CHAPTER XXIX. Traveling Prairie in Winter
In the fall of 1845, our Illinois Conference was held in Springfield, September 3d; Bishop Morris presiding. I was returned to the Bloomington District, which remained pretty near as before. This district lies in a vast, fertile prairie country, interspersed with delightful groves, and at this time was but sparsely populated; but since has rapidly filled up and improved. The district then extended from the mouth of the Sangamon River, where it empties into the Illinois River, and up said river to near the mouth of the Mackinaw River; thence east to Bloomington, and still east to the head of the Sangamon River; thence with said river to its mouth. There was also a part of the Decatur, and the entire of Monticello Circuits, south of this river, appended to the district. In the dead of winter, or in the spring floods, it was tolerably hazardous to go through and around this district, and very laborious to go round it four times in the year.
In the winter of 1845-46, my round of winter quarterly meetings commenced; there had fallen a deep snow turned warm, and rained in torrents; then suddenly turned intensely cold; the streams mostly froze over, and nearly the whole face of the country was one continued sheet of ice. This storm came upon me at or near Bloomington, the north edge of my district. My next quarterly meeting was south of the Sangamon River, sixty or seventy miles distant. My friends dissuaded me from making even an attempt to go to it. I well knew it was hazardous in the extreme; but I, as a traveling preacher, had from the beginning of my itinerancy, seldom ever made a disappointment, and had a very great aversion to these disappointments, having always made it a determined point, if possible, to fill my appointments; and if difficulties surrounded me, I never knew whether I could overcome them or not, till I tried; so to try was my motto; and if, after using due diligence in trying, my way was so insurmountably hedged up that I could not accomplish impossibilities, I in the main felt contented and happy; for, in my early career as a traveling preacher, I learned this happy lesson not to fight against Providence. So in despite of the importunities of my friends I set out.
My way lay mostly through a dreary and uninhabited prairie, with a small blind path, which, in many places, was rendered invisible by the snow and ice; but, fortunately for me, my way led south, between two large branches, not far to my right and left; and these being considerably swollen by the late rains, and then suddenly frozen over, I found to be a better guide than my blind path; for when I would miss my path, and veer too much to the right, I would meet my branch frozen over, and wheel to the left again; and so it would be when I would get off the track to the left hand. Thus guided, I measured about twenty miles, and about one o'clock I hove up to a point where these two branches met and formed a large creek, which was overflowing its banks, and was swimming from bank to bank. For many miles back I had not passed a solitary house, but right here was a little, old, solitary smoky cabin, and a poor, dirty, ragged family, hovering and shivering over a small fire. The man, the head of the family, was gone out hunting. I was hungry, and asked for food; but the good woman informed me she could not give me anything to eat, for the best of reasons, they had nothing for themselves. I looked around, and plainly saw I could not quarter there that night. But how to get on to the settlement about six miles ahead was the question. The woman informed me, if I could cross the branch which had guided me to the right as I came there, and then would take the timber along the margin of the large creek, into which my branches emptied, for my guide, in about seven miles I would come to houses. But how to get over this branch was the puzzle. It was at least one hundred yards across, being swollen with the last rains, and it was frozen over, but would not bear my horse. So I paused a minute, and thought over my condition. I plainly saw I must retrace my steps till I could cross this branch, and if I could not cross it at all, I must return to the settlement from whence I had started. So I got in my buggy, cracked my whip, and started back. In the course of a mile or two, my branch narrowed considerably, which inspired me with cheering hopes.
I made several attempts to cross the branch, but my horse broke through, and with great difficulty I would retreat; and after retreating four or five miles, my branch spread out largely, and became very shallow; so in I ventured. My horse broke through, but from the shallowness of the water, I got safely across; and leaving the branch to the left, and wheeling again south, took it for my guide, and presently came to the main creek, which leaving to my left, urged on my way for the settlement; and though I had to cross many ponds frozen over, and many branches in the same condition, my horse nearly worn down, and myself cold, hungry, and much fatigued, about dark I came up to a cabin, and it looked so much like the one I had left in the point that I passed on. The second cabin I came to, looked better; and though a total stranger in this region of the country, when I hailed at the gate, who should come out but an old class-leader and exhorter in the Methodist Episcopal Church, whose acquaintance I had made some time before at a distant quarterly meeting. He saluted me as one blessed of the Lord, bid me a cordial welcome, and so did his fine sisterly wife and children. My horse was put up, and well cared for; and soon a good backwoods supper that abounded in all the substantials of life, was on the table. We sat down, and I partook with a relish only known to a weary, hungry man. We had prayers, and the most of us got shouting happy; and one of his interesting sons, while we were all engaged in prayer, was solemnly convicted, and after praying in mighty agony for several hours, the Lord blessed him with a powerful sense of the forgiveness of his sins. For hours we sung, prayed, and shouted together, then I retired to rest, and I slept as sweet and sound as if I had been bedded on a divan of King Solomon's palace. This young man shouted and praised God nearly all night.
This is the way God converts sinners in the backwoods, and a very faint specimen of the way that Western pioneer Methodist preachers planted Methodism in the valley of the Mississippi. This good old brother remained a few years among us, and witnessed a good confession; left the world with a triumphant shout, fell asleep in Jesus, and went home to glory!
Next morning I started on to my quarterly meeting, and just as I got to the bridge, on the main Sangamon River, the high water had surrounded it, but not deep enough to swim my horse, who waded through, and I passed over safely, and got to my quarterly meeting in good time; and although the weather was disagreeable, yet the people crowded out. The word of God took hold on sinners, many of them wept, and cried for mercy, and found by happy experience, that Christ had power on earth to forgive sins. About twenty-eight were soundly converted to God, the most of whom joined the Church, and Methodism was planted here firmly, never to be destroyed, I humbly trust. I have often thought of this scene, and many similar scenes through which I have passed, during my protracted ministry; and when I look back on them my heart grows warm, and swells with gratitude to my heavenly Father for the sanction he has given to my poor little ministry amid all the sacrifices and sufferings through which I have passed, as a Methodist itinerant preacher; and to his holy name be all the glory, both now and forever!
