Autobiography of Peter Cartwright

Chapters 17 - 24




CHAPTER XVII.
Sermon on Baptism at Camp-Meeting

There was, in the bounds of the Goose Creek Circuit, a Baptist minister, who was a tolerably smart man, and a great proselyter from other Churches, and who almost always was harping on immersion as the only mode of Christian baptism, and ridiculing what he called "baby sprinkling."

We had an appointment for a camp-meeting in this circuit, in what was called Poplar Grove. There was a fine little widow woman, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, lived here; and this Baptist preacher tried his best to proselyte her, and make a Baptist of her. She at length got tired of his water talk, and told him if he would come to the camp-meeting, and patiently hear the presiding elder, Peter Cartwright, preach one sermon on baptism, on Sunday, she would give him a new suit of clothes, out and out. He agreed to it; but he was to sit patiently, and hear the sermon through; if he did not, then he was not to have the suit of clothes.

When I got to the camp-ground, my little spunky Methodist widow was tented on the ground. She came and invited me to her tent, and then told me the proposition she had made to Mr. W., the Baptist preacher. "And now," said she, "do your best; if he runs, the suit of clothes is yours; and if he stands his ground, and you do your very best, you shall have as good a suit, any how."

This was a very large encampment, well arranged; and there were about twenty strong, talented Methodist preachers, from the traveling and local ranks, present. The meeting commenced and progressed with great interest, and there were many melting Gospel sermons preached. Many sinners were awakened and converted, both among the whites and colored people. Sunday morning came, and my Baptist preacher arrived; and we were soon made acquainted. He proposed that he, if he felt like it, should have the privilege of replying to me. "Certainly," said I, "with all my heart."

Eleven o'clock arrived, the hour appointed me to commence my sermon on baptism. It was supposed that there were ten thousand people on the ground. My heart rather quailed within me, but I prayed for light, a ready mind, and success. I took no text in particular, but submitted the four following propositions for discussion:

First. The design and intent of water baptism.

Second. Who were the Divinely-appointed administrators of water baptism.

Third. The proper mode of water baptism.

Fourth. Who were the qualified subjects of baptism.

My Baptist minister took his seat in the altar, in front of me. He listened with tolerable attention while I was on the first and second propositions. As I approached the third point, the galled jade winced a little; but when I came to the fourth point, and took my position that all infants had the first and only indisputable title to baptism, and that all adults must become converted, and be like little children, before they could claim any valid title to water baptism, my preacher became very restive. Finally, I propounded

this question: "Is not that Church which has no children in it more like hell than heaven?" I then added, "If all hell was searched, there would not be a single child found in it; but all children are in heaven; therefore, there being no children in the Baptist Church, it was more like hell than heaven."

The Baptist preacher here rose to his feet, and started. I called out to him to stop and hear me out; but he replied he could not stand it, and kept on and cleared the ground; so he lost his suit of clothes, and I gained one. But what was much better than all this, I was listened to for three hours; and the attention of the multitude seemed not to falter, but they heard with profound interest, and it was the opinion of hundreds that this discussion did a vast amount of good.

Our camp-meeting progressed with increasing interest; many were awakened, and about forty were converted and added to the Church.

In the course of the summer of 1822, we held a camp-meeting in Logan County, Kentucky, the county in which I was chiefly raised. At this meeting there came a strange kind of preacher among us, who held that a Christian could live so holy in this life, that he would never die, but become all immortal, soul, body, and all. He seemed like a good, innocent, ignorant kind of creature. He asked of me the liberty to preach; but I told him that was altogether out of the question; that as the manager of the meeting, I felt myself accountable to the people as well as to the Lord, for the doctrines advanced from the stand.

One night, while I was outside of the encampment settling some rowdies, he thought, I suppose, he would flatter my vanity a little; and stepping up to me, he told me he had a heavenly message for me.

"Well," said I, "what is it?"

He said it had just been revealed to him that I was never to die, but to live forever.

"Well," said I, "who revealed that to you?"

He said, " An angel."

"Did you see him?" I asked.

"O yes," was the reply; "he was a white, beautiful, shining being."

"Well," said I, "did you smell him?"

This stumped him, and he said he did not understand me.

"Well," said I, "did the angel you saw smell of brimstone?" He paused, and I added, "He must have smelled of brimstone, for he was from a region that burns with fire and brimstone, and consequently from hell; for he revealed a great lie to you, if he told you I was to live forever!"

At this he slipped off, and never gave me any more trouble during the meeting.

There were a great many people in attendance at this meeting, and among the rest, some youngsters who called themselves gentlemen; some from the country, and some from Russellville. These fellows would occupy the seats we had prepared for the ladies. I announced from the stand that the gentlemen and ladies were to sit apart, and requested every gentleman to remove to the seats on the left, prepared for them.

There were some twenty who did not move. Said I, "We request every gentleman to retire from the ladies' seats, that I may see how many country clowns and town fops there are, for these will not move!" All then left but five, and I began to count them; they then left in a hurry, but were very angry.

Among them was a young sprig of the bar, the son of a Major L. He was in a mighty pet, and told his father, who happened not to be present, His father and I dined together that day at a friend's house. He brought up the subject, and said I was wrong; that many young men did not know any better; and that he thought hard of me for exposing his son.

Said I, "Major, do you not believe if a company of Shawnee Indians were to come into one of our religious assemblies, and see all the women seated on one side and most of the men on the other side, that they would have sense and manners enough to take their seats on the men's side?"

He answered me abruptly, "No; I don't believe they would."

"Well," said I, "it is my opinion they would, and that they have more manners than many of the pretended young gentlemen of the day."

He flew into a violent passion, and said if we were not in the presence of ladies he would abuse me. I told him if he thought to abuse and frighten me from doing my duty in keeping order in the congregation, he was very much mistaken, and I would thank him to mind his own business, and I would most assuredly attend to mine. Here the subject dropped for the present. I returned to the camp ground. Presently he sent for me to talk the matter over. I told the messenger, Brother Cash, a local preacher, that I should not go, for the major was very irritable, and only wanted to insult and abuse me, and that I was not of a mind to take abuse. I did not go. Presently Brother Cash returned, and said that the major pledged his word and honor that he would not insult me, but that he wanted to talk the matter over in a friendly way.

I then consented, and went to him with Brother Cash, and we had passed but a few words when he commenced a tirade of abuse. Brother Cash tried to check him, but he would not be stopped. I then told him that he had forfeited his word and honor, and therefore was beneath my notice, and turned off. He flew into a desperate rage, and said if he thought I would fight him a duel, he would challenge me.

"Major," said I, very calmly, "if you challenge me I will accept it."

"Well, sir," said he, "I do dare you to mortal combat."

"Very well, I'll fight you; and, sir," said I, "according to the laws of honor, I suppose it is my right to choose the weapons with which we are to fight?"

"Certainly," said he.

"Well," said I, "then we will step over here into this lot, and get a couple of corn stalks; I think I can finish you with one."

But O, what a rage he got into. He clinched his fists and looked vengeance. Said he, "If I thought I could whip you, I would smite you in a moment."

"Yes, yes, Major L.," said I, "but, thank God, you can't whip me; but don't you attempt to strike me, for if you do, and the devil gets out of you into me, I shall give you the worst whipping you ever got in all your life," and then walked off and left him.

His wife was a good, Christian woman, and the family was tented on the ground. At night, after meeting was closed, I retired to bed, and about midnight there came a messenger for me to go to Major L.'s tent and pray for him, for he was dying. Said I, "What is the matter with him?"

"O, he says he has insulted you, one of God's ministers, and if you don't come and pray for him, he will die and go to hell."

"Well," said I, "if that's all, the Lord increase his pains. I shall not go; let him take a grand sweat; it will do him good, for he has legions of evil spirits in him, and it will be a long time before they are all cast out."

I did not go nigh him at that time. After an hour or two he sent for me again. I still refused to go. By this time he got into a perfect agony; he roared and prayed till he could be heard all over the camp ground. Presently his wife came and entreated me, for her sake, to go and pray for and talk to the major. So I concluded to go, and when I got into the tent, there he was lying at full length in the straw, and praying at a mighty rate.

I went to him and said,

"Major, what is the matter?"

"O!" said he, "matter enough; I have added to my ten thousand sins another heinous one of insulting and abusing you, a minister of Jesus Christ, for laboring to keep order and do good. O will you, can you, forgive me?"

"Yes, major, I can and do forgive you; but remember, you must have forgiveness from God, or you are lost and ruined forever."

"Can you possibly forgive me," said he, "so far as to pray for me; if you can, do pray for me, before I am swallowed up in hell forever."

I prayed for him, and called on several others to pray for him. He continued in great distress all the next day, and some time the following night it pleased God to give him relief, and he professed comfort in believing.

This case plainly shows how the devil often overshoots his mark; but, perhaps, it more clearly shows how God, in his infinite goodness and mercy, makes the wrath of man to praise him. It seems to me that at least a legion of very dirty little devils were cast out of this Major L.

We had a very interesting quarterly meeting the past spring in Russellville, and a considerable number in the higher and wealthier walks of life, especially among the ladies, gave signs of repentance, and a disposition to devote themselves to a religious life. I had given them a special and pressing invitation to attend our camp-meeting, and accordingly they came, and there was a glorious work going on in the congregation from time to time. Many came to the altar as penitents, and sought and found mercy of the Lord. And although these wealthy ladies would weep under the word, yet we could not get them to the altar, and I was afraid it was pride that kept them back, and frankly told them so, assuring them, if this was the case, they need not expect to obtain religion.

They told me that it was not pride that kept them away, but that the altar was so crowded not only with mourners, but idle professors and idle spectators, and that in many instances the mourners were unceremoniously trodden on and abused, and the weather being very warm, the mourners in the altar must be nearly suffocated. These were the reasons why they did not come into the altar as seekers, and not pride; and I assure the reader I profited very much by these reasons given by those ladies, for I knew all this and much more might, with great propriety, be said about our altar operations. So I determined, at all hazards, to regulate, renovate, and cleanse the altar of God, and turn out, and keep out, all idle, strolling, gaping lookers-on; and when the evening sermon closed, I rose in the stand, and I told them all these objections of the ladies, and I deliberately indorsed them as valid objections to our altar exercises, and told them I was going to invite every seeker of religion to come into the altar, and assured them they should be protected from these abuses; and in order to a fair start, I invited all to rise up and retire out of the altar except seekers; and directed that the avenues leading to the altar be kept clear at all times; that there was to be no standing on the seats, and no standing up around the pales of the altar; that no person whatever could come into the altar unless invited, and that no person was to talk to, or pray with, the mourners uninvited, unless they got very happy. I appointed and named out my men to keep order. Thus arranged, and our large altar being cleared, and the aisles kept open, I invited the mourners to come as humble penitents, and kneel in the altar, and pray for mercy; and we all were astonished at the number that distinguished themselves as seekers. I suppose there were not less than one hundred, and almost all of them professed comfort that night, and among the rest, many of those fine, wealthy ladies from town. It was supposed that this was one among the best camp-meetings ever held in Logan County, where there had been many, very many, glorious camp-meetings, where camp-meetings started in modern times; and they had been in progress for twenty-two years, every year more or less. The fruits of this camp-meeting I hope to see with pleasure in vast eternity.

The Methodist Church received an impetus and strength at this meeting, that vastly increased her usefulness, her members, and religious respectability. I sincerely hope it is going on and increasing to this day. And here permit me to remark, from many years' experience, that sanctified wealth will always prove a blessing to the Church of God; but unsanctified wealth though poured into the Church by the million, never fails to corrupt and curse the Church. If our wealthy people will come themselves and bring their wealth, and consecrate the whole without any reserve to God, it is almost incalculable to tell the instrumental good that can and will result to the cause of religion; but, on the other hand, if religion must be defeated, the obligations of the Gospel loosened, the rules of the Church not exacted, a time-serving ministry employed and supported, this is, and has been, the death-knell to all Churches so far as inward piety is concerned. Look at the needless, not to say sinful expenditures in our older cities and districts of country; the unnecessary thousands expended, not in building needful and decent churches, for this is right, but ornamental churches, to make a vain show and gratify pampered pride. Look at the ornamented pulpits, pewed and cushioned seats, organs, and almost all kinds of instruments, with salaried choirs, and as proud and graceless as a fallen ghost, while millions upon millions of our fallen race are dying daily, and peopling the regions of eternal woe for the want of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and as scarce as ministers are in some places in our own happy country, yet there are thousands that are ready and willing to go to the utmost verge of this green earth, and carry the glad tidings of mercy to those dying millions, if they had the means of support. Would it not the better comport with the obligations of our holy Christianity to refrain from those superfluous expenditures, and with a liberal hand and devoted heart apply, or furnish the means to carry the glad tidings of salvation to those that sit in the region and shadow of moral death, than to apply them, as is done in many directions in this Christian land? Say, ye professed lovers of Jesus Christ, are not your responsibilities tremendously fearful? There is wealth enough in the Churches, and among the friends of the different Christian denominations in this happy republic, if rightly husbanded and liberally bestowed, to carry the Bible and a living ministry to every nation on the face of the whole earth. And may we be permitted to hail with Christian rapture the rising glory of this liberal spirit, when we shall see it as the Apocalyptic angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, and tongue. Say, O say! when shall we see this happy day? May the Lord hasten it in his time, and we be co-workers together with him. Will the Christian world say, Amen?

During my presidency on this district up to the fall of 1824, there was a blessed revival in many parts of the district, and many joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. There are several interesting incidents, no doubt, that have clean escaped my recollection; but there are some I remember, and I will embody them here as well I can.

At a camp-meeting held in the edge of Tennessee, a considerable revival took place, and some tall sons and daughters of Belial were brought down to cry for mercy. Religion made its mark in several wealthy families. Persecution was pretty fierce; the rowdies sent off and got whisky, drank freely, and disturbed us considerably. We arrested some of them, and they were fined. Finally, they collected their forces in the woods, a short distance from the camp-ground, and resolved to break up our camp-meeting; they then elected their captain and all other subordinate officers. Their plan was to arm themselves with clubs, to mount their horses, and ride bravely through the camp-ground, and break down officers, preachers, and anybody else that would oppose them.

Saturday afternoon was the time appointed for them to drive us from the ground, but in the meantime we found out their plans, and many of their names. Their captain called his name Cartwright; all their officers assumed the name of some preacher. We made our preparations accordingly, and were perfectly ready for them. They drank their whisky, mounted their horses, armed with sticks and clubs, and then came, almost full speed, into our camp. As I was captain of the interior, I met the captain of the Philistines, and planted myself near the opening between the two tents, where they were to enter the inclosure. As the mounted captain drew near the entering place I sprang into the breach; he raised his club, bidding me to stand by, or he would knock me down.

I cried, "Crack away."

He spurred his horse and made a pass at me, sure enough; but, fortunately, I dodged his stroke. The next lick was mine, and I gave it to him, and laid him flat on his back, his foot being in the stirrup. His horse got my next stroke, which wheeled him "right about;" he dragged his rider a few steps and dropped him, and then gave this redoubtable captain leg bail at a mighty rate. The balance of the mounted rowdies, seeing their leader down and kicking, wheeled and ingloriously fled. We took care of the captain, of course, and fined him fifty dollars. This gave us entire control of the encampment, and peace in all our borders during our meeting.

Connected with this meeting was another incident of thrilling interest, something like the following. There were two young men in this settlement of wealthy and respectable parentage, who were distantly related. They both were paying attention to a very wealthy young lady. Some jealousy about rivalship sprung up between them; they were mutually jealous of each other, and it spread like an eating cancer. They quarreled, and finally fought; both armed themselves, and each bound himself in a solemn oath to kill the other. Thus sworn, and armed with pistols and dirks, they attended camp-meeting. I was acquainted with them, and apprised of the circumstances of this disagreeable affair. On Sunday, when I was addressing a large congregation, and was trying to enforce the terrors of the violated law of God, there was a visible power more than human rested on the congregation. Many fell under the preaching of the word. In closing my discourse I called for mourners to come into the altar. Both these young men were in the congregation, and the Holy Spirit had convicted each of them; their murderous hearts quailed under the mighty power of God, and with dreadful feelings they made for the altar. One entered on the right, the other on the left. Each was perfectly ignorant of the other being there. I went deliberately to each of them, and took their deadly weapons from their bosoms, and carried them into the preachers' tent, and then returned and labored faithfully with them and others (for the altar was full) nearly all the afternoon and night. These young men had a sore struggle; but the great deep of their hearts was broken up, and they cried hard for mercy, and while I was kneeling by the side of one of them, just before the break of day, the Lord spoke peace to his wounded soul. He rose in triumph, and gave some thrilling shouts. I hastened to the other young man, at the other side of the altar, and in less than fifteen minutes God powerfully blessed his soul, and he rose and shouted victory; and as these young men faced about they saw each other, and starting simultaneously, met about midway of the altar, and instantly clasped each other in their arms. What a shout went up to heaven from these young men, and almost the whole assembly that were present. There were a great many more who were converted that night, and, indeed, it was a night long to be remembered for the clear conversion of souls. One of these young men made an able itinerant preacher. He traveled a few years, had a brilliant career, and spread the holy fire wherever he went. He then fell sick, lingered a little while, and died triumphantly. There was a remarkable instance of the power of religion manifested in the change of these two young men. A few hours before they were sworn enemies, thirsting for each other's blood, but now all those murderous feelings were removed from them, and behold! their hearts were filled with love. "Old things were done away, and all things became new."

I will relate another circumstance, though a little out of the order of time, which will serve to show the malignity of an unrenewed human heart. In a little town in Breckenridge County, Kentucky, called Hardinsburgh, there lived a notorious infidel, who delighted, on almost all occasions, to treat the Christian religion with scorn and contempt. It was his special pride to mortify the feelings of professors of religion and ministers of the Gospel. In the course of my traveling excursions it fell to my lot, almost a total stranger in the place, to be detained here several days and nights. The citizens having little or no preaching in the place, invited me to preach to them of evenings. I consented to do so, and there were very good congregations and some very good signs of a revival of religion. The people were very friendly to me, and several respectable citizens gave me an invitation to dine with them, and I did so. This infidel had attended my preaching in common with the rest, and in common with the rest of the citizens he gave me a very friendly invitation to dine with him. Having learned his infidel character, the first time I declined. Several respectable citizens urged me to accept his invitation, saying, surely something strange had come over Mr. A., for he was never known to invite a preacher to his house before, in all his life, and they urged me to go. Accordingly, the next day he invited me home with him to dinner. I went, and when we came to the table, instead of requesting me to ask a blessing, he said, as we drew up to the table, "Mr. Cartwright, I never permit any man to ask a blessing at my table, nor do I do it myself; for it is all hypocrisy."

I had not seated myself. Said I: "Mr. A., did you not invite me, as a preacher, to dine with you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you not know that preachers are in the habit of asking a blessing at table, sir?"

"Yes, sir," said he; "but I will have none of it at my table."

"Very well, sir," said I, "if I am denied the privilege of asking a blessing at your table, I assure you I will not eat with you," wheeled off, took up my hat, and started, bidding him good-by.

"O, Mr. Cartwright," said he, "you must not leave without eating with me."

"I tell you, sir," was my reply, "I will not," and went out. His manner of treating me soon flew all over the village, and the wickedest people in it cried out shame, shame, on Mr. A., and greatly applauded me for not eating with him. He rendered himself very unpopular by this mean act, and I shrewdly suspect he never treated another preacher as he had treated me.

"Lord, what is man that thou are mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him?"

The Kentucky Conference sat in Lexington again this fall, September 25th, 1822; in Maysville, September 24th, 1823. Here we elected our delegates to the fourth delegated General Conference, which sat in Baltimore, May 1st, 1824. This was the third General Conference to which I was elected. Our Kentucky Conference was held in Shelbyville, September 23, 1824, and up to this time we had approximated to the following number of traveling preachers and members:

....................................................MEMB.....TRAV.
PRCHRS.
Ohio Conference ......................... 36,541..........122
Kentucky Conference ...................24,683............92
Tennessee Conference ..................25,509............87
Mississippi Conference................... 9,009............46
Missouri Conference .....................11,773...........55
..................................................._______.........___
....................................................107,515.........402

This year closed my twentieth year of regular traveling, from the time I was admitted on trial in the old Western Conference in 1804. Then we had one conference, now we had eight; for the General Conference had formed three more in the West, namely: Holston, Illinois, and Pittsburgh; then we had two bishops, now we had five; then we had four presiding elder districts, now we had thirty; then we had thirty-two traveling preachers, now we had over 400 ; then in all the Western world we had 11,877 members, now we had over 120,000, including the membership of the Pittsburgh Conference, which properly belonged to the West; then we had in all these United States and the Canadas seven annual conferences, now we had fifteen; then we had, in the entire Methodist Episcopal Church in these United States and the Canadas altogether, of members, 113,134, of traveling preachers, 400, now we had of members, 328,523, traveling preachers, 1,272.

Thus you have a very small view of the progress and prosperity of the Methodist Episcopal Church in twenty years of her history. In these estimates we make no account of the thousands that were awakened and converted by her instrumentalities, and had joined other branches of the Church of Christ, nor of the thousands that had died in the triumphs of faith and gone home to heaven.

When we consider that these United States had just emerged from colonial dependence, and had passed a bloody revolution of seven years' continuance, and were yet surrounded by hundreds of thousands of bloody savages, hostile to the last degree, and that we were without credit abroad and without means or money at home, we may well join with the venerable founder of Methodism, Mr. John Wesley, and say that "God had strangely set us free as a nation." And, on the other hand, in reference to the Methodist Episcopal Church, when we consider that her ministers were illiterate, and not only opposed and denounced by the Catholics, but by all Protestant Churches; that we were everywhere spoken against, caricatured, and misrepresented; without colleges and seminaries, without religious books or periodicals, without missionary funds, and almost all other religious means; and our ministers did not for many years, on an average, receive over fifty dollars for a support annually, and a Methodist preacher's library almost entirely consisted of a Bible, Hymn Book, and a Discipline, may we not, without boasting, say with one of old, "What hath God wrought?"

A Methodist preacher in those days, when he felt that God had called him to preach, instead of hunting up a college or Biblical institute, hunted up a hardy pony of a horse, and some traveling apparatus, and with his library always at hand, namely, Bible, Hymn Book, and Discipline, he started, and with a text that never wore out nor grew stale, he cried, "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." In this way he went through storms of wind, hail, snow, and rain; climbed hills and mountains, traversed valleys, plunged through swamps, swam swollen streams, lay out all night, wet, weary, and hungry, held his horse by the bridle all night, or tied him to a limb, slept with his saddle blanket for a bed, his saddle or saddle-bags for his pillow, and his old big coat or blanket, if he had any, for a covering. Often he slept in dirty cabins, on earthen floors, before the fire; ate roasting ears for bread, drank butter-milk for coffee, or sage tea for imperial; took, with a hearty zest, deer or bear meat, or wild turkey, for breakfast, dinner, and supper, if he could get it. His text was always ready, "Behold the Lamb of God," &c. This was old-fashioned Methodist preacher fare and fortune. Under such circumstances, who among us would now say, "Here am I, Lord, send me?" 


