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•' Vererer reprehensionem p>'udeiiti|ini, quod tjiUa ediuerim, nisi historici munu? epsei 
referre omnia quae dicta ei; actt< s!U■/l'*.'•-vF'^BI?p^;l; in Vit. Laur. Med. 






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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847, by 

in tlie Clerk's Office of the District Court for tiie Southern District of New York. 



1 1 4 N assau street. 




There is no section of the Presbyterian Church on the 
Western Continent, whose history has been more eventful or 
interesting than that planted in Kentucky. The project of 
perpetuating the memory of its early incidents has been enter- 
tained by several able and distinguished divines ; Dr. John P. 
Campbell, the Rev. John McFarland, the Rev. William L. 
McCalla, and Dr. Thomas Cleland ; but the task has hitherto 
remained unaccomplished. Dr. Bishop's " Outline," though 
containing a mass of interesting matter, is not a connected 
history, and professes nothing beyond the preservation of ma- 
terials for a successor in the field. 

The work now offered to the public is the fruit of nine 
years' laborious research during the intervals of professional 
cares, oftentimes sufficiently arduous and perplexing. In one 
respect at least, Horace's rule has been partially complied with; 
viz : waiting for " the ninth rip'ning year." Not only has the 
author travelled, like Scott and Alison, in quest of truth, and 
like Froissart, conversed personally with the actors in the great 
drama of the past; but he Tias. enjoyed facilities, providentially 
put in his way, of no ordinary value. The Diaries of the Rev. 
John Lyle were just on the point of being committed to the 
flames as waste paper, when they fell into the author's hands, 


through the friendly agency of the Rev. Robert Stuart.* 
In looking over the contents, which were seen at a glance 
to be of inestimable importance, the following paragraph came 
to light. " The foregoing short sketches M^ere written hastily 
for private use ; and should I die before I destroy them, I 
would not allow my friends to hand them about, or any one 
to use them, except some judicious friend might make an 
extract of those few particulars which might be useful in 
writing a history of the progress of religion in Kentucky." 
Hereupon the author claimed a warrant for retaining the pre- 
cious MS., provided his venerable friend would vouch for his 
coming under the category of being the ^^ judicious" person 
required. This Diary, kept during the height of the great 
revival of 1800-1803, has proved an invaluable document, 
and will be frequently referred to. 

Another instance of good fortune was the reception from 
the late Professor Edward Graham, of Lexington, Virginia, of 
nine sheets of foolscap, containing a variety of curious matter 
in regard to the early history of the churches in the valley of 
Virginia. To the patient and friendly offices of Dr. Archibald 
Alexander, this portion of the work is likewise much indebted. 
There are other persons, as Dr. Blythe, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Fish- 
back, Mrs. Lyle, Mrs. Dr. Marshall, Mrs. J. M. C. Irwin, &c., 
from whose lips much valuable information was obtained, of 
which their lamented death would otherwise have deprived the 
world forever. To General McAfee, Glass Marshall, Esq., 
Mrs. Thomas Skillman, James Stonestreet, Esq., General 
John M. McCalla, Rev. R. Stuart, Dr. Thomas Cleland, Rev. 
Lyman Seely, Mrs. N. Burrowes, Dr. W. W. Hall, Dr. Joshua 
L. Wilson, Dr. William Ridgley, Rev. Jacob F. Price, J. Lyle, 

* In 1845, a similar fortunate chance befell the author, in rescuing from the 
same fate the MS. Lettor-Book of Lewis Morris, the first Governor of New 
Jersey ; the substance of which was embodied in a Memoir, and read before 
the New Jersey Historical Society. 


Esq., (fee, the writer is under obligations for various books, 
pamphlets, and MSS., of which he has largely availed himself. 
JBut to no individual is he more indebted than the Rev. Robert 
Stuart ; whose full, accurate, and obliging communications are 
acknowledged with the warmest gratitude. 

From these sources, and the original records of the various 
ecclesiastical bodies, the following history has been prepared. 
In regard to later events, the writer having personally mingled 
in them, must conseiit to be held responsible himself for the 
accuracy of his statements. Truth has been his object ; and 
his aim, to hold an impartial pen. Compelled by the force of 
evidence to alter some of his own pre-conceived opinions, he 
asks similar candor on the part of his reader. In consequence 
of the desire to compress the book into a reasonable size, some 
things have been of necessity omitted, particularly the statistics 
of the churches. But as the Rev. Mr. Shane was known to be 
engaged in the preparation of such statistics, the omission was 
the more readily made. 

In the opinion of some, all revelations, not . of a eulogistic 
character, had better be suppressed. They differ widely from 
Fabroni, whose words are quoted in the title-page, and who 
deemed truth the first characteristic of a historian. Should 
others object to some of the details in the following pages as 
beneath the majestic march of the historic muse, they are en- 
treated to ponder the opinion of Macaulay. " There is a vile 
phrase," says that distinguished writer, " of which bad his- 
torians are exceedingly fond — ' the dignity of history.' One 
writer is in possession of some anecdotes which would illustrate 
most strikingly the operation of the Mississippi scheme on the 
manners and morals of the Parisians. But he suppresses those 
anecdotes because they are too low for the dignity of history? 
The true historian will not think anything too trivial for the 
gravity of history, which is not too trivial to promote or 
diminish the happiness of man." 




Scotch-Irish — Driven by Persecution to America — Settlements in Western 
Virginia — Early Planting of Religion — Toleration — Augusta county — 
People of Patoinoke — Opequon — Augusta Church — Tinkling Spring 
— Craig — Wilson — Waddel — Brown's Meeting-House — Scott — Miller — 
Old and New Side Missionaries — Robinson — New Providence — Timber 
Ridge — Brown — Hall's Meeting-House — Old and New Side Churches 
— Presbjlery of Lexington — Republican Spirit of the Valley — Hampden 
Sidney — Liberty Hall — Graham — Revival of 1788 — Synod's Committee 
of Missions — Labors of Domestic Missionaries 13 



Inviting Character of Kentucky — Its Rapid Settlement — The McAfee Com- 
pany — Religious Principles of the Settlers — Father Rice — Jacob Fish- 
back — New Providence — Indian Perils — Church at Lexington — The Two 
Conferences — Twelve Congregations — Defective Character of Professors 
of Religion — Commission of the Presbytery of Hanover — Crawford — 
Templin — Presbytery of Transylvan ia — Shannon — McClurc — Improved 
State of Religion — The Baptists 51 



Differences about Psalmody — Rankin's Bigotry— His Trial and Condemna- 
tion — Ilis Pretences to Divine Direction — Schism — Misrepresentations — 
Associate Reformed — Rankin's Biography 88 




Causes of the Low State of Religion — The Elder Clergy — Missionaries 
from Virginia — Marshall — Allen — Calhoun — Campbell — Rannels — Stu- 
art — Wilson — Lyle — Other Clergy — Cameron^Blythe — New Presby- 
teries — Character of the Early Clergy — Kind of Men needed in the 
West 99 



McGready — ^Excitement in the Green river country — Camp-Meetings — 
Cane Ridge — Relative Position of the Clergj^ — Influence of the Method- 
ists . . • 131 



Bodily Exercises — Falling^ — -The Jerks — Howling Dervishes — Barking Ex- 
ercise — Visions — Disorders in Public Worship — Women Exliorting — 
Walnut Hill Sacrament — Lyle's Sermon on Order — Too free Commu- 
nication of the Sexes — Doctrinal Errors — Spiritual Pride — Censorious- 
ness 142 



Not an Evil Spirit — Not the Spirit of God — Not Imposture — Influence of 
Imagination on the Nervous System — Examples — Style of Preaching — 
Epilepsy — Subject to Control — Examples of Sympathy — Instances of 
Bodily Agitations in the Old World — Revival under Edwards — Bene- 
ficial Results — Testimony of Baxter, Furman, Lyle, Rice, General As- 
sembly, Cleland, Marshall, McGready, Alexander — Conclusion . . .170 



Orthodox and New Light Parties — Synod of Kentucky — Trial of McNe- 
mar and Thompson — Seceding Presbyterians of Springfield — Progress of 
Enthusiasm — Apology and Answer — Meeting at Bethel — Last Will and 
Testament of Springfield Presbytery — Plan of the Christian Church — 
Malcolm Worley — Doings of Synod and Assembly — Houston — Contro- 
versy between Stone and Campbell — Stone's Theology — ^Devii getting 



the Price — Shakers — Marshall and Thompson recant — Controversy be- 
tween Stone and Cleland — Marshall's Letter to Stone — Alexander 
Campbell — Stoneites merged in the Campbellites — Stone — McNemar — 
Dmilavy 190 



Green river Revival — Catechists, or Exhorters — Cumberland Presbytery — 
Revival and Anti-Revival Parties — Ordination of Exhorters — Opinion of 
Assembly — Commission of Synod — Investigation — Young Men refuse to 
submit — Decision — Stewart of Pardovan — Formation of a Council — 
Withdrawal of McGready — Presbytery dissolved — Warm Discussion in 
General Assembly — Assembly's Letters — Final Decision — Hodge and 
others submit — New Cumberland Presbytery formed by the Recusants — 
Presbytery of Muhlenburg — Errors in Buck and Brown — Arminianism 
— Presbytery of Louisville — Synods of Ohio and Tennessee — Cumber- 
land Presbyterian College and General Assembly — McGready . . . 223 



Craighead — Commission of Synod — Sermon before Synod — Analysis of 
Sermon — Controversy between Campbell and Craighead — Father of 
New Lightism — Trial and Deposition — Restoration — Fishback — Todd . 264 


WAR OF 1812. 

Trials of the Church — Improved State of Religion — War with Great Bri- 
tain — Massacre of the River Raisin — Disastrous Influence of the War 
on Religion — Altercation between Blythe and McCalla — Infidelity and 
Irreligion — Proportion attending Public Worship — McChord .... 277 



Transylvania Seminary — Toulmin — Kentucky Academy — London Dona- 
tions — Transylvania University — President HoUey — Presbyterians oust- 
ed — Socinianisra triumphant — Col. Morrison — McFarland's Pamphlet- 
eer — Loss of Confidence — Plan of Reform — The Synod obtain a Charter 
— Their Memorial — Legislative Action — The Baptists draw off — Holley 
resigns — His Projects and Death — The University languishes — Trans- 



fer to the Methodists — Centre College — Dr. Blackburn — Denominational 
Education 288 



ReUef Laws — Old and New Courts — Powerful Revivals — Protracted Meet- 
ings and Anxious Seats — Hall — Nelson — Theological Sgiiinary for the 
West — Alleghany Town — New Albany — Asiatic CholCTa — Slavery — 
Church Courts steadily in favor of Gradual Emancipation — Plan of 
Committee of Synod — Unhappy Influence of Abolitionism on the Interests 
of the Slave Population— Colonization 324 



Old and New School Parties — ^Plan of Union — Convention at Cincinnati — 
Act and Testimony — Action of Synod — Assembly Divided — Agreement 
at Paris — Disaffection of the New School Party — Bowling-green — 
Stiles — Cleland — Manifesto and Convention at Versailles — Versailles 
Session Deposed — Stiles' Trial and Deposition for Schism — Feebleness 
of the Schism — John Breckinridge — Dr. J. L. Wilson — Presbyterians of 
Kentucky — List of Members of Synod 342 





A History, like a piece of mosaic, is a selection from an infinite 
variety of minute particulars, so arranged as to form a perfect 
picture ; of which the design should be unique, the details rich, 
the characters well grouped and full of animation, the coloring 
warm, and the background in keeping. But while there is a 
resemblance in the nature and the difficulty of the task, the Art- 
ist has an undeniable advantage over the Author, in being 
privileged to draw at will from the stores of fancy, to heighten 
the charms of his favorite Ideal ; while the Historian, bound by 
more rigid rules, is forbidden to indulge in the flowery fields of 
fiction, and must sacrifice the most tempting embellishment for 
the sake of truth. The subject of the following researches has 
but few attractions for the poetical and imaginative mind, nor is 
it permitted to borrow those fascinating arts by which the Genius 
of Romance can impart interest even to border feuds and high- 
land clans ; but the lover of nature, it is hoped, may derive 
pleasure from contemplating new phases of human character ; 
the philosophical inquirer, from tracing the connection of events 
and their influence upon each other ; the canonist, from the 
study of important precedents and often-quoted decisions ; and 
the admirer of Knox and Melville, from recognizing the same 
elevated, uncompromising, and indomitable spirit among the 
cabins and canebrakes of the Great West, that formerly stood 


up unflinching for Christ's Crown and Covenant at tlie foot of 
the heath-clad Grampians. 

It is from the Kirk of Scotland, in her days of depi*ession 
and cruel trial, that the Presbyterians of Kentucky delight to de- 
duce their origin ; and the intermediate links by which that 
descent is verified, through the North of Ireland and the Valley 
of Virginia, may not improperly occupy a preliminary chapter. 

After the subjugation of Ulster, in the reign of James I., the 
semi-barbarous natives were replaced by a colony of tenants 
from Great Britain — attracted thither by liberal grants of land.* 
From that time the North of Ireland went by the name of the 
Plantation of Ulster. Owing to the vicinity and superior enter- 
prise of the people of Scotland, the principal part of the new 
settlers came from that country ; which circumstance after- 
wards gave rise to the appellation of Scotch-Irish, denoting not 
the intermai-riage of two races, but the peopling of one country 
by the natives of another, in the same manner as we familiarly 
speak of the Anglo-Saxons, the Anglo-Americans, and the Indo- 

The colonists soon manifested a strong desire for the regular 
ordinances of public worship ; but the English clergy being loth 
to relinquish their comfortable benefices, the Presbyterian min- 
isters who came over from Scotland were thereby left at liberty 
to organize the majority of the Churches after their own model. 
Archbishop Usher, more wise and tolerant than most of his or- 
der, consented to a compromise of ecclesiastical dilierences, in 
consequence of which there was no formal separation from the 
Establishment. It was not long, however, until the haughty 
Wentworth — instigated by that furious bigot. Laud — began to 
persecute the nonconformists of Ulster, and force them to turn 
their eyes to the New World, already known as an asylum for 
the oppressed. Having built a ship of one hundred and fifty 
tons burthen, to which they gave the name of the Eagle-wing, 
one hundred and forty of them embarked for New England, on 
the 9th of September, 1636. But being driven back by contrary 
winds, they were compelled to drop anchor in Loch Fergus, and 
finally to take refuge in the Western parts of Scotland ; where 
they were soon joined by many others, fugitives like themselves 
from fines and other punishments. Had this enterprise succeed- 

* Hume's Engl. c. xlvi. Lingard, vol. ix., p. 168. 

f Winterbotham's Historical View of the U. S., vol. ii., p. 439. 


ed, the Eagle-wing might have attained as enviable a celebrity 
in the annals of American colonization as the more fortunate 

After the death of Strafford, tranquillity was restored to Ire- 
land, and in 1G42, the year in which the civ if war commenced, 
and the year after the Popish Massacre, the first Presbytery in 
Ireland met at Carrickfergus, on Friday, June lOth.f One of 
their first acts was to petition the General Assembly of the Scot- 
tish Kirk to send them aid ; and, in compliance with their request, 
several ministers were sent over during that and the two follow- 
ing years.J From this period the progress of Presbyterianism 
was rapid, and many of the Episcopal clergy came forward and 
joined the Presbytery. Thus was founded the celebrated Synod 
of Ulster.§ 

With the Restoration returned Prelacy, in no degree softened 
by its temporary deprivation. Both Charles II. and James II. 
were bent on carrying out their father's policy of forcing Epis- 
copacy on Great Britain, under the impression that its monarch- 
ical structure rendered it a fit tool for forwarding their own 
despotic views.ll 

In England, ever since the memorable St. Bartholomew's 
day, all eyes had been anxiously directed to the Transatlantic 
settlements, notwithstanding they were as yet a wilderness ; and 
while some fled to Holland, a great number, together with many 
of the ejected ministers, betook themselves to New England, 
Pennsylvania, and other American plantations.^! In Scotland, 
fines, imprisonments, and whippings, were abundant from 1662, 
when the Act of Conformity was passed, until 1688, when the 

* Reid's Hist, of the Presb. Church in Ireland, vol. i. pp. 201, 205. 
■f- Reid, vol. i. p. .371. 

I A remark of Wodrow is worthy of notice. " I have always found," says 
he, " the elder Presbyterian ministers, in Ireland, reckoning themselves upon 
the same bottom witli, and as it were, a branch of, the Church of Scotland." 
Wodrow's Hist, of the Sufferings of the Cliurch of Scotland, vol. i. p. 324. 
This citation may serve to rebut Dr. Hill's sneers about the Presbyterianism of 
the Kirk of Scotland, being widely and manifestly difTerent from the milder 
and more liberal Irish Presbyterianism. Hill's Hist, of Amer. Presb. p. 151. 

h Reid, vol. i. p. 385. 

II " Cut he judged the Church of England to be a most fit instrument for ren- 
dering the monarchy absolute. On the other hand, the Presbyterians were 
thought naturally hostile to the principles of passive obedience." Fox's Hist. 
of James II., c. ii. p. 88. 

IT Burnet's Own Times, vol. i. p. 282. Neal's Hist, of the Puritans, vol. iii. 
p. 264, 272. Ilavveis' Ch. Hist. vol. ii. p. 286. Hutchinson's Hist, of Massa- 
chusetts, vol. i. p. 206. 


Act of Toleration gave relief under the Presbyterian Prince of 
Orange. The Western and 'Southern counties, which, accord- 
ing to Hame, were the most populous and thriving, were the 
most obnoxious ; and the severity of the persecution surpassed, 
in the judgment if Bishop Burnet, the merciless rigors of the 
Duke of Alva.* Many sold their estates and crossed over to 
the Scots of Ulster, where, for a time, unrestricted liberty was 
allowed. t But the arm of intolerance soon followed them to 
this retreat ; and the hunted down nonconformists felt that they 
had no resource short of absolute expatriation. In order that 
the fury of the prelates might have full sweep, the Presbyterians 
and their ejected ministers were forbidden to fly into Scotland 
to avoid it.J Of these ejected ministers, both in Scotland and 
Ireland, Wodrow gives a catalogue amounting to four hundred.§ 

In consequence of the persecutions of 1679, 1G82, and 1685, 
crowds of voluntary exiles sought an asylum in East New Jersey, 
Carolina and Maryland. The North of Ireland shared in the 
general drain. The arbitrary measures pursued by James II., 
together with apprehensions of a general massacre by the Papists, 
emboldened as they were by the undisguised partiality of the 
king, caused such multitudes, despairing of safety, to fly to foreign 
climes, that trade declined, and the revenue languished.]] Suc- 
cessive emigrations from the North of Ireland continued to 
pour into Pennsylvania in such numbers, that by the year 
1705, there were sufficient Presbyterian Churches in that pro- 
vince, in conjunction with those of the provinces contiguous, 
to constitute a presbytery, and a few years later, (1717,) a 

While a portion of these emigrants preferred the Atlantic slope, 
others pushed into the interior, and spreading over what were 
then the frontier counties of Pennsylvania, extended their settle- 
ments southward, till they had crossed the Potomac and the 
Catawba.^ They served as a company of hardy and enterprising 
pioneers, and first established the benefits of civilization and 

* Hume, c. Ixvi. Burnet's Own Times, vol. ii. p. 345. 

t Burnet, vol. i. pp. 308, 347. 

X Wodrow, vol. i. pp. 108, 342. 

§ Wodrow, vol. i. p. 324, note. 

II Crawford's Ireland, vol. ii. p. 173. Neal, vol. iii. p. 277. Burnet, vol. iii. 
p. 276. Hume, c. Ixx. 

IT Winterbotham, vol ii. p. 439. Hawks' Eccl. Hist, of Virginia, pp. 99, 111. 
Stuart's Reminiscences. (West. Presb. Herald, vol. vi. p. 85.) 


Christianity along the entire frontiers of Virginia and the Caro- 
linas. Their posterity are a tall, muscular, and industrious race 
and they have inherited from their forefathers, independence and 
integrity of character, exemplary morals, and a deep reverence 
for the institutions of religion.* The Western Virginians have 
always been marked by strong points of difference from the in- 
habitants of " the Old Dominion," east of the Blue Ridge, who 
rejoice in having sprung from the party of the Cavaliers and the 
High Church, are fonder of luxury and ease, and have shown 
a more decided partiality for the continuance of slavery. 

Of such a people, who had exchanged their native country for 
a wilderness, for conscience' sake, and who only hugged their 
religion the closer the more they were persecuted, it might rea- 
sonably be expected, that they would deem it among their first 
duties, like faithful Abraham in his migrations, to erect the altar 
where they pitched the tent. Accordingly, we find among the 
records of the Synod of Philadelphia, as early as 1719, some 
notices of a congregation designated as ^^ the people of Potomoke 
in Virginia,^ ^ and their petition to have a minister sent them; 
of which more will be said presently. 

In 1722, we find the Synod again interesting themselves in the 
people of Virginia. The minute is as follows : — " A representa- 
tion being made by some of our members of the earnest desires of 
some Protestant dissenting families in Virginia, together with a 
comfortable prospect of the increase of our interest there, the 
Synod have appointed, that Mr. Hugh Conn, Mr. John Orme, 
and Mr. William Stewart, do each of them, severally, visit said 
people, and preach four Sabbaths to them, between this and the 
next Synod."f The next year we find farther measures adopted 
to continue ministerial supplies, together with a notice of a letter 
to the people, in reply to a communication from them ; and the 
year following (1724), on the receipt of another letter from "the 
people of Virginia," the whole subject was referred to the Pres- 
bytery of Newcastle ; after which the records are silent. J There 

♦Flint's Hist, and Geography of tiie U. S., vol. i. p. 430. The people living 
on the east side of the Blue Ridge, received the odd sobriquet of Tuckahoes, 
from a small stream of that name ; wliile the people on the west side were as 
oddly denominated Cohoes, (pronounced Cohoes,) as tradition says, from their 
common use of the term " Quoth he," or " Quo' he." These terms have now 
fallen into disuse. 

fMin. Syn. of Phil. p. 72. 

X Min. Syn. of Phil. p. 74. The early records of Newcastle Presbytery are 
not extant. 


was no part of Virginia, which at this period answered so well 
to the description, as affording a comfortable prospect of the 
increase of the Presbyterian interest, as the region west of the 
Blue Ridge. Organ, the pious Scotch schoolmaster, had not yet 
commenced his useful labors ; * Morris' reading-house was not 
yet established ;t Mr. Makemie's attention, as well as that of his 
successors, was chiefly directed to the eastern shore of the 
Chesapeake Bay ;J and Mr. Macky's feeble congregation, on 
Elizabeth river, near Norfolk, had long before this become extinct, 
through persecution. § Perhaps the statement about to follow, 
may contribute to throw light on this obscure point. 

In May, 1738, upon the supplication of John Caldwell, for him- 
self and others, the Synod appointed a deputation to wait on the 
Governor and Council, " with suitable instructions, in order to 
procure the favor and countenance of the government of the 
province, to the laying a foundation of our interest in the back 
parts thereof, where considerable numbers of families of our per- 
suasion are settling ;" and a letter was prepared to be presented 
to the Governor, to wiiich he replied as follows : 

" Sir, — By the hands of Mr. Anderson I received an address 
signed by you, in the name of your brethren of the Synod of 
Philadelphia. And, as I have been always inclined to favor the 
people who have lately removed from other provinces to settle on 
the western side of our great moimtains ; so, you may be assured 
that no interruption shall be given to any minister of your pro- 
fession who shall come among them ; so as they conform them- 
selves to the rules prescribed by the Act of Toleration in England, 
by taking the oaths enjoined thereby, and registering the places 
of their meeting, and behave themselves peaceably towards the 
government. This you may please to communicate to the 
Synod as an answer of theirs. Your most humble servant, 

William Gooch. 

" Williamsburg, JYovember 4th, 1738."1| 

So rapid was the settlement of the Valley, and so steadily 
flowed the tide of emigration from Pennsylvania toward its 

* Organ began to hold religious meetings about 1730, on the Northern Neck, 
between the Potomac and Rappahannoc rivers. 
fit was set up in 1743. Miller's Rodgers, p. 35. 
jSpence, p. 86. 
J Hill's Hist. p. 155. 
II Min. Syn. p. 145. 


south-western boundary, that it was found necessary, this year, 
(1738,) to lay off all the country, west of the Blue Ridge, into 
two new counties ; Frederick, which comprised the northern 
portion, and Augusta, the southern : Rockbridge county, (so 
called from its famous curiosity, the Natural Bridge,) was not 
set off till long after (1777).* The charming valleys and ver- 
dant nooks, embosomed among the various mountain ranges, 
were soon dotted with thriving farms ; for the agricultural life 
was decidedly preferred to being pent up in towns. At this 
period there were but two cabins where Winchester now 
stands ; nor was that town incorporated till 1752; and even at 
the commencement of the Revolution it contained only 800 
inhabitants. Staunton was not established by law till 1761, nor 
Lexington till 1777.t 

The population of the fertile county of Frederick, which was 
first settled, owing to its contiguity to Pennsylvania, was of a 
mixed sort, consisting of Germans, Quakers, and Irish Presbyte- 
rians. The latter planted themselves along the larger water- 
courses ; Back Creek, the South Branch of Potomac, the North 
Mountain, Cedar Creek, and Opequon Creek. Here lived the 
ancestors of the Glasses, the Aliens, the Vances, the Kerfoots, 
the Whites, the Russells, the Blackburns, and the Wilsons.J 

A great part of this region, lying between the North Moun- 
tain and the Shenandoah river, although 'now adorned with the 
finest forest trees, was, at the period described, a spacious prairie, 
barren of timber, but clothed with the richest herbage ; on which 
herds of buffalo, elk, and deer luxuriated. It was consequently 
a favorite hunting-ground, or " Middle Ground," of the Indians, 
who loved to resort thither to pursue the chase.§ 

While the fat lands of the Shenandoah were eagerly occu- 
pied by Germans, who long retained the primitive di'ess and 
manners of their father-land, Augusta county was settled by a 
homogeneous Scotch-Irish population from Pennsylvania, gene- 
rally respectable for intelligence and piety. They settled main- 
ly on Beverly's and Burden's grants. Beverly was a resident 
of Eastern Virginia, who had obtained a grant for a large quan- 

* Kercheval's Hist, of the Valley of Virginia, pp. 233, 236. 
f Kerchcval, pp. 238, 241 , 243. The original tovvnplot of Lexington was on a 
diminutive scale. It was to be laid off 1,300 feet in length, and 900 in width. 
X Kercheval, pp. 73, 81. 
I Kercheval. p. 69. 


tity of land, which he offered for sale at three pounds per 100 
acres. But Burden* had a tract of 92,000 acres adjoining, (cov- 
ering half of what is now Rockbridge county, from the North 
Mountain to the Blue Ridge,) and endeavored to underbid him, 
not only by giving more liberal credit, but promising fifty acres 
additional to every purchaser of 250. 

The first settlers on this tract were John McDowell, (Burden's 
Surveyor,) and his brother-in-law, James Greenlee, in 1737, 
near the present village of Fairfield. John McDowell was the 
ancestor of the McDowells of Kentucky, and of the distinguish- 
ed statesman and orator. Governor James McDowell. Mary 
Greenlee, his sister, attained the age of a hundred years and 
upwards ; and was known through two or three generations, 
(like Mrs. Grant's Aunt Schuyler, of Albany,) by the familiar 
appellation of Aunt Mary. None of the original owners of 
these great tracts seem to have had in view the extension of 
the gospel, civilization, or literature, or any aim beyond the 
mere acquisition of property : but in consequence of this the 
inhabitants were left to their religious liberty without interfer- 

Among the early settlers of this region may also be mentioned 
two brothers, by the names of Robert and Archibald Alexander. 
Robert was a graduate of Dublin University, and a good classi- 
cal scholar. He taught the first Latin School west of the Blue 
Ridge. His brother Archibald was the agent of Benjamin Bur- 
den, Jr., and drew up all his conveyances, which were very 

* Benjamin Burden was of German extraction, from the colony of New Jer- 
sey. Being agent of Lord Fairfax for the Neck, he was induced to visit the 
Valley in 1736 ; and was so well pleased that he secm-ed patents on his own ac- 
count, from Governor Gooch, for 500,000 acres ; having ingratiated himself by 
the present of a fine young buffalo calf. His grant comprised several valuable 
tracts of land in Frederick and Augusta ; one of which is the 92,000 acre tract 
above mentioned. He was required to import, and place on said land, one settler 
for every 1000 acres. His number proving deficient, notwithstanding his liberal 
inducements, he had recourse to a stratagem. When the King's Commissioner 
arrived, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the stipulation had been com- 
plied with, he found ninety-two cabins, indeed, and was made to believe there 
were as many settlers. A man, having received his instructions, was stationed 
at cabin No. 1, and the Commissioner, riding by with Burden's agent, took note 
of liim accordingly. The Commissioner was then taken by a circuitous route 
through the woods to cabin No. 2, where the same man who had been seen at 
No. 1, again presented himself, disguised in a different dress ; and was set down 
as another settler. Thus the same individual was counted several times over. 
— MS. Letters of the late Edward Graham, of Lexington, Va., to the Author, 
letter I. For further particulars of Burden, see Howe's Hist. Collections of 
Va., pp. 452, 453. f Graham, Lett. I. 


complicated, and are now regarded as a great curiosity. He 
was the grandfather of Dr. Archibald Alexander, of Princeton. 
He rendered himself very useful in patronizing promising young 
men, lending them suitable books, giving them judicious ad- 
vice, and endeavoring to make them intelligent and respectable 
members of society.* Besides the McDowells and Alexanders, 
may be mentioned the families of the Pattons, the Moores, the 
Telfords, the Matthewses, the Prestons, the Paxtons, the Lyles, 
the Stuarts, the Crawfords, the Cumminses, the Browns, the 
Wallaces, the Willsons, the Carutherses, the Campbells, the 
McCampbells, the McClungs, the McCues, the McKees, the 
McCouns, &c. An austere, thoughtful race, they preferred the 
peaceful pursuits of agriculture to the wild license of the hunt- 
er's life, and constituted a manly and virtuous yeomanry ; of 
whom Washington is reported to have said, that should all his 
plans be crushed, and but a single standard left him, he would 
plant that standard on the Blue Ridge, make the mountain 
heights his barrier, and rallying round him the noblest patriots 
of the Valley, found, under better auspices, a new republic in the 

More fortunate than the Dissenters in " the Ancient Domin- 
ion," the Presbyterians of the Valley enjoyed, from their first 
settlement, the liberty of worshipping God according to the 
custom of their forefathers, unnoticed and unmolested. This 
immunity is not to be ascribed either to the leniency of the 
Government, as some have pretended, since the laws were 
severe and their enforcement rigid ;J nor to the tolerant temper 

* Graham, Letter VI. f Howe's Hist. Coll. of Va. p. 453. 

I By the law of 1618, absentees from the parish church were punished by a 
fine and a night in the stocks, and, for the third offence, by being made slaves 
to the Colony for a year and a day. Grahame's Hist, of the U. S., vol. i., p, 
165 ; Holmes' Amer. Annals, vol. i., p. 194 ; Burk's Hist, of Va., app. p. xiv ; 
Stith's Hist, of Va. p. 148. Dr. Hawks has adduced, in proof of the liberality 
of the government, its indulgence to tlie French refugees and German emi- 
grants. Hist, of the Prot. Episc. Church in Virginia, pp. 78, 81, 94. Yet the 
same pen has recorded the banishment of the Congregational Missionaries in 
1643, p. 53; the subsequent imprisonment of many of the congregation they had 
gathered, and the expulsion of the pastor Harrison, p. 57 ; the heavy fines im- 
posed upon the Quakers, p. 68; the imprisonment of the Baptists, p. 121 ; the 
repeated fining of Mr. Moms and the Presbyterians, p. 107 ; and the frequent 
and vexatious opposition of the Colonial Courts to Mr. Davies' claim to the 
extension of the Act of Toleration, even when lie was provided with a license, 
p. 109. It is not in this instance alone thattliis historian has given facts a color- 
ing favorable to his prejudices ; his brethren of his own sect have censured the 
neglect with which he has treated the memory of that devoted servant of 
Christ, the Rev. Mr. Jarratt, because he was not a High-Churchman. 


of the established clergy, who always showed suf^cient alert- 
ness in rousing the secular arm,* while many of them were so 
dissolute as to be a disgrace to their calling.f It was rather 
owing, in part, to their secluded situation and remoteness 
from the seat of government, and, in part, to the absence of 

Presbyterian congregations existed in the Valley of Virginia 
very early in the last century, though they were not supplied 
with the ministrations of regular pastors until long afterward. 
" The People of Potomoke," believed to be identical with the 
congregations of Falling Water and Tuscarora, near the 
present town of Martinsburg, were supplied by the Synod of 
Philadelphia at their request, in 1719.§ In compliance with 
their desire to have " an able gospel minister to settle among 
them," the Rev. Daniel Magill|| was appointed to visit and 
preach to them, with a view to settlement ; and, after a stay of 
some months, he reported, the following year, that he had " put 
the people into church order." This is the earliest authentic 
notice we have of a regularly organized congregation in the 

* Taylor's Lives, pp. 79, 121, 122, 143, 148 ; Kercheva], pp. 87, 88 ; Miller's 
Rodgers, p. 47. 

f Most of the established clergy felt no interest in the Church beyond the 
16,000 pounds of tobacco, which constituted their annual stipend; and which, 
at ten shillings per hundred, was worth £80, but generally double that sum. 
Beverley, apud Burk, vol. ii., app. p. xiii. Tliey gave themselves up to worldly 
and frivolous amusements, such as horse-racing, cock-fighting, fox-hunting and 
carousing. Hawks, pp. 65, 117, 120. Such were the men to whom Jane Tay- 
lor's sarcasm may, with too much truth, be applied : 

" Who, while they hate the Goi!;;ri, love the Church." 

X " On the west side of the Blue Ridge, a large proportion of the first settlers 
were dissenters. Nor did they, as far as I can learn, ever meet with any serious 
obstructions from government." Dr. Hoge's Letter in 1813, apud Campbell's 
Hist, of Virginia, p. 304. Dr. Hawks admits that " tliey were so far 
removed from the seat of the Colonial government, that tliey encountered but 
little opposition from the ruling powers." Hist. p. 99. 

\ Min. Syn. Phil., pp. 65, 58. " It is said that the spot where Tuscarora 
Meeting-House now stands, in the county of Berkley, is the first place where the 
gospel was publicly preached and divine service performed west of the Blue 
Ridge. This was, and still continues, a Presbyterian edifice. . . . There 
was a house erected for public worship at the P^'alling Water, about the same 
time that the Tuscarora Meeting-House was built. Both these Churches are 
now under the pastoral care of the Rev. James M. Brown." Kercheval, p. 83. 
It is worthy of examination, however, whether " the people of Potomoke" may 
not be identical with a congregation in Fauquier, long since extinct. 

II Mr. Magill came from Scotland in 1713, at the solicitation of some Scotch 
merchants in London, who were desirous of procuring a minister for their friends 
trading on the Patuxent, or Upper Marlboro'. He ministered among them till 
his mission to Virginia in 1719. Glances at the Past, No. III. Presb. Apl. 18, 
1846. He was an austere man, but admired as a preacher. He died in 1723. 


A^'alley. Mr. Magill ministered so much to their satisfaction, 
that they sent up an urgent petition for his services as their 
pastor, hut he saw fit to dechne the call. 

OpEauoN, so called from the creek of that name, five miles 
south-west of Winchester, claims to be one of the oldest churches 
in the State, after those of Makemie's planting. The present 
stone edifice, which stands under the shade of a venerable old 
grove, is the third structure in which the congregation has 
worshipped. In the graveyard is a time-worn headstone, which 
tells that they who slumber beneath came from Ireland in 1737.* 
Around repose the ancestors of the Marcuses, the Gilkersons, 
the Aliens, the Vances, the Glasses, and the Hoges. The land 
was originally given by William Hoge, whose residence was 
adjoining, the uncle of the first pastor, and the grandfather of 
Dr. Moses Hoge.f 

The missionaries sent by the Synod of Philadelphia south- 
ward, used to stop and preach here ; among them, Mr. Robinson, 
on that famous tour which made him acquainted with 
Morris and his friends. The first minister of Opequon was the 
Rev. John Hoge, who served the congregation many years, 
until his removal to Pennsylvania, where he died. He was 
succeeded by Montgomery, Nash Legrand, Shannon, Chapman, 
&c. The Church has enjoyed many revivals of religion, espe- 
cially during the ministry of Mr. Legrand, when large additions 
were received. A great number shortly after migrated to Ken- 
tucky, and, while the Church they left was weakened by their 
removal, contributed to build up new congregations in that 
distant region. J 

The earliest congregation formed in Augusta county was 
Augusta Church, then known familiarly as the Stone Meeting - 

* The inscription, rudely chiselled, is almost obliterated and illegible. On 
one side it reads : " John Wilson inteked here the bodys of his 2 chh-der 
fc WIFE YD mother Mary-^ Marcus WHO DYED Agst THE 4th 1743 Aged 22 
YEARS." On the reverse, " From Irland July vi 1737 Coty Armaghs." The 
Rev. Mr. Foote informs me that none of the Iloges or Glasses came earlier 
than 1735; and that there is no evidence of any white settler in the county as 
early as 1730. 

f In the MS. Life of Dr. Moses Hoge, the Rev. John B. Hoge says that the 
Rev. Samuel Gclston, of Donegal Presbytery, was sent to Opequon (or Ope- 
quhon), in 1737, and probably at that time organized the Church. See those 
admirable papers. Glances at the Past, No. III., Prcsb. Apl. 18, 1846. But Mr. 
Gelston's name is not on the records of the Synod that year, nor is there any 
mention of such a mission. 

I Prot. and Herald, Jan. 12, 1843. 


House. It stands about eight miles below Staunton. Next 
was formed the congregation of Tinkling Spring, half-a-dozen 
miles east of the same place. They were originally a joint 
charge.* Their first pastor was the Rev. John Craig, a native 
of the North of Ireland, who was called in 1739, and ordained by 
the Presbytery of Donegal the following year. He served the 
two congregations, jointly, for twenty-five years, till 1764, when 
he relinquished the care of the latter, and confined his labors to 
Augusta alone. The people, whom he found few and poor and 
without order, he had the satisfaction of leaving a numerous 
and wealthy congregation, well able to support the Gospel, and 
of good repute. Mr. Craig espoused the Old Side, in the 
division of 1741, uniting with that party which was suspicious 
of the revival under Whitefield and the Tennants, and preferred 
cool, moderate, doctrinal preaching. He was a strong-minded 
diligent, and persevering minister, strictly orthodox, and yet 
pungent in the application of the truth to the conscience. His 
discourses were decidedly Calvinistic, and prepared in the old 
formal scholastic style, abounding in minute divisions and sub- 
divisions, verging to what, in these degenerate days, would be 
accounted tediousness.f He was considered a good man, and was 
much beloved by his people, his memory being to this day held 
in veneration in that region ; but he was lax in church discipline, 
the bad effects of which were felt long after his death.J After 

* Graham, Lett. I. 

f This is apparent from a perusal of the sermon before alhided to, the only 
one ever printed. The text was, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, " Yet he hath made with me an 
everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure ; for this is all my salvation, 
and all my desire." The sermon follows the exhaustive method, and contains 
fifty-five divisions and subdivisions. The style is plain, unadorned, and stren- 
uous ; and it is a manly testimony to Calvinism. See Bait. Mag., vol. vi., p. 
642. Mr. Craig walked five miles to his church. The morning service con- 
tinued from 10 o'clock till 12. After an hour's recess, the afternoon service 
lasted from 1 o'clock till sunset ; and sometimes it was so late that the Clerk 
found it difficult to read the last psalm. Graham, Lett. VIIL 

\ An anecdote is told of his having been sent by Hanover Presbytery to 
organize churches and ordain elders, among the settlements on New River and 
Holstein. On his return he reported a surprising number of elders whom he 
had ordained ; and on being questioned how he found suitable materials for so 
many, he replied, in his rich brogue, " Whei'e I nulna get heum staites, I tiik 
dornacks." A dornack is a rough mis-shapen stone, generally rejected by 
builders. Graham, Lett. VIIL Another anecdote may be inserted here, on 
the same authority, illustrative of the indomitable pertinacity which formed a 
prominent characteristic of himself and his people. Tinkling Spring Meeting- 
House was built upon a pleasant hill, with a beautiful clear spring gushing 
from its side, which gave rise to the name. Mr. Craig was opposed to the site, 
preferring another, more central. When he found himself overruled, he declared 


Braddock's defeat, when the frontier lay exposed to the incur- 
sions of the savages, Mr. Craig, with his characteristic resolute- 
ness, refused to fly, and encouraged his people to remain and 
build stockades for their protection. Augusta Church was 
fortified with mounds and ditches, the remains of which are seen 
to this day. The inhabitants, in consequence of these precautions, 
maintained possession of their cabins and clearings with but little 
loss, although the Redskins were often seen prowling in the 
vicinity. The constant uneasiness and alarm in which they 
were kept, may be inferred from the fact of all the men carrying 
their rilles to church with them, and posting sentries on the 

Owing to their distance from Philadelphia, Mr. Craig, and 
other ministers residing in the Valley of A^irginia, (and, indeed, 
the whole Presbytery of Hanover), were frequently absent from 
the meetings of the Synod. The Synod, however, were very 
tenacious on this point, and insisted on more punctual attend- 
ance, even threatening to disown them. In consequence of this 
threat, Messrs. Craig and Black made their appearance in 1759, 
the year after the reunion of the Synods of New York and 
Philadelphia ; but although Mr. Craig's name ocasionally appears 
after this on missionary appointments or an installation, he 
never met again with the Synod. His death took place fifteen 
years afterwards, in April, 1774.f 

The Rev. William Wilson, a pupil of Mr. Graham, succeed- 
ed Mr. Craig in the pastoral charge of Augusta Church. J Mr. 
Wilson taught a Grammar School also ; and was so familiar 
with the Greek and Latin classics, that, by the help of an 
extraordinary memory, he could repeat a large part of Homer 
and Virgil by heart. After him Dr. Conrad Speece was 
chosen pastor. Dr. Speece was of German extraction. His 
precocious talents attracted the notice of the late Edward 
Graham, brother of the Rector; who, with some difficulty, 
extorted permission from his father to educate him without 
compensation. His progress in the Latin Grammar was very 
slow, but this was owing to the analytical turn of his mind, 

in the heat of his feelings, " that none of that water should ever tinkle down his 
throat." The vow, so rashly made, was, nevertheless, scrupr.lously kept ; and, 
though he afterwards was known to rinse his parched moutli in midsummer, he 
never permitted himself to swallow a drop. 

* Viator, Prot. and Her. June 13, 1844. 

t Min. Syn. N. Y. and Phil. pp. 289, 451. 

I Graham, Lett, II. Dr. Alexander's lietter, Prot. and Her. vol, X. No. 36. 


which examined and compared the various parts carefully, 
so that when he had reached the end, he was a thorough 
master of the philosophy of the language, and in six months 
was able to read a Latin book with ease. This was about 
the age of fourteen. He was afterwards engaged as a tutor 
in Hampden Sydney, during which time his mind was trou- 
bled on the subject of immersion, and he joined the Baptists. 
They immediately set him to preaching, but it was not very 
long before he became alienated from his new creed and con- 
nection, and gladly returned to the Presbyterian Church. After 
his licensure by Hanover Presbytery he preached in Montgom- 
ery county, and for some years in Powhatan, when he was 
called to Augusta Church ; in the charge of which congregation 
he continued till his death, in 1835. Dr. Speece was a man of 
extensive reading, extraordinary abilities, and notwithstanding 
his gross and unwieldy habit, of a refined taste and tender feel- 
ings. He was a fine classical and belles-lettres scholar ; and he 
possessed a remarkably choice and valuable library, which he 
intended to bequeath to some literary institution, but his sudden 
decease frustrated the design. A collection of fugitive essays of 
his was published under the title of " The Mountaineer." His 
fluency and correctness in public speaking were astonishing ; and 
he reprobated the practice of committing sermons to memory. 
In deliberative bodies his judgment was habitually deferred to, 
and his opinions carried great weight. The attributes of his 
mind were comprehension, clearness, and force. He never at- 
tempted the pathetic, but his forte was convincing argument, of 
the cumula,tive sort, ending in an overpowering climax. His 
foible was the opposite of prodigality ; a habit probably induced 
by the narrowness of his early circumstances. He was suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. William Brown, who still sustains the pas- 
toral relation. 

Upon the retirement of Mr. Craig from Tinkling Spring, in 
1764, the congregation invited, as his successor, the Rev. Jambs 
Waddel,D. D., since immortalized by the elegant pen of Mr. Wirt, 
as " The Blind Preacher." Mr. Waddel declined the call at that 
time, but on its being renewed in 177G, (during which interval 
of twelve years the Church had lain vacant,) he accepted it, his 
shattered health requiring the bracing mountain air.* 

* Memoir of Dr. Waddel, by his grandson, Dr. James W. Alexander, No. II. 
Watchman of the South, and Prot. and Her. Oct. 24th, 1844. 


This celebrated divine was born in the North of Ireland, in 
1739, but emigrated to Western Pennsylvania at an early age. 
He was educated at Dr. Finlay's Nottingham Academy, and 
designed to practice medicine, but encountering Mr, Daviess, 
was dissuaded from his purpose. He then studied theology with 
the Rev. John Todd, and was licensed in 1762. He preached 
with great acceptance on the Northern Neck, till his constitu- 
tion was ruined by the fever of the country. He then removed 
to Tinkling Spring Church, where his health was soon restored. 
At this period of his life he was remarkable for his tall and erect 
person, his dignified and graceful mien, and his elegant man- 

He was a man of strong character, and great personal intre- 
pidity, which was not only exemplified in his boldness in the 
pulpit, but in some signal instances of patriotic zeal during the 
revolutionary war. 

In 1783, Mr. Waddel organized a congregation at Staunton, 
to whom he preached on alternate Sabbaths. The joint salary 
was forty-five pounds. Two or three years after, he removed 
to an estate of a thousand acres he had purchased in Louisa, 
where he taught a select school, of which the late Gov. Barbour, 
David Rice, and Meriwether Lewis, the explorer of the Rocky 
Mountains, were pupils. He was a fine classical scholar, and 
had a keen relish for literature. After his removal to Louisa, 
he lost his sight from cataract, but still continued to preach ; 
and it was during this period that Mr. Wirt was thrilled by his 
eloquence in the secluded little Church in Orange county. He 
died September 17th, 1805. 

The testimonies to Dr. Waddel's surpassing eloquence are 
numerous and unquestionable. Like his celebrated compeer, 
Patrick Henry, he had, in early life, caught inspiration from the 
lips of the seraphic Davieg.f His oratory was simple, majestic 
and impassioned. It glowed with the peculiar fire of the South. 
It was of that sort that electrifies an audience, and sways their 
emotions at will, as the trees of the forest bend before the wind. 
Now, he rebuked the formalist with stinging sarcasm ; now, he 

f When Henry was a lad, ho used to drive Iiis mother in a gig to tlie places 
in Hanover where Mr. Davies preached ; and, in after life, was in the hahit of 
speaking of the eloquence which he then heard, as closely connected with his 
own successful efforts. Memoir, No. III. 


swept away the objections of infidelity with a torrent of scornful 
argument ; now, he portrayed the scenes of sacred story with 
such vividness and delicacy of touch, that everything seemed, by 
a startling illusion, to be taking place that very moment ; now, 
he dwelt on the passion of our Lord with such melting pathos, 
and faltering voice, that his hearers and himself were carried 
away by an irrepressible gush of feeling ; and groans, sobs and 
shrieks burst from the whole congregation. 

Governor Barbour was his enthusiastic admirer, and declared 
that he surpassed all orators whom he had ever known. Patrick 
Henry himself pronounced Davies and Waddel the greatest ora- 
tors of the age. But the most memorable tribute to his genius 
was that paid by Wirt, in the description of " The Blind Preach- 
er," in his British Spy, * which is so familiar to every one, as to 
require but a bare allusion in this place. In regard to this ad- 
mirable portraiture, Mr. Wirt was afterwards known to say, that 
so far from heightening its colors, he had rather fallen below the 
truth. He hesitated not to express his persuasion that, in a dif- 
ferent species of oratory, Waddel was fully equal to Patrick 
Henry. In him were blended "the poet's hand and prophet's 

The next congregation, in time, of which we have any intima- 
tion is the neighboring one of Rockfish, at the gap and river of 
the same name. About 1744, the Rev. Samuel Black was set- 
tled here. He had been ordained by the Presbytery of Donegal 
eight years before, and had been employed in preaching in Penn- 
sylvania. Having sustained the pastoral relation at Rockfish for 
the long period of twenty-seven years, he died in 1771. f 

In 1750, a supplication appears on the Minutes of the Synod 
of Philadelphia, from Brown Meeting-House, in Augusta, under 
the North Mountain ; and a committee was appointed to visit 

* Letters of a British Spy, Lett. VII. Mr. Wirt allowed himself some license 
in grouping- to'jether circunistantials of time, place and manner, whicli he had 
noticed on various occasions, being well acquainted with Dr. W. and his family. 
For example, lie represented him as preaching in a white linen cap. This was, 
indeed, a part of his costume at home, but when he went abroad he always wore 
a full-bottomed white wio-. Neither was the name of Dr. Waddel so unknown 
in Virginia, as tlie " Spy" intimated. Among a particular class, indeed — tlie ex- 
treme High Church party — who make it a point to know nothing out of their 
own contracted circle, such ignorance is very conceivable. Memoir, No. III. 

t Min. Syn. Phil. pp. 129, 411. Hodge, vol. ii. p. 258. Rockfish was not, 
indeed, in the Valley, properly speaking, but was on its edge, and settled by the 
overflow of its population. 



them, and regulate their affairs ; but the committee not coming 
together, nothing wa§ done. It is the same with the present 
church of Hebroi% It was afterwards divided into two congre- 
gations, in the time of the Rev. Ahchibald Scott, a native of 
Scotland, who was educated in Princeton College, and studied 
theology with the Rev. William Graham.* He is said to have 
been originally a laboring man, and to have pored over his book 
while his horses were feeding. He afterwards conducted an 
academy, in Augusta county, of high reputation, at which Dr. 
Campbell laid the foundation of his accurate scholarship.f Mr. 
Scott was greatly esteemed in his day. The ministerial charac- 
ter seems hereditary in his family, as a son and grandson of his 
are both in the sacred office in Virginia. 

In 1753, Mr. Alexander Miller, from the parish of Ardstraw, 
in Ireland, applied to the Synod to be admitted as a minister. 
He acknowledged that he had been degraded from the sacred 
office by every Irish court, up to that of the last resort ; but com- 
plained of having been hardly and unjustly treated. The Synod 
declined receiving him until they should better understand the 
facts in his case, and warned all their societies not to give him 
encouragement until his character should be cleared. In 1755, 
he again appeared before the Synod, and begged them to pro- 
cure a reconciliation between the Synod of Dungannon, or the 
Presbytery of Letterkenny, and himself; and for this purpose, 
he delivered in wi-iting a penitential acknowledgment, to be trans- 
mitted to them ; which was done. The next year a supplication 
was received from the congregations of Cook's Creek and Peeked 
Mountain,^ (near Harrisonburg,) requesting that Mr. Miller 
might be received, and installed as their pastor. The Synod 
ordered, that in case the Synod of Ireland should either send no 
answer that summer, or inform them of his submission being ac- 
cepted, Messrs. Black and Craig should receive him as a member 
and instal him, provided they should find his conduct in that part 
of Christ's vineyard such as became a gospel minister. This 
installation, it is worthy of note, was ordered by a synodical act 
and conducted by a committee of Synod. No Presbytery ap- 

* Min. Syn. Phil. pp. 19G, 198 ; Graham, Letter II., VIII. f Bishop p. 214. 
I Or, Pecked Mountain, as it is spelled in the Minutes. This is supposed to 
be the same with Mossy Creek congregation. 


pears to have been consulted on the occasion. Whether the 
necessary information failed to reach the committee, or whether 
further delay was deemed advisable, nothing^vas done ; and the 
next year, (1'757,) on the people of Cook's Creek and Pecked 
Mountain renewing their supplication, the Synod unanimously 
received Mr. Miller, and directed Mr. Craig to instal him accord- 
ingly, before the first of August ensuing. Mr. Craig was also 
directed to give him to understand that he ought to be content 
with the bounds fixed by the committee of installation. This 
brief intimation seems to foreshadow the possibility of the new 
member giving trouble. 

Eight years afterward, the Presbytery of Hanover, finding 
crimes of an atrocious nature justly laid to his charge, deposed 
Mr. Miller from the ministry. After waiting four years he ap- 
pealed to Synod, and on their declining to reverse the sentence, 
and requiring the Presbytery and himself to appear before 
them at their next meeting, (he meantime being suspended from 
the ministerial office,) he handed in a paper, in which he re- 
nounced the authority of the Synod. Hereupon the Synod 
declared him no longer a member of their body ; and forbade 
all their Presbyteries and congregations to employ him.* 

The population of the Valley had increased so rapidly by the 
middle of the century, as to have far outstripped the supply of 
the means of grace ; and their destitution formed a constant 
subject of anxiety to both the Synods — that of Philadelphia and 
that of New York. In the year 1742, in consequence of the 
earnest entreaty " of several of the back inhabitants of Vir- 
ginia," to that effect, the Synod of Philadelphia sent a letter to 
the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, and the next 
year another, laying before them the low and melancholy con- 
dition of the infant Church in America, both for want of proba- 
tioners and ministers in their vacancies and new settlements, and 
entreating that such might be sent them, and supported in part 
out of the Assembly's fund for some years. A modest sugges- 
tion was added that they would be pleased to furnish the means 
in some measure, or by some method, of erecting a seminary for 
educating young men for these ends among themselves. Some 
gentlemen of influence in Virginia were likewise addressed, and 

* Min. Syn. Phil. pp. 209, 217, 222, 224. Min. Syn. N. Y. and Phil. pp. 394, 396, 


requested to further the application to the Assembly.* Two 
years afterward the Synod established a school, and appointed 
Dr. Francis Alison its master, with a salary of twenty pounds per 

For a series of years, (from 1748,) the Synod of Philadelphia 
annually sent missionaries into the Valley of Virginia ; some- 
times two, to labor two weeks, three weeks, or three months, 
each ; sometimes three, to spend three months each, in succes- 
sion ; in 1756, John Allison to supply Virginia and North Caro- 
lina during the fall and winter; and in 1774, two to labor one 
year each, in addition to other assistance.! The settled minis- 
ters of the Valley were not exempted from their turns. Mr. 
Craig was several times appointed to such services. In 1751, he 
was sent to supply Roanoke, Reedy Cbeek, and the South 
Branch of the Potomac ; in 1752, agreeably to their request, 
to the contiguous congregations of North and South Moun- 
tains, Timber Grove, (which we shall presently meet with again, 
under the name of Timber Ridge,) North River, Cook's Creek, 
John Hinson's, and other vacancies ; in connection with Messrs. 
McCannan and Kinkead. In 1757, we find him sent to Brown's, 
North and South Mountains, and Calf-Pasture settlements, 
all within convenient reach, with several vacancies in North 
Carolina ; to preach one Sabbath at each of the forementioned 
places, and to lesser congregations as often as possible. J 

Meantime the rival and energetic Synod of New York was not 
idle ; and thus, though Christ was preached of contention, as in 
Paul's time, yet every pious heart will rejoice with Paul, that, 
notwithstanding every way, Christ was preached. In 1743, oc- 
curred the never-to-be-forgotten mission of Mr. Robinson, which 
was attended by so many romantic incidents, and which opened 
the way for Mr. Davies' subsequent success. Mr. Robinson had 
been ordained by the Presbytery of New Brunswick as an Evan- 
gelist, for the express purpose of visiting the frontier settlements 
in Virginia and Carolina. It was while engaged in this work, 
that one of the inhabitants of Augusta county, going into the 
lower counties for salt and iron, met some of the attendants 

* Min. Syn. Phil. pp. 1G2, (this was done by the Commission of Synod,) 169. 
t Min. Syn. Phil. pp. 191, 192, 194, 196, 198, 204, 209, 210, 214, 219, 460. 
j Min. Syn. Phil. pp. 198, 204, 225. 


upon Mr. Morris' new " Reading-house," and entering into re- 
ligious conversation with them, found a surprising coincidence 
of sentiment. Learning that they attended none of the parish 
churches, because the Gospel was not preached there and there 
were then no other churches to resort to, he informed them of 
Mr. Robinson's late acceptable visit, and recommended them to 
procure his services, which they accordingly did.* 

Although the attention of the Synod of New York was princi- 
pally directed to the new and inviting field opened to them in 
Hanover, the wants of the Valley were not neglected. But so 
great was the destitution beyond the power of the Synod to sup- 
ply, that they wrote to the Eastern Association of Fairfield, in 
Connecticut, in 1749, requesting them, if possible, to send a min- 
ister or ministers to labor in Virginia and Maryland.! Thus 
we have curiously illustrated the sympathies of the Old and New 
Side parties. While the Synod of New York wrote to the 
brethren in New England, the Synod of Philadelphia, as we 
have seen, supplicated the Kirk of Scotland. The same sympa- 
thies were exhibited again in as striking a manner about a cen- 
tury later, by the Old and New Schools. 

It is obvious from these statements, that the ecclesiastical 
bodies then in being, both Synods and Presbyteries, felt a deep 
and anxious solicitude to extend the blessings of the preached 
Gospel to the destitute ; and through their exertions much mis- 
sionary labor was performed. The fatigue and exposure en- 
dured in the discharge of this duty were very great, and hardly 
to be appreciated at the present day, when every facility is af- 
forded to travelling, and the mountain recesses of Western Vir- 
ginia have been converted into fashionable watering-places. 

In those early days the missionary was often compelled to 
scale precipitous heights, to dive into tangled valleys, to ford 
swollen streams, and to ride in drenching rains. There were 
occasions, too, when his life was in jeopardy from hostile Indians. 
In 1756, 1757, and 1758, after Braddock's defeat, the mission- 
aries appointed to the southward, found it impracticable to itine- 
rate, in consequence of " the difficulties and dangers of the 

Bishop's Mem. of Rice, pp. 32-37. f Min. Svn. N. Y., p. 238. 

X Min. Syn. N. Y., pp. 271, 279, 282. 


As both the Old and New Side missionaries sometimes visit- 
ed the same congregations, it is not unlikely that they occasion- 
ally came into collision vv^ith each other.* Just after the Great 
Schism, there was no small exacerbation of feeling ; as appears 
from the address of the Synod of Philadelphia to Gov. Gooch, on 
the occasion of Mr. Roan's indiscreet attacks upon the establish- 
ment in the lower counties, in 1744. Apprehensive that their 
congregations in the Valley might be involved in the punishment 
threatened by the government, the Synod were very forward to 
clear themselves of all supposable connection with the body, (the 
New Side Presbytery of Newcastle,) that had commissioned 
Mr. Roan. The pretenders to " New Light," of whom the gov- 
ernor bitterly complained, as " blaspheming our sacraments, and 
reviling our excellent liturgy," were described as persons sent 
abroad by a party whom they had excluded, and whose object 
was, in a spirit of rivalry, " to divide and trouble the Churches." 
This elicited a reply from the governor, in which he warmly dis- 
claimed any thought of confounding the fanatical itinerants com- 
plained of with men of their education and profession ; and 
assured them that their missionaries, on the exhibition of proper 
testimonials, should always be sure of his protection.f 

The lapse of a few years brought about a more friendly feel- 
ing, and smoothed down these asperities. In 1756, when Mr. 
Alison was sent to Virginia and North Carolina, the Synod of 
Philadelphia charged him and his fellow-missionaries to promote 
peace and unity among the societies in public and in private ; 
to avoid whatever might tend to foment divisions and party 
spirit ; and to treat every minister of the Gospel from the Synod 
of New York, of the like principles and pacific temper, in a bro- 
therly manner. A copy of these instructions was sent to the 
Synod of New York, in the hope of inducing that body to adopt 

* In 1748 the Synod of New York received a supplication for a probationer 
from Cedar Creek, and a call for Mr. Dean from Timber Ridge ; Min. Syn. N. 
Y., p. 236. Four years after, (in 1752,) we find Mr. Craig and others appoint- 
ed by the Synod of Philadelphia to visit the very same congregations. Min. Syn. 
Phil. p. 204. 

f That. Mr. Roan was indiscreet, and indulged in severe denunciations of the 
established clergy, in a widely different style from Mr. Davies, is admitted in 
Morris' Narrative, Campbell's Hist., p. 297, Miller's Rodgers, p. 41. The 
charge of the governor to the Grand Jury, the Address of the Synod, and the 
Governor's Reply, may be seen in the printed minutes, Syn. Phil. pp. 180, 181, 


a similar course.* A reunion took place two years after- 

In the foregoing sketch of missionary operations, we have met 
with the congregations of New Providence, Falling Spring, 
Timber Ridge, (so called from a noble forest of oaks that crown- 
ed its summit,) and the Forks of James River, as early as 1748 ; 
in which year each of them was already in a condition to bear 
their part in settling a pastor. Falling Spring and New Provi- 
dence, (which was so called to distinguish it from Providence 
Church in Louisa, organized by Mr. Davies, and afterwards un- 
der the care of Mr. Todd,) invited Mr. Eliab Byram, of New 
England, a missionary sent to supply them, who saw fit to 
decline. Timber Ridge and James River invited Mr. Dean, 
who died a few months afterwards. f In 1753, the Rev. John 
Brown, a native of Ireland, and a popular young preacher of 
the New Side, who had graduated at Nassau Hall, took charge 
of the united congregations of New Providence and Timber 
Ridge. J About the year 1776, he relinquished the latter, and 
confined his labors to New Providence alone. Mr. Brown, 
after having been pastor of New Providence Church for forty- 
four years,§ and having seen a considerable portion of his flock, 
as well as several youthful missionaries — whom, in their infancy, 
he had baptized with his own hand — bending their steps to Ken- 
tucky, removed thither himself in the decline of life, in the year 
1797.11 He died in 1803, at the age of seventy-five, and his dust 
reposes in Pisgah graveyard. Of his sons, the Hon. James 
Brown and the Hon. John Brown rose to distinction in the 
political world, the former being for some years Minister at the 
Court of France ; the latter. Secretary of State and a United 
States' Senator ; while Dr. Samuel Brown was, at one time, a 
shining ornament of the Medical department of Transylvania 

* Min. Syn. Phil. p. 219. f Min. Syn. N. Y. p. 236. 

I The call, after the lapse of near a century, is still in existence, being in the 
possession of his grandson, Orlando Brown, Esq., of Frankfort, Ky. This relic 
of antiquity is signed by 117 males, many of whose names may now be found 
perpetuated in Kentucky. It was carried to the Presbytery of Newcastle by 
Messrs. Andrew Steel and Archibald Alexander as Commissioners ; and depict- 
ed in lively colors the desolate condition in which they had lain for many years, 
through the privation of the word and ordinances. 

5 Such is the statement upon his tombstone. 

II Marshall's Hist, of Ky. vol. i. p. 316. Rice's Evangel, and Lit. Mag. vol. 
iv. p. 254. ^ 


Each of the two congregations just named erected a commo- 
dious church, of stone, in the year 175G. The first thing the 
settlers did, after putting up temporary cabins to shelter their 
families, was to build a larger cabin for a place of worship ; but 
when the settlement had somewhat increased, this was super- 
seded by a more substantial and permanent structure. It is 
interesting to trace the steps of these hardy pioneers in their 
zeal to<iecure the decent maintenance of religious ordinances. 
As in Solomon's time, the congregation distributed themselves 
into companies ; one of which underto<5k to quarry and haul the 
stone ; another, to furnish the lime and sand, which had to be 
conveyed in sacks from a distance over bad roads, (and this 
duty is said to have been undertaken by the women of the con- 
gregation ;) a third, to furnish the heavy timber, the joists and 
rafters ; a fourth, to supply the plank and shingles ; a fifth, to 
procure imported nails and hinges, which was the most difficult 
task of all. Thus, by contributing their personal labor, they suc- 
ceeded in rearing churches, which, for their comparatively am- 
ple dimensions, might well be the admiration of the traveller, 
and which, after the lapse of near a century, stand to this day ; 
unincumbered by those ruinous Church debts, which in our time 
hang upon so many congregations like an incubus. Money was 
then an exceedingly scarce article, and deerskins, furs, and but- 
ter, were used for barter.* 

Hall's Meeting-House CoNCREGATioNf was very extensive, 
reaching from the foot of the North Mountain nearly to the Blue 
Ridge. It is this locality which the Synod of Philadelphia sup- 
pHed in 1752, under the name of the North River Congregation, 
so called from a small stream running near Lexington. The 
name is now extinct ; the Church of New Monmouth occupying 

* Graham, Lett. 11. VIIL Hall's Meeting-HouPe was a large framed build- 
ing ; so were Falling Spring and Ilighbridge. Oxford was constructed of logs, 
arranged in the form of a Greek cross, with eight corners ; as they could not 
procure single logs of sufficient length to build a four-cornered house of the size 
required. Graham, Lett. IL Lexington Church was built, under Mr. Graham's 
snperintendance, of brick. There arc now nine, or more, churches in Rock- 
bridge county, all built either of brick or stone, and regularly pewed ; some of 
them spacious. Mr. Graham's influence, in this respect, was very happy. 
Rice's Mag. vol. iv. p. 262. 

t Min. Syn. Phil. p. 204. The name, " Mecting-House Congregation," ia 
sufficiently awkward ; but it must be borne in mind that at tliat time the digni- 
fied title of " Church" was monopolized by the established clergy for the parish 
houses of worship. 


the old site, while the south-eastern portion of the congregation 
constituted the Church of Lexington. In 1774, a petition was 
presented to the Synod from the united congregations of Timber 
Ridge and Hall's Meeting-House, representing the destitute 
condition of the Churches in those parts, and earnestly requesting 
supplies ; especially of candidates who might be likely to 
settle among them.* The Rev. William Graham, then recently 
licensed, and a great favorite, was ordained their pastor m 177G. 
The Rev. John P. Campbell, M.D., who afterwards made a 
distinguished figure in Kentucky, was chosen his assistant in 
1792, and officiated for two or three years, till his removal to 
the State just named. About 1779, Mr. McConnel, a graduate 
of Princeton, took charge of the three congregations of Falling 
Spring, Oxford, and Highbridge ; all which Churches still exist 
under the same names.f 

The congregations of New Providence, Timber Ridge, Hall's 
Meeting-House, Falling Spring, Oxford, and Highbridge, 
(Natural Bridge,) were all situated in Rockbridge county, which 
was settled somewhat later than Augusta, (being erected into a 
county in 1777,) and the people were more thoroughly of the 
New Side. Many of them had participated in the revival of 
religion under the preaching of Whitefield, the Tennants, and 
Blair. They were ardent and zealous ; friendly to revivals, and 
fond of warm, pungent preaching. J Owing to this circumstance, 
and the superior activity and resources of the New York Synod, 
the majority of the Churches in the Valley, including OpEauoN 
and Cedar Creek, were attached to the New Side party. The 
Churches of Augusta, Tinkling Spring, Brown's Meeting- 
HousE,§ RocKFisH, Cooic's Creek, and Pecked Mountain, es- 
poused the Old Side. The last-named Churches were compre- 
hended in the Presbytery of Donegal ; those of the New Side in 
the Presbyteries of New Castle or Hanover. 

At the reunion in 1758, all the ministers in Virginia were 
comprised in Hanover Presbytery, except Mr. John Hoge, of 

* Min. Syn. N. Y. and Phil. p. 454. 

f Graham, Lett. II. Min. Syn. N. Y. and Phil. p. 516. J Graham, Lett. II. 

5 In the opinion of Dr. Alexander this was a New Side Church ; bnt as a 
supplication irom it appears on the minutes of the Old Side Synod of Philadel- 
phia, in 1750, and a committee was appointed to visit them, it is here retained. 
The congregation were probably divided. 


Opequon, who was attached to Donegal, But in 1788, the Old 
Synod was divided into four, viz : New York and New Jersey, 
Philadelphia, Virginia, and the Carolinas, constituting a General 
Assembly. The Synod of Virginia was composed of the Pres- 
bytery of Redstone, in Western Pennsylvania ; the Presbytery 
of Hanover, in the lower counties of Virginia ; the Presbytery 
of Lexington, in the Valley of Virginia, embracing the follow- 
ing twelve ministers : the Rev. John Brown, William Graham, 
Archibald Scott, James McConnel, Edward Crawford, Benjamin 
Erwin, John Montgomery, William Wilson, Moses Hoge, John 
McCue, Samuel Carrick, and Samuel Shannon ; and the Pres- 
bytery of Transylvania, embracing the new settlements in 
Kentucky and Cumberland, of which more will be said in another 
place. The remaining ministers in Western Virginia, the Rev. 
Charles Cummins, Hezekiah Balch, John Casson, Samuel Doak, 
and Samuel Houston, were embraced in the Presbytery of 
Abingdon, and attached to the Synod of the Carolinas.* 

The Presbyterians of Virginia, like the rest of their brethren, 
were marked by an inextinguishable love of liberty, and during 
the revolution were staunch republicans to a man. At the very 
first meeting of the Presbytery of Hanover, after the Declaration 
of Independence, that body addressed a memorial to the Virginia 
House of Delegates, identifying themselves with the common 
cause, and urging the establishment of religious as well as civil 
freedom. It was signed by the Rev. John Todd, Moderator, and 
Caleb Wallace, Clerk. In 1 777, they presented another, draught- 
ed by Rev. S. S. Smith, and Rev. David Rice, and signed by Rev. 
Richard Sankey, Moderator ; and in May, 1784, a third, draught- 
ed by Messrs. Smith and Waddel. At this time, the danger 
being imminent of a general assessment for the support of religion, 
a scheme which was advocated by Patrick Henry and other 
popular politicians, a convention was held at Bethel, in Augusta, 
August 13th, 1785, of Presbyterian ministers and laymen, who 
prepared an adverse petition, signed by 10,000 persons. The 
Rev. John Todd was chairman, and Daniel McCalla, clerk. 
This petition, and a fourth memorial from the Presbytery in 
October of the same year, were presented to the Legislature by 
the Rev. John Blair Smith, (whose handwriting the papers show,) 

* Assembly's Digest, pp. 38, 53, 54. 


who was heard for three successive days, at the bar of the House, 
in support of them.* The main object of ail these petitions was, 
to complain of the partial and peculiar privileges still continued 
to the Episcopal, late the established church, and its vestrymen ; 
to discountenance a general incorporation of the clergy alone, of 
other sects as well as of the Episcopahans, and to deprecate the 
plan of a general assessment for the support of religion. The 
bill was already engrossed for a third reading, when these 
strenuous measures arrested further progress, and on the 16th of 
December, 1785, an act was passed for establishing full religious 
freedom, the spirit and phraseology of which exhibit a striking 
coincidence with the tone of the memorials just described.f 

Thus it appears, that it is not to Mr. Jefferson, or any other 
politician, that Virginia is indebted for the religious liberty she 
enjoys, for if no opposition had been made, extremely pernicious 
schemes would have been riveted on the people ; it was through 
the firm and untiring exertions of the Presbyterians, in common 
with the Baptists and other denominations, that the churches 
were sundered from all connection with the civil power, and 
placed on an equal footing. The example of Virginia, being 
found successful in practice, was imitated by Maryland, Dela- 
ware, Georgia, the Carolinas, and lastly, Massachusetts ; in 
which latter State, the old Congregational Establishment was 
not overthrown till 1830. So decided was the influence of the 
struggle in Virginia, as to procure the perpetual withholding 
from the Federal Constitution, all power to erect a religious 
establishment of any kind. J 

Just before the commencement of the revolution, the Presby- 
tery of Hanover felt the necessity of energetic measures for the 
education of the youth within their bounds. The Presbyterian 
system is adapted to the successful development of three import- 
ant elements : Spirituality, because it has nothing to recommend 
it but simplicity and truth ; Liberty, because freedom of discus- 
sion, which would be shackled by arbitrary edicts or imparity of 

* Rice's Evang. Mag. vol. ix. pp. 30, 33, 35, 42, 43. Lang's Religion and 
Educ. in Amer. pp. 94, 116. Baird's Relig. in Amer. pp. 109, 110. MS. Hist, 
of Hanover Pby. p. 11. Smyth's Eccles. Republicanism, pp. 96—103. 

t Rice's Ev. Mag. vol. ix. p. 48. Baird, p. 110, where see the act at length. 

J Smyth's Eccl. Repiibl. pp. 101, 102. A remark of this prolific writer is well 
worthy of being singled out for remembrance : " The more decidedly," says he, 
" a man is a Presbyterian, the more decidedly is he a Republican." — p. 103. 


rank, is the life of its assemblies ; Knowledge, because intelligence 
in the laity, and learning in the ministry, are the surest guaranty 
of mutual rights, and the most efficient means of an extensive 
Christian influence. Hence it always j)lants the School beside 
the Church. 

The University of Virginia, to which the freethinking sage of 
Monticello devoted his last years, had not yet reared its aspiring 
head.* The College of William and Mary, at Williamsburg, 
was under bigoted Episcopal control, and besides being expen- 
sive, was exposed to immoral and deistical influences. f Nassau 
Hall, at Princeton, in New Jersey, was too remote, and the 
expense of travelling too heavy, to allow the bulk of the people 
to derive much benefit from its instructions. The Presbytery, 
therefore, wisely determined to establish two academies, one in 
the eastern section of the province, the other in the western. 
The plan was agitated as early as 1771, J but nothing was effect- 
ed till 1774, when, after considerable opposition from the friends 
of the establishment, the persevering efforts of the Presbyterian 
clergy succeeded in establishing the projected academies. One 
was located in Prince Edward county, to which the republican 
spirit of the times gave the name of Hampden Sidney ; the other, 
situated in the Valley, was designated by the no less significant 
title of Liberty Hall. 

The Rev. Samuel Stanhope Smith, D.D., was the first 
President of Hampden Sidney ; a divine, the precocity of whose 
genius, instead of being succeeded (as is often the case) by as 
premature anility, proved the precursor of a long and brilliant 

Upon his removal to Nassau Hall, Princeton, in 1779, he was 
succeeded by his brother, the Rev. John Blair Smith, a man of 
highly polished manners, uncommon conversational powers, an 
elegant and flowing style, and a highly graceful and fervent 
delivery.^ It was while he was president, that the remarkable 
revival of religion occurred, of which we shall presently have 

*Mr. Jefferson's deeply-rooted enmity to tlic Christian religion led him to tax 
his ingenuity to exclude it from the institution ; but such has been the decided 
want of public confidence in consequence, that of late years, the professors have 
defrayed out of their own pockets the expense necessary to secure the services 
of a chaplain. 

t Graham, Lett. IV. t Graham, Lett. IV. § Graham, Lett. VII. 


occasion to speak. After him, the chair was successively occu- 
pied by Dr. Archibald Alexander, in 1797; Dr. Moses Hoge, 
in 1807, since deceased, whose patriarchal simpHcity and devout 
spirit, are embahned in the memory of the Virginia Churches ; 
the Rev. J. P. Gushing, in 1821 ; the Rev. Dr. Carroll, in 1836 ; 
the Hon. Wm. Maxwell, LL.D., in 1839 ; and the Rev. P. J. 
Sparrow, in 1845, who is the ])resent incumbent. This College, 
like many others, has had to struggle for existence. It was 
rearmed solely by Presbyterian patronage ; the only aid for which 
it has been indebted to the State, being two hundred acres of 
escheated land, and the proceeds of the sale of a church glebe.* 
Union Theological Seminary- stands in the vicinity. 

A single Seminary being deemed inadequate to the growing 
wants of so extensive a country, another was opened under the 
patronage of Hanover Presbytery, in what is now Rockbridge 
county, but was then part of Augusta, in November, 1774. Its 
location was on Mount Pleasant, a lofty eminence near the site 
of the present village of Fairfield, and a dozen miles north-east of 
Lexington ; and it was at first called Augusta Academy. Upon 
the M^arm recommendation of Dr. Smith, Mr. William Graham 
was appointed the rector, with Mr. John Montgomery, a student 
of theology, and respectable scholar, as his assistant. Mr. Gra- 
ham was a native of Pennsylvania, and of Irish parentage. He 
was born Dec. 19th, 1746, in a frontier settlement, about five 
miles north of Harrisburg. While a lad, his courage was put to 
a severe test. The whole family were one night exposed to im- 
minent danger from a large party of Indians who lay in ambush 
near the house. Suspicion being awakened, the family left the 
house in the utmost silence, William marching with a loaded 
gun in front, and his father in the rear, and succeeded in reaching 
the neighboring fort in safety. His education was such as a 
country school could furnish, where he learned all that the mas- 
ters knew. He was naturally of a gay and lively disposition, 
and immoderately fond of dancing, of the baneful and dissipating 
influence of which amusement he was afterwards painfully sen- 
sible ; but about the age of twenty-one, he became, through the 

* Bishop's Rice, p. 164. In 1775, the Presbytery appropriated £400 for books 
and apparatus, and £700 for a College and President's house, in all £1100; 
and a gentleman gave ninety-eight acres for the use of the school. MS. Hist, 
of Han. Pby. p. 9. 



grace of God, a changed man, and animated with a desire to 
devote himself to the work of the ministry. Ahhough a late 
beginner, in five years he completed his classical education, first 
under Mr. Roan, of Lancaster, and afterwards at Princeton Col- 
lege ; •earning the means to defray his expenses part of the time, 
by engaging as an assistant teacher. It was while at Pi'inceton, 
that he made the valuable acquaintance of Dr. Smith, whose 
recommendation proved of such signal service to him. 

In 1776, the Presbytery, who had shown much interest in the 
school, and had twice attended the examinations, made the 
appointment permanent, and as Mr. Graham had now taken 
charge of Timber Ridge congregation, in connection with Hall's 
Meeting-House, the Academy was transferred thither, and suita- 
ble buildings provided. Its name was now changed, in conform- 
ity with the spirit of the times, from Augusta Academy to 
Liberty Hall. At the same time the Presbytery chose twenty- 
four Trustees,* seven of whom should form a quorum ; the Pres- 
bytery reserving to themselves " the right of visitation forever, 
as often as they should judge it necessary, and of choosing the 
rector and his assistants." This appears to have been the last 
act of the Presbytery in reference to the institution ; the war of 
the Revolution became the absorbing topic for a time,t ^"d "i 
1782, the Trustees, without consulting the Presbytery, petitioned 
the Legislature for a charter, which was granted, not to the 
Presbytery, but to themselves, although they had been originally 
appointed " to conduct all the concerns of the academy on behalf 
of the Presbytery " So small was the number of students, and 
so little promise of piety was there among them, that Mr. Gra- 
ham was often tempted to resign. 

But a Heavenly Watcher had said, " Destroy it not, for there 

* Their names were as follows, viz : Rev. Messrs. John Broun, James 
Waddell, Chas. Cummins, William Irvin, and the Rector, ex officio ; also, Mr. 
Thomas Lewis, Gen. Andrew Lewis, Col. Wm. Christian, Col! Wm. Fleming, 
Mr. Tliomas Stewart, Mr. Saml. Lyle, Col. John Bovvyer, Mr. .Tohn Gratton, 
Col. Wm. Preston, Mr. Sampson Mathews, Major Saml. M'Dowell, Mr. Wm. 
M'Pheeters, Capt. Alexander Stewart, Capt. Wm. M'Kee, Mr. John Houston, 
Mr. Charles Campbell, Capt. George Moffat, Mr. Wm. Ward, and Capt. John 
Lewis. Graham, Lett. IV. 

f Mr. Graham, with the entire body of the Presbyterian clerg)', cordially 
espoused the cause of his country, nor was his patriotism confined to empty pro- 
fession. On one occasion he was chosen to the command of a company, but 
was never called to the field. 


is a blessing in it !'' and, as the lingering of Jesus made the 
miraculous resuscitation of Lazarus only the more notable, so 
the delay of gracious influences rendered the returning dawn 
brighter and sweeter, in contrast with the long and dreary night 
that preceded. Between the years 1786 and 1788,* a remark- 
able revival of religion occurred in the two colleges, which 
resulted in the conversion of a number of promising young stu- 
dents, and, by their means, in an extensive awakening, both jn 
Eastern and Western Virginia ; nothing like which had been 
witnessed since the times of Whitefield and Davies. The lead- 
ing incidents in this interesting work of grace are here recorded, 
as gathered from the lips of venerable men who were once 
prominent actors in those scenes. 

Hampden Sidney, although under the care of the Rev. John 
Blair Smith, a pious and excellent man, exhibited a spectacle 
akin to that existing in Liberty Hall, and too often witnessed in 
academic groves, an engrossing interest in literature to the 
neglect of religion. At the time of Dr. Blythe's matriculation, 
there was not another student within the walls, besides himself, 
who professed religion ; and even he, yielding to the popular 
current, was at no special pains to divulge the fact unnecessarily. 
On his arrival, he was recommended to Gary H. Allen as one 
of the steadiest youths in College. Taking a stroll together, 
shortly after, they entered the store of a merchant with whom 
Allen was familiar. Allen, who was always full of exuberant 
glee, after some chat, was requested to burlesque a Methodist 
sermon. Mounting the counter, he did this in such a comical 
and ludicrous manner, that his auditors were convulsed with 
laughter. His poor companion augured badly, from this initia- 
tory specimen, as to what he had to expect. It was not many 
days afterward that a party sallied forth to attend a Methodist 
meeting in the neighborhood, promising themselves rare sport. 
But, strange to relate, among the very first who were seized with 
pungent convictions of sin, was the wild, witty, dashing, Gary 
Allen. On his return to College, his social disposition forbade 
him to hide his feelings within his own bosom, and very soon 
several of his companions were found to be a.6 serious as himself. 
Blythe, no longer hesitating to avow his religious character, 

* Douglass' Hist, of Briary Church, p. 6. 


naturally became the centre round which the httle group col- 
lected, and in his chamber they assembled to hold a meeting for 
prayer. William Calhoon, Clement Reed, Gary Allen, and 
William Hill, with James Blythe, formed the little band. They 
locked the door, and commenced praying and singing ; but the 
moment the unusual sound w^as heard, the whole college flocked 
to the spot and made a hideous uproar, mingled with oaths and 
ribaldry. The president was absent at the time, but on his 
arrival for evening prayer, learning the posture of affairs, he 
took the opportunity pointedly to rebuke the rioters, and to 
express his unfeigned delight at the intelligence of any religious 
feeling in the institution. He invited the young men into his 
study, and there prayed with them, and gave them instruction 
and encouragement ; and every Sabbath evening thenceforth, 
met them in his own house for devotional exercises. 

From that time the seriousness spread, until, out of eighty 
students, nearly half the number were touched with compunc- 
tion for their sins. Their prayer meetings were marked with 
deep, silent, solemn feeling, and the absence of all noise and 
extravagance. The President took a lively interest in promoting 
the revival, and whenever he could gather his young friends 
around him, he embraced the opportunity to communicate 
instruction. Often the trunk of an old tree, fallen in the woods, 
served him for a pulpit, while they eagerly clustered round, and 
hung upon the . lips of their revered preceptor. He himself 
seemed to preach with new life. Two hundred and twenty-five 
persons, chiefly young people, were added to the churches which 
he served, in the space of eighteen months. The revival extended 
over Prince Edward, Cumberland, Charlotte, and Bedford 
counties, to the Peaks of Otter.* 

As the fruits of this revival, a number of the new converts 
turned their attention to the ministry. Among them were Nash 

* See an interesting letter from John Blair Smith, and another from Robert, 
his father, giving an account of this work, in the Presbyterian, vol. xv. p. 154. 
The latter declared that he had seen " nothing equal to it for e.xtensivc spread, 
power, and spiritual glory, since the years '40 and '41. The blessed work has 
spread among people of every description, high and low, rich and poor, learned 
and unlearned, orthodox and heterodox, sober and rude, white and black, young 
and old ; especially the youth, whom it seems to have seized generally." 


Legrand, Gary Allen, Drury Lacy,* William Williamson, 
William Calhoon, and William Hill. 

Mr. Graham, stimulated by the interesting intelHgence, and 
urged by his friend, Mr. Smith, to come to his help, travelled 
a hundred miles to attend a three-days' meeting at Briary 
Ghurch, in Prince Edward, and afterwards a meeting in Bedford, 
in order to witness the remarkable work of grace with his own 
eyes. He was accompanied by two of his pupils, Samuel 
Willson and Archibald Alexander. They remained a fortnight 
among those delightful scenes, and, on their return, communi- 
cated the flame they themselves had caught, and kindled up a 
pious fervor through Rockbridge. Nash Legrand, a young 
licentiate, and a solemn and impressive preacher, lent his aid, 
and a revival immediately commenced in the Valley. Its 
influence extended as far as Augusta, but was most powerful 
in Hall's and Timber Ridge congregations. There were five 
young men who were subjects of the revival, who turned their 
attention to the ministry, two of whom died early. The three 
survivors, Archibald Alexander, Benjamin Grigsby, and 
Matthew Lyle, were all licensed about the same time. J. P. 
Campbell, Ramsey, Thomas Poage, Robert Stuart, &;c., 

Mr. Graham no longer talked of resigning. His heart and 

* Mr. Lacy proved an invaluable aid to the President. He was admirably 
fitted to address the large assemblies that were then in the habit of collecting 
together. His voice was as loud as a trumpet, but not harsh nor unpleasant. 
His enunciation was distinct, and he could be heard with rase, from a stand 
in the woods, by three or four thousand people, in the open air. He was of 
Norman French extraction ; the name being originally De Lacy. He was bom 
in Chesterfield county in 1757. He was engaged in teaching, both before and 
after liis conversion. He was successively a tutor in the college, then professor 
of languages, and acted as Vice President for some years, after the resignation 
of John Blair Smith. He had charge, as colleague of Dr. Alexander, of the 
Cumberland congregation, which included the college, and was much beloved 
by his people. He was a laborious pastor, and very successful, especially 
among the negroes, numbers of whom were converted. He seldom wrote his 
sermons, but preached extemporaneously, with great earnestness and affection 
of manner. His left arm had been shattered by the bursting of a gun, and the 
amputated stump was covered with a cap of silver, from which circumstance 
he went by the sobriquet of " Old Silverfist." It is said that upon one occasion 
his raising the mutilated limb, when telling the story of Amyntas, produced a 
deep impression on a wild young lawyer. Two of his five children became 
ministers, and all members of the Church. He died Dec. 6th, 1816, in the 58th 
year of his age. 


his hands were full. A number of promising young men, in 
various stages of their studies, with some who had just graduated 
and had been looking to the Bar as the road to honor and 
emolument, made up their minds to relinquish the flattering 
prospects of ambition, for the sweeter pleasure of winning souls 
to Christ. Mr. Graham willingly consented to superintend their 
theological studies. In 1791, the Synod of Virginia, recently 
constituted, felt the propriety of making some provision for the 
training of the thirty or forty young men in the two literary 
institutions, who had an eye to the ministry. They proposed to 
establish three theological seminaries, one under the patronage 
Qf the Presbytery of Redstone, in Western Pennsylvania ; 
another in Kentucky, under the patronage of the Presbytery of 
Transylvania ; and a third in Virginia. Of the latter Mr. 
Graham was appointed Professor, and the location being left to 
his option, he decided in favor of Liberty Hall. 

