They have expressed their regret that the 
slavery of the Africans, and of their descendants, still continues 
in so many places, and even among those within the pale of the 
Church, and have urged the Presbyteries under their care to 
adopt such measures as will secure, at least to the rising genera- 
tion of slaves within the bounds of the Church, a religious edu- 
cation, that they may be prepared for the exercise and enjoy- 
ment of liberty, when God, in his providence, may open the 
door for their emancipation." 

It could hardly be expected that a deliverance 
could be found on the records of our Church, so ex- 
actly concurring in thought and language with the 
extemporaneous statement contained in my brief 

In 1818, the largest Assembly that had yet been 
convened, met in Philadelphia. An abler body of 
divines, probably, never assembled in our highest 
judicatory. The paper adopted by them, on the sub- 
ject of slavery, is too well known to require large ex- 
tracts. It was drawn up by Dr. Ashbel Green, with 


the concurrence of Dr. George A. Baxter, of your 
own Synod. Dr. Speece, of Virginia, was Dr. Bax- 
ter's fellow-commissioner-from your old Presbytery i >t 
Lexington. I only quote a few sentences from this 
celebrated document : 

"We rejoice that the Church to which we belong, commenced 
as early as any other in this country, the good work of endeavour- 
ing to put an end to slavery, and that in the same work, many 
of its members have ever since been, and now are among the 
most active, efficient, and vigorous labourers. " 

"At the same time, we earnestly exhort them to continue, and, 
if possible, to increase their exertions to effect a total abolition 
of slavery. We exhort them to suffer no greater delay to take 
place in this most interesting concern, than a regard to the pub- 
lic welfare truly and indispensably demands.'' 

"We, therefore, warn all who belong to our denomination of 
Christians, against unduly extending this plea of necessity, 
against making it a cover for the love and practice of slavery, 
or a pretence for not using efforts that are lawful and practica- 
ble, to extinguish this evil. 

"And we at the same time exhort others to forbear harsh cen- 
sures, and uncharitable reflections on their brethren, who unhap- 
pily live among slaves, whom they cannot immediately set free, 
but who are really using all of their influence and all their en- 
deavours to bring them into a state of freedom, as soon as a 
door for it can be safely opened." l 

1 The Assembly's testimony of 1818 was reaffirmed at the last 
meeting of the Synods of Pittsburg and Ohio. These two 
Synods, in the midst of which the Western Theological Semi- 
nary stands, have been denominated the "back bone of Presby- 
terianism." The testimony of 1818 contains some expressions 
which might be advantageously altered ; but, with the proper 
explanations, it is consistent with that of 1845. The parts I 
have quoted have not been excepted to, so far as I know. 

OX S L A V E II L D I N G . 287 

The General Assembly, in. 1845, took action on 
the specific point, whether slaveholding was, under 
all circumstances, a bar to Christian communion ; and 
in 1846, reaffirmed all the testimony uttered by pre- 
ceding General Assemblies. 

Here I might rest the case, so far as your opposi- 
tion to the recorded views of our Church needed any 
demonstration ; but as you are now a Virginian, 1 
cannot avoid inviting your attention to the testimony 
of the Synod of Virginia, in 1800. Half a century 
has, indeed, passed by, and many of the precious 
men of God, who then served the churches from Lex- 
ington to Norfolk, have ceased from their labours; 
but the record of their opinions will endure through- 
out all generations. 

This subject was brought before the Synod of Vir- 
ginia by a memorial on emancipation, from one of 
their congregations. The following extracts are from 
the answer returned by the Synod to the memorial : 

" That so many thousands of our fellow-creatures should, in 
this land of liberty and asylum for the oppressed, be held in 
chains, is a reflection to us painfully afflictive. And most ear- 
nestly do we wish, that all the members of our communion would 
pay a proper attention to the recommendation of the late Synod 
of New York and Philadelphia upon this subject. We consider 
it the indispensable duty of all who hold slaves to prepare, by a 
suitable education, the young among them for a state of free- 
dom, and to liberate them as soon as they shall appear to be duly 
qualified for that high privilege ; and. such as neglect a duty so 
evidently and so powerfully enforced by the common principles 


of justice, as well as by the dictates of humanity, and the benign 
genius of our holy religion, ought, in our opinion, to be seriously 
dealt with and admonished on that account. But to refuse to 
hold Christian communion with any who may differ from us in 
sentiment and practice in this instance, would, we conceive, in the 
present conjuncture at least, be a very unwarrantable procedure ; 
a direct infraction of the decision of the General Assembly of 
our Church, and a manifest departure from the practice of the 
Apostles and the primitive Church." 

"That it was wrong, in the first instance, to reduce so many of 
the helpless Africans to their present state of thraldom will be 
readily admitted, and that it is a duty to adopt proper measures 
for their emancipation, will, it is /-resumed, be universally con- 
ceded. But, with respect to the measures best calculated to ac- 
complish that important purpose, and the time necessary to give 
them full effect, different sentiments may be entertained by the 
true disciples of the Great Friend of man.'' 

The Synod of Virginia probably entertain the same 
sentiments in 1858 ; and, if the occasion required it, 
would doubtless reaffirm this testimony, with the 
same love to Christ that originated it in the days of 
Waddell, Legrand, Rice, Alexander, Lacy, Hoge, 
Lyle, Brown, Baxter, Houston, etc., — a generation of 
revered men, " mighty in the Scriptures." 

It is clear that my statement concerning " Eman- 
cipation and the Church" is no novelty, but that it is 
regular, orthodox, old-fashioned, Presbyterian truth. 

Secondly. I further maintain, that this truth is 
scriptural truth ; and, that the Church has a right to 
propose, and to hold forth, emancipation as a righteous 
end, when Providence shall open the way. 


Here I am met, at once, by your declaration, that 
" The word of God contains no deliverance, express 
or clearly implied, respecting emancipation. Hence, 
I affirm, that the Church has no right to make a de- 
liverance respecting it ; much less to set it before her- 
self as an end of her labours." 

In examining this proposition, I venture to lay 
down the following, as a counter proposition in part, 
and as a more scriptural view of the subject ; viz. : 
The Church has a right to expound, and to apply, the 
word of God, in reference to all the relations of life, 
and to all the changing aspects of society. The ex- 
position and application must, of course, be consistent 
with the spirit and principles of the Bible, but they 
are not limited to the mere word of its letter, nor to 
any general or universal formula of expression. From 
the nature of the case, exposition requires enlarge- 
ment of scriptural statement, and application implies 
a regard to providential developments and to the vary- 
ing circumstances of social and public life. Paul's 
Epistle to the Corinthians was very different from his 
Epistles to the Romans and to the Hebrews, although 
they all contained expositions of the same scriptural 
doctrines ; and his Epistle to Philemon contained a 
new application, in the case of Onesimus, of principles, 
not previously so fully developed. The Church has, 
in every age, the right to expound the sacred Scrip- 
tures according to the light granted by the Holy 
25 t 


Spirit, and to apply its interpretation to all caf 
judged to be within its spiritual jurisdiction. 

I. Let us, in this search after Bible truth, glana 
at some of the views of the Old Testament Scriptures, 
on slavery and emancipation. 

A terrific statute flashed out from Sinai into the 
legislation of the Hebrew commonwealth. By the 
laws of Moses, " He that stealeth a man, and selleth 
him, or if he be found in his hands, he shall surely 
be put to death." (Ex. 21 : 1G.) The original man- 
stealer, and the receiver of the stolen person, were 
both to suffer the penalty of death. The operation 
of this single statute would have forever excluded 
the existence of American slavery. 

Another provision, of some significance, shone with 
benignant beams of liberty. A fugitive slave, from 
a foreign country, was not to be sent back into slavery. 
(Deut. 23 : 15, 16.) The Hebrew commonwealth 
was a city of refuge and an asylum of liberty to the 
surrounding nations. These two statutes stood, like 
Jachin and Boaz, at the vestibule of the Mosaic legis- 
lation on slavery. 

Hebrew bondmen were held under a system, which 
resembled, in its nature, hired service rather than 
slavery, and whose duration was limited. Hebrew 
servants were emancipated on the seventh year, except 
in cases of voluntary agreement, and of children born 


under certain circumstances. In the year of Jubilee, 
liberty was proclaimed " unto all the inhabitants of 
the land." (Lev. 25 : 10.) In the fiftieth year, every 
Hebrew " returned unto his family," under the pro- 
tection of a great festival statute. 

The Old Testament dispensation made distinctions 
between the Israelites and Gentiles, in various parts 
of its legislation, and, among others, on slavery. 
Bondmen, purchased by the Hebrews from the Gen- 
tiles, might be held in perpetuity. Their bondage, 
however, as Dr. Spring remarks, partook of the char- 
acter of apprenticeship, rather than of rigorous servi- 

The great fact remains prominent, that the bondage 
of the Hebrews was temporary. Emancipation was 
continually in sight; and the effect of their septennial 
and jubilee emancipation periods must have been a 
moral check and rebuke to slavery, under whatever 
forms it was tolerated. 

The long-existing middle wall of partition between 
Jews and Gentiles, was at length overthrown by 
Christianity. Thenceforward, all mankind stood in 
the new relation of a common brotherhood. " There 
is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor 
free, there is neither male nor female ; for ye are all 
one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are 
ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the pro- 
mise." (Gal. 3 : 28, 29.) Timothy, who, from a 


child, had known the Holy Scriptures, must have 
realized, with all pious Jews, that the spirit of the 
Old Testament no longer sanctioned the holding of 
even Gentile brethren, in perpetual bondage. All laws, 
peculiar to the Jewish economy, being now abolished, 
the New Testament, in its larger spirit and greater 
light, was brought into contact with the arbitrary 
slavery of the Pagan nations. Can it be believed 
that, under these circumstances, any well-instructed 
Jewish Christians would become voluntarily involved 
in the pagan system of slavery? Heathen slave- 
holders, on their becoming Christians, received instruc- 
tions which gave new views of their obligations, and 
which tended to the ultimate abolition of the system. 

II. Christianity, in reforming the evils of society, 
inculcated general principles, of far greater influence 
than positive Mosaic laws. Before examining the 
true tendency of some of these scriptural principles, 
I shall ask your attention to the doctrine, which Paul 
expounded to the Corinthian slaves. "Art thou 
called, being a servant, or slave, care not for it. But 
if thou mayst be made free, use IT rather." (1 Cor. 
7 : 21.) 

The ideas that are fairly implied in this verse are 
the following : 

1. Religion is the most precious of all blessings to 
mankind. The Lord's freeman may bear, with little 


anxiety, any external condition of life, even though 
it be that of bondage. Well may Presbyterians 
rejoice that their Church, in conformity to apostolic 
precept and practice, has preached the Gospel to the 
slaves, without unduly agitating points bearing on 
their temporal welfare. 

2. Slavery is an abnormal, and not a permanent, 
condition. Paul exhorted Christian slaves to seek 
emancipation, if within their reach, or if Providence 
opened the way for it. It is impossible to reconcile 
this inspired passage with the theory that slavery, 
like civil government or marriage, is an ordinance of 
God, to be perpetuated forever. " Use your freedom, 
rather," says Paul, expounding the nature of slavery. 
and throwing the light of inspiration upon its ano- 
malous character. When did the Apostle ever exhort 
husbands and wives not to care for the marriage tie. 
and to seek to be free from it, if the opportunity 
offered ? Slavery was in its nature a temporary ex- 
pedient, differing from marriage, which is founded 
upon the natural and permanent relations of life. 
Slavery is limited in its duration by the very condi- 
tions of its lawful existence. 

3. The Apostle teaches the Corinthian slaves that 
liberty is a higher and better condition than bondage. 
Although Christian slaves ought to be submissive to 
their lot, they have a right to regard liberty as a 
greater blessing. Calvin, our great commentator, 



says: "Paul means to intimate thai Liberty is do* 
merely good, but also more advantageous Hon, servi- 
tude. If he is speaking to servants, his meaning will 
be this : While I exhort you to be free from anxiety, 
I do not hinder you from even availing yourselves of 
liberty, if a [lawful] opportunity presents itself to 
you. If he is addressing himself to those who are 
free, it will be a kind of concession, as though he had 
sa ld, — I exhort servants to be of good courage, though 
a state of freedom is preferable, 1 and more to be de- 
sired, if one has it in his choice." The Apostle evi- 
dently considered liberty to be the highest state, offer- 
ing an advance in civilization and true well-being, 
when Providence opens the way. 

4. Paul also maintains that emancipation is an 
object of Christian desire, when it can be lawfully 
secured. Our own great commentator, Dr. Hodge, 
says : " Paul's object is not to exhort men not to im- 
prove their condition, but simply not to allow their 
social relations to disturb them ; or imagine that their 
becoming Christians rendered it necessary to change 
those relations. He could, with perfect consistency 
with the context, say to the slave : ' Let not your 
being a slave give you any concern ; but if you can 
become free, choose freedom rather than slavery.' 
Luther, Calvin, Beza, and the great body of commen- 

" Soit bcaucoup meilleur " — " is much better." 


tutors, from their day to this, understood the Apostle 
to say that liberty was to be chosen, if the oppor- 
tunity to become free were offered." 

Now, if the great Apostle to the Gentiles taught 
that slavery is an inferior condition, and that, under 
right eircumstances, emancipation is a lawful object 
of Christian desire, may not the Church teach the 
same things? Whilst the highest and chief end is 
to lead the slaves to Christ and to heaven, is the 
Church compelled to abjure all other ends, relating 
to human happiness, elevation, and liberty? Far 
from it. Paul's doctrine to Timothy, upon which 
you lay so much stress, must not be expounded to 
the exclusion of Paul's doctrine to the Corinthians. 

Christian masters are informed, in this passage, 
that their slaves may rightly regard their bondage as 
an inferior state, which may be superseded in due 
time; and the masters themselves are thus, incident- 
ally, instructed to keep emancipation in view, and 
to prepare the slaves for it, when the providential 
opportunity arrives. 

Further. If emancipation be a good which slaves 
may lawfully desire, it is a good which all Christians 
may lawfully desire, and labour, according to their 
opportunity, to confer upon than. It is not, indeed, 
in such a sense an absolute good that it may not be 
abused, or that every class of people is always pre- 
pared safely to possess it. The same is true of the 


self-control which the law confers upon children, on 
reaching their majority. But is this any reason why 
children should not desire to be their own masters al 
a suitable age, or why all should not desire and la- 
bour so to train them that they may be duly prepai 
at the fit time, to be invested with self-control '. 

You refer me to the explanations of your book on 
this passage in the Epistle to the Corinthians. The 
explanations I find to be twofold : First, you urge 
that slavery in Greece and Rome was far more rigor- 
ous than in our Southern States; and secondly, that 
the Africans and Anglo-Saxons belong to different 
races; and that, on these two accounts, the doctrine 
of Paul has a less forcible application to American 
than to Corinthian slaves. I cheerfully yield to your 
argument any benefit which maybe fairly claimed by 
a change of circumstances ; but I submit, in reply, 
first, that human nature is the same in all ages and 
nations, and has natural desires to embrace every 
lawful opportunity to improve its outw r ard condition ; 
secondly, that the' Apostle propounds a principle, 
which has a real bearing upon slavery at all times 
and everywhere ; thirdly, that the light, liberty, and 
Christian appliances of the nineteenth century, are 
an offset against the supposed advantages for emanci- 
pation possessed by ancient Greece and Rome ; and 
fourthly, that your apology for not fully applying the 
principle to slavery now r , as well as to slavery eighteen 


hundred years ago, is at least a virtual acquiescence, 
however feeble, in the truth of Paul's doctrine. I 
find, indeed, on recurring to your book, that Dr. Arm- 
strong expounds the passage admirably. You say: 
" Yet, if they can lawfully be made free, as a general 
rule, slaves had better accept their freedom ; for a 
condition of slavery is not to be desired on its own 
account." p. 67. This is substantially the "Chris- 
tian doctrine " I am advocating ; but how a Christian 
minister can reconcile this scriptural view of the sub- 
ject with the silent and unchallenged expression of 
all sorts of opinions about the perpetuity, desirable- 
ness, etc., of slavery, I leave others to determine. 
Slavery was no less a political institution in the days 
of Paul than it is now. Is the Church, therefore, to 
be perpetually silent, as though slavery possessed no 
moral relations to the law of God ? Is it exclusively 
a question of " capital and labour ? " Surely, the 
Church may follow Paul in his inspired expositions, 
although his Epistles contain some things " hard to 
be understood," and easy to " wrest." 

III. Paul's incidental interpretation of the law of 
liberty to the Corinthian slaves, is in entire accordance 
with the injunctions of Scripture. Slaveholding is 
not in itself sinful, but its existence binds upon mas- 
ters and slaves mutual obligations, whose tendency is 
to abolish, eventually, the entire system. If the 


Scriptures enjoin what, of necessity, leads to emanci- 
pation, they enjoin emancipation itself, when the time 
comes; if they forbid what is necessary to the per- 
petuity of slavery, they forbid that slavery should be 

How, then, do these divine injunctions to masters 
and slaves operate against the perpetuity of slavery ? 
1. Christianity requires the land personal treatment 
of the slaves; it removes the rigours of bondage, and 
insensibly assimilates the system to one of apprentice- 
ship. Religious obligation is made the basis of all 
the duties of the relation. There is a " Master in 
Heaven," who rules over all; who searches the hearts 
of all ; who weighs the actions of all ; and who keeps 
a record for the final judgment. " The Bible method," 
says Dr. Hodge, " of dealing with slavery and similar 
institutions, is to enforce, on all concerned, the great 
principles of moral obligation. — assured that those 
principles, if allowed free scope, will put an end to 
all the evils both in the political and social relations 
of men." " First, the evils of slavery, and then sla- 
very itself, would pass away as naturally and as 
healthfully as children cease to be minors." The 
kind treatment which the Gospel requires towards 
slaves, and the corresponding obligations of slaves to 
their masters, cultivate feelings of mutual regard. 
which open the way for everything good in due time. 
2. The effect of Christianity upon the sanctity of 


tlu marriage state, is of the same preparatory nature. 
The law of Eden regulates social life everywhere; 
it protects husbands and wives on the plantation, in 
their relations to each other and their children. The 
husband is "the head of the wife, as Christ is the 
head of the Church." "As the Church is subject to 
( 'hrist, so let the wives be to their own husbands in 
everything." Forcible disruptions of the marriage 
bond by sale, or by separation for life, are not author- 
ized by the word of God. The Christian law of 
marriage holds inviolate the sacred privacies of home ; 
and the very difficulties of fulfilling the obligations 
of this law in a state of bondage, are suggestions in 
behalf of the natural state of liberty. 

3. The Gospel demands an adequate compensation 
of service. "The labourer is worthy of his hire," 
whether he be a minister of the sanctuary or a plan- 
tation slave. He is entitled to food, raiment, and 
shelter, and to whatever additional remuneration and 
privilege justice demands, in view of all the circum- 
stances in each case. This doctrine of equitable 
compensation gradually unsettles the arbitrary or 
despotic nature of the relation, and provides a natural 
progress towards the coming end. 

4. Religion protects the avails of human industry ; 
it favours the right of every man to the fruits of his 
labour. The laws of -the State deny, in general, the 
right of slaves to any property ; but the Bible enjoins 


that which is "just and equal." In practice, Chris- 
tian masters generally acknowledge, in a greater or 
less degree, the justice of this claim. Such a prac- 
tice is a scriptural auxiliary to final emancipation. — 
Ideas of property enlarge the mind, cherish thoughts 
of independence, cultivate habits of industry, and 
possess a stimulating power upon the general charac- 
ter of the slave, which fits him for the exercise of all 
the rights of liberty, " when Providence shall open 
the way." 

5. The intellectual and moral elevation of the slaves 
is a necessary result of Christian treatment and in- 
struction. The Bible is the universal text-book for 
mankind. Religious knowledge introduces all other 
knowledge. Any system that depends for its support 
upon the ignorance and debasement of the people, is 
doomed, by the law of Providence, to extinction. It 
was the wish of a pious king that every man in his 
dominions might be able to read the Bible. A Chris- 
tian slaveholder, in like manner, realizes the obliga- 
tions to give instruction to the slaves in his household. 
Religion tends to knowledge and virtue ; and know- 
ledge and virtue tend to liberty. 

If these statements are correct, obedience to the 
special injunctions of the Bible, on the subject of sla- 
very, tends to, and necessarily terminates in, Eman- 
cipation. The Church, therefore, may scripturallv 


keep in view this great moral result, to the glory of 
her heavenly King. 

IV. I add, that the universal spirit and fundamen- 
tal principles of religion originate, and foster, senti- 
ments favourable to the natural rights of mankind. 
Born of the same race, inheritors of the same corrupt 
nature, heirs of the same Divine promises, partakers 
of the same redemption in Jesus Christ, subjects of 
the same resurrection from the dead, and, if saved, 
inhabitants of the same mansions of glory and immor- 
tality, the children of bondage are elevated by the 
Bible to a condition of co-equal spiritual dignity, that 
asserts, and must ultimately obtain, the full recogni- 
tion of all their rights. 

Love to God and love to man, is the substance of 
the Divine requirements. " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself;" "All things whatsoever ye 
would that men should do to you, do ye even so 
unto them." I am aware of the fanatical and un- 
scriptural interpretations that have been sometimes 
put upon the great law of Christian reciprocity. I 
disclaim fellowship with unreasonable and false dog- 
mas. But I think that the fair, scriptural interpre- 
tation of the rule of love bears irresistibly against 
the perpetuity of slavery, as well as against its rash 
or precipitate overthrow. Christianity seeks to ad- 
just the condition of society, on a basis of universal 


brotherhood; fitted to accomplish the sublime pur- 
poses of "peace on earth, and good-will towanfe 

In all periods of her history, the Church has iden- 
tified herself with the well-being of the masses. — 
Without interfering with political relations, she has 
never renounced her interest in the highest welfare 
of the human race, both in this life and the life to 
come. At the present day, the Presbyterian Church. 
in preaching the Gospel to the heathen, expends a 
part of her resources in sending physicians to heal 
their diseases, farmers to assist in agricultural man- 
agement, mechanics to work at printing presses, 
teachers to instruct in schools. The principle actua- 
ting this general policy is, that the temporal well- 
being of mankind is, within certain limits, directly 
auxiliary to the preaching of the Gospel and the sal- 
vation of souls. So far as slavery is a question of 
" dapital and labour," or so far as emancipation de- 
pends upon the laws of the State, ecclesiastical au- 
thority is impertinent ; but the moral results to be 
secured by the elevation and emancipation of the 
slaves, are within the true aim of the law of love 
and of Gospel grace. 

Can it be " extra-scriptural, unscriptural, and anti- 
scriptural," for the Church, besides seeking the eter- 
nal salvation of the slaves, to endeavour to intro- 
duce them to the blessings of personal liberty, "when 


Providence shall open the way ?" Certainly, nothing 
less than this result is to be desired, when Providence 
shall so arrange and prepare things, that the welfare 
of society and the claims of justice and mercy shall 
require the termination of involuntary servitude. — 
This supposes a great advance in the intellectual, 
moral, and religious condition of the slaves. Is it 
sinful to desire, and pray, and labour for such a state 
of things ? If so, I confess myself ignorant of the 
first principles of the doctrine of Christ. 

In bringing this long letter to a close, I must ask 
your attention to one or two things more. 

If the Scriptures do not contain any deliverance 
on this subject, either " express or clearly implied," 
then the Christian, as a citizen, has no divine rule to 
guide his conduct. Emancipation, if it comes at all, 
comes not as. a desired end, but as a mere incident. 
The whole question, with its moralities and economics, 
is left to the operation of natural laws. If not a 
scriptural end, it may, or may not, be reckoned within 
the range of private and public prayer, and of earnest 
Christian enterprise and activity. If "extra-scrip- 
tural, unscriptural, and anti-scriptural," might not 
some infer that it was sinful? The motives that 
lead men to glorify God in labouring to remove social 
evils, are thus impaired in their force, if not rendered 
inoperative in this particular sphere. The effect of 


such doctrine in perpetuating slavery, cannot be con- 
cealed or denied. 

If I understand you, emancipation in Liberia is 
acknowledged to be a proper object of ecclesiastical 
action, for the reason, among others, that it passes by 
the question of "the general ultimate emancipation 
of the slaves" in this country. But is not the prin- 
ciple the same, wherever the result may be finally 
secured ? My statement leaves the time, place, and 
circumstances of emancipation to the Providence of 
God ; whilst your view seems to admit the lawfulness 
of the end, provided that you yourself locate and 
define the land of liberty. Is not this a virtual sur- 
render of the principle contained in your argument ? 
In your general sentiments on Liberian Colonization. 
I cordially concur. 

One of the most painful things, allow me to say 
fraternally, in your Letter, is the low view of the 
natural rights of mankind, which pervades the dis- 
cussion. I fully acknowledge the difficulties of eman- 
cipation, and most truly sympathize with my breth- 
ren, in Church and State, who are involved in the 
evils of this complicated system. But if we lose sight 
of, or depreciate principles, difficulties and dangers 
will increase on every side. Are there no eternal 
principles of justice, no standard of human rights, by 
which a system of servitude shall submit to be judged, 
and in whose presence it shall be made to plead for 


justification? Is civil liberty a mere abstraction? 
Thanks be to God, the Presbyterian Church has been 
the advocate of freedom in every land and age. Long 
may she maintain this position of truth and righteous- 
ness, in the spirit of good-will to all men, bond and 
free ; and whilst she holds that slavery is not neces- 
sarily and in all circumstances sinful, may her testi- 
mony against the evils of the system, and in favour 
of emancipation, be clear, consistent, and unwaver- 
ing, before God and the world ! 

Presbyterians at the North have remained stead- 
fast in their integrity, amidst all the abolition agita- 
tion which has threatened injury, and even destruction, 
to the Church. We have deprecated this agitation, 
not simply on account of its own perverse nature, 
but on account of its evil influence in provoking ex- 
treme views among our brethren at the South. The 
northern section of the Church, by its successful 
resistance to fanaticism, earnestly and fraternally 
appeals to the Presbyterians at the South, to remain 
equally true to the principles and the testimonies 
sanctioned by the unanimous voice of our General 
Assemblies, and by the higher authority of the Sacred 


I am yours, truly, 

C. Van Rensselaer. 

26* u 




To the Rev. George D. Armstrong, D.D. : 
History teaches important lessons ; but I have seve- 
ral objections to the historical view presented in your 
letter as the basis of instruction. 

1. One of the forms of historical statement, liable 
to misconception, is that the Apostles maintained 
without qualification, that " slaveliolding is not <t sin." 
This mode of stating the doctrine is not, in my opi- 
nion, precisely scriptural. It leaves the impression 
that slavery is, always and everywhere, a lawful in- 
stitution. All that the Scriptures authorize us to 
affirm, as I have endeavored to show in my first letter, 
is that slaveholding is not a malum in se, or in other 
words, that it is right or wrong, according to circum- 
stances. As this point lies at the basis of your his- 
torical sketch, I have deemed it important to notice 
it at the very beginning. 

2. In the second place, the assertion that " slavery 
continued to exist everywhere" is no evidence that 
Christianity everywhere approved of it. Despotism 
and war prevailed in early times ; and although they 
still continue to exist throughout the world, the spirit 


of true religion has always been in opposition to their 
perpetuity. The simple fact of the long continuance 
of such an institution as slavery cannot be inter- 
preted into a divine warrant. 

3. In the third place, your historical statement en- 
tirely overlooks the early influence of Christianity 
upon slavery. 

The religion of Christ was. for a long period, sub- 
jected to fierce persecutions, and rejected from the 
councils of the Eoman Empire. When it finally 
secured a temporary triumph under Constantine, cor- 
ruption almost simultaneously began its work. There 
are, nevertheless, many evidences of an advancing 
social and political movement, in the mitigation of 
the evils of slavery, and in the measures of emanci- 
pation. From the first, " the humane spirit of our 
religion struggled with the customs and manners of 
this world, and contributed, more than any other cir- 
cumstance, to introduce the practice of manumis- 
sion." 1 Christianity ameliorated the condition of 
slaves under the Roman Government, inclined Con- 
stantine to render their emancipation much easier 
than formerly, and awakened a religious interest in 
the subject. "As slaves were formerly declared to 
be emancipated in the temple of the goddess Feronia. 
so afterwards, in accordance with the decrees of Con- 
st antine, they were throughout the Roman Empire, 

1 Robertson. 


set free in the churches." ' Sozomen, speaking of Con- 
stantine, says : " In reference to the bestowment of 
the better liberty (viz., Roman citizenship), he laid 
down these laws, decreeing that all, emancipated in 
the Church under the direction of the priests, should 
enjoy Roman citizenship." 2 The Church sometimes 
paid for the ransom of slaves, especially for slaves or 
captives subjected to heathen or barbarian masters. 
" Out of the legitimate work of the faithful," says 
the Apostolic Constitutions, " deliver the saints, re- 
deem the slaves, the captives," 3 etc. Ignatius alludes 
likewise to the slaves redeemed at the expense of the 
community. 4 Clement of Rome also speaks of Chris- 
tians who carried devotion so far as to sell themselves 
to redeem others from slavery. 5 

Large numbers of slaves were emancipated in the 
first ages of Christianity. One of our own distin- 
guished writers, whose position, intellectual habits, 
and course of investigation have enabled him to give 
much attention to this subject, has the following re- 
marks : 

" Before the advent of Christianity, no axe had ever been laid 
at the root of slavery ; no philosopher had denounced it, and it 
does not appear to have been considered by any as an evil to be 
repressed. Nor did the apostles teach differently, but distinctly 
laid down rules for the conduct of master and slave ; thereby 

1 Can. 64, Cod. Eccl. Africanae. 

2 Sozomenus, lib. 1 ; Hist. Eccl. Chap. ix. 3 IV. 9. 
4 Ep. ad Polyc. c. 4. 5 1 Ep. ad Cor. 


clearly recognizing the relation, without denouncing it as in 
itself sinful. Their Master's instructions were intended to make 
men what they should be, and then every institution, every law, 
and every practice inconsistent with that state, would fall before 
it. If a community of slaveholders, under Christian instruction, 
were gradually tending to the point of general emancipation, 
both masters and slaves would gradually be fitting for so great a 
change in their relative condition. It would be a subject of 
great interest to trace, in the early ages of Christianity, its in- 
fluences upon the institution of slavery, so much in contrast with 
the movements or influences of paganism. During the first four 
or five centuries of the Christian era, emancipation of slaves by 
converts to Christianity took place upon a large and progres- 
sively increasing scale, and continued until the occurrence of 
political events, the invasion of barbarians, and other causes, 
agitated the whole Christian world, and shook the very founda- 
tions of the social systems in which Christianity had made most 
progress. When Christianity sank into the darkness of the 
middle ages, the progress of emancipation ceased, because the 
influence which produced it ceased during that period to operate. 
The annals of emancipation in these primitive ages, if materials 
were extant for a full narrative, would be of extraordinary inte- 
rest, and would fully reveal the effects of our Saviour's precepts 
when brought to bear upon the hearts of men in their true spirit. 
even where the letter did not apply. Under paganism, slavery 
could never come to an end : under the continual light of Chris- 
tianity, it hastens to an inevitable end, but by that progress and 
in that mode which is best both for master and slave : both being 
bound to love each other, until the door of emancipation is fully 
open without injury to either." 1 

In addition to these interesting statements from 
Mr. Colwell, I offer to your consideration the follow- 
ing extracts from the admirable work of the Rev. 

1 New Themes for the Protestant Clergy, by Stephen Col- 
well, Esq. 


Stephen Chastel, of Geneva, 011 the " Charity of the 
Primitive Churches." ' 

" Between the Christian master and slave was no religious dis- 
tinction ; they came into the same sanctuary to invoke the same 
God, to pray, to sing together, to participate in the same mys- 
teries, to sit at the same table, to drink of the same cup, and to 
take part in the same feast. How should this community of wor- 
ship not have profoundly modified their mutual relations ? How 
could the master have continued to see in his slave that thing 
which the Roman law permitted him to use and to abuse ? Also, 
whatever might still be the force of habit and of manners, there 
were rarely seen in the Christian houses those masters, still less 
those pitiless mistresses, such as Seneca and Juvenal have painted 
to us ; the slave, there, had to fear neither the cross, nor tor- 
tures, nor abandonment in sickness, nor to be thrown off in his 
old age ; he had not to fear that he should be sold for the am- 
phitheatre, or for some one of those infamous occupations which 
the Church reproved, and from which she struggled, at every 
price, to rescue her children. 

"Finally, a devoted and faithful slave always had, in a Chris- 
tian house, the hope of recovering his liberty. It was not rare, 
without doubt, to see Pagans enfranchise their slaves ; some even 
did it from motives of gratitude or attachment ; but ordinarily 
necessity, caprice, vanity, often even the most sordid calculations 
alone presided over the emancipation of slaves, and these mise- 
rable creatures, cast almost without resource into the midst of a 
society whose free labour found so little encouragement and em- 
ployment, hardly used their liberty except to do evil, and went 
for the most part to increase the crowd of proletarians and of 
beggars, so that it is not astonishing if the emperors had at- 
tempted, though without success, to limit, by their laws, the right 
of enfranchising. As to the Church, when she encouraged it, it 
was not as an interest, but as a favour ; she exhorted the mas- 

1 Translated by Professor Matile, and published by J. B. Lip- 
pincott & Co., Philadelphia, 1857. 


ters to liberate the slave as often as he was in a state to support 
himself. But the enfranchisement was not an abandonment ; the 
Christian remained the patron, in the best sense of that word, 
of those whom he had ceased to be the master of, and, in case 
of misfortune, the freed man found an almost sure resource in the 
aid of his brothers. The Church, which, by its moral influence, 
had worked to render him worthy of liberty, continued to pro- 
tect him after he had attained it. The emancipatiou of slaves, 
at this day, would be less difficult and less dangerous if it was 
always done in this spirit." 1 

The "correctness" of these brief accounts of the 
early impression of Christianity upon slavery, " no 
one, I presume, will call in question ;" and they stand 
in delightful contrast with the injurious and unhis- 
torical representations, quoted in your Letter from 
Dr. Hopkins, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Ver- 

1. I take exception to the statement that slaves 

1 The Church has been thus unjustly accused of having, by the 
imprudence of her emancipations of slaves, caused the plague of 
pauperism. Manumission had been used with much less discre- 
tion at other epochs of Roman society. The one hundred thou- 
sand freedmen who, as early as from 240 to 210 previous to our 
era, had been admitted to the privilege of citizenship, the slaves 
liberated en masse by the alternating politics of Marius and Sylla, 
the thousands of them who under the republic were daily liber- 
ated, either by will, to do honour to the funeral of their master, 
or by necessity, there being no food for them, or by revenge, to 
defeat the eagerness of creditors ; all those freedmen, finally, 
who in Cicero's times were in a majority in the urban and rural 
tribes of Rome, formed elements much more threatening to the 
social well-being than were subsecmently those freed by charity. 
( Moreau-Christophe. Du pvobl. de la miser e, vol. i., p. 80, etc.) 


were always "held, without any reproach, even by tin 
bishops and clergy," down to the period of the aboli- 
tion of slavery in Europe. Undoubtedly, slaves 
might have been held, without any reproach, then as 
now, when the circumstances of society and the wel- 
fare of the slaves justified the continuance of tin- 
relation. The fact that, under Constantine, emanci- 
pation took place in the churches, shows that the act 
was regarded as peculiarly congenial with the spirit 
and principles of religion. Ward, in his Law of Na- 
tions, observes that "it is of little consequence to 
object that the custom of slavery remained for a great 
length of time, or that the Church itself was possessed 
of numbers of slaves. The custom of enfranchise- 
ment was the effect, chiefly, of pious and Christian 
motives, and the example was generally set by the min- 
isters of religion!'' 

The same writer observes, in reference to later 
times, that, " in the opinion of Grotius, Christianity 
was the great and almost only cause of abolition. 
The professed and assigned reasons for most of the 
charters of manumissions, from the time of Gregory 
the Great [A. D. 600] to the thirteenth century, were 
the religious and pious considerations of the fraternity 
of men, the imitation of the example of Christ, the 
love of our Maker, and the hope of redemption. 
Enfranchisement was frequently given on a deathbed, 
as the most acceptable service that could be offered ; 


and when the sacred character of the priesthood came 
to obtain more universal veneration, to assume its 
functions teas the immediate passport to freedom!' 1 

History does not at all warrant the assertion that 
slaves have been always held "without any reproach." 
From the earliest period, the anomalous character of 
the relation, and its attending evils, have been re- 
corded on the impartial, but obscure annals of the 
past. Not even in the dark middle ages was slavery 
ranked among irreproachable and permanent insti- 

5. Another error in your historical sketch is, that, 
when the practice of slavery "died out" in Europe, 
the change was "through the operation of worldly 
causes." It is surprising that two bishops of the 
Church should agree upon a statement, disowning the 
connection between Christianity and the removal of 
this great social evil. The changes introduced into 
society, in the progress of advancing civilization, have 
been hitherto ascribed by all Christian writers to the 
power of Christianity itself. But in the nineteenth 
century, the theory is advanced, that "worldly causes," 
and not religion, have been the efficient agents in the 
extinction of slavery ! If this be true in all previous 
ages, the inference is that it will be so in all time to 
come. This is a " short and easy method " of estab- 
lishing ultra pro-slavery doctrine. But is the state- 
ment true ? In addition to the testimony already 


adduced, which has a bearing upon this point, I ven- 
ture to ask your attention to the following remarks, 
contained in the volumes of Mr. Bancroft, the histo- 
rian. You will observe the prominence given to reli- 
gion, by this distinguished writer. 

" In defiance of severe penalties, the Saxons sold their own 
kindred into slavery on the continent ; nor could the traffic be 
checked, till religion, pleading the cause of humanity, made its 
appeal to conscience." 1 

"What though the trade was exposed to the censure of the 
Church, and prohibited by the laws of Yenice ? It could not be 
effectually checked, till, by the Yenetian law, no slave might 
enter a Yenetian ship, and to tread the deck of an argosy of 
Yenice, became the privilege and the evidence of freedom." 

" Tne spirit of the Christian religion would, before the dis- 
covery of America, have led to the entire abolition of the slave 
trade, but for the hostility between the Christian Church and the 
followers of Mahomet. In the twelfth century, Pope Alexander 
III., true to the spirit of his office, which, during the supremacy 
of brute force in the middle ages, made of the chief minister of 
religion, the tribune of the people and the guardian of the op- 
pressed, had written, that 'Nature having made no slaves, all 
men have an equal right to liberty.' 1 " 2 

"The amelioration of the customs of Europe had proceeded 
from the influence of religion. It was the clergy who had broken 
up the Christian slave-markets at Bristol and at Hamburg, at 
Lyons and at Rome. At the epoch of the discovery of Ame- 
rica, the moral opinion of the civilized world had abolished the 
traffic of Christian slaves ; and was fast demanding the emanci- 
pation of the serfs; but bigotry had favored a compromise with 
avarice ; and the infidel was not yet included within the pale of 
humanity." 3 

1 History of the United States, i. 162. 

2 Ibid., 163. 3 Ibid., 165. 


" The slave-trade between Africa and America was, I believe, 
never expressly sanctioned by the See of Rome. The spirit of 
the Roman Church was against it. Even Leo X., though his 
voluptuous life, making of his pontificate a continued carnival, 
might have deadened the sentiments of humanity and justice, de- 
clared, that ' not the Christian religion only, but nature herself, 
cries out against the state of slavery.'" 1 

These few extracts are sufficient, I think, to prove 
that something more than " worldly causes " have 
contributed to remove slavery from European civiliza- 
tion. As long as Christianity exists upon the earth, 
and the consciences of its disciples are enlightened 
by the Spirit, a power will always be at work, higher 
than ** worldly causes," tending to universal emanci- 
pation. Even these " worldly causes," to which allu- 
sion is made, are more or less controlled by the truth 
and influences of the Gospel. 

6. I turn to another error, viz. : " It was not until 
the latter part of the eighteenth century that a doubt 
was expressed, on either side of the Atlantic, in rela- 
tion to the perfect consistency of slavery with the 
precepts of the Gospel." 

If I mistake not, the evidence, already adduced, 
will occasion very serious doubts in regard to the 
truth of the proposition, so far as it relates to the 
other side of the Atlantic. Let us, for the present, 
consider whether, on this side of the Atlantic, slavery 

1 History of the United States, i., 172. 


and the Gospel were, always and everywhere, reckoned 
to be natural allies. 

The Puritans did, it is true, consider themselves 
justified by the Old Testament in retaining Indian 
captives as bondsmen, according to the policy of tin- 
Israelites towards the Pagan nations. The Indian 
prisoners were few in number, and their case was a 
perplexing one. We do not justify Puritan reasoning 
on this subject ; it was the reasoning of the day, both 
in Europe and in other parts of our own country. At 
that period, even white men were sold into slavery in 
Virginia. In the midst of such moral obtuseness, 
there were not wanting some signs of more correct 
views of human bondage, in New England. The fol- 
lowing extracts are from Mr. Bancroft's history. The 
first paragraph relates to the sailing of the first vessel, 
owned in part by a member of the Church of Boston, 
to engage in the slave-trade : 

" Throughout Massachusetts, the cry of justice was raised 
against the owners as malefactors and murderers. Richard Sal- 
tonstall felt himself moved by his duty as a magistrate, to de- 
nounce the act of stealing negroes as 'expressly contrary to the 
law of God and the law of the country;' the guilty men were 
committed for the offence ; and, after advice with the elders, the 
representatives of the people, bearing ' witness against the hein- 
ous crimes of manstealing,' ordered the negroes to be restored, at 
the public charge, ' to their own country, with a letter express- 
ing the indignation of the General Court' at their wrongs.'" 
[This was in the year 1646.] 