CHAPTER XVIII.
Removal to Illinois

My three years on the Cumberland District were years of immense labor and toil, and of great peace and prosperity to the Church. I had seen with painful emotions the increase of a disposition to justify slavery, and our preachers, by marriage and other ways, became more and more entangled with this dark question, and were more and more disposed to palliate and justify the traffic and ownership of human beings, and the legislatures in the slave states made the laws more and more stringent, with a design to prevent emancipation. Moreover, rabid abolitionism spread and dreadfully excited the South. I had a young and growing family of children, two sons and four daughters; was poor, owned a little farm of about one hundred and fifty acres; lands around me were high, and rising in value. My daughters would soon be grown up. I did not see any probable means by which I could settle them around or near us. Moreover, I had no right to expect our children to marry into wealthy families, and I did not desire it if it could be so; and by chance they might marry into slave families. This I did not desire. Besides, I saw there was a marked distinction made among the people generally, between young people raised without work and those that had to work for their living; and though I had breasted the storms and, suffered the hardships incident to an itinerant life for more than twenty years, chiefly spent in Southern Kentucky and Western Tennessee, and though I had just as many friends as any man ought to have, and hundreds that claimed me as the humble and unworthy instrument of their salvation, and felt not the least fear that I should not be well supported during life as a Methodist preacher, the whole country having grown up into improved and comfortable living; and although many, very many of my friends in the Church and out of the Church remonstrated against the idea of my moving to a new country, yet, after much prayer and anxious thought, I very clearly came to the conclusion that it was my duty to move; and although the thought of leaving thousands of my best friends was severely painful to me, and sometimes almost overwhelmed me, and shook my determination, yet I saw, or thought I saw, clear indications of Providence that I should leave my comfortable little home, and move to a free state or territory, for the following reasons: First, I would get entirely clear of the evil of slavery. Second, I could raise my children to work where work was not thought a degradation. Third, I believed I could better my temporal circumstances, and procure lands for my children as they grew up. And fourth, I could carry the Gospel to destitute souls that had, by their removal into some new country, been deprived of the means of grace. With these convictions, I consulted my wife, and found her of the same mind, and in the spring of 1823, with my brother-in-law, R. Gaines, a local preacher, and old Father Charles Holliday, set out to explore Illinois in quest of a future home.

We made the journey on horseback; packed horse feed, and, in part, our own provisions, as best we could, and camped out several times. We knew the country was thinly settled, especially the northeastern, north, and northwestern parts of the state; and our inclination led us in these directions. We took our course, without roads, up the Big Wabash Valley, till we struck the Illinois River above Fort Clark, (now Peoria City;) thence wound our way north of said river, through a part of what was then called the Military Tract; recrossed the river at what is now called Beardstown, (then there was only one solitary family and a small cabin,) and made our way up the Sangamon River to a small settlement on Richland Creek, in Sangamon County, the then extreme northern county in the state, to the place on which I now live, and where I have lived ever since I moved to the state, and at which I expect my friends will deposit my mortal remains in our family cemetery. Here I found a very decent family, with a small improvement, having a double cabin, about the best the country afforded. They were settled on Congress land; and, indeed, though the land had been surveyed by government, it had not been brought into market. I gave him two hundred dollars for his improvement and his claim; bought some stock, and rented out the improvement, with a view to have something to live on in the fall of 1824, when I expected to move to it.

We then retraced our steps homeward through Springfield. There were in this place, now the seat of government, a few smoky, hastily-built cabins, and one or two very little shanties called "stores," and, with the exception of a few articles of heavy ware, I could have carried at a few loads all they had for sale on my back. When we returned home, I made sale of my little property, all with a special view to our removal in 1824; and at the conference, which sat in Shelbyville, Kentucky, I asked and obtained a transfer to the Illinois Conference, from Bishop Roberts, and was appointed to travel the Sangamon Circuit.

When the conference adjourned, and I was about to leave the body of preachers of the Kentucky Conference, many of whom I had labored with for ten, fifteen, or twenty years, it seemed to me that I never felt such a rush of feeling before. As we took the parting hand, our eyes mutually filled with tears. Few of us ever expected to meet again till we meet at the judgment-seat. I shook their hands, made my best bow to the brethren of the Kentucky Conference, asked an interest in their prayers, and hastened away home; and in a few days all my little plunder was packed up and my family mounted, and we started for Illinois.

Although the Illinois Conference, at the General Conference, had been stricken off from Missouri Conference, yet the annual meeting this fall of both these conferences was to be held at Padfield's, Looking-glass Prairie, October 23, 1824. It was my intention to meet this conference on my way to Sangamon County; but I was prevented by the following fatal accident on our way. Just before we struck the prairies, the man that drove my team contrived to turn over the wagon, and was very near killing my oldest daughter. The sun was just going down; and by the time we righted up the wagon and reloaded, it was getting dark, and we had a difficult hill to descend, so we concluded to camp there for the night, almost in sight of two cabins containing families. I was almost exhausted reloading my wagon; the evening was warm, and my wife persuaded me not to stretch our tent that night; so I struck fire, and kindled it at the root of a small, and, as I thought, sound, tree. We laid down and slept soundly.

Just as day was appearing in the east, the tree at the root of which we had kindled a small fire fell, and it fell on our third daughter, as direct on her, from her feet to her head, as it could fall; and I suppose she never breathed after. I heard the tree crack when it started to fall, and sprang, alarmed very much, and seized it before it struck the child; but it availed nothing. Although this was an awful calamity, yet God was kind to us; for if we had stretched our tent that night, we should have been obliged to lie down in another position, and in that event the tree would have fallen directly upon us, and we should all have been killed instead of one. The tree was sound outside to the thickness of the back of a carving knife, and then all the inside had a dry rot; but this we did not suspect. I sent my teamster to those families near at hand for aid; but not a soul would come nigh. Here we were in great distress, and no one to even pity our condition. My teamster and myself fell to cutting the tree off the child, when I discovered that the tree had sprung up, and did not press the child; and we drew her out from under it, and carefully laid her in our feed trough, and moved on about twenty miles to an acquaintance's in Hamilton County, Illinois, where we buried her.

Here I will state a fact worthy of record. There was in the settlement a very wicked family, total strangers to me and mine. The old gentleman and two sons heard of our affliction, and they hastened to our relief, and every act of kindness that they possibly could do us was rendered with undisguised and undissembled friendship; and they would on no account have any compensation. This was true friendship, and it endeared them to me in a most affectionate manner. I met and conversed with them years afterward; and although they are now dead and gone to the spirit-land, I hope they will be in heaven rewarded for their kindness to us in our deep and heart-rending affliction; for surely this was giving more than "a cup of cold water" to a disciple. By the blessing of Providence, we prosecuted our journey; and on the 15th of November, 1824, we arrived where we now live.

Sangamon County was not only a newly-settled country, but embraced a large region. It was the most northern and the only northern county organized in the state. It had been settled by a few hardy and enterprising pioneers but a few years before. Just north of us was an unbroken Indian country, and the Indians would come in by scores and camp on the Sangamon River bottom, and hunt and live there through the winter. Their frequent visits to our cabins created sometimes great alarm among the women and children. They were a very degraded and demoralized people, and the white people were very much to blame in dealing out the fire-water so freely among them. But the whites kept advancing further and further into their country, and the Indians kept constantly receding and melting away before their rapid march, until they are now mostly removed west of the Mississippi, the great Father of Waters.

The Sangamon Circuit had been formed about three years when I came to it. Brother J. Sims, I think, formed the circuit. Brother Rice followed, and J. Miller, of one of the Indiana conferences, traveled it in 1823-4. The circuit was in what is called the Illinois District, Samuel H. Thompson presiding elder. I found about two hundred and sixty members in society. The circuit embraced all the scattered settlements in the above-named county, together with parts of Morgan and M'Lean counties. We were almost entirely without ferries, bridges, or roads. My mode of traveling, with a few exceptions, was to go from point to point of timber, through the high grass of the prairie. My circuit extended to Blooming Grove in M'Lean County, near where the City of Bloomington now stands. A few fine Methodist families had settled in this grove; some local preachers from Sangamon Circuit first visited them; then Jesse Walker, who was appointed missionary to the Indians in and about Fort Clark and up the Illinois River toward Lake Michigan. I took it into the Sangamon Circuit, and, in conjunction with Brother Walker, appointed a sacramental meeting at the house of Brother Hendricks, he and his wife being excellent members of the Church, and he was appointed class-leader. Brother Hendricks has long since gone to his reward, while Sister Hendricks still lingers among us a shining example of Christian piety.

An incident occurred at this sacramental meeting worthy of note: The ordinance of baptism was desired by some, and some parents wanted their children baptized, and the brethren desired me to preach on or explain the nature and design of Christian baptism. I did so on the Sabbath. There was present a New Light preacher, who had settled in the grove, and was a very great stickler for immersion, as the only proper mode. That afternoon there arose a dark cloud, and presently the rain fell in torrents, and continued almost all night; nearly the whole face of the earth was covered with water; the streams rose suddenly and overflowed their banks. A little brook near the house rose so rapidly that it swept away the spring house and some of the fences. Next morning I was riding up the grove to see an old acquaintance. I met Mr. Roads, my New Light preacher, and said "Good morning, sir,"

"Good morning," he replied.

Said I, "We have had a tremendous rain."

"Yes, sir," said he; "the Lord sent that rain to convince you of your error."

"Ah!' said I, "what error?"

"Why, about baptism. The Lord sent this flood to convince you that much water was necessary."

"Very good, sir," said I; "and he in like manner sent this flood to convince you of your error."

"What error?" said he.

"Why," said I, "to show you that water comes by pouring and not by immersion."

The preacher got into this mad fit because I had satisfied one of his daughters that immersion was not the proper mode of baptism, and she had joined the Methodists; and I am told that this flood to this day is called "Cartwright's Flood" by way of eminence; and though it rained hard, and my New Light preacher preached hard against us, yet he made little or no impression, but finally evaporated and left for parts unknown. His New Light went out because there was "no oil in the vessel."

I had an appointment in a settlement in a certain brother's cabin. He had a first-rate wife and several interesting daughters; and I will not forget to say, had some three hundred dollars hoarded up to enter land. For the thin settlement we had a good congregation. The meeting closed, and there was but one chair in the house, and that was called the preacher's chair. The bottom was weak and worn out, and one of the upright back pieces was broken off. We had a hewed puncheon for a table, with four holes in it, and four straight sticks put in for legs. The hearth was made of earth, and in the center of it was a deep hole, worn by sweeping. Around this hole the women had to cook, which was exceedingly inconvenient, for they had no kitchen. When we came to the table there were wooden trenchers for plates, sharp-pointed pieces of cane for forks, and tin cups for cups and saucers. There was but one knife besides a butcher's knife, and that had the handle off. Four forks were driven down between the puncheons into the ground; for bedsteads, cross poles or side poles put in those forks, and clapboards laid crosswise for cords. The old sister kept up a constant apology, and made many excuses. Now, if the brother had been really poor, I could have excused everything; but, knowing he had money hoarded up, I thought it my duty to speak to him on the subject. I was at first a little careful, so I commenced by praising his good-looking daughters, and noticed what a good cook his wife was if she had any chance. "Now, brother," said I, "do fill up this hole in the hearth, and go to town and get you a set of chairs, knives and forks, cups and saucers, and get you a couple of plain bedsteads and bed-cords. Give your wife and daughters a chance. These girls, sir, are smart enough to marry well, if you will fix them up a little." I saw in a moment the women were on my side, and I felt safe. The old brother said he had seen proud preachers before, and that he knew I was proud the moment he saw me with my broadcloth coat on, and he did not thank me for meddling with his affairs.

"Brother," said I, "you have been a member of the Church a long time, and you ought to know that the Discipline of our Church makes it the duty of a circuit preacher to recommend cleanliness and decency everywhere; and, moreover, if there was nothing of this kind in the Discipline at all, my good feelings toward you and your family, prompt me to urge these things on you; and you ought to attend to them for your own comfort, and the great comfort of your family."

The old sister and daughters joined with me in all I said.

"Brother," said I, "you have two fine boys here, and they will help you do up things in a little better style; and I tell you, if you don't do it by the time I come round in four weeks, I shall move preaching from your cabin somewhere else."

The old brother told me I could move preaching, for if I was too proud to put up with his fare, he did not want me about him. I went on, but left another appointment, and when I came on to it, I tell you things were done up about right. The females had taken my lecture to the old brother for a text, and they had preached successfully to him, for the hole in the hearth was filled up, two new bedsteads were on hand, six new split-bottomed chairs were procured, a new set of knives and forks, cups and saucers, and plates, were all on hand, The women met me very pleasantly, and the old brother himself looked better than usual; and besides all this, the women all had new calico dresses, and looked very neat. We had a good congregation, a good meeting, and things went on very pleasantly with me and the whole family during the two years that I rode the circuit, And better than all this, nearly all the children obtained religion and joined the Church, and those of them who still live, I number among my fast friends.

On Horse Creek we had an appointment, and a good society; old Brother Joseph Dixon was class-leader and steward. I think he was one of the best stewards I ever saw. The country was new; our little market was at St. Louis, distant one hundred miles or more; and some of the people had to go sixty miles for their grinding and bread-stuff; and this country was generally settled with poor, but very kind people; money was very scarce, and what little there was, was generally kept close to enter lands when our Congress should order sales; almost universally we were settled on Congress or government lands. In this condition of affairs, the support of a traveling preacher was exceedingly small. The first year I traveled the Sangamon Circuit with a wife and six children, I received forty dollars all told; the second year I received sixty. This was considered a great improvement in our financial affairs. I state these things that the reader may see the extreme difficulties our early preachers had to contend with. The round before each quarterly meeting, Brother Dixon, the steward, would take his horse and accompany the preacher, and after preaching, and the class had met, he would rise and call on the Church for their aid in supporting the Gospel. He invariably made it a rule to see that every member of his own class paid something every quarter to support the Gospel, and if there were any too poor to pay, he would pay for them.

Brother D. had been a real back-woodsman, a frontier settler, a great hunter and trapper to take furs. Among other early and enterprising trappers, he prepared himself for a hunting and trapping expedition up the Missouri River and its tributaries, which at that early day was an unbroken Indian country, and many of them hostile to the whites. He made himself a canoe or dug-out, to ascend the rivers, laid in his traps, ammunition, and all the necessary fixtures for such a trip, and he and two other partners slowly ascended the Missouri. After ascending this stream for hundreds of miles, and escaping many dangerous ambuscades of the Indians, winter came on with great severity. They dug in the ground and buried their furs and skins at different points, to keep them from being stolen by the Indians. They then dug a deep hole on the sunny side of a hill, gathered their winter meat and fuel, their leaves and grass, and carried them into the hole, and took up their winter quarters. The snows were very deep, the weather intensely cold; but they wintered in comparative safety till returning spring, which they hailed with transports of joy. They were robbed several times by the Indians, had several battles with them, and killed two or three of them. The next fall his partners fell out with him, bought a canoe of the Indians, left him alone, descended the river, dug up their furs, and returned home. Dixon fortunately secured most of the ammunition they had on hand. He again found a dreaded winter approaching. He resorted to the former winter's experiment, and dug his cave in the side of a steep hill, laid up his winter provisions, and took up his winter quarters all alone. In this perilous condition, his eyes became inflamed, and were very much affected from constant gazing on the almost perpetual snows around him, until, such was their diseased state, he could not see anything. Here he was utterly helpless and hopeless. He began to reflect on his dreadful condition, while he felt nothing but certain death, and realized himself to be a great sinner and unprepared to die. For the first time in his life, almost, he kneeled down and asked God for mercy and deliverance from this awful condition. Then and there he promised God if he would spare and deliver him, he would from that solemn moment serve him faithfully the rest of his life. This promise, he told me, he had faithfully kept; and there is not in my mind a single doubt but he kept his covenant till he was safely housed in heaven.

When he made this covenant with God in his desperate condition, all of a sudden there was a strong impression made on his mind that if he would take the inside bark of a certain tree that stood a few steps from the mouth of his earthly habitation, and beat it up, soft and fine, soak it in water, and wash his eyes with it, he would soon recover his sight. He groped his way to the tree, got the bark, prepared it as impressed, bathed his eyes, bound some of this bark to them, and laid down and slept, not knowing whether it was day or night. When he awoke his eyes felt easy; the inflammation was evidently subsiding, and in a short time his sight began to return, and soon was entirely restored. When he gained confidence in his restoration to sight he fell on his knees to return thanks to God; a sweet and heavenly peace run all through his soul, and he then and there, all alone, shouted aloud the high praises of God. He then felt that God had forgiven his sins, blessed his soul, restored his sight, and that he ought to praise and give glory to his holy name.

When the weather opened for trapping he said he had astonishing good luck; took a great amount of the very best furs; and collecting them, began to descend the river. He had an Indian village to pass on the bank of the river, and as they were a deceitful, sly, bad tribe of Indians, he determined to keep his canoe as far from their shore as possible. They made many friendly signs for him to stop, so he concluded to land and trade a little with them. He had his rifle well loaded, and was a very strong man. When his canoe struck the bank a large, stout Indian jumped into it, and others were following. He, accordingly, shoved off, when one on the bank raised his rifle and aimed to shoot him. As quick as thought Dixon jerked the Indian that was in the canoe between him and the other that raised his rifle; the gun fired, and lodged its contents in the heart of the large Indian in the canoe, who fell overboard dead. Dixon paddled with all speed down the river, and escaped being robbed or killed. When he returned to St. Louis he sold his furs for several thousand dollars, and returned to his family, after having been absent nearly three years. He then packed up, moved to Horse Creek, in Sangamon County, took preaching into his cabin, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and continued to be a faithful member, leader, and steward for many years. His children mostly grew up, married, and left him; his most excellent wife at length died, witnessing a good confession; his youngest son he named Missouri, in memory of his conversion on the trapping expedition up that turbid stream, and also to keep fresh in his recollection the solemn vow he had made in his perilous condition. After the death of his wife he lingered a few years, and then died in peace, at his daughter's, in Morgan County.

It may be gratifying to some to see what has grown out of what was within the bounds of the old Sangamon Circuit in 1824-5. There is Beardstown Station, Virginia Circuit, Havana Circuit, Delavan Mission, East and West Charges in Bloomington, Randolph's Grove Circuit, Waynesville Circuit, Mount Pleasant Circuit, Clinton, Honey Creek, Mount Pulaski, Decatur Station and Circuit, Taylorsville, Sulphur Spring, Virden Island Grove, and Springfield Station. Thus the old hive has sent forth twenty swarms, and still retains its old name, Sangamon. Perhaps this circuit has retained its first name longer than any circuit in the state or conference. At the close of my second year I returned four hundred members, being an increase, in two years, of one hundred and sixty. At our Conference in Charlestown, Indiana, August 25, 1825, Bishop M'Kendree attended and presided; and I was reappointed to Sangamon Circuit. At the time of this conference I was taken down with a violent attack of bilious fever. Three friendly doctors attended me. They succeeded in stopping the fever. My doctor advised me to travel homeward slowly, and only a few miles a day, till I gained strength, and to take good care of myself. Some of the preachers secured a preacher acquainted with the country through which I had to pass, to go with and take care of me, for I was very feeble. This preacher was under marriage contract, and the day set for the ceremony, but I knew it not. The first day we rode twenty-eight miles. I urged him to stop long before we did. But no; he knew of a Judge Somebody, a fine Methodist, and a good place, etc.; he lived in the west end of a little town. As we passed the tavern I urged the preacher again to stop; but no, he rode up to the judge's, told my name and condition, but he would not take us in. There was present a kind-hearted man, who, on learning my condition, took me home with him and treated me well. Next morning we started on, and when we got into another little town, having rode that day twenty miles, I begged my preacher to let me stop. "O no, no," said he; "there is a fine place three miles down here; we must get there." At that moment I saw a doctor who had been a traveling preacher in Kentucky, and I knew him and called to him, and begged him to take me somewhere that I could rest. I then told my preacher guide to move on and move off, for certainly I would not travel with him a step further. So he left, and the doctor took me home with him, and treated me kindly. On Sunday morning he took me a few miles up the country, on Honey Creek, to a camp-meeting that was in progress. Here I tarried and rested a while. I was aiming to cross the Wabash, and get to J. W. M'Reynold's, near Paris.

The day I left the camp-meeting my fever returned, just while I was crossing Honey Creek Prairie. It seemed to me I should die for want of water, there being no house on the road. I was immensely sick, and the day was intensely warm. At length I found a little green bush that afforded a small shade. Here I laid down to die. I saw a house a little way off, over a field, but was unable to get to it. In a few minutes a lady rode up to me, and although I had not seen her for twenty years, I instantly knew her, and she recognized me, and after a few minutes she rode off briskly after help.

In a little time there came a man and buggy, and a small boy. The boy mounted my horse. The man helped me into the buggy, and drove up to his house, and took me in, and placed me on a bed between two doors, where I had a free circulation of air. This was the house where the lady lived. The man was her husband. They took all possible care of me till I got a little better, then I started, and got safe to Brother M'Reynold's. And now I had the Grand Prairie to cross, ninety miles through. To go alone seemed out of the question, and Brother Mac's family was not in a situation for him safely to leave, and carry me in a carriage through; but he said he would go, as I must not go alone.

We arranged to start next morning early; and just as we were about leaving, I saw a carriage with a span of horses drive up to the steps with three persons, and who should they be but Brother and Sister Springer, my neighbors, and my wife, who had heard of my sickness, and had come to convey me home.

A bed was placed in the carriage, and we started. There was but one house for eighty miles across this Grand Prairie, and no water but a few ponds. I thought that these two days that we were crossing, I should surely die for the want of good water. I drank freely of these ponds, and it made me very sick every time; and I threw off great quantities of bile, and this, perhaps, saved my life. After all my fever abated, I gradually grew better, and finally recovered my wonted health.

We had a glorious camp-meeting this year on what was called Waters' Camp Ground, on Spring Creek, six miles west of Springfield. It lasted five days and nights. Over forty professed religion, and joined the Church; and the circuit generally was in a healthy condition.

The country this year settled up very rapidly, and improvements went up equally as rapid in almost every direction. 