In the Bloomington District I had many warm personal friends, many members that I had received into the Church in Kentucky, and some, in whose houses I had preached in the days of my comparative youth; and although it was a hard district for me to travel, my family living entirely beyond its bounds, yet I was much attached to this field of labor and the brethren, preachers, and people. Some of these old members had fought side by side with me in Kentucky and Western Tennessee, where and when Methodism had many glorious triumphs over slavery, whisky, and superfluous dressing. These were her internal foes; but she not only triumphed over these enemies, but she triumphed over her combined hosts of inveterate and uncompromising sectarian enemies, and attained an elevated position in the affections of very many of the best citizens of those states. Now, many of those brethren who sung, prayed, and preached to and with us, have fallen asleep in Jesus, and sing and shout in heaven; while a few, and comparatively very few of us old soldiers, linger on the shores of time, still fighting under the banners of Christ; and our motto is, "Victory, or death!"
Our next annual conference sat in Paris, Edgar County, Illinois, September 23d, 1846; Bishop Hamline presiding. Our next, at Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois, September 22d, 1847; Bishop Waugh presiding. During the three years I was on the Bloomington District we had general peace and some considerable prosperity. During the last conference year that I was on this district, some incidents occurred, which I will relate.
My winter's round of quarterly meetings commenced at Bloomington; Brother Samuel Elliott was preacher in charge, and it was his second year. There had fallen a very deep snow, which had greatly blocked up the roads; and by some strange forgetfulness in me, I started for my Bloomington quarterly meeting a week too soon; it was very cold, and I had an open bleak prairie to travel through. The first day, I rode about forty miles, and late in the evening I arrived at a very friendly brother's house, but, behold! when I went in, I found a large company, consisting of parts of several families, that had taken shelter under this friendly roof, from the severe cold and pitiless storm of snow that had fallen; but all was as pleasant as could be expected in a crowd, in very cold weather. When we came to retire to rest, it was found that all the beds had to be put into requisition, to accommodate the females; what was to be done with the five or six men of us that composed a part of the company? Our accommodation was cared for in something like the following way. A large fire was made up, and plenty of wood brought in to keep it up all night. Large buffalo robes and quilts were spread down before the fire, and plenty of blankets and quilts for covering; and after praying together, we all retired to rest, and though our bedding was hard, we slept soundly.
Rising early next morning, I mounted my horse, and started on my way to Waynesville, a little village which gave name to one of my circuits. Brother John A. Brittenham was preacher in charge. He saluted me in good brotherly style, and inquired which way I was traveling. I informed him I was bound for the Bloomington quarterly meeting. He said, "That meeting is not till Saturday week; so Brother Elliott informs me."
I was surprised, and immediately turned to the District Book, and found it even so. Well, what was now to be done? Shall I retrace my steps, two days back home; and then travel over this dreary cold road here again? Or what shall I do? Said Brother Brittenham, "Stay with us, and let us have meeting every night till just time for you to reach your quarterly meeting in Bloomington."
"Agreed," said I.
This was a very wicked little village. The Church was feeble, and greatly needed a revival. We sent out, and gathered a small congregation, and tried to preach to them; and there were some signs of good. Next night our congregation was considerably larger, with increasing evidences of good. The third night our house was not sufficient to hold the congregation; and there were mighty displays of the power of God. Some shouted aloud the praise of God; some wept. Our altar was crowded with mourners, and several souls were converted; but, notwithstanding, the place was made awful by reason of the power of God; some mocked, and made sport. Among these were two very wicked young men, ringleaders in wickedness. After interrupting the congregation, and profanely cursing the religious exercises of the people of God, they mounted their horses, and started home. After, or about the time of their starting home, they made up a race for a trifling sum, or a bottle of whisky, and started off, under whip, at full speed; but had not run their horses far, till the horse of the most daring and presumptuous of those young men flew the track, and dashed his rider against a tree, knocked the breath out of him, and he never spoke again. Thus, unexpectedly, this young man, with all his blasphemous oaths still lingering on his lips, was suddenly hurried into eternity, totally unprepared to meet his God.
The tidings of the awful circumstance ran with lightning speed through the village and country round; an awful panic seized upon the multitude, and such weeping and wailing among his relatives and people at large, I hardly ever beheld before. There was no more persecution during the protracted meeting, which lasted for many days; and it seemed, at one time, after this calamity had fallen on the young man, that the whole country was in an agony for salvation. Many, very many, professed religion and joined the Church, but the exact number I do not now recollect.
Before our meeting closed here, Brother Elliott, who had kept up a series of meetings in Bloomington, preparatory to the quarterly meeting--which meetings had been greatly blessed--met me in Waynesville, and we returned to the battlefield in Bloomington again. Our meetings were recommenced, and, with constantly increasing interest, were kept up night and day for a considerable length of time. Many were convicted, reclaimed, converted, and built up in the most holy faith. Of the number of conversions and accessions to the Church I do not now remember, but it occurs to me that it was seventy or eighty. Brother Elliott's labors were greatly blessed in this charge, the last year of his pastoral labors there.
Another incident occurred, while I was on this district, which I feel disposed to name. There were a good many settlements and neighborhoods in the bounds of the district where the people had become, in opinion, Universalists, and, judging from their morality, or rather their immorality, this doctrine suited them well; and it is a little strange, but no stranger than true, I say, without any fear of contradiction, the most of these Universalists had been members of some Christian Church, and had backslidden and lost their religion, if ever they had any. In the course of my peregrinations I fell in with one of their preachers, who really thought himself a mighty smart, talented man, and was ready for debate, in public or private, on all occasions. His assumed boldness gave him great consequence with his hoodwinked disciples. He was very loquacious, and had some clumsy play on words. After conversing with him a few minutes, I took my line, common sense, and sounded him. He affectcd to have great veneration for my gray hairs; but I soon found his veneration for my gray hairs arose more from a fear of my gray arguments than otherwise. He was a man of slender constitution, and had been, and was then, greatly afflicted with sore eyes, and was threatened with the total loss of sight. He, in the course of our conversation, said there could not be any such being as a personal devil, who could be everywhere present at one and the same time, tempting mankind to evil; and as for a future place of punishment called hell, there was no such place; that the temptations of man arose from his fallen nature and not from the devil, and the punishment that man would suffer for his evil doings he suffered in this life, and these sufferings consisted in the compunctions of conscience for his moral delinquencies, and in his bodily afflictions.
"Well," said I, "my dear sir, if your argument is a sound one, I must draw very unfavorable conclusions in reference to the magnitude of your crimes."
"Why so?" responded he.