A Theological department being now added to Liberty Hall, 
the Trustees proceeded with great spirit to erect a commodious 
stone building and refectory, which were opened for the recep- 
tion of students in January, 1794. At the same time they raised 
the price of tuition from forty to fifty shillings per session, which 
was equivalent to about sixteen dollars and a half per annum. 
The College was never in a more flourishing condition. A Com- 
mittee of the Synod attended the public examinations. The 
course of instruction was solid, and some of the students were 
pious. But it was found difficult to avoid the accusation of 
sectarianism, except by the sacrifice of efficiency ; and there 
were not wanting persons who clamored against the connection 
as a violation of the charter,* and of the intentions of some of 
the donors. The Synod, in consequence, gradually and quietly 
permitted it to drop. Another and perhaps the true reason may 
be assigned for their abated interest ; that is, the retirement of 
their Professor in 179G. Mr. Graham had devoted twenty-two 
of the best years of his life to rear up a seminary in the Valley, 
and had conducted it, after repeated discouragements, to a state 
of solid and permanent prosperity. While thus engaged, he had 

* It is probable tliat during the revolutionary troubles, the Presbytery ceased 
to take any interest in the school, and that when tlie Charter was obtained in 
1782 it was not supposed necessary to consult thein or to recognize any right 
of interference. 




received little or no compensation, and had often been straitened 
for even the necessaries of life. At fifty years of age, he felt 
unequal to further fatigue, and compelled to make some provi- 
sion for the future. He purchased a large tract of land on the 
Ohio, but became involved in vexatious lawsuits, and was reduced 
to penury. He died of pleurisy, on a visit to Richmond, on the 
8th of June, 1799. 

Mr. Graham was not in the habit of wielding the pen, or of 
reading many books ; but he was a nervous and independent 
thinker. His mind was logical, and his passion was perspicuity. 
Kaimes and Butler were his favorite authors. He was distin- 
guished for the depth and boldness of his investigations, and loved 
to examine every subject for himself. He confessed that the 
chief advantage he derived from books was from the table of con- 
tents, which suggested to his mind matter for thought. He was 
ibnd of metaphysical studies, and his familiarity with them gave 
him, like Edwards, an astonishing skill in tracing the various 
windings of the human heart, in connection with Christian expe- 
rience. As a preacher, he was at once argumentative and im- 
pressive ; but it was as a teacher that his excellence was most 
apparent. His lectures were fascinating, from their originality 
and ingenuity ; while his penetrating eye, and his power of sar- 
casm, kept the most unruly in awe. He was a man who left his 
impression upon the age he lived in ; and the happy influence of 
his character and instructions is visible to the present day.* 

A benefaction of General Washington is worthy of special 
notice. The Assembly of Virginia, in 1784, subscribed for 
100 shares of James River Canal Stock, (worth, at S200 a 
share, $20,000,) which they presented to General Washington, 
as a testimonial of their gratitude for his public services. This 
he refused to accept, save on condition of being permitted to ap- 
propriate it to some literary institution in the upper country ; and 
the choice being referred to himself, he decided, in 1796, in favor 
of Liberty Hall Academy ; " for," said he, " the past exertions of 
the friends of Liberty Hall I consider a guarantee, that if the 

* Graham, Lett. IV. V. VI. ; Campbell's Hist, of Virg. pp. 304-306 ; Memoir, 
Rice's Mag. vol. iv. pp. 75, 150, 253, 397 ; Stuart's Reminiscences, No. I. 
West. Prcsb. Herald, April 6, 1837. For some of the incidents connected with 
Hampden Sidney College, and the revival, the author is indebted to Dr. Alexan- 
der, Mr. Stuart and Dr. Ely the ; to the latter, particularly, for the anecdote of 
Cary Allen and himself. 


funds at my disposal are placed in their power, they will make a 
proper use of them."* The stock was for a long time unpro- 
ductive, but about the time of the donation began to yield a 
moderate dividend. The Assembly aftewards saw proper to 
take back the charter, on the plea of forfeiture, but agreed to pay 
the stockholders 15 per cent, forever. The college, accordingly, 
receives from this source $3,000 per annum. As an acknowledg- 
ment of General Washington's munificence, the institution as- 
sumed, in 1812, the name of Washington CoLLEGE.f 

In addition to this donation, John Robinson, a soldier of the 
Revolution, having no near kinsman in the United States, and 
emulating the example of his beloved chief, bequeathed to the 
college the whole of his handsome property, estimated at $50,000 ; 
from which sufficient has been realized to found the Robinson 

Mr. Graham. was succeeded in the Presidency by the Rev. Dr. 
George A. Baxter, who was again succeeded, in 1827, by Louis 
Marshall, M.D., of Kentucky, brother of the chief justice. Pro- 
fessor Henry Vethake was called to the chair in 1835 ; and in 
1837, the Rev. Henry Ruffner, D.D., who still occupies the post, 
and whose interesting manuscript history of the institution, it is 
hoped, will be permitted ere long to see the light. 

The Synod of Virginia finding a noble company of between 
thirty and forty youthful champions, of fine talents and acquire- 
ments, panting for active service, determined to take advantage 
of the golden opportunity. Accordingly, on the 24th of October 
1789, they appointed "A Committee of Synod for Missions," 
consisting of tour ministers and four elders : any two ministers 
and any two elders of whom might be a quorum, with a treasurer 

* Various places in the upper country competed for the donation. Mr. Gra- 
ham, with the approbation of the trustees, forwarded a memorial in behalf of 
Liberty Hall, giving a sketch of its history, accompanied witii a map, showing 
its central position. Rice's Mag. vol. iv. p. 402. 

I It is delightful to notice the repeated instances of General Washington's 
large-soulcd liberality, and the heartfelt interest he took in the promotion of liter- 
ature. At tiie same time that the James river stock was voted, he was present- 
ed by the Assembly with 50 shares in the Potomac Navigation Company, (vvortli, 
at $400 a share, $20,000,) which he afterwards appropriated to a school in Alex- 
andria, in the District of Columbia. Graham, Lett. V. It will be seen, in a sub- 
sequent chapter of this work, that wlw.n Dr. BIythe waited on him at the seat of 
government, in 1792, in behalf of Kentucky Academy, ho expressed an anxious 
solicitude for the cause of education, and subscribed $100 to the object, out of 
his own private purse. 

X Graham, Lett. V. 


to receive and disburse funds. The Rev. Messrs. Graham, Scott, 
Smith and Mitchell, and ruling elders Charles Allen, Benjamin 
Rice, John Wilson and John Lyle, were appointed on " the Com- 
mission," and William Alexander, of Lexington, was chosen 
treasurer. The Commission held their first meeting at Liberty- 
town, Bedford county, April 2, 1790: Mr. Scott was the only 
absentee. Mr. Mitchell was elected Moderator, and Mr. Gra- 
ham, Clerk. They divided the Synod into four districts, to cor- 
respond with the presbyteries ; and agreed to assign as the pay 
of a missionary, £60 per annum, Virginia currency, in half-yearly 
payments. Nash Legrand, a probationer of Hanover, being per- 
sonally known to the members, was unanimously chosen the first 
missionary of the Synod.* The appropriation was afterwards 
restricted to forty shillings a month, Virginia currency, equal to 
$6 60. The funds were supplied by the voluntary contributions 
of the people. A term of two years' service was expected ; and 
the missionaries were required to keep journals, and report in 
person at each annual meeting of the Synod. 

These meetings were anticipated by the people, with the deep- 
est interest. From all parts of the land they came up as to a solemn 
festival. There met the reverend fathers of the Synod ; there met 
hoary-headed sires ; there met the young sons of the Church ; 
and it was an affecting spectacle to witness the tender and fra- 
ternal union that bound heart to heart, as they all gathered round 
the sacramental board. And as one after another of the young 
missionaries rose in his place, and told of his toils and difficulties 
and success, the tear of sympathy coursed down many a patriarch- 
al cheek, and many an aspiration went up for Heaven's choicest 
blessings to rest upon them. These seasons were regarded as 
eminently profitable and precious ; they tended greatly to ani- 
mate and encourage the Church, to fan the spirit of piety into a 
constant flame, and to keep up such a pleasant and social interest 
in religion, as to resemble an antepast of heaven. 

The benefits resulting from those Home Missionary tours, un- 
der the supervision of the Synod, were of incalculable value. 
Previous to the year 1788, the demoralizing effects of war, and 
the pernicious influence of infidelity, introduced through con- 
nection with the French, had cast a blight over the land, and cor- 

* MS. Extract of the Minutes of the Sj'nod of Virginia, signed by William 
Graham, stated Clerk, among the filed papers of Transylvania Presbytery. 


rupted the habits of the rising generation. The few pulpits in 
Virginia were occupied by men superannuated, or past the prime 
of hfe ; and the spectacle of a young man abandoning the more 
lucrative and popular professions for the ministry, was rarely or 
never seen, and would have excited universal astonishment. It 
was at this gloomy juncture, when the Church lay humbled in the 
dust, that He "with whom it is nothing to help, whether with 
many or with them that have no power," graciously interposed, 
and by his Divine Spirit brought about a sudden and joyful trans- 
formation. The remarkable work of grace, in which so many 
young men were led to devote themselves as heralds of the cross, 
was, by their means, perpetuated and extended. Brighter pros- 
pects dawned upon Zion ; Churches gasping for existence were 
resuscitated, new congregations started into being, and the pro- 
gress of infidelity and immorality received a signal check. The 
salutary effects are still apparent. Many of the now flourishing 
Churches in the lower counties owe their origin to this epoch ; 
while there is scarce a romantic dell embosomed among the huge 
mountain ranges, however unpromising its religious aspect may 
formerly have been, whose echoes are not regularly waked by 
the voice of hallowed praise upon the Sabbath day.* 

A few of these devoted servants of Christ found their way into 
Kentucky, to narrate whose adventures shall be the labor of a 
subsequent chapter. Here must be brought to a close our 
sketch of the Churches in the Valley of Virginia. We have 
traced their progress from the earliest notice of their settlement, 
in 1719, along the advancing century, to its close. By the good 
hand of their God upon them, they made the wilderness literally, 
as well as metaphorically, blossom as the rose. The promise 
was amply verified, " Them that honor me, will I honor." 
From the first day that the axe rang through those mountain 
solitudes, the wily savage receded before them ; and smiling 
farms, capacious churches, and flourishing villages, gradually 
covered hill and dale. The persecution of lordly prelates, that 
had chased them into the wilderness, followed them no farther. 

* This sketch of early missions is derived from the graphic description of one 
who was himself a subject of the revival, and who was employed in the field, the 
Rev. Robert Stuart. lie still survives ; and we shall meet his name again in the 
historj' of the Kentucky Churches. See Stuart's Reminiscences ; No. 1 West 
Presb. Her^ April 6, 1837. 


In quiet and obscurity they gathered strength, until their voice 
rose to be potential in the land ; prince and prelate were strip- 
ped of their authority : and the rolling tide of colonization, 
fraught with blessings, dashed its spray over the Appalachian 
range and pervaded the boundless West. 

In this sequestered Valley literature and religion flourished 
hand in hand ; and posterity will love to associate with its 
peaceful retreats the honored names of a Waddel, famed for 
matchless eloquence ; a Graham, skilled in training up advocates 
for Christ ; a Speece, accomplished in various learning ; a 
HoGE, esteemed for his sweet and apostolic piety ; a Campbell, 
brilliant and adroit in polemical tactics ; and an Alexander, 
versed in the intricate lore of the human heart. 



About the middle of the last century, when Kentucky was yet 
a wilderness, untrodden by the foot of the white man, and the 
Blue Ridge was still regarded as the western frontier of the 
Ancient Dominion,* (notwithstanding the expedition of Governor 
Spotswood and his Knights of the Golden Horseshoe,!) the 
French, with characteristic alertness, were busily securing the 
Valley of the Mississippi by a chain of forts from the Canadas 
to Louisiana. Their missionaries and traders, in frail birch 
canoes, had pushed their discoveries from the mouth of the 
Father of Waters to the Falls of St. Anthony, adapting them- 
selves with wonderful versatility to every change of circum- 
stances, and conciliating the various Indian tribes with whom 
they came in contact. But while the subjects of the Grand 
Monarque were coveting with eagerness the wide and fertile 
region beyond the Alleghanies, England and her colonies seem 
to have been singularly ignorant of its vast extent and resources. 
They took up arms, not so much to secure a rich and valuable 
territory, as to prevent the proximity of dangerous neighbors. 
At the very period when war was raging, and Braddock was 
on his disastrous march to Fort Du Quesne, Kentucky and all 
the charming region of the Ohio, although defended with great 
pertinacity, appear to have been unknown except to a few In- 
dian-traders and hunters who had penetrated above the Cum- 

* " So late as the year 1756, the Blue Ridge was the north-western frontier." 
Marshall's Washington, vol. i. p. 15. 

f For an anmsino; account of this expedition, and the establishment of the 
Tramontane order, with the decoration of a golden horse-shoe studded with pre- 
cious stones, as an inducement to gentlemen to make discoveries and new set- 
tlements, see Hall's Sketches of the West, vol. i. p. 185. 


berland Gap, and liad viewed with delight the landscape thai 
stretched away toward the setting sun like an undulating sea of 

A rude map, constructed by Lewis Evans in 1752, seems to 
have given the first definite idea of this region,t and, together 
with the reports that were circulated, inspired curiosity. Seve- 
ral exploring parties visited Kentucky, among whom the McAfees 
were prominent in 1773 ; but no permanent settlement was 
effected till April 1st, 1775, when Daniel Boone erected the fort 
of Boonesborough, consisting of a stockade with blockhouses at 
the four corners of the enclosure. J Forts were also erected at 
Harrod's Town, Boiling Spring, and St. Asaph's ; and the pro- 
prietors called a Convention of Delegates from these settlements 
in the month of May following, to form a colonial government. 
The house was organized by the election of Col. Thomas 
Slaughter, as Chairman ; Mathew Jewett, Clerk ; Rev. John 
Lythe, Chaplain, and Robert McAfee, Sergeant-at-arms. Col. 
Henderson then opened the Convention w'ith a speech, in the 
name of the Proprietors. The growing dissatisfaction of the 
community with this scheme, the establishment of the national 
independence, and the jealousy of the Virginia Assembly, ere 
long put a stop to the experiment. The company were 
obliged to relinquish their title in 1781, but were indemnified by 
the grant of a large tract of 200,000 acres, or twelve miles 
square, between the forks of the Ohio and Green rivers, at pre- 
sent included in the county of Henderson, which was so called 
from the man who was the life and soul of the enterprise. 
North Carolina granted them a like quantity of land in Powell's 
Valley. Thus ended, after six year's duration, this splendid 
essay at a Proprietary government, in which we may well ad- 
mire the enterprise of its author, the grandeur of the plan, and 
the wisdom of its execution. § 

* Imlay's Topograph. Descr. of the West. Terr. p. 5. 

f Winterbotham, vol. i. p. 170. 

j Hall, vol. i. pp. 239, 240, 241. Boone's Narrative dictated to Filson, Imlay, 
p. 343. 

5 For a fuller biography of this strong-minded and self-taught man, Colonel 
Henderson, see Smyth's Tour, vol. i. p. 124. Imlay, pp. 7, 309. Hall, vol. i. pp. 
250—278, ii. pp. 221— 276. Marshall's Hist, of Ky. vol. i. p. 13; and No- 
tices of the Early Settlement of Kentucky, by the author of this liistory, pp. 


While these transactions were taking place on the south side 
of the Kentucky river, Frankfort, Louisville, and Lexington, 
were rising into existence on the northern side. The momentous 
battle which gave a name to the latter, was fought in Massa- 
chusetts on the 19th of April, 1775. A party of hunters — so 
runs the current tradition — had kindled their evening fire, and 
were seated on their buflalo robes around its cheerful blaze, 
deliberating, as may be supposed, upon the name by which they 
should designate the newly-selected site, when the news arrived. 
In the enthusiasm of the moment, the sj)ot was named Lexington 
by acclamation, to commemorate the important event. Lex- 
ington throve rapidly, and rose to be, for a considerable time, 
the metropolis of the West.* 

The first explorers of Kentucky spread everywhere, on their 
return, the most glowing accounts of what they had seen. The 
luxuriance of the soil ; the salubrity of the climate ; the dim- 
pled and undulating face of the country ; the tall waving cane 
and native clover ; the magnificent groves of sugar-tree and 
walnut ; the countless herds of buffalo and elk ; the pure and 
limpid brooks ; the deeply-channelled rivers, sweeping between 
precipitous limestone cliffs, several hundred feet in height ; the 
verdure of the vegetation ; the air loaded with fragrance ; the 
groves resonant with melody ; and the various charms peculiar 
to the spring ; all conspired to invest the newly discovered re- 
gion with an air of romance, that seemed to realize the dreams 
of the poets. Nature has, indeed, been lavish of her gifts to this 
favorite spot ; and, although the buffalo has long since disap- 

* Flint's Hist, and Geogr. of the Mississippi Valley, vol. i. p. 353. It is not 
the business of the present historian to adjust conflicting disputes about civil 
dates or the priority of this or that settlement. The fort of Boonesborough 
was erected April 1st, 1775 ; Harrodsburg was laid out in lots and three or four 
cabins built in June, 1774, but forsaken on account of Indian assaults till 
March, 15th, 1775; the survey of Frankfort was made by Robert McAfee, July 
16th, 1773, but not settled till some years afterwards; Louisville was first 
visited by Capt. Bullitt, July I'ith, 1773, but no permanent settlement was 
made till late in 1778, under Col. Clark, who erected a fort ; after which it be- 
came a principal point of landing ; Lexington was laid oft' about May or June, 
1775. But there was a French village built during the French war, perhaps 
about 1753, opposite the mouth of the Scioto. It consisted of nineteen or twenty 
good logcaljins, with clapboard roofs, doors, windows, chimneys, and some cleared 
ground. It was passed by Captain Bullitt and the McAfee company on their 
way, June 11th, 1773 ; but there is no evidence of these French settlers having 
ever penetrated into the interior. See McAfee's Sketches, No. I. Frankfort 
Commonwealth, June 1st, 1841. 


peared, and the face of the country, reclaimed from a state of 
nature, exhibits fewer of those wild features which made it so 
picturesque, the traveller still pauses to offer the tribute of his 

Upon Boone the view burst with the suddenness and splendor 
of enchantment. After a dreary route through the wilderness, 
he descried, from an eminence near Red river, clothed in all the 
loveliness of spring, that extensive champaign country in the 
very heart of Kentucky, on the border of which he was then 
standing ; and which constitutes a body of land, if the united 
testimony of travellers may be credited, among the finest and 
most agreeable in the world ; contrasted with the sterile soil of 
North Carolina, which he had just left, it appeared, to use his 
own words, a second paradise.* The soberest historians are 
betrayed into hyperbole when speaking of this region, and style 
it a great natural park, the Eden of the red man.f 

Fired, by the descriptions given of this delightful country, 
crowds began to flock thither from every quarter. The rush 
was unexampled. Besides the inviting character of the new 
Hesperia, the easy terms on which land could be procured 
gave an additional stimulus to emigration. The Virginia pat- 
ents were of three classes : pre-emption rights, military grants, 
and warrants from the land-office. The last were issued with in- 
considerate profuseness ; and, although most of the valuable land 
was already taken up by the holders of the other patents, more 
warrants were, in a short time, issued, as Captain Imlay, himself a 
land commissioner, assures us, than would have covered half the 
territory within the limits of the district.^ The natural conse- 
quence was land-jobbing, litigation, long heart-burnings between 
families, and the retardation of agriculture for thirty years in the 
adjustment of confiicting claims.§ Tempting Plots were circu- 
lated, elegantly, embellished with fine groves, meadows, and 
imaginary mill-seats. Towns were laid off with all the formal 

* Boone's Narr. Imlay, pp. 338, 341, 343. 

+ Butler, p. 90. Imlay, Filson, and Smyth, among the earlier, and Flint, 
Hall, De la Vigne, Martineau, and Murray, among the later writers, employ 
language scarcely less glowing than Boone ; and seem to vie with each other 
in searching for terms sufficiently eulogistic. 

I Imlay, p. 8. 

^ Hon. Chilton Allen's address before the State Agricultural Society, Ob- 
server and Reporter, 1838. Butler, p. 138. 


pomp of Streets, squares, and public buildings ; some of which, 
unfortunately for the speculators in the lots, exist to this day 
only on paper.* 

In spite of danger, distance, fatigue, and all the discomforts 
incident to a new country, the tide continued to flow without an 
ebb.f Originally, a part of Fincastle county, Virginia, Ken- 
tucky was set off as a separate county, with a municipal court, 
in 1776 ; as a district, in 1780, embracing three counties, Jeffer- 
son, Lincoln, and Fayette ; and, finally, she took her place as a 
sovereign State, and a member of the Union, June 1st, 1792 ; 
only seventeen years from the first stroke of the pick^e'upon 

the soil. J 

This extraordinary influx did not take place without opposi- 
tion. Kentucky, inhabited by none of the Indian tribes, and 
exhibiting no traces of their villages, had been regarded as the 
common hunting-ground and battle-ground of all. Here the 
Cherokee of the South, and the Miami of the North, resorted to 
pursue the chase ; and often the buffalo visited the salt-lick in 
safety, and the elk leaped upon the mountain, while the painted 
warriors expended their ferocity upon each other. The name, 
Can-tuck-kee, pronounced with a strong emphasis, is said to owe 
its origin to the country having been the arena of frequent con- 
flicts ; being interpreted by some to mean, The Middle Ground, 
but most commonly, The Dark and Bloody Ground.^ Although 
the entire territory was over and over again purchased of the 
Indian tribes, and their title completely extinguished,]] the fore- 
warning of the Cherokee chief to Boone, at Watauga, was amply 
verified, when he said, as he took him by the hand, " Brother, we 
have given you a fine land, but I believe you will have much 
trouble in settling it."1f Not a solitary wigwam was ever 
burned on the soil, not a single red man expatriated by the ne- 
gotiations ; but the savages were incensed at seeing their 
beautiful hunting-grounds occupied by strangers ; and nothing 
vexed them more than the erection of buildings. They made 

* Imkv, p. 9. 

f Marshall, vol. ii. p. 332. 

X Butler, pp. 89, 118, 211. 

\ Butler, pp. 9, 132. Filson, in Tmlay, p. 308. 

II Imlay, p. 6 ; Hall, vol. i. p. 247 ; Filson, p. 309. 

IT Imlay, p. 358. 


perpetual inroads, and were expelled only after repeated and 
desperate struggles ; and no border annals teem with more 
thrilling incidents and heroic exploits, than those of the Ken- 
tucky Hunters.* Their very name at length struck terror into 
the heart of the stoutest savage. Well did the soil earn the em- 
phatic title by which it has been designated. And it may be 
added, as if the propensity was engendered by the climate, it 
has not unfrequently since been characteristic of Kentucky, to 
be the arena of personal, political, and ecclesiastical conflicts, 
more severely contested and more intensely exciting, than any 
other part of the Union has witnessed. To Kentucky may be 
applied what was said of Pontus, " Omne quod flat Aquilo est.' 
It is, consequently, rich in materials for history. 

Seldom has a country been peopled under circumstances so 
auspicious to the formation of a bold, independent, magnanimous, 
homogeneous character. With the exception of an inconsider- 
able number from North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and 
other quarters, the great body of the settlers was furnished by 
Virginia. It was but the Old Dominion expanded. They 
cherished the feelings and the name of Virginians ; and to this 
day a frank hospitality, a manly bearing, and an irrepressible love 
of adventure, unequivocally indicate their parentage, especially 
in the rural districts. The military grants brought a number of 
gallant officers to Kentucky, who had served in the war of the 
Revolution, many of whom were in easy circumstances, and 
whose superior education and intelligence naturally caused 
them to be looked up to as leaders and models ; and their influ- 
ence, with the early introduction of female society, gave tone to 
the manners of the rising community, and polished the rudeness 
^v of the hunter-state.f The stirring nature of the times ; the free 
discussion of political questions ; the frequent conventions ; and 
the being left to fight their own battles and mould their own 
institutions without interference or co-operation from other 
quarters ; generated an acuteness of intellect and a habit of 
independent thought, which hesitate not to grapple with any 
difficulty upon any subject. Hence the predominant character- 

* Of these Mr. McClung has collected an interesting volume. See 
McClung's Sketches. 

t Imlay, pp. 168, 170, 321. Flint's Ten Year's Recollections of the Valley 
of the Mississippi, pp. 63, 71. Hall, vol. ii. pp. 94, 96. 


istic of Western mind has come to be a restless activity, that 
takes no opinion on trust, and brooks no control ; that laughs at 
caution, and is a stranger to fear. The natural tendency of 
such a disposition is to rashness on one hand, and caprice on the 
other ; it is liable to be swayed by impulse rather than princi- 
ple ; and the excited feelings get the mastery of the cooler 

Scions of a noble stock, reared in the storm, and trained to 
self-reUance, it is not surprising that their strength of character 
should give them the ascendency among the younger colonies of 
the Great Valley. The men that scaled the Alleghanies were 
no common men ; they were young, or in the prime of life ; of" 
limited education indeed, but robust, shrewd, and enterprising. 
Kentucky has been justly styled the Mother of the West. Not 
only was she the State earliest settled ; her sons have been 
everywhere foremost ; and from the Falls of St. Anthony to the 
Gulf of Mexico, to have been born and reared in Kentucky has 
ever constituted a recommendation to the highest offices, as po- 
tent as the prescriptive claim which birth in Old Spain used to 
confer in her colonies.* Emphatically may it be said of her, 
as of Bethlehem Ephratah, out of her have come forth governors 
to rule the people.f Such is the commanding position of the 
State, of whose early beginnings we have furnished a hasty re- 
trospect. The seed planted with difficulty and watered with 
blood, has taken deep root in the prolific soil ; it has shot forth 
its branches like the goodly cedars, it has filled the whole valley, 
and the hills are covered by its shadow. Cradled between the 
Alleghanies on the one hand, and the Rocky Mountains on the 
other, lies a young giant, sporting in the greatness of his strength, 
and already putting forth energies the limits of which are abso- 
lutely incalculable. 

Among the early settlers of Kentucky, the McAfee Company 
deserve a distinct notice, not merely because their various ad- 
ventures and perils are a lively specimen of the extremities to 

* Butler, p. 17. Flint's! Recoil, p. 73. 

f That tfiis is not a mere rhetorical tlourish will he evident from a considera- 
tion of the number of governors and lieutenant-governors furnished by Kentucky 
to other States and Territories of the Union, amounting to not less than twenty- 
one ; to say nothing of other distinguished personages. — See the author's No- 
tices of Kentucky, pp. 141-144. 


which the colonists were often reduced, but chiefly on account 
of their intimate connection with the planting of the Church,* 

The first party who left their homes in Botetourt county, in 
the Valley of Virginia, to explore the western wilds, with a 
double view to future residence and to distinction as the earliest 
adventurers, were James, George, and Robert McAfee, James 
McCoun, senior, and Samuel Adams ; all except the last named, 
who was a mere stripling, heads of families ; and all the five 
men of good character and religious principles. They were 
firm believers in an overruling Providence ; and in that persua- 
sion hesitated not to undertake the long and difficult journey ; 
and their subsequent history will show that they were not disap- 

They started on the 10th of May, 1773, and descended the 
Kenawha and Ohio rivers in canoes and a batteau. On their 
way they fell in with Bullitt, Douglass, and Hancock Taylor, 
with a number of persons who had served in the French war, 
going to make surveys of the proclamation-right or military lands 
granted to the soldiers of that war. Capt. Bullitt left them to 
visit Chilicothe, where he had a talk with the Shawnees, and was 
treated with great hospitality ; the Indians making no objections 
to the land being settled, provided the right of hunting on it were 
reserved to them. After he rejoined the company, they proceed- 
ed to the mouth of the Licking, and visited Big Bone Lick,t 
where the fossil remains of the mammoth were found in great 
numbers, and which a Delaware Indian, seventy years old, told 
them had been lying there since he was a boy. At the mouth 
of the Kentucky river they parted company, Bullitt going on to 

* The account which follows has been derived from a valuable manuscript, 
entitled " The History of the Rise and Progress of the First Settlements on Salt 
river, and Establishment of the New Providence Church." This volume has 
been laboriously compiled from original and authentic documents, by General 
Robert E. McAfee, of Mercer county, formerly Lieutenant-Governor of the 
State, and Author of a History of the Late War. See also Sketches of the First 
Settlements in Kentucky, No. 1., by the same hand, in the Lomsville Journal, 
May 24, 1841. 

f In regions so far distant from the sea, we may admire the goodness of Pro- 
vidence in scattering numerous salt springs over the Great Valley, thus furnish- 
ing a plentiful supply of an article useful, if not essential to health. These 
springs were eageriy sought by the buffalo and other animals, who resorted 
thither in great numbers, and greedily licked the earth impregnated with saline 
deposits. From this circumstance they derived the name of Licks ; of which 
there is a great variety,— Bigbone Lick, Drennon's Lick, Blue Lick, Paint Lick, 
Mud Lick, &,c. 



the Falls of Ohio, where he made surveys of the site of Louis- 
ville ; while Taylor and the McAfees ascended the river into the 
interior. At Drennon's Lick they found thousands of buffalo, 
deer, and elk, together with bears, wolves, eagles and other birds 
of prey. For miles around the country was bare of grass, and 
the buffalo tracks were as wide and well-defined as a common 
highway. Here James McAfee and Adams were in imminent 
danger of their lives from a herd of five hundred buffaloes be- 
coming alarmed, and rushing in a solid body toward the spot 
where they stood. Adams had barely time to climb a tree, and 
McAfee sprang behmd another, by pressing closely to which 
laterally, he escaped being crushed, although the horns of the 
huge animals grazed the bark on both sides. Following the 
buffalo track they reached the valley in which Frankfort now 
stands ; where Robert McAfee made a survey of six hundred 
acres, including the site of the capital. 

When they reached Salt river, on the 21st of July, they fixed 
upon it as their future home, and surveyed several four hundred 
acre tracts for themselves and friends, cutting down brush- 
wood and deadening timber. The surveys extended above 
Harrodsburg. On the 31st, the McAfees turned their faces 
homeward, along the middle fork of the Kentucky river, and 
across the Cumberland mountain and Powell's Valley. On the 
way they met Boone with his family, and forty other persons, 
removing to Kentucky ; whose enterprise, however, was frus- 
trated at that time by an attack of the Indians, and the death of 
Boone's eldest son. 

The journey was accomplished under showers of rain, and 
various hardships. At the foot of the mountains their provisions 
tailed, and game was difficult to procure. The passage across 
proved a very laborious undertaking, as it was obstructed by 
laurel, underbrush, and pine. On the 12th of August they had 
toiled up to the highest point of the craggy range dividing the 
headwaters of the Kentucky and the Clinch rivers ; but it was 
a region that seemed the abode of desolation. Barren and heat- 
ed rocks frowned on every side, and silence and solitude reigned 
uninterrupted. Not a living creature was to be seen, not a bird 
cheered them with its wild notes, nor an insect with its painted 
wing. They were exposed to a broiling sun ; their feet w^ere 
blistered ; their legs were torn and raw from the laceration of 


the briers; they were literally starving, not having had a mouth- 
ful to eat for two days ; and, to complete their distress, the 
springs were all dried up by the excessive heat. 

Here was a combniation of misfortunes sufficient to appall the 
stoutest heart. The day was drawing to a close, the sun was 
sinking in the west, and gilding the mountain crags with his 
retiring beams, yet they had not seen a solitary animal that 
could serve for food, and the scanty herbage was unfit for sus- 
tenance. Exhausted by fatigue, hunger and despair, George 
McAfee and young Adams threw themselves on the ground, 
declaring that they were unable to proceed a step further. As 
a last desperate effort, Robert McAfee took his rifle and com- 
passed the ridge in quest of game, and had not proceeded a 
quarter of a mile when a young buck crossed his path ; and, 
although agitated by intense feelings, he was so good a marks- 
man as to bring him down at the first shot. On hearing the 
report of his gun, the rest of the company, forgetting their 
fatigue, sprang up, and ran to the spot whence the sound had 
proceeded. The food thus opportunely furnished, they devoured 
with keen appetites, and slaked their thirst from a brook which 
was found adjacent ; while their hearts overflowed with grati- 
tude to that Providence which, by so timely an interposition, 
had rescued them from the jaws of death. Recruited in strength 
they resumed their journey, and reached their homes in sixteen 
days from starting ; where, in spite of the hardships and hazards 
attending the exploit, the accounts they published inspired a 
general enthusiasm to imitate their example. 

Indian wars, and the battle of Kenawha, detained them iu 
Virginia during the succeeding year, while Harrod and his 
party were laying ofl" the town now known as Harrodsburg ; 
but the year 1775 again found them among the cane-brakes. 
Robert, Samuel, and William McAfee allowed themselves to be 
persuaded by Col. Henderson to unite their fortunes with his, 
against the advice of their elder brother, James, who assured 
them that Henderson's claim could not be valid, being destitute 
of the sanction of government. They went to Boonesborough, 
entered land and raised corn, but, as was predicted, the scheme 
proved abortive. In the fall, the company were reunited, 
consisting of James, William, George, and Robert McAfee, 
George McGee, David Adams, John McCoun, and some others ; 



and, under the protection of Harrod's Station, they planted 
fifteen acres in corn. A part of them wintered here, while the 
rest went back to Virginia, leaving forty head of cattle to fatten 
on the succulent cane and luxuriant herbage. 

In May, 1776, the last-mentioned party packed up their 
household property and farming utensils, with a quantity of 
seeds of various kinds, barrels of corn and flour, and stores of 
coffee, sugar and spices, not omitting a few bottles of whiskey 
and spirits, which they placed for security in the middle of the 
flour and corn barrels ; and attempted to convey them in canoes 
down the Gauley and Kenawha rivers ; but, finding this 
impracticable, they resolved to go back for pack-horses. 
Having built a strong log cabin, or cache, they deposited in it 
all their moveables, and, covering it with bark, left it in this 
situation. The rumor of hostilities caused a delay of several 
months ; and when they returned, in September, they found, to 
their mortification, the cache had been rifled by a runaway 
convict servant, who had wantonly wasted their most valuable 
stores, which they had been for years collecting, and could 
with difficulty replace. The miserable wa-etch narrowly 
escaped summary punishment ; and, as they were now obliged 
to return, they carried him along and gave him up to his master, 
from whom, in all probability, he received such a scourging as 
made him more desirous to run away than ever. 

The war with Great Britain, in which the members of this 
company and all their connections heartily united, hindered the 
resumption of their darling project for the next two years ; 
during which time the cattle they had imported ran wild in the 
woods, or fell the prey of Indian marauders, and were irrecov- 
erably lost. The year 1779 saw these enterprising adventurers 
settled with their families on their new domain, having passed 
the Cumberland Gap with pack-horses. Their first care was to 
fortify themselves in a quadrangular enclosure of cabins and 
stockades, to which was given the name of McAfeeh Station* 

* The settlements were called Stations, from the circumstance of beino- for- 
tified, and thence becoming rallying points : as, Ilarrod's Station ; Wilson's 
Station ; McAfee's Station ; Crow's Station (Danville) ; Haggin's Station (a 
mile from Cane Run Mceting-IIouse) ; McGary's Station (near Shakertown) ; 
all of which were in Mr. Rice's parish; Bryant's Station (near Lexincrton) ; 
Whitley's Station, &c. 



A winter of unexampled severity followed, snow and ice 
continuing on the ground without a thaw from November to 
February. Many of the cattle perished, and numbers of wild 
animals were frozen to death. Sometimes the famished wild 
animals would come into the yards of the stations, along with 
the tame cattle. Such was the scarcity of food, that a single 
johnny-cake was divided into a dozen parts, and distributed 
among the inmates, to serve for two meals. Even this resource 
failed, and for weeks they had nothing to subsist on but wild 
game. Early in the Spring, some of the men went to the Falls, 
now Louisville, where they gave sixty dollars (continental 
money) for a bushel of corn ; an enormous price, even making 
allowance for its depreciated value, but the alternative w^as 

A delightful spring, and the rapid growth of vegetation, 
repaid them for their hardships. Their peach trees and apple 
trees were in a thriving condition, and plenty and happiness 
smiled upon the settlement ; when, by one of those unexpected 
reverses, which seem designed by Providence to admonish us 
of what we are too apt to forget — the uncertain tenure of earthly 
prosperity — their flattering prospects were damped, and every 
heart filled with gloom. Joseph McCoun, a promising lad, 
the youngest and darling son of his father, and the favorite of 
the whole family, w^as surprised and captured by a party of 
Shawnee Indians, and burned at the stake, on the other side of 
the Ohio, with excruciating tortures. This event took place in 
1781 ; and, as the Indians were now prowling in every direc- 
tion, the families, seven in number, abandoned their farms, and 
took refuge in the station. Safety was not restored till after 
the successful expedition of General George Rogers Clarke, 
in which the men of the Salt river settlement participated. 
During the period of alarm, on the 9th of May, 1781, a band 
of one hundred and fifty Shawnees, made a desperate assault 
on McAfee's Station, at their favorite time, when slumbers are 
deepest, — an hour before sunrise. A w^ell-directed fire from 
the beleaguered garrison, consisting of only thirteen men, kept 
them at bay, the women and children running bullets and sup- 
plying them with ammunition. Bafiled in their attempt, the 
savages decamped, destroying all the cattle and hogs within 
their reach. They were pursued by a reinforcement of forty 


men, summoned by express from McGary's Station, and com- 
pletely routed.* 

The insecurity of the settlers was great, and the hazards to 
which they were exposed were appalling. There was no com- 
munication between the stations but by armed companies. The 
inhabitants did not dare to spend the night out of the forts, and, 
during the day, cultivated their corn with the hoe in one hand 
and a gun in the other. But the incursions of th5 savages 
gradually diminished from this period, as the country became 
more thickly settled. The McAfee Station became one of the 
prominent centres, grist-mills were erected,! improvements 
of all kinds projected, and uninterrupted prosperity finally 
crowned the enterprising pioneers. 

Although these early settlers were imbued with a sense of 
religious obligation, and appear to have quitted their homes 
with a pious trust in Providence, and although, probably, they 
formed many good resolutions, yet the new circumstances in 
which they were placed had a very unfavorable effect on their 
character. Their time was completely taken up with the inces- 
sant industry demanded by their necessities ; while they con- 
tracted roving and unsettled habits from their frequent hunting 
expeditions, and a fondness for strong excitement from their 
skirmishes with the Indians. In the intervals of labor, and not- 
withstanding the constant possibility of danger, (or rather, 
perhaps, as the history of the human mind evinces, in conse- 
quence of it), the people spent their time merrily, and dancing, 
and other festal amusements, formed the recreations of young 
and old. These sports they enjoyed with a keen zest, from the 
confinement in the fort to which they were subjected. Conver- 
sation turned naturally on the bold exploits and hair-breadth 
escapes of noted Indian-fighters ; and, from the exigencies of 
the times, these forest heroes were looked up to as the persons 
most worthy of estimation. It is not wonderful, therefore, that 
religion should have a small share in their thoughts and inter- 
course. The absence of ministers and of Sabbath services, and 

* For a full account of this attack, see McClung's Sketches, p. 154. 

f Hitherto hand-mills had been in use, of a tnily primitive and almost oriental 
character, consisting of a pair of limestone slabs, about two feet in diameter, 
which were placed in a hollow sycamore, or gum tree ; and every morning 
each family ground as much as would last them for the day. 


being removed from the inspection and discipline of the Church, 
tended to foster habits of carelessness and irreligion. While 
catechetical instruction was kept up, the other forms and duties 
of religion were generally neglected. 

At an early period, moreover, an avaricious turn was fostered 
by the temptation to speculate in the unbounded field that lay 
invitingly open. The people displayed an avidity to accumulate 
landed property, and locate extensive farms of the best and 
choicest quality, resembling that which drew down the fervent 
rebuke of the prophet, when he denounced a " woe unto them 
that add house to house, and field to field, till there be no place 
for them in the earth !" 

Providential escapes, occasional deaths, and the dangers that 
continually threatened them from their savage foes, particularly 
the misfortune that befell young Joseph McCoun, and the dis- 
astrous defeat of the Blue Licks, in August, 1782, which filled 
all Northern Kentucky with mourning, often made a salutary 
impression on the mind, and induced serious reflections on their 
duty towards their Creator ; but these impressions were tran- 
sient and soon effaced. ^ 
— ^ The year 1783 opened with a prospect of peace with Great 
Britain, and of comparative quiet from the savages ; while the 
abundance of the products of the soil promised to reward the 
labors of the husbandman. New settlers poured in by thousands, 
and the forest and the cane-brake rapidly disappeared boneath 
the axe and the plough. Among those who were attracted to 
this Land of Promise, flowing, as was represented, with milk 
and honey, was the Rev. David Rice, at that time pastor of a 
congregation at the Peaks of Otter. He came, not with the 
intention of becomiag a resident, but solely with a view to make 
some provision for his numerous and dependent family ; but, 
being disgusted with the shameless spirit of speculation which 
was then rife, he returned without purchasing an acre,* In 

* Bishop's Memoir of Rice, p. 6G. Dr. Spalding; in his Sketches of the 
early Catholic Missions in Kentucky, p. 83, misrepresents this passage in Mr. 
Rice's history, in order to indulge a sneer at " married preachers." " It seems,"' 
says he, " that he had a large family to provide for, and liis removal to Kontucky 
was prompted more by the desire of securing the good things of this world, than 
by that of spreading the Gospel. . . . So much for married preachers." This 
is said in the face of the quotation from Bishop, on which he relies, which 
states, on the same page, that Mr. Rice did not visit Kentucky " witli t!ie view 
of moving there soon, if ever." " We mean to be impartial " says the Vicar- 
Greneral ! 


vain were the broad, rich lands of Kentucky spread in unrivalled 
beauty before him, in vain did the cheapness of the price temp* 
him ; he valued his peace of mind too much to suspend it on 
the doubtful risks of inevitable litigation. 

During his stay, Mr. Rice preached as opportunity oflered,* -^ 
and his appearance was hailed with joy by the Presbyterian set- 
tlers, some of whom had known him personally, and all by repu- 
tation. They had learned by their long destitution and silent 
Sabbaths to appreciate the value of the stated ministry ; and, 
like David in his exile, memory lingered with fond regret upon 
the lost pleasures of the sanctuary, and the voice of joy and praise. 
Mr. Rice was warmly pressed to give them the benefit of his pas- 
toral services ; but he hesitated to take so important a step on a 
mere verbal invitation. He promised, however, that if a written 
invitation were drawn up, signed by such only as were perma- 
nent settlers, and really desirous of constituting themselves into 
a church, he would take it into consideration. In consequence 
of this encouragement, a paper was conveyed to him towards the 
close of the summer, with three hundred signatures appended, 
stating the destitute condition of the country, and entreating him 
to remove, and plant a Presbyterian Church among them. Mr. 
Rice laid this petition before Hanover Presbytery, (sitting that 
year in Hall's Meeting-house,) and requested their advice. The 
Presbytery recommended his acceptance of the invitation, as 
opening a wide and effectual door to do good, in the providence 
of God ; and although he had some suspicions that the signers 
were not all that they professed to be, he concluded that, on the 
whole, it was his duty to go. He removed to Kentucky in Oc- 
tober; but owing to the impassable state of the roads, he was 
unable to travel, during the winter, beyond the neighborhood of 
Danville, and preached in private houses, as he was invited. 
Harrodsburg, at that time, contained few who cared for religious 

On the opening of spring, (1784,) Mr. Rice extended the sphere Z^ 
of his labors, and gathered three large congregations near Har- 

* His first sermon was heard by Dr. .Toshua A. Wilson, then a child, at Har- 
rod's Station, and was from the text, " The people which sat in darkness saw 
great light ; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is 
sprung up." Matt. iv. 16. 

t Bishop's Rice, p. 67 ; Graham, Lett. VTII. ; McAfee MS. p. 19. 


rod's Station as a central point, Danville, Cane Run, and the 
Salt river settlement. Houses of worship were put up without 
delay, and the year following churches were regularly organized 
^ in them all.* 

Father, Rice, by which appellation that venerable man is fitly 
called, who so long acted the part of a father to the infant churches 
in Kentucky, was born in Hanover county, Virginia, December 
20, 1733. His father's family were plain farmers, originally of 
Welsh extraction. From an early age he was thoughtful and 
serious, the subject of deep religious impressions, and punctilious 
in the duties of private and public devotion. He was savingly 
converted under the preaching of Mr. Davies, and at the age of 
twenty began to study for the ministry, under Mr. Todd and 
Dr. Waddel. His father being in straitened circumstances, he 
procured the means of his education by raising a hogshead 
of tobacco with his own hands, and afterwards by teaching 
an English school. His health suffered under the confinement, 
but he was relieved by a rich relation offering him his board. Pre- 
sident Davies having had a sum annually put at his disposal by 
a wealthy Christian in London, to aid in educating needy young 
men in this country, he chose Mr. Rice as the beneficiary; but 
upon his death the supply ceased, and Mr. Rice's wardrobe be- 
came so shabby, that he meditated leaving Nassau Hall ; when 
Providence raised him up another friend, in Richard Stockton, 
Esq., to whom the President had mentioned his circumstances. 
He called Mr. Rice to him, and said : " I have, in a literal sense, 
ventured my bread on the waters, having a ship at sea. If it 
founders, you must repay me the sum I advance you ; if it returns 
safe, I will venture, in the figurative sense." Two years after 

* McAfee MS. pp. 23-25; Bishop, p. 147. 

It may not be amiss to mention here an extraordinary bhinder of Winterbotham. 
Filson, from whom he quoted, had said : " The Anabaptists were the first that 
promoted pubhc worship in Kentucky ; and the Presbyterians have formed three 
large cono;reo-ations near Harrod's Station, and have engatjed the Rev. David 
Rico, of Virginia, to be their pastor." — Filson, in Imlay, p. 321. But Winter- 
botham, by an inexcusable carelessness in transcribing, has attributed to the Bap- 
tists what his author had said of the Presbyterians : " The Baptists were tlie first 
that promoted public worship in this State ; they formed three congregations near 
Harrod's Station, and engaged Mr. David Rice, of Virginia, as their pastor !" — 
Winterbotham's Hist. View of the United States, vohiii. p. 169. This error 
deforms both the London and American editions. 


Mr. Rice offered to repay him, but lie refused, affirming that he 
had been repaid long ago.* 

He studied theology with the Rev. John Todd, and was or- 
dained by Hanover Presbytery, Dec. 1763,f at the age of thirty, 
and soon became a popular and successful preacher. After 
laboring in various fields, he took charge of three congrega- 
tions in Bedford county, at the foot of the Blue Ridge, in 1769 ; 
but at length, in consequence of their great increase, restricted 
himself to one, at the Peaks of Otter. J 

Of the revolutionary struggle he was not an indifferent specta- X 
tor, but took a warm and decided stand in favor of his country's 
independence ; nor did he deem it transcending the duties of his 
profession to harangue the people on their grievances at county 
meetings. He took an active part, also, in procuring the estab- 
lishment of Hampden Sidney Academy, in spite of the opposi- 
tion of the Episcopal clergy ; and afterwards of Transylvania 

In 1783, he removed to Kentucky, and there organized and 
took charge of the congregations of Concord at Danville, Cane 
Run, and the Forks of Dick's river.H He was chairman for seve- 
ral years of the Board of Trustees of Transylvania Seminary, 
and its first teacher, while yet a Grammar-School. It was opened 
in his own house, in Lincoln county, in February, 1785. When 
the Seminary, after its removal to Lexington, fell under deistical 
influence, he took an active part in raising up a rival, in Ken- 
tucky Academy, and, in company with Dr. Blythe, visited the 
cities of the East to solicit donations.TI 

The estimation in which he was held may be inferred, from 
his election as a member of the Convention which met at Dan- 

* See a letter from his son, Dr. James H. Rice, Aug. 14, 1824, in tlie West. 
Luminary, vol. i. p. 178. 
f MS." Hist, of Hanover Pby., p. 6. 

I Bishop, pp. 13-64. 
h Bishop, pp. 96, 97. 

II Letter to Mod. of the Gen. Assembly, 1790. 

It is worthy of note, that a small district of country upon Dick's river has fur- 
nished a number of individuals distinguished in the annals of the State : Coi. 
Joseph H. Daviess, Chief Justice Boyle, Gov. Owsley, T. T. Davis, Thomas Mont- 

§ ornery, Samuel McKee, Gov. Letcher, S. IL Anderson, Judge Green, J. Speed 
mith. Chief Justice Robertson, W. J. Graves, &c. For this notice the author 
is indebted to Col. C. S. Todd, a descendant of the Rev. John Todd, and late 
Minister to the Court of Russia. 
IF Bishop, p. 97. 




ville, in 1792, to frame a State Constitution. He strenuously 
exerted himself, though without success, against the commanding 
talents and overwhelming influence of John Breckinridge and 
Col. Nicholas, for the insertion of an article providing for gradual 
emancipation, before the settlement of the question should be 
hampered by insuperable embarrassments. He also published 
his sentiments in a pamphlet, signed " Philanthropos," and enti- 
tled, " Slavery inconsistent with justice and policy." 

Although Father Rice devoted some share of his attention to 
literature and politics, he did not neglect his parochial duties. 
One of his methods of doing good w^as the addressing of a circu- 
lar epistle to his ministerial brethren, holding up the example of 
Paul for their imitation. The happy result was a refreshing 
revival, both in his own and other congregations, which lasted 
for several months. He was very faithful, also, in maintaining 
regular catechetical instruction. After preaching fifteen years, 
during which, notwithstanding many drawbacks naturally inci- 
dent to a new settlement, he witnessed a general improvement 
in religious knowledge, and an increased attention to the ordi- 
nances of God's house, he resigned his charges, and removed to 
Green county, in 1798. He was now sixty-five years of age, and 
troubled with an affection of the head, which incapacitated him 
for close attention to any subject, and subjected him to a habitual 
melancholy.* There is no doubt that pecuniary difficulties op- 
pressed him, and either produced this melancholy, or co-operated 
wdth it. He had purchased land on the faith of his congregation 
guaranteeing the payment ; but this was deferred, until the sons 
had forgotten the promises of their fathers, and the sheriff held 
up before his eyes the terror of imprisonment. While in this mor- 
bid state he refused, on a certain communion occasion, to admin- 
ister the sacrament at Danville, on the ground that it was not 
right to admit to the holy table persons who were unfaithful to 
their engagements. As may naturally be supposed, a great sen- 
sation was the consequence ; dissatisfaction vented itself in loud 
murmurs ; he became the song of the drunkard ; and pasquinades 
were affixed to the church door, whose doggerel rhymes are 
remembered by many to this day.f 

* Bishop, p. 77. 

f These rhymes were composed by Tom Johnson, a drunken poet, who amused 
himself and his tipsy companions, in the taverns of Danville, by letting off his 


The precedinc: statement probably furnishes the true explana- 
tion of Father Rice's leaving Danville. To a sensitive and 
generous nature, no trial can be more poignant than to be repaid 
with ingratitude, or exposed to ridicule. Although Mr. Rice 
was faithful and assiduous in the discharge of his duties, he was 
often in great straits, like many others of his brethren, for want of 
an adequate support ; and his family would have been reduced to 
a crust of bread, had it not been for the seasonable friendship of 
Mr. Jacob Fishback.* There were not wanting narrow-minded 

spleen in doggerel satires, generally of the octosyllabic measure. His effusions 
were very popular in their day, (perhaps owing to the scarcity of poetic staple ;) 
and the author lias heard both the Lines on Mr. Rice, and the Extempore Grace 
at Gill's Tavern, repeated from memory by more than one person. Johnson pub- 
lished an edition of liis poems, in thirty-six pages, 24mo., under the title of " The 
Kentucky IMiscellany." The copy seen by tlie author, in the Rev. Mr. Seely's 
collection, bore the imprint of the fourth edition, in 1821. Some of the pieces 
are spriglitly and humorous, but tlio ribald and blasphemous character of others, 
proves that poor Jolmson " drank full ofter of the tun than of the well ;" as in- 
deed he coniesses, for hypocrisy was not one of his sins. The pasquinade is as 
follows. (Misc. p. 20.) 



" Ye fools ! I told you once or twice. 

You'd heiU" no more from cantinsj li e ; 

He cannot settle his affairs, S 

Nor pay attention unto pray'rs, > 
Unless you pay up your arrears, j 
O how he would in pulpit stomi, 
And fill all hell with dire alarm ! 
Vengeance pronounce against each vice, 
And, more than all, curs'd avarice ; 
Preach'd money was the root of ill, 
Consign'd each rich man unto hell ; 
But since he finds you will not pay, 
Both rich and jioor may go that way. 
'Tis no more than 1 expected — 
The meeting-house is now neglected: 
All trades are subject to this chance. 
No longer pipe, no longer dance." 

*This fact is related on the authority of James Stonestreet, Esq., his son-in- 
law. Mr. Jacob Fishback was born in Culpepper county, Virginia, April 14th, 
1749. At the age of 18, he heard Dr. Waddel in a private house, and was so 
impressed by his remarkable appearance and earnestness, that he went home a 
broken-hearted penitent. After a season of deep religious exercises, he obtain- 
ed a hope, and soon assembled the neighbors, and read, and prayed, and sang 
with them. He was not, during this period, a communicant, for there were no 
dissenting |)laces of worship near, and he was reluctant to join the Established 
Church, as all the clergy wore drinking men. This account differs from that of 
Dr. Bishop, but may be relied on as being derived from his family. In 1783, he 
removed to Kentucky, first to the Forks of Dick's river, and afterward to a farm 
in Clarke county. He became one of Mr. Rice's most efficient supporters, and 
a shining Christian. After his death, a " Solemn Declaration" or covenant was 
found among his papers, repeatedly re-signed. He died Sept. 15, 1821, in the 
73d year of his age. He left eleven children, six sons and five daughters, whose 
descendants at that time, numbered fifty-eight. — Bishop, pp. 221, 230. 


persons, who expected a minister, when placed on a small tract 
of land, to maintain himself by the labor of his own hands, and 
who considered themselves absolved from all further obligation to 
contribute to his support. They never reflected on the thousand 
calls, absences and interruptions to which a pastor is subject- 
ed, to say nothing of the necessity of time for study and pulpit 
preparation. When the clergy were thus compelled to forsake 
the study for the field, and the Lord's vineyard for their own 
farm, the unavoidable consequence was, in Mr. Rice's nervous 
language, that "the people starved the ministers, and the minis- 
ters starved the people."* 

Mr. Rice resigned his congregations and removed to Green 
county, about 1797, after which he withdrew almost entirely 
from active life and attendance on church courts, and employed 
himself chiefly in preaching to vacant congregations, and assist- 
ing his brethren. It was at his suggestion that catechists and 
exhorters were introduced in the Green river revival, to supply 
the great deficiency of a regular minister ; the abuse of which, 
afterwards, none deplored more feelingly than himself. Upon 
this subject he had a correspondence with the General Assembly.^ 
In 1803 at the Walnut Hill Sacrament, he made a strenuous 
endeavor to regulate camp-meetings, and prevent scandals. In 
1805, and 1806, he performed an extensive missionary tour 
through Kentucky and Ohio, by the appointment of the General 
Assembly, to ascertain the religious condition of the country, and 
to reclaim schismatics. The fruit of his tour was an Epistle to 
the Presbyterians of Kentucky, published in the same year, and 
a second Epistle in 1808, in which he gave a plain and faithful 
warning against the dangerous errors of the times, and held up 
evangelical truth forcibly to view. For tl^ last three years of 
his life, he was prevented from preaching and writing, by the 
gradual decay of nature, but the exercises of his mind were of 
the most heavenly and edifying character. His last words were, 
" Oh, when shall I be free from sin and sorrow !" and shortly 
after, he fell asleep in Jesus, June 18th, 1816, in the 83d year of 
his age. 

* Bishop, p. 110. 

f " A number liave been exercising their gifts as exhorters, who had scarce a 
talent for anything but addressing the passions of men." — Second Epistle, 1808. 
Bishop, p. 353. See also, Assembly's Digest, 1804, p. 148. 


Father Rice's talents were of a plain, practical cast ; not of a 
commanding order, but very respectable. His distinguishing 
characteristic was judgment, and his disposition conservative. 
He was exemplary in his deportment, and spent much time in 
prayer. As a preacher, his natural manner was solemn and 
impressive, but sometimes marred by the apparent affectation of 
sympathy. In society he was dignified and grave. His person 
was slender, but tall and active, and even at the age of seventy, 
he exhibited an astonishing degree of alertness. He married 
Mary, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Blair, by whom he had 
eleven children, nine of whom became heads of families, and all 
made a reputable profession of religion. One of the number was 
converted by means of a Bible which his mother placed among 
his clothing when leaving the paternal roof.* 

His published writings were of the fugitive kind, prepared as 
occasion demanded them. They are as follows : — 1. A Circular 
Letter to his ministerial brethren on the Example of Paul, date 
uncertain. 2. An Essay on Baptism, 1789. 3. A Lecture on 
the Divine Decrees, 1791. 4. Slavery inconsistent with Justice 
and Policy, 1792. 5. A Sermon at the opening of Synod. 
6. An Epistle to the Citizens of Kentucky professing Christian- 
ity, especially those that are, or have been, denominated Pres- 
byterians, 1805. 7. A second Epistle of the same nature, 1808. 
8. Letters on the Evidences, Nature, and Effects of Christianity, 
pubhshed in the Weekly Recorder, at the age of 81, ISM.f 

Previous to Mr. Rice's arrival, marriages had been solemnized 
by 'the magistrates, but after that event, the people made it a 
point to procure the services of a clergyman. On the 3d of 
June, 1784, he married a couple at M'Afee's Station, and on the 
4th preached the funeral sermon of Mrs. James M'Coun, sen., 
the first sermon ever preached on the banks of Salt river. The 
attention of the people was greatly arrested by this mournful 
occurrence. After this, Mr.'Rice returned to the fort, and spent 
Saturday, according to his wont, in catechizing such as felt an 
interest in religious matters. On Sunday, tl^ 6th, he preached 
in a large double-hewed log-house at the Station. He continued 
to visit them and preach occasionally. In the fall, the settlement 
received a valuable accession in Captain John Armstrong and 

* Biehop, pp. 67, 60. f Bishop, pp. 76,113. 


John Buchanan, who were favorably inclined to religion, and 
William Armstrong, who had been one of Mr. Rice's elders in 
Virginia. In the spring of 1785, James, George, Samuel, and 
Robert M'Afee, John and William Armstrong, James M'Coun, 
sen., and James M'Coun, jun., Joseph Lyon, John Buchanan, and 
John M'Gee, met together and agreed to erect a house for the 
double purpose of a school and a place of worship, On two 
. acres of land, offered by James M'Afee. It was a log cabin, 
twenty feet by eighteen. In the course of the year, a church 
was organized, and called by the appropriate name of New 
Providence, in commemoration of the many signal favors and 
deliverances which they had received from the hand of the 
Almighty. The first elders elected, were George Buchanan, 
and James M'Coun, sen., to whom was added William Arm- 
strong, in 1789. Mr. Rice preached here monthly, and cate- 
chized at private houses. He was assiduous in the discharge of 
his duties, but except regular attendance and decorous behavior 
on the part of the people, little direct fruit was visible from his 
labors. The departure of many volunteers to join Gen. Clark's 
expedition on the Wabash, and the exciting political question of 
severance from Virginia, to be formed into an independent State, 
distracted public attention from the concerns of the soul.* 

For several years after the foundation of the Church, the men 
were obliged to carry their guns to meeting, as the Indians were 
in the habit of prowling about, to steal horses and kill stragglers. f 
This was not an imaginary danger. On the 23d of May, 1790, 
some people were fired on by Indians, as they were returning 
from sermon on Brashear's Creek. A man was killed, and a 
woman carried off, and on being pursued, tomahawked. Judge 
Innes, writing to Secretary Knox, July 7th, 1790, stated that 
within seven years, fifteen hundred souls had been killed or 
taken prisoners, twenty thousand horses carried ofi', and other 
property plundered to the value of fifteen thousand pounds. J 

The congregation of New Providence increased so rapidly, 
that in 1790 a new tiouse, of double the size, was rendered neces- 
sary, also built of logs ; and in 1803, this was still further enlarged. 
It was afterwards superseded by a substantial and commodious 

*M'Afee MS. Hist. pp. 21, 23, 25. Bishop, pp. 146, 147. 
t M-Afee MS. Hist p. 23. % Butler, p. 195. 


brick edifice, sixty feet by forty-five. Mr. Rice continued to 
preach here till 1796, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Wil- 
liam Mahon, from Virginia, who, proving unacceptable, only 
remained two years. In 1801, the Rev. Samuel B. Robertson 
was ordained pastor of the United Churches of New Providence 
and Cane Run. He resigned in 1811, and was succeeded in 
1813 by the Rev. Thomas Cleland, D.D.,* whose ministry has 
been eminently successful. 

While Mr. Rice was diligently engaged in gathering the rudi- 
ments of churches around Harrod's station, the Rev. Adam 
Raxkin, from Augusta county, in Virginia, having received a 
call from the Presbyterians of Lexington, was organizing a 
church in that thriving town, under the name of Mount Zion. 
He arrived on the 1st of October, 1784, and immediately found 
himself surrounded by a large congregation. It is related that 
on sacramental occasions, when the number was swelled by 
persons from contiguous parts of the country, not less than five 
hundred communicants attended. In conjunction with Mount 
Zion, Mr. Rankin took charge of the congregation of Pisgah, 
about eight miles south-west of Lexington.f This year also the 
Churches of Paint Lick in Garrard county, and Salem in Clarke 
county, were formed. 

In consequence of the multiplication of congregations, and in 
order to have a bond of union for their better regulation and 
eflficiency, a General Meeting for Conference was held at Cane 
Run, March 30th, 1785. J At this Conference there were three 
mmisters present ; Mr. Rice, Mr. Rankin, and Mr, James Mitchell, 
of Virginia, whose name does not appear again,§ together 
with Mr. Terah Templin, a probationer. There were 10 repre- 
sentatives present from five congregations : Caleb Wallace|| and 
William M'Cune, from Cane Run ; Thomas Maxwell and Saml. 
Woods, from Paint Lick ; James M'Coun and George Buchanan, 

•Bishop, pp. 148,149. 

f Rankin's Antobiofrraphy. Filson, inlmlay, p. 321. Bishop, p. 140. 

t McAfee MS. p. 27. 

§ He was ordained I)y Ilancvcr Presbytery, August 3(1, 1784. After the Con- 
ference Ic rcti mod to Virtrinia, and succeeded Mr. Rice at the Peaks of Otter. 
—MS. Hist, cf Hanover I'by. pp. 13, 14. 

II Caleb Wallack was born in Charlotte county, Va., and graduated at Prince- 
ton, in 1770. He was ordained to the ministry, and preached for some years. 
He removed to Kentucky, and devoted himself to tlic law, and became a Judge 
of tlie Supreme Court. 


from New Providence ; James Beard and James Allen, from 
Salem ; Richard Steele and John Brooker, from Mount Zion. 

The Conference was organized by calling Mr. Rice to the 
chair, and appointing Caleb Wallace, Clerk. After prayer, they 
proceeded to business. 

The very first subject to which their attention was turned, 
was the necessity of being formed into a separate Presbytery, 
on account of the inconveniences of their present relation ; and 
Messrs. Rice, Rankin, and Mitchell, or any two of them, were 
chosen a committee to solicit of the Presbytery of Hanover the 
ordination of Messrs. Crawford and Templin, and to engage 
their concurrence in obtaining of the Synod of New York and 
Philadelphia the separation desired. 

Another measure they agreed on, was to appoint the same 
ministers a standing committee, without whose certificate of 
good character and credentials no strange travelling ministers 
were to be received or encouraged, that all imposition might be 

They recommended the election of three elders in every con- 
gregation, describing the qualifications requisite, the mode of 
election, and the mode of ordination. 

The propriety of elders conducting religious services in the 
absence of a minister, came under discussion, but was referred 
for further consideration. 

To prevent unworthy applicants from being hastily admitted 
to church privileges, all that were desirous of admission, whether 
on an original profession of faith, or by certificate of member- 
ship elsewhere, were required to signify their intention a suffi- 
cient time previous, that the minister might have opportunity of 
satisfying himself as to their piety and knowledge. 

It was agreed, that the people should be exhorted to avail 
themselves of the opportunities of ministerial instruction now 
placed within their reach ; and that they should bi'ing the 
younger branches of their families under the influence of reli- 
gion, by means both of the public services of the sanctuary, and 
of strict care in private. 

The people were to be exhorted, likewise, to afford their min- 
isters such a certain and adequate support, that they might be 
able to devote their whole time to study and parochial visitation. 

The people were further enjoined to cultivate a catholic spirit 



towards other denominations ; and by a meek and Christian de- 
portment to impress ail that had intercourse with them witii a 
sense of the reality and importance of religion. 

The Conference being desirous to consider more fully several 
matters of consequence, resolved to adjourn to meet again in 
the same place on the second Tuesday of July, following ; and 
Mr. Rice was requested to open the meeting with a sermon 
suited to the occasion. Ministers and probationers, within the 
district, were particularly desired to attend ; and the several 
congregations, and neighborhoods desirous of being formed into 
congregations, were directed to send each of them two dele- 
gates to represent them in the proposed Conference. The Con- 
ference was now closed with prayer, and adjourncfd, after havino- 
been in session three days. 

The Conference met again, according to adjournment, at 
Cane Run Meeting-House, on Tuesday, July 12th, 1785. Mr. 
Rice opened the Conference with a discourse from Isaiah Ixii. 1: 
" For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's 
sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as 
brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth." 

The ministers present were Messrs. Rice and Rankin ; 
together with Messrs. James Crawford and Terah Templin, 
probationers. There were in attendance twenty-three repre- 
sentatives from twelve congregations, each congregation or 
neighborhood, save one, being fully represented by two dele- 
gates, as before recommended — as follows : 

William Maxwell, ) r t • ri i 

T rp ( • • • ii'om Jessamme Creek. 

John Iodd, ) 

Hknry McDonald, 

Thomas Cavin, 

John McConnell, 

David Logan, 

William Scott, 

William Evans, 

Thomas Maxwell, 

Jacob Fishback, 
Andrew Elders, 
Robert Caldwell, 
John Tamplin, 
Caleb Wallace, 

Walnut Hill. 
Mount Zion. 
Mount Pisgah. 
Paint Lick. 

Forks of Dick's river. 
Concord, (Danville.) 
Cane Run. 



James McCoun, ) r at -n -j 

f^ r> [ . . . irom JNew rrovidence. 


George PoMEROY, j . . . . Hopewell. 
John V eecii, ) '■ 

James Beard, ... " Salem. 

James Allen, ) 

James Davies, > I " Whitley's Station and 

John Snoddy, ) * ( Crab Orchard. 

Mr. Rice was called to preside, and Caleb Wallace was 
chosen clerk. The sessions, as before, were always begun and 
closed with prayer. 

The items of business on which consultation was had, were 
the following : 

The Conference recommended, that in the absence of Minis- 
ters, the elders should assemble the congregations, and conduct 
religious services, viz : prayer, singing, reading the Scrip- 
tures, and reading judicious selections from approved doctrinal 
and practical treatises. 

The elders, in vacant congregations, were also advised to 
catechise the children and young people, and encourage an 
acquaintance with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, together 
with such helps and explanations as could be obtained. 

In addition to the recommendations of the former Conference, 
the congregations were advised to provide convenient houses of 
worship as soon as circumstances would permit. 

It was enjoined that the several parts of divine service be 
performed with the greatest decency and solemnity ; that good 
clerks or precentors be employed in every congregation ; and 
that grave and agreeable tunes be used in singing the praise of 
God. And further, frequent and earnest prayers were to be 
offered for the Divine blessing on the public ordinances. 

In view of the dangers to which the country was still ex- 
posed from a savage enemy ; of the general declension of virtue, 
and of the prevalence of vice ; a 'Day of Fasting, Humiliation 
and Prayer, was recommended to be observed on the first 
Wednesday of the ensuing August, or on some other day prior 
to the last day of September. 

In view of the scarcity of books in the District, and of the 
difficulty of ministers procuring suitable libraries, which might 
retard their progress in knowledge, and the success of their min- 


istrations, it was recommended that measures be taken to 
remedy the defect. Collections were to be made in each con- 
gregation, and the money appropriated to the purchase of books, 
to be loaned to ministers and probationers, at such places, and 
under such regulations, as the Conference or Presbytery 
might, from time to time, direct. 

Sundry queries were proposed on Psalmody, and referred, 
on account of the importance of the subject, for future consider- 

The Conference then resolved to adjourn, to meet in the same 
place on the first Tuesday of October following, when Mr. 
Rankin was requested to open the meeting with a sermon. The 
recommendations before adopted, inviting the attendance of 
ministers, probationers, and delegates, were repeated ; and after 
a session of two days, the Conference adjourned.* 

Whether the adjourned meeting took place in October or not, 
is not known, as there is no record extant of any further pro- 

This Conference, of so much value and interest in the early 
foundation of the Church, was probably convoked by Mr. Rice ; 
as the plan, and all the measures proposed, together with the 
admirable order and method which characterized the entire pro- 
ceedings, bear the impress of his judicious and far-sighted mind. 
The Very first step taken, had reference to the introduction of 
complete and regular Presbyterial organization ; and the plan 
suggested met the approbation of the Hanover Presbytery. In 
consequence of the recommendations passed, Churches were 
organized and elders ordained in several places.f 

The harmony of the Conference was at one time in danger of 
being interrupted by the introduction of the vexed question of 
Psalmody. The person who proposed the queries was Mr. 
Rankin, whose mind had long been absorbed by this subject. J 
On account of the opposition made to his rigid views he had 
left the Holstein settlements, and now threw the apple of dis- 

* McAfee's MS. Hist. pp. '27 — 34, where a copy of these minutes is pre- 
sented in full. 

f McAfee MS. pp. 25, 31. The Churches of Cane Run and New Provi- 
dence are specified, and tlie names of the elders recorded. 

X McAfee MS, p. 34. MS. Memoir, dictated by the Rev. Mr. Rice, in the 
possession of the Lyle family. 


cord among the young and promising chm'clies of Kentucky. 
His ministerial brethren entirely dissented from his sentiments ; 
and while he viewed them as latitudinarian, they regarded him 
as a bigot. 

The causes of the delay in the organization of churches were 
as follows. When Mr. Rice entered upon his labors in Lincoln 
county according to invitation, he found the religious condition 
and prospects of the community extremely discouraging. Save 
a few who had been his acquaintances and hearers in Virginia, 
scarce any supported a creditable profession. Some were 
grossly ignorant of the first principles of religion ; others were 
addicted to intemperance, profanity, or brawling ; and nearly all 
totally neglected the forms of devotion in their families. Certifi- 
cates, indeed, were handed him by many, attesting their relation 
to churches in the older settlements from which they had emi- 
grated ; and others attempted to impose on him by procuring 
the testimony of their neighbors to their correct moral deport- 
ment. If the neighbors scrupled to give such testimony when 
required, the passion and resentment exhibited afforded unequivo- 
cal evidence that the scruples were not groundless. On the 
other hand, when such testimony was adduced, Mr. Rice was 
generally compelled to distrust the information, either on account 
of the duplicity of the witnesses, their doubtful character, or their 
manifest ignorance of the qualifications of a Christian proffessor. 

Under these circumstances, Mr. Rice declined administering 
the sealing ordinances for upwards of a year, that he might, after 
close personal scrutiny, be better prepared to act as the true 
interests of the Church required. This interval he spent in 
preaching and visitation, and in extending his acquaintance with 
the people. In this course he persevered, although it gave great 
umbrage, and thinned his congregations ; but while the nominal 
professors freely censured him, he was encouraged and sustained 
by the truly pious. This latter class, however, constituted by 
far the smaller number.* 

It was the state of affairs just described, which doubtless led 
to the adoption of the fifth recommendation of the Conference at 
their first meeting in March ; the design of w^hich was to prevent 
the intrusion of unworthy members, by affording the minister an 

Bishop's Rice, c. ix, pp. 67-69. 


opportunity beforehand of satisfying himself as to their qualifica- 

Sufficient time having now elapsed for observation and reflec- 
tion on his own part, and for a gradual return of the people to 
correct habits of thinking and conduct, and having the prospect 
of being sustained by the judgment of the Conference, Mr. Rice 
thought the religious community ripe for a strict and vigilant 
discipline ; and in consequence churches were organized every- 
where without further delay, and elders ordained over them. 

In the ensuing fall, two clergymen, the Rev. Edward Craw- 
ford and Rev, Charles Gumming, visited Kentucky, by order of 
the Presbytery of Hanover within whose bounds the district was 
embraced, and in accordance with the suggestion and petition of 
the late Conference. In connection with Mr. Rice, they consti- 
tuted a Commission of Presbytery, empowered to examine and 
ordain the two probationers, Messrs. James Crawford and Terah 
Templin. This duty they performed at Danville, Nov. 10th, 
1785, and ordained the young men to the work of evangelists, or 
sine titulo; after which they returned to Virginia.* 

In this occurrence two circumstances are worthy of notice : 
I. The appointment of a Commission, invested with full Preshy- 
terial powers and functions for a specific purpose, a precedent 
that may be borne in mind when we come to speak of the Com- 
mission of Synod in 1805, against whose jurisdiction exceptions 
were taken on account of their investment with Synodical pow- 
ers for a specific purpose. 2. The early occurrence of ordina- 
tions sine titulo; a measure rendered necessary by the destitute 
condition of the country, which was to be in a great degree 
evangelized as missionary ground ; but which has, in later times, 
and to an unwarrantable extent, been repeated to the injury of 
the Church. 

The Rev. James Crawford was educated at Princeton Col- 
lege, and would have proceeded Bachelor of Arts in the fall of 
1777, had not the proximity of the British forces interrupted the 
annual commencement. He received, however, a certificate 
from the President, Dr. Witherspoon, stating the fact, and pro- 
mising a degree as soon as circumstances would warrant. A 
certificate of church membership which he received, in October 

* Bishop's Rice, App. No. VII. p. 159. 


of the same year, from his pastor, Rev. John Craighead, is an- 
other curious reUque of those times, when the names of Whig 
and Tory exerted a talismanic influence over men's minds. Ap- 
pended to the document is an attestation of his patriotic senti- 
ments, in these words : " And also, he appears well affected to 
the cause of American liberty." When we bear in mind the 
probability, from the date, that this was furnished as part of the 
credentials necessary for his reception by the Presbytery as a 
candidate, it gives us an insight into the political preferences of 
the Presbyterian clergy. Warm patriots themselves, it doubt- 
less constituted a strong recommendation for a candidate to 
entertain similar sentiments. 

Two years afterward Mr. Crawford was licensed by the 
Presbytery of Hanover, October 26th, 1779; but was disabled 
from constant preaching by an imposthume in his side ; and in 
1784 he removed with his family to Kentucky. Upon his ordi- 
nation in the succeeding year, he settled at Walnut Hill, and 
gathered and organized a flourishing church. There he re- 
mained until his death ; dividing his time between two churches, 
a custom rendered necessary by the paucity of ministers. Al- 
though laboring under feeble health, he gave full proof of his 
ministry, and numerous converts attested his industry and zeal, 
not only in the pulpit, but from house to house. At last, his ex- 
ertions in the open air, during a sacramental season at Paint 
Lick, in March, 1803, induced an illness which in less than a 
fortnight brought him to the grave. He was not disabled from 
going about and giving directions in the family, and his death 
was as unexpected as it was easy ; therein having his frequent 
prayer for a Euthanasia answered.* Mr. Crawford was a plain- 
looking man, of very grave demeanor ; not a popular preacher, 
but highly useful and instructive, He was suspected of favoring 
Marshall and his party in the great revival. 

The Rev. Terah Templin was the son of a respectable farm- 
er at the Peaks of Otter, whose piety and intelligence rendered 
him a useful assistant to Mr. Rice dering his labors there. 
Terah was a promising young man of twenty-three, when he 
attracted the notice of his pastor, who proposed to educate him 
for the ministry. A matrimonial engagement then pending, 

* Bishop, pp. 159-162. 


proved a temporary obstacle to this step ; but on the de- 
cease of his affianced, shortly after, he willingly accepted the pro- 
posal. Having passed through a preparatory course with a 
select class, under Mr. Rice's tuition, he completed his studies at 
Liberty Hall, of which he was one of the first students. He was 
licensed by Hanover Presbytery in 1780, and soon after came 
to Kentucky, where he received ordination sine titulo, in 1785. 
He immediately repaired to Washington county, on the south 
side of the Kentucky river, where he organized several churches, 
and did the work of an evangelist faithfully. He also organized 
several churches, and supplied destitute congregations in Living- 
ston county. He died, October 6, 1818, at the advanced age 
of seventy-six. Faithful to the attachment of his early years, 
which had been prematurely sundered, he never married. His 
talents were respectable, his discourses well digested, his doc- 
trinal views sound, his manner solemn andampressive, and his 
deportment exemplary, guileless, and unassuming.* 

The year 1786 was memorable for the reinforcement of the 
little band of laborers, by the accession of the Rev. Thomas 
Craighead and Andrew McClure, from Western Virginia, and 
by their organization into a Presbytery. Thus was the ardent 
desire, early expressed by the first Convention at Cane Run, 
gratified, the Presbytery of Hanover cordially promoting it. 
The time had arrived when the expansion of the Church 
demanded a reorganization of the entire body. Accordingly 
the Synod of New York and Philadelphia took into serious con- 
sideration a p^an for the erection of several new Presbyteries, 
the division of the old Synod into four new Synods, and the 
government of th-e whole by a General Assembly.f This plan 
was not finally carried into effect till three years afterward, 
viz. till the third Tuesday of May, 1789 ; being under dis- 
cussion all that time. 

The Synod of Virginia embraced the Presbytery of Red- 
stone, which covered the settlements in Western Pennsylvania ; 
the Presbytery of Hanover, which covered Eastern Virginia ; 
the Presbytery of Lexington, which covered the Valley and 
West of Virginia ; and the Presbytery of Transylvania, (a 
euphonious and classical name for the backwoods,) including 

* Bishop's Rice, App. No. Vlll. pp. 162-165. 

i Records c-f the Presb. Ck, Part IV., pp. 522, 523. 


the district of Kentucky and the settlements on Cumberland 
river, extending into what is now the State of Tennessee. The 
jurisdiction of Transylvania Presbytery also included, at a sub- 
sequent period, the settlements on the Miamies, in what is now 
the State of Ohio. Any one who will take the trouble to cast 
his eye over the map of the United States, will be able to form 
an idea of the extent of territory covered, and to appreciate the 
difficulty, subsequently experienced, of bringing the discipline of 
the Church to bear with promptness on the disorders of the 
extreme boundaries. 

The Presbytery of Transylvania consisted of the Rev. 
David Rice, Thomas Craighead, Adam Rankin, Andrew 
McClure, and James Crawford. All these ministers, with the 
exception of Mr. Craighead,* met in the Court House in Dan- 
ville, on Tuesday, the 17th of October, 1786, and organized, 
agreeably to the direction of the Synod ; Mr. Rice presiding as 
Moderator, and Mr. McClure acting as Clerk. The Rev. 
Terah Templin, lately ordained by a Commission of Hanover 
Presbytery, was admitted, and took his seat as a member. 
There were five ruling elders present — Messrs. Richard 
Steel, DaAdd Gray, John Bovel, Joseph Reed, and Jeremiah 
Frame, t 

From an inspection of the Minutes, this meeting appears to 
have been conducted with great decorum. J Vacant congre- 
gations were recommended to meet on the Lord's Day, for 
worship, under the direction of the elders, who were to pray, 
select portions of Scripture and of the works o-f approved 
divines to be read, and ap}X)int the readers. |l 

It was agreed also that Catechists should be appointed for 
the purpose of instructing the young and ignorant ; but that no 
person should receive an appointment to the office until he had 
first been nominated by a minister, and examined and approved 
by the Presbytery ; and that he should not, by virtue of this 

* Tlie distance at which Mr. Craighead resided Baade him ai &eqnent 

t Min. Trans. Presb., vol. i., pp. 1, 2. 

I The old forms, since discarded, were carefully observed, and tli2> Clerk 
reo;ularly recorded his "■ Ubipost ^eces sederunt qui snfra" &c. 

II Mia., p. a. 


appointment, attempt to expound the Scriptures, preach the 
Gospel, or dispense seahng ordinances.* 

In 1788, the Presbytery received the Rev. Samuel Shannon, 
a graduate of Princeton, from Western Virginia. He took 
charge of the Churches of Bethel and Sinking Spring, of which 
he continued pastor for four years, when he resigned them for 
the Church of Woodford. Here he continued till 180G. In the 
war of 1812 he volunteered to accompany the north-western 
army as a chaplain. He was a man of great physical strength. 
His fist was like a sledge-hammer, and he was said to have 
lopped oir a stout bough at a single stroke of his sword, when 
charging through the woods. Notwithstanding his strength, he 
was one of the best-natured men in the world, and nothing 
could provoke or ruffle him. He had also a mechanical turn, 
and invented a piece of apparatus called The Whirling Table ; 
but he was out of his place in the pulpit. To a rough, awk- 
ward, slovenly appearance, which might, however, have been 
overlooked, was added a slow and stammering utterance. He 
labored indefatigably, but had no animation. He had zeal 
without warmth ; and, like the head of Medusa, chilled and 
petrified every one that listened to him. The latter years of 
his life were employed in missionary labors, chiefly in the des- 
titute regions of Indiana, where he was cut off" by the country 
fever, in the summer of 1822.f 

The Rev. Andrew McClure was born in Augusta county, 
Virginia, in 1755, and was licensed to preach in 1783. He had 
been a pupil of Mr. Graham. He visited Kentucky in 1784, 
but returned and was ordained pastor of Round Oak. He 
could not forget, however, the charms of Kentucky, and, in 
1786, removed thither with his family. In 1787 he organized 
the Salem and Paris Churches ; and in 1789 took charge of the 
latter, where he remained till his decease in 1793, in the 39th 
year of his age. J 

* At the next meeting, Mr. James Kemper, (improperly written Camper,) on 
the nomination of Mr. Rice, and after an examination on divinity, was appointed 
to the office of a Catechist, formally engaging not to violate the provisos above 
recited. Mr. Kemper was afterwards ordained pastor of the Churches of Cin- 
cinnati and Columbia, October 23d, 1792, tlie Presbytery meeting in Cincinnati 
for the purpose. Min. Trnns. Presb., vol. i., pp. 4, 10, 76. 

t MS. Hist, of Bethel Church, by Rev.^Robert Marshall, p. 1. Bishop, p. 286. 

j Min. Trans. Presb., vol i., p. 96. Bishop, p. 282. 


The founding of Transylvania Seminary in 1783, its removal 
from Lincoln to Lexington in 1788, and the interest taken in its 
fortunes by Mr. Rice and other Presbyterians, Hon. Caleb 
Wallace, Col. Todd, and his father, would properly fall into 
this place ; but as a connected account will be furnished, in a 
subsequent chapter, of the fortunes of this institution, details are 
deferred for the present. 

These steps were a great advance upon the loose and dis- 
orderly state in which Mr. Rice found religion on his arrival, 
but much remained to be done. The superficial gazer, charmed 
with the order and external prosperity everywhere visible, 
might have exclaimed, " How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob !" 
but the experienced Christian has learned to look deeper than 
the surface, and to search for that vital piety, without which the 
body is inanimate, and which alone constitutes the true glory of 
the Church. The venerable patriarch might have been con- 
gratulated on his seeing twelve churches planted and flourishing 
within the short space of three years ; but his penetrating eye 
observed much that gave him pain. 

Dissatisfied with the inordinate worldliness and lukewarmness 
of his own denomination, he looked in vain for a more pleasing 
and encouraging prospect among other sects. The state of 
society was quite different from that of an older settled country. 
The novelty of the circumstances into which they were brought 
abated the piety and spirituality of the Christian character, and 
generated a careless indifference to religion. The unpromising 
aspect of the field of labor threw Mr. Rice into deep despond- 
ency, until the society of a devout old Baptist preacher from 
New York, Mr. Gano, and his own private exercises of mind, 
reanimated him, and he redoubled his zeal and exertions. Not 
contented with his own personal duty, he wrote a circular letter 
to his ministerial brethren, about the year 1790, proposing Paul 
as their common example. A revival of religion was the 
happy consequence, in his own and other congregations, which 
continued for some months. During this period, not only were 
Christians more interested, but every sacramental occasion saw 
a few converts added to the Church. 

At the period under review the Presbyterians and Baptists 
had an equal number of congregations, viz., sixteen of each 


denomination.* But the latter had greatly the advantage as 
regarded preachers, boasting no fewer than thirty ; while the 
Presbyterians could count only seven. These two were for 
some years the only prominent sects in the country. It was 
not till 178G that two travelling preachers of the Methodist 
connection, James Haw and Benjamin Ogden, visited Kentucky, 
and the number in society was then but ninety, all of whom 
were whites. f Mr. Haw afterwards (1803) connected himself 
with the party called Cumberland Presbyterians. There were 
as yet but a handful of scattered Episcopalians, without a min- 
ister or a place of worship.^ About fifty Roman Catholic 
families had emigrated from Maryland in 1785 and 1786, who 
were principally settled round Bardstown and in Nelson county, 
to whom Father Whelan, an Irish Franciscan, was sent as a 
missionary, by the Very Reverend Dr. Carroll, in 1787.§ He 
was followed in 1790 by the Rev. William de Rohan ; and by 
the Rev. M. Barrieres, and the Rev. Stephen Theodore Badin, 
a French refugee, in 1793; the latter of whom lived to cele- 
brate the fiftieth anniversary of his arrival. At this time the 
number of Roman Catholic families amounted to three hundred, 
very scattered. || After this period, priests and congregations 

* Winterbotham, vol. iii., p. 149. 

f Methodist Gospel Herald, vol. ii., p. 162. 

i Marshall, vol. i., p. 144. Winterbotham, vol. iii., p. 149. 

ij Father Whelan was as much troubled to collect his arrears as Father Rice. 
Me was compelled to go to law for the payment of a written engagement for 
£100 ; and the jury gravely decided that he should be paid, but paid in produce ! 
For speaking freely of this verdict, he was prosecuted for slander, and fined 
£500 ! He was about to be imprisoned, when one of his prosecutors, a Cath- 
olic, relented, and went his bail. This furnishes an amusing contrast with Dr. 
Spalding's commentary on Mr. Rice refusing to remove to Kentucky without 
'• a substantial call in the shape of an instrument of writing, signed by three 
hundred men. So much for married preachers." Sketches, p. 84. But the 
Vicar-General has no wit to spare, and no 7th chapter of 1st Corinthians to 
quote, in the similar case of Father Whelan. According to Dr. Carroll's advice, 
'• an instrument of writing was drawn up, by which six of the principal emi- 
grants to Kentucky had bound themselves to pay him annually the sum of one 
hundred pounds in currency — a sum about equal to $280 of our present money. 
Yet F. Whelan had not been more than six months in Kentucky, when an effort 
was made by one or two of the principal contractors to have this instrument 
set aside and declared illegal liy the courts of law." p. 46. Contrast this 
prudent silence with his insinuations against the Protestant preachers, as " the traders of the country;" — " Such, then, are thy acknowledged fruits, 
O Protestantism ;'' — " So much for married preachers." pp. 89, 88, 84. "We 
mean to be impartial I" Most candid Vicar-General ! 