CHAPTER XIX.
Political Life

Our Conference met in Bloomington, Indiana, Sept. 28th, 1826. Bishop Soule and Bishop Roberts attended and presided. S. H. Thompson's time on the Illinois District having expired, he was appointed to the Illinois Circuit, and I was appointed to succeed him in the district, which was composed of the following circuits, or appointments: Illinois, Kaskaskia, Shoal Creek, Sangamon, Peoria, Mississippi, Atlas, and the Pottawattomie Mission. This district thus extended from Kaskaskia River to the extreme northern settlements, and even to the Pottawattomie nation of Indians, on Fox River; up that river into the heart of the nation. And there were only about three thousand members of the Church in it, and only half of another presiding-elder district in the state. The Wabash District, Charles Holliday, presiding elder, lay on the west side of the Wabash River, in Illinois, and on the east side of that river, in Indiana.

The following appointments were in Illinois: Mount Carmel, Wabash, Carmi, Mount Vernon, and Cash River, with a membership of about thirteen hundred and fifty; a little over four thousand in the entire state. My district was four hundred miles long, and covered all the west side of the Grand Prairie, fully two thirds of the geographical boundaries of the state. The year before I moved to the state, there had been a strong move, by a corrupt and demoralized Legislature, to call a convention with a view to alter the Constitution, so as to admit slavery into the state. I had left Kentucky on account of slavery, and, as I hoped, had bid a final farewell to all slave institutions; but the subject was well rife through the country; for, although the friends of human liberty had sustained themselves, and carried the election by more than one thousand votes, yet it was feared that the advocates of slavery would renew the effort, and yet cause this "abomination of desolation to stand where it ought not." I very freely entered the lists to oppose slavery in this way, and without any fore-thought of mind, went into the agitated waters of political strife. I was strongly solicited to become a candidate for a seat in the Legislature of our state. I consented, and was twice elected as representative from Sangamon County.

But I say, without any desire to speak evil of the rulers of the people, I found a great deal of corruption in our Legislature; and I found that almost every measure had to be carried by a corrupt bargain and sale; which should cause every honest man to blush for his country.

The great national parties were now organized, and, as my honest sentiments placed me in the minority in my county, of course I retired from politics. But I say now, if the people would not be led by party considerations, but would select honest and capable men, I cannot see the impropriety of canvassing for office on Christian principles.

There is an incident or two connected with my little political experience, that I will give:

The first time I ran for office in Sangamon County, I was on the north side of the Sangamon River, as we say in the east, electioneering, or rather trying to get acquainted with the people, for I was at that early day a great stranger to many of them. Passing through a brushy point of undergrowth, near a ferry where I intended to cross the river, I heard just before me some one talking very loud. I reined my horse to listen. I heard some one say that Peter Cartwright was a d---d rascal; and so were all Methodist preachers; they would all steal horses, and that it was a scandal to the country that such a man as Cartwright should offer for a representative of the county; and that the first time he saw him, he intended to whip him for his impudence. This surprised me a little, and I looked round for some way to pass without coming in contact with this company; but there was no path that I could see, and the brush was so thick I could not get through. So I summoned all my courage, and rode boldly up, and spoke to the man. There were six of them; and, as I learned, but one of them had ever seen me. So I said: "Gentlemen, who is it among you that is going to whip Cartwright the first time you see him?" The man who had threatened spoke out and said: "I am the lark that's going to thrash him well." Said I: "Cartwright is known to be much of a man, and it will take a man to whip him, mind you." "O! no," said he; "I can whip any Methodist preacher the Lord ever made." "Well, sir," said I, "you cannot do it; and now I tell you my name is Cartwright, and I never like to live in dread; if you really intend to whip me, come and do it now."

He looked a little confused, and said "O! you can't fool me that way; you are not Cartwright."

"Well," said I, "that is my name, and I am a candidate for the Legislature and now is your time; if you must whip me do it now."

He said, "No, no, you are not Cartwright at all; you only want to fool me."

By this time we had moved slowly to the boat, and when we got on it, he broke out in a fresh volley of curses on Cartwright. I said to a gentleman on the boat, "Here, hold my horse;" and stepping up to this cursing disciple, I said sternly to him, "Now, sir, you have to whip me as you threatened, or quit cursing me or I will put you in the river and baptize you in the name of the devil, for surely you belong to him." This settled him; and strange to say, when the election came off, he went to the polls and voted for me, and ever afterward was my warm and constant friend.

Take another instance of what an honest man has to bear, if he mixes in the muddy waters of political strife; and what powerful temptations it throws in his way to do wrong, and thereby wound his tender conscience, if he has any. There was a man, whom I never knowingly saw, and he did not know me by sight, as I clearly proved. At a large gathering in Springfield, he stated that he had lived my neighbor in Kentucky, and that he saw, and heard me offer to swear off a plain note of my indebtedness; and this statement was gaining and spreading like wildfire. Those opposed to my election were chuckling over it at a mighty rate; some of my friends came to me and told me of it, and said, I must meet it and stop it, or it would defeat my election. Said I:

"Gentlemen, if you will take me to, and show me this man, I will give you clear demonstration that his statements are false."

So a crowd gathered around me, and I walked up to the public square where this man was defaming me. I said to the company, "Take me right up to the man, and I will show you that he never saw me, and never knew me." They did so; and when we came to him, one said to me, "This is Mr. G."

Looking him in the eye, said I, "Well, sir I want to know something about this lying report you have been circulating about me." There was a large crowd gathered around.

"Who are you, sir?", said he. "I don't know you."

"Did you ever see me before?"

"No, sir, not that I know of."

"Well, sir, my name is Peter Cartwright, about whom you have circulated the lying statement that I, in your presence, in Kentucky, offered to swear off a plain note of my indebtedness; and I have proved to this large and respectable company that you are a lying, dirty scoundrel; and now, if you do not here acknowledge yourself a liar and a dirty fellow, I will sweep the streets with you to your heart's content; and do it instantly, or I will give you a chastisement that you will remember to your latest day."

The crowd shouted, "Down him, down him, Cartwright; he ought to catch it."

After the crowd was a little stilled, my accuser said, "Well, gentlemen, I acknowledge that I have done Mr. Cartwright great injustice, and have, without any just cause, lied on him." At this, the crowd gave three cheers for Cartwright.

Now, you see, gentle reader, the muddy waters that a candidate for office in our free country has to wade through; and well may we pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

I will relate an incident that occurred in the Legislature. After we were sworn in as members of that body, there was a flippant, loquacious lawyer, elected from Union County. He was a pretty speaker, but not very profound, and had a very high opinion of his own tact and talent. He was also a great aspirant, and had a thirst for popularity, and there were several congregations of Dunkers, or Seventh-day Baptists, in the district. This lawyer represented that they kept Saturday for the Christian Sabbath, and thought, or professed to think, it was altogether wrong that they should pay taxes, work on roads, perform military duty, or serve on juries, etc., etc., etc.

He wanted to have a law passed, favoring them in all these particulars, and thus exclusively legislating for their particular benefit, thereby making a religious test, and making a sectarian distinction, and legislating for their pretended scruples of conscience. He accordingly introduced a bill for their special benefit. I opposed the passage of the bill, and briefly remarked, that as a nation, we all acknowledged Sunday as the Christian Sabbath, and that there ought to be no distinctions in Churches, or among the people; and as to bearing arms, that the people who were unwilling to take up arms in the defense of their country, were unworthy of the protection of government; and as for not working on roads, if there were any unwilling to work on roads, they should not be allowed the privilege of traveling them; as to serving on juries, if anybody was unwilling to serve on them, he ought to be deprived the privilege of having the right of trial by jury; and if there were any unwilling to pay taxes to support government, they should be declared outlaws, and denied the protection of government. The representative from Union, at this, flew into a mighty rage, and, instead of arguing the case, began to eulogize the Dunkers and drew a contrast between them and the Methodists. He said the Dunkers were an honest, industrious, hard-working people; their preachers worked for their own support; there was no hypocritical begging among them; no carrying the hat round in the congregation for public collections, and hypocritical whining among them for support, as was always to be seen among Methodist preachers. Thus he laid on thick and fast. It was my good fortune to know, that a few years before, this same lawyer was a candidate for Congress, and the lamented S. H. Thompson was the presiding elder, and his district covered the congressional district this lawyer desired to represent; and as Brother Thompson was very popular among the people, and had a number of camp and quarterly meetings in the bounds of this congressional district, this said lawyer had pretended to be serious on the subject of religion; and here he followed Brother Thompson from appointment to appointment, appearing to be very much concerned about religion, threw in liberally at every public collection, offering to carry the hat round himself when collections were taken.

When he closed his tirade of abuse, I rose and said, "Mr. Speaker, I award to the gentleman from Union the honor of being one of the best judges of hypocrisy in all the land;" and then narrated the above facts.  He rose and called me to order; but the speaker said I was in order, and directed him to sit down. Presently, he rose again, and said if I was not called to order, he would knock me down at the bar. The speaker again pronounced me in order, and bade me proceed. I finished my speech, and left my mark on this belligerent son of the law.

When we adjourned, our clerk told me to be on my guard; that he heard this lawyer say, the moment I stepped out of the State House door he intended to whip me. I walked out and stepped up to him, and asked, "Are you for peace or war?"

"O," said he, "for peace; come, go home with me and take tea."

We locked arms, and I went. When we got there, we found the governor and his lady, and a number of genteel people. We sat down to tea, and I found they were going to eat with graceless indifference. Said I, "Governor, ask a blessing." He blushed, apologized, and begged me to do it. I did so; and then remarked that I had called on his excellency by way of reproof, for I thought the governor ought to be a good man and set a better example. He readily admitted all I said to be true; and this was the last time during the session that I ate at any of their houses without being requested to ask a blessing.

At a quarterly meeting I held in Kaskaskia in 1827, an incident occurred which I will relate. S. L. Robinson and A. E. Phelps were the circuit preachers, both of whom have passed away, witnessing a good confession.  E. Roberts and Colonel Mather lived in Kaskaskia at this time, and although neither of them was a professor of religion, yet they were both friendly to religion, and treated Methodist preachers with great kindness.  We stayed with them during the quarterly meeting; and although neither of them was a drinking man, yet they sometimes took a little rum; so also did Methodist and other preachers. These two men, in all kindness, poured out some wine, as they supposed, into glasses, and sent it round in a waiter to us preachers, but through mistake it happened to be brandy. The most of the preachers turned off their wine as was supposed, and they did it so suddenly and unsuspiciously, the mistake was not detected till it was drank.  Fortunately for me, I got the smell of the brandy, and held back from drinking at all.

Said I, "Gentlemen, this is brandy as sure as you live."

Mr. Roberts and Mr. Mather were greatly surprised at their mistake, and were mortified. The preachers who had drank their brandy through mistake were alarmed, fearing they would be intoxicated, being so little in the habit of using ardent spirits. No serious intoxication was the result of this mistake; but how much better it would have been wholly to abstain from all, and then these accidents would never happen. Suppose any, or all of us, through this mistake, had become intoxicated, what a dreadful reproach we would have caused to religion, and the worthy name of Christ would have been blasphemed through an idle, not to say sinful habit.

The last year Brother Thompson was on this district, it being very large, he requested me to attend some of his quarterly meetings, and, among others, I attended one in Green County, near what is now called Whitehall.  John Kirkpatrick, a local preacher from the Sangamon Circuit, went down and arrived there a little before me. When I came he approached me and said,

"Brother, I sincerely pity you from my very heart."

"Why, what's the matter?"

"The people have heard that you are one of the greatest preachers in the West, and their expectations are on tiptoe, and no bishop could satisfy them; but do your best."

These statements somewhat disconcerted me, though I never was very anxious to gratify idle curiosity; I knew my help must come from God, and unless the Lord helped me, every effort would be vain; but if God would help me, I asked no other aid. At length the hour arrived, and I rose in the stand, and tried to preach the best I knew how. The people gave me their kind attention, but I saw in their countenances they were disappointed.  During the intermission, Brother Kirkpatrick came to me and said,

"I told you so; you have fallen several degrees under the people's expectations. You must try again."

Accordingly, on Sunday I took the stand, and tried to look wise, and I not only tried to look so, but I tried to preach so, and in all good conscience I went at the top of my speed, and did my very best, but it was a failure. Brother Kirkpatrick came to me again, and deeply sympathized with me.

Said I, "Brother, I know what is the matter; I'll come it the next time."

So on Sunday night I mounted the stand, took my text, and, though I had loaded in a hurry, drew the bow at a venture, and let fly arrows in almost all directions: some laughed; some cried; some became angry; some ran; some cursed me right out; some shouted; some fell to the earth; and there was a general uproar throughout the whole encampment. Our meeting lasted all night, and the slain of the Lord were many; and although this discourse was delivered without connection, system, or anything else but exhortation, I redeemed myself, and now it was admitted that I was a great preacher.

I attended several camp-meetings in this neighborhood during my continuance on the district, and we always had good times; there was, however, considerable opposition and persecution. At one of these camp-meetings, the wicked young men, who were chiefly children of religious people, or professors in other Churches, brought their whisky and hid it in the woods, where they would collect together and drink, and then come and disturb the worshiping congregation. I closely watched them, and after they had gone out to their whisky and drank freely, and returned to interrupt us, I captured their keg of whisky, and brought it in and placed it under guard. After a while they missed it, and there was great confusion among them. They finally suspected me, and sent me word, if I would give up their whisky they would behave themselves or go away. I sent them word, that I never hired people to behave, and if they did not behave I would make them. They then sent me word, if I did not give up their whisky they would stone the preachers' tent that night, and one of them had the impudence to tell me so. I utterly refused to give up the whisky, and told him to stone away, that I would be ready for them.

There was, close by the camp ground, a beautiful running stream, with a gravelly bottom, and many little rocks or pebbles. After dark a while, the camp ground was brilliantly lighted up; I went and borrowed some old clothes, and dressed myself in disguise, and obtained an old straw hat. Thus attired, I sallied out, and presently, unperceived, I mixed among these rowdies, and soon got all their plans; they were to wait till the congregation was dismissed, the lights put out, and the people retired to rest; and then they were to march up and stone the preachers' tent, and if I made my appearance to annoy them in any way, they were to give me a shower of stones. I mixed freely among them, and do not suppose any one even suspected me at all. Meeting closed, the lights were blown out, and the people mostly retired to rest; in the meantime I had slipped down to the brook, and filled the pockets of the old overcoat that I had borrowed, with little stones; and as I came up to them, they were just ready to commence operation on the preachers' tent; but before they had thrown a single stone, I gathered from my pockets my hands full of stones, and flung them thick and fast right in among them, crying out, at the top of my voice, "Here they are! here they are! take them! take them !" They broke at full speed, and such a running I hardly ever witnessed. I took after them, hallooing, every jump, "Take them! take them!" Thus ended the farce. We had no more interruption, and our camp-meeting went on gloriously, and we had many conversions clear and powerful.

There lived in this settlement a very pious sister, who was much afflicted; she was poor, and money was scarce, and hard to get; but this sister believed it to be her duty, and the duty of every member of the Church, to aid in the support of the Gospel. She was very liberal, and very punctual in paying her quarterage; but circumstances, entirely beyond her control, prevented her from getting the money to pay her quarterage. The above-named camp-meeting was the last quarterly meeting before conference, and the thought, that her preachers were to go away without their pay, greatly afflicted her; she talked to me about it, and felt greatly distressed, and even wept over it. On Monday morning she went home, living but a short distance from the camp ground, to get a fresh supply of provisions, and, as she returned to the camp ground, she found, lying in the road, a silver dollar; she picked it up, and came to the camp ground greatly rejoicing, and said, the Lord had given her that dollar to pay her preachers, and she gave it to the support of the Gospel with great cheerfulness. Now, if all our Church members would act as conscientiously as this beloved sister, our preachers would never go without their pay. This sister lived and died a noble pattern of piety; her end was peace, and well might she say, on her dying couch, to her surrounding friends, who wept by her bedside: "Follow me, as I have followed the Lord Jesus Christ."

Before I take leave of this camp-meeting, I will relate an incident, to show what lengths people can go in wild and unjustifiable fanaticism.  There came a man to this meeting from one of the Carolinas, who had professed religion in some of the revivals in that country. He was a man of good education, and wealthy, of polite manners, of chaste and pleasant conversation; he had joined no Church, had no license to preach from any accredited branch of the Christian Church, had no testimonials of his good character, or of being in fellowship with any Christian body whatever; and yet he professed to be called of God to the ministry of the word, and that God had appointed him to travel all over the world, and to travel on foot too.

First, he was to bring about a universal peace among all nations; then, secondly, he was to unite all the branches of the Christian Church, and make them one. Until then he was forbidden to ride, or go in any other way than on foot; and when he had accomplished the object of his mission, the closing of which was to be attended by the bringing in of the Jews, and their return to Palestine, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the rearing up of the Temple; then Christ was to descend bodily as he ascended, and reign a thousand years on earth, in the midst of his saints; and then, and not till then, he, the preacher, was to ride, and ride in triumph into the new Jerusalem, and this was to be the commencement of the millennium. This man would talk on the subject until his feelings would be wrought up to an ecstatic rapture, and he would shout in apparent triumph, as if he had performed the greatest work ever accomplished on earth, saving the redemption of the world. Although his whole conversation on the subject was replete with supreme absurdities, yet it was astonishing to see with what earnest attention the people heard him in his private conversations; I say private, because I would not let him occupy the pulpit, and deliver his discourses from the stand, although he, and others, importuned me to let him do so; but I told them, No, I could not, in view of my responsibility to God and man, permit any such religious foolishness to disturb and divert the minds of the people from the sober truths of the Gospel, and gave, as my decided opinion, that God would not swerve one hair's breadth from the system of truth recorded in the Gospel to save or to damn the world. This gave him great offense, and shortly he left us; and I was exceedingly glad when he took his departure. During the time he stayed among us I tried to reason him out of his absurd notions, to show the great folly and inconsistency of his views, but all in vain; he construed it into persecution, and a disposition to fight against God. I have lived to see many of these insane enthusiasts on the subject of religion, and I have never seen any good resulting from giving them any countenance at all; but in several instances, great harm was done by showing them countenance. They can manufacture more fanatics, and in a shorter time, than twenty good, sound, Gospel ministers can turn five sinners from the error of their ways to the service of the living and true God. Perhaps it may not be considered out of place to indulge here in a few remarks on the subject of this wild, frenzied fanaticism.

There are several classes of these fanatics, according to the best observations that I have been able to make, and I have had many opportunities in the course of my fifty years' ministry. First, there are many that are truly awakened and soundly converted to God, and are pious, but instead of taking the word of God for their only infallible guide, and trying the spirits, and their impressions, or feelings, by that as a standard, they take all their impressions and sudden impulses of mind as inspirations from God, and act accordingly. If you oppose them, they say and believe you are fighting against God. If you try to reason them out of their visionary flights, and settle them down on the sure foundation, the word of God, they construe it all into the want of religion and cry out persecution.

Secondly. There is another class of enthusiastic persons, that not only seem, but actually are, so supremely wrapped up in self, that all they do, or say, or perform, is to be seen of men, and if they can only get the ignorant multitude to run after them, and cry "Hosannah! blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," they wrap themselves in their mantle of supreme self-complacence. They surely have not the fear of God before their eyes, and their fearful responsibilities seem not to enter into their calculations from first to last. Woe unto them! If they want to go to hell, they had better take the most obscure route to that dismal region, and go single-handed and alone, than to draw the ignorant and gaping crowds, the riff raff of all God's creation, after them; but all rebels against the government of God love company. The devil himself is a fearful witness of this fact, when, under his mutinous and revolting conspiracy against the eternal majesty of Heaven, he drew the third part of the stars of heaven after him in his rebellion against God. It is impossible to calculate the mischief done by this class of fanatics, and the many souls they have ruined forever.

Thirdly. There is a dark, motley crowd of wizards, witches, and spiritual rappers, so called, that have, sooner or later, infested all lands, and are the common property of the devil. They must have a fee for divining and soothsaying, and make a gain of their pretended art, and some of them pretend to be ministers of Christ and followers of the Lamb. By the indulgence of my readers I will give a very brief and, of course, imperfect statement of a case that will set this matter in a true light.

There was, in one of our Eastern conferences, a very talented, shrewd traveling preacher, whose piety was of a doubtful complexion. If his piety had been equal to his talents as a pulpit orator, he certainly could have done a great deal of good; but being weighed in the balances of the public mind, and, in point of piety, found wanting, he thought he must rise somehow, so he fell in with those locusts of Egypt, the spiritual rappers, took a few lessons, and then commenced operations, and really astonished the ignorant multitudes, himself with the rest. He pretended to call up the dead from every country and clime; he summoned them from heaven, earth, and hell; he not only could tell who was happy in heaven, as he said, but who were miserable in hell; he could hold communion with God, with angels, spirits, and the devil also. The last part I am not disposed to doubt. Indeed, I have very little doubt that he was in constant communion with the devil.

The Church was grieved with this state of things, and the ministers thought it their duty to arrest him, not only for these presumptuous pretensions, but for sundry other moral delinquencies. They tried him, and expelled him from the Church. He appealed to the General Conference that sat in Pittsburgh in 1848. On examination the General Conference thought that there was some informality in his trial in the annual conference to which he belonged, and they remanded it back to his conference for a new trial. The conference took up the case again, found him guilty of several immoralities, and expelled him again. From this act of expulsion he appealed to the General Conference that sat in Boston in 1852. In his defense before that body, he openly avowed that he could tell what was going on in heaven, earth, and hell; that he had foretold the results of many of the important battles in Mexico, under Generals Taylor and Scott, before the battles were fought; and that he knew how the decision of that General Conference would go, before the trial ended. When the special pleadings in his case were over, and he was requested to retire, in order that the Conference should make up their verdict, I slipped out at the door after him, and said to him, "Now, Brother S., can you tell how this Conference will decide in your case beforehand?"

"Yes, I can," said he.

"Well," said I, "if you will tell me now, and they should decide as you say, you can very easily make a convert of me. Do tell me here, privately; I will say nothing about it till the verdict is rendered."

"Get away," said he; "I will not do it."

"No," said I, "because you cannot." The General Conference, with great unanimity, affirmed the decision of the court below, and he was expelled.

While I was on my way to the quarterly meeting in Mississippi Circuit, at Brother J. Pickett's, in what was then Madison County, south of the Macoupin Creek, there had fallen a tremendous rain, and the creek was out of its banks. There was a little, old, crazy horse-boat; and although within a few miles of the place where the quarterly meeting was to be held, there was no chance of getting there without risking life in this old, crazy boat across this rapid stream. When I rode up to the creek there sat a good old local preacher on the bank, holding his horse by the bridle. After the usual salutations, he said,

"Brother, I started to go to the quarterly meeting, but I have no money, and the ferryman will not set me over, even on trust."

"How much does he charge?', said I.

He replied, "Twelve and a half cents."

"Very well, brother," said I, "go with me, and I will pay the ferriage."