1 Bancroft's History, i., 174. 


"When George Fox visited Barbadoes, in 1611, he enjoined 
it upon the planters, that they should 'deal mildly and gently 
with their negroes ; and that after certain years of servitude, 
they should make them free.'' The idea of George Fox had been 
anticipated by the fellow-citizens of Gorton and Roger Williams. 
Nearly twenty years had then elapsed since the representatives 
of Providence and Warwick, perceiving the disposition of people 
in the colony 'to buy negroes,' and hold them ' as slaves forever,' 
had enacted that no ' black mankind,'' should, ' by covenant, bond, 
or otherwise,- be held to perpetual service; the master, 'at the 
end of ten years, shall set them free, as the manner is with Eng- 
lish servants; and that man that will not let' his slave 'go free, 
or shall sell him away, to the end that he may be enslaved to 
others for a longer time, shall forfeit to the colony forty pounds. 
Now, forty pounds was nearly twice the value of a negro slave. 
The law was not enforced ; but the principle lived among the 
people.' "* 

" The thought of general emancipation early presented itself. 
Massachusetts, where the first planters assumed to themselves ' a 
right to treat the Indians on the foot of Canaanites and Arnale- 
kites,' was always opposed to the introduction of slaves from 
abroad; and in 1701, the town of Boston instructed its repre- 
sentatives, ' to put a period to negroes being slaves. ' " 2 

It thus appears that, up to the beginning of the 
last century, there was a great deal of "doubt" in 
New England, in regard to " the perfect consistency 
of slavery with the precepts of the Gospel." Public 
opinion, however, seems to have afterwards relapsed 
into much indifference, until near the period of the 
Revolution, when Dr. Hopkins, of Newport, published 
a pamphlet on the " Slavery of the Africans, showing 
it to be the duty of the American Colonies to eman- 

1 Bancroft's History, i., 174. 2 Ibid., iii. 408. 



cipate all the African slaves." ' Dr. Hopkins apolo- 
gizes for the want of conscience exhibited in New 
England by the "ignorance" of the owners of slaves; 
and "although this has been a very criminal igno- 
rance, yet professors of religion, and real Christians, 
may have lived in this sin through an ignorance con- 
sistent with sincerity, and so as to be acceptable to 
God, through Jesus Christ, in their devotions," etc. 
Public attention now became much directed to slavery, 
both at the North and at the South. 

The southern colonies had repeatedly remonstrated 
against the slave-trade. Judge Tucker, in his Notes 
on Blackstone, has collected a list of no less than 
twenty-three acts, passed by Virginia, having in view 
the repression of the importation of slaves. The 
motives were various, political as well as moral. In 
1772, Virginia sent a petition to the throne, declaring, 
among other things, that " the importation of slaves 
into the colonies from the coast of Africa, hath long 
been considered a trade of great inhumanity." 

7. A very serious error in your letter, consists in 
attributing to Infidelity the awakened interest in 
Great Britain and the United States, in the suppres- 
sion of the slave-trade and the abolition of slavery. 

As if "worldly causes" were not low enough to 
account for the extinction of domestic servitude, Infi- 

1 Published in 1776. 


delity is summoned from the depths, as another ruling 
; i gent. This part of the solution of the question is 
your own, to which the instructions of Bishop Hop- 
kins, allow me to say, naturally tended. 

I ask your attention to the fact, that the period in 
which the greatest masters of Infidelity were promi- 
nent actors, was the very period in which the slave- 
trade was carried on with the greatest energy, and 
the conscience of the whole world slumbered most 
profoundly over emancipation. From the }'ear 1700, 
till the American Revolution, more negroes had been 
exported from Africa than ever before. During this 
interval, lived Shaftesbury, Bolingbroke, Hume, Vol- 
taire, Rousseau, and the French Encyclopaedists, 
great and small. Mr. Bancroft remarks, with his 
usual historical accuracy : " The philosophy of that 
day furnished to the African no protection against 
oppression." England, under the ministry of Boling- 
broke, and his successors in office, openly advocated 
the slave-trade. It was a time of infidelity, of Arian 
and Deistical encroachment, and of ecclesiastical 
domination. It was a fit time for the climax of 
the slave-trade. 

" Loud and perpetual o'er the Atlantic waves, 
. For guilty ages, rolled the tide of slaves ; 
A tide that knew no fall, no turn, no rest — 
Constant as day and night, from East to West, 
Still wid'ning, deep'ning, swelling in its course, 
With boundless ruin and resistless force.'' 


This state of active kidnapping in Africa, received 
its first check, not from Infidelity, but from the reli- 
gion and patriotism of the confederated Colonies of 
North America. The delegates in Congress, without 
being specially empowered to do so, passed and pro- 
mulgated, on the 6th of April, 1776, several months 
before the Declaration of Independence, a resolution, 
that no slaves should be imported into the Confedera- 
tion. Thus did Christianity and Liberty triumph 
over wickedness and crime. 

The Northern States soon began to legislate in 
favour of emancipation. Under the impulses of a 
quickened sense of religious obligation, and of politi- 
cal consistency, slavery was undermined at the North. 
Much feeling also existed against the institution at 
the South, especially in Virginia, where the intro- 
duction of an Emancipation Act into the Legisla- 
ture was seriously contemplated, after the slave- 
trade was prohibited. It was never understood that 
Infidelity, as such, had any agency in these philan- 
thropic measures throughout the country. Where 
religion failed to be prominent, patriotism supplied 
the motives of benevolent action. All the public 
documents of the day testify to the truth of this view 
of the subject. 

The philanthropists of England, moved by equally 
pure and disinterested motives, aimed at the abo- 
lition of the slave-trade, simultaneously with their 


brethren in America. Granville Sharp, Wilberforce, 
Newton, Thornton, Scott, Macaulay, and their noble 
coadjutors, were among the foremost of the religious 
men of their age. Seldom, indeed, has Christianity 
claimed a higher triumph in the history of civiliza- 
tion, than when acts were passed for the abolition of 
the African slave-trade, and public measures were 
inaugurated for the abolition of slavery in America, 
and elsewhere. The religious world will be surprised 
to learn from Dr. Armstrong that Infidelity was the 
chief agent, whose culminating point was West In- 
dian emancipation, under the auspices of England ! 
Call West Indian Emancipation a blunder, if you 
will — a political mistake, a social wrong, a moral im- 
becility — but hesitate, before the earnest philanthropy 
of Christian England, in behalf of injured Africa, and 
the rights of mankind, is stigmatized with the taint 
of infidel inception and success. 1 

Your whole theory on this subject is utterly un- 
tenable. You might as well attempt to prove that 
the infidel philosophy on the subject of civil govern- 
ment had its culminating triumph in the formation of 
the American Constitution, as that the revived inte- 
rest, in America and England, in the abolition of 
slavery, is indebted to the same low source for life 

1 For one, I have not yet lost all confidence in the wisdom of 
this measure. 



and power. Washington, the representative man of 
his age, was a true representative of the Christianity 
and patriotism of his country, when in his last will 
and testament, he placed on record his views of the 
rights of mankind, and gave freedom to all his slaves. 

8. Another historical error in your letter, is the 
declaration that good men, like Dr. Scott, have insi- 
diously betrayed scriptural truth by erroneous expo- 
sitions, and thus prepared the way for the most vio- 
lent abolitionism. 

1 think, in the first place, that you do injustice to 
Dr. Scott by an erroneous t; exposition " of his views. 
That able and judicious commentator does not say. 
or mean, that the Christian master should "greatly 
alleviate or nearly annihilate," any evil which con- 
cerns his behaviour " to his servants." This is Dr. 
Armstrong's own " gloss." Dr. Scott says, that " Chris- 
tian masters were instructed to behave towards their 
slaves in such a manner as would greatly alleviate, 
or nearly annihilate the evils of slave)-)/" The com- 
mentator well knew that, however exemplary might 
be the conduct of " Christian masters " towards their 
own slaves, on their own plantations, some of the 
" evils of slavery," as a system, would still remain in 

If Dr. Scott, in his other remarks, intended to 
express the opinion that the Apostles considered 
slavery to be in itself sinful, but were restrained by 


prudential considerations from enjoining emancipa- 
tion, he was certainly wrong. It is probable that he 
merely intended to vindicate, on general principles, 
the true scriptural plan. However that may be, he 
was correct, when he added that " the principles of 
both the law and the Gospel, when carried to their 
consequences, will infallibly abolish slavery." Was 
he not authorized, in expounding Scripture, to give 
what he conceived to be the full meaning of the pas- 
sage ? Dr. Hodge, in like manner, says in his com- 
mentary on Ephesians, 6:5: " The scriptural doc- 
trine is opposed to the opinion that slavery is in itself 
a desirable institution, and as such to be cherished 
and perpetuated." 

Mr. Barnes's remarks, which you quote, I agree 
with you in repudiating. But he is as far from being 
an infidel as Dr. Scott. If Mr. Barnes goes a " bow- 
shot beyond Dr. Scott," I think that, in regard to the 
connivance of either with Infidelity, you draw a bow 
" at a venture." 

Dr. Scott's commentaries were published in 1796. 
They have certainly had little influence in imposing 
Anti-slavery opinions upon the Presbyterian Church. 
As far back as 1787, our highest judicatory uttered 
stronger declarations than are to be found in those 
commentaries. The Synod declared that it " highly 
approved of the general principles in favour of uni- 
versal liberty that prevail in America, and the interest 


which many of the States have taken in promoting 
the abolition of slavery''' 

Commentators, from the days of Dr. Scott, onward, 
naturally noticed the subject of slavery in its relation 
to Scripture, more than their predecessors. So far as 
their commentaries are erroneous, they are to be con- 
demned. Each is to be judged by himself. I do not 
believe in the philosophical or infidel succession you 
have attempted to establish. 

9. A brief sketch of ultra Pro-slavery opinions may 
be fairly given as an offset to the Anti-slavery history 
of your Letter. 

Previous to the formation of the American Consti- 
tution, public opinion, in this country, had been 
gathering strength, adversely to the slave-trade and 
slavery. The first legislature of the State of Virginia 
prohibited the importation of Africans ; and some of 
her most distinguished public men were unfavourable, 
not only to the increase, but even to the continuance 
of slavery within her borders. The Congress of the 
old Confederation, with the unanimous consent of all 
the Southern as well as Northern States, provided, in 
1787, that slavery should be forever excluded from 
the Northwest Territory, which territory then con- 
stituted the whole of the public domain. In the same 
year, the framers of the Constitution of the United 
States enacted that the African slave-trade should 
cease in 1808, so far as the "existing States" were 


concerned ; reserving to Congress the right to pro- 
hibit it before that time in new States or Territories 
— a right which Congress exercised in 1804, by pro- 
hibiting the importation of Africans into the new 
Territory of Orleans. 

Daniel Webster, in the Senate of the United States, 
affirmed that two things " are quite clear as historical 
truths. One is, that there was an expectation that, 
on the ceasing of the importation of slaves from 
Africa, slavery would begin to run out here. That was 
hoped and expected. Another is, that as far as there 
was any power in Congress to prevent the spread of 
slavery in the United States, that power was executed 
in the most absolute manner, and to the fullest extent. 
. . . . But opinion has changed — greatly changed 
— changed North and changed South. Slavery is not 
regarded, at the South now, as it was then." l Without 
carrying this sketch into the details of modern party 
politics, which would be foreign to my purpose, it is 
sufficient to note that this change of sentiment, at 
the South, has grown more and more marked, down 
to the present time. Even the project of reviving the 
African slave-trade has been recently entertained in 

1 Mr. Webster emphatically stated, in the same speech, that, 
at the formation of the Constitution, "there was, if not an entire 
unanimity of sentiment, a general concurrence of sentiment run- 
ning through the whole community, and especially entertained 
by the eminent men of all parts of the country," on this subject. 



the legislatures of several States. Slavery is now 
publicly advocated as a desirable and permanent insti- 
tution, having a complete justification in the word of 
God. Its advocacy is, by others, placed on the infidel 
ground of the original diversity of races. In fact, is 
not Infidelity as busily engaged in vindicating, and 
propping up, ultra pro-slavery opinions at the South, 
as it has ever been in agitating its untruths, at the 
North? 1 There is little religion in either extreme. 
It is to be hoped that the tendency on both sides of 
the question to a change from bad to worse, will be 
arrested in the good providence of God. 

10. Your historical sketch errs in reducing all op- 
position to slavery to the same category. 

A history of Anti-slavery opinions requires careful 
discrimination, in order to do justice to all parties. 
The "conservatives" differ fundamentally from the 
ultra faction, which denounces slaveholding as neces- 
sarily sinful, and which accepts no solution but im- 
mediate and universal emancipation. Nor do they, 
or can they, sympathize with the equally fanatical 
opinions on the other side. We profess to maintain 
the firm, scriptural ground, occupied by our Church 
from the beginning. Presbyterians at the North have 

1 It is well known, that the infidel publication of Gliddon and 
Agassiz, one of whose principal aims is to prove that the negro 
is not a descendant of Adam, has had au extensive circulation in 
the Southern States. 


been enabled, under God, to uphold the testimonies 
of the General Assembly in their incorrupt integrity. 
Will not our brethren at the South appreciate our 
position, and the service we have rendered to morals 
and religion ? Your historical sketch confounds all 
varieties of opinion in opposition to the permanence 
of slavery, and reduces them to one common prin- 
ciple of evil. Omission, under such circumstances, 
is commission. It inflicts an injury upon your truest 
friends ; and more, it disparages the cause of truth 
and righteousness. Far be it from me to impute to 
you any intention of this kind. On the contrary, I 
am sure that you will gladly rectify the inadvertence. 
I rejoice in the belief that the Presbyterian Church 
is substantially united on the fundamental principles 
involved in this question. If any danger should here- 
after threaten our unity, it will arise from the extreme 
advocates of slavery. So far as I have any personal 
knowledge of my brethren in the Southern section 
of the Church, or have observed their proceedings in 
the General Assembly, I have yet to learn that they 
are disposed to depart from our ancient Presbyterian 
testimonies. Few persons, on either side, seem in- 
clined to adopt extreme opinions. Various statements 
in your Letters have excited, perhaps unreasonably, 
the apprehension of a tendency in them to create and 
cherish divisions. One of the impressions, derived 
from the perusal of your third Letter, is that slave rv 


is fortified by the Bible and the Church, and that the 
institution would be safe enough in perpetuity, if 
•'worldly causes" would keep in the right direction, 
and Infidelity cease its assaults. Your historical ac- 
count is, at least, so apologetical, that it may con- 
ciliate, and even stimulate, the ultra defenders <.i' 

You rightly suggest that error has an insidious be- 
ginning. It is on this principle, doubtless, that ultra 
men at the North, and at the South, have succeeded 
in accomplishing much injury. The "classic story" 
of the fall of Troy, by means of the wooden horse 
filled with Grecian enemies, affords an instructive 
lesson. The enemies without the city would have 
built that structure in vain, if leaders within the city 
had not brought it through the walls. It is through 
the breaches, made by Christian chieftains, that Infi- 
delity is drawn into our citadel. Extreme views, on 
either side, combine to overthrow the true doctrine 
of the Church. 

It may be affirmed, without boasting, and in hum- 
ble gratitude to God, that the Presbyterian Church 
occupies a commanding position, at the present time, 
among the hosts of God's elect. Our declared prin- 
ciples on slavery, emancipation, and Christian fellow- 
ship will endure the scrutiny, and at last command 
the admiration of the world. Unterrified by North- 
ern fanaticism, and unseduced by Southern, Presby- 


terians behold their banner floating peacefully over 

their ancient ramparts. With continued unity in 

our councils, the cause of philanthropy and religion 

will, under God, be safe in our charge, and be handed 

down with increasing victories, from generation to 


I am yours fraternally, 

C. Van Rensselaer, 





To the Rev. George D. Armstrong, D.D. : 

An amicable discussion of slavery, instead of sug- 
gesting to you " the dark and bloody ground " of 
Kentucky, with its scenes of savage warfare, only re- 
quired our presence on the field of scriptural truth. 
The appearance of brother Armstrong, with rifle in 
hand, is not a pleasant clerical sight, introduced by 
the law of association into the perspective ; nor is it 
a very terrible one, for I have discovered that, even 
with the aim of so good a marksman as himself, a 
rifle-shot is " not necessarily and in all circumstances" 

Your allusion to " the shrieks for freedom " is the 
first political allusion made in our discussion, and this 
footprint upon the " dark and bloody ground," lead- 
ing into a trail of the wilderness, I respectfully de- 
cline to follow. 

Your remark that sections and divisions " secure 
perspicuity " and " guard against misapprehension," is 
a very good one. 




The issue between us is whether my proposition 
that " slaveholding is not necessarily and in all cir- 
cumstances sinful," is liable to just exception as an 
inexact, or inadequate, expression of the scriptural 
doctrine in the premises ; or whether your proposition 
that " slaveholding is not a sin in the sight of God " 
is more accurate and complete. The characteristic 
difference in the phraseology of the two propositions 
is that mine has a special reference to circumstances, 
whilst you deny the right to admit them. Your own 
incidental concessions decide that the introduction of 
circumstances is right and necessary. 

§ 1. You expressly declare, among the articles of 
your faith on this subject, that " slavery is expedient 
or inexpedient, right or wrong, according to circum- 
stances." p. 68. I have substituted, as you permit, 
" slavery " for " civil despotism ;" and here I find my 
own proposition written down as true by Dr. Arm- 
strong, under " circumstances " quite remarkable in 
an objector. I am aware that you maintain that this 
doctrine is not deducible entirely from Scripture, but 
that it is partly deducible from reason, and includes 
a political view. This point I shall examine pre- 
sently. All that I desire you to notice now, is that 
my proposition, irrespective of the mode of its proof, 
is really the true one, by your own admission. 


§ 2. In your original Letter, you deny that " all 
slaveholding is sinless in the sight of God." Of 
course, some slaveholding is sinfid ; and what but cir- 
cumstances must determine its character? You also 
explicitly declare that, "when we state the proposi- 
tion, that slaveholding is not a sin in the sight of 
God, it can apply to such slaveholding only as sub- 
sists in conformity with the law of God." pp. 11 and 
12. Here again, do not circumstances decide whether 
it is justifiable or not ? 

§ 3. You, over and over, admit, in your last Letter, 
that slavery classes with the adiaphora, or things in- 
different. Civil despotism, or slavery, "belongs in 
morals to the adiwphora, or things indifferent;" pp. 
68, 69, 72. Now the characteristic, formal nature of 
such things is that they are not per se, or necessarily 
and in all circumstances, either right or wrong, but 
that they may be either right or wrong according to 

With all these admissions in favour of my form of 
statement, made so clearly and palpably by yourself, 
it would be difficult to see what opening you leave 
for further assaults upon it, were it not for a distinc- 
tion you set up between the scriptural and the whole 
view of the subject, which I shall proceed to examine. 
It is a great point gained, when Dr. Armstrong plainly 
concedes that the whole, or complete view of the sub- 


ject demands the introduction of -'circumstances," 
which is the chief point in dispute between us. 


The distinction you make between the scriptural 
and the political relations of the subject is one of the 
two significant points of your Rejoinder. 

§ 1. Whilst my proposition is admitted to be right, 
in view of the combined testimony of Scripture and 
reason, you maintain that Scripture alone does not 
authorize it, Is not this, in effect, saying that the 
Bible is not a sufficient rule of faith and practice on 
the subject of slavery ? Mark ; we are not now dis- 
cussing any of the questions of capital and labour, or 
any State plans of general emancipation. The ques- 
tion before us is one concerning our relations to God. 
It is the case, we will suppose, of a slaveholding 
member of your own church, whose conscience is agi- 
tated by the question of duty in regard to his slaves. 
Has he any other guidance for the general principles 
of his conduct, than his Bible ? Can he go to the 
laws of the State for peace of mind? Or can his 
reason supply any light which has not its source in 
revelation ? Do you say that this is not a question 
of morals? I reply that you yourself admit that 
slavery " belongs in morals to the adiaphora." If so, 
it must be brought to the test of God's word, as inter- 


preted by the best use of reason. On such a ques- 
tion as this, we cannot say, " this part of the doctrine 
comes from revelation, and that part from reason," or 
" slavery is right according to Scripture, but right or 
wrong according to politics." What we are aiming 
at is a general formula, embracing the moral prin- 
ciples by which slavery can be judged. And human 
reason, making its deductions from the general spirit, 
principles, and precepts of Scripture, deduces the 
whole doctrine, which has the authority of " Thus 
saith the Lord." According to your view, reason is 
an independent source of authority, going beyond the 
word of God, on this practical moral question ; whilst 
I maintain that reason finds in the Word of God the 
moral elements for the determination of duty, and 
must gather up the results of scriptural declarations 
with all care, and with subjection to the Divine au- 
thority. The great error of the abolitionists consists 
in running wild with your doctrine, and they under- 
take to declare by " reason " even what the Scriptures 
ought to teach. 

§ 2. Your own declarations in regard to despotism 
and slavery, which we both place in the same cate- 
gory, show that the Scriptures actually cover the en- 
tire subject. You state, on p. 69, and also 80, that 
"the doctrines of passive obedience," and of "the 
Divine right of kings," are not implied in the scrip- 
tural injunctions to obey the powers that be, and to 


submit to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's 
sake. That is to say, 3~ou admit that passive obedi- 
ence is not a scriptural doctrine, or, in other words, 
that civil revolution is authorized, under certain cir- 
cumstances, by the word of God. This is the doc- 
trine our fathers taught and preached in the Revolu- 
tionary War, and which the Jacobites and non-juring 
divines in England resisted. This is the true doc- 
trine. And yet, on the same page, a few lines farther 
on, you inconsistently state that u right of revolution 
is a political right, the doctrine of revolution, a po- 
litical doctrine ; and, therefore, we have no reason to 
expect that they will be taught us in the Word of 
God ; I receive them as true upon the authority of 
reason:" p. 69. So that the conclusion you seem 
finally to reach is that "passive obedience" is the 
doctrine of Scripture; but the right of revolution, 
the doctrine of reason ! And let it be noted, you 
come to this conclusion, although you had, a few lines 
before, declared that passive obedience is " not im- 
plied"' in the command to obey Nero! The truth 
must lie somewhere in the confusion of these contra- 
dictory propositions ; and, in my judgment, it lies 
just here : resistance to tyrants may be justified by 
the Word of God; and, therefore, the doctrine of 
revolution is a scriptural doctrine. 

§ 3. Your attempted distinction between what is 
scriptural and what is political, is an entire fallacy, 


so far as the general principles of duty are concerned. 
You say that " the Scriptures were given to teach us 
religion and not politics;" p. 09. But is not "poli- 
tics" the science of our duties and obligations to the 
State ? The Bible regulates our duties to God, to 
ourselves, to our fellow-creatures, and to the State. 
We owe no duty to the State that cannot be derived 
from the Bible. All our political duties are moral 
duties. Is not obedience a political duty ? And does 
not the Bible place obedience on moral grounds — 
" wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for 
wrath, but also for conscience' sake :" Rom. 13 : 5. 
All our duties to the State are taught in the Scrip- 
tures. The Word of God gives us the general prin- 
ciples of morality that apply to civil despotism and 
slavery, whilst the details about revolution and the 
plans of emancipation are political measures, which 
belong to the State. Your error is in saying that, 
emancipation being political, is placed beyond the 
reach of the Bible and of the Church. 

§ 4. I have, by no means, intended to deny that 
there is a broad distinction between the Church and 
the State, as likewise between each of these and the 
family. But this does not withdraw either, or all of 
them, from the reach of moral, religious, and Christian 
obligation. A wrong, immoral, or sinful act does not 
cease to be such, because it is done in the family or 
by the State. It is just as "properly sinful" as if 


done by an individual. If a community, in their 
political capacity, license gambling, or prostitution, 
the act of granting the license, or using it, is none 
the less sinful in both parties, because it is done po- 
litically. If the people in any of these United States 
vote to establish a despotism with power to persecute 
Christianity, they do a wicked act. If the constitu- 
tion and laws of Virginia should be so altered as to 
prohibit masters from teaching their slaves to read 
the Bible, all parties to such a proceeding would be 
guilty of sin. The State is under moral obligations 
to act righteously. Slaveholding, as it now exists in 
the southern portion of our country, may not now be, 
nor do I believe it is, a sinful relation on the part of 
the great body of masters, nor does it involve sin on 
the part of the lawgivers simply for authorizing its 
present existence. But a condition of things may 
arise, in which what is now sinless may become sin- 
ful, whether allowed or not by the State. Things in 
their own nature sinful, or things indifferent in them- 
selves which in given circumstances are inconsistent 
with Christian love, justice, and mercy, are not made 
otherwise, because authorized by the civil power. 
The continuance of slavery by law, when " well being" 
and " the general good " require emancipation, would 
be sinful. 

§ 5 A singular climax is reached by your state- 
ment, that, when you say, civil despotism, or slavery, 
29 w 

338 P R E S B Y TERI A N V I E W S 

is expedient or inexpedient, right or wrong, according 
to circumstances," you "do not mean wrong in th 
proper seme of sinful" p. 69. Then, my dear Doc- 
tor, why use the word at all ? In what sense do you 
use it? If wrong does not properly mean "sinful," 
what does "right" properly mean ? and what does 
" morals" properly mean ? and what docs - adiaphora " 
properly mean ? Is any meaning better determined 
than the ordinary meaning of "right and wrong?" 
Do these terms, in moral questions, ever fail to denote 
the moral quality of actions and relations? Ought 
light and wrong to have two meanings in a minister's 

It is, indeed, not to be denied that some things, in 
themselves indifferent, may be inexpedient, which 
could not at the same time be pronounced sinful. 
Such things as protective tariffs and free trade, 
greater or less costliness of dress or equipage, in cer- 
tain circumstances, might be put into this category. 
But there are others again, whose inexpediency arisen 
from the circumstances that render them immoral, or 
direct instruments of immorality and irreligion. They 
are inexpedient, because, though in some circum- 
stances innocent, yet in the circumstances in question, 
they are immoral. The mere sale, or use, of ardent 
spirits is a thing indifferent. It is sinful or sinless, 
according to circumstances. But, if a man were to 
keep a tippling-shop, in which he derives his profits 


from pandering to vicious appetites and making 
drunkards of the young men of a community, this is 
criminal and unchristian, although he could show a 
thousand licenses from the civil authority for doing 
it. The same would be true of engaging in the 
African slave trade, although Southern convention 
after convention were to favour it, and the Federal 
Government were to sanction it. And, in general, to 
take your own expression, any slaveholding, which does 
not " subsist in conformity to the law of God," is of the 
same character. Although there are the adiaphora in 
the sphere of religion and politics which may be deemed 
inexpedient without being pronounced sinful, there 
are others which are inexpedient, because, in the cir- 
cumstances, the doing of them inevitably involves 
sin. Of this sort, is the procuring, or the holdiny of 
slaves, in circumstances which make it contrary to 
Christian love, justice, and mercy. And it alters not 
the moral nature of such conduct to label it " political." 
§ 6. It is deserving of notice that slaveholding is 
not a political institution in the sense that it is made 
obligatory by law. A slaveholder can emancipate his 
slaves in Virginia at any time he sees proper, or his 
conscience will allow; and notwithstanding certain 
restrictions in some of the States, it is believed that 
in none is the subject altogether withdrawn from the 
master's control. In your State, the continuance or 
discontinuance of slaveholding is a question, depend- 


ing, indeed, upon considerations of the social and 
public welfare, but yet not requiring political action. 
Emancipation has been generally regarded, in such 
cases, as a benevolent, moral, or religious act, and is 
performed by the individual in the fear of God, without 
reference to the powers that be. The general spirit 
of the laws, as well as of public opinion, may be even 
opposed to emancipation ; and yet the individual, as 
a citizen, has a perfect right to give freedom to his 
slaves. In such cases, in what sense is the continu- 
ance or discontinuance of slaveholding " in part a 
political doctrine, which it is the business of the 
statesman to expound, and the civil ruler to apply ? " 
Granting, however, certain political relations, I have 
shown that this does not exclude the general princi- 
ples of the Bible from controlling the subject. 

§ 7. Nor does it alter anything, so far as our pre- 
sent issue is concerned, to say that what the Scriptures 
teach is one thing, and what I know by the natural 
faculties is another thing. The distinction between 
these things is important, and where the teachings of 
reason and revelation are in conflict, requires us to 
submit reason to revelation. But it does not admit 
of the possibility of two contradictory beliefs in the 
same mind, at the same time, in regard to the same 
subject. I cannot believe on the authority of Scrip- 
ture that all slaveholding is sinless, and on the au- 
thority of my reasoning that some slaveholding is 


sinful. These propositions exclude each other. If I 
believe one to be true on whatever evidence, I cannot, 
at the same time, believe the other to be true, on any 
evidence whatsoever. Now, as Dr. Armstrong admits, 
with Dr. Hodge, p. 72, that, in some circumstances, 
domestic slavery may be wrong and unjust, and that 
it is so in circumstances involving a violation of the 
Divine law, p. 6, you must hold what you call your 
scriptural doctrine, that " slaveholding is not a sin in 
the sight of God," in the sense of a particular and 
not a universal proposition, i. e., that some slavehold- 
ing is not a sin — and not that all slaveholding is sin- 
less, and consequently you must hold that the former 
of these two last statements, gives the true and exact 
Scripture doctrine, and the whole doctrine, too. 

Withal, your proposition, that "slaveholding is 
not a sin in the sight of God," is not in the language 
of Scripture. And, even if it were, it is only neces- 
sary to remember that a proposition, which is a general 
one in its form, is often in reality, like yours, a par- 
ticular one. It is one of the simplest laws of inter- 
pretation, that, where the extent in which the subject 
of a proposition is used, is not determined hy such 
qualifying adjuncts as "some," "all," "every," etc., 
we must infer it from other things which show the 
writer's meaning. Those who are conversant with 
Arminian and Universalist polemics, know how often 
it is necessary to adopt some exegetical qualification. 


When your meaning is explicated in full and exact 
expression, it emerges into precisely my own propo- 
sition. Your distinction between Scripture and reason 
is, quoad hoc, utterly pointless. Nor does it require 
a very high exercise of the " natural faculties " to see 

§ 8. It is with some surprise that I find you saying 
that you accept some things as true, but not as bind- 
ing upon the conscience. You say, " the first state- 
ment [yours] sets forth truth which must bind the 
conscience, and exactly defines the limits of Church 
power. The latter [mine] though I receive it as true, 
does neither the one nor the other :" p. 70. The fact 
is, to a conscientious man this is a sheer impossibility. 
So far as a man believes a given proposition to be 
true, he is bound, and feels bound in conscience, to 
act as if it were true. Some propositions and truths 
are. indeed, more immediately ethical in their nature 
than others, and thus speak more directly to the con- 
science. Among the first, and self-evident principles 
of ethics is this, that we ought to cleave and conform 
to the truth. The proposition that two and two make 
four is not a scriptural or ethical proposition. Neither 
is the proposition that our country is increasing in 
population with unexampled rapidity. But he, w<ho 
regards them as true, is bound by Scripture and con- 
science to act as if they were so. He sins in doing- 
otherwise. The Bible does not explicitly announce 


every true thing which we are to believe, and to be 
bound by in our conduct, although its principles lead 
to it. It assumes that a multitude of things, which 
control our interpretation and application of it, are 
known otherwise. And it enjoins us, "if there be 
any virtue," to regard " whatsoever things are true, 
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are 
just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things 
are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report :" 
Phil. 4:8. Whatever, therefore, you believe to be 
true respecting slaveholding, must bind your con- 
science. Slaveholding can never get beyond the 
authority of conscience and the Bible. 


In showing that my form of statement was coin- 
cident with that of the General Assembly, a com- 
parison was instituted between it and all the deliver- 
ances of the Assembly from 1787 to 1845. You 
carefully avoid any reference to any action of the 
General Assembly, except the one of 1845, which is 
the only one you venture to claim as in any respect 
covering your ground. Why is this, Doctor ? Are 
you afraid of the whole light ? Or do you think that 
the action of 1845 was scriptural, whilst all the pre- 
vious action was only deducible by "reason?" Or 
do you believe that the testimony of 1845 was con- 
trary to, and subversive of. the testimon}^ of 1787 


and of 1818? If you take the latter ground, then I 
beg you to remember that the Assembly of 1846 
passed the following resolution : "Resolved, That in 
the judgment of this House, the action of the Gene- 
ral Assembly of 1845 was not intended to deny or 
rescind the testimony often uttered by the General 
Assemblies previous to that date :" Baird's Digest. 814. 
So you perceive that the Assembly's testimon}' is one 
harmonious whole. 

But without pressing you further on this point, I 
turn to your singular evasions of the forms of state- 
ments adopted by the Assembly of 184-5. These 
forms are obviously, both in spirit and in words, so 
precisely like my own, that the only method of get- 
ting round them is to raise the cry of " abolition !" 
Your argument is that, because the abolitionists use 
a certain form of expression, therefore, the expres- 
sions of the Assembly, which are similar but in the 
negative, are " like poor land, which the more a man 
has. the worse off he is." Now does not my good 
brother Armstrong know that it makes no difference 
from what quarter the language comes, provided the 
Assembly judged it suitable to give expression to its 
own opinions? But such a trivial objection — which 
is worth to a controversialist about as much as a Vir- 
ginia " old field " is to a planter — has not even the 
solidity of " poor land," but vanishes away into a 
cloud of dust before the sweeping statement of the 


General Assembly, in these words : " The question, 
therefore, which this General Assembly is called upon 
to decide, is this : Do the Scriptures teach that the 
holding of slaves, without regard to circumstances, is 
a sin, the renunciation of which should be made a 
condition of membership in the Church of Christ ?" 
p. 812. That was the point which the Assembly not 
only expressed in its own language, but decided by 
its last action, viz., that circumstances enter into the 
justification, or condemnation, of slaveholding. 

It may be added that Dr. N. L. Rice, who drew up 
the Report, is not apt to use the contradictory of the 
language of abolitionists, unless it is the very best 
form to meet their fanaticism. There is not a par- 
ticle of evidence from the records, however, to show 
that the Assembly merely followed the language of 
others. The four quotations vary in form, which is 
the best possible proof that the language is original 
and independent, whilst the idea of " circumstances " 
pervades the whole Report. Your " leafless tree " 
must, therefore, continue to remain in its withered 
state ; for it receives neither light nor heat from the 
luminary of the General Assembly. Here are the 
four quotations referred to : 

1. "The question, which is now unhappily agitating and 
dividing other branches of the Church, is, whether the holding 
of slaves is, under all circumstances, a heinous sin, calling for the 
discipline of the Church." 

2. " The question which this Assembly is called upon to decide 


is this: Do the Scriptures teach that the holding of slaves, with- 
out regard to circumstances, is a sin ?" 

8. " The Apostles did not denounce the relation itself as 

4. " The Assembly cannot denounce the holding of slaves as 
necessarily a heinous and scandalous sin." 

If the reader wishes to see how the uniform testi- 
mony of the General Assembly sustains my form of 
stating the doctrine (whilst it ignores that of Dr. 
Armstrong), he may find the record on pages 2G2-3, 
in the first Article. 



I still think that your mode of stating the doctrine 
lacks the power of resisting abolitionism. Nor am I 
convinced of the contrary by the " fact " you adduce, 
which is, indeed, somewhat shadowy or indefinite. 
If we are to understand by the " fact," Dr. Hill's high 
estimate of your skill as a champion, it does not ne- 
cessarily follow that, after seeing your statement of 
the doctrine, Dr. Hill should consider it the best pos- 
sihle; and if he should, I do not see that his opinion 
is more of " a fact " than mine. Or if the " fact" be 
that the two selected champions could not agree on 
the terms of the combat, I do not think that this is 
a proof of skill on either side. Or if the " fact " be 
that, after you had put forth your argument, you gave 
your adversary the challenge to fight in the mode of 


your own choice, I do not think it a necessary and 
logical inference that his decimation shows he con- 
sidered your arguments, in all respects, unanswerable. 
And if he did, it is not clear that all other people 
should ; or that my opinion should not have as much 
weight as that of a man who, for some reason or 
other, has not condescended to notice your excellent 
book at all. I deny, therefore, the correctness of 
your charge, that I have " compelled you to become 
a fool in glorying," because there has really been no 
occasion to glory. 

Do not understand me as, in the least, disparaging 
your ability as a logician and controversialist. Far 
from it. No man, probably, in Virginia, could sus- 
tain, with more plausibility and force, your defective 
proposition on slavery. But notwithstanding all this 
exhibition of your controversial skill, I believe it to 
be a " fact," that your proposition is " no weapon to 
do battle with." The statement that " slaveholding 
is not a sin in the sight of God," without reference 
to circumstances, has not the capacity to do full exe- 
cution. As a cannon-ball with holes and cavities 
cannot be made to go straight, so your statement of 
doctrine zigzags away from the mark, in spite of all 
your propelling powers. 

I have never doubted the purity of your intentions. 
But it is a singular development of human nature 
that men, who were born at the North, should gene- 


rally be the warmest advocates of extravagant pro- 
slavery views. This is not said in invidiam ; but as 
a simple rejoinder to your statement that, being born 
at the North, you had many prejudices to overcoim . 
before reaching your present opinions. I do not 
doubt the truth of this latter statement. 


§ 1. Let us now turn again, from comparatively 
irrevelant matter, to the real point at issue. You 
have put your argument, with some show of triumph, 
into the form of a syllogism, and peremptorily call 
me to meet the argument "fairly and squarely," for 
"thus only can you [I] influence the opinions of 
thinking men :" p. 78. I accept the syllogistic form 
and the appeal to thinking men, and shall endeavor 
to show the weakness of your first and principal syl- 
logism. The others require no notice, now. Your 
syllogism is as follows: 

"a. Whatever Christ and his inspired Apostles re- 
fused to make a bar to communion, a court of Christ 
has no authority to make such. 

" But, Christ and his inspired Apostles did refuse 
to make slaveholcling a bar to communion. 

" Therefore, a court of Christ has no authority to 
make slaveholding a bar to communion :" p. 76. 

§ 2. In the first place, I deny the correctness of 
your logical view of the syllogism ; and in the second 


place, I maintain that, even if the syllogism were 
faultless, it would not prove that my statement of the 
Scripture doctrine of slavery was wrong. 

As to the syllogism, the error is in supposing that 
there are no circumstances, of any sort, in the pre- 
mises. It is true that no circumstances, or qualifica- 
tions, are introduced expressly, or in so many words ; 
but they are implied; and, according to "a funda- 
mental principle of logic," they are implied, to an 
equal extent, in the conclusion. I have shown, over 
and over again, that your own proposition, when ana- 
lyzed, has reference to some, not to all slavery ; and, 
therefore, that some circumstances are necessarily in- 
troduced. In your answer to the question whether 
your proposition " involves the idea that all slave- 
holding is sinless in the sight of God," you say, " By 
no means :" p. 6. And again, your proposition "can 
properly apply to such slaveholding only as subsists 
in conformity with the law of God :" p. 7. Now all 
such circumstances, as render slaveholding unlawful, 
are implied in the premise, and consequently in the 
conclusion. The resolution adopted by the General 
Assembly, explicitly refers to circumstances in the 
general, under which slavery exists in the United 
States. The Assembly's paper was formed in view 
of those circumstances, and they qualify the whole 

It is perfectly clear, that "circumstances" must be 


necessarily implied to some extent, in your syllogism, 
according to your theory of its meaning ; and " cir- 
cumstances" are involved in the conclusion by a 
" fundamental principle of logic." 

§ 3. Admitting, however, that slaveholding, within 
the limits specified by yourself (which exclude tic 
general circumstances connected with " well being " 
and the "public welfare," called by you "political"), 
cannot be made a bar to Church communion, what 
then ? Does this prove that slaveholding does not 
become sinful, when "'well being" and the "public 
welfare" require emancipation? Or does it prove 
that slaveholding may continue to exist without sin 
"until Christ's second coming?" By no menus. 
Slaveholding may become sinful under circumstances 
in which it cannot be made the subject of Church dis- 
cipline. It is just because slaveholding is right or 
wrong according to circumstances, that it is not 
allowed to become a bar to Church communion. Ex- 
pediency cannot be made the ground of universal and 
perpetual obligation; and, therefore, things that in 
morals are classed among the adiaphora are not ne- 
cessarily within the range of Church discipline. But 
are such things, therefore, innocent under all circum- 
stances ? Of course not. Their very nature implies 
the contrary. The fact that the Church is precluded. 
by the nature of the case, from disciplining persons, 
whose conduct is " right or wrong according to cir- 


cumstances," does not acquit such persons of sin. 
They may be great sinners " in the sight of God," for 
holding their fellow-men in bondage under circum- 
stances contrary to " well being" and the " public wel- 
fare ;" although the Church, which cannot read the 
hearts of men, or decide upon the details covering 
every case, may be prevented from exercising disci- 
pline. Your syllogism, therefore, proves nothing. 

As the proper jurisdiction of the Church comes up 
in your next Letter, I will reserve its further discus- 
sion for that occasion. 


One of the most singular things in this controversy 
— which, I do not wonder, begins to assume to you 
the appearance of " a dark and bloody ground " — is 
that my friend, Dr. Armstrong, first declares that 
every proposition " should be so expressed" as to bear 
examination " apart from all explanations," and then 
feels himself compelled, at every point, to offer ex- 
planations. This necessity is inherent in the nature 
of your doctrinal statement, and its defectiveness is 
made manifest by your own rule. A proposition that 
needs continual explanations, must be either obscurely 
or illogically expressed. I think yours is both ; and 
obscurely, because illogically. 

§ 1. Your first explanation is uncalled for; because 


your proposition, faulty as it is, was never charged 
with sanctioning the " incidental evils of slavery." 

In saying, with Dr. Spring, that " the bondage of 
the Hebrews partook of the character of apprentice- 
ship rather than of rigorous servitude," reference was 
made to the mode of treatment under the two relations, 
without confounding their nature. 

It seems that my good brother Armstrong is will- 
ing to adopt the phraseology, " Slaveholding, in itself 
considered, is not sinful," provided I will allow him 
to make an explanation that explains it away ; but 
on all such explanations as causes it to mean, " slave- 
holding free from its incidental evils," I am con- 
strained to put my veto. Your explanation makes 
the meaning to be, "slaveholding in itself considered, 
is right, if the circumstances are right;" that is, "slave- 
holding, without regard to circumstances is right, if 
the circumstances are right!" 