II Poor Father Badin had to fare as hardly as Father Rice and Dr. John P. 
Campbell, wearing homespun of necessity, and grinding liis own corn with a 


multiplied rapidly. The Diocese of Bardstown contains at 
present about thirty churches and 10,000 communicants.* 

The predilections of the Virginia emigrants generally inclined 
to the Baptist or Presbyterian persuasions, according to their 
previous geographical position east or west of the Blue Ridge. 
The reader will not be displeased to learn something of the early 

About the close of the revolutionary war, great numbers of 
Baptists removed from the lower counties of Virginia, and occu- 
pied some of the fairest portions of Kentucky. To them belongs 
the credit of having been the first to introduce the regular public 
worship of God, and the organization of churches. f Ten or 
more of their preachers accompanied them. The most promi- 
nent was Lewis Craig, of Spotsylvania county. He and the 
majority of his flock organized themselves into a distinct church 
on starting, and removed in a body in 1781, keeping up worship 
whenever they halted on the journey. This " Travelling Church" 
first settled on Gilbert's Creek, in Lincoln, but two years after- 
wards, a large number, with Mr. Craig, crossed the Kentucky, 
and formed the South Elkhorn Church. J 

In 1785, the Baptists were sufficiently numerous to constitute 
three Associations, Elkhorn, Salem, and South Kentucky. With 
the exception of the last named, which espoused the views of the 
Separatists, all belonged to the regular Baptists, whose doctrines 
were strictly Calvinistic, as represented in the Philadelphia Con- 
fession of Faith, which is the same substantially with the West- 
minster. § 

The early Baptist preachers were Joseph Redding, a zealous 
and popular preacher ;|| William Marshall, an uncle of the late 
Chief Justice Marshall, who possessed a strong mind, and whose 
conversion was the more remarkable from his having been the 
brightest ornament of the fashionable circles in his early days ;"II 
Lewis Craig, the most prominent and influential minister of his 

hand-mill. Once he was for several days without bread, till supplied by a friend 
who accidentally was apprised of his situation. Spalding, p. 70. 

* Spalding, p. 298. 

t Filson, in Imlay, p. 321. t John Taylor's Hist, of Ten Churches, p. 40. 

5 Benedict's Hist, of the Baptists, vol. ii. pp. 228,237. 

II I.ives of Virginia Baptist Ministers, by Rev. James B. Taylor, of Rich- 
mond, p. 208. 

IT Taylor's Lives, p. 103. 


time, who had been imprisoned in Virginia, and preached to 
crowds through the iron grates ;* Elijah Craig, a man of con- 
siderable natural talents and inextinguishable zeal, but too cen- 
sorious in his temper ; Joh7i Taylor, an illiterate but shrewd man, 
a Boanerges in the pulpit, with a constitution of iron, who drew 
up a history of ten churches to which he had ministered ',-\ Wil- 
liam Hickman, who was converted by hearing some Baptist 
preachers exhorting from the windows of Chesterfield jail, and 
who afterwards himself baptized more converts than any of his 
teachers, five hundred at the Forks of Elkhorn alone ;J and 
Ambrose Dudley, who was converted while a captain in the 
revolutionary army, and retaining his military habits, became 
renowned as a disciplinarian, a single glance of his eye being 
sufficient to awe an assembly into silence. § He was the father 
of the distinguished Professor of Anatomy and Surgery, in Tran- 
sylvania University. The longevity of all these men was re- 
markable. Redding was aged 65 years when he died ; Marshall 
and Dudley, 73 ; Hickman, 76 ; Elijah Craig, 80 ; Taylor, 81 ; 
and Lewis Craig, 87. 

* Lewis Craig was not a man of cultivated mind, but of sound sense, recom- 
mended by agreeable manners, a musical voice, and an impassioned delivery. 
His labors were chiefly confined to Orange and Spotsylvania, and hundreds were 
converted under his preaching. The friends of the establishment taking the 
alarm, the sheriff arrested him in the yard of the meeting-house, and dragged 
him and others to court as disturbers of the peace. " May it please your wor- 
ship," said the sheriflf, " they cannot meet a man upon the road, but they must 
ram a text of Scripture down his throat!" As they refused to abstain from 
preaching, they were sentenced to Fredericksburg jail for a month. They 
marched through the street to prison, singing " Broad is the road that leads to 
death !" Craig preached through the iron grates to large crowds, not without 
success. At another time, ho was imprisoned three months in Caroline. He 
removed to Kentucky in 1781 ; but subsequently became involved in imprudent 
speculations, from which he suffered much, both in mind and purse. His trials 
and disappointments, however, were sanctified to him, and he recovered his 
spiritiiaiity and religious comfort before his death, which occurred in 1827, and 
in the 87th year of his age. — Taylor's Lives, p. 84. 
f Taylor's Lives, p. 217. \ Taylor's Lives, p. 221. \ Taylor's Lives, p. 214. 



Small as the circle of Presbyterian influence was, the bhght- 
ing curse of schism was destined to contract it, and to retard the 
healthy and triumphant march of evangelical truth. The author 
of this disturbance was the Rev. Adam Rankin. We have 
already seen him at the Conference of Cane Run, attempting to 
sow the seeds of discord by obtruding his rigid opinions on the 
subject of Psalmody. Although his brethren, on that occasion, 
disapproved of his views, he obstinately persisted in inculcating 
them in every quarter. Had he confined himself to the mere 
advocacy and use of Rouse's literal version, no one would have 
taken umbrage ; but not satisfied with calm and dispassionate 
argument, he took the field as a fierce polemic, and launched his 
anathemas against all who presumed to diff'er from him. 

So intent was he upon subverting the new Psalmody, or as 
Gary Allen afterwards called it, " Gospel Psalmody," that he 
attended the first General Assembly, which met in Philadelphia, 
in May 1789, although bearing no commission, and handed in an 
overture and a request to be heard on the subject of it, with a 
view to obtain a repeal of the resolution of the old Synod of 
New York and Philadelphia, in 1787, allovnng Watts' Psalms to 
be used in the churches.* The Assembly listened to him patient- 

* The resolution is in these words : " The Synod did allow, and do hereby 
allow, that Dr. Watts' imitation of David's Psalms, as revised by the Rev. 
Mr. Barlow, be sung in the churches and families under their care. But they 
are, at the same time, far from disapproving of Rouse's version, commonly call- 
ed " The Old Psalms," in those who are in the use of them, and choose to con- 
tinue ; but are of opinion that either may be used by the churches, as each 
congregation may judge to be most for their peace and edification. And do, 
tlierefore, highly disapprove of severe and unchristian censures being passed 
on either of the said systems of Psalmody."— Assembly's Digest, p. 312. 


\y, and endeavored in a conciliatoiy manner, to relieve his mind 
of the difficulties under which he labored, but in vain ; and they 
dismissed him with a recommendation to exercise towards those 
who difiered from him, that charity which was exercised towards 
himself; and to guard carefully against disturbing the peace of 
the church on this subject.* 

In total disregard of this pious and salutary advice, and as if 
rather irritated by it, Mr. Rankin no sooner returned home, than 
he vented the most censorious invectives against the Presbyterian 
clergy, as deists and blasphemers, rejecters of revelation and 
revilers of God's word ; and all the admirers of Watts he uncere- 
moniously debarred from the Lord's table. f Nor did he stop' 
here, but shielded himself under the sanction of a Divine warrant, 
pretending to be directed in this and all other affairs of moment, 
by dreams and visions. Mr. Rice, to whom he had confided his 
dreams, solemnly warned him of the danger of being led into 
great errors and delusions, and expressed his strong disapproba- 
tion of reliance on dreams and night-visions for direction in duty. 
But he silenced his friend in a summary manner by replying, 
that those who had never experienced it, could form no judgment 
about the matter.J He represented himself as an instrument 
raised up by God for this special juncture, and he was confident 
that he should live to see the total expulsion of Watts' Psalmody 
from the Church.§ When asked by what authority he went to 
the General Assembly, and whom he represented there, the only 
reply he deigned to give was this: " Tell me was the institution 
of Watts of Heaven or of men, and I w^ill tell you by what 
authority I did these things."|| Upon another occasion, and on 
quite another subject, this enthusiast attempted to lifit the veil 
from futurity, and rounded oflf his prediction with affirming, as if 
he were a second Samuel, "that the Lord would not let the 
words of his servant fall to the ground."^ 

The sturdy champions of " David's Psalms" in the most literal version, find 
themselves in strange company. It was no other than the pompous Unitarian, 
Paul of Samosata, who first set the example of installing the Psalms in the place 
of exclusive dignity, on pretence of honoring the words of Holy Scripture, and 
hanishcd the old church hymns that spoke of Christ as the Incarnate Word. — 
Neander's Ch. Hist. p. 37t;. 

* Assembly's Digest, p. 315. f Rankin's Narr. of the Process, &c., parti, p. 2b'. 

t See Mr. Rice's Statement, Presbytery's Narrative of Rankin's Trial, p. 11. 

§ Presb. Narr. p. 6. Rankin's Narr. part I. p. 39. || Presb. Narr. p. 4. 

11 Evangelical Record, vol. ii. p. 421, note. 


To such a length were these extravagances carried that 
sundry charges were laid before the Presbytery against Mr. 
Rankin, in consequence of which a Committee of Prosecu- 
tion was appointed, Oct. 7, 1789, to examine into the allega- 
tions, and, if necessary, to make arrangements for a trial.* 
This committee, consisting of the Rev. James McConnel, (re- 
ceived from Western Virginia, in April previous,) and Messrs. 
Shannon and Crawford, met at Mount Zion Church, in Lexing- 
ton, in November, and conducted the investigation. The result 
of their labors appeared in several formal charges and specifica- 
tions against Mr. Rankin, which, as they were not digested in as 
orderly a manner as they might have been, may be here reduced 
to three heads, viz : That Mr. Rankin had traduced his brethren ; 
that he had unwarrantably debarred from the table of the Lord, 
all such as used or approved Watts' Psalmody ; that he had pre- 
tended to extraordinary Divine revelation through the medium of 
dreams. Citations were issued by the committee to Mr. Rankin 
and all concerned as witnesses, to attend the next stated meeting 
of Presbytery, April 29, 1790. Instead of obeying, Mr. Rankin 
made a precipitate retreat, and exiled himself a year, to use his 
own expression, in London. His object was two-fold, as he 
himself has stated. He was in hopes that a temporary absence 
might mollify the indignant feelings which his course had excited, 
and he was besides desirous of making further improvements in 
divinity, and particularly upon a special subject to which he 
devoted the most intense study. What this subject was, he has 
not informed us.f 

After an absence of two years, he returned ; and Presbytery 
understanding that his sentiments had undergone no change, 
ordered the citaytions to be renewed. Meantime, in consequence 
of a petition from a number of the Pisgah congregation, craving 
their dismissal from the pastoral care of Mr. Rankin, on account 
of his continued absence for more than a twelvemonth without 
any consultation with them, the Presbytery considered them- 
selves authorized to furnish them supplies, and accordingly, May 
18, 1791, did appoint Mr. James Blythe, (a probationer from the 
Presbytery of Orange, in the Carolinas, to whom permission had 

* Min. of Transylv. Pby. vol. i. p. 32. 

f Rankin's Narr. part II. p. 53. Min. Transylv. Pby. vol. i. pp. 36, 38, 45. 


just been granted to preach in their bounds,) to supply one Sunday 
at Pisgah and one Sunday at Zion.* 

On the 25th of April, 1792, the cause came on for trial at 
Stonermouth Church. Mr. Rankin was present, as were all the 
witnesses originally cited, except three, one of whom had de- 
ceased. Witnesses were examined on both sides upon oath, and 
subscribed the record with their own hands ; after which the 
defendant was heard for himself. He made no attempt to excul- 
pate himself from the first and second charges, but plead justifi- 
cation. He was about to enter into an argument upon the gen- 
eral subject, but was called to order, and directed to confine his 
remarks to the simple question of fact, " Had he or had he not 
conducted himself as was alleged ?" When he came to the third 
charge, he does not appear, so far as can be gathered both from his 
own Narrative and that of the Presbytery,f to have either con- 
fessed or denied, so much as to have expressed regret at having 
divulged his secret exercises to confidants who proved faithless. 
One thing he positively denied, viz : that he had ever elevated 
dreams to a station of authority and direction over the written 
word, which he affirmed he took for his unerring rule, and by 
which alone he was governed. 

Here he paused. The Rev. James Crawford then rose in his 
place, and stated, with a solemn air, that he now found himself 
in very peculiar circumstances, feeling bound, in duty and con- 
science, as a member of Presbytery, and a minister of the Gos- 
pel, to say that the defendant had just been guilty of a positive 
falsehood, to his own certain knowledge, and of which Mr. Ran- 
kin must have been conscious ; and, if the Presbytery chose, he 
would enter into an explanation. The defendant objected to the 
admission of new testimony, but was overruled, on the ground 
that a similar indulgence had been previously conceded to him- 
self. Mr. Crawford was accordingly sworn ; and deposed, that 
Mr. Rankin had, on a certain occasion, excused himself to depo- 
nent from assisting at a sacrament when Watts would be used, 
in consequence of a warning he had received in a dream ; that 
he had informed him, that in all matters of consequence he was 
under an extraordinary Divine direction ; that it was in obedience 

* Min. Trans. Pby. vol. i. p. 54. 

t Rankin's Narr. part I. p. 45. Presbytery's Narr. p. 10. 


to such a direction he had removed to Kentucky ; and that, in 
the same extraordinary way, he knew that Dr. Watts' Psalms 
would be finally laid aside in the Church, at some future time, 
not specified. Mr. Rankin again denied his having narrated his 
dreams as revelations from Heaven, at the same time expressing 
regret that he had divulged them. 

Testimony being closed on both sides, and Mr. Rankin heard 
in his defence, the Presbytery proceeded, in presence of a great 
concourse of people, to adjudicate the cause. The first and 
second charges weri found to be sustained by testimony, and the 
defendant's own confession. The third charge was sustained by 
the testimony of five witnesses, viz: Messrs. Robert Steel, Robert 
Patterson, John Maxwell and James Trotter, members of Mount 
Zion congregation, and Rev. James Crawford. The Presbytery 
considered the proof of guilt conclusive, and adjudged the defend- 
ant to be worthy of censure. Mr. Rankin, being summoned to 
hear the opinion of the court, refused to acknowledge his fault, 
or to make any concessions. "I appeal," he cried, "to God, 
angels and men. I protest against the proceedings of this Pres- 
bvtery, and will be no longer a member of the Transylvania 
Presbytery." Having thus said, he withdrew, accompanied by 
his elder, Mr. David Logan. For this open contempt of their 
jurisdiction, joined to his previous misconduct, as just proven, the 
Presbytery immediately declared him suspended from the exer- 
cise of all ministerial functions, until the next stated session.* 

Mr. Rankin had not resolved upon this step without first cal- 
culating his strength. No sooner had he pronounced his decli- 
nature, than a hundred of the spectators promptly stepped for- 
ward, and giving him the right hand of fellowship, pledged 
themselves to stand by him.f A general meeting of his 
partisans was called, on the first of June following, when 
they matured measures for separate organization. Commis- 
sioners appeared from portions of twelve congregations, re- 
presenting five hundred families. J They published a narrative 
of the recent events, and a declaration of principles, both drawn 
up by the pen of their leader. The Presbytery felt themselves 
obliged, the following year, to publish a faithful narrative of the 

* Presb. Narrative, p. 13 ; Min. T. Pby., vol. i. p. 66. 

f Rankin's Nam, Part III. p. 69. f Ibid. p. 70. 


whole proceedings in reply, in order to vindicate themselves 
from misrepresentation.* Such was the origin of the Raukinite 
schism. In consequence of this contumacious and schismatical 
conduct, the Presbytery of Transylvania proceeded, at their next 
meeting, Oct. 2, 1792, to depose Mr. Rankin from the office of 
the ministry, and to declare his pastoral charge vacant.f In all 
the steps they pursued, we perceive a gradation of punishment 
equitably proportioned to the gradation of offence : for aspersions 
on his brethren, he was censured ; for contumacy, he was sus- 
pended ; for schism, he was deposed. 

Artful misrepresentations were industriously circulated, to at- 
tract the tide of popular sympathy. J The true ground of con- 
demnation was of a personal kind, and Mr. Rankin was punished 
for being an uncharitable calumniator, and a setter-up of unau- 
thorized terms of communion, under the pretence of Divine 
sanction ; but this was studiously kept out of sight, and, notwith- 
standing the explicit disavowal of Presbytery,§ the recommenda- 
tion of the supreme judicatory,i| and the actual use of Rouse's 
version among certain of the churches without the slightest 
molestation,!! (a liberality observed to this day,) it was unblush- 
ingly affirmed that the question of psalmody was tried on its 
naked merits. The pastor of Mount Zion Church was looked 
upon as a martyr in the cause of truth, persecuted for righteous- 
ness' sake ; the faithful Abdiel, who alone swerved not from his 
integrity, when all his fellows proved recreant. 

These misrepresentations procured the admission of Mr. Ran- 
kin and his party, the ensuing year, (May, 1793,) into the con- 
nection of the Associate Reformed. An attempt was afterwards 
made, in 1814, to reconsider this act, suspicions being awakened 

* This was a pamphlet of forty-one duodecimo pages, and the selling price was 
fixed by the Presbytery at one shilling and sixpence. Min. Tr. Pby., vol. i. p. 86. 
t Presb. Narr. p. 14. 

I Evangel. Record, vol. ii. p. 422; Marshall's MS. Hist, of Bethel, p. 2. 

^ " It is hereby declared, that his particular sentiments merely in the use of 
psalmody were never considered as any ground of censure, or sufficient cause of 
alienation of affl>ction : he was censured for uncliristian and uncharitable re- 
flections on his brethren for their use of Dr. Watts' psalms and hymns, his 
charging them, on this account, with deism, blasphemy, &c., and that, after he 
had agreed with some of them to exercise mutual forbearance. Those who 
spread contrary reports cannot produce a single evidence for it; and those wlio 
believe it do it on the most unwarrantable foundation." Presb. Narr. p. 15. 

II Assembly's Digest, p. 313. See, also, pp. 315, 317. 

H Evangel. Rec, vol. ii. p. 423, Art. "Origin of the Rankinites." 


that the body had been imposed on by the parties admitted ; but 
no issue was ever made.* 

Two missionaries from the Associate Church in Scotland, re- 
presented as learned and pious men, visited Kentucky in March, 
1798, and a considerable number of Mr. Rankin's adherents 
abandoned him, to form a connection with the new sect. They 
formed six congregations, and nearly all removed in a body 
across the Ohio some years afterwards. f As for Mount Zion 
Church, they continued to cling to their pastor with a devoted 
attachment, through all his fortunes ; and when he broke off from 
the Associate Reformed, they became Independent. After he 
left them, about 1825, they gradually dwindled, until they became 
almost extinct. The Rev. Mr. Bower, a zealous missionary of 
the Associate Reformed Synod, visited Kentucky about 1833, 
and succeeded in collecting the scattered relics, and restoring 
them to their former connection. Of the Associate Reformed, 
there are not more than half a dozen feeble churches remaining 
in the State, there is not a single pastor settled over any of them, 
and the Presbytery of Kentucky has been merged in another. 
Such was the end of the Rankinite schism. 

As the course of this history will not lead us again to notice 
Mr. Rankin or his sect, a brief sketch of his career will be sub- 
joined, and the subject dismissed. 

The Rev. Adam Rankin was born March 24, 1755, near Green- 
castle, Western Pennsylvania. He was descended from pious 
Presbyterian ancestors, who had emigrated from Scotland, mak- 
ing a short sojourn in Ireland by the way. His mother, who 
was a godly woman, was a Craig, and one of her ancestors suf- 
fered martyrdom, in Scotland, for the truth. That ancestor, of 
the name of Alexander, and a number of others, were thrown 
into prison, where they were slaughtered, without trial, by a mob 
of ferocious assassins, till the blood ran ancle deep. This account 
Mr. Rankin received from his mother's lips. His father was an 
uncommon instance of early piety, and because the minister 
scrupled to admit one so young, being only in the tenth year of 
his age, he was examined before a presbytery. From the moment 
of his son Adam's birth, he dedicated him to the ministry. He 

Bishop's Rice, App. No. III. p. 142. f Ibid. App. No. IV. p. 144. 



was killed in his own mill, when Adam, his eldest son, was in his 
fifth year. When Mr. Rankin was eighteen years old, he was 
deeply exercised about his soul, and the duty of entering the 
ministry ; and a friend kindly advancing the means to bear his 
expenses, without demanding security, he commenced the study 
of the languages at Mr. Graham's Academy, in Western Virgi- 
nia. His purpose to enter the college of New Jersey was frus- 
trated by the British troops being in possession of Princeton; and 
he afterwards lost a year's study by a dangerous illness. He 
completed his studies with the Rev. Archibald Scott, an excel- 
lent scholar, of Hanover Presbytery, and graduated at Liberty 
Hall, about 1780. Two years after, Oct. 25, 1782, at the age of 
twenty-seven, he was licensed by Hanover Presbytery, and, 
about the same time, married Martha, daughter of Alexander 
McPheeters, of Augusta county. He received three calls from 
the neighborhoods of Holstein and Nolachuckey, which he de- 
clined accepting, on account of disputes on psalmody ; and in 
the following year visited Kentucky, and receiving a call at Lex- 
ington, removed thither with his family in 1784.* Here he 
opened a school, and had Dr. Campbell for one of his pupils. 
He appears to have been of a contentious, self-willed turn from 
his youth, for he had not been half a year preaching before he 
involved himself in a quarrel with his Virginia brethren on his 
favorite topic.f At the Cane Run Conference, he tried to pro- 
duce discord ; he went to the General Assembly with the inten- 
tion to dispute ; J and his wranglings at last ended in a s(;hism. 
Obstinate and opinionated, his nature was a stranger to conces- 
sion, and peace was to be bought only by coming over to his 
positions. He was on no better terms with the Associate Reformed 
than he had been with the Presbyterians ; and his pugnacious 
propensities brought on at last a judicial investigation. A com- 
mission of the General Synod, composed of Dr. John Mason, 
Ebenezer Dickey and John Lind, ministers, and Silas E, Weir, 
elder, was deputed to sit in Lexington upon the case. Dr. Mason, 
then in the zenith of his fame, was chairman. Instead of stand- 

* This sketch of Mr. Rankin's early history so far is derived from his autobiogra- 
phy, prepared, shortly before his decease, for his friend, Gen. Robert B. McAfee, 
then Lieut. Governor of the State. 

f Rankin's Narr. p. 41. 

t " I then concluded I would fight with none, neither great nor small, save the 
General Assembly only." Ibid. p. 62. 


ing a trial, Mr. Rankin declined their jurisdiction. The trial pro- 
ceeded, notwithstanding, and a final decision was rendered, Sept. 
17, 1818. Some of the complaints lodged against the defendant 
were dismissed, as defective in form ; others, as not substantiated ; 
but of the charge of "lying, and slandering his brethren,"* he was 
convicted, and sentence of suspension from the office of the 
ministry was pronounced upon him. He refused to respect the 
decision, and he and his congregation declared themselves in- 
dependent. f 

Mr. Rankin must be acknowledged, from his writings, to have 
been a man of considerable talent of a certain kind. The most 
favorable specimen of his powers is a work entitled, "Dialogues, 
pleasant and interesting, on the government of the Church," de- 
signed as an answer to Dr. Mason's " Plea for Catholic Commu- 
nion." It is composed in a more polished style than his minor 
tracts, and displays considerable reading, humorous sarcasm, and, 
occasionally, acute reasoning. But his reasoning is of a loose, 
rambling character ; and the unity of the discourse is continually 
interrupted by digressions, sometimes tedious, and not always 
pertinent. His arguments are rather sophistical than solid, and 
more adapted to silence than to convince. Regarding himself as 
a second Luther, raised up of Heaven for a special work, he in- 
dulged in a truly Lutheran coarseness of expression. Never sus- 
pecting the possibility of his being wrong himself, he abused his 
opponents in no measured terms, as weak, ignorant, envious or 
profajie. They were compared to swine, J they bore the mark of 
the beast,§ they were sacrilegious robbers,|| hypocrites,!! deists, 
blasphemers.** Such were the epithels he showered upon the 
admirers of Dr. Watts. Were we to judge of him only by his 
publications and ecclesiastical troubles, we should pronounce him 
ill-tempered and morose ; yet, in private life, he is said to have 
been the reverse ; and, in the pulpit, though tedious, not uninter- 
esting. Of this the warm personal attachment of his congrega- 
tion may be admitted in proof. It was only w4ien heated by 

* The chief specification was his representing the Rev. Robert Bishop, late 
the venerable President of Miami University, as having intrigued to introduce 
into the Chnrch an odions system of tythe-law. See the "" Judgment of the 
Commissioners," Rankin's Second Process, p. 21. 

t Second Process, p. 15. t Rankin's Narr. p. 46. $ Ibid. p. 61. 
II Ibid. pp. 32, 74. IT Ibid. p. 32. ** Ibid. p. 26. 



polemical zeal, that he became unamiable and censorious. Psal- 
mody was his monomania. 

He had, withal, a dash of enthusiasm in his disposition, border- 
ing on fanaticism. Impressed with the persuasion that God had 
raised him up as a special instrument to reinstate "the Lord's 
song" in its ancient honors in the sanctuary, he felt himself lifted 
above infirmities, and able to stem, single-handed, the torrent of 
opposition.* He was led by a dream to leave his native home ;f 
in dreams he was instructed not to countenance human inven- 
tions ; J in dreams he was warned to abstain from unhallowed 
assemblies ;§ by dreams he was directed in all matters of mo- 
ment ; II and, finally, having learned from a dream, or from the 
study of the prophecies, that the time for rebuilding the holy city 
was at hand, he took a solemn farewell of his flock, and set off" on 
a journey to Jerusalem ; T[ but died on the way, in Philadelphia, 
Nov. 25, 1827, at the advanced age of seventy-two. 

The churches were torn and convulsed for years by disputes 
on Psalmody. When Mr. Rankin seceded in 1792, he carried 
with him the majority of his congregation, and retained posses- 
sion of the church edifice. The portion adhering to the Pres- 
byterian communion were compelled to erect a new building 
adjoining the public square ; and in 1795, they called the Rev. 
James Welch to the pastoral charge.** There was scarcely a 
congregation that was not distracted by these dissensions.ft 

Fundamental doctrines and vital piety came to be regarded 
as subordinate matters. Obedience to the will of God was nar- 
rowed down to a single point, and in the shibboleth of a party 
was wrapped up the faith once delivered to the saints. '• While 

* Rankin's Narr. p. 52. f Ibid. p. 50. J Ibid. p. 37. 

^ Ibid. p. 49. II Ibid. pp. 40, 49. 

IT The veracity of this tradition has been questioned, especially by some gen- 
tlemen of high respectability who were in Mr. R.'s confidence. However, the 
fact must be conceded as beyond a doubt, when the writer states the sources of 
his information. Mr. Rankin, on the eve of his departure, gave this account of 
his intentions to two gentlemen connected with his family, (Messrs. Thomas Ran- 
kin and Abraham T. Skillman,) by whom it was communicated to the author. Posi- 
tive testimony, it must be allowed, always overbalances merely negative testi- 

** Bishop's Rice, App. No. VI. Sketch of the Churches in Lexington, p. 152. 

ff Ibid. App. No. V. N., Providence and Harrodsburg Churches, p. 148. Ibid. 
App. No. XXII. Paris, Paint Lick, and Silver Creek Churches suffered. 
Marshall's MS. Hist, of Bethel Church, p. 2. The Lexington Church suffered 
severely. In 1808, at the time of Mr. Cunningham's installation, there were 
not forty communicants. 


these things were going on," observes Mr. Marshall, "other de- 
nominations took advantage of them, and gained ground."* But 
this was not the worst effect. Infidelity was just beginning to 
come in like a flood, and the sacramental host, instead of rallying 
round the standard, were wasting their energies in intestine 
feuds. Had the zeal, so lavishly expended upon a secondary 
point, been employed in the defence and spread of the cardinal 
doctrines of the Cross, the historian might have had a more 
pleasing account to narrate than will be unfolded in a subse- 
quent chapter. 

* Hist, of Bethel, p. 2. 



The prospects of the Church, toward the close of the century, 
were shrouded in gloom. With the exception of a pleasing but 
partial revival under Father Rice's labors about the year 1790, 
matters, instead of improving, rather grew worse, and religion 
underwent a general decline. In view of the languishing state 
of the churches, and the great increase of infidelity and vice of 
every kind, the Presbytery appointed a day in October, 1795, 
to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.* 

Wayne's treaty, in 1794, having removed all further appre- 
hension of Indian invasions, the stations were abandoned, and 
the settlements expanded their limits. An overwhelming tide 
of emigration poured into the country, outstripping the means of 
grace, and fast receding from the influence of religion. In 
short, religion sank to a low ebb, and while the means of 
its support and nurture were either stationary or retrograding, 
a variety of causes combined to threaten its total extinction. 

The first cause that may be specified as tending to produce 
this lamentable result, was the long-continued absence of the 
regular ordinances of the Church, and of its wholesome watch 
and discipline. The language of Zion, like our mother-tongue, 
is lost by disuse, and, with the language, the sentiments it ex- 
presses. A low standard of religion and morality was the 
inevitable result ; a process, alarming examples of which are 
continually furnished to this day. It is easier to fall than to 
rise. The posterity of Seth soon degenerated, as well as the 

* Min. Trans. Presby. vol ii. p. 81. 


descendants of Japhet ; and the next generation after Joshua 
learned the way of the heathen. 

Another cause of the general declension was the neglect of 
family religion and of the careful instruction of the young. As 
a natural consequence, the youth grew uj) unimbued with reli- 
gious principles, and unaccustomed to moral restraints. When 
they became the men of the next generation, the effects of this 
early neglect were glaringly visible. 

The natural tendency of war may be considered a third cause. 
It is always demoralizing in the extreme. The irregular life of 
the backwoodsmen, now skirmishing, now hunting, (which is an 
image of war,) created an irrepressible passion for excitement, 
that was very unfavorable to the progress of religion. While 
the amiable traits of frankness, hospitality, and generosity, were 
developed by the constant necessity of mutual help and mutual 
confidence, piety languished, and Esau, the hunter, despised the 
birthright of the children of God. 

A fourth cause, was a universal cupidity, stimulated by un- 
bounded opportunities for its gratification. Encouraged by the 
prodigal facilities of the land-ofBces, and the prospect of a ra- 
pidly increasing population, speculators eagerly invested their 
capital in western lands, hoping to realize princely fortunes in an 
incredibly short time. Land-jobbing, litigation, feuds, and heart- 
burnings, distracted the country for years, and retarded both its 
moral and physical improvement. 

The dissensions which prevailed among Christians may be set 
down as a fifth, and most fruitful, cause of the general declen- 
sion. The Presbyterian Churches were convulsed by a sharp 
dispute about Psalmody, which ended in a wide and unhappy 
rupture ; while the Baptists were similarly occupied with 
wranglings between Regulars and Separates. Instead of hus- 
banding their resources, and presenting an unbroken front, well 
disciplined, and terrible as an army with banners, the churches 
were impairing their strength by intestine feuds, and exposing 
their weak points to the contempt of their enemies. While 
turning their arms against each other, they had no time for suc- 
cessful aggressions upon the camp of Satan. 

A sixth cause, was the introduction and spread of French Infi- 
delity. A natural feeling of friendship for France, once our 
ally, and now struggling herself for freedom after our example, 


was strengthened by a feverish exasperation against England for 
letting loose against the Western frontier the horrors of the 
tomahawk and scalping-knife. Besides, many revolutionary 
officers had removed to Kentucky : Scott, Hardin, Anderson, 
Croghan, Shelby, and Clark — who had fought side by side with the 
French in the war of 177G, and who retained a strong partiality 
in favor of their former companions in arms. Public sentiment , 
was strongly enlisted. Party spirit ran high. The Democratic ! 
or Jefiersonian party far outnumbered every other, and carried 
everything before them. They completely extinguished the small 
but respectable Spanish party, and overwhelmed them with 
popular odium, as conspirators engaged in clandestine negotia- 
tions with the Spanish government to cede the navigation of 
the Mississippi. Opposed to President Washington's adminis- 
tration, both in its foreign and domestic policy, they had at their 
mercy the Federalists, who upheld the government, but were 
inferior in point of numbers.* 

A Democratic society was organized in Philadelphia, in imi- 
tation of the Jacobin Club, and affiliated societies soon sprang 
up in Lexington,! Georgetown, and Paris, in 1793. The char- 
acter of these clubs was violent and dogmatical. They warmly 
advocated an alliance with France, and sided with Citizen Genet, 
minister of the French republic, in his attempts to embroil the 

* This was the Eera of Liberty Poles and Black Cockades. The Federalists, 
to show their aversion to the tricolor, mounted a black cockade witli an eagle 
button, wom on the left side of the hat ; the Democrats, in their zeal for the 
young republic, planted the Tree of Liberty at every corner, surmounted witli 
the Roman Cap of JManumission. 

t The Hon. John Breckinridge was Chairman of the Lexington Democratic 
Society, and Judge Todd and Thomas Bodley, Clerks. Mr. Breckinridge was 
one of the most distinguished men in Kentucky. He was a native of Virginia ; 
a cousin, through the Preston family, of the Hon. James and John Brown ; and 
an intimate friend of President JeffeVson, who, in 1805, appointed him Attorney- 
General of tiie United States, and a member of the Cabinet. It is not unworthy 
of note that in a caucus of the party at Washington, in 1804, he had popularity 
enougli to command twenty votes for the Presidency, even when Mr. Jefferson 
himself, the Corypha;us, was a candidate. Marshall, vol. ii. p. 364. Mr. 
Breckinridge's brilliant career was prematurely cut short in the prime of life. 
His children have all occupied prominent stations in society. Joseph Cabell 
Breckinridge, who married a daughter of Dr. Samuel Stanhope Smith, was 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, and, under Gov. Adair, Secretary of 
State. He was an active and useful elder in the Presbyterian Church, and car- 
ried his Bible with liim to the courts of law. He died early in 1824. Letitia 
married Gen. Peter B. Porter, Secretary of War under President Jackson. 
Those three eminent divines, Drs. John, Robert and William L. Breckinridge 
have enjoyed a large share of confidence and consideration in the Church. 


country in a war with Spain, in spite of the President's procla- 
mation of neutrahty ; and they admitted to their pubhc and 
private meetings his emissaries, Depeau and La Chaise, who 
bore mihtary commissions for raising an army to attack the 
Spanish possessions on the Mississippi, and who succeeded in 
enUsting two thousand recruits for the purpose.* To enter into 
poHtical details would be foreign from our design. They are 
only mentioned as they reflect light on the popular feeling in 
relation to religion ; for, unhappily, the Frenchf mania brought 
about a leaning to French infidelity, of which Mr. Jefferson, 
who was idolized as a friend of the West, a Virginian, a philos- 
opher, and the leader in securing religious liberty in the Old 
Dominion, was a notorious patron. J The first demonstration of 
hostility to the Christian religion, was the dispensing with the 
services of a chaplain to the Legislature, in 1793, in opposition 
to the previous practice. § Another decisive measure, was the 
effecting a revolution in Transylvania Seminary, and placing at 
its head a disciple of Priestley. This man, Harry Toulmin, 
was, two years afterward, (1796,) elevated by Gov. Garrard, 
(himself an apostate Baptist preacher,) to the office of Secretary 
of State. Such was the indifference of public sentiment, that his 
appointment to so important a post was witnessed without an 
expression of displeasure from any quarter. || By the close of 
the century, a decided majority of the people were reputed to 

* Marshall, vol. ii. p. 109; and Self-Defence against Butler, p. 28. This 
pamphlet was suppressed, but the last copy was accidentally seen by the author 
just before its destruction. 

f A striking illustration of this mania may be traced in the names given in 
those times to towns and counties — Paris, Versailles, Bourbon, Fayette, — Isaac 
Shelby was, at this time. Governor, and John Brown, a member of the Demo- 
cratic Society, Secretary of State. 

I Mr. Jefferson's rancor against the Christian religion may be gathered from 
the following anecdote : — It is related of him that as he was riding through his 
native State with a distinguished foreigner (Signor Mazzei), his companion 
expressed surprise at the dilapidated state of some of the churches wliich they 
passed, and which had been suffered to fall into decay during the revolutionary 
war, when the Tory rectors fled to the mother country. The reply which Mr. 
Jefferson made was characteristic : " they are good enough," said he, " for a 
god that was born in a stable !" 

§ Marshal], vol. ii. p. 130. A salutary change has taken place of late years. 
In the year 1843, the practice of opening the daily session of the Legislature 
with prayer was resumed ; and in 1845, the example was followed by the Legis- 
latures of Tennessee and Ohio. In 1844, for the first time, the custom of an 
Annual Day of Thanksgiving was introduced by Gov. Owsley. 

II Butler, p. 262. 


be infidels ; and as infidelity is the prolific parent of vice, it is 
not surprising to find that the whole country was remarkable 
for vice and dissipation.* • 

A melancholy spectacle is presented to our view. We be- 
hold Infidelity and Vice combined, rolling their turbid tide over 
the land ; while the Church, that should have been busily erect- 
ing barriers to arrest its progress, is either benumbed by cov- 
etousness, or wasting her energies in frivolous disputes ; like the 
Oriental Churches in the seventh century, which were wrang- 
ling about Monothelite subtleties while the Mohammedan scimi- 
tar was flashing over their heads ; upbraided for their degene- 
racy by the very impostor to whom they fell an easy prey. 

The elder clergy were few and past their prime. They had 
been useful in gathering the people into congregations, and in- 
troducing the rudiments of church order ; but the altered times 
demanded a more active kind of laborers. The most of them 
were not above mediocrity ; nor was the dullness of the axe 
compensated by putting thereto more strength. Accustomed to a 
certain fixed routine, they could not move out of it. They were 
men of some information, and sound in the faith, but not deeply 
imbued with the spirit of the Gospel.f Coming from various 
parts of the older States, 'they brought with them the petty 
prejudices and sectional jealousies to which they had been 
habituated ; and living far apart, they had little opportunity of 
becoming acquainted with each other, and acquiring that mutual 
confidence which would have enabled them to act with concert 
and efiiciency.J They were a stately and dignified set of men, 
the reserve of whose manners had the effect of keeping people 
at a distance, and checking familiarity.§ The formal and set 
method to which they adhered, was better adapted to build up 
believers than to awaken the unconverted. The sacramental 
meetings, or sacraments, as they were called, were held at long 
intervals, when several ministers attended and took part ; tokens 
were distributed ; a long Action Sermon preached ; the tables 

* Dr. Baxter, who travelled through Kentucky in 1801, gives this as the cur- 
rent report at the time. See his Letter, West. Miss. Mag. vol. i. p. 259. 

t This was Mr. Rice's description of his fellow-laborers. Bishop, p. 69, 

j Rice's second epistle. Bishop, p. 381. 

5 One of the secrets of Robert Marshall's subsequent popularity, by which he 
won the hearts of the frank backwoodsmen, was a certain familiarity of man- 
ner which encouraged every one to approach him without embarrassment. 


duly fenced ; a succession of tables served ; a fresh minister 
assigned to each table, and a fresh exhortation to each company ; 
and fvhen the communicants were numerous, (many coming 
from a distance,) the services were protracted till sunset, and 
became extremely tedious and fatiguing. The approach of 
young persons to the communion was a rarity never expected. 
It was the general impression that none but elderly persons, who 
from their years had acquired steady habits and were out of the 
way of temptation, should partake of the ordinance. As a natu- 
ral consequence the young felt at ease, and gave themselves no 
concern about religion ; and the Church, gaining no accessions, 
was in a fair way of becoming extinct through natural decrease. 
The younger clergy were generally well-instructed and full 
of zeal, and they strengthened the things that remained and 
were ready to die ; but the sphere of their labors was limited, 
and owing to their recent arrival they had not that standing and 
influence which are the product of time. Gary Allen, one of the 
most promising, zealous, popular, and efficient of them, was 
snatched away prematurely, in 1795, after only two years' labor. 
Mr. Calhoon returned to Virginia ; Robert Marshall and James 
Blythe were the only young men left in the field ; and the latter 
was hampered by his connection with a literary institution. It 
was not until after 1795, when infidelity and irreligion had al- 
ready attained an alarming headway, that valuable reinforce- 
ments arrived from Virginia and North Carolina, and even then 
they required time, in order to become extensively known and 
-^ Of the clergy who entered Kentucky during the last ten years 
of the century, several belonged to that noble band of youths 
whose hearts God had touched in the blessed revival of 1787-88, 
which commenced in Hampden Sidney College, and extended to 
Liberty Hall. The Synod of Virginia, finding so many young 
men burning with zeal to publish the Gospel, organized a Com- 
mittee of Missions, whose duty it was to assign fields of labor to the 
licentiates as they successively came forward, and to provide means 
for their support from the voluntary contributions of the people.* 

* It deserves to be noted that the earUest domestic missionary operations in 
the West were conducted under ecclesiastical supervision, and well conducted 
too ; notwithstanding the boasts with which the platform has resounded at the 



The missionaries were expected to spend two years in this ser- 
vice under the direction of the committee. Some of them chose 
Kentucky as their ficM of labor ; and collections were made by 
the Presbytery of Transylvania in aid of their support.* Their 
education, and the training they had received in revivals and 
itinerant service, pre-eminently fitted them for the responsible 
positions they were called to occupy ; and as we trace their 
connection with the subsequent history of the Church, we shall 
find the integrity and purity of the Presbyterian communion 
preserved, under God, mainly through the vigilance and fidelity 
of these men. One of the number indeed, strayed lamentably, 
but it was only a temporary delusion ; his own naturally strong 
mind, and a radical principle of piety, assisted by the affectionate 
expostulations of his brethren, brought him back again to the 
truth. The rest never wavered for an instant. They all stood 
firm in the perilous hour, and intrepidly offered battle to the ad- 
versaries of the evangelical system ; and their efforts were 
finally crowned with success. 

There were eight of these missionaries of the Synod who en- 
tered Kentucky in the following order, viz. Robert Marshall, in 
1791 ; Gary H. Allen and William Calhoon, in 1792; John P. 
Campbell and Samuel Rannels, in 1794; Robert Stuart and 
Robert Wilson, in 1798 ; and Jolin Lyle, in 1800. 

The Rev. Robert Marshall was born in County Down, Ire- 
land, Nov. 27th, 1760 ; and in the 12th year of his age accompa- 
nied his family to West Pennsylvania. He was a wild boy, and 
when the revolutionary war broke out, enlisted as a private 
soldier, at the age of sixteen, m opposition to the wishes of his 
mother. Contrary to what might have been expected from such 

anniversaries of the Home ^lissionary Society, tliat that Vohmtary Association 
was the pioneer in the prniscvvortliy enterprise, and that without its exertions, 
the West would not have been sujjplied with the Gospel. 

* In Octob'jr, 179Q, the Presbytery of Transylvania ordered collections to be 
taken for the support of missionaries, and appointed twenty-five gentlemen to 
act as collectors in the different conjirepations. JMin. vol. i. p. 46. Mr. William 
Lamme, (or I^amb,) was appointed Treasurer ; and in 1793, JNIr. Andrew 
Mc'Calla. The peojde did not at first respond to the call with alacrity; collec- 
tions were taken in few churches, and they were small in amount, p. 51. In 
April, 1792, we find the treasurer directed to pay over the money in his hands ' 
to Messrs. Gary Allen and Robert Marshall, missionaries, sent by the Synod of 
Virginia, p. 68. In October, 1793, they recommended Mr. James Welch, then 
a licentiate, to be employed by the Commission of Synod, ji. 99. 


a beginning, while in the army he never swore nor drank, 
although drinking and profanity were common in the camp, and 
liquor formed part of the rations. When ^ot on duty, he retired 
to his tent, and devoted himself, like Cobbett, to the study of 
arithmetic and mathematics. He was in six general engage- 
ments, one of which was the hard-fought battle of Monmouth ; 
where he narrowly escaped with his life, a bullet grazing his 
locks. To the end of his life, military music had a stirring effect 
upon his nerves. After the war he joined the Seceders, and was 
very self-righteous; but, as he afterwards believed, was a stran- 
ger to a real change of heart. It was under a searching sermon 
of that man of God, Dr. McMillan, from Rom. ix. 22, that he 
who had come to find food for criticism and cavil in a preacher 
of a rival denomination, felt that he was one of the " vessels of 
wrath fitted for destruction." His self-possession deserted him, 
his proud head dropped, and he was thrown into a state of the 
deepest anguish. He vainly besought some outward sign from 
Heaven of his acceptance, and not receiving any fell into despair. 
At length he became sensible of the presumption of dictating to 
God the evidences of conversion, and obtained a more rational 
hope. This hope he never afterward lost, not even in his wild- 
est aberrations ; and towards the close of his life, it rose to a 
high degree of assurance. 

He was now about twenty-three years old ; but, not deterred 
by his age, he resolutely commenced preparation for the min- 
istry. His academical studies were conducted under Mr. 
Graham, at Liberty Hall : his theological course under Dr. 
McMillan, something of whose solemn manner he caught. While 
at Liberty Hall he maintained a consistent and exemplary walk 
among a set of profane and wicked youths ; and, though stand- 
ing alone, commanded universal respect.* After being licensed 
by Redstone Presbytery, he returned to Virginia, and labored 
in the revival with great zeal and success. He was remarkable 
for his fidelity in visiting and conversing upon religion. In 
1791 he removed with his wife to Kentucky, in the capacity of 
a missionary of the Synod ; and on the 13th of June, 1793, was 
ordained pastor of Bethel and Blue Springf Churches. He 

* Dr. Alexander's Letter, Prot. and Her. Feb. 29, 1844. 
t " McConnel's Run." Min. Trans. Presb., vol. i., p. 8£ 


also conducted a classical school, at which many received their 
education, who afterwards made a very prominent figure in the 

In the great Revival of 1800, Mr. Marshall was one of the 
chief leaders ; and, carried away by the torrent of enthusiasm 
that swept over Kentucky, and sincerely believing his more 
sober brethren to be wrong, he joined with Stone, in 1803, in 
fomenting the New Light schism. He afterwards saw his 
error, and, in 1811, returned to the bosom of the Church. The 
schismatics were at first called Marshallites, but on his defection 
were known by the name of Stoneites, He afterwards used to 
say that he could not ascribe his conduct to any other cause 
than a strange infatuation ; and for years never mounted the 
pulpit without lamenting his errors, and warning the people 
against similar delusions. He took an appointment under the 
Assembly's Standing Committee of Missions, in 1812, and was 
soon after reinstated in his old charge of Bethel, where he con- 
tinued till his decease in 1833, at the advanced age of 73. 
A few months before this event, his repose was rudely disturbed 
by the Rev. Frederick A. Ross, who stigmatized him as " a 
reclaimed apostate ;" but he was defended with great spirit by 
his sons, the Rev. James and Samuel V. Marshall, " who spoke 
with his enemies in the gate."* He deemed it proper to take 
up the pen himself, and published an acute and able vindication. 
*' I have never seen you," said he, " but imagine you are young and 
somewhat impetuous, as I once was. You had better rein in, cool 
a little, stop, light down, and patiently study the views of the 
Confession on faith and regeneration. So far as respects faith, 
the writer of this has run your course before you. When I first 
saw your views, I remember to have said, — This is the faith 
I held almost thirty years ago. ... I am now old — have 
relinquished the field of controversy long ago, in which I labored 
painfully, for some years, to no profit. If you live to my age 
you will probably say the same."t 

As a preacher, Mr. Marshall was clear, logical, systematic, 
and adhered closely to his text. He was of a coarse, strong 

* Standard, March 2, 1832. Mr. Ross had pubHshed a sermon entitled 
" Faith according to common sense," which Mr. Marshall pronounced a 
reproduction of the New Light doctrine. " Hinc illai lachrymae !" 

t Standard, March 23, 1832. 


mind, rather of a metaphysical turn ; rash and impetuous in his 
temper. He deUghted in startling expressions, and the use of 
language adapted to rouse and impress an audience. His popu- 
larity as a leader of the New Lights was for a time unbounded, 
thousands on thousands hanging on his lips at their camp-meet- 
ings ; although considerable allowance must be made for the 
boldness and palatableness of the doctrines promulgated. His 
constitutional temperament predisposed him to an ascetic sort 
of enthusiasm, and to fall the prey of errors which assumed the 
guise of superior sanctity. While we cannot deny him the 
credit of sincerity, he was thus betrayed into harsh and denun- 
ciatory language against such as either appeared to be deficient 
in zeal, or indulged in an unusuaj degree of cheerfulness. 
Preaching once to believers, he said, " go away, sinners ! I have 
nothing for you !" Being persuaded at another time to try a 
milder strain than was his wont, he delivered a most delightful 
comforting sermon, suited to encourage the timid, and not 
overwhelm them. His hearers were softened and enraptured. 
But at the close of his sermon he could not resist his old pro- 
pensity, and threw his audience into a state of panic by exclaim- 
ing, in his awful way, " And now, you hypocrites, you will be 
snatching at the children's bread !" 

The Rev. Gary H. Allen was the son of a Virginia planter, 
in Cumberland county,* who sent him to Hampden Sidney 
College, to be educated, where he became one of the early con- 
verts in the revival of 1786. He visited Kentucky as a mis- 
sionary, in 1792, and on the 11th of October, 1794, he was 
ordained pastor of Paint Lick and Silver Creek Churches.f 

* The old gentleman appears, from his letters, to have been a devotedly pious 
Christian, though an indifferent scholar. In a letter to James Fishback, ilarch 
7th, 1794, (in the possession of James Stonestreet, Esq.,) he referred to the two 
revivals he had passed through, with great delight ; and took comfort from the 
reflection that when the seed is sown in the heart it will not die. From his 
account, Gary, who was his favorite son, was in great request at home, and he 
and the people were very aver.^e to part with him. llis connections were large, 
and the people who belonged to no church were fond of hearing him. The 
good old man thought Gary was wanted at home "full as much as at CatUuck.'" 

f Min. Trans. Presb., vol.i.,p. 144. The original Call is among the filed 
papers of the Presbytery. It is dated Madison, April 21st, 1792, and is signed 
by Thomas Maxwell, Samuel Woods, Alex. Mackey, James Henderson, Jolin 
Cochran, John Young, and Robert Dickey. It pledged for his support, £150 
in cash the first year, and thereafter as they should agree. This was equal 
to $500. 



His disposition, naturally gay and volatile, was somewhat 
sobered after his conversion, but never entirely subdued. He 
was a mirthful, fun-loving, pleasant companion, and a great wit 
and satirist. Sanguine and impulsive, his sallies partook occa- 
sionally of no little eccentricity ; yet he would say the oddest 
things and take the boldest flights with such an easy and natural 
air, that no one felt his sense of propriety shocked. On his way 
to Kentucky, he put up for the night at a house where the young 
people of the neighborhood had assembled for a dance. The 
handsome stranger was invited to join them, and no denial 
would be taken. At length he suffered himself to be led to the 
floor and to have a partner assigned him, when all at once he 
called to the musician — " Stop ! I am always in the habit," said 
he, " when I enter on any business that I am unaccustomed to, 
first to ask the blessing of God upon it. Now, as I find myself 
in new and unexpected circumstances, I beg permission to 
implore the Divine direction in the matter." Suiting the action 
to the word, he dropped on his knees, and poured forth a prayer 
in his characteristic impassioned manner ; then, springing to his 
feet, he followed the prayer with a powerful and eloquent exhor- 
tation. Mute with astonishment at such an unlooked-for inter- 
ruption, the company stood spell-bound. They were enchained 
by eloquence such as they had never listened to before ; the 
orator's burning words sank into their souls, and found an echo 
in their consciences ; death and judgment flashed their terrors 
before their eyes ; and they felt how unprepared they were to 
meet their God. Bursting into tears, they besought him to tell 
them what they must do to be saved. He remained and 
preached in the neighborhood a few days ; and several hopeful 
conversions were the happy result of a measure which many 
would consider of questionable propriety, and which, it must be 
admitted, in less skillful hands, might have proved a signal 

Another story is told of his stopping for the night at a house 
where lived an old man and his wife, who were both professors 
of religion. Allen, with a view to try them, feigned ignorance 
of the Bible and religion, and wanted to know what was meant 
by such things. He gradually plied them with deistical argu- 
ments, till the old man began to waver ; but the wife remained 
firm. When they sat down to supper, the old man hesitated to 


ask a blessing, as had been his wont, when Allen, having carried 
the joke far enough, asked a blessing himself, thus revealing his 
true character to the astonished pair. While he raUied his host 
for succumbing so easily, he had to submit in turn to a similar 
rebuke from the good wife for having practised a sort of impo- 
sition upon them. 

Mr. Allen was a man of highly popular talents, impassioned 
eloquence, and ardent zeal. His mind was not of the most 
robust and powerful order, but he never failed to make a 
great impression wherever he went. The charm was aided by 
his prepossessing appearance, earnest manner, and melodious 
voice. His style was not elevated, but extremely original and 
forcible. He was very fluent, and by no means fastidious in the 
choice of epithets ; but though his language might not always 
bear the test of criticism, it was vivid and striking. His deliv- 
ery was in the highest degree natural and impressive. He once 
recited the words of a well-known hymn, '• To arms ! to arms !*' 
with such a life-like tone, that many sprang to their feet, believ- 
ing there was an alarm of Indians, — nothing to be wondered at 
in those days of insecurity. In his congregations he was very 
successful. He was a favorite with all classes, and even the 
worldly listened to him with interest, because in his old father's 
nervous language, " they had faith in him." He kept the atten- 
tion of his people so fixed on eternal things, that the rising 
dispute about Psalmody did comparatively little harm among 
them. More converts were added to the Church than w^ere 
lost by the schism. This interesting young man shone brightly 
for the little time Heaven lent him ; but after a brief ministry 
of less than two years, he was carried off by consumption in the 
very flower of his age and amid flattering prospects of useful- 
ness. He died August 5th, 1795.* 

The Rev. William Calhoon accompanied Mr. Allen as a mis- 
sionary to Kentucky in 1792, and after laboring two years on Elk- 
horn, was ordained pastor of Ash Ridge and Cherry Spring, Feb. 
12, 1795. In 1797 he returned again to Virginia, •end is still living 

* Mill. Trans. Presb., vol. ii., p. 62. In 1823, the Presbytery of Transylvania, 
finding that there was no tombstone to mark his grave, and that of Mr. Vance, 
in a burying ground near Danville, directed head and foot stones to be set 
up over both, v.ith appropriate inscriptions, at a cost of $25.00. Filed papers of 
Trans. Presb. 



at Staunton. He bore an excellent character, and his grave 
and serious manner made him very impressive in the pulpit. 

The Rev. John Poage Campbell, M.D., unquestionably the 
most brilliant in this constellation of missionaries, was born in 
Augusta county, Virginia, in 1767 ;* and removed to Ken- 
tucky with his father, when fourteen years of age. His 
genealogy may be traced back, on the maternal side, to the 
famous Scottish divine, Samuel Rutherford, one of the members 
of the Westminster Assembly, who was persecuted and impris- 
oned for his resistance to Episcopacy, and who was the author 
of the highly spiritual work known as Rutherford's Letters. 
As he early exhibited evidence of genius, his father was induced, 
though he could ill afford it, to give him a liberal education ; and 
after studying some time with Messrs. Hamilton and McPheeters 
in Rockbridge, and afterwards with Mr. Rankin in Lexington, 
Kentucky, he became one of Mr. Rice's first pupils in Transyl- 
vania Grammar-School. He completed his studies with Mr. 
Archibald vScott, in his native county ; and, at the age of nine- 
teen, conducted an academy himself in Williamsburg, North 
Carolina. Here he unfortunately imbibed infidel opinions, but 
was afterwards converted by the accidental perusal of Soame 
Jenyn's treatise on the Internal Evidences of Christianity. This 
led to his renouncing the study of medicine, in which he had 
engaged, to prepare for the office of the holy ministry. He 
graduated at Hampden Sidney in 1790 ; and, after a theological 
course under Mr. Graham, and a winter's reading with Dr. 
Moses Hoge, of Shepherdstown, he was licensed to preach in 
May, 1792. Such was the esteem in which he was held, that 
he was at once associated with his preceptor, as co-pastor of 
Lexington, Oxford, New Monmouth, and Timber Ridge con- 
gregations. In consequence, however, of some of those jealousies 
and partisanships which are not uncommon in collegiate charges, 
his situation was rendered unpleasant, and he generously retired 
before matters came to an open rupture. 

In 1795 he took up his abode in Kentucky, and his first charge 

* He took the name of Poage as a memorial of a bosom friend and connection 
by marriage, T. C. Poage, who died about the time of his settlement. His 
father, Robert Campbell, removed to Kentucky about 1781, and settled first in 
Lexington, and afterwards in Mason county, where he became an elder in 
Smyrna Church. 


was the churches of Smyrna and Flemingsburg, in Flemmg 
county. He afterwards exercised his ministry in various places, 
among which were Danville, Nicholasville, Cherry Spring, 
Versailles, Lexington, and Chilicothe ; and in the year 1811 he 
officiated as chaplain to the Legislature. The support of the 
clergy, never ample, was considerably curtailed by the New 
Light schism. At one period he was reduced to as great straits 
as his venerable predecessor, Father Rice, although living in a 
community abounding in wealth. The Rev. Robert Stuart, 
inquiring of one of his congregation about his welfare, was 
answered " that they had been keeping him on lent." Some 
light may be thrown on the nature of this lent, as rigorous and 
long as that of Rome, by the statement that his family had sub- 
sisted for six weeks on pumpkins, while his wife, in his own 
feeble state of health, had to chop and carry firewood through 
the snow ! The salary was small and insufficient. A few 
families, among whom the names of Shelby and McDowell 
deserve honorable mention, were kind and generous ; but as 
Dr. Campbell's pride kept him from disclosing his necessities, 
they were often ignorant of the extent of his wants, and sup- 
posed that others were as considerate as themselves. He at 
length found himself compelled to eke out a scanty subsistence 
by taking up the practice of medicine. His friend, Mr. 
James Fishback, hearing the fact misrepresented, and being 
informed that Dr. Campbell had abandoned his clerical duties 
and was making himself conspicuous on the political arena, 
addressed him a letter of expostulation. To this a frank and 
manly vindication was promptly returned, stating the truth, and 
pleading the dire pressure of necessity. 

Dr. Campbell possessed an acute and discriminating mind. 
He was an accurate and well read theologian ; and excellent as 
a polemic, although, even in the judgment of his friends, he 
allowed himself to indulge in too much asperity. Quick to de- 
tect the weak points of an adversary, and to unravel the falla- 
cies of the sophist, his controversial writings exerted a powerful 
influence in their day. No pen was so efficient as his in the 
hard-fought struggle with the followers of Stone. The Pela- 
gianism of Craighead sunk into oblivion at his touch. His 
Review of Robinson and Answer to Jones, on the subject of 
Baptism, although considered too learned for popular use, had a 


timely influence in settling the minds of many. In consequence 
of his scorching exposure of Robinson, the American edition was 
expurgated, but without any signal to notify the reader of the 
alteration. Dr. Campbell was a man of fine taste, and devoted 
to Criticism and Belles-Lettres. His style was elaborate and 
elegant ; and he courted the muses not without success. He 
wrote verses, and played on the flute, and one of his published 
discourses was on the subject of Sacred Music. A graceful and 
energetic elocution, and a delivery, not fluent but animated, 
combined with solid matter and a sprightly style, gave him 
great reputation in early life as a preacher. His person was 
tall and slender ; and he had a deep-set, dark-blue eye, which, 
under strong excitement, flashed like lightning from under his 
jutting forehead. Unhappily, his voice, which was never strong, 
became quite broken by preaching to large assemblies of people 
in the open air during the great revival, so that it was painful to 
strangers to listen to it. In consequence of this misfortune, his 
friends, when he visited the East a few years before his death 
as a commissioner to the General Assembly, were unable to 
provide a suitable situation for him there, as they ardently de- 
sired to do. 

The opinion of the literary world was very flattering. Dr. 
Archibald Alexander, who was intimate with him during his 
theological studies, pronounced his talents fit for any station. 
Dr. Dwight, with whom he became acquainted on a journey to 
Connecticut, in 1812, spoke in the highest terms of his intelli- 
gence and scholarship. Dr. Cleland has described him as 
one of the most talented, popular, and influential minis- 
ters in the country, and pre-eminent among the Kentucky 
clergy. Nassau Hall was about to confer on him the degree of 
Doctor of Divinity, when death prevented the intended honor. 
His pen was very prolific. His published writings were as fol- 
lows : — 1. A Sermon on Sacred Music, 1797; 2. The Passen- 
ger, 1804 ; 3. Strictures on Stone's Letters on the Atonement, 
1805 ; 4. Vindex, or the doctrine of the Strictures vindicated, 
1806; 5. Essays on Justification; 6. An Installation Sermon, 
1809; 7. Letters to Craighead, 1810; 8. A Sermon on Chris- 
tian Baptism, 1810 ; 9. The Pelagian Detected, a reply to Craig- 
head, 1811 ; 10. Letters to a Gentleman of the Bar, pubUshed in 
the Evangelical Record for 1812. These Letters were origi- 


nally written and sent to the talented and eccentric Major Joseph 
H. Daviess, who had become captivated with the sceptical 
theory of Dr. Darwin, which the letters were designed to 
expose; 11. An Answer to Jones, and Review of Robinson's 
History of Baptism, 1812 ; 12. A Sermon preached at the open- 
ing of the Synod, 1812 ; the subject, Ministerial Support. 
This was an able discourse, and boldly maintained the right of 
them that minister at the altar to live of the altar. It is a 
touching reflection, that this sermon was drawn from him in 
view of the necessities with which he had had to struggle, and in 
reply to spiteful slanders insinuated to his prejudice. He had it 
in contemplation, furthermore, to prepare such a work as the 
present, giving an account of the troublous times through which 
the Presbyterian Church had passed; but the accomplishment of 
the design, to the irreparable loss of posterity, was defeated 
by his death. 

It is not to be denied that Dr. Campbell had the infirmities, as 
well as the shining gifts, of genius. He was of a delicate, nervous 
organization, and acutely sensitive, and lay open, in consequence, 
to the charge of being irritable, petulant, and w^aspish. He was 
deficient in that patience and condescension which so eminently 
become a pastor. Dignified and reserved to strangers, he was 
remarkably pleasant and atfable among his intimate friends, who 
cherish his memory with great aflfection. Restless and aspiring, 
this gifted man was under the frequent necessity of changing his 
residence, and lost more than one comfortable situation where a 
less sensitive person might have remained for life. Too high- 
minded to stoop, and too proud to yield where his honor appeared 
to be concerned, he remained poor all his days ; persecuted by 
some who were envious of his fame, and slighted by others who 
lost sight of all his virtues in the contemplation of a single frailty. 

Dr. Campbell was married three times,* and on his demise 
left a family of nine children behind him. His death (which 

* His first wife was a Miss Crawford, of Virginia ; his second, a Miss Poage, 
of Kentucky ; his third, a daughter of Col. James McDowell, of Lexington. His 
last wife survived him several years ; and died in 1838, in the vicinity of Mays- 
ville, under peculiarly distressing circumstances, just as she was about to re- 
move to Illinois, where most of her children were settled. She had become 
totally deaf and quite infirm ; and being left alone for a few minutes, her clothes 
caught fire. Her daughter, alarmed by her screams, flew to her rescue, but in 
the attempt was burned herself, and both were so badly injured as to cause their 
death in a short time. 


was caused by exposure while preaching) occurred on the 4th 
of November, 1814, at the age of fifty-three, in the vicinity of 
Chilicothe. To his friend, the Rev. W. L. McCalla, he bore a 
warm testimony to the support and comfort he derived in his 
last hours from the doctrines of grace for which he had so earn- 
estly contended. 

The Rev. Samuel Rannels was born in Hampshire coun- 
ty, Virginia, December 10th, 1765. His early opportuni- 
ties were meagre, and he was twenty-seven years old when he 
graduated at Dickinson College, in Pennsylvania. He was 
licensed by the Presbytery of Lexington in 1794, and the next 
spring visited Kentucky as one of the Synod's missionaries. In 
1796, he was ordained over the united Churches of Paris and 
Stonermouth, which charge he retained for twenty-two years, 
until his death, March 24th, 1817, in the fifty-second year of his 
age. His talents were respectable, his pulpit performances un- 
equal, but he was a man of eminent piety and exemplary conduct. 
He was a zealous and indefatigable minister, and remarkably 
gifted in prayer. On the appearance of the irregularities of 
1802, he was one of the first to see the speck upon the horizon 
and to sound the alarm. 

The Rev. Robert Stuart was born in Rockbridge county, 
Virginia, in 1772. He could, with his kinsman. Dr. Campbell, trace 
his lineage back to the Scottish divine, Rutherford. At seven- 
teen years of age he became a subject of the great revival, 
being first awakened under the preaching of Dr. Alexander at 
New Monmouth Church ; graduated in due time at Liberty 
Hall ; and was licensed to preach by the Lexington Presbytery 
in 1796. After performing an arduous missionary tour under 
the direction of the Synod among the mountains, from the head- 
waters of James river to the mouth of the Potomac, he chose 
Kentucky as the field of his labors, and repaired thither in 1798. 
In December of the same year he was appointed Professor of 
Languages in Transylvania University, but resigned in the year 
following and established a private grammar-school in Wood- 
ford county. A considerable number of professional men, some 
of whom rose to eminence in political and ecclesiastical life, 
received their education at his hands. During the year 1803 
he preached to the Church of Salem; and in 1804 took charge 
of Walnut Hill Church, about six miles east of Lexington, which 


he continued to retain for nearly forty years. In company with 
Dr. Campbell, as a commission of the General Assembly, he 
visited every Church in the northern part of Kentucky, after 
the New Light schism ; and upon the Cumberland rupture, the 
southern, in company with Father Rice. He was one of the 
Commission of Synod to examine into the difficulties of the Cum- 
berland Presbytery, in 1805 ; and was associated with Mr. Lyle, 
in 1809, to defend the Synod's proceedings in that matter before 
the Assembly, Great confidence has always been reposed in his 
prudence and discretion. 

After being informed that as one of the Synod's Commission 
in the Green river country, Mr. Stuart was named by the oppo- 
site party " Moses" for his meekness, the reader will be surprised 
to learn that the first publication which stung Dr. Holley and his 
friends to the quick was from his pen. The piece alluded to 
originally appeared in one of the Lexington prints, and after- 
wards in McFarland's Pamphleteer, over the signature of "^ Cit- 
ize7i." The sketch of the New Light schism in the second 
volume of the Evangelical Record, (1813,) was furnished by 
him. In 1837, he published a series of interesting "Reminis- 
cences respecting the establishment and progress of the Presby- 
terian Church in Kentucky," in the Western Presbyterian 
Herald. To his accurate and retentive memory, and obliging 
communications, the writer of these pages acknowledges himself 
largely indebted. It has been the lot of this venerable father to 
survive most of those who stood by his side in the former stormy 
conflicts of the Church ; and all who knew him are ready to 
re-echo the eulogy of his pastor, the Rev. John Brovni, who 
described him as " an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no 

The Rev. Robert Wilson was descended from ancestors 
whom persecution had driven from the North of Ireland to West- 
ern Virginia. He was born in 1772. After laboring for some 
time in Virginia, he entered Kentucky as a missionary in 1798, 
and on the expiration of his engagement, married and settled in 
Washington, four miles south of Maysville, where he remained 
till his death, October 31st, 1822, in the fiftieth year of his age. 
He was an amiable and estimable man, and characterized 
through life by great equanimity. While his labors were signally 
blessed among his own flock, it was through his unwearied ex- 


ertions that the Churches of Augusta and Maysville were organ- 
ized, and those of Smyrna and Flemingsburg owed to him 
their preservation when languishing without a pastor. 

The Rev. John Lyle was a native of Rockbridge county, in 
the Valley of Virginia. His grandfather, who had emigrated 
from the North of Ireland before the middle of the last century, 
and his father, were both ruling elders in the Timber Ridge 
Church. John Lyle, who was the third of the name in succes- 
sion, was born October 20th, 1769, and "born again," (accord- 
ing to an entry in the family Bible, in his own handwriting,) 
August 17th, 1789, in the great revival, when he was nearly 
twenty years of age. After his conversion he was ardently 
desirous of studying for the ministry, but met with no encourage- 
ment from his family. His father was in moderate circumstances, 
from his determined aversion to employ slave-labor, and designed 
all that he could spare for the education qf the elder son An- 
drew, who was his favorite, a young man of fine talents and 
prepossessing figure. John, on the contrary, had been, from his 
birth, a feeble child, and had received, in his infancy, accidental 
injuries which affected his appearance ; and being very taciturn 
and reserved, none gave him credit for even ordinary intellect. 
His lengthened visage, his ungainly form, and his awkward gait, 
made him the butt of ridicule in the family, the school, and the 
neighborhood. His father could not bear the idea of his entering 
the ministry ; and never spoke of it without bitterness, as des- 
tined to disgrace the family by a certain failure. He oflfered to 
leave him his farm on condition of renouncing his intention : but 
in case of persistence, he refused to extend the least aid ; and 
true to his word, even after the death of his promising son An- 
drew, he never gave him so much as a shilling. John inherited 
all his father's pertinacity, and resolved to achieve his object by 
his own exertions. He taught a country school, and thus pro- 
cured the means of a liberal education at Liberty Hall. While 
in college, he was much persecuted by the looser sort of students, 
who were addicted to gambling, and hated piety ; but his courage 
and firmness at last secured his peace. 

When Mr. Lyle was licensed, in 1795, his performances far 
exceeded every one's expectations, and a more favorable esti- 
mate was thenceforth entertained of his merits. After serving 
as a missionary for a year in his native State, he visited Ken- 


tucky in the same capacity in 1797 ; and in 1800 took charge of 
Salem Church, where he remained for several years. 

Upon the appearance of the bodily exercises in the beginning 
of the present century, Mr. Lyle was at first at a loss how to 
regard them ; but soon learned to discriminate between the work 
of God and animal excitement, and exerted himself to check the 
excesses. He kept a diary during the years 1801, 1802, and 
1803, in which he carefully noted all the incidents that occurred 
at the sacraments and camp-meetings during that period. This 
is a truly invaluable document, and, as well as his journal, 
when one of the Synod's Commission in Green river, has been 
extremely serviceable m preparing the present history. Mr. 
Lyle, in consequence of his plain-spoken fidelity, became unpop- 
ular to a considerable extent, like others of his brethren. The 
first instance of disorder which fell under his notice was on the 
part of two Methodist preachers from Green river, and poor 
Lyle was so discomposed that he wandered off into the woods 
to give vent to his feelings. In his agitation he forgot entirely 
that he had invited several ministerial brethren to dine with 
him ; and, as he could not be found, they were obliged to sit 
down to dinner without him. When preaching at Danville, 
he was interrupted by sounds resembling the barking of a dog, 
produced by two of Houston's deluded parishioners whom he 
had brought from Paint Lick. Mr. Lyle expressed his desire, 
in very decided language, that silence should prevail in the house 
of God; and proceeded without further interruption to conclude 
his discourse, which was from the text, " Bodily exercise profit- 
eth little." Houston was very angry, and reproached him with 
having stopped the work of God. On another occasion, at 
Paris, he preached a famous sermon from the text, " Let all 
things be done decently and in order." This discourse gave 
great offence to some, while others were delighted ; and it had 
a powerful effect in checking the tendencies to disorder. In 
1805, he was appointed by the Synod to ride two months in the 
bounds of the Cumberland Presbytery, and afterward to sit as 
one of the Commission on the difficulties of that body. Of this 
tour he kept a journal. 

Mr. Lyle established a female academy at Paris, which be- 
came, under his hands, very flourishing ; embracing from one 
hundred and fifty pupils to nearly double that number. But about 


1809, the trustees obstinately insisted on discarding the Bible, 
and all religious instruction ; and finding his opposition ineffectu- 
al, he withdrew. The school immediately declined, and the 
number dwindled to little more than a score of pupils. He died 
July 22d, 1825, aged fifty-five years, thirty of which had been 
passed in the ministry. 

Mr. Lyle was of moderate talents, not on a par with Camp- 
bell, Cameron, or even Mr. Rice ; but his sound judgment and 
his studious habits supplied the lack of more showy qualities. 
He was in the constant practice of reading the New Testament 
in the original. He wrote well-digested skeletons of his sermons, 
though he never carried them into the pulpit. His matter was 
sensible, and his manner feeling and earnest ; but he owed 
nothing to the graces of elocution. His disposition was naturally 
amiable, though he had his weaknesses, and was occasionally 
betrayed into too passionate warmth. But in the pulpit he pos- 
sessed, in an uncommon degree, the power of unlocking the founts 
of feeling, and awakening a sympathetic interest in the bosoms 
of his auditors. Even the General Assembly were taken by 
surprise in 1809, when he defended the Synod in the matter of 
the Cumberland Presbyterians. Bursting into tears he made a 
most impassioned appeal, and the Assembly were so affected, 
that their final judgment was very different from that to which 
they had at first inclined. His faithful, earnest, and affectionate 
style of preaching was very much blessed. On one occasion, 
at Mount Pleasant, the Rev. William L. McCalla noted the 
names of thirty-three persons impressed by the sermon, thirty- 
one of whom afterward became respectable members of the 
Church. He had a particular tact for benefiting young preach- 
ers, whom he delighted to take with him on missionary excur- 
sions, and, at times, his conversation would be so heavenly, and 
his heart so filled with the Spirit of God, that the company felt 
as if transported to the apostolic days. 

Besides the eight Virginia missionaries, the Presbytery of 
Transylvania received large accessions from the year 1795 un- 
til its erection into a Synod in 1802. Sixteen licentiates 
were ordained to the full work of the Gospel ministry, and 
thirteen clergymen, who had exercised their office elsewhere, 
became residents of the State. With two or three exceptions 
the majority were from Virginia or North Carolina. 


The Rev. Joseph P. Howe came from North Carolina in 
1794, and was ordained July 29th, 1795, over Little Moun- 
tain (Mount Sterling) and Springfield.* He was a good man, 
and took a conspicuous part in the Great Revival. Although 
he was tedious and wearisome as a preacher, he excelled in 
exhortation, and prayed and sang well. In this way he led 
the meetings to great advantage. There is a diversity of 
gifts, but the same Spirit. At his death, in 1830, he bequeathed 
the sum of two hundred and sixty-seven dollars to Centre College. 

The Rev. James Welch was licensed July 27th, 1793, and 
recommended to the Synod of Virginia as a missionary. After 
laboring for a year in the bounds of the Redstone Presbytery, 
and declining a call in Mason county, Kentucky, he was or- 
dained pastor of the Lexington and Georgetown Churches, Feb. 
17th, 1796, in which charge he continued till 1804. He was 
obliged to practise medicine for the support of his family. In 
1799, he was appointed Professor of Ancient Languages in 
Transylvania University, which station he filled for several 

The Rev. Archibald Cameron was a native of Scotland ; 
but was brought to this country at an early age by his pa- 
rents, who were respectable persons for intelligence and character, 
of the Clan Cameron. They settled in Nelson county, Ken- 
tucky. Archibald was the youngest of six children. He re- 
ceived the best education the country could aflford, and was a 
thorough mathematician and classical scholar. At nineteen he 
connected himself with the church under Mr. Templin ; and 
studied theology under Father Rice. He was ordained pastor 
of Simpson's Creek, Bullskin, and Achor congregations, June 2, 
1796. In 1803, he relinquished them to take charge of the Shel- 
byville and Mulberry Churches, with which he continued till his 
death, in 1836. His labors were spread over a wide region, 
now occupied by the congregations of Shelbyville, Mulberry, 
Big Spring, Six Miles, Shiloh, and Olivet, and embracing a cir- 
cuit of from ten to fifteen miles. But the great body of his people 
were in the habit of attending worship, whatever the distance. 

Mr. Cameron was a man of blunt and abrupt manners, and 

like John Knox, never hesitated to call things by their right 
■ — — m 

* Min. Trans. Pby. vol. i. p. 135 ; ii. p. 201. Min. Syn. Ky. vol. iv. p. 186. 

t Min. Trans. Pby. vol.i. pp. 94, 99, 132; ii. pp.72, 86. Bishop, p. 152. 



names. He wus marked by a certain nobleness and independ- 
ence of thought, and scorned whatever w^as mean, low, or in- 
triguing. He was of unbending orthodoxy, great shrewdness, 
and keen powers of satire. In the ditficulties and schisms which 
the Church had to encounter, he was always found on the side 
of sound doctrine and good order. He was one of the Commis- 
sion of Synod in the memorable affair of the Cumberland Pres- 
bytery, in 1805. In the Church courts, and with his pen, he 
proved himself a staunch champion of orthodoxy, and a power- 
ful match for any adversary. In the prime of life he was distin- 
guished by a strong native eloquence ; and as a doctrinal and 
experimental preacher, was excelled by none. 

His published writings are, 1. The Faithful Steward ; against 
baptizing adults who do not give evidence of faith and repent- 
ance, or the children of such adults ; 180G, pp. 53. 2. The 
Monitor, on Church government, discipline, &c. ; 1806, pp. 109. 
3. An Appeal to the Scriptures, on the design and extent of the 
Atonement; 1811, pp. 79. 4. A Discourse between the Con- 
fession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church, and a Preacher in 
that society, who holds the doctrine of an indefinite or universal 
atonement; 1814, pp. 24. 5. A Defence of the Doctrines of 
Grace, a series of letters in reply to Judge Davidge's " Advocates 
of a Partial Gospel;" 1816, pp. 49. 6. A Reply to some Arminian 
"Questions on Divine Predestination," and to a doggerel poem, 
"The Trial of Cain;" 1822, pp. 36. 7. An Anonymous Letter on 
Fore-ordination, pp. 12. 8. Two pamphlets addressed to the 
Rev. George Light, a Methodist minister. The lucid sketch of 
the Presbytery of Transylvania, in 1808, for the General Assem- 
bly's Committee appointed to prepare a History of the Presby- 
terian Church, was from Mr. Cameron's pen. 

The Rev. William Robinson was from Buffalo congregation in 
Pennsylvania, and was ordained over Mount Pleasant and Indian 
Creek Churches, August 11th, 1796, at a salary of £110. In 
1802, he resigned his charge, and was recommended to the 
General Assembly to ride as a missionary north-west of the Ohio 
river. In 1804, he was dismissed to Washington Presbytery.* 

The Rev. Samuel Finley, from Wax Haw, in South Carolina, 

*Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. p. 107, and Filed Papers. Min. W. Lex. Pby. 

vol. i. pp. 76, 95. 


was licensed August 1st, 1705, and ordained April 12th, 1797, 
over the Church of Stanford, where he also taught a school. In 
1807, the connection was dissolved.* 

The Rev. Matthew Houston was ordained over Paint Lick 
and Silver Creek Churches, as the successor of Cary Allen, April 
14th, 1797. In 1802, the relation was dissolved by mutual con- 
sent, but he continued to preach as a stated supply.f He after- 
ward became a Shaker. 

The Rev. John Dunlavy, from Western Pennsylvania, was 
ordained over Lee's Creek, Big Bracken, and North Bracken, 
Nov. 8th, 1797. The last two congregations being broken up 
by frequent removals, he confined his attention to the former in 
1798. He finally settled as pastor of the Eagle Creek congre- 
gation in Ohio, between Ripley and West Union. He also 
became a Shaker.J 

The Rev. John Howe was received as a candidate, Oct. 3ci, 
1793, and was called to Beaver Creek and Little Barren, April 
10th, 1798. He is still living, and has for many years been con- 
nected with the Church of Greensburg.§ 

The Rev. Richard McNemar was received from West Penn- 
sylvania as a candidate, in 1795, at which time he was licensed 
to exhort publicly, together with Andrew Steel, under the limi- 
tations of not exhorting oftener than once in two weeks, nor 
without carefully digesting the matter of their exhortations, and 
further, of not exceeding forty minutes in length. He was 
ordained pastor of Cabin Creek, Aug. 2d, 1798. He afterwards 
became a leading New Light and Shaker, and is still living. || 

The Rev. James Vance, a licentiate from Winchester Pres- 
bytery, was ordained over Middletown and Pennsylvania Run, 
Nov. 6th, 1799. He also supplied the congregation at Louis- 
ville, at a later period. T[ 

The Rev. James Kemper was ordained about the year 1795, 
pastor of the Churches of Columbia and Cincinnati, which he 
resigned the year following.** 

The Rev. Samuel B. Robertson was ordained Oct. 23d, 

* Min. Trans. Pby. vol i. p. 205; iii. p. 142. 
t Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. p. 146 ; iii. p. 45. 

I Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. p. 211. § Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. pp. 71, 176. 

II Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. pp. 82, 206. 

H Min. Trans. Pby. vol. iii. p. 9 ; iv. 190. ** Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. p. 122. 


1801, pastor of the congregations of Cane Run and New Provi- 
dence, where he continued to labor till 1811, when he removed 
to Columbia, in Adair county. He afterward took charge of 
Lebanon Church. He is still living.* 

The Rev. John Bowman, a licentiate from North Carolina, 
had leave to itinerate in 1795 ; and it is probable he was ordain- 
ed within two or three years after. In 1809, he fell under sus- 
picion of heresy and schism, as a follower of Mr. Stone, and in 
1810 was suspended by the Presbytery of Transylvania, for 
refusing to appear and answer to the charge.f 

The Rev. John Thompson came from North Carolina, in 1795. 
and had liberty from the Presbytery of West Lexington to 
exhort, April 17th, 1799. In October following, he was licensed 
to preach, and in 1800 bent his steps to the region north-west of 
the Ohio river.J In the New Light schism, he went off with 
Stone and Marshall, but like Marshall, he afterward returned. 
His cure was not, it would seem, as radical as that of his com- 
peer, for in the late great schism of 1838, he went off again with 
the New School party. 

The Rev. James Blythe, D.D., had been in the field some 
years before any of those whose ordination has just been record- 
ed. The conspicuous part he sustained in the history of the 
West, requires a more detailed biography. He was born in 
North Carolina, in 1765, and received his education at Hampden 
Sidney College, under President John Blair Smith. For a time, 
he was the only professor of religion among the under-graduates, 
till the awakening of Cary Allen and his comrades, when his 
room became the rendezvous for their prayer-meetings. He was 
licensed by Orange Presbytery, and in the fall of 1791 he visited 
Kentucky, and preached at Paint Lick and other places. July 
25th, 1793, he was ordained pastor of Pisgah and Clear Creek 
Churches ; but soon alter, yielding to the prejudices of the times, 
resigned the charge, and for a series of years, his name is found 
in the minutes as being annually appointed a stated supply by 
the Presbytery. In this loose connection he ministered to the 
Pisgah Church for upwards of forty years.§ 

* Bishop's Rice, p. 149. f Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. p. 66 ; iii. p. 218. 

tMin. W. Lex. Pby. vol. i. pp. 4, 16. 26. 

5 Min. W. L. Pby. vol. ii. p. 9; iv. p. 17, et seq. From an early period, a. 
prejudice existed in the West, and in some places still exists, against the formal 
installation of pastors. The reason of this antipathy was two-fold. The peo- 


When the Presbytery of Transylvania were making strenuous 
efforts to establish the Kentucky Academy, Dr. Blythe and 
Father Rice were sent as commissioners to the General Assem- 
bly, in 1795, and to act also as solicitors in the Eastern States. 
They obtained upwards of $10,000, of which amount President 
Washington and Vice-President Adams contributed one hundred 
dollars each, and Aaron Burr fifty. Dr. Blythe was received 
with the greatest courtesy by the President, who spent some time 
in making inquiries into the state of literature in Kentucky, and 
expressed a warm interest in the subject. When this Academy 
was merged, in 1798, in the University of Ti-ansylvania, Dr. 
Blythe was appointed Professor of Mathematics, Natural Philoso- 
phy, Astronomy and Geography ; and on the resignation of 
Mr. Moore subsequently, fulfilled for twelve or fifteen years, the 
duties of Acting President. The salary of a professor was then 
five hundred dollars. When Dr. Holley was elected President, in 
1818, Dr. Blythe was transferred to the Chair of Chemistry in 
the Medical Department, which situation he retained till 1831, 
when he resigned, and was succeeded by Dr. L. P. Yandell. 

Meantime, he was associated for some years as colleague with 
Mr. Welch in the charge of the Lexington Church, but the 
co-pastorship proved very far from harmonious, and at one period 
the interference of the Presbytery was required for their recon- 
cihation. Dr. Blythe took a very decided stand in favor of 
orthodoxy and order when the New Light extravagances made 
their appearance, in consequence of which his popularity and 

pie were reluctant to ecter into a relation which could not be dissolved except 
after some delay, and at the discretion of tiie Presbytery, such was their love 
of independence. In addition, they were apprehensive that whatever deaths or 
removals might occur in a congregation, the remainder, however reduced in num- 
ber, would still be held bound for the salary stipulated in the call. In accord- 
ance with this feeling, we find Trustees and Deacons required, in 1796, to give 
to persons removing out of the bounds, a full discharge of their obligations to 
pay the minister, arrears excepted. (Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. p. 87.) Mr. 
Houston also relinquished his pastoral relation to Paint Lick and Silver Creek 
congregations, for the above reasons, in 1802, continuing to supply them by a 
mutual and private contract. (Min. Trans. Pby. vol. iii. p. 46.) So also Mr. 
S. Finley relinquished his pastoral relation to Stanford, in 1807. (Min. Trans. 
Pby. vol. iii. p. 142.) The evils of this loose and disorderly connection, forced 
themselves on the consideration of the Presbytery of West Lexington in 1807, 
and led them to express their decided disapprobation of the plan, and to make it 
a standing order to enJQin the presentation of regular calls. (Min. W. Lex. 
Pby. vol. j. p. 202.) The injunction was not universally obeyed however. 
Repeated intimations are found in the Presbyterial Records, of the scanty and 
ill-paid salaries of the clergy, and urgent calls for amendment. 



influence were impaired for a time, even in his own congrega- 

He was strongly opposed to the war of 1812, in which he lost 
a promising son at the massacre of the River Raisin ; and, in 
consequence of his political opinions, became involved in an un- 
pleasant altercation with William L. McCalla, then a candidate 
for licensure, and a warm advocate of the opposite party. This 
led to his being arraigned by Mr. McCalla at the bar of his Pres- 
bytery, on a variety of charges, some of which set forth that Dr. 
Blythe had threatened to oppose the licensure of such a "fire- 
brand," on account of his political sentiments in regard to the 
war, mobs, effigy-burning, and the like ; while others accused 
him of falsehood, avarice, indifference to the welfare of the 
Church, perversion of scripture texts, pride, and other personal 
sins.* The trial came on in December, 1813, but was inter- 
rupted by a curious circumstance. The prosecutor insisted, that 
while each witness was examined, the rest should withdraw, ac- 
cording to the old constitutional rule. But as all the standing 
members of Presbytery were summoned as witnesses, the en- 
forcement of the rule would have left no clerical judges. To his 
proposal, to except as many as would fdrm a quorum, the defend- 
ant demurred, on the ground that he would require their testimony 
himself. He was willing that all should be examined in presence 
of each other. The prosecutor, however, being tenacious of the 
point, the whole case was referred to the Synod for adjudication.! 