So we crossed and got out safely. That night this old brother preached, and the power of the Lord was present to kill and make alive. Three souls were converted and six joined the Church, and we had an excellent meeting. I state this little circumstance to show the great good that can be done with a small sum of money. I do not think that I ever laid out twelve and a half cents to better advantage in all my little pilgrimage on earth.

From this quarterly meeting I crossed the Illinois River on to the military tract, aiming for the Atlas Circuit quarterly meeting. Late in the evening I rode up to a temporary building, a total stranger, and asked for quarters for the night, which was readily granted. I found that my landlord's family had moved from some of the New-England states, and were a well-informed and clever family. The gentleman's name was Colonel Ross. Several families had moved out here, and had been living here three or four years, and, perhaps, had never heard a sermon since they had settled in this new country. I was invited to pray in the family night and morning. Our conversation chiefly turned on religious subjects. When I started on next morning, they would receive no compensation from me, and as they were kind, and would have nothing for my night's lodging, having in my saddle-bags a few religious books, I drew out "The Letters and Poems of Caroline Matilda Thayer," and made a present of this little book to my landlady, and went on my way.

I was happy afterward to learn from this landlady's own mouth that God made this little book the means of her sound conversion. She led a happy Christian life, and died a peaceful, triumphant death. I name this little circumstance to show, in a small way, what good can be done by the distribution of religious books among the people. It has often been a question that I shall never be able to answer on earth, whether I have done the most good by preaching or distributing religious books. If we as a Church had been blessed with a flourishing Book Concern such as we now have, and our preachers had scattered books broad-cast over these Western wilds, or any other wilds, it would be impossible to tell the vast amount of good that would have been done. And, indeed, this is one of the grand secrets of the success of our early Methodist preachers.

Well do I remember of reading in early life, Russell's Seven Sermons, Nelson's Journals, and such books as those, which would make me weep, and pray too. For more than fifty years I have firmly believed, that it was a part and parcel of a Methodist preacher's most sacred duty to circulate good books wherever they go among the people. And I claim to have come as nigh my duty in this as any other, and perhaps more so. I have spread thousands of dollars' worth among the people; sometimes a thousand dollars, worth a year. But I fear a change for the worse has come over our Methodist preachers on this subject; many of them, since the country has grown up into improved life, and wealth abounds, feel themselves degraded in peddling books, as they call it, and want to roll this whole duty on to the colporteurs. But I believe, with our most excellent Discipline, that we should "be ashamed of nothing but sin." The religious press is destined, in the order of Providence, to give moral freedom to the perishing millions of earth. "My people," saith the Lord, "perish for lack of knowledge."

Think of this, ye ministers of Jesus Christ; lay aside your pride, and call to your aid in disseminating religious knowledge from the pulpit, religious books, and God will own the effort, and prosper the work of your hands everywhere.

I suppose I was the first preacher who ever held a camp-meeting in the military tract, in what is now called Pike, Adams, Schuyler, and Hancock Counties. We had a camp-meeting in Pike County in 1827. We had but one tent on the ground, and that was called the "Preachers' Tent." The people rolled on to the ground in their wagons; brought their victuals, and ate at the wagons. We held this meeting several days and nights in this way, and we had a prosperous meeting. We held one in Schuyler County the same season, and many souls were blessed.

Our Pottawattomie Mission was located on Fox River. Jesse Walker was missionary, and I was appointed superintendent; and it belonged to the Illinois District. During the two years that I superintended this mission I received not one cent from the missionary funds. We had near one hundred miles of unbroken wilderness country to pass through to get to this mission.  I had to pack provisions for myself and horse to and from the mission.  There being no roads, I had to hire my pilot, and camp out.

Having made preparations for the journey, and an appointment to meet the chiefs of the nation at the mission, I started from the Peoria Quarterly Meeting with my pilot and several volunteers for the mission. We shaped our course from point to point of timber. Late in the evening we struck the timber of the Illinois Vermillion, and finding plenty of water, we camped, struck fire, cooked, and took supper and dinner all under one. We had prayer, fixed our blankets and overcoats, and laid us down, and slept soundly and sweetly till next morning. We rose early, took breakfast, fed our horses, and started on our way across the Illinois River, swimming our horses beside a canoe, and just at night reached the mission. We called the mission family together and preached to them. The next day the chiefs appeared; we smoked the pipe of friendship with them, and, through an interpreter, I made a speech to them, explaining our object in establishing a mission among them. All the chiefs now shook hands with us, as their custom is, and gave us a very sociable talk, and all bid us a cordial welcome save one, who was strongly opposed to our coming among them. He did not wish to change their religion and their customs, nor to educate their children. I replied to him, and met all his objections. I tried to show them the benefits of civilization and the Christian religion. There was present a Chippewa chief, with his two daughters, at the mission. This chief made a flaming speech in favor of the mission, and in favor of our "Great Father," the President, and the American people. He had fought under the American colors in the last war with England, and had his diploma from the President as a brave captain, and showed it with great exultation.  His two daughters were dressed like the whites, and could read pretty well.  When our "great talk" was over, I asked them the liberty to preach to them, which was granted. I tried to explain to them the original state of man, the fall of man, and the redemption through Christ; the condition of salvation, namely, faith in Christ, and obedience to all the precepts of the Gospel, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures; and urged them to repent, and forsake all their sins, and come to Christ.

It was an awkward and slow way to preach, through an interpreter, but I succeeded much better than I anticipated. One Indian woman, who had obtained religion, as we believed, desired baptism, and the ordinance was administered to her. Several couples, from the scattering white people that hung around the mission, applied to be married.

After directing matters, according to my instructions as superintendent, we started for home. After traveling near fifty miles, night came on at a point of timber called Crow Point, and there we camped. A dreadful storm of wind arose, which blew a severe gale, but Providence favored us in withholding the rain, and we considered this a great blessing. The next day we reached the settlement, in health and safety.

We expended several thousand dollars of missionary money in improving these mission premises, and succeeded in civilizing and Christianizing a few of these Indians, but the whites kept constantly encroaching on them till they became restless, and, finally, the government bought them out.  The mission premises, with a section of land, was reserved for one of the half breed, so that the Missionary Society lost all that they had expended.  It is true, the chiefs of the nation gave Brother Walker a thousand dollars of their annuities, as a compensation for the improvements he had made with the missionary money; and this money properly belonged to the Missionary Society, but they never realized it; and the Indians moved, finally, west of the Mississippi. There is still a lingering, wasting remnant of that nation; they have a missionary among them, and a good many of them are pious Christians.

Before this mission was broken up there appeared another of those wandering stars, or visionary preachers, by the name of Paine. He visited a camp-meeting held near Springfield. He had no proper credentials to preach, and yet he professed to be commissioned from heaven to convert the world, whites, Indians, and all. He wanted to preach at my camp-meeting, but I would not permit him to occupy the stand. He called off the loose crowd some distance into the woods, gave us a terrible tongue-lashing, and then departed north to preach to the Indians. In the meantime the Black Hawk Indian war had broken out, and they were killing our people on the outskirts of the settlements fearfully. This Paine had gotten up somewhere this side of Chicago, and wanted to come down the country toward the old mission. He was admonished not to venture, and was assured the Indians would kill him, but he was so visionary that he said he was not afraid to go alone, right in among them, for the Lord would protect him, and the Indians would not hurt a hair of his head. He, in despite of every warning, started alone, through a long prairie. The Indians were waylaying the trail, and as he drew near a point of timber they shot and killed him, and then cut off his head; after scalping it, they placed it on a pole, and stuck the pole erect in the ground. They then took his horse and riding apparatus, clothes, etc. The next day, as a company of men passed, they saw Paine's head sticking on a pole, and his body greatly mangled by the wolves; and this was an end of his commission to convert the world, Indians and all. "As the fool dieth, so died he."

In the fall of 1827, Sept. 20th, our conference was holden in Mount Carmel, and I was continued on the Illinois District, and the name of Mississippi Circuit changed to Apple Creek Circuit. At the Mount Carmel Conference we elected our delegates that sat in Pittsburgh, May 1st, 1828.  This was our fifth delegated General Conference, and the first we ever had in the West, this side of the mountains.

In the month of April Brother Dew, Brother Thompson, and myself, met at St. Louis, to take passage on board a steamboat to the General Conference in Pittsburgh. We had never been on board a steamboat before, at least I never had. They were then a new thing among us, so we took passage on board the "Velocepede," Mr. Ray captain. Before we went aboard, Brothers Dew and Thompson, with the kindest feelings imaginable, thought it their duty to caution me to be very quiet, for these steamboat fellows, passengers and all, were desperadoes. They knew I was outspoken, loved everybody and feared nobody. They were afraid I would get into some difficulty with somebody. I thanked them very kindly for their special care over me. "But," said I, "brethren, take care of yourselves; I think I know how to behave myself, and make others behave themselves, if need be."

When we got aboard we had a crowded cabin, a mixed multitude; some Deists, some Atheists, some Universalists, a great many profane swearers, drunkards, gamblers, fiddlers, and dancers. We dropped down to the barrack, below St. Louis, and there came aboard eight or ten United States officers, and we had a jolly set, I assure you. They drank, fiddled, danced, swore, played cards, men and women too. I walked about, said nothing, but plainly saw we were in a bad snap, but there was no way to help ourselves. Brother Thompson came to me and said, "Lord have mercy on me; what shall we do?"

"Go to your berth," said I, "and stay there quietly."

"No," said he; "I'll reprove them."

"Now, brother," said I, "do not cast your pearls before swine."

"Well," said he, "I won't stay in the cabin; I'll go on deck."

Up he started, and when he got there, behold, they were playing cards from one end of the deck to the other. Back he came and said, "What shall I do? I cannot stand it."

"Well," said I, "Brother Thompson, be quiet and behave yourself; you have no way to remedy your condition, unless you jump overboard and swim to shore."

So things went on several days and nights. At the mouth of the Ohio there came aboard a Captain Waters. He had a new fiddle and a pack of cards. He was a professed infidel. Card playing was renewed all over the cabin. The captain of the boat was as fond of drinking and card playing as any of them. There was a lieutenant of the regular army on board, and although he was very wicked, yet he had been raised by religious parents. His wife, as he told me, was a good Christian. In walking the guard this lieutenant, whose name was Barker, and myself fell into conversation, and, being by ourselves, I took occasion to remonstrate with him on the subject of his profanity. He readily admitted it was wrong, and said, "I have been better taught. But O," said he, "the demoralizing life of a soldier!"

There was also a Major Biddle on board, a professed infidel, but gentlemanly in his manners; he afterward fell in a duel, in or near St. Louis. I got a chance to talk to him in private, and alone; I remonstrated against his profanity; he agreed with me in all I said. In this way, I got to talk to many of them, and they mostly ceased to swear profanely in my presence.  Presently, they gathered around the table, and commenced playing cards; I walked carelessly up, and looked on. Lieutenant Barker and Captain Waters looked up at me; I knew they felt reproved. Said one of them to me: "We are not blacklegs; we are not playing for money, but just to kill time." I affected to be profoundly ignorant of what they were doing, and asked them what those little spotted things were. Mr. Barker said,

"Sit down here, and I will show you what we are doing, and how we do it."

"No, no," said I, "my friends; I am afraid it is all wrong."

They insisted there was no harm in it at all.

"Well," said I, "gentlemen, if you are just playing for fun, or to kill time, would it not be much better to drop all such foolishness, and let us talk on some topic to inform each other? then we could all be edified. As it is, a few of you enjoy all the pleasure, if, indeed, there is any in it; while the rest of us, who have no taste for such amusements, are not at all benefited. Come, lay aside those little spotted papers, that are only calculated to please children of a larger size, and let us talk on History, Philosophy, or Astronomy; then we can all enjoy it, and be greatly benefited."

Captain Waters said: "Sir, if you will debate with me on the Christian religion, we will quit all our cards, fiddles, and dances."

"I will do it with pleasure, captain," said I. "I have only one objection to debate with you. You are in the habit, I see, of swearing profanely, and using oaths, and I can't swear back at you; and I fear, a debate, mixed up with profane oaths, would be unprofitable."

"Well, sir," said he, "if you will debate with me on that subject, I will pledge you my word and honor that I will not swear a single oath."

"Very well, sir," said I; "on that condition, I will debate with you." By this time there were gathered around us a large crowd.

"Well," said Lieutenant Baker, "take notice of the terms on which this debate is to be conducted." Said he, "Now, gentlemen, draw near, and take your seats, and listen to the arguments; and by the consent of the two belligerent gentlemen, I will keep order."

We both agreed to his proposition. The captain opened the discussion by a great flourish of trumpets, expressing his great happiness at having one more opportunity of vindicating the religion of reason and nature, in opposition to the religion of a bastard. To all of these flourishes, I simply replied, that the Christian religion was of age, and could speak for itself and that I felt proud of an opportunity to show that infidelity was born out of holy wedlock; and, therefore, in the strictest sense, was a bastard, and that I thought it ill became the advocate of a notorious illegitimate to heap any reproaches on Christ. These exordiums had one good effect; they fixed and riveted the attention of almost all the passengers, the captain of the boat, ladies and all. My opponent then proceeded to lay down his premises, and draw his conclusions. When his twenty minutes expired, I replied; and in my reply, quoted a passage of Scripture.

"Hold, sir," said my opponent, "I don't allow a book of fables and lies to be brought in; nothing shall be admitted here but honorable testimony."

"Very well, sir," said I ; "the Bible shall be dispensed with altogether as evidence; and then I feel confident I can overturn your system on testimony drawn from the book of nature;" and proceeded in the argument.

In his second replication, he quoted Tom Paine as evidence.

"Hold, sir," said I; "such a degraded witness as Tom Paine can't be admitted as testimony in this debate."

My opponent flew into a violent passion, and swore profanely, that God Almighty never made a purer and more honorable man than Tom Paine. As he belched forth these horrid oaths, I took him by the chin with my hand, and moved his jaws together, and made his teeth rattle together at a mighty rate. He rose to his feet, so did I. He drew his fist, and swore he would smite me to the floor. Lieutenant Barker sprang in between us, saying,

"Cartwright, stand back; you can beat him in argument, and I can whip him; and, if there is any fighting to be done, I am his man, from the point of a needle to the mouth of a cannon; for he is no gentleman, as he pledged his word and honor that he would not swear; and he has broken his word and forfeited his honor."

Well, I had then to fly in between them, to prevent a bloody fight, for they both drew deadly weapons. Finally, this ended the argument. My valorous captain made concessions, and all became pacified. From this out, Barker was my fast friend, and would have fought for me at any time; and my infidel, Captain Waters, became very friendly to me; and when we landed in the night at Louisville, he insisted that I should go home with him and partake of his very best hospitalities.

But, to return a little to my narrative, the whole company that witnessed the encounter with my infidel captain were interested in my favor. Our boat was old and crazy, and we made but little speed; consequently, we were detained on the river over Sunday. Early on Sabbath morning, the passengers formed themselves into a kind of committee of the whole, and appointed a special committee to wait on me, and invite me to preach to them that day on the boat. Lieutenant Barker was the committee. He came to me, and presented the request. I said,

"Lieutenant, I never traveled on a steamboat before, and it will be a very awkward affair for me to preach on the boat; and, besides, I don't know that the captain would like such an arrangement: and the passengers will drink, and perhaps gamble, and be disorderly; and every man on a steamboat is a free man, and will do pretty much as he pleases, and will not be reproved."

Said the lieutenant, "I have consulted the captain of the boat, and he is willing, and pledges himself to keep good order. And now, sir," said he, "we have annoyed you and your fellow-clergymen all the week, and I pledge you my word, all shall be orderly, and you shall enjoy your religious privileges on Sunday undisturbed, and you must preach to us. We need it, and the company will not be satisfied if you don't comply."

I gave my consent, and we fixed on the following times for three sermons: One immediately after the table was cleared off after breakfast, one after dinner, and one after supper. I led the way, taking the morning hour. The cabin was seated in good order, the deck passengers were invited down. We had a very orderly, well-behaved congregation. Brother Dew preached in the afternoon, and Brother Thompson at night, and I rarely ever spent a more orderly Sabbath anywhere within the walls of a church. From this out we had no more drunkenness, profane swearing, or card playing. What good was done, if any, the judgment day will alone declare. I cannot close this sketch and do justice to my feelings without saying a few things more.

After the adjournment of the General Conference, on our return trip home, the river had fallen very much. We could not pass over the falls, and the canal was not finished around them. Of course we had to land and re-ship at the foot of the falls. The Maryland, a good steamboat, lay here waiting for passengers. When I entered this boat, almost the first man I met was Lieutenant Barker, who, when he recognized me, sprang forward and seized me by the hand, and said, "O, is this Mr. Cartwright?" and really seemed as glad to see me as if I had been his own brother. He had been on East, and was returning with his wife to some of the Western military posts.

"Now, sir," said he, "I told you I had a good little Christian woman for my wife. She is in the ladies' cabin. I have talked to her of you a thousand times. Come, you must go right in with me, and I will introduce her to you. I know she will be glad to see and form an acquaintance with you."

I went, and was introduced to this, as I believe, Christian lady. We had a number of preachers on board, returning delegates from the General Conference, and we had preaching almost every day and night from that to St. Louis, for we had almost entire command of the boat. 


CHAPTER XX.
Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada

In the fall of 1828 our conference sat in Madison, Indiana, October 9th. This was the only annual conference that I ever missed attending in fifty years. My wife was sorely afflicted, and was supposed to be at the gates of death, so that I did not think it my duty to leave her, though a kind Providence spared her to me a little longer, and she still lives. I was reappointed to the Illinois District. The Oneida Annual Conference was formed at the General Conference in May, 1828. This made nine annual conferences east, and eight west of the mountains. They had a membership in the nine Eastern conferences of 270,210. In the East there were of traveling preachers 984. We had in the West, of traveling preachers, 519. Of members the West had 150,894. Total number of members, 421,104; of traveling preachers, 1,503.

The New-Hampshire and Vermont Conference was formed in the interim, or between the General Conferences of 1828 and 1832. It will also be remembered that Canada had existed as a separate annual conference, and was in union, as a conference, with the Methodist Episcopal Church in these United States, and was regularly supplied with American preachers, and superintended by our American bishops. Being under the British laws, that established the Catholic Church in Lower Canada, and the Church of England in Upper Canada, our people, members, and preachers labored under many civil disabilities. They thought, under all the circumstances, that it would be better to be separated from the Methodist Episcopal Church in these United States, and organized into a distinct Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada; elect from among themselves a bishop, that should be resident among them; and thereby avoid many of those disabilities that had fallen so heavily upon them, in consequence of being under the jurisdiction of American bishops. Accordingly, they petitioned the General Conference of 1828, at Pittsburgh, to set them off as a separate and distinct Church; but, after careful consideration and investigation, the General Conference, with great unanimity, resolved, that they were not vested with any constitutional power to divide the Methodist Episcopal Church; and, therefore, declined granting them their request; but said, if they really thought their civil disabilities were a burden too grievous to be borne, they would throw no difficulties in their way, but leave them to make their own choice, whether they would remain as an integral part of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, or organize themselves into a separate Church. They chose the latter first, and then merged themselves into the great Wesleyan connexion of England.

In this organization of the Canada Methodist Episcopal Church many false statements have been made, alleging, that the General Conference of 1828, at Pittsburgh, did divide the Church. But be it distinctly remembered, that no official act of that General Conference can be produced to establish the truth of this assertion; so far from it, that directly the contrary is the fact in this case; and generally, those who affirm and publish this unreasonable falsehood, know that these statements are at war with truth, and they only resort to this subterfuge in order to justify the Southern disorganized secession from the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844-45, and thereby claim another division of the Methodist Episcopal Church by the General Conference of 1844.

The organization of all Christian Churches is the voluntary association of individuals, under the accredited supervision of a Divinely-appointed ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not a ministerial act separate and apart from the voluntary choice of the individual consent of the members that compose that Church. The ministerial act, asserted and maintained, in organizing a Church, independent of the choice of the individuals that compose that Church, is clearly "lording it over God's heritage," and is a fearful feature of popery. And that this is the fact, in reference to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, is as clear as a sunbeam; for there are thousands in the pale of that Church that are not there by choice, but of necessity of some kind. And there are many that are greatly entangled with slavery; so much so, that if it had been left to their choice, they would have clung to the Methodist Episcopal Church with a dying grasp. And there are thousands, if they could obtain the ministers of their choice, who would speedily return to the bosom of the Church, and hail with delight the privilege of being united again to their spiritual mother.

How wicked it must be for those ministers of the Church, South, to fabricate every kind of story, to hedge up the way of our ministers, who, from the purest and most benevolent feelings, go into the slave states, simply to gather the poor destitute members of our Church, as a matter of benevolent duty. They cry, "Church North," "Abolitionism," when they know that most of our preachers are not abolitionists, but occupy the very ground our venerable fathers and founders occupied before they were born. They as good as murdered the lamented Kelly, who died from the abuse he received from the blood-stained hands of his persecutors, urged on by those very pro-slavery pretended ministers. Many of them greatly rejoice, and triumph over, having gained the Church suits by the unholy, not to say bribed judges. Mark ye! the blighting curse of God will follow these ungodly and unjust gains; and the time will come, when the visible disapprobation of a just and holy God will be manifest to all men.

There is one circumstance that befell me at the General Conference at Pittsburgh in 1828, that I wish briefly to state; but, for the sake of honorable feelings, I must be sparing of names. Brother Waterman, who was considerably radicalized, had the duty assigned him of billeting out the preachers among the families that had agreed to take care of them during the General Conference. When I arrived in Pittsburgh I went to Brother Waterman to know where I was to stay, and he gave me a ticket to a gentleman's house in Alleghany Town; he was nominally a ruffle-shirted Methodist; he was rich, and abounded in almost all the good things of this world. His lady was a very genteel, fine, fashionable woman, but a stiff-starched Presbyterian; so I was told. One of the bishops was stationed here, and two D.D.s, both preachers. I, of course, very confidently made my way to this gentleman's house. As I approached the dwelling I cast my eye upward, and through a window I saw the bishop and another preacher sitting in an upper room. When I reached the portico the gentleman met me at the entrance. Addressing him, I said:

"Does Colonel --- live here?"

"Yes, sir."

"Brother Waterman informed me, as one of the delegates to the General Conference, that I was to board with you during the Conference; my name is Peter Cartwright; I hail from Illinois."

"Yes, sir," said he, seriously; "we had intended to take four of the preachers, but my wife thinks she can't take but two, and Bishop and Dr--- are here already, and we can't accommodate you."

I felt a little curious, but so foolish was I, that I hastily concluded that the thing was a trick, played off to plague me. He never invited me in.

"Well," said I, "I must see the bishop anyhow, and I reckon you'll let me stay;" so in I went. After entering,

"Please, sir," said I, "direct me to the bishop's room." He did so, and up I went, and ushered myself into his magisterial presence. After the accustomed salutations, which I thought came from the bishop with unusual coolness, I said to him:

"And is it so that I am not to stay here after Brother Waterman has sent me?"