§ 2. Your proposition certainly seems to justify the 
permanence of slavery. Notwithstanding your pro- 
tests and disclaimers, and although you mean not so, 
your doctrine establishes passive obedience and the 
perpetuity of despotism and slavery. You set forth, 
as an article of faith, binding the conscience, that we 
must obey the powers that be, and that despotism 
and slavery are not sins. You object to interpolating 
into these propositions any qualifying or limiting cir- 
cumstances, and have written two elaborate Letters 


against it. You, indeed, believe that circumstances 
may make them wrong : p. 7. But, then, you believe 
this "upon the authority of reason;" and, therefore, 
as you hold, this belief does not bind the conscience. 
Whoever, then, under the most oppressive despotism 
contends for the right of revolution, or, when a com- 
munity has fairly outgrown the state in which slavery 
is otherwise than unjust, for emancipation, is contend- 
ing for what does not bind any man's conscience ; 
while the doctrine that despotism and slavery are no 
sins — to which you will not allow any limitation from 
circumstances to be applied — confronts him, and does 
bind his conscience. How, if this be so, can a con- 
scientious man, in any "circumstances" undertake to 
withhold obedience from despots, and exercise the 
" right of revolution." or venture to promote emanci- 
pation ? 

§ 3. The proposition that " slaveholding is not a 
wsin in the sight of God," is so broad as to appear to 
cover up many circumstances that make it wrong. 
As an abstract proposition, without any explanation, 
— and you say, it ought to be so clear as to dispense 
with explanations — it certainly seems to involve the 
consecpiences mentioned in one of my Letters. Some 
of your explanations, of course, relieve it from some 
of the objections ; but not from all. As a moral rule 
for keeping the conscience in a healthful condition, it 
is peculiarly faulty. If the relation become a sinful 
30* x 


one, whenever the circumstances of "well being" 
and the "public welfare" require its dissolution, how 
completely in the dark does your statement keep the 
moral agent ! What you call the scriptural doctrine 
is only a part of the true doctrine, and it tends to 
lull the conscience under the professed guidance of 

§ 4. Your objection to my proposition '•ac- 
quits the slaveholding member of the Church by a 
sort of whip and clear him judgment," is as untenable 
as ever, notwithstanding your version of that expres- 
sion. It seems, by the bye, that the expression, in- 
stead of meaning " strike first, and then acquit," 
means " acquit first, and then strike !" How my 
statement can be interpreted into Lynch-law, which, 
either way, means the same thing, I am at a loss to 
conjecture. Mine is, you perceive, the exact contra- 
(Victory of the abolition doctrine. It, in fact, " whips" 
the abolitionist, whilst it " clears " the slaveholder, if 
•• circumstances " are in his favour. Far be it from 
me to cast any odium upon my brethren at the South, 
who are faithfully endeavoring to do their duty in 
the midst of many trials and anxieties. " God bless 
them in their work of faith and labour of love," is 
the prayer often thousands of Christians at the North. 
I have honestly thought that my proposition affords 
to the conscientious slaveholder a clearer vindication 
than yours ; and it is not encumbered with the dif- 


ficulties and logical consequences, that press yours on 
every side. 

§ 5. The last paragraph in your Letter is singularly 
out of place. In arguing against your statement, I 
attempted to show that the opinions, which you com- 
plain of my charging upon you, were "fairly involved " 
in that form of statement. A controversialist is not 
supposed to charge the obnoxious inferences as the 
opinions of his adversary, but rather, to take it for 
granted that he repudiates these opinions, and hence 
will be constrained to repudiate the doctrine that 
leads to them by legitimate consequences ; or, at all 
events, if not he, that the public, to whom the argu- 
ment is also addressed, will repudiate it. However 
this may be, no one has a right to complain of an 
adversary for showing the evil consequences of his 
opinions. To object to the refutation of an argument 
by showing its false consequences, is to object to its 
being refuted at all. 


§ 1. It is not at all unlikely that many "thinking 
men," who carefully consider our respective state- 
ments, will think the statement, " slaveholding is not 
necessarily and in all circumstances sinful " a much 
better one than " slaveholding is not a sin in the sight 
of God." My statement needs no explanations, whilst 
yours requires props on every side. 


§ 2. Your suggestion of spending ten hours to my 
one, in considering the subject of slavery, is of no 
avail in an argument. Moral propositions depend up< 1 1 1 
being supported by truth, not time. There are some 
men, who are " always learning, and never able to 
come to a knowledge of the truth." This, of course, 
does not apply to yourself; especially, because you 
are so near the truth, that there is every reason to 
expect that you will soon reach it, in its perfection. 

§ 3. Your complaint that our brethren at the South 
have been subjected to much misapprehension and 
obloquy by fanatical men at the North, is unfortu- 
nately true. I deprecate this as much as you do. 
But a good degree of this abuse lias been owing to 
the ultra defenders of slavery, whose unwarrantable 
statements and arguments have provoked a spirit of 
alienation and a fierce reaction both in sentiment and 
in practice. The continuance of the peace of our 
Church depends, under God, upon the continuance of 
the moderation which has hitherto characterized our 
spirit, opinions, and measures. 

§ 4. You say, " Let Mr. Barnes specify the circum- 
stances, and I doubt whether even he would object to 
your statement:" p. 76. This is precisely what Mr. 
Barnes has no right to do for another man. He may 
form his own judgment of the case, and express it, 
and argue it, and endeavour to make all others receive 
it as true. But he cannot enforce his own views as a 


moral standard for others. As he admits that "Abra- 
ham's slaveholding was no sin," there is good reason 
to hope for candour, in general. But neither he, nor 
T, nor any other man, can make his own rule of mo- 
rality, in matters that are adiaphora, to be authority 
for anybody else. 

§ 5. You ask, why your statement sounds in my 
ears " like an old tune with unpleasant variations." 
and sung, you might have added, by the chorister 
almost alone, whilst Dr. Hodge's sounds like " Old 
Hundred," in which the whole congregation joins ? I 
will tell you. Your form of statement is unknown 
to the General Assembly, from its organization down 
to the present time. You cannot point to a single 
sentence in all our Church testimonies, that, rightly 
" said or sung," harmonizes with yours. Dr. Hodge, 
on the other hand, agrees with the General Assembly, 
whose form of statement is also adopted by your 
opponent. Dr. Hodge is in sympathy with all the 
deliverances of the General Assembly, whilst to many 
of them you carefully avoid allusion, in the very 
midst of the subject which invites an appeal to them; 
and even the testimony of 1845 you appear to desire 
to explain away, and to extract the very pith of doc- 
trine from that majestic rod, that buds even like 

§ 6. The eternal principles of justice, which are 
revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and are the reflec- 


tion of the attributes of God, must decide the various 
questions relating to domestic servitude, and justify 
or condemn " according to circumstances." Whilst 
we both agree in the appeal to that tribunal, whose 
decision is " of record," happier is he who will be 
found at last to have interpreted that record aright, 
and to have exhibited the truth in nearest conformity 
to the Divine will ! 

I am yours, truly, 

C. Van Rensselaer. 




To the Rev. George D. Armstrong, D. D. : 

Your second rejoinder discusses three subjects : 

1. Emancipation and the Church. 2. Emancipation 

and the State, or Schemes of Emancipation. 3. The 

History of Anti-slavery Opinions. 

The second subject is an entirely new one, which 

I have hitherto refrained from touching, and which, 

under ordinary circumstances, I should still decline 

to discuss. 



It has been my endeavour to discriminate carefully 
between the moral and political aspects of slavery, 
and to disclaim any interference of the Church, with 
the proper work of the State. The State alone pos- 
sesses the right to establish and enforce measures of 

1 The course of remark pursued in this article, was determined 
chiefly by Dr. Armstrong's Rejoinder, to which it is a reply. The 
Scriptural argument is stated more particularly in my previous 


general emancipation. But does legislation exhaust 
the subject? In my judgment, it does not. Eman- 
cipation has moral and religious relations, as well as 
political. No slaveholder has the moral right to keep 
his slaves in bondage, if they are prepared for free- 
dom, and he can wisely set them free. 1 

1. There is a distinction between a moral end, k> 
be kept in view, and the political means of attaining 
that end. The measures to secure emancipation may 
be political measures, but the end contemplated rests 
upon a moral obligation. It is my duty, as a Chris- 
tian, to prepare my slaves for freedom, when Provi- 
dence opens the way; and yet, I may be so restrained 
by State laws as to depend upon political interven- 
tion for a plan of emancipation. With the latter, the 
Church has nothing to do. 

2. Slavery is not, like despotism, enjoined by law. 
Every individual may be a slaveholder or not, as he 
pleases. Here is an important distinction, which you 
entirely overlook. Whilst the State has the right to 
control emancipation, and can alone originate general 
measures, binding upon all its citizens, it commonly 
leaves emancipation to the discretion of the slave- 
holder himself. In Virginia, any person may emanci- 
pate his slaves, who makes provision for their removal 

1 A fair compensation may be claimed for the pecuniary sacri- 
fice involved in manumission, either from the State or from the 
slaves themselves. 


out of the State. The act of emancipation, under 
these circumstances, is a lawful act of the master, 
which in no way interferes with politics. Where 
shall a person thus situated, whose conscience trou- 
bles him, go for direction ? To the State ? To the 
members of the Legislature ? No ! The question is 
one of duty to his God. It involves a religious and 
moral principle; and, admitting that his slaves are 
prepared for freedom, it is outside of politics. The 
slaveholder must search the Scriptures, or he may 
consult the testimonies of the Church for her inter- 
pretation of the Scriptures. The Church has a per- 
fect right to give to her members advice on this sub- 
ject, which will guide them in perplexity ; and this 
advice may be volunteered, if circumstances seem to 
demand it. 

3. Slaves stand, ecclesiastically, in the relation of 
children to parents. Our General Assembly has de- 
clared that Christian masters, who have the right to 
bring their children to baptism, may also present for 
baptism, in their own name, the children of their 
slaves. Can it be conceived that the Church has no 
right to counsel her members concerning the nature 
and continuance of this peculiar relationship through- 
out her own households ? 

4. Slaveholding is "right or wrong, according to 
circumstances." It belongs in morals to the adia- 
phora, or things indifferent. It may be right in 1858, 



and wrong in 1868, according as the slaves may be 
not prepared, or prepared, for emancipation. The 
very nature of the class of subjects to which it be- 
longs, places it within the scope of church testimony. 
The continuance or discontinuance of slaveholding, 
concerns the character of the slaveholder as a right- 
eous man. 

5. Even if the State should altogether remove 
emancipation from the power of the individual slave- 
holder, and determine to exercise exclusive jurisdiction 
over the matter, what then ? In the first place, the 
obligation would still rest upon the master to elevate 
his slaves, and to set them free wdienever the way 
was open. And in the second place, the master 
would be bound as a citizen, to exert himself to obtain 
from the State the necessary public measures to se- 
cure at the right time the same object. 

Emancipation is not " properly a political question " 
in any sense that makes it cease to be a moral and 
religious one. So far as it partakes of the latter cha- 
racter, the Church has a right, within the limits of 
her authority, to utter her testimony in favour of it. 



One of your arguments for excluding emancipa- 
tion from the influence of Church testimony is, that 
" it does not immediately concern the interests of the 


life to come." This point can best be determined by 
impartial witnesses, personally acquainted with the 
practical workings of slavery. Allow me, then, in 
all courtesy, to introduce the testimony of some of 
ablest and most respected ministers of the Presbyte- 
rian Church, who are familiar with the system in its 
best forms. A Committee, appointed by the Synod 
of Kentucky, made a Report to that body, in 1835, 
in which they characterized the system of slavery in 
the following manner : 

" There are certain effects springing, naturally and necessarily 
out of such a system, which must also be considered. 

" 1. Its most striking effect is, to deprave and degrade its 
subjects by removing from them the strongest natural checks to 
human corruption. There are certain principles of human na- 
ture by which God works to save the moral world from ruin. In 
the slave, these principles are eradicated. He is degraded to a 
mere creature of appetite and passion. These are the feelings 
by which he is governed. The salt which preserves human na- 
ture is extracted, and it is left a putrefying mass. 

" 2. It dooms thousands of human beings to hopeless igno- 
rance. The slave has no motive to acquire knowledge. The 
master will not undergo the expense of his education. The law 
positively forbids it. Nor can this state of things become bet- 
ter unless it is determined that slavery shall cease. Slavery can- 
not be perpetuated if education be generally or universally given 
to slaves. 

" 3. It deprives its subjects, in a great measure, of the privi- 
leges of the Gospel. Their inability to read prevents their ac- 
cess to the Scriptures. The Bible is to them a sealed book. — 
There is no adequate provision made for their attendance upon 
the public means of grace. Nor are they prepared to profit 
from instructions designed for their masters. They listen when 


in the sanctuary to prophesyings in an unknown tongue. Com- 
paratively few of them are taught to bow with their masters 
around the domestic altar. Family ordinances of religion are 
almost unknown in the domestic circles of the blacks. 

" 4. This system licenses and produces great cruelty. The 
whip is placed in the hands of the master, and he may use it at 
his pleasure, only avoiding the destruction of life. Slaves often 
suffer all that can be inflicted by wanton caprice, by grasping 
avarice, by brutal lust, by malignant spite, and by insane anger. 
Their happiness is the sport of every whim, and the prey of every 
passion that may enter the master's bosom. Their bodies are 
lacerated with the lash. Their dignity is habitually insulted. 
Their tenderest affections are wantonly crushed. Dearest friends 
are torn asunder. Brothers and sisters, parents and children, see 
each other no more. There is not a neighborhood where these 
heart-rending scenes are not displayed. There is not a village 
or a road that does not behold the sad procession of manacled 
outcasts, whose chains and mournful countenances tell that they 
are exiled by force from all they hold dear. 

" 5. It produces general licentiousness among the slaves. Mar- 
riage, as a civil ordinance, they cannot enjoy. Their marriages 
are mere contracts, voidable at their master's pleasure or their 
own. And never, in any civilized country, has respect for these 
restraints of matrimony been more nearly obliterated than it has 
been among our blacks. This system of universal concubinage 
produces revolting licentiousness. 

" 6. This system demoralizes the whites ax well as the blacks. 
The masters are clothed with despotic power. To depraved hu- 
manity this is exceedingly dangerous. Indolence is thus fostered. 
And hard-heartedness, selfishness, arrogance, and tyranny are. in 
most men, rapidly developed and fearfully exhibited. 

" ?. This system draws down upon us the vengeance of Heaven. 
' If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn to death, and 
those that are ready to be slain ; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew 
it not ; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it ? and he 
that keepeth thy soul, doth he not know it? and shall he not 
render to every man according to his works ? ' ' The people of 
the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have 


vexed the poor and needy ; yea, they have oppressed the stranger 
wrongfully. . . . Therefore, have I poured out mine indigna- 
tion upon them : I have consumed them with the fire of my 
wrath ; their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith 
the Lord.' Such is the system, such are some of its effects." 

The right of the Church to testify against the per- 
manence of a system of this character, cannot be 
resisted by pointing to the overruling providence of 
God, through which many slaves have been brought 
into his kingdom. The Bible, it is true, treats the 
distinctions of this life as of comparatively little con- 
sequence, and enjoins submission even to wrong-doing 
and persecution. But must the Church, therefore, 
refrain from testifying against all social and moral 
evils, and from exhorting her members to use their 
best endeavours to bring them to an end ? 

The two facts adduced by you, do not prove that 
the Church has no interest in emancipation. 1. In 
regard to the number of Church members among the 
slaves, I deny that " a larger proportion of the labour- 
ing classes belong to the Christian Church where the 
labourers are chiefly slaves, than in the Northern 
States, where slavery does not exist." 

2. Your second fact, that the number of church 
members among the slaves, is nearly double the num- 
ber of communicants in the heathen world, proves 
that God has overruled the system of slavery for 
good, but not that the Church has no interest in its 
abrogation. When we consider that at least twelve 


thousand ministers of the Gospel live in the Slave 
States, being in the proportion of one minister to nine 
hundred of the whole population, while, on the other 
hand, the number of missionaries among the heathen 
is only in the proportion of one minister to three hun- 
dred thousand of the population, the comparison I >;. 
no means exalts slavery as an instrument of evange- 
lization. Look, rather, for a better example to the 
Sandwich Islands, where society has been Christianized 
in a single generation. 

The system of slavery, as appears from the analy- 
sis of its evils by our Kentucky brethren, has so main 
and immediate connections with the life to come, that 
the Christian Church may wisely testify in favour of 
its abrogation, as a lawful end, whenever Providence 
opens the way for it. 


The Word of God, when fairly interpreted, con- 
tains much instruction upon this subject. In the 
first place, the exhortation of Paul to the slaves is : 
"Art thou called, being a servant ? Care not for it, 


7 : 21.) This last declaration proves that slavery is 
not a natural and permanent condition ; that liberty 
is a higher and better state than bondage ; and that 
emancipation is an object of lawful desire to the 
slaves, and a blessing which Christian masters may 


labour to confer upon them. In endeavoring to escape 
the power of this apostolic declaration, you maintain 
that it has only a local application, and that " through- 
out the chapter, in answer to inquiries from the 
Church at Corinth, Paul is giving instruction with 
especial regard to the circumstances in which the 
Corinthians were placed at that time, and hence, every 
special item of advice must be interpreted with this 
fact in view." The same thing is stated in your book. 

1. Admitting your local interpretation to be the 
true one, what then? Does not my good brother 
Armstrong see that, if he in this way gets rid of 
Paul's declaration in favour of freedom, he also im- 
pairs the permanent obligation of Christian slaves to 
remain contented in their bondage? If the second 
clause of the sentence has a local application, and is 
limited to the state of things in the Corinthian 
Church, is not the first clause limited by the same 
conditions ? 

2. Again. The Apostle, in this chapter, carefully 
discriminates between what he speaks by "permis- 
sion" and what by "commandment;" and it is strange 
logic that, because some passages, before and after the 
21st verse, are of limited application, therefore every 
verse in the chapter is so. All that relates to virgins, 
and to the temporary avoidance of matrimony, etc., 
is declared to be merely advisory, in view of the 
existing state of things, or " the present distress ;" 


whereas, the exhortation to believers to be contented 
with their external condition, from v. 17 to v. 24. is 
spoken by Divine authority ; " and so ordain I in all 
the churches" v. 1 7. The whole of the passage, 1 7-24, 
is manifestly an authoritative declaration of inspi- 

3. Your reasoning in regard to 1 Cor. 7 : 21 would 
be much more to the purpose, if the hypothesis were 
that persons were compelled hy law to enter into the 
marriage state, or to marry particular individuals. 
This would be analogous, in the most material points. 
to the case of the slaves. Surely, if one might be 
free from such compulsion, he ought to choose it 
rather, and that not only in apostolic times, but in 
every age. 

Neither your incorrect interpretation nor your 
incongruous illustration weakens the force of Paul's 
famous declaration in favour of freedom, as the best 
social condition, and one that may rightfully be kept 
in view. Dr. Hodge says, in loco : " Paul's object is 
not to exhort men not to improve their condition, 
but simply not to allow their social relations to dis- 
turb them. He could, with perfect consistency with 
the context, say, ' Let not your being a slave give 
you any concern ; but if you can become free, choose 
freedom rather than slavery.' " If the Church, fol- 
lowing Paul's example, can give this exhortation to 
slaves, she can at least exhort and advise masters to 


take measures to prepare their slaves for freedom , 
whenever Providence shall open the way for its 

I have not rested the right of the Church to keep 
emancipation in view, simply upon this single text. 
but I have showed that, not only do "the universal 
spirit and principles of religion originate and foster 
sentiments favourable to the natural rights of man- 
kind," but that " the injunctions of Scripture to mas- 
ters tend to and necessarily terminate in emancipa- 
tion." " If the Scriptures enjoin what, of necessity, 
leads to emancipation, they enjoin emancipation, when 
the time comes; if they forbid what is necessary to 
the perpetuity of slavery, they forbid that slavery 
should be perpetuated." "The Church, therefore, 
may script urally keep in view this great moral result, 
to the glory of her heavenly King." (See Letters.) 


1. You remind me that "it will avail nothing to 
show that the Church has often made deliverances on 
the subject in years that are passed,'''' and that "political 
preaching" and "political church-deliverances" date 
back "from the days of Constantine," when Church 
and State became united. Here is an ingenious 
attempt to dishonour history, and to beat down an- 
cient, as well as modern, testimony. (1.) You seem to 
admit, on reconsideration, that the general testimony 



of the Church, from the days of Constantino, is 
against the perpetuity of slavery. (2.) But how do 
you account for the fact that the General Assembly 
of our Church, which, from its very organization, 
has been free from State dominion, has uniformly tes- 
tified in favour of preparing the slaves for liberty ? 
On referring to your rejoinder, I find this aberration 
accounted for on the ground that our Church has not 
had time to " fully comprehend her true position ! " 
A monarchist might say that, for the same reason, 
our fathers prematurely drew up the DecLi ration of 
Independence, not having waited long enough to com- 
prehend the true position of their country ! How 
much time, beyond half a century, does it take the 
Presbyterian Church to define her interpretation of 
the word of God ? The last deliverance of the General 
Assembly, in 1845, was affirmed by that body to be 
harmonious with the first deliverance in 1787. Fifty- 
eight years produced no variation of sentiment. This 
uniform testimony of the highest judicatory of the 
Church must naturally possess great weight, or will 
"avail" much, with every true Presbyterian. 1 

1 If Dr. Baxter was a "wiser man" "eighteen years" after 
1818, and was therefore entitled to the consideration of higher 
wisdom in 1836, then still higher wisdom is due to the General 
Assembly, in 1846, when that body reaffirmed the testimony of 
1 818, twenty-eight years after the issuing of their great document. 

I have yet to learn that Dr. Baxter changed his views on the 
Mibject of slavery. At least, no quotation of his sentiments by 


2. You add : " Nor will it avail to show that eman- 
cipation has a bearing upon the well-being of a people 
— even their spiritual well-being." I am truly glad to 
obtain from Dr. Armstrong this incidental and gratui- 
tous admission, that emancipation really has a bear- 
ing upon the best interests of the human family. I 
thank my good brother for it ; although he immedi- 
ately attempts to nullify it by the declaration that 
"commerce, railways, agriculture, manufactures," etc., 
which also promote the welfare of society, cannot, 
simply on that account, become the subjects of eccle- 
siastical concern. Our Foreign Missionary Board 
might certainly build or charter a vessel, if necessary ; 
and it actually sends out printers to work presses, 
farmers to till the soil, and physicians to minister to 
bodily health. On the same principle, it might send 
out " bells " for the mission churches, or even cast 
them in " foundries," if bells were of sufficient im- 
portance, and could not be otherwise obtained. But 
the principle on which the Church testifies in favour 
of emancipation is, that it is a moral duty to set 
slaves free, when prepared in God's providence for 
freedom; and if the performance of amoral duty has 
" a bearing upon the well-being of a people," must it 
therefore be set aside ? 

Dr. Armstrong proves it. I have sought in vain for a copy of 
Dr. Baxter's pamphlet. Will any friend present a copy to the 
Presbyterian Historical Society ? — C. V. R. 


3. You also state that it will avail nothing in this 
argument, unless I can show that yon "place emanci- 
pation in the wrong category, or that the Church has a 
right to meddle with politics" This is going over 
ground already discussed. Let me say, again, that 
the exhortation of the Church to keep emancipation 
as an end in view, does not prescribe either the mode 
or the time of emancipation, and does not in any waj 
come in conflict with the State; and the Church 
does not " meddle with politics," when she concerns 
herself about moral duties. If it be a moral duty 
for a Christian to elevate his slaves and to set them 
free, when prepared for freedom, the Church has a 
right to make that declaration, provided she thinks it 
fairly deducible from the spirit, principles, and pre- 
cepts of the word of God. 



The largest part of your Rejoinder is taken up 
with new matter, which is foreign to the discussion of 
" Emancipation and the Church," and which, accord- 
ing to law, is irrevalent in a rejoinder, the nature of 
which is an answer to a previous Replication. T 
regret that you have insisted upon opening this new 
field of discussion ; but, believing that your remarks 
leave wrong impressions upon the mind of the reader, 
I shall take advantage of the occasion to throw out 
suggestions from a different stand-point. 



I propose, without finding fault with some of the 
popular errors on your list, to add to their number. 
I do this, in order to present additional and true ele- 
ments which belong to the solution of this intricate 
and difficult problem. 

I. It is a mistake to suppose that the slaves have 
not a natural desire for freedom, however erroneous 
may be their views of freedom. There are certain 
natural impulses which belong to man, by the consti- 
tution of his being. No slavery can quench the as- 
pirings for liberty. In the language of the late Gov. 
McDowell, one of your old fellow-citizens, at Lex- 
ington, and one of Virginia's noblest sons : " Sir, you 
may place the slave where you please ; you may dry 
up to your uttermost the fountains of his feelings, 
the springs of his thought ;' you may close upon his 
mind every avenue of knowledge, and cloud it over 
. with artificial night ; you may yoke him to your la- 
bours as the ox which liveth only to work, arid work- 
eth only to live ; you may put him under any pro- 
cess, which, without destroying his value as a slave, 
will debase and crush him as a rational being ; you 
may do this, and the idea that he was born to be free 
will survive it all. It is allied to his hope of immor- 
tality — it is the ethereal part of his nature, which 
oppression cannot rend. It is a torch lit up in his 


soul by the hand of the Deity, and never meant to 
be extinguished by the hand of man." 

If the desire of the slaves for freedom be not as 
intelligent as it might be, the excuse lie> partly in 
the want of opportunities to acquire higher knowl- 
edge, and partly in the bad example of idleness set 
by the free blacks and by the whites. And if the 
privilege of liberty were granted in society only to 
those who entertained entirely correct views of its 
nature, how many thousands of free citizens in this, 
and in all lands, ought to be reduced to slavery ? It 
deserves to be remarked in all candour, and without 
disparagement, that there is danger of the preva- 
lence, in a slaveholding community, of an unintel- 
ligent estimate of the value of future liberty to the 

II. It is a mistake to suppose that slaves possess 
no natural rights. Their present incapacity to " ex- 
ercise beneficially these rights" does not destroy the 
title to them, but only suspends it. In the mean- 
time, thk slaves possess the correlative right of being 
math prepared for the equal privileges of the whole 
family of man. 

Your remark that slavery secures to the slaves the 
right to labour in a better way " than it is secured 
to a more elevated race of labourers in Europe, under 
any of the systems which prevail among the civilized 
nations of the Old World," will hardly be received 


by autocrats and despots as a plea for reviving sla- 
very on the continent. Indeed, the new Emperor, 
Alexander, of Russia, is engaged, at this very time, 
in the great work of doing homage to Christian 
civilization by emancipating all the serfs of the 

III. Another error consists in regarding the Afri- 
cans as an inferior race, fit only to be slaves. Infi- 
delity, as you are aware, has been active at the South 
in inducing the belief that the negro belongs to an 
inferior, if not a distinct race. This doctrine is the 
only foundation of perpetual slavery. 1 It is alike 
hostile to emancipation and injurious to all efforts to 
elevate the negro to his true position as a fellow-man 
and an immortal. The slaves belong to Adam's race ; 
are by nature under the wrath and curse, even as 
others ; subjects of the same promises ; partakers of 
the same blessings in Jesus Christ, and heirs of the 
same eternal inheritance. How the last great day 
will dissipate unscriptural and inhuman prejudices 
against these children of the common brotherhood ! 

IV. It is an error to suppose that slavery is not re- 
■■■ onsible for suffering, vice, and crime, prevalent under 

1 This defence of perpetual slavery is as old as Aristotle. That 
philosopher, wishing to establish some plausible plea for slavery, 
^avs : " The barbarians are of a different race from us, and. 
were born to be, slaves to the Greeks." 1 To use the language of 
chess, this doctrine is "Aristotle's opening " 


its dominion. Even were the slaves, if set free, to 
degenerate into a lower condition, slavery cannot es- 
cape from the responsibility of being an abettor of 
many injuries and evils. Much of the vice and 
crime of the manufacturing districts of England is 
undoubtedly owing to that system of labour, which 
thus becomes responsible for it. According to your 
theory, it would seem that no system of social or 
political despotism is accountable for the darkness 
and degradation of the people. It is sin that causes 
all the maladies of slavery ! But is there no connec- 
tion between slavery and sin, as demonstrated by the 
experience of ages ? Is slavery a system so innocent 
as to cast off the obligation to answer for all the suf- 
fering and wickedness that have been perpetrated 
under its connivance ? Far be it from me to deny 
whatever good has been accomplished, in divine Pro- 
vidence, through human bondage. God brings good 
out of evil ; but I cannot shut my eyes to the con- 
viction that slavery is directly responsible to God for 
a large amount of iniquity, both among the whites 
and the blacks, which, like a dark cloud, is rolling its 
way to the judgment. 

V. It is an error to suppose that the African slave- 
trade ought to be revived. Among all the popular 
errors of the day, this is the most mischievous and 
wicked. God denounces the traffic in human flesh 
and blood. It has the taint of murder. Our national 


legislation righteously classes it with piracy, and con- 
demns its abettors to the gallows. And yet, in Con- 
ventions and Legislatures of a number of the slave- 
holding States, the revival of the African slave-trade 
meets with favour. This fact is an ominous proof 
of the demoralization of public sentiment, under the 
influence and operation of a system of slavery. 

VI. Another error is, that slacery is a permanent 
institution. Slavery in the United States must come 
to an end. Christianity is arraying the public opinion 
of the world against it. The religion of Jesus Christ 
never has, and never can countenance the perpetuity 
of human bondage. The very soil of the planting 
States, which is growing poorer and poorer every year, 
refuses to support slavery in the long run. Its im- 
poverished fields are not often renovated, and the 
system must in time die the death of its own sluggish 
doom. Besides, the competition of free labour must 
add to the embarrassments of slavery. Even Africa 
herself may yet contend with the slave productions 
of America, in the market of the world. 

In short, slavery is compelled to extinction by the 
operation of natural laws in the providence of the 
ever-living God — which laws act in concert with the 
spirit and principles of his illuminating word. 

VII. Another popular delusion is, that slavery will 
always be a safe system. Thus far, the African race 
has exhibited extraordinary docility. Will this sub- 



mission endure forever? God grant thai h may! 
But who, that has a knowledge of human nature, 

does not tremble in view of future insurrections, 
under the newly devised provocations of reviving the 
slave-trade, banishing the live blacks from the soil. 
and prohibiting emancipation ? Granting that insur- 
rections will be always suppressed in the end. yet 
what terrific scenes of slaughter may they enact on 
a small scale ; what terror will tiny eanj into thou- 
sands of households; and what hatred and enmity 
will they provoke between the two races ! The future 
of slavery in America will present, in all probability, 
a dark and gloomy history, unless our beloved breth- 
ren exert themselves, in season, to arrest its progress, 
and to provide for it< extinction. 

The prevalent sentiment in Virginia, in 1832, was 
thus uttered in the Legislature by Mr. Chandler, of 
Norfolk: "It is admitted by all who have addressed 
i his house, that slavery is a curse, and an increasing 
one. That it has been destructive to the lives of our 
citizens, history, with unerring truth, will record. 
That its future increase will create commotion, can- 
not be doubted." 

Vlll. Another mistake is. that nothing can be clone 
for the removal of slavery. Elevation is the grand 
demand oi' any. and every, scheme of emancipation. 
( 'an nothing more be done for the intellectual and moral 
elevation of the slaves? Much is, indeed, already in 


process of accomplishment; but this work is left rather 
to individual Christian exertion, than to the benevo- 
lent operation of public laws. The laws generally dis- 
courage education, and thus disown the necessity of 
enlarged measures for intellectual improvement. If 
it be said that education and slavery are inconsistent 
with each other, the excuse is proof of the natural 
tendency of the system to degradation. Who will 
deny, however, that a great deal more might be done 
to prepare the slaves for freedom by private effort 
and by public legislation? Can it be doubted that 
measures, favouring prospective emancipation, might 
be wisely introduced into many of the Slave States? 
If there were, first, a willing mind, could there not 
be found, next, a practicable way ? Philip A. Bol- 
ling, of Buckingham, declared in the Virginia Legis- 
lature, in 1832 : " The day is fast approaching, when 
those who oppose all action on this subject, and in- 
stead of aiding in devising some feasible plan for 
freeing; their countrv from an acknowledged curse, 
cry 'impossible' to every plan suggested, will curse 
their perverseness and lament their folly." This is 
strong language. It comes from one of the public 
men of your own State, and is adapted to awaken 

IX. The last popular error I shall specify, is, that 
none of the slave* are now prepared for freeclorn. 
Whilst I am opposed to a scheme of immediate and 


universal emancipation, for reasons that need not be 
stated, I suppose that a large number of slaves are 
capable of rising at once to the responsibilities of 
freedom, under favouring circumstances, for example, 
in Liberia. Probably Norfolk itself could furnish 
scores of such persons, or, to keep within bounds, one 
score. There must be thousands throughout the plan- 
tations of the South, who are, in a good degree, pre- 
pared to act well their part in free and congenial com- 
munities. Such a representation honours the civilizing 
power of slavery, and has an important bearing on 
schemes of emancipation. 


I am now prepared to follow your example in offer- 
ing some remarks on " emancipation laws." 

Allow me here to repeat my regret that you have 
persisted in discussing this subject. First, because it 
is foreign to the topic of " Emancipation and the 
Church • " secondly, because the discussion involves 
speculations rather than principles ; and thirdly, be- 
cause no living man can, on the one side or the other, 
deliver very clear utterances, especially without more 
study than I, for one, have been able to give to the 
subject. Good, however, will result from an inter- 
change of opinions. My chief motive in noticing 
this new part of your Rejoinder, on Emancipation, is 


an unwillingness to allow your pro-slavery views to 
go forth in this Magazine without an answer. 

You are right, I think, in supposing that the best 
emancipation scheme practicable would embrace the 
following particulars : 

" (1.) A law prospective in its operation — say that 
all slaves born after a certain year, shall become free 
at the age of twenty-five. 

" (2.) Provision for the instruction of those to be 
emancipated in the rudiments of learning. 

" (3.) Provision for their transfer and comfortable 
settlement in Africa, when they become free." 

Your first objection to this scheme is that, "in its 
practical working, it would prove, to a very large 
extent, a transportation, and not an emancipation 
law." Let us look at this objection. 

1. Many owners of slaves would go with them into 
other States, and thus no injury would be inflicted 
upon the slaves, whilst the area of freedom behind 
them would be enlarged. 

2. Many masters would make diligent and earnest 
efforts to prepare their slaves for freedom, on their 
plantations, even if other masters sold their slaves 
for transportation. 

3. If some, or many, of the masters were to sell 
their slaves, it would be doing no more than is done 
in Virginia, at the present time. The number of 


Virginia slaves transported annually into other States. 
has been estimated as high as fifty thousand. 

4. A compensation clause might be attached to the 
plan we are considering, with a prohibition against 

5. The objection is founded upon the supposition 
that only some of the States adopted the emancipa- 
tion scheme. The objection would also be diminished 
in force, in proportion to the number of States adopt- 
ing the scheme, because the supply of slaves may 
become greater than the demand. 

6. Some evils, necessarily attendant upon general 
schemes of emancipation, are more than counterbal- 
anced by the greater good accomplished. If Dela- 
ware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and 
Missouri, were to adopt a scheme of prospective eman- 
cipation, 1 the general advantage to those States, in a 
social, moral, intellectual, and economical point of 
view, would more than counterbalance the inherent 
and minor evils incident to the scheme. The addi- 
tion of six new States to the area of freedom would 
probably outweigh all the trials incident to the transi- 
tion period. 

An emancipation scheme, similar to that pro- 
pounded, was tested in the Northern States, where 
it succeeded well ; and you could not have appealed 
to a better illustration of its wisdom. The number 

1 Ought not such a scheme to begin with these States ? 


of slaves transported could not have been very great, 
because the whole number in New England, New 
York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, was only about 
40,000 in the year 1790, when these schemes were 
generally commenced, and the number of Africans in 
those States was more than double at the next census. 
On the whole, a prospective emancipation scheme, 
with or without a compensation or prohibitory clause, 
would, in the States named, do more, in the end, in 
behalf of the African race and the cause of freedom, 
than the inactive policy of doing nothing. 

Objection 2d. You object to the plan, "on the 
ground that the slave race cannot be prepared for 
freedom by any short course of education, such as 
that proposed." 

1. Suppose that the Legislature of Virginia should 
enact that all slaves born after 1870, shall become 
free at the age of twenty-five. The course of educa- 
tion would be precisely as long as the process of nature 
allows. It would embrace the ichole of the training 
period of an entire gent ration ; and with the intel- 
lectual and moral resources already in possession of 
the African race in Virginia, a general and faithful 
effort to elevate the young would result, under God. 
in a substantial advancement of condition, auguring 
well for freedom. 

2. Your own experiment with the two slaves is just 


in point. It shows how much can be done, on a small 
scale, and if so, on a larger scale. These slaves were 
taught to read and write ; they were fitted for freedom 
at the age of thirty- two; and they were then set free, 
as " good colonists for Liberia." Although they did 
not ultimately go to Liberia, perhaps their addition 
"to the number of free negroes in Virginia," was 
esteemed by them a higher benefit than it seems to 
you. They were, at any rate, qualified for freedom 
in Liberia. 

3. To the idea that all the emancipated slaves ought 
to be " compelled to go to Liberia," you present three 
difficulties. (1.) "It is in vain to expect to make 
good citizens for Liberia, by sending them there 
against their will, like convicts to a penal colony." I 
reply, that Liberia is becoming to the African race 
more and more an object of desire ; that there is no 
more compulsion in the case than their own best inte- 
rests demand, as persons who, up to that period, are 
in the state of minors ; that the prospect of liberty 
in Liberia is very different from that of penal labour 
and suffering by convicts ; and that, if your remark 
be true, that it is vain to expect to make " good citi- 
zens for Liberia, by sending them against their will," 
is it not equally vain to expect to make good citizens 
of slaves by keeping them in slavery " against their 
will?" (2.) You say that we deceive ourselves in 
speaking of Africa as " their native country," " their 


home." I reply that the race-mark indelibly identi- 
fies the slaves with Africa; that their own traditions 
connect them with their fatherland ; that the deci- 
sions of the United States Supreme Court deny them 
to be " citizens " of this country ; and that their own 
affections are becoming stronger and stronger in favour 
of returning to Africa, as their minds become enlight- 
ened. (3.) Another obstacle to " compulsoiy expa- 
triation," in your judgment, is, that it would " sunder 
ties both of family and affection." I reply, not neces- 
sarily either the one or the other, as a general rule. 
On the supposition of a compensation law, which is 
the true principle, there would be no sundering of 
family ties ; and as to ties of affection for their mas- 
ters or friends left behind, every emigrant to our 
Western States expects to bear them. Besides, in- 
stead of a " compulsory expatriation," it would be 
virtually a voluntary return to the land of their 

Objection 3d. Your third objection to the proposed 
gradual emancipation scheme is, that you "do not 
see the least prospect of Liberia being able to do the 
part assigned to it in this plan for a long time to 
come." This is the objection of greatest weight. 


You will agree with me, if I mistake not, in three 
particulars : 

33 z 


1. African colonization is a scheme, founded in 
wise and far-reaching views of African character and 
destiny. The coloured race can never attain to social 
and political elevation in the United States. The 
experience of the past is a demonstration against the 
continuance of the two races in this country on terms 
favourable to the negroes ; and there is reason to be- 
lieve that the future will be a period of increased dis- 
advantage and hardship. The colonization of the 
coloured people in Africa is, therefore, in its concep- 
tion, a scheme of profound wisdom and true benevo- 

2. You will also agree with me in the opinion that 
the measures for Liberian Colonization may be indefi- 
nitely extended. Territory, larger than the Atlantic 
slope, may be procured in the interior of Africa ; 
money enough may be obtained from the sale of the 
public lands, or from other national resources ; ves- 
sels are already on hand to meet the demands of the 
largest transportation; and emigrants, of a hopeful 
character, and in large numbers, may be expected to 
present themselves, at the indicated time, in the pro- 
vidence of God. There are no limits to the plan of 
Liberian Colonization. Your own faith in its ulti- 
mate capabilities, seems to be shaded with doubt, 
only in reference to the question of time. 

3. Further. You will agree with me in the opinion 
that much more might be done, at once, in the actual 


working of the Liberian scheme. Among the col- 
oured population in this country are large numbers, 
both bond and free, who are superior to the average 
class of emigrants already sent out. 


In your judgment, we ought " to adhere to the 
course marked out by the founders of the Coloniza- 
tion Society, and attend first to the free people of 
colour ; and only after our work here has been done, 
ought we to think of resorting to colonization as an 
adjunct to emancipation." 

1. The discussion of this issue is outside even of 
the new theme ; because the plan of emancipation, 
proposed by yourself, assumes the colonization of the 
slaves as one of its main features. I submit that it 
is not in order to deny your own admissions. 

2. The colonization of slaves, when set free, is 
precisely in accordance with the constitution of the 
American Colonization Society. And the Society has 
been acting upon this principle from the beginning. 
The majority of emigrants belong to the class that 
were once slaves, and who have been made free with 
the object of removal to Africa, as colonists. 

3. I see no reason why the sympathy of philan- 
thropy should be first concentrated upon the free 
blacks. This class of our population are, indeed, en- 


titled to our warm interest and our Christian exertions 
to promote their welfare ; but why to an exclusive 
and partial benevolence ? If you reply, as you do, 
because " the condition of the free people of colour 
is worse than that of our slaves," then I beg leave to 
call in question the statement, and to invalidate it, in 
part, by your own declaration, that at least fifty thou- 
sand of the free blacks are more intelligent and bet- 
ter prepared for colonization than can be found among 
the slaves. When the exigency of the argument re- 
quires you to sustain slavery, }-ou depreciate the free 
blacks and make them " lower than the slaves ;" but 
when colonization demands the best quality of emi- 
grants, then you depreciate the slaves and point to 
u fifty thousand" free blacks, who are superior to 

4. I might assign many reasons why, if Liberian 
colonization be a benevolent scheme, the race in sla- 
very ought not to be excluded from its benefits. But, 
this point being assumed, as I have stated, an axiom 
of our problem, it is unnecessary to establish it by 

5. Let us compromise this issue on a principle of 
Christian equity, viz. : simultaneous efforts should be 
made to colonize the blacks who are already free, and 
those who may be set free for that purpose. You 
will not deny that there are hundreds and thousands 
of Christian slaves who, if emancipated, would make 


good citizens of Liberia. Why, then, should the so- 
cial and political elevation of these men be postponed, 
and the good they might do in Africa be lost, simply 
because there are free people of colour in the land, 
who are also proper subjects of colonization? 