"Well, sir, for a very good reason. As to your moral delinquencies, and your compunctions of conscience, they are best known, perhaps, to yourself; but as to your bodily afflictions, as a punishment, I think I can draw very fair inferences, for I cannot conceive of a greater bodily affliction than the loss of sight; and as your vision is almost gone, and you have expressed your firm belief that you will lose your sight altogether, I must, if your doctrine be true, number you among the greatest sinners on earth, for God is too wise to err, and too good to inflict undeserved punishment." I tell you his stars and stripes were not only dropped to half mast, but trailed in the dust.
There were some evil reports about this preacher and a certain landlord's lady who kept public entertainment. Another Methodist minister and myself called to stay all night at this house, as we were on a journey. The landlord was from home. We were known to this lady, but she charged us tolerably high, and, Universalist as she was, I think her conscience smote her a little for charging preachers, and she began to make a kind of apology for doing so. She said, "Mr. Cartwright, I suppose you will think it a little strange that I charge Methodist preachers, but you need not, for I charge my own preacher, Mr.----."
"O, no, madam," said I ; "not at all, not at all. If reports about you and Mr.---, your preacher, be true, such a course, perhaps, is right, and I have money enough to pay all Universalist bills, and they ought to have it, for all the happiness they will ever see is in this life; there is none for them in the life to come." You may depend upon it apologies ceased, and a dumb dispensation came over our fair hostess.
Now, who does not see, from these rather desultory incidents, the legitimate fruits of a false foundation that proposes to save all mankind, irrespective of the moral temperament of the heart? or, in other words, who does not see the fatal error of the fallacious arguments that go to prove the final salvation of all mankind, without repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ? How many poor, self-deluded souls are leaning on this broken staff, and will never be awakened to a sense of their true condition till they hear the dreadful communication: "The great day of His wrath has come, and who shall be able to stand?"
In the fall of 1847, at our annual conference, in Jacksonville, our election of delegates to the General Conference that sat in Pittsburgh in 1848, came off, and, for the ninth time, it pleased the members of the conference to return me one of its delegates. This General Conference was, on many accounts, a very interesting one, and especially on account of the state of things that had grown up under the late rupture in the Church. The Southern preachers had gone from the General Conference of 1844, with predetermination to renounce the jurisdiction of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was all planned and determined on before the delegates left New-York. This is a fact clearly settled, and admits of no doubt. But how does this course of conduct agree with the solemn pledges publicly given to the General Conference by the Southern delegates, that, on their return home to their different fields of labor, they would, if possible, allay the agitation in the South? and if there was a rupture, it should be of imperious necessity, and not of choice? Did they do this? Was there a single Christian effort put forth to accomplish this? O, no! never, never! But a very different course was pursued. The tocsin of war was sounded; the Methodist Episcopal Church was denounced as an Abolition Church, and the cry of self-defense was heard everywhere, from Virginia to Florida and Louisiana. To arms! to arms! ye great American people, or these abolitionists of the Methodist Episcopal Church will be down upon you, and come and steal all our negroes!
The convention at Louisville was called, a convention of delegates from the slaveholding conferences; and the delegates appeared in regular uniform, equipped and armed according to law. The yoke of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a rampant abolition Church, was thrown off; a separate organization was formed; their General Conference was appointed; Bishop Soule seceded from the Methodist Episcopal Church, went over and joined them, and acted as generalissimo. Bishop Andrew, unhurt by the dreadful extra judicial act of the abolition General Conference of 1844, appears with all his pontifical robes, shining rather brighter by the abolition rubbing that he had gotten; two more slaveholding bishops elected; a jubilant song was sung to the tune and words of, Farewell to abolitionists, negro stealers, and all the croakers of the North. And, after heaping upon the Methodist Episcopal Church all kinds of abuse, and every opprobrious epithet that the fiery burning vocabulary of the South could afford, the Southern General Conference, in the plenitude of their goodness and wisdom, sent a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held in Pittsburgh, in 1848, asking a mutual and reciprocal fraternization between the Church, North, as they misnamed us, and the Church, South. Now, unprejudiced reader, what do you think of this? A better man and better Christian gentleman the whole South did not afford than Dr. Pierce, their messenger on this embassy; but the Methodist Episcopal Church was caricatured, abused, slandered, and in every sense maltreated by the South; and while they were wounded and bleeding at every pore, is it to be wondered at that this embassy failed, and that every single member of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church of 1848, voted against fraternization? If they would undo the wrongs they had inflicted, and take back their hard speeches, and bind themselves to a Christian course in future, then, and not until then, could the Methodist Episcopal Church think of a Christian fraternization.
The constitutional vote having failed to be obtained from the annual conferences, in order to render valid an alteration of the sixth restrictive feature of the Constitution, laid down in our Discipline, all the doings of the General Conference of 1844, with respect to a division of the Church, the property or funds of the Church, or a line of separation, were, to all intents, purposes, and constructions, null and void; but still the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church of 1848 were unwilling that any act on their part should be wanting, to settle peaceably these Church difficulties; they, therefore, asked again the concurrent three-quarter vote, of all the annual conferences, to a peace measure, to stop all, or prevent any litigation on the property question; but before our bishops had time to submit this measure to the annual conferences that remained firm in the union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Southern commissioners commenced a suit, thereby rendering all peaceful constitutional efforts on her part vain. The unjust decisions on these suits are well known, and will form part and parcel of the history of our country, and especially of the unjust judicial decisions of the court against the Church.
At the conference held at Jacksonville, September 22d, 1847, my appointment was to the Springfield District, which was composed of the following appointments, namely: Springfield Station, Taylorsville, Sangamon, Petersburgh, Beardstown, Carlinville, Hillsborough, and Sharon Mission. During this conference year, 1847-48, we had some splendid revivals, and an increase of over five hundred members in Springfield, under the faithful labors of Brother J. F. Jaquess. Great good was done, and many souls were converted, and added to the Church; and, although some of these promising youths that joined the Church, under hopeful prospects, through persecution and other unfavorable causes, fell back into their old habits, and made shipwreck of faith, a number stood firm, and ornamented their profession, and one of them is now an acceptable traveling preacher in the Illinois Conference. Taylorsville Mission shared, in a considerable degree, this year, in revival influence, under the labors of L. C. Pitner, preacher in charge. In Petersburgh, there was also a good work, and a considerable number converted, and a very neat church erected, that does honor to the village, under the industrious efforts of Benjamin Newman, preacher in charge.
In the fall of 1848, our conference was held in Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois; Bishop Morris presiding. In the course of this year, there was a good religious influence felt in the Sangamon Circuit, especially in several of the Southern appointments, that are now included in the Chatham Circuit. W. S. M'Murray was very successful here in winning over to Christ many precious souls. There were many conversions, and large additions to the Church; and though he has gone to his reward, he will long live in the affections of many in the bounds of the then Sangamon Circuit. He succeeded in erecting a decent church on Sugar Creek, and the Society honored him in calling it, "M'Murray Chapel."