At their meeting, in September, 1814, the Synod took up the 
reference, when Dr. Blythe was honorably acquitted. In regard 
to the allegations of pride, and harsh treatment of the prosecutor, 
he attempted no exculpation, and made suitable acknowledg- 
ments. J 

Anxious to promote the diffiision of Christian intelligence, Dr. 
Blythe commenced, in 1812, the publication of a monthly period- 
ical, called, " The Evangelical Record and Western Review," 
which, however, did not survive the second volume. It con- 
tained a variety of interesting items.§ 

In November, 1831, Dr. Blythe attended the Convention of 

* Min. W. I^x. Pby., vol. ii. pp. 93, 128, 129, 146. 
t Min. W. Lpx. Pby., vol. ii. pp. 162, 163. 
i Mill. Syn. Ky., vol. ii. pp. 74, 85, S(j. 

§ It was printed by that enterprising publisher, the late lamented Thomas T. 
Slallman, who was carried off by the cholera in 1833. 


Delegates from the Presbyteries, which met in Cincinnati, at the 
suggestion of the General Assembly, on the subject of Domestic 
Missions, and was chosen Moderator. In 1834, his name was 
found among the signers to the memorable Act and Testimony ; 
and in 1835, he was one of the Standing Committee of the Con- 
vention called at Pittsburgh by those signers, and preached before 
the Convention on the first day of the session at their request. 
In 1837, he was again found on the alert, watching over the 
purity of the Church, and attending the Convention of ministers 
and elders, to deliberate on some plan of reform, which met in 
Philadelphia, on the 1 1th of May ; and of this body he was elected 
temporary chairman, to preside over its organization. In 1832, 
he was elected President of South Hanover College, in Indiana, 
a manual-labor institution, under the care of the Synod of In- 
diana ; and under his administration the college rose at once to a 
high degree of prosperity, numbering upwards of two hundred 
students. This station he held with distinguished ability for 
several years ; giving, during part of the time, gratuitous in- 
struction in the theological school in the same place. Dr. 
Blythe's last public service was his embarking with great en- 
thusiasm in a scheme for pervading tfie whole country more ef- 
fectually with the Gospel, by inducing each minister to devote a 
certain portion of his time in each year to the supply of destitute 
places. To this plan he obtained the sanction of the Synods of 
Indiana and Kentucky, and of the General Assembly ; and where 
it went into operation, it was attended with marked advantage. 
This venerable servant of Christ died in 1842, aged seventy-seven 
years. He had the satisfaction of seeing all his children em- 
braced in the Church, and several sons and sons-in-law in the 

Dr. Blythe's pen was not prolific. Except two or three printed 

ermons, and the Evangelical Record, he has bequeathed no per- 
manent memento of himself to posterity. As a preacher, he was 

uU of energy and animation, in his earlier career ; * in his latter 
years he yielded more to the softer emotions. The Family was 
his favorite theme, and he never grew weary of expatiating on 

* An amusing illustration of this he was fond of relating himself : After 
preaching one night in Virginia, he overheard two men conversing about the 
sermon. "That was thunder and lightning," said one. "Yes," replied the 
other, " a great deal of thunder, but very little lightning !" 


upper part of Kentucky, Messrs. Houston, Stone, and Marshall, 
were prominent. These men had always inclined to a fervent 
and exciting style of preaching, and their peculiarities had . 
gained them great popularity, and a reputation for extraordinary 
zeal. Houston was constitutionally of a warm and sanguine 
temperament ; Marshall was a bold and stern enthusiast ; Stone 
differed from both in a cooler sagacity, an appearance of tender 
feelings, and a bland, insinuating address ; all were well calcu- 
lated to be leaders, as they equally loved influence and the 
stimulus of thronged assemblies. It is not wonderful therefore 
that, aided by the enthusiasm of the. times, they succeeded in 
stealing away the hearts of the people, ever captivated by great 
appearances of devotion. To men so predisposed, the camp- 
meetings presented precisely such a theatre of operation as 
they desired, and we find everything, accordingly, in their 

hands. > 

While these three individuals were thus warmly falling in 
with the popular current, the other clergy, though greatly 
amazed, were never thrown completely oflf their guard. Old 
Father Rice, Blythe, Stuart, Lyle, and Campbell, were never to 
be reckoned among the advocates of disorder. At first, indeed, 
they were filled with unfeigned surprise and wonder ; and if we 
may judge of their feelings by the opening pages of Lyle's 
Diary, they might be compared to the pious Jews who saw the 
paralytic healed by a word, and " were amazed and glorified 
God, saying, we never saw it on this fashion." They were 
taken by surprise, but, far from cavilling, they hoped that this 
sudden and extensive religious movement would prove of a solid 
and salutary character. Even the spasmodic convulsions, the 
falling down, and sudden convictions, they regarded with inter- 
est. These good men had long mourned the deep declension 
of the Church, and had trembled at the triumphant ascendency 
of Deism, rabid and intolerant, and they almost hoped that — 
inasmuch as the days of miracles were past, yet nothing short 
of a miracle could save religion, — Providence was pleased to 
permit these strange spectacles in lieu of miracles, to arrest 
attention, and thus gain access for the power of truth. In the 
truth alone they placed their final dependence, as the means of 
conversion. Nothing, in their view, could supersede evangelical 
truth, though other things might prepare the way for its recep- 

140 THE REVIVAL OF 1800. 

The Presbyterian clergy, as a body, are not to be held an 
swerable for the extravagant irregularities and enthusiastic fan- 
tasies which deformed the Great Revival. As a body, they 
neither originated nor countenanced them ; and their influence 
and popularity were in some instances almost prostrated in con- 
sequence. Even those few who madly seized the reins, and 
figured afterwards conspicuously as leaders in the disorders of 
the time, were not the originators of those disorganizing measures, 
but only adopted the work of other hands. The parentage must 
be laid at another door. 

It is to the Methodists these measures are to be traced. Their 
own avowals are our authority for the statement — avowals made 
with so much self-complacency, that we must be exonerated from 
all suspicion of using the language of reproach. It is a well- 
known characteristic of that sect, to exalt zeal above knowledge, 
while they object to the Presbyterians a tendency to the reverse. 
Whatever changes have of late years taken place for the better, 
they were totally unknown at the period, and in the region, of 
which we write. Then, boisterous emotion, loud ejaculations, 
shouting, sobbing, leaping, falling and swooning, were in vogue, 
and were regarded as the true criteria of heartfelt religion. 

Early admitted to take part in the rheetings of the Presby- 
terians, it was not long before the contagion of their wild en- 
thusiasm completely outgrew the control of the clergy ; and the 
people, borne upon the swelling waves of a tumultuous excite- 
ment, were satisfied with no other than the most stimulating 
preaching. Of this, the fact mentioned by Mr. Lyle, that the 
crowd would desert the preacher as soon as it was whispered 
that things were "more lively" at some other point, is a forcible 

It was at one of Mr. McGready's sacraments that the Method- 
ist influence first took the lead, as has already been described, 
when the Methodist, John McGee, overcome by his feelings, 
broke in upon the usual orderly customs of the Presbyterians, 
and urged the excited congregation to shout. 

But while the Methodists thus boldly claim the credit of the 
work, it is not unworthy of notice that Mr. McGready makes no 
mention of this incident in his account, exhibiting, in his silence, 
perhaps, a degree of spiritual ambition of which the good man 
was not conscious. After the general meetings had become 


popular, the Methodists were freely admitted, and the same^ 
scenes of tumultuous enthusiasm were habitually repeated, Mr. 
Lyle, indeed, mentions an instance when they were discouraged, 
and stood aloof;* but such cases were rare exceptions. It ap- 
pears evident that they soon obtained the predominance, and from 
assistants became leaders. They succeeded in introducing their 
own stirring hymns, familiarly, though incorrectly, entitled " Wes- 
ley's Hymns ; " and as books were scarce, the few that were at- 
tainable were cut up, and the leaves distributed, so that all in 
turn might learn them by heart. By those who have ever re- 
flected how great are the effects of music, and how probable it is 
that the ballads of a nation exert more influence than their laws, 
this will be acknowledged to have been of itself a potent engine 
to give predominance to the Methodists, and to disseminate their 
peculiar sentiments. That this was the ultimate eflfect, we are 
told by the writer already cited.f 

* Lyle, p. 87. f Gospel Herald, vol. ii. p. §20, 




The reign of enthusiasm having fairly commenced, its progress 
was, very naturally, marked by a variety of evils and extrava- 
gances, which tended to the injury of the revival, and the disgrace 
of religion. Among these may be enumerated : An undue ex- 
citement of Animal Feeling ; disorderly proceedings in Public 
Worship; too free communication of the Sexes; the promulgation 
of Doctrinal Errors ; and the engendering of Spiritual Pride and 

I. The undue excitement of Animal Feeling. — The extra- 
vagances witnessed under this head were of the most extraor- 
dinary nature, and open a new chapter in the history of the human 
mind. As they will be found to merit the attention both of the 
Psychologist and the Physician, it will be proper to give a full 
account of the phenomena, with such facts and statements as may 
serve to explain the cause and mode of their occurrence. 

These phenomena constituted a species of that "bodily exer- 
cise" which, in the judgment of the great apostle, was of such 
little profit, but, in the superior days of New Light, was exalted 
into an unequivocal token of the Spirit's influence, if not an indis- 
pensable evidence of grace. The Bodily Exercises were familiarly 
known at the time, and since, by significant names, and may be 
classified as follows, viz: 

1. The jPa^/m^ Exercise, 4. The jRwwun^g- Exercise, 

2. The Jerking Exercise, 5. The Dancing Exercise, 

3. The Rolling Exercise, 6. The Barking Exercise, 

7. Visions and Trances. 


the quiet attractions of the domestic circle. It was from his ox -n 
well-managed and happy household he derived his inspiration. 
Although neither a profound nor highly-accomplished scholar, 
his native strength of character, prompt decision, and practical 
turn, enabled him to acquit himself creditably in every situation. 
But it was in deliberative bodies, and the courts of the Church, 
that these qualities gave him a marked ascendency, to which his 
portly figure, commanding appearance, bushy eyebrows, and 
magisterial manner, contributed not a little. His name ap- 
pears the twenty-eighth in order, in 1816, in the list of 
Moderators of the General Assembly. 

In the year 179G, the Rev. Messrs. Craighead, McGee and 
Stone, from North Carolina — all of whom will receive a fuller 
notice in a fitter place — the Rev. William Maiion, from Vir- 
ginia, and the Rev. Isaac Tull, from the Presbytery of Lewis- 
town, were received as members of Transylvania Presbytery. 

Mr. Mahon took charge of New Providence Church, but was 
brought before the Presbytery, in 1798, on charges of cruelty to 
a female slave, and of factious proceedings in the congregation, 
and was admonished to maintain a stricter guard over his temper. 
The people being dissatisfied with him, the connection was dis- 
solved by Presbytery, on the 5th of October, of the same year. 
He was finally deposed for drunkenness in 1804. He applied 
in 1812 to be restored; but the Presbytery not being satisfied of 
his reformation refused his request.* 

Mr. Tull was received April 12th, 1796, and for two years 
had charge of Green Creek and Pleasant Point. He was a good 
but weak man ; punctual and steady, but an indifferent preacher. 
Domestic difliculties attracted the notice of Presbytery, and a 
slanderous accusation was laid against him ; but on investigation 
he was exonerated from blame. He died in Cincinnati, in 1812.| 

The Rev. Robert Finley, originally from South Carolina, 
was received from Redstone Presbytery, Feb. 20th, 1792, with 
a high character, which he soon contrived to forfeit. Rumors 
of habitual inebriety coming to the ears of the Presbytery, they 
insisted on a trial. He was pertinacious for an investigation by 
a committee, and renouncing their jurisdiction, he was suspended 

* Min. Trans. Pby., vol. ii. pp. 108, 198; iii. p. 103; iv. p. 18. 
jMin. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. pp. 92, 223. 


in 1795. He made concessions, and was restored, but again 
proving contumacious, was again suspended, and continuing 
nevertlieless to preach, was finally deposed, October 6th, 1796.* 
The Rev. John Evans Finley, from Newcastle Presbytery, 
was received Feb. 11th, 1795 ;t the Rev. Peter Wilson, from 
Abingdon Presbytery, in 1797; J the Rev. William Speer, from 
Carlisle Presbytery, in 1798, who settled in New Hope, (Chili- 
cothe ;)§ the Rev. James Balch, from Abingdon, in 1799 ;|1 the 
Rev. William Hodge, who was settled over Shiloh ;^ the Rev. 
John Rankin, who was settled over Gasper;** the Rev, Samuel 
McAdow, who was also settled in the Cumberland region ;tt all 
from North Carolina, in 1800 ; the Rev. Samuel Donnell, from 
West Pennsylvania,JJ in 1801 ; and in 1802§§ the Rev. Jeremiah 
Abell, from the Methodist society, afterwards suspended for a 
breach of the seventh commandment. 

The growth of Transylvania Presbytery, and the extent of 
ground it covered, necessarily called for its entire remodelling. 
Accordingly, March 27th, 1799, with the consent of the Synod 
of Virginia, it was broken up into three Presbyteries, and its 
twenty-six members distributed as follows. Transylvania 
Presbytery, bounded north-east by the Kentucky river, north 
and north-west by the Ohio river, on the south comprehending 
all the settlements on Cumberland river and its tributaries, com- 
prised ten ministers, viz : Messrs. Rice, Craighead, Templin, 
McGready, Cameron, Samuel Finley, Houston, McGee, and John 

West Lexington, so called to distinguish it from Lexington 
in Virginia, bounded south and south-west by the Kentucky river, 
north and north-west by the Ohio river, north and north-east by 
the Main Licking river, consisted of nine ministers, viz : Messrs. 
Crawford, Shannon, Tull, Marshall, Blythe, Joseph P. Howe, 
Welch, Rannels, and Robinson. 

Washington comprised the remaining part of Kentucky, lying 

* Min. Tmns. Pby. vol. i. pp. 60, 174, 207 ; ii. p. 81. 

t Min. Trans. Pby. vol. i. p. 154. t Min. Tnins. Pby. vol. ii. p. 1P5. 

5 Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. p. 178. 11 Min. Trans. Pbv. vol. ii. pp. 5, IS. 

ir Smith's Hist, of Cumb. Presb. Ch. p. 667. 

•"■Min. Tran?. Pby. vol. iii. p. 11. 

fj- Smith, p. 673. tl Min. Trans. Pby. vol. iii. p. 28. 

§§ Min. Trans. Pby. vol. iii. p. 66. 


north-east of Main Licking, and the settlements on the north- 
west side of the Ohio river, and consisted of seven ministers, viz : 
Messrs. Peter Wilson, Kemper, Campbell, John E. Finley, Si)eer, 
Dunlavy, and McNemar. 

Before parting, it was strongly recommended that the delegates 
to the approaching Assembly from the new Presbyteries should 
be instructed to pray for their erection into a Synod. The 
Presbyteries met in the month following ; Transylvania at Cane 
Run, on Tuesday, April 9th, and was opened with a sermon from 
Mr. Rice, who was immediately after chosen Moderator, and 
Mr. Cameron, Clerk. West Lexington met at Lexington, on 
Tuesday, April IGth, and was opened with a sermon from Mr. 
Crawford, who was elected Moderator, and Mr. Welch, Clerk. 
Washington met on Tuesday, April 9th, at Johnson Fork Meet- 
ing-House, and was opened with a sermon from Mr. Wilson.* 
The desire to be constituted into a separate Synod was not 
gratified until the year 1802, at which time the roll contained 
thirty-seven names. Thus it appears, that in sixteen years from 
the arrival of the first clergyman in the field, the number had 
increased to twenty-six, distributed into three Presbyteries ; and 
in nineteen years from that time, they were formed into a Synod, 
consisting of thirty-seven members. If we add to these, Messrs. 
Allen, M'Clure, Rankin, Speer, and Robert Finley, together with 
several licentiates, we will find that about fifty Presbyterian 
preachers had had an opportunity of preaching the gospel in 
Kentucky within the last-mentioned space of time. 

Had they all been men of marked ability, devoted piety, and 
unblemished reputation, the salutary influence they might have 
exerted in moulding the character and institutions of the grow- 
ing West would have been incalculable. Unhappily, with two 
or three shining exceptions, the majority were men of barely 
respectable talents, and a few hardly above mediocrity ; and so 
far from being patterns of flaming zeal and apostolic devotion 
a dull formality seems to have been their general characteristic. 
That Father Rice had no very exalted opinion of his early 
fellow-laborers, is evident from the description he has given of 
them, in his autobiography, as men of sound principles and some 

* Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. pp. 229, 231, 252 ; iii. p. 1. Min. W. Lex. Pby. 
voL i. pp. 1, 5. 


information, but deficient in the spirit of the Gospel.* That this 
picture is not overcharged, must appear from the melancholy 
fact, gathered from an inspection of the records, that nearly half 
the entire number of preachers were, at one time or other, sub- 
jected to church censures more or less severe ; several being 
cut off for heresy or schism, two deposed for intemperance, one 
suspended for licentiousness, several rebuked for wrangling, and 
others for other improprieties unbecoming the gravity or dig- 
nity of the clerical character. While, therefore, one half of the 
number were godly and irreproachable, and some few fitted to 
adorn their profession in any age or country, it must be admitted 
that there was a portion whose influence was deleterious where 
it was not inefficient. This is a development fraught with 
solemn instruction, warning the Church that instead of sending 
to new and promising settlements her weakest men, as if any- 
thing were good enough for such stations, it would be far wiser 
to send the most efficient laborers, picked men, who would leave 
the impress of their own commanding virtues upon succeeding 

A more fatal mistake can scarcely be committed, than to sup- 
pose that a mere handful of half-educated, feeble-minded mis- 
sionaries will do for the West. That shrewd and independent 
race require, on the contrary, men whose well-trained intellect, 
common sense, ready resources, and commanding influence, can 
inspire respect. It were well to note the wiser policy of the 
Hebrew Commonwealth. While only seventeen hundred Levites 
were retained among the denser settlements of the bulk of the 
tribes in the heart of Palestine, not less than twenty-seven hun- 
dred were distributed among the two and a half tribes scattered 
through the remote frontier region on the farther side of Jordan. 
The frontiers, instead of being neglected on account of their re- 
moteness, are the very quarters which should be the most 
sedulously guarded, and receive a double share of supervision 
and attention. The men needed to occupy posts of such diffi- 
culty and danger, should be men of might, like David's captains 
in the hold in the wilderness, " Men of war fit for the battle, that 
can handle shield and buckler, whose faces are like the faces of 
lions, and as swift as the roes upon the mountains." 

* Bishop's Rice, p. 69. 



On the eve of the nineteenth century, notwithstandmg thelf^ 
increase of ministers and churches, the prospect was sufficiently 
gloomy to appall both the Christian and the patriot, through the 
operation of the causes already enumerated. The population of 
the State advanced with incredible rapidity, and soon outstripped 
the supply of the means of grace. Worldly-mindedness, infidel- 
ity, and dissipation threatened to deluge the land, and sweep 
away all vestiges of piety and morality. The rising generation 
were growing up in almost universal ignorance of religious 
obligation. The elder church-members were gradually dying 
off, and were replaced by no recruits from the ranks of the 
young. Except a little Goshen here and there, the shadow of 
night was gathering over the land. At this juncture, when hope 
was ready to expire, an unlooked-for and astonishing change 
suddenly took place. This event was the Great Revival of 
1800, so called from its wide extent and influence ; and which, 
after all necessary allowances for the disorders which deformed 
it, was, beyond controversy, attended with signal benefits. 

This extraordinary excitement is styled the Revival of 1800, 
because its most remarkable development occurred during that 
year. A preparatory work, however, had been going on for 
some time previous. The zealous labors of the Virginia mis- 
sionaries, and others of the younger clergy, were not without 
some effect, and there was yet a remnant in the land, that had 
neither bowed the knee to Mammon nor Thomas Paine. Besides 
these scattered and limited instances, an unusual attention to 
relifjion had been awakened in the south-western section of the 

132 THE REVIVAL OF 1800. 

State, in what was known as the Green river country, and the 
Cumberland settlements, a year or two previous. 

This excitement commenced in the Gasper river congrega- 
tion, and extended thence to the congregations of Muddy and 
Red rivers, in Logan county ;* all, at that time, under the pas- 
toral charge of Rev. James McGready. Mr. McGready was 
one of the Sons of Thunder, a Boanerges both in manner and 
matter, and an uncompromising reprover of sin in every shape. 
The curses of the law lost none of their severity in falling from 
his lips ; and, like Mirabeau, the fierceness of his invectives 
derived additional terror from the hideousness of his visage and 
the thunder of his tones. He had left a congregation in Orange 
county, North Carolina, but a few months previous, in conse- 
quence of the odium which his unsparing censures had drawn 
upon him from the ungodly. Some of his former hearers having 
removed to Kentucky, and forwarded him an invitation to be- 
come their pastor, he resolved to accept the call ; and accord- 
ingly arrived in the fall of 1796, being now about thirty-three 
years of age, and full of fiery zeal. It was not long until the 
effect of his impassioned preaching M^as visible. Regeneration, 
faith, and repentance were his favorite topics ; and an anxious 
and general concern was awakened among his hearers on the 
subject of experimental religion. That information was much 
needed on this point, we may gather from the character of the 
inquiries frequently made of him by his flock, such as, " Is Re- 
ligion a sensible thing ?" " If I were converted would I feel it, 
and know it?" During the summer of 1797, and that of '98, 
there was considerable solicitude evinced in these congrega- 
tions, but it soon subsided, and was succeeded by as great an 
apathy. In the last instance, Mr. McGready ascribed the 
change to the active and discouraging opposition of the Rev. 

* The region lying south of Green river, and thence called the Green river 
couninj, though since divided into several counties, was then all comprehended 
in Logan county. — See Benedict, vol. ii. p. 244. Of this region Russellville was 
the heart and capital, and many distinguished individuals commenced their career 
there; Governors Edwards, R. Crittenden, Breathitt, James T. Morehead, 
McLean, and Call ; John J. Crittenden, Attorney General of the U. S. ; Chief 
Justice Bibb, Secretary of the Treasury of the U. S. ; Chief Justice Ewing, 
Col. A. Butler, S. P. Sharp, Charles Morehead, Frank Johnson, Joseph Fickhn, 
Judge Davis, Major-general Boyle, Surgeon-general McReynolds, United States 
Army, &-c. 


James Balch, who was then visiting the neighborhood, and who 
turned the whole into ridicule.* — ^ 

Among the means adopted by this zealous pastor to stimulate 
his flock, was a written covenant, binding all who appended 
their signatures, to observe a Monthly Fast, a Twilight concert of 
prayer J and a Sunrise concert. The twilight concert has been 
often renewed in late years in the West, and has been a very 
popular measure in seasons of revival. f 

The summer of 1799 witnessed a renewal of the excitement, 
W'hich did not, how^ever, partake of the transient character of 
ihe preceding years, but continued to grow and deepen until it 
reached its height, in 1800 and 1801. In the w^ords of Mr. 
McGready, it exceeded everything his eyes had ever beheld 
upon earth, and to which all that had preceded was but an intro- 
duction, as a few drops before a mighty rain. J Its first mani- 
festation occurred during a sacramental occasion at Red river, 
in July, which was attended by Mr. McGready, Mr. Rankin, 
Mr. Hodge, and William McGee, Presbyterian preachers, and 
John McGee, brother of the last-named gentleman, who was a 
Methodist preacher. The public services were animated, and 
tears flowed freely ; but nothing special was noticed until Mon- 
day. While Mr. Hodge was preaching, a woman, at the ex- 
treme end of the house, unable to repress the violence of her 
emotions, gave vent to them in loud cries. During the intermis- 
sion which succeeded the services, the people showed no dispo- 
sition to leave their seats, but wept in silence all over the house. 

Such was the state of things when John McGee, the Method- 
ist, rose in his turn to speak. Too much agitated to preach, 
he expressed his belief that there was a greater than he preach- 
ing ; and exhorted the people to let the Lord God omnipotent 
reign in their hearts, and to submit to him, and their souls should 
live. Upon this, many broke silence, and the renewed vocifera- 
tions of the female before mentioned were tremendous. The 
Methodist preacher, whose feelings were now wrought up to 
the highest pitch, after a brief debate in his own mind, came to 
the conclusion that it was his duty to disregard the usual orderly 

* McGready's Narr. of Revival of 1800. Posth. works, pp. 7, 8. Smith's 
Hist, of Cumb. Prosb. pp. 564, 567. 
t Smith's Hist. Cumb. Presb. p. 565. 
X McGready's Narr. Works, p. 11. 


habits of the denomination, and passed along the aisle, shouting 
and exhorting vehemently. The clamor and confusion were in- 
creased tenfold ; the flame was blown to its height, screams for 
mercy were mingled with shouts of ecstacy, and a universal 
agitation pervaded the whole multitude ; who were bowed be- 
fore it as a field of grain waves before the wind. Now followed 
J. prayer and exhortation ; and the ministers found their strength 

/\ soon taxed to the utmost to keep pace with the demands of this 

^ intense excitement.* 

[J^ From this time such crowds flocked to the sacraments, as 
these occasions were called, that sufficient accommodations could 
not be procured for them, the neighborhood being sparsely set- 
tled. They therefore came in wagons, loaded with provisions, 
and fitted up for temporary lodging. Such was the origin of 
Camp-Meetings ; an expedient which owed its birth to necessity, 
although much abused in after times, and of late fallen into great 
— /* The first regular Camp-Meeting was held in the vicinity of 
Gasper river Church, in July, 1800. Mr. McGready had taken 
great pains to circulate the information, previous to the time 
appointed, that he expected the people to come prepared to en- 
camp on the ground ; and the whole country, and ministers espe- 
cially, were earnestly invited to attend and witness the wonder- 
ful scene that was anticipated.! Impelled by curiosity, a great 
concourse assembled, from distances of 40, 50, and 100 miles. 
A regular encampment was formed. Some occupied tents, 
while others slept in covered wagons. The whole were so ar- 
ranged as to form a hollow square ; the interior of which was 
fitted up for public worship. Near the centre was the stand, a 
rude platform or temporary pulpit, constructed of logs, and sur- 
mounted by a handrail. The body of the area was occupied by 
parallel rows of roughly hewn logs, designed as seats for the 

The meeting lasted four days, from Friday until Tuesday 
morning. The leading ministers present, were Messrs. McGrea- 

* John McGee's Letter to Mr. Doiiglass. Methodist Episcopal Herald, vol. 
ii. p. 148. It is observable that while the Methodists give some prominence to 
this man in the work, and they are borne out by his own statement, Mr. 
McGready does not so much as mention his name. 

f Smith's Hist. Cumb. Presb. p. 673. 


dy, William McGee, pastor of Beech Church, and Hodge, pastor 
of Shiloh ; both the last-mentioned from the Cumberland settle- 

Nothing occurred worthy of note until Saturday evening, 
when a casual conversation of two pious females attracted the 
attention of the bystanders, and the fervor of their enthusiasm 
was communicated, by a rapid sympathy, through the whole 
multitude. The camp resounded with sobs and cries ; and the 
ministers spent the night in passing from one group to another, 
who were penetrated with pungent convictions of sin, and anx- 
ious to obtain relief. The interest, once awakened, grew more 
and more powerful, till, at the close of the meeting, forty-five 
individuals were numbered as hopeful converts. It deserves to 
be noticed that, at a subsequent period, these persons afford- 
ed every evidence, by their conduct, of genuine conversion.* 
Among them, also, were some little children, who expressed 

themselves in a manner so rational, and withal so heavenly, that ^ 

Mr. McGready declares he was filled with astonishment.f "y 

Mr. Hodcre, to^jether with numbers from the Cumberland set- 
tlements, being present on this occasion, it is not surprising that 
through their means a similar excitement should agitate that 
region. The revival soon spread over the country, as far as 
Nashville and Knoxville.J <-::_ 

During the year 1800, ten sacraments were held in the 
Green river and Cumberland river settlements, all more or less 
partaking of the character of those already described ; the re- 
sult of which was, that three hundred and forty converts were ^ 
added to the churches.§ 

This may be as proper a place as any to remark, that it was -■> 
but a part of the Presbyterian clergy of the lower settlements 
that were engaged in the measures already described. These 
were but five in number, Messrs. McGready, Hodge, McGee, 
McAdow, and Rankin. All the rest of their brethren disap- 
proved and discountenanced the work from its commencement, 
as spurious. II 

Camp-meetings being once introduced, the plan spread like 
wildfire. One after another was held in rapid succession. The 

* Smith's Hist. Cumb. Presb. p. 695. f McGready's Works, p. 10. 

\ Smith, p. 576. \ McGready, p. 11. || Smith, p. 580. 

138 THE REVIVAL OF 1800. 

woods and paths seemed alive with people, and the number re- 
ported as attending is almost incredible. The laborer quitted 
his task ; Age snatched his crutch ; Youth forgot his pastime ; 
the plough was left in the furrow ; the deer enjoyed a respite 
upon the mountains ; business of all kinds was suspended ; 
dwelling-houses were deserted ; whole neighborhoods were 
emptied ; bold hunters and sober matrons, young men, maidens, 
and little children, flocked to the common centre of attraction ; 
every difficulty was surmounted, every risk ventured, to be pre- 
sent at the camp-meeting. 

The new device was speedily adopted in the region south of 
Kentucky, then called the Cumberland Settlements, now Tfija- 
_nessee. ; but this was not destined to be the limit of its triumph- 
ant progress. Early in the following year it was introduced 
into the middle, or northern sections of this State, and was car- 
ried thence across the Ohio into the North-western Territory ; 
while on the other hand, it reached the South, and extended 
into both the Carolinas, through the agency of some persons go- 
ing thither from Kentucky.* 

The appellation " General Camp-Meetings,'* now came into 
use, owing to the following cause : The Methodists early took 
part in the Green river revival with the Presbyterians, and the 
connection gradually grew more intimate. They united in all 
the camp-meetings, and before long gave a decided tone to the 
measures and doctrinal views brought forward on those occa- 
sions. Hence, although each denomination sometimes operated 
apart, the customary method was to hold their meetings con- 
jointly, under the name of General Camp-Meetings ; by which 
it was signified that all Christian denominations, i7i general, were 
at liberty to participate, whether Methodists, Baptists, or Pres- 
byterians. f 

When these meetings were introduced into the upper part of 
Kentucky, they were held in rapid succession — almost semi- 
monthly. Between May and August, 1801, no less than six 
were held, varying in continuance from four days to a week ; 
viz. at Cabin Creek, Concord,J Pleasant Point, Indian Creek, 

* McNemar's Hist, of the Kentucky Revival, p. 26. Ramsay's History of 
South Carohna. 

f Gosp. Herald [Methodist], vol. ii. p. 170. 

i At the meeting at Concord, where 4,000 people were on the ground, 
McNemar states that seven Presbyterian ministers were present, four of whom 



and Cane Ridge, in Kentucky, and at Eagle Creek, Adams 
county, Ohio. The scenes witnessed on these occasions differed 
little from each other, or from those already described on Green 
river. The preaching was pungent, and the people violently 
agitated. Children of ten and twelve years were frequently 
prominent actors. The spectacle of persons falling down in ;i. 
paroxysm of feeling, first exhibited at Gasper river Church, 
in August, 1799,* became now so common as to receive a distinct 
title, and to be known as the Falling Exercise.-\ 

But as the General Camp-Meeting at Cane Ridge, which 
began on the 6th of August,J 1801, and lasted a week, was the 
most noted, as well for the wonderful transactions witnessed, as 
for the incredible number present, a particular description of it 
shall be given. 

Cane Ridge was a beautiful spot, in the vicinity of a countrv 
church of the same name then under the pastoral care of Mr. 
Stone, in the county of Bourbon, about seven miles from Paris ; 
it was finely shaded and watered, and admirably adapted to the 
purpose of an encampment. A great central area was cleared 
and levelled, 200 or 300 yards in length, with the preachers' 
stand at one end, and a spacious tent, capable of containing a 
large assembly, and designed as a shelter from heat or rain. 
The adjoining ground was laid ofl;' in regular streets, along which 
the tents were pitched, while the church building was appropri- 
ated for the preachers' lodge. The concourse in attendance 
was prodigious, being computed by a revolutionary officer, who 
was accustomed to estimate encampments, to amount to not less 
than 20,000 souls. Mr. Lyle says that, according to the calcu- 

spoke against the work until the fourth day, when they withdrew their opposi- 
tion, and acknowledged it to be a genuine work of God. Of course, after that, 
the whole seven concurred in expressing their approbation. This statement is 
undoubtedly to b) taken with some (jualification, as at no time could seven of 
the Presbyterian clergy be foimd in the northern counties who were cordial 
advocates of all the cxtravaganpes of the time. We must be pardoned if we 
hesitate to vouch for the credibility of a writer who is .so much under the influ- 
ence of an enthusiastic imagination, as to pen, after the above statistics, the 
following miraculous story : " On this occasion, no sex or color, class or de- 
scription, were exempted from the pervading influence of the Spirit ; even from 
the age oi eight movlha (!) to sixty years, there were evident subjects of thi.s 
marvellous oj)LTation." McNcmar, p. 24. 

* McGready's Narr. Works, p. x. Smith, p. 569. 

f McNemar, pp. 23-26. 

I Dr. Cleland says it was June. Sec letter in Bibl. Rep., vol. vi. p. 340. 

138 THE REVIVAL OF 1800. 

lation of one of the elders, there were 1,100 communicants 
present. Others said 800.* 

Here were collected all the elements calculated to affect the 
imagination. The spectacle presented at night was one of the 
wildest grandeur. The glare of the blazing camp-fires falling 
on a dense assemblage of heads simultaneously bowed in adora- 
tion, and reflected back from long ranges of tents upon every 
side ; hundreds of candles and lamps suspended among the trees, 
together with numerous torches flashing to and fro, throwing 
an uncertain light upon the tremulous foliage, and giving an 
appearance of dim and indefinite extent to the depth of the 
forest ; the solemn chanting of hymns swelling and falling on the 
night wind ; the impassioned exhortations ; the earnest prayers ; 
the sobs, shrieks, or shouts, bursting from persons under intense 
agitation of mind ; the sudden spasms which seized upon scores, 
and unexpectedly dashed them to the ground ; — all conspired to 
invest the scene with terrific interest, and to work up the feelings 
to the highest pitch of excitement. 

-) When we add to this, the lateness of the hour to which the 
exercises were protracted, sometimes till 2 in the morning, or 
longer ; — the eagerness of curiosity, stimulated for so long a time 
previous ; — the reverent enthusiasm which ascribed the strange 
contortions witnessed to the mysterious agency of God ; — the 
fervent and sanguine temper of some of the preachers ; — and, 
lastly, the boiling zeal of the Methodists, who could not refrain 
from shouting aloud during sermon, and shaking hands all round 
afterwards, in what Mr. Lyle calls " a singing ecstacy,"t and 
who did everything in their power to heap fuel on the fire ; — 
take all this into consideration, and it will abate our surprise 
very much when informed that the number of persons who fell 
was computed by the Rev. James Crawford, who endeavored 
to keep an accurate account, at the astonishing number of about 
3,000 !J 

Among the zealous advocates of the new measures in the 

* Some pains-taking persons counted 143 carriages and wagons, 500 covered 
sleigiis or sledges, and 500 without covers, making in all 1,143 vehicles ; and 
500 candles, beside lamps, used to illuminate the camp at night. Gosp. Her., 
vol. ii., p. 200. Lyle's Diary, p. 25. 

f Lyle's Diary. 

I McNemar, p. 26. 


1. The Falling Exercise. — The earliest instances of the Fall- 
ing Exercise occurred, as before stated, in one of Mr. McGready's 
congregations, in the Green river country, whence it was rapidly 
propagated through Tennessee, Upper Kentucky, and even as far 
as the Carolinas. 

After exhortations of a stimulating and rousing character, es- 
pecially if tender and pathetic, calculated to enlist deeply the feel- 
ings ; or during spirited and lively singing,* and when the body 
was exhausted by copious weeping ;f one and another in the au- 
dience, sometimes to the number of scores, would suddenly fall 
prostrate on the ground, and swoon away. No sex or age was 
exempt ; the young and the old, men as well as women, fell ; even 
large, robust young men, of the age of twenty ; J and, one day at 
Cane Ridge Camp-Meeting, it was remarked that nearly all who 
fell were men.§ 

Some fell suddenly, as if struck with lightning,]] while others 
were seized with a universal tremor the moment before, and fell 
shrieking. Tf Piercing shrieks were uttered by many during the 
whole period of prostration, intermingled with groans, cries for 
mercy, and exclamations of "Glory! glory to God!"** If the 
assembly were languid, a few shrieks, and instances of falling, 
quickly roused them, and others would begin to fall in every 
direction. Many were admonished of the coming attack by a 
pricking as of needles in the extremities, such as one experiences 
when the circulation of the blood is impeded, or a limb is be- 
numbed, ff They complained also of a deadness or numbness 
of body, and found themselves, to their surprise, powerless to move 
at the bidding of the will. J J There were some who talked to 
Mr. Lyle of a sweet feeling darting through the body, preceding 
the falling down ; but he has given no specific information in re- 
gard to the nature of this feeling. In general, there was no com- 
plaint of pain, but only of great weakness, both during and after 
the paroxysm ; §§ and it was observed, that a person who had 

* Lyle, p. 97. 

f Ibid. p. 3. Alexander's IvCtter to Strong. Powers' Essay, p. 39. 
I Lyle, pp. 6, 18, 4. ^ Ibid. p. 34. || Bibl. Repert. vol. vi. p. 348. 
IT Alexander's I^etter, tU supra. ** Lyle, pp. 4, 100. 

ff Lyle, p. 2. Dr. BIythe told the author he had once felt this sensation, but 
had repressed it by a determined effort of wiU. 

Jt Lyle, pp. 3, 19, 83. 5J Ibid. pp. 6, 8, 20, 30. 



fallen once was predisposed to fall again, and that, under circum- 
stances, and exercises of mind, by no means extraordinary. * 
Women had their nerves so weakened by the frequency of these 
attacks, as to fall while walking to or from the meeting-house, 
engaged in narrating past exercises, without any uncommon emo- 
tion,! and to drop from their horses on the road. J 

In this condition the subject would lie from fifteen minutes to 
two or three hours ; § and we are even told of a woman lying 
without eating or speaking, for nine days and nights.H Some 
were more or less convulsed, and wrought hard, in frightful 
nervous agonies, the eyes rolling wildly ; but the greatest num- 
ber were quite motionless, as if dead, or about to expire in a few 
moments. Some were capable of conversing, others not.Tf 

The hands were cold,** accompanied generally with a weak, 
low pulse. Sometimes the pulse was higher and quicker than 
usual. ft A woman who had been exhausted by exhorting a long 
time, had the veins of her neck much swelled. JJ Another who 
played a frequent and conspicuous part in the exercises, had her 
breast much swollen.§§ The face was sometimes pale, sometimes 
flushed pale red, sometimes it was pale yellow, or of a corpse- 
like hue. II II The breathing was hard and quick, even to gasp- 
ing.^H The nerves were weakened and tremulous, so much so 
as to render it difficult to feel the pulse ; the sinews were gene- 
rally corded, as in nervous complaints, and after heat and relaxa- 
tion ; rarely cramped. In one instance, a woman's hands were 
so cramped as to require the assistance of others to open and 
straighten them.*** 

In the hysterical or convulsed state, there would be sometimes 
a kicking or drumming of the heels on the floor, with frequency 
and force, so as to be heard at the distance of several yards ; 
sometimes a convulsive bouncing of the body on the floor, so as 
to make a loud noise ; sometimes a prancing over the benches 
before falling.ff f 

* Lyle, pp. 20, 50. f Ibid- pp. 8, 138. J Ibid. pp. 32, 34. 

§ Dr. Cleland's paper. Bibl. Repert. vol. vi. p. 341. Stuart's Reminiscences, 
No. II. Lyle, p. 26. 

11 McNemar, p. 32. 1 Dr. Cleland, nt supra. Lyle, passiyn. 

** Lyle, pp. 2, 18, 20. ff Ibid. pp. 4, 18, 20. |t Ibid. p. 33. 

55 Lyle, p. 137. |||| Ibid. pp. 20, 18, 71. 

%^ Lvle, pp. 2, 4, 6, 100. *** Ibid. pp. 2, 8, 18, 33, 40, 

•fit Lyle, pp. 30, 10(^ 59, 137. 


During the syncope, and indeed even when conscious, and talk- 
ing on rehgious topics, the patient was insensible of pain. A^ine- 
gar and hartshorn were applied with no perceptible effect.* Mr. 
Lyie having been furnished with a vial of hartshorn by Dr. War- 
field, applied it to a stout young man, who was lying flat on his 
back, and, inadvertently, let some run into his nostrils ; but he 
took not the slightest notice of it, so much was his attention ab- 
sorbed by devotional feelings.f Neither did such as fell, nor 
such as tumbled over, and struck a stump or a tree, sustain any 
injury from the concussion.J It was while in the state of syn- 
cope that the visions and trances, shortly to be described, oc- 

The numbers affected in this singular manner were astonish- 
ing. At Cabin Creek Camp-Meeting, May 22, 1801, so many 
fell on the third night, that, to prevent their being trodden upon, 
they were collected together, and laid out in order on two 
squares of the meeting-house, covering the floor like so many 
corpses.^ At Paint Creek Sacrament, 200 were supposed to 
have fallen ;|| at Pleasant Point, 300 ;•[[ but these accounts are 
beggared by the great meeting at Cane Ridge, August 6, 1801, 
when 3,000 were computed to have fallen.** 

2. The Jerking Exercise. — Swoons and convulsive falling 
had not been without precedent. They have been recorded as 
occurring in the days of Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, the Ten- 
nants, and Blair, as well as at Cambuslang and Kilsyth, and ex- 
amples are not infrequent in the meetings of the Methodists and 
Cumberland Presbyterians, at the present day. But the phe- 
nomenon now to be described was something far more extraor- 
dinary, and altogether without precedent in Christian lands. It 
was familiarly called The Jerks, and the first recorded instance 
of its occurrence was at a sacrament in East Tennessee,! f when 
several hundred of both sexes were seized with this strange and 
involuntary contortion. The subject was instantaneously seized 
with spasms or convulsions in every muscle, nerve and tendon. 

• Lyle,p. 10. t ^Wd. p. 18. J Ibid. p. 83. 

\ McNemar, p. 24. || Lyle, p. 37. 

IT Lyle, p. 3. ** McNemar, p. 26. Lyle, p. 34. 

f f BibL Rep. voL vi. p. 348. 


His head was jerked or thrown from side to side with such ra- 
pidity that it was impossible to distinguish his visage, and the 
most lively fears were awakened lest he should dislocate his- 
neck or dash out his brains. His body partook of the same im- 
pulse and was hurried on by like jerks over every obstacle,, 
fallen trunks of trees, or in a church, over pews and benches, 
apparently to the most imminent danger of being bruised and 
mangled. It was useless to attempt to hold or restrain him, and 
the paroxysm was permitted gradually to exhaust itself. Ar^ 
additional motive for leaving him to himself was the supersti- 
tious notion that all attempt at restraint was resisting the Spirit 
of God.* 

The first form in which these spasmodic contortions made their 
appearance was that of a simple jerking of the arms from the elbow 
downwards. The jerk was very quick and sudden, and followed 
at short intervals. This was the simplest and most common form, 
but the convulsive motion was not confined to the arnis, it extend- 
ed in many instances to other parts of the body. When the joint 
of the neck was affected, the head was thrown backward and for- 
ward with a celerity, frightful to behold, and which was impos- 
sible to be imitated by persons who were not mider the stimulus*. 
The bosom heaved, the countenance was disgustingly distorted^ 
and the spectators were alarmed lest the neck should be bro- 
ken.f When the hair was long, it was shaken with such quick- 
ness, backward and forward, as to crack and snap like the lasb 
of a whip. J Sometin-^es the muscles of the back were affected, 
and the patient was thrown down on the ground, when his con- 
tortions for some time resembled those of a live fish cast fron> 
its native efement on the land.§ 

The most graphic description we have is from one who was 
not only an eye-witness, but an apologist. He says, " Nothing in 
nature could better represent this strange and unaccountable 
operation, than for one to goad another, alternately on every 

* Stuart's Rem. No. 11. f Bibl. Rep., vi. p. 349. 

I As this statement will no doubt appear incredible to some readers, I give 
as my authority, an eye and ear-witness, Mr. Ephraim Herriott, an elder of the 
Church, and a highly respectable resident of Scott county, Ky. The account is 
confirmed by others. 

^ Powers' Essay, p. 37 


side, with a piece of red hot iron. The exercise commonly began 
in the head, which would fly backward and forward, and from side 
to side, with a quick jolt, which the person would naturally labor 
to suppress, but in vain ; and the more any one labored to stay 
himself, and be sober, the more he staggered, and the more his 
twitches increased. He must, necessarily, go as he was stimu- 
lated, whether with a violent dash on the ground, and bounce 
from place to place like a football, or hop round, with head, 
limbs and trunk twitching and jolting in every direction, as if 
they must inevitably fly asunder. And how such could escape 
without injury, was no small wonder to spectators. By this 
strange operation the human frame was commonly so trans- 
formed and disfigured, as to lose every trace of its natural 
appearance. Sometimes the head would be twitched right and 
left, to a half round, with such velocity, that not a feature could 
be discovered, but the face appear as much behind as before ; 
and in the quick progressive jerk, it would seem as if the person 
was transmuted into some other species of creature. Head- 
dresses w^ere of little account among the female jerkers. Even 
handkerchiefs bound tight round the head, would be flirted off 
almost with the first twitch, and the hair put into the utmost 
confusion ; this was a very great inconvenience, to redress 
which the generality were shorn, though directly contrary to 
their confession of faith. Such as were seized with the jerks, 
were wrested at once, not only from under their own govern- 
ment, but that of every one else, so that it was dangerous to 
attempt confining them, or touching them in any manner, to 
whatever danger they were exposed ; yet few were hurt, except 
it were such as rebelled against the operation, through willful 
and deliberate enmity, and refused to comply with the injunc- 
tions which it came to enforce."* 

:■ * McNemar, pp. Gl, 62. — One cannot but be struck witb the remarkable par- 
allel presented by the Howling Dcrvi.^^Iies of Broiis.^a, as described by an eye- 
witness. "Tbin|Tfs had protrrcsscd thus far, when suddenly a strong voice 
shouted, ' Allah il Allah !' and a powerful man sprung from tiie floor, as though he 
had been struck in the hea.Tt, fell far ward upon his head, and by a violent spasm 
rolled over, and lay flat upon his back, with his arms crossed on his breast, and his 

whole frame as rigid as though he had stiffmed into deatli The 

measure of the chant was regulated by the high priest, wiio clapped his hands 
from time to time to increase its speed ; himself and his four green-girdled assist- 
ants uttering the words of the prayer, while tlie fraternity, ro;!cing thsmselves to 


From the universal testimony of those who have described 
these spasms, they appear to have been wholly involuntary. 
Thus they have been represented by McNemar in the passage 
just cited. This remark is applicable also to all the other bodily 
exercises.* What demonstrates satisfactorily their involuntary 
nature is, not only that, as above stated, the twitches prevailed 
in spite of resistance, and even the more for attempts to suppress 
theni ; but that wicked men would be seized with them while 
sedulously guarding against an attack, and cursing every jerk 
when seized. Travellers on their journey, and laborers at their 
daily work, were also liable to them.f 

Instances have been given of men concealing whips on their 
persons, with the intention of using them upon the subjects or 
advocates of these contortions, who have themselves, to their 
great surprise and horror, been suddenly seized in a similar 
manner, and their whips have been violently jerked out of their 
hands to a distance. A young man, the son of an elder, who 
was a tanner, feigned sickness one Sabbath morning, to avoid 
accompanying the family to a camp-meeting. He was left 
alone in bed, with none others in the house but a few black 
children. He lay some time, triumphing in the success of his 
stratagem, but afraid to rise too soon, lest some one might be 
accidentally lingering and detect him. As he lay quiet with 
his head covered, his thoughts were naturally directed to the 
camp-meeting, and fancy painted the assembled multitude, the 
public worship, and individuals falling into the usual spasmodic 
convulsions. All at once he found himself violently jerked out 

and fro, kept up one continual groan, rising and falling with the voices of the 
choir. Howl succeeded to howl, as the exhaustion, consequent on this violent 
bodily exertion, began to produce its effect; until at length the strong men fell 
on the earth on all sides like children, shrieking and groaning in their agony — 
some struggling to free themselves from tlie grasp of those who endeavored to 
restrain them, and others trembling in all their limbs, and sobbing out their an- 
guish like infants. 

" The more I write on the subject of this extraordinary and disgusting ex- 
hibition, the more I feel the utter impossibility of conveying by words a correct 
idea of it ; from a long sustained groan, and a slow, heaving, icave-like motion, it 
grew into a hoarse sobbing, and a quick jerk, which I can compare to nothing that 
it more resembles than the rapid action of a pair of bellotcs ; the cheeks and fore- 
heads of the actors became pale, their eyes dim, and white foam gathered about 
their mouths."— Miss Pardoe's " City of the Sultan, in 1836," c. 34. 

* Stuart's Rem. No. II. Bibl. Rep. vi. 343. 

t Stuart's Rem. No, II. 


of bed, and dashed round the room and against the walls, in a 
manner altogether beyond his control. Recollecting that pray- 
ing was said to be a good sedative on such occasions, he resorted 
to the experiment, and to his great satisfaction found it success- 
ful. He returned to bed quite relieved, but only to be again 
affected in the same way, and to be again quieted by the act of 
praying. He then dressed himself, and, to occupy his mind, 
went to the tanyard, and drawing a skin from the vat, prepared 
to unhair it. He rolled up his sleeves, and, grasping the knife, 
was about to commence the o})eration, when, instantaneously, 
the knife was flirted out of his hand, and he himself jerked back- 
ward over logs and against the fences, as before. Gaining 
relief by resorting to the former remedy, he ventured to resume 
his occupation, and again was he interrupted. But, finding his 
talisman losing its efficacy, he began now to be really alarmed, 
and, quitting the yard, he returned to his chamber, and betook 
himself to prayer in good earnest. In this condition, weeping 
and crying to God for mercy, he was found by the family on 
their return. The result of this singular incident was that he 
became a truly converted man, and shortly after connected 
himself with the Church.* 

Another example of the involuntary nature of these motions 
is presented in the case of a lady and gentleman of some note 
in the fashionable world, who were attracted to the camp-meet- 
ing at Cane Ridge by mere curiosity. On the way they 
diverted themselves with a variety of jokes upon the poor 
deluded creatures who allowed themselves to roll screaming in 
the mud and crying for mercy, and sportively agreed that if 
either of them should fall, the other should remain and render 
suitable protection and assistance. They had not been long on 
the ground when, to the consternation of the gentleman, his gay 
companion suddenly dropped ; whereupon, instead of fulfilling 
his promise, he fled at full speed. Flight, however, proved no 
preservative, for he had not gone 200 yards before he was seized 
in the same way, and measured his length on the ground ; while 
a crowd flocked round him to witness his mortification, and offer 
prayers in his behalf, f 

* This is told by McGready. See Bibl. Rep. vol. vi. p. 344. 

t Hist, of Meth. in the W. States, No. 10, (Gosp. Her. ii. p. 200.) 


The Jerks continued to prevail for several years. Dr. Cle- 
land saw a young woman in a Baptist settlement up Green 
river, who had been subject to them for three years.* Lorenzo 
Dow met with them in 1805, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was 
preaching in the Court-house, the Governor being present, on 
which occasion 150 persons were exercised with the jerks. f 
Nor were they confined to any particular sect or denomination 
of Christians, for at an evening meeting that eccentric individual 
held 18 miles from Knoxville, about a dozen Quakers, the most 
unlikely subjects that could have been selected, were affected 
by them. He says, " I have seen all denominations of religion 
exercised with the jerks, gentleman and lady, black and white, 
young and old, without exception. I passed a meeting-house, 
where I observed the under-growth had been cut away for a 
camp-meeting, and from fifty to a hundred saplings were left, 
breast-high, on purpose for the people who were jerked to hold 
by. I observed where they had held on they had kicked up the 
earth, as a horse stamping flies."J One is almost tempted to 
suspect that some wag meant to pass a hoax on Lorenzo's 
credulity, in this account of the jerkin g-posts, for it would 
seem a much more plausible explanation that they were used for 
tying horses, especially as others assure us it was so difficult to 
restrain the persons affected. 

3. The Rolling Exercise. — This is specifically noticed by 
McNemar as a distinct variety, and is described as consisting 
in being violently prostrated, doubled with the head and feet 
together, and rolling over and over like a wheel, or turning 
swiftly over and over sidewise like a log. The intervention of 
mud offered no obstacle, although the individual should be sul- 
lied from head to foot.§ 

4. The Running Exercise. — In this the person affected took 
a sudden start, and was impelled to run with amazing swiftness, 
as if engaged in a race, leaping over every obstacle in his way 
with preternatural agility. This was continued till his strength 
was completely exhausted. |1 Mr. Lyle saw a young woman 

* Bibl. Rep., vi. 345. t Powers, p. 41. 

X Powers, p. 41. \ McNemar, p. 61.- 

II Stuart's Rem. No, II. Bibl. Rep. vi. 350. 


fall at Salem, in 1802, who lay a good while, and then, jumping 
up, cried as in distraction, that she wanted to serve Cod but 
others hindered her. She "pranced!^ over the benches for some 
time, and then fell down and lay as in a syncope.* 

5. The Dancing Exercise. — This was not one of the earliest 
exercises, but a later improvement upon them, or, as McNemar 
expresses himself, " the privilege of exhibiting, by a bold faith, 
what others were moved to by a blind impulse. "f The first 
instance was among the New Lights, at a Spring Sacrament at 
Turtle Creek in 1804, about six months after their schism. Mr. 
Thomson felt constrained, at the close of the meeting, "to go to 
dancing," and continued this movement in a regular manner 
round the stand for an hour or more, repeating all the while in 
a low voice, "This is the Holy Ghost! Glory!" It was not 
till the fall or winter ensuing, that this grew to be a common 
practice among his followers. They then encouraged each 
other " to praise God in the dance y" believing that it was their 
privilege to rejoice before the Lord, and aiming to express that 
uniform and continual religious joy in a manner which they 
regarded as the most appropriate. J The dancing was per- 
formed by a gentle and not ungraceful motion, to a lively tune, 
but with little variety in the steps. Sometimes it was so ludi- 
crous as to excite a smile.§ A writer in the Biblical Repertory 
states that during the administration of the Lord's Supper in 
the presence of the Synod of Virginia, he witnessed a young 
woman performing this exercise for the space of about half an 
hour. The pew in which she had been sitting was cleared, and 
she danced in the vacant space from one end to the other, her 
eyes being closed and her countenance calm. At the close of 
the half hour she fell, and was agitated with more violent 
motions. He saw another whose motions, instead of being 
lateral, consisted in jumping up and down, like the Welsh 
jumpers, and if it were worth while to multiply terminological 
distinctions with precise nicety, it might be denominated as the 
jumping exercise. II Mr. Lyle saw several women leaping most 

* Lyle, p. 59. 7 McNemar, p. 60. \ McNemar, p. 60. 

{ Stuart's Rem., No. II. 1| Bibl. Rep. vi. 339. 



nimbly, at Point Pleasant, in 1803, and a young girl who sprang 
a dozen times near two feet from the gromid, notwithstanding 
she was held by the hands.* 

6, The Barking Exercise. — One might be tempted to think 
that the climax of absurdity had been already reached, but there 
was a piece of extravagance yet reserved to complete the de- 
gradation of human nature. The barks frequently accompanied 
the jerks, though of later origin. This exercise consisted in the 
individual taking the position of a dog, moving about on all-fours, 
growling, snapping the teeth, and barking, with such exactness 
of imitation, as to deceive any one whose eyes were not directed 
to the spot. The persons affected were not always of the hum- 
blest, or most vulgar classes ; but persons of the highest rank in 
society ; of cultivated minds, and polite manners, found them- 
selves involuntarily reduced to this mortifying situation. f 

The only method of securing relief from this %vretched condi- 
tion was to engage in the voluntary dance ; and the opinion 
became prevalent that it was inflicted as a chastisement for re- 
missness of duty, and as a provocative of zeal. Such as resisted the 
impulse, and declined the dancing, continued to be tormented for 
months, and even years. From being regarded as marks of 
guilt, the harks at last assumed the dignity of tokens of Divine 
favour, and badges of special honor. Ludicrous as it may now 
seem to us, at this distance of time, to hear of such extraordinary 
sounds as " hoxo^ wow, wow," interspersed with pious ejacula- 
tions, and quotations of Scripture, as " every knee shall bow- 
wow-wow, and every tongue shall confess," we are not at liberty 
to doubt the truth of the assertion that then the effect, or at least 
one of the effects, was, to overawe the wicked, and excite fear- 
ful apprehensions in the minds of the impious. J It is easily con- 
ceivable that the dread of being reduced to this humiliating 
condition would check any disposition to indulge in ridicule. 

7. Visions and Trances. — It was early observed, that those 
who fell in the involuntary syncope, or swoon, after remaining 
in a state of insensibility even for hours, upon being aroused from 
it, professed to have been favored with wonderful visions of 

* Lyle, pp. 106, 112. f McNemar, p. 62. J McNemar, p. 63. 


things unutterable. They would discourse, and exhort, and sing 
in what were termed " the strains of heaven," in an elevated 
style far beyond what was supposed to be their ordinary ability, 
and which could only be accounted for by the aid of inspira- 

Not only did these persons profess, while in a rapture quite 
out of the body, to have had interviews with the spirits of their 
departed friends, and to learn their different allotments in the 
invisible world, but they even aspired to somewhat of the pro- 
phetic character, announcing what would be the result of the 
meetings in progress ; seeing, in vision, individual ministers 
preaching, and the persons who fell.f 

As " a dream cometh through the multitude of business," and 
the busy mind revolves, during natural sleep, the incidents that 
have engaged its attention during the day, combining them in 
the wildest vagaries of unchecked fancy ; so these persons' 
minds being absorbed with but one topic, the expected advent 
of Christ's kingdom, their sleeping and waking reveries were 
alike turned upon the subject. In the dreams which they had at 
night upon their beds, and in the ecstasies or trances into which 
they fell, these predominant thoughts converted every form and 
object suggested by the imagination, into a sacred emblem, preg- 
nant with spiritual meaning. The sun, the moon, the stars, moun- 
tains, rivers, plains, animals, and vegetables, whatever material 
objects were presented to the mind, were appropriated as sym- 
bolical of some correspondent analogy in the kingdom of Christ. 
Thus there were nocturnal visions of two suns, or of three moons ; 
and waking visions of a great platform or galaxy of stars in the 
heaven at noonday. One beheld a purgatorial fire, into which 
thousands rushed, and in which they were instantly purified from 
all gross and fleshly pollutions. Another saw the air darkened 
by flocks of ravenous birds, commissioned to devour the car- 
casses of all dead beasts. To the intense gaze of a third, a road, 
or track of light, a thousand miles in length, stretched away in 
the distance, along which messengers were approaching with 
good news from afar. Others, in these visions, were employed 
in crossing rivers ; in climbing mountains ; in finding treasures, 

* Stuart's Rem. No. II. 

f Dr. Cleland's paper, in Bibl. Repert. vol. vi. p. 341. 


and in fighting serpents ; or more delightfully occupied in eating 
the fruits of the tree of life ; bathing in pellucid streams, and 
exchanging their old garments for new.* 

While the crowd of enthusiasts were obliged to be content, in 
common, with the privilege of ordinary visions and trances, there 
was a selector number admitted to more exalted degrees of 
mystic ecstasy. These highly favored few emulated St. Paul 
in his ineffable rapture ; and, happier than he, carried back to 
earth, from the heavenly region, indubitable tokens of their visit 
in " a peculiar fragrance, and a melodious sound in the breast."t 
It is unfortunate that this delightful fragrance seems to have 
been confined to the spirit of the individuals alone ; had their 
bodies likewise been affected by it, they would have truly lived 
in the odor of sanctity, and, more fortunate than the saints of the 
Romish calendar, might have enjoyed the honors, and exhibited 
the undeniable evidences, of a proleptic canonization. 

An undue importance was early attached to the bodily exer- 
cises, and animal excitement was exalted into an evidence of 
grace ; and not only one of the evidences, but the brightest and 
most indubitable of them all. All well-meant attempts to relieve, 

* McNemar, p. 67. 

It may not be uninteresting to subjoin a few instances recorded by Mr. Lyle. 
At Lexington, Oct., 1801, "H. McD.'s wife fell, and swooned away; thought, 
when she came to, she had been asleep. Dreamt she was walking on the tops 

of the trees K. C. swoons often ; and in one swoon saw a vision of 

heaven, with a small door. J. C. is in despair: has had a vision of hell, and 
heard a voice saying, that he must die without religion in such a time, &c. — 
Diary, p. 51. . . . "One W. was much agitated, and talked a good deal about 
sin and Christ, and exhorted and prayed. That night, slumbering, or as he 
thought, wide awake, his spirit went out (as ,in a trance, I suppose) into the 
earth, and saw strange, curious caverns, &c., and then he thought he would look 
upwards, and he saw a mountain clothed with beautiful trees, silver-topped, or 
leaves tipped with silver, fie thought this mountain led to God and heaven. 
Then above he saw a great light, and he prayed to see a little farther ; and a 
little to the right he saw still more dazzling light, and he sighed and sunk before 
it, as the great All in all. He came to tell of these things in ecstacies of joy, 
and appeared very thankful for the great view. I inquired if he had any view of 
anything but light. He said, nothing but dazzling light, such as he could not be- 
hold ; and he thought it was the place where God dwelt, &c. I tried long to 
state the evidences of true grace to his mind." — Diary, p. 53. This occurred at 
a sacrament in Lexington, the 5th Sabbath of October, 1801. We may observe 
from it, how early this good man's mind arrived at a correct judgment in regard 
to these vagaries, and how sedulously, though unsuccessfully, he labored to di- 
rect attention to the true evidences of grace. " Two women in Stonermouth have 
fallen into trances, (July 12, 1801,) and one has passed a golden bridge to hea- 
ven's gate, &c. The other has been in heaven, &c. &-c." — p. 7. 

f McNemar, pp. 66, 67. 


moderate, or check the bodily aflections by physical or moral 
means, were regarded by the devout but ignorant mulitude, as 
an invasion of the Divine prerogative, and an impious thwarting 
of the Spirit's operations.* Those ministers who labored to 
direct the minds of the people to the true marks of grace, and 
who discouraged the irregularities, were denounced as deistical, 
and their influence was diminished.f Human nature has ever been 
disposed to chime in with the cry of the Egyptianized Hebrews, 
" Make us gods that shall go before us ! gods that we can 
see, and handle ;" and visible manifestations have been magni- 
fied far beyond doctrinal truth or pure morality. 

But, as in many other instances, those who boasted most loudly 
of the favor of Heaven exhibited conduct little worthy of their 
vocation : and it must be confessed the pretenders to the gifts of 
the Holy Ghost proved but sorry temples for the inhabitation of 
so pure a spirit. Stamped with the signature of Heaven, they 
conceited themselves superior to other men, and privileged to 
trample upon the ordinary rules of conduct, as will shortly be 

n. Another characteristic of the Revival, was, Disorderly 


" At first appearance," says McNemar, *' those meetings 
exhibited nothing to the spectator but a scene of confusion, 
that could scarce be put into human language."! Mr. Stuart 
amply corroborates this account, and cautions the reader that he 
is not to imagine a camp-meeting such as is witnessed at the 
present day, reduced to some degree of order, and subject to 
specific regulations.§ 

Mr. Lyle's testimony confirms the preceding. He says of one 
camp-meeting, "he never saw a more confused, careless audi- 
ence since the work began."|| At another, there was " much 
noise and tumult."T[ At another, " the assembly was very tu- 
multuous."** Of Mr. Stone's people he says, " they were wild 
and disorderly, more thanneedful."ff On one occaston, he says, 

• Lyle, p. 10. t Lvle, p. 54, 83. 

t McNemar, p. 23. J Stuart'.s Rem. No. 11. |1 Lyle, p. 41. 

Tf Lyle, p. 58. ** Lyle, p. 108. ff Lyle, p. 66. 


" there appeared to be good things going on, but such a scene of 
confusion I hardly ever saw."* On another, he mentions " the 
loud peals of indistinct sound, that issued from the busy crowd," 
and " such a mighty noise that no one could hear anything they 
said or did in the other parts of the house/'f But we are not 
confined to vague, general statements ; from this indefatigable 
and accurate observer we may collect the very details of these 
repulsive scenes. 

To say nothing of the bustle unavoidably consequent upon the 
fainting of individuals in a crowd, and their friends hastening to 
their aid — of itself no trifling disturbance — different hymns were 
sung at the same time, each to its appropriate tune. J Mr. Lyle 
heard no less than six different hymns at once in the Providence 
Meeting-House, in 1801. § It added to the discord that they con- 
tracted a habit of singing very loud, with violent motions of the 
body, and in such a way as was destructive of all melody.H 

Several would also pray at once ; sometimes two, sometimes 
ten or twelve, and sometimes almost all the serious people.^" At 
Walnut Hill, in 1803, after sermon, the people broke out in a 
loud burst of prayer, hundreds using their voices at the same 
time, one voice confounding another ; a crowd of all ranks look- 
ing on in amazement, at this modern Babel.** While McNemar 
was praying for a woman, her voice rose louder than his ; others 
meanwhile praying, singing, groaning, and shouting all round. ff 
This practice they justified by the plea, which one oddly enough 
introduced in his prayer. He entreated that all might cry aloud, 
and not be afraid of producing disorder, " for thou, Lord," added 
he, " canst hear us, should we all speak at once." J J 

The preachers were often interrupted in the midst of their 
discourses by bursts of singing and praying, volunteered by the 
laity, while shrieks, whoops, outcries, and hysterical laughter, and 
the repetition of their words in louder accents, constituted a com- 
bination of annoyances to which the waves of the sea harangued 
by the Athenian orator must have been a trifle. §§ 

The sacrament at Walnut Hill, in June, 1803, by which time 

*Lyle, p. 84. f Lyle, pp. 115, 121. J Lyle, p. 34, 41. 

Ij Lyle, p. 58. || Lyle, p. 65. IT Lyle, pp. 58, 82, 107. 

** Lyle, pp. 100, 116. ft 1-yle, p. 22. U Lyle, p. 62. 
{{Lyle, pp. 99, 123. 


the current of enthusiasm had set in so strongly as to defy re- 
straint, seems to have been eminently disorderly. Some talked, 
some sang, some prayed, and others exhorted, till the roof rang 
with deafening and reiterated peals of indistinct sound. Hun- 
dreds were praying and singing, and shaking hands, at the same 
time. Numbers were exhorting where nobody could hear, hol- 
lowing and screaming till hoarse and debilitated in constitution. 
There was an appointment at the tent for sermon Sunday after- 
noon, but such was the uproar, that the sermon had to be dis- 
pensed with. About dusk, a meeting was appointed in the 
house. The place was crowded, especially the large aisle, but 
there was such a din from the intermingled exercises, that a loud 
voice could be heard only a few inches. Mr. Howe was in one 
corner, Messrs. Stuart and Lyle awhile in another, Mr. Steele 
on the right side of the pulpit, and Mr. Robinson up stairs, but 
no one could secure a hearing,* 

Hysterical Laughter was at first sporadic,! but in 1803 we 
find ^'the Holy Laugh^^ introduced systematically as a part 
of worship. While Mr. Findley was preaching a lively sermon 
at Silver Creek Sacrament, in June of that year, the people at 
some sentences laughed aloud. Sometimes half the professors 
of religion laughed in this way, appearing all the time solemn 
and devout. J There were also repeated shouts of "Glory! 
glory to God !"§ 

In these disorders Mr. Stone was the ringleader. While Mr. 
McPheeters was speaking one evening at Paris, in June, 1803, 
Stone got down on his knees and began to pray, which his 
people observing, they caught the flame, and began to pray also. 
In the course of ten minutes the noise was so great as to compel 
Mr. McPheeters to desist. They kept it up till 9 o'clock, many 
of them together. The rest of the congregation left the place in 
disgust. II 

Another disorderly procedure, in open violation of the apos- 
tolic canon, consisted in women's exhorting. In the radiance of ^ 
the New Light, the gift of exhortation was generally expected 
on rising from the state of trance ; nor is it surprising to be told 

*Lyle, pp. 115, 116, 117, 120, 121. t May, 1802, Lyle, p. 68. 
J Lyle, p. 136. k Lyle, p. 68. 11 Lyle, p. 127. 



that such expectations were generally answered. Any indi- 
vidual was at liberty to " minister the light" he had received as 
the Spirit directed, and men of all ranks, ages, and colors, freely 
usurped the functions of the ministry. The female sex were not 
excluded, and as soon as they " got deliverance" as the phrase 
was, they exhorted the bystanders in the most passionate manner. 
Sometimes it happened that these exhortations affected the peo- 
ple more than all the preaching.* The youngest girls, forgetful 
of the reserve and even of the modesty so becoming to their sex 
and age, under the excitement into which they were thrown, 
offered their exhortations to the crowd, indiscriminately, as well 
as to persons older than themselves.^ 

Even children of a tender age, emboldened by their enthusiasm, 
called on sinners to repent, with eloquence singularly preco- 
cious. J McNemar instances boys of 8 and 10 years ;§ and Mr. 
Lyle witnessed an infant of seven years, with a joyful counte- 
nance, inviting his comrades to come to Christ.]! These efforts 
were often so remarkably pathetic, both in matter and manner, 
as to arrest the attention of the most careless, and dissolve the 
most rugged in tears. Specimens have been preserved, of which 
the following are the best : " Oh, the sweetness of redeeming 
love ! Oh, if sinners knew the sweetness of redeeming love, 
they would all come to the overflowing fountain !"1[ Two little 
girls, 9 or 10 years old, were in gi'eat distress at a sacrament 
near Flemingsburg ; one of them received comfoj-t and began to 
exhort her young companion till she too obtained a hope, when 
taking her in her arms she cried, in an affecting manner, " Oh, 
here is another star of light !" At a camp-meeting near Indian 
Creek, in Ohio, on the third day, a boy twelve years old, mount- 
ing a log, addressed the people with eyes streaming with tears. 
He continued to exhort for an hour, supported by two men, till 
his strength was exhausted. Raising his little hand, and drop- 
ping his handkerchief, wet with tears and perspiration, he cried : 
" Thus, O sinner, shall you drop into hell, unless you forsake 
your sins, and turn to the Lord !" So impressive proved his 
words and gesture, that several fell instantaneously to the ground. 

* Lyle, pp. 69, 71, 80, 105. f Lyle, p. 120. $ Lyle, p. 48. 

5 McNemar, p. 34. l| Lyle, p. 42. H McNemar, p. 34. 


as if they had been shot in battle. From that moment the meet- 
ing, which had been dull before, received an impetus that carried 
it forward with surprising vigor.* 

Emancipated from all salutary restraints, the people abandon- 
ed themselves to the wildest enthusiasm. Feeling was now 
everything. The description of the apostle was vividly fulfilled. 
Unable to endure sound doctrine, they heaped to themselves 
teachers, having itching ears. They would listen to no addresses 
but such as were vociferous and impassioned ; and forsook the 
preacher in shoals, if he were not sufficiently animated, and it 
was rumored that things were " more lively'' elsewhere. f 

The late hours that were kept no doubt aided the tendency 
to a morbid excitement of the nervous system. They continued 
up, sometimes till two.J sometimes till four o'clock in the morn- 
ing.§ It was no uncommon thing to spend the whole night in 
these religious orgies.|| To compensate for this loss of sleep, 
they would deliberately spread their great-coats, and take a nap 
during the sermon.TI The truth seems to be, that there were no 
regular hours observed for anything, not even regular intermis- 
sions for eating and sleeping ; there were no stated hours for 
public worship, and the meeting might be said to last day and 
night. Cooking, eating, sleeping, and the like processes, were all 
going on simultaneously with religious services.** 

The Millennium was supposed to have commenced, and the 
ordinary means of grace were superseded, as rather embarrass- 
ing the new and free outpouring of the Spirit. Hence the fre- 
quent interruptions of preaching, and even its entire suspension. 
The ministry of the word and the exercise of discipline were 
alike undervalued. ff 

While such disorders were permitted among the professedly 
religious, it could hardly be expected that order would be pre- 
served among that portion of the multitude, emphatically '* the 
mixed multitude," who made no pretensions to piety. The 
crowd fluctuated according to the varying impulses of curiosity; 
Tdierever any fell, there the throng grew thicker, and could not 
be repelled.JJ Out of 7,000 or 8,000 present at Paint Creek 

*McNemar, p. 26. t Lyle, pp. 15, 75. t Ly'e, p. 14. 

§ Lyle, pp. 70, 102. || Stuart, Rem. No. II. IT Stuart, Rem. No. II. 

** Lyle, p. 10. ft Lyle, pp. 62, 108. McNemar, p. 22. 
ULyle, pp. 108, 112. 


Sacrament, Aug. 1801, not more than half the number seemed 
attentive and behaved well. The rest wandered from place to 
place all day, confused and careless, talking and laughing.* At 
Salem, April, 1 802, " the deistical band and the careless in 
general behaved badly. They walked about, talked, laughed, 
&c."f Occasionally, mischievous boys attempted to produce 
disturbance by throwing firebrands at the passers by, and Mr. 
Crawford himself, the minister of the place, was struck on the 
shoulder by one of them. J Parties of men armed with clubs, 
and having phosphorus in their hats, were formed to drive the 
people off the ground. Mr. Lyle saw half-a-dozen of such men ; 
but their threats were not put into execution.§ 

Open opposition was sometimes met. At Lexington, June, 
1801, Mr. Lyle was stoutly opposed by an editor, who drew his 
list and threatened to injure him, applying to him the most 
abusive epithets. He insisted that the ladies who had fallen 
wanted fresh air, and that they were hindered from obtaining it ; 
but when they themselves, on being asked, professed the con- 
trary, he slunk away ashamed, while the more sensible deists 
condemned his conduct as a wretched piece of folly.|l 

Among the motley crowd collected from all quarters by 
curiosity, might be seen the blackleg, the cut-purse, the prosti- 
tute, and all the disorderly and dissipated classes of society 
from the towns adjoining. And to increase the disorder, "as if," 
laments Mr. Lyle, " the devil seemed to be doing all he could to 
discredit the work ;" liquor was sold by the huxters, and even 
by some from whom better things might have been expected, 
and many became intoxicated. This account is confirmed by 

The venerable Father Rice, at an early period, with charac- 
teristic foresight, endeavored to guard against these evils ; and 
had his advice been followed, the shocking disorders just recited 
might have been prevented, and the revival have gone on with 
greater purity, power, and splendor. 

There was a sacrament at Walnut Hill, on the first Sabbath 
in September, 1801, when the following clei'gymen were present 

• Lyle, pp. 41, 79. t Lyle, p. 60. 

t Lyle, p. 79. h Lyle, p. 43. 11 Lyle, p. 12. 

IT Lyle, p. 46. Stuart, Rem. No. II. McNemar, p. 34. 


and took part : Marshall, Blythe, Rice, Lyle, Crawford, Welch, 
Stuart, Ilannels. Besides these, there were several Baptist 
preachers on the ground, Lewis Craig, Smith, Bowman, and 
Davis, who occupied another stand. The negroes had still ano- v. 
ther preaching by themselves. This meeting was held but about / 
three or four months from the commencement of the revival in 
Upper Kentucky. On Saturday afternoon previous, Mr. Rice, 
says Mr. Lyle very briefly, " exhorted powerfully against noise 
and false exercise."* 

From an intelligent lady,t who was then a little girl, but was 
present at this remarkable scene, we gather the following fuller 

The throng was so great that she could not obtain ingress ,'- 
upon the lower floor, and ascended an outside stair, from which 
she was conducted with great difficulty, from the press, to the 
front gallery. From this position she looked down upon the 
body of the building, where a great crowed were collected, some 
praying, some singing, and some going through the bodily 
agitations. While she gazed in wonder. Father Rice i-ose in the 
pulpit, with his commanding form and his silver locks, and in the 
most solemn manner began to repeat those words of Scripture, 
"Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord God Almighty !" Never 
was anything more impressive. There w^as an instantaneous hush 
through the whole house. The venerable old patriarch having 
thus secured their attention, proceeded to express his sentiments 
on the Bodily Exercises, and to dissuade from encouraging them. 
Some idea may be formed of the nature of these remarks, from 
his first and second Epistles to the citizens of Kentucky.J Mr. 
Lyle seems to have feared that while Mr. Rice was particularly 
and properly affected about the delusions and bodily affections 
that prevailed, he was not so tender for the lost souls of sinners 
as might have been expected. 

Not^ontent with warning the laity, Mr. Rice sought to se- 
cure the co-operation of the clergy, the fountain-heads of influ- 
ence. In the evening of the same day, (Saturday,) he read to his 

• Lyle, p. 44. 

\ The lady of James Stonestreet, Esq., daughter of James Fishback, elsewhere 

X Bishop's Memoir, App. pp. 334, 338, 353, 368. 


ministerial brethren at Mr. Crawford's house, a plan for regu- 
lating the camps at night, in order to prevent opportunities of 
vicious intercourse, (fee, &c. He proposed that v^fhen the peo- 
ple should sleep in the meeting-house, the sexes should be sepa- 
rated, and the elders should sit up by turns in the space interven- 
ing. Also, that the elders and others should walk by turns 
round the camp, and act as night-watches. lie expressed 
apprehensions that the long meetings and nocturnal vigils would 
produce religious insanity, and the like, as among the Shakers, 

A — Green river Tumblers, &c.* 

^ At this meeting some dissented from his views, and stigmatized 

him and those who agreed with him, as opposed to the revival. 
Mr. Rice himself, in his second epistle, seems to allude to this 
and other unhappy difTerences of opinion, and ascribes the want 
of harmony to the fact of the ministers having so lately emi- 
grated into the country from different regions, and being so 
widely dispersed, that they had had no opportunity to become 
properly acquainted. Owing to this cause there was a want of 
mutual confidence, which prevented such an energetic and con- 
certed action as would have cut off pernicious excrescences, and 

f-- preserved the honor of religion untarnished.f 

~~^ From this time both people and clergy were divided into two 
parties, gradually becoming more and more wide apart, till at 
last they separated completely in the open schism of Stone and 
Marshall in 1804. 

It was not until the summer of 1803, that any successful effort 
— / was made to resist the torrent of abuses. The honor of that 
effort was reserved for Mr. Lyle. With the tenderest feelings, 
he was yet a bold and intrepid champion for the truth. Not- 
withstanding he saw his populari-ty and influence diminishing, 
he unflinchingly persevered in expressing his decided disappro- 
bation publicly and privately, till at last he found his persever- 
ance rewarded. Aided by the close observations whj^h, we 
know from his Diary, he had been making for nearly three years, 
he prepared with great care a sermon on Order, which, after 
submitting privately to some of his brethren, he preached at 
Walnut Hill, on the second Sabbath of July, 1803. This ser- 

* Lyle, p. 45. \ Bishop's Mem. p. 381. 


mon, Mr. Stuart informs us, " had a happy effect."* Mr. Lyle 
himself records that the people wei'e, generally, very attentive, 
and the majority much pleased with the discourse, although a 
few gainsayed. Some grew angry and argued in opposition, and 
even endeavored to promote the confusion of intermingled exer- 
cises, but in vain. Mrs. B. and a few others fell, and created 
some disturbance, but moderation triumphed. f 

The text was, 1 Cor. xiv. 33, 40, " For God is not the author 
of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 
, . . Let all things be done decently and in order." The 
manuscript is in the author's hands, and from its numerous era- 
sures and alterations bears marks of uncommon pains having been 
expended upon it. It displays considerable research and ac- 
quaintance with the Scriptures. Ecclesiastical History is freely 
cited, and in a note reference is made to Justin Martyr and 
Eusebius. * It is a fine contrast to Mr. McGready's sermon in 
defence of those extravagances. 


ject which, for obvious reasons, can only be glanced at ; and 
particulars must be suppressed, even at the expense of making a 
less vivid impression of the grievance. 

Tradition whispers, in an undertone, of wild fellows from 
adjoining towns frequenting the camps to take advantage of the 
opportunities afforded by the prevailing license and disorder, 
just as they would at a masquerade ; and what Mr. Lyle records 
is far from being adapted to rebut the allegation. That disso- 
lute characters of both sexes resorted thither, may be gathered, 
also, from Messrs. Stuart and McNemar.| The very Stand was 
made a scene of nocturnal assignations by some of these 

The evil must have been sufficiently marked to attract atten- 
tion as early as the fall of 1801, for in Mr. Rice's plan for regu- 
lating the camps at night, before alluded to, its prevention was 
specifically mentioned as an object ; for which purpose the 
sexes were to be strictly separated during the hours allotted to 
sleep, and night-watches were to reconnoitre the camp and the 

* Stuart's Rem. No. II. f Lyle, p. 137. 

I Stuart, Rem, No. II, McNemar, 25, 34. { Lyle, p. 42, 


That there was need for vigilance may be readily inferred 
from a single statement. In the review which Mr. Lyle took in 
November, 1802, of the cases of such as had falleii at previous 
periods, several were found, by the most unequivocal proofs, to 
have since fallen still more wofully ; no fewer than four indivi- 
duals having transgressed in the most flagrant manner.* 

Women, in their frantic agitations, often unconsciously ex- 
posed their persons in a manner shocking to common decency. 
Not only did they tear open their bosoms, but they had some- 
times to be held by main strength to keep them from the most 
indelicate attitudes. So strong and active were they under the 
stimulus, that it required no less than four women to restrain a 
single girl.f 

It is not to be understood that such conduct was universal, 
but only that instances occurred, sufficiently numerous to cast a 
reproach on religion, and to exhibit the evils incident to enthusi- 
astic excesses. At first, indeed, we find the Diarist recording 
the serene and modest manner in which females spoke of their 
feelings ;% but two years afterwards, in 1803, when disorder be- 
came the order of the day, we meet with frequent and painful 
instances o-f conduct, certainly bold and forward, if not actually 
immodest. Will it be easily credited that, by this time, the fe- 
males, from 14 to 40 years of age, got into the habit of "hug- 
ging" and embracing every one in their vicinity, in the transport 
of their feelings, and that the men, especially the preachers, 
came in for a liberal share of these caresses ?§ This was,, 
doubtless, intended as an imitation of the Kiss of Charity alluded 
to in 2 Cor. xiii. 12, and 1 Thess. v. 26 ; a custom innocently 
practised among the ancients, as at the present day among the 
Germans and Spaniards, even by male acquaintances, on setting 
oflT on a journey, or meeting after it. We find one Maxwell so 
overjoyed at Point Pleasant, in 1803, that he professed "he 
could find it in his heart to kiss the dear people o-f God with the 

* Lyle, p. 93. f Lyle, p. 139. + Lyle, pp. 16, 17. 

5 Lyle, pp. 102, 105, 135. Mr. Lyle himself was on one occasion met by a 
woman leaping nimbly, and her countenance radiant with joy, who attempted' to 
clasp him round the neck. But he very properly seized her by the hands, and 
held her forcibly for some time till she had expended her saltatory energies. 
Upon which she found a vent to- her over-wrought feelings in a prayer. 


holv kiss."* And it is observable that this is the first occasion 
where the hugging is mentioned. 

But the most revolting violation of decorum occurred at the 
riotous Walnut Hill meeting in 1803. The passage is so strik- 
ing with its accompanying reflections, that it is inserted entire. 
" A Miss D., an orphan from Garrard, or the Fork of Dick's ri- .*- 
ver, was in an ecstacy of joy. Two men hoisted her on their 
shoulders, though she was woman groxcn, in the manner that the 
victorious party of the vulgar hoist their representative at elec- 
tions. She exulted aloud, crying, Glory to God ! clapped her 
hands until they were all red and swelled ; told the people she 
had lost her father and mother, but now she knew God was her 
father, (fee. She talked, I suppose, near half an hour before they 
let her down. She then hugged Mr. Shannon and Finlcy, also 
Wm. McD. and another man that stood near. Put her arms 
about their neck, and hugged and then clapped their hacks. 
Though the hoisting the girl might have been done with a good 
intention, yet it appeared imprudent in a certain degree, and she 
seemed not to ' rejoice with trembling.' Note. — I do not 
think the Scripture authorizes female exhortation. 1 think too 
muchy^w and applause about those who get a manifestation en- 
genders spiritual pride. ' Rejoice with trembling.'' However, 
her exercises seem scriptural in the main."-\ ^ - 

IV. The Proml'lgatiox of Doctrinal Errors. — " Truth is 
in order to goodness," say our excellent standai-ds.J Where 
important errors in practice abound, either they may be dis- 
tinctly traced to previous errors in doctrine, or they will be 
speedily found forming a connection with them. Every act is 
based upon, or defended by, some speculative opinion ; and 
however some may attempt to make a distinction between the 
facts and the i)hilosophy of religion, and pretend to reject all 
theories, a theory of some kind is absolutely unavoidable by 
every person of the least reflection, both to bind insulated facts 
in the memory, and to serve as a guide to further investigation.^ 

The tendency to erroneous views was apparent at a very *^ 
early date, both in the upper and lower sections of the State. 

* Lvle, p. 103. f Lyle, p. 120. 

t Form of Gov. Bk. I. c. i. { 4. 



In the lower section, or the Green river country, we have ah-eady, 
at a length not necessary to be repeated here, shown the intro- 
duction of Methodist influence, and its gradual predominance in 
the general camp-meetings, especially by means of their hymns. 
The natural effect of this increase of influence, would be to ren- 
der their doctrinal sentiments popular, by the recommendation 
of uncommon zeal ; and that this was the actual consequence we 
are distinctly informed by the Methodist writer before cited. 
His language is as follows: — " It was now obvious that the sub- 
jects of this work, very generally, had embraced the doctrine of 
grace as held by the Methodists, and the Presbyterian ministers 
engaged in it, appeared also, at first, to receive it in like man- 
ner."* When an investigation by a Commission of Synod 
became necessary, it was found that the rumors of departure 
from the Confession of Faith were well founded ; the doctrines 
of election and special grace being openly denied and ridiculed. 
This was the germ which soon afterward expanded into the 
Cumberland Presbyterian schism. 

While error was widely spreading in the lower section of the 
State, under the fostering warmth of extraneous influence, the 
upper section became the prey of similar calamities. A mon- 
grel mixture of Antinomianism and Arminianism began to be 
broached by Marshall, Stone, and McNemar, as early as the 
great camp-meeting at Cane Ridge, in August, 1801. They 
called it the true new Gospel, which, they said, none preached 
but themselves. It blended high pretensions to sanctification 
with equally high exaltations of human agency in believing, and 
a studious silence upon the subject of the Holy Spirit and his 
operations.! These errors prevailed among the advocates of 
the Bodily Exercises and other extravagances, and ripened into 
■^ the New Light schism. 

Not only did two schisms spring from this hot-bed of enthu- 
siasm, but a fungous excrescence of a fouler and more perni- 
cious character found a congenial lodgment, and throve with 
lamentable success. This was Shakerism. Of this and the two 
schisms more will be said in the proper place. 