Before the establishment of the Republic of Libe- 
ria, the future of the African race, in this country, 
was dreary and almost without hope. The mind of 
the philanthropist had no resting-place for its anxious 
thoughts ; the pious slaveholder lived in faith, with- 
out the suggestion of any effectual remedy ; and the 
negro race in America seemed doomed to labour for 
generations, and then sink away or perish. In GodV 
good time, a Republic springs up in the Eastern 
world! It is an African Republic; and composed 
mainly of those who once were slaves in America. — 
What an event in the history of civilization ! Even 
in this last half century of wonders, it stands out in 
the greatness of moral and political pre-eminence. 

For some account of the results of African Coloni- 
zation,! refer you to my Address at the opening of 
the Ashmun Institute, entitled, " God glorified by 
Africa." It is sufficient here to say that the Libe- 
rian Republic, with its institutions of freedom, con- 
tains about 10,000 emigrants from America, of whom 


0000 were once Southern slaves. Its schools, acade- 
mies, and churches ; its growing commerce, improving 
agriculture, and intelligent legislation; its favourable 
location, Protestantism, and Anglo-Saxon speech : all 
conspire to demonstrate the truth of the principles 
on which it was founded, and to develop a national 
prosperity rarely equalled in the history of coloniza- 

In short, the Liberian Republic is a good work, well 
done, Laus Deo ! 


Let us be hopeful. Cheer up, brother Armstrong ! 
Ethiopia is yet to stretch out her hands unto God. An 
eminent Southern divine has well said, " I acknow- 
ledge the duty, which rests upon all, to hope great 
things, and attempt great things, and look with holy 
anxiety at the signs of the times." 

I. Let us hope great things. " Hope, that is seen, 
is not hope ; " and I may add, without irreverence, 
hope, that will not see, is not hope. Your views 
about the permanence of slavery prevent the access 
to your mind of large hopes from the Liberian scheme. 
In your Letters and Rejoinders, you several times 
express doubt whether slavery in the United States 
is ever to end ! Nor does it seem to you very desi- 
rable that it should end. 

ON S L A V E II L D I X G . 3D 1 

II. The people of God should attempt great things 
for the African race. Prosperity has attended Afri- 
can colonization thus far ; and under circumstances 
to stimulate to more active and extended efforts. 

Assimilation. The great obstacle is, as you state. 
•• the difficulty in assimilating such an immigration 
as we are able to send" to Liberia. 

The fact of an "indiscriminate immigration," com- 
posed chiefly of slaves, accomplishing so much in Li- 
beria, is very encouraging in regard to the possibility 
of success on a larger scale. 

The emigrants to be sent out by the scheme of 
emancipation under review, would be of a higher cha- 
racter than the class already there. One of the fea- 
tures of this plan involves " provision for the instruc- 
tion of those to be emancipated in the rudiments of 
learning." Education is, under God. a mighty eleva- 
tor. The question, whether a people shall be raised 
up in the scale of intelligence, or be allowed to re- 
main unlettered and in gross ignorance, decides the 
destiny of nations. It will certainly decide the des- 
tiny of African colonization. The proposed plan 
contemplates a long interval of preparation, an inter- 
val of thirty-seven years, during which time a new 
generation is to come forward under a full system of 
"Christian appliances." A very different class of 
emigrants will, therefore, be made ready for coloniza- 
tion. Nor is it chimerical to suppose that great ele- 


vation of character would attend measures for the 
instruction of the young slaves, under the kindly in- 
tercourse, supervision, and example of one and a 
quarter millions of white members of the Church of 
Christ, and twelve thousand ministers of the Gospel. 
These emigrants, thus prepared for freedom, would 
be prepared for assimilation. 

The difficulty of foreign immigration to this coun- 
try is in its diversity and irreligion. Speaking foreign 
tongues, trained to different habits and customs, de- 

C 7 7 

based by Roman superstition, or corrupted by Ger- 
man infidelity, the mass of our immigrants are far 
more difficult to fuse into our existing population than 
would be the Africans into their own met- at Liberia. 
In the case of colonization in Liberia, the population 
would be homogeneous, of a more intelligent order 
than the original population, and under the influences 
of the Christian religion. 

African character is improving in Liberia. Instead 
of deteriorating, as when in contact with the white 
race, it is now gaining admiration in the political 
world. What has been wanting to raise the negro 
character is education, the habit of self-reliance, and 
a fair opportunity for development on a field of its 
own, unhindered by contact with the white race. — 
An illustration of the elevating power of a removal 

1 This is the best estimate I can make of the number of white 
communicants and ministers in the Southern churches. 


to a congenial field, is seen in the case of thousands 
of impoverished whites in the slaveholding States. 
This class, doomed to poverty, and often to degrada- 
tion, by the law of slavery, rise to influence, wealth, 
and importance, when they emigrate to new States. 
A similar influence will bless the negro race, when sepa- 
rated from contaminating influences, and disciplined 
to bear its part among the governments of the world. 

In Liberia, new communities would be formed, and 
settlements established in different parts of the ex- 
tending republic, to meet the demands of emigration. 
"Assimilation " is easier under circumstances of diffu- 
sion than of aggregation. As, in our own country, 
the facility of acquiring land in the new Territories 
and States, promotes the welfare of the emigrants, 
and fixes them in homes comparatively remote from 
cities and overgrown districts, so the Liberian scheme 
proposes to establish its large accessions of emigrants 
in independent and separate communities, increasing 
in number with the demand for enlargement. 

The " deep-rooted distrust of the capacity of their 
own people for safely conducting the affairs of govern- 
ment " need give a friend of colonization no concern 
whatever. The race in this country has never had 
the opportunity of proving its capacity to take charge 
of public interests. The only experiment hitherto 
made has been successful. The government of Liberia 
is administered with as much skill as that of most 


of the States in our Union, and the republic is grow- 
ing in importance among the nations of the earth. 
The Africans will learn soon enough to put confidence 
in Liberia, and to prefer their own administration to 
that of any other people in America. 

Your " rule of three " will hardly work in reference 
to the developments of God's providence. " If, now, 
it has taken thirty-four years to place a colony of ten 
thousand on the coast of Africa, when can we reason- 
ably calculate that our work will be done " with hun- 
dreds of thousands ? Verily, by the Armstrong rule, 
no calculation would be " reasonable." Virginia her- 
self could be ciphered out of her present civilization 
and glory, by writing down, for the basis of the prob- 
lem, the original Jamestown efforts at colonization. 
The " rule of three," irrelevant as it has always been, 
will become less and less geometrical, " as ye see the 
day approaching." How will it work when " nations 
are born in a day ? " 

It must be admitted that, although the rule is un- 
fair in such a discussion, no human sagacity can scan 
the problem of African colonization. It is certain, 
however, that many of our wisest men regard colo- 
nization as the most hopeful adjunct to emancipation. 
On the cmestion of time, there is room for difference 
of opinion ; and so there is, indeed, on all points. 
The late Dr. Alexander, than whom no man stood 
higher in Virginia for wisdom and far-reaching views, 


thus sums up his views of the capacity of Liberia to 
receive the coloured race of America : " If Liberia 
should continue to flourish and increase, it is not so 
improbable, as many suppose, that the greater part of 
the African race, now in this country, will, in the 
inscrutable dispensations of Providence, be restored 
to the country of their fathers." Some of our most 
distinguished political characters have expressed the 
same opinion. 1 

There are various providential aspects, which en- 
courage large expectations from Liberian colonization, 
in its connection with the removal of American slavery, 
and which serve to show that an emancipation move- 
ment, of some kind, cannot be far off. 

III. Besides hoping great things, and attempting 
great things, we should " look with holy anxiety at 
the signs of the times." Providence is a quickening 

1. One of the signs of the times is, the general s rt- 
timent of the civilized world in favour of measures of 
emancipation. Slavery has existed in the United 

1 An enlightened advocate of colonization, as an adjunct to 
emancipation, need not maintain that the whole African race in 
this country must go to Liberia. Many of them will probably 
remain behind in this country, to struggle with adversity, and 
perhaps at last to die away. Dr. Alexander's language goes as 
far as is necessary to meet the case. "The greater part of the 
African race " will probably be restored to Africa. 


States for two centuries, during which period it has 
been overruled, in many ways, for great good to the 
slaves. But can it long survive the pressure of public 
sentiment at home and abroad ? When all Christian 
and civilized nations are opposed to its continuance, 
must it not, before long, adopt some active measures 
tending to its abolition? 

2. Another sign of the times is, the demonstration 
of African capability, made by the Republic of Liberia. 
The light of this Eepublic spreads far into the future. 
It illuminates the vista of distant years, and cheers 
the heart of philanthropy with the sight of a great 
and rising nation. The moral power of the successful 
enterprise on the shores of Africa, is like the voice of 
God speaking to the children of Israel to "go for- 

3. The exploration of Africa, just at this period of 
her history, is another cheering sign for colonization. 
Preparations for a great work are going on for that 
dark continent. Whatever develops Africa's re- 
sources, is a token of good to her descendants every- 
where. Elevate the continent, and the race is free. 
These explorations will serve, in part, to satisfy the 
public mind in reference to the healthfulness and fer- 
tility of the country, back from the sea, and its adapta- 
tion to all the purposes of colonization. 

4. Another sign of approaching crisis, favourable to 
some important results, is in the South itself. After 


a long period of repose, it presents tokens of interna! 
divisions, of excitement, and of extreme measures. 
The revival of the African slave-trade, which is a 
popular plan in six States, bids defiance to God and 
nations. The preparations, commenced in Maryland 
and elsewhere, to drive out the free blacks or reduce 
them to slavery ; the movement to prohibit emanci- 
pation by legislative enactment ; the laws against the 
instruction of the slaves; all the recent political ad- 
vances of slavery, including the judicial decision deny- 
ing the rights of citizenship to free blacks, and carry- 
ing slavery into the national territories ; and especially 
the lowering of the tone of public sentiment on the 
whole subject of slavery and emancipation, to which 
even ministers have contributed : all this has the 
appearance of an impending crisis, and points to some 
great result in Divine Providence, in spite of all the 
opposition of man ; yea, and by means of it ! 

5. The times magnify Colonization as an instru- 
ment of civilization. Behold the new States on the 
shores of the Pacific, and the rising kingdoms in Aus- 
tralia. Behold the millions who have peopled our 
own Western States. Colonization has never before 
displayed such power, or won triumphs so extensive 
and rapid. Nor has the black man ever attained 
such dignity as by emigrating to Africa. Coloniza- 
tion is one of the selected agencies of God to promote 
the civilization of the human race. 


6. It also seems clear that God had some special 
purpose of grace and goodness to accomplish with the 
slave race, on a large scale. The Africans have been 
torn from their homes, brought to a land of liberty 
and religion, civilized and elevated here, to a good 
degree, and yet, when set free in the land, disowned 
as citizens, and subjected to a social and political con- 
dition, so disparaging as to preclude the hope of ful- 
filling their mission in America, Everything points 
to Africa as the field of their highest cultivation and 

7. The concurring providences of God throughout 
the earth are harbingers of the times of renovation and 
of millennial glory. The fulfilment of prophecy is 
at hand. Progress and revolution mark the age. 
The end is not distant, when " He, whose right it is, 
shall reign ; " and " Ethiopia shall stretch forth her 
hands unto God." 

With signs like these flashing across the heavens, 
it is no time for the watchers of the African sky to 
sleep at their observatories ; much less, if they are 
awake, is it a time to doubt. Providence calls upon 
the friends of the race to hope great things, and to 
attempt great things. It points to Liberian Coloni- 
zation as the most hopeful scheme ever devised for 
the elevation of Africa's degraded children, and for 
their emancipation from the long American bondage. 
Work, and see ! Trust, and try ! 



In your judgment, the discussion of emancipation 
is calculated to "do harm." Why, then, did my 
good brother introduce the question, and in a form 
that seemed to demand an answer ? The whole dis- 
cussion is evidently foreign from the original issues 
between us, as most readers readily see. 

For myself, I do not believe, that a calm and Chris- 
tian discussion of this vast social and political ques- 
tion will do any injury at all. It needs investigation. 
It requires it before God and man. The interests of 
the white race and of the black race, the welfare of 
the present and succeeding generations, conscience, 
political economy, safety, the public opinion of the 
civilized world, religion, Providence, — all invite 
serious attention to the question of emancipation. 
And why should a rational discussion interfere with 
" the religious instruction and gradual elevation of 
the African race?" Its natural effect, one would 
think, would be to stimulate effort in this very direc- 
tion, at least with Christian and sober-minded people. 

The Free States have, unquestionably, been remiss 
in their duties to the free coloured population. I 
confess, with shame, this neglect and injustice. 
Human nature is the same everywhere. The free 
blacks have, however, many privileges. They have 


access to public schools ; they have churches in abund- 
ance ; and if they could enjoy social equality, they 
would long ago have been " assimilated " in our com- 
munities. You ask, "Are you colonizing them in 
Africa?" I reply, that hitherto they have refused 
to go, notwithstanding the most earnest and perse- 
vering expostulations. The same class of fanatics 
who have urged immediate and universal emancipa- 
tion at the South, have decried colonization at the 
North, and successfully resisted its claims among the 
free people of colour. There are evidences that a 
change of opinion is now silently making progress 
among them in favour of colonization. May God 
help us to do more in their behalf, and to roll away 
the reproach, of which you faithfully remind us, and 
for doing which I give you my thanks. 


There is no difference of opinion between us about 
the work and the way, although I believe that we 
ought to keep the end in view, as well as apply the 
means. Why work in the dark ? The great obliga- 
tion is the improvement of the slaves, their intellec- 
tual and moral elevation. The slaves, in my judg- 
ment, and, I suppose, in yours, ought to be taught 
the rudiments of learning. Our missionaries to the 
heathen place Christian schools among the effective 
instrumentalities of promoting religion and every 


good result. What can be gained by keeping the 
slaves in ignorance, it is difficult to conjecture. Ought 
not the Bible to be placed in their hands, in order 
that they may " search the Scriptures," and possess 
the opportunity of a more complete improvement of 
their rational powers ? A committee, in their report 
to the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, in 1833, 
state : " The proportion that read is infinitely small ; 
and the Bible, so far as they can read it for them- 
selves, is, to all intents, a sealed book." Since 1833, 
progress may have been made in the instruction 
of the slaves in the rudiments of knowledge. And 
yet, in view of the fact that several of the States, 
including Virginia, have, within this period, passed 
stringent laws prohibiting the slaves from being taught 
to read, it is difficult to ascertain the nature and 
extent of this progress, if indeed there be any. In 
some States, I fear there has been an interposition 
that leads to retrogradation. 

You are right in saying that the most effectual way 
of promoting emancipation is "through the agenc}' 
of a gradually ameliorating slavery, the amelioration 
taking place as the slaves are prepared to profit by 
it." What strikes a stranger, at the present time, is 
that the laws have, of late years, become more harsh, 
especially in the matter of instruction, than ever 
before. An " ameliorating slavery " would naturally 
extend the educational and general privileges of the 
34 * 2 a 


slaves. Has there ever been any public legislative 
action having in view the enlightenment of the 
slaves? Might not Christian citizens accomplish 
much more in ameliorating the code, by enlarging 
the privileges of the slaves in conformity with the 
recommendations of Mr. Nott ? 

The remedial suggestions of Mr. Nott, understood 
to be received with favour by a number of gentlemen 
at the South, are of much value. If generally 
adopted, the work of amelioration would be carried 
forward with an increase of power altogether unknown 
in the annals of slave civilization. Among his ad- 
mirable suggestions, which are generally elaborated 
with much good sense, are the following : " There 
may be supposed admissible in the progress of ame- 
lioration, first, some extension of franchises to those 
remaining slaves; and secondly, an opportunity of 
full emancipation to such as may choose it : thus 
giving to all some share in providing for their social 
well-being, and opening the path for individual pro- 
gress and advancement." 

An ameliorating system is the only, and the safest, 
way to emancipation ; and in such a system, religious 
and moral instruction is the strongest element. The 
plan of emancipation we have been considering could 
have no prospect of a successful issue, unless, in the 
course of thirty years, a great advance could be made, 
under God, in the intellectual and social condition of 


the slaves. The intermediate work is Christian ele- 
vation ; after that, emancipation. 

I am far from undervaluing the general tendency 
of Southern civilization towards the improvement of 
the slaves. Great credit belongs to those of our self- 
denying brethren who have made special efforts in 
their own households and on neighbouring planta- 
tions. Let this work go on, and thousands of slaves 
will be prepared for freedom, in Liberia, in the course 
of another generation. This is the work, and this is 
the way ! 


After this long digression, of your own seeking, I 
return to the original topic of the relation of the 
Church to emancipation. The Church has a right to 
enjoin the performance of all the relative duties spe- 
cified in the Scriptures, and to give general counsel, 
or testimony, in regard to the termination of the rela- 
tion itself, as a moral and lawful end. 

Why a right to give counsel ? Because, as I have 
attempted to show, the relation being abnormal and 
exceptional, its ultimate dissolution is fairly inferred, 
as a moral duty, from the general spirit and princi- 
ples of the word of God. So far as the dissolution 
of the relation requires the action of the State, the 
Chiirch has no right to meddle with it in any form, 
either as to the plan, or the time. The Church has 


simply the right to advise and urge her members to 
prepare their slaves for freedom, as soon as Providence 
shall open the way for it. 

Why may not the Church enjoin emancipation ? 
Because slaveholding being right or wrong, according 
to circumstances, the Church can neither give a spe- 
cific rule of permanent and universal obligation, nor 
can it take cognizance of the circumstances of each 
particular case, which must be adjudicated by the 
mind and conscience of each individual, under his 
responsibility to Cod. 

The Church, therefore, whilst it cannot prescribe 
political measures of emancipation, or the time of 
emancipation, has a perfect right to say to its mem- 
bers, as our General Assembly did, in 1818 : 

" We earnestly exhort them to continue, and, if jjossible, to 
increase their exertions to effect a total abolition of slavery. 
We exhort them to suffer no greater delay to take place in this 
most interesting concern, than a regard to the public welfare truly 
and indispensably demands." 

"And we, at the same time, exhort others to forbear harsh 
censures, and uncharitable reflections on their brethren, who 
unhappily live among slaves, whom they cannot immediately set 
free ; but who are really using all of their influence and all 
their endeavours to bring them into a state of freedom, as soon 
as a door for it can be safely opened." 

Or, as the Synod of Virginia declared in 1802 : 

" We consider it the indispensable duty of all who hold slaves, 
to prepare, by a suitable education, the. young among them for 
a state of freedom, and to liberate them as soon as they shall 
appear to be duly qualified for that high privilege." 


In thus maintaining the right of the Church to 
give advisory testimony, there is scarcely need to add, 
that the Church is bound to proceed with the wisdom 
which should ever characterize a court of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 


1. I do not conceive that my third letter was 
based upon the slightest misapprehension. The whole 
strain of Bishop Hopkins's apology for slavery implies, 
like your own, that the institution may lawfully exist 
among a people, forever, without any concern. This 
I do not believe 5 and this the Christian Church has 
not believed, either in earlier or later times. I pro- 
test against such doctrine, in however guarded lan- 
guage it may be expressed or concealed. 

In the time of Chrysostom, who nourished after 
Constantine, about A. D. 400, emancipation was en- 
couraged throughout the Empire ; more so than my 
brother Armstrong seems to encourage it now, in 
the interval of fourteen centuries. There is no rea- 
son to infer from Chrysostom's fanciful interpretation 
of 1 Cor. 7 : 21, that he was an advocate of the per- 
petuity of slavery. In some respects, that distant 
age was in advance of our own. 

2. You think that in two instances I confound 
things that differ. (1.) But I did not understand 


you as saying that the Christian anti-slavery philan- 
thropists of England were infidels, but simply that 
they acted quoad hoc on infidel principles. I proved 
that their principles were not those of infidelity ; 
that such an idea was preposterous. 1 (2.) Nor did 
I confound slaveholding with the African slave-trade. 
The paragraphs from Mr. Bancroft's history embraced 
both subjects, so that one could not be well separated 
from the other. Besides, the traffic and the system 
sustain a close relation to each other. The abettor* 
of perpetual slavery are always prone to defend the 
slave-trade, as is lamentably witnessed at the pre- 
sent time, in the extreme South. 


On reviewing our respective positions on this inter- 
esting question, I am confirmed in the correctness of 
those with which I set out, viz. : that " slaveholding 
is right or wrong, according to circumstances ;" that 
the General Assembly had a right to exhort the mem- 
bers of the Church to prepare their slaves for free- 
dom whenever Providence should open the door for it ; 
that the history of anti-slavery opinions shows that 
the Church has never regarded slavery as an institu- 

1 Hobbes, one of the leaders of infidelity, maintained that 
every man being by nature at war with every man, the one has 
a perpetual right to reduce the other to servitude, when he can 
accomplish the end. 


tion to be perpetuated ; that it is wise for us, as citi- 
zens, to examine the question of emancipation in all 
its bearings; and that the border States, if no others, 
might advantageously commence the work speedily, 
on the plan of a prospective scheme, with Liberian 
colonization as its adjunct. 

On the other hand, if I do not misunderstand you, 
you have taken the following positions : 1. " Slave- 
holding is not a sin in the sight of God." 2. The 
Church has no right even to advise her members to 
elevate their slaves with a view to their freedom, and 
that the testimonies of the General Assembly, down 
to 1845, were wrong, and ought never to have been 
uttered. 3. Slaveholding has always existed in the 
Church without any reproach, from the earliest times, 
until Christian philanthropy, adopting the principles 
of Infidelity, has lately agitated the matter. 4. It 
is expedient to do nothing in the way of emancipa- 
tion at present, if, indeed, the slaves are ever to be 
free ; and the South had better not send any more 
slaves to Liberia until the North has sent its free 

By the expression of these sentiments, I fear that. 
without intending it, you have lowered the tone of 
public sentiment wherever your influence extends, 
and have impaired the obligations of conscientious 
Christians on this great subject. John Randolph 
declared in Congress : " Sir, I envy not the heart nor 


the head of that man from the North, who rises here 
to defend slavery from principle." This remark has 
no direct application, of course, to yourself; but many 
readers, I fear, will claim, in your behalf, the credit 
of doing the very thing that John Randolph de- 

I agree with you about the evils of the course of 
the fanatical abolitionists ; and not any more than 
yourself do I desire to unite my honour with their 
assembly. 1 

I stand upon the good old ground, occupied by the 
Presbyterian Church from time immemorial. Be- 
lieving it to be scriptural ground, I have endeavoured 
to defend it ; and shall, by God's grace, continue to 
defend it on all fit occasions, against extreme views 
either at the North or at the South. I further be- 
lieve that my beloved brethren at the South occupy, 
in the main, the same conservative position, — a po- 
sition which has enabled our Church to maintain her 
scriptural character and her integrity. I do not ex- 

1 Notwithstanding Dr. Armstrong's strong condemnation of 
the abolitionists, he practically, but unintentionally, adopts two 
of their leading principles. 1. He discourages, at least for a 
long period, the emancipation of slaves, with a view of sending 
them to Liberia. So far as this generation is concerned, Dr. 
Armstrong and the abolitionists are, on this point, at unity.— 
2. He maintains that Africa ought not to be regarded as the 
country and home of the coloured race ; but that America is as 
much their home as it is his or mine. This is a favourite and 
fundamental principle of the abolitionists, from which they argue 
('mancipation upon the soil. 


pect that my brethren, either at the North or South, 
will agree with me in all the side issues about plans 
of emancipation, which you have thrown into the 
argument without any logical authority, and to which 
I have replied according to the best light given me. 

Praying for spiritual blessings upon Africa and her 
descendants, and that the cause of truth, liberty, and 
righteousness may prevail from shore to shore, 
I am yours, fraternally, 

C. Van Rensselaer. 


Since writing the foregoing Article, a friend has forwarded to 
the Presbyterian Historical Society, Dr. Baxter's pamphlet <>u 
Slavery. I have read, with great interest and satisfaction, this 
remarkable production of my revered theological instructor, ft 
breathes the spirit of his great soul. 

1. The principles of Dr. Baxter's pamphlet are not at all in- 
consistent with the Assembly's testimony of 1818, which he had 
a share in preparing and adopting. The general views are coin- 
cident with those of that immortal document, with such differ- 
ence only as was naturally to be expected in looking at the sub- 
ject from a different stand-point. 

2. In the statement of the doctrine of slavery, Dr. Baxter 
fully agrees with me, as will be seen by the following quotations 
from his pamphlet : 

" The relation of the master is lawful, as long as the circum- 
stances of the case make slavery necessary." p. 5. 

"There is no consistent ground of opposing abolition, without 
asserting that the relation of master is right or wrong according 
to circumstances, and that the examination of our circumstances 
is necessary to ascertain whether or not it be consistent with our 
duty." pp. 9, 10. 



•' It therefore appears plain, that the Apostle determines the 
relation of master to be a lawful relation. [Here Dr. Arm- 
strong would have stopped, but Dr. Baxter adds.] I only mean 
that slavery is lawful, whilst necessary ; or that it is lawful to 
hold slaves, whilst this is the best thing that can be done for 
them." p. 15. 

" I believe that the true ground of Scripture, and of sound 
philosophy, as to this subject, is, that slavery is lawful in the sight 
of Heaven, whilst the character of the slave makes it neces- 
sary." p. 23. 

Dr. Armstrong will see that my doctrine of circumstances, and 
nothing else, was in the mind of Dr. Baxter. This was the As- 
sembly's doctrine of 1818. Dr. Baxter was no wiser in 1836, 
" eighteen years afterwards," because he was scripturally wise in 
1818. I have a firmer persuasion than ever, that the great mass 
of my brethren at the South agree with Dr. Baxter, and not with 
Dr. Armstrong. 

3. Dr. Baxter does not hesitate to speak out, like a man and 
a Christian, against the idea of the perpetuity of slavery. 

" For my part, I do not believe that the system of slavery will 
or can be perpetual in this country.'' p. 16. 

" Christianity in its future progress through the world, 'with 
greater power than has heretofore been witnessed, I have no 
doubt will banish slavery from the face of the whole earth.'' p. IT. 

" The application of Christian principles to both master and 
servant, will hasten the day of general emancipation." p. 23. 

Dr. Baxter uses no ifs, like a man afraid of his shadow, but 
boldly declares the common conviction of the Christian, and even 
political, world in regard to the desirableness and certainty of 
ultimate emancipation. 

4. Dr. Baxter's pamphlet is specially directed against the abo- 
lition doctrine of immediate emancipation ; and his object is to 
show that slavery can only be abolished by preparing the slaves 
for freedom under the influences of Christianity. I find nothing 
in the pamphlet on the question of Church testimony. There is 
no doubt, in my own mind, that he adhered to his views of 1818, 
on this, as on other points. God bless his memory and example ! 
"Being dead, he yet speaketh." 







I. On the New Emendations, in reply to Rev. T. E. Vir- 

milye, D. D., of New York PAGE 413 

II. On the same Subject. 431 

III. Protest of the Committee of Revision, and an Answer 

to it 451 

IV. Origin of the American Bible Society 461 




My dear Sir ; — Your letter furnishes a good occa- 
sion for a statement on the other side of the Bible 
question, including a notice of your severe animad- 
versions upon the Church to which I belong. 

As one of the Committee of Revision, whose acts 
have been called in question by a large part of the 
Christian community, kindness to your brethren in 
this discussion would seem to have been eminently 
wise and proper. Instead of pursuing this concili- 
atory course, you have inadvertently allowed your- 
self to bring severe accusations, in unguarded words, 
and apparently in not the most amiable mood. The 
Old School Presbyterian Church is represented as 
acting in a spirit of sectarian jealousy and illiberality, 
whilst two of the greatest men whom God has raised 
up in her ranks, are stigmatized as opposing the Bible 
Society's movement from unworthy personal and pro- 
fessional motives. You need scarcely, my dear sir, 
have said that your letter was on your " own respon- 

1 Originally published in " The Presbyterian " of October 
24th, 1857. 

35* ( 413 ) 


sibility." The public generally condemn its tone ; 
the Bible Society itself would be the first to repudiate 
it, if put to the test; and it is not improbable that. 
in the calmer moments which have followed your 
transient excitement, your own conscience, true to 
its old habits of love and right, has united in the 
common expression of disapprobation and sorrow. 

Had not the Presbyterian Church a right to dis- 
cuss so important a subject as the publication of the 
Scriptures ? Was it not very likely, that a Church 
that has always been known as an unflinching cham- 
pion of the truth, from the days of Knox and Mel- 
ville through every period of its history, would take 
an interest in preserving the standard edition of the 
Bible unharmed from innovation ? Surely, if any 
part of the sacramental host could have been reck- 
oned, in advance, the opposers of novelties in the 
printing of the sacred oracles, and the advocates, by 
principle and practice, of the Bible, as it is, and has 
been, Old School Presbyterians would have been se- 
lected among the most earnest, steadfast, and uncom- 
promising, both to do and to suifer. Why, then, my 
dear friend, need you have gone out of the way to 
impute uncharitable and ungenerous motives to lofty- 
minded and pure men in our Church, and indeed to 
our Church at large ? 

All denominations have a right to speak, and ought 
to speak, at a time like this. Presbyterians, espe- 


cially, ought not to be rebuked for boldly uttering 
their thoughts. They had a prominent agency in 
establishing the American Bible Society; they have 
contributed a very large part of its funds, and have 
always taken a zealous and efficient interest in its 
management. Our General Assembly was bound by 
its hereditary conservatism, its influential position. 
its interest in the affairs of the Redeemer's kingdom, 
and its original rights in the Bible Society, to inter- 
pose its testimony against an ill-concocted, though 
well-meant scheme of Bible emendation. That tes- 
timony would have been fully expressed, instead of 
implied, at the last meeting of our Supreme Judica- 
tor}^, if it had not been thought advisable to afford 
to the managers of the national institution the oppor- 
tunity of retracing their steps, according to the strong 
intimations of one of the Secretaries, in his public 
address before our body. Judge Fine's wise and non- 
committal motion of postponement, and the considc 
rate and kind speech of the venerable Dr. Hoge, alone 
prevented the passage of Dr. Breckinridge's search- 
ing resolutions, or, at least, of some overture con- 
demnatory of the proposed variations. You state. 
with a principal allusion to the Presbyterian Church . 
" I expect a strong response, when I say, From all 
High-churchism and sectarian ambition, from all geo- 
graphical brotherhood and dictatorial affection, good 
Lord deliver us." It will be generally thought more 


desirable to exhibit the spirit of the Litany as it is, 
than to add new words of prayer, incongruous with 
the pious petitions of that Scriptural formulary. I 
submit to your consideration whether it would not be 
wise to moderate, if not altogether change, the tone 
of your utterance, the next time you undertake to 
arraign our Church before the public. The effect, I 
do not say the design, of your communication, has 
been to excite a denominational suspicion against the 
Presbyterian Church, in her honest opposition to the 
recent Bible policy. It is hoped that the Committee 
on Versions will hold fast to the Word of God in the 
oldness of the letter and the newness of the spirit. 

The two great principles to which the American 
Bible Society ought to be made to adhere, are — : First, 
that it shall not change the words, or alter the mean- 
ing of the existing text of the Bible, in part or in 
whole ; and secondly, that it shall not publish notes 
or comments on the text, in any form whatever. 

I. My first propositon is that the American Bible 
Society ought not to change the words, or alter the 
meaning, either in part or in whole, of the commonly 
received version. The first article of the constitu- 
tion is : 

" The Society shall be known by the name of the American 
Bible Society, of which the sole object shall be to encourage a 
wider circulation of the Holy Scriptures, without note or com- 
ment. The only copies in the English language to be circulated 
by the Society shall be the version now in common use. v 


Does the new edition vary, to any extent, in lan- 
guage and in meaning, from the version now " in com- 
mon use ?" The question is neither whether the vari- 
ations are/< w in number, nor whether they are improve- 
ments. They may be both ; but be they more or less, 
one or a hundred, and of whatever character, they 
are unlawful, if found to exist. A single violation 
of the text corrupts the fundamental principle of 
keeping intact the commonly received version. How 
many words are really altered (I do not refer to mere 
changes in spelling, but to the substitution of differ- 
ent words) , cannot be fully ascertained from the Com- 
mittee's report. That report only gives "specimens" 
of alterations, and it omits one which you adduce, viz. : 
the article between the words John and Baptist, — 
Assuming that there are only two changes in words 
(there are at least four), I maintain that the Consti- 
tution prohibits the Society from making even one 
change. Where does the Society obtain the right to 
touch the version in the minutest word ? 

There are other modes, however, of altering the 
meaning of the version besides changing its words. 
" Specimens " of variation in the use of capital letters, 
as in the word Spirit, are given, wherein the Commit- 
tee have decided by the use of capitals or otherwise, 
in four places, and in how many others they do not 
state, whether the word refers to the Holy Spirit or 

not, p. 24. 



Pivnctuation is another means of introducing vari- 
ations in the existing version, without requisite au- 
thority. Four " specimens " of unauthorized tamper- 
ing with the text by means of commas, colons, and 
periods, are presented in the Eeport of the Commit- 
tee, two of which make an important difference in 
the meaning, viz. : Rom. 4 : 1, and Rev. 13 : 8, the 
first of which is admitted to be " found in no edition 
hitherto," and in regard to the second, it is stated 
that "the translators wrongly inserted the comma 
after ' Lamb,' " p. 25. 

Parentheses have been omitted and retained at dis- 
cretion, although the Committee admit that " in some 
instances they have the force of commentaries." 

Brackets have necessarily force in the version of the 
Bible, and in one important instance, 1 John 2 : 23. 
the Committee have omitted them without the autho- 
rity of any preceding editions. 

Here are at least eleven variations relating to the 
text, found among the " specimens " given by the 
Committee, without taking into the account those not 
brought to view. 

The question, however, as I have stated, is not one 
of many or few, of improvement or otherwise. It is 
a question of fundamental principle. If the Bible 
Society has a right to change the existing text in 
1851, in one, two, or a dozen, or more instances, has 
has it not the right to make more numerous changes 


of the same nature in 1857, and at any time there- 

It is remarkable how the Committee unconsciously 
exceeded their powers. They were authorized by 
the Board to have the necessary collation made, p. 1G > 
and the Committee themselves merely employed a 
person "to collate the principal editions of the English 
Bible, published by this Society, with the latest Bri- 
tish editions," which was afterwards modified by a 
rule so as to include "the original edition of 1611." 
And yet it turns out that, besides being the result of 
a " collation " of existing translations, this standard 
edition contains original variations introduced from 
the Hebrew and Greek. Thus " these instances have, 
of course, been corrected according to the Hehrw" 
p. 20. " This is required by the Greek" p. 20. " So 
the Greek" p. 21. "Not in the Hebrew;' p. 24.— 
" Nothing corresponding in the Greek" p. 24. " Here, 
according to the order of the Greek, it should read," 
etc., p. 25. "So the Syriac and Latin versions," 
although " all the copies " of the English Bible have 
it otherwise, p. 25. "The clause is now inserted in 
all critical editions of the Greek Testament," p. 26. 
All this may show very good scholarship, which is 
not called in question, but where is the authority 
from the Constitution of the American Bible Society 
to go behind the translation, and to appeal to the ori- 


ginal Hebrew and Greek, and even to the Syriac and 
Latin versions ? Is this " collation " ? 

The churches must guard with jealous care the 
version as it is — the version as it was in 1S1G — the 
old English version of the Word of God, of two hun- 
dred and fifty years' standing. Let there be minor 
changes of spelling, and a correction of errors, if 
need be; but Jet the old version l,< untouched, both in 
words and in m> aning. The churches cannot give up 
this principle without tolerating a violation of the 
Constitution of the American Bible Society, and 
abandoning one of the great principles of the Chris- 
tian co-partnership in the dissemination of the Scrip- 

II. Another fundamental principle is, that the 
American Bible Society shall not be allowed to make 
notes or comment* on the sacred text. The Constitu- 
tion says, " without note or comment." The two 
questions that arise are, what constitutes a note 
and comment; and if the old headings are of the 
nature of comments, why publish any? The con- 
tents of the chapters, the running heads, and the 
marginal readings and references, were unquestion- 
ably designed to assist the . reader in obtaining a cor- 
rect view of the text ; and they do in fact, to a degree 
varying according to circumstances, perform that 
office. Although probably not much consulted, these 
headings give interpretations to the text. If so, it 


may be asked, why not exclude theni altogether from 
the existing version? Simply because they were 
accepted by common consent as part of the version 
in common use in 1816. Action under the Constitu- 
tion for a long series of years has settled the point a^ 
to the retention of the old headings. But it is obvi- 
ously a very different question, whether the Society 
has a right to alter these old landmarks, which arc 
now the hereditary accompaniments of the version. 1 
maintain that they have no more right to do this. 
than they have to alter the text, It is nothing to 
the purpose to say, that "in the lapse of time exten- 
sive changes and additions have been made." This 
is. no doubt, true. But the point is, what right has 
the American Bible Society to make any changes of 
this nature, that are not found in the standard edi- 
tion of 1816 ? And yet, the Committee have here 
made the most extensive and radical changes, sweep- 
ing away large masses of the headings which existed 
in 1816, and substituting other words of their own 
selection, as more pertinent. Who had a right to set 
in motion this reformation, if, indeed, it be a reforma- 
tion ? 

Let it be noted that the Committee themselves 
acknowledge, that many of these old headings are of 
the nature of comment. They say, "A special ex- 
ample of commentary is found in the contents of all 
the chapters in the Book of Solomon," p: 28. But 


not more special are these than many of the new 
commentaries of the Committee in various parts of 
their standard edition. The Committee, besides mak- 
ing indefinite substitutions of their own for these ori- 
ginal headings, have taken the liberty of adding 
several marginal notes, and of omitting a number of 
marginal references. The references which they have 
omitted, have been only "those, which on actual 
examination, proved to be of little, or no import- 
ance," p. 30. But there is great room for difference 
of opinion as to the relative importance of texts of 
Scripture, in elucidating other parts of Scripture. 
Scotland was recently thrown into commotion by a 
new edition of the Bible, which insidiously left out 
many of the old references, and put in new ones. 
This was done on the responsibility of a private 
printing-house, which had no right to assume it ; and 
who gave to the American Bible Society the right to 
disturb the old references, or any of the accessories 
at all ? 

It is remarkable how the Committee exceeded their 
original powers in going to work at these accessories 
to the text, just as they did in regard to the text 
itself. I am far from charging the Committee with 
transcending their powers from any wrong motives. 
By no means. Like all men, who attempt to reform 
on too large a scale, they were doubtless unconsciously 
led along by the very abundance of their zeal. But 


the authority to " collate " the old edition with other 
translations, did not imply authority to make sweep- 
ing alterations in the old-fashioned accessories, etc., 
at their discretion. Let the reader turn to the third 
rule, adopted to guide the collation (?), and he will 
find it as follows : 

" 3. That the comparison includes the Orthography, Capital 
Letters, Words in Italic, and Punctuation. (To these were added 
in practice the contents of the chapters, and the running heads 
of the columns.'') — p. 16.) 

Added in practice ? Does this mean that the prac- 
tice was more extensive than the rule? The rule 
itself is a proper one, and had in view very proper 
topics of inquiry ; but the practice under it, by in- 
eluding what was not originally intended, and what 
belonged to an entirely different category, took the 
largest liberty with rule and regulation. Moreover. 
let the reader observe that the rule contemplated a 
comparison with other translations, and, not even im- 
pliedly, alterations like the radical ones so extensively 
put forth. 

The founders of the American Bible Society un- 
doubtedly meant by "note and comment," such 
explanations and interpretations as accompany the 
Tract Society's new edition ; and by " the version 
now in common use," they intended both the text 
and the accessories, as they then were. Their aim 
was simply to exclude commentaries in the enlarged 


acceptation of that term. The Committee had no 
right to touch the accessories of the text, except for 
the simple purpose of "collating" them with other 
editions to rectify errors. 

These two principles, which I have been attempt- 
ing to illustrate, will commend themselves, it is be- 
lieved, to many sound and reflecting minds among all 
denominations of Christians. The American Bible 
Society must not change the words of the text of the 
Bible, or alter in any way, to the least degree, its 
meaning; and it must not add a word of "note or 
comment " upon the text itself. 

If these views are correct, they show what course 
should be pursued by the American Bible Society, in 
its present exigency. Let the Society return to the 
old version and its accessories, with those unimportant 
exceptions which a " collation " with other editions. 
or the progress of the language, authorizes. Let the 
Bible be restored to its old position in all essential 
particulars ; and forever hereafter " let well enough 
alone." For one, I should prefer to have the Bible 
restored to the exact form in which it was in 1848. 

The following additional, or " accessory," reasons 
why the American Bible Society should retrace its 
steps in this unfortunate movement, are offered to 
your candid consideration. 

1. Many good Christians in the community have 
had their consciences offended by the changes intro- 


duced into the new edition. Granting that their eon- 
sciences are weak, that the principles involved are 
not so weighty as they are supposed to be, and that 
you and others are certainly right in their views of 
the matter, still, does not the Bible itself inculcate 
the spirit of forbearance, and even of respect and 
deference, to the convictions of brethren who act 
upon principle ? It is also worth}* of your notice 
that many plain Christians have had their confidence 
in the American version of the Bible weakened by 
these numerous changes, the minor ones alone being 
reported at about " twenty-four thousand " in num- 
ber, p. 31. This whole subject has necessarily prac- 
tical bearings, more or less connected with religions 
faith and experience. Many a true believer, in the 
midst of the discussions and facts recently presented 
to the community, will take up his Bible with doubts 
as to whether this new version is really the same 
Bible he has been accustomed to read. It is, surely, 
no small thing to impair the confidence of the people 
of God in the sacred Book, whence they are accus- 
tomed to derive spiritual nourishment and consolation. 
2. The new edition makes the Society liable to 
prosecution in the civil courts for violating its Con- 
stitution. I do not affirm that any person will put 
the question to this severe test; but more question- 
able points, and less important ones, have been made 
the subjects of judicial investigation. The points of 


difference are certainly, under the charter, within the 
cognizance of legal tribunals ; and a large amount of 
funds might change hands on the finding of the fact, 
that the new edition differed from " the version in 
common use." 