"Too true, too true," said he; "the lady of the house is not a Methodist, and says she is not willing to take but two."

The reader may be sure I began to feel bad at a mighty rate; the bishop seated himself, and began to write, looking dry, sour, and cool, but paid no further attention to me. I took my hat, and started down stairs in a mighty hurry, gathered my saddlebags, and started off. Just as I mounted the steps leaving his ornamented lot, the landlord hailed me, and requested me to stop. He came near, and in a cold, stiff manner, informed me that his wife had concluded that I might stay, and invited me to return.

"No, sir," said I, "it is too late; I can't, under the circumstances, return; I have money enough to pay my way; and I had rather pay my way than to be treated as I have been."

"But," said the gentleman, "you must not leave my house in this way; it will be a great reproach to me and my family."

"Yes, sir," said I, "you ought to have thought of that sooner."

"Well," he asked, "where are you going?"

"To a tavern," said I, "if I can find an orderly one."

So on I went. After proceeding some distance I saw a tavern sign, and went in, and after looking around a little, I said to the tavern keeper:

"Can I board with you for a month, and be accommodated with a private room?"

He said I could.

"Do you keep an orderly house, or shall I be annoyed by drunkards and gamblers?"

"My house, sir," said he, "is kept orderly; you shall not be annoyed by any rude company whatever. Be seated, sir," said he; "you shall have a room fitted up directly. I judge," said he, "you are one of the delegates to the General Conference."

"Yes, sir, I am," was my reply.

Said he, "Mr. Waterman was to have sent me two preachers, but none have come, unless you are one assigned me."

"No, sir, I am not sent; I come on my own responsibility."

Said he, "I am a member of no Church, but my wife is a Methodist, and she will be glad for you to stay with us."

I soon began to feel that I had got into another atmosphere. I fared well, was treated kindly, and had nothing to pay.

Shortly after I had settled down, the landlord of my first place sought me out, and entreated me to return to his house. He said his wife had fitted up a comfortable room, and desired me to return.

"No, sir," said I, "I shall not do it; I am not dependent on you or yours at all, and I am well provided for here, and I mean to stay."

He went home, and sent to invite me back again. The messenger said I ought to return; that the family were very much mortified at the circumstance that had taken place. I told him that I felt under no obligations to him or them; that they had treated me very cavalierly, and I should abide my determination not to return; but by invitation I visited them, and stayed with them some; but I think I effectually humbled their pride for once.

I was at this first place several evenings; but everything seemed to come wrong. The bishop seemed as cold as an icicle, and as stiff in his manners as if he had been the autocrat of all the Russians. I felt that there was not the least congeniality in them, and that I was alone in such company. The time of evening devotions came on. The master of ceremonies asked me to lead the devotions; but the moment I was requested to do so, it appeared to me that thick darkness fell on me, and if ever I felt the power of the devil physically and mentally, it was just then. I turned almost blind, literally blind, and the great drops of sweat rolled off my face. I was so blind I feared I could not see to read a chapter, hence I turned to the first Psalm, which I could, and had, repeated often by memory; but I found my memory as defective as my sight, and surely, memory, sight, and all gone, I made a very stammering out at repeating the first psalm; but I stammered over it in some sort. My voice was usually clear in those days, and I could sing tolerably well. I rose and commenced singing a verse of one of our familiar hymns, but not a soul in the crowd, by name or nature, would sing with me. I stopped short, and kneeled down to pray, but in all my life I was never in a worse plight to pray but once, and that was the first time my leader called on me to pray in public after I had professed religion. I then thought my head was as large as a house, and I now thought I had no head at all. It seemed to me that the devil was veritably present, and all around, and in everybody and everything. I stammered over a few incoherent sentences, and closed by saying "Amen." And you may rely on it, while in this wretched state of feeling, and before I was delivered from the hour and power of temptation, I felt as though the devil reigned triumphant, and had a bill of sale of us all. The next day, when the General Conference adjourned, at noon, the presiding bishop called on me to close by prayer. O, how awful I felt! I fell on my knees and uttered only a few words, and said "Amen" before one half of the preachers had fairly got on their knees. They looked round and scuffled up, and looked queer; and I assure you I have no language at my command by which I could describe my feelings, for I felt "unutterable woe." This state of bad feelings lasted during a whole week.

One night I heard of a prayer-meeting near by where I lodged. I determined to go; and it pleased God that night to roll back the clouds that had covered me in such thick darkness. I was very happy, and the next evening hastened to the house where I had made such a dreadful out in reading, singing, and praying. It so happened that when the family got ready for prayer, and sent up for the preachers to come down, they were all very much engaged in finishing an interesting report. The bishop said he could not go, and that he wished some one would go and hold prayer with the family, and let the rest stay. I spoke up and said, "Let me go, for I feel so much better than I did when I tried to pray with them before, I want to go and try again." He bade me go. I went, took the book, read a chapter readily, sung a hymn clearly, knelt and prayed with more than my accustomed liberty, and got happy. The family wept. We talked, wept, and sung together, and I felt as independent of the devil and a stiff bishop as if there were no such beings in the world.

When the General Conference adjourned, and I had started for the steamboat, the landlady that I thought was so stiff, formal, and proud, followed me to the boat, and sent by me a present of a silk dress to my wife. Why this dispensation of darkness should be permitted to fall on me I cannot tell, but there is no doubt on my mind there was a special Providence in it, if I only understood the matter; but I leave all to the revelations of the great day of judgment. "The Lord reigneth."

At our Conference, in the fall of 1828, Galena Charge was added to the Illinois District; so that my district reached nearly from the mouth of the Ohio River to Galena, the extreme northwest corner of the state, altogether six hundred miles long. This was a tremendous field of travel and labor. Around this district I had to travel four times in the year, and I had many rapid streams to cross, mostly without bridges or ferry-boats. Many of these streams, when they were swollen, and I had to cross them to get to my quarterly meetings, I would strike for some point of timber, and traverse up and down the stream until I could find a drift or a tree fallen across. I would then dismount, strip myself and horse, carry my clothes and riding apparatus across on the fallen tree or drift, and then return and mount my horse, plunge in and swim over, dress, saddle my horse, and go on my way, from point to point of timber, without roads. Often night would overtake me in some lonesome, solitary grove. I would hunt out some suitable place, strike fire, for I always went prepared with flint, steel, and spunk, make as good a fire as circumstances called for, tie up or hopple out my horse, and there spend the night. Sometimes, in traveling from point to point of timber, darkness would come upon me before I could reach, by miles, the woods, and it being so dark that I could not see the trees I was aiming for, I would dismount and hold my horse by the bridle till returning light, then mount my horse, and pursue my journey.

The northern part of my district was newly settled; and where it was settled at all, a few scattering cabins, with families in them, were all that could be looked for or expected in a vast region of the north end of my district; and I assure my readers that when I came upon one of these tenanted cabins, in those long and lonesome trips, it was a great treat, and I have felt as truly thankful to God to take shelter in one of those little shanties and get the privilege of a night's lodging, as I have, under other circumstances, been when I have lodged in a fine house, with all the comforts of life around me. I recollect, in one of my northern trips, I had a very large and uninhabited prairie to cross; about midway across the prairie, twenty miles from any house, I came to a deep and turbid stream; twenty miles beyond was the point I was aiming for that day. The stream looked ugly and forbidding. I was mounted on a fine large horse, and I knew him to be an excellent swimmer. I hesitated for a moment. To retrace my steps I could not consent to, and if I advanced, a swim, on my horse, was to be performed, no timber being in sight. I got down, readjusted my saddle, girded it tolerably tight, tied my overcoat on behind, put my watch and pocket papers in my saddle-bags, and then tied them around my neck, letting the ends rest on my shoulders, and said, "Now, Buck," (that was the name of my horse,) "carry me safe to the other bank." In we went; he swam over easily, and rose on the opposite bank safely. I readjusted my affairs, and went on my way rejoicing, and was not wet but a trifle. Three times this day I swam my horse across swollen streams, and made the cabin I was aiming for. Here lived a kind Methodist family, who gave me a hearty welcome; gave me good meat and bread, and a strong cup of coffee, and I was much happier than many of the kings of the earth. I arrived safe at my quarterly meeting. All the surrounding citizens had turned out, twenty-seven in number. We had five conversions; seven joined the Church; and we were nearly all happy together.

In one of those northern trips I was earnestly solicited to cross the Mississippi and preach to the few new settlers near what is now called Burlington City, on the west of the Father of Waters. My son-in-law, Wm. D. R. Trotter, perhaps was the first traveling preacher who broke ground in the Iowa State, and I followed a short time afterward. I had sent them an appointment to hold a two days' meeting, just back of where Burlington City stands. Then there were only a few cabins in the place; now it is a growing city, containing, perhaps, ten thousand souls.

When I went to my appointment, although there was but a scattered population, yet when they came out to meeting the cabins were so small that there was not one in the whole settlement which would hold the people. We repaired to the grove, and hastily prepared seats. Years before this time an old tree had fallen down across a small sapling and bent it near the earth. The sapling was not killed, and the top of it shot up straight beside the tree that had fallen on it, and it had grown for years in this condition. The old tree had been cut off, and they scalped the bark off of that part of the sapling that lay parallel with the ground. They drove a stake down, and nailed a board to it, and the top of the sapling that grew erect, and this was my hand-board, and I stood on that part of the sapling that lay near and level with the ground. This was my pulpit, from which I declared the unsearchable riches of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and we had a good meeting.

On the 23d of August, 1828, one of our beloved bishops, Enoch George, fell a victim to death. He had been an itinerant preacher thirty-eight years, and had honorably discharged the duties of a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church for twelve years. One has said of him, "Bishop George was a man of deep piety, of great simplicity of manners, a very pathetic, powerful, and successful preacher; greatly beloved in life, and very extensively lamented in death."

The Illinois Conference met this fall (September 18th, 1829) at Edwardsville. Our country was rapidly filling up, our work constantly enlarging, and Bishop Roberts, at conference in Vincennes, September 30th, 1830, found it necessary to divide the circuits, and multiply the presiding-elder districts. The following new districts were formed in the bounds of the Illinois Conference, namely: the Illinois District was divided into two: the Kaskaskia and Sangamon Districts. The Kaskaskia District embraced the following appointments: Kaskaskia,. Brownsville, Jonesborough, Golconda, Mount Vernon, Shoal Creek, and Shelbyville, in all seven. The Sangamon District embraced the following appointments: Lebanon, Apple Creek, Atlas, Spoon River, Sangamon, Salt Creek, Peoria, Fox River Mission, and Galena Mission, nine. Samuel H. Thompson was appointed to the Kaskaskia District, and I was appointed to the Sangamon District. This district still covered a large field of labor, embracing from opposite St. Louis to the northern limits of the state.

Within the bounds of this district there lived a local preacher, who was a small, very easy, good-natured, pleasant man; he was believed to be also a very pious man, and a good and useful preacher. His wife was directly the reverse of almost everything that was good, saving it was believed she was virtuous. She was high-tempered, overbearing, quarrelsome, and a violent opposer of religion. She would not fix her husband's clothes to go out to preach, and was unwilling he should ask a blessing at the table, or pray in the family. And when he would attempt to pray, she would not conform, but tear around and make all the noise and disturbance in her power. She would turn the chairs over while he was reading, singing, or praying, and if she could not stop him any other way, she would catch a cat and throw it in his face while he was kneeling and trying to pray. Poor little man! surely he was tormented almost to desperation. He had invited several preachers home with him to talk to her, and see if they could not moderate her; but all to no purpose; she would curse them to their face, and rage like a demon. He had insisted on my going home with him several times, but I frankly confess I was afraid to trust myself. I pitied him from my very heart, and so did everybody else that was acquainted with his situation. But at length I yielded to his importunities, and went home with him one evening, intending to stay all night. After we arrived I saw in a minute that she was mad, and the devil was in her as large as an alligator; and I fixed my purpose, and determined on my course. After supper he said to her very kindly, "Come, wife, stop your little affairs, and let us have prayer." That moment she boiled over, and said, "I will have none of your praying about me." I spoke to her mildly, and expostulated with her, and tried to reason; but no, the further I went, the more wrathful she became, and she cursed me most bitterly. I then put on a stern countenance, and said to her, "Madam, if you were a wife of mine, I would break you of your bad ways, or I would break your neck."

"The devil you would!" said she. "Yes, you are a pretty Christian, ain't you?" And then such a volley of curses as she poured on me, was almost beyond human endurance.

"Be still," said I; "we must and will have prayer." But she declared we should not.

"Now," said I to her, "if you do not be still, and behave yourself, I'll put you out of doors." At this she clinched her fist, and swore she was one half alligator, and the other half snapping-turtle, and that it would take a better man than I was to put her out. It was a small cabin we were in, and we were not far from the door, which was then standing open. I caught her by the arm, and swinging her round in a circle, brought her right up to the door, and shoved her out. She jumped up, tore her hair, foamed; and such swearing as she uttered, was seldom equaled, and never surpassed. The door, or shutter of the door, was very strongly made to keep out hostile Indians; I shut it tight, barred it, and went to prayer, and I prayed as best I could, but I have no language at my command to describe my feelings; at the same time, I was determined to conquer, or die in the attempt. While she was raging and foaming in the yard and around the cabin, I started a spiritual song. and sung loud, to drown her voice as much as possible. The five or six little children ran and squatted about and crawled under the beds. Poor things, they were scared almost to death.

I sang on, and she roared and thundered on outside, till she became perfectly exhausted, and panted for breath. At length, when she had spent her force, she became calm and still, and then knocked at the door, saying, "Mr. Cartwright, please let me in."

"Will you behave yourself if I let you in?" said I.

"O yes," said she, "I will;" and throwing myself on my guard, and perfectly self-possessed, I opened the door, took her by the hand, led her in, and seated her near the fireplace. She had roared and foamed till she was in a high perspiration, and looked pale as death. After she took her seat,

"O," said she, "what a fool I am!"

"Yes," said I, "about one of the biggest fools I ever saw in all my life. And now," said I, "you have to repent for all this, or you must go to the devil at last." She was silent. Said I, "Children, come out here; your mother won't hurt you now," and turning to her husband, said, "Brother C., let us pray again." We kneeled down, and both prayed. She was as quiet as a lamb.

And now, gentle reader, although this was one of the hardest cases I ever saw on this earth, I must record it to the glory of Divine grace, I lived to see, in less than six months after this frolic with the devil, this woman soundly converted to God, and If there was ever a changed mortal for the better, it was this said woman. Her children, as they grew up, all, I believe, obtained religion, and the family became a religious, happy family, and she was as bold in the cause of God as she had been in the cause of the wicked one.

When I came to the County of Sangamon in 1824, and rode the Sangamon Circuit in 1825-26, Springfield, our present seat of government for the state, was a very small village. Even the county seat was not located at it, and for several years there was no regular society of any denomination organized there save the Methodist. We had a respectable society in point of numbers and religious moral character, but they were generally very poor. There was no meeting-house or church in the place. We preached in private houses almost altogether for several years. The first Presbyterian minister who came to the town, that I have any recollection of, was by the name of ----. He was a very well educated man, and had regularly studied theology in some of the Eastern states, where they manufacture young preachers like they do lettuce in hot-houses. He brought with him a number of old manuscript sermons, and read them to the people; but as to common sense, he had very little, and he was almost totally ignorant of the manners and usages of the world, especially this new Western world; yet he came here to evangelize and Christianize us poor heathen. He did not meet with much encouragement, but he certainly was a pious, good man, much devoted to prayer. He came to my appointments, and we became acquainted. He, in part, traveled with me round my circuit, anxious to get acquainted with the people, and preach to them. He soon saw and felt that he had no adaptation to the country or people. I told him he must quit reading his old manuscript sermons, and learn to speak extemporaneously; that the Western people were born and reared in hard times, and were an outspoken and off-hand people; that if he did not adopt this manner of preaching, the Methodists would set the whole Western world on fire before he would light his match. He tried it awhile, but became discouraged, and left for parts unknown.

Shortly after this others came in, but still there was no church in the town of Springfield to worship in for any denomination. The Methodists were poor, the Presbyterians few, and not very wealthy. At length the citizens put up a small school-house, which was appropriated to religious purposes on the Sabbath, but it was often attended with difficulty, as different ministers of different denominations would make their appointments in this little school-house, and their appointments would often come together and clash. This was attended with no good results, and at length a proposition was made for the Methodists and Presbyterians to unite and build a church between them, and define each denomination's time of occupancy and legal rights in the church till such time as one or the other could be able to build separately, and then sell out to the other denomination. A subscription was set on foot, and five or six hundred dollars subscribed.

Thinking all was right, I left to fill my appointments; but when the deed to this property was to be made, it was settled on Presbyterian trustees, and the Methodists only occupied it by grace. There was a very honest old gentleman, who was an intelligent lawyer, that had not subscribed anything, but intended to; but he wanted equal rights and privileges secured to the Methodists, though he himself was a Universalist. He saw how things were driving, and sent for me. I went, and, on examination, found that the agreement between the two denominations was violated in the deed. I expostulated with them, but all in vain; they persisted. I then went, and immediately drew up a subscription to build a Methodist church, and subscribed seventy-five dollars. My oId honest lawyer told me he would either give two lots in the new town, above where the most of the town then was, or he would give fifty dollars. I took the two lots, on which the Methodist church now stands.

The Presbyterians went on and built the little brick shanty that stands near where the first Presbyterian church now stands, and in one day I obtained about six hundred dollars, and the Methodists built their old frame meeting-house that stood as a monument of their covetousness for many years, and, indeed, till lately, when they saw their folly, and now have a fine church. But still they ought to have at least two more good churches in a city containing ten thousands souls, and constantly increasing in population, and, undoubtedly, is destined to become a large inland city, and, from its central position and railroad facilities, will, in a very few years, contain fifty thousand inhabitants.

The securing those two lots at an early day in Springfield, clearly shows the sound policy of taking early measures in every new country, city, town, village, and prospectively strong settlement, to secure lots for churches and parsonages when they can be obtained at a nominal price, and often as a donation. Our people and preachers are often too negligent in this very thing. They wait till lots rise in value, and sometimes have to give for a suitable one, on which to build a church or parsonage, as much as would erect a decent house in which to worship God. The two lots above named were, by their owner, valued at fifty dollars. They would now sell, I suppose, for seven or eight thousand dollars. They will soon be in the heart of the city, and are as beautiful lots, for church purposes, as are to be found in the city.

A few years ago our beloved Bishop Janes, in a visit to Springfield, saw clearly its rapid growth, and the slowness of the members of the Church in that place in regard to church extensions, and he advised, and organized, through the mission committee, the establishment of a mission in Springfield. But such was the short-sighted policy of many of the members of the Church belonging to the old charge, that they directly and indirectly opposed the establishment of this mission. But, through the strong and persevering efforts of the missionaries and the superintendent of the mission, we succeeded in procuring a lot and erecting a neat little mission church at a cost of something like twenty-seven hundred dollars.

When the church was finished, it was in debt some four hundred dollars, and instead of the members of the old charge, and the mission charge, making an effort to pay this indebtedness, they suffered the church to be sold for less than three hundred dollars; and even the members of the old charge devised a plan to buy it in, and diverted it from its original purpose of a church, to an academy, for the benefit of the old charge; and, consequently, our mission was blown out, our labor, for from two or four years, lost, and, in open violation of the provisions of the Discipline of the Church, the mission property was converted from Church to academical purposes; and a house and lot, that had cost near three thousand dollars, was thus sacrificed for a debt of less than three hundred dollars. This very transaction will stand out to future generations as evidence of the folly and stupidity of the members of the Methodist Church in Springfield, and will bar our approach to the citizens for years to come, when we desire to solicit aid to erect houses of worship in our metropolis.

Somewhere about this time, in 1829-30, the celebrated camp-meeting took place in Sangamon County and Circuit; and, as I suppose, out of incidents that then occurred was concocted that wonderful story about my fight with Mike Fink, which has no foundation in fact. We had this year two fine camp-meetings on the same ground, a few weeks apart; at the first, it was thought, over one hundred professed religion, and most of them joined the Methodist Church. At the second camp-meeting, over seventy joined the Church. Our encampment was large, and well seated; and we erected a large shed, that would, it was supposed, shelter a thousand people. The story to which I have alluded was published in "The National Magazine," and Brother Finley's Autobiography. It originated, I believe, in a paper, published in New York, called "The Sunday Times;" from this paper, it has been republished almost all round the Union. I would not care about the publication of this story by the secular press, if it had not found its way into our religious papers. One of the editors of one of our religious papers, who had published it, in reply to a letter of mine complaining of the caricature, and correcting some of the wrong statements, said, "It was good enough for me; and that if I would not publish a true history of my life it was no matter if others published a false one."

While I was on the Sangamon District, I rode one day into Springfield, on some little business. My horse had been an excellent racking pony, but now had the stiff complaint. I called a few minutes in a store, to get some little articles; I saw in the store two young men and a young lady; they were strangers, and we had no introduction whatever; they passed out, and off. After I had transacted my little business in the store, I mounted my stiff pony, and started for home. After riding nearly two miles, I discovered ahead of me, a light, two-horse wagon, with a good span of horses hitched to the wagon; and although it was covered, yet the cover was rolled up. It was warm weather, and I saw in the wagon those two young men and the young lady that I had seen in the store. As I drew near them, they began to sing one of our camp-meeting songs, and they appeared to sing with great animation. Presently the young lady began to shout, and said, "Glory to God! Glory to God!" the driver cried out, "Amen! Glory to God!"

My first impressions were, that they had been across the Sangamon River to a camp-meeting that I knew was in progress there, and had obtained religion, and were happy. As I drew a little nearer, the young lady began to sing and shout again. The young man who was not driving fell down, and cried aloud for mercy; the other two, shouting at the top of their voices, cried out, "Glory to God! another sinner's down." Then they fell to exhorting the young man that was down, saying, "Pray on, brother; pray on, brother; you will soon get religion." Presently up jumped the young man that was down, and shouted aloud, saying, "God has blessed my soul. Halleluiah! halleluiah! Glory to God!"