Brother M'Murray, his wife, and three of his children, were all violently attacked with the cholera, and in a few days of each other, they fell victims to its violence; but he will long live in the affections and remembrance of many, especially of those whom he was the instrument, under God, of converting. Peace to his memory! and may the Lord take care of, and provide for the three orphan children that Brother and Sister M'Murray left behind.
In the fall of 1849, our conference was held in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois; Bishop Janes presiding. This year I was returned to the Springfield District. There were no great revivals in the bounds of the district this year, though the Church in the main was in a peaceful, healthy condition; some conversions, and some increase in the membership.
I beg leave here to devote a few lines in giving a small sketch of our German work. It is only a few years since it pleased God to awaken and convert Dr. Nast, now editor of the German "Apologist." He came to America a German rationalist, or infidel. He was awakened and converted under the labors of the ministry of the Methodists. He was soon licensed to preach, and was the first German missionary to thousands of our foreign German population. God soon gave him seals to his ministry; sent his awakening, convincing power, and powerfully converted some of his countrymen. He also raised up some of these new converts to preach the Gospel to the Germans; and with Dr. Nast and his co-laborers the German Mission started. Soon, circuits were formed, and the work of God spread through Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois. God raised up faithful and able German preachers, to carry the tidings of salvation to their perishing countrymen that were here, or coming by the thousand to America. Many who were Catholics, Lutherans, rationalists, and infidels, were happily converted to God; the work spread and increased, till stations, circuits, and districts were formed, and are still forming; and they come the nighest to old-fashioned, or primitive Methodism, of any people I ever saw.
I was once in conversation with Brother Jacoby, and advising him to Americanize his German Methodists, when he said to me, "There are three things that must be done to a German before you can get him right. He must first be converted in his head, for his head is wrong. Secondly, he must be converted in his heart, for his heart is wrong. Then, thirdly, he must be converted in his purse, for his undue love of money makes his purse wrong. If," said he, "we can convert him in all these respects, we can soon Americanize him and make a good Methodist of him, and then he will stick."
It will be remembered that these Germans in the West all belong to the Ohio, Indiana, Rock River, and Illinois Conferences. They are doing great good, and have been greatly prospered by the Lord. Thousands of the Germans can be reached by preachers of their own language, that can never be reached by English preachers. They need our aid and encouragement. Let us hold them up, and the good they are destined to do, and the hundreds of thousands that they may be, and will be, instrumental in bringing to the knowledge of the truth, are far beyond our most sanguine calculations. Many of them are poor, and many avaricious, and either cannot or will not support the Gospel till they are converted; then they will gladly and cheerfully give according to their ability, and by our aiding them now, and supporting missionaries to labor in those missionary-fields till they are converted and able to become self-supporting, we shall do a good work.
What a blessing it is to have ministers to meet those foreigners when they land on our shores, and tender them salvation in their own language. I do not believe we can invest our missionary donations so as to do as much good anywhere else as by applying it to the support of ministers to preach to all foreigners that are crowding to our happy country; and, by the by, this is a much cheaper plan than to fit missionaries to go to foreign lands, and there undergo the tedious process of learning their languages, or of preaching to them through an interpreter; and our missionary appropriations will go further, and accomplish more good. And when I consider the good already done among the foreign population that are here in our midst from different nations, it gladdens my heart. I have been a close observer of the effect the Gospel has had upon these foreigners, so far as they have come under the influence of the usages of the Methodist Church. Their close attendance on and attention to class-meetings, prayer-meetings, love-feasts, family prayer, and, in a word, all the means of grace, are worthy of all commendation; for I know close attention to these means of grace, is the reason of the great success of the Methodist Church in other and former years; and the want of attention to these duties in our members now, is the grand cause of the deadness and barrenness of the Church.
In the fall of 1850, September 18th, our conference was held in Bloomington, M'Lean County, IIlinois; Bishop Hamline presiding. During this conference year one of our old, well-tried, and faithful preachers, Charles Holliday, had fallen a victim to death. I had been long and intimately acquainted with him. We had long lived and labored together, and nothing contrary to Christian love ever existed between us that I know of. I was called upon to preach his funeral sermon before the Conference, and did so as best I could from the short and unexpected notice given me that I had it to do, and perhaps I cannot say anything about this good old brother better than to transcribe, substantially, what is said in his obituary, printed in our General Minutes, namely:
"Rev. Charles Holliday died March 8th, 1850, in his seventy-ninth year. He was the son of James and Mary Holliday, and was born in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, November 23d, 1771. His parents were members of the Presbyterian Church. They not only trained him up in its doctrines and moral discipline, but his education was conducted with special reference to his entering the ministry in that Church. His parents dying while he was in his minority, he abandoned the idea of entering the ministry, and turned his attention to secular pursuits. At what age he became pious we have no specific information. In the month of May, 1793, he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Watkins, a lady of good understanding, sound and discreet judgment, who afterward became a devoted, and faithful Christian. The day after they were married, they, in company, united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and commenced family devotions the same evening. In 1797 he received license as a local preacher. His license was regularly renewed annually from that time until September 30th, 1809, at which time he was admitted on trial in the traveling connection in the Western Conference, and appointed to the Danville Circuit. In October of the same year he was ordained deacon by Bishop Asbury. In 1810 he was appointed to the Lexington Circuit, where he remained two years, and was ordained elder by Bishop M'Kendree, October 11th, 1811; in 1812 he was appointed to Shelby Circuit; in 1813 he was appointed Presiding Elder of Salt River District, where he remained three years; in July, 1816, being bereaved of his pious and faithful wife by death, who left him with nine children, he found it necessary to locate. The certificate of his location is dated September 7th, 1816, signed by Bishop M'Kendree. In the former part of the year 1817, he entered into a second marriage with Miss Elizabeth Spears. This lady, who still lives, proved to be a devoted woman and wife, and a kind mother and faithful guardian to his children. His family being now provided for, he was readmitted into the traveling work in 1817, and appointed to the Cumberland District, Tennessee Conference, where he remained four years. From 1821 to 1825, he labored as presiding elder on Green River District, Kentucky Conference; in the fall of 1825 he took a transfer to the Illinois Conference, and was appointed to the Wabash District, where he continued to labor till the meeting of the General Conference of 1828, at which time he received the appointment of book agent at Cincinnati, in which he continued eight years. At the close of his term of service as book agent he was transferred to the Illinois Conference, and, in 1836, was appointed presiding elder of the Lebanon District, where he continued two years. He was appointed presiding elder on the Alton District in 1838, which was the last district on which he labored. He continued in an effective relation to the Conference, filling such small appointments and doing such work as his declining strength would permit, until 1846, when he was granted a superannuation, and in this relation he remained until the close of his useful life. He attended the conference in Quincy in September, 1849. On his way to that conference he was attacked with disease of the kidneys, from which he never recovered. Although his sufferings in this his last illness were extreme, he frequently exulted in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which enabled him to bear so much suffering without complaining. He retained his reason to the last. It had been his practice, for thirty years, to pray three times a day in his family, and from his devotional spirit we wonder not that his sun of life set in great peace."