3. The adoption of the new edition destroys the 
uniformity between the British and the American 
Bible. The professed object in undertaking the col- 
lar ion was to produce " uniformity " in our own copies; 
and the measures recommended, namely, a collation 
of the old American edition with the first and the 
tour last English editions of authority, would have 
continued the blessing of one standard Anglo-Saxon 
Bible for all the world. The very opposite result has 
been reached by the faux pas of the new edition, 
which you had an agency in bringing out. England 
will never adopt this new and obnoxious one ; and 
thus the calamity of two diverse standard editions, 
one in England, and another in America, will be in- 
troduced into the nineteenth century. 1 

1 It seems "Mr. Secretary Brigham communicated to the Com- 
mittee that the Superintendent of Printing found many discre- 
pancies still existing between our different editions of the English 
Bible, and also between our editions and those issued by the 
British and Foreign Bible Society." In regard to the discre- 
pancies between our own editions, it may be asked why the Super- 
intendent did not make all the editions conform to the standard 
edition of the American Bible Society ? If the Society had a 
standard edition, here was the remedy ; and there was no occa- 
sion for a Committee. If the Society had no staudard edition 


4. The pressing forward of the new edition will 
put in jeopardy one of the common interests of Pro- 
testant Christianity in the United States. The co- 
operation of all denominations in the dissemination 
of the Word of God, is one of the grand exhibitions 
of Protestant unity. Shall this blessed consumma- 
tion be disowned, and ended by divisions in our ranks 
respecting versions ? Can the American Bible Society 
endure the thought of another national institution, 
or of denominational agencies, or of the printing by 
private publishing houses of the old edition, in order 
to satisfy those who, from principle, are determined 

at that time, the public has reason to complain of this negli- 
gence. Admitting the existence of such an edition, the Super- 
intendent's duty was to follow it in all the Society's editions, and 
there would have been no discrepancies to correct. In regard 
to the discrepancies between the American edition and those of 
the British and Foreign Bible Society, the only way to approxi- 
mate to an agreement was to make a careful " collation," or 
comparison of copies, according to rules like Nos. 4, 7, 8, of the 
Committee. But what is the result ? Instead of producing uni- 
formity between the American and British editions, which was 
the Superintendent's desire, the Committee, by transcending, as 
it seems to me, the original objects of their appointment, have 
brought forth an edition, varying from the British editions in 
words of the text, orthography, Hebrew plurals, particles of ex- 
clamation, the indefinite article, proper names, capital letters, 
words in italics, important instances of punctuation, parentheses, 
contents of the chapters, running heads, marginal readings, and 
marginal references ! Thus the Superintendent's laudable object, 
so far as relates to uniformity between the American and British 
editions, has been utterly thwarted, and the Committee have 
made "confusion worse confouuded." 


to testify against the innovations lately concocted ? 
It will be a sad day to our American Zion when the 
only form of united action among Protestants shall 
be forever excluded from the history of Christian 
evangelization, and shall exist only among the things 
that were. May God avert this dire calamity from 
the Churches ! 

5. This new edition gives great occasion to the new 
versionists among the Baptists, Unitarians, and others, 
to magnify the correctness of their position. The 
principles on which the Committee have inaugurated 
their work, need only a more extensive application, 
in order to justify what the Baptists have undertaken 
on a larger scale. The moment we abandon the prin- 
ciple of " collation," and tolerate a resort to Hebrew 
and Greek for the correction of the English version, 
we lose the vantage ground in the controversy. Obsta 
prbicipiis. Hold fast to that which is good. 

6. No complaint has ever been made against the 
old edition by any auxiliary or ecclesiastical body ; 
and no public necessity actually exists for insisting 
upon the adoption of the new standard. The dis- 
covery of even minor errors and variations in the text 
was made in the printing-office, and not in the Church 
or in the family. No public notice was ever taken 
of the subject; no discussion was ever had in refer- 
ence to it ; and no emergency had arisen to demand 
the radical changes that have been propounded. 


Under these circumstances, and when it is found im- 
possible to obtain the general acquiescence of the 
Christian community in the amendments to the old 
version, has the Bible Society no alternative but to 

7. The present question is not simply one of ma- 
jority or minority ; but even if it were, the rights of 
the minority ought not to be disregarded. In a court 
of justice, right governs ; and according to the old 
Dutch maxim, " right makes might." But this is, to 
a large extent, a question of Christian magnanimity. 
The Bible Society is placed in a position to exhibit 
the power of the sacred book which it disseminates, 
by gracefully yielding, whilst yet it may, to the popu- 
lar disapprobation of its doings. The Bible Society 
may, indeed, if it pleases, refuse " to be in subjection, 
no, not for an hour." But is the present a case like 
that before the mind of Paul, when, in the mainte- 
nance of his Christian liberty, he refused to be com- 
pelled to bind Jewish ceremonies upon his brethren ? 
In the present case, the brethren only ask to be 
allowed to retain " the form of sound words " which 
was given to them. If this version has been a good 
one for forty years, since the foundation of the So- 
ciety, and for two hundred years before its existence, 
is it a very strong case of "subjection" to be willing 
to acknowledge still longer its power ? Can the Bible 
Society do a better thing than to maintain relations 


of confidence to its old version, and of .amity to those 
of its friends who prefer it to any other ? 

These considerations are presented to yourself, my 
dear Doctor, and to other friends of the good old 
cause, in the hope that they may tend, in some hum- 
ble measure, to conciliate the good-will of parties in- 
terested in this important matter, and to secure oiic< 
more united action on the good old ground, sanctified 
by the memorials of two and a half centuries. 

It has given me pain, my dear Dominie and friend, 
to differ from you on the present question. I trust 
that our respective churches, one in faith, aud in 
Christian fellowship and holy work, will rally around 
the standard of the Bible as it is, and send down to 
other generations the legacy of our fathers, untouched 
in one iota of its essential text or accessories. Nor 
have I any doubt that, in this determination, you 
yourself will be found, at the right time, " submitting 
yourself" to your brethren " in the fear of God." 
I am yours, in old bonds, 





To the Rev. T. E. Vermilye, D. D. : 
My Dear Doctor. — One of your grave indiscretions 
and errors has been to begin and continue these let- 
ters, under no inconsiderable excitement towards the 
Old School Presbyterian Church, or its " leaders," as 
you are pleased to call them. Scarcely any one would 
have suspected that you had been '-'born, baptized, 
licensed, and ordained" within the communion of 
our venerable body. May the blessing of her baptis- 
mal administration be upon your head, and her holy 
nurture be more completely realized in the labours 
of your advancing life ! 

My rebuke of the severe language, thoughtlessly 
employed against two of our Theological Professors, 
was not founded upon the single paragraph, which 
admits of the explanation offered, and cordially ac- 
cepted, but upon many expressions in the letter, and 
the unfortunate tone which pervaded the whole. I 
presume you have no idea of the real force of some 
of the expressions in your letter, especially on per- 

1 Originally published in " The Presbyterian," of November 
14, 1857. 


sonal topics — which it would have been wiser to avoid 
— and of the various imputations of motives and cha- 
racter therein abounding. As you have made no 
apology for this style of writing, I venture to submit 
the above as its best extenuation. 

I have again read the speeches of Drs. Breckinridge 
and Aclger in the Princeton Review. They do not 
appear to me to authorize the hard things you affirm 
of them. The occasion required direct and plain 
dealing ; and if some things were said in an extem- 
poraneous discussion, which had better been left un- 
said, as is very apt to be the case, this does not war- 
rant the very severe opprobrium which proceeds from 
the calm retirement of a pastor's study. Permit me 
here to assure you that no man exerts a greater in- 
fluence in our General Assembly than Dr. Breckin- 
ridge, whom you assail in vain. Nor is any man more 
honoured throughout the whole Presbyterian Church, 
for his past and present services, than our great Ken- 
tucky divine. His speech on the Bible Society's new 
measures was among the ablest and most valuable 
performances of his life — a speech in which, by the 
bye. he made a kind allusion to yourself as an es- 
teemed minister of the Dutch Church, and which in 
its severest parts was replete with a good humour 
and a parliamentary amiability, which some of his 
critics seem utterly at a loss to imitate, or even com- 


The distinction you make between arraigning the 
motives and actions of our whole Church and of a, part 
of our Church, is of no avail, as regards the spirit of 
the language employed, or as to the matter of fact at 
issue, or as an apology for the offence committed, be- 
cause on no public question is our Church probably 
nearer to unanimity than its opposition to the new 
edition of the Bible. The General Assembly, in a 
Christian spirit, consented to postpone action until 
another year, after the fullest declaration from one 
of your Secretaries that the objectionable alterations 
would probably be removed, and the text and its ac- 
cessories be restored to their former condition. 

It appears to me to be no part of your vocation, in 
discussing this subject, to find fault with the Presby- 
terian Church, or the High-Church faction in it, or its 
" unfortunate leadership." What right has a Bible 
Society Manager to attempt to " lord it over God's 
heritage," and to denounce the donominational pecu- 
liarities of this Church, or of that Church ? Admit- 
ting that Old School Presbyterians are a set of bigots. 
far behind the times, and dreadfully set against inno- 
vation, what is all that to you, my old friend, or to 
the Committee of Revision ? We claim the liberty 
of examining into the whole matter of these proposed 
emendations, and even of discussing the authority 
and the qualifications of those who have been instru- 
mental in agitating the community on the sacred 
37 2 c 


theme of their forefathers' Bible. Let our arguments 
be answered, as far as they can be; but you have no 
right to stigmatize our " leaders," ' to cast insinuations 
against our motives, or to impeach the denominational 
characteristics, either of the whole Church, or of a 
party in it. 

Your persistent attempt to amend the Episcopal 
Liturgy is as unfortunate as the effort to improve the 
old Bible. It shows that when a modern Reformer 
begins a work he lias no right to touch, there is 
scarcely anything that will not tempt the benevolenl 
curiosity of his hands. 

Let me entreat you, first, to moderate some of the 
extravagant expressions of what may be called high 
style. A stranger might think that the "excellent 
oil," which you complain as profusely scattered over 
•lerical garments, has not yet reached the beard, even 
the good Dominie's beard. But those who know you 
are prepared to make allowances for these uncharac- 
teristic exaggerations of language. In the second 
place, let our Church and her peculiarities alone ; and 
argue the case on its own merits, without acting the 
bishop in other people's dioceses. 

Allow me, now, to glance at some of your positions. 

1 The Presbyterian Church acknowledges no -'leaders;" but 
as Dr.Verrailye has used the word, I hope I commit no offence 
in employing it in my reply. 


and to expose their fallacy with moderation and kind 
feeling. Our common aim is the truth. 
• 1. You say that I certainly know that " the Society 
lias not attempted any alteration in the version," and 
that " the Committee has disavowed everything but 
revision and restoration." But what says the Com- 
mittee's Report? It is as follows : " The Committee 
have had no authority and no desire to go behind the 
translators, nor in any respect to touch the original 
version of the text, unless in cases of evident inad- 
vertence, or inconsistency, open and manifest to all" 
p. 19. Now here are cases specified in which the 
Committee actually declare " a desire " to go " behind 
the translators, and to touch the original version." 
Where they obtained their " authority " to do this, 
under any circumstances, from their commission to 
" collate," they have not yet informed the public, 
although you say that their report is "frank and 
open to a fault." It appears to me that the Commit- 
tee's "desire" transcended their "authority;" and 
furthermore, that neither their " authority nor desire " 
came up to the condition expressed in their own state- 
ment, because the propriety of going "behind the 
translators, and touching the original version of the 
text," is now pretty well decided not to be " open and 
manifest to all." Some of the cases in which the 
Committee acted out their " desire," will be specified 


presently. Thus much for your a priori appeal to 
my credulity. 

2. You next declare that " the Report gives the 
whole" number of alterations in the words of the 
text, and find fault with me for expressing some un- 
certainty. My uncertainty grew entirely out of your 
own declaration, respecting the insertion of the article 
between John and Baptist, in two places, where you 
say " the Committee ventured perhaps unwarrantably 
to insert the article" Inasmuch as the Report says 
nothing about these two instances, how can you recon- 
cile their occurrence with your present declaration 
that "the Report gives the whole"? Can "the 
Report give the whole," when Dr. Vermilye adds two 
cases not found in the Report ? If the fact that the 
Report does not give the whole is, as you say, " a 
good stone to pelt with," who picked up the stone, 
and who but the Dutch dominie pelts the Report ? 

3. The alterations in the text by means of words, 
I stated to be " at least four," which was moderate, 
as they are really five, viz., twice in John the Baptist, 
twice in Canticles, where she is substituted for he, and 
again in inserting the before judgment. The two 
cases about John the Baptist are admitted by you to 
have been " perhaps unwarrantable." But why un- 
warrantable, unless they involved a doubtful prin- 
ciple — doubtful now even in your judgment, and posi- 
tively wrong in the judgment of others? The two 


cases in Canticles you attempt to defend on the 
ground that they were original errors in printing. 
But how could you find this 'out by collation ? Re- 
member that your authority only extended to colla- 
tion, and that by the very rules of your own forma- 
tion, you were tied up to collate the American edition, 
" with those of London, Oxford, Cambridge, Edin- 
burgh, and the original edition of 1611," p. 17. Now. 
the Report states that "the translators and all the 
copies have, till he please." Here your work obviously 
stopped, and your own rule bound you to go no fur- 
ther, but to let the word stand. But, in opposition 
to all authority originally given, or defined and lim- 
ited by your own rule, you went " behind the trans- 
lators," and behind every copy of the Scriptures ever 
published, and corrected the text " according to the 
Hebreiv" p. 20. In the same way, the insertion of 
the article before "judgment," is contrary to all the 
copies prescribed as your standards of collation. Tn 
your last letter, you indeed say that the article is 
found in the editions of 1639, '40, '41, '58, and 83. 
But what of that? This is. in the first place, appeal- 
ing to different editions than those prescribed by the 
Board of Managers and your own selves, which were 
" the recent copies of the four leading British editions. 
and the one of 1611," p. 16 ; and in the second place, 
this is an after-thought of your own, differing from 
the statement of the Report, which is : Matt. 12 : 21, 


reads, in all the copies, "shall rise up in judgment," 
p. 20. Collation, therefore, utterly failed, according 
to the Report, to discover the error. How, then, was 
it found out ? The Report tells you, " this is required 
by the Greek" p. 20. In this instance, as in others, 
the Committee's " desire " was to go behind the trans- 
lators, and behind them they went; but where was 
their " authority " to do so ? As I said before, these 
alterations, whether important or unimportant, involve 
a great principle, namely, the right of the American 
Bible Society to go behind the translators for any 
purposes whatever. The title-pages of our old Eng- 
lish Bibles contain the announcement, "With former 
translations diligently compared and revised." Your 
new edition is the first one, in the history of Bible 
Societies, that has dared to go beyond these words, 
and to introduce changes by consulting the " original 

4. In regard to the changes of the text by means 
of capitals, I merely followed the declaration of this 
curious Report itself. If the reader will turn to page 
24, he will find the passages referred to arranged in 
two columns, of which the left, without capitals, is 
headed " English copies" and the right column, with 
the capitals, is headed "Corrected " and these passages 
are presented as " specimens of changes which have 
been made." Yet you now say that in three of these 
cases there were no changes at all, but " in each in- 


stance the Committee left it as they found it in the 
Society's edition ! " The four passages I alluded to 
were Genesis 6 : 3 ; 41 : 38 ; Numbers 24 : 2 ; and 
Revelation 4:5. Of Genesis 41 : 38, you say 
nothing, nor do you inform the public whether these 
examples exhaust all the cases, or whether, in the 
language of the Report, they are "specimens." 

5. The four specimens of alteration in the old ver- 
sion by means of 'punctuation were also given on the 
authority of the Report, which has your signature, 
and which distinctly admits that they affect the sense : 
" The following five changes made in the punctua- 
tion, are all, it is believed, which affect the sense" p. 
25 ; and yet you now argue that the sense is not 
affected. How strange to find Dr. Vermilye, of the 
sub-committee, again arguing against the Report of 
his Committee ! The most remarkable of your varia- 
tions from your own Report, is in your statement 
about the punctuation in Romans 4:1, which pas- 
sage, according to your letter, is pointed so as to pre- 
sent the meaning " given in the pointing of all the 
English copies, and of 1611 ;" whereas the Report of 
your Committee says : " This is found in no edition 
hitherto" p. 25. How is this? Is the Report of the 
Committee, as you say, "open and frank to a fault?" 
Whose fault is this ? If it be said that the peculiarity 
of the new standard is in having a comma after 
•'Abraham" as well as after " father," I reply, that 


the first comma does not affect the sense, and that 
consequently the stress of the Committee's claim of 
emendation is on the second comma, which change 
alone "affects the sense." The punctuation of the 
English Bibles, where the comma is after both 
"father" and "flesh." leaves the sense doubtful, and 
I differ from you in the opinion thai the meaning in 
the English copies is necessarily the same as in the 
new standard. When you will show how the Report 
came to declare that the punctuation of the two pas- 
sages in 1 and 2 Corinthians do "affect the sense/' 
while you now deny that they do, it will be time 
enough for me to answer your question whether they 
do or not. 

6. Bracket* and italic* in 1 John 2 : 23. Here 
again you not only go behind the translators, but also 
behind the Committee. The Report says that " the 
clause is now inserted in all critical editions of the Greek 
Testament ; and oa there is no question of its genuine- 
ness, both the brackets and the italics have been 
dropped," p. 26. The Committee's theory of altera- 
tion is new critical light from the Greek. But Dr. 
Vermilye's theory is that " in throwing out the brack- 
ets, we follow the majority of the English copies."' 
thus attempting to fortify the change by a numerical 
majority. At the same time you say nothing about 
removing the italics of the text, which are found in 
all the English copies, including that of 1611. The 


question I here put is this. If the majority of copies 
authorized you to remove the brackets, why did not 
the authority of all the copies compel you to retain 
the italics? 

The fact is that your authority only authorized you 
to " collate," or, as your own rules have it, to make a 
"comparison" (Rules 2, 3, p. 16), between the Eng- 
lish copies; but your " desire " led to a consultation 
of the original languages, and thus to alterations of 
the text. Dr. Breckinridge's idea, to which you refer, 
was that the Committee had no right to go to the 
Greek at all ; but even if they went there, he had so 
little knowledge of their qualifications that he could 
not confide in their conclusions. I am content to say 
that you had no right to go to the original languages, 
for the purpose of alteration. You were commissioned 
to collate, and not to translate or to revise from the 
Hebrew or Greek. If the Committee had kept to the 
original idea of Dr. Brigham and of the superintend- 
ent of printing, p. 15, most, if not all, of these diffi- 
culties would have been avoided. 

The Committee's zeal of innovation covers a larger 
ground than I can now undertake to so over. Anions 
other notable instances of its exhibition is the inser- 
tion of new marginal readings. The Committee give 
us King James's rule, and then say they have ' ; added 
but two examples " — thus putting themselves on a 
level with the translators, when they do not show 

4:42 A M E K I C A N BIBLE SOL'l E T Y : 

that they ever received authority to meddle with the 
margin, except so far as their doings were afterwards 
approved by the Managers. One of these new words 
put into the margin, is opposite the word " Easter," 
in Acts 12 : 14, as follows : " Gr. the Passover." Now, 
according to the alterations on page 20, where it is 
said, "All these instances have, of course, been cor- 
rected according to the Hebrew;" and "this is re- 
quired by the Greek" the Committee might have put 
" Passover " into the text instead of " Easter ; " for 
the Greek requires " passover " as much as " the " 
before "judgment," and it is actually so rendered in 
every other passage in the Bible. This is mentioned 
incidentally to show how dangerous it is to go behind 
the translators in order to correct errors. The Com- 
mittee, however, have taken the next greatest liberty 
by putting "Passover" in tlie margin, which the 
translators did not do, and which the Committee 
justify themselves in doing, because King James's 
rule would have authorized it ! 

The Committee state with great apparent gravity 
that " they entertain a reverence for the antique 
forms of words and orthography in the Bible," p. 20 ; 
and then they give tico specimens of their reverence 
in retaining the words " hoised " and " graff," and 
forly-seven specimens of alterations which indirectly 
indicate the opposite virtue. In truth, their reve- 
rence for what is old, compared with their curiosity 


after what is new, appears to be well stated in the 
proportion of two to forty-seven. 

It is impossible for any impartial person, I think, to 
read the long Report of the Committee without per- 
ceiving that the new American edition differs more 
than any previous one, from the English copies. The 
differences consist in several words of the version ; in 
the spelling of common nouns, participles, Hebrew 
plurals, particles of exclamation, forms of the article, 
and proper names; in compound words; capital let- 
ters ; words in italics ; parentheses and brackets ; 
without counting the innumerable changes in the ac- 
cessories of the text. In punctuation, there may be 
more general similarity, but there are five cases of 
alterations which " affect the sense." As a whole, I 
affirm, without hesitation, that the American edition 
varies, more than it ever did before, from the English 
copies, if the Report of the Committee can be relied 
upon . 

There is a long paragraph in your letter mystifying 
the version of 1816, and just so far discrediting the ope- 
rations of the American Bible Society for a series of 
years. You challenge me to produce this version, in 
terms apparently implying the impossibility. As re- 
gards the American Bible Society, I suppose that the 
first edition it published was " the version in common 
use" in 1816. If it was not, the Society committed 
a great wrong. Please to take notice. Doctor, that I 


do not affirm that this edition was a "perfect stand- 
ard," as you strangely seem to think it must necessa- 
rily have been. It no doubt had errors of the press, 
to be corrected by collation with the English copies. 
But it must have been (these errors excepted) the 
version then in common use, or else great culpability 
is chargeable upon the American Bible Society, who 
were bound to see that it possessed this character. — 
I produce, then, in compliance with your peremptory 
demand, the edition of the Bible, first struck off by 
the Society, as a standard edition of 1816, not indeed 
••/> rfect" or "immaculate," but subject to the correc- 
tion of such errors as a careful collation with English 
copies would discover. The Bible Society do not pre- 
tend that any of their editions have been " perfect ;" 
and even the Committee, who have brought out the 
new standard, say that "they claim no special free- 
dom from error ; they may very possibly not always 
have fully carried out their own rules ; they may 
have committed oversights," p. 31. Just such errors, 
owing to oversights, may have existed in the old 
plates of the New York Bible Society, handed over 
to the parent Institution. But there was "the version 
in common use," which, errors excepted, was, to all 
intents and purposes, the version to be perpetuated ; 
and if that edition of it, owing to the culpable negli- 
gence of the Society, did not fulfil the requirements 
of the Constitution, the standard edition of that pe- 


riod may at any time be reproduced by taking the 
Oxford or Cambridge editions of 1816, published by 
royal authority. Either of these editions would meet 
the demands of the Constitution of the American 
Bible Society in a court of law. Why, then, do you 
write with such imposing solemnity of tone about the 
impossibility of finding the standard edition of 1816, 
damaging at the same time, as you do, especially in 
the eyes of uncritical readers, the whole cause of 
Bible printing and circulation under the auspices of 
the American Bible Society in past years ? Between 
this old edition of 1816, and the other editions of the 
American Bible Society, up to 1851, there has been 
a substantial agreement. Your new standard, I admit, 
contains serious variations ; and yet you seem to want 
the public to believe that the " version in common 
use" in 1816 cannot now be produced. The two 
great fallacies in your reasoning on this point are, 
first, in supposing that anybody ever had the idea 
that any edition of 1816 was a " perfect " one ; and 
secondly, in supposing 4hat anybody had objections 
to the correction of that, or any other edition, by col- 
lation, at any time. The objections to your new edi- 
tion are not to the correction of errors by collation, 
but to their correction in other ways, and to many 
alterations made at the independent discretion of the 
Committee. There is no more difficulty in finding 
" the version in common use" in 1816. than in 1826, 


1836, 1846, or in any other year. What you say of 
the copies your Committee collated, is true of any of 
the editions, " the reproduction of any one, as it 
stood (i e. even with its errors), would have been 
substantially the reproduction of King James's Bible." 
Why all this special pleading, then, about the version 
in 1816? 

As to the headings, your letter contains an equally 
ingenious attempt at innocent mystification. In the 
first place, no one has ever claimed that these head- 
ings must necessarily be in all the editions, quarto, 
octavo, duodecimo, etc. In the second place, so far 
as the headings of the first edition published by the 
American Bible Societ} 7 varied from those in common 
use, they are unlawful. In the third place, it makes 
no difference whether the first new plates had head- 
ings, or not; because the Society had discretion to 
print editions without them. In the fourth place, 
all the ambiguity you throw around the headings of 
the other early American editions, is so much negli- 
gence set to the account of the Parent Society. In 
the fifth place, you acknowledge that the old standard 
headings were introduced " about 1828." Here, then, 
we are out of the fog, at last. The Society, after a 
careful examination, perhaps at the instance of " the 
Superintendent of Printing," finally reached the true 
ground, and fortunately without the aid of a Revision 
Committee of extraordinary powers. This return to 


the old letter " shows what interpretation the founders 
put upon their own constitution in respect to head- 
ings." (Dr. Ver.) In the sixth place, the continu- 
ance of these old headings to the present time, indi- 
cates their acknowledged binding authority in con- 
nection with editions in which they appear. In the 
seventh place, the objections against any headings, 
made by some persons in the olden time — which your 
memory reaches, but whereof I am not personally 
cognizant — and the discussions growing therefrom, 
make it appear that the Society then settled the prin- 
ciple of the thing, and have acted upon it, as a thing 
settled, down to 1857. In the eighth place, the ac- 
cessories, although not of divine origin, may by cir- 
cumstances be required to be as unchangeable as the 
text. To insist that a Revision Committee shall keep 
their hands off of the headings, by no means exalts 
" these human trappings to a level w T ith the Divine 
Word." (Dr. Ver.) In the ninth place, the issue 
that you are undertaking to raise by presenting the 
alternative of new improved headings or none at all, 
is radical and revolutionary ; and, depend upon it, it 
is utterly impracticable. The people clearly will not 
submit to any such alternative at all. They will 
insist upon the old headings, deliberately adopted by 
the Society, and in common use in various editions, 
until these latter clays of alteration. What I mean 
is that, on this subject, the American Bible Society 


shall not change its old policy and practice. Although 
the Society is not bound to put the headings into all 
the editions, large and small, it ought to continue to 
put them into those editions where they have ordi- 
narily been found. In the tenth place, the printing 
of the old headings with the version has the sanction 
of immemorial usage in the parent country, as well 
as in our own ; and this usage has taken them out of 
the category of prohibited, " note and comment." The 
Constitution requires the Society to publish the edi- 
tions of the Bible in its integrity, as it was issued 
from the English press, comprehending text and ac- 
cessories. These various points, briefly stated, I hold 
to be impregnable, notwithstanding the specious rea- 
soning in the latter part of your letter. The Ame- 
rican Bible Society will in -.peril its character, position, 
and usefulness, if it undertakes in any respect to alter 
the words of the text, or of the accessories, except as 
to errors to be corrected by collation. 

And now, permit me just to hint at some practical 
lessons deduced from your attempts at Bible emen- 

1. You see, my good friend, that it is a very dan- 
gerous thing to meddle with what is old. Whatever 
is incorporated with the religious feelings and usages 
of the community, has a sanctity that contains a 
dreadful power of resistance. 

2. A Bible Society ought to " abstain from all ap- 


pearance of evil." Better keep on in the good old 
ways, than strike into new and doubtful paths under 
a guidance which lacks universal confidence. 

3. The right to " print and circulate " involves the 
right to collate for the purpose of correcting errors 
that may be so detected, but it will not be allowed to 
go any farther. Collation does not involve the right 
of making other kinds of alterations in the text and 
its accessories. 

4. The fact that the alterations made "do not mar 
the integrity of the text, or affect any doctrine or 
precept of the Bible," p. 31, is not a sufficient plea 
of justification. Hundreds of other alterations, besides 
those effected by your Committee, might be made in 
words and even in the construction of sentences, and 
in this plausible way claim admittance. 

5. Things that are considered unimportant by some 
people, are regarded by others, equally conscientious, 
as vitally important, because involving fundamental 
principles. Conservatives are quite as useful charac- 
ters in civil society, as innovators and progressives. 
Future generations, as well as the mass of sober- 
minded people of the present generation, will thank 
the Old School Presbyterians for the stand they have 
taken against unwarrantable Bible emendations. 

6. God will bring good out of evil, and will es- 
tablish the cause of the old Saxon Bible upon a firmer 

38 * 2d 


foundation than ever. Let our works rather than 
our wrath be made to praise him. 

The American Bible Society was planned in the 
city of Burlington ; New Jersey,, where the first mea- 
sures were taken to found the National Institution ; 
and of the members of the Convention, which after- 
wards met in New York to draw up the Constitution, 
etc., about one-half of the ministers were Presbyte- 
rians, and Presbyterians whose character and subse- 
quent history identified them with the Old School. 
It is to me, personally, a pleasing incident that, from 
this city of its origin, where its first President re- 
sided, and as an Old School Presbyterian minister, I 
have been permitted to raise my voice, however 
feebly, in behalf of the American Bible Society, and 
its English Bible of 1816. In the name of that il- 
lustrious Convention, I call upon all the friends of 
good order, of peace, and of the old version and its 
accessories, to maintain their position of truth and 
right, with courtesy, firmness, and a reliance upon an 
overruling Providence. 

Your old friend, dear Dominie, 





At a meeting of the Board of Managers held Feb. 
4th. 1858, leave having been granted to Dr. Vermilye 
to read a Protest from several members of the Com- 
mittee on Versions, he proceeded to the reading of 
that paper, as follows : 


The undersigned, members of the Standing Committee on 
Versions, feel constrained to present their formal protest against 
the resolutions adopted by this Board, at its recent adjourned 
meeting, on the subject of the standard English Bible circulated 
by the Society, and of the proposed alterations in the same. 

They protest against these resolutions : 

First, As assuming a principle which is distinctly and em- 
phatically contradicted by the earliest history of this Society, as 
well as by the customs of the English presses, and the uniform 
and established usage of language — the principle, viz., that the 
accessories to that version of the Sacred Scriptures which this 
Society was organized to distribute, are an integral and perma- 
nent part of the version, and are, therefore, not susceptible of 
change and improvement by the action of this Society under its 
present constitution. 

They protest against the resolutions : 

Secondly, As giving validity, and the authority of this Board, 
to changes heretofore introduced by entirely unknown persons — 
probably by editors or proof-readers — in the text of the Scrip- 
tures, as well as its accessories, and making these an incorporate 


aud a co-ordinate part of the version to be circulated by this 
Society ; while the careful corrections, unanimously suggested 
by the Committee on Versions, under their responsibility to the 
Board the Society, and the Christian public, and which have 
been heretofore adopted by the Board, are rejected and set aside. 

They protest against the resolutions : 

Thirdly, As attributing a practical infallibility to the editors 
and printers of previous editions of the Holy Scriptures; or, at 
least, as giving an altogether unwarranted sacredness and au- 
thority to eveiTthe palpable errors and oversights committed by 
these ; thus exposing the Society to just criticism and censure, 
and a great and injurious limitation of its usefulness. 

They protest against the resolutions : 

Fourthly, As restoring, and, in effect, perpetuating "head- 
ings " and -'contents of chapters" which were not prepared by 
the College Translators, by whom our excellent version was 
made ; which have had no constant acceptance and support in 
the editions of the Scriptures issued in Great Britain or in this 
country ; which were not followed in the earliest Bibles published 
by this Society, and were not introduced into any of these till 
the year 1830; which contain many obsolete terms and phrases 
not found in the version, with not a few statements that are pal- 
pably untrue, being expressly contradicted by the text; and 
many of which "headings," etc., are, in the judgment of the 
undersigned, in direct and plain contravention of that first article 
of the constitution of the Society which inhibits it from publish- 
ing "note or comment." 

They protest against these resolutions : 

Fifthly, As tending, by necessary force and immediate conse- 
quence, to limit the functions of the Committee on Tersions — so 
far as the English version is concerned, with all its accessories — 
to that of a mere mechanical proof-reader, and to limit the func- 
tion of the Society itself to that of a simple printing establish- 
ment, divesting it of all the authority and right which it hereto- 
fore has claimed, and through this Board of Managers has more 
than once exercised, of perfecting from time to time, by a more 
careful editing, and the correcting of errors before unnoticed, the 


copies of that inestimable version which it constantly has dis- 

They protest against the resolutions : 

Sixthly, As having been the fruit of the action of a commit- 
tee who, through inadvertence, or for some other reason, had 
sought no conference with the Committee on Versions ; had pre- 
sented to them no specifications of the charges made against 
their work ; and had neither obtained nor requested from them 
any authorized statement or explanation, in answer to such 
charges, of the principles upon which that work had been con- 

They protest against the resolutions : 

Seventhly, As casting, if not directly and in terms, yet by 
necessary inference, an unmerited reproach on the Committee on 
Versions, whose members laboured for three and a half years, 
conscientiously and diligently, at the request of the Board, to 
prepare for the Society the most perfect edition possible of the 
version in common use ; and whose work, at first unanimously 
accepted by the Board with thanks and applause ; eulogized in 
the annual reports of the Society ; received by all the purchasers 
of its Bibles without dissent ; distributed as valuable gifts to 
theological seminaries, and sent with letters of strong commen- 
dation, by order of the Board, to eminent citizens in our own 
country, and even to sovereigns in Europe and elsewhere, is now, 
after the lapse of nearly seven years, summarily discarded. 

They protest against the resolutions : 

Eighthly, As further and needlessly increasing this reproach, 
by giving no specifications of the errors assumed to have been 
committed by the Committee on Versions in their work of revi- 
sion — thus practically allowing the most exaggerated and in- 
jurious impressions, which have been circulated of late concern- 
ing them and their work, to pass uncontradicted, and seeming, 
in the absence of such contradiction, to give to these impressions 
the implicit sanction of the Board. 

They protest against the resolutions : 

Ninthly and Finally, As having been adopted at a meeting 
of the Board at which the careful arguments and historical state- 


ments prepared in behalf of the several reports then under con- 
sideration, which had before been prevented from being pub- 
lished, were not allowed to be read, thus preventing a large 
number of those present and voting, from attaining that know- 
ledge of the facts concerned and the principles involved, which 
only these papers, as distinguished from individual and oral dis- 
cussion, were fitted to afford. 

On the grounds thus recited, with others not now needful to 
be specified, the undersigned respectfully but firmly protest against 
the resolutions thus adopted by the Board, and ask that this 
paper may be received and entered upon the minutes. 

Signed, Edward Robinson, 

Thomas Cock, 
Thomas E. Vermilye, 
Samuel H. Turner, 
James Floy. 

On all grouuds except the sixth, which expresses' certain 
views with reference to the Special Committee, which, as its 
Chairman, he does not feel called on to express. 

R. S. Storrs, Jr. 

The undersigned, formerly a member of the Committee on 
Versions, was satisfied then, and is now, that the principle at 
the basis of that Committee's work is correct. He asks, there- 
fore, to append his name to the Protest, to testify his opinion 
that the Committee did not violate the Constitution, in letter or 
in spirit, in preparing either the text or accessories of the late 
standard edition of the Scriptures. 

John McClintock. 

New York, February 4, 1858. 

This Protest was received, which gives it a place 
upon the files of the Society ; but, after considerable 
discussion, it was decided not to allow it a place, as a 
protest, upon the minutes. 


[The Board of Managers, in the judgment of many friends of 
the Bible cause, committed an error in refusing to allow the Pro- 
test to go upon the records. An Answer to the Protest rnight 
have been prepared immediately, and both Protest and Answer 
boon placed together among the archives of the Society. The 
following Answer is put forth in the fear of God, and with the 
love of truth. — C. V. R.] 


A life member of the Board of Managers of the 
American Bible Society feels constrained to answer 
the Protest, issued by the resigning members of the 
Committee on Versions, in all its parts, from beginning 
to end, in the manner and form following : 

First. The resolutions of the Board of Managers, 
rescinding the action of the Committee on Versions, 
assume a principle which is implied in the common 
usage of language relating to the subject ; is recog- 
nized by the British standard editions, issued by royal 
authority; and although unwittingly impaired to some 
extent, in the earliest editions of the American Bible 
Society, 1 was reaffirmed with marked emphasis by the 
Board of Managers in 1830, as at the present time, 
viz., that the accessories to the English version, which 
the American Bible Society was organized to distri- 
bute, are, like the text itself, to be held inviolate, and 

1 See Mr. Lenox's Note to Dr. Boardman's Report, and Dr. 
Brigham's Second Letter. 


cannot be changed by the action of the Society under 
its present constitution. 

Secondly. The resolutions of the Board of Man- 
agers give validity and authority to the condition of 
the text and accessories of the English Bible, as 
found "in common use in 1816," when the American 
Bible Society was organized; the previous changes 
from the original edition of 1611, which were com- 
paratively few and unimportant, and had grown up 
with the silent acquiescence of the British authori- 
ties, being part of the edition adopted by the Consti- 
tution of the Society for circulation, whilst the many, 
and often careless and radical alterations, suggested 
by the Committee on Versions, without regard to the 
limitations of 1816, have been rejected and set aside, 
for reasons satisfactory to the Board, the Society, and 
the Christian public. 

Thirdly. The resolutions attribute no infallibility 
to erring men, whether printers, collators, or revisers 
of the Holy Scriptures, in this or in past generations; 
but simply prefer the old edition as it is (with the 
correction, by collation, of palpable errors and over- 
sights), to the proposed emendations of the Commit- 
tee, which would expose the Society to just criticism 
and censure, and a great and injurious limitation of 
its usefulness. 

Fourthly. The resolutions of the Board of Mana- 
gers aim at restoring and perpetuating the headings 


and contents of chapters, prepared under the autho- 
rity of the College of translators, 1 by whom our ex- 
cellent version was made ; which were followed with 
a few unintentional variations, in the earliest editions 
of the American Bible Society, and were authori- 
tatively introduced into all its editions as soon as the 
facts became known to the Society ; 2 and if the old 
headings and contents contain a few obsolete and 
doubtful terms and phrases, they are far less excep- 
tionable, on the whole, than the headings of the Col- 
lator and Committee, some of which were, in the 
judgment of the Board, in direct and plain contra- 
vention of that first article of the Constitution of the 
Society, which inhibits it from publishing " note or 
comment," and which restricts it to " the version now 
in common use." 

Fifthly. The function of the Committee on Ver- 
sions, so far as the English version is concerned, has, 
by necessary force, and immediate consequence, and 
direct authority, been generally understood to- be con- 
fined to that of "mechanical proof-reading," or, in 
other words, to collation; and the true function of 
the Society itself, as regards publication, is in some 
respects even more restricted than that of a private 
printing establishment, which is not bound by a writ- 

1 See first paragraph to Dr. Brigham's Third Letter. 

2 See Dr. Brigham's Second Letter. 



ten Constitution ; and the Board of Managers have 
always acted upon the principle of editing the editions 
carefully, and of correcting errors by collation, but 
they disown the principle of introducing changes into 
the text and accessories, such as are openly admitted 
by the Committee on Versions to have been in no pre- 
vious editions whatever. 

Sixthly. The chairman of the Committee of Nine 
was a member of the Committee on Versions, and 
competent (as appears from his Minority Report) to 
oive all the necessary information in reference to a 
subject thoroughly discussed and well understood; 
nevertheless, when the committee endeavoured to 
gain access to the Society's book, in which the Col- 
lator kept an account of all the variations in the 
copies collated, as stated in the published Report of 
1851, they were informed that said book was not yet 
"ready" [in January, 1858, after a lapse of seven 
years. 1 ] 

Seventhly. Never were Christian gentlemen treated 
personally with more tender and universal respect 
than the protesting members of the Committee on 
Versions ; and no reproach was implied in the action 
of the Board, beyond that of an official disapprobation 
of unconstitutional emendations, which over-sensitive 

1 See Report on the recent Collation, p. 28, where the mode 
of preparing: this book is described. Also Dr. Brig-ham's Third 
Letter, under Division IV. 


and zealous reformers might misinterpret and thus 
misname ; and the mere fact that their work of " three 
and a half years," at first deemed worthy of eulogy 
and of presentation to seminaries and sovereigns, was 
after a more thorough examination judged to be in 
contravention to the principles of the American Bible 
Society, does not fairly convey unjustifiable censure 
to the Committee on Versions, especially as the Board 
has determined to retain all that is really valuable, 
or at least unexceptionable, in their labours. 

Eighthly. Specifications of the errors in principle 
and the errors in practice, committed by the Com- 
mittee on Versions in their work of revision, were 
abundantly enumerated at all the meetings of the 
Board of Managers at which the subject was con- 
sidered ; so that one of the last grounds of plausible 
protest is the lack of information, on the part of 
the protesters, in regard to the points complained of; 
and it is believed that the public, instead of having 
an exaggerated and unjust view of the work of the 
revisers, possess a very imperfect and lenient impres- 
sion of the nature, and extent of their unconstitutional 

Ninthly and finally. The Board of Managers did 
not deem it necessary to read again, at an adjourned 
meeting, documents previously read, well understood, 
immensely long, and only called for by those who 
seemed most unwilling to come to a vote ; nor did 


any of the Managers finally vote without a full 
knowledge of the facts and principles involved, un- 
less the protesters have more information about some 
of the minority than is claimed by those on the oppo- 
site side. 

If any other "grounds of protest" should be here- 
after " recited " — which, however, it is believed are 
" not needful to be specified " — they will receive in 
due time a full and candid answer. 

All which is respectfully submitted. 






All Christian men seek "the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth." So far as I may 
have commited errors in the history of the American 
Bible Society, or may hereafter commit them, it is 
my sincere desire that they may be corrected. I do 
not admit, however, that my revised statement of 
the origin of the American Bible Society contains 
any error ; while I think it can be shown that my old 
friend " Cameroy " has himself fallen into material 
mistakes. Let the truth be evolved by discussion. 