Thinking all was right, I felt like riding up, and joining in the songs of triumph and shouts of joy that rose from these three happy persons; but as I neared the wagon, I saw some glances of their eyes at each other, and at me, that created a suspicion in my mind that all was not right; and the thought occurred to me that they suspected or knew me to be a preacher, and that they were carrying on in this way to make a mock of sacred things, and to fool me. I checked my horse, and fell back, and rode slowly, hoping they would pass on, and that I should not be annoyed by them any more; but when I checked my horse and went slow, they checked up and went slow too, and the driver changed with the other young man; then they began again to sing and shout at a mighty rate, and down fell the first driver, and up went a new shout of "Glory to God! Another sinner's down. Pray on, brother; pray on, brother; the Lord will bless you." Presently up sprang the driver, saying, "Glory to God! he has blessed me." And both the others shouted, and said, "Another sinner's converted, another sinner's converted. Halleluiah! Glory to God!" A rush of indignant feeling came all over me, and I thought I would ride up and horsewhip both of these young men; and if the woman had not been in company, I think I should have done so; but I forbore. It was a vexatious encounter; if my horse had been fleet, as in former days, I could have rode right off, and left them in their glory, but he was stiff, and when I would fall back and go slow, they would check up; and when I would spur my stiff pony, and try to get ahead of them, they would crack the whip and keep ahead of me; and thus they tormented me before, as I thought, my time, and kept up a continual roar of "Another sinner's down! Another soul's converted! Glory to God! Pray on, brother! Halleluiah! halleluiah! Glory to God!" till I thought it was more than any good preacher ought to bear.

It would be hard for me to describe my feelings just about this time. It seemed to me that I was delivered over to be tormented by the devil and his imps. Just at this moment I thought of a desperate mudhole about a quarter of a mile ahead; it was a long one, and dreadful deep mud, and many wagons had stuck in it, and had to be prized out. Near the center of this mud hole there was a place of mud deeper than anywhere else. On the right stood a stump about two feet high; all the teams had to be driven as close to this stump as possible to avoid a deep rut on the left, where many wagons had stuck; I knew there was a small bridle way that wound round through the brush to avoid the mud, and it occurred to me that when we came near this muddy place I would take the bridle way, and put my horse at the top of his speed, and by this means get away from these wretched tormentors, as I knew they could not go fast through this long reach of mud. When we came to the commencement of the mud I took the bridle path, and put spurs and whip to my horse. Seeing I was rapidly leaving them in the rear, the driver cracked his whip, and put his horses at almost full speed, and such was their anxiety to keep up with me, to carry out their sport, that when they came to this bad place they never saw the stump on the right. The fore wheel of the wagon struck centrally on the stump, and as the wheel mounted the stump, over went the wagon. Fearing it would turn entirely over and catch them under, the two young men took a leap into the mud, and when they lighted they sunk up to the middle. The young lady was dressed in white, and as the wagon went over, she sprang as far as she could, and lighted on all fours; her hands sunk into the mud up to her armpits, her mouth and the whole of her face immersed in the muddy water, and she certainly would have strangled if the young men had not relieved her. As they helped her up and out, I had wheeled my horse to see the fun. I rode up to the edge of the mud, stopped my horse, reared in my stirrups, and shouted at the top of my voice,

"Glory to God! Glory to God! Halleluiah! another sinner's down! Glory to God! Halleluiah! Glory! Halleluiah!"

If ever mortals felt mean, these youngsters did; and well they might, for they had carried on all this sport to make light of religion, and to insult a minister, a total stranger to them. But they contemned religion, and hated the Methodists, especially Methodist preachers.

When I became tired of shouting over them, I said to them:

"Now, you poor, dirty, mean sinners, take this as a just judgment of God upon you for your meanness, and repent of your dreadful wickedness; and let this be the last time that you attempt to insult a preacher; for if you repeat your abominable sport and persecutions, the next time God will serve you worse, and the devil will get you."

They felt so badly that they never uttered one word of reply. Now I was very glad that I did not horsewhip them, as I felt like doing; but that God had avenged his own cause, and defended his own honor without my doing it with carnal weapons; and I may here be permitted to say, at one of those prosperous camp-meetings named in this chapter, I had the great pleasure to see all three of these young people converted to God. I took them into the Methodist Church, and they went back to Ohio happy in God. They were here on a visit among their relations from that state, and went home with feelings very different from those they possessed when they left.

There is another small incident connected with these two prosperous camp-meetings before named. There was a great and good work going on in our congregation from time to time; and on Sunday there were a great many from Springfield, and all the surrounding country. A great many professors of religion in other Churches professed to wish their children converted, but still they could not trust them at a Methodist meeting, especially a camp-meeting. A great many of these young people attended the camp-meetings, and on Sunday the awful displays of Divine power were felt to the utmost verge of the congregation. When I closed my sermon, I invited mourners to the altar, and there was a mighty shaking among the dry bones; many came forward, and among the rest there were many young ladies whose parents were members of a sister Church; two in particular of these young ladies came into the altar. Their mother was present; and when she heard her daughters were kneeling at the altar of God, praying for mercy, she sent an elder of her Church to bring them out. When he came to tell them their mother had sent for them, they refused to go. He then took hold of them, and said they must go. I then took hold of him, and told him they should not go, and that if that was his business, I wanted him to leave the altar instantly. He left, and reported to their mother; and while we were kneeling all round the altar, and praying for the mourners, the mother in a great rage rushed in. When she came, all were kneeling around, and there was no place for her to get in to her daughters. As I knelt and was stooping down, talking, and encouraging the mourners, this lady stepped on my shoulders, and rushed right over my head. As, in a fearful rage, she took hold of her daughters to take them out by force, I took hold of her arm, and tried to reason with her, but I might as well have reasoned with a whirlwind. She said she would have them out at the risk of her life.

"They are my daughters," said she, "and they shall come out."

Said I to her, "This is my altar and my meeting, and I say, these girls shall not be taken out."

She seized hold of them again. I took hold of her, and put her out of the altar, and kept her out. Both of these young ladies professed religion, but they were prevented by their mother from joining the Methodists. She compelled them to join her Church, sorely against their will. They married in their mother's Church, but I fear they were hindered for life, if not finally lost.

I have often thought of the thousands who have been awakened and converted under Methodist preaching, but, from the prejudice of their husbands, wives, parents, or children, and friends, have been influenced to join another branch of the Church. What a fearful account will many have to give who, through prejudice or bigotry, have opposed their relatives or friends in joining the Church of their choice; if these souls are lost, who will have to answer for it at the bar of God? "Lord, we saw some casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade them, because they followed not us." "Forbid them not," was the reply of our Saviour; "for there is no man can do a miracle in my name, and speak lightly of me." Let us be careful on this subject, for the loss of a soul is a fearful consideration to all.

We had a camp-meeting in Morgan County, Sangamon District. While I was on this district the following remarkable providence occurred: There were large congregations from time to time, many awakened and converted to God, fifty joined the Church. G. W. Teas, now a traveling preacher in the Iowa Conference, made the fiftieth person that joined the Church. We had worship for several days and nights. On Monday, just after we dismissed for dinner, there was a very large limb of a tree that stood on the side of the ground allotted for the ladies, which, without wind or any other visible cause, broke loose and fell, with a mighty crash, right in among the ladies' seats; but as the Lord would direct it, there was not a woman or child there when the limb fell. If it had fallen at any time while the congregation was collected, it must have killed more than a dozen persons. Just in the south of Morgan, near Lynnville, we had another camp-meeting, perhaps the same summer. In the afternoon, at three o'clock, I put up a very good local preacher to preach. He was not as interesting as some, and the congregation became restless, especially the rowdies. I went out among them, and told them they ought to hear the preacher.

"O," said they, "if it was you we would gladly hear you."

"Boys," said I, "do you really want to hear me?"

"Yes, we do," said they.

"Well," said I, "if you do, go and gather all those inattentive groups, and come down in the grove, two hundred yards south, and I will preach to you."

They collected two or three hundred. I mounted an old log; they all seated themselves in a shade. I preached to them about an hour, and not a soul moved or misbehaved. In this way I matched the rowdies for once. 


CHAPTER XXI.
Camp Rowdies

In the fall of 1831, our Conference was holden in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 4th; Bishop Roberts presided. At this Conference, we elected our delegates to the General Conference, which was to sit in Philadelphia, May 1st. This was the fifth delegated General Conference to which I was elected, and, perhaps, it is the proper place to say, this was the only General Conference that I ever missed attending, from 1816 to this date. My family were in great affliction, which prevented my attendance. Brothers Andrew and Emory were elected, and ordained bishops in the Methodist Episcopal Church; and the Indiana Conference was formed, so that there were now twelve annual Conference's East and South, and ten, West and South; all the latter formed out of the old Western Conference. Our numbers in the West had risen to 217,659. Our traveling preachers numbered 765. The others, Eastern and Southern, had, in members, 382,060; traveling preachers, 1,454. Total, in round numbers, 600,000. Of traveling preachers, 2,219.

The reader will see our increase in the old conferences in members, in four years, was 111,850; and in the West, was 66,775; total, 177,625. We had increased in traveling preachers, in the same length of time, 716; this was a greater increase than all the branches of the Protestant Christian Churches in the Union could number and surely, all the factories in the Union that make preachers, did not, in the same length of time, graduate as many preachers; and in point of learning and real ability, our increase of preachers will compare favorably with any of them.

As 1832 closed my three years on the Sangamon District, I will relate an incident or two which occurred in Fulton County. We held a camp-meeting, at which good preparations were made; many attended, and our prospects for an interesting meeting were fair, and there was an increasing interest. But some low and unprincipled fellows, in the adjoining village of Canton, fitted out a man, who was perfectly bankrupt, and sent him down to set up a huckster's shop, with tobacco, segars, cakes, candies, pies, and almost all kinds of ardent spirits. I went to him, and told him he should not disturb us in vending those articles, and that he must desist; he swore he would not, and hurled defiance at me; I got a writ and an officer, and took him; he employed a young lawyer to defend him; I prosecuted the suit, and the jury fined him ten dollars and costs. On saying that he had nothing, and was not worth a cent in the world, the court told him, he had to pay his fine or go to jail; he said he must go to jail then, for he could not pay his fine. There was a black-legged gang, that were his chief customers, who swore, if we attempted to put him in jail, which was about ten miles off, that they would rescue him, and give those who attempted to convey him there, a sound drubbing. The officer was scared, and hesitated; in the meantime, I ordered out an execution, and levied on his whole grocery. He declared that these articles were not his, but belonged to other men. I said, I did not care a fig who they belonged to, and ordered the officer to levy on them, and I would indemnify him. When we had secured the grocery, and put it under guard, our officer still hesitated to take the criminal to jail. I told him to summon me, and four other stout men that I named, and I would insure the criminal a safe lodgment in jail, or risk the consequences. This was done, and we hoisted our prisoner on a horse, mounted our own horses, well armed with bludgeons, and started on a merry jog. When we got about half way, I told the prisoner that he had better pay his fine, and not disgrace himself by lying in jail. No, he swore he would not; so on we went. The rowdies that were to waylay us and release the prisoner, never appeared. When we got in sight of the town, in which the jail was, the prisoner asked me very seriously, if we really intended to put him in jail. I told him yes, certainly we did. "Well," said he, "I can't go into jail;" and then pulled out the money and paid his fine and costs.

We returned to the encampment, and the rowdies were in a mighty rage because they could get no drink, for we had the groggery under guard. They swore if we did not release it, they would break up the camp-meeting. I told them to ride on, that we would not release the grocery, and we could whip the whole regiment. At candle lighting we had preaching; they were still and quiet till most of the tentholders had gone to bed. Then they began their dirty deeds. I had ordered out a strong watch, and directed the lights to be kept burning all night. They began at a distance to bark like dogs, to howl like wolves, to hoot like owls; they drew near and crowed like chickens; they tried to put out our lights, and threw chunks at the tent; but the guard beat them back, and kept them off nearly all night. Toward day, they drew nearer and nearer still, and would slap their hands, and crow like chickens. One ringleader among them came right before the preachers' tent, slapped his hands, and crowed and passed on. I stepped to a fire close by, and gathered a chunk of fire, and threw it, striking him right between the shoulders, and the fire flew all over him. He sprung, and bounded like a buck. I cried out, "Take him; take him;" but I assure you it would have taken a very fleet man to have taken him, for he ran as though the very devil was in him and after him. When I returned to the tent, one of the guard came and told me that they were taking wheels off the wagons and carriages; and looking through an opening in the tent, I saw one of them busy in loosening my carriage behind the tent, where I had tied it to a sapling for fear they would run it off. I slipped round, gathered a stick in my way, and came up close behind him, and struck at him, not with much intent to hurt, but to scare him. However, the stroke set his hat on one side of his head; he dashed off in a mighty fright, and his hat not being adjusted right, it blinded him, and fleeing with all speed, he struck his head against a tree, knocked himself down, bruised his face very much, and lay senseless for several minutes; but when he came to himself, he was as tame as a lamb, and his dispensation of mischief was over. This put an end to the trouble of the rowdies, and afterward all was peace and quiet.

We had a very singular and remarkable man among us, a traveling preacher in the Illinois Conference; his name was Wilson Pitner. He was at this camp-meeting. He was uneducated, and it seemed impossible for him to learn; but, notwithstanding his want of learning, and in common he was an ordinary preacher, yet at times, as we say in the backwoods, when he swung clear, there were very few that could excel him in the pulpit; and perhaps he was one of the most eloquent and powerful exhorters that was in the land.

On Monday he came to me, and desired me to let him preach at eleven o'clock, saying,

"I have faith to believe that God will this day convert many of these rowdies and persecutors."

I consented; and he preached with liberty and power. Nearly the whole congregation were powerfully moved, as he closed by calling for every rowdy and persecutor to meet him in the altar; for, said he,

"I have faith to believe that God will convert everyone of you that will come and kneel at the place of prayer."

There was a general rush for the altar, and many of our persecutors, and those who had interrupted and disturbed us in the forepart of the meeting, came and fell on their knees, and cried aloud for mercy; and it is certainly beyond my power to describe the scene; but more than fifty souls were converted to God that day and night. Our meeting continued for several days, and about ninety professed to obtain the pardon of their sins, most of whom joined the Church, and great good was accomplished, although we waded through tribulation to accomplish it.

Such success often attended the Gospel labors of this brother. He is now in California laboring for the good of souls.

When, in 1832, the Illinois Conference was divided, and Indiana set off, the former was confined to the State of Illinois, and consisted of the following presiding-elder districts, namely: Wabash, Kaskaskia, Sangamon, and Mission District. Our first Illinois Conference in its separate form from Indiana, sat in the town of Jacksonville with the four above-named districts; it was held September 25th, 1832. The Indiana preachers met with us this fall; Bishop Soule presided. Our increase of members in the Conference this year was near three thousand. When the bishop and council met, it was found that the country was so rapidly filling up, and the work enlarging so constantly, that it was necessary to make two more presiding-elder districts. The Mission District was called Chicago, and the Quincy District was formed. When the Illinois Conference met in Jacksonville, and was organized, there were thirty-five traveling preachers of us, and our membership was about ten thousand. I had traveled now about twenty-eight years, and although blessed with a strong constitution, I began to feel the worse for wear, and that I needed a little rest. I therefore asked and obtained a superannuated relation for one year; but when the Quincy District was formed, there was not a man in the eldership willing to go to it, such was its new and wilderness state. The bishop said if he could not get a presiding elder for it, it must be merged into the other district. I told him it ought not to be merged.

"Well," said he, "what are we to do? there is no one of these elders willing to go to it."

Said I, "Let me remedy the evil."

Said Bishop Soule, "I wish you would."

"Well," said I, "to-morrow morning let some brother move a reconsideration of the vote by which I was granted a superannuated relation, and make me effective; and if you, sir, see proper to appoint me to that district, I am ready and willing to go."

This proposition was agreed to all round; and next morning, the motion to reconsider was made, put, and carried, and I was appointed to the Quincy District; so you see I have sustained in more than fifty years, a superannuated relation about ten hours. The Quincy District was composed of the following appointments, namely: Galena Mission, Fort Edwards Mission, Henderson River Mission, Blue River Mission, Quincy, Rushville, and Canton, commencing at the mouth of the Illinois River, and running up the Mississippi River to Galena, the northwest corner of the state, and up the Illinois River on its west side to near Peoria; thence due north to the northern line of the state, and even into what is now Wisconsin State. We had in this district about fourteen hundred members. Much of our district was new settlements, formed and forming; hard, long rides, cabin parlors, straw beds and bedsteads, made out of barked saplings, and puncheon bedcords. But the people were kind and clever, proverbially so; showing the real pioneer or frontier hospitality. The men were a hardy, industrious, enterprising, game catching, and Indian driving set of men. The women were also hardy; they would think no hardship of turning out and helping their husbands raise their cabins, if need be; they would mount a horse and trot ten or fifteen miles to meeting, or to see the sick and minister to them, and home again the same day. How different from those ladies who live in older circles, and have grown up in wealth, luxury, and fashionable life, who would faint if they had to walk a hundred yards in the sun without a parasol or umbrella; who are braced and stayed at such an intemperate rate, that they cannot step over six or eight inches at a step, and should they by any accident happen to loose their moorings, and fall, are imprisoned with so many unmentionables, that they could not get up again; and should a thunder-storm suddenly overtake them out doors, would scream as if the world were coming to an end.

I was frequently four or five weeks from home at a time. On one of those trips, in the northern end of this district, the following incident occurred. I started from home in order to attend some four or five quarterly meetings up north. I had traveled some eighty miles, when a most tremendous rain fell; it continued two nights and a day; during which time I was comfortably housed at a friend's. When the rain ceased I started for the Henderson River Mission. The whole face of the earth, where it was I level, was a sheet of water, and the ravines and little rivulets were swollen into large creeks. I had about thirty-six miles to travel to reach my meeting. The brother at whose house I stopped, tried to dissuade me from any attempt at performing my journey, saying there was no road or path for twenty miles, and no house or cabin until I should reach the Twenty Mile Point of Timber; and that I would have to steer for that point as my only guide; that in low places, and in the valleys of prairies, I would be for miles together out of sight of this point; and should any accident befall and detain me, night would overtake me, and I would lose sight of the landmark, and have to layout all night, and perhaps might be lost in this large prairie for days; and, besides, if I should be fortunate enough to reach the point of timber, there was the large creek, and no doubt it was swimming for twenty yards. There were no bridges, no canoes, and I could not find any fallen tree that could possibly reach across, so that I would have to swim, and all alone. If any accident should happen to me, I would certainly be drowned.

The prospect looked gloomy, and I felt some misgivings come over me; and the reasons and arguments of my friend were not without considerable effect on my mind. I paused for a few moments, reasoning on the subject. Just then my oId Methodist preacher motto occurred to my mind, that is, "Never retreat till you certainly know you can advance no further." And as my motto occurred to my mind, my purpose was unalterably fixed to go ahead.

"Brother," said I, "as there is no road, get on your horse and ride a little distance with me, till I can clearly see the point of timber that is to guide me."

He readily consented, and did so. We rode two miles, and the point of timber was plain in view. As he turned back he said, "I should not be surprised if I never saw you again."

"Well," said I, "if I fall, and you never see me again, tell my friends that I fell at my post, trying to do my duty. Farewell."

I had a fine, large, faithful horse under me, and a Divine Providence above me, and in a few minutes after my friend and myself separated, I felt that I had nothing to fear. On I moved; sometimes in and sometimes out of sight of my landmark; sometimes nearly swimming in the little branches, but every step I left the prairie in the distance, and neared my point of timber. There was so much water, and the ground was so soft, I could make but slow progress; but every time I rose on the high ground, from the low valleys in the prairie, my point of timber seemed nearer and nearer still. At length, about three o'clock, I reached the timber in, safety; rode up and hailed the cabin, but there was no person at home. I saw in the distance, about fourteen miles off, my next point of timber, and contiguous to the place of holding my quarterly meeting. I concluded to make a hard push and go through that afternoon; but here was the large creek to cross, only two hundred yards ahead of me. I concluded to go above the timber and cross it; but when I came to it I found it had swollen and spread out at least two hundred yards on the level ground. I could not tell how far I would have to swim on my horse. I rode in about one third the apparent distance across. My horse was nearly swimming. I concluded it would be too far for me to risk a swim on horseback. It occurred to me that "prudence was the better part of valor," so I retreated. I then pursued the creek down the timber, in search of a drift or tree across the stream, where I could carry my things over, and then return and swim my horse, without wetting all my traveling apparatus. At length I found a tree that had been felled across a narrow part of the creek, that I thought answered my purpose admirably, but by this time it was nearly night, and if I got safe over the creek I could not make the distance to the next point of timber, and should have to layout without food for myself or my horse. I came to a halt, and thinking that the occupant of the cabin I had just passed would be in at night, I concluded to retrace my steps and get quarters for the night. So back I came to the cabin, but still there was no one at home. I concluded, at home or not at home, I should lodge there that night. So down I got, opened the door of the cabin, and ushered myself in, I found they had covered up some fire in the ashes, to keep in their absence which made me still hope they would come home some time that night. I went out and stripped my horse, and put him up and fed him, and then my next care was for something to eat myself. By this time I had a good appetite. I went and made up a little fire, and in a small corner cupboard, made of clapboards, backwoods fashion, to my great joy I found a pan of corn bread, nicely baked, and, though cold, it relished well. In one corner of the wooden chimney there hung some excellent dried venison. I pulled out some coals and broiled my venison, and had a hearty meal of it. And now, thought I, if I only had a good cup of coffee, I should have the crowning point gained of a good and pleasant meal. In looking about in the cupboard, I found a tin bucket full of excellent honey, in the comb. I took it out, got some water in a tin cup that was on the shelf, sweetened the water with the honey, and found in it an excellent substitute for coffee. There was a nice clean bed, in which I slept unusually sound. Next morning I rose early, fed my horse, prepared my breakfast, much after the fashion of my supper, saddled my horse, and started on my journey.

When I came to the creek it had fallen considerably, but was still swimming. I carried all my traveling fixtures over perfectly dry; stripped myself, went back, mounted my horse, went over safe, dressed myself, knelt down and offered my sincere thanks to God for his providential care over me, and the mercy he had showed me, and went on my way shouting and happy.

I arrived at the place of the quarterly meeting, and found the few scattered members, six in all, and about eight who were not members, and these comprised the whole settlement, save one family who lived close by, the head of which was a great persecutor of the Methodists. He said he had moved there, in that new and out-of-the-way place, especially to get rid of those wretched people called Methodists, but he had scarcely got into his rude cabin before there was the Methodist preacher, preaching hell fire and damnation, as they always did.

On Monday morning I went over to see him. He was a high-strung Predestinarian in his views; believed, or professed to believe, that God had decreed everything that comes to pass. After introducing myself to him, he presently bristled up for an argument. I told him I had not come to debate, but to invite him to the Saviour. He said he could not receive anything from me, for he cordially despised the Methodists. I told him if God had decreed all things, he had decreed that there should be Methodists, and that they should believe precisely as they did, and that they were raised up by the decree of God to torment him before his time, and that he must be a great simpleton to suppose that the Methodists could do or believe anything but what they did; and now, my dear sir, you must be a vile wretch to want to break the decrees of God, and wish to exterminate the Methodists; that if his doctrine was true, the Methodists were as certainly fulfilling the glorious decrees of God, which were founded in truth and righteousness, as the angels around the burning throne; and several admonitions I gave him, and, by the by, he had some feeling on the subject. I talked kindly and prayed with him, and left.