V. Engendering Spiritual Pride, Censoriousness, &c. — 

* Hist, of Meth. in the West. No. XI. (Gosp. Her. vol. H. p. 220.) 
fLyle, pp. 21, 66, 106, 118, 119, 125. 


As soon as the first surprise was over, the larger portion of the 
Presbyterian clergy took their stand in favor of truth and order, 
although less decidedly than they might and would have done, 
had they not indulged the hope that the extravagant follies they 
deplored would expire of themselves, while an open hostility 
might turn off attention from more important matters to these 
minor points, to the detriment of the Revival. That this was 
the reason of forbearing from prompt disciplinary measures, i* 
asserted by one of the opposite party, who may be presumed 
competent testimony ;* and it is rendered highly probable by 
the fact that no sacraments were held during the winter months,! 
the roads in Kentucky being at that season nearly impassable. 
As early as June, 1801, we find Mr. Lyle in a sermon at 
Lexington, giving marks of true illumination, and exhorting the 
people to guard against enthusiasm, which, like a worm, de- 
stroyed the beauty of a revival, and would ere long discredit the 
work of God. He warned them of the liability of ministers and 
people to err, and referred to the history of Whitefield's day, 
and Davenport's Retractions. He reproved the strolling parties, 
and urged the multitude to be as quiet as possible. Such 
admonitions were pleasing to some, but highly unpalatable to 
others.J After the Conference at Walnut Hill, in September 
following, and the rejection of Mr. Rice's Plan for regulating 
the Camps, the clergy and people became divided into two dis- 
tinct parties — the Orthodox and the New Lights — one assuming 
the honorable style of " Revival Men," and affecting superior 
sanctity and zeal, and stigmatizing the other unjustly as " ^nti- 
Revival Men"§ The latter were freely denounced as hindrances 
to the work, especially "old parson Rice,"|| as standing in the 
way ; as deists in heart ; and as having no religion ;1I while on 
themselves only shone the effulgence of the New Light, irradi- 
ating them with the knowledge of " The True JVew Gospel." 
With the enthusiastic or New Light party, who were the most 
forward and noisy, the elder clergy and the more sober-minded 
soon lost their influence, and found themselves under the neces- 


* McNemar, p. 27. f Lyle, p. 58. 

I lijrle, p. 15. 5 Lyle, p. 45. Stuart, Rem. No. II. 

II Lyle, p. 83. 

II Lyle, pp. 54, 82. Cleland, Bibl. Repert. vol. vi. p. 339. 


sity of looking on in silence and enduring evils which they could 
not check.* 
f^ The sacraments no longer presented the pleasing spectacle 
of brethren in unity. The stand was converted into an arena 
for controversy. If Stone promulged his errors, Lyle and 
Cameron felt it to be their duty to counteract the subtle poison 
by broader exhibitions of the opposite truths.f If Blythe 
preached according to the Westminster Confession, Marshall 
took offence, supposing it to have been done out of contradiction 
to him. J In private he ridiculed Blythe for adhering so closely 
to the track of the Confession ; and when taken aside for a 
conference by Lyle, Blythe, and McPheeters, he flew into a 
rage and accused them of misrepresenting him ; though he 
afterwards professed to be reconciled.^ 

The persuasion that the power of exhortation after falling 
was a gift from Heaven, one of the " manifestations of the 
Spirit" mentioned in the twelfth chapter of 1st Corinthians, and 
a supernatural seal to the reality of the work within and upon 
them, was well adapted to feed spiritual pride and gratify the 
love of superiority and. distinction so natural to the human heart. 
When Mr. Lyle remonstrated with a layman for praying aloud 
after falling, he replied that he must obey the dictate of his 
feelings ; he complained that the interruption had destroyed his 
feelings ; and said it was suggested to him that Mr. Lyle had no 
religion. When remonstrating with another enthusiast, he was 
told that he was not qualified to judge of a work which he had 
never felt in his own body, and that many of the old Christians 
were babes in Christ compared with young converts on the 

Exhortations to sinners, or even to ministers to deal faithfully 
and tenderly with such,T[ might be excused as ebullitions of 
deep and sincere feeHng ; but what can be said in defence of 

* At the riotous Walnut Hill meeting, June, 1803, we find in the Diary 
the following entry : " Just at dusk I rose and claimed their attention, which, 
with difficulty, I obtained. I exhorted for a few minutes with some patlios, but 
without letting fall anything pointed on the subject of decency and order. Mr. 
Blythe also said a few words in a weeping, sorrowful mood, and, though his 
sorrows arose from the disorders he perceived, he considered his influence so 
far decreased that he said nothing about them." Lyle, p. 116. 

t Lyle, pp. 118, 119. J Lyle, p. 107. { Lyle, pp. 108,110, 113. 

II Lyle, p. 83. IF Lyle, p. 70. 



open upbraidings, reproofs, and personalities ? The deluded 
creatures not seldom mistook their own censorious temper lor 
the afflatus of the dove-like Spirit. '• The general gift of exhor- ^ 
tation," says McNemar, " was to search out the state of the 
sinner, convict him of sin, and warn him to fly from it ; and 
they often came so pointed, even to naming the person, and pub- 
licly arraigning him for specific crimes, that often evil spirits, 
whose work is to cover iniquity and conceal sin, were stirred 
up to great fury. . . . To see a bold Kentuckian (undaunted 
by the horrors of war) turn pale and tremble at the reproof of 
a weak woman, a little boy, or a mean African ; to see him sink 
down in deep remorse, roll and toss, and gnash his teeth, till 
black in the face ; entreat the prayers of those he came to 
devour ; and, through their fervent intercessions and kind in- 
structions, obtain deliverance ; and return in the possession of the 
meek and gentle spirit which he set out to oppose : — who would 
say the change was not supernatural and miraculous ? Such 
exorcisms, or casting out of evil spirits, are justly ranked among 
the wonders which attended the JVevo Lights* ""^^TT^ 

We have an example of this sort of upbraiding in the Mrs. 
B., who has been before mentioned as being so conspicuous on 
these occasions. Once, after writhing for some time, she broke 
out into a kind of prayer, in which she charged the ministers 
with coldness and deadness in religion, wuth too great attachment 
to the beggarly elements of this world, and with keej)ing back 
and discouraging the people of God. She also avowed her 
belief that the absence of some of them that evening was owing 
to slothfulness and fondness of earthly objects.f 

While they gave vent to these hortatory impulses, instead of 
that soft, melting tone which betokens the presence of genuine 
sympathy, they too often wore the air and gestures of a Python- 
ess. One (a young man, a Methodist) is described as running 
among the throng, and calling on them to pray out, '^ with 
apparent rage ;" another, (an old man,) obeying the call, and 
praying with '' clenched fists ;"% another, (a woman,) shrieking 
"Glory to God !" with wild and distracted eyes, and "when she 
spoke to sinners, she looked like afury."^ 

* McNemar, p. 35. t Lyle, p. 102. 

I Lyle, p. 130. } Lyle, p. 47. 



To account for these remarkable phenomena, different theories 
were adopted by different classes of people. One theory ascribed 
them to the agency of the Spirit of God ; a second, to the agency 
of an evil spirit ; while a third stigmatized the whole as deception 
and imposture. 

That an evil spirit should have produced them, there is no rea- 
sonable ground to suppose. The belief in witchcraft and sorcery 
finds no enlightened advocates in our day. No parallel can be 
found in the Demoniacs of Scripture, because these were neither 
affected by pungent convictions of sin, nor were they led to devo- 
tional exercises. It is undeniable, moreover, that even after de- 
ducting the backsliders, there were numerous instances of genuine 
conversion, especially at the first ; a result hardly compatible 
with the impious designs of Satanic agency. 

As little ground is there for attributing these contortions to the 
special agency of the Spirit of God. Persons who made no pre" 
tensions to piety were affected in this manner, not excepting the 
deist and the blasphemer, who cursed the spasm that exposed 
them to ridicule. Violent gestures are nowhere in Scripture 
described as the usual marks or exercises of piety, though occa- 
sionally found in connection with it ; nor is any peculiar value or 
efficacy attached to them. We cannot suppose that the Spirit 
working in the man would contradict the Spirit speaking in the 
word. Since, therefore, the Spirit speaking in the word instructs 
us that "bodily exercise profiteth little;" that "God is not the 
author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the 
saints ;" that all things should be done "decently and in order ;" 


that "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets;" 
ami that ])ublic worship should be conducted in a regular and 
edifying manner, in all its parts, praying, preaching and singing — 
in regard to which minute and specific directions are given in 
the 14th chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians ; we can- 
not believe that this same ])eaceful Spirit, operating in the man, 
will impel him to act in a manner directly the reverse of his 
previous teaching — a manner confused, noisy, tumultuous, and 
hostile to edification. As to visions and trances, they are of all 
species of gracious evidences the most fallacious. They estab- 
lish nothing but the vivid and excited fancy of the individual, in 
a state bearing a resemblance to dreaming or somnambulism. 
" A dream cometh through the multitude of business," says the 
wise man ; and the mind, engaged on devotional subjects in its 
ordinary state, will naturally dream them over again in the 
trance. And, to say no more, a vision is supported by no other 
testimony than that of the person who professes to have had it ; 
nor is there any one to verify or to corroborate his narrative. " Let 
him that hath a dream, tell his dream," is the judicious advice of 
Holy Writ ; that is, let him disclose it if he chooses ; but let him 
tell it only as a dream — let him be cautious how he represents it 
as a Divine revelation. The apostacy of numbers who pretend- 
ed to be thus highly favored, gives melancholy evidence of the 
emptiness of their boasting. 

Having disposed of the theories of Divine and Satanic agency, 
we come to the third, which solved every difficulty by the bold 
wholesale charge of deception and imposture. But this hypothe- 
sis we regard as utterly untenable. However some may have 
artfully counterfeited, for their own wicked purposes, as no 
doubt was done, it is incredible that so many persons of exem- 
plary and respectable character would conspire in so vast a 
fraud. The matter is placed beyond a doubt, by the palpably 
involuntary nature of the exercises, in copious instances. The 
scoffer, the persecutor, the blasphemer, the infidel, who braced 
themselves up with premeditated resolution, or treated the work 
as a delusion, were seized with paroxysms which they could not 
prevent. The stories before narrated, of the young tanner, and 
the men whose concealed whips were jerked out of their hands, 
may be cited as examples. Several cases are ofiered in addition, 
collected out of Mr. Lyle's Diary. 


Polly McB was unconscious of any change, and was 

amazed to find the people (locking round her, till, making an 

exertion to move, she found herself powerless. One F , near 

Lexington, struggled for three hours against the disposition to 
fall, but had to yield at last. At Pleasant Point, on Stoner, a 

Miss G fell, after bitterly opposing the work. When Preston 

B fell at Cane Ridge, he appeared confounded, and said it 

was an unfortunate sight and a great mortification. He after- 
wards relapsed. One D dropped, as if shot, just after ex- 
pressing his fears that the work was not right. A few days after 

he was seen intoxicated. One M threatened his swooning 

daughters that he would beat them if they ever came to such a 

place again, and fell with the words in his mouth. One E 

fell at Lexington, who had told an acquaintance if he fell he might 

put his foot on his neck and keep him down. One S , a deist, 

fell at Cane Ridge, who had said he would not fall so for a 
thousand dollars, and who avowed his disbelief in heaven, hell 
or devil. He lay speechless for an hour, and then retracted, 
with apparent penitence ; but three months after he relapsed. 

One H , of Stoner, defied God and his angels to throw him 

down, but it proved to be an idle boast.* 

The theories which imply either deception or superhuman 
agency must be abandoned. The only correct and satisfactory 
solution is found in the influence of the imagination on the nervous 

That the body and the mind exert a strong influence recipro- 
cally on each other, is a long admitted truism, nor is physiologi- 
cal science sufficiently matured to authorize the setting of definite 
limits to that influence. The wonders of Animal Magnetism and 
Clairvoyance cannot fail to surprise, even should the imagination 
be considered the cause instead of a supposed magnetic fluid. 

Fear blanches the cheek ; Shame suffuses it with a blush. Joy 
sparkles in the eyes ; Sorrow bedews them with tears. Cheerful- 
ness relaxes the muscles ; Anger contracts them. Horror changes 
the raven locks into grey in the course of a single night. Intense 
Anxiety causes palpitation of the heart and trembling of the limbs. 
Depression of Spirits retards the circulation of the blood ; while, 

* Lyle, pp. 4, 11, 17, 19, 26, 31, 50. 


on the contrary, the circulation, liie respiration, the digestion, the 
bilious secretions, are accelerated by strong and vigorous emotions. 
Passions indulged to excess have proved fatal in many instances. 
A Greek exj)ired with joy on learning that his two sons were 
crowned victors in the games. Claxton, the doorkeeper of Con- 
gress, dropped dead at the news of CornwalUs' capture. Valen- 
tinian I. died of a fit of anger, which convulsed his whole frame, 
and occasioned the bursting of a large blood-vessel. 

The patients of Deslon, the colleague of Mesmer, were thrown 
into convulsions, they shivered, they burned, from the mere force 
of the imagination. The Investigating Committee, of whom Dr. 
Franklin was one, found them affected as powerfully when made 
to believe that Deslon w^as standing and operating behind a door, 
although he was really not there at all, as when he was present. 
When Perkins' iMetallic Tractors were in vogue, in 1799, and 
were supposed to relieve rheumatism and nervous disorders, Dr. 
Haygarth found that wooden Tractors, shaped and painted to 
resemble those of metal, were equally efficacious in producing 
temporary relief. 

Touching for the King's Evil, once so much in fashion that 
Charles II. touched no less a number than 23,601 applicants in 
five years, from 1660 to 1664, but which has now fallen into de- 
suetude, furnishes another example of the power of the imagina- 

The miraculous cures of Prince Hohenlohe, of Hungary, in the 
present century, should not be overlooked, involving, as they do, 
the occult principle of other like cures in the Romish Church, the 
principle of Faith. The son of an insane father, he was a man of 
weak intellect himself, and credulous from early youth. He con- 
ceived that in answer to his prayers the most wonderful cures 
were effected, and he found multitudes ready to repose confi- 
dence in him. Although his experiments in the WUrtzberg and 
Bamberg hospitals were a failure, there were not wanting num- 
bers who fancied that they received benefit, while those who 
were disappointed ascribed the want of success to their weakness 
of faith. It was not even necessary to see him ; it was sufficient 
to communicate with him by letter, and unite with him in a simul- 
taneous concert of prayer at a given hour. It seems not to have 
occurred to the thaumaturgist and his suitors, that the clocks in 


Hungary, and the West of Europe, necessarily disagreed, nor 
did it interpose any obstacle to success.* 

Medical men are well aware of the influence of the mind on the 
body, and often avail themselves of the principles of mental science 
in the treatment of diseases. Confidence in the physician and 
his medicines, seems a condition indispensable to recovery ; and 
hence they justify themselves in resorting to the artifices of de- 
ception and flattery to keep up the spirits of the patient, that hope 
may co-operate with the drugs. Despondency is death. Tissot 
relates a story of a woman who had sunk into a lethargy, from 
which she could not be roused. Knowing her ruling passion to 
be avarice, some one placed a piece of money in the palm of her 
hand, and gave it a forcible pressure. The fingers immediately 
and instinctively closed over it, and clutched it tightly. From 
that moment the powers of nature rallied. f 

Borrichius cured a woman of an inveterate tertian agi e by 
designedly exciting her irascibility. J The present accomplished 
President of Centre College, Dr. Young, like a cardinal of ilrmer 
times, owes his life to a facetious friend provoking him to laughter 
by a peal of merry anecdotes, at the instigation of his physician. 
The necessary stimulus was thus supplied ; the diaphragm and 
its contiguous muscles were pleasantly agitated ; the crisis was 
happily passed ; and the dreaded chill completely prevented. Dr. 
E. F. Smith, of New Brunswick, once saved an epileptic patient 
from a fit, just as it was coming on, by exciting his anger. 

Dr. Rush was once summoned to a consultation on the case of 
a woman who had been a playmate of his in early life. She af- 
terwards married, and removed to Philadelphia, where they oc- 
casionally met, and indulged in agreeable reminiscences of their 
youthful pastimes, especially of a lofty tree on which an eagle 
had built her nest. This woman now lay in the lowest stage of 
a typhus fever. "Upon entering the room," says the doctor, "I 
caught her eye, and with a cheerful tone of voice, said only, 
^ the eaglets nesi f She seized my hand, without being able to 
speak, and discovered strong emotions of pleasure in her coun- 

* Encvclop. Americ, art. Hohenlohe. 

t RiisiiV Introd. Lrcturis: Lect. XI. p. 263. 

\ Rees' Cyclop., art. Anger. 


tenance, probably from a sudden association of all her early do- 
mestic connections and enjoyments with the words I had uttered. 
From that time she began to recover. She is now living, and 
seldom fails, when we meet, to salute me with the echo of ' the 
eagle's nest /' "* 

A respectable physician has informed me of a practitioner who 
went so far as to discard the use of drugs, and substitute in lieu 
of them the force of the imagination alone. If vomiting was de- 
sired, instead of administering emetics, he took his seat by the 
patient, and himself imitated, like a fugleman, all the pantomime 
of a person under the influence of an emetic. He heaved, he 
retched, he made wry faces, as if nauseated, till at length the 
patient, through the sympathetic operation of the disgusting ideas 
suggested, was affected in good earnest. No tartar nor ipe- 
cacuanha could have produced a more decided effect. This will 
not appear surprising when it is borne in mind that one of Boer- 
haave's pupils felt in his own body the symptoms of every disease 
on which the professor lectured. 

It were easy to multiply instances of the influence of the mind 
upon the body ; those already cited abundantly suffice. 

It cannot have escaped the attentive reader that a prominent 
part has been assigned to the condition o( the Nerves by that 
most careful observer, Mr. Lyle. Nor is it to be omitted that 
this nervous condition ensued immediately upon the delivery 
of pungent and stimulating preaching or exhortation. That the 
character of the addresses in general was hortatory, vehement, 
and impassioned, is confirmed by unanimous testimony.f Ser- 
mons on the practical duties of religion operated as a quietus. 
Although doctrinal sermons were not abandoned, and even Mr. 
Stone is noted as having preached a high Calvinistic sermon on 
the Perseverance of the Saints,J yet as a general thing, the posi- 
tion above taken is undoubtedly correct. There can be little 
doubt that even the didactic discourses delivered, were accom- 
panied with fervent and warm practical applications, while 
novelty gave zest to the harangues of the New Lights.§ 

• Rush's Introd. Ijcctures: Lect. XI. p. 267. 

t Eibl. Report, vol. vi., p. 361. 

j Stuart's Rem. No. II. McNemar, p. 20. Powers p. 76. 

} Lyle, p. 109. " An unsolemn curiosity," he calls it. 


The style of the discourses varied according to the various 
dispositions of the speakers. It is impossible to find any par- 
ticular standard to w^hich all the phenomena can be reduced as 
its legitimate effects. Some spoke in a plain, solemn and in- 
structive way ;* some in a highly decorated style ;t and others 
in a desultory, incoherent, but lively manner.J There was one 
class who delighted in alarming the conscience with pictures of 
terror, and launched the thunders of Sinai with unsparing hand ; 
of this sort were McGready, Rannels, Marshall, Houston, and 
McNemar. McNemar was desultory, but interspersed many 
good remarks ; he was very animated and impressive, and 
exerted all his powers, both in preaching and singing. He 
would stamp with his foot, and slap the Bible, and roar " Hell 
and Damnation !" with a loud voice.§ But I cannot find that 
this style of preaching was the most effective. It was such 
sermons as were delivered with tenderness and tears that 
elicited the deepest emotions among the audience. The greater 
the pathos of the speaker, the greater was the ebullition of feel- 
ing ; and copious floods of tears weakened and prostrated the 
corporeal organization to such a degree, as to prepare it for 
operations beyond the ordinary control of the will. The views 
of religious truths were very vivid, and overwhelming to the 
mind. " I never heard," says Mr. Lyle, " such earnest inquiry 
after Christ."l| So keen was the perception of sin and danger, 
that many were driven to despairing thoughts, and cried aloud, 
" I am lost ! I am gone ! The worst sinner in the world !""([ 
Among professors, many fell ; some filled with consternation for 
backsliding ; others overcome by the holiest joy ; others in an 
agony of distress for the condition of sinners.** In regard to the 
exhortations delivered by such as had fallen, Mr. Lyle says, 
" their orations consist of the plain and essential truths of the 
Gospel, that they themselves have been powerfully convinced 
of, but they speak them with all the feeling and pathos of which 
human nature, affected with the most important objects, is 


Much of this agitation and tempest of feeling was merely of a 
dramatic character, and not the effect or proof of piety, being 

* Lyle, pp. 31, 66. f Lyle, p. 35. t Lyle, p. 40. 5 Lyle, p. 41. 
II Lyle, p. 6. 1 Lyle, 2, ** Lyle, pp. 2, 5. ft Lyle, p. 30, 


produced by nervous excitement, operating through the sympa- 
thetic connection of the mind and the body. The spectacle of 
women fainting was not uncommon in Drury Lane, under the 
consummate acting of Siddons. The same love of excitement 
and strong sensations which attracted crowds to the tragic sor- 
rows of the theatre, no doubt drew thousands to the wild scenes 
of the camp-meeting. 

The falling down in Kentucky seems to have been a species 
of epilepsy, which is a nervous disease coming in sudden 
paroxysms. Frequent and periodical fits of fainting are very 
often its precursor, easily induced in persons liable to hypochon- 
dria, hysteria, or lively sensibility. In epilepsy the patient falls 
suddenly, commonly with a cry, sometimes with, sometimes 
without a premonitory creeping or shivering from the extremi- 
ties towards the vitals. Different parts of the body are more or 
less convulsed. To this succeed insensibility, a short, quiet 
breathing, interrupted by groans, foaming of the mouth, gnash- 
ing of the teeth, distortion and staring of the eyes, and a loss of 
control over the will. It lasts for ten or twenty minutes, when 
the patient wakes, unconscious of anything but fatigue and a 
little pain in his limbs. 

That the nervous agitation was irrepressible by any exercise of 
volition after arriving at a certain point, must be conceded ; but 
there is every reason to believe that in its incipient stages, before 
reaching '• the salient point,'''' they were subject to control. The 
late venerable Dr. Blythe, as he informed the author, once felt 
an attack of the kind coming on, from the effect of sympathy, 
like a pricking sensation in his extremities, but by a strong de- 
termination of will, succeeded in repressing its farther progress. 
He was a]so able to check the agitations in his congregation at 
Pisgah to some extent. There was a female who was particu- 
larly accustomed to indulge in outcries and convulsions, to the 
disturbance of public worship, but who restrained herself, in 
consequence of his decided menaces of having her carried out 
of the house on the next repetition of the offence. This corre- 
sponds with the Rev. Charles Wesley's experience. The noisiest 
of his auditors, became, in consequence of similar threats, as 
quiet as lambs.* About the year 1774, swoons and convulsions 

* SouUiey's Life of Wesley, p. 148, 149. 


very similar to those in Kentucky, became common in the parish 
of Northmaven, among the Shetland Islands, fifty or sixty being 
sometimes seized and carried out of the church on sacramental 
occasions, when the house was crowded, and struggling and 
roaring in the yard for five or ten minutes, when they would rise 
in perfect unconsciousness of what had happened. The annoy- 
ance was happily put an end to by a rough kirk-officer's tossing 
a particularly troublesome woman into a ditch of water. This 
unceremonious treatment, not only eflfectually cooled the wo- 
man's own zeal, but prevented others from imitating her ex- 

The incident narrated in the biographical sketch of Mr. Lyle 
may also be adduced as a proof of those disorderly transports being 
subject to control ; for upon his decided demand of silence in the 
house of God, the services proceeded without farther interrup- 
tion, notwithstanding the minister of the place gave the extrava- 
gances his countenance, and expressed great displeasure at Mr. 
Lyle's interference. 

Another fact, which shows the possibility of self-control, and 
that " the spirits of the prophets were subject to the prophets," 
is the uniform testimony of the old clergy, that in those congre- 
gations whose ministers discountenanced the extravagances, 
there was comparatively little disorder, while " confusion and 
every evil work" abounded where they received the encouraging 
patronage of the pastor. 

Among the external circumstances which were supposed 
capable of checking or modifying the agitations, the conscious- 
ness of approaching maternity, or the having an infant in the 
arms, have been specified ;t but this last cannot be so, for a 
highly respectable physicianj informed the author thjt he once 
saw a woman with an infant in her arms, whom curiosity had led to 
mount the stand for the sake of a better prospect, but who, being 
suddenly seized, fell backward and let the child drop from her 
arms. Fortunately some one below perceived the transaction, 
and caught the infant before it fell to the gi'ound, a distance of 
some ten feet, so that it sustained no injury. 

It is moreover a curious, but not mysterious, fact, that the 

* Rees' Cyclopedia, art. Imitation. f Powers, p. 75. 

X Dr. Churchill C. Blackburn, of Woodford county, Ky. 


leaders could manage the tumult, increasing or diminishing the 
frenzy at pleasure. Dr. Cleland informs us of experiments made 
by him in the early part of his ministry. In the midst of his 
discourse, he would on a sudden change from a smooth and 
gentle style to the expression of awful and alarming ideas, when 
a dozen or twenty persons would instantly and simultaneously 
commence jerking as they sat, with a suppressed noise, once or 
twice, like the barking of a dog. As the strain of the discourse 
varied, the condition of the people corresponded. Riding one 
day with the wife of one of his elders, from a neighboring town 
where she had been purchasing goods, he secretly resolved to 
try an experiment upon her. Although she had been affected 
with the jerks on previous occasions, she was at this moment 
entirely free from them. The conversation was of an every- 
day character, and even purposely directed into a free and 
jocular vein, and her mind was completely diverted from serious 
emotions. All at once, without any w^arning, Dr. Cleland turned 
the conversation to topics of a devout and solemn character. 
Before two minutes had elapsed, her body began to be vio- 
lently agitated, pitching upward and forward from the saddle 
halfway to the horse's neck, six or eight times in a minute.* 

The rapid propagation of these convulsions among a crowd 
by Sympathy, is worthy of notice. So strong were the belief 
and fear of their contagious nature, that many were deterred 
from attending public worship in consequence. f A few shrieks 
were sufficient to rouse the most languid assembly. Mr. Lyie 
narrates an instance that occurred in a private house in Paris, 
where a company of persons sat singing. One lady falling, a 
second and a third became agitated, then three little girls, and a 
negro woman. J 

Medical writers furnish us with numerous examples of sym- 
pathetic or imitative influence. Not only are the panics of 
armies, the furies of mobs, the propensity to laugh or to yawn, 
explained by this principle ; but convulsions, Chorea Sancti 
Viti, and epilepsies, have been known to be propagated in this 
way. All the children in a poor-house at Haerlem, were seized 
with fits from having seen one of their number so attacked ; nor 

* Bibl. Rcpert. vol. vi. p. 343. f Bibl. Repert. vol. vi. p. 344. 

I Lyle, p. 128. 


could any stop be put to this calamity, until Dr. Boerhaave, sa- 
gaciously interdicting the exhibition of medicine, directed his 
remedies to the mind. Having introduced several portable fur- 
naces, he ordered, with great solemnity, that certain crooked 
irons should be heated, and applied to the arm of the first indivi- 
dual that was taken. It is hardly necessary to add that there 
was no necessity for the application.* 

There was a family of six children in Chelmsford, Massachu- 
setts, one of whom being afflicted with St. Vitus's dance, the rest 
imitated his gestures for sport, until they came to be as irresisti- 
bly affected as he. It was at last checked by their father pre- 
paring a block and axe, and threatening to take off the head of 
the first transgressor, the original sufferer excepted. The result 
was as successful as in the former case.f 

In a convent of French nuns, one of the number was impelled 
by a strange fancy to imitate the mewing of a cat. The pro- 
pensity communicated itself to the rest, and became universal 
among the sisterhood, till at last they had regular hours for 
joining together in the practice. In a German convent, in the 
fifteenth century, one of the nuns was seized with a disposition 
to bite her companions, and the whole sisterhood by degrees 
caught the same frenzy. J 

These were all undoubted examples of the imagination acting 
on the nervous system by sympathy. 

Edwards also has spoken of the bodily affections of his time 
being quickly propagated among the spectators, especially the 

We have already seen instances of the force of sympathy in 
religious assemblies in the references made to the experience of 
Charles Wesley, and the convulsions in the parish of North- 
maven. To these we may add the wild commotions of the 
French Prophets, about the year 1C88, The French Prophets 
or Camisardsll appeared in the mountains of the Cevennes. 
among the descendants of the Waldenses and Albigenses, insti- 
gating them to resist the dragoons and fine-collectors of that 

* Rees' Cyclop, art. Imitation. 

t Powers, p. 32. | McGavin, vol. ii. p. 735. 

6 Hodjre's Const. Hist. Part II. p. 51. 

fl So called from disguising themselves in a frock or shirt, (in the Italian . 


insane persecutor, Louis XIV. From a tew hundreds, the num- 
ber soon amounted to thousands, of both sexes, claiming to be 
inspired of the Holy Ghost. When about to receive the gift of 
prophecy, they were affected in a manner very similar to the 
Kentucky New Lights, trembling, and falling down in swoons, 
striking themselves with their hands, closing their eyes, and 
heaving their breasts. No matter where they were when the fit 
came on, whether in their assemblies, in their houses, or in the 
fields, they fell. The symptoms have been compared to those 
attending the inhaling of nitrous oxyde gas. They lay for some 
time in trances, during which they had visions of heaven, hell, 
and the angels. Their effusions consisted of alternate cries for 
" Mercy !" imprecations against the Pope, and predictions of his 
approaching downfall. They boldly declared the millennium, 
the first resurrection, and the new Jerusalem, to be at hand — 
attested by signs and wonders, and about to come to pass in the 
space of three years. They pretended to the gifts of tongues, 
of healing, and even of raising the dead. They were, after an 
obstinate struggle, finally put down by force.* A few fled to 
England and succeeded in making two or three hundred prose- 
lytes. They were disowned by the French refugees, and prose- 
cuted, at their instigation, as disturbers of the peace. f 

Another analogous instance of epidemical convulsions oc- 
curred in 1742, in the parish of Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, 
Scotland. A powerful and extensive revival of religion pervaded 
the parish in consequence of the indefatigable zeal of the minis- 
ter, who was an admirer of Whitefield. Numbers were con- 
victed of sin under his preaching, and were thrown into the 
greatest agony about the state of their souls. Not only did they 
utter the most piercing cries, their bodies were violently agitated, 
clapping of the hands, beating of the breast, shaking, trembling, 
fainting, convulsions, and sometimes copious bleeding at the 
nose, attested the stormy tumult within. The minister promoted 
the uproar by urging them not to stifle but to encourage their 
convictions, and spent most of the night in exhorting and pray- 
ing WMth them. The contagious force of sympathy was evidently 
manifested here. The shriek or the shout never rose from one 

* Relinf. Encycl. art. Camisars. Encycl. Amcr. art. Cevennes. 
t Smollett's Hist, of Engl, note EE. p. 916. 


individual without others joining in the outcry, in the same or 
similar words.* 

Bodily agitations have not been without repeated precedents 
in European countries. In the West of Scotland, in 1G25, many 
persons, under powerful convictions of sin, fell down and were 
carried out of the church ; and in Ireland, three years later, 
numbers were elevated above the necessity of food or sleep.f 
So late as 1843, falling down and other bodily agitations occur- 
red extensively in the parish of St. Kilda.J Even the isles of 
the South Pacific have not been strangers to the same phenom- 
ena. A powerful revival occurred in 1840 upon the island of 
Tutuila, under the missionaries of the London Missionary Socie- 
ty, when, besides weeping, and groans, and " dreadful wailings," 
the following scene occurred during public worship: — "Women 
were carried out by dozens, convulsed and struggling, so as to 
drive five or six men about like trees in the wind, who were ex- 
erting all their strength to hold and convey them away. I had 
heard of beating breasts and tearing htiir before, but I have now 
seen and shall not soon forget it. The w^eaker sex was not alone 
affected ; many men were carried out lifeless as stones, and 
many could scarcely be removed because of their awful convul- 
sive strugglings. . . . When quietness was regained, the re- 
mainder of the people drew up towards the pulpit, and the 
chapel, which had been overflowing before, was left nearly one- 
third empty.§ 

The early career of John Wesley was marked by great dis- 
orders, as appears from his Journals. He records numerous 
instances of persons dropping to the ground under preaching, 
" as if struck with lightning ;" ten or a dozen praying at once ; 
dreams, visions, and other vagaries.]! These things Mr. Wesley 
was, at first, disposed to ascribe to supernatural agency, some- 
times divine, sometimes satanic ;T[ but his opinions afterward 
underwent a change, and he censured these excesses as " bring- 
ing the real work into contempt."** 

* Rees' Cyclop, art. Imitation, 
t Fleming's Fulfilling of Scripture, pp. 185, 186. 
t Presbyt. vol. xiii. p. 147. 
§ Miss. Her. vol. xlii. p. 103. 

II Warburton's Doctr. of Grace, vol. i. pp. 106, 108, 109; vol. ii. pp.43, 
46, 58, 63, 66. Powers, p. 89. Hodge, Part II. p. 90. 

IT Doctr. of Grace, vol. i. p. 109 ; vol. ii. p. 63. ** Powers, p. 90. 


The revivals which took place in 1735 and 1742, of which 
the elder Edwards has given so full and luminous an account, 
were accompanied with similar bodily agitations to those wit- 
nessed in Kentucky. There were repeated instances of faint- 
ing, falling, trance's, numbness, convulsions, and outcries.* Some 
even lost their reason.f He narrates the surprising conversions 
of two children, one nine, the other only four, years old.J 
There were not wanting, but in a less degree, examples of 
several speaking or crying out at once ; of undue reliance on 
direct impressions made on the imagination, (as visions of a 
bleeding Christ or a blazing hell ;) of neglect of external order ; 
of more freedom than usual in the intercourse between the 
sexes ; of spiritual pride ; of a censorious disposition ; of angry 
controversy ; of divided churches ; of fanatical presumption ; of 
false theology ; of spurious conversions ; of apostacies ])y thou- 
sands ; which led to a subsequent lethargy of half a century.§ 
" Select," says the historian of The Great Awakening, " ten 
places, where the revivals were the most pure, and orderly, and 
unexceptionable. The occun-ence of ten such revivals now, in 
orthodox churches under the guidance of pastors of good repute, 
would fill the land with consternation. It is no wonder that 
good, judicious, sober men were alarmed ; that they thought the 
conversion of some hundreds or thousands had been purchased 
at too dear a rate ; that they pronounced the revival a source 
of more evil than good ; and, on the whole, itself an evil." . . 
There was, indeed, abundant cause to apprehend evil, and to be 
active in opposing it, and setting bounds to its progress. In this 
work, Edwards lamented that he had not dared, in the earlier 
stages of the revival, to do what he afterward saw to have been 
his duty, lest he should do mischief." But Edwards, though the 
ardent apologist of those revivals, was careful to discriminate 
between genuine and spurious marks of grace ; and while he 
admitted that deep, religious emotions, like strong emotions of 
any other kind, might afiect the body, as in the case of Daniel, 

* Edwards on Revivals, pp. 138, 248. 

t Ibid. p. 131. I Ibid. pp. 46, 97. 

5 Ibid. pp. 256, 270, 292, 319, 327, 336, 351. Tracy's Great Awakening, pp. 
432, 433. Hodge's Const. Hist. Part U. pp. 41, 49, 60, 65, 68, 69, 86, 
108, 115. 


Habbakuk, and John, he discouraged reliance on them as essen- 
tial evidence of a gracious state.* 

It is worthy of note, that in consequence of the sedulous care 
of the clergy, and owing to the wholesome warnings of Ed- 
wards' narratives, the extensive revival with which New Eng- 
land was blessed about the years 1797 and 1800, contempo- 
raneously with that in the western country, was deformed by 
none of the excesses or improprieties which had exposed the 
revival of 1742 to reproach.f 

Converging into one focal point the scattered rays from so 
many quarters, the conclusion to which we arrive is briefly as 
follows : — That we must seek an explanation of the phenomena 
exhibited in Kentucky at the commencement of the present cen- 
tury, in THE Influence of the Imagination upon the Nervous 
System, originally stimulated by earnest hortatory preaching, 
venting itself in vehement ebullitions of Animal Excitement, 
and easily propagated by the natural operation of the laws of 
Sympathy ; in all which there was nothing peculiar or unpre- 
cedented, except the greatness of the masses affected, and the 
novelty or oddity of some of the motions introduced. 

As to the errors and irregularities of the time, while they are 
to be deplored, yet must considerable allowance be made in 
the judgment of charity. After so great a deadness and so long 
a spiritual dearth as had prevailed, we should not be surprised 
to find, on people's first waking up from such a state, that they 
who had previously known little or nothing of the operations of 
the Holy Spirit, should fall into many errors, or mistake every 
strong enthusiastic impulse for a divine impression. The 
remarks of Edwards are very applicable here : " If we look 
back," says he, " into the history of the Church of God in past 
ages, we may observe that it has been a common device of the 
devil to overset a revival of religion, when he finds he can keep 
men quiet and secure no longer, then to drive them to excesses 
and extravagances. He holds them back as long as he can, but 
when he can do it no longer, then he will push them on, and, if 
possible, run them upon their heads." And again : " the devil 

• lb. p. 248. Treatise on the Affections, (Bost. ed. 1768,) pp. 49-54. 
t Connecticut Evang. Mag. vol. ii. Powers, p. 73. Baird's Relig. in Amer. 
p. 200. 


has driven the pendulum far beyond its proper point of rest ; and 
when he has carried it to the utmost length that he can, and it 
begins by its own weight to swing back, he probably will set in, 
and drive it with the utmost fury the other way, and so give us 
no rest, and if possible prevent our settling in a proper 

From the revolting excesses and irregularities that accompa- 
nied the Revival, let us turn to a more pleasing aspect of the 
case, and inquire into its Beneficial Results. That it was 
attended by beneficial consequences, especially during the^earlier 
stages of its progress, is undeniable. Whether that good was 
of sufficient weight to counterbalance the varied evils intro- 
duced, is a question not so easily settled. If the good was 
general and permanent, and the evils only incidental, — such as 
the sweeping away offences and dams by a deluge of rain after 
a long and distressing drought, — a judicious discrimination will 
easily overlook the lesser evil ; but, on the contrary, if the evil 
be found to be extensive and enduring, and the good limited and 
partial, sincere regrets will be awakened in every pious heart. 

Besides numerous genuine conversions, doubtless occurring 
through the whole course of the Revival, its commencement 
was marked with a splendor of success that dazzled while it 
enchanted the observer. The late Dr. George Baxter of Vir- 
ginia, then a young man, visited Kentucky in October, 1801, 
and spent a month in attendance on the meetings, and in inter- 
course with the leading clergy.f He afterwards communicated 
an account of what he had witnessed in a letter to his friend 
Dr. Archibald Alexander.^ This letter was published in the 
religious magazines of the day, and attracted considerable 

* Edwards on Revivals, pp. 264, 368. 

+ Jjyle records his preaching' at SRiem Sacrament the last Sabbath of Oct., 
and at Jessamine the 1st Sabbath of Nov., 1801, when "people were tolerably 
lively." Di^ry, pp. 56, nl. 

I This letter was written shortly after his visit to Kentucky, and before the 
results of the revival could be accuratelv traced. Dr. Baxter afterwards changed 
his opinion in regard to many thinjjs of which he at first pronounced a favorable 
judpfment. lie came to the conclusion thnt there was much that was false, 
erratic, and unholy, in the manner of condiictinnf the work ; and it was his inten- 
tion to publisli an explanation of his views, especially when he found the New 
York Evangelist a few years ago republishing his letter, in su[)port of New 
Measures. This intention, which he communicated to Dr. Alexander, was, 
however, defented bv his death. See a letter of the last-named divine in the 
Presbyterian for Sept. 26, 1846. 


attention. From some quarters the position of the writer was 
sharply controverted, and drew forth from him a warm defence. 
The description which he gave of the reformation of manners 
after the deplorable prevalence of vice and infidelity, is very 
striking : 
") " On my way to Kentucky," says Mr. Baxter, " I was informed 
by settlers on the road, that the character of Kentucky travel- 
lers was entirely changed : and that they were now as remark- 
able for sobriety as they had formerly been for dissoluteness 
and immorality. And indeed I found Kentucky, to appearance, 
the most moral place I had ever seen. A profane expression 
was hardly ever heard, A religious awe seemed to pervade the 
country ; and some deistical characters had confessed, that from 
whatever cause the revival might proceed, it made the people 
better. Its influence was not less visible in promoting a 
friendly temper among the people, . . . Some neighborhoods 
visited by the revival were formerly notorious for private ani- 
mosities and contentions ; and many petty lawsuits had com- 
menced on that ground. When the parties in these quarrels 
were impressed with religion, the first thing was to send for 
their antagonists, and it was often very aflfecting to see their 
meeting. They had both seen their faults, and both contended 
they ought to make the acknowledgments, till at last they were 
obliged to request one another to forbear all mention of the past, 
and to receive each other as friends and brothers for the 

Dr. Furman of Charleston, South Carolina, in a letter to Dr. 
Rippon of London, dated Aug. 11th, 1802, expressed his senti- 
ments in regard to the camp-meetings as follows : " I hope the 
direct good obtained from these meetings will much more than 
counterbalance the incidental em7."f 

In June, 1803, Mr. Lyle, who will not be suspected of too 
favorable a bias, was present at a sacramental meeting at 
Paris which was far from being free from the usual extrava- 
gances, and where he delivered a sermon of two hours' length 
upon the subject of order and many praying at once. Yet of an 

* West. Miss. Mag. vol. i, pp. 260, 261. Connecticut Evang. Mag. 180i 
vol. ii. p. 354. 
■f Benedict's Hist, of the Baptists, vol. ii. p. m. 


address he made subsequently he remarks, " I told them what 
satisfaction it gave me to find so many who set out two years ago 
now fervently engaged, &c. Urged them to diligence at home 
and in every walk of life."* 

The venerable David Rice in his " Second Epistle" to the 
Christians, especially to the Presbyterians, of Kentucky, pub- 
lished in 1808, whose testimony is likewise the more weighty on 
account of his open and consistent opposition to the novel mea- 
sures employed, penned this paragraph in the midst of a 
rehearsal of the evils he condemned : " That we had a revival 
of the spirit and power of Christianity amongst us, I did, do, and 
ever shall believe, until I see evidence to the contrary, which I 
have not yet seen ; but we have sadly mismanaged it ; we have 
dashed it down and broken it in pieces. Though I hope 
a number will have reason to bless Godfor it to all eternity, yet we 
have not acted as wise master-builders, who have no need to be 

The opinion of the General Assembly of 1804 is not to be 
disregarded. They say, in the Narrative of the State of Reli- 
gion, that " although through the subtlety of the adversary of 
souls, and the influence of human frailty, some errors, extrava- 
gances, and instances of reproachful behavior, have taken 
place, which the Assembly do sincerely regret, and most une- 
quivocally disapprove and condemn ; yet are they happy to 
learn, and it is a sacred duty, which they owe to the churches 
to announce, that, notwithstanding the malignity with which the 
enemies of religion have studied to misrepresent, and rejoiced 
to exaggerate these undesirable events, they are chiefly con- 
fined to one district of no great extent ; and they are certainly 
very rare, considering the immense region through which this 
work has prevailed, and the vast variety of characters who have 
been its subJects.^^X 

To all this may be added the testimony of Dr. Cleland, in a 
paper prepared by him and published in the Biblical Repertory 
and Princeton Review in 1834. After the lapse of thirty years, 
when he could take a cool and dispassionate review of those 

* Lyle's Diary, p. 131. 
f Bishop's Mem. of Rice, p. 367. 

j Serious Address from the Synod of Kentucky to the Churches under their 
care, 1804, p. 14. 


exciting scenes in which he had himself been an actor, he 
recorded as follows : " The work, at first, was no doubt a glo- 
rious work of the Spirit of God. . . . Many persons within 
my knowledge became hopefully pious, the most of whom con- 
tinue unto the present, and many have fallen asleep in Jesus. 
The number of apostates were much fewer than might be supposed. 
Indeed, when I look back on those times, I greatly wonder that 
there were not ten for one. The Presbyterian Church suffered 
greatly, lost many members, more ministers proportionably, than 
others ; but she continued unconsumed, and was much better 
prepared, by practical knowledge, and dear-bought experience, 
for the next revival than she was before."* 

The sentiments of Mr. Marshall on this subject, recorded in a 
calm moment of retrospective reflection, will not be considered 
as out of place. He says, " While we have no doubt but the revi- 
val was a real, and in some respects, a great work of the Divine 
Spirit, yet it produced, perhaps, much less good fruit than most 
other revivals of the same extent."f 

Mr. McGready's opinion may be worth adding, although it 
detracts much from its weight that he published a " Vindication 
of the Exercises of the Revival," and excused, where he did not 
defend, the falling down and cramp, the shrieks and outcries, 
the boisterous confusion "after worship," the dancing and wheel- 
ing, the smiling and laughing. J But he furnishes also more 
rational and scriptural tests of the genuineness of the work, when 
he states the permanent effects to have been " a deep, rational, 
and scriptural conviction ; a view of the glory, sufficiency, and 
willingness of Christ to save ; a loving, benevolent disposition ; 
a knowledge of Christ and divine things ; and a change in the 
hearts and lives of the genuine subjects of the word."§ 

Finally, the sentiments of the venerable Dr. Alexander, recent- 
ly published, and matured after so long an interval of time, will 
not be read without interest. " Many facts," says he, '• which 
occurred at the close of the revival, were of such a nature, that 
judicious men were fully persuaded that there was much that 
was wrong in the manner of conducting the work, and that an 
erratic and enthusiastic spirit prevailed to a lamentable extent. 

*Bib]. Repert. vol. vi. pp. 337, 341. t Marshall's MSS. 

t Posthumous Works, pp. 461-458. §Posth. Works, p. 453. 


It is not doubted, however, that the Spirit of God was really 
poured out, and that many sincere converts were made, especially 
in the commencement of the revival ; but too much indulgence 
was given to a heated imagination, and too much stress was laid 
on the bodily affections which accompanied the work, as though 
these were supernatural phenomena, intended to arouse the 
attention of a careless worrd. Thus, what was really a bodily 
infirmity, was considered to be a supernatural means of awaken- 
ing and convincing infidels and other irreligious persons. And 
the more these bodily affections were encouraged, the more they 
increased, until at length they assumed the appearance of a for- 
midable nervous disease, which was manifestly contagious, as 
might be proved by many well-attested facts. Some of the dis- 
astrous results of this religious excitement were : 1st. Jl spirit of 
error, which led many, among whom were some Presbyterian 
ministers, who had before maintained a good character, far 
astray. 2d. A spirit of schism. 3d. ^ spirit of wild enthusiasm. 
And the truth is — and it should not be concealed — that the 
general result of this great excitement was an almost total deso- 
lation of the Presbyterian Churches in Kentucky, and part of 6 '** ''^ 

Tennessee.* ^ 

How obvious, on the review of such histories as the preceding, 
is the mixture of imperfection that stains everything human! 
The head may be of gold, but the observant eye cannot fail to 
detect the deterioration of the baser extremities, part of iron and * 

part of clay. Truly is the treasure said to be committed to 
earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may evidently 
be of God and not of man ; and there was deep meaning couched 
under that wise provision of the Mosaic ritual, which required 
an atonement to be made for the very altar. The Church may 
learn, from these lessons of the past, the wisdom of the apostle's 
advice to exercise great caution in the employment of novices ; 
the danger of new measures and fancied improvements ; the 
mischiefs of zeal without knowledge, and enthusiasm without 
order ; the evil of false charity and forbearance ; the duty of 
early resistance to insidious errors, and of crushing the young 
cockatrice in the shell; and the value of firmness and decision 
in the exercise of discipline. 

* Dr. Alexander's Letter to the Editor of the Watchman and Observer, dated 
Sept. 5th, 1846, and republished in the Presbyterian of Sept. 26th, 1846. 



The management of the revival having gradually fallen under 
the complete control of those who proved the enemies of truth 
and order, the dissatisfaction of the orthodox became more and 
more visible, and a division into two clearly defined parties was 
the inevitable result. To these parties were given by the former, 
the names of Revival and Anti-Revival men.* By the latter 
opprobrious title, the enthusiasts stigmatized the friends of ortho- 
doxy, and sought to make them odious in the eyes of the people ; 
nor is it to be denied that to a great extent they succeeded. 
The contagion of enthusiasm is irresistible, and the tumultuous 
multitude are easily carried away by the appearance of zeal. 
They themselves began to be known familiarly by the epithet 
JVeto Lights. 

Mr. Lyle and others at first contented themselves with private 
expostulations with the leaders of the party, and with guarded 
cautions in their public addresses respecting the necessity of 
decorum ; but good Father Rice thought something more decid- 
ed was necessary. Accordingly, at a sacrament at Walnut 
Hill, the first Sabbath of August, 1801, besides " exhorting 
powerfully against noise and false exercise," he invited the 
ministers present to convene at the house of Mr. Crawford, the 
pastor. There he read to them a paper of which mention has 
been made before. But from his views the leaders of the Revi- 
val or New Light party, Messrs. Crawford,! Marshall, Stone, 

• Stuart's Rem. No. IT. W. Presb. Her. vol. vi. No. 23 

fMr. Crawford's death shortly after, in March, 1803, prevented that open 
avowal of his sympathy with the New Lights which he undoubtedly felt. Lyle's 
Diary, p. 15. Stuart's Rem. No. II. W. Presb. Her. vol. vi. No. 23. 



Thompson, Dunlavy, and McNemar, vehemently dissented ; and 
wherever they went, failed not to misrepresent him, and those 
who agreed with him, as opposers of the revival. While the 
sober-minded and judicious were thus more and more alienated, 
they gathered round them all those who were of an enthusiastic 
temperament, who loved to be free from restraint and control, 
and who labored under the delusion that to oppose the extraor- 
dinary and apparently preternatural movements, was to quench 
the Spirit.* 

Meanwhile, the Synod of Kentucky had been erected. The 
first meeting was held, agreeably to the direction of the General 
Assembly, in the Presbyterian Church, in Lexington, on Tuesday, 
October ]Ath, 1802. Mr. Rice preached the opening sermon 
and was immediately after elected Moderator. Mr. Marshall 
was chosen Clerk. The number of members present was thirty, 
of whom seventeen were ministers and thirteen elders. The 
total number of ministers within the bounds was thirty-seven. 
The majority of Transylvania Presbytery were absent, including 
the whole of the Green river ministers. As it may be gratifying 
to some readers to know the individuals who constituted the 
Synod at this period, their names are here recorded. 


Ministers. — Present. — David Rice, Saml. Finley, Matt. Hous- 
ton, Saml. Robertson, Archd. Camei'on. 

Jihsent. — Thomas Craighead, Terah Templin, James Balch, 
James McGready, Wm. Hodge, Jno. Bowman, Wm. McGee, 
Jno. Rankin, Saml. Donald, Wm. Mahon, Saml. McAdow, Jno. 
Howe, James Vance, Jerem. Abel. 

Elders. — Andrew Wallace, James Bigham, Court Voris, 

OF the presbytery of west LEXINGTON. 

Ministers. — Present. — James Crawford, Saml. Shannon, Isaac 
Tull, Robt. Marshall, James Blythe, James Welch, Joseph P. 
Howe, Saml. Rannels, John Lyle, Wm. Robinson. 

Absent. — Barton W. Stone. 

Elders. — James Bell, Robt. Maffet, Malcolm Worley, Wm. 

* Stuart's Rem. No. II. West. Presb. Herald, vol. vi. No. 23. 


Scott, Joseph Walker, Wm. McConnel, Saml. Hayden, Wm. 



Ministers. — Present. — James Kemper, John P. Campbell, 
Riclid. McNemar, John Thompson, Jno. Dunlavy. 
Absent. — John E. Finley, Matt. G. Wallace. 
Elders. — Robt. Gill, Jno. Campbell. 

The Synod was composed of the three Presbyteries of Tran- 
sylvania, West Lexington, and Washington. During the session, 
the Presbytery of Cumberland was set off from Transylvania.* 

At the second meeting of the Synod in Lexington, Sept. 6, 
1803, f several petitions, with sundry other papers, were laid 
before Synod, drawing their attention to the fact that erroneous 
doctrines were promulgated by Messrs. McNemar and Thomp- 
son. The whole subject was brought up for final consideration 
on the review of the records of Washington Presbytery, to 
which they belonged. From the report of the Committee of 
Review, it appears, that the Presbytery had cast under the table 
a petition from Lamme and others, (amounting to eighty in all,) 
inculpating the orthodoxy of Messrs, McNemar and Thompson, 
and had taken no farther notice of it, although involving matters 
of the greatest importance. Even on the supposition that the 
implications were believed to be groundless, it was due to those 
two ministers to give them an opportunity to vindicate their 
characters, and to expose their calumniators. But, on the con- 
trary, so far from taking this correct and constitutional course, 
the case presented a still worse aspect. It appeared that, at a 
former session, McNemar had been convicted upon an orderly 
examination, of holding Arminian tenets, and for this stood con- 
demned on the minutes ; yet, notwithstanding this fact, and the 
petitions against him, the Presbytery allowed a call to be placed 
in his hands.J 

Some discussion arose whether two out of three Presbyte- 

• Minutes of Synod of Ky., vol. i. p. 1-3. \ Min. of Synod, i. 15. 

J Min. of Synod, i. pp. 16, 17, 18. Min. Wash. Pby, pp. 78-81. Synod's 
Circular, p. 15. The apparent inconsistency of the Presbytery's proceedings is 
explained by the fact, tliat at the latter meeting, Mr. McNemar's friends consti- 
tuted the majority. Synod's Circular, p. 18. 


ries, in case of the reprehension of the third, could form a quorum 
to do business; but the question being decided afRrmatively, 
Synod proceeded to consider the matter before them. The 
conclusions they arrived at were as follows : They approved 
the Presbytery's examination of McNemar,* and their publica- 
tion to the churches of the dangerous and unconstitutional char- 
acter of his tenets ; and they pronounced them not orderly, in 
making appointments for him at the same session in which they 
had censured him, in rejecting the petition of Lamme and others, 
and in permitting a call to be issued to Mr. McNemar while he 
lay under a vote of censure. f 

Synod now proposed to enter on an examination and trial of 
Messrs. McNemar and Thompson, agreeably to the prayer of 
the petitioners. On Saturday, pending the discussion, Messrs. 
Marshall, Stone, McNemar, Thompson, and Dunlavy, offered a 
protest against the forementioned decisions in the case of Wash- 
ington Presbytery ; and a declaration that they withdrew from 
the jurisdiction of Synod. The paper was spread on the 
minutes. J 

Messrs. Cameron, Campbell, and Joseph P. Howe, were ap- 
pointed a committee to write to Lamme and his co-petitioners, 
assuring them of the Synod's strict adherence to the Confession 
of Faith, and touching such other points as were necessary. 
Messrs. Rice, Houston, and Welch, to whom was afterwards 
added Joseph P. Howe, were appointed a committee to confer 
with the seceding brethren, and reclaim them.§ 

Aroused to the necessity of more faithfully indoctrinating the 
churches. Synod next appointed Messrs. Blythe, Lyle, and Stu- 
art, a committee to pray leave of the General Assembly to have 
printed, for the use of the West, a thousand copies of Robert 
Aitkin's edition of the Confession of Faith in 1799. In conse- 
quence of this request, a number of copies were subsequently 
sent by the Assembly, and distributed at the price of one dollar 
each; the balance remaining on hand, in 1805, were sold at fifty 

* There were, on this proposition, seventeen ayes to six nays, and one non- 
liquet. The nays were Robert Marshall, James Welch, Barton VV. Stone. Wm. 
Robertson, [or Robinson,] ministers; David Purviance, and Malcolm Worley, 

t Min. of Syn. i. 1 8-22. J Min. of Syn. i. 25. 

§ Min. of Syn. i. 30. 


cents per copy. The Synod also enjoined punctual attention to 
catechizing, especially of the blacks.* 

On Monday, Sept. 12th, the Committee of Conference report- 
ed that the aforesaid seceders would confer with the Synod only 
as a body, and in writing ; to which the Synod refused to ac- 
cede.f The next day, these five individuals came personally 
before Synod, and informed them that they had constituted 
themselves into a separate Presbytery ; whereupon, in view of 
the measures previously taken, and of this open evidence of 
schism, Synod proceeded to suspend them from the office of the 
ministry ; leaving it to the several presbyteries to restore them 
upon satisfactory proof of repentance. Their pulpits were also 
declared vacant. Messrs. Blythe, Lyle, Welch, and Stuart, 
were appointed a committee to draft a circular letter to the 
churches, explanatory of the Synod's actions, and promotive of 
the peace and unity of the Church. Just on the eve of adjourn- 
ment, a letter was received from the suspended members, read, 
and placed on file. It was merely a high-flown panegyric on 
Christian Love. J 

Matters having now come to a crisis, and a separation being 
actually made, the war commenced in earnest. The schismatics 
entered on a course of sleepless activity. The five suspended 
ministers, already highly popular, exerted themselves to the ut- 
most to attract the multitude ; and, appealing to their sympathy 
as persecuted persons, endeavored to convert the censures of the 
Church into so much additional capital in their own favor. A 
torrent of mad enthusiasm swept over the entire territory of 
the Synod, threatening an extensive subversion of truth and 
order. Several tracts and pamphlets were published, breathing 
a spirit of confident exultation, and indulging in the boldest lan- 
guage of anticipated triumph. § Such progress was made, that 
before the end of the year 1804, there were regular societies 
organized on completely democratic principles, at Turtle Creek, 

*Min. ofSyn. i. 31, 49, 72. 

f The vote was twelve nnys to seven yeas ; Yeas — Houston, James Henderson, 
Welsh, Howe, Robinson, Wardlow, McPheeters. Nays — Cameron, Moore, Tull, 
Blythe, Lyle, Stuart, Rannels, John Henderson, Kemper, Bennington, John 
Campbell, Samuel C. Findley. Min. of Syn. i. 34. 

I Alin. of Syn. i. 33-41. It is quoted at length, in Stone's reply to Campbell's 
Strictures, p. 62. 

5 Bishop's Rice, p. 131. 


Eagle Creek, Springfield, Orangedale, Salem, Beaver Creek, 
and Clear Creek, in the State of Ohio; Cabin Creek, Flemings- 
burg, Concord, Cane Ridge, Indian Creek, Bethel, Paint Lick, 
and Shawnee Run, in Kentucky ; besides a great multitude of like 
sentiments dispersed through Tennessee, North Carolina, Vir- 
ginia, and Western Pennsylvania. These persons are described 
by McNemar, as " praying, shouting, jerking, barking, or rolling ; 
dreaming, prophesying, and looking, as through a glass, at the 
infinite glories of Mount Zion, just about to break open upon the 

An extraordinary shower of a reddish hue, readily believed to 
be blood, which fell during the summer in the vicinity of Turtle 
Creek Meeting-House, was eagerly seized on as a convincing 
illustration of the prophecy of Joel, and an additional confirma- 
tion of the approaching advent of the Millennial Glory.f 

That they might forestall public opinion, and justify their pro- 
ceedings in the eyes of the world, the five New Light ministers, 
having associated themselves together under the name of the 
Presbytery of Springfield, lost no time in issuing from the press 
a pamphlet, which they entitled their " Apology." J They now 
stood unequivocally committed in print upon the subject of doc- 
trine as well as of order ; denying the positions of the Confession 
of Faitliin regard to the Divine decrees, the Atonement, and the 
special influences of the Spirit in the production of Faith. They 
maintained that all creeds and Confessions ought to be rejected ; 
and that the Bible alone, without note or comment, should be the 
bond of Christian fellowship. In explanation of their apparent 
inconsistency in organizing a Presbytery, and constituting dis- 
tinct societies, they professed to consider these forms, only 
as oflfering a temporary asylum for those who were cast out, as 
David placed his parents with the King of Moab, " till they 
would know what God would do for them." They regarded the 
Presbytery of Springfield " as providentially formed to cover the 
truth from the impending storm, and check the lawless career of 
opposition." It is sufficiently evident that these misguided men 

* McNemar's Hist, of Rev. p. 69. 

t McNemar, p. 68. 

J An Apolo;:^' for renouncing the jurisdiction of the Synod of Kentucky. 
Printed in Le.xington, 1804. It was reprinted in Virginia and in Georgia. 
McNemar, p. 79. 


had launched upon the uncertain sea of experiment without any 
fixed principles to guide them ; they were all the time in a tran- 
sition-state ; and furnish a pitiable instance of the character 
described so graphically by St. Paul, " ever learning and never 
able to come to the knowledge of the truth." We need not, 
therefore, be surprised to find them deviating more and more 
widely at each remove, and falling at last into the wildest specu- 

The Committee of the Synod were not on their part idle. 
The " Circular Letter,'' from the pen of Mr. Lyle, was published 
contemporaneously with the " Apology ;'^ and furnished to the 
churches an able exposition of the grounds of the Synod's action. 
It consisted of thirty-six pages, 1 8mo., and contained a narrative 
of the late transactions, with copious extracts from the minutes ; 
argued the question of jurisdiction, and set forth the pernicious 
nature of schism. It was a well-written document ; manly, de- 
cided, and perspicuous ; sound in its reasoning ; and fortified by 
apt citations from Stuart's Collection of the Acts of the Church 
of Scotland, the Collection of Confessions, the Forms of Process 
of the Church of Scotland, and the historians Mosheim, Robert- 
son and Dupin.* 

But in order to bring the campaign to a speedy close by a 
brilliant coup de main, and completely unhinge, to borrow their 
favorite phraseology, the brazen gates of Babylon,! an appoint- 
ment was made for a " General Meeting of Christians," seven 
miles below Lexington, at Bethel, (Mr. Marshall's late charge,J) 
early in October, and but a few days previous to the meeting of 
the Synod. It was proposed to come prepared to camp on the 
ground, and to remain several days. The ostensible design of 
the meeting was " to celebrate the Feast of Love, and to unite in 
prayer to God for the outpouring of his Spirit." The place was 

* This familiarity with Scottish authorities at this early period, shows de- 
cisively the reverence cherished by the clergy of Kentucky towards the Mother 
Church ; and how little they would have countenanced the preposterous amalga- 
mation of " Congres;ational-Presbijterums" pretended, by some partisans in the 
late New School controversy, to be tlie distinctive characteristics of American 

t McNemar, p. 79. 

I Mr. Marshall resigned Bethel and Blue Spring Churches as a pastoral 
charge, November 10, 1802, though he appears to have continued to supply tliem 
in 1803. Min. West Lex. Pby., i. 87, 101. 


selected as central to the States of Ohio, Kentucky and Tennes- 
see ; and great expectations were indulged of the triumphant 
results. Although the concourse was not so great as was ex- 
pected, it was sufficiently formidable to justify the apprehensions 
of the friends of Orthodoxy, and stimulate them to alertness.* 

The little pamphlet of a dozen pages which contained this 
invitation, communicated another interesting piece of intelli- 
gence. This was nothing less than the voluntary dissolution of 
the amphibious body, known under the style and title of the 
Springfield Presbytery, after a brief existence of nine months. 
Although by this event, which occurred at Cane Ridge on the 
28th of June, 1804, an important barrier to intercourse with the 
Synod was removed, no good result followed. 

The document was oddly enough entitled, " The Last Will and 
Testament of the Springfeld Presbytery. ^^ It was drawn up with 
due punctilio in the form of a will, with preamble and items, 
and signed and sealed by the members as witnesses. This sorry 
attempt at wit, upon a very serious subject, informed the world, 
that the Presbytery, although, through a gracious Providence, 
being in more than ordinary bodily health, growing in strength 
and size daily, and in perfect soundness and composure of 
mind ; yet, knowing that it is appointed to all delegated bodies 
once to die, and considering that the life of every such body is 
very uncertain, did make and ordain this their last will and 
testament. In this document they abjured their late and every 
similar organization ; renounced the title of Reverend, written 
calls, and salaries by subscription ; affirmed the inherent inde- 
pendence and plenary power of each particular congregation to 
do all ecclesiastical acts, whether of discipline, licensure, or ordi- 
nation ; and acknowledged no other Confession of Faith or 
Directory than the Bible. It was signed by Robert Marshall, 
John Dunlavy, Richard McNemar, B. W. Stone, John Thomp- 
son, and David Purviance, " Witnesses." 

To the "Will" was appended ''The Witnesses^ Address ;'''' in 
which they, with more sobriety, stated the reasons of the step 
they had taken, promised to give the public shortly their views 
on Church Government, and concluded with the invitation to 

* Bishop's Rice, p. 131. 


Bethel already alluded to. Their reasons appear briefly to have 
been these ; that theiy found it difficult to repress a latent feel- 
ing of '^ party ;" that they excited the jealousy of other denomi- 
nations ; and that, as their investigations into the subject of 
Ecclesiastical Polity had at last conducted them to the conclu- 
sion that all such confederacies as Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods, 
and General Assemblies, v^^ere unscriptural, consistency required 
them to disband before they published their sentiments to the 
world.* They, however, gave fair warning that they had no 
idea of stripping themselves of the clerical character, but that 
they would aid the brethren with their counsel when required, 
assist in ordaining elders and pastors, and continue in the exer- 
cise of those functions which belonged to them as ministers of 
the Gospel. f 

Filled with the pleasing dream of an approaching universal 
kingdom, which was to embrace the whole earth, they proposed 
to establish a grand communion, which should agree to unite 
upon the simplest fundamental principles, according to a plan 
drawn up by Rice Haggard, such as, worshipping one God, ac- 
knowledging Jesus Christ as the Saviour, taking the Bible for the 
sole confession of faith, and organizing on the New Testament 
model. To this union of all disciples of Christ, they gave the 
name of " The Christian Church," and would recognize no 
sectarian appellation. Their views were communicated to the 
world in the promised " Observations on Church Government" and 
^' An Address to the different religious societies, on the sacred im- 
port of the Christian name.'"X 

They had not as yet reached the point of intolerance which 
was afterwards incorporated in their system, the denial of infant 
baptism, and of any mode of baptism but immersion. Mr. Stone, 
indeed, had been troubled for several years on the former point ; 
and in January 19th, 1799, had addressed a confidential letter to 
his friend Marshall, suggesting difficulties, and requesting their 
solution, to which he received a long and elaborate reply. § Mr. 

* Last Will and Testament, pp. 7, 8. f Ibid., pp. 9, 10. 

X McNemar only considers it as a setting up again of the fallen Dagon. 
" Having shook off their former reins of government, and having attained but 
little mortification of that pride, natural to man ; and being carried along in a 
high gale of the Spirit, they began to form great imaginations of a universal 
kingdom, in which they vi'ould fill the first rank." p. 88. 

§ Marshall MSS. No. 1, 2. 


Stone's mind, however, was not relieved, and soon after the 
schism he avowed his predilections, and administered baptism 
only to adults, and by immersion. It was agreed in one of their 
conferences, that every one should act, in regard to this subject, 
according to his individual convictions ; and it appears that Mr. 
Stone, although he refused to baptize Mr. Marshall's child him- 
self, was yet in the habit of announcing to his people that on 
such a day they could have their children baptized by such of the 
preachers as had no scruples about the practice.* 

The Presbytery of Springfield, even from the first, when the 
five schismatics withdrew from the jurisdiction of the Synod of 
Kentucky, professed to have no design of setting up a separate 
church, or distinct sect, but only represented their association as 
a temporary asylum.f So far from claiming ecclesiastical au- 
thority, they modestly confessed that they were as far from the 
true foundation as others, and that they felt the need of more 
light and further search into the Scriptures. 

They had not, indeed, advanced so far as to dispense with all 
relics of order, and accordingly w^e find them, in March, 1804, 
examining Malcolm Worley, an elder in the Turtle Creek Church, 
in Ohio, Mr. McNemar's charge, and furnishing him with a writ- 
ten license to preach.J 

The Presbytery were not the sole judges of Mr. Worley's quali- 
fications ; the church of which he was a member conceived them- 
selves likewise called, after the manner of the Independents, to 
examine him as to his theological views, and having declared 
themselves satisfied, encouraged him to exercise his gifts in exhort- 
ing as Providence might direct. The same course was pursued 
in regard to others, and the number of approved exhorters in- 
creased. § 

Mr. Worley's sentiments remind one of the speculations of the 
Gnostics. He maintained that man, since the Fall, possessed 
both a divine and a diabolical nature, the first corresponding to 
the seed of the woman, the latter to the seed of the serpent. That 
Christ, to redeem mankind, assumed this double nature, and his 
whole life was a conflict between these antagonistical principles. 

* Marshall MSS. No. 8. Stone to Marshall, 
■f Apology, p. 20. McNemar, p. 42. 
I McNemar, p. 34. Bishop's Rice, p. 136. 
] McNemar, p. 67. 


That the diabolical nature (which was that which tempted him to 
ambition and presumption, in casting himself down from the pin- 
nacle of the temple) was finally defeated on the cross, whence 
the Second Man arose victorious, having effectually bruised the 
serpent's head. And, lastly, that the thousand years during which, 
according to Scripture, this wicked or diabolical nature was to 
be bound, i. e., suffered to exist, had now expired, and the Spirit 
of God was poured out upon the people, first to reveal, and 
finally to consume it.* 

Such were the wild notions which this deluded man was let 
loose to propagate among the community. While a number of 
prominent New Lights acceded to these views, there were others 
who hesitated, objecting that they led to Universalism, and, by 
removing the motives of hope and fear, encouraged vice ; although 
there were not wanting others who charitably ascribed them to 
a disordered brain. But as all professed to be learners, and to 
exercise independent rights in investigating scriptural mysteries, 
a decision of the subject was deferred for the present, and the 
harmony of the party remained uninterrupted, f 

Such was the posture of affairs when the Synod assembled for 
their annual fall meeting, in October, 1804, at Danville. 

The difficulties with the Cumberland Presbytery, and with Mr. 
Craighead, engaged their attention ; but that we may not inter- 
rupt the thread of the narrative, the consideration of these sub- 
jects shall be reserved for succeeding chapters. 

The Rev. Dr. James Hall,J the Rev. Thomas Marquis, and the 
Rev. Nash Le Grand, appeared before Synod as a Committee 
sent by the General Assembly with a view to heal the recent 
disorders. They proceeded to unfold a plan whereby the ob- 
ject of their mission might be accomplished, in which the Synod 
concurred. Messrs. Marshall, Dunlavy, Stone and Thompson, 
being present, also gave their concurrence. Mr. McNemar was 
not present. Synod then spent some time in prayer for the 
blessing of Heaven on the measure proposed, their devotions 
being led by Messrs. Marquis and Marshall ; after w'hich they 

* McNemar, pp. 51-53. f Ibid. pp. 53, 55. 

X Dr. Hall was from North Carolina. He was appointed by the General As- 
sembly to a mission in the bounds of the Presbytery of Washington ; but having 
declined it, the Synod prayed the Assembly to appoint Mr. Rice in his place. 
Min. of Syn. i. 61. 


appointed Messrs. Rice, Findley, Blythe, Maj. John Campbell, 
and Mr. James Allen, a Committee of Conference to act with 
the Assembly's Committee. The joint committee had an inter- 
view with the dissenting brethren, in which, however, they could 
arrive at no satisfactory conclusion, the one party insisting on 
obedience to the Discipline of the Church, the other pertina- 
ciously repudiating the Confession of Faith as a standard of doc- 
trine and discipline.* 

All attempts at conciliation proving abortive, Messrs. Rice, 
Marquis, Le Grand, Blythe, and Maj. John Campbell, were ap- 
pointed a Committee to draft an Address to the Churches in re- 
gard to the unhappy schism. The Address w^as read and ap- 
proved ; and seven hundred and fifty copies ordered to be printed, 
circulated, and read in the churches. Certain ministers were 
designated, whose duty it should be to read the Address in the 
late charges of the seceding brethren. All which was done ac- 
cordingly.f Appended to the " Serious Address " were the Re- 
port of the Committee of Conference, An Extract from the As- 
sembly's Narrative on the State of Religion, A Letter from the 
Assembly to Mr. Rice — which will be referred to hereafter — and 
a Pastoral Letter from the Assembly. In this letter the Venerable 
Assembly alluded to the unhappy schism, and urged to forbear- 
ance and conciliation ; they deplored the late extravagances and 
bodily contortions; and strongly bore their testimony against 
pretended impulses and revelations from Heaven. " When men 
presume," said the Assembly, " that the Holy Spirit, contrary to 
the established order of Providence, interferes, by particular im- 
pulse, to direct them in all the common affairs of life ; when they 
deem themselves to be impelled by him to particular acts, or par- 
ticular religious exercises, contrary to the established order of the 
Gospel, and the obvious duties of the moment ; when, finally, 
they pretend to miraculous powers, or prophetic influences, and 
the foretelling of future events ; all these are evidences of a wild, 
enthusiastic spirit, and tend, eventually, to destroy the authority 
of the Word of God, as the sole rule of faith and practice." J 

* Min. of Svn. i. 45-49. Report of the Comm. appended to the "SeriouB 
Address," pp. 10-14. 

t Min. of Syn. pp. 57, 65, 74 
I Assembly's Digest, p. 151. 


During the years 1805 and 1806, Messrs. Campbell and Stuart 
were directed by the General Assembly to travel over Northern 
Kentucky, and Messrs. Stuart and Rice over Southern Kentucky, 
with a view to regulate disorders, compose the distracted 
churches, and gather again together the scattered flock. 

The campaign of 1805 opened with spirit on both sides. The 
defection of the Rev. Matthew Houston, pastor of Silver Creek 
and Paint Lick congregations, (originally the charge of the 
lamented Cary Allen,) was calculated to discourage the Ortho- 
dox, and inspire the New Lights with fresh vigor. On the 10th 
of April, Mr, Houston forwarded to the Presbytery of Transyl- 
vania, then in session, a letter, informing them that he had 
relinquished the faith of the Church and declined the authority 
of her judicatories. Hereupon the Presbytery, on mature delib- 
eration, resolved, as they had sufficient evidence in his letter of 
his declinature and schism, and as our discipline does not con- 
template clothing a man with ministerial authority in order 
to propagate his private and schismatic views, that he be sus- 
pended from all the functions of the ministry until he should 
return to order, satisfy the Church of his reformation, and submit 
to its rules and authority. Messrs. Campbell and Findley, who 
were appointed to read this sentence in the congregations of 
Silver Creek and Paint Lick, were also charged with the duty 
of conversing with Mr. Houston, and, if possible, reclaiming him 
from his errors. The duty was fulfilled, but with no beneficial 
result ; and Mr. Houston persisting in his course, he was finally 
deposed on the 2d of October following.* 

Matthew Houston graduated at Liberty Hall about the 
close of the last century. He was not a man of talents, nor a 
close reasoner. He seldom meddled with doctrinal points, but 
indulged in a style of inflammatory declamation. He was a 
fleshy man, of plethoric habit, florid complexion, reddish hair, 
and sanguine temperament. His disposition was jovial to a 
fault. He was utterly destitute of solemnity, always joking and 
keeping everybody round him in a roar, and was never known 
to be serious except when praying or preaching. He was a very 
Boanerges, having a strong clear voice that could be heard at a 
camp-meeting to the distance of a mile. He was animated in 

* Min. of Trans. Pby. vol. iii, pp. 107, 109, 114. 



his action, and labored in preaching till the perspiration oozed 
through his coat. Being naturally enthusiastic, and of very- 
ardent feelings, he produced great emotion in an audience, 
although, as he himself was sensible, it was but evanescent. 

He took a prominent part in the Great Revival, and was cred- 
ulous enough to believe it all genuine. The Exercises abounded 
in his neighborhood, and received his encouragement. The 
Barking Exercise commenced under his auspices, and when his 
protegL-s disturbed the decorum of public worship with their 
ululatory performances, and drew down the merited rebuke of 
the orthodox clergy, he was highly indignant, and denounced 
the interference as interposing hindrances to the progress of the 
work of God. 

Mr. Stone's Letters on the Atonement decided him openly to 
join the New Lights, but the joy his accession gave them was 
soon damped by his quitting their fellowship for the Shakers, 
who made their first appearance in his neighborhood in the spring 
of 1805, and unfortunately he had influence enough to take many 
of his people along with him. He entered into all the fooleries 
of the Shakers, and, pretending to take literally the injunction 
" to become as little children" he would ride about on a hobby- 
horse, and perform other childish tricks. It began, moreover, to 
be whispered that he did not imitate with equal scrupulousness the 
innocence of infancy, and suspicions were afloat unfavorable to 
his moral purity, but this may have been a groundless calumny. 
He was promoted by the Shakers to the station of an elder, and 
occasionally went about preaching. After some time he removed 
to the Shaker village in Ohio, where he still resides.* 

Two champions now stepped into the arena, and attracted all 
eyes by a vigorous war of pamphlets. Early in the Spring of 
180.5, Mr. Stone's *' Letters on the Atonement" made their appear- 
ance, in 3G pages. Dr. John P. Campbell promptly took the 
field, and published " Strictures" on the Letters, in 79 pages. 
To these Mr. Stone in September put forth a " Reply" in 67 
pages ; and in the following year Dr. Campbell rejoined in a 
pamphlet entitled " Vindex, or the Doctrines of the Strictures 
Vindicated," in 154 pages. f 

* For the materials of this biography, the writer is indebted to Mr Stuart, 
Dr. Wilson, and the widow of Mr. Lyle. 

f It will interest the lover of antiquarian morccaux, and may not be deemed 
beneath the notice of an ecclesiastical historian, to observe, that the typography 


The styles of the combatants were as opposite as their 
sentiments. Mr. Stone wrote in a simple, unambitious style, 
totally innocent of rhetorical embellishments, and plain occasion- 
ally to slovenliness. It was suited to the minds he sought to 
reach — the shrewd, though uneducated, mass of the people. He 
wrote as if he meant to be understood, and cared for nothing 
beyond this. The novelty and boldness of his attacks on the 
Confession attracted their admiration ; the startling and plausi- 
ble fallacies which he advanced with an air of specious candor, 
stimulated their curiosity ; the sneers in which he indulged 
against systematic and antiquated dogmas, harmonized with 
their natural love of independence ; and the very coarseness of 
his language conciliated their good will, and made them unsus- 
picious of danger from so frank and unpretending a source. 

The style of Dr. Campbell, on the contrary, was studied, ele- 
gant, and ornate. His argument was close and cogent, and his 
rhetoric was as elaborate as his logic. His sentences moved on 
with stately dignity, and the classical taste could not but be 
captivated with his well-balanced periods. The peroration of 
his Strictures was particularly fine as a splendid piece of decla- 
mation. But these qualities, which in the judgment of critics 
would be worthy of all praise, tended perhaps to diminish the 
effect of his pages, and to excite the prejudices of the jealous 
multitude. His error was that ascribed to the British troops at 
North Point — of not shooting low enough. His elegant sen- 
tences flew over the heads of the people, and failed to make the 
desired impression upon that very class of the community who 
most needed it. In his next production he seemed to have be- 
come aware of the necessity of adopting a less ambitious style, 
and sacrificing the graces to strength ; he fairly descended into 
the ring, and met his antagonist more on his own level, not, 
however, without manifest repugnance and violence to his 
own feelings. There was less rhetoric and more logic. It 
was a triumphant vindication of his own positions, and a wither- 
ing exposure of his opponent's crude opinions, conceited dog- 

of these pamphlets does not indicate a very high state of the art at that period. 
The paper is very coarse and dingy. Mr. Stone's pamphlets were issued from 
the press of Joseph Charless ; Dr. Campbell's from that of Daniel Bradford ; both 
in Lexington. 



matism, uncharitable insinuations, disingenuous artifices, distorted 
quotations, shallow learning, bad grammar, and slovenly style. 

In the course of the controversy, Mr. Stone's heretical views 
were distinctly brought out ; what he himself withheld, or cun- 
ningly concealed under vague or ambiguous language, being 
dragged to the light by his sagacious adversary. When all 
disguises were stripped off, he stood forth evidently convicted 
of occupying Arian, Socinian, and Pelagian ground. 

He denied a Trinity of persons in the Godhead, as unscri plu- 
ral and unintelligible.* He denied the equality of Christ with the 
Father, except in name and office.f On these points he was 
very reserved and obscure, all he allowed himself to say being 
comprised in two short paragraphs. 

He ridiculed the doctrines of the Confession of Faith, in regard 
to the Federal Covenant with Adam ; J the Wrath of God, whom 
he represented as eternal and unchangeable Love, not needing 
to be reconciled to sinners but requiring them to be reconciled 
to him ;§ the Suretyship and Imputed Righteousness of Christ ;|| 
and his paying the Penalty of the Law.TI Christ was a Surety, 
not of men, but of the Covenant, as confirming and attesting 
the truth of God's promises.** 

The Atonement was not Expiatory. It meant agreement or 
reconciliation, as was apparent from its etymology. God and 
the sinner were " at twos," i. e. mutually opposed ; Christ came 
to " at-one" them, i. e. to " make them one.'^ This At-one-ment 
is effected when men become holy, and so conformed to the 
nature of God.ft Atonement, reconciliation, propitiation, 
redemption, ransom, purging, cleansing, regeneration, salva- 
tion, all mean the same thing ; i. e. bringing God and sinners 

Faith and repentance are in the power of the creature, and 
of themselves secure pardon and acceptance.§§ Faith is a mere 
act of the intellect assenting to evidence, and is independent of 
the will. ill! The Jewish sacrifices were not typical of the sa- 

* Letters on Atonement, p. 18. ** Lett. p. 7. 

f Reply to tlic Strictures, p. 20. +t Lett. p. 20. 

\ Lett. p. 4. XX Lett. pp. 21, 25. 

JLett. pp. 5, 21. k Lett. p. 20. Reply, p. 6. 

ll Lett. p. 7. fill Reply, p. 60. 

U Lett. p. 15. 



crifice of Christ ; and the efficacy of both consisted solely in 
producing proper feelings on the part of the worshipper.* Jus- 
tification is the result of personal obedience, or of union by faith 
to Christ, and a consequent participation of his nature which is 
righteousness. " They are justified, made just or righteous, and 
declared so ; because they are so indeed."t 

Dr. Campbell's exposure made a deep impression upon the 
public mind, as Mr. Stone himself seems to have admitted, J and 
the occasional compliments paid to his superior learning and 
talents evince the uneasiness of his adversary. But there was 
one passage which was regarded as peculiarly startling and 
offensive. In speaking of the price of redemption, Mr. Stone 
had employed the following language : 

" It may now be asked if Christ, or God in Christ, redeems 
fi'om the devil and sin, and if he gave his blood as the ransom 
or price, who got the price ? The apostle to the Hebrews, ii. 
14, answers : ' Forasmuch as the children were partakers of 
flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same ; 
that through death he might destroy him that had the power of 
death, that is the devil.' Here we see that the devil had the 
power of death, and he got the price, which was the death of 

" What !" cried Dr. Campbell, warmly expressing his horror 
at these " dreadful words," — " What ! was the blood, the ' pre- 
cious blood ' of Christ given to a foul, abominable fiend ? Was 
God so deeply indebted to the Prince of hell that the richest 
blood in the universe must flow out in payment ? Was the 
Supreme Being so weak, so devoid of resource, so thwarted and 
baffled in his measures, as to be obliged to compound with a 
poor, damned rebel, who is reserved in chains of darkness to the 
judgment of the great day, and pay him such a price for the 
ransom of sinners ? Was the Almighty Father so merciless, so 
lost to tenderness, as to deliver up his own, his only Son, to glut 
the malice of a blood-thirsty demon? Was the innocent Lamb 
of God made a victim, and immolated upon the altar of hell to 

*Lett. p. 31. f Lett. p. 15. 

X Mr. Stone, alluding to the strictures of Dr. C, says : " By your public har- 
angues, and writings on this subject, the preachers and people appear to have 
caught iJ:e same wildness of imagination." Reply, p. 55. 

5 Letter!:, p. 24. 



appease the wrath of the devil ? O sacred God ! how low is 
thy power reduced, how is thy character stigmatized, how is 
thy glory tarnished by such a doctrine ! What a libel on Truth 
and the Cross ! Its worst enemies could wish no more to ren- 
der it contemptible. No feature of infamy could be imposed 
upon Christianity that would make it more disgusting, more 
shocking, more repulsive, than the hideous one we now con- 

" Let not the world, however, think Mr. S. an original in this 
idea — Mr. Morgan had published it before him to expose Chris- 
tianity. ' If the deliverance of mankind from the power and 
dominion of Satan had been by a proper purchase or price of 
redemption paid for them, it seems most reasonable, that the 
price of redemption should be paid to the conqueror, who had 
them in possession, whose prisoners they were, and who there- 
upon pleaded a right to them by conquest, i. e. the DEVIL.' "f 

So deeply was the moral sense of the community shocked by 
Mr. Stone's language, and so glaring was its coincidence with 
that of the Deist above cited, that he felt compelled in his Reply 
to deny unequivocally, that he had ever heard of that author be- 
fore. He appeared to be ashamed of the expression he had used, 
and consented to retract it, and to " eat the dreadful words," 
professing that he would never contend for an expression, if he 
might retain the idea, J 

As the spring had opened with a bud of ill omen, in the defec- 
tion to Shakerism of the first convert made by his Letters on the 
Atonement, the fall amply redeemed the promise of the spring. 
Mr. Stone was deeply mortified at finding himself deserted by 
two of his colleagues, McNemar and Dunlavy, who, as he 
bitterly said, made shipwreck of faith, and turned aside to an old 
woman's fables, broached in New England twenty-five years 
before. § 

It appears that on the intelligence of the strange doings in the 
Kentucky Revival, a deputation of three Shakers, no doubt con- 
sidering it a promising soil, started on a visit of exploration from 
the settlement at New Lebanon, in the State of New York. 

* Strictures, p. 68. f Strictures, p. 69. 

t Reply, pp. 55, 56. McNemar alludes to it also, p. 103. 
{ Reply, Postscript, p. 67. 


They arrived at Paint Lick early in March, and made a success- 
ful commencement with Mr. Houston, whose illumination was so 
rapid that in a month he was ready to renounce his connection 
with the Presbytery.* In April they visited Cane Ridge, and 
were courteously, and even warmly, entertained by Mr. Stone, 
who sent a letter ^^ By friend Bates" to Mr. McNemar.f Coming 
to Ohio, they visited Turtle Creek, near Lebanon, and introduced 
themselves to Malcolm Worley, and through him to Mr. McNe- 
mar, and were permitted, without any impediment, to address 
the congregation on the following day, which was the Sabbath. J 
The door being thus widely thrown open, it is not wonderful that 
Worley, who had been one of the wildest of the New Lights, 
and was hke tinder ready for the spark, became their first 
proselyte ; and by the 23d of May, they numbered thirty or 
forty converts, among whom were the prominent leaders in the 
Revival, with McNemar himself at their head.§ In June they 
came to Eagle Creek, and made a few converts there ; and in 
July succeeded in winning over Dunlavy, with twenty or thirty 
families under his influence. || In August, through the efforts of 
Matthew Houston, Samuel, Henry, and John Bonta, Elisha 
Thomas, and others, they obtained a foothold in the middle 
region of Kentucky ; and a number of families embraced their 
views, and formed a Community near Harrodsburg, in Mercer 
county.^! Another Shaker village was soon found necessary in 
the Green river country, which was joined by Mr. Rankin, and 
to which we shall allude again when we speak of the Cumber- 
land Presbyterian schism. 