The idea of a national Bible Society was undoubt- 
edly in many minds long before its formation. The 
British and Foreign Bible Society, which was estab- 
lished in 1804, suggested to the Philadelphia Bible 
Society the expediency of forming a similar institu- 
tion in the United States. The proposition was re- 
ceived by some favourably, as appears from the advo- 

1 This Letter originally appeared in the New York Observer. 
It is generally known that "Cameroy" is the Rev. James W. 
McLean, D. D., the Collator of the new edition of the Bible. 



cacy of Mills and from the New Jersey movement ; 
but it met with opposition from the Philadelphia and 
New York Bible Societies, and elsewhere. There can 
be no doubt that Samuel J. Mills ardently desired 
the formation of a national Bible Society ; and other 
prominent and enterprising men of that day were of 
a similar mind. I have no disposition to detract a 
particle from the merits of Mills, whose name is pre- 
cious among the people of God. I am forward with 
" Cameroy," in giving to that truly good and gifted 
man, all praises for his thoughts, and efforts, and 
prayers, as a Bible distributor, and as an advocate for 
a national institution. But the chief question is, 
who originated and planned the measures which led 
to the final success of the scheme ? Hundreds had 
thought of applying steam to machinery, and machi- 
nery to navigation; but Watt and Fulton enjoy the 
reputation of reducing those great ideas to practical 
and useful results. Without at all disparaging the 
efficiency of Mills in propagating sentiments favour- 
able to the organization of a National Bible Society, 
I believe that the claims of Dr. Boudinot, as its 
founder, cannot be overthrown. 

Dr. Spring, whose admirable Life of Mills has fur- 
nished the principal facts in Cameroy's communica- 
tion, summed up the question more impartially than 
Cameroy has done ; and I beg leave to add a sentence 
to the extracts, quoted by Cameroy from that book. 


Dr. Spring, speaking of the interview between " a re- 
spectable member of the General Assembly" and Dr. 
Boudinot, at Burlington, N. J., after the rising of the 
Assembly in June, 1814, says : 

" It was at this interview the foundation of this lofty edifice 
[the American Bible Society] was laid, and if it has inscribed 
on one side the endeared and memorable name of Elias Boudi- 
not, it has on the other the humble inscription of Samuel J. 
Mills," p. 97. 

The terms " originated," " founded," etc., are used 
somewhat indefinitely. Neither Mills nor Boudinot 
"originated" the idea of a National Bible Society. 
All admit that its formation was first proposed by the 
British and Foreign Bible Society. Mills took up 
the idea with great earnestness, and advocated it with 
all his powers ; but Boudinot was the man who ori- 
ginated and executed, under God, the measures which' 
resulted in its formation. Let us examine the facts, 
and see if they do not warrant this conclusion. 

At a meeting of the Board of Managers, held on 
August 30th, 1814, at Burlington, in Dr. Boudinot's 
house, resolutions were offered by Dr. Boudinot, which 
had in view the formation of a National Bible Soci- 
ety. On the following day, Dr. Boudinot, chairman 
of the committee on this subject, brought in a report, 
which was adopted by the Managers, and also adopted 
by the State Society, which met in Burlington on the 
same day, August 31st. The great object in view 


was to form a national union of Bible Societies, " for 
the purpose of disseminating the Scriptures of the 
Old and New Testament, according to the present 
approved version, without note or comment, in places 
beyond the limits of the United States, or within 
them, where the State Societies, or any one of them, 
shall be unable, from any circumstance whatever, to 
supply their wants, or where there shall not be a 
Bible Society established in the State." The details 
of this plan might have been changed, certainly with 
the approbation of the local Societies, by the Conven- 
tion, when met. The object was, in general, the 
same that is contemplated by the existing American 
Bible Society. 

Dr. Boudinot immediately issued circulars to all 
the Bible Societies in the United States, then few in 
number. The subject met with favour for a time ; 
but the Philadelphia Bible Society, the oldest of all, 
became strongly opposed to the contemplated move- 
ment for a general Society, and sent a circular in 
opposition to the one issued by Dr. Boudinot. Dr. 
Boudinot states, in his report of 3d of April, 1815, 
that he sent answers to the Philadelphia circular. 
" but in most instances they arrived too late, the 
Societies having taken their measures immediately 
on receipt of the address from Philadelphia. This 
has prevented the success of the whole measure, 
which at first seemed to give universal satisfaction." 


The good man, however, was not discouraged, al- 
though he had much to contend with. The Phila- 
delphia Society, with Bishop White and Robert Ral- 
ston at its head, was opposed to a national institution 
under any form. The Philadelphia plan was simply 
to secure annually the publication of a report, giving 
an account of the operations of all the Bible Socie- 
ties in the country. The Society in New York also 
declined to take any measures to send delegates to 
the first general meeting, which was to have been 
held in Philadelphia during the meeting of the As- 
sembly in May, 1815. 

In regard to this opposition on the part of the New 

York Bible Society, Cameroy omits to state, that it 

was owing to objections to any General Society, as 

well as to the objections to the plan proposed. The 

Report of the Board of Managers, of the date of Nov. 

29th, 1814, says: 

" This Board, however, were not able to discover any advan- 
tages likely to result from the contemplated institution, which 
could not be compassed by a more simple, expeditious, and less 
expensive process, namely, by correspondence." The Report 
then specifies objections arising from [the expense of delegates, 
consumption of time, impracticability of securing their attend- 
ance, and concludes by declaring] " the inexpediency of delegating 
in this manner the control of their respective funds, under any 
regulations that might be devised, to secure the ends proposed." 
Pp. 11, 12. 

The New York Bible Society, therefore, was, at this 

time, not only opposed to Dr. Boudinot's plan, but to 



any plan whatever for a General Society ; preferring 
to do the work by "correspondence," and unwilling 
to trust its funds out of its own hands. The Board 
of Managers of the Society, where " the influence of 
Mills was more particularly felt/' state that they 
were " unanimous " in their conclusion. 

Such an amount of opposition to a General Bible 
Union would have caused many a man, less reso- 
lute than Dr. Boudinot, to abandon the project in 
despair. But Dr. Boudinot felt that he was commis- 
sioned to do a great work, in his Divine Master's 
name. At the meeting of the New Jersey Bible 
Society, on August 30th, 1815, he made " a very long 
report " on his favourite subject, which was referred 
to the Board of Managers, and by them referred to a 
committee, to report at their next meeting in April, 
1816. But the meeting in April was too remote for 
a man of his energy. He continued to correspond 
on the subject, with his large heart bent on accom- 
plishing its purpose. Fortunately, about this time, 
the New York Bible Society, under the urgent repre- 
sentations of Mills, began to reconsider their previous 
position of opposition to a general Bible Union of any 
hoH. Thus it was that the Society ' where Mills's 
influence was more particularly felt,' began, more than 
a year after the New Jersey movement, to think favour- 
ably of a ' General Bible Institution for the United 
States,' as they expressed it. 


In Cameroy' s attempt to elevate Mills above Bou- 
dinot, he deems it necessary to maintain that the dif- 
ference between the Burlington plan and the one ulti- 
mately adopted, nullified the claim of Dr. Boudinot 
to be considered the founder of the American Bible 
Society. He is unwilling to look upon all the move- 
ments in behalf of a national institution, as a suc- 
cession of the same evangelistic efforts. As Cameroy 
and myself do not agree upon Dr. Boudinot's claim to 
be regarded the founder of the American Bible 
Society, I propose to bring up, for examination, wit- 
nesses of the olden time ; and, inasmuch as Cameroy 
loves to consult the original, I will quote from official 
documents. I will begin with the New York Bible 
Society, where, according to Cameroy, " Mills's influ- 
ence was more particularly felt." This Society, in 
their report of December, 1815, state, they judged it 
expedient to call a convention, " for the purpose of 
considering whether such co-operation may be effected 
in a better manner than by the correspondence of the 
different Societies, as now established ; and if so, that 
the delegates prepare a draft of a plan of such co- 
operation, to be submitted to the different Societies 
for their decision." Here, it will be seen that the 
call for the Convention specified no particular pla n, 
but left the details to the decision of a Convention. 
And in order to show the reader that this movement 
was judged to be only a continuation of measures to 


secure Dr. Boudinot's object, I ask attention to the 
following sentences in the report, immediately suc- 
ceeding the sentence which Cameroy quoted in part. 
Why he did not quote the whole, is for him to say. 

" This vote (in favour of a Convention) has been, by order of 
the Board, communicated to the President of the New Jersey 
Bible Society [Dr. Boudinot], with whom the subject originated, 
and by whom it has hitherto been prosecuted, as the most suit- 
able person to call such a Convention, at the time and in the 
manner which he may think fit." — Report, N. Y. Bib. Soc. 1815, 
p. 11. 

Cameroy will see, from the whole paragraph, that 
the New York Bible Society had no hesitation in 
declaring that the subject of forming a National 
Society "originated" with Dr. Boudinot (the very 
word I used), " by whom it has been hitherto prose- 
cuted," clearly implying that he was the chief agent 
in forming the Society. As no one denies that the 
first measures in reference to a general organization 
were taken in the " old Quaker City " of Burlington, 
I claim that the New York Bible Society fully indorses 
my three propositions, correctly stated by Cameroy. 
The testimony of the times, and especially of that 
" particular " Society, is better than any of Cameroy's 
reasoning. The men who drew up that report, knew 
perfectly well that Mills was an active advocate of a 
National Bible Society; but they also well knew that 
the credit of originating and prosecuting measures 


for the formation of the Society belonged to Dr. 

I propose, in the next place, to " collate " my state- 
ment respecting the agency of Dr. Boudinot, and of 
the New Jersey Bible Society, in this matter, with 
the statement of the first Report of the American 
Bible Society. On the first page of the first Report, 
Cameroy will find these words : 

" The Managers feel it their duty to state that the plan of such 
an institution was first suggested by the British and Foreign Bible 
Society, to the Philadelphia Bible Society. No measures, how- 
ever, were adopted to attempt its execution, until the Neiv Jersey 
Bible Society undertook the experiment. Although baffled in 
their first effort, their worthy President [Dr. Boudinot], acting 
in conformity to their wishes, persevered in the good work, and 
finally succeeded. Called by the unanimous voice of the Man- 
agers to the Presidency of the National Institution, he is, in the 
decline of life, enjoying that pleasure which springs from his 
work of faith and labour of love, thus far owned of God, and 
promising the highest and most lasting blessings to this Western 
Continent." — First An. Report, 1817, pp. 9 and 10. 

Cameroy will here find no attempt to break up the 
connection between the original " Burlington action," 
and the final action in New York. The Report of 
the American Bible Society cordially admits that Dr. 
Boudinot devised the original measures for the execu- 
tion of the plan, and persevered until he finally suc- 

Cameroy will perceive, in the statements of these 
two official Reports, something more substantial than 


treacherous tradition ; and I think he will also wonder 
how he came to write with so much confidence that 
" the records of the past are against " my three several 
positions. The records confirm every one of them. 

Cameroy's communication leaves the impression 
upon the mind of the reader, that the ground of the 
opposition from the Philadelphia Bible Society to the 
first proposition to form a general association, was the 
peculiar nature of the original plan. But this is 
another of his mistakes. The Philadelphia Bible 
Society opposed the second Convention, held in New 
York, in 1816, for the same reasons that had been 
urged in 1814. The Report for 1816, states on this 
subject as follows : 

"To the proposition, recently revived by the Bible Societies 
of New Jersey and New York, for establishing a general So- 
ciety for the United States, they have attended with those dis- 
positions which the magnitude of the scheme and the respecta- 
bility of its origin required. Without swelling their report by 
entering into a detail of the reasons of the managers for dissent- 
ing from this plan, which were communicated in a printed cir- 
cular to their sister societies about the close of the year 1814, 
they are compelled to acknowledge their unanimous adherence to 
the objections then urged, as conclusive in their minds against its 

It thus appears that both the friends and the op- 
ponents of the General Society of that day, admitted 
the identity of the objects and aims of the two Con- 
ventions. It has been left to Cameroy to attempt a 
"revision" of the original testimony of the founders 


of the American Bible Society, and in such a way as 
to " affect the sense " of the records — not willingly, 
but unconsciously. The error is of the head, and not 
of the heart — like mine about tradition. 

Finally, let us hear Dr. Boudinot himself, the aged 
patriarch, the founder of the Institution, and its first 
President. In the Appendix to the first Annual 
Report of the American Bible Society, is a letter from 
Dr. Boudinot, which shows that the Burlington action 
had never been in any danger of dying out. Having 
drawn up all the early papers on the subject, twice 
issued circulars to all the local Societies, published 
answers to objections, made official reports, and car- 
ried on an extensive correspondence, the following- 
extract shows the spirit of the man, whose hand was 
incessantly engaged in the great work : 

"Although there have been great temptations to despair of 
final success, yet have I been so strengthened with the assurance 
that it was a work of God, and that he would show his power 
and glory in bringing it to maturity in his own time, and by his 
own means, that I had determined, in case of failure in the last 
attempt, to commence the great business at all events, with the 
aid of a few laymen, who had testified their willingness to go 
all lengths with me." 

In this, extract Cameroy may see a man, whose 
great singleness and purity of purpose was mingled 
with indomitable resolution and perseverance — just 
such a man as Providence raised up to " originate " 
and " prosecute " the measures, which, in the midst 


of much opposition, resulted in the formation of the 
American Bible Society. 

Dr. Boudinot was prevented by severe sickness, 
from attending the Convention that met in New York, 
in 1816. In his absence, his friend and fellow-la- 
bourer, Joshua M.Wallace, Esq., of Burlington, N. J., 
was elected President of the Convention. If the 
delight on the countenance of the youthful Mills, at 
that Convention, was "worthy of the pencil of a 
West, or a Raphael," what painter could delineate 
the hope and faith and peace that illuminated the 
mind and features of the venerable patriarch in his 
sick chamber, praying for the consummation of the 
last efforts of his long life, and waiting for the conso- 
lation of Israel? 

The truth is that Mills, as Cameroy well expresses 
it in one of his sentences, was a "pioneer;" but Bou- 
dinot was the founder of the American Bible Society. 
Mills was absent on missionary tours at the West and 
Southwest, during almost the whole of the years 
1812, 1813, 1814, and 1815, there having been a 
short interval of time between his two excursions. 
Dr. Boudinot was in constant intercourse with the 
chief men of New York and Philadelphia; corres- 
ponded with the British and Foreign Bible Society ; 
and, as President of the New Jersey Bible Society, 
from its foundation in 1809, he was familiar with all 
the practical bearings of Bible distribution, and well 


knew the difficulties resulting from a want of union 
in these efforts. It is unreasonable to suppose that 
such a man never thought of the advantages of a 
National Society, prior to the interview at Burlington, 
in 1814. The time had at length come for action. 
That interview may have assisted in stimulating the 
enterprising mind of Dr. Boudinot to commence the 
work of organizing ; but whatever may have been its 
influence, that interview only establishes the connec- 
tion of the name of Boudinot with the foundation of 
the American Bible Society. 

Whilst amicably discussing the comparative merits 
of Boudinot and Mills, in reference to the point at 
issue, let us gratefully acknowledge that both of these 
excellent men were servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
raised up to do a great work, in their respective 
spheres, in their day and generation ; and that what- 
ever usefulness crowned the labours of their lives, all 
its praise is due to God alone. 

C. Van Rensselaer. 




Since writing the foregoing reply to " Cameroy," I have suc- 
ceeded in finding Dr. Boudinot's Circular Letter, inviting the 
different Bible Societies to send Delegates to a Convention in 
New York, in the year 1816, for the purpose of forming a Na- 
tional Institution. This Circular throws some light upon the 
points agitated by " Cameroy." 


To the Several Bible Societies in the United States 
of America. 

Brethren : It is with peculiar pleasure that I once more ad- 
dress you, on the interesting subject of the extension of the Re- 
deemer's kingdom, by disseminating his Gospel wherever it is not 
known. After serious reflection, I determined again to solicit 
a meeting of Delegates from such Bible Societies as shall cor- 
dially join in this measure. Having laid this proposal before the 
Bible Society of New York, it took a more enlarged view of the 
plan, and adopted the following resolutions : 

"Resolved, 1st. That it is highly desirable to obtain, upon as 
large a scale as possible, a co-operation of the efforts of the 
Christian community throughout the United States, for the effi- 
cient distribution of the Holy Scriptures. 

"2d. That, as a means for the attainment of this end, it will 
be expedient to have a Convention of Delegates from such Bible 
Societies, as shall be disposed to concur in this measure, to meet 
at , on the day of next, for the purpose of con- 
sidering whether such a co-operation may be effected in a better 
manner than by the correspondence of the different Societies, as 
now established ; and if so, that they prepare the draft of a plan 
for such co-operation, to be submitted to the different Societies 
for their decisions. 


" 3d. That the Secretary transmit the above resolutions to the 
President of the New Jersey Bible Society, as expressive of the 
opinion of this Board, on the measures therein contained, and at 
the same time signifying the wish of this Board that he would 
exercise his own discretion in bringing the subject before the 

In pursuance of the foregoing resolutions, requesting me to 
designate the time and place at which the proposed meeting of 
Delegates from the different Bible Societies in the United States 
shall take place ; after mature deliberation, and consulting judi- 
cious friends on this important subject, I am decidedly of the 
opinion that the most suitable place for the proposed meeting is 
in the city of New York, and the most convenient time, the 
second Wednesday of May next ; and I do appoint and recom- 
mend the said meeting to be held at that time and place. Should 
it please a merciful God to raise me from the bed of sickness to 
which I am now confined, it will afford me the highest satisfac- 
tion to attend at that time, and contribute all in my power toward 
the establishment and organization of a Society which, with the 
blessing of God, I have not the least doubt will in time, in point 
of usefulness, be second only to the parent institution (the British 
and Foreign Bible Society), shed an unfading lustre on our Chris- 
tian community, and prove a blessing to our country and the 



President of the N J. Bible Society. 

Burlington, Jan. 17th, 1816. 

This circular of Dr. Boudinot establishes the following posi- 

1. After the failure of Dr. Boudinot's first effort to obtain a 
meeting of Delegates to form a National Society, he had made 
up his mind to call another meeting for that purpose, on his own 

2. Dr. Boudinot himself brought the subject before the New 
York Bible Society, the second time ; and the resolutions of this 


Society in favour of a Convention were a response to Dr. Bou- 
dinot's suggestions. 

3. After an interval of two years, the New York Bible Society 
was led to believe that "a more enlarged" plan of conducting 
operations ought to be adopted, than that of mere "correspond- 
ence " between the different Societies, which was their original 
and crude plan, when Dr. Boudinot first called their attention, in 
1814, to the importance of general co-operation on a national 

4. No particular measures were proposed by the New York 
Society in their resolutions uniting in a call for another Conven- 
tion, but the matter was left entirely open for the action of the 
Convention itself. The resolutions and the Circular aimed simply 
at securing co-operation in a better form than the existing one, 
of correspondence. 

5. All the official documents of the day, as they come to light, 
prove that Dr. Boudinot, more than any other man, is entitled 
to the appellation of Founder of the American Bible Society. 

C. V. R. 





Providence often summons o person to the performance of duties, 

wllloh WOuld otherwise nnuv mil urn II v have devolved upon others. 

i Ivlnp In Burlington, by the side of Bishop Doane, I felt called upon 
to notloe his death My own stand-poinl varies from that of some 
others I shall have qo personal controversy with any who differ 

lYoiW mi' t iod is the JudgQ of all. 

C.V K 



" Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord ; for his mercies are great: 
but let me not fall into the hand of man." — 2 Sam. 24 : 14. 

In the choice of evils, which God offered to David, 
the king wisely preferred years of pestilence or famine 
from the hand of the Lord, to months of adversity in 
the midst of his enemies. 

Every man has his trials, and especially every 
great man; and the most severe are those which 
come from his fellow-creatures. To fall into mans 
hands is the worst of human calamities. It was ,so 
in David's day ; it is so now. 

I. Let us first consider some of the causes of man's 
bitterness against his fellow-man, or more specifically, 
some of the reasons of THE FEARFUL HARSHNESS of 
human judgments. In discussing this subject, it is 
by no means implied that all opinions, condemn in- 
the conduct of our fellow-men, are wrong or unjust ; 

1 Preached in the Presbyterian Church, Burlington, X J 
May 1st, 1859. 



but simply that there is a strong tendency to severe 
judgments, even when evil may have been com- 
mitted ; and that this tendency may be explained in 
various ways. 

1. Human depravity accounts, in the general, for 
every offence against God or our neighbours, in 
thought, or word, or deed ; for all the wars and ru- 
mours of wars, whether on the scale of nations, or 
of families, or of individuals. It is sin, perverting 
the understanding and hardening the heart, that 
brings into society, enmity, and all uncbaritableness. 

The monuments of man's ill-will to his fellow-men 
are reared all along the highroad of his depravity. 

2. Self-righteousness has much to do with our harsh 
judgments against others. We unconsciously gratify 
our love of self in condemning others for sins, of 
which we ourselves may not be guilty. Our testi- 
mony against others becomes a pleasant mode of vin- 
dicating our own innocence. Did you never see the 
self-righteous schoolboy magnify the infirmities of his 
companion, in the vanity of bringing into notice his 
own merit ? Thus it is with self-righteous detractors, 
everywhere, and at nil times. 

3. Personal prejudices go far to embitter our views 
of the actions and conduct of others. Some men are 
so constituted, with strong elements of character, as 
easily to make friends or enemies. Harsh opinions 


will, of course, be formed of them, by those whose 
prejudices have been aroused. 

4. Sectarian animosities are another source of se- 
vere judgment. Powerfully, though often uncon- 
sciously, do these denominational alienations affect 
one church in its estimate of the great men of an- 
other; and this infirmity may prevail in one's own 
church as well as in other churches. 

5. Jealous?/ of a higher position than our own, 
must not be omitted in the catalogue of erring causes. 
It is a prolific source of differences, both in public 
and private life. 

6. Injury to our temporal interests often violently 
affects our opinion of our neighbour. The love of 
money is the root of all evil. A failure to return 
dollar for dollar engenders a distrust and enmity that 
may pursue its victim for life. 

These are some of the causes that render it fearful 
to fall into the hands of man. Our characters, our 
motives, and our conduct find little charity among 
our fellows. I again distinctly admit that there is 
too often just ground of condemnation, and that 
wrong actions always deserve rebuke. These remarks 
are far from being intended to palliate crime, or to 
extenuate the guilt of human wickedness. Their 
object is to expose the tendency to exaggeration in 
evil reports, and to explain the reasons which often 
sway the mind in its too severe scrutiny of the con- 
41 2f 


duct of others; and even when men have undeniably 
committed grievous sins, the words of David are only 
the more true: "Let us fall into the hand of the 
Lord, for his mercies are great ; but let me not fall 
into the hand of man ! " 

II. The greatness of God's mercies are a ground 
of confidence, to all who rightly put their trust in 

1. God's mercies are great in the general manifesta- 
tions of Ids Providence. He preserves and blesses all. 
He causes his sun " to rise on the evil and the good, 
and sends his rain on the just and the unjust." " He 
has not left himself without a witness, in that he 
gives us fruitful seasons, and fills our hearts with food 
and gladness." Yea, men who violate the Sabbath, 
and take the name of God in vain, are permitted to 
reap abundant harvests. Mercy adorns Providence, 
as the buds and blossoms beautify our trees in spring. 
All mankind, however wicked, are invited to enter- 
tain thoughts of hope and God. In every individual's 
life, there are multitudes of mercies (so the text). 
Whilst this is no'ground of presumption, it is of trust, 
—certainly of the preference of David : " Let me fall 
into the hand of the Lord, for his mercies are great." 

2. The plan of salvation shows God's great mercy. 
" God so loved the world, that he gave his only be- 
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should 
not perish, but have eternal life." Jesus listens to 


the cry of the penitent, and invites the backslider' f 
return. He is the tender-hearted Friend of publicans 
and sinners. His precious blood can wash out guilt 
of deepest hue. He is more ready to forgive than 
the faint-hearted suppliant to ask. There is match- 
less loVe in the Person of the Son of Man. Behold 
him pleading with the weary and heavy laden, for- 
giving sins, healing diseases, blessing the sorrowing, 
saving the lost. Oh, Saviour, we can come to thee ! 
Thy birth, and life, and crucifixion, and resurrection, 
and ascension, declare the love, and condescension, 
and majesty of a God. Into thy hands we can com- 
mend our all, living or dying ; but oh, " let us not 
fall into the hand of man ! " 

3. The distribution of God's grace displays his 
manifold mercy. He apportions his grace to all 
classes of men, in every continent and nation, bar- 
barian, Scythian, Greek, or Jew ; and to men of all 
classes, high or low, rich or poor, bond or free, moral 
or immoral. "The chief of sinners" finds his place; 
and " the least of all saints " receives his share. 
The spirit also moves on mighty masses of men, who 
yet resist His call. God's grace is communicated 
on a vast scale, and it is of the highest spiritual 

In the presence of such manifestations of Divine 
mercy, in the kingdom of providence and grace, a 
poor sinner may put his trust in the Lord when no 


charity is offered from num. If really innocent, the 
judgment of the Omniscient acquits at Bis bar tin- 
person accused of criminal offences. If, on the con- 
trary, the accused person is guilty, it is safer to fall 
into the hand of the Lord, whose men its are .meat. 
ihan into the hand of man; not simply on tl, 
ral grounds specified, but lor reasons such as the fol- 
lowing, in particular : 

In the first place, God sees all. tin <.r/> nuating >•',,-, n in- 
stances of the guilty action, whilst man magnifies 
every particular of infirmity, and perverts every ru- 
mour with a thousand tongues. In the second place. 
God distinguishes between acts, and rj,,i racU ,-. A Chris- 
tian may backslide into conduct which brings reproach 
upon the Church, as David, and Solomon, and Peter 
did; and yet God can discern the true, predominant 
religious character of the offender, during the interval 
of his temporary apostacy. The judgment of man on 
the other hand commonly overlooks this essential dis- 
tinction, and confounds occasional backsliding with 
habitual acts of wickedness. In the third place, 
God is acquainted with the penitential exercises of the 
returning transgressor. He accepts the renewal of 
his faith in Christ, notwithstanding the guilt and 
rebellion of the past ; but man, unforgiving by na- 
ture, is both unable and often unwilling to discern 
the relation in which the offender may afterwards 
stand in the presence of the King of kings. 


It was a wise preference, therefore, of David, when 
he declared : " Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, 
for his mercies are great; but let me not fall into the 
hand of man." 

With these preliminary explications of the spirit 
of the text, T proceed to a consideration of the 
character and services of that remarkable man. 
whose sudden death has thrown shadows so dark 
and so far. 

Bishop Doaxe had his faults, as who has not? "He 
that is without sin among you, let him first cast a 
stone." In taking a glance at his infirmities, let us 

1. God is the only Judge. 

2. He has gone to his final award. 

3. We ourselves are sinners. 

4. No charge being judicially proved, charity has 
large scope. 

5. His faults were never concealed; for his nature 
knew no guile. 

6. His many virtues claim a full and fair offset 
against every charge. 

7. With what judgment ye judge, it shall be mea- 
sured to you again. 

These are general considerations. This is not the 
place, nor is it my duty, to discuss the particulars of 
accusation. It is sufficient to express the opinion 


that the distinguished prelate was often harshly 
judged, and calumniated. 

There arc three remarkable facts, which Berve to 
commend, and to enforce, charity over his grave. 

In the first place, Bishop Doane's most intimate 
friends believed him innocent. Judges, Lawyers, 
physicians, divines, intimate acquaintances, male 
and female, by scores and thousands, have placed 
the most implicit confidence in his motives and 

In the second place, his Church, in its Diocesan 
and Genera] Convention, was never against him. 
Indeed, the House of Bishops formally declared his 
innocencej and this is presumptive proof that his 
religions character could not be impugned in the 
( ihurch to which he belonged. 

In the third place, it cannot he denied that God 
showed no little favour to the Bishop in life and 

in death. He enabled him to accomplish a large 
amount of good; protected him in Providence from 
a varied and powerful opposition; and permitted 
him. after a long life of labour and trial, to die in 
peace. On this latter point, I shall presently say 

The three facts, just mentioned, do not amount 
to absolute demonstration; but they must pass for 
all they are fully worth. To a person, like myself. 
outside oi' his Church, and an unexcited observer of 


passing events in the community, they afford evi- 
dence of no slight character. I am thankful, this 
day, that I have never felt it in my power to pass 
a severe judgment, in view of the whole aspect of 
the case, so far as it has been presented to my mind. 
I have seen enough, however, and have heard enough, 
to make me say, with David, "Let us fall into the 
hand of the Lord, for his mercies are great ; but let 
me not fall into the hand of man." 

Having thus noticed some of the things suggested 
by the spirit of the text, I now proceed to the more 
pleasant task of considering the characteristic traits 
of the departed Bishop. 

The qualities that gave to Bishop Doane his great 
influence, and enabled him to accomplish so much 
service, seem to me to be summed up under three 
classes : intellectual vigour, an indomitable will, and 
strong personal attractions. 

1. God gave the Bishop a fine mind. He was a 
man of mark in intellectual operations. His mind 
was clear and vivid, of varied resources, and highly 
cultivated. His perceptions were quick. He pos- 
sessed the vis fervlda ingenii. Not so much the lo- 
gician as the rhetorician, he yet never lacked argu- 
ment to attain his ends. His rich talents were 
moulded by common sense, and by an enlarged know- 
ledge of human nature. In an emergency, his intel- 
lect soared highest. In fact, one of Bishop Doane's 

488 sermon rro.N the 

peculiarities of greatness consisted in always equal- 
ling the occasion. He saw what was to be done, and 
could do it, and did it. lie was adroit, when it was 
necessary to be adroit. The lawyers said that la- 
could have beaten them all, if educated a lawyer: 
and military officers affirmed that he would have made 
a grand general in war. Far-seeing, clear, quick, 
bold, always the centre of the campaign, his mind, 
especially in emergencies, moved in Hashes, whilst his 
right arm thundered in action. The fertility of his 
resources testified to superior endowments. His was 
the activity of spirit. His restless mind found do 
time for repose; and he was ready for every kind <>f 
service proper for him to perform. His mind was 
highly cultivated. He was at home in English lite- 
rature. The adornments of the scholar graced his 
learning, and varied knowledge mingled with his theo- 
logical attainments. All who came in contact with 
Bishop Doane, felt the power of his intellect. Nor 
were his opponents unwilling to acknowledge his com- 
manding mental gifts. 

2. Bishop Doane had a ivonderful strength of will. 
He was a man of firm purpose ; resolute to be, to do. 
and to suffer. He could not be second where he had 
a right to be at all, nor subordinate in anything 
where a share of work fell to his hands. It was a 
privilege for him to be beforehand. His will was in- 
domitable. The Church, as the State, needs these 


men of strong will. Every community needs them. 
Men of weak will have their place ; and generally 
they go through life with fewer enemies, and are 
blessed with the gentler virtues. But men of will 
are the men of mark, the men of deeds. 

It was this will-power that gave to Bishop Doane 
his energy. Energy does not necessarily belong to 
high intellect. It is not a mental gift or operation. 
It belongs to the heart. Its spring is in the affections, 
or " active powers," according to the philosophers. 
Bishop Doane's energy was a fire never out. It is said 
that, at the central depot at Bordentown, a reserve 
engine is always kept with fuel ignited, ready for the 
emergencies of the road. An ever-ready locomotive 
in energetic activity was this Bishop; with large 
driving wheels, and to each wheel a panting cylinder. 
His will, stronger than steam-power, generated energy 
in the soul. 

His self-denial was associated with his will. What 
he determined to do, he omitted no means to bring to 
pass. The end must meet the beginning; and by 
God's grace success must crown the plan. In labours 
he was abundant. No wind, no rain, no cold, could 
keep him from his appointments. He has been known 
to cross the Delaware when the brave heart of the 
ferryman dissuaded from the peril. He could submit 
to all privations in the discharge of duty. He could 
sleep anywhere ; in his chair, at his writing-table, in 


the car, or steamboat, or wagon. And alter working 
for twenty hours, the sleep of the other lour could 
well be taken without choice of place. His will out- 
worked his frame, in urging to laborious Belf-denial 
Of every kind for the Church's sake. 

It was strength of will that gave tin- Bishop his 
jK-rxecerance. Many a man would have quailed 
where he was fresh to go forward. Like the work- 
man at the anvil, he would wield the hammer all day, 
could the last stroke but perfect the work. He with- 
stood with persevering defiance an opposition which 
would have overborne almost any other man. He 
clung fast to Burlington College, when many advised 
him to surrender it ; and whatever may be the ulti- 
mate fate of that institution, it could not die whilst 
the Bishop lived. His perseverance had its ramifica- 
tions of care and of industry in every part of the 

His will was a strong element in the Bishop's suc- 
cess as a disciplinarian. Burlington College and St. 
Mary's Hall were under the most rigid government. 
The two institutions, so near each other, required 
watchful supervision, and all the appliances of the 
wisest discipline. Bishop Doane was unremitting in 
the fidelity of his oversight. His rules were rigid, 
minute, and wise ; and they were efficiently admin- 
istered. The peremptoriness of authority was blended 
with parental affection ; and in all the outgoings of 


his love, the young men and maidens knew that a 
large will encircled a large heart. 

3. Remarkable social traits contributed to Bishop 
Doane's extensive influence. He was a man of ami- 
able disposition and of warm feelings. His courtesy 
gained him friends everywhere. Generous to the 
poor ; kind to all ; abounding with pleasant conver- 
sation ; genial and free ; accessible at all times ; he 
was the life of the social circle : and it is no wonder 
that his personal endearments won hosts of attach- 
ments. At the same time, it must be admitted that 
many people did not like him, partly from prejudices, 
partly from his personal complacency, and partly from 
causes already alluded to. But it cannot be denied 
that Bishop Doane was eminently blessed with faith- 
ful and devoted friends, in his congregation, in his 
diocese, and throughout his whole church. 

Let it be noticed, to his honour, that vindicticeness 
was not a part of his social character. He keenly 
felt the disparaging estimate of others, but rarely did 
others detect any resentment. He would meet his 
adversaries with the usual courtesies of life, at home 
or abroad ; and many have been " the coals of fire " 
which his condescension has placed upon their heads. 

One of the most winning traits of Bishop Doane's 
character was his love of children. He gained their 
hearts. He was the little one's friend. What pret- 
tier sight than to see the grandfather, hand in hand 


with his fair, curly grandchild, prattling together 
through the streets ? The Bishop loved little children, 
and all the little children loved the Bishop. 

Bishop Doane was happily outliving the opposition 
that had formerly existed against him. One of his 
greatest misfortunes was in the number of flatterers 
that surrounded him— not flatterers always by inten- 
tion, but rendering their homage in too open and dan- 
gerous a form. His susceptible social nature was 
under the constant temptation to " think more highly 
of himself than he ought to think." Others may 
paint, if they choose, the infirmities of his social cha- 
racter in darker colours. I have given the outline as 
I have seen it. Never intimate with the Bishop, I 
have nevertheless known him and studied him for 
twenty-three years; and although his nature had its 
faults, it was a noble one. The secret of his influence 
and success in life is to be found in the three classes 
of endowments I have mentioned, — a vivid intellect, 
a strong will, and the social charms of his personal 

As a Churchman, Bishop Doane was of the highest 
grade. In my humble judgment, he departed from 
the via media of the English Church of the Reforma- 
tion ; nor have I have hesitated to oppose his doc- 
trines in speech and through the press. Dr. Pusey's 
influence was an injurious influence ; and many have 
thought that the Bishop returned from England with 


his views confirmed on some points which had better 
have been abandoned. It is nevertheless true thai 
the Church of England has always had a succession 
of that class of churchmen, with which Bishop Doane 
delighted to identify himself. Death is a leveller of 
doctrinal, as well as personal, distinctions. And a 
High Churchman, when he comes to die, is wont to 
exalt the doctrinal views entertained by Low Church- 
men. Nothing but Christ gives comfort in the last 
hour. An affecting view of a High Churchman's 
death is given in Bishop Doane's sketch of his friend, 
Dr. Montgomery, in Dr. Sprague's Annals of the Ame- 
rican Pulpit; and it is the more affecting because it 
substantially records the reported exercises of the 
Bishop's own mind. Ceremonies, church order, de- 
nominational peculiarities, and the minor incidents 
of human apprehension, disappear with the opening 
light of another world. When Christ is seen to be 
'-' all and in all," the glory of His grace dims the view 
of all things else, as the light of the sun dismisses 
the stars. 

As a Bishop, the departed prelate will undoubtedly 
be acknowledged by his Church to be one of her 
greatest sons. So he was. He magnified his office. 
His work was done on a great scale. He was per- 
sonally, everywhere, in his own diocese; and his 
writings were circulated widely in every other dio- 
cese. He was the prominent man in the House of 


Bishops. He could outpreach, outvote, and outwork 
the whole of his brethren in the Episcopate. He was 
a sort of Napoleon among Bishops. It was after he 
crossed Alps of difficulties, that he entered upon the 
campaigns of his highest renown. The bridge of 
Lodi and the field of Marengo were to him the inspi- 
rations of heroism, and the rallying time of mightiest 
strategy. Bishop Doane was, perhaps, better adapted 
to the English Church than to the American. His 
prelatical notions suited a monarchy more than a re- 
public. In the House of Lords, he would have stood 
among the foremost of Lord Bishops. He of Oxford 
would not have ranked before him of New Jersey. 
Bishop Doane was a good deal of an Anglican in his 
modes of thought and his views of ecclesiastical au- 
thority. Had he lived in the days of Charles, he 
would have been a Laudean in prelatical and political 
convictions — super-Laudean in intellect, and sub-Lau- 
dean in general ecclesiastical temper. My own sym- 
pathies are altogether with the evangelical, or Low 
Church Bishops, as are those of the vast majority of 
this audience. I do not believe in the doctrines of lofty 
Church order and transmitted grace, so favourably re- 
ceived in some quarters. But this is a free country ; 
and the soul by nature is free, and has a right to its 
opinions, subject to the authority of the great Head 
of the Church. Bishop Doane had a right to his ; 
and he believed himself to be, in a peculiar sense, a 


successor of the Apostles. He is one of the few Ame- 
rican Bishops who has had the boldness to carry out 
his theory, and to call himself an Apostle. He de- 
lighted in his office. Peter was to him the example 
of rigid adherence to the forms of the concision, whilst 
Paul was his example in enduring suffering for the 
extension of the Church. With an exalted view of 
his office, he lived, and laboured, and died. In this 
spirit, he encountered all his hardships and perils ; 
and when, as in the case of danger in crossing the 
Delaware, he jumped into the frail skiff, inviting the 
ferryman to follow, it was in the same sjiirit of "Apos- 
tolum vehis." Bishop Doane was, in short, as com- 
plete a specimen of a High Church Bishop as the 
world has seen, and in some respects he was a model 
for any class of BishojDs at home or in mother England. 

As a Bector, Bishop Doane was precisely what 
might be expected of a man of his character. He 
was earnest, active, fertile in expedients, a faithful 
visitor of his people, and a friend of the poor. He 
seemed to be always in the right place at the right 
time. He went about doing good, and was known in 
Burlington as rector more than Bishop. 

As a Preacher, no bishop surpassed Bishop Doane 
He has published more sermons than the whole House 
of Bishops — able sermons, which will be perpetual 
memorials of his intellectual powers, and of his zeal 
for the Church. These discourses are on a exeat 


variety of topics, but they contain much scriptural 
truth, mingled with his own peculiar views of ftpofr 
tolic order, sacramental grace, and • 3tica] unity. 

His sermon before the last General Convention of the 
Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, was the occasion 
of one of the greatest triumphs he was ever permitted 
to enjoy. When his discourses and diocesan uddres 
are collected into a series of volumes, they will be 
found to be ;i treasury of High Church doctrine and 
order, which no bishop, nor all the bishops ofhiswaj 
of thinking, could equal. I have read most of his 
productions, and, although often disagreeing with him 
in sentiment, 1 have never failed to notice his intel- 
lectual vigour, his zeal for his church, and his unc- 
tion for the episcopate. 

As an Okatok, Bishop Doane excelled most of his 
brethren. His best efforts were line and impressive. 
His voice was loud, and when he chose, well modu- 
lated. His gesticulation was animated and strong. 
His clear blue eye glowed with vivacity; and his 
words worked their way into the minds and hearts 
of his audience. Bishop Doane showed an adapta- 
tion to the masses, which many speakers in the sacred 
desk so much lack. He was a whole-souled, com- 
manding orator, when great occasions summoned forth 
his powers. The two best specimens of his delivery, 
within my own observation, were at Mrs. Bradford's 
funeral, and at the celebration of the last birthday 
of Washington. Nothing could be more appropriate 


and more effective, for the ends of oratory, than was 
his manner on those occasions. At times, I am told, 
that he did not do himself justice ; but lie had if in 
him, and it generally came out. Who of the citizens 
of Burlington, that heard him on the 22d of last 
February, did not recognize the voice, the maimer, 
and the presence, of a great popular orator ? 

As a Writer, Bishop Doane's style was peculiar. 
It was ornate, pithy, Saxon. It was a style of his 
own. It would not suit most men. Few ought to 
presume to imitate it. But it suited himself Many 
admire it. It had the great merit of clearness. No 
one ever misunderstood him, although his punctua- 
tion was as remarkable as his style. He was a ready 
writer; accomplishing with ease all that he under- 
took, and commonly justifying, in the productions of 
his pen, the highest expectations. If his higher 
occupations had not called him away from the pur- 
suits of literature, he would have ranked among the 
finest poets of the age. 

In the various points of view in which his charac- 
teristics have been now considered, Bishop Doane was 
a remarkable man. And his death was an harmo- 
nious termination of a long and useful life. Let us 
meditate, now, upon some of the circumstances of his 
departure. 1 

1 If this detailed narrative of the circumstances of the Bishop's 
death may seem, to some readers, too minute, it must be remem- 

42* 2g 


lit died in the midst of his work. His pleaching, 
during his last semi-annual Visitation, was unusuall) 
acceptable. Several of my own brethren to the Pre* 
byterian ministry have spoken, in glowing terms, of 
one of his sermons in West Jersey. His Episcopal 
appointments in Monmouth County (the last one at 
Freehold), were fulfilled to the midsl of rain and 
high winds, and sometimeE to an open wagon. His 
services, as was his custom, were arranged two or 
three for each day. Work was his delighl ; and at 
his work he met the premonitions of death. With 
his Episcopal staff in his hand, he received the 
wound of the last enemy, — not from behind, but lace 
to face. 