After I left, he began to think on the topics of conversation, and the more he thought the more his mind became perplexed about these eternal decrees. When he would sit down to eat, or ride, or walk the road, he would soliloquize on the subject. After cutting off a piece of meat and holding it on his fork, ready to receive it into his mouth, he would say: "God decreed from all eternity that I should eat this meat, but I will break that decree," and down he would dash it to the dogs. As he walked the paths in the settlement and came to a fork, he would say, "God from all eternity decreed that I should take the right-hand path, but I'll break that decree," and he would rush to the left. As he rode through the settlement, in coming to a stump or tree, he would rein up his horse and say, "God has from all eternity decreed that I should go to the right of that stump or tree, but I will break that decree," and would turn his horse to the left.

Thus he went on until his family became alarmed, thinking he was deranged. The little settlement, also, was fearful that he had lost his balance of mind. At length, deep conviction took hold of him; he saw that he was a lost and ruined sinner, without an interest in Jesus Christ. He called the neighbors to come and pray for him, and, after a long and sore conflict with the devil and his decrees, it pleased God to give him religion, and almost all his family were converted and joined the Methodist Church, and walked worthy of their high and holy calling.

At another quarterly meeting in this mission on Sunday, we had twenty-seven for our congregation, and yet the scattered population were all, or nearly all, there for many miles around, and when we administered the sacrament on Sabbath, we had just seven communicants, preachers and all. Brother Barton Randle, now a superannuated member of the Illinois Annual Conference, was the missionary. Though a man of feeble health and strength, yet he was faithful in hunting up the lost sheep in this new and laborious field of labor. He suffered many privations and hardships, but he endured all as seeing Him who is invisible, and I have thought that he was one among the very best missionaries I was ever acquainted with. He did great good in this new and rising country, and laid firmly the foundation of future good, which the increasing and now densely populated country has realized. Long since this mission has formed many large circuits and self-supporting stations, and no doubt many, in the great day of retribution, will rise up and call Brother Randle blessed, and he will hail many of his spiritual children in heaven from this field of labor. Brother Randle was the first missionary that was sent to, and formed this mission, and, at the close of his year, he returned seventy-five members.

The Rock Island mission was formed in 1832, and Philip T. Cordier was appointed missionary. He was a man of feeble talents, unstable, and did but little good. He was finally expelled. I do not know what has become of him. On my first visit to Rock Island Mission, which was chiefly located in what was then called Wells's settlement, a few miles above the mouth of Rock River, the river had been very high, but was fallen considerably. There was an old ferry-boat at the lower ford. The ferryman was a very mean man, charged high, and imposed very much on travelers. Some thought the river might be forded, others thought that it would swim. I was a total stranger, and although I had no money to pay my ferriage, yet I did not wish to swim if I could well avoid it, so I rode up and hailed the ferryman. I asked him if the river was fordable.

"No," said he, "it is swimming from bank to bank nearly, and it is a very dangerous ford in the bargain."

"Well," said I, "what do you do with strangers who have no money? I am out, but shall return this way on Monday. If you will ferry me over you shall then be sure of your pay."

"I won't do it," said he. "You must leave something in pawn till you return, or I will not set you over."

"What shall I leave?"

"Your overcoat," said he.

"No, sir; perhaps I shall need it before that time, and if you will not trust me I am afraid to trust you."

"Well," said he, "you can't get over. I won't trust you."

I felt a little indignant, and turned off, saying, "My horse is a much better ferry-boat than your own, and he'll trust me." So I determined to take a swim. Just as I turned off from the ferryman I saw a man on horseback ride down to the river's edge on the other side. He waded his horse in, and came over without swimming at all. This stranger told me there was no better ford on any river in the world, and that there was not the least danger on earth. I told him what the ferryman said.

" Ah," said he, "you have made a blessed escape, for if you had left your overcoat, you never would have got it again. He is a great rascal, and makes his living by foul means."

So I passed over in safety, and had the pleasure of keeping my overcoat. When I got to Brother Wells's I found a good little society, all in peace, and we had a very pleasant little quarterly meeting.

Here, on the north side of Rock River, on the rising ground from the Mississippi bottom, stands the site of one of the oldest Indian towns in the north or northwest. It is a beautiful site for a city. There were to be seen lying, bleached and bleaching, the bones of unnumbered thousands of these poor, wild, and roaming races of beings. It was the center of the vast, and powerful, unbroken, warlike tribes of the Northwest. This particular spot was claimed by the notorious Black Hawk and his tribe. If they had been a civilized people, and had known the real arts of war, it would have been utterly impossible for the Americans to have vanquished and subdued them as they have done. When I looked over the fields in cultivation by the whites, where the ground had, for ages, been the country of thousands of Indians, a spirit of sorrow came over me. Had they been an educated and civilized people, there no doubt would now be standing on this preeminent site as splendid a city as New-York. But they are wasted away and gone to their long home. I saw a scattered few that were crowded back by the unconquerable march of the white man.

On another visit to a quarterly meeting on the Rock Island Mission, Brother H. Summers, a traveling presiding elder in the Rock River Conference, accompanied me. We had a pleasant meeting, and it was believed that good was done. I had taken and distributed a good many religious books in the mission, which were eagerly sought for by the community. Brother Summers and myself concluded to cross at the upper ford on Rock River. About midway in the river was a very slippery rock, which could be avoided by keeping up stream considerably, but somehow I missed the safe track, and my horse got on this slippery rock, and all of a sudden he slipped and fell. My saddle turned, off I went, and the first thing I knew I saw my saddle-bags floating down with great rapidity, for the water ran very swift. I left my horse to get up as best he could, and took after my saddle-bags. I had a tight race, but overtook them before they sunk so as to disappear. They were pretty well filled with water. My books and clothes had all turned Campbellites, for there was much water; and I escaped, not by the skin of my teeth, but by the activity of my heels. My horse rose, and, with all the calmness of old Diogenes, waded out, and left me to do the same. Brother Summers could not maintain his usual gravity, but I assure you all his fun was at my expense. I had scarcely a dry thread about me, but on we went, and reached Pope River settlement that night.

The Galena Mission, I think, Was formed in 1827. It was a singular providence, somehow, that, notwithstanding Galena was in my district for several years, yet, by high waters, sickness of my horses, myself, and family, I was never able to reach a single appointment in Galena, and to this day I have never seen her hills, walked her streets, or explored her rich mineral stores or mines, and although I have always borne the name of a punctual attendant on my appointments, it seems strange to me that I never reached that interesting point.

In the fall of 1834 and 1835, William D. R. Trotter rode and preached on the Henderson River Mission; he was my son-in-law. On one occasion when I attended one of his quarterly meetings, there was no parsonage, and but few families comfortably situated to board with. During the meeting it rained almost constantly, and then turned cold, and there fell a considerably quantity of snow. I was in my gig or one-horse sulky. As I was to return home from this quarterly meeting, my daughter concluded that she would go with me, and spend a few weeks with her mother. I told her I knew the streams were very high, and it was doubtful whether we could get along. She said she thought if I could get along, she could. So we started in my two-wheeled vehicle. In a few miles we reached Spoon River. At a little village called Ellisville, the river was very full and rapidly rising; no ferry-boat, no comfortable house to stay at. One of the citizens of the village had a canoe; but how was I to take my carriage over a rapid stream on a canoe? The man said he could do it; and, rather than stay for any length of time among a drunken, swearing, rowdy crowd, I concluded to try it. Down we went; I took out my horse, took off the harness, and took the harness and all the traveling appendages into the canoe; took in my daughter; took my harness, bridle, and led my horse in, and swam him over, by the side of the canoe. I landed all safe, and then returned with the manager of the canoe for my carriage; we rolled it into the water, centered it as well as we could; balanced it, and I held on to it while he paddled and managed the canoe; and over we went safe and sound; geared up, hitched, to, and started on through the mud for Lewistown, and got there safe. We put up with Judge Phelp,s, a fine man, and his wife an excellent woman, and very friendly family; and we were not only made welcome, but comfortable. That night it snowed, and covered the ground several inches. Next morning we started early, and crossed the Illinois River just above the mouth of Spoon River, which we had crossed the day before. We met some travelers in the afternoon, who told us that the waters of the Sangamon River were out for five miles, and that we could not reach the ferry-boat without swimming. We then turned our course up Salt Creek, which emptied into the Sangamon River above where we had intended to cross it. Just before sundown we reached Salt Creek, where was a miserable old rotten ferry-boat, and Salt Creek out of its banks a mile. The ferry-man told us he could ferry us over the main channel of the stream, and he had no doubt we could wade out without swimming if we could find the way. It was at least a mile to the bluff; he said, if we kept the road we would swim. We could only tell where the road was by a little space along, clear of weeds and grass. He said if we kept on ground where we could see the tops of the weeds and grass, there was no danger, but if we could not see these, not to venture, for there were many ponds clear of weeds and grass as well as the road. This seemed to me to be a very dangerous undertaking. But my daughter urged me on. I had great confidence in my horse; he was large and strong, and an excellent swimmer; so over we went. There were a few rods of earth uncovered with water; and then we took water for the bluffs. We could see very distinctly the windings of the road by the little space that was clear of weeds and grass; but presently we would come to a large space clear of weeds and grass; these we took to be ponds, and would wind round them and come back to our watery road. In this tedious way we got along slowly, though making all the speed we could without injuring my horse. As we neared the bluffs, darkness was closing in on us very fast; at length we got within about three rods of the bluffs, and we could not see the tops of weeds and grass, neither to the right nor left, nor in front; I turned up stream, and then down stream, but all my pilots had disappeared. I was brought to a stand. Said I to my daughter:

"Let's swim it; Gray will ferry us over safe."

"Agreed," said she.

Said I, "Take a firm hold of the gig, and sink or swim, never let go, and Gray will make land."

So in I drove, when, behold! it was not swimming, and my horse waded out safe. We then had four miles to go, without road or pilot, and very dark. I took my course by the evening star, and soon arrived at a friend's house; was kindly received and comfortably entertained by my old brother, Dr. Ballard, in New-Market, then Sangamon County. He has long since fallen asleep, left earth for heaven, and is reaping his reward among the blessed.

I have thus given a small sketch of some of the perilous scenes through which early Methodist preachers had to pass, to show the Methodist preachers of the present day, the difference between walking on Turkey carpets, and eating yellow-legged chickens, and walking on mud and water, and eating nothing for days at a time.

The Fort Edwards Mission was formed, I believe, in 1832-33. D. B. Carter was the first missionary appointed to this mission; he returned at the next conference fifty-three members. Brother Carter was a man of small literary acquirements. When he professed religion he could not read a hymn intelligibly, but believing God had called him to preach the Gospel, he industriously applied himself to books, and soon learned to read very well. He was not a brilliant or profound theologian; but he was a pious, zealous, useful minister of Jesus Christ; and during his short ministerial career, many were the seals of his ministry. He was much beloved in life, and greatly lamented in death. After a few years of zealous, useful labors, the fell disease, consumption, seized on him; he lingered in a superannuated relation a year or two, and then died a peaceful and happy death. Many in the great day of judgment will rise up and call him blessed.

The Fort Edwards Mission lay up and down the east bank of the Mississippi, from Quincy City to Fort Edwards, which stood where the city of Warsaw now stands; thence up the Mississippi to the celebrated foot of what is called the Lower Rapids, where, in after times, was erected the idolatrous city of Nauvoo, under the supervision of the grand impostor Joseph Smith, who was and is claimed as the Mormon Prophet. 


CHAPTER XXII.
Mormonism

Permit me to make a few remarks about the blasphemous organization called the Mormons, or Latter-day Saints. The original absurdity and trifling character of Joe Smith and his coadjutors, is a matter of history, known and understood of all the intelligent reading community that have sought information on the subject, and therefore need not be stated here by me. But there are a few facts I will state that have come under my own personal knowledge; for it has fallen to my lot to be appointed to travel in the region of country in Illinois most infested with this imposture.

After the Mormons were driven from Missouri for their infamous and unlawful deeds, they fled to Illinois, Joe Smith and all, and established themselves at Nauvoo, or the foot of the Lower Rapids, on the east side of the Mississippi. At an early day after they were driven from Missouri and took up their residence in lllinois, it fell to my lot to become acquainted with, Joe Smith personally, and with many of their leading men and professed followers. On a certain occasion I fell in with Joe Smith, and was formally and officially introduced to him in Springfield, then our county town. We soon fell into a free conversation on the subject of religion and Mormonism in particular. I found him to be a very illiterate and impudent desperado in morals, but, at the same time, he had a vast fund of low cunning.

In the first place, he made his onset on me by flattery, and he laid on the soft sodder thick and fast. He expressed great and almost unbounded pleasure in the high privilege of becoming acquainted with me, one of whom he had heard so many great and good things, and he had no doubt I was one among God's noblest creatures, an honest man. He believed that among all the Churches in the world the Methodist was the nearest right, and that, as far as they went, they were right. But they had stopped short by not claiming the gift of tongues, of prophecy, and of miracles, and then quoted a batch of Scripture to prove his positions correct. Upon the whole, he did pretty well for clumsy Joe. I gave him rope, as the sailors say, and, indeed, I seemed to lay this flattering unction pleasurably to my soul.

"Indeed," said Joe, "if the Methodists would only advance a step or two further, they would take the world. We Latter-day Saints are Methodists, as far as they have gone, only we have advanced further, and if you would come in and go with us, we could sweep not only the Methodist Church, but all others, and you would be looked up to as one of the Lord's greatest prophets. You would be honored by countless thousands, and have of the good things of this world all that heart could wish."

I then began to inquire into some of the tenets of the Latter-day Saints. He explained. I criticised his explanations till, unfortunately, we got into high debate, and he cunningly concluded that his first bait would not take, for he plainly saw I was not to be flattered out of common sense and honesty. The next pass he made at me was to move upon my fears. He said that in all ages of the world the good and right way was evil spoken of, and that it was an awful thing to fight against God.

"Now," said he, "if you will go with me to Nauvoo, I will show you many living witnesses that will testify that they were, by the saints, cured of blindness, lameness, deafness, dumbness, and all the diseases that human flesh is heir to; and I will show you," said he, "that we have the gift of tongues, and can speak in unknown languages, and that the saints can drink any deadly poison, and it will not hurt them;" and closed by saying, "the idle stories you hear about us are nothing but sheer persecution."

I then gave him the following history of an encounter I had at a camp-meeting in Morgan County, some time before, with some of his Mormons, and assured him I could prove all I said by thousands that were present.

The camp-meeting was numerously attended, and we had a good and gracious work of religion going on among the people. On Saturday there came some twenty or thirty Mormons to the meeting. During the inter-mission after the eleven o'clock sermon they collected in one corner of the encampment, and began to sing, and they sang well. As fast as the people rose from their dinners they drew up to hear the singing, and the scattering crowd drew up until a large company surrounded them. I was busy regulating matters connected with the meeting. At length, according, I have no doubt, to a preconcerted plan, an old lady Mormon began to shout, and after shouting a while she swooned away and fell into the arms of her husband. The old man proclaimed that his wife had gone into a trance, and that when she came to she would speak in an unknown tongue, and that he would interpret. This proclamation produced considerable excitement, and the multitude crowded thick around. Presently the old lady arose and began to speak in an unknown tongue, sure enough.

Just then my attention was called to the matter. I saw in one moment that the whole maneuver was intended to bring the Mormons into notice, and break up the good of our meeting. I advanced instantly toward the crowd, and asked the people to give way and let me in to this old lady, who was then being held in the arms of her husband. I came right up to them, and took hold of her arm, and ordered her peremptorily to hush that gibberish; that I would have no more of it; that it was presumptuous, and blasphemous nonsense. I stopped very suddenly her unknown tongue. She opened her eyes, took me by the hand, and said,

"My dear friend, I have a message directly from God to you."

I stopped her short, and said, "I will have none of your messages. If God can speak through no better medium than an old, hypocritical, lying woman, I will hear nothing of it." Her husband, who was to be the interpreter of her message, flew into a mighty rage, and said,

"Sir, this is my wife, and I will defend her at the risk of my life."

I replied, "Sir, this is my camp-meeting, and I will maintain the good order of it at the risk of my life. If this is your wife, take her off from here, and clear yourselves in five minutes, or I will have you under guard."

The old lady slipped out and was off quickly. The old man stayed a little, and began to pour a tirade of abuse on me. I stopped him short, and said, "Not another word of abuse from you, sir. I have no doubt you are an old thief, and if your back was examined, no doubt you carry the marks of the cowhide for your villainy." And sure enough, as if I had spoken by inspiration, he, in some of the old states, had been lashed to the whipping-post for stealing, and I tell you the old man began to think other persons had visions besides his wife, but he was very clear from wishing to interpret my unknown tongue. To cap the climax, a young gentleman stepped up and said he had no doubt all I said of this old man was true, and much more, for he had caught him stealing corn out of his father's crib. By this time, such was the old man's excitement that the great drops of sweat ran down his face, and he called out,

"Don't crowd me, gentlemen; it is mighty warm."

Said I, "Open the way, gentlemen, and let him out." When the way was opened, I cried, "Now start, and don't show your face here again, nor one of the Mormons. If you do, you will get Lynch's law."

They all disappeared, and our meeting went on prosperously, a great many were converted to God, and the Church was much revived and built up in her holy faith.

My friend, Joe Smith, became very restive before I got through with my narrative; and when I closed, his wrath boiled over, and he cursed me in the name of his God, and said, "I will show you, sir, that I will raise up a government in these United States which will overturn the present government, and I will raise up a new religion that will overturn every other form of religion in this country!"

"Yes," said I, "Uncle Joe; but my Bible tells me 'the bloody and deceitful man shall not live out half his days;' and I expect the Lord will send the devil after you some of these days, and take you out of the way."

"No, sir," said he; "I shall live and prosper, while you will die in your sins."

"Well, sir," said I, "if you live and prosper, you must quit your stealing and abominable whoredoms!"

Thus we parted, to meet no more on earth; for in a few years after this, an outraged and deeply-injured people took the law into their own hands, and killed him, and drove the Mormons from the state. They should be considered and treated as outlaws in every country and clime. The two great political parties in the state were nearly equal, and these wretched Mormons, for several years, held the balance of power, and they were always in market to the highest bidder; and I have often been put to blush to see our demagogues and stump orators, from both political parties, courting favors from the Mormons, to gain a triumph in an election. Any man or set of men that would be mean enough to stoop so low as to connive at the abominations of these reckless Mormons, surely ought to be considered unworthy of public office, honor, or confidence. But this is the way with all demagogues, and if our happy and glorious Union is destroyed, it will be done by these office-seekers, who go for their own little insignificant selves, while the true love of country is an eternal stranger in their traitorous hearts.

One fact I wish here to mention, that ought to be made public. When Joe Smith was announced a candidate for President of these United States, almost every infidel association in the Union declared in his favor. I traveled extensively through the Eastern states and cities, as well as in the West, that year; and I must say this was literally true, as far as I conversed with, or obtained reliable information of those infidel associations or individuals. Does not this speak volumes? and ought it not to teach the friends of religion an impressive lesson?

Great blame has been attached to the State, the citizens of Hancock County, in which Nauvoo is situated, as well as other adjoining counties, for the part they acted in driving the Mormons from among them. But it should be remembered they had no redress at law, for it is beyond all doubt that the Mormons would swear anything, true or false. They stole the stock, plundered and burned the houses and barns of the citizens, and there is no doubt they privately murdered some of the best people in the country; and owing to the prejudiced evidence always at their command, it was impossible to have any legal redress. If it had not been for this state of things, Joe Smith would not have been killed, and they would not have been driven with violence from the state. Repeated efforts were made to get redress for these wrongs and outrages, but all to no purpose; and the wonder is, how the people bore as long as they did with the outrageous villainies practiced on them, without a resort to violent measures. I claim to know all about the dreadful conduct of the Mormons, and could state in detail the facts in these cases, but think it unnecessary. This much I think it my duty to state, at least to palliate the seeming high-handed measures of our wronged and oppressed citizens.

In the fall of 1833, our Illinois Conference was held in Union Grove, Padfield's, St. Clair County, September 25th. It fell to the lot of Bishop Soule to take this Western tour, in the summer previous to our conference. He came to my house on his Western round of conferences. He traveled in a two-horse carriage, with an excellent span of horses, and he needed such, for the Missouri Conference sat in Arkansas Territory, at Salem, Washington County, a long way in the interior, and west of the Mississippi. He had mountains to climb and large rivers to cross, through a sparsely-populated country. My son-in-law, William D. R. Trotter, rode the Blue River Mission, which was in Pike and Calhoun Counties, and lay directly in the bishop's route. My quarterly meeting was in this mission. Trotter, the missionary, was at my house, so we started in company with the bishop. After we crossed the Illinois River, we had a hilly country to pass through to get to the quarterly meeting, almost without roads. So steep were some of the hills, and so deep the hollows and ravines, that we had to loose the horses from the bishop's carriage and let it down by hand; then hitch on and drive up the hills. It seemed to me that if these were episcopal honors, I would beg to be excused from wearing them; and really it appeared to me that it was enough to discourage a bishop himself. But those who know Bishop Soule, know him to be a man of indomitable courage.

After much labor to man and beast, we got safe to the quarterly meeting. The bishop stayed with us over Sabbath, and preached two excellent sermons, which had a good effect on the congregations; and the curiosity of many was gratified, for if circumstances had not transpired to bring him to our camp quarterly meeting, they would have lived and died without ever seeing a Methodist bishop.

Our Western country, in certain locations, was, in 1832 and 1833, fearfully visited with that dreadful scourge, the cholera. On Monday of our camp-meeting, a very severe case of cholera took place with a hearty young man, that terminated fatally in eight or ten hours. The people generally believed it to be contagious; hence we deemed it most prudent to close the meeting, though our prospects for a good meeting were very encouraging. Bishop Soule, with great labor and fatigue, prosecuted his journey, and reached the Missouri Conference, but was taken sick with a violent attack of fever, so that he did not reach our conference till the last hour of its session. The conference had elected me as their president. We had done all our business, and the council had made out all the appointments, and we were just about adjourning, when the bishop arrived. I sent a messenger to him, and inquired of him if he wished to say anything to the conference; but he declined coming into the room, and requested all those who had been elected to office to wait until he had rested a little, being much fatigued, and he would ordain them. They did so, and were ordained accordingly.