It is not to be supposed that the New Lights, now styling 
themselves " Christians" could view these movements without 

* McNemar, p. 74. 

f McNemar, p. 79. " Dost thou not remember," writes Dunlavy in a letter to 
Stone, " telling me, on that same day, that thou wast never so completely swal- 
lowed up with any man as with Issachar Bates, while he opened the testimony 1 
And that thou hadst never heard anything with which thou wast so well pleased, 
or which so perfectly filled thy soul, as the testimony of the Shakers, until they 
came on marriage ? that that was the fii-st thing on which thou didst think them 
lame ? But thou didst not object to that first, but to the doctrine of the resurrec- 
tion? I say, dost thou not remember these things? Concealment before the 
world may stand awhile ; but concealment before God will not avail." Dun- 
lavy's Manifesto, p. 470. 

X McNemar, p. 75. 

\ McNemar, pp. 80, 84. || McNemar, p. 85. IT McNemar, p. 85. 


alarm. Mr. Stone and Mr. Thomson, particularly, denounced 
the Shaker emissaries on all occasions, in letters, by the press 
and at the camp-meetings, as false prophets, liars, and wolves in 
sheep's clothing, snuffing the prey from afar, and come to rend 
and devour.* At a general meeting at Concord in August, six 
of the leaders, Thomson, Marshall, Stone, Purviance, Stockwell 
and Brannon, spoke freely against them in their addresses ; wrhile 
a solemn Council was held, which enjoined total silence upon 
Youngs, McNemar, Dunlavy, and Worley, who were present, 
and burning to exercise their gifts ; thus, as Youngs very 
pointedly remarked, "abusing their own light."t 

Although divided and weakened by these inroads, and com- 
pelled to direct much of their strength to mere self-preservation, 
the New Lights rallied, and made a successful stand.J Under 
the wide wing of Latitudinarianism, they doubtless collected and 
retained many who were more or less orthodox. Of this num- 
ber were Messrs. Marshall and Thomson. With Mr. Stone's 
heresies we have no reason to believe they ever fully sympa- 
thized. They were probably led away by an anti-sectarian 
spirit, and an irrepressible zeal for extensive usefulness, and it 
may be also, they were unconsciously swayed by other motives 
not quite so pure. That Mr. Marshall never denied the Divinity 
of Christ, though he sympathized with Dr. Watts' sentiments on 
the pre-existence of Christ's human soul, the testimony of his 
family is positive, nor is there any evidence to the contrary. A 
note-book of his, containing memoranda from 1804 to 1811, 
exhibits a synopsis of arguments, apparently intended as the heads 
of a sermon, in favor of the Divinity of Christ. Mr. Thomson 
was perhaps not so sound, if we may draw the inference from 
some vague hints of McNemar, from his dancing at the sacrament 
of 1804,§ and from the fact that in the recent schism of 1838, he 
sided with the New School party.|| 

* McNemar, pp. 90, 101. Stone's Reply, P. S., p. 67, Stone's Lottcr in 1806. 

+ McNemar, pp. 92, 93. 

X Stone to Marshall, Marshall MSS. No. 8. 

I McNemar, p. 90. 

II In 1845, the Old School Presbytery of Cravvfordsville (Indiana) made an 
overture of re-union to the New School Presbytery of the same name, (being 
encouraged to do so by some friendly hints on the part of some individual mem- 
bers of the latter.) The action of his Presbytery was anticipated by a bitter and 
pettish review from the pen of Mr. Thomson, in which he took occasion to de- 


The scheme of comprehensive union, however plausible in 
theory, was not found to work well in practice, and the body 
became more and more disorganized. There was a universal 
want of order and agreement, and every one did as was right in 
his own eyes.* Even Mr. Stone admitted the prevailing evils. 
A letter to Mr. Marshall contained the following confession : " T 
see the Christian Churches wrong in many things — they are not 
careful to support preachers — they encourage too many trifling 
preachers — are led away too much by noise, &c."t 

At length Messrs. Marshall and Thomson found their situation 
so uneasy, that they resolved on attempting to extricate them- 
selves. As soon as Mr. Stone discovered this disposition, he ad- 
dressed Mr. Marshall a very wily letter, in which he appealed 
to him, by every motive that he supposed would carry weight 
with it, not to desert him. He offered, if he were himself in the 
way, to retire, and give up the whole ground to them, and let 
them proceed as they might judge best, averring that he had no 
desire to build up a party, but only to preach the Gospel. J After 
much correspondence, extending through several months, these 
two brethren decided to apply to the Synod for re-admission, 
and if denied, to attempt to form a new and orderly organiza- 
tion.§ A pamphlet was issued in their joint names, containing a 

nounce the acts of the Old School Assembly as " in the highest degree uncon- 
stitutional, revolutionary, oppressive, and atrocious ;" and insisted that his party 
could not pass over to the other " without loss of honor and compromise of prin- 
ciple." See Reply of the Committee of Crawfordsville Presby. Presb. Her., July 
3lst, 1845. 

* Thomson to Marshall, Marshall MSS. No. 6. 

f Stone to Marshall, Marshall MSS. No. 8. 

I Marshall MSS. No. 8. 

5 Thomson to Marshall, Marshall MSS. No. 6, 7. Dr. Campbell to Dr. 
Alexander, Prot. and Her. vol. x. No. 37. From this letter it appearsthat Dr. 
C. was not unaware of the difficulties attending a restoration, and was anxious 
to have the opinions of Eastern divines on the subject. He says : " 1. Shall we 
require deep remorse and extreme humiliation ? 2. Or shall we receive them, 
as men who ourselves are weak, fallible and prone to err, without breaking the 
bruised reed or pressing penitence too far ? 3. Must they be ordained again? 
or 4. will it be necessary only to receive them in order to the resuscitation of 
their first ordination ? 5. Will it be necessary to rebaptize those they have bap- 
tized, to re-ordain those they have ordained, &.c. 6. Or will our recognition of 
their original ordination or repentance give legality and character to their bap- 
tisms, ordinations and the like ? — My own opinion is contained in the 2, 4, and 6 
queries, but I wish you to take the opinion of our brethren in your quarter, and 
send it with your own on these questions, as I mean to negotiate with these peo- 
ple as early as possible, respecting a return to our Church. Marshall and 
Thomson are really valuable men, and would be important to us. Should they 



candid confession, and an unequivocal retraction of their errors. 
This they did in preference to shpping back noiselessly into the 
Church ; because, as they had committed a public wrong, they 
deemed it their duty to make as public an atonement.* Mr. Rice 
was not perfectly satisfied of the soundness of all their positions, 
and while he hailed their return, he took the liberty of frankly 
communicating his disapprobation in a letter.f 

The preliminary negotiations, which Dr. Campbell was a main 
agent in conducting,J having terminated auspiciously, on the 12th 
of October, 1811, just eight years after their declining the juris- 
diction of the Synod of Kentucky, Messrs. Marshall and Thom- 
son applied to the same body, by letter, for re-admission. They 
submitted to an examination concerning the doctrines of the 
Trinity, Decrees, Agency of the Spirit in Regeneration, Free- 
dom of the Will, Faith in Jesus Christ, Atonement, and Baptism, 
on all which points they gave orthodox and satisfactory answers, 
unhesitatingly assenting to the Confession and Discipline. They 
explained their conduct in continuing to preach after suspension, 
by a sincere desire to benefit the people who had seceded ; and 
declared their hearty sorrow for it, and their full conviction of 
its evil consequences. The Synod removed the sentence of sus- 
pension, the Rev. Matthew G. Wallace only entering his dissent, 
and directed the Presbyteries of West Lexington and Miami to 
meet in the following month, the first to re-admit and restore Mr. 
Marshall, and the latter to re-admit and restore Mr. Thomson ;§ 
which was accordingly done, and these brethren orderly re- 
stored to the exercise of the functions of the Gospel Ministry in 
the Presbyterian Church.|i Their return was welcomed with 

organize and separate from their quondam brethren, the New Lights, thej' will do 
us more harm than before. Their warmtli united witli sound principles and ^ood 
order, will make them formidable to us at a time when we have a great lack of 

* Thomson to Marshall, Marshall MSS., No. 6. 

t Marshall MSS., No. 9. 

I Campbell's Letter to Marshall, dated April 13, 1811, Marshall MSS. No. 4. 
This letter breathes a delightfully pious spirit, and assures him there will be no 
difficulty, and that there prevails no other than a cordial and friendly feeling. 

h Minutes Syn. Ky., vol. ii. p. 11, 12, 19. 

fl Min. Syn. vol. ii. p. 33. Mr. Marshall was restored, November 13, 1811, 
at a meeting of West Lexington Presbytery called for the purpose, after making 
satisfactory declarations of his views and feelings ; and was immediately ap- 
pointed to supply several vacancies, and in August of the following year, was 
appointed a missionary in their bounds for three months. Min. VV. Lex. Pby., 
vol. ii. pp. 30, 40. 


the most cordial and friendly feelings by the whole Presbyterian 

Mr. Stone was thus doomed to the bitter mortification of see- 
ing the last of his coadjutors desert him, leaving his party 
crippled and dispirited. Two of the original five who withdrew 
from the Synod, had joined the Shakers, together with the first 
proselyte of his Letters ; and now the two remaining, the most 
respectable and influential, left him, to throw themselves again, 
penitently, into the bosom of the Church they had forsaken. 

While the Stoneites (so called from their sole remaining lead- 
er, as before they had been occasionally called Marshallites) 
were thus torn and distracted, the cause of Orthodoxy was re- 
viving. The Synodical Narrative of the State of Religion 
spoke encouragingly. It reported the return of some to the 
bosom of the Church ; increased attention to the means of grace ; 
the marked benefits of catechetical instruction ; and the success 
of missionary efforts conducted by certain members of the 
Synod. The missionary collections amounted to the sum of 

Mr. Stone, at the close of his " Reply" to Dr. Campbell's 
Strictures, had declared his intention never again to enter on 
the field of authorship; J but about nine years after in 1814, 
(the same year in which his great antagonist died,) forgetful 
of his pledge, he published a bulky " Address to the Christian 
Churches in Kerducky, Tennessee^ and Ohio." This was, indeed, 
highly proper in a man who was looked up to as the sole ac- 
knowledged leader of the sect, and who stood to them in the 
relation of a sort of Universal Bishop ; but it drew forth an 
able review from the pen of (Dr.) Thomas Cleland, marked by 
great acuteness, industry, and research. This pamphlet com- 
prised 101 pages, and was entitled " The Socini-Arian Detected" 
in a series of six letters to Mr. Stone. 

As Mr. Stone had formerly been very reserved on the subject 

* Marshall MSS. No. 4. Bishop's Rice, p. 140. 

t Min. Syn. vol. ii. pp. 13, 18. At this meeting the case of Dr. Fishback, a 
disciple of Craighead, was acted on, of which more will be said hereafter. It is 
worthy of note that at so early a period, (181 1,) the Synod sent a petition to 
Congress against carrying the mails on Sabbath days. Dr. Blythe was placed 
at the head of the committee to draft it. p. 14. 

X Reply, p. 66. 


of Christ's equality with the Father, Dr. Campbell had paid 
more attention to his Pelagian views ; but Mr. 8tone having 
now thrown off the mask and argued the question at some 
length, Mr. Cleland properly expended most of his strength up- 
on the former topic to which the first three letters related, while 
the last three treated of the Atonement, the Propitiatory Sacri- 
fice of Christ, Human Depravity, Regeneration, and Faith. 

In this Essay a statement of Mr. Stone was commented upon 
with some pungency. He had declared that his views on the 
subject of the Divinity of Christ had not wavered for twenty 
years. Yet, only sixteen years before, at his ordination by the 
Presbytery of Transylvania, Oct. 4th, 1798, (to say nothing of 
his previous examinations for licensure,) he had expressed his 
sincere approbation of the Confession of Faith, the doctrines of 
which book, on the consubstantiality and equality of Christ 
with the Father, are unequivocal. Thus, on three several oc- 
casions, his licensure by Orange Presbytery, his reception by 
Transylvania, and his ordination as pastor of Cane Ridge and 
Concord Churches, Mr. Stone laid himself open to a serious 
charge of dishonesty.* 

Stung by this attack, Mr. Stone applied to Mr. Marshall for a 
certificate, stating that he had professed at the tims to receive 
the Confession only as far as he saw it was agreeable to the word 
of God, and so could not have deceived the Presbytery, f Mr. 
Marshall's reply was very unsatisfactory. He said that his 
recollection of the circumstances was imperfect, but reminded 
Mr. Stone that he must be aware if the Presbytery had sus- 
pected his entertaining those erroneous opinions, they never 
would have ordained him. They had both held Dr. Watts' 
views on the pre-existence of Christ's human soul, but had never 
been charged on that account with making him a creature onlv. 
With a charitable desire to save Mr. Stone's honesty, he seemed 
willing to believe that his views had changed, and that his vague 
and confused method had led the reviewer innocently to connect 
what should have been separated. He closed with expressing 
his belief that Mr. Stone was in error of the most dangerous 
kind, from which he prayed God to deliver him. J 

* Socini-Arian Detected, p. 36. f Marshall MSS. No. 10. 

J Marshall MSS. No. 11. 


Although Mr. Stone, in his letter, disavowed all intention of 
noticing Dr. Cleland, he again hroke his resolution, and publish- 
ed a justification ; which provoked another pamphlet in turn 
from the reviewer. Dr. Cleland's writings had an extensive 
circulation, and were considered very able and useful.* 

In a second edition of his "Address," in 1821,t Mr. Stone 
referred to the charge of dishonesty ; nnd, to exculpate himself, 
published two certificates, one signed by eight persons and dated 
1818, the other signed by five persons and dated 1821, testify- 
ing that they had heard Mr. Stone teach the pre-existence of' 
the human soul of Jesus Christ, at least twenty years prior to 
date ; and three certificates, signed by six individuals, bearing 
the above dates, testifying that they had been present at Mr. 
Stone's ordination, and had heard him, when asked, " do you re- 
ceive and adopt the Confession ?" except in the following or like 
words, " I do, as far as I see it consistent with the word of God." 
He represented himself as greatly aggrieved by the Presby- 
tery's having omitted to make any record of the exception. J 

After a time rose another Heresiarch, before whose more bril- 
liant star the influence of Mr. Stone's began to wane. This was 
Alexander Campbell, a native of Scotland, and now a resi- 
dent in Bethany, Virginia. He was at one time a Presbyterian 
minister, connected with the Presbytery of Redstone, in West- 
ern Pennsylvania. His motives for entering the ministry, were, 
according to his own subsequent acknowledgment, selfish and 
ambitious ; but in his subsequent career he professed to be 
governed by purer aims, and to be captivated by the liberal and 
anti-sectarian views so popular at the beginning of the present 
century.§ His enemies, indeed, computing the lucrative results 
of his vast editions of his own version of the New Testament, of 
his hymn-books, of his Christian System, and of his monthly Mil- 

* Bishop's Rice, p. 139. 

t Pp. 102, 12tno. J. T. Gavins & Co., Lexington. 

J Address, pp. 32, 33, 34. Dr. B. F. Hall, editor of a Cainpbellite periodical 
in Louisville, has recently endeavored to vindicate the orthodoxy of Mr. Stone ; 
which Dr. Cleland has ably refuted in the Presbyterian Herald, Aug. 13th, 1846. 
Dr. Campbell was also charged with having suggested to Mr. Stone the guarded 
answer at his ordination. P>om an inspection of the minutes, he appears to 
have been absent on that occasion. 

5 See his own account of his religious experience, Prot. and Her. vol. xiii. 
No. 40. 


lennial Harbinger ; to say nothing of his power and fame as the 
founder of a numerous sect, and president of a tiiriving college, 
(the pet project of his latter years ;) have not hesitated to ques- 
tion the purity of his motives. 

He and his father, with their congregations, renounced the 
Presbyterian communion in 1812, an^d joined the Redstone Bap- 
tist Association. Being a man of great natural gifts ; a cool, 
clear head ; a smooth, oily eloquence ; a respectable share of 
learning; considerable knowledge of human nature ; and a keen 
polemical turn ;* he gradually made a number of converts to his 
no-creed views, in the face of strong opposition. In 1823, he 
openly raised his banner, by the publication of a periodical enti- 
tled " The Christian Baptist" . The Ancient Gospel and Order 
were now zealously proclaimed, till the Orthodox Baptist 
Churches, roused to a sense of their danger, began, after the 
year 1827, to disown all fellowship with them. The party were 
thus driven to form themselves into separate Societies. Great 
agitation ensued, and the Baptist Churches were split and divid- 
ed in every direction. Such was the zeal of the Proclaimers, 
that they swept over Virginia, Kentucky, and the western coun- 
try, like a torrent ; whole churches, both of Baptists and Metho- 
dists, occasionally declaring for them ; and their progress has 
been onward ever since, swelling, in less than twenty years, to 
the number of 150,000 members, and upwards. f From a 
pamphlet published by Mr. S. M. Scott, it appears that in the 
State of Kentucky, during the year 1845, there were 380 
churches, 33,830 communicants, 195 preachers, 666 elders, and 

* Mr. Campbell's forte is controversy. He has been a man of war from his 
youth. In 18-20, he had an oral debate with the Rev. Mr. Walker, a Seccder; in 
1823, with Rev. William L. ]McCalla, a Presbyterian, on the mode and subjects of 
Baptism ; and at another time with the late Dr. Obadiah Jennings, of Nashville. 
He has debated publicly with Abner Kneeland,on Atheism ; with Robert Owen, 
of Lanark, on Socialism ; and with Bishop Purcell, on Romanism. His last de- 
bate was with the Rev. Nathan L. Rice, a Presbyterian clergyman, Nov. 15, 1843, 
on Baptism, Spiritual Influence, and Creeds. This was remarkable for its inci- 
dents. Four preachers of note, on each side, were chosen as Associates ; and 
three distinguished gentlemen as Moderators, of whom the lion. Henry Clay was 
P^esiden^ The debate was held in Lexington, and lasted three weeks. Although 
Mr. C. at first affected to despise the youth and abilities of his opponent, the gene- 
ral opinion is, that he sustained a signal defeat. The language of his friends was 
that of apology, not of triumph ; and his manifest loss of temper during the de- 
bate was symptomatic of anything but a consciousness of invincibility. 

f Encycl. Relig. Kn. art. Disciples. Amer. Almanac, for 1845. 


670 deacons. Of the churches, 103 met weekly, G8 semi- 
monthly, 6 tri-monthly, and 92 monthly. 

*' The Ancient Gospel and Order" were, indeed, sufficiently 
simple. " Believe and obey," were its sole terms. " Believe," 
with the eunuch, the scriptural formula, that Jesus Christ is the 
Son of God ; " Obey" the scriptural command to be immersed 
for the remission of sins.* Creeds were discarded as antiquated 
lumber ; the Bible alone was the standard ; all terms not found 
in the Bible, such as the term Trinity, were rejected as scho- 
lastic. There was no Regeneration apart from immersion in 
water. The direct influence of the Holy Ghost upon the heart 
was ridiculed. Remission was obtained in the act of immer- 
sion ; and those who refused it,_ whatever their repentance or 
faith, were still in their sins.f 

The new sect were commonly known as Campbellites, al- 
though they themselves affected the title of Reformers, or 
Reformed Baptists, and spoke of " The Reformation" as if there 
never had been any Reformation before. After some debate 
and wavering between the names "Disciples of Christ" and 
*' Christians," they at last settled down upon the latter and 
acknowledge no other appellation. J Each congregation is 
independent of all others, and no church officer has any author- 
ity out of the congregation which elected him. Preachers are 
not required to profess their belief that they are led by the Holy 
Ghost to seek the ministry. As written creeds are rejected, the 
denial of the proper divinity of Christ is no bar to communion. 
From one-third to one-half the body disbelieve the doctrine. 

* Dr. Baird's Religion in America, p. 252. It is not without some misgivings 
that this judicious and discriminating author classes the Campbellites among the 
Evangelical sects. 

f Mr. Campbell has been for some time considered less heterodox than his 
followers, and he has certainly expressed great dissatisfaction with the hetero- 
geneous Babel of opinions held and preached among them. " We have had," 
says he, (Millen. Harbinger, vol. vi. p. 64,) " a very large portion of this unhap- 
py and mischievous influence to contend with. Every sort of doctrine has been 
proclaimed by almost all sorts of preachers, under the broad banners and with the 
supposed sanction of the begun reformation." He has also been thought to have 
become less bigoted in his views of baptism, admitting that it is possible for an 
unimmersed person to be a Christian ; and whereas he formerly taught that 
without immersion one could neither receive nor enjoy the privileges of a Chris- 
tian, he has, in later editions of his Christian System, omitted the word receive; 
apparently conceding that one may be a Christian, but be destitute of the full 
assurance of the fact. See Debate with Rice, pp. 650, 562. 

J Encycl. of Relig. Kn. art. Disoiples. 


They observe "the breaking of the loaf" every Lord's day, and 
consider a weekly collection as a binding appointment. The 
noble and animated hymn, " Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly 
Dove !" is never permitted to vibrate on their tongues, because 
they deny that the Spirit is a personal agent or anything more 
than a mere influence ; and they sing, '• Since I can read my title 
clear," instead of " When I can read my title clear," because a 
believer who has been immersed can have no doubt of his title. 
They sing standing up ; and during the exercise are in the habit 
of shaking hands with all around them, with much apparent 
warmth and friendliness ; thus giving the idea of their greatly 
enjoying religion, and being a company of very happy Chris- 
tians. Professing to be liberal, they are a bitter anti-sectarian 
sect ; and while they denounce all others in unmeasured terms, 
none come in for a fiercer share of their hostility than the Pres- 

With so many points of coincidence between the Campbellites 
and the Stoneites, it is not wonderful that they should in process 
of time have amalgamated. This union was effected in 1831, in 
a solemn conference, wherein they discovered, notwithstanding 
Mr. Stone's Arian views, that they stood on the same foundation, 
(the New Testament, apart from creeds ;) wore the same name ; 
and ought to constitute the same family. Messrs. Smith and 
Rogers were sent forth to travel among the churches in order 
to consolidate the union.* Since that time they have formed 
one body ; or rather, the Stoneites have been absorbed in the 
Campbellites, and, as a body, have become extinct. As their 
leader has recently deceased, even that feeble bond of union has 
been dissolved.f 

* Stone's Christian Messenger, for Jan., 1832. 

f Mr. Campbell boasted, in his debate with Mr. Rice, tliat he had accom- 
plished what the Presbyterians had failed to achieve — extinction of New Liffht- 
ism. His aim was " to save some of those speculators," the honest and candid ; 
and " to paralyze and silence" the uncandid. " Whither," ho asked, " has fled 
the New Lightism of former diys? How long will its speculations be remem- 
bered, that floated on the winds of thirty years ? Presbyterians, and all the 
other parties in tlie field, could not dispose of it, till the pleaders for the Refor- 
mation arose in the length and breadth of the land." Debate, p. 8G5. Some of 
those who had formerly been New Jiights, were highly disjileased with these re- 
presentations, as doing injustice to Mr. Stone, and wrote Mr. C. a letter, which 
was published in the Harbinger, affirming that they had come in on terms of 
perfect equality and union, and that neither considered the other party as holding 
speculations " of a damning character," or " subversive of Christian faith and 


Barton W. Stone came to Kentucky in 1797, as a licentiate 
from the Presbytery of Orange, North Carolina. He was or- 
dained in the following year, pastor of Cane Ridge and Concord 
Churches. lie was a man of placid mien, great suavity of man- 
ners, very insinuating, plausible, and intriguing; and thence 
acquired considerable influence. Although his talents were but 
moderate, and his learning not above mediocrity, he was a popu- 
lar preacher. His style was not alarming, but persuasive.* 
His mind appears to have been very unstable in regard to doc- 
trinal points. In 1799, a year after his ordination, we find him 
troubled with difliculties about Infant Baptism, and seeking a 
solution confidentially from Mr. Marshall. f He early imbibed 
Arminian tenets, and had Arian tendencies also, but kept them 
better concealed from public suspicion. J Dr. Campbell was of 
opinion, from documents in his possession, that it was Mr. 
Craighead who first seduced him, as well as Houston, into error : 
that Stone then led astray McNemar ; and McNemar, Dunlavy.§ 

His first mistake was, like other enthusiasts, to make his feel- 
ings a criterion of truth. He rejected the sovereignty of God 
in Election, because it was repugnant to his benevolence.|l He 
decided against Calvinism, because, on a comparison of the spirit 
in him with the word of truth, he could not doubt that it was 
the spirit of truth.U In one of his solitary walks, reflecting on 
the words of Christ to Peter, his soul was filled with an indescri- 
bable rapture ; he sank into God, and was fully relieved, living 
for months in a heaven of love, without a doubt, cloud, or fear.** 
Thus he allowed himself to be deluded by raptures which are 
known to proceed sometimes from false views of religion, and 
which, so far from proving the soundness of any given position, 
may only result from a deceived heart ; like those of the Fakirs 
of India, and the Romish devotee before a crucifix. Scriptural 

practice." Prot. and Herald, for Sept. 12, 1844. In a society which indis- 
criminately admitted Calvinists and Arminians, Arians, Socinians, Universal- 
ists, and even MateriaUsts, the above discrepancy is not surprising. Debate, 
p. 856. 

* For the sketch of Mr. Stone, the writer is largely indebted to Mr. Stuart. 

t Marshall MSS. No. 1. 

i Cleland's Socini-Arian Detected, p. 36. 

^ Campbell's Letter to Dr. Alexander, Jan. 10, 1811. Prot. and Herald, Aug. 
12, 1841. 

II Reply, p. 4. H Reply, p. 6. ** Reply, p. 5. 


and proper views of God rather appear to produce effects the 
contrary of vohiptuous ecstacies, as in the cases of Abraham, 
Jacob, Job, Isaiah, Daniel, and John, who were overwhelmed 
with a holy dread of the Divine majesty, and fainted away before 
it. In the state of awful confusion into which Mr. Stone's mind 
was plunged by his inward conflicts, he paid a visit to the lower 
part of the State, and witnessed the wonders of the Green river 
Revival. His passions again misled his judgment ; he " knew 
the voice and felt the power," and returned home fully satisfied 
of the correctness of his views.* 

A pitiable spectacle is here presented, of a man who after- 
ward aspired to head a formidable schism, tossed for a series of 
years on the fluctuating sea of doubt ; at one time satisfied, at 
another hesitating ; now sunk in the blackest gloom, again exult- 
ng in ineffable transports ; nothing fixed, nothing solid, nothing 

In the Great Revival, JMr. Stone was conspicuous. He em- 
braced an early opportunity to promulgate his peculiar views, 
which he styled " the true and new Gospel," and was foremost 
in encouraging the extravagances of the times.-f The Falling 
Exercise seems to have begun in Northern Kentucky, in his con- 
gregation at Cane Ridge. In all the affairs connected with the 
schism, the organization of Springfield Presbytery, and the sub- 
sequent formation of societies, known under the various names of 
New Lights, Christians, Arians, Marshallites, and Stoneites, he 
was the leading spirit, until they were merged in the all-embracing 
vortex of Campbelhsm, in 1831. The desertion of Houston, 
McNemar, and Dunlavy to the Shakers, and the return of Marshall 
and Thomson to the Synod, gave his cause a death-blow from 
which it never recovered. Unable to maintain a flourishing so- 
ciety permanently in any one place, he frequently changed his resi- 
dence, and the scene of his operations, till at last, shorn of that 
influence and popularity which had formerly attracted thousands 
and elated his heart with vanity, he died in Indiana, in 1844, a 
melancholy beacon to unstable and schismatical spirits. 

Richard McNemar emigrated to Ohio from Western Penn- 
sylvania, about the year 1801, and was settled over Cabin Creek 

♦Reply, p. 6. f Lyle's Diar}', pp. 1, 21, 127. 


congregation, above Maysville. He was of a sprightly, active, 
and enthusiastic turn ; an agreeable address, a prepossessing 
appearance, and respectable natural parts, but of weak judgment. 
He was a portly, fine-looking man, tall and erect, six feet high, 
and of a stout frame. He was a popular declamatory preacher, 
warm, animated, lively in desultory exhortation, and apparently 
sincere. He spoke and sang with all his heart. Ecstatic joy 
sometimes shone in his whole face. He became a leading man, 
and a general favorite. There was an aflfectation of sanctity in 
his manners which was very captivating with the multitude, who 
are easily carried away by such appearances. He would take 
off his shoes on ascending the pulpit or the stand, saying it was 
holy ground. He encouraged the Jerks, and did all in his power 
to stimulate the excitement to its height. 

He imbibed the sentiments of Marshall and Stone, and preach- 
ed the New Gospel with zeal. His irregularities having been 
brought before the Presbytery of Washington, through the 
agency of John Robb, an orthodox elder of his church, and a 
complaint signed by eighty individuals, he became one of the five 
who disowned the jurisdiction of Synod, and constituted the 
independent Presbytery of Springfield. On its dissolution, Mr. 
McNemar was active in forming the New Light or Christian 
connection ; till in May, 1805, the Shakers made an easy con- 
quest of him, and thirty or forty of his prominent parishioners. 
He soon after published his Account of the Kentucky Revival, 
and its attainment of perfection in Shakerism. The closing 
paragraph of this vivacious history is amusing, (p. 104.) "O 
my Richard, (adds Barton,) shall I ever rejoice over you as a 
penitent prodigal V *' Now, (replies Richard,) if ever : I have 
just returned from feeding the swine, confessed my sins, been 
completely stripped, and clad with a suit completely new. The 
door has been opened into my Father's house, and I have enter- 
ed, to go out no more. Now the family begins to be merry, and 
the elder son to wonder what it means, willing to get news from 
the meanest scullion. Don't you hear that it is MUSIC and 
DANCING ? And is not the Father entreating you to come in ? 

" Then — Brother cast your anger off, and every passion bury ; 

Come in and share the fatted calf, and let us all be merry. 

Will you grieve about a kid, when the calf is killed, 

If you come in when you arc bid, you may yet be filled." 


This doggerel appears to be of McNemar's own composition, as 
well as some other strains commemorative of the historic scenes 
he was describing in prose, fairly entitling him to the post of the 
Shaker Asaph. 

" Five preachers formed a body, in eighteen hundred three, 
From Antichrist's false systems to set the people free : 
His doctrine and his worship in pieces they did tear, 
But ere the scene was ended, these men became a snare. 

* * « * « 

In their Last Will and Testament thoy published a decree, 
For Christians in Ohio, Kentuck' and Tennessee, 
To meet the next October, and swell the solemn prayer — 
' Thy kingdom come, Lord Jesus, thy kingdom enter here !' 

The meeting was observed, the solemn prayer was made ; 
They waited for an answer, which was not long delay'd ; 
Tlie precious seed of Canaan, long growing in the east, 
Was planted in Ohio, ere the next April feast. 

The long expected kingdom at length began to spring, 
Which to many has appeared a strange mysterious thing : 
But we'll trace it through that summer, the hottest scene of all, 
And try to find its fruit in the next ensuing fall." 

Mr. McNemar took up his residence at Union, a Shaker vil- 
lage near Lebanon, in Ohio, where he yet lives, with Mr. Hous- 
ton. He has been known occasionally, of late years, to find his 
way into his old friend Dr. Wilson's church, and to express 
himself gratified with the Doctor's discourses. 

John Dunlavy was from Western Pennsylvania; and after 
teaching a school for some time in Kentucky, he removed to Ohio, 
and finally was settled as pastor of the Eagle Creek congrega- 
tion, between Ripley and West Union. He was the exact 
opposite of Mr. McNemar, by whose influence, however, he was 
led astray. He was one of the most gloomy, reserved, and 
saturnine men that ever lived ; his soul seemed to be in harmony 
with no one lively or social feeling, and the groans which he 
continually uttered drove away all pleasure in his company. He 
was above the middle stature, and well proportioned, but of 
swarthy complexion and dark, forbidding countenance. His 
manners were coarse, rough, and repulsive. His talents were 


not above mediocrity; his knowledge was superficial; he was 
never regarded as a leading or influential man, nor was he a 
popular preacher. His favorite topics were those of terror, not 


He followed McNemar through all his vagaries, till they botti 
landed in Shakerism. Fired with a passion for authorship, he 
published at the Shaker village of Pleasant Hill, in Kentucky, 
in 1813, a dull and heavy octavo of 520 pages, entitled, "The 
Manifesto, or a Declaration of the doctrines and practice of the 
Church of Christ ;" designed as an exposition and defence of the 
peculiarities of Shakerism, of which he professed to grow more 
and more enamored. Mr. Dunlavy died several years ago at 



Unlike the still small voice, or the softly flowing waters of 
^iloa, the Great Revival of 1800 rather resembled the whirlwind, 
the earthquake, the impetuous torrent, whose track was marked 
by violence and desolation. While numbers in the northern and 
central portions of Kentucky were running into the vagaries of 
the New Lights, or rushing from one extreme of wild extrava- 
gance to the other of Shaker mysticism, the south-western portion 
witnessed the gradual maturing of preparations for similar delu- 
sions, and a more permanent schism. This region, watered by 
Green and Cumberland rivers, was thence known sometimes as 
the Green river country, by which appellation it is still fami- 
liarly designated ; sometimes as the Cumberland Settlements ; 
which latter circumstance gave a name to the Presbytery, and 
afterward to the sect of which we are now to treat. 

The commencement of the Revival, under the energetic labors 
and terrific preaching of Mr. McGready, in 1799, has already 
been described.* Suffice it, therefore, to say in this place, that so 
far from subsiding like a meteor-flash, it grew in intensity and 
strength, and spread far and wide. Camp-meetings, of which the 
first was a{)pointed by Mr. McGready at Gasper river Church, 
in 1800, became a popular movement, and were repeated in Ten- 
nessee, the then North- Western Territory, and the Carolinas. 
They were accompanied by all the fervor, noise and disorder 
which an amalgamation with the Methodists was hkely to pro- 
duce. At no time, however, did the plan receive the sanction of 
more than five of the ministers in this region, Messrs. McGready, 

• See Chap. V. 


Hodge, William McGee, Mc Adow, and John Rankin. The other 
ministers were either unfriendly to the Revival or opposed to the 
mode in which it was conducted. Among the latter Mr. Craig- 
head and Mr. Balch stood prominent.* 

The demand for preaching soon exceeded the ability of the or- 
dained ministers to supply it, and it was judged expedient to have 
a few intelligent and zealous laymen selected, and licensed as 
catechists and travelling exhorters, in accordance with the usage 
of the Presbytery of Transylvania, from its origin, as has been 
shown at large in a preceding chapter. The suggestion is said 
to have first emanated from Mr. Rice, who was impressed, while 
attending a sacramental meeting in those parts, with the neces- 
sity of some such measure. f Accordingly, at a meeting of Tran- 
sylvania Presbytery, at Muddy river Church, October 9th, 1801, 
four men, Alexander Anderson, Finis Ewing, Samuel King, and 
Ephraim McClain, by the advice of the revival ministers, ofiered 
themselves to the Presbytery for the service of the Church- 
These were men somewhat advanced in life, with families, desti- 
tute of collegiate education, but described as intelligent, zealous, 
and desirous to preach. One of them, Ewing, was an elder. J It 
was not till after warm opposition, and protracted discussion, that 
permission was granted them to read privately to Mr. Rice the 
discourses which they had prepared for the occasion ; but on his 
reporting favorably, the Presbytery agreed to appoint said men 
to the business of exhortation and catechizing in vacant congre- 
gations, and directed them to prepare discourses on subjects as- 

* Smith's Hist, of the Cnmb. Presb. Church, pp. 571, 580. Mr. Smith was 
Stated Clerk of the C. P. Generiil Assembly, and editor of the C. P. newspaper. 
He published a volume of Mr. MrGready's sermons, with a biographical sketch. 
The C. P. newspaper contained al.-o several caustic essays from his pen on Dr. 
Cleland's article in the Biblical Repertory, 1834, to which Dr. Clelaud replied in 
the snme paper. 

f Sniitii, jip. 580, 675. The same information was communicated to the au- 
thor by Mr. Stuart. 

J Min. Trans. Pby., vol. iii. p. 64. 

(. Min. jrans. Pby., vol. iii. p. 36. Synod's "Brief History" of the Cumber- 
land Frcsbytcrians, written by Dr. Cleland, and printed by Thomas T. Skillman, 
Lexington, 1823, p. 4. Smith, p. £82. Mr. Smith vindicates at some length the 
courte pursued, on the ground tl:rt Eastern men, and educated missioi;- ries, 
■wouid 1)6 formal, dry, unacquaindd with human nature, and incapable of endur- 
ing irivation and fatigue. But now, that the country is no longer frontier, he 
applauds the Manual I.abor College iit Princeton, Kentucky, as combininglearn- 
ing with other qualitications. pp. £83-685. 


At the next stated meeting, April 13, 1802, at Beaver Creek 
Church, in Barren county, Anderson, Ewing and King read the 
pieces assigned them, and, after a warm debate, Anderson was 
directed to prepare a sermon on Luke xiii. 24, as a trial specimen. 
This was carried by a majority of only one vote. By the same 
lean majority the rest — Ewing, King and McClain — were not 
received as candidates for the ministry, but were permitted to 
continue as catechists.* It is also worthy of note, that the Rev, 
Jeremiah Abel, of the Republican Methodist Society, applied for 
admission on this occasion, and, after reference to a committee, 
was received. Whether he consented to adopt the Confession or 
not is not stated. f 

The next stated meeting was held at Spring Hill, October 5th. 
There were eight ministers^ and eight elders present, all from 
the adjoining region, besides seven other individuals who took 
their seats as "Representatives" of their respective congrega- 
tions, having produced certificates of their appointment as such. 
Whether they were elders, or only lay commissioners, we have 
no means of ascertaining. § 

The lower members now had everything under their own 
control. With the exception of a called meeting to ordain Mr. 
Robertson, at New Providence, they had not permitted a single 
meeting out of their own bounds for the space of a year ; and it 
was with a view, no doubt, to the maintenance of their ascend- 
ency that the last adjournment had been made to a spot still 
farther to the south-west. The great body of the Presbytery, 
being so far removed from the seat of operations, found it ex- 
tremely inconvenient to attend. |j 

* Min. Trans. Pby, vol. iii. pp. 49, 53. Smith, pp. 582, 675. 

f Min. Trans. I'by. vol. iii. p. 46. At this meeting the Rev. John Bowman 
was received fromGreenville Pby. ; John Rankin, a licentiate from Orange Pby., 
was taken under their care, afterwards ordained over Gasper river congregation, 
July :i Uh; Joseph Lapsley was received as a candidate, in the regular way ; and 
John Hodge was licensed to preach. 

I Messrs. Craighead, Balch, Horlge, McGready, McGee, Donnell, Rankin and 
Bowman. Min. Trans. Pby. vol. iii. p. 55. 

5 Dr. Cloland, in his " Brief History," makes no remarks upon the circum- 
stance, from which we may presume that they were regular delegates. Mr. 
Smith, however, seems to speak of them as a distinct class. The council formed 
afterwards, he describes as " consisting of the ministers, elders, and representa- 
tives from vacancies," &.c., p. 614. 

II Brief Hist. p. 5. Min. Trans. Pby. vol. iii. pp. 38, 43, 54, 55. It is observ- 
able that Mr. Smith is silent on the subject of the places which the Presbytery 
selected for meeting, and of the clashing of the appointments of the Presbytery 
and the Synod. 


There is another circumstance to be taken into view, and not 
even charity can vindicate it, except on the score of an ignorance 
itself culpable. The day to which they had adjourned was but 
about a week previous to that appointed by the General Assem- 
bly for so important an occasion as the first meeting of the Synod 
of Kentucky, at Lexington, nearly two hundred miles distant. 
This serves both to explain the absence of all the members from 
the upper counties, whose attendance was necessary to make up 
a constitutional quorum for the Synod, and also to explain the 
apparent tardiness of the Synod in arresting the irregular pro- 
ceedings of which we are about to speak. The distance of the 
points, and the shortness of the time, precluded all communication. 
In fact, the Synod neither had an opportunity of seeing the records 
nor hearing of the disorders ; and it was in total ignorance of the 
necessity of interference that Synod, at this meeting, in view of 
the manifest convenience of the measure, divided Transylvaain 
Presbytery, and constituted out of the lower portion a new Pres- 
bytery, by the name of Cumberland.* 

These facts should be carefully noted, because it has been pre- 
tended that it was Transylvania Presbytery that was alone an- 
swerable for the licensure of the four catechists, the measure 
having been adopted, under its sanction, by a large majority, be- 
fore the Cumberland Presbytery had a being. f This must be 
regarded as a mere verbal quibble and disingenuous subterfuge : 
because it is obvious that there was not a single member of Tran- 
sylvania present, except those very individuals who soon after- 
ward constituted the Presbytery of Cumberland ; and virtually, 
therefore, they alone must be regarded as the accountable party. 

Several petitions being offered from Rockbridge, Sharon, and 
other societies, importunately praying for the licensure of the four 

* This was done " upon application;" by whom, it is not stated ; probably by 
the upper members. The new Presbytery was to embrace " the members lying 
on the south side of a line drawn along Big Barren river to the mouth, and from 
thence to the mouth of Salt river." Mr. Craighead was to preach the opening 
sermon. Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 3. 

At this meeting the Synod, feeling inadequate to supply the vast frontier be- 
yond with missionaries, called the attention of the General Assembly to the sub- 
ject, as the proper channel whence such supplies were to be expected. Min. 
Syn. vol. i. p. 10. The Assembly had already, at their meeting in May, (1802,) 
appointed a Standing Committee on Missions, by v^hcm six missionaries weso 
sent forth the first year. Digest, p. 370. 

f See " Reply to a Pastoral Letter of West. Tennessee Pby.," cited in the 
" Brief Hist.," p. 5. Smith, p. 600. 


catechists — Anderson, Ewing, McClain and King — and their 
labors being represented as highly acceptable, and marked with 
the Divine blessing, the Presbytery proceeded to examine them, 
with a view to that object. These examinations were confined 
to experimental religion ; the evidences of their call to the minis- 
try ; divinity ; and the delivery by each of a discourse. The 
languages and sciences were omitted. They expressed their 
willingness to receive and adopt the Confession of Faith of the 
Church, with a single exception, but that exception was very sig- 
nificant. They professed to believe that the idea of Fatality was 
there taught, under the high and mysterious doctrines of Election 
and Reprobation, and objected accordingly. The Presbytery, 
notwithstanding, by the large vote of seventeen to five, proceeded 
to license them, with the exception of McClain. Messrs. Dicky 
and Wilson were examined and licensed at the same time, in the 
ordinary way.* 

From this act of the majority Craighead, Donnell and Balch, 
with the two elders, Messrs. Goodwin and Hannah, entered their 
dissent on the Minutes, as related to Ewing and King; because 
they had been rejected at the last session as candidates ; because 
petitions tending to bias the minds of the members ought not to 
have been received ; because their trials were altogether insuffi- 
cient ; because they were destitute of classical learning ; and 
because they discovered no such extraordinary talents as to jus- 
tify the measure. It is remarkable that this Dissent breathes not 
a syllable about the much more important doctrinal errors which 
these men entertained, as exhibited in their wresting to an odious 
meaning the terms of the Confession. Could it be that it was 
considered as a harmless misrepresentation, or was the silence 

* The record in the case of the three irregular licentiates was as follows : 
" Messrs. Alexander Anderson, Finis Ewing and Samuel King being taken un- 
der the care of Presb. at our last fall session as catechists, and then licensed to 
exhort and catechize in our vacancies, and as their labors were attended with a 
Divine blessing, as Presb. have reason to believe, and being universally accept- 
able to our vacancies — several petitions having come forward fror.-. many of our 
vacancies, earnestly and importunately praying Presb. to license them to preach 
the Gospel — Presb., after mature deliberation, considered this matter as coming 
under the view of that e.\traordinary exception in the Book of Disciphne, ex- 
amined them on their experimental acquaintance with religion, the evidences of 
their call to the ministry, and examined them >ipon their knowledge in divinity — 
in which trials Presb. received satisfaction, and licensed them to preach the Gos- 
pel." Min. Trans. Presb., vol. iii. p. 60. The exception to the Confession of 
Faith is not entered on the Minutes, but is mentioned by Smith, p. 582. 


to be ascribed to a secret sympathy with heresy, ere long about 
to avow itself? 

The Presbytery completed their work by receiving Ephraim 
McClain, after his repeated rejections, as a candidate for the 
ministry, and licensing three more exhorters : Lawrence Robi- 
son, Robert Bell and James Farr. James Hawe, a Republican 
Methodist preacher, and a violent denouncer of Presbyterian- 
ism, both from the pulpit and the press, applied for^admission^ 
and was "cordially received."* There is no evidence of his ex- 
amination or recantation, to say nothing of the irregularity of re- 
ceiving so cordially a person from a connection not in corre- 
spondence with the Presbyterian body. We shall again meet 
him as Moderator of the Presbytery of Cumberland before the 
commission of Synod. 

Having appointed Saturday, October 30th, as a day of public 
thanksgiving throughout the churches, in token of gratitude to 
the Supreme Being for the refreshing season vouchsafed, and for 
sending out laborers into the vineyard, the Presbytery adjourned. f 

Nothing of interest occurred till the 5th of April, 1803, when 
the new Cumberland Presbytery held their first meeting, at the 
Ridge Church, Mr. Craighead presiding. It was composed of the 
following ten ministers, divided into two parties, equally balanced,, 
viz : James McGready, William Hodge, William McGee, John 
Rankin, Samuel McAdow, known as the Revival Party ; Thomas 
B. Craighead, Terah Templin, John Bowman, Samuel Donnell, 
James Balch, called the Anti-Revival party. 

These parties were distinctly marked, and held no intercourse 
with each other, except when thrown together at the ecclesiasti- 
cal meetings. Neither party, however, was strictly homoge- 
neous. McGready and Hodge, though in their fiery zeal they 
trampled on order, yet professed to be Calvinists ; while their 
associates, Rankin, McGee, and the whole troop of exhorters, 
were as decidedly Arminian. On the other hand, Craighead, 
though a man of brilliant talents, and a staunch champion for dis- 
cipline and order, made no pretensions to rigid orthodoxy, and 
his Pelagian sentiments were no secret. Bowman, although he 
voted on the orthodox side, was accused of being a Stoneite ; 

* Mill. Trans. Pby., vol. iii. p. 60. Brief Hist. p. 6.. 
t Min. Trans. Pby., vol. iii. p. 60. 


and was afterwards, indeed, (April 5, 1810,) suspended by the 
Presbytery of Transylvania, for refusing to appear and answer 
to a charge of heresy and schism. As for Mc Adow, Templin and 
Donnell, they were neither qualified by nature or education to be 
conspicuous or influential.* 

At this first meeting the Cumberland Presbytery licensed four 
additional catechists. Mr. Anderson was directed to prepare 
for ordination, which took place in May following at Shiloh.f 

The majority carried out their plans with unabated vigor, and 
with a high hand. On petitions from Spring Creek, McAdow, 
and Clarksville congregations, they proceeded to ordain Finis 
Ewing in November. The minority, though there is no record 
of their disapprobation at the time, afterwards, (April 3, 1804,) 
objected to his taking his seat as being illegally ordained ; but 
they were overruled.^ Illiterate exhorters, with Arminian sen- 
timents were multiplied, till they soon numbered seventeen.^ 
They were directed to exercise themselves in composition on 
subjects of their own selection, and show their pieces to the 
nearest minister convenient. Some were received as candi- 
dates on delivering a single discourse, as a specimen of their 
abilities. Of none, whether licensed or ordained, was it required 
to adopt the Confession of Faith, save so far only as they believed 
it to agree with the word of God. The Exhorters, burning with 
zeal, travelled incessantly through the vacant congregations upon 
their "circuits," (a device borrowed from the Methodists two 
years before,) exhorting without the formality of a text. The 
churches were directed to contribute to their pecuniary support. 
Their labors were very successful, and in the language of their 
apologists, the desert blossomed as the rose. A number of 
" Young Societies" were organized, and furnished with elders ; 
and beyond doubt, unless this process had being speedily checked, 
the result would have been to estabUsh a very undesirable as- 
cendency in the Synod.|| 

Through the agency of Mr. Rice, these matters were brought 
to the notice of the General Assembly, meeting in Philadelphia, 

* Smith, pp. 594. 597, 598, 636. Lyle's Missionary Tour in the bounds of 
Cumberland Pby. (MSS.) pp. 7, 54, 55. 

t Smith, p. 594. J Smith, p. 595. \ Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 71. 

II Smith, pp. 586, 620. Brief Hist. pp. 7, 8. 


in the month of May. Mr. Rice had addressed a letter to that 
venerable body, by direction of the Presbytery of Transylvania, 
requesting advice and direction on the delicate point of licensing 
men to preach without a liberal education. Their reply was in 
substance as follows : 

A liberal education, though not absolutely essential, has been 
shown to be highly important and useful, from reason, experience, 
and the prosperity of the Presbyterian and New England 
churches. But whatever might be the Assembly's opinion, the 
Standards are explicit on the subject. As to the apprehension 
of schism in consequence of rigid views, the reply must be, that 
the path of duty is the path of safety, and events are to be com- 
mitted to God. Parties formed under such circumstances would 
neither be important nor permanent. Notwithstanding, when 
the field is too extensive, catechists, like those of primitive times 
may be found useful assistants. But great caution should be 
used in selecting prudent and sound men, lest they run into ex- 
travagance and pride. Their duties should be clearly and pre- 
cisely defined, and subject to frequent inspection. They should 
not be considered standing officers in the Church ; but, if pos- 
sessed of uncommon talents, diligent in study, and promising 
usefulness, they might in time purchase to themselves a good 
degree, and be admitted in regular course to the holy ministry.* 

Nothing was done by the Synod until 1804, for at the session 
of 1803 neither delegates nor records were present from Cum- 
berland Presbytery. t But in October, 1804, J the subject was 
brought up by a written remonstrance, signed by Craighead, 
Donnell, and Bowman, containing a protest and complaint 
against the doings of the majority. Synod finding it impracti- 
cable to issue the case at that time, cited both the parties, com- 
plained of and complaining, to appear before them the next fall, 

* See copious extracts in the Assembly's Digest, pp. 148-151. Mm. Trans, 
Pby., vol. ill. p. 87. 

t Brief Hist. p. 8. 

I On this occasion, though the minutes were not forthcoming, Messrs. 
McGready, Donnell, and Ewing were present, with three elders, John Dicky, 
Reuben Ewing, and Young Ewing. Min. Syn., vol. i. p. 42. The Presbytery 
of Transylvania seem to have been put to some trouble to recover possession of 
their records, for at a meeting, October G, 1803, we find the Stated Clerk ordered 
to procure them from the Stated Clerk of Cumberland Presbytery, in time for the 
inspection of Synod. Min. Trans. Pby., vol. iii. 77. 


and enjoined each of the Presbyteries to pay particular attention 
to the rules laid down in the Constitution, and to the Letter of 
the General Assembly. Meantime, Messrs. Rice, Blythe, Lyie, 
Cameron and Rannels were appointed a Committee of Inquiry, 
to attend the earliest meeting of the Cumberland Presbytery, 
and report the result of their observations.* , 

None of the Committee attended but Mr. Cameron, and he re- 
fused to sit as a Corresponding Member, when invited. The 
young men, from timidity, shrank from reading their trial pieces 
in his presence. He was denounced as a spy ; and the appoint- 
ment of the Committee was held up to odium, as an unprece- 
dented and unwarrantable stretch of power.f 

A crisis was now approaching. The Synod met at Danville, 
October 15, 1805, and the records of Cumberland Presbytery 
being at last forthcoming after so long delay, the whole case 
came up by ordinary review and control. Of the members of 
the Presbytery only two, Messrs. Donnell and Dicky, were pre- 
sent. The majority were believed to have absented themselves 
on the ground that the citation by Synod was precipitate and 
illegal. J 

The book was put into the hands of a Committee, consisting of 
Cameron, Lyle and James Henderson, for examination. They 
reported the records to be extremely defective, discordant, and 
obscure ; and abounding in evidences of the flagrant violation of 
the Rules of Discipline. They noticed the reception of Hawe the 
Methodist ; the hcensing of seventeen men, sometimes called 
Regular Exhorters, sometimes Licentiates ; the establishment of 
Circuits ; the illegal recommendation of contributions by the 
people for the support of the exhorters ; the licensing of illite- 
rate persons with approbation ; the judgment of the Presbytery 
in the division of Shiloh congregation, &c.§ This report was 
sufficient to convince Synod that the most prompt and stringent 
measures were necessary. Yet they felt embarrassed. For 
immediate action they were not prepared. They had before 
them the records, and the minority's Remonstrance of the year 
previous, besides two of the opposition members ;11 but they were 

* Minutes of the Synod of Ky., vol. i. p. 61. f Smith, pp. 596, 597. 

t Smith, p. 599. 5 Min. Syn., vol. i.pp. 69-71. 

II We find the followinjT minute concerning Mr. Dicky in 1801. " Whereas 
Mr. Dicky, [then a candidate,] is reported to have ahsented himself from the 


ignorant of the whole case, and there was no one present to act 
for the defence. Of the degree of disquahfication on the part of 
the hcentiates, they had no authoritative information, and of the 
adoption of the Confession with reservations, there was no men- 
tion in the record. The Committee of Inquiry had failed to 
discharge their duty, and Mr. Cameron, the only member who 
attended, declined making any report.* Something must be 
done. Too much time had already been lost. To meet next 
year in the scene of difficulty, and postpone action till then, 
would be losing another twelvemonth, besides incurring the 
hazard of not obtaining a constitutional quorum, in consequence 
of the remoteness of the northern members.f 

In view therefore of the urgency of the case, and after consi- 
derable deliberation, the Synod appointed a Commission, con- 
sisting of ten ministers and six elders ; any seven ministers, with 
as many elders as should be present, to form a quorum. The 
members of the Commission were the Rev. Messrs. Lyle, Camp- 
bell, Cameron, Howe, Rannels, Stuart, Joshua L. Wilson, Robert 
Wilson, Cleland, and Tull, and Messrs. McDowell, Brank, Allen, 
Henderson, Gaines, and Wallace, ruling elders. Each Commis- 
sioner pledged himself to attend, that there might be no failure 
or disappointment. They were to meet in six weeks from that 
time, at Gasper river Meeting-House, in Logan county ; and 
citations were to be carefully given by the Stated Clerk to all 
the parties concerned. The Commission was vested with full 
Synodical powers to adjudicate upon the proceedings of Cumber- 
land Presbytery, which had been brought before the notice of 
Synod. The tangled affairs of Shiloh congregation were also 
to receive a portion of their attention. Mr. Lyle was designated 
as Moderator, and he was to open the Commission with a ser- 
mon. The Synod resolved to observe the day specified for the 
meeting, as a day of solemn fasting and prayer in all the 

communion of the Church, and opposed the revival of religion in many instances, 
the Presbytery recommend it to said Dicky henceforth to return to Chris- 
tian communion, and endeavor to promote vital religion ; and in order to this, 
always endeavor to direct either real, blind, or false zeal from every other object 
to the faith of Christ." Min. Trans. Pby., vol. iii. p. 37. 

* Their reasons for absence appear to have been sustained. Min. Syn., vol. 
i., p. 73. 

t Brief Hist., p. 9. 


churches, for the divine blessing on the efforts of the Commis- 
sion.* The entire minute is as follows : 

" On motion, Resolved, that the business of the Cumberland 
Presbytery be again taken up. After considerable deliberation, 
it was resolved, that the Rev. John Lyle, John P. Campbell, 
Archibald Cameron, Joseph P. Howe, Samuel Rannels, Robert 
Stuart, Joshua L. Wilson, Robert Wilson, Thomas Cleland, and 
Isaac Tull, together with Messrs. William McDowell, Robert 
Brank, James Allen, James Henderson, Richard Gaines, and 
Andrew Wallace, ruling elders, or any seven ministers of 
them, with as many elders as may be present, be a Com- 
mission, vested with full Synodical powers, to confer with 
the members of Cumberland Presbytery, and adjudicate on 
their Presbyterial proceedings, which appear upon the minutes of 
said Presbytery, for the purpose aforesaid, and taken notice of 
by the Committee appointed by Synod to examine said minutes ; 
that the said Commission meet on the first Tuesday in Decem- 
ber next, at Gasper Meeting-House, Logan county, in the bounds 
of said Presbytery, for the purpose aforesaid. That notice be 
given to the members of said Presbytery, by the Stated Clerk of 
Synod, to attend on the day and at the place aforesaid, so that a 
full, fair and friendly investigation may take place. That the said 
Commission take into consideration and decide upon a letter 
from the Rev. Thomas B. Craighead and others, and an appeal 
from the judgment of said Presbytery, by certain members of 
Shiloh congregation, and that the Stated Clerk of Synod furnish 
the Commission aforesaid with the papers and documents relative 
to the whole of the aforesaid proceedings. 

The Stated Clerk of Synod, together with Messrs, Lyle, 
Donald and Dicky were individually directed to use all neces- 
sary exertions in citing the members of Cumberland Presbytery 
to attend the above-mentioned meeting of the Commission of 
Synod, and especially that written citations be sent by the Stated 

* At this meeting two important measures were adopted. The first was, that 
each Presbytery should seek out some indigent pious young man, of proaiisinor 
talents, in their bounds, to be educated for the ministry. The other, wi=! an 
order for an annual Missionary Sermon. The first sermon was preach-d by 
Mr. Rice the following year, (October 25, 1806.) from Prov. iii. 6. ^SS were 
collected, and forwarded by Dr. Andrew McCalla, the Treasurer, to the Com- 
mittee of Missions of the General Assembly. Min. Syn., vol. i. pp. 76, 122. 


Clerk of Synod to the Moderator of said Presbytery, and to the 
Rev. James McGready,"* 

On Tuesday, the third of December, 1805, the Commission of 
Synod assembled at Gasper Meeting-House. Mr. Lylef preach- 
ed the opening sermon, on the call and qualifications necessary 
to the Gospel ministry, from the text, " And no man taketh this 
honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." 
— Hebr. v. 4. The sermon was three hours long,J but the audi- 
ence were very attentive. Some appeared to be pleased and 
edified ; others, belonging to the Cumberland Presbytery, were 
dissatisfied and uneasy. After sermon the Commission was 
organized. All were present except Messrs. Campbell, Robert 
Wilson, and Henderson. So there was a quorum. The Rev. 
Joseph P. Howe was chosen Moderator, and Joshua L. Wilson 
and Mr. Allen, Clerks.§ 

Upon inquiry, it was ascertained that the citations had been 
duly served. II All the members of Cumberland Presbytery 
implicated were present to answer, viz : McGready, Hodge, 
McGee, Rankin, McAdow, Hawe, Finis Ewing, King, Nelson, 
and Samuel Hodge, the last four having been ordained by the 
Presbytery ; together with Hugh Kirkpatrick, James B. Porter, 
Robert Bell, David Foster, and Thomas Calhoun, licentiates ; 
and Robert Guthrie, Samuel K. Blythe, and Samuel Donnell, 

The Commissioners soon felt that they had to contend with 
the most violent prejudices and misrepresentations. They were 
denounced as a species of inquisition, whose odious errand it was 

* Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 78, 79. Bishop's Rice, p. 120. 

t The Rev. John P. Campbell having declined an appointment to ride on a 
missionary tour for two months, in the bounds of Cumberland Presbytery, the 
Synod unanimously appointed Mr. Lyle. He promptly started, having obtained 
leave of absence, and set out from Danville on Friday, Oct. 18, in the evening. 
He drew up a succinct Narrative of his missionary tour, for the inspection of 
the Assembly's Committee of Missions, to whom he was made responsible, to 
which, like his Diary, often before cited, the author is much indebted. 

J Mr. Lyle preaclied also on the ensuing Sabbath, on the Divine purpose, (2 
Tim. i. 9,) and the sermon was again tiiree hours long. " I spoke longer than 
usual," he writes, " because the circumstances seemed to demand it." The 
people appeared generally pleased, and some edified. Lyle's Tour, p. 59. Mr. 
Lyle's habitual limits were far beyond those set by the fastidious weariness of 
this degenerate age, to whom Dr. Nisbet's sarcastic remark is very applicable, 
that " a lang sermon is a great affliction to the ungodly." 

§ Min. Syn. vol. i. 82. (Report of the Comm.) Lyle's Tour, p. 67. 

II Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 82. H Smith, p. 605. 


to Stop the revival, and cut off all the young preachers and cir- 
cuit-riders because they were unacquainted with Latin and 
Greek. The force of ridicule, as well as of malice, was brou<^ht 
to bear upon them, and the respective members were designated 
by opprobrious nicknames. The whole community were exas- 
perated. There was but a single man in the entire neighbor- 
hood, (and he lived three or four miles from the Church,) who 
was willing to open his house and extend common hospitality to 
the members. The name of this worthy individual deserves to 
be commemorated. It was James Reid. At this house the 
whole Commission lodged, having to travel the above distance 
every morning and evening, without eating in the interim. That 
nothing might be left undone to stimulate the passions of the 
people, Mr. Rankin, the pastor of the Church, himself an avowed 
Arminian, and afterwards a Shaker, delivered an inflammatory 
address to the assembled multitude, well calculated to provoke 
mobbing and personal violence. This was done one evening 
after adjournment, in the presence of the Commission. 

To complete the turmoil, the Shakers, who had a village in 
the vicinity, were on the ground in full strength, with Houston 
the apostate, who, however, had shame enough left to shun his 
former brethren and associates. They anticipated a great com- 
motion and schism, and hoped to cast their net successfully in 
the troubled waters. 

Notwithstanding an array of circumstances so well adapted to 
harrass if not to intimidate, the Commissioners, with unshaken 
intrepidity, calmly proceeded in the discharge of their difficult 

On the second day the warrant of the Commission was read, 
and its object explained ; after which the Commission united 
with the members of Cumberland Presbytery, and a large assem- 
bly of people, in solemn prayer for the Divine blessing. The 
first case taken up was that of Mr. James Hawe, who had been 
received from the Methodist connection without renouncing his 

*MSS. notes of Mr. Stuart's conversations. Brief Hist. p. 12. Bishop's 
Rice, p. 1'21. It is ob.scrvable that Mr. Smith maintains a profound silence as 
to the above particulars. From Mr. Lylc we learn that a Circular Letter of the 
Synod, and other pamphlets which were for sale, were collected by some of Mr. 
Hodge's people, and publicly burnt, with Mr. Hodge's approbation. Lyle'a 
Tour, p. 21. 


former tenets. The Commission were unanimously of opinion 
that the Presbytery had acted illegally in admitting Mr. Hawe, 
without first examining him in divinity, and requiring him to 
adopt the Confession of Faith, and they resolved to inquire into 
his doctrinal views.* It was not until the fifth day that an 
opportunity offered for doing so, when Mr. Hawe being called 
on, prudently refused to submit to an examination, on the plea 
that he was already admitted and beyond reach, except by a 
regular process for heresy.f 

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, were devoted to the Irregu- 
lar Licensures and Ordinations. Of these cases there were no 
fewer than twenty-seven."j: From an^examination of the records 
and the dissent of the minority, and from a conference with the 
members of the Presbytery, it was clearly ascertained that these 
individuals, contrary to the rules of the Church, had been per- 
mitted to adopt the Confession with the reservation " as far as 
they deemed it agreeable to the word of God ;" a method which 
effectually precluded all definite knowledge of their real opinions. 
The Presbytery plead in justification, that the Confession was of 
human composition, and fallible, and that they could not in con- 
science feel bound by it any farther than it corresponded with 
Scripture. What aggravated their offence was the avowal that 
though they themselves had subscribed the Confession, they did 
not believe all its contents, and so could not consistently require 
its unreserved adoption by others. As to the dispensing with 
literary qualifications, they asserted that the young men possess- 
ed extraordinary talents, and so came within the exception of 
the 14th chapter of the Form of Government. They further 

* Mr. Smith intimates, p. 605, that this was an outrage upon justice, because 
they had not the minutes before them. But in the Remonstrance of the Coun- 
cil to the General Assembly, in 1807, it is admitted that the minutes were pro- 
duced in evidence, p. 621. This the Synod also asserted in their defence to 
the General Assembly, written in 1807. Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 161. He charges 
Hawe's admission on Transylvania Presbytery as their act. But Mr. Hawe, 
though admitted on application by Transylvania Presbytery, did not take his 
seat till the first meeting of Cumberland Presbytery, after the division, as appears 
from the minutes of Cumberland Presbytery, p. 600. Then was the appropriate 
time to have examined him personally. 

f Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 84, 91. 

jOne of these " young men," (as all unite to call them,) had hanged himself; 
two had embraced the sentiments of Mr. Stone ; and the rest, the Commission 
had reason to suspect, from common fame and personal conversation, were 
nearly all Arrainians in doctrine, and Enthusiasts in practice. Lyle's Tour, p. 61 . 


pleaded a number of precedents ; such as the case of Mr. Beck, 
received by a Presbytery in North CaroHna ; Mr. Bloodworth, 
by Orange ; Mr. Moore, by Hanover ; Mr. Marquis, by Red- 
stone; Messrs, Kemper and Abell, (a Methodist,) by Transyl- 
vania. They likewise cited the case of a poor illiterate man in 
Pennsylvania, many years ago, who was not sufficiently acquaint- 
ed with the English language to be examined in it ; whereupon 
the Presbytery of Philadelphia had him examined in his own 
language by Mr. Davis, himself likewise a native of Wales, 
(whom, by an unfortunate anachronism, they confounded with 
President Davies of Virginia, a native of Delaware,) and Mr. 
Davis declared that he never had assisted in bringing a man into 
the ministry with greater freedom in his life.* The Committee 
thereupon resolved to institute an examination themselves, in 
order to judge of the young men's qualifications. f 

The majority now interposed, disclaiming the jurisdiction and 
authority of the Synod or its Commission in the premises, on the 
ground that the Presbytery possessed the exclusive right to 
examine and license their own candidates. J " I stand between 
these young men and your bar," said Mr. Hodge.§ Several 
members of the Commission addressed them, and earnestly urged 
them to yield. The Moderator, Mr. Howe, solemnly adjured 
both the majority and the young men to submit, pledging his 
word that all who would be found upon examination to be pre- 
pared, should readily obtain a regular license. Each party re- 
quested leave to retire into the adjoining grove for consultation 

* Smith, p. 678. This is gravely narrated in the Circular issued in 1810, the 
blunders of which are amusing. The last case cited is that of David Evans, a 
layman who undertook to preach without any authority in the Welsh Tract, 
Chester county ; but the Presbytery of Philadelphia censured him for his 
irregularity, and directed him to give up secular business and devote himself to 
Study for a twelvemonth, under the direction of Mr. Andrews. The I'orce of 
the precedent, fairly stated, turns altogether against those who brought it for- 
ward. See Records of the Presbyterian Church, vol. i. p. 16. 

f Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 85-87, 153. Bishop's Rice, p. 122. 

j The majority, Mr. Smith who defends them, (p. 607,) and the General 
Assembly, who in their letter to the Synod in 1807, regarded this measure as 
" at least of questionable regularity," seem all to have forgotten the power with 
which the Constitution clothes a Synod ; " to redress whatever has been done 
by Presbyteries contrary to order; to take eflectual care that Presbyteries 
observe the Constitution of the Church," &-c. Form of (Jov. ch. xi. § 4. It is 
true, the A.=?sembly, after fuller information, retracted this implied censure, and 
highly applauded the Synod for the course taken. Digest, pp. 137, 140. 

§ Lyle s Tour, p. 62. 




and prayer.* Finis Ewing was the spokesman of the young 
men, of whom there were eleven present. Some of the Com- 
mission objected to the withdrawal, but finally it was agreed to.f 

As they were about to retire, iVIr. Stuart rose under the im- 
pulse of the moment, and entreated them to think seriously of 
the consequences of their decision upon their temporal and 
eternal interests. Under his earnest and pathetic appeal, the 
audience, the Commission, and the young men, all melted into 
tears. Indeed, this little circumstance, with the prudent and 
forbearing deportment of the Commission, made a very favora- 
ble impression on the people, and disarmed them to some extent 
of their prejudices. J During the absence of the parties above- 
mentioned, the Commission with the Assembly united in prayer. 
It was felt to be a solemn moment. § 

On the return of Messrs. McGready, Hodge, McGee, Rankin, 
and McAdow, they collectively and individually answered the 
question, " Do you submit ?" in the negative. 

The Moderator then turned to the young men, and solemnly 
adjured them to submit. Being called on individually, they each 
refused to do so ; affirming their persuasion that the Cumberland 
Presbytery was a regular church judicatory, and competent to 
judge of the faith and abilities of its candidates. They maintain- 
ed that they were neither charged with heresy nor immorality, 
and if they were, the Presbytery was the proper tribunal to 
which they were amenable.|| 

The intervening Sabbath was spent in religious exercises. 
On Monday the Commission rendered their decision. The 
recusants, twenty-four in number, together with James Hawe, 
having by their contumacy virtually renounced the jurisdiction 
of the Presbyterian Church, were solemnly prohibited, until sub- 

* Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 89. Notes of Stuart's Conv. 

t Smith, p. 608. 

i Notes of Stuart's Conv. Whatever good effects w^ere produced however, 
Mr. Rankin's inflammatory address that evening must have neutralized them. 

5 Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 89. 

II Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 90, 91. Smith, p. 608. The apologist, in his eager- 
ness to place everything in the fairest liglit, would have his reader notice that 
these yo>ing men, during their absence, had neither held a consultation, nor 
agreed on any common plan of action ; of course their unanimity is to be as- 
cribed to a semi-inspiration in answer to their prayers. The wildest enthusiast 
may justify himself in the same way. We have no promise of guidance when 
we presumptuously leave the path of duty. 


mission, from preaching or administering ordinances, in conse- 
quence of any authority derived from the Cumberland Presby- 

As for Messrs. McGready, Hodge, McGee, Rankin, and 
McAdow, the Commission waived their right to deal with them 
for their contumacy, and remanded them to the Synod, at whose 
next meeting they were cited to appear ; the last four especially 
to answer to charges of holding and propagating errors in doc- 
trine, of which they were accused by common fame. 

The entire decision is as follows : 

" Whereas, the Commission of Synod have, in a friendly man- 
ner, conferred with the Cumberland Presbytery, and have 
examined into the proceedings of said Presbytery in licensing 
men to exhort and to preach the Gospel, and in ordainino- some 
to administer ordinances, and have found that those proceedino-g 
were very irregular ; and whereas, when those men irregularly 
licensed, &c., were called upon to come forward to be exam- 
ined by the Commission, Messrs. William Hodge, James 
McGready, William McGee, John Rankin, and Samuel McAdow 
interposed to prevent the examination ; and also that the Mode- 
rator called upon the following persons, viz : Robert Gutherie 
Samuel Hodge, James Porter, David Foster, Finis Ewing, Huo-h 
Kirkpatrick, Thomas Nelson, Thomas Calhoon, Samuel Donnell, 
junior, Samuel King, Samuel Blythe, and Robert Bell, to come 
forward and stand an examination as to their qualifications for 
the Gospel ministry, they refused to comply, thereby virtually 
renouncing the jurisdiction of the Presbyterian Church ; and it 
being proclaimed by common fame that the majority of these 
men are not only illiterate, but erroneous in sentiment, Resolved 
that as the above-named persons never had regular authority 
from the Presbytery of Cumberland to preach the Gospel, (fee, 
the Commission of Synod prohibit, and they do hereby solemnly 
prohibit, the said persons from exhorting, preaching, and admin- 
istering ordinances in consequence of any authority which they 
have obtained from the Cumberland Presbytery, until they sub- 
mit to our jurisdiction, and undergo the requisite examination. 
And it is farther Resolved, that the following persons, viz: James 
Farr, Lawrence Rollison, Robert Houston, James Crawford, 
Reuben Dooley, Robert Wilson, James Duggins, Michael Find- 


ley, Ephraim McClain, John Hodge, Alexander Chapman, 
William McClure, Stephen Clinton, and William Moore, who 
are now absent, together with James Hawe, be laid under the 
same prohibition. 

" Although we conceive the Commission have Synodical 
power to adjudicate upon the conduct of the Rev. James 
McGready, William Hodge, William McGee, John Rankin, and 
Samuel Mc Adow, in not submitting to the examination of those 
men who had been irregularly licensed and ordained, when 
solemnly adjured by the Moderator agreeably to the resolution 
of the Commission, yet we decline pronouncing sentence, and 
remand said persons to the Synod of Kentucky ; and they are 
hereby cited to appear at our next Annual Session to be held in 
the Presbyterian Church in Lexington, on the third Tuesday of 
October next, to account for said conduct. 

" And whereas, common fame loudly proclaims that the Rev. 
Messrs. William Hodge, William McGee, and John Rankin, 
hold and propagate doctrines contrary to those contained in the 
Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church, Resolved, that 
they be and they are hereby cited to appear before the Synod of 
Kentucky at their next session, there to answer to the above 

" And the Cumberland Presbytery are hereby most solemnly 
charged to perform their Presbyterial business in an orderly 
manner, and that they be more accurate in keeping their records 
in future. 

" Whereas, it appears to the Commission that Thomas Nelson 
has been irregularly ordained as the Pastor of Mount Zion and 
Carmel, and whereas the said Nelson is now prohibited from 
preaching under any authority derived from the Presbyterian 
Church ; on motion Resolved, that the said congregations be, 
and they are hereby, declared vacant, and that Messrs. Came- 
ron and Joshua L. Wilson preach at Mount Carmel and Mount 
Zion as early as possible after the rising of this Commission, and 
read to them this resolution." Min. Syn. vol, i. pp. 92, 95. 

Messrs. Hodge, Rankin, and McGee, handed in a written 
refusal to obey the citation, on the ground of its unconstitution- 
ality. Their objections were probably based on the charge of 
heresy being unaccomj^anied with specifications ; and the assumed 


competency of the Presbytery to try its own members. The 
Commission reconsidered their citation, and reaffirmed it. There 
existed, according to their showing, an imperious necessity for 
taking the case out of the hands of the Presbytery to the higher 
court, inasmuch as there would not be left a sufficient number 
of disinterested members to adjudicate. To obviate the objec- 
tion of a general charge, they specified certain errors held by 
the three recusants aforesaid ; viz : the denial of the doctrine of 
Election, and the holding that there is a certain sufficiency of 
grace given to every man, which if he will improve, he shall 
obtain more, until he arrive at true conversion ; which grace 
they variously expressed as a talent, or a power to accept the 
offer of salvation from a spark of grace given to every man in 
his natural state ; and by like phrases.* 

Tuesday, the seventh day of the Session, was occupied with 
the Shiloh appeal. The pastor, Mr. Hodge, was one of the 
Revival preachers, and his measures gave such offence to a 
portion of the congregation, that they took possession of the 
church edifice and closed it against him.f The matter was 
brought before the Presbytery, and decided in Mr. Hodge's 
favor. The malcontents then seceded, and formed a separate 
society, to which they gave the name of " The Orderly part of 
Shiloh Congregation ;" and called the Rev. Thomas B. Craig- 
head to be their pastor. The Presbytery refused to sanction the 
division, on the alleged ground that, the church property being 
implicated, the affair was cognizable in a civil court only. This 
does not seem clear ; but as far as the Commission w^ere con- 
cerned, they avoided the civil question, and reversed the judg- 
ment of the Presbytery, permitting the Appellants to congregate 
under any other name than Shiloh.J 

The Commission then took up the case of Mr. Craighead, 

*Min. Syn.vol. i. pp. 97, 98. 

f Tliat he should liave given great oftencc is not surprising, if many of his 
proceedings were like that recorded by Mr. Lyle. It was with his warm ap- 
probation that the Synod's Circular and other pamphlets were publicly burnt 
by some of his people. Lyle's Tour, p. 21. 

I Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 96. Smith, p. 667. From the minutes of the Presby- 
tery it would seem that the Presbytery refused their petition, because they had 
seceded from their brethren for couimuning with such as held Arminian prin- 
ciples ; because they were believed to oppose and condemn the revival ; and 
because their representatives had, in 1804, declared themselves not in commu- 
nion with the Presbytery. Minutes of Cumb. Pby, filed among the papers of 
Transylvania Pby. p. 21. 


charged by common fame as denying the doctrines of Election, 
and the special operations of the Spirit of God in conversion. 
He was examined on these points, the questions and answers 
being in writing, and his answers were pronounced agreeable to 
the Confession, a few ambiguous and unsatisfactory expressions 
excepted.* But, that we may preserve the unity of the subject 
unbroken, the details are reserved for a subsequent chapter. 

The Commission of Synod finally adjourned on Wednesday, 
the 11th of December, after a weary session of eight days, the 
intervening Sabbath not included. Messrs. Cameron, Lyle, and 
Stuart, were appointed a committee to superintend the publica- 
tion of their report. f 

Thus terminated one of the most interesting and important 
convocations ever known in the American Church ; without 
precedent, and, thus far, without imitation. It appears to have 
been conducted with admirable dignity, prudence and modera- 
tion ; and beyond doubt served to check for a while the lawless 
and insubordinate spirit that was then rife in the West, and 
which at length broke forth in an extensive schism, fomented 
and directed by the ambition of clerical novices not having 
before their eyes the warning of the apostle Paul, and the con- 
demnation of the first fallen angel. The selection of the Com- 
missioners was highly judicious. The names of such men as 
Mr. Lyle, Mr. Stuart, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Cleland, names that 
will long be cherished in the West with affection and esteem, 
may serve as a guarantee for the wisdom and propriety of what 
was done. They were indeed assailed on the spot with a fa- 
natical rancor and a vulgar ribaldry, poorly calculated to exalt 
our ideas of the morals or the manners of the population ; and, 
as was to be expected, by those who chafed under the wholesome 
curb of discipline their appointment has been branded as inquis- 
itorial tyranny, and their measures as high-handed usurpation ; 
but the voice of the Supreme Tribunal of the Church, and the 
verdict of impartial posterity, have not only acquitted them of 
censure, but have pronounced a cordial approval of their con- 
duct, as meriting well of their own and succeeding generations. 

* Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 98, 103. Lyle's Tour, p. 64. 
t Mill. Syn. vol. i. p. 103. 


The charge that this was an un-Presbyterian measure could 
have originated only in the grossest ignorance of the practice of 
the Mother Church of Scotland. " What matters," says Stewart 
of Pardovan, " General Assemblies cannot undertake themselves 
they do refer to their Commissions ; in propriety of speech they 
do import the same thing with committees ; yet, de praxi, a 
committee is appointed only to prepare matters, whereas a Com- 
mission determines in matters committed to them, and from whose 
sentence therein lieth no appeal to the ensuing General Assem- 
bly, though a complaint may be tabled before the next General 
Assembly against the Commission on account of their proceed- 

Immediately after the Commission was dissolved, the majority 
of Cumberland Presbytery, or the Revival Members, as they 
loved to be styled, formed themselves into a Council, consisting 
of ministers, elders, and representatives from vacancies. All 
the congregations connected with the party heartily united, 
with very few exceptions. At these councils no Presbyterial 
business was transacted. They continued to preach, and en- 
couraged the young men to exhort and preach, regardless of the 
Commission's prohibition. Meanwhile the revival continued to 
make progress, and numbers were added to the churches. f 

The withdrawal of Mr. McGready from their ranks, soon after 
the formation of the Council, was a heavy blow to the party. 
Mr. McGready was a Calvinist of the old school. He lamented 
the prevalence of Arminian sentiments, and feared a still wider 
departure from orthodoxy in the course of time. He was ar- 
dently attached to the Presbyterian Church, and had had no expec- 
tation that the measures of the Presbytery would lead to a 
separation. After the meeting of the Commission, he became 
convinced that such would be the final issue, and determined to 
keep aloof. He ceased to attend the Councils, although two 
years elapsed before he returned to Transylvania Presbytery. 
He shortly after removed to the town of Henderson, upon the 
Ohio river, at a greater distance from the scene of agitation. J 

Alarmed by the recent events, the West Lexington Presby- 
tery resolved to redouble its caution ; and at their meeting in 

* Stewart's Collections, Bk. I. Title 15. Brief Hist. p. 10. 
f Smith, p. 614. t Smith, p. 615. 


April, 1806, in order to guard against the admission of insuf- 
ficient men into the ministry, Mr. Lyle was appointed " Profes- 
sor of Theology." All students and candidates under the 
care of the Presbytery were recommended to him, and were 
to continue under his direction till the Presbytery should 
deem them to have acquired a competent knowledge of The- 

At the following Synod in Lexington, October 21st, 180G, 
Messrs. Craighead, Templin, Hodge, Rankin, Donnell, and Dicky, 
with Thomas Donnell, an elder, were present from Cumberland 
Presbytery. Mr. McGready, by letter, satisfactorily explained 
the reason of his absence. Messrs. Hodge and Rankin attended 
not from obedience to the citation of the Commission, but, by the 
advice of the council, for the purpose of effecting a reconcilia- 
tion. f The minutes of the Commission were read, and their 
proceedings sanctioned. Hodge and Rankin, being called on, 
professed that they were willing to undergo a personal exami- 
nation, but were not willing to submit to the silencing of the 
young men. Their reasons appeared to the Synod unsatisfac- 
tory and inadmissible. In hope of their being induced to recede 
from their determination, a final decision w'as repeatedly defer- 
red, and a committee was appointed to confer privately with 
them. The committee labored zealously, but could accomplish 
nothing. The two members explicitly disavowed all heterodox 
opinions,J but continued resolute in their contumacy. The Sy- 
nod, in consequence, pronounced upon them, at length, sentence 
of suspension until repentance and submission. Being asked if 
they desired to appeal, they disclaimed all intention of appealing 
to any earthly tribunal. The citations of the absentees were 

It being apparent that the difficulties in the Cumberland Pres- 
bytery had grown to such a height as to incapacitate for the 
transaction of business, the Synod dissolved it, and reannexed 
the members to the Presbytery of Transylvania. § 

* Min. West Lex. Pby. vol. i. p. 175. It would seem that great difficnlty 
was experienced in getting the Sessions to keep and present Records. Inquiries 
were repeatedly made. In October, 1805, Tull and Howe kept no regular 
record ; Stuart only partially ; the year following neither Howe nor Biytlie 
were found to have a session book ; but all promised amendment, pp. 162, 191, 

t Smith, p. 616. t Smith, p. 623. 

5 Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 104-126. Smith, p. 616. 


The suspended members, although they had disclaimed any 
intention of appealing from the sentence of the Synod, neverthe- 
less united with the rest of the Council, (to whom they reported 
their failure,) in sending up a letter of remonstrance to the next 
General Assembly. This was a long document, occupying more 
than half a dozen octavo pages. In this document they took a 
retrospect of the last seven years ; elaborately vindicated their 
proceedings, by pleading the necessity of the case, the Assem- 
bly's letter to Mr. Rice, and other considerations ; expatiated on 
their meekness, entreaties, and unprovoking defence ; and com- 
plained bitterly of the severity of the Commission. So far from 
rejecting the doctrines or discipline of the Church, every preach- 
er and exhorter had adopted or received the Confession, firmly 
persuaded that it contains the best system of Scripture doctrines 
and discipline, of any known by them upon earth, but not so 
sacred nor infallible as the Scriptures. At the Councils, for 
they had not met as a Presbytery since the Commission, all their 
licentiates had cheerfully submitted to a re-examination upon 
divinity as taught in the Shorter Catechism ; also upon English 
grammar and other useful studies. They never had embraced 
the idea of an unlearned ministry, but, on the contrary, esteemed 
a learned and pious ministry, and hoped the Church might never 
be destitute of such an ornament. 

They concluded with intimating, not by way of threat, but of 
honest information, that they had great difficulty to prevent the 
people breaking off at once ; and if their grievances were not 
redressed, every respectable congregation in Cumberland and 
the Barrens of Kentucky would be lost. The reverse would 
bind them to the Presbyterian connection, and give joy to 
thousands. They signed themselves, " your distressed subscrib- 
ing brothers."* 

In May, 1807, the General Assembly met. Dr. Archibald 
Alexander was Moderator that year. The Rev. Messrs. Came- 

* Smith, pp. 619-625. It is observable that the MemoriaHsts maintain a dis- 
creet silence as to adopting with reservations ; and their description of tiieir own 
lamb-like demeanor is in strikin(>; contrast with tlic accounts given by Clcland, 
Stuart, and Lyle. If they had no other text-book in divinity for their candidates 
than the Shorter Catechism, a compend which ought to have been familiar to 
every child in the congregation, it must be confessed that they were likely to 
rear a body of profound theologians ! How they disposed of the bugbear of 
" Fatality," in the Catechism, is left entirely in the dark. 


ron and Kemper, and Mr. McCalla, elder, were on the floor 
from the Synod of Kentucky. The Cumberland case attracted 
much attention, and elicited a keen debate. Dr. Green, and 
Messrs. Janeway, Cathcart, Linn, and Cameron, warmly advo- 
cated the Synod ; Drs. Miller, Woodhull, James P. Wilson, and 
Speece, were as strenuous in opposition. With the latter party 
sided Messrs. Kemper and McCalla. It appeared to be the pre- 
vailing opinion that the Cumberland Presbytery had erred, but 
that the Synod had acted with too much rigor. It was argued, 
that a Synod may proceed against a Presbytery by censuring, 
dividing, or dissolving it, but not against individual members, 
except in case of appeal ; that only a Presbytery can examine 
licentiates or call members to account for errors in doctrine or 
practice ; that a man once ordained, although improperly, can- 
not be afterwards deprived of his office except for some cause 
arising or made public after ordination ; that the Synod were 
correct in dissolving and reannexing the Presbytery, but trans- 
cended their power in suspending ordained ministers, especially 
by a Commission. On the other hand, there was a strong 
minority, who strenuously maintained the necessity of strict dis- 
cipline, and insisted on the authority and rights of Synods and 
General Assemblies.* The issue was, that the Assembly dis- 
patched two letters, one to the Synod, and the other to Mr. 
McAdow and his friends. 