Another kind token of Providence towards tin- 
Bishop was, that he died at home. Riverside opened 
its massive doors to him for the last time; and enter- 
ing its hall, he found a resting-place in its genial 
study. After partaking of a slight repast, he retired 
to bed, never to rise from it. The magnificent man- 
sion, where he had projected his enlarged schemes, 
written his numerous sermons, and entertained with 
profuse hospitality his hosts of friends, was the fit 
place for Bishop Doane to die. And Riverside had 
the privilege of his death and funeral. 

bered that, at the time the Discourse was delivered, every inci- 
dent was demanded by the state of public sympathy in the 


God also permitted the Bishop to arrange what 
was wanting to the completion of his Episcopal work. 
During his sickness he conversed, for some hours, 
about the affairs of his Diocese ; and gave directions, 
and left memoranda, respecting its approaching exi- 
gency. On one of these occasions, he had a long 
interview with the Hon. Abraham Browning, of Cam- 
den ; shortly after which, a paroxysm of delirium 
occurred. God spared him, however, to complete all 
the necessary arrangements in the affairs of Me 


The time of Bishop Doane's death was well ordered 
in Providence. Had it occurred a few years before. 
a cloud of gloom would have rested over his grave ; 
and the inheritance of his good name might have 
been unredeemed from the tax-list of evil report. 
But the aspect had been changed. His honours had 
returned to him; and, as if in anticipation of his 
last end, his fellow-citizens had invited him to appear 
before them once more in an address. On the birth- 
day of Washington, old memories were revived ; and 
he, who had so often, in former years, addressed the 
people of Burlington, in its Lyceum, again made its 
Hall vocal with his eloquence, and again received the 
applause of his friends and neighbours. His diocese, 
also, was in a prosperous condition, and he was taken 
away from evil to come. In the judgment of his best 


friends, it was a good time for him to die. And God 
knew it, above men. 

God was good to the Bishop in surrounding him, 
during sickness, with the kindest comforts and care. 
His sons were present with all the activities of filial 
devotion ; one of them from the beginning to the cud. 
by day and by night. The other, who had become 
a Romanist, received forgiveness for all the }» rsonal 
pain the father and the Bishop had received. This 
was one of the incidents that must have given to the 
death-chamber a sublimity. His faithful physician 
did all that skill could do ; and the noble and vene- 
rable physician of Bristol, and the most distinguished 
from Philadelphia, freely gave the contributions of 
the medical profession. The tenderest female hearts 
were around about the sufferer, — without which, 
indeed, no death-bed can be what man expects and 
wants. It was well ordered that she, who had the 
first claims to be present, was absent ; for could feeble 
health well bear those scenes of sorrow ? l God was 
merciful in all these incidents. 

The Bishop, too, had his reason at the last. It is 

1 Just after the Delivery of this Discourse, I received a letter 
from a relative in Rome, from which the following is an extract: 
"In coming out of church to-day, we met Mrs. Doane, who, I 
thought, looked remarkably well. She almost immediately began 
to speak of the Bishop, and expressed her intention to return 


sad to die with a beclouded mind. Various intervals 
of delirium had occurred, especially about the middle 
of the attack. In these, the Bishop's mind was on 
the affairs of his diocese, or his class-room, or personal 
concerns. Disease struck its pains in every nerve, 
and blood-vessel, and muscle of the body, dethroning 
the intellect, for a time, from its high dominion. 
But it recovered its place before death, and he con- 
versed with relatives and friends, took a last loving 
farewell of all, and prepared' for the conflict, " faint 
yet pursuing." 

The Bishop was strengthened to die in j^eace. Par- 
taking of the communion, early in the morning of 
his last day on earth, he was refreshed by the ser- 
vice, and at its close, pronounced with a clear voice 
the blessing. He then composed himself for the final 
struggle. The last words, as taken down by the 
family physician, were : " I die in the faith of the Son 
of God, and the confidence of His One Catholic 
Church. I have no merits — no man has, but my 
trust is in the mercy of Jesus." 

Thus departed, at noonday, April 27th, this dis- 
tinguished Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
in the United States of America. " Let us fall into 
the hand of the Lord, for his mercies are great ; but 
let me not fall into the hand of man." Bishop Doane 
has passed away from human judgments, to the judg- 
ment seat of God ! 



Before separating, it is well for us, as immortals, 
to try to learn a few lessons at a Bishop's grave. 

I. Death comes alike to all. My hearers, are you 
ready to die ? Ye of gray hairs, or in vigorous man- 
hood, or in sublime youth, are ye prepared to meet 
your God? What a solemn thing to be coffined away 
from human sight, and then lowered down into a 
chamber, digged out for our last abode, with six feet 
of earth thrown on to roof it in ? Ye living mortals, 
your funeral day is at hand. Come, prepare for the 
change ; for the change is coming. 

II. The honours of this world are fleeting nothings. 
Crown and crosier, sceptre and cross, vestment of dis- 
tinction, and laurel of renown, are all left behind. 
When the spirit enters its new existence, if it has 
been redeemed by blood, it carries with it graces of 
righteousness, which abide forever. But earthly 
honour and power, the elevation of outward position, 
the distinctions of learning and rank, all the superfi- 
cial framework of the vanity of the world, and all its 
real glory, whatever there be of it, sink away like a 
vision of delirium." 0, godly poor, be contented ! 
Worldly, or unworldly high ones, fear ! 

III. Let us grow in circumspection, both ministers 
and people. Religion cultivates prudence. It enjoins 
its disciples to " walk in wisdom towards them that 


are without." In our unguarded moments, we are 
in danger of going astray, and often are led to do 
what we have charged ourselves to forbear. Human 
resolutions are frail; but God can, and will, give 
strength to all whose eyes, in tearful penitence, plead 
for help and mercy. A single act of indiscretion, or 
of guilt, may be followed by the heavy retribution 
of embittered calumny, or unrelenting exaggeration. 
The officers of the Church, above all others, should 
be above suspicion. "See that ye walk circum- 
spectly; redeeming the time, because the days are 

IV. Let us not be weary in well-doing. Activity is 
the law of Christian life. The new birth inspires 
high motive, and nurtures the spirit of self-denial 
and suffering. Church idlers are a spectacle to the 
profane. Shall Christians be "created unto good 
works," and not perform them ? Shall the grace of 
the Spirit plead in vain ? Shall the example of Christ 
and the blood of his cross be without efficacy to those 
who profess to follow the one and to. be washed in 
the other ? Brethren, " be not weary in well-doing ; 
for in due time ye shall reap, if ye faint not." 

V. "Charity is the bond of perfectness" Love binds 
all the graces together ; and all the graces are formed 
out of love. The same Divine likeness is impressed 
upon them all. Charity covereth a multitude of sins. 
Charity suffereth long, and is kind. If our fellow- 


creatures transgress, can they not be forgiven ".' Doefl 

not God, for Christ's sake, pardon the penitent ? And 
shall man be forever hard-hearted and unrelenting 
against his fellow-sinners? May the Lord clot lie us, 
dear brethren, with every grace, and girdle our gar- 
ments with love! Charity is compatible with Truth 
and Justice. "Put on charity, which is the bond of 

VI. A man'* work survives his life. A useful and 
active Christian leaves imperishable memorials. Good 
done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, can 
never be buried. It survives with a multiplication 
of its power. It sends down accumulated influences 
to distant generations. It lives forever. Sermons 
preached, institutions established, catechisms taught, 
aid given to the poor — all virtue, of whatever kind, 
lives in perpetuity. And so, alas ! does evil, unless 
counteracted and circumvented by Providence and 

VII. Let us learn, as Churches, to sympathize with 
each other more. If we all love Christ, what interests 
have we apart ? Why need we misrepresent each 
other's doctrines, depreciate each other's worthies, and 
call in question each other's piety ? If there be se- 
parate folds, is there not also a large field in common 
where all the good Shepherd's sheep may feed on the 
green pastures and drink the pure waters ? I have 
had my share of controversy, but have never relished 


it, and dislike it with increasing aversion. We need 
not, we must not surrender our principles; but what 
is called principle is often nothing more than denomi- 
national interest. Brethren, our hearts beat together 
to-day. We mourn in sympathy. Can we not in 
sympathy live together and work together ? 

VIII. The passport to Heaven consists, not in merit 
or station, but in simple faith. The Gospel condition 
of eternal life is the same to men of all nations and 
generations. The Bishop enters heaven in the same 
way with the sexton. The saints become one in 
Jesus Christ, in the same true and living way, opened 
alike to every creature. In dying, the Christian goes 
back to the first principles of his religion. As he 
began with Christ, so he ends with Christ. The con- 
quest of death is won through faith. No forms and 
ceremonies ; or liturgical repetitions ; or imposition 
of hands ; or baptismal, or immersional regeneration ; 
or Church connection ; or office-bearing, be it that of 
Pope, Bishop, Priest, Deacon, or Minister, Elder, Su- 
perintendent, or Class-leader — ever have, or ever 
will, or ever can, save a single soul. Bishop Doane, 
in his dying hour, had a clear conviction that Christ 
was the only hope for a sinner, lost by nature. This 
doctrine was fundamental in his theology ; and no 
one taught it more beautifully than in that immortal 
hymn of his own composition : 


" Thou art the Way ; to thee alone, 
From sin and death we flee ; 
And he who would the Father seek, 
Must seek him, Lord, by thee. 

" Thou art the Truth ; thy word alone 
True wisdom can impart; 
Thou only canst inform the mind, 
And purify the heart. 

" Thou art the Life ; the rending tomb 
Proclaims thy conquering arm, 
And those who put their trust in thee, 
Nor death nor hell shall harm. 

" Thou art the Way, the Truth, the Life ; 
Grant us that way to know ; 
That truth to keep, that life to win, 
Whose joys eternal flow." 

May Heaven grant to us all, brethren, the right to 
live and die in the truth of the Apostolic Church, and 
to find our title to Heaven in the apostolic words : 
" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt 


Can all allusion be omitted to that remarkable 

The burial of Bishop Doane was one befitting his 
position. A Bishop must be buried as becometh a 
Bishop. The funeral procession was one of sublime 
solemnity. No one, who saw it, can ever forget it. 
The day and the season were opportune with the 
brightness and sadness of the last of April. The 
coffin borne aloft on the shoulders of fellow-mortals ; 


the royal purple of the pall, fringed with white, and 
fluttering out to the wind like the motions of a stricken 
eagle ; the crosier overlaying the body with the em- 
blem of Episcopal authority ; the bereaved family la- 
menting with Christian lamentation the father of the 
household ; the threescore of surpliced clergy follow- 
ing their silent Chief with uncovered heads; the 
Governor, Chief Justice, and other dignitaries of the 
State ; the students of the College with badges of 
grief, and the weeping young ladies of the Hall ar- 
rayed in full mourning, true-hearted representatives 
of their sister-graduates all over the land ; the long 
line of distinguished strangers and of sympathizing 
fellow-citizens ; the tolling of all the church bells, and 
of the city bell ; the immense gathering of spectators 
around St. Mary's Church and the grave ; — every- 
thing was as impressive as life and death could make it. 

The high task I have attempted, has been imper- 
fectly performed. T am ready to meet its responsi- 
bilities before God and man. My offering of May- 
flowers, fragrant with the freshness of their gather- 
ing, has been laid upon the new-made grave ; — flowers 
plucked by a Puritan's hand, and placed in rnemoriam 
over the dust of a great Episcopal Bishop. 


43 * ( 509 ) 

An Historical Discourse, in Centennial Commemoration of the Cap- 
ture of Ticonderoga, 1759, delivered at Ticonderoga, N.Y., October 
11th, 1859. 




x$ iiscourse 





It is proper to state that the Author of this Discourse, being 
accustomed to spend a few weeks in the summer, for recreation, 
at Lake George, was naturally led to investigate the local his- 
tory of that section of country. Hence this Historical Dis- 
course, whose military aspect is out of the line of his general 

The sources of authority, consulted by the author in the pre- 
paration of the Discourse, are chiefly the original, official docu- 
ments, furnished from the Archives of the State and War 
Departments in London and Paris, and printed by the authority 
of the State of New York, under the title of "New York Colo- 
nial Documents." The quotations, when not otherwise marked, 
are always from the volumes of this historical treasury. Other 
works are also referred to in the foot notes. 

C. Y. R 

Burlington, N. J., November 30th, 1859. 



The promontory between these two beautiful lakes, 
in the North American wilderness, is grand by nature 
and renowned in history. The Architect of worlds 
gave shape, as well as sublimity, to the landscape, 
uniting the rocks, and streams, and forests of Ticon- 
deroga in a physical configuration suited to a theatre 

of great events. 

Nature becomes a prophet by the inspiration of 
God's hands. The earth's outlines are commissioned 
with foreknowledge, to declare the purposes of their 
original destiny. The magnificent river, the broad 
bay, the defiant mountain-pass, the extensive plain. 
the encircling lake, the roaring waterfall, the jutting 
peninsula, send up to distant ages many-voiced pre- 
dictions of their future importance hi local and uni- 
versal history. 

The promontory of Ticonderoga was by nature 
prefigured for uses in war. For centuries, it stood 
like an Indian chief, born and trained to his destiny, 
watching both lakes with bow and arrow in hand. 
The spirit of military achievement was early en- 

2H (513) 

5] I C A PT I R E OF T : CO X D E B OG A. 

camped upon its rocks, tented beneath it- wo 
refreshed in its streams, and inspired by its positi 
of strategy. The oracle of the Indian, with savage 
omens, was enshrined within these forests. I! 
the shrill clarion of gallanl France has echoed it* 
onsets and its victories; and the martial music of 
sturdy old England and of the Colonies has here 
thundered to the charge, or sounded retreats and 
requiems. Ticonderoga was baptized for war: — a 
prophet, indeed, bul a warrior, too; a very chieftain 
of the old frontiers! We hail thee in L859, Veteran 
of many battles; nol in the pride of thy fiery youth, 
nor for thy deed.8 of death ; but, rebaptized with the 
spirit of peace, in the centennial soberness of age! 

It is just a century since Ticonderoga fell into the 
possession of the Colonies by its forced evacuation 
on the part of the French, in L759. Bistorj invites 
us to remember the first triumph of American arms 
upon this memorable promontory. Let it be our aim 
to recall the Bcenes and expeditions, of which Ticon- 
deroga was the centre ; to disi me of the prin- 
ciples involved in the events enacted in tic region ; 
and to carry away with us some <>f the impressions 
nurtured by the lapse of ;i century. 

I. The Indian Gateway. 

The promontory of Ticonderoga was the old Indian 
GATEWAY from tin 1 Iroquois country of the South to 


the regions of the North and of the East. Before 
the Celtic Frenchmen came, the Indians were in pos- 
session here. The sons of the forest were invested 
with proprietorship by rights of nature and physical 
power. The Great Spirit had spread out for them, 
in North America, a vast and splendid inheritance, 
long unclaimed by a rivalling civilization. 

In the progress of centuries, the Iroquois rose to 
be the chief nation of Indian history. Their wig- 
wams and council-fires were in Central and Western 
New York; but their hunting-grounds included parts 
of Pennsylvania, of Virginia, of the Northwestern 
Territory, and of Canada. Their confederation, as 
five nations, dates back to about the year of our Lord 
1 500, or a century before the Dutch began to encroach 
upon their forests and streams. During the whole 
period of Iroquois domination, and anterior to it, the 
Ticonderoga pass was the outlet for their expeditions 
of war in this direction. " Bald Mountain " ' was 
then, as now, natural in its scalped and savage deso- 
lation. Vegetation shunned its rocks; and the Indian 
canoe, in gliding by its frowning height, knew that 
Che-on-de-ro-ga, the outlet of the lake, was near. If 
the promontory be a Gate, opening between the two 
lakes, or countries, then beautiful Lake George may 

1 Now known by the romantic name of Rogers 1 Slide. The 
old name ought to be restored to this mountain. " Rogers' 
Slide" might be retained as pari of "Bald Mountain.'* 


be called the meadow, or prairie, beyond it; whilst 
the outlet was the dangerous and rugged water-path, 
leading down from the upper prairie through the Gate 
to the lower meadow. In these solitudes of woods 
and waters, the Iroquois wandered. As peaceful 
hunters, or warlike scouts, the ancient forests knew 
their trail on the spring grass, on the autumn leaves, 
or on the feathery snow. The "Gate" opened either 
way, towards the Champlain or the Georgian prairie; 
and turning upon its harsh hinges, the winds of war 
oft swung it to and fro, creaking with the wails of 
death. On either post hung a scalp, dangling from 
the antlers of a deer, or transfixed by the point of the 
flinty knife. 

This promontory was thus, by position, pre-emi- 
nently war-ground. The Iroquois went through its 
passes, to battle with the Hurons and Algonquins, 
who in turn boldly sought the hostile Iroquois through 
Ticonderoga. The trails of ancient days witnessed 
many a deed of woe upon the blood-stained soil ; and 
shadowed in the lakes by day, or by the light of the 
stars at night, canoes have glided through the deep 
with paddles plied by savage passions. 

The outlet, Che-on-de-ro-ga, 1 was familiar to the 
admiring tread of the Indians. Within that mile of 

1 This is the Indian name, corrupted to Ticonderoga, meaning 
"Sounding Waters" The French name was "Carillon," ex- 
pressing the same idea, or more particularly a "chime." 


falls and foam, what grandeur has inspired the pass- 
ing aborigines ! The present road follows, in the 
main, the old French military road betw r een the 
Upper and Low r er Falls, and deviates from the waters 
of the outlet. Methinks the Indian trails may have 
skirted closer to the dashing stream ! 

The Lake narrows about a mile above the Upper 
Falls, and engineers for itself a channel among the 
meadows and hills. It soon reaches a rocky pass, ro- 
mantic in configuration, about half-way to the Upper 
Falls. Here is a beautiful and lively chute, with seve- 
ral channels — the deepest to the west, close to the 
shore; and among those sharp rocks many a canoe 
has sped dowm, like an arrow from the bow, and safely 
reached the mark of the "Carrying Place." This 
first rocky pass is a sentinel outpost of alarm, where 
the lake arrays itself for the coming water-fray. 

At the "Carrying Place," the rough strife begins. 
The war-notes rise in the air; the opposing waves 
rush, like Iroquois and Algonquins, to the contest ; 
the dense ranks close fearfully upon each other ; and 
the sound of many waters roars to the distance, like 
rolling thunder. The main course of the outlet, for 
more than a mile, is a series o£ rapids. So incessant 
are the little falls and descents, that the outlet resem- 
bles a water stairway, whose cascade steps, painted 
white with foam, reflect every colour of the sun. 
The Indians, as they wander up and down, cen- 


turies ago, on either .side of Che-on-de-ro-ga, foi 
awhile the tumult of war, and reel their thoughts 
with sublime visions. Hark! a noise in the thicket 
suddenly reanimates savage Life; and Bee! with .-train- 
ing eye and ear, the bow is bent between brawny arms. 

Thus passed centuries, before the white man came. 
War-whoops sounding; water.- splashing ; arrows fly- 
ing; forests overshadowing; birds Boaring; wolves 
howling; deer affrighted; Bcouts exploring; toma- 
hawks piercing; warriors dying; and the old Gate 
-winging northward and southward, to [roquois and 

In the mean time, the sun and stars kepi their 
course in the skies; and Providence was preparing 
Ticonderoga for Celtic and Anglo-Saxon entrance. 

IT. Cham plain's Expedition of L609. 

The second series of historical events at Ticonde- 
roga, was ushered in by the Expedition of Cham- 
plain, in the year 1609. Authentic history now 

Before the Dutch had landed in New York, and 
before the Puritans had touched Plymouth Bock, 

Champlain stood upon the promontory of Ticonde- 

roga. Hendrick Hudson entered the river now bear- 
ing his name, in "De Halve Maan," 1 on the 3d of 
September, 1609; Samuel Champlain, in his little 

1 The Half Moon. 


canoe, navigated the Iroquois Lake in July of the 
same year. It is, therefore, exactly two centuries 
and a half, or just two hundred and fifty years, since 
the French discoverer knocked at the old Ticonde- 
roga gate. And his first knock was with the butt-end 
oi' an " arquebus." l 

Champlain was the first man who used powder and 
ball in Iroquois territory, in the State of New York. 
The echo of the first gun through the forests, and over 
the mountains, and up the water-course of Ticonde- 
roga, was from that arquebus, fired in 1609. 

Another memorable characteristic of this expedi- 
tion, consisted in its provoking the first contest on the 
soil between the white man and the Indian. Two 
Iroquois chiefs fell at Cham plain's murderous dis- 

Yet another notable circumstance belongs to this 
sxpedition: the Iroquois continued ever after to be 
the implacable enemies of France. Transferring 
their Indian enmity to the new settlers at Quebec, 
they contributed more than any single agency, under 
Providence, in overthrowing the dominion of Franc 
in North America. 

Discoverer, arquebus-firer, Indian aggressor, and 
stirrer of retribution, Samuel Champlain's name has 
an enduring connection with Ticoxderoga. 

1 An arquebus was a large, unwieldy sort of a gun, cocked 
with a wheel. 


Wheat brought the illustrious Frenchman hen 
Terrible war! At the head of twenty-four canoes 
of Indians, containing sixty warriors, he came from 
Quebec on a military expedition. Several months 
beforesettingout.lic had met the "Algoumequin " 
savages a few leagues above Quebec, where he assured 
them that "they could judge whether he intended to 
make war or not, since he carried with him firearms, 
and not merchandise fortraffic, as they had been given 
to understand." 1 An. 1 when the [roquois warriors, 
perceiving their small aumbers, sent two canoes, to 
learn of their enemies whether they wished to fighl 
Champlain's party replied, that " they desired aothing 
else." 5 War. and only war. had broughl them to 

Champlain gives the following account of the 
battle : 

•• The moment we landed, they [Champlain's [ndians] began 
to run about two hundred paces towards their enemies, who 
stood firm, and had qoI yel perceived my companions, who went 
into the bush with some savages. Ours commenced calling me 
in a loud voice, and making way for me, opened in two, ami 
placed me at their head, marching about twenty paces in advance, 
until I was within thirty paces of the enemy. The moment 
they saw me they halted, gazing at me, and I at them. When 
I saw them preparing to shoot at us, I raised my arquebus 
and aiming directly at one of the three chiefs, two of them fell 
to the ground by this shot ; one of their companions received a 

1 Les Voyages du Sieur Le Champlain, i., 180. 

2 "Qu'ils rte disiroini autre chose," i., 198. 


wound, of which he died afterwards. I had put four balls in my 
arquebus. Ours, on witnessing a shot so favourable to them, set 
up such tremendous shouts, that thunder could not have been 
heard ; and yet, there was no lack of arrows on one side and the 
other. The Iroquois were greatly astonished, seeing two men 
killed so instantaneously, notwithstanding they were provided 
with arrow-proof armour, woven of cotton thread and wood ; 
this frightened them very much. Whilst I was reloading, one 
of my companions in the bush fired a shot, which so astonished 
them anew, seeing their chiefs slain, that they lost courage, took 
to flight, and abandoned their fort, hiding themselves in the 
depths of the forest, whither pursuing them, I killed some others. 
Our savages also killed several of them, and took ten or twelve 
prisoners. The rest carried off the wounded. Fifteen or six- 
teen of ours were wounded by arrows ; they were promptly 
cured." ' 

The question, whether Ticoncleroga was the exact 
locality mentioned by Champlain, has been commonly 
settled in the affirmative. The description corres- 
ponds; the latitude is the same; and the spot is marked 
on Champlain's map as " the place where the Iroquois 
were defeated." Besides, Champlain seems to have 
pursued the enemy as far as the lower waterfall. In 
his account, he says : 

" I saw other mountains to the south, not less high than the 
former ; only that they were without snow. The Indians told 

1 A full account of the battle between Champlain's party and 
the Iroquois, may be found in "Les Voyages de Champlain, y i. 
198-202, which has been translated into English in the Neir 
York Colonial Documents, iii. 2-24. It may also be found in 
"Home Sketches of Ticonderoga," p. 18, an exceedingly able, 
interesting, and valuable historical pamphlet, by Mr. Flavius 
J. Cook, a student of Yale College ; 1850. 

022 CAPTURE OF T I C N D E K < 1 A . 

me that there we were to go to meet their enemies, and that they 
were thickly inhabited, and thai we must pass by a water/all, — 
which I afterwards saw, — and thence into another lake, three 
or four leagues long ; and, having arrived at its head, there were 
four leagues overland to be travelled, to pass to a river, which 
Mows towards the coast of the Iroquois, tending towards that of 
the Alraouchiquois, and that they were only two days going 
there in their canoes, as I understood afterwards from prisoners 
of war that we took, who, by means of some Algonquin interpre- 
ters who were acquainted with the [roquois language, conversed 
freely with me about all they had noticed." ' 

Another more important question is, whether ( !ham- 
plain was justified in heading this hostile expedition. 
If judged in the light of Christian civilization, the 
answer would be "No;" but in the night of back- 
woods opportunity, which threw a double darkness 
over war-ethics, Chainplain traced" Yes," with Indian 
blood, on the Ticonderoga rocks. His relations to the 
Algonquin tribes, however, did not necessitate his 
participation in all their feuds. Nor was the exist- 
ing war one of defence. On the contrary, the expe- 
dition was an aggressive one, depending, to some 
extent, in its origin, upon Champlain's co-operation. 
In his previous exploration up the St. Lawrence as 
far as the island of " St. Eloy," near Lake St. Peter's, 
the Indians had witnessed, for the first time, the 
effects of firearms ; 2 and probably convinced that, 
with an ally like Champlain, they could defeat their 

1 Champlain's Yoyages, i. 196. 2 Ibid., i. 178. 


old hereditary enemies, they persuaded him to ac- 
company their little army, numbering only sixty war- 
riors, far into the Iroquois territory. 

Champlain undoubtedly conciliated the St. Law- 
rence Indians by his active agency in securing their 
victory. Adventurers generally would have pursued 
the same course. The temptation of new discoveries 
and explorations may have added to Champlain's 
military ardour on this memorable occasion. His- 
tory pleads for some leniency in judging of the actions 
of public characters in similar circumstances. 1 

The expedition of 1609, with its incidents of right 
or wrong, brought a new name to Lake Iroquois, — 
European in the place of Indian, and prophetic of the 
universal change of dynasty, — a name given at 77- 
conderoga, and associated forever with these rocks as 
well as with the waters. 

III. The Old Frexch War. 

A third series of events in the historical outline 
of Ticonderoga, is marked by the scenes and expe- 
ditions of the Old French War. The causes of 
these contests between England and France, had 
their origin afar off in the past. A very brief view, — 

1 The use of the arquebus against the bow aud arrow was uot 
an act of bravery or of magnanimity. Like the expedition itself, 
if defensible at all, it is only so by the terrible necessities and 
usages of war. 


a mere glance at the overclouded and distant land- 
scape,— must not be omitted on the present centen- 
nial occasion. 

The boundaries between the twa kingdoms, which 
were, in Europe, the common waters <>t* a narrow 
channel, became still more intermingled in tin- West- 
ern world by the unsettled lines of nature's myste- 
rious wilderness. Both England and France traced 
their titles to their transatlantic possessions over tin- 
graves of ancient voyagers, through the dust of parti- 
san maps, amidst the darkness of confused treaties. 
under the wiles of perpetual encroachments. Finally; 
possession, which is stronger than claim, umpired to 
France Canada, and most of the valley of the Mis- 
sissippi, and to England, her North American Colo- 
nies. England had chained her lion at the sea-shore ; 
France had uncaged her eagle in the forests of the 

England, however, never surrendered her claim to 
the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. France was equally 
resolute in pressing her title to parts of New Eng- 
land and New York ; the Governors of New France 
ever maintaining that all the country watered by 
streams flowing into the St. Lawrence and the great 
lakes, belonged to Canada. Under this latter claim, 
most of Northern and Western New York fell under 
French dominion. 

The boundary contest, so far as New York was 


concerned, was fought by diplomacy upon the terri- 
tory of the Iroquois. Inasmuch as the hunting- 
grounds of these Indians extended by universal 
acknowledgment from Lake Champlain on the east, 
to lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron, on the north and 
west, both parties laboured to show their title to be 
the protectors of these Indians, and the virtual sove- 
reigns of their soil. Documentary history is filled 
with accounts of conferences and treaties with the 
Five Nations, attended with the usual quantity of 
wampum-belts, bead-strings, powder, rum, and elo- 
quence. The testimony of history is, however, de- 
risively on the side of the English. From the begin- 
ning, the Five Nations were on terms of friendship 
with Great Britain, and in a position, of general hos- 
tility to France. 1 After disputing for half a century, 
England obtained a great advantage over France at 
the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, in which the Five 
Nations were acknowledged to be the " subjects of 
Great Britain." France had previously succeeded, at 
the treaty of Byswick, in 1697, in obtaining the im- 
plied acknowledgment of her right to all the Missis- 
sippi Valley, watered by streams flowing into the 
Mississippi. England disowned the French interpre- 

1 Vaudreuil, Governor of Canada, writing officially, in 1757, 
says: "Since the settlement of 'the Colony, the Five Nations 
have never been known to take up the hatchet against the Eng- 
lish." X. 587. 

526 CAPTURE or TICON deroga. 

tation of the treaty of Ryswick; France rejected Tin- 
English interpretation of the treaty of Utrecht. 

The Old French War was almost a continuation 
of the preceding contest, Notwithstanding the treaty 
of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, the French pursued their 
schemes of territorial aggression with more spiril and 
resolution than ever. About this time the English 
turned their attention with new interest to the Ohio 
Valley. The Ohio Land Company, which was char- 
tered in 1749, engaged Gist and Trent to explore the 
country up to the junction of the Alleghany and 
Monongahela rivers, and into parts of Western Vir- 
ginia and of Ohio. The French took measures n 
increase their power, in order to retain possession of 
the entire valley of the Mississippi. They launched 
a large war-vessel on Lake Ontario, strengthened 
their fort at Niagara, and commenced building a fort 
on the river Le Boeuf, in Northwestern Pennsylvania, 
where Waterford now stands. They also took pos- 
session of the fort which the Ohio Company was 
building on the present site of Pittsburg. The 
Governor of Virginia had already sent out Major 
Washington — God bless the young officer ! — to remon- 
strate against the French encroachments. But the 
embassy was in vain. God's blessing-time had not 
yet come. Washington commenced his military life 
by abandoning Fort Necessity, and retiring behind 
the Allearhanies. The French dominion then ex- 


tended over the whole valley of the Mississippi, from 
Canada to Louisiana. Not a military post, not an 
encampment, not a flagstaff, was owned by England 
in the mighty West. 

Aroused at length, England resolves to win her 
way to western empire. Regulars are sent from Ire- 
land and Scotland ; and large provincial forces are 
gathered to strike a determined blow. Three expe- 
ditions were formed in 1755 : one under Braddock. 
to capture the fort at the junction of the Alleghany 
and Monongahela ; another under Shirley, to defend 
Oswego and to attack Niagara; and a third under 
Johnson, to attack Crown Point. 

The wails of Bradclock's defeat soon echo through 
the forests and mountains of Pennsylvania. The 
Colonies are filled Avith dismay. Has the God of bat- 
tles forsaken the cause of liberty and Protestantism ? 
Despair not ! Reverses occur in war ; defeats recover 

The expedition against Crown Point was under- 
taken for the recovery of rights of soil, long invaded 
by the French, and held adversely to the British, by 
the title of a fort. Fort St. Frederick had been 
erected on this Point in 1731 (originally on the oppo- 
site side of Lake Champlain), on lands belonging to 
the Iroquois, contrary to two stipulations of the 
treaty of Utrecht ; first, that " the Five Nations were 
subjects of Great Britain," and secondly, that their 


lands should be held " inviolate by any occupation or 
encroachment of France." Being on the highway t<> 
Canada, the possession of this fort was of the utmost 
importance to the Colonies; and one of the three 
expeditions had been, therefore, organized for its 

The first sound of the war that reached Ticonde- 
roga. was the rustling of the wind, from the south, 
among the trees of the forest. A large provincial 
army was gathering at Albany, to march for the cap- 
ture of Crown Point, A part of it is already at tin* 
Carrying Place, engaged in building a fort, 1 and in 
cutting a road to Lake St. Sacrament. 2 Dieskau's 
expedition is soon seen sweeping down Lake Cham- 
plain, with an army of three thousand men, rampant 
in the confidence of victory. Ticonderoga is as yet 
a wilderness, but its military eminence offers a good 
place for camping ground. Dieskau resolved to leave 
one division of his little army at Ticonderoga, and a 

1 Fort Edward. 

-' The French name of Lake George, was "Lake of the Holy 
Sacrament." For the origin of this name, the reader is referred 
to the author's Historical Discourse at the Centennial celebration 
of the Battle of Lake George, delivered in 1855, p. 41. In 
the same note will be found a defence of the name of Lake 
George against the fanciful name of Horicon, suggested by the 
great novelist Cooper, to meet his romantic purposes. 


smaller one at the Two Rocks, 1 about fifteen miles far- 
ther on, whilst he himself advanced, with the re- 
mainder of his corps, through the South Bay, 2 to the 
American lines. If Fort Edward had been attacked, 
according to the original design, a triumph would 
have undoubtedly rewarded the heated valour of the 
French ; but the Indians, who dread the cannon of a 
fort, refused to assist in the onset. 

Dieskau then dashed on towards the English en- 
campment at Lake George. Near the point of a 
mountain, still called " French Mountain," he ar- 
ranged his forces to encounter the American detach- 
ment under Williams and Hendrick, which had been 
sent out to meet him. This detachment was terribly 
cut up and defeated ; and the French hurried on, to 
enter the camp with the pursued. But the tide of 
war has already turned. The Yankee soldiers are 
there, behind rude entrenchments ; they fight for 

1 The "Two Rocks" is a pass, about ten miles from White- 
hall, which naturally-attracts the attention of the traveller. X. Y. 
Col. Doc. X, 320, 341, 344. 383 [Map], 397, 709, 720, 914. 

- Dieskau's line of inarch was not past the present site of 
Whitehall, as is set down on some of the American maps, but 
through the "South 7?ay." Turning to the right, instead of 
going on to Whitehall, his bateaux and canoes passed beyond 
the new bridge, and moored at the extreme end of the bay, on 
its southwesterly side. The line is thus laid down in a map 
attached to the French narrative of the expedition. See Paris 
Documents in X. Y. Col. Doc. X, 720. The French documents 
call the bay "the Great bay." X. 320. 

45 2 1 


their country and their homes, and gain a notable vic- 
tory at the camp of Lake George, on the 8th of Sep- 
tember, 1755. The remnant of the dispirited French 
soldiers reach Ticonderoga on the 11th. and encamp 
upon its silent heights, to sleep away defeat and toil. 
The gallant Baron Dieskau never again saw Lake 
Champlain. Wounded and taken prisoner, hi' was 
soon after transported to Europe. 1 

The first military lesson taughl by tin- Old French 
War, at Ticonderoga, was, "Boldness wins, only 
when Fortune favours." 2 

The scene changes. All is animation, now, at Ca- 
rillon. Engineers come to survey its ground, and to 
line out the site of a fort. The axe rings upon the 
trees; the spade is struck into the rocky soil; the 
hammer sounds on the nail; the saw crashes through 
the timber ; iron drills into the rock ; the soldiers have 
become labourers and mechanics. If Johnson is busy 
at Lake George in the erection of Fort William 
Henry, shall Vaudreuil remain inactive at Carillon ? 
No, an English fort at one end of the lake, shall find, 
face to face with it, a French fort at the other. The 
lilies shall be planted under the lion's eye. 

1 Dieskau survived several years. The impression stated in 
ray note to the Lake George Discourse, that he died in 1757, is 
not correct. He was sent to England, by way of Boston (X. 440 i ; 
and was exchanged at the peace of 1763. X. 340. 

2 Dieskau's motto was, "Boldness wins." 


A clearing was, until then, unknown to this pro- 
montory. Hitherto, the wild forests had rustled to- 
gether in the freedom of solitude, and waved their 
branches in the unmolested lights and shadows of 
nature. As the work advances, the opening space 
lets in the sun to see the arts of war. The road from 
the lake has been already cut ; and a military store 
and hospital are going up at the landing, simulta- 
neously with a fort on the hill. A saw-mill is also 
begun at the falls. 1 The logs of the fort are now 
laid ; the earth, cannon proof, is thrown in ; the rude 
ramparts are fashioned ; the intrenchment is ready ; 
the bastions are completed. Amidst the cheers of 
the regulars, Canadians, and Indians, the standard 
of France is run up into the air, and its lilies of 
Grandeur wave over the little stockade fort of Carillon ! 
Fort Carillon was commenced in September, 1755, 
soon after Dieskau's defeat. Vaudreuil, the Gover- 
nor of Canada, writes, September 25th, 1755 : 

" The engineer has reported to me that the situation of Caril- 
lon is one of the best adapted for the construction of works 
capable of checking the enemy ; that the suitable place for a for- 
tification is a rock which crowns all the environs, whence guns 
could command both the river which runs from Lake St. Sacra- 
ment, and that leading to the Grand Marais and Wood Creek. 
I see no work more pressing and useful than this fortification ; 
because it will enable me to maintain a garrison to stop the enemy 
in their march from Lake St. Sacrament, the immediate outlet of 

Paris Documents, X. 


which is no more than a league and a quarter from that post; 
and I will be able to harass and fire on them pretty often within 
pistol range, for more than three-fourths of a league in a river, 
both on this and on the other side of the Carrying Place. I add, 
that it is of infinite consequence to hurry the work, as it is to be 
feared that the enemy will seize upon Carillon, of which it is cer- 
tain he would employ every means to keep possession. I have 
given orders that men should set to work there, without a mo- 
ment's delay. It would be highly necessary that this fortification 
should be finished this fall, and that it were possible to place a 
good battery there." 1 

The fort was originally a square fort, with four bas- 
tions, which were defended by a redoubt, situated on 
a hill that commands the fort. 2 

The Marquis of Montcalm writes: 

" The fort consists of pieces of timbers in layers, bound to- 
gether with traverses, the interstices filled in with earth. Such 
construction is proof against cannon, and in that respect is as 
good as masonry, and much better than earthen works; but it is 
not durable. The site of the fort is well adapted as a first line 
at the head of Lake Champlaiu. I should have wished it to be 
somewhat larger, capable of containing five hundred men, whereas 
it can accommodate, at most, only three hundred." 3 

1 Paris Documents in Colonial History, X., 325. 

- Ibid., 414. 

:! Montcalm, X. 433. This account, written by Montcalm him- 
self, shows that the fort was originally a wooden and earthen fort, 
like William Henry. It was, doubtless, afterwards strengthened 
with stone by the French, as they found leisure. The stone 
works, as now seen, were in part built by General Amherst, in 
1759. The works were still further strengthened by the Ameri- 
cans in the war of the Revolution. The fort, as it now stands, 
is, therefore, different from the original structure of 1755-6. 


The fort was provided with twenty guns, besides 
swivels and mortars. It was completed in Septem- 
ber, 1756. 1 

In addition to the fort, Montcalm established a 
post at the Lower Falls, and a strong intrenchment 
at the Upper Falls, flanked by two bastions. 2 There 
was also an intrenchment to command the position 
near the present steamboat landing. 3 

A fort is an agitator in the military world. It not 
only invites assault, but is itself a centre of aggres- 
sive operations. Carillon, built for defence, is all 
ready to attack. It stands on the promontoiw, the 
enemy of Fort William Henry, by oath of position ; 
its guns glowing for opportunity, its flag flapping 
its impatient folds, its encampment eager for the 

The second military lesson, taught at Ticonde- 
roga, in the Old French War, is, strategy begets 


Whilst the war between England and France was 
waging in other parts of the world, what of the two 
forts in the Northern wilderness? Shall Fort Wil- 
liam Henry triumph ? or shall the eagles of Lake 
George alight on the rampart of Carillon ? 

Montcalm had arrived from France in May, 1756, 

1 X., 480. 2 Ibid., 425. 3 Ibid., 470. 



as Dieskau's successor. In June, he hastened to 
Carillon, to examine its defences. He carefully sur- 
veyed all the approaches to the fort, and made an 
exploring tour through the woods, with Chevalier cle 
Levi, on the "Mohawk Road." l He formed a camp 
(3ii the heights, of three hundred and thirty tents, 
and seventy log-houses, with three thousand troops 
here and at Crown Point. 2 But the American expe- 
dition of 175G did not advance; it was dilatory and 
inactive, like that of the preceding year. General 
Abercrombie did not reach Albany until the end of 
June, and then delays occurred, which prevented ;m\ 
aggressive movement from Fort William Henry during 
the season. 

In the meantime, Montcalm was determined to be 
busy elsewhere. Organizing a military expedition, 
he soon reached Frontenac, crossed Lake Ontario, 
and in a few days victoriously assaulted the two forts 
at Oswego. He took sixteen hundred prisoners of 
war, and captured thirty pieces of artillery, with a 
large amount of ammunition and military stores. 3 
This bold exploit struck terror throughout the fron- 
tiers, even down to Albany, and undoubtedly contri- 
buted to arrest any military movements against Crown 
Point. Montcalm, on returning to Carillon, consid- 
ered the practicability of attacking Fort William 

1 X., 433. 2 Entick's History, i. 471. 3 X. 444. 


Henry ; but finally it was concluded at a council, 
to be " too great a risk, lest they should be beaten, 
as they were last year, under Dieskau ; so it was re- 
solved to wait for the English, and see if they would 
come." ' They did not come. 