In summing up the chracter of our lamented Brother Holliday, we may say, that there are few traits of real excellence that he did not possess in an eminent degree. As a preacher he was clear, sound, and practical. When he indulged in doctrinal controversy, although he was decided, and expressed his views in a strong language, he was always kind and loving to his opponent; in all the relations of life, as a husband, a father, a pastor, a friend, a companion, he was a most lovely and interesting man, and in the sufferings and disappointments of life, his conduct was characterized by that "charity that suffereth long and is kind." His end was peace, and many in the day of eternity will rise up and call him blessed. Thus lived and thus died, one of our old members of the Western Conference, the only conference, at the time of our brother's commencing his itinerant life, that was in this natural as well as moral waste, or in the valley of the Mississippi. The death of Brother Holliday was a solemn dispensation to me, and having to preach his funeral sermon to the whole conference, as well as many others, and having but a few minutes' notice, and no time to prepare, it was a tremendous cross, and I have always feared that I did not do justice to the life, labors, and Christian virtues of this man of God; but under the circumstances I did the best I could, and ask a kind indulgence of the congregation for all the defects of that performance. Let us unitedly join, and devoutly pray, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his," as said the text on that occasion; and if this prayer is answered, we shall soon reach the place where funeral dirges are never sung, and death never enters.
In the fall of 1851, September 17th, our conference sat in Jacksonville; Bishop Waugh presiding. Here we elected our delegates to the General Conference which was to sit in Boston, May 1st, 1852; and although the Indiana Conferences, Rock River, Iowa, and Wisconsin, had grown up, and were organized into separate conferences that once belonged to the Illinois Conference, yet, from the rapid increase of population in the state, and from the increase of members, and especially the increase of preachers, both English and German, it was found indispensable to divide again, and form a Southern Illinois Conference; and the delegates were instructed accordingly. It pleased the Conference to elect me as one of this delegation. This was the tenth time I had been honored with an election by the several annual conferences, of which I was an humble member, to represent the interests of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the General Conference.
Bishop Hedding, our honorable senior bishop, who died April 9th, 1852, was at the date of our Conference, lingering, with no hope of surviving but a few days. Bishop Hamline's health also being extremely precarious, all the efficient work of superintending the interesting concerns of the whole Church, devolved on Bishops Waugh, Morris, and Janes. We all knew that several additional bishops must be elected at our General Conference of 1852. From this view, together with the infirmities of increasing years of Bishop Waugh, he delivered us a very impressive address at the close of the Illinois Conference, stating that it was probable this was the last time he should ever preside in our midst. This address greatly affected the whole Conference, for the bishop had presided among us with great acceptability, and we honored and loved him greatly. We all remembered that our beloved Bishop Waugh had gone in and out among us blameless, and that we had been greatly benefited by his counsels, and the impartial manner in which he had presided among us; and we always found him orthodox in the doctrines and discipline of the Church. He was always accessible to the humblest preacher or member among us, and we found him to be what I believe constitutes an old-fashioned Methodist bishop; he raised no new standards in doctrine or discipline, but urged us to "mind the same things, and walk by the same good, old Methodist rules." So may all our bishops do.
In the fall of 1851, my four years having expired on the Springfield District, I was appointed to the Quincy District, where I had traveled fifteen years before; then my district extended from the mouth of the Illinois River to Galena, and, indeed, as far north as was inhabited by the whites; and yet further still, into the Indian country, where I superintended the mission among the Pottawattomies. My district was then between four and five hundred miles from north to south, and I suppose would average one hundred miles from east to west. I then thought the district a small one, for when I was first appointed to a district in the Illinois Conference, in the fall of 1826, my district commenced at the mouth of the Ohio River, and extended north hundreds of miles, and was not limited by the white settlements, but extended among the great, unbroken tribes of uncivilized and unchristianized Indians; but now in 1851 how changed was the whole face of the country. The district was composed of the following appointments, namely: Quincy Station, Columbus, Warsaw Mission, Chili, Pulaski, Rushville Station, Rushville Circuit, Havana, and Beardstown Station, about one hundred miles from east to west, and I suppose would average from thirty to forty from north to south. There was no district parsonage and accommodations near its center. I lived entirely out of its bounds, and had the Illinois River to cross and recross five or six times each quarter, and the ravages of many years were upon me, so that I found it as hard to travel this small district as I did my first district in the Conference, which covered more than two thirds of the geographical boundaries of the state. The country had not only greatly changed, in rising glory and strength, but I had greatly changed also; my strength was failing, so that I dreaded a journey of one hundred miles more than I formerly did one thousand. I was well pleased with my appointment on many accounts. I was much gratified to see the growing improvements of the country; the dense population; the great increase in the membership of the Church; the large spacious churches that were built; and in addition to all this, I met hundreds that I had taken into the Church in former years, when a new country tried men's souls. They gave me a cordial reception, and welcomed back their old presiding elder, and gave me unmistakable evidences of their friendship and brotherly love.