In the letter to the Synod, the Assembly commended the zeal 
and decision exhibited by them in very embarrassing circum- 
stances ; but, at the same time, suggested that the insisting on 
the young men's re-examination, the suspension of the irregu- 
larly ordained ministers without process, and the suspension of 
Messrs. Hodge and Rankin for resisting the re-examination, 
were "at least of questionable regularity." They, therefore, 

* The above details are gleaned from a letter written to Mr. Hodge, by a mem- 
ber of the first Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, under the care of Dr. J. P. 
Wilson, and a Trustee of the Assembly ; the name is suppressed. The writer 
was evidently one who sympathized warmly with the recusants. The whole 
letter may be found in Smith, pp. 625-627. Smith also quotes with exultation 
the opinion of " that evangelical minister and sound disciplinarian, Dr. Ely," 
who said, in his brief history of the Cumberland Presbyterians, "There can be no 
doubt now in the mind of any sound Presbyterian but that the suspension of the 
ministers above named was wholly unconstitutional, and ought, therefore, to be 
held to be void." p. 617. 


advised a serious review of their proceedings, in order, if possi- 
ble, to mitigate or remove the evils complained of. Without 
implying that the demands of our standards should be regarded 
otherwise than inviolable and indispensable, yet there must be 
supposed the right and the duty of exercising a sound discretion, 
which will consult the spirit, as well as the letter of the law ; 
which will sometimes forbid the exercise of legitimate power ; 
which will endeavor, with equal caution, to avoid the extremes 
of rigor and of laxness ; which will yield something, yet not 
concede everything, to circumstances ; which, in a word, will 
recollect that power is given for edification, and not for destruc- 
tion, and endeavor to be guided by this rule. The Assembly 
expressed the hope that in the exercise of this discretion, the 
Synod might be able to re-establish the Presbytery of Cumber- 
land, and restore to Christian communion, and ministerial useful- 
ness, some of its former members and licentiates, without 
sacrificing either the doctrines or the government of our Church. 
Of this the Synod must be the judge.* 

In their letter to Mr. McAdow and his associates, the Assembly 
expressed their regret at the existing difficulties, but stated it as 
their opinion that these difficulties w^ere traceable to the Presby- 
tery's own conduct in licensing and ordaining a number of per- 
sons without the qualifications required by our book of discipline, 
and without explicit adoption of the Covfession of Faith. This 
conduct the Assembly decidedly disapproved, as being highly 
irregular and unconstitutional ; leading to the most dangerous 
consequences, in introducing into our Church, as teachers, illit- 
erate men, and men of any religious principles, however erro- 
neous. As the complainants had not regularly appealed, the 
Assembly did not feel called upon to decide judicially on the 
case, and referred them to the Synod who were advised to re- 
view their proceedings. Finally, they were exhorted to return 
to a strict and steady adherence to the Constitution of the Presby- 
terian Church, and to endeavor sincerely to promote the peace 
and best interests of the Redeemer's kingdom. f 

At their next meeting, the Synod, according to the advice of 
the Assembly, reviewed their proceedings, and re-read the 

* See the entire letter in the Assembly's Digest, p. 137. 
t Digest, p. 139. 


minutes of the Commission. After consuming three days in 
dehberation, they re-affirmed all their decisions, the demand for 
the surrender of the young men, and the suspension of Hodge 
and Rankin for resisting it. They denied that the irregularly 
ordained preachers had been suspended at all in a technical 
sense, or that the Commission had dealt with them without pro- 
cess.* Messrs. Blythe, Lyle, J. L. Wilson, and R. G. Wilson, 
were appointed a committee to answer the Assembly's letter. 
By some untoward accident this answer did not reach the As- 
sembly till the year 1809, a delay deeply to be regretted in the 
posture of affairs at that time ; but it was afterwards satisfac- 
torily accounted for by the clerk. 

The recusant members were committed to the Presbytery of 
Transylvania to be dealt with ; Messrs. Hodge and Rankin to 
be restored, if the way should be clear. For the restoration of 
Mr. Hodge an urgent petition came up from the people of his 
chai'ge, to which the Synod sent a firm but conciliatory reply.f 

The Presbytery of Transylvania, in compliance with the di- 
rection of the Synod, invited the individuals in question, with as 
many of the young men as might choose to accompany them, to 
a friendly interview at Glasgow, Barren county. Mr. Hodge 
was the only person who attended. After several hours' fami- 
liar conference, and on his request for further time for delibera- 
tion, the Presbytery consented to state fully and distinctly, in a 
written form, the terms on which an accommodation might be 
effected. While they expressed their unfeigned solicitude on 
account of the late breach, they explicitly stated the necessity of 
acknowledgment and submission ; and, as to the young men, a 
re-examination and unequivocal adoption of the Confession of 
Faith, which they denied contained the notion of Fatality. To 
these terms the Council would not submit.J 

But although the Synod were unrepresented in the Assembly 
of 1808, and neither letter nor records were sent up for their 
vindication, the Council were not so negligent on their part. 

* The Synod were not perfectly unanimous in their views. On the first of 
these questions the vote stood 22 ayes to 4 nays ; viz : R. G. Wilson. Welch, 
Wallace, A. McCalla. On the second, 16 ayes to 6 nays ; viz : Blythe, R. G. 
Wilson, Welch, Wallace, McCalla, Robb. Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 140, 142. 

t Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 137-144. 

I Min. Traas. Pby. vol. iii. pp. 213, 222. Smith, p. 632. 


They earnestly petitioned the Assembly to interfere for their 
relief; which, however, the Assembly declined doing, referring 
them back to the Synod, as the only body competent to redress 
their grievances. Dr. McKnight, Dr. Hall, and Dr. J. P. Wil- 
son, were appointed a committee to communicate this to the 
Council ; and to write also to the Synod. The letter to the 
Synod was much more in the tenor of reprehension than that of 
the preceding year, but although read and disputed by para- 
graphs, and approved by a great majority, it was finally deemed 
expedient not to send it, as it might only produce exasperation 
of feeling. After the adjournment of the Assembly, Dr. Wilson 
addressed a letter to Mr. Hodge in his own name, expressive of 
strong sympathy, reflecting severely on the Synod ; pronouncing 
the Commission unconstitutional ; assuring him of the favorable 
sentiments of the Assembly ; urging him to return and appeal 
regularly, although a disagreeable condescension ; recommend- 
ing the establishment of a grammar-school ; and gently advising 
adherence to the standards. 

At their meeting in October, 1808, (the same meeting at which 
Marshall, Stone, McNemar, Dunlavy, and Thomson, were de- 
posed,) the Synod finding that their letter had been detained by 
accident, prepared another, substantially like the former but 
more condensed. It was very clear and sensible, and added the 
Recusants' aggravation of their oflfence by since neglecting to 
follow the advice of the Assembly. It was drafted by Messrs. 
Campbell, Stuart, and J. L. Wilson.* 

This letter was attentively considered by the next General 
Assembly, (1809,) together with the minutes, and the detained 
letter of the previous year, therein recorded. Messrs. Lyle and 
Stuart were on the floor as commissioners from Kentucky, hav- 
ing come, at great expense and self-denial, to defend the Synod. 
Somewhat awed by the array of learned doctors and dignified 
divines, whose names they had been accustomed to pronounce 
in the backwoods with veneration, they were still more discon- 
certed by observing the unfriendly eye with which the whole 
Assembly, with Dr. J. P. Wilson at their head, appeared to re- 
gard them. The prospect was at first gloomy and discourag- 
ing ; but after some examination of the affair, the reading of the 

* Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 156, 161. 


Synod's letters, and the explanations of the Commissioners, mat- 
ters began to assume a more favorable aspect. Mr. Lyle, having 
overcome his awe, and yielding to his feelings as was his wont, 
wept freely as he portrayed in vivid colors the probable effects 
of the discomfiture and disgrace of the friends of truth and order. 
A deep impression was made. Every heart was touched with 
profound sympathy. Dr. Green, and Dr. Dwight, who chanced 
to be a delegate that year from the General Association of Con- 
necticut, ably supported them, and the tide was completely 
turned. The proceedings of the Synod M^ere sustained without 
a dissenting voice ; and while the Assembly acknowledged 
their explanations to be able and fully satisfactory, they deemed 
it their duty to say in addition, that the Synod deserved the 
thanks of the Church for the firmness and zeal with which they 
had acted, in the trying circumstances in which they had been 
placed.* This decision was final. No attempt has ever been 
made to reverse it, and it must be considered the law of the 
Church, confirmed as it subsequently was by the Act of 1814. 
Its effects were highly beneficial in settling the question in the 
region where it was first agitated, and in strengthening the 
hands of the Synod in the midst of their discouragements and 

On learning this decision, most of the Council were in favor 
of constituting immediately as a Presbytery ; but on cooler re- 
flection resolved to make one more effort for reconciliation. 
Messrs. Hodge and Thomas Donnell were accordingly sent as 
Commissioners to the Synod, but without discretionary powers 
to modify the terms they proposed. These terms were, a will- 
ingness to be examined, both young and old, on doctrinal tenets, 
by the Synod, Transylvania Presbytery, or a committee ap- 
pointed for the purpose ; provided, that they were received or 
rejected as a connected body, and that all the ordained ministers 
or licentiates retain their former authority derived from the Cum- 
berland Presbytery. They also expressed their willingness to 

■* Digest, p. 140. Memoranda of Stuart's Conversations. Mr. Smith says, 
"jMr. Lyle, one of the most violent members of the Commission, was present at this 
Assembly, and represented to the members, that there was no prospect the mem- 
bers of C. Pby. ever would come regularly before them." P. 633. 

f Brief Hist. p. 17. 


adopt the Confession, if required, with the exception of the idea 
of fatahty only.* 

The Synod met in October, when Mr. Hodge appeared before 
them ; but they would not accede to the terms proposed. Mr. 
Hodge then, in his own name, prayed Synod to appoint a com- 
mittee to examine the young men, dispensing with high literary 
qualifications in the case of such as might be found orthodox and 
apt to teach ; and next, to deal with him as an individual, and 
restore him. In consequence of last petition, together with one 
similar from Nelson and Samuel Hodge, as well as of a reference 
from the Presbytery, the Synod first appointed a Commission of 
seven ministers and three elders to consider the case ; but after- 
wards rescinded the appointment, and directed the Presbytery 
of Transylvania to meet at Greentown for the special purpose of 
restoring these individuals.! 

The Presbytery met accordingly at Greentown,J on Wednes- 
day, December Gth, 1809, when the three persons before named, 
Mr. William Hodge, his nephew, Samuel Hodge, and Thomas 
Nelson, were present. The first of these gentlemen, after having 
professed his sorrow for his past irregularities, and avowing his 
full and unequivocal subscription to the Confession of Faith, and 
his determination to submit to the authority and discipline of the 
Church, was restored to his former standing.^ 

Messrs. Nelson and Samuel Hodge, who had been irregularly 
licensed and ordained by the late Cumberland Presbytery, and 
had been prohibited from preaching in consequence by the Com- 
mission of Synod, now came forward, and professed their desire 
to submit themselves to the wisdom and discretion of the Pres- 
bytery. After a long and particular examination, the Presby- 
tery were satisfied with regard to their doctrinal soundness, 
their aptness to teach, their adoption of the Confession, and their 
solemn promise to conform to the rules of the Church. Their 
former license and ordination were unanimously confirmed, and 
they were authorized to exercise all the functions of the sacred 
ofRce. They were then recognized and welcorped as members 
of the Presbytery, and took their seats accordingly.!! 

* Smith, pp. 634,681. 

t Mill. Syn., vol. i. pp. 172, 171. 

I It is cnlled Groensbiirg in tho Brief Hist., p. 21. 
5 Min. Trans. Pyb., vol. iii. p. 241. 

II Min. Trans, rby., vol. iii. p. 242, 


The Council, who, on the rejection of their overtures, had de- 
terniined by a large majority to organize as an independent Pres- 
bytery, found their plans all at once arrested, and their affairs 
nearly desperate. Nelson and the two Hodges had just left 
them to return to the bosom of the Church ;* McGready had 
sent a letter of submission to the Presbytery, (which he followed 
up by full acknowledgments in person, October 3d, 1810;) Ran- 
kin had meantime apostatized to the Shakers, for which he had 
been deposed, March 24th, 1809 ; McAdow had been too great 
a valetudinarian for some time, to take part in public affairs ; 
and McGee was in a pitiable state of indecision, believing that 
the truth lay somewhere between Calvinism and Arminianism, 
but unable to frame a system satisfactory to himself, and in con- 
sequence refraining from the exercise of all ministerial func- 
tions.f Ewing and King were the only ordained ministers left, 
and they were under the ban of the Synod. They were thus 
prevented from constituting a Presbytery, by the want of the 
requisite number of three ministers to form it. In this per- 
plexity, they resolved themselves into a Committee of Union ; 
and pledged themselves mutually to hold together, ministers, 
licentiates, elders, and representatives, and to keep the societies 
united, till the third Friday in March, of the following year, when 
they would re-assemble at the Ridge Meeting-House, and delibe- 
rate on the course it might seem best then to pursue. J No one 
was to be released from this bond, unless, in the interim, three 
ordained ministers belonging to the body should agree to consti- 
tute a Presbytery. § 

In order to secure this important point, Ewing, King, and the 
licentiate McLean, paid a visit to McAdow, more than a month 
previous to the time appointed for the general meeting, and 
exerted all their energies to persuade him to unite in constituting 
a Presbytery. He at first hesitated to take so decisive a step, but 
at last, with a mind enfeebled by long illness, yielded to their 
importunity. After a night and a day spent in solitary prayer 
and deliberation, he met them with a cheerful countenance, in- 

* Thomas Donnell, an elder, also withdrew at the same time. Smith, p. 636. 
f He afterwards joined the new Cumberland Presbytery in the fall of 1810. 
t Smith, pp. 636, 637. 
§ Smith, Circular of the C. Pby., p. 632. 


forming them that God had decided the doubtful question, and 
had clearly satisfied him that it was his duty to consent.* 

Accordingly, on the fourth day of February, 1810, these three 
men, Finis Ewing, Samuel King, and Samuel McAdow, consti- 
tuted themselves into an independent Presbytery, under the 
name and style of Cumberland Presbytery. Their first act was 
to ordain Ephraim McLean, which made their number four. 
They also adopted a brief Constitution, in which they justified 
their action, by alleging that they had waited in vain for a re- 
dress of grievances for more than four years. They recognized 
the Confession and Discipline of the Presbyterian Church as their 
Standards, and all who could receive them without exception 
were to be at liberty to do so ; but provision was made for such as 
believed the idea of fatality to be couched under the doctrine of 
predestination, and they were to be permitted to except thereto. 
Examinations were to be required of all candidates, on English 
grammar, geography, astronomy, natural and moral philosophy, 
Church history, experimental religion and theology.f 

In March, 1810, as agreed on, the Council re-assembled. 
There were present, the four members of the new Presbytery, 
six licentiates, and seven candidates, seventeen in all ; besides 
elders and representatives from the churches.J They resolved 
that if a successful negotiation could not be effected with the 
Synod, they would all enter the new organization on the fourth 
Tuesday in October ensuing. § 

In April following, the Presbytery of Transylvania declared 
Mr. McAdow suspended for his contumacious and schismatical 
conduct. Being made aware of Mr. McGee's distressed state of 
mind, they addressed him an affectionate letter, inviting him to 
a friendly conference at their next session. Receiving no reply, 
they repeated the invitation in October ; but all their well-meant 
endeavors were fruitless, for in the fall he joined the independent 
body. The consequence was that he was also suspended shortly 
after. II 

This was done by the Presbytery of Muhlenburg ; for the 
Synod this year divided Transylvania Presbytery, (which com- 

* Smith, p. 639. f Smith, p. 640. 

t Smith, pp. 642, 643. { Smith, Circular, p. 681. 

II Min. Trans. Pby., vol. iii. pp. 250, 266. Smith, p. 643. Brief L'ist. p. 23 


plained of its extensive boundaries, being 280 miles on the north, 
and 200 miles from east to west,) into three, viz : West Tennessee, 
including Messrs. James W. Stephenson, Duncan Brov^^n, Samuel 
Donnell, and Samuel Ilndge; Muhlenburg, including Messrs. 
Templin, McGready, Balch, Craighead, William Hodge, John 
Howe, William McGee, Dicky, and Nelson ; Transylvania, in- 
cluding all that tract of country lying between the last-mentioned 
Presbytery and the Kentucky river. At the same time Wash- 
ington Presbytery was also divided into two, Washington and 
Miami.* The number of the Presbyteries within the bounds of 
the Synod of Kentucky now amounted to six. 

The new Presbytery of Cumberland, deeming further negotia- 
tion with the Synod either unnecessary or hopeless, (for there is 
no record of any such attempt,) were now fairly under way ; 
and, as one of their first measures, published a Circular Letter 
to all the churches within their bounds, professing to furnish a 
correct statement of the origin and history of the separation.! 

There was however another effort made by the West Tennes- 
see Presbytery in October, 1811, when delegates from each body 
met to confer about a re-union. The effort proved abortive. 
The Presbytery of West Tennessee then addressed a Pastoral 
Letter to their churches, warning them of the heterodoxy and 
irregular orders of the Cumberland Presbytery ; to which Finis 
Ewing published a reply, which was regarded by his own party 
as an able composition. Intercommunion now ceased between 
Cumberland Presbyterians and those who adhered to the General 
Assembly. J 

Free at last, and untrammelled by disciplinaiy restrictions, the 
progress of the new Presbytery was rapid. In three years from 
its callow state, after narrowly escaping being strangled in 
its previous birth-throes, it grew into a Synod, with three 
Presbyteries and sixty congregations under its wings. The 
Presbyteries were called Cumberland, Logan, and Elk ; but the 
name of Nashville was soon substituted for the first. The 
Synod held its first meeting, October 5th, 1813 ; when they pre- 
sented to the world a summary of their tenets. It was designed 

* Min. Syn., vol. i. pp. 187-189. 

f This Circular may be seen at length in Smith, Appendix, p. 677. 

I iSmith, p. 644. 


for publication in Woodward's edition of Buck's Theological 
Dictionary ; and as in this account there are several misrepre- 
sentations, it may not be amiss to notice them.* 

Ewing and King are styled " regularly ordained ministers of 
the Presbyterian Church ;" notwithstanding the Commission had 
silenced them, and the prohibition had received the sanction suc- 
cessively of the Synod and the General Assembly, by which 
latter court their ordination was pronounced " highly irregular 
and unconstitutional." They indeed, did not scruple to call this 
interdict an *' unconstitutional act," and not only as such voida- 
ble, but absolutely null and void, from a technical oversight ; 
having been prohibited from preaching by virtue of any authori- 
ty derived from Cumberland Presbytery, whereas their authority 
was derived from Transylvania, just prior to the erection of 
Cumberland. This was manifestly a mere inadvertence, as has 
been already fully explained. How far such an inadvertence 
might invalidate or vitiate the entire act, involves a legal quib- 
ble, which we shall not undertake to discuss at present. Both 
Bush's edition of Buck, and Brown's Religious Encyclopedia, 
perpetuate the error of giving undue prominence to the point 
of classical learning, overlooking the more important and real 
difficulty of unsoundness in doctrine. 

Another error proper to be noticed is, that the Commission 
are said to have tabled many charges, reducible to two heads, 
the first of which was licensing without examination on the lan- 
guages. This is not strictly correct ; as the records show, and 
as is attested by the explicit denial of hving members of that 
court.f This was far from being regarded as the most heinous 
offence. The Synod, in their apology to the Assembly, stated 
that they had hoped to find some, out of so many, who might be 
qualified to be useful ; and the Presbytery of Transylvania sub- 
sequently received, with their approbation, two of those young 
men. It was not the want of classical learning, but unsoundness 
in doctrine, the adoption of the Confession with reservations, 
(charge 2d, as above alluded to,) that created the grand diffi- 
culty ; and the removal of this hindrance would have wonder- 

* Smith, p. 645. Woodward's Buck, fifth ed. p. 419. The same erroneous 
statements are made in the " Circular," Smith, p. 677. 
t Brief Hist., p. 26. 


fully facilitated the accommodation ol»the other. The able his- 
torian of the Cumberland Presbyterians himself admits this in 
several places.* 

The year following, (1814,) the Cumberland Synod ventured 
to take a bolder step, and in their own words, " to model, to ex- 
punge, and to add to, the Confession of the Presbyterian Church." 
Calvinism is a complete and compact system, and, as in a well- 
constructed arch, every separate doctrine is a keystone, which 
cannot be abstracted without endangering the whole. As from 
the foot we may infer the proportions of the statue, or reproduce 
a Saurian from its fossil fragments, so each single doctrine of 
the Calvinistic scheme naturally and necessarily involves the 
adoption of all the rest. Forgetful or unconscious of this truth, 
they endeavored, in the altered edition of the Confession and 
Catechisms,t to steer a middle course between Calvinism and 
Arminianism, (if a middle course there can be ;) rejecting the 
doctrines of eternal reprobation, limited atonement, and special 
grace, and maintaining that the Spirit of God operates on the 
world, or co-extensively with the atonement, so as to leave all 
men inexcusable. J 

* " Moreover, it was the adherence of the young men to these views, that 
produced the final separation of the two parties ; for all the young men after- 
wards proposed to the Transylvania Presbytery, that they, as a body, would sub- 
mit to a re-examination, with the understanding that they should be indulged in 
their conscientious scruples on this subject." Smith, p. 611. " As the literary 
attainments of Mr. Hodge were inferior to those of most of the young men licens- 
ed or ordained by Cumberl. Presby., v/e are warranted in the conclusion, that 
the only very serious difficulty existing between the t'vo bodies consisted in the 
rejection, by the members of the Council, of what thoy deemed fatality ; and, as 
the others argued that fatality was not taught in the (IJonfession of Faith, we 
think these brethren might have been indulged in their conscientious scruples 
on that subject." p. 637. 

f Some, with the author of the " Brief History, might prefer to call it a muti- 
lation. Of the character of these changes a specimen is presented from the 
Shorter Catechism. Q,. 7. " What are the decrees of God ? A. The decreee 
of God are his purpose, whereby, according to the council of his own will, he 
hath foreordained to bring to pass what shall be for his own glory. Sin not be- 
ing for God's glory, therelbre he hath not decreed it." Q. 20. " Did God leave 
all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery ? A. No. God, of his 
mere good pleasure and love did provide salvation for all mankind, by giving his 
Son to make atonement for them, that he who believeth should not perish but 
have eternal hfe." Q,. 31. For the phrase, "What is effectual calling?" is 
substituted, " What is the work of the Spirit ? Q. 82. For the words, " Is any 
man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God ?" are substituted tlinse, 
" Is any man able perfectly to keep the moral law ? A. No." Bishop's Rice, 
p. 127. Dr. Baird says that they maintain the doctrine of the Perseverance of 
the Saints, and on other points than those specified, are essentially Calyinistic, 
Religion in America, p. 253. 

\ Religious Encycl. Buck, art. Cumb. Presb. 


In the same year final action was taken by the General As- 
sembly upon the proper treatment of the Cumberland Presbyte- 
rians, the case having come up by reference ; when it was decid- 
ed, that as those persons were under censure at the time of their 
constituting as a Presbytery ; as they had neglected to take the 
regular steps for its removal ;* as they had erected themselves 
into a Judicatory contrary to the rules of our discipline ; and as 
tke grounds of their separation were that we would not relax 
our discipline and surrender important doctrines ; therefore the 
persons aforesaid were to be viewed as having derived no au- 
thority from the Presbyterian Church to exercise discipline, or 
administer the ordinances of the Church, and they could not be 
treated with as a body, but only as individuals.! 

In 1825, the matter was again considered by the Assembly ; 
when it was decided that their ministrations " are to be viewed 
in the same light with those of other denominations, not con- 
nected with our body. This decision is grounded on the opinion, 
that the act of the Assembly of 1814 precluded the propriety of 
Deposition, or any other process in the case." 

The Synod of Kentucky, although they were in a highly pros- 
perous condition, being enabled to report (1815) an increasing 
thirst for religious instruction, the extensive distribution of Bibles 
and tracts with good results, the organization of many new 
churches, and the erection of three new Presbyteries,J yet 
began to feel the necessity of taking some measures for their 
own vindication from the misrepresentations that were industri- 
ously circulated in regard to them ; as well as to put on their 

* Dr. Baird, in his admirable work, Religion in America, p. 253, has been be- 
trayed into an error in stating that the case had been broujrht by appeal before 
the Assembly. Tliough there was a correspondence opened on the part of the 
malcontents as individuals, no appeal was ever regularly taken. On the con- 
trary, any such intention was openly disavowed, as nas been already narrated. 

f Digest, p. 167. 

j These were the Presbytery of Louisville, erected ont of Transylvania, em- 
bracing' Messrs. Shannon, Cameron, Vance, and Scott; the Presbyter)' of Mis- 
sissippi, erected out of West Tennes.see, embracing Messrs. Bullin, Montgomery, 
Rickhow, and Smilic ; and the Presbytery of Shiloh, erected out of West Ten- 
nessee and Muhlenburg, embracing Messrs. William and Samuel Hodge, Don- 
nell, Shaw, Newton, Gillespie, and Morrison. Min. Syn. vol. ii. pp. 89, 90. 
The Synod of Ohio had been erected the preceding year, (1814,) composed of 
the Presbyteries of Lancaster, Washington, and Miami. Digest, p. 42. And 
in 1817, the Synod of Tennessee was erected, composed of the Presbyteries of 
Union, Shiloh, West Tennessee, and Mississippi. Digest, p. 44. 


guard such of their members as might be in danger of being be- 
guiled into communion with the Cumberland Presbyterians, 
through motives of convenience, or the supposed affinity of the 
respective connections and their standards. In 1815 they direct- 
ed their stated clerk to prepare and publish five hundred copies 
of extracts of all the records relating to the schism ;* and in 
1823, a pamphlet made its appearance, by their order, purport- 
ing to contain '• A Brief History" of their proceedings in refer- 
ence to the Cumberland Presbyterians, correcting erroneous 
impressions, and ably vindicating the constitutionality and ex- 
pediency of the course they had pursued. f In this publication 
the Synod very distinctly disowned them as a legitimate branch 
of the Presbyterian Church.J 

Although, like the New Side party of the previous century, 
the Cumberland Presbyterians seemed at first to lay greater 
stress on piety and zeal in the ministry than on orthodoxy and 
learning, time and experience wrought a salutary change in 
their policy ; and, as a happy consequence, we find the one like 
the other, by a singular coincidence of names fostering their 
Princeton. It was in 1827§ that the scheme went into opera- 
tion. On March 1st, of that year, a chartered Manual Labor 
institution was opened at Princeton, Caldwell county, Kentucky, 

* Min. Syn.,vol. ii., 94. 

f "A Brief History of tlie Rise, Progress, and Termination of the Proceed- 
ings of the Synod of Kentucky, relative to the late Cumberland Presbytery ; in 
which is brought to view a brief account of the origin and present standing of 
the people usually denominated Cumberland Presbyterians ; as taken from offi- 
cial documents and facts in possession of Synod. Published by order of Synod, 
at their session, held in Harrodsburgh, October, 1822. Lexington, Kentucky. 
Printed by Thomas T. Skillman, 1823." pp. 29. This pamphlet was from the 
pen of Dr. Thomas Cleland. It contains much \'aluable information and shrewd 
reasoning ; but is strikingly deficient in that lucid order which is desirai)le in 
connected accounts of this kind ; in which respect it presents an unfavorable 
contrast with the clear and perspicuous, though prejudiced, narrative of Mr. 

X The position occupied by the Synod at this period may be learned from the 
following extract. " It is the opinion of some that there is good and legitimate 
ordination among those of the self-made Cumberland Presbytery ; or as now 
styled. Synod. Without saying anything more on this point than we have said, 
we would state that, according to their documents and acknowledgments, they 
cannot be recognized as any branch or section .of the Presbyterian Church, be- 
cause they have set aside some of the important doctrines and regulations which 
belong to legitimate ordination in said Church. If they have legitimately ordained 
ministers among them, they have them not according to Presbyterian rules, and 
therefore we are certainly correct in disowning them." Brief Hist. p. 25, n. 

\ 1825, says the Amer. Almanac, p. 130. 


under the presidency of the Rev. Dr. Cossit, by the title of the 
Cumberland Presbyterian College, with a Theological Depart- 
ment annexed. Attached to it was a snug farm of three hundred 
acres ; by laboring on which two or three hours every day, it 
was supposed that the students could earn their board and tu- 
ition. The experiment, like the Manual Labor Schools generally, 
popular as they once were, has been a failure ; proving more ex- 
pensive and less advantageous than was expected.* Finis Sw- 
ing, true to his early prejudices, was not slow to express his ap- 
prehensions that the possession of a college would awaken a spirit 
of pride and self-confidence, and tempt them to lean too much 
on the arm of flesh.f A similar institution has recently been 
founded in Ohio. 

Two years more, making nineteen since the organization of 
the first Presbytery, beheld, in the same village, the convening 
of a General Assembly. This body met, for the first time, May, 
1829, and comprised four Synods, Missouri, Green river, Frank- 
lin, and Cumberland ; so much had the original seed expanded. J 

In the year 1817, died the Rev. James McGready, whose 
name was intimately associated with the early history of the 
Cumberland Presbyterians ; and who is still venerated by them 
as one in sentiment, and the Patriarch of their order. § 

Mr. McGready's personal appearance has already been de- 
scribed. The vehemence of his manner and the terror of his 
denunciations, designated him not as a Son of Consolation, but a 
Son of Thunder. He was born on the Monongahela, in West- 
ern Pennsylvania, in 1763, and converted at a sacramental meet- 
ing, in 1786, when he was twenty-three years of age. He soon 
after directed his attention to the ministry ; and- in 1792 was 
ordained as pastor of a congregation in North Carolina. Here 
he made himself extremely unpopular by his unsparing invec- 
tives against horse-racing, gambling, and other vices ; and one 
night, " certain lewd fellows of the baser sort," broke into his 
meeting-house, tore down the benches, and burned the pulpit. 
At the same time a threatening letter was addressed him writ- 
ten in blood. Nothing daunted, the brave man, on the very next 

* Smith, p. 649-653. Of late years it has been so reduced as to meditate a 
transfer to the protecting care of some other and more powerful patrons ; the 
Episcopal bishop of Kentucky was at one time engaged in negotiations for its 
control, but for some cause they were not consummated. 

f Smith, p. 663. f Smith, p. 653. J Smith, p. 615. 


Sunday, preached as usual, and gave out to be sung the 76th 
Psalm, part of which was very appropriate, '* How are the seats 
of worship broke !" &c. The clamor against him, however, rose 
to such a height, that he felt himself under the necessity of ex- 
changing his charge for that of Gasper, Muddy, and Red river 
congregations, in the south-western part of Kentucky. He had 
not been there very long before his searching preaching pro- 
duced a powerful effect upon a people who were almost totally 
unacquainted with the nature of vital piety and experimental 
religion. The revival of 1800 commenced under his exertions, 
and soon found in him an unflinching advocate. In 1801, he 
delivered publicly " A Vindication of the Exercises in the Re- 
vival." Although he headed the revival party in the old Cum- 
berland Presbytery, yet, when he found that their measures 
would precipitate a schism, and draw down the censures of the 
superior judicatories, he withdrew from them for a time, and at 
length made suitable acknowledgments, and was restored to his 
former standing in the old body. 

In the year 1807 he was accused of fraudulent conduct, in re- 
gard to a certain piece of property in Russellville, but upon in- 
vestigation nothing was found to his discredit.* A more serious 
difficulty occurred in 1810, when his character fell under a dark 
cloud. Riding on a cold day, with an empty stomach, and but 
recently recovered from a bilious fever, he was induced by a 
couple of wicked men in company to drink more liquor than he 
was able to bear, and became shamefully intoxicated. He spent 
some weeks in a state of anguish almost comparable to the tor- 
ments of the damned, but at last had his peace of mind restored ; 
upon which he drew up a written covenant, binding himself never 
to taste spirituous liquors again, to prepare for the press an earn- 
est warning against their use, to observe, every month, the day 
of his fall as a day of fasting and humiliation, to pray thrice a 

* A house and lot had been given by Israel McG ready to his favorite niece, 
James' third daughter, and had been sold by James, in trust for her, to Joseph 
Ficklin, Esq., in 1806. The creditors of Israel called it a fraudulent transaction. 
Messrs. Robertson, Cleland and Rice investijrnted tiie matter, as a Committee of 
Transylvania Presbytery. The deposition of Mr. Ficklin is recorded ; and among 
other testimony, that of Ninian Edv.'ards, afterwards Governor of Illinois, giving 
Mr. McGready the most exalted character. The result was that, on the Report 
of the Committee, the Presbytery fully acquitted him, and censured the late Cum- 
berland Presbytery, as moved by ill-feeling, to make "a false, iniquitouo and ma- 
licious representation." Min. Trans. Pby., vol. iii. pp. 137-181. 


day in secret, and to maintain a stricter watch over himself, and 
a closer walk with God. This was a depj^rable occurrence in 
the career of a man who had for twenty-four years sustained an 
irreproachable character as a professor of religion, and for eight- 
een years of that time as a zealous minister of the Gospel ; but 
we cannot doubt the depth or sincerity of his repentance. He 
published shortly after the Admonition, and in it gave an account 
of his own mishap, speaking in the third person. After this oc- 
currence, Mr. McGready's influence and unction in the pulpit 
were never the same that they had been before. He died in 
Henderson county, whither he had removed, in 1817, at the age 
of fifty- four. After his decease the bulk of his congregation joined 
the Cumberland Presbyterians.* 

In 1837, the Rev. James Smith, editor of the " Cumberland 
Presbyterian," and author of the History of the sect, published 
Mr. McGready's '• Posthumous Works," two volumes in one, pp. 
511, 8vo., containing forty-two sermons, a narrative of the 
revival, and a discourse on intemperance. Many of the sermons 
are incomplete, from his habit of delivering the application 
extempore. His applications were considered interesting and 
powerful. His style was unpolished, but strong and perspicuous. 
He sometimes indulged in bold figures, and a fastidious taste 
would condemn his exhortations as rant.f 

• Smith, p. 615. 

f As Mr. McGready acted so prominent a part, and his preaching produced 
such striking effects in the Revival of 1800, it may not be amiss to subjoin a 
specimen of his style, taken from Sermon XIV. which has been several times 
alluded to by his biographer. The text is Ps. xiv. 1 : " The fool hath said in his 
heart, there is no God." It is entitled, "The Character, History and End of the 
Fool." The extract is taken from the second part, in which is described the end 
of the fool ; and the reader must boar in mind the terrible looks, tones and gestures 
of the preaciier : 

" And, suffice it to say, he died accursed of God, when his soul was separated 
from his body, and the black, flaming vultures of hell began to encircle him on 
every side ; his conscience awoke from its long sleep, and roared like ten thou- 
sand peals of thunder. Then all the horrid crimes of his past life stared him in 
his face, in all tlieir glowing colors ; then the remembrance of misimproved ser- 
mons and sacramental occasions flashed Hke streams of forked lightning through 
his tortured soul ; then the reflection that he had slighted tlie mercy and blood of 
the Son of God — that he had despi.sed and rejected him — was like a poisoned ar- 
row piercing his heart. When the fiends of hell dragged him into the infernal 
gulf, he roared and screamed and yelled like a devil ! When, while Indians, 
Pagans and Mahometans stood amazed and upbraided him, falling, like Lucifer, 
from the meridian blaze of the Gospel and the threshold of heaven, sinking into 
the liquid, boiling waves of hell, and accursed sinners of Tyre and Sidon, and 


His orthodoxy is apparent from his clear acknowledgments 
and vindication of the doctrines of Imputation, the Federal Head- 
ship of Christ, Election, the Agency of the Spirit in the Xew 
Birth, and the Impotency of Moral Suasion. In his defence of 
Election he says : " These things I read in my Bible, and I have 
no authority to take them out. Some people tell us this doctrine 
is from hell ; if so, the Bible is from hell, for it is full of it."* 

The Rev. William Hodge was a native of North Carolina, and 
was converted when somewhat advanced in life. He was poor, 
and had a wife and children, but, notwithstanding, he w^ent thirty 
miles to attend Dr. Caldwell's school, in the Hawfield congrega- 
tion, Guilford county ; a step which exposed him to much cen- 
sure. He was licensed to preach in 1790, and soon after was 
called to succeed Mr. Debo, at Hawfield, where a revival fol- 
lowed his labors. In the spring of 1800, he w^as called to succeed 
Mr. McGee, at Shiloh, in the Cumberland settlements, Sumner 
county, Tennessee. Here his preaching produced a stir, and two 

Sodom and Gomorrah, sprang to the right and left, and made wa)' for him to pass 
them and full lower down, even to the deepest cavern in the flaming abyss — liere 
his conscience, like a never-dying worm, stings him, and forever gnaws his sonl : 
and the slighted blood of the Son of God communicates ten thousand hells in 
one ! Now, through the blazing flames of hell, he sees that heaven he has lost — 
that exceeding great and eternal weight of glory he has sold for the devil's pot- 
tage ! In those ptire regions he sees his father or mother, his sisters or brothers, 
and those persons who sat under the same means of grace with him, and whom 
he derided as fools, fenatics and hypocrites. They are far beyond the impassable 
gulf; they shine brighter than the sun when he shineth in his strength, and walk 
tiie golden streets of the new Jerusalem ; but he is lost, and damned forever ! 

'• The last thing we sliall mention in the history of the fool is, when he lifted 
up his eyes in hell he found a dictionary explaining the meaning of all the pro- 
fane language he used during his life. Now he perfectly understands tlie mean- 
ing of those words he was in the habit of using in this world, without ever re- 
flecting on their signification. Such expressions as the following were very 
common with the fool in this life : ' Fll be damned ; God damn his soul, if it was 
not so and so.' Now the fool perfectly understands the meaning of these terms, 
in all their horrid emphasis — for God has heard, and answered, his prayer : he 
has damned his soul in hell ! He could now tell you that the dreadful meaning 
of these words frighted the stoutest devils, and fills all the flaming vaults of hell 
with the most hideous shrieks and yells ! In this life, when the fool was offended 
at any one, his common phrase was, such a one is a damned fool. Now he per- 
fectly understands the meaning of the phrase. When he surveys his life, and 
reflects on the many offers of salvation he refused ; the manner in which he mis- 
spent his precious time, and misimproved all the means of grace ; he is con- 
strained to confess that he is, emphatically, a fool — a damned fool — for he is 
damned in hell forever and ever !" — Posth. Works, p. 149. 

* Sermon XXIIl. Posth. Works, p. 238. 


parties sprang up — Revival and Anti-Revival. The latter took 
possession of the church, and closed the doors against him. The 
matter was brought before the Presbytery, who decided in his favor. 
The other party then drew off, and called the Rev. Thos. B. Craig- 
head to be their pastor. Mr. Ilodgc was only second to Mr. Mc- 
Gready in promoting the Revival of 1 800, though his character was 
completely his reverse, being a son ofconsolation. Mr. Hodge final- 
ly returned to the " Old Presbyterians," as they are generally styled 
by way of distinction. Neither he nor Mr. McGready dreamed 
of a final separation, and were startled to find to what hazard 
they had exposed themselves. In consequence of difficulties at 
Shiloh, he resigned the charge in 1818, and died a year or two 

The Rev. William McGee was born in Randolph county, 
North Carolina, and was converted in a revival under Mr. Mc- 
Gready's preaching. He was licensed to preach in 1792, and 
took charge of Shiloh, in Tennessee, two years afterward. He 
was a very zealous and animated preacher, and wielded the 
curses of Sinai with great power. He would sometimes exhort 
after sermon, standing on the floor, or sitting or lying in the dust, 
his eyes streaming, and his heart so full, that he could only eja- 
culate, " Jesus ! Jesus !" He insisted on every one's giving a 
satisfactory account of his religious exercises, and where and 
when he was converted. His elders being of different views 
from himself, he resigned, and took charge of Beech and Ridge 
societies. In the Revival of 1800 he bore a leading part. When 
the difficulties arose, he was much perplexed to reconcile Calvin- 
ism and Arminianism, and was for a time in great distress of 
mind to know with whom he should cast in his lot ; but at last, 
having settled his theological system to his satisfaction, joined the 
new Cumberland Presbytery. He died in 1814. 

* Smith, pp. 667, 668. 



During the progress of the schism of the Cumberland Presby- 
terians, there was another troublesome case which attracted 
considerable attention, though happily it was not attended by as 
extensive or as disastrous consequences. This was the trial of 
the Rev. Thomas B. Craighead for Pelagianism. 

Mr. Craighead came legitimately by both his latitudinarian 
tenets and his opinionated disposition, being the son of Alexander 
Craighead, a leading member of the New Side, suspended by 
the Presbytery of New Brunswick in 1741, for contumaciously 
declining their jurisdiction.* Thomas was born at Sugar Creek, 
in North Carolina, where his father had organized a congrega- 
gation in 1757,f and where, in 1766, he died. He graduated at 
Nassau Hall, in 1775; was ordained in 1780 by the Presby- 
tery of Orange ; and preached for some time to his father's late 
congregation. Shortly after, he married the daughter of the 
Rev. John Brown, of Virginia, and turned his steps to Kentucky. J 

Upon the division of the congregation of Shiloh, in Sumner 
county, Tennessee, Mr. Craighead was invited to preach to the 
portion that separated. Shiloh had been under the care of the 
Rev. William Hodge, whose fiery proceedings had rent the peo- 
ple into two factions, Revival, and Anti-Revival or Orthodox ; 
the former sustaining their pastor, the latter opposing him with 
such virulence as to close the church doors against him. Being 

* Records of the Presb. Church, pp. 154, 157. 
t MS. Hist, of Sugar Creek Church. 
j Presb. vol. xv. p. 37. 


censured for their conduct by the Presbytery, this last party 
withdrew, and formed a distinct society, which they called " the 
Orderly part of Shiloh congregation," and called Mr. Craighead 
to be their minister.* It was not long, however, before his new 
situation became very unpleasant, his elders and most of the 
people deserting him, few attending his ministrations, and he 
himself being treated with neglect, partly on account of his 
being suspected of holding Pelagian tenets, and partly on account 
of his opposition to the popular extravagances of the times.f 
Rumors of his erroneous sentiments having reached the ears of 
the Synod, the Commission that met at Gasper river in 1805, 
were charged to investigate the correctness of the report. 

Accordingly, after disposing of the Cumberland difficulties, on 
the 10th day of December, 1805, the Commission proceeded to 
examine Mr. Craighead. Thirty-one questions were submitted 
to him in writing, touching Predestination, Foreknowledge, 
Good Works, the Perseverance of the Saints, the co-operation 
of the Word and Spirit, and the Special Influences of the Holy 
Ghost. His answers were decided to be agreeable to the Con- 
fession of Faith, a few excepted, that were deemed ambiguous 
and unsatisfactory.^ In this examination, Mr. Craighead un- 
equivocally declared his belief that there was a supernatural 
operation ; that the Spirit did not operate independently of, but 
by and with the Word ; that the Word was inefficacious without 
the Spirit ; that Faith was a grace, produced by the power of 
God upon the mind ; that God could operate on the mind of the 
creature without the Word ; and that God did not work equally 
on all who heard the Word.§ 

The matter rested here until the meeting of Synod at Lexing- 
ton the year following, (Oct. 27, 1806,) when Mr. Craighead 
preached a sermon which produced a great excitement, as con- 
tradictory to the doctrines of the Church, and to his own record- 
ed answers to the Commission. In this discourse he affirmed 

* Smith, p. 667. 

t Lylo's Narr p. 30. 

{ Min. iSyn. vol. i. p. 98 " His answers were agreeable to the Confession, 
except a few expressed ambiguoii.=;ly, &c., with which the Commission were not 
entirely satisfied. Observation and experience have taught me not to be fond of 
allowing men in such examinations, to be their own witnesses." Lyle's Tour, 
p. 64. 

§ Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 102, 103. 


that there had been two disthict operations of the Spirit in the 
time of the Apostles : one miraculous, the other illuminating. The 
first was soon withdrawn, and the second was superseded, or 
rendered unnecessary, by the written word upon the completion 
of the canon. This Word possessed paramount authority, for 
the Spirits were to be tried by it. He was understood to reject 
any influence, operation, or energy of the Spirit in or upon the 
mind, to dispose it to good. The action of the Word is the only 
operative principle, and has all the force that can be or is em- 
ployed. He alleged that the soul is passive, in the same sense 
that the eye is passive to the rays of light ; and as nothing is 
necessary but the opening of the eye to admit light, so nothing is 
necessary but the attention of the mind to the Word ; by which 
attention the mind becomes as susceptible of regeneration and 
faith, as the eye is susceptible of the images of objects when the 
light is let in upon it.* 

This sermon was promptly brought before the notice of the 
Synod the next day, through the Committee of Bills and Over- 
tureSjt and a discussion ensued thereon. Mr. Craighead was 
permitted to offer explanations ; notwithstanding which, how- 
ever, it was the opinion of the Synod that he had expressed sen- 
timents in his sermon inconsistent with the doctrine of the Con- 
fession upon the subject of Divine influence.^ 

Mr. Craighead was permitted to enter an Explanation on the 
minutes ; but the Explanation failing to be entirely satisfactory, 
the Synod, after expressing their regret for the necessity, adopt- 
ed the following resolution, viz : " That the Rev. Thos. B. 
Craighead be entreated, and he is hereby earnestly entreated, to 
be cautious in future, as to the matter of his sermons, and care- 
ful not to offend against the doctrines of the Confession of Faith 
and the feelings of his Christian brethren ; and that the Modera- 
tor be directed to read this minute to Mr. Craighead." 

This admonition was wholly fruitless, indeed its leniency was 
no doubt misconstrued into weakness, for about three years after- 
ward, at the request of certain citizens of Lexington,§ and puffed 

* Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 127-130. 

t Of this Committee, strange to say, Mr. Craighead happened to be Chairman ; 
an honor which marks his standing in the body. Min. Syn. vol. i»p. 122. 
I Mill. Syn. vol. i. p. 123. 
§ Dedication to the Sermon. 



up by his reputation for eloquence, Mr. Craighead pubhshed his 
Sermon on Regeneration, with an insulting Address to the 
Synod, and an Appendix. The Sermon filled 54 pages octavo. 
It was not printed as delivered, having been originail}«extempo- 
raneous, and being now made designedly less devotional and 
more argumentative.* The text was John iii. 3 : " Except a 
man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ;" but 
almost any other motto might have served as well. 

The preacher pompously announced his purpose to open a 
treaty in the name of God Almighty, to settle the preliminaries 
and state the terms. • There was not the slightest recognition of 
the Calvinistic doctrine, that the Covenant was made with Christ 
for his people as a public person, instead of mankind individually ; 
but the contrary was plainly inferrible. 

To furnish an abstract of a discourse of such length, everv 
page of which teemed with objectionable matter, and the style 
of which was as amplified and obscure as its method was intri- 
cate and confused, will not be expected. Suffice it to say, that 
the author took continual occasion to rail at every distinctive 
tenet of Calvinism, without any attempt at concealment other 
than was caused by his own vague and misty languao-e. He 
sneered, as bitterly as any infidel could do, at the doctrines of 
Election,! Special Grace,J and the immediate influence of the 
Spirit, which he called " a Spirit without credentials."§ He took 
the ground, (which Warburton had taken before him,||) that we 
are in a different situation from the apostles and early disciples. 
They enjoyed the immediate guidance of the Holy Ghost, in the 
absence of written records ; but since the completion of the 
Canon of Scripture, that guidance has been withdrawn, and we 
are left solely to the written Word. The Spirit in the Word is 
the sole cause of faith and sanctification. There can be no in- 
tellectual effects produced on the mind except by thoughts or 
ideas expressed in words. Any other opinion he pronounced 
enthusiastic. All moral attraction consists in motives.^! 

Believing is an intellectual, not a moral act ; it is irresistibly 
dependent on testimony, and never independent or voluntary. 
Faith is necessarily a mediate gift ; the testimony, not the dispo- 

* Address, p. 55. f Sermon, pp. 27, 46. 

t Ibid. pp. 24, 26. ^ Sermon, pp. 35, 37. 

II Doctrine of Grace, p. 93. IT Sermon, pp. 3, 5, 9, 11, 27. 


sition to believe, being supplied from heaven. A divine faith is 
believing on the testimony of God. A man can no more resist 
the force of the divine truth of God, if he suffers it to enter his 
intellectual eye, than he can prevent his natural eye from seeing, 
when natural light enters into it. There is no new sense, per- 
ception, disposition or taste, serving as the root of holiness ; and 
to expect it, would be as absurd as a law requiring us to taste 
sweetness in honey ; the mind being always naturally influenced 
by the greatest good.* 

He heaped no less ridicule on the idea of praying for faith. 
The examples of such prayers in Scripture were instances of the 
faith of miracles ; and our Lord treated them as words without 
meaning. Christ's manner of preaching differed from the modern 
current cant : " Pray to God to give you faith to believe. Pray, 
pray, strive, agonize, wait on, till Christ comes and delivers you."t 

The above may serve as a meagre specimen of the erroneous 
sentiments contained in Mr. Craighead's sermon. In the Ap- 
pendix, he went into what he meant for a profound disquisition 
on the vexed question of Necessity, and canvassed at length the 
positions of President Edwards in his treatise on the Will, and 
Dr. Miller in his Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century. These 
views he attempted to caricature, by putting a prayer in the 
mouth of a Necessitarian, which might have formed a suitable 
counterpart to that blasphemous effusion of Burns, entitled Holy 
Willie's Prayer.J 

This publication Mr. Craighead, no doubt, supposed would 
produce no less consternation among the Synod than a bomb 
falling in the midst of an enemy's camp ; but the effect was very 
limited. Some of his admirers, indeed, ill-indoctrinated, and 
captivated by his sophistries, loudly extolled it as the mirror of 
truth, and a pattern of argumentative eloquence. By the New 
Lights, and other enemies of evangelical truth, its appearance 
was hailed with exultation, as a new ally. These persons affect- 
ed to ridicule the Synod as men of small intellects, destitute of 
talents, too imbecile to dare to take an attitude of opposition, 
twinkling tapers, eclipsed by so great a luminary.§ 

* Sermon, pp. 21, 22, 26, 16. f Ibid. pp. 15, 19, 20, 24. 

I Appendix, p. 86. 

§ Campbell's Lett, to Craighead, Pref. p. iii. 



Under these circumstances, Dr. John P. Campbell felt it his 
duty to come forward in vindication of the Synod and the 
Standards of the Church. This he did in a series of five Letters 
to Mr. Craighead, written in the spring of 1810.* In the Intro- 
duction, Dr. Campbell paid a handsome tribute to Mr. Craighead's 
uncommon talents as an extemporaneous orator, while with a 
delicate vein of satire he touched on his fondness for metaphysi- 
cal disquisitions, for which he had neither the necessary coolness, 
patience, nor compactness of thought. '* You are no Locke," said 
he; "you are no Edwards; you are no Butler; but you are 
capable of being w^hat I should covet a thousand times more, a 
Massillon or a Bridaine. No, sii-, you have too much fire, too 
much velocity, too much impatience, for metaphysics. You can 
manage a metaphor infinitely better than a syllogism ; you can 
shape a flight on fancy's burnished wing with more ease than 
scale the proud heights of speculative philosophy. It is the sub- 
lime of eloquence, and not the elevation of metaphysical theology, 
to which you ought to aspire. Oh ! what might you not be under 
such circumstances as I could wish."f 

Dr. Campbell then proceeded to expose Mr. Craighead's erro- 
neous views OK the great subjects of the true root of the enmity 
of the human heart to God ; the nature of regeneration, or the 
new birth; saving faith; the immediate agency of the Spirit on 
the heart, as well as through the Word ; the doctrine of Neces- 
sity and Liberty ; man's responsibihty ; and his inability in an 
unregenerate state. On all these points, he clearly set forth 
tlie doctrinal views of the Synod, by a copious reference to the 
Scriptures and the standard writers of the Reformation ; and 
closed with presenting five fatal objections to the new scheme of 
religion. These were, that it was throughout selfish ; that it 
subverted the great doctrine of the ministration of the Holy 
Spirit ; that it robbed God of his glory by ascribing too much 
to human agency ; that it rendered prayer useless, the decrees 
and prophecies doubtful, and capable of frustration ; and that it 

* " Several Ijctters addressed to the Rev. T. B. Craighead, in answer to a 
pamphlet published by him, containing a Sermon on Regeneration, an Address 
to the Synod of Kentucky, and an Appendix. By Jolm P. Campbell. Lexing- 
ton, Ky. Printed by Thomas Smith, ["or the Author, 1810." pp. 194, 8vo. 

t Letter to Craighead, p. 8. 




cut off the greater part of Christ's work, as a risen, reigning, and 
controlling Mediator. 

This work, written as it was with a clear and vigorous logic, 
and in an attractive style, had a prodigious effect. Its currency 
was rapid, and its popularity extensive. Beneath the ponderous 
blow Mr. Craighead was for a while completely stunned ; he 
reeled and staggered ; and when at length he recovered his 
faculties, he dealt his strokes with the blind fury of a madman. 
It was not till nearly a year had elapsed that he rallied himself 
sufficiently to reply, in an inconsiderable pamphlet.* In ten let- 
ters to Dr. Campbell, he ran over his former ground, but with 
still more incoherence, repetition and obscurity. In short, it was 
at once a feeble and a bitter production, totally destitute of dig- 
nity, system, ability, or literary merit. As if forced to abandon 
his former positions as untenable, he vented his mortification in 
spiteful tirades against Calvinism, and the disingenuousness of its 

This brought Dr. Campbell promptly into the field again. He 
published a review of Mr. Craighead's letters, under the title of 
" The Pelagian Detected ;"t which, though forcible and impres- 
sive, bore evident marks of haste. He still further strengthened 
his cause by an array of authorities ; exposed the palpable mis- 
quotations and misrepresentations of his antagonist ; and com- 
pletely exploded any remaining pretension Mr. Craighead might 
set up as the true interpreter of the Westminster Confession. 

Mr. Craighead had attempted to throw odium upon orthodox 
Presbyterians, by insinuating that their tenets of " immediate 
agency and sensible feelings of the mighty power of God in the 
soul," were "near akin" to Shakerism, and had contributed to 
foster it. J Dr. Campbell undertook to show that, so far from 
this being the case, not only did the Shakers disclaim " immediate 
agency," but that there was a perfect agreement between their 
views and Mr. Craighead's on Divine sovereignty, the Word, 

* " Letters to the Rev. J. P. Campbell, occasioned by his Letters to the Au- 
thor, containing some original disquisitions, philosophical, moral and religious. 
By T. B. Craighead, A.B., V.D.M. Nashville, Tennessee. Printed by Thomas 
Grayson Bradford, Marl^et-street, May, 1811." pp. 88, 12mo. 

f " The Pelagian Detected ; or, a Review of Mr. Craighead's Letters ; ad- 
dressed to the Public and the Author. By John P. Campbell. Lexington. 
Thomas T. Skiliman, 1811." pp. 80, 8vo. 

X Craighead's Letter.s, p. 42. 


Spiritual influence, faith, and regeneration ; as was made dis- 
tinctly obvious by a comparison in parallel columns. 

But not content with this. Dr. Campbell advanced a yet graver 
charge, at which he had darkly hinted before, but of which he 
now exhibited the proofs : that New Lightism and Shakerism 
were clearly traceable to the paternity of Mr. Craighead. It 
was made to appear that Barton W. Stone had visited him in 
1799 or 1800, and had then imbibed his peculiar views, which he 
afterward industriously disseminated, and with which he in- 
oculated McNemar and Dunlavy. These facts were incontesta- 
bly substantiated by certificates signed by Dr. Thomas Donnell, 
and Elders Samuel M. Waugh, William Thompson, Samuel Don- 
nell, and John Hopkins, as well as by Dr. Campbell's own per- 
sonal recollection of conversations held with Mr. Stone by him- 
self.* That Mr. Craighead had led Houston astray was also 
shown from certificates signed by the Rev. S. B. Robertson and 
Rev. John Lyle, testifying to what they had heard from Houston's 
own mouth, t 

In 1803, Stone and his followers drew oflf; but they had been 
for two or three years preaching, at first with reserve, after- 
ward more boldly, Mr. Craighead's distinguishing doctrines, 
ridiculing the immediate agency of the Spirit, and denying any 
other regeneration than by faith in the Word. J A reference to 
their views as detailed in the Apology of the Springfield Pres- 
bytery would fully establish the identity of doctrine. Let 
it be borne in mind that within three years from this time Hous- 
ton, McNemar, Dunlavy, Malcolm Worley, and John Woods 
(who had run through the streets of Danville in a state of nudity 
crying, " Wo ! wo ! to the inhabitants of this town !"§) were 
proselyted to the Shakers, and became the most zealous and 
successful agents in entrapping others. It need only be added 
that it was from the New Light party almost exclusively that 
the Shakers drew their proselytes. || 

* Pelajrian Detected, pp. 57-63. t Ibid. pp. 63, 64. 

J Mr. McNf^mar was in the habit of sneerino- at these doctrines in the follow- 
ing low manner in his sermons : '■ Does the spirit creep in through the sjide or 
breast, or how docs it obtain access to the heart?" Certificate of Mr. Hopkins. 
Pel. Det. p. 63. 

5 Pel. Dot. note, p. GG. II Ibid. p. 65. 


Such stubborn facts us these proved convincingly the utter 
falsity of Mr. Craighead's cakimnies, and made them recoil upon 
his owrn head with overwhelming force. He was shown to be 
the great day-spring of the New Light which had shed its bale- 
ful beams upon the West. As the Reviewer justly said, " there 
never would have been a Shaker in our country, [meaning the 
Western country,] had there never been a Craighead."* 

These powerful pamphlets, with the ecclesiastical censures 
which about the same time fell on Mr. Craighead, absolutely an- 
nihilated him. He never was able to lift up his head afterward. 

In the month of April, 1810, the Presbytery of Transylvania 
felt it to be their duty to take notice of the published sermon on 
Regeneration, and cited its author to their bar in June ; and as 
he failed to appear then, renewed the citation for October 4th. 
At that meeting, in Danville, he was again absent, but sent two 
letters, excusing himself for not complying with either of the 
citations. The Presbytery deemed his reasons unsatisfactory, 
and proceeded, without further delay, to trial, upon the following 
charges, viz : 

1. Denying and vilifying the real agency of the Spirit in re- 
generation, and in the production of faith and sanctification in 

2. Denying, vilifying, and misrepresenting the doctrines of 
Divine foreordination, sovereignty, and election. 

3. Denying and vilifying the doctrine of love to God and his 
law from a principle of Virtue in the heart, and teaching that 
the selfish principle of intellect produces Christian obedience 
which is acceptable to God. 

4. Perverting the doctrine of faith, in destroying the differ- 
ence between an evangelical faith and that which devils and 
wicked men may have of Divine realities. 

* Pel. Det. p. 67. See also Dr. C.'s letter to Dr. Alexander, of Jan. 10, 181 L 
Prot. and Her., vol. x. No. 37. " This man has been the prime mover of all the 
disturbances of the West. I have documents in my possession to prove that 
he debauched the minds of Stone and Houston. Stone seduced McNemar — 
Mr. McNemar infected Dunlavy. It was a joint effort of all these that operated 
on the minds of Marshall and Thompson. These men were the puppets played 
off by the chief juggler behind the curtain. Mr. C. is really an interesting man ; 
his talents plausible and his manners prepossessing. As a man, I sincerely love 
and respect him ; but as a preacher, I really think of him only as a pest, and 
view him as the parent of all the New Lightism, schism, and Shakerism, which 
has cursed our country." 


5. Perverting, abusing, and misstating the definitions, descrip- 
tions, and real sentiments, of the preachers and writers of our 
connections upon the subjects of faith and regeneration. 

6. Giving a false coloring to facts which transpired in Synod 
and the Commission of Synod. 

After mature deliberation, examination of references, and oral 
testimony, the Presbytery considered all the charges sufficiently 
established, and adjudged Mr. Craighead to be worthy of sus- 
pension, but agreed to refer the decision to the ensuing Synod.* 

The Synod took up this reference at their meeting a few 
days afterward, (October 13th,) and after approving the prompt- 
ness of the Presbytery in preparing the business for a speedy 
issue, concurred in opinion as to the merits of the casef and 
pronounced sentence of suspension from the office of the Gospel 
ministry. Mr. Craighead was further required to appear before 
his proper Presbytery at their next session, and there make a 
solemn recantation of his errors ; failing to do which, the Pres- 
bytery were directed to depose him without delay.f The new 
Presbytery of Muhlenburg being now erected out of Transyl- 
vania, and Mr. Craighead falling within their bounds, the con- 
sideration of his case was transferred to them ; J and accordingly, 
as Mr. Craighead continued to preach notwithstanding his sus- 
pension, and refused to obey the citation to appear before them, 
they proceeded, on the 2d of April, 1811, to pronounce final 
sentence of deposition upon him.§ 

Mr. Craighead appealed to the General Assembly of 1811, 
from the decision of Synod, but not prosecuting it, the Commis- 
sioners of Synod had leave, on the last day of the Sessions, to 
enter their protest, thus barring any future appeal, and making 
the judgment final. || 

After this he made several ineffectual attempts to be restored. 
In 1812 he applied to Synod for a new trial, which was not 
granted, but an appropriate letter was written him.Tl In 1815 
he took an appeal to the General Assembly, but they confirmed 

* Mill. Trans. Pbv. vol. iii. pp. 252, 273. 
f Min. Syn. vol. i". pp. 180, 181. 

I Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 193. 

5 MS. e.xtract of the minutes of Muhl. Pby., among the filed papers of Trans. 

II Extract from the minutes of the General Assembly, filed among the papers 
of Synod. 

11 Min. Syn. vol. ii. p. 32. 


the judgment of Synod ; and as they had directed no review by 
lower courts, Synod refused a fresh appHcation of Mr. Craig- 
head for a new trial.* He then addressed them a letter, (the 
body meeting that year at Nashville, Mr. Craighead's residence,) 
requesting leave to preach, in presence of the Synod, a sermon 
explanatory of his doctrinal views, in order to disabuse himself 
of erroneous impressions, and to furnish what might perhaps be 
deemed satisfactory concessions. The Synod unanimously re- 
fused to grant the request, consenting, however, to hear any 
statements by way of concession ; but having heard him at length, 
they were unanimously of opinion that he manifested no dispo- 
sition to renounce the errors for which he had been deposed. f 

At length, about eight years afterward, and twelve years 
since his suspension, he sent a letter and pamphlet to the Gen- 
eral Assembly of 1822, which induced them to rescind their 
judgment in 1811 as being in error, and to permit him to pros- 
ecute an appeal from the decision of the Synod. He appealed 
the next year, but having failed to notify the Synod, nothing 
was done. J This omission was rectified, and in 1824 the case 
came up, the Synod having forwarded all papers necessary, and 
appointed Dr. Cleland and William L. McCalla their advocates. § 
Mr. Craighead was enabled to make so good a vindication of 
himself, and to explain his views so much to the satisfaction of 
the Assembly, that they restored him to his ministerial standing. 
Not long after this event he departed this life in Nashville, aged 
about seventy years. For some time before his death he had 
suffered under the combined misfortunes of poverty and blind- 

Mr. Craighead was of a tall but spare figure, not less than 
six feet in height, homely and hard-featured, with sandy hair, 
and a large clear blue eye. His health was delicate, and his 
voice weak ; his manner grave, and his action natural but not 
vehement. He excelled as an extemporaneous orator, but not 
as a writer ; like many others of that class, exhibiting his weak- 
ness when he took up the pen, or attempted the cold abstractions 
of metaphysical research. His eloquence was of that fervid 
kind which captivates and carries away the hearer even in spite 

* Min. Syn. vol. ii. p. 91. f Min. Syn. vol. ii. p. 113. 

\ Presb. vol. xv. p. 37. ^ Min. Syn. vol. iii. pp. 61, 65. 



of himself. We cannot but entertain a high opinion of its mer- 
its, when we reflect that it extorted a warm eulogium from his 
accomplished antagonist, Dr. Campbell ; and that it was 
admired by so distinguished a lawyer as John Breckenridge, 
senior, then Attorney-General of the United States, who said 
that his discourses made a more lasting impression on his mem- 
ory than those of any other man he had ever heard. 

Mr. Craighead involved some of his followers, but not many 
in his downfall. Dr. James Fishback, a physician of Lexington, 
and a son of James Fishback commemorated in a former chap- 
ter of this work, was open and undisguised in his admiration, 
and was one of the partial friends who were instrumental in 
procuring the publication of the sermon on Regeneration. - He 
superintended the printing of the manuscript, and afterwards 
was active in circulating the Letters to Dr. Campbell. He was 
a friend and correspondent of the author, and did all in his 
power to disseminate his sentiments. The Session of the 1st 
Presbyterian Church in Lexington felt it their duty to sumnion 
him before them, when he read a paper explanatory of his views. 
The result was that he was suspended from church privileges. 
From their sentence he appealed to the Presbytery of West Lex- 
ington, in October, 1811, w^ho affirmed the sentence of the Ses- 
sion ; but carrying his appeal higher to the Synod, who sat a few 
days after, the judgment was reversed, and the case was 
remanded to the Session for a fuller investigation ; but no fur- 
ther steps were ever taken.* 

As Dr. Fishback occupied a prominent place in the ecclesias- 
tical affairs of the West, it may not be amiss to record a few 
particulars concerning him. He was a man of remarkably fine 
personal appearance, a tall and commanding figure, and a son- 
orous voice ; his talents were very respectable, though he was 
deficient in classical learning. His frequent changes laid him 
open to the charge of fickleness. After practising law for some 
time he applied himself to medicine, which he abandoned in 
turn for divinity ; and being dissatisfied with the strict views of 
the Presbyterians he threw himself into the arms of the Baptists, 
among whom he was speedily recognized as a preacher. f But 

* Min. W. L. Pby . vol. ii. pp. 23, 24. Min. Syn. vol. ii. pp. 16, 19. 
f The celerity of this process was not a little remarkable. On the 4th Sat- 
urday in November, 1816, Dr. Fishback was immersed at Bryan's Station, 


in the course of time his defence of open communion and his 
latitudinarian views lost him the confidence of that denomina- 
tion ; and after vacillating some time between the regular Bap- 
tists and the Campbellites, and holding himself awhile aloof from 
connection with either, he finally ended his career in communion 
with the latter, and officiated as one of their preachers in Lexington. 
He died after a lingering illness in the summer of 1845. He was 
the author of several works. In 1 8 1 3, he published an octavo vol- 
ume entitled, '• The Philosophy of the Human Mind, in respect to 
Religion,^' in which he labored to establish a favorite theory 
that there is no such thing as Natural Religion, and that for 
every idea on the subject of religion, we are solely indebted to 
Revelation. In 1834, he appeared before the public with a 
duodecimo on the same subject, entitled, " Essays and Dialogues 
on the powers and susceptibilities of the human mind for Religion,'' 
He pubHshed also in 1822, a " Defence of the Elkhorn Associa- 
tion, in sixteen Letters to Elder Toler." 

Another champion of Mr. Craighead was the Rev. John 
Todd, who had come to Kentucky from Hanover Presbytery, 
in Virginia, in 1809. He openly defended and disseminated the 
Pelagian tenets of Craighead, and inveighed against the cen- 
sures of the Church courts. It was his habit, both in the pulpit 
and out of it, to affirm that the Spirit was in the word ; that 
there was sufficient energy in the word to convert and sanctify; 
that man could believe the truth of himself; that the will had a 
self-determining power ; that if God had foreordained whatso- 
ever comes to pass there could be no sin in the world ; and that 
the respectability of the Presbyterian Church in the Western 
country stood or fell with Craighead's sermon. On these 
charges Mr. Todd was tried by the Presbytery of Transyl- 
vania, Aug. 14, 1812, convicted, and solemnly admonished. As 
he continued to hold and teach his errors notwithstanding, the 
Presbytery, agreeably to advice of Synod, obtained in the in- 
terim, suspended him, April 15, 1813. Mr. Todd appealed to 
the Synod, but in vain. In 1817, (October 11th,) he took a sober 
second thought, recanted, and was restored.* 

licensed to preach by the Church there in December, one month after his recep- 
tion, and in seven months more, Aug. 22, 1817, ordained to the work of the 
ministry in the Presbyterian Meeting-Hoiisc in Lexington, by Elders J. Creath. 
J. Vardeman, and J. Welch. Fishback's Letters to Toler, pp. 67, 90. 

* Min. Trans. Pby. vol. iv. pp. 35, 52, 119. Min, Syn. vol. ii. pp. 31, 36, 
61, 105. 


THE WAR OF 1812. 

We have seen the Church in Kentucky subjected to a season 
of severe trial. We have watched her passing through one 
storm after another in quick succession, founded, indeed, upon a 
rock, but surrounded by the sea. Scarcely had the institutions 
of religion been planted, when the Gospel was superseded by 
the secondary question of Psalmody, and the ploughshare of 
division was fiercely driven along by the hands of intolerant 
bigotry. From this rude shock they had not recovered, when 
they were nearly swept away by a whirlwind of mad enthu- 
siasm. The revival of 1800, which at first seemed to promise 
fair, soon degenerated in the hands of a few youthful zealots, 
who assumed its management, and the reio;n of disorder extra- 
vagance, and error, for a brief space threatened to gain the 
ascendency. It is gratifying to find how stoutly and gallantly 
the great body of the clergy stood up to the support of truth and 
order, although nearly overborne by a torrent of obloquy ; and 
when charity could be no longer blind to the spread of heresy, 
how intrepidly they vindicated the authority of the laws of 
Christ's House. At one time Satan seemed to have obtained 
permission to let loose the four winds of heaven ; and the en- 
thusiasm of the New Lights, the success of the Shakers, the 
schism of the Cumberlands, and the errors of Craighead, simul- 
taneously demanded resistance in every quarter. But, through 
the Divine Providence, the bush that was in the midst of raging 
flames was not consumed, the Church emerged safely from all 
her perils, and, after the , lapse of nearly half a century, stands 
firmer than ever, commanding respect even from those that 

278 THE WAR OF 1812. 

hate her. The stoi-my trials through which she passed contri- 
buted to her benefit and strength, and there is no part of the 
Presbyterian body in the United States, at the present time, that 
furnishes more sturdy champions for rigid orthodoxy and effi- 
cient discipline, than the Synod of Kentucky ; not even the 
Synod of Pittsburg, celebrated as the backbone of Presbyterian- 
ism. Her freedom for thirty years from dangerous heresies 
attests the fact, as well as the prompt and well-defined position 
of the Synod throughout the late New School controversy, and 
the very slight injury sustained at that period, when other por- 
tions of the Church were torn in pieces. 

After such a series of tempestuous agitations, it could not be ex- 
pected that the Church would be able to right herself all at once. 
Morbid excitements always leave the body weak ; reaction is 
strong in proportion to their previous violence ; and recovery to a 
sound, healthy, and active condition, is necessarily slow. Days 
of fasting and prayer were appointed in 1807, 1808, and 1809, 
in view of the low state of religion, the numerous and increasing 
errors of the day, the neglect of ordinances and of the religious 
education of youth, and the growing fondness for intemperance, 
balls, horse-races, and theatrical amusements.* In October, 
1809, free conversation on the state of religion was, for the first 
time, introduced into the Synod. The result was a Narrative, 
from which it appeared that religion was at a low ebb, many 
had apostatized, public and family worship were much neglect- 
ed, and the youth appeared to be growing up under circum- 
stances unfavorable to religion and moral improvement. Still 
there were some small appearances of renewed attention to the 
Gospel message, which tended a little to animate and encourage. 
The Presbyteries were ordered to give more particular heed 
to watching, discipline, catechizing, and the religious instruction 
and humane treatment of slaves. Mr. Rice proposed two plans 
for putting the Church into a better state, but there not being 
time to digest them sufficiently, their further consideration was 

The Narrative of the following year (Oct. 15, 1810) was 
more cheering. The cause of Christ was represented as pro- 

* Mill. Syn. vol. i. pp. 134, 148, 160. 
t Min. Syn. vol. i. pp. 171-177. 

THE WAR OF 1S12. 279 

gressing, attention to ordinances improving, infidels reclaimed, 
new churches formed, and old ones enlarged. There was no 
general revival of religion, but visibly increasing seriousness on 
the part of old and young. From partial reports it appeared 
that more than two hundred and fifty members had been added 
within their bounds. The influence of the Schismatics was con- 
siderably diminished, and many had returned to order.* At 
this meeting the Synod resolved to submit to the attention of the 
General Assembly the appointment of a stated missionary for 
the Western country, to be settled on the Wabash, who should 
be constantly employed in Missionary service. f 

These pleasing prospects were soon overcast. The public 
mind became intensely excited upon political affairs, and could 
think and speak of nothing else. The whole country was at that 
period divided into two great political parties, denominated 
Federal and Democratic. The latter party, of which mention 
was made in a former chapter, and which had been' the domi- 
nant party ever since the elevation of Mr. Jefferson to the 
Presidency in 1801, sympathized warmly with revolutionary 
France, and rejoiced in her victories ; nor was this amicable 
disposition destroyed by the change of the Consulate into the 
Empire. The Federal party, on the other hand, saw in the 
success of the revolution the triumph of anarchy and infidelity, 
and dreaded their contagious inffuence. Both France and Great 
Britain had committed spoliations on our commerce, and the 
Berlin and Milan decrees of the one, and the orders in council 
of the other, bore hard upon the neutral and carrying trade of 
the United States, then very considerable. The Federalists, 
however, were willing to overlook the grievances sustained at 
the hands of England, because they regarded her as the bulwark 
of rational liberty and religion. The Democratic party were, in 
like manner, disposed to wink at the injuries inflicted by France, 

* Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 194. 

f Min. Syn. vol. i. p. 193. From this small seed so great an in- 
crease, that in fifteen years, (1825.) we find Wabash Freshytery, together with 
Madison, set off from Salem. Vol. iii. p. 129. The missionary contributions 
reported from the churches, in 1806, were S150,58A. In 1809, $227,81 J. An- 
drew McCalla was the Treasurer. Vol. i. pp. 108, 178. It is worthy of note, in 
passing, that in 1808, the Synod abolished the custom of thanking the preacher 
of the missionary sermon, " as the member who preaches the sermon does no 
more than his duty, and if the sermon bo good, thanks are immediately due to 
Almighty God." Vol. i. p. 163. 

280 THE WAR OF 1812. 

absorbed in the greater question of the progres? of the human 
race ; while their antipathy to England was so strong, that 
nothing but open hostilities would satisfy it. Party spirit ran 
high, and the virulence of faction raged with unprecedented 

At length, on the 18th of June, 1812, war was formally de- 
clared against Great Britain. Napoleon had already started on 
his expedition against Russia with sanguine expectations of suc- 
cess ; Europe lay humbled at his feet ; England was the only 
power that maintained an attitude of resistance. Her situation 
was growing every day more perilous and more interesting. 
Those whose sympathies were enlisted in her cause as the cause 
of religion and civil liberty, hesitated not to denounce the war as 
unwise, uncalled for, and unjust ; which naturally incensed the war 
party, and produced an exceedingly embittered state of feeling. 
While some of the Northern States refused to do more than 
furnish their contingent for defensive operations, Kentucky, 
with the exception of a small minority, was enthusiastic in favor 
of the war. Nothinjr could exceed the eao-erness with which 
her young men poured forth as volunteers under Harrison in 
the West, and Jackson in the South ; and while the gallant navy 
were winning deathless laurels by their brilliant achievements 
on the lakes, the noblest blood of Kentucky was saturating the 
soil of the adjacent teri'itory. 

Of this the massacre of the River Raisin was a sad and memo- 
rable instance. The British, unshamed by the lofty and burning 
invective of the departed Chatham, had stooped to court an 
alliance with Tecumseh, the Indian Napoleon ; a man of splen- 
did genius and powerful eloquence, who had formed the mag- 
nificent plan of consolidating the scattered tribes in one grand 
confederacy, for the purpose of gratifying their hatred of the 
white man by extinguishing forever his settlements west of the 
Alleghany mountains. The whole frontier echoed the terrific 
war-whoop ; the nightly sky was lit up by the flames of burning 
cabins ; and the tomahawk was drenched with the blood of 
women and children. Such were the barbarities which the 
British traders, jealous of American competition and anticipating 
a war, instigated by liberal presents of arms and ammunition, 
with the sanction of their government. On the 7th of Novem- 
ber, 1811, a large force, collected under Tecumseh, made an 

THE WAR OF 1812. 2S\ 

attack on the camp of General Harrison, then Governor of the 
Territory of Indiana, at Tippecanoe, but owing to the precautions 
of that distinguished commander, they met with a signal repulse.* 
The ferocity which obtained from General Proctor a promise, hap- 
pily frustrated, that General Harrison and his troops should be 
given up to the Indians to be burned at the stake, was amply grati- 
fied by the massacre of the River Raisin. Early in 1813, upon 
the defeat of General Winchester, five hundred men were there 
taken prisoners, the greater part of whom were massacred on 
the spot by Tecumseh and his demons, without any interference 
from the British General. Thus fell some of the first young men 
of Kentucky, and the news clothed many a distinguished family 
in mourning. Among the number was a son of Dr. Blythe, who 
was tomahawked standing and unresisting, by a savage who 
had taken possession of him as his prisoner. 

Another bloody engagement was that in which Colonel Dud- 
ley was defeated soon after, at Fort Meigs, where Tecumseh 
surrounded him with a force three times in number, and a des- 
perate struggle ensued, not more than one hundred and fifty 
escaping out of a detachment of eight hundred. 

At length, after the brilliant battle of New Orleans, on the 8th 
of January, 1815, and the proclamation of the Treaty of Ghent 
shortly afterward, peace was restored. But it would be folly to 
suppose that so protracted and severe a contest could have been 
carried on without extensively affecting the country in all its 
interests, and inflicting a fatal injury on the cause of religion. 
Not only the unsettling and demoralizing eflfects of war upon the 
population generally must be taken into account, we have in this 
case to add the mutual estrangement and recriminations of those 
who had espoused different sides of the great political question 
of the expediency of the war. To so great a length was this 
feeling carried, that a hot advocate of the war could not hear a 
clergyman of contrary sentiments preach, or finding such a one 
unexpectedly in the pulpit, would leave the house. 

* In this battle foil tho celebrated Col. Joseph Hamilton Davies.?, one of Ken- 
tucky's most (jallant and gifted sons. He coinriiniided as a Major of Cavalry. 
He was wounded in three places while inakino; a charge, and survived only 
about sixteen hours. He met deatli with great calmness and composure, and 
seemed to be engaged in watching its progress. Although a Federalist, and 
opposed to the war, his foot was among the first in the stirrup. 

282 THE WAR OF 1812. 

Another illustration of this unpleasant alienation of feeling is 
furnished in the difficulties that sprung up between Dr. Blythe 
and William L. McCalla. Mr. McCalla brought Dr. Blythe 
before the bar of the West Lexington Presbytery, August 3d, 
1813, on various charges as detailed in the biographical sketch 
in Chapter lY. Suffice it to say for the present, that from the 
Declaration there would appear to have been a difference in 
political sentiments between them, Mr. McCalla being a warm 
partisan in favor of the war, while Dr. Blythe, although he was 
patriotic enough not to withhold a favorite son from his country's 
defence, was nevertheless known to be strongly opposed to the 
war. Mr. McCalla, in his first allegation, accused him of having 
avowed a determination, before several persons, to oppose his 
licensure on account of his political opinions ; and that he had 
said to complainant's own mother that he could not conscien- 
tiously promote it, because he regarded her son's political 
sentiments, especially on mobs and effigy-burning, as really un- 
principled and immoral, and he could not be instrumental in 
introducing a firebrand into the Church.* 

It further appears, that in a sermon which Mr. McCalla had 
read as a candidate four months before, (April 14th, 1843.) he 
had painted a noble young volunteer arming for battle, his fare- 
well parting, and his heroic death. After he had retired. Dr. 
Blythe rose, and in a touching manner complained that the story 
was introduced for the purpose of harrowing up the feelings of 
a bereaved parent, for there were circumstances detailed in the 
account that were applicable only to his own son, who had been 
killed at the River Raisin early in the year.f The Presbytery 
considered the sermon so objectionable, that after at first agree- 
ing to sustain it, with the proviso that the Moderator should ac- 
company the announcement to the candidate with suitable ad- 
monitory remarks,J they decided the next day, on more mature 
deliberation, not to sustain it at all, one or two dissenting.§ Mean- 
time, in order to enable the dissenters to prepare their dissent, 
they retained the paper in their Hereupon Mr. McCalla 
made a peremptory demand for the manuscript, accompanied 

* Min. VV. L. Pby. vol. ii. p. 97. f Min. W. L. Pby. vol. ii. pp. I12-U5. 

t Min. W. L. Pby. vol. ii. p. 68. § Min. W. L. Pby. vol. ii. p. 71. 

II Min. W. L. Pby. vol. ii. p. 75. 

THE WAR. OF 1812. 


with threats of a resort to the civil law. The Presbytery offer- 
ed to furnish an attested copy, which he refused, and as they 
declined to return the original, he stepped forward, and laying 
violent hands on the paper, carried it off. A committee was 
appointed to expostulate with him, but failed either to recover 
the manuscript or to obtain any concessions, on which his trials 
were suspended ; a decision which was afterwards. confirmed by 
the Synod on review.* 

Among the prevailing evils of the times, not irreligion merely, 
but unblushing infidelity also, were spreading extensively through 
the land. Everywhere were to be met, in genteel society and 
in the country tavern, admirers of French philosophy ; and 
many who were regarded as intellectual and influential, especially 
among professional men, were open unbelievers. f In view of 
the calamities of war, pestilence, and the low state of religion, 
the Presbytery of West Lexington appointed a general Fast on 
the second Thursday of May, 1814. J 

It was in the same year that Messrs. Daniel Srnith and Samuel 
J. Mills visited Kentucky and the South-west, in behalf of the 
American Bible Society, with a view to distribute copies of 
the Holy Scriptures, to form Bible Societies, and to organize 
churches. It may give a vivid idea of the destitution of the 

* Min. W. L. Pby. vol. ii. pp. 74, 75. Min. Syn. vol. ii. p. 62. 

Mr. McCalla contended that so far from designing to wound Dr. B.'s feel- 
ings, the instance he had had in his eye was the fall of his own brother, who had 
been also a volunteer. The Rev. William L. McCalla was a son of that 
worthy man, Andrew McCalla, of Lexington, before mentioned as in^Iding 
various offices of trust in the community, and disting\iished for his benevolent 
attentions to the sick. None who ever saw his mother, will soon forgt i: the 
keen eye and strong character of that ardent mother in Israel. She fell a vic- 
tim to the cholera in 1833. Gen. John M. McCalla, now one of the AudiJors of 
the Treasury of the U. S. is his brother. This eccentric but talented divine was 
first settled at Maysville, then at Philadelphia, whence he found liis way to the 
Republic of Texas, as Chaplain to the Navy. Disappointed in his expiM^tntionB 
of extensive usefulness in that field, he soon abandoned it, and publi.-hcd the 
result of his observations in a small volume. He has shone most conspicuously 
as a polemic. He has been engaged in di.scussions with Alexander Campbell, 
the Christ-ians of Milford, the Roman Catholics, and tlie Mew School Pn-^byte- 
rians. Armed at all points, his antagonists have quailed !)onoath his wilhering 
sarcasm, iiis unsparing invective, and a fluency tliat never was at a loss for a 
word ; while in the stormiest debate and the most turbulent assembly, he stood 
as cool and imperturbable as an ice-ribbed rock of the North, or Demoslhones 
haranguing the roaring surf. 

f Nel.son's Cause and Cure of Infidelity, pp. 215-217. Dr. Campbell's Ser- 
mon before the Synod, Oct. 14, 1812. " A Portrait of the Times," p. 17. 

X Min. W. L. Pby. vol. ii. p. 175. 


THE WAR OF 1812. 

means of grace which fell under their observation, to state, that 
they spent two Sabbaths in a certain town in Kentucky, then 
containing two or three thousand inhabitants, without being able 
to collect a congregation for the worship of God. The negroes 
were standing in groups in the streets, laughing and swearing ; 
the boys playing and hallooing ; the men in the outskirts of the 
town, shooting at pigeons, of which immense flocks were flying 
over the place ; the more respectable class of gentlemen riding 
out for amusement. In short, the only peculiar mark of atten- 
tion by which the Sabbath day was distinguished, v/as, that there 
was more noise, more profanity, and more wickedness, than on 
any other day of the seven. It is gratifying, however, to be 
able to add, that ten years afterward there were three large and 
flourishing churches planted in that very town.* 

In spite of all these antagonistic influences, the cause of reli- 
gion was making some advance, and Zion was lengthening her 
cords and strengthening her stakes. In 1814, the churches on 
the northern side of the Ohio river had so multiplied as to re- 
quire the erection of a new Synod, called the Synod of Ohio, 
consisting of the Presbyteries of Washington, Lancaster, and 
Miami. t lu 1817, a still further division was rendered neces- 
sary towards the South, and the Synod of Tennessee was set off", 
comprising the Presbyteries of Union, Shiloh, West Tennessee, 
and Mississippi.J 

But while there was a slow advance on the part of the Church, 
the progress of infidelity was rapid and alarming. The prospect 
grew darker and darker, until in 1818 occurred an event which 
fell on the Christian community like a clap of thunder, and which 
furnishes one of the most striking evidences of the truth of the 
remark just made. In that year the Legislature of the State, on 
the motion of some of its members, suddenly and summarily 
ejected the whole Board of Trustees of Transylvania University, 
which had hitherto been under Presbyterian influence and con- 
trol, and in utter violation of the charter, appointed in their 
place thirteen new trustees, not one of whom was a professor of 
religion of any sect.§ From that time, with an ungodly Board 

* Bishop's Rice, pp. 195, 196. f Bishop's Rice, p. 251. 

I Bishop's Rice, p. 252. 5 Marshall's Letter, &-c. 

THE WAR OF 1812. 285 

of Trustees, and a Unitarian President, that institution sent forth 
infidel graduates with great uniformity.* 

In the year 1820 died the Rev. James McChord. He was 
born in Baltimore in 1785, and removed to Lexington at five 
years of age. He received a Uberal education, and proceeded 

* Nelson, p. 108. 

Deplorably low as the state of religion was about this period, and discouraging 
as were its prospects, still matters were not in so shocking a condition as they 
have been represented by Dr. Bi.;hop, in his Memoirs of Rice, p. 306. And the 
present writer feels as if it would be unfaithfulness to the cause of Protestant 
Christianity to suffer the statement to pass uncorrected. In that place Dr. 
Bishop represents the population of Kentucky in 1820 as 564,317, and deduct- 
ing 46,730 church members, (viz : Baptists, 21,680; Methodists, 20,850 ; Pres- 
byterians, 2,700 ; Cumberland Presbyterians, 1,000 ; others. 500 ;) and all under 
10 years of age, amounting to 190.450, he leaves tiie large number of 327,137. 
white and black, " to be brought under the influence of a Christian profession." 
He further states that there were about 200 preachers in the State, of different 
denominations ; and he assigns to each an audience of not more than 200 per- 
sons on an average ; amounting to only 40,000 hearers of the Gospel in the 
entire State, and leaving the immense number of 460,000 persons who never 
attended public worship. The Very Reverend Dr. Martin J. Spalding, Roman 
Catholic pastor of Bardstown, and Vicar-General of Kentucky, in his interesting 
"Sketches of the Early Catholic Missions," (published in 1844.) has seized on 
these statistics, and employed them, with a very natural zeal, to the discredit of 
Protestantism. He observes that they exhibit a truly frightful picture of the 
religious condition of the Protestant sects in Kentucky, after forty years' exer- 
tion, with all their parade al)0ut religion, the Sabbath, and the Bible. Only one- 
eighth of the entire population over ten years of age made Christians, and seven- 
eighths unchristianized ! What, he asks, became of all the converts made in the 
great revival ? (p. 1 09.) 

The Vicar-General quotes fairly, and we have no right to blame him for 
making his own inferences. But we have a right to censure the author who 
has incautiously put such weapons into an adversary's hands. No one can e.\- 
amine the statistics without perceiving their glaring unfairness and gross mis- 
takes. The number of chiirch members is represented as 46,730, and yet the 
entire average of attendants on public worship is only 40,000!! This is too 
ridiculous for comment. 