The winter of 1756 passed sluggishly at the French 
fort. Early in the spring of 1757, before the snow 
had left the mountains, or the ice melted in the lake, 
the war-fires began to blaze. A party of nearly two 
thousand Canadians and Indians, set out on snow- 
shoes against Fort William Henry, provided with 
scaling ladders and all the appliances used in a gen- 
eral assault. They first appeared before the fort, 
early on the morning of the 19th of March. The 
noise on the cracking ice was soon followed by 
the sharp sounds of the artillery of the garrison, 
which beat off the assailants. Four other brave 
assaults were equally unavailing; but the French 
succeeded in burning two sloops, all the bateaux, 
several storehouses, and most of the huts of the 

This expedition had thoroughly explored the little 
tort ; it was the scouting party of the larger expedi- 
tion soon to be organized. The doom of Fort Wil- 
liam Henry was sounded among the hills. 

Montcalm skilfully organized his plans. His army 

1 VII. 239. 


consisted of six thousand regulars and Canadians, and 
seventeen hundred Indians. The Indians arrived at 
Carillon on the 23d of July, from the North, by the 
way of the St. Lawrence and Lake ( Ihamplain. In the 
language of one of the French missionaries among 
the Abenakis : x " Scarcely had we begun to distin- 
guish the summit of the fortifications [at Ticonde- 
roga], when our Indians arranged themselves in the 
order of battle, each tribe under its own ensign. 
Two hundred canoes thus formed in beautiful order, 
furnished a spectacle which caused even the French 
officers to hasten to the banks, judging it not un- 
worthy of their curiosii \ ." 

The army is at last collected together; the cannon, 
bateaux, and provisions, are, with the greatest Labour, 
transported by hands to Lake St. Sacrament. 8 The 
march is begun, by lake and land, towards Fort "Wil- 
liam Henry. As a dark Btorm-cloud rallies its scat- 
tered masses in the sky, by the beat of the loud 
thunder-drum, and the banners of lightning, 
Montcalm's expedition of 17-">7. collecting togethei 
its elements at the mountains of Ticonderoga. moved 
through the valley of the lake, arrayed southwardly 
with woe and war. 

The march is eminently successful. De Levi, with 

1 Father Roubaud. His Narrative may be found in Kip' 
Jesuit Missions, pp. 139-189. - X. r,4T. 


a large detachment of Canadians and Indians, cut 
his way through the forests, passing back of Bald 
Mountain, by way of Sabbath-day Point and Bolton, 
to the landing-place near the fort ; whilst the boats 
reached their destination in safety, with the greater 
part of the Indians and regulars, headed by Mont- 
calm. On their way down the lake, they met the 
wrecks of the barges, and the dead bodies of the 
troops, engaged in Colonel Parker's unfortunate ex- 
pedition from Fort William Henry. Everything in- 
spired courage in Montcalm's army. It landed, with- 
out any opposition, a short distance below Tea Island, 
on the second of August, 1757. 

On the next day, the camp was formed farther up 
towards the fort. It was situated on the south side 
of the brook which enters the lake a short distance 
from the cove where the wreck of the " Caldwell " 
now lies. That little cove was called "Artillery 
Cove," because the cannon were there landed. The 
trenches were soon dug, and two batteries were 
opened. On the seventh day after the operations 
were begun, the trenches had been pushed as far as 
the gardens around the fort, and the third and last 
battery was being prepared. The Indians took great 
delight in the progress of the operations of the siege, 
and actively assisted in the trenches. They greatly 
admired the artillery and the dexterity of the gun- 
ners. One of their number, an Indian chief, under- 


took to fire one of the guns, and pointing it against 
one of the angles of the fort, which had beeD as- 
signed to him as a mark, he fortunately hit the very 
spot, amidst the applause of the wild sons of the 
lb-rest. On being urged by Borne French officers to 
repeat the experiment, he declined, giving as a reason 
for his refusal, that he had reached that degree of 
perfection to which he had aspired, and did not wish 
to risk his reputation in a second trial. 1 

"Fort William Henry, abandoned by its proper sup- 
ports, and being already crippled in it.- defences, sent 
a Hag of truce before the last battery of the enemy 
was opened, and obtained honourable terms of capitu- 
lation. The garrison was immediately removed to 
the intrenchments on the rocky hill where Fort 
George was afterwards built, and prepared to march 
in the morning to Fort Edward. But Indian thirst 
had become excited, and the revelry of vengeance 
coursed, or cursed, through the hearts of the savages. 
I pass over the scenes of slaughter. The Colonies 
were horrified even more than with Braddock's de- 
feat. The war-cloud had burst over the captive gar- 
rison, and blood flowed like the swollen streamlets, 
poured by a storm into the lake. 

The fort w T as demolished with axe and fire. The 
name of William Henry ceased to be known among 

1 Kip's Jesuit Missions, p. 173. 


military fortifications. It has come down in history 
with the associations of a French triumph, an Indian 
massacre, and a splendid American hotel. Montcalm 
returned to Carillon in triumph. He had driven the 
English from Lake St. Sacrament. With the means 
of transportation for his cannon and stores, he might 
have flung back the cowardly Webb, from Fort Ed- 
ward, and even sounded French clarions in Albany. 
But the work on which he went had been done, and 
done thoroughly. The fort on the southern shore 
of St. Sacrament was no more, whilst Carillon stood 
in the proud life of victory, the champion of the 
northern hills. Montcalm, reversing the defeat of 
Dieskau, had gathered the laurels of the lake, and, 
with them, large treasures of war. 

Thus, the third military lesson, taught at Ticon- 
deroga, in the Old French War, was, military GENIUS 


The reverses of the English in the campaigns of 
Europe and America, aroused the public opinion of 
the nation against the Ministry. The Duke of New- 
castle had already been compelled to resign, and the 
great William Pitt had been called into power, first, 
for an interval of a few months, and now, again, in 
1757, more permanently. New energies were at 
once inspired into the administration of public affairs, 
at home and abroad. The " Great Commoner's " sym- 


pathies with the American Colonies, enabled him to 
summon a large military force into the field. Aber- 
crombie was already in America ; but Pitt selected 
Lord Howe as the virtual and efficient head of the 
new expedition against Crown Point. 

On the 5th of July, 1758, an army of sixteen 
thousand men, with a large quantity of artillery, set 
out from the head of Lake George for Ticonderoga, 
in nine hundred bateaux and one hundred and thirty 

Arise, arise, Carillon ! Arise, or fall ! Thy name 
of " Chime " can only be held by the thunder of ar- 
tillery. The little garrison is on the alert. On July 
1st, the regiments of La Reine, Guyenne, and Bearne, 
are marched up to the Carrying Place. On either 
side of the Lower Falls are posted the regiments of 
La Sarre, Royal Rousillon, Languedoc, and the first 
battalion of Berri ; whilst at the fort the second bat- 
talion of Berri stands on guard. 1 This disposition 
of forces was not made with any serious expectation 
of arresting the progress of the British, but with a 
view to impede their march, and to take advantage 
of any disaster, or error, incident to the work of war. 

It having been reported that the British intended. 
to land near Bald Mountain, or perhaps even fall in 
the rear of the French, by the way of Trout Brook 

N. Y. Col. Doc. X. 721, 737. 


Valley, two detachments of volunteers, commanded 
by Captains Trepezet and Germaine, were sent, on 
the 5th, to watch the movements of the enemy, and 
to oppose, or harass, the disembarkment in that di- 
rection. 1 

The immense armament, however, faltered not at 
the bay or the precipice, but rowed on towards the 
outlet, somewhat uncertain about the exact point of 
landing, until finally the " Burnt Camp " is selected. 2 
Some of the boats passed through the reedy shallows ; 
some stopped at their edge ; some rounded the little 
island in the present steamboat channel, and some 
continued through the chute to the Carrying Place. 3 
The French fired a few volleys, at the distance of six 
hundred yards, — too far to do execution, — and then 
retired to their position at the Lower Falls. 4 

Abercrombie's host effected a landing without loss. 
The gallant Howe leaped ashore in the name of 
" England and King George ;" a true representative 
of people and monarch, and the very embodiment of 
the spirit of a military expedition. The troops, after 

1 X. Y. Col. Doc. X. 721, 722, 738, 894. 

2 The Burnt Camp, or Champ brule, was the place where M. 
ue Contrecceur encamped in 1756. X. 894. It is the same 
locality that was afterwards known as "Lord Howe's Land- 
ing.'' and where the steamboat now lands. 

3 A Xew York regiment, and a part of the Jerseys, landed at 
the same time, near the French camp. [At the Upper Falls.] 
X. 734. * X. 734. 



being drawn up in military order, marched in the 
early afternoon, in four parallel 1 divisions, on the left 
of the outlet, towards the fort. Lord Howe headed 
the advanced column of the righi centre. The sound- 
ing waterfall was a scout more unerring than ;i 
Mohawk, to give the general direction; but the line 
of march which had been adopted could not be pre- 
served amidst the entanglements of the aboriginal 
forests, and the columns fall upon each other in some 
disorder. At this juncture, when about half-way to 
the Lower Falls, Howe's column, after crossing Trout 
Brook, 2 immediately encountered hostile troops, wan- 
dering on the opposite hill, 3 and apparently uncertain 
as to their course. They are the detachment of Tr»'- 
pezet, which, having seen the first division of the 
enemy's bateaux pass Bald Mountain, intended to 
oppose their landing, or at least prevent themselves 
from being cut off from their own army ; 4 but, losing 
their way in the forests, they were now seeking their 
camp, perplexed and bewildered. A conflict imme- 
diately ensued. Nearly two hundred French were 

1 So Entick in his history, III, 252. The official despatch of 
Abercrombie says : " The regulars in the centre and the provin- 
cials on the flanks." X, 725. 

' Trout Brook is called in the French despatches, "Bernes 
River," " Bernets River," and "Birney," on the same page. 
X, 738. 

3 X, 735. *X, 735. 


killed, or taken prisoners ; a few only escaped, by 
wading through the rapids to the large island,, and 
thence to the Falls. 1 But alas! among the eight of 
the British slain, Lord Howe, the army's hope, lay 
dead on the edge of the hill. Near the moaning 
waters of the reluctant brook, he ended his life-cam- 
paign. A thousand men on that day, and there, 
were less than one ! Numbers vanish to ciphers, in 
problems of war. The living Howe, at the crisis of 
Ticonderoga, was a host, and a host's leader to vic- 
tory ; his corpse in the camp gave the mute watch- 
word of coming woe. The army retreated with their 
fallen hero, to spend the night in a vigil of tears ; 
whilst Nature, with uninterrupted glory, imaged her 
stars and her mountains in the quiet lake, — quiet on 
that calm July night as death itself, and bright as 
the hope of the resurrection. 

The work of war must go on. On the 7th, Lieut.- 
Colonel Bradstreet marched, about noon, with 6000 
men, 2 to take possession of the saw-mill; but the 
enemy, on their retreat, had burnt it and destroyed 
the bridge. Colonel Bradstreet secured the position, 

1 X, Y22, 747. 

2 X, 722. See also, "A Narrative of the Battle of Ticonde- 
roga," by Dr. James Searing, of Long Island, a Surgeon in one 
of the Regiments ; contained in the " Proceedings of the New 
York Historical Society for 1847," pp. 112-117. 


and reconstructed the bridge. The whole army took 
up their quarters there for the night. 

On the morning of the 8th, Engineer Matthew 
Clerk was sent to reconnoitre the enemy's intrench- 
ments; and "on his report that the works could !><■ 
carried, if attacked before they were finished, it was 
agreed to storm them that day." 1 The attack was 
begun under the folds of brave banners, and with 
drums and bugles that had often sounded victory. It 
was soon ascertained that "the intrenchments were 
not only much stronger than had been represented, 
and the breastworks at least eight or nine feet high, 
but that the ground before them was covered with 
felled trees, whose branches pointed outwards, and 
obstructed the advance of the troops." 2 On, battalion 
of Royal Americans ! On, regiments of New I 
land, New York, and New Jersey ! On, brave High- 
landers of Scotland, and English veterans of King 
George ! " Forward ! " was the morning watchword 
of that day of blood. 

" Few, few shall part where many meet, 
The turf shall be their winding-sheet, 
And every sod beneath their feet 
Shall be a soldier's sepulchre." 

Fearfully w^ell had Montcalm made his prepara- 
tions. Earth and timber are choice materials in mili- 

1 Abercrombie, X, 126. 2 Ibid., 727. 



tary defence. Ditches and embankments, felled trees 
and redoubts, supply formidable places of shelter to 
brave men, resolved to do or die. Three thousand 
soldiers had been, for two days, woodcutters, diggers, 
and wheelbarrowers ; and on the third day, they 
stand with burnished guns to defend their works. 
The battalion of La Sarre occupies the left, towards 
the outlet ; Royal Rousillon is in the centre ; and 
Guyenne on the extreme right. Intermediate be- 
tween the left and centre, lay Languedoc and Berri. 
and between the centre and right, La Reine and 
Bearne. Bourlamaque commanded on the left ; De 
Levi on the right; Montcalm in the centre, and 
everywhere. 1 

Near the beginning of the action, an attempt was 
made by the English to enfilade the intrenchments in 
reverse, by some pieces of artillery floated down the 
river on two rafts, which had been constructed for 
that purpose ; but the guns of the fort were soon 
brought to bear upon them, and one of the rafts was 
sunk. 2 This disaster compelled the retreat of other 
barges which the English had caused to advance, in 
the hope of turning the left of the enemy during the 
battle. 3 

The attack embraced four points along the line of 

1 X, 737. 2 X, 735, 740 ; also Dr. Searing, 116. 

3 Montcalm, X, 728, 745, 749, 723, 896. 

46 * 2 k 


the intrenchments. which extended over a quarter of 
a mile. Never did soldiers fight more bravely, or at 
greater disadvantage. The severest onset was against 
the French right on the Lake Champlain side. Bere 
the Scotch Highlanders and English grenadiers per- 
formed prodigies of valour, and advanced close upon 
the abattis. 1 But valour, in front of entangling in- 
trenchments, and concealed musketry and artillery, 
was on that day in vain. 2 Falling back to attack the 
centre once more, they were again repulsed; the ban- 
ners of Royal Rousillon defied the storm. After 
another ineffectual effort on the French left, which 
was the most exposed point, the English and Ameri- 
cans retreated, between six and seven o'clock in the 
evening, with 1400 men wounded, and over 500 
killed. 3 Among the latter, was the engineer, Clerk. 
who had advised the attack without sufficient recon- 

Some remarkable providences connect themselves 
with Abercrombie's expedition. 1. In the first place 
must be noted, the influence of the death of Lord 
Howe. In consequence of this catastrophe, the army 

,# X, 748. 

- The trees which had been cat down to form the abattis, left 
on open space, in front of the French lines, of about 350 feet ; 
so that, while the French were concealed behind the intrench- 
ments, the English were in full view. 

3 See Montcalm's Report of the Battle, X., 737, 738, 739. 
Also X., 748, in a letter to Vaudreuil. 


returned, on the 7th of July, to the landing; whereas, 
if they had marched on, they would have found the 
lines of intrenchnient just begun, and unable to arrest 
their progress. 1 2. There was, virtually, no com- 
manding officer. Abercrombie himself remained at 
the sawmill ; and he might as well have been a sawyer 
as a general. Was it not remarkable that no head 
could be found to direct sixteen thousand men? 2 3. 
In the third place, the energies of the Provincial 
t loops were not fully brought out on the occasion. 
Abercrombie, like Braddock, had a contempt of the 
colonists, and had depreciated them ever since he as- 
sumed the command. 3 Putnam and Stark were on 
the field, but nothing is heard of them. The total 
number of killed was 576, and of these only 92 were 
provincials; of the 1421 wounded, only 261 were pro- 
vincials. The regulars bore the brunt of the battle. 
in consequence of Abercrombie's prejudices. 4. An- 
other providence was the entire absence of Indians 
among the French. 4 Six hundred warriors arrived 
only five days after the engagement. 5 Had these 

1 Montcalm says : " On the 7th, the entire army was employed 
at the works and abattis, roughly prepared on the previous night 
by the 2d battalion of Berri." X., 738. 

- The official document does not mention the name of a single 
officer, during the battle. X., 725, 726. Bradstreet and Clerk 
had been mentioned previously. 

3 Bancroft, iii., 340. 

* Doreil says, " There was not a single one of them." X., 745. 

5 On the 13th of July. 


been present in the first conflict, at Lord How< 
death, hundreds of the British and Americans would 
have fallen, entangled in the woods.' Or could these 
savage warriors have been present to pursue A.ber- 
orombie's disorganized soldiers, as they fled back to 
their camp on Lake George, what additional slaughter 
would have defiled thai terrible day! 2 

The English, still fourteen thousand Btrong, fled 
before thirty-five hundred French and Canadians. 
On the following morning, the whole army re-em- 
barked in their bateaux up Lake George, eight} boats 
being filled with the wounded, 3 and reached their en- 
campment, at the head of the lake, the same night." 

Thus, the fourth military lesson taughl at Ticonde- 
roga, during the Old French War, was. Numbers, 


The defeat of Abercrombie operated, like all re- 
verses in a good cause, among the brave, in inspiriug 

1 "I am certain, had the enemy three or four hundred Indians 
with them at the beginning of this rencounter, they would have 
beaten us and driven us to our bateaux." X., 735. 

2 Montcalm writes: "Wha1 a day for Prance, if I had hud 
only two hundred Indians to let loose atthe close of the action." 
X., 749. 

3 X., 896. The wounded were sent off the evening ltd ore. 

4 Dr. Searing says: "July 9th. The principal part of the 
bateaux arrived at Fort William Henry at seven o'clock in the 
evening, and again encamped." New York Hist . Proceeding-. 
1847, p. 117. 


the resolution that, what ought to be done, must he 
done. Fort Carillon ought to fall, and it must fall. 
Canada ought to be conquered, and it must be con- 
quered. The great purpose of gaining possession of 
Canada was thus established with crowning energy in 
the minds of the British rulers and of the American 
people. " No talk of peace." writes Vaudreuil, Gover- 
nor of Canada; "on the contrary, the English will 
absolutely have Canada, and are to attack it at 
various points." ' 

Three expeditions were organized in 1750. whose 
destiny was Quebec and Montreal. One division of 
the British forces was to sail for the St. Lawrence, 
under the command of Wolfe; the main branch of 
the army was to pass through Lake George, Ticonde- 
roga, and Crown Point, under General Amherst, who 
had conducted the successful expedition against Cape 
Breton the preceding year, and who had succeeded 
General Abercrombie in the command; and a third, 
under Prideaux, was to co-operate with the other two. 
after capturing Fort Niagara, by entering the St. 
Lawrence through Lake Ontario. 

Montcalm early foresaw the triumph of the Eng- 
lish. Writing to Marshal de Belle Isle, on April 12th, 
1759, he remarks : " Canada will be taken this cam- 
paign, and assuredly during the next, if there be not 
some unforeseen good luck, or a powerful diversion 

1 X., 947. 


by sea against the English colonics, or some gross 
blunders on the part of the enemy." ' Again, he said : 
"If the war continue, Canada will belong to the Eng- 
lish, perhaps this very campaign, or the next." 5 
France had neglected to reinforce her crippled regi- 

The large armament, collected under Lord Amherst, 
took the usual route to Albany, Fort Edward^ and 
Lake George. A fort, called Fori George, was built 
by Amherst lingering .it the head of the lake."' After 
the usual waste of time, the expedition, consisting 
of 12.000 men, with artillery and stores, sel out in 
boats on the 21st of July. A landing was effected 
without opposition at the point, above the present 
landing, on the eastern shore of the lake.' 1 The ad- 
vantage of this route to the fort consisted in its soon 
joining the well-travelled road from the Carrying 
Place to the lower falls, without risking opposition at 
landing. The point itself formed a bay, where the 
army could disembark without molestation. The 
march to the low r er falls was soon made. On cross- 
ing over to the French lines of intrenchment, so fatal 
in 1758, they were abandoned by the enemy. Many 
a soldier remembered the military tragedy enacted 

1 X., 960. 2 X., 962. 3 Mante's History, p. 201. 

1 So laid down upon the English map. The point is south of 
the steamboat landing. The artillery was landed farther down, 
near the chute. 


there the preceding year, and cast looks of mysterious 
scrutiny at the rude works so victoriously defended. 
In the centre of these memorable lines, the French 
had erected, in celebration of their victory, a lofty 
cross, which still remained ; a deep grave was sunk 
before it, and on the cross was a plate of brass, on 
which was engraven this inscription : 

$)one pvfuciprs eorum sfcut €>reb et Zcb, et %ebn et ^almuimn. 1 

Montcalm no longer commanded the promontory 
of Ticonderoga. The severer exigencies of the cam- 
paign had summoned him to Quebec, to resist the 
movements of the gallant Wolfe. The regiments of 
La Sarre, Languedoc, Beanie, Guyenne, and Royal 
Rousillon, which once stood conquerors behind those 
entrenchments, were now afar off on the St. Law- 
rence; and the garrison in the fort was reduced to 
four hundred men. Bourlamaque, the French com- 
mander, perceiving, from Amherst's mode of con- 
ducting operations, that a defence of the fort would 
be impracticable, withdrew the main body of his 
troops, consisting of three thousand men, to Crown 
Point, on the 23d. Amherst was a cautious officer. 
Although he commanded 12,000 men against 400, he 

1 M ante's History, p. 212, and Warburton's Canada, II, 149. 
For the meaning of the inscription, see Ps. 83 : 11. Consult also 
Judges 7 : 25 and 8 : 21. 


was not to be ensnared before fortifications. Accord- 
ingly, he commenced, in approved military style, to 
dig trenches, run parallels, and establish batteries. 
The garrison bravely resisted, and on the nighl of 
the 25th, made a sally which threw the British camp 
into great confusion; but at the end of three days. 
the works were ready. Two batteries 1 were to be 
opened against the fort on the morning of the 'J7th ; 
but the French, foreseeing \\< doom, had already 
abandoned it in the night, demolishing a part of the 
walls, and retiring to Crown Point. On the following 
day, July 27th, Amherst took possession of the fort, 
in the name of King George. 

For the first time, an English ann\ stood upon the 
tine old promontory of Ticonderoga. A grand scene 
of mountain and of lake greeted the soldiers. There 
arose Mount Defiance, inactive in the war. yet tower- 
ing in strength above Carillon, overlooking the joy 
of the conquerors. From its eminence. ;i> yet un- 
named and unoccupied, Mount Independence smiled 
upon the change of dynasty. Opening in the dis- 
tance, lay the great lake, which had borne so many 
boisterous expeditions of war, now placid in the sum- 
mer sun, and exciting admiration as when Cham- 

1 Holmes's American Annals, II, 233. 
'Amherst's Official Report. 

5 Amherst, on gaining possession of the fort, filled up the 
trenches and parallels, so that not a trace of them now remains. 


plain's eye first rested upon its bosom of beauty. 
And there, amidst the glories of the scene, stood up 
the rude fort of Carillon, full of pluck and war, with 
its four bastions guarding every point of the compass, 
and its banner, tattered by many a wind, left floating 
over the ramparts, to be pulled down by other hands 
than those which had strung it up. 

The victory had been won at last, without a battle. 
Never had an English cannon been fired against 
( 'arillon ; never had the fort discharged its guns 
against an assailing foe. Called into life against 
William Henry, it had survived its vanquished enemy, 
and had rallied at its advanced lines a gallant army, 
to win one of the most wonderful victories ever 
achieved in America. But the time of its own doom 
had come! Behold! the English flag now waves its 
royal folds over its shattered ramparts; the drums 
beat "God save the King;" the French lilies, trodden 
beneath strange feet, give incense to the conquerors ; 
and the guns of the fort sound aloud to either lake 
the final triumph of 1759. Thus Carillon yielded 
up its name ; and England, in the presence of France, 
occupied the promontory of Ticonderoga ! 

The fifth military lesson, taught at Ticonderoga in 
the Old French War, was, Providence shapes the 




IV. Revolutionary Events. 

The fourth series of historical events at Ticon- 
deroga, relates to the war of the American Revolu- 
tion. Although these events do not properly belong 
to the times how commemorated, yel the interval 
between them is so short, and the events are so inti- 
mately connected with Ticonderoga, thai a brief 
reference to them is demanded by the occasion. 

Peace between England and France was concluded 
in 17C3. Questions of colonial policy had already 
risen, on which different opinions were held by the 
King's ministers and the Colonies. 1 In the agitation 
which prevailed, a speedy rupture was foreseen. 
Blood was spilt at Concord and Lexington in April. 
1775. What can now resist the tide-wave of the 
American Revolution ? 

The dawn of a May morning, in 1775, found Ethan 
Allen and eighty-two sons of New England inside of 
Fort Ticonderoga, waking up the British soldiers by 
loud defiant huzzas. Allen himself then knocked on 
the commanding officer's door with the strong fists of 
a Vermonter ; and when De La Place made his ap- 
pearance in the unmilitary undress of night clothes, 

1 Among the members of Parliament who uniformly voted 
against the American cause, was the very Abercrombie who had 
disgraced England and her Colonies, in 1758, at the French 
lines, and in the flight to the camp on Lake George. — Bancroft. 


the impetuous victor shook his sword over his head, 
and exacted an immediate surrender " in the name of 
Jehovah and the Continental Congress." The astonished 
officer obeyed the emphatic and resistless summons ; 
and Ticonderoga became the first-fruits of the har- 
vest of American victories. 

Seth Warner, two days after, captured Crown Point. 
The peculiarities of Allen's daring exploit consisted 
partly in the authority under which it was executed, 
which was not that of the Continental Congress, or 
of the New York Legislature, but of the Governor 
and Council of the " land of steady habits." Con- 
necticut also furnished the funds. 2. The deed was 
performed fourteen months before the Declaration of 
Independence. 3. It was executed with great skill 
and bravery. Although numbers were on Allen's 
side, all the contingencies were against him ; and few 
men could have succeeded as he did. 4. The event 
inspired the Colonies with hope and self-reliance. 
Indeed, few recorded exploits excite more admiration, 
not unmixed with mirth, than Ethan Allen's at Ti- 

. I need not detain you by reciting how Burgoyne 
recaptured Ticonderoga, in 1777, first by gaining pos- 
session of Mount Hope, and cutting off the commu- 
nication with Lake George ; then by conveying can- 
non to the top of Mount Defiance, where the holes, 
drilled in the rocks (as some think to keep the artil- 


lery in position), are still visible, and also the remains 

of the old block-house. You all know how St. Clair, 
perceiving his certain doom, evacuated the fort, which 
was recovered on the surrender of Burgoyne, and 
again captured by the British in L780, and given up 
at the close of the war. 

These revolutionary incidents arise t<> our view. 
like distant points of an attractive Landscape, although 
outside of the range of special observation. 

Our present commemoration is with the old French 
War; and to that we now come back, al the summons 
of 1759, to meditate upon some of its Lessons. 


The sounds of war, echoing with centennial rever- 
beration over the passes of Ticonderoga, suggest 
moral and historical re 1 lections. 

I. What a contrast between these times of peace 
and those times OF WAR ! Ticonderoga has been the 
graveyard of many a soldier. Its sod has been crim- 
soned with human blood, like the red hue of the 
forest now pervading the autumnal landscape. Scenes 
of terror have been enacted here. Up and down 
Lake George, tides of woe have been stirred by war 
upon its rocky shores. Oh, War ! with laurel-en- 
twined brow, thy hand grasps for vengeance ; thy 
heart burns with wrath ! The visible impress of an 


awful presence still abides in Ticonderoga. The ruins 
of the old fort are the emblems of the fierce old times, 
when men sought for blood as the thirsty deer laps 
the fresh water of the brook. All hail, Peace ! sent 
of God to bless the new century ! The promontory 
no more resounds with war-whoops ; Celts and Saxons 
pursue no more their stratagems of death. The con- 
trasts of peace elevate the century that is, above the 
century that was. 

II. The various military events enacted at Ticon- 
deroga in former years, declare the magnitude of the 


to settle not only the boundaries of kingdoms, but 
the dominion of religion, of language, and of race; 
not merely for a State, but for a Continent, Shall 
France rule in America? Shall the Papacy triumph 
in the valley of the Mississippi? Shall Celtic or 
Anglo-Saxon be the language and literature prevalent 
on both sides of the Alleghanies ? These were the 
great questions put and answered at the cannon's 
mouth, and discussed in the conflicts on the Monon- 
gahela, at Ticonderoga, and in Quebec. Higher far 
than elements in the extension of the possessions <<( 
the House of Bourbon or of Hanover, were the plans 
of statesmen, the deeds of warriors, the blood of 
armies. Interwoven among the incidents of cam- 
paigns were issues far-reaching and transcendent. 


New England especially was alive with the activity 

of religious thought.- and feelings. She seems to have 
had a prophetic sense of the coming destiny. Her 
ministers preached and laboured for the Buccess of 
the Protestant arms; chaplains attended her soldiers, 
on distant encampments; and religion, more than 
liberty, animated her public spirit through the trying 
scenes of these old campaigns. Not Less earnest w t'- 
Jesuit priests and Roman Catholic Leaders in a war. 
upon whose events hung the missions of the St. Law- 
rence and the lakes, and the progress of the religion 
throughout the vast boundaries of the Western 
World. The Old French War was emphatically a 
war of religion.' In this respect, it possessed a moral 
grandeur above that of the American Revolution. 
The contests at Ticonderoga were for an open Bible 
and a free conscience. Our Puritan lathers, like the 
Israelites, went to the battle-field for their inherit- 
ance ; and although the campaigns were often pro- 
jected by worldly officers, and fought by thoughtless 
soldiers, yet was religion the great issue involved in 
the contest, and remembered at the family altars and 
in the sanctuaries of New England and New York. 
Mothers pressed their children in faith to their hearts, 
and prayed for the success of Johnson, and Aber- 
crombie, and Amherst, and Putnam, and Stark ; and 

1 The Old French War on the Continent of Europe and in 
America was, properly, the last of the religious wars. 


far-seeing clergymen and statesmen beheld, in every 
victory of liberty, the triumphs of Christianity. 

III. The conflicts at Ticonderoga contributed to 

LEY. According to the measure of their success, the 
military actions of the region had a bearing upon the 
final triumph. The war was begun, on the part of 
England, with the simple aim of resisting French 
encroachments, and of maintaining her own rights 
of territory. There were not wanting, indeed, public 
men, both in England and New York, who main- 
tained, in the early part of the struggle, that the 
conquest of Canada was the only solid foundation 
of peace. 1 But this object did not enter into the 
aims of English statesmen until Pitt came into 
power. And it has been said that, even as late as 
the autumn of 1758, England would have been con- 
tent to make a treaty, leaving Canada to France, 
provided the latter power would have agreed to give 
to England her boundaries in Acadia, on the New 
York frontiers, and in the valley of the Mississippi. 2 
However that may be, it is certain that every victory, 
which weakened the power of France, engaged Eng- 

1 " Canada, my lord," wrote a distinguished New Yorker, in 
1755, " Canada must be demolished — delenda est Carthago — or 
we are undone." Review of Military operations, p. 143. 

2 Entick's History, IV., 83. 


land to claim Canada. The expeditions of L759 
openly aimed at its conquest. The taking of Ticon- 
deroga was one of the preliminaries of success. Am- 
herst had been expected to press forward with tin- 
main army, and join Wolfe before Quebec. Instead 
of building a fort at Lake George, and repairing and 
enlarging the one at Ticonderoga, and establishing a 
new one at Crown Point, which was the most north- 
ern position he reached, he ought to have pushed 
his way down the St. Lawrence, and stood with 
Wolfe upon the plains of Abraham. Wolfe succeeded 
merely by one of those providential interpositions, 
which sometimes crown the daring of a forlorn hope. 
.Montreal fell in the following year ; and Canada be- 
came English after the long toils and conflicts of the 
Old French War, in which Ticonderoga bore so im- 
portant a part. Canada being conquered, the do- 
minion of France in America necessarily terminated 
at the end of the war; and the whole country, east 
of the Mississippi, with a slight exception, reverted 
to England. 

IV. Another centennial reflection is, that strong 

GRESS of civilization. Ticonderoga possessed strength 
in its original configuration, by its command over the 
passes between the St. Lawrence and the Hudson. In 
the early state of the frontier, no military position in 


Northern New York equalled it in importance. Its 
strength was greatest, however, relatively to the times. 
The engineering skill of the Old French War did not 
venture to seize the overhanging mountain near at 
hand ; * nor could the ordinary artillery, used in the 
western wilderness, assail with sure effect at such a 
distance. Modern warfare seeks new military posi- 
tions, and necessitates new centres of attack and de- 
fence. The frontier itself has, also, been removed 
far off. So that Ticonderoga has lost much of its 
importance; like a man outliving his usefulness, or 
whose influence has been overshadowed by a change 
of circumstances. Providence sets up one place, and 
puts down another, in the ever progressive move- 
ments of its sovereign ordinations. 

V. The sacrifices in the Old French War, 
scarcely less than those of the Revolution, led 


War always demands sacrifices; sacrifices of time, 
of resources, of industry, of comforts, of human life. 
New England freely contributed of them all in both 
wars. So did New York and New Jersey, and the other 

' It does not appear to me clear that Montcalm himself re- 
garded the mountain as available in reducing the fortification. 
Certainly, the English did not. "The heights which command 
Carillon " were not the mountain, but the hill in the neighbor- 
hood of the intrenchments. X. 766. 



colonies. The people became inured to self-denial 
and suffering, and fought their way up in spirit and 
power to national independence. Not more cer- 
tainly is Mount Defiance included in the same land- 
scape with Mount Independence, on the opposite 
shore of Champlain, than do the battle-fields of the 
French War stand in juxtaposition with those of 
the American Revolution. The interval that sepa- 
rated the two wars was short — only twelve or thir- 
teen years ; and that interval was marked by politi- 
cal agitations, which may be said to have kept the 
watchfires burning.' The men who had defended 
themselves against French encroachments were not 
the men to submit to English aggression. Truer 
ideas of liberty had Ik en evolved in all the discus- 
sions of the French War, and a stronger reliance 
had been nurtured in provincial prowess. Ticonde- 
roga was one of the military academies, where were 
trained the generals and soldiers for the Revolution. 
As Lake George flows into Lake Champlain by the 
connecting pathway of a narrow stream, so the Old 
French War, after a brief interval, found its natu- 
ral outlet into the expanding course of American 

1 The year 1763, in which the treaty of peace between Eng- 
land and France was signed, was the very year in which Samuel 
Otis delivered, at Boston, his celebrated speech, which opened 
the campaign of the American Revolution. 


VI. The true defences of a country consist, not in 


people. Unless a fort occupies a commanding mili- 
tary position, extremely difficult to assault success- 
fully, it invites preparations for its destruction, and 
it is sure to fall before an active foe. How far Forts 
William Henry and Carillon accomplished any im- 
portant result that was not equally within the reach 
of military expeditions, it may not be easy to decide. 
Sir William Johnson, after the defeat of Dieskau, was 
afraid to proceed against Ticonderoga, although un- 
protected at that time by a fortification. And it is 
certain that Fort William Henry was not of any great 
service during the war. Indeed, its unmilitary posi- 
tion, and the unprotected state of its defences, invited 
its memorable doom of blood. Ticonderoga was un- 
doubtedly of more use to the French than was Wil- 
liam Henry to the English. Yet there was no power 
in Ticonderoga to arrest Amherst in 1759, or Bur- 
goyne in 1777. Burgoyne easily captured the fort 
from its natural point of attack ; but his own army 
was as easily captured after he had rashly advanced 
into the territory of a people resolute to defend their 
country and their homes. Without denying the 
utility, and even the necessity, of fortifications among 
the resources of war, and without depreciating the 
ancient power of these little fortresses on the North- 
ern frontier, it will be generally admitted that the 


true defences of a country against an invading foe 

consist in the intelligence, the virtue, the hardihood, 
and the skill in arms, of the yeomanry of the land. 

VII. A word may be said in commemoration of 


At the head of the illustrious, stands Champlain. 
Animated by the spirit of adventure lie left his home 
at St. Onge for the seas, and became the founder of 
Quebec, and the discoverer of the lake of the Iroquois 
and of Ticonderoga. If a monument should ever !><■ 
erected on the promontory, in honour of its great men 
and its great events, the name of Champlain ought 
to l)e upon it, with an arquebus engraved as the fit 
memorial of his presence, in 1609. 

Among the Iroquois, who often ambushed here, was 
Hendrick, the great Mohawk chief. There is a re- 
corded notice of one of his excursions against the 
Canadians, in 1747.' With his people, he often im- 
portuned the Governor of New York to organize an 
expedition to attack Crown Point. 2 Let the name of 
Hendrick be upon the Ticonderoga monument, in 
commemoration of the Iroquois owners of the soil, 
with a bow and tomahawk for a memorial. 

1 Hendrick or "White Head," a great Mohawk Chief, who had 
made an attack on our settlements, last war. X., 323. Also 
VI., 343. 2 VI., 946. 


Montcalm is forever associated with Carillon. The 
two great exploits that made him the hero of Lake 
George, were the destruction of Fort William Henry 
at its south side, in 1757, and the repulse of Aber- 
crombie on the north side, in 1758. Let a sword, 
with its handle entwined with lilies, be the emblem 
of the heroic Frenchman. 

Lord Howe, young and chivalrous and beloved, 
died a military death in the overarching forests of 
Ticonderoga. A wreath of laurel is his appropriate 
monumental remembrancer. 

Amherst, the tardy and the watchful, the "slow 
but sure " of generals, has a title to a place on the 
monument, as the capturer of Carillon. The arms 
of our mother England should be inscribed with his 

FiTHAN Allen, the daring, dashing Vermonter, per- 
formed a deed of valour in the early dawn of the 
American Revolution, that demands a patriotic com- 
memoration. Let his name be engraved in old Rorrian 
letters, with a representation of the stars and stripes ! 
• Other great men, as the Schuylers, Putnam, Stark. 
Pomeroy, Burgojme, St. Clair, etc., were well known 
here ; but the preceding names may be a sufficient 
and proper selection from them all. 

Citizens of Ticonderoga! shall not 1859 make the 
contribution of a monument in memory of 1759 ' 
There is no finer or fitter place in the world for an 


historical shaft. On an elevated and memorable pla- 
teau, amidst the ruins of the olden time, in sight of 
grand and towering mountains, and in the presence 
of a beautiful lake, Nature pleads with History for a 
memorial. Let not a monument be denied on such 
a site, for such names, and for such deeds, at the be- 
ginning of a new century, which rekindles afresh 
memories that can never die. 

VII. The last thought, suggested by the occasion, 
is the Century's Call. 

The roll has often been beaten by the drum in Fort 
Carillon, and in its successor fort, Ticonderoga ; sound- 
ing its notes with the morning sun, and arousing the 
camp to duty and to toil. To-clay, the new Century 
beats the reveille ! Its awakening strains call to 
thoughts of the past and of the future ! Methinks, 
I hear the solemn sounds from the band of a hundred 
years, coming down to the armies of the living gene- 
ration, over the graves of thousands sleeping in the 
camp of death. 

The advent of the new century demands a grate- 
ful remembrance of ancestral deeds. The work, done 
by the men of olden time, was great in its passing 
benefits, but greatest in its progressive good. What 
an inheritance of unnumbered blessings, personal, 
social, and religious, has been bequeathed by our an- 

Jtors, whose character is stamped armorially upon 


all their gifts ! Those men are ours by country-right 
and history-right ; ours by the consecration of doing 
and suffering and dying. At the incoming of 1859. 
Gratitude cherishes the virtue and the valour of past 

The Century's call announces the future destiny of 
our country. With prophetic trumpet in hand, the 
new century points to the coming greatness and in- 
fluence of America among the nations of the earth. 
The elements tendered by local history for the cal- 
culation, evolve a problem of vast magnitude. At 
the capture of Ticonderoga, thirteen States and two 
millions of inhabitants were the sum of our national 
power ; at the end of a hundred years, thirty-three 
States, with as many millions of inhabitants, rise up 
in the name of American progress. In 1759. the 
Empire State was almost an unbroken wilderness, 
north and west of Albany; in 1859, its fields and 
valleys, from Lake Champlain to Lake Erie, are robed 
with the vegetation of abounding harvests ; and. the 
eighty thousand of its inhabitants have swelled to 
three millions, or one-third more than were in the 
whole country a century ago. Who can foretell the 
future progress, resources, and greatness of America. ? 

" Oh, fair young mother ! on thy brow 
Shall sit a nobler grace than now. 
Deep in the brightness of thy skies, 
The thronging years in glory rise, 

And, as they fleet, 
Drop strength and riches at thy feet.'' 


The Century's call is to GOD, above all and het/mui 
all. He created the majestic mountains around about 
Ticonderoga, its sweet valley, and glorious lakes, and 
notable promontory. In his holy Providence, He has 
overruled all the wars of Indians, and of Frenchmen, 
and of Englishmen, to the advancement of Ameri- 
cans. To God alone belongs the glory of giving 
Liberty and Protestantism to these United States. 
Often has He interposed, in dark times of trial, to 
restore our fallen fortunes. In 1757, when, after the 
destruction of Fort William Henry, France reigned 
triumphant over our entire Northern and Western 
frontiers; and in 1758, when Abercrombie's army 
was repulsed with fearful slaughter at the Ticonde- 
roga lines, our fathers' God brought forth for the 
American cause, victory out of deep disaster. During 
the intervening century, His goodness has marked 
out our way with clouds of direction and with fiery 
pillars of defence.' Throughout two other wars, our 
country has been conducted in safety and honour. 
Plenty fills the land. Revivals of religion animate 
the churches. Power dwells safely with the people. 
Institutions of learning and religion nurture the 
young. Peace smiles upon our inheritance. "Ye 
are blessed of the Lord who made heaven and earth." 
Lift up your hearts to Him in the thoughts of cen- 
tennial commemoration. Let Ticonderoga give praise 
for the events which have wrought greatness into its 


own history, and which have contributed to the ad- 
vancement of the general history of the world. 

Every occurrence, on whatever scale, brings glory 
to God. Time daily worships Him at the altar of 
Providence. Ages bend before Him in adoration. 
Centuries, as they sweep by on their wings of majestic 
night, veil their faces before His throne. 

The end of all things is at hand. Hark ! The 
reveille of eternity is marshalling the nations for 
their last review. Mountains, and lakes, anal skies 
are flolded away, like tents, forever. The promon- 




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