But, notwithstanding all this, and a thousand good things that I could say with truth and sincerity, I found that Methodism, in some places, had gone to seed, and was dying out, and, to use our back-woods language, some of the prominent and leading members of the flock had become butting rams, or jumping ewes, or sullen oxen, or kicking mules. These things gave us trouble. One of my preachers, for some cause unknown to me, had become greatly prejudiced against me; he was appointed this year to the Warsaw Missionary Station. This young, flourishing little city of Warsaw stands on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, hard by the Fort Edward military post. We had a small, though respectable little society here, but no church to worship in. The brethren had rented a little, old, dilapidated frame, every way unsuitable, and in an out-of-the-way place. The Presbyterians had a small church; and when our quarterly meeting came on, they offered it for our use. The preacher in charge accepted the offer, but said perhaps we might protract the meeting. They replied we might have it as long as we pleased; we might go on and protract the meeting if we saw proper. The family of my preacher I was not acquainted with; and he, being prejudiced against me, had made a bad impression on the mind of his wife against me. However, she came to meeting, and the Lord blessed her, for she was a very good woman. The Lord also reached the heart of their interesting little daughter, and she joined the Church. After this, the preacher's wife expostulated with him, and told him to lay aside his prejudices against me, alleging that I must be a good man, for the Lord had blessed and was blessing my labors in a powerful degree. The old brother surrendered, and gave up his prejudices, and we became very friendly.
The power of God fell on the congregation almost every coming together; and we had crowded congregations by day and by night. Several were awakened and converted. We protracted the meeting, and intended to extend it over several Sabbaths; but were cut short by official information that the congregation who owned the church wanted to use it themselves after Friday night. We concluded our meeting, thankful for small favors; but did firmly believe that this unceremonious deprivation of the Presbyterian or Congregational church arose from jealousy, or fear of our success. If we judge wrong in this matter, we devoutly hope to be forgiven by the Lord.
The quarterly meeting which we have been speaking of was holden the first days of February, 1852. Our expulsion from the church, in the manner above stated, created considerable dissatisfaction, and produced a determination, both in and out of our little society, to build a church that we could call our own, without the danger of being turned out of it at any time. Accordingly, a lot was selected, and a subscription opened to accomplish this desirable object, and from the amount subscribed by the citizens, together with several hundred dollars obtained abroad, we succeeded the next year in erecting a neat little brick church to worship in; and our quarterly meeting the next year was held in it, namely, the first Sabbath in February, 1853. This meeting was attended with great power. James I. Davidson was preacher in charge this year, whose labors were greatly blessed and owned of God. I tried to preach during our protracted quarterly meeting about ten times, to large and crowded congregations. Sinners were deeply convicted, and a great many, I verily believe, obtained religion. Over twenty joined the Church, among them some good, respectable citizens, whom we hope to meet in heaven, and unite in praising God forever.
But right here I wish to say, that in most of our revivals many men and women of bad habits and ill-fame become operated on, profess religion, and join the Church. This has long been, and now is, a great objection by many to these revivals, and it has been the cause of considerable persecution to the Church. But it should be remembered that the economy of the Church, in saving souls, is compared by Jesus Christ himself to a fisherman casting his net into the sea, and inclosing a multitude of fish, both good and bad. But who ever condemned the fisherman, because his net gathered bad as well as good fish? or who ever drew the erroneous conclusion that the net was bad, because there were some bad fish inclosed in it? The net is to be thrown, the fish, bad and good, are to be inclosed, and then the net is to be drawn to shore, on dry land, and all alike, both good and bad, taken from their natural element. Then, and not till then, the process of assorting them is to commence.
The Methodist Church, in our humble opinion, stands, in this respect, on preeminently Scriptural ground. They give every sinner a chance, and take them on probation for six months, not as members, but under the care of the Church, on trial for membership; and surely, if they do not in that time give satisfactory evidence of their sincerity and fitness for membership, it is not likely they ever will. Well, if they do not in that time give satisfactory evidence that they are in good earnest in seeking their salvation, what then? Expel them? No; for they are not members to expel. What then? We simply drop them, and consider them no longer probationers for membership; leave them where we found them; we have at least tried to do them good, and have done them no harm. This is the safety-valve of the Methodist Episcopal Church; six months on trial for membership. How dreadfully have other sister Churches been troubled in their mode of operation! They generally believe that a Christian can never fall away so as to be finally lost, and that it is wrong to receive any into the Church who are not Christians. Well, in order to get people into the Church, they are often found hurrying them into a profession of religion when they have none; and then, when such fall away, with what astonishing mortification they have to confess they were mistaken; that these souls were deceived; that they never had any religion! and yet they hurl their anathemas at Methodist preachers for taking persons as probationers for membership without religion, while they have actually done infinitely worse, for they have taken them into the Church as full members, and as Christians too, when they were not. Now, if our economy is wrong, what must theirs be?
God bless the citizens of Warsaw, and increase their mercies a hundred-fold, for the many acts of kindness shown to me the two years I was laboring among them.
In the fall of 1841, Milo Butler, a transfer from the Michigan Conference, was appointed to the pastoral charge of the Quincy City Station. It was constituted a station under my former presidency in the Quincy District, and had existed as a station for more than fifteen years. The Church had ebbed and flowed, sometimes in prosperity and sometimes in adversity. There were some fine, substantial members here; but they at this time, 1851, were in a cold state, evidently on back ground. Brother Butler was greatly afflicted, and so were his family, this year. He labored faithfully, according to his strength.
We had a small refreshing in the Church this winter, chiefly under the acceptable labors of Brother Wilson, brother-in-law to Doctor Butler. L. C. Pitner was appointed to Quincy Station in the fall of 1852; and during the months of December, 1852, and January, 1853, a glorious revival broke out, such as had never been in Quincy before. It really seemed as though it would at times overwhelm the whole city. High and low, rich and poor, old and young, bowed before the mighty power of God. Many of almost all kinds of education became the subjects of the converting grace of God, and joined the Church; and when our second quarterly meeting came off, in January, our Church, though large, was filled at love-feast to its utmost capacity. The city mission charge, under the pastoral care of James L. Crane, belonging to the Griggsville District, shared largely in this blessed revival, and our German Methodist Church caught the holy fire; and it was supposed that over one thousand were converted and added to the different charges and Protestant Churches in the city of Quincy during this happy year. Most of them have proved faithful, and are honoring the profession they have made; but; some of them have fallen asleep in Jesus, and are numbered with the Church above.
During the two years I was on this district, we had good times in Rushville Station and Rushville Circuit, Ripley Mission, Pulaski, and Columbus Circuits; a number were converted and joined the Church in all these places. About the 20th of September, 1852, we had a camp-meeting at Sugar Grove, in the bounds of the then Columbus Circuit. Brothers J. I. Davidson, Butler, and Pitner came to our aid, and labored like men of God; but what was better still, the Lord came and made one in our midst. The word was preached in demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God; the Church was greatly built up, and many sinners were convicted and soundly converted, and about sixty were added to the Church.