At this conference, in the fall of 1833, the brethren in Jacksonville, though few in number and comparatively poor, petitioned for a station preacher. Their request was granted, and Thomas J. Starr was appointed their preacher. Few and poor, however, as the brethren in Jacksonville were, there was a great improvement, in point of numbers and wealth, from the time of their first organization as a class till now. I am sorry that it is out of my power to give the date of the organization of the first class in Jacksonville, but I think it was in 1827, when it was embraced in what was then called the Mississippi Circuit, and Thomas Randle and Isaac House were the circuit preachers. In the course of this year, the first quarterly meeting ever held in Jacksonville was held in a log-house, owned by old Father Jordan. It was held up stairs, and I well remember it was an interesting quarterly meeting. In 1831 the Jacksonville Circuit was formed from apart of the old Mississippi Circuit, and John Sinclair, now of the Rock River Conference, was the circuit preacher; but from the rapid growth of the town, and increase of population, the Methodists have two large churches and pastoral charges, and there are many more churches in the city, belonging to other denominations. The Presbyterians have a flourishing college located here, and the Methodists have a female college, numerously attended. There is also another flourishing female college in Jacksonville, but to what denomination it belongs, or whether to any particular one, I am not prepared to say. The Illinois State Hospital for the Insane, the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, the Institute to Educate the Blind, all under the fostering care of the state, are located in Jacksonvine. Indeed, it is the Athens of Illinois, and speaks loudly in favor of the state, and of the citizens of Jacksonville and surrounding country in particular. These institutions have high claims on all benevolent sympathizers in human woe, and all the real friends of a sanctified literature that will issue streams of light and life, to bless unnumbered thousands of our fallen race.

Our Illinois Conference, for 1834, was holden at Mount Carmel, October 1st. This year, the brethren in the town of Rushville desired to be organized into a station, and pledged themselves for the support of a preacher. I consented, and appointed T. N. Ralston, and it has remained a station ever since.

At one of our early camp-meetings in Schuyler County, Rushville Circuit, there was a general religious excitement. Many professed religion and joined the Church. Among the rest was a very intelligent and interesting young lady, a Roman Catholic. She was deeply convicted, and knelt at the altar and prayed fervently for mercy, and, after a sore conflict, she found peace in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Her conversion was a clear one. She joined the Methodist Church, and desired me to baptize her. I inquired of her whether she had not been baptized. She told me she had been baptized by the Roman priest, but she was aware of her own knowledge that the priest was a very wicked man, and that she did not believe he had any right to administer the ordinances of the Church on account of his wickedness, and, therefore, she was dissatisfied with her baptism. After mature reflection on the subject I baptized her, and she proved to be a worthy member of the Church. 


CHAPTER XXIII.
Conversion of a Family

In the course of this year, 1834, we had a camp-meeting in Knox County, Henderson River Mission. There was a goodly number tented, and a fine turnout of people, for the number of settlers in this new and rising country. Our encampment was pitched in a beautiful little grove, on an eminence, surrounded by prairie on every hand.

There was in this settlement an interesting and intelligent family from one of the Eastern states. The younger members of the family consisted of several young men and young ladies. The young people liked the Methodists, and were deeply convicted; the old people, particularly the old lady, were very much opposed to them. Living, as they did, close by the camp ground, they put their Yankee ingenuity to work to keep their children away from the meeting; but finding they could not accomplish it, they at once determined to pitch their tent on the camp ground, and then they thought they would have a better opportunity to watch the children, and counteract any influence we might exert upon them. They pretended to be very friendly, to save appearances. The old lady, for the purpose of disarming me, treated me very kindly, and invited me to eat with them, which I did. In the meantime one of the daughters, who was deeply convicted, told me all about her mother's opposition to the Methodists, and her schemes to prevent her children from being influenced to become religious.

One Saturday evening I invited the seekers of religion to come forward to the altar for the prayers of the Church. Two of her daughters came forward and knelt in prayer. A younger sister, almost as much opposed to the Methodists as her mother, went into the altar with a vial of hartshorn, and while her two sisters were trying to pray she slipped the hartshorn to their nose, in order to drive them up and prevent their seeking religion. I very soon detected her in her operations, and took hold of her hand, wrenched the vial from her, led her out of the altar, and told her if I caught her in there any more on such business, I would pitch her out and publicly expose her.

While I was talking to and praying with these two young ladies, and others, I saw the old lady, their mother, come and take her seat outside of the altar, immediately opposite her daughters, and if at any time she thought I was not watching her, she would kick them in their sides to drive them up. I watched her very closely, and when in the act of kicking them, I took hold of her foot and gave her a strong push backward, and over she tumbled among the benches. Being a large corpulent woman, she had some considerable tussel to right herself again. So in this way I defeated the scheme of the devil once more. The girls became very much engaged, but while there were many still pressing to the altar, and my attention for a moment was called off, the old lady contrived to get them out of the altar into the tent. As soon as I discovered what was done, I gathered two or three good singers and praying persons, and followed them into the tent, and commenced singing; I then gave them an exhortation; then said, "Let us pray," and called on the father of the girls to pray for his children, but he refused; I then called on their mother to kneel down and pray for her children, and she refused. In the meantime two of the boys, as well as the two girls, became very much affected, and cried for mercy; and presently the third daughter, that had used the hartshorn in the altar, got awfully convicted, and begged all present to pray for her, as she would be lost and damned forever. This was too much for the old people; they became awfully alarmed, and wept bitterly; and you may be sure the whole tent was in a mighty uproar. The singing, praying, and exhortations were kept up nearly all night. Four of the family were powerfully converted, and the sectarian devil in the old father and mother was effectually disarmed, and from that blessed night they became a religious family; and joined the Methodist Church, and, as far as I know, walked worthy of their high vocation. May they all prove faithful till death, and then receive a crown of life.

While on the Quincy District--the town of Quincy was a very small and sickly place--I remember spending near two weeks in it when, if my recollection serves me, there was but one family where there was no affliction. In some families there were one, two, or three confined to their beds with fever, and sometimes the whole family were sick together, and not one able to help another. I went from house to house, not only to minister to their temporal wants, but to pray with them, and point the sick and dying to Christ. Many died, and it was with great difficulty that we could muster enough persons able to bury the dead.

There was one case which, in a very special manner, affected my mind. Under the hill, close by the brink of the river, there was what was called a tavern. It was a poor, filthy place at best; the general resort of boatmen, and, in a word, all kinds of bad company resorted to this house. A young man, from some of the Eastern states, had come out to explore the West, and was taken sick on the boat, on the river, and was left at this miserable house. He was a professed Christian, and a member of the Methodist Church. No medical aid could be obtained, no nurse, and, in a word, no care was taken of him. In this deplorable condition, he heard that there was a Methodist preacher in town, visiting the sick. He sent for me, and I went to see him. He told me who he was, where his parents lived, and that he had a considerable sum of money with him, and he wanted me to take charge of it, for he was sure if it was known he had money, he should be robbed of it. I took charge of his money, told the landlord to give him all the attention he could, and I would see him paid. The sick man said he was sensible he must die, but that he was not willing to die at that house, and begged me to have him removed, if possible. I knew of a very comfortable place, a few miles in the country, and caused his removal there. Here he lingered for a while, and then died. He had requested me, in case of his decease, to have him decently buried, pay out of his money his tavern bill, his funeral expenses, and write to his parents, that they might come to get his clothes and money. I did as requested. His younger brother came, got his money and clothes, and although it was a mournful dispensation to his relatives, yet it afforded them great comfort to know that he died among friends, though strangers.

This is one among many cases of the kind that from an early day came under my notice, in which enterprising men have come to the far West, have been taken sick, and died among strangers, uncared for.

We had a camp-meeting in Adams County, Quincy Circuit, and it was numerously attended. There was a gracious work of religion going on among the people, and there was a pretty clever, intelligent old gentleman, who had moved into the settlement from Kentucky, who, in that State, had been a Baptist preacher, but had got his mind confused with Alexander Campbell's dogmas about experimental religion. He had a fine family, and some of them knew what real religion was. He and family attended our camp-meeting. He was very fond of argument on almost all theological subjects. He tried to get me into debate during the meeting, but I told him I was there for other and better business. He denied the operations of the Spirit, its testimony, bearing witness with our spirits; that we are the children of God, and that all those happy feelings professed by Christians were nothing but excitement; that there was no religion in it.

On Sunday night a most tremendous power fell on the assembly, and a general shout went up to heaven from hundreds of Christians. Among the crowd of happy and shouting Christians this gentleman's wife and daughter were exceedingly happy, and shouted aloud. The old gentleman could not stand it; he fled behind the tent, lighted his pipe, and tried to smoke away his bad feelings. After laboring in the altar a long time, I stepped back to get a drink of water, and there sat this old Campbellite preacher and the cloud of smoke from his pipe was fearful; he seemed to be insensible of what he was about, and the pipe and tobacco were paying tribute to his reveries at a mighty rate. I stepped up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, and said, "Come, Mr.---, go with me, and I will show you more happy Christians than you ever saw among the Campbellites in all your life."

"Sir," said he, "it is all delusion; they are not happy."

"But," said I, "your wife and daughter are among the foremost shouters in the crowd. Come," said I, "you must come with me to the altar; I want to pray for you there, that you may get religion, and be happy too. Come, sir, I want to see you converted, and shouting-happy."

I took him by the arm, to lead him to the altar, but he drew back. I gathered him again, and pulled him along; but the moment he saw his wife and daughter shouting, and making toward him, he tore loose from my grasp, and actually ran. Poor man, he was so confused by fishing in the muddy waters of Campbellism, that he lost his mental balance. He would not yield to the Spirit of God, and submit to be an humble, shouting, happy Christian. Sometimes he would talk rational; sometimes quote, and apply the Scriptures right; then, again, he became skeptical. But the great difficulty was, the pride of his professed ministerial standing would not let him yield, and renounce his errors. Thus he worried on for a considerable time, and was carried into the whirlpool of doubt and unbelief. His friends talked to him, but talked in vain. He became more and more flighty in his mind, till at length, in a paroxysm of insanity, he shot himself. This event fell like a thunderbolt on his family and the surrounding community; and proves that it is a hard thing to fight against God.


CHAPTER XXIV.
Missionaries from the East

About this time there were a great many young missionaries sent out to this country to civilize and Christianize the poor heathen of the West. They would come with a tolerable education, and a smattering knowledge of the old Calvinistic system of theology. They were generally tolerably well furnished with old manuscript sermons, that had been preached, or written, perhaps a hundred years before. Some of these sermons they had memorized, but in general they read them to the people. This way of reading sermons was out of fashion altogether in this Western world, and of course they produced no good effect among the people. The great mass of our Western people wanted a preacher that could mount a stump, a block, or old log, or stand in the bed of a wagon, and without note or manuscript, quote, expound, and apply the word of God to the hearts and consciences of the people. The result of the efforts of these Eastern missionaries was not very flattering; and although the Methodist preachers were in reality the pioneer heralds of the cross throughout the entire West, and although they had raised up numerous societies and churches every five miles, and notwithstanding we had hundreds of traveling and local preachers, accredited and useful ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet these newly-fledged missionaries would write back to the old states hardly anything else but wailings and lamentations over the moral wastes and destitute condition of the West.

These letters would be read in their large congregations, stating that they had traveled hundreds of miles, and found no evangelical minister, and the poor perishing people were in a fair way to be lost for the want of the bread of life; and the ignorant or uninformed thousands that heard these letters read would melt into tears, and their sympathies be greatly moved, when they considered our lost and heathenish state, and would liberally contribute their money to send us more missionaries, or to support those that were already here. Thus some of these missionaries, after occupying our pulpits, and preaching in large and respectable Methodist congregations, would write back and give those doleful tidings. Presently their letters would be printed, and come back among us as published facts in some of their periodicals.

Now, what confidence could the people have in such missionaries, who would state things as facts that had not even the semblance of truth in them? Thus I have known many of them to destroy their own usefulness, and cut off an access to the people; and, indeed, they have destroyed all confidence in them as ministers of truth and righteousness, and caused the way of truth to be evil spoken of. On a certain occasion, when these reports came back known to contain false statements, the citizens of Quincy called a meeting, mostly out of the Church, and after discussing the subject, pledged themselves to give me a thousand dollars per annum, and bear all my traveling expenses, if I would go as a missionary to the New-England States, and enlighten them on this and other subjects, of which they considered them profoundly ignorant. But, owing to circumstances beyond my control, I was obliged to decline the acceptance of their generous offer.

If it had been consistently in my power, how gladly and willingly would I have undertaken this labor of love, and gloried in enlightening them down East, that they might keep, their home-manufactured clergy at home, or give them some honorable employ better suited to their genius, than that of reading old musty and worm-eaten sermons. If this matter is rightly looked into, it will astonish every well-informed man to see the self-importance and self-complacence of these little home-manufactured fellows. If they would tarry at Jericho till their beards were grown out, it certainly would be more creditable to themselves, and to all others concerned, and especially to the cause of God.

It will be perceived that in the fall of 1834, the Galena and Chicago Districts were formed, which gave us six presiding-elder districts in our Conference. Our Conference met in Springfield, October 1st, 1835. At this conference I was returned to the Quincy District, which now consisted of the following appointments, namely: Pittsfield, Quincy Circuit, Quincy Mission, Rushville Station, Rushville Circuit, Canton, Fort Edwards Mission, Henderson River Mission, and Knoxville Mission--8. At this conference in Springfield, we again elected our delegates to the General Conference, which was holden in Cincinnati, May 1st, 1836. To this General Conference I was elected; and it was the fifth General Conference in which I was entitled to a seat by the suffrages of my brethren in the ministry.

At the General Conference of 1832, that body had granted the privilege to the West to publish a religious paper at Cincinnati, on the hard condition that we obtained five thousand subscribers. However, by strong effort we obtained that number, and Thomas A. Morris was its first editor. At the General Conference of 1836, he, as well as Brother Beverly Waugh, and Doctor Fisk, were elected Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Doctor C. Elliott, the present incumbent, was elected editor of the Western Christian Advocate, John F. Wright, our Western Book Agent, and Leroy Swormstedt, Assistant Book Agent.

It was at this General Conference of 1836, that the ground was taken by a majority of the delegates from the slaveholding states, that slavery was right, and a blessing, instead of a curse, to the slaves themselves. We had from the North, O. Scott and his coadjutors, who were ultra abolitionists; and we had some warm debates on the subject. The Southern delegates met in private caucus to devise a plan of separation from the Methodist Episcopal Church, unless we would so modify the Discipline as to tolerate slavery, or make it no bar to membership or office in the Church. This movement was headed by the Rev. William A. Smith, of Virginia, and others of the same cloth and kidney. I was invited by John Early, of Virginia, now bishop of the Southern Church, to attend one of these caucuses. I went. Some of them took strong ground, and urged a division, or a separation from the Methodist Episcopal Church. Others of them said they would never consent to a division; that they would rather suffer martyrdom than to divide the Church. Finally, I think they did not harmonize on any plan of division at that time; but William A. Smith said to me, he never would be satisfied unless we would agree to expunge everything from the Discipline of the Methodist Church on the subject of slavery; and true to the dark principles of his creed, he never rested until he divided the Methodist Church; and at the late General Conference of the Church, South, they swept, as with the besom of destruction, every rule from their Discipline on the subject of slavery, and only lacked a few votes of erasing from the General Rules that part which forbids "the buying and selling of men, women, or children, with an intention to enslave them."

This rule the advocates of slavery at the South have always interpreted to apply to the slave-trade, and that trade alone. Taking them to be sincere in this interpretation of this General Rule, what is the conclusion that we must draw from their late move in their General Conference? It is, plainly, that they wish every disciplinary barrier moved out of the way, and the slave-trade, with all its damning, murdering influences, revived again, notwithstanding it is denounced by all Christian philanthropists, and made piracy by the laws of our happy country; notwithstanding all their pretensions to patriotism, their love of country, and all their law-loving and law-abiding professions, as being "obedient to the powers that be," they would open the way to revive this abominable traffic in human souls and bodies; and while this slave-trade stands reprobated by every Christian nation that deserves the name, and has the broad seal of reprobation set on it by God himself, they wish to see its dark wheels set in motion again, without let or hindrance.

And why should they not desire this, if they are sincere in their expressed opinions? They tell us that slavery "is a political, domestic, and religious blessing;" if so, why not enter into the slave-trade, wholesale and retail? go with armed ships, kidnap human beings by the thousand, bring them to America, sell them into perpetual bondage? Never mind the parting of husband and wife, parents and children; the encouraging the savage ferocity of these poor degraded heathen. Tell them the Christian religion sanctions their bloody wars among themselves; and that it is to make Christians of them that you buy and transport them to "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Have no scruples of conscience about the thousands that are murdered in these wars, instigated by Christians, or that die on their passage from the land of barbarism to this Christian land of universal freedom; "the great end will sanctify the means." Crowd the slave ships, or "floating hells;" all, all is to better their condition. It is a god-like deed of mercy, and why should not Methodist preachers, bishops and all, have a large share in this benevolent and Christian affair? Who can forbid? And let the officers of these slave vessels never forget to tell these savage tribes that there is at least one very popular Church in America that sanctions all these operations, and will justify them; namely, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Prior to the General Conference of 1836, the run-mad spirit of rabid abolitionism had broken out in some of the Eastern and Northern conferences; and Methodist preachers were found by the dozen to quit their appropriate fields of labor, and their holy calling of saving souls, and turn out and become hired lecturers against slavery. So zealous were they, that they forgot their pastoral duties; and they went so far as violently to oppose colonization as a slaveholding trick. Dr. Fisk was a good man and true, and was as much opposed to slavery as any of them, yet he was for occupying real Methodist preacher ground, and bearing his plain, honest testimony against the moral evil of slavery, and not meddling with it politically, only in a constitutional way. He, seeing that this rabid abolitionism would rivet the chains of slavery the tighter, rouse the jealousies of the slaveholders, and disrupt the Methodist Church, flung himself into the breach, and met those lecturers in open combat; vanquished them in argument, and compelled them to retreat, or bolt, and set up for themselves. O. Scott and his coadjutors formed themselves into a separate party organization, calling themselves the "True Wesleyans;" but long since they have found, to their sorrow, that they misnamed the brat, for the secession that they produced was a very feeble, little, illegitimate child. But they nursed it till it took the rickets; and the last I heard of it, it was fast wasting away, and "the last state of it is worse than the first."

Under these circumstances, Dr. Fisk stood in the general confidence of the Methodist Episcopal Church, North and South, East and West; and although he was not present at the General Conference at Cincinnati, yet when we were about to elect three new bishops, Dr. Winans, of Mississippi, a thorough Southern man, and a great defender of slavery, rose, and in open conference nominated Dr. Fisk for episcopal honors; and if I am not greatly mistaken, nearly the entire Southern delegation voted for him, and he was elected by a great majority of the members of the General Conference. But Dr. Fisk, thinking that the episcopate was strong enough without him, declined being ordained, and lived and died without episcopal consecration. It is a pity that more Methodist preachers do not follow the illustrious course pursued by Dr. Fisk. Then we should benefit the slaves more than we do.

At the General Conference of 1836, there were six new conferences formed; two in the West, namely, Arkansas and Michigan, and four in the East, namely, Erie, North Carolina, Oneida, and New-Jersey. The number of members in the West was about 262,690; our traveling preachers in the West had increased to 1,069. The number of members in the Eastern conferences was about 396,000; their traveling preachers numbered about 3,560. Total membership, 658,690; total traveling preachers, 4,629. Our increase in the West, in four years, was something like 45,000; in traveling preachers we had increased about 300. The increase in the Eastern conferences, according to the Minutes, was 14,000 ; their increase in traveling preachers was something like 200. Total increase through the connection, in four years, 59,000.

Thus, I think, without any disposition to boast in the least degree, I may say, in the fear of God, that, under the Divine guidance of the Great Redeemer, the Methodist Episcopal Church, in point of prosperity and increase of number in her ministry and membership, stands without an equal in the Protestant world since the days of the apostles. O, that she may keep humble, and never move her old landmarks!

Our venerable Bishop M'Kendree, of whom I have spoken freely in another part of this narrative, who labored long and suffered much as a traveling preacher, had closed his mortal probation on March the 5th, 1835. At the General Conference at Cincinnati, in May, 1836, Bishop Soule preached the funeral sermon of this eminent minister and unrivaled bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. That sermon has been published and thrown broadcast over the world, and I therefore have no need to say anything in relation to its merits. But I wish to say a few brief things of Bishop M'Kendree himself.

If my information be correct, he was born in King William County, Virginia, 6th of July, 1757. In an extensive and glorious revival of religion, under the ministerial labors of John Easter, a real son of thunder and consolation too, M'Kendree embraced religion and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. In a few months he was licensed to preach, and was appointed to a circuit. He was very diffident and distrustful of his own abilities as a preacher. The members of the Church did not receive him kindly. This he told me himself, and under the discouragement he met with from his brethren, he left his circuit, conceiving that he was mistaken about his call to the ministry, but he fell into good hands among the preachers, and they advised, cheered, and comforted him, and soon he entered the work again.

These were the times of the schism created in the Church by James O'Kelly, who had a great influence over M'Kendree, and for a little while he inclined to leave the Methodist Episcopal Church and go with this popular schismatic. But he was not hasty, and narrowly watched the spirit and course of O'Kelly, until he became thoroughly satisfied that O'Kelly was of a wrong and wicked spirit, and that the great moving cause of O'Kelly's disaffection was disappointed ambition. He then gave up O'Kelly, fully satisfied that Bishop Asbury and his preachers were right, and from this to the day of his death he never wavered or doubted on the grand land-marks of Episcopal Methodism.

Bishop M'Kendree was the gentleman as well as Christian minister. He was a profound theologian, and understood thoroughly the organic laws of ecclesiastic government; he was a dignified, shrewd parliamentary presiding officer, a profound judge of human nature, and one of the strongest debaters and logical reasoners that ever graced an American pulpit. At an early period of his ministry he was transferred to the Western Conference, and, considering the hardships, privations, and sufferings of frontier life, and the delicacy of his constitution, he bore it all with great cheerfulness and resignation, and truly he was, in his feelings and habits, a Western man and a Western bishop. When his end drew near, death found him duly prepared for his change, and on his dying pillow and amid surrounding friends, he was enabled to proclaim, "All is well." He died in Sumner County, Tennessee State, at his brother's, Dr. M'Kendree, and was buried in his brother's family burying ground, where all that is mortal of Bishop M'Kendree will repose till the general resurrection.

Dr. Jennings, of Baltimore, was employed to write his life for publication, and after making some progress in the work, declined its prosecution any further. Then the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1840, requested Bishop Soule to prepare a history of his life and labors for publication, but by some strange neglect, Bishop Soule delayed doing so till the unhappy division of the Church, and then Bishop Soule seceded from the Methodist Episcopal Church, and joined the Church, South, and I suppose if ever the life of Bishop M'Kendree is published at all, the Methodist Episcopal Church will be deprived of the benefit of it. It is to be regretted that this work has been so long delayed, and we think unnecessarily so.




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