This conference year was a great and prosperous one to the Church; and the two years I spent on the Quincy District, I number among the most pleasant of my life. Still we had some trials and disputes in the Church which gave us trouble, but the Lord, we trust, overruled all, and great good was done; the Church increased in numbers, in deep piety, in close attention to her peculiar institutions that God has so long blessed and prospered. My strength was failing from increasing years, and long and constant itinerant labors; I lived on the east end of the district, and I had to cross the Illinois River very often, which in winter was frequently frozen over for months, and in spring the banks were overflowed; and I had often to ferry five miles across the water extending from bluff to bluff; and when the winds were high, I have been detained for days together, causing me to risk my life, and to miss my appointments. Under these circumstances, I was impelled to ask the bishop to change the form of the district, and make the river the line.
Our Conference in the fall of 1852 was held in the town of Winchester, Scott County, Illinois; and in the fall of 1853, the 12th of October, at Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois. Bishop Scott was our presiding bishop, and a pleasant president he was. It was at this Conference the above alteration in the Quincy District was made, and the Pleasant Plains District formed. This district was composed of the following appointments, namely: Beardstown Station, Meredosia (now Concord) Circuit, Havana, Jacksonville Circuit, Sangamon, Virginia, and Island Grove; a very pleasant, convenient little district indeed.
I had now been a traveling preacher for more than forty-nine years, and was sixty-eight years of age. I had been appointed presiding elder by Bishop Asbury, at the first Tennessee Conference, held in Fountain Head, in the fall of 1812, which is now forty-three years since; and in all these forty-nine years of my life as a traveling preacher, I had never asked of the appointing power of the Church for any appointment, nor for any accommodation in an appointment; and although some of my brethren have thought that I was greatly favored with accommodating appointments, I here call upon all the bishops that have given me my appointments for more than fifty years to bear me witness that the appointments given me by them, were unasked for by me.
At this conference at Beardstown, in the fall of 1853, for the first time in my life, I did ask to be appointed to the Pleasant Plains District, if appointed to a district at all, but at the same time said I would greatly prefer a small circuit. Let Bishop Scott and his council bear witness in this matter. There was another strong reason, aside from my age and infirmities, that urged me to ask this accommodation; namely, that I might gain some time to write this sketch. But, alas! leisure time to write seems to be almost out of the question with me; I am appointed on so many conference committees, have to attend so many dedications of churches, to preach so many funeral sermons, besides all the important duties of the district, that leisure time with me is a very rare thing. And such have been my Church engagements, and such the length of time between the occasional hours or days devoted to this narrative, that when I have recommenced writing I had entirely forgotten what I had written last, especially the connection of subjects; and this has cost me a great deal of labor and loss of time; hence if there are some repetitions, unconnected incoherencies, I hope they will be regarded and inspected with this motto:
I think it about time now to return and say a few things about our General Conference of 1852, which sat in Boston. When in Pittsburgh, at the General Conference of 1848, the New-England brethren pleaded hard for the General Conference of 1852 to be appointed in Boston, they alleged that New-England had never had a General Conference. I observed to Brother Crandall, and other New-Englanders, rather jocosely, that, judging from the Yankees that I had seen out in the West, I was a little afraid to venture myself in the General Conference among the Bostonians; for almost all that I had seen in the West had assumed such high ground, professed such mighty educational attainments, that we poor illiterate Western backwoods preachers could hardly hold an intelligible conversation with them; and that we were afraid to start any proposition whatever; and when we met them, we could only stand and look at them, and make ready to answer questions.
To this, Brother Crandall pleasantly replied, "Why, sir, you have never seen a genuine Yankee in the West; those you have seen are runaways, or pretenders or impostors; they are an adulterated set of scapegallows fellows; but come to Boston, and we will show you a real live, green Yankee."
"Very well," said I, "we'll go for Boston."
When a number of the delegates from different Conferences met in New-York, on their way to Boston, we took the cars, a crowd of us together, and on our iron horse snorted toward the land of the Puritan metropolis, leaving the Empire City and State far behind.
Just about the time we entered the limits of the State of Massachusetts, our conductor proclaimed a halt of ten minutes; I dashed out without my hat; I wanted water, and as I had no relish for being left by the cars, I ran and watered, and with a quick step returned, and took my seat. I discovered that a good many of the preachers were indulging in a hearty laugh, and, as I thought, at my expense.
Said I, "Gentlemen, what are you laughing at?"
One, somewhat composing his risibilities, answered,
"How dare you enter the sacred, classic land of the pilgrims bareheaded?"
"My dear sir," said I, "God Almighty crowded me into the world bareheaded, and I think it no more harm to enter Massachusetts bareheaded than for the Lord to bring me into the world without a hat."
There were several ladies sitting hard by, though I had not observed them; they pulled down their vails, and chuckled over my speech for miles. When we got to Boston, I expected to see no one that I had ever seen but a few of the Methodist preachers that I had become acquainted with at the General Conferences of former days; but I was very agreeably disappointed in this respect, and especially when I learned that Mr. Merrill, with whom I had formed a pleasant acquaintance at M'Kendree College, Illinois, some years past, was then living in Boston, and had petitioned for Dr. Akers and myself to board with him during General Conference. This Brother Merrill was the son of Rev. John A. Merrill, a fine old Methodist preacher of olden times, with whom I had been long acquainted, who had borne the glad tidings of the Gospel successfully to thousands; witnessed a good confession, lived faithful, died happy, and has gone safe home to heaven. I found myself very agreeably situated in this kind and generous family. Brother MerrilI was intelligent, easy, and pleasant in conversation. His friendly little wife was kind, courteous, and easy in her manners; and her mother, a fine, intelligent old lady. All were easy, familiar, and agreeable. We were also favored with the company of Brother J. F. Jaquess, who was collecting books for the female college in Jacksonville. My fear was, that I would get into a family that were cold, stiff, and distant in their manners. One of these formal, distant, ceremonious families was always a prison to me, and well calculated to make me feel unhappy, and far from home; but it was otherwise here.
The second Sabbath in Boston, I was appointed to preach at Church-street Church at eleven o'clock. I took for the text, Hebrews x, 22. We had a large congregation; several preachers present; and supposing that most of my congregation had hardly ever seen or heard of me, and that they were an educated people, and had been used to great preaching, I put on all the gravity that I well could command; I tried to preach one of my best sermons, in a plain, grave, sober manner; and, although I never thought myself a great preacher, yet I really thought I had done very near my best that time. Well, when I came down from the pulpit, a brother preacher introduced me to several of the prominent members of the congregation; and as I was introduced to them, they asked me very emphatically,
"Is this Peter Cartwright from Illinois, the old Western pioneer?"
I answered them, "Yes, I am the very man."
"Well," said several of them, "brother, we are much disappointed; you have fallen very much under our expectations; we expected to hear a much greater sermon than that you preached today."
"Well, brethren," said I, "how can it be helped? I did as well as I could, and was nearly at the top of my speed."
I tell you this was cold encouragement; I felt great mortification; I hastened to my room and prayed over it a while. That night they had appointed me to preach at North Russell-street. There was a full congregation, and a good many preachers present. I read for the text, Job xxii, 21. I had asked God for help; and when I took my text, I determined to do my very best, and did so; but failed, as in the forenoon, to meet the expectations of the people. And as I came down into the altar, I was again introduced to some of the brethren; and although they did seem to doubt that I was Peter Cartwright from the West, the old pioneer, yet they, in cold blood, informed me that I had fallen under their expectations, and as good as told me that my sermon was a failure. Now was not this too bad? I tell you they roused me, and provoked what little religious patience I had; and I rather tartly replied to one, that I could give people ideas, but I could not give them capacity to receive those ideas, and left them abruptly; and in very gloomy mood retreated to my lodgings, but took but little rest in sleep that night. I constantly asked myself this question, Is it so, that I cannot preach? or what is the matter? I underwent a tremendous crucifixion in feeling.
The next day, I told Dr. Cummings not to give me any other appointment in Boston during the General Conference, "for," said I, "your people here have not sense enough to know a good sermon when they hear it."
The Sabbath following I spent in Lynn, and had good meetings; then I went the next Sabbath to Fall River, and preached for Brothers Allyn and Upham, and had a pleasant time. Some time in the following week, old Brother Taylor came to me and told me I must preach at his church the next Sabbath, at the Bethel Charge; and said, Dr. Akers and Brother J. F. Wright had both tried to preach in his church, and both failed; "and," said he, "you are the forlorn hope. If you flash, no other Western preacher shall preach in my church any more during the General Conference."
Said I, "Brother Taylor, you need not think that any of us Western men are anxious about preaching to you in Boston; your way of worship here is so different from ours in the West, that we are confused. There's your old wooden god, the organ, bellowing up in the gallery, and a few dandified singers lead in singing, and really do it all. The congregation won't sing, and when you pray, they sit down instead of kneeling. We don't worship God in the West by proxy, or substitution. You need not give yourself any trouble about getting a Western man to preach in your church; we don't want to do it, and I do not think that I will try to preach in Boston any more, unless you would permit me to conduct the services after the Western manner."
Said Brother Taylor to me, "Brother, you must preach to us at the Bethel; and," said he, "roll up your sleeves, and unbutton your collar, and give us a real Western cut."
My reply was this: "If you will let me regulate your congregation, and preach as we do in the West, I have no objection to preaching to your congregation, or anywhere in Boston."
"Very well, at it you go," was his reply.
In the meantime, I had learned from different sources, that the grand reason of my falling under the expectations of the congregations that I had addressed was substantially this: almost all those curious incidents that had gained currency throughout the country, concerning Methodist preachers, had been located on me, and that when the congregations came to hear me, they expected little else but a bundle of eccentricities and singularities; and when they did not realize, according to their anticipations, they were disappointed, and that this was the reason they were disappointed. So on Sabbath, when I came to the Bethel, we had a good congregation; and after telling them that Brother Taylor had given me the liberty to preach to them after the Western fashion, I took my text Matthew xi, 12; and after a few commonplace remarks, I commenced giving them some Western anecdotes, which had a thrilling effect on the congregation, and excited them immoderately, I cannot say religiously; but I thought if ever I saw animal excitement, it was then and there. This broke the charm. During my stay after this, I could pass anywhere for Peter Cartwright, the old pioneer of the West. I am not sure that after this I fell under the expectations of my congregations among them.
I will say that a more generous, hospitable, and social people I never found anywhere than in Boston. Their sociability and friendly greetings reminded me more of our Western manners than anything I ever found among total strangers, and many of them are sincere, devout Christians; but their mode of worship I do most solemnly object to, so far as their pews, promiscuous sittings, and instrumental music are concerned. The salaries of their organists and choirs are expenses unjustified by the word of God. I also take exceptions, in many instances, to the moral character of the persons employed in these departments. The evils that result from mixed sittings of male and female, which are always attendant on the pew system, are neither few nor small. The choir practice destroys congregational singing almost entirely, and has introduced the awkward and irreverent practice among congregations of turning their backs on the sacred desk, and facing about to the choir, and this whole system has a tendency to destroy the humble practice of kneeling in time of prayer, and contributes largely to the Church-dishonoring practice of sitting while the prayers of the Church are offered up to God. I shall not attempt a labored argument here against these evils, for I suppose, where these practices have become the order of the day, it would be exceedingly hard to overcome the prejudice in favor of them, though I am sure, from every observation that I have been able to make, that their tendencies are to formality, and often engender pride, and destroy the spirituality of Divine worship; it gives precedence to the rich, proud, and fashionable part of our hearers, and unavoidably blocks up the way of the poor; and no stumbling-block should be put in the way of one of these little ones that believe in Christ.
I found the Bostonians to be a liberal people in their contributions for benevolent purposes. It fell to my lot to be a solicitor for pecuniary aid to erect a church in Warsaw , Quincy District, Illinois Conference, and the members of the General Conference and citizens of Boston gave me several hundred dollars for that object.
I will close this chapter by saying that the General Conference that sat in Boston, in 1852, was the tenth General Conference which I attended, or was elected to. These General Conferences had sat in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New-York; and though we were treated very friendly in all these cities, yet the General Conference in Boston was more highly honored by all classes of citizens than any that I ever attended; and, sure enough, to use the trite saying of Brother Crandall, I found live, green Yankees by the thousands, and some of them very talented, and most, of them well educated; the poor among them are cared for, the children are gathered up in all directions and sent to school; but, after all, it would make a Western man laugh, in spite of his gravity, to hear a New-Englander talk of his great farm, containing all of two acres, and hear him tell how much it cost him to remove the stone off the farm, how much to manure it, how much to cultivate it; then the sowing of the products, the marketing of it, and the real product in cash. They will really talk scientifically about it. I could not but think of the contrast, for we have some farmers in Illinois that have from one to five thousand acres in their farms, in active, actual, productive, profitable cultivation. Hail, Boston! live forever.