Again, Dr. B. deducts all under ten years of age. But he ought to have 
borne in mind that Protestant Churches are not in the haijit of admitting youths 
of twelve or fifteen to the communion. Applicants of so tender an age they 
generally retain for some time in the condition of catechumens, to give them an 
opportunity to examine the grounds of their faith, and to count the cost. No 
judicious minister encourages such youths to come forward under the pressure 
of an excitement which may be spurious. It would have been therefore a much 
safer process to have deducted all under fifteen or sixteen, which would hav(^ 
produced a very different result. Let us compute the number thus compre- 
hended at only one-half of the number under ten, 95,225 ; these, with the child- 
ren under ten, and the church members, being subtracted, leave 231,912 persons 
of an age ordinarily deemed suitable for making a profession of religion. 

But let us proceed a step farther, and deduct the average number attending 
public worship, which may reasonably be put down at three non-professors to 
one professor. This gives us 140,190 persons in the habit of attending the 
preaching of the Gospel besides the church-members, leaving 91,722 persons not 
habitual hearers. According to this estimate, instead of the frightful proportion 

286 THE "WAR OF 1812. 

to read law with the Hon. Henry Clay, but becommg pious 
turned his thoughts to the ministry. He spent four years with 
Dr. Mason at the Theological Seminary in New York, where 
he held the foremost rank. He was licensed in 1809, ordained 
in 1811, and published a treatise in 1814, on the nature of the 
Church, under the title of " The Body of Christ." The Asso- 
ciate Reformed Presbytery condemned it as erroneous, and sus- 
pended him the next year. He in vain sought redress from the 
Synod, and anticipating their sentence, in 1817 he handed in a 
declinature of their authority ; (a practice authorized by their 
Form of Government, chap. 8, sect. 3 ; and chap. 10, sect. 10.) 
He then applied to the West Lexington Presbytery, who finding 
his opinions not at variance with their own, admitted him. His 
views on Inter-communion were liberal. He became the first pas- 
tor of the Market street or Second Presbyterian Church, Lexing- 
ton, founded in 1815. His preaching was very much admired, 
until it resulted in the conversion of some of his young and fashion- 
able auditors ; when the rest took the alarm, and a storm of 
persecution was raised against him by those who desired only 
entertaining preaching, and who exercised a controlling influence 
over the fiscal affairs of the congregation. Mr. McChord was 
made very uncomfortable, and was compelled to exchange his 
situation in 1819, for an academy at Paris. Upon his death in 
1820, his admirers rallied, and paid him the honor of altering 
the name of his late charge to that of '^McCkord^s Church" 
His remains were interred beneath the pripit, and a marble 
tablet set in the wall. It might be truly said of this brilliant but 
unfortunate man, "he asked for bread and they gave him a 
stone." He was of a slender person, and a rapid and compre- 
hensive intellect. His style was glowing and gorgeous, and his 
imagination exuberant to a fault. His published writings are, 
1. A Sermon on the Divine Forgiveness, 1812 ; 2. A Sermon on 
the Signs of the Times, 1813 ; 3. The Body of Christ, a series 

of seven-eighths of the entire population, we have only one-sixth, not in the habit 
of attending public worship; and perhaps we might be still nearer the truth 
were we to adopt the proportion assumed by Dr. Campbell, of one-eighth. (See 
his " Portrait of the Times ;" 1812, p. 19.) This number is large indeed, but 
compared with Dr. Bishop's 32'/, 137 unchristianized adults, it is somewhat less 
shocking ; and it is consoling to reflect and hope that five-sixths or seven-eighths 
of the population had the oppoitunity of hearing the Gospel, and were to some 
extent under its salutary influence, although not prepared to make a profession. 

THE WAR OF 1812. 287 

of Essays on Federal Representation, 1814; 4. A Sermon 
preached before the Legislature, on National Safety, 1815; 5. 
A Plea for the Hope of Israel, being his Defence before the 
Synod, 1817; 6. A Last Appeal to the Market street Church, 
being a volume of Sermons ; 7, A volume of Posthumous Dis- 

His successors were the Rev. John Breckenridge, in 1823 ; 
the Rev. John C. Young, in 1829 ; the writer of these pages, 
in 1832; the Rev. John D. Matthews, in 1841 ; and the Rev. 
John H. Brown, in 1844. During the intervals between the 
accessions of the different pastors, the Rev. Messrs. Bishop, 
Wallace, Joyce, and Birch officiated as supplies for the pulpit. 
The old edifice, (together with a handsome lecture-room, the 
munificent gift of David A. Sayre, Esq..) is now superseded by 
a more aspiring Gothic structure in the modern style. 



The history of Transylvania University and of the relatiori 
which the Presbyterian Church sustained to it, is of sufficient 
importance to require a separate chapter. Various details con- 
cerning this subject have been purposely deferred to the present, 
in order that the whole might be more advantageously exhibited 
under one view. 

Presbyterianism, being essentially a republican system, has 
always incorporated popular education as one of its prime ele- 
ments. Abhorring equally the dogmas, that ignorance is the 
mother of devotion, and that the clergy alone constitute The 
Church, and requiring the people by their representatives, the 
elders, to share in the government, it has ever been a principal 
aim to foster learning in the ministry and intelligence among the 
laity. The same spirit that founded Nassau Hall in New Jersey, 
Hampden Sidney and Liberty Hall in Virginia, and Washington 
and Jefferson colleges in Pennsylvania, early busied itself to 
plant a similar institution in the West. 

So early as 1780, five years after its first settlement by Daniel 
Boone, in the very infancy of the colony, the Legislature of 
Virginia vested 8,000 acres of escheated lands, situated in Ken- 
tucky county, in trust, for the purpose of establishing therein a 
public school or seminary of learning. In 1783, these trustees 
were incorporated, and 12,000 acres of escheated lands were 
granted, in addition, for the endowment of the new institution, 
which was to be known as The Transylvania Seminary ; a 
classical and euphonious name, fitly chosen to denote what was 
in common parlance known as the Backicoods. In 1787, one- 
sixth of the surveyors' fees, in what was now the District of 


Kentucky, formerly given to the College of William and Mary, 
was further appropriated to aid in the endowment. This law 
was afterwards repealed by the Legislature of Kentucky in 
1802. After Kentucky had been erected into a State, in 1792, 
laws w^ere passed exempting lands from escheat, in order to en- 
courage settlement and augment the population, the effect of 
which was to deprive the seminary of the 12,000 acres last 
granted by Virginia,* 

The persons who were most active in furthering this en- 
terprise were the Rev. John Todd, of Hanover Presbytery in 
Virginia ; his nephew. Col. John Todd, member of the Virginia 
Legislature from the county of Fayette, who afterwards fell in 
so melancholy a manner at the disastrous battle of the Blue 
Licks ; and the Hon. Caleb Wallace, member from the county 
of Lincoln. These persons were all Presbyterians.f 

The Board of Trustees met, November 10th, 1783, in Lincoln 
county, when the Rev. David Rice was appointed Chairman, 
which office he held for four years, when he resigned and was 
succeeded by Judge Innis, In February, 1785, by direction of 
the Board, the seminary was opened in the house of Mr. Rice 
at or near Danville, which was the first school taught in Ken- 
tucky. J The endowment proving for a long time unproductive, 
sufficed only to affi3rd a scanty salary for a single teacher, and 
in consequence the institution could not rise above the rank of a 
common grammar-school. § 

On the 13th of October, 1788, the Seminary was removed to 
Lexington, then a large and flourishing town, by which step 
Lexington became, and for a long time continued to be, the 
literary, even after it had ceased to be the political and com- 
mercial, capital of the West.|| Whatever advantages may have 
been anticipated from this measure, a very serious evil resulted 
in a few years. The tone of sentiment among the leading men 
in that place had become deeply tinctured with the spirit of 

* Report of the Committee of Visitors, 1842, pp. 1, 2. Memoir of Pres. 
Holley, p. 193. 

f Stuart's Reminiscences, No. IV. Bishop's Rice, p. 96. Memorial of 
Synod to the Logisl. Filed papers of Trans. Pby. 

t Bishop's Rice, pp. 96, 97. 

§ McFarland's Literary Pamphleteer, p. 9. 

II Bishop's Rice, p. 97. 


French infidelity. It was the head-quarters of one of the Demo- 
cratic or Jacobin Clubs, established under the auspices of Genet, 
and other French emissaries, which was distinguished for its 
activity, dogmatism, and virulence.* This violent sympathy 
with everything French, unfortunately comprehended the French 
antipathy to the Christian religion, as was shortly manifested in 
its bringing about a change in the direction of public instruction 
and securing the control in its own hands. The endeavor was 
but too successful ; and on the 30th of June, 1794, the teacher 
of Transylvania Seminary, Mr. James Moore, a Presbyterian, 
was ejected by the Board of Trustees, and the Rev. Harry 
Toulmin, a known disciple of Priestley, was placed at its head. 
The Presbyterian members of the Board strongly remonstrated 
against this procedure, and exerted all their influence to pre- 
vent its mischievous consequences, but in vain ; they were over- 
ruled by a mad and misguided majority, and a fatal blow was 
thus given to the prosperity of the school. f Tolerance has 
never been a virtue of scepticism. 

Mr. Toulmin was by birth an Englishman, and by profession 
a Baptist preacher, but in sentiment he was a Unitarian, and a 
follower of Dr. Priestley. His doctrinal views coincided with 
those of his brother Joshua Toulmin, D.D., of Taunton, England, 
whose " Addresses to Young Men,'" were tainted with Socinian 
errors. Toulmin was, moreover, a hot politician and a syco- 
phantic satellite of Thomas Jefferson, to whom he dedicated 
several adulatory stanzas in a small volume of very indifferent 
poems, which he published in Lexington, in 1805. J His demo- 
cratical partisanship and Socinian doctrine made him popular 
with the Deistical clubs, and through their influence he was 
invited to preside over Transylvania Seminary. This station, 
however, he did not long occupy, leaving it in two years for the 
higher post of Secretary of State, to which he was appointed in 
1796, by Governor Garrard, whom, with others of the same 
family, he had succeeded in proselyting to his religious system. 
Mr. Toulmin published a Digest of the Laws of Kentucky ; and 

* Butler's Hist, of Ky., c. xiii. pp. 222, 231. 

f Stuart's Rem. No. IV. Pamphleteer, No. I. p. 10. 

I Short Poetic Attempts, by Damon, 2d edition, pp. 5, 10, 14. 


was subsequently made a United States' Judge in the Territory 
of Alabama.* 

The Presbytery of Transylvania were not unprepared for the 
crisis. They had foreseen its inevitable approach, and had taken 
timely measures to found an independent college under their 
own patronage, in which their sons might enjoy the advantages 
of a Uberal education without the contamination of tlieir religious 
principles, and which might furnish the churches with able and 
faithful ministers. At their spring meeting in Woodford Church, 
April 22d, 1794, they issued proposals for setting on foot a 
grammar-school and a public seminary, accompanied with an 
address to the people of Kentucky, Cumberland, and the Miami 
settlements. Forty-seven gentlemen were appointed as collect- 
ors in the various congregations, who were to pay the moneys 
they received into the hands of the Rev. James Crawford, Stated 
Clerk of Presbytery, f 

In the proposals it was announced that the grammar-school 
should be under the care of a minister who was a member of the 
Presbytery, and should be visited by them or their committee at 
least once a year ; that the teacher should be appointed by the 
Presbytery, the clerical superintendent supplying any vacancy 
occurring in the recess ; and that promising youths should be 
sought out and educated, if needful, at the expense of the 
churches, for which purpose all heads of families were recom- 
mended to contribute annually for four years, two shillings and 
threepence. J The public seminary was to be placed under the 
care of a President, who should be a learned and zealous minis- 
ter of the Gospel ; but no endeavors should be used by him or 
other teachers to influence the mind of any student to change 
his religious tenets, any further than is consistent with the gene- 
ral belief of the Gospel system, and the practice of vital piety. 
The number of trustees was twenty-one, of whom one-half 
should always be taken from the ministers of Transylvania 
Presbytery, or if divided into two or more Presbyteries, the 
ministers composing them ; and two-thirds should constitute a 
quorum. § It is worthy of note that neither in the printed pro- 

* Butler's Hist. c. xv. p. 262. 

f Proposals, p. 4. Min. Trans. Pby. vol. i. p. 121. 

j Proposals, pp. 3, 4, 5. 

§ Proposals, pp. 6, 7. Min. Trans. Pby. vol. i. pp. 109, 111, 113, 117. 


posals nor the address is there the remotest alkision to the cir- 
cumstances which created the necessity for this effort. 

The Presbytery proceeded with great vigor. In December 
of the same year, they petitioned the Legislature for a charter, 
the venerable Father Rice appearing in their behalf, and suc- 
ceeded in procuring one for their seminary, under the style and 
title of, "The Kentucky Academy;" and on February 10th, 
1798, the Legislature gave them an endowment of 6,000 acres of 

In addition to the handsome grant of the Legislature, the col- 
lections sped prosperously. The subscriptions and donations in 
the State amounted to upwards of one thousand pounds, which 
was equivalent to three thousand three hundred and thirty-three 
dollars, in federal currency ; the pound being rated at three dol- 
lars, thirty-three cents, and three mills. f Messrs. Rice and 
Blythe were chosen commissioners to the next General Assem- 
bly, and appointed at the same time solicitors in the Atlantic 
States. They were very successful in their tour, and collected 
nearly ten thousand dollars. Among the donors was President 
Washington, who received Dr. Blythe with great courtesy, and 
expressed his warm interest in the subject of popular education.! 
On a parchment subscription list in the archives of Transylvania 
University, may yet be seen recorded the names of George 
Washington and John Adams, for one hundred dollars each, and 
Aaron Burr for fifty dollars. § 

The Academy had also a small but valuable library and phi- 
losophical apparatus to commence with as a nucleus. For these 
it was indebted to the generous exertions of the Rev. Dr. Gor- 
don, of London. An epistolary acquaintance having commenc- 

* Min. Trans. Pby. vol. i. pp. 151, 156. 1 Littcll, c. 51. At the same time 
they gave alike quantity of land to Franklin and Salem Academies, Jefferson 
Seminary, and the Lexington Seminary. Littell's Laws of Kentucky, vol. ii. 
pp. 107, "l 08. For the charter at length, see Littell, vol. i. pp. 228-230. The 
trustees appointed were eighteen in number, as follows : David Rice, Caleb 
Wallace, Jacob Froman, Samuel Shannon, Terali Templin, .John Miller, James 
Crawford, Robert Finley, Andrew McCalla, William Ward, James Thompson, 
James Camper, John Caldwell, William Henry, Robert Marshall, Notly Conn, 
James Blythe, and Gary x\llen. 

I Bishop's Rice, p. 97. 

I INIin. Trans. Pby. vol. i. p. 141. The amount collected is stated, on the au- 
thority of Dr. Blythe, from whose lips also the interesting anecdote respecting 
General Washington was obtained. 

5 Lex. Obs. and Rep., June 17, 1843. 


ed between that gentleman and the Rev. John Todd, through 
their common friend, President Davies, and Mr. Todd having, 
in 1765, expressed a desire to procure books and instruments for 
some young persons designed for the ministry, Dr. Gordon ex- 
erted himself to obtain subscriptions and donations of books, 
which were transmitted about four years afterward. The sub- 
scriptions amounted to eighty pounds, two shillings and sixpence. 
Of this amount the excellent and well-known John Thornton con- 
tributed fifty pounds, and the rest was made up by Dr. Gor- 
don, the Rev. Mr. Towle, Messrs. Fuller, Samuel and Thomas 
Stratton, Charles Jerdein, David Jennings, Jonathan Eade, 
Joseph Ainsley, and John Field, of Thames street. Of the 
money collected, forty-three pounds one shilling were expended 
on books, and twenty-eight pounds ten shillings on an air-pump, 
microscope, telescope, and prisms. The cases, freight, shipping, 
insurance, &c., at four different periods, came to eight pounds 
eleven shillings.* 

This library was placed in jhe hands of Mr. Rice by Mr. 
Todd, with the consent of Dr. Gordon, for the use of students of 
theology in Kentucky, under the care of the Presbytery of 
Transylvania. On the 15th of September, 1797, the Presbytery 
passed an order, directing these books to be delivered by Mr. 
Rice to the trustees of Kentucky Academy.f They, at the 
same time, formally surrendered to the trustees their care of 
Pisgah Grammar-School, with their right to the house in which 

* Winterbotham's Historical View of the United States, vol. iii. p. 155. Mr. 
Winterbotham supposes that the books thus purchased and given constituted 
the main part of the Lexington library ; and adds, that as this account of the 
library is diiferont from that of Mr. Morse, and other writers, he thinks it proper 
to inform tlie pui)hc, that he inserts the above at the desire of Dr. Gordon him- 
self. But the history of the Lexington Library by the directors is as follows : 
That in 179G, the library of the Transylvania" Seminary being small, and no 
private libraries in the neighborhood, tlie library company was formed, for the 
ioint benefit of the students and citizens. One hundred shares were taken, 
(equal to $500,) with wliich 400 volumes were purchased ; and the whole de- 
posited in the Seminary, under the name of the Transylvania Library. The 
books were not long after removed to a more comuiodious situation, with the 
consent of the trustees, and assumed the name of the Lexington Library ; since 
which time it has been increased to the number of 8,000 or 9,000 volumes. From 
this narrative it would appear that only the 400 books constituting the town 
library had been removed, and those originally belonging to the seminary left 
untouched. See the narrative prefixed to the Catalogue of the Lexington Li- 
brary, 1821, p. 15. 

f Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. p. 152. 


it was taught, and all lands given for its use, to be disposed of 
for the benefit of the Academy. 

The Grammar-School had been put in operation at Pisgali, 
near Lexington, immediately on the issuing of proposals, and the 
tuition fixed at four pounds per annum. Mr. Andrew Steel was 
appointed by Presbytery the teacher. April 13th, 1796, he was 
succeeded by James Moore, and Mr. Moore again, Oct. 6th, 
1797, by John Thomson.* 

The college was opened in the fall of 1797, at Pisgah, the 
offers from that neighborhood being more advantageous than 
those from Paris and Harrodsburg.f The Presbyterians having 
now concentrated all their patronage upon their own college 
and grammar-school, and having in their hands a supply of ac- 
tive funds, speedily outstripped the seminary at Lexington. 
Toulmin, after a brief career, had resigned for the more lucra- 
tive and exalted office of Secretary of State ; and the institution 
was reduced to a pitiable destitution, notwithstanding the recall 
of Mr. Moore, and the attempt of the citizens to render it more 
attractive by the establishment of a library of four hundred 

The leaders at Lexington now took the alarm ; and waking, at 
last, to a sense of their folly, endeavored to rescue Transylvania 
Seminary from the utter insignificance into which she seemed 
about to fall, by conciliating the Presbyterians, and courting 
their alliance. The latter listened without resentment, and a 
committee was appointed by each board to confer on the subject 
of a re-union. Every concession was made, and every pledge 
offered that the Presbyterians could desire ; and their ascenden- 
cy, as they fondly but erroneously imagined, was re-established 
securely against all future vicissitudes. Not yet sufficiently 
taught by experience, a still bitterer lesson was in reserve for 
them. The provisions which allured them were chiefly these : 
that the new board should consist of twenty-one members, the 
majority of whom should be Presbyterians ; that the charter 
should not be altered or repealed except on petitions signed by 

* Min. Trans. Pby. vol. i. p. 127 ; ii. pp. 97, 164. 
t Bisliop's Rice, p. 97. 

t Pamphleteer, No. I., p. 10. Memorial of Synod to the Legislature, 1824; on 
file among the papers of Transylvania Pby. Stuart's Rem., No. IV. 


at least eleven, i. e. a majority ; and as they would be a body 
corporate, filling their own vacancies, it was natural to suppose 
that they would be able to retain their preponderance forever. 
By this compact, however, they surrendered the right of ecclesi- 
astical interference and control, and adopted for the guidance of 
the University the laws and regulations by which it had been 
previously governed.* 

Accordingly, on the 22d of December, 1798, the Legislature, 
on the joint petition of the two boards, amalgamated Transylva- 
nia Seminary and Kentucky Academy, with their respective 
funds, in one institution, under the imposing title of The Tran- 
sylvania University, with twenty-one trustees, a majority of 
whom were Presbyterians, and some of them clergymen.f 

It must not be supposed, however, that this change had the 
approbation of the entire Presbyterian community. There were 
not wanting those who doubted whether the original design of 
the Presbytery was complied with ; J and it is not unworthy of 
note, that the hand of the venerable patriarch, David Rice, is no- 
where to be seen in the transaction, from beginning to end. 
Could the sense of the Presbyterian body in Kentucky be taken 
now upon the measure, it would probably be almost unanimously 
adverse to it, and in favor of the independent institution at 
Pisgah. Certainly the successful experiment of Centre College 
might satisfy the most doubtful. 

The university commenced its career with flattering auspices. 
Three professorships were founded, with salaries of five hundred 
dollars each, and filled as follows : The Rev. James Moore,§ 

* Pamphleteer, No. I., p. 10. Stuart's Reminisceftces, No. IV. Act for the 
Union, section 5lh, Littell, vol. ii. p. 235. 

t 2 Littell, pp. 234-236 ; where see charter at length. The trustees were the 
following: James Garrard, Samuel McDowell, Cornelius Beatty, Frederick 
Ridgeley, Robert Marshall, George Nicholas, James Crawford, Joseph Crockett, 
Bartlett'Collins, Andrew McCalla, William Morton, Robert Steel, John McDow- 
ell, Alexander Parker, Caleb Wallace, James Trotter, Levi Todd, James Blythe, 
Thomas Lewis, John Bradford, and Buckner Thruston. 

I Marshall's Letter to W. L. Presby., 1818, on file. 

5 Mr. Moore was received as a candidate by Transylvania Presbytery, " upon 
the whole," April 27th, 1792. Min. vol. i. p. 68. His trial sermon, the year 
following, on Luke xiii. 5, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish," was 
not sustained, and another was appointed. lb. p. 106. April 26th, 1794, the 
Presbytery, having some doubts as to iiis experimental piety, desired to examine 
him again upon that point for the satisfaction of a majority of the members, 
who had not been present at the previous examination. To this Mr. Moore 


Acting President, and Professor of Logic, Metaphysics, Moral 
Philosophy, and Belles-Lettres ; the Rev. James Blythe, Pro- 
fessor of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, and 
Geography : the Rev. Robert Stuart, Professor of Ancient Lan- 
guages, who was succeeded, upon his resignation the next 
year, by the Rev. James Welch. Besides the Academical Staff, 
Law and Medical Departments were added the next year, 
(1799,) George Nicholas, Esq., being appointed the Professor in 
the Law School ; and in the Medical, Dr. Ridgeley, Professor of 
Medicine and Surgery, and Dr. Samuel Brown, Professor of 

The institution possessed a miscellaneous library of thirteen 
hundred volumes, a law library, a medical library, and philo- 
sophical apparatus. Its landed endowment amounted to twenty 
thousand acres ; viz : eight thousand, originally given to Tran- 
sylvania Seminary, and six thousand more in 1798, (part of 
which were situated in the rich central portion of the State,) and 
six thousand acres granted in the same year to Kentucky Acad- 
emy, (situated in the Green river country,) to say nothing of the 
sixth of the surveyor's fees, the value of which has never been 
ascertained. Dr. Miller estimated the lands to be worth one 
hundred and seventy-nine thousand dollars. Mr. Marshall's 
estimate, at two dollars per acre, would bring forty thousand' 

repeatedly refused to submit. Whereupon it was the unanimous voice of the 
Presbytery that he be dismissed ; and the occasion was taken to pass a formal 
resolution, asserting the riglit of the body to repeat from time to time such ex- 
aminations of their candidates, if thought necessary, until fully satisfied. lb. pp. 
122, 123. Mr. Moore appears, however, to have had warm friends in Virginia, 
where he had formerly resided ; and among the filed papers of Transylvania 
Presbytery, is a letter from the venerable John Brown and Archibald Scott, con- 
taining a high eulogium upon him. They stated that his natural endowments 
were superior, his acquirements good, and his moral character unsullied. He 
had an excellent temper, engaging manners, modesty, humility, and tenderness 
of affection. He had an apparent love of activity in regard to social religious 
exercises, and the management of persons under first impressions. They thought 
his modesty, pious education, gentle temper, and smooth deportment, must have 
been the cause of his narrative of his religious experience being less satisfactory 
to the Presbytery. There are also two letters from Mr. Moore himself in refer- 
ence to his affairs, which are well-written, spirited, and indicative of talent. 
Displeased with the rigor of his treatment, he sought refuge in the bosom of the 
Episcopal communion, and became, soon after, the first Rector of Christ's Church, 
in Lexington. 

* Lex. Obs. and Rep., June 17, 184.3. Miller's Retrospect of the Eighteenth 
Century, vol. ii. p. 305. Marshall's Letter, 1818. 


dollars.* All estimates of the value of lands, however, must be 
very uncertain, as the market price is liable to fluctuate, 

Transylvania enjoyed a moderate degree of prosperity for a 
number of years ; not brilliant indeed, but sound and healthy. 
At the commencement of the present century, it numbered sev- 
enty students ; of whom nineteen were in the law school, six in 
the medical, and forty-five were undergraduates. In the course 
of a few years Dr. Blythe succeeded Mr. Moore as Acting Pre- 
sident. The duties of his station were discharged diligently and 
efliciently, and the university took a respectable stand. The 
curriculum of studies was the same as that of Eastern colleges, 
with the exception of classical learning, which was as yet con- 
sidered of only secondary importance. It was regarded as the 
nucleus of sound literature in the West, and its influence upon 
the intellect and morals of the country would form an interesting 
theme of speculation. f 

The condition of the Finances was not less sound. About the 
year 180G, the 8,0§0 acres of land granted in 1780 were sold to 
advantage, at the rate of $3 75 per acre, realizing the sum of 
.$30,000, which was invested in 234 shares of the Bank of Ken- 
tucky, and 66 shares of an Insurance Company. This land had 
been previously let on long leases, at a low rate, by the Trustees 
of the former Transylvania Seminary, and had in consequence 
been a very unproductive source of revenue. The leasing of the 
lands for a long period has been censured as injudicious, and the 
blame of the measure has been thrown on the Trustees of the 
University, as an instance of Presbyterian mismanagement, but 
undeservedly ; for it occurred prior to their coming into office.J 

The Trustees had so well husbanded their resources, (now 
constituting a disposable fund of 867,532 00,§) that they ven- 
tured at length to indulge the long-cherished wish of their hearts, 
which was to erect an elegant edifice, and to invite to the Pre- 
sidency some individual distinguished for talents and learning. 

But the incongruous union of 1798, although it appeared at the 

* Miller's Retrospect, vol. ii. p. 305, Marshall, nt sufra. 

t Flint's Ten Years' Recollections of the Valley of the Mississippi, pp. 67, 68, 
Butler's Hipt. ofKy., p. 187. 

I Pamphl. No. I. p. 11. 

!j Of this amount the new Board acknDvvledged the recai; t, in their Report to 
the Legislature. Pamphl. No. VI. p. 2. 


time to establish affairs on a firm basis, was far from promoting 
permanent harmony ; and occasionally the prelusive flash and 
the muttering thunder indicated a coming storm. There were 
two parties in the Board — the friends of evangelical religion, and 
the open, or disguised, abettors of deism and infidelity. The 
materials were discordant in the extreme. As long as the Pres- 
byterians had the majority, they were able to repress opposition ; 
but unhappily they relaxed their vigilance, they deserted the 
lofty ground which they had occupied as conscientious con- 
servators of religious liberty, and suffered themselves to be 
swayed by worldly policy. As vacancies occurred from time to 
time, they were filled not by devout persons of the same or like 
faith, but by prominent political characters, whose popularity 
and influence would, it was hoped, reflect a sort oi eclat upon the 
college. When, at length, a crisis arrived, there were found but 
seven Presbyterians in the Board, out of twenty-one members.* 
For such neglect and carnal policy no extenuation can be of- 
fered. Let it stand on record as a pregnant tv^arning. 

The long-suppressed bickerings grew louder and more frequent 
as the spirit of infidelity spread more extensively through the 
community, and the numbers and influence of the party which 
sympathized with it grew stronger. It was not an unusual oc- 
currence for one party to rally all their forces to thwart and dis- 
comfit the other, and, as they were able to secure a majority, to 
undo at one meeting what had been done by their opponents at 
the meeting previous.f The Presbyterians, indeed, still had so 
much the ascendency as to secure successively the election of the 
Rev. Drs. Nott, Romeyn and Lindsley, Presbyterian divines, and 
the Rev. Luther Rice, of the Baptist persuasion, all men well 
spoken of for their piety, orthodoxy and learning. Unhappily, 
neither of these gentlemen thought proper to accept the appoint- 
ment.J What happy results might have followed from an ac- 
ceptance by any of them, we are now better able to appreciate 
than they were then able to conjecture. Public men should ever 
consult the public good, not private convenience. 

In this state of things, the name of the Rev. Horace 
Holley, of Boston, was proposed to the Board, by Mr. James 

* Pamphl. No. VI. p. 16. f Pamphl. No. V. p. 1. J Pamphl. No. I. p. li. 


Prentiss, (himself a native of New England,) as a man of 
rare endowments, and admirably adapted to build up the 
fame of the Institution. He was elected with great cordiality, 
in 1815, but, at that time, declined the honor.* In November, 
1817, he wq^ a second time invited to the Presidency, but not 
with the same unanimity — a rumor having reached Lexington 
of his being tainted with Socinian principles. Dr. Dwight 
was written to upon the subject, and his reply was anything but 
commendatory. Mr. Holley's own explanations, in answer to 
letters from Dr. Fishback and Mr. Prentiss, were extremely 
vague and evasive, laying claim to an indefinite Catholicism, ex- 
alted above the trammels of the sects. In spite of opposition, a 
strong effort was made ; and, parties being equal, the election 
was decided by the vote of a politician of eminence, who had 
been chosen and relied on as a friend of the Presbyterians, but 
who betrayed their confidence. Perceiving their inevitable de- 
feat, the disheartened minority either withdrew their opposition 
or retired from the meeting ; so that the final vote was declared 
to be unanimous. Great was the dissatisfaction throughout a 
large portion of the community when the result was made 
known. f But greater was the surprise when it was found that 
the Legislature, by an arbitrary and uncalled-for interference,^ 
turned out the old Board in February, 1818, and appointed in 
their place a set of men, not one of whom, whatever other merits 
they might have had, made any pretence to religion.^ Thus 
was the charter grossly violated in its fifth section, which pro- 

* Mem. of Pres.Holley,p. 197. Fishback's Narr., West. Lum. vol. i. p. 554. 

f Pamphl. No. 1. p. 11; No. V. p. 1; No. VI. p. 14. Fishback's Narr. 
West. Lum. vol. i. p. 556. 

J Wednesday, December 3d, 1817, Mr. Francis Johnson, of Warren and Al- 
len, had leave, in the House, to brint^ in a bill " to reduce the number, and alter 
the mode of electing the Trustees of Tran.sylvania University." It is wortliy of 
note that there is no freamble lo tliis bill, as if conscious of the unreasonableness, 
as well as unwarrantableness, of the change! It was referred to a committee 
of four : the mover, Jesse Bledsoe, of Bourbon, William T. Barrj', of Fayette, 
and Hannan Bovvmar, of Woodford and Jessamine. They reported favorably, 
and the bill became a law, iind was signed by Acting (Lieut.) Gov. Slaughter, 
Feb. 3, 1818. Journ. Sen. No. 1232, pp. 20, 51. Acts of Assembly for 1817, 
No. 56, pp. 554-556. 

5 Marshall's Lett, to Mod. of W. Lex. Pby., March 23d, 1818. (See filed 
papers.) '• The new Board," .says he, " contained not a sinfrle professor of reli- 
gion." The new Trustees were thirteen in number, viz : Henry Clay, Edmund 
Bullock, Robert Trimble, John T. Mason, jun., Robert WicklifFe, James Prentiss, 
Hubbard Taylor, John Pope, Lewis Sanders, Samuel II. Woodson, John Brown, 
Charles Humphreys and Thomas Bodley. Acts of Ass. 1817, No. 56, p. 554. 


vided that no change or repeal should be made, save *' on peti- 
tions of the Trustees of the said University, signed by at least 
eleven of them ;"* and the Presbyterians were unrighteously dis- 
possessed of all their property, funds and interests in an Institu- 
tion of which they had been the original founders and^most active 

In the spring of 1818, Mr. HoUey visited Kentucky, in order 
to survey the field and facilitate his decision. Charmed with the 
warmth and frankness of Kentucky hospitality, delighted with 
the natural beauties of the country, gratified with the opulent 
leisure and polished society of Lexington, flattered by the uni- 
versal attention he received, and, above all, fired with the ambi- 
tion of placing himself at the head of the teeming West, and be- 
coming the father of literature to a rising nation, his decision was 
soon made in favor of acceptance. On the 19th of December, 
of the same year, he was inducted into office, with a salary of 
$3,000, and the fees for diplomas.f 

The Rev. Horace Holley, LL.D., (which title he received 
some time after his accession,) was a native of Salisbury, in the 
county of Litchfield, Connecticut : a town which has been pro- 
lific of distinguished men — the late General Peter B. Porter, the 
Hon. Elisha Whittlesey, of Ohio, Judge Ambrose Spencer, the 
Warwick of New York, and several of the name of Holley. He 
was born February 13, 1781, and was, consequently, at this 
period, thirty-seven years of age, in the prime of life and vigor. 
His father was a descendant of Edmund Halley, the English 
philosopher ; he was a self-taught and self-made man — at first a 
schoolmaster, and afterward a merchant. Horace assisted his 
father in his store till he was sixteen, when he was sent to Wil- 
liamstown to school, and afterward to Yale College, where he 
distinguished himself by his excellence in declamation and debate, 
and became a favorite of the celebrated President Dwight. In 
1803 he graduated, with a high reputation for talents and ac- 

* Sec. 5. And be if. further enacted, That the several acts of the General As- 
sembly of the State of Virginia and Kentucky, now in I'orce, prescribing the 
powers and directing the proceedings of the Trustees of the said Transylvania 
Seminary, shall be the laws of the Trustees of the said University, until amended 
or repealed by the Legislature, o7i petitions of the Trustees of the said Unicersiiy, 
signed bij at least eleven of them," &.c. 2 Littell, p. 235. No such petition was 
ever presented. 

f Memoirs, pp. 157, 199. 



quirements. He had also recently made a public profession of" 
religion, during a revival of which many of the students were 

After studying law for some time in New York, he relinquished 
it to study divinity, with Dr. Dwight, in New Haven. Here he 
embraced the Hopkinsian views, which were then in vogue, but 
which he did not imbibe from his preceptor. After a brief settle- 
ment at Greenfield Hill, he accepted an invitation to Boston, the 
metropolis of New England, and the seat of literary taste ; a 
situation better suited both to his capacities and his ambition. 
He was ordained pastor of the HoUis-street Church in March, 
1809 ; and such was his popularity, that a larger and more ele- 
gant edifice was soon rendered necessary. In this charge he re- 
mained for nine years, greatly admired and beloved. The in- 
toxicating incense of applause, and the temptations of the sphere 
in which he moved, proved too powerful for the disciple of Hop- 
kins.* His theological views, perhaps already a little loose, 
gradually underwent a change ; and he relinquished that most 
austere form of Calvinism for the milder opinions of Socinus. 

As a classical and general scholar, Dr. Holley was neither 
profoundly nor extensively read. The exact sciences presented 
no charms for him. His favorite studies were Criticism, Philo- 
logy, Belles-Lettres, and the Philosophy of the Mind, especially 
the latter. Averse to long and severe intellectual labor, he 
made no new discoveries, nor did he extend the boundaries of 
human knowledge. With a mind rapid in its operations, and a 
memory extremely tenacious, his ambition was to dazzle and 

* Socinianism made its appearance in Boston in the latter part of the eight- 
eenth century. There was a (rradual progress, from restiveness under the strict 
old faith, to Arminianisni, Arianism, and finally, Universal ism, under Dr. 
Chauncey. Priestley's works were freely circulated, and a correspondence 
maintained with him and other English Socinians. The first man of note who 
openly espoused these views in Boston was Dr. James Freeman, of King's 
(Chapel. Being refused Episcopal ordination, he was set apart by his congrega- 
tion, in 178G. They adopted Lindsay's Liturgy. The Rev. Thomas Oxnard, 
of Portland, also an Episcopalian, followed, with part of his congregation. Mr. 
Thatcher formed a Unitarian Society at Saco. The new views spread in Salem. 
In 1794, a minister in Barnstable, and another in Plymouth, became converts. 
Many wealthy, influential and public men joined the new sect: Gov. Bowdoin, 
Gen. Knox, (Jen. Lincoln, John Adams, &,c. Boston became the head-quarters. 
Nearly all the pulpits in that city resounded with Socinian sentiments. The next 
.step was to get possession of Harvard University. West. Lum. vol. i. pp. 305. 



impress. He loved disputation, and excelled in extemporaneous 
harangues. His sermons were seldom written, or if written, 
seldom finished. Having a fertile intellect, and a ready com- 
mand of language, his custom was to shut himself up in his study 
till a late hour on Saturday evening, and again on Sunday, per- 
mitting no interruption, even for the morning or the noontide 

Nature had lavishly endowed him with her most attractive 
gifts. He was remarkable for his symmetry of person, melli- 
fluent voice, great vivacity, fascinating manners, splendid con- 
versational powers, and brilliant oratory. His was the only 
eloquence that was ever known to betray a staid New England 
audience into forgetfulness of their wonted propriety, by a noisy 
demonstration of applause. A premature baldness, while it 
exposed to view a classical and beautifully modelled head, gave 
him an appearance of age and dignity.* 

Such was the individual to whose hands the fortunes of Tran- 
sylvania were entrusted. Never had any man a fairer oppor- 
tunity of building up an enviable fame, or of leaving the impress 
of his mind on untold generations. His accession was hailed 
throughout the West as a new era of vitality and vigor ; all 
classes of society united in his welcome ; all sects, even the Epis- 
copal and Associate Reformed, threw open their pulpits to him ;t 
and he had it in his power to conciliate friends and disarm pre- 
judice forever. It was at first fondly hoped that he would 
pursue this course, and some pledges, supposed to have been 
uttered by him in one of his public discourses, encouraged many 
of the friends of literature to trust that he would not be a dis- 
turber of the popular faith. J The ground which it was his 
professed intention to occupy, was one which has always had 
attractions for the popular mind ; that of a generous and catho- 
lic spirit, superior to the narrow trammels of sects, and recog- 
nizing in each a branch of the great Christian family. § 

* Memoirs of Dr. Holley, passim. The above particulars are chiefly culled 
from Dr. Caldwell's Eulogy, and the sketch furnished by his widow. The 
demonstration of applause alluded to was extorted by a sermon before the An- 
cient and Honorable Artillery Company, the only instance, Mr. Pierpont assures 
us, ever known in New England. lb. p. 47. 

t Memoirs, pp. 154, 156, 157, 1.58. J Pamphl. No, IV. pp. 10, 14. 

^ We have Dr. Holley's creed at this period preserved in a letter to one of his 
late parishioners in Boston, dated from Transylvania University, July 18th, 1819. 


The Presbyterians were not among the number of those who 
were easily deceived. With the alertness of 1798, the Synod 
of Kentucky took measures in October, 1818, to regain their 
lost ground. They petitioned the Legislature for a charter for 
a new college to be located in the town of Danville, but were 
frustrated by the friends of Transylvania. The charter was so 
modified as to place the control of the institution and its funds 
in the hands of the Legislature instead of the Synod. 

The confirmation of officers, instruction in the Bible, Church 
History^ and the Evidences of Christianity, and the engrafting, 
if desired, of a Theological Department, in which alone denom- 
inational tenets should be taught, were not conceded ; and the 
very name of the Synod was studiously omitted throughout. 
Severely as they had been already made to suffer for their easy 
credulity, it would have been surprising if the Synod had ac- 
cepted such an emasculated thing. The modified charter was 

After some bitter censures on sectarianism and orthodoxy in Kentucky, he adds as 
follows : " All that I would say to my late congregation would be to repeat 
the instructions which closed my ministry with them. Observation, common 
sense, reason, pure morals, our natural and irradicable affections when culti- 
vated and sanctified by intelhgence and benevolence, the social virtues, a catho- 
lic temper, patience under the contemplation of the fomes and prejudices of 
society, at the same time a love of truth and a judicious zeal for its defence and 
propagation, piety united to philanthropy, such a mode of Christian faith as 
makes it harmonize with the works and providence of God, such an interpreta- 
tion of the Bible as does not institute a war between the revelation by book and 
that by nature, the language of encouragement from the lips of moderation and 
experience, a deaf car to the habitual crimination of others' motives, a strong 
reliance upon the wisdom of God in the constitution of things, a steady belief 
that all will come out right at last, good nature and complacency when many 
about us are angry, and a persevering pursuit of some useful occupation that 
will afford us a competency in life, are the elements of a wise, religious, and 
truly orthodox man, and will lead to present happiness and future salvation." 
Memoirs, p. 223. In the above extract the reader will look in vain for a single 
distinctive evangelical principle. 

But a little anecdote, which is presented on unquestionable authority, will 
shed clearer light upon the subject. A short time before his arrival in Ken- 
tucky, Dr. Holley paid a visit to tlie Rev. Mr. Torrey of Canandaigua, N. Y., 
who was then a high Arian. In the course of conversation he freely expressed 
it as his opinion that the apostles and evangelists had written very well for their 
opportunities, but they had fallen into many mistakes. As for .Jesus Christ, he 
was not to be considered a perfect character, for ho had abstained from marriage ; 
an abstinence not a little remarkable, considering his attachment to Martha and 
Mary ! I ! ]Mr. Torrey was so shocked by this loose and frivolous conversation, 
that it drove him to a re-examination of the original Scriptures, which resulted 
in his abjuring his error, and embracing anew the Trinitarian system. This 
anecdote is inserted on the authority of the Rev. Dr. Cogswell, late Professor of 
Ecclesiastical History in East Windsor Seminary, who had it from Mr. T.'.s 
own lips. 


unhesitatingly refused, and they resolved to wait in silence for 
a more propitious time to renew their application.* 

Encouraged by this triumph, the next step was to get rid of 
the Presbyterian members of the Faculty, by means of such 
changes of hours and duties as they could not submit to without 
the greatest inconvenience. Dr. Bishop was compelled to give 
up the chair of Mental and Moral Philosophy to the President, 
and qualify himself for giving instruction in Natural Philosophy. 
Dr. Blythe, who had been superseded as head of the institution, 
and Mr. Sharpe, professor of languages, felt themselves com- 
pelled to resign. To President Holley were committed the 
entire charge of the religious and moral instruction of the stu- 
dents, and the duty of preaching in the College Chapel. f The 
character of these instructions from the pulpit and the chair was 
such as to justify the worst fears of the evangelical party. 
At the close of the first session, the Lexington presses being 
closed except to the language of eulogy, it was in the friendly 
columns of the Weekly Recorder, printed in Chilicothe, Ohio, 
that a writer under the name of Spectator, published some 
caustic satires. The effect of this fire, though distant, was so 
vigorous, as to alarm the President and his friends. They felt 
they had thrown off the mask too soon, and that they must 
attempt to soothe and conciliate the Presbyterians. Dr. Blythe 
was recalled, and appointed Professor of Chemistry in the Medi- 
cal Department ; and vacancies that occurred in the Board of 
Trustees were filled with persons selected from the different 
evangelical denominations. Among them was Dr. Fishback, 
a prominent Baptist preacher.J 

Matters now went on smoothly for several years. The Presi- 
dent's popularity was unbounded. Even the intractable Pres- 
byterians were reduced to silence. It was part of his plan to 
put them down effectually by enlisting against them the jealous- 

* Pamphl. No. V. p. 3. Min. Syn. vol. ii. pp. 126-132, 13G, 138 ; iii. pp. 
11, 16. Charter of Centre College, p. 1. The College went into operation 
under the charter and the government of its own Tnintees. The names pro- 
posed for the College were very various, and some of tliem odd enough. One 
was the Kentucky College ; another, proposed by the Board of the Synod in 
1824, was "The American Bible and Missionary College." Filed papers 
Trans. Pby. The present title was adopted on account of its central position. 

f Pamphl. No. V. p. 2. 

X Pamphl. No. V. p. 3. Western Luminary, vol. i. p. 670. 


ies of rival sects, especially of the Baptists, with whom he sought 
to contract a close alliance, to recommend himself to them by 
the circumstance of his mother being the daughter of a Baptist 
preacher.* Everything conspired to swell his triumph. The 
whole country rang with praises of the University and its bril- 
liant President. To this the revival of the Law and Medical 
Schools contributed not a little. It was effected mainly by his 
personal influence and unwearied effort. In the Law School 
he voluntarily delivered a course of lectures on Natural Law 
himself without any additional fee. William T. Barry, after- 
ward Lieutenant-Governor of Kentucky, and Postmaster-Gene- 
ral of the United States, was appointed Professor of Civil Law ; 
and the gifted but erratic Judge Bledsoe, Professor of Common 
and Statute Law. The Medical School was manned with six 
professors, among whom Dr. Blythe occupied the chair of 
Chemistry ; Dr. Dudley, the most eminent surgeon in the West, 
filled the chair of Anatomy and Surgery ; and Dr. Caldwell, the 
apostle of Phrenology in the West, was invited from Philadel- 
phia to the chair of the Institutes of Medicine. Dr. C. S. 
Rafinesque, an indefatigable Natural Historian and learned An- 
tiquarian, was another distinguished member of the corps of 
Professors. Nothing could be more rapid than the remarkable 
rise of this Medical School in public favor. In five years from 
its revival, the number of its students amounted to 234. f 

Of a gay and social turn, and connected with a lady whose 
varied accomplishments fitted her to adorn such a scene,J 
the President's house was the resort of all who had any preten- 
sions to taste, refinement, literature, or political distinction. His 
ample salary, doubled in value by being paid in specie instead 
of depreciated Commonwealth paper, enabled him to make fre- 
quent and sumptuous entertainments ; while statuary, painting, 
music, cards, and dancing, attracted the young and the gay, and 
enlisted troops of zealous partisans. Strangers spent there their 

* Letter of " A Baptist," in the West. Lum. vol. i. p. 037. Waller Bullock, 
Esq., of Fayette county is a living witness, the President having unfolded his 
plan inadvertently in his hearing. 

t Memoirs, p. 200. West. Lum. vol. i. p. 633. 

J The late Mrs. I\Iary Austin Ilolley was a kinswoman of that enterprising 
man. Col. Stephen F. Austin, the chief founder of the colony of Texas. Of her 
visit to the colony in 1831, she published a lively description in a volume of 
" Letters." 


pleasantest hours, and, captivated by his amenity, went every- 
where spreading his praises.* 

The Legislature, too, before whom Dr. Holley preached, and 
whose good will he won by his consummate tact, at various 
times extended their liberality to the University. In 1819, 
they appropriated the bonus of the Farmers' and Mechanics* 
Bank for two years, amounting to $,3000 ; in 1820, $5,000 to the 
Medical School for books and apparatus ; and in 1821, upon the 
representation of the Trustees that they were on the verge of 
bankruptcy, half the profits of the Branch Bank of the Common- 
wealth at Lexington, amounting, nominally, to $20,000 but 
really worth only half that sum in specie. f 

Nevertheless, besides the public dissatisfaction on account of 
the embarrassment of the finances, the sermons in the chapel had 
excited much unfavorable comment ; and, in order to tranquil- 
lize the alarm, it was judged expedient to discontinue them, on 
the pretext of the President's other onerous and multifarious du- 
ties.J But the storm was only lulled. Its sullen roar might be 
heard in the distance,, and the white-caps were already cresting 
the advancing billows. Soon was it to burst in thunder on his 

The immediate occasion of the commotion was a Funeral 
Discourse, pronounced by President Holley on the death of 
Col. Morrison, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and one of 
the most wealthy and influential citizens of Lexington. 

Col. James Morrison was born in Cumberland county, Penn- 
sylvania, in the year 1755. The son of an Irish emigrant, his 
native strength of mind gradually elevated him far above his 
humble origin. He served for six years in the army of the 
Revolution, and distinguished himself as one of Morgan's Select 
Corps of Riflemen. After the war he went into business in Pitts- 
burg, and rose to be SherifTof the county. In 1792 he removed 
to Lexington, Kentucky, then presenting an inviting field to the 
adventurous and enterprising. Here he filled, in succession, the 
high and important trusts of Land Commissioner, Representa- 
tive in the Legislature, Supervisor of the revenue, under Presi- 
dent Adams ; Navy Agent, Contractor for the North-western 

* Memoirs, pp. 218, 240. Pamphl. No. V. p. 4. 

t Report of Comm. of Legisl. 1842, p. 2. 

i Dr. Fishback's letter to Mr. Boon, West. Lum. vol. i. p. 686. 


Army during the war of 1812, Quarter-Master-General, Presi- 
dent of the Lexington Branch of the United States Bank, and 
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Transylvania University. 
Col. Morrison was a man of commanding appearance, stern but 
courteous ; of great decision of character, native talent, wide 
experience, and considerable reading. He acquired immense 
wealth, which he disbursed in elegant hospitality, judicious 
patronage of deserving young men, and the promotion of letters. 
In the winter of 1822 he repaired to Washington to obtain the 
settlement of a claim against government to the amount of 
^23,000, for moneys advanced by him when contractor, out of 
his own pocket, in which he succeeded ; but was seized with a 
disease which terminated fatally on the 23d of April, 1823, in 
the 68th year of his age. Although he was thought to incline 
towards Unitarianism, there is reason to believe that his death- 
bed was cheered by a more evangelical faith. He received the 
visits of the resident clergymen of Washington, and joined with 
them devoutly in religious exercises. His well-used and co- 
piously marked New Testament lay always on his bed, and he 
continued to read it, according to his wont, as long as his 
strength permitted.* 

* See Dr. Holley's Funeral Discourse, pp. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 31 : and Mr. 
Clay's Letter in the appendix, p. 34. All doubts, as to the evangelical character 
of Col. Morrison's death-bed exercises, must be considered as put at rest by the 
following extract of a letter to the author from the Rev. Dr. Laurie, of Wash- 
ington. " I had," says he, " the privilege of being often with him during his 
last illness, and was present when he drew his last breath. I was present as a 
friend, and in my official capacity : and I am sure that had he expressed any 
belief in Unitarian doctrines, or manifested any leaning that way, I could not 
have forgotten it. It would have been my duty to have endeavored to remove 
them, and the issue would not Iiave been obliterated. My firm belief is, that he 
had no doubts either as to the great doctrines of salvation, or as to his own in- 
terest in them, and in tliat divine Saviour, from whose person, and obedience, 
and death, they derive all their importance : and the correctness of this belief is 
corroborated by a conversation I had yesterday on the subject, with the eldest 
daughter of the lady with whom Col. Morrison boarded, and in whose house he 
died. She was then of full age, and a member of the Church, and had ample 
means of being acquainted, as well as myself, with Col. Morrison's views of 
the all-important subjects of Christ's divinity, and the doctrine of salvation 
through his atoning blood. Her distinct recollection is. that he died most hap- 
pily in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of those blessed doctrines which 
alone can sustain and cheer the soul in the prospect of death and ctcniity. One 
of her expressions was, that he w^s a firm Old School believer; that is, his be- 
lief was that of the Presbyterians of the Old School." In addition to this te.sti- 
mony, the author records with pleasure the similar favorable impression made 
upon the Rev. John Breckcnridge, then one of th(? Chaplains to Congress, who 
also visited CoL Morrison, and from whose own lips this information was ob- 


In consequence of his long and extensive acquaintance witli 
the western country, Col. Morrison had been able to acquire 
lands in Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylva- 
nia, and Virginia, to the amount of 78,886 acres, estimated by 
him, with his other real estate, exclusive of bank stock and other 
resources, at 8175,073. Leaving no children to inherit his 
princely fortune, and having ever been a warm friend of Tran- 
sylvania University, he bequeathed to it $20,000, to found a 
Library, or a Professorship, bearing his name, of which the 
Trustees elected the latter. He also left it a residuary legacy, 
upon the demise of his widow,* which was estimated at about 
$40,000, to found another edifice for the use of the University. 
to be called Morrison College.f Upon the destinjction of the 
old edifice by fire a few years after, the executor, Mr. Clay, 
thought himself justified in anticipating this fund for the erection 
of the present elegant structure, at a cost of about $30,000. 

In honor of so munificent a patron of letters, the Trustees, 
Faculties, and Students of the University, together with a great 
concourse of citizens, repaired in procession to the Episcopal 
church, on Monday, the 19th of May, to hear a Funeral Dis- 
course from President Holley. In this discourse, which was 
written in an agreeable and flowing style, the speaker took 
occasion to sneer bitterly at the bigotry of Sectarians, and to 
recommend Socinian sentiments under the cover of the honored 
dead ; whom he described as a liberal and large-minded Chris- 
tian, regarding virtue as the most acceptable homage to the 
Deity, and esteeming Papist, Protestant, and Pagan, as having 
equal claims to the divine favor. J Although he afterwards dis- 
claimed the imputation, some passages were interpreted as not 
equivocally teaching that education was the passport to Heaven, 
and gave to religion and immortality their chief value ; and that 
such an act as Jefferson's founding of the University of Virginia, 
was not only an admirable illustration of the dignity of retire- 

* Esther, daucjhter of the Hon. John Montgoraerj-, of Carlisle, Pa., an early 
and distinguished patron of Dickinson College, over which his son-in-law, the 
late Dr. Robert Davidson, presided after the ^decease of the learned and witty 
Dr. Nisbet. The late Hon. John Montgomery, mayor of the city of Baltimore. 
was her brother. 

+ See the printed copy of the Will, pp. 4, 11, 23. 

t Disc. pp. 18, 19, 20. On page I9th is an allusion in this connection to the 
infidel fable of the wolf muddying the stream above. 


ment, but was also •' an effectual, honorable preparation for 

As might have been expected, this production elicited a sharp 
newspaper controversy, and, taken in connection with the pub- 
lication of the " Transylvania Theses,'' or Latin exercises of the 
Students, shed no doubtful light on the character of the instruc- 
tion given in the University. Some of these Theses defended 
the propositions " that revealed may be called only a picture of 
rational religion, since it has only the same principles expressed 
in words ; and that either will conduct men to Heaven, provided 
they faithfully follow it."t 

In October the Synod sat in Lexington, and some of their 
transactions attracted no small attention and obloquy. They 
gave great offence by stating, in the Narrative of Religion, the 
prevalence of infidelity in Lexington and other prominent places. 
But what drew down the severest indignation was the renewal 
of the project of a rival college in Danville. Conceiving cir- 
cumstances more propitious than before, the Synod resolved to 
establish, without delay, an institution under their own control, 
in which Biblical instruction should be given, and the Trustees 
and teachers should be of their own communion. Six Solicitors 
were appointed, and nine Trustees. The Trustees were direct- 
ed to meet at Danville at the end of the month, with authority 
to confer with the Trustees of Centre College, and effect a re- 
organization if practicable, and in case the Legislature should 
refuse to grant a charter, then to go on independently. The 
Conference took place, and every thing was arranged harmo- 
niously to meet the views of the Synod. J 

* Disc. pp. 12, 24, 26, 35. t Pamplil. No. III. p. 0. 

t Pamphl. No. V. p. 5. Min. Syn. vol. iii, pp. 66-73. The names of the 
Trustee.«i appointed are as follows : — William W. Martin, Archibald Cameron, 
William K. Stuart, Thomas Cleland, D.D., Nathan H. Hall, John McFarland, 
Robert Stuart, ministers ; and James Stonestrect and Benjamin Mills. 

Some passages in the Report of the Committee, on the expediency and prac- 
ticability of the plan, are worthy of preservation. It stated, that in consequence 
of the Church neglecting the baptized youth, the ministry was ill supplied, while 
other professions were crowded. Frorii 1620 to 1720, a period when the Church 
paid attention to the education of youth, more than half of all the graduates of 
the American Colleges entered the ministry; from 1720 to 1770, ane-lhird ; 
from 1770 to 1800, one- fifth ; from 1800 to 1810, one-sixth; and for several 
years, in the western country, it might be safely said, not one-twentieth. The 
irreligious had so managed and taken advantage of the remissness of the Church, 
as to get into their hands both colleges and elementary schools. Min. Syn. 
vol. iii. p. 67. 


While the Synod as a body were pursuing such energetic 
measures, some of its members started a project on their own 
individual responsibility, which proved no inconsiderable means 
of annoyance. The presses of Lexington being closed, on the 
principles of Demetrius the Ephesian, to everything but panegy- 
ric, the Rev. John McFarland, pastor of the Presbyterian Church 
in Paris, twelve miles distant, resolved to issue a periodical under 
the title of " The Literary Pamphleteer," for the purpose of 
exposing the mal-administration of aflairs in the State University. 
Six numbers were published in the course of the winter.* The 
first number contained a stringent article from the pen of the 
Rev. Robert Stuart, under the signature of " A Citizen," in which 
he pointed out the wasteful expenditure of the funds, and animad- 
verted upon the character of the President as an abettor of irreli- 
gious and deistical sentiments, and a notorious frequenter of the 
ball-room, the theatre, and the race-course. This bold attack, 
vigorously followed up, made a great sensation. The Legisla- 
ture took up the subject, and a Committee of Investigation was 
appointed. But the Trustees interposed so many delays and 
difficulties, that the Committee were only ablcto report a shame- 
ful negligence of duty on the part of the Treasurer and Clerk, 
who " had for many years kept their accounts with little regard 
to method or regularity." The rising of the Legislature two 
days afterward, prevented any farther action on the subject ; 
the promised vouchers and explanations were never produced ; 
and the debt of ^20,000, in 1821, remains unaccounted for to this 

In addition to financial prodigality, startling disclosures were 
made of the nature of the President's instruction to his classes, 
attested by the certificates of certain alumni, respectable ear- 
witnesses, whose religious feelings had been shocked in the ex- 
treme. It appeared that the President was in the habit of hold- 
ing up to ridicule the evangelical tenets of human depravity, the 
efficacy of prayer, the real personality of the devil, the creation 

* It appeared as an octavo of 16 pages. The imprint bore the curious infor- 
mation, " Price 6-i cents Specie, or 125 Commonwealth." The editor complain- 
ed that of the copies of the first number sent to Lexington, to Frankfort for the 
vise of the Assembly, and elsewhere, a great number were intercepted by some 
unfriendly hands, and never reached the persons for whom they were intended. 
Pamph. No. V. p. 6. 

f Journal of Senate, Jan. 6, 1824. 


of the world in six days, and tlie doctrine of Christ crucified. 
It was part of his instructions in morals, when speaking of the 
passions, " Young gentlemen, whatever you find within you, 
cherish it, for it is a part of your nature ; restrain it not."* A 
strange infatuation seemed to have blinded the President's eyes 
to the indiscretion of such a course, and to the folly of braving 
public opinion, surrounded as he was by numbers whose confi- 
dence a wiser policy would have led him to conciliate, even at 
the expense of suppressing his private sentiments.f 

Such disclosures as these, not made in a covert way, but 
openly supported by responsible names, could not be published 
without exciting some sensation. To calm the tumult, a portion 
of the Senior Class were induced to put forth a counter-state- 
ment, denying the imputations of the "Citizen," as false and 
groundless. J Four of the Professors also, from the Law and 
Medical Faculties, Professors Barry, Bledsoe, Dudley, and Cald- 

*Pamph. No. IV. p. 5. No. VI. p. 10-15. See also an attempted defence 
by a partial pen, in tlie Appendix to Memoir.s, pp. 217-221. The open and un- 
disguised assaults made by President Holley upon evangelical religion were so 
virulent, that the reader would scarcely credit the narrative without illustrations, 
which, revolting as is the task, shall be given as a specimen. Ridiculing one 
day the doctrine of human depravity, says a graduate, he told the following 
anecdote : " One of those men, (a believer in the above doctrine.) and a Quaker, 
put up at the same public house for the purpose of lodging all night. After 
supper, they were both shown into the same room in which to rest, and as was 
his custom, the former knelt beside his bed and commenced saying his prayers, 
in which he repeatedly confessed himself a sinner, deserving God's punishment, 
&c. After he had finished, the Quaker took his hat for the purpose of retiring ; 
" Are you not to rest with me to-night?" said the religious man to the Quaker. 
" No, sir," .said he, " I cannot sleep witli such a scoundrel as thou confesses! thyself 
to be." Pamj)h. No. IV. p. 5. The ne.\t example is as little favorable to the 
elegant style of the Professor of Belles-Lettres, as to his piety. " We were 
present, and heard Mr. Holley ask, ' What do you think of those who go about 
the country like braying asses, and telling God what poor hell-deserving scoundrels 
they are, and who burn brimstone under the noses of the people.' [Signed,] 
Geo. W. Ashbkidge, Simeon Cuane." Pamph. No. VI. p. 11. These two 
gentlemen were graduates of 1823 ; they afterwards became useful and respect- 
ed ministers in the Presbyterian Church, and their memory is held in honor by 
all who knew them. 

f His panegyrist, Dr. Caldwell, acknowledges that he cannot be exonerated 
from blame in this respect, and adds, " Truth compels me to record it as an in- 
structive example, and a solemn warning of the fate that awaits the most muni- 
ficent endowments, and the highest competencies, when a becoming deference 
to public .sentiment is unyieldingly withheld. For to that unyieldingness, car- 
ried to excess, is to be attrii)ute(l, in the present instance, not a little of the 
catastroi)he, [ ' his melancholy failure,' just before alluded to,] which both we 
ourselves, and the conununity at large, so fervently lament." Caldwell's Dis- 
course, Memoirs, p. 73. 

I Pamph. No. III. p. 13. 


well, felt the juncture so fraught with peril, that they volunteered 
a publication, declaring their entire persuasion that the President 
had never directly or indirectly inculcated on his pupils opinions 
unfriendly to sound Christianity. The public smiled at such tes- 
timonials from gentlemen who, however great were their admit- 
ted learning and abilities, had never been suspected of erring on 
the side of excessive devotion.* 

The Trustees, waking at last to a sense of their danger, 
endeavored to regain confidence by supplying the defect in the 
religious instruction of the University. After long and earnest 
discussions, protracted through several months, they adopted on 
the 5th of April, 1824, a plan for having divine service perform- 
ed in the chapel every Sabbath morning, in turn, by a clergy- 
man of one of the prominent religious denominations in the town, 
viz : the Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, 
and Methodist.f The two Presbyterian pastors, Nathan H. 
Hall and John Breckenridge, regarding the invitation as a hollow 
stratagem, decidedly refused to have anything to do with it.J 
Dr. Fishback very soon grew heartily sick of it himself. Visitors, 
by the plan, having been permitted to ask questions during the 
examinations on religion and ethics, he was brought on one of 
these occasions, into direct collision with the President, on points 
connected with divine revelation. Convinced of the fruitlessness 
of preaching in the chapel when the President could neutralize 
every discourse through the week, he resigned his post both as 
preacher and Trustee. No sooner was he known to have taken 
a stand against Dr. Holley, than vituperation was showered 
upon him as plentifully as panegyric before ; and he was abused 
in unmeasured terms, for prejudice, vanity, fickleness, and be- 
coming a tool of the Presbyterians. § 

The publication of the Plan of Reform was the signal for a 
deluge of small pamphlets, replete with irony and satire, which 
proved, like those light darts with which Marius contrived to 

* Pres. Holley and Infidelity, p. 5. 

t This measure had been originally proposed more tlian a year before by Dr. 
Fishbaf'k, and was modified by the President's adding the Roman Catholics. 
See Dr. Fishback's letter in the Western Luminary, vol. i. p. 585. Mem. of 
Holley, pp. 2-27-234. 

I Memoirs, p. 234. West. Lum. vol. i. p. 601. 

§ Lett, in West. Lum. vol. i. pp. 570, 587, 588. 


entangle and embarrass his opponents,* more annoying than 
weapons of heavier caUbre. The President's friends, on their 
part, besides caustic communications in the Western Monitor, 
pubUshed a pamphlet in his vindication, magnifying tiic services 
he had rendered to the cause of letters. f 

But vain were now all attempts to oppose the swelling tide of 
public sentiment. This was a luckless year for the President. 
He had the mortification of seeing three rival colleges starting 
up around him into vigorous life. The man in the Faculty whom 
he most disliked, Professor Bishop, (doctorated the following 
year by Princeton,) left him to assume the Presidency of Miami 
University, in Ohio. The hated Synod, too, at last succeeded in 
getting their institution, with a decidedly religious character, 
under way ; and the Roman Catholic Bishop, Flaget, had 
immediately thereupon obtained a charter, still more favorable, 
for St. Joseph's College at Bardstown. So abortive proved the 
Plan of Reform which had hoped, by the bribe of admitting 
Romish priests into the University chapel, to give a sop to the 
ever wakeful Cerberus. 

The amended charter of Centre College was all that could be 
desired, although it met with violent opposition previous to its 
passage.J The old Trustees, finding their funds inadequate, 

* The titles of these pamphlets were as follows : Extracts from a Unitarian 
Catechism; pp. 1-2. President Holley not the Transylvania University ; pp. 19. 
President Holley and Infidelity ; pp. 8. Remarks on the Controversy, hy a Dis- 
tant Observer ; p|). 8. Two Letters on the Plan of Reform, by Omicron; pp.16. 
Two Letters to Horace Holley, LL.D., by Omega; pp. 23, &-c. 

t Memoirs, app. pp. 191, 202. 

X The prominent opponent was a Baptist, whose family connections were deep- 
ly and personally interested in the prosperity of the University. He quoted 
from a great niunber of books, and made a violent phillippic, to show that the 
Presbyterians on the other side of the Atlantic had always burned with the lust 
of domination, and the desire of uniting Church and State. When he had ended, 
a member, (Col. James Davidson, now the State Treasurer.) a man of much 
dry humor and a deep sonorous voice, gravely told a simple anecdote, by way of 
illustrating the terrors which had been so awfully presented. An Irish redemp- 
tioner in Maryland lost himself one evening in the woods. lie had heard a 
great deal of the Indians, and the novel sights and sounds around him inspired 
him with such alarm, that he climbed up into a tree for s;ifety, and there spent 
the sleepless night. On being found the next day, he told through what perils 
he had passed. The fire-flics he mistook for the torches of the savages in quest 
of him ; while his agitated fancy interpreted the doleful screams of the Whip-poor- 
wills into menaces of destruction, crying, "whip him well! whip him well! 
cut and slash !" " and the fire flew all the time," lie said, " like the de'il." In 
short, " he did not know what would have become of him, had it not been for 
the swate birds of heav.en, (meaning the bull-frogs,) who kept calling out, 



were permitted to transfer it to "the body of divines and elders 
of the Presbyterian Church of- Kentucky," for the consideration 
of endowing it with $20,000, the payment of every fourth of 
which sum should entitle them to the election of three trustees. 
No exclusive privileges were conferred, but only the right to 
control their own funds. Religious instruction migh be given, 
and a theological department added, but no pupilxa to bepnp 
on account of his religious opinions. The Legislature reserved 
the right of alteration and repeal, should they think the public 
o-ood required either, in which case the funds should be restored 
to the Synod, subject to their disposition.* 

The Synod also memorialized the Legislature, by their com- 
mittee, Messrs. L Reed, James Marshall, and Thomas P. Smith, 
claiming indemnification for the funds of which they had been 
violently and unrighteously dispossessed in 1818.f But this the 

' Motheration ! motheration !' " " Now," said Col. Davidson, " when I heard the 
honorable member conjuring up all those dreadful hobgoblins, they appeared to 
me of the same imaginary character as the poor Irishman's terrors, and I felt an 
irresistible impulse to rise up in my place, and call out, ' Motheration ! mothera- 
tion !' " This ludicrous anecdote, narrated in his dryest manner, and with his 
o-ravest intonations, convulsed the house with laughter. The serious and in- 
flammatory speech on the opposite side was efTectually neutralized, and the 
friends of the bill, adroitly seizing the propitious opportunity, hurried it through 
its final passage, before the effect could be counteracted. This circumstance, 
trivial as some may regard it, is here inserted, not only as a historical verity, 
but for the purpose also of showing on what slender threads sometimes hang 
the destinies of great events. 

* Acts of Assembly, No. 224, pp. 64, 65. See also the printed charter, and 
compact between the Trustees and Synod, pp. 3, 4. 

f An abstract of this important document is here furnished : 

The Memorial states the fact on evidence that the Presbyterians gave the 
first impulse to a system of liberal education in Kentucky. It names as its 
zealous patrons: Rev. John Todd. Col. John Todd, Rev. Uavid Rice, and Hon 
Caleb Wallace. The library of Kentucky Academy had been given by Rev. J. 
Todd ; and a telescope is specially named, the gift of Mr. Swan of France. 
The Board of Kentucky Academy consisted almost entirely of Presbyterian 
ministers and elders. This library is now in Transylvania University. Six 
thousand acres of land went with the Academy at the union. The amount in 
money, books, &c., exclusive of land, then transferred, was $7,662. The terms 
of agreement are referred to as existing in the archives. [Unhappily the capitol 
at Frankfort was destroyed by an accidental fire, Nov. 4th, 1824. Many books 
and papers were consumed, and among them the document alluded to. West. 
Lum. i. 281.] The charter was not to be altered except on the petition oieleven 
of the trustees. This condition had not been fulfilled. The Legislature of 
1817-18, repealed this clvdrter againd the consent of the Board, or rather trans- 
ferred it to other trustees, along with the property. 

The Memorial then answers objections, as that the University still answers 
its purpose. It affirms — 1. That the exact physical sciences were neglected 
for ornamental branches. 2. The President's salary was high, and boarding so 


Legislature refused, regarding the grant of the new charter as 
sufficient indemnification for their grievances. 

The next session, Nov. 7, 1825, Governor Desha in his mes- 
sage recommended an inquiry hy the Legislature into the dis- 
proportionate salaries and extravagant expenditures of the State 
University, which, ever since the year 1818, the Legislature 
considered themselves as having taken " into their more imme- 
diate protection."* He complained that the State had lavished 
her money for the benefit of the rich to the exclusion of the 
poor ; (in order to understand this, it must be borne in mind 
that the price of tuition had been advanced as high as $60 per 
annum, besides the other fees ;) and that the only result was to 
add to the aristocracy of wealth the advantage of superior 
knowledge.! Dr. Holley repaired to the capitol to counteract 
the adverse influences exerted against him, but finding the case 
hopeless, retired in despair, without making any attempt. J 

Troubles began to thicken. The intrigue designed to inveigle 
the Baptists into an alliance proved a signal failure. The Bap- 
tists opened their eyes at last to the true character and designs 
of the President, and were not to be duped by the bugbear of 
Presbyterian intolerance. They remembered that in Virginia 
the Presbyterians and Baptists had fought side by side to break 
the yoke of the establishment and establish religious equality.^ 
They felt indignant that the Episcopalians, (to which sect Dr. 
Holley and his chief supporters were attached,) with but three 
or four churches, should govern Transylvania University, while 
they, with 500 churches and 40,000 members, should not have a 

expensive as to suit only the wealthy. 3. Reprehensible amusements were en- 
courfiged. 4. The President held irrelijjious sentiments. 

The Synod do not hog the repeal of the act of 1SI8, but only to ascertain the 
value of money, books, land, &-c., to which they are entitled, and to pay it over 
to Centre College, or if the Treasury be low, then an equivalent in vacant lands. 
This they consider the more evidently equitable, inasmuch as Centre College 
had been required to refund $2,000 before given by the State. [This money 
was to be paid over to the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. Acts of Assembly, 
No. 2-24, p. 65.] 

The Memorial was dated Shelbyville, Oct. 18, 1824; and was signed by order 
of Svnod, by (iideon I'lackburn, Moderator, and John Breckenridge and James 
C. Barnes, Clerks pro tern. Sec filed papers of Transylvania Pby. 

* This was the language used by the joint committee of Visitation in 1826-7. 

f Journal H. R. No. 395, p. 16. | Memoirs, app. p. 266. 

5 The lion. Caleb Wallace, Judge of the Court of Appeals, had headed the 
Presbyterian petition, and conducted it through its passage. West. Lum. vol. 
i. p. 637. 


single trustee in the Board ; the only one they had had since 
1818 having been placed under a moral necessity to withdraw. 
The atrocious aspersions cast on that prominent individual they 
resented as a reproach on the sect, and rallied to defend his 
character. Dr. Fishback was himself called out by their urgency 
to publish a narrative of affairs since the accession of Dr. Hol- 
ley, with a vindication of his own course. This narrative was 
reprinted, from the Western Monitor, in the Western Luminary, 
a periodical shortly before established as an organ of the Pres- 
byterians ; and was followed by a number of pungent articles. 
In December, 1824, an important movement occurred in the 
shape of a Memorial to the Legislature, praying for a Reform 
in the University on broad principles. It was got up and cir- 
culated by Major William Boon, a Baptist, and signed by some 
of the most substantial citizens of Fayette county, the bulk of 
whom were of the same connection.* 

Matters had now verged to a crisis. Harassed by the reite- 
ration of charges affecting his moral and religious character ; 
having become obnoxious to one of the great political parties of 
the day ;f chagrined at the continually diminishing number of 
students ;J and despairing of further aid from the State, the 

* See the petition of the Baptists ; Boon's Letter to Fishback, calliag on him 
for explanations ; Fishback's Narrative ; Boon's defence of Fishback ; Letter of 
" A Baptist," in wiiich he says, " the eyes of the Baptists are getting pretty well 
opened ;" a sharp correspondence between the editor and Dr. Caldwell, &.c., in 
the West. Lum. vol. i. pp. 428, 440, 460, 554, 601, 636, 637. The Western 
Luminary was started in Lexington by the Rev. .John Breckenridge and Cabell 
R. Harrison, July 14th, 1824. It was printed by Thomas T. Skillman, in 
weekly numbers of 16 pages 8vo., at $3.00 per annum. Its subscribers increased 
in nine months to 900. Threats were at one time dropped, and covert hints of 
violence, i. 654. It afterwards assumed the ordinary folio form, and for a series 
of years did good service to the cause of truth and orthodoxy, until the decease 
of Mr. Thomas Skillman, when, after wavering some time between old and new 
school sympathies, it was finally merged in the Cincinnati Journal, a warm 
New School paper. 

t The Relief and Anti-Relief parties were about this time warring with 
frenzied bitterness, and the President was accused of permitting political 
speeches to be made from the rostrum of the college chapel. Memoirs, app. 
p. 236. 

I The number of undergraduates had declined from 138 in 1822, to 107, in 
1825 ; a decrease of 31 in the department under his special supervision. The 
total number reported as in attendance in the University was indeed an impos- 
ing array — no less than 400 ; but of these 234 W'ere medical students, 32 law 
students, and 27 in the grammar-school, leaving but 107 in the College proper. 
West. Lum. vol. i. p. 633. In March, 1827, the falhng off was still more de- 
plorable, the president in his final report stating the total number to be 286 ; of 
whom 190 were in the medical class, 55 undergraduates, and 39 in the gram- 
mar-school. Memoirs, app. p. 207. 


President signified to the Trustees his intention to resign, Janu- 
ary, 182G. Yielding to the earnest solicitations of his friends 
he recalled this letter soon after, but the next year, finding the 
prospect still discouraging, he again tendered his resignation 
early in 1827, and it was accepted.* 

On the 27th of March, 1827, just nine years since, buoyant 
with hope and fired with generous ambition, he first entered 
Lexington, Dr. Holley slowly and sadly turned his back on the 
Garden of Kentucky, a defeated and disappointed man. But 
amidst all his mortifying reverses he was consoled by the faith- 
ful attachment of his adherents. Lexington idolized him as her 
brightest ornament ; and he was escorted for a considerable 
distance on his way by a procession of sorrowing pupils, citizens, 
and friends, little dreaming, any of them, that " against the day 
of his burying it was done." 

He now bent all his efforts to carry into execution a project 
designed for the sons of the wealthy planters of Louisiana, with 
whom he was an unbounded favorite. It was entitled, " a plan 
of education for the few who can aflford it," and required for its 
completion a space of six or eight years. It embraced excur- 
sions to London, Edinburgh, Rome, and other cities of Europe, 
noted for their attractions in taste or the fine arts, Paris being 
the centre and chief place of residence. On his arrival, how- 
ever, at New Orleans, he was persuaded to abandon his plan 
and to attempt to resuscitate the decayed college of New Or- 
leans. For this purpose a fund was proposed, of which $26,000 
were subscribed in a few weeks, to procure the necessary build- 
ings and furniture, the subscribers retaining the title, and Dr. 
Holley having the sole control and receiving all the profits. 
With his usual sanguine impetuosity, and unmindful of the dan- 
ger of exposure under the relaxing fervor of a southern sun, he 
entered vigorously upon the enterprise, engaged a suitable 
house, made all his preparations, and was momently expecting 
to matriculate a hundred and fifty, if not two hundred, students, 
when he was prostrated by the bilious fever of the country. 
Upon his recovery he suddenly decided — contrary to advice, as 
he was now considered acclimated — to leave the sunny, sickly, 
debilitating South during the summer months, and repair north- 

* Memoirs, app. pp. 208, 215, 234. 
• 21 


ward, in hopes that the sea air would invigorate him, " One 
breath of air," he exclaimed, " from the northern shore of free- 
dom, though borne upon the eastern gale, were worth all the 
boasted luxuries of the ever-smiling, violet-scented South, allur- 
ing but to destroy." But when they had been a few days out 
at sea, in the midst of a terrific storm, Dr. Holley, with others 
of the passengers and crew, was seized ,with the yellow fever, 
the seeds of which had been unwittingly introduced on board ; 
and on the fifth day of his illness, the 31st day of July, his body 
was committed to the deep. Such was the end of this highly- 
gifted genius, the Abelard of the West. No sculptured marble 
marked the spot of his last repose ; the rocky Tortugas were 
his only monument ; and the hot gale, as it swept over the 
water-loving mangroves, sighed his requiem.* 

The manner in which Dr. Holley met the approach of death 
remains shrouded in mystery. On the one hand it has been 
positively asserted that he was appalled and unmanned by the 
prospect ;t on the other, it has been testified by his widow that 
his enemies can gather nothing hence as a ground of triumph. J 
To what weight the testimony of one who, according to her own 
acknowledgment, was sick and unconscious all the time, is en- 
titled ;§ or what allowance must be made in the judgment of 
charity for the influence of that delirium which clouded his last 
momentSjII are points which must be left with the candid reader. 

Melancholy is the story which has been narrated — to the 
Christian moralist most melancholy. Them is needed but one 
additional touch to complete the sombre sketch. It would seem 
as if Divine Providence had ordered, in solemn vindication of 
its offended majesty, that the only son of the man who had 
almost deified human reason and made its cultivation a passport 
to heaven, should become an inmate of the Asylum for Luna- 
tics in the theatre of his father's glory, on the funds of the insti- 

The fortunes of Transylvania from this time languished for a 
series of years. Rival after rival started up in successful com- 

* Memoirs, app. pp. 269-290. 

f This is stated on the authority of the venerable Dr. Joshua T. Wilson, of 

J Memoirs, app. p. 294. J Memoirs, app. pp. 290, 293. 

II Memoirs, app. p. 290. 




petition. Through the obstinate impolicy of the trustees in 
selecting a President in whom the religious community could 
not confide, every leading sect in the State was driven to estab- 
lish a college of its own ; and instead of a single towering, 
complete, well-manned, and crowded University, deserving of 
the name, the strength and the resources of the country were 
frittered into fractions ; and the Presbyterians struggled to 
maintain a half-endowed college at Danville, the Roman Catho- 
lics at Bardstown, the Cumberlands at Princeton, the Method- 
ists at Augusta, the Baptists at Georgetown, and the Campbell- 
ites at Harrodsburg. 

The presidential chair was successively occupied by Dr. Alva 
Woods, a Baptist clergyman, and the Rev. Benjamin O. Peers, 
and Dr. Thomas W. Coit, Episcopalian divines ; but neither of 
these gentlemen, although men of talents and learning, succeed- 
ed in repairing the broken fortunes of Morrison College, or re- 
tained the office longer than about two years ; each incumbency 
being followed by an interregnum of like duration. 

The trustees had, by this time, become completely sensible of 
the error committed in 1818,* and were now willing to allure 
back, a second time, if possible, the Presbyterian interest. With 
this view they invited, successively, Doctors John C. Young, 
Lewis W. Green, and Robert J. Breckenridge ; and upon their 
declining, the writer of these pages, who was inaugurated Nov. 
2d, 1840. The mere acquisition of a Presbyterian Principal, it 
was soon found, however, would not win back the Presbyterian 
interest in a day ; absorbed especially, as it now was, in a 
scheme to increase the endowment of Centre College to one hun- 
dred thousand dollars ; and this experiment succeeded no better 
than the former ones. So numerous and vexatious were the 
embarrassments by which the new President speedily found him- 
self surrounded, that after a vigorous, but ineffectual struggle, he 
resigned in March, 1842. He was immediately appointed by 
Governor Letcher, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the 
State, but this honor he thought proper to decline. 

In the ensuing fall the college was re-opened, under the pa- 
tronage of the Methodist General Conference ; to whose control 

* See the Report of the Trustees to the Committee of the Legislature, Jan. 
28th, 1842, p. 7. 


it was completely transferred by the Board of Trustees.* The 
Rev. Dr. Bascom was placed at its head. In a short time, in 
consequence of the vigorous co-operation of the Conference, the 
college bade fair to rival, in numbers at least, its palmiest days. 
Since the late schism in the Methodist body, the control has 
been lodged in the hands of "the Methodist Church, South." 

Meantime Centre College was nobly struggling with difficul- 
ties, and emerging into independence and prosperity. The 
Synod fulfilled their obligation, and came into the possession of 
the right of appointing all the trustees, and of every other right 
vested in the charter. In 1828, on the 13th of October, they 
attached to it a theological department, or seminary, modelled 
after that of Princeton, and designed to include three professors. 
Twenty thousand dollars were to be provided as a fund for a 
professorship of Didactic and Polemic Theology, and on the next 
day, the Rev. James K. Burch, a divine deeply versed in the- 
ology and the constitution of the Churchf was inaugurated. 
The raising of the necessary funds, however, and carrying out 
of the plan, were encumbered with so many difficulties, that 
after a brief trial, the scheme was abandoned in 1831, and has 
never been resumed.^ 

The first president of Centre College was the Rev. Jeremiah 
Chamberlain, D.D.,§ who served from July, 1823, till September, 
1826. On his retiring, the Rev. David C. Proctor acted tempo- 
rarily for a year ; when Dr. Gideon Blackburn was inducted 

* This was but the consummation of a secret negotiation, commenced some- 
time before, but abruptly broken off for want of concert ; as was subsequently 
discovered. The compact, when completed, failed to receive the sanction of the 
Legislature, but was carried into effect notwithstanding. Nor was it effected 
withoiit opposition. It wais opposed in the Kentucky Conference ; it met with 
the frown of the Ohio Conference ; it was deprecated by the citizens of Augusta 
and the trustees of Augusta College ; who presented a remonstrance to the Le- 
gislature, urging that it was a repudiation of plighted faith to that college, " to 
the support of which," in the words of the charter, "they, (i. e. the Ohio and 
Kentucky Conferences.) are pledged to use their utmost and undivided efforts." 
Memorial of the Trustees, pp. 2, 3, 15. It was opposed in the Committee of the 
House of Representatives, by the friends of Augusta College ; who, uniting 
with the friends of the President of Transylvania, (who had also sent up a re- 
monstrance, on the part of himself and Faculty,) strangled the bill, proposing its 
sanction, in the birtli. See Memorial appended to the Visiting Committee's Re- 
port, Jan. 19, 1842, pp. 10-13. Memorial of the Trustees of Augusta College, 
Feb. 3, 1843. Reply of the Commissioners of the Kentucky Conference, 1843. 

t Min. Syn. vol. iii. p. 163 iv. pp. 6, 64, 69, 72, 99. 

i Min. Syn. vol. iv. p. 247. 

j Now President of Oakland College, Mississippi. 


into office.* After three years he resigned, and was succeeded, 
November, 1830, by the Rev. John C. Young, D.D., under 
whose ripe scholarship and efficient administration the college 
has attained a proud rank among the institutions of the West ; 
numbering now nearly two hundred students. 

Centre College, like many others, has, at various times, been 
severely crippled for want of funds, notwithstanding the great 
exertions made in its behalf; until, at length, in 1840, stimulated, 
no doubt, by the munificence of Lexington to Transylvania, and 
urged by a desperate emergency, the Synod took measures to 
raise a sum sufficient to increase the endowment to one hundred 
thousand dollars, a large portion of which has been secured. f 
In 1846, finding that the expenditure somewhat exceeded the 
income, while at the same time an additional professor was im- 
peratively needed, the Synod resolved to found, within the year, 
sixty free scholarships of five hundred dollars each, (thirty 
thousand dollars,) payable in five annual instalments ; and urged 
each church, that was able to support a pastor, to become respon- 
sible for one or more scholarships. J 

This institution has been of signal service to the cause of ed- 
ucation and the Gospel ministry in the State of Kentucky. 
About twelve hundred students have issued from its halls ; of 

* The early history of the late Dr. Blackburn is a remarkable instance of per- 
severance in the face of difficulties. Left an orphan and penniless, when about 
eleven years of age, (being defrauded out of the handsome patrimony of twenty 
thousand dollars.) a kind schoolmaster gave him instruction gratuitously; and 
he obtained a situation in a saw-mill, where he tended the saw from dark till 
daylight, studying by a fire of pine-knots. In this way he earned a dollar every 
night, and made rapid proficiency in his studies. Thus he struggled on till 
ready to enter college. To defray this new expense, he labored as a surveyor 
for four months ; frequently sleeping in a cane-brake, to avoid the Indians, and 
having no shelter from the rain but a blanket. lie received for his pay fourteen 
horses, valued at forty dollars a-piece. These he took to Maryland, and sold for 
fifteen hundred dollars; with which he discharged all his debts, and went 
through Dickinson College. (Prot. and Her. vol. ix. No. 33.) Thus early inured 
to hardsiiips, he was admirably fitted for the arduous duties of a missionary to 
the Cherokee Indians ; to which he was appointed by the General As>embly, in 
1803, when thirty-one years of age. In this field he labored with great success 
for seven years, when want of health, and otlier reasons, induced him to relin- 
quish his post. (Assembly's Digest, pp. 373-37G.) Dr. Blackburn was admired 
as one of the most impressive and popular orators of the West. In theology he 
sided warmly with the New School party. The last years of his Hfe were em- 
ployed in a scheme for building up a college in Illinois, by means of an exten- 
sive land-agency ; a certain proportion of all the land purchased being appropri- 
ated to the college. 

f Prot. and Ilcr. Oct. 6, 1842. { Prcsb. Her. Oct. 8, 1846. 


whom one hundred became physicians ; two hundred and fifty 
have studied law, and one hundred and fourteen have entered 
the ministry. It may be safe to assert, that of the present clergy 
composing the Synod of Kentucky, two-thirds have been edu- 
cated at Centre College. Of such importance has this institution 
been, and so much good has it accomplished in the short space 
of little more than twenty years.* 

The foregoing sketch has been given with more minuteness of 
detail than will be agreeable to the superficial reader, but the 
accurate and profound thinker will not be displeased with hav- 
ing before him full means of information on a subject which is 
daily attracting increased interest. The necessity of Denomi- 
national Education, after a fair experiment, has been rendered 
of late years very apparent. To attempt to dispense with it is 
false liberality, and a pusillanimous surrender of the rights of the 
Church. Twice was the power of the Church evinced in the 
triumphant success of her own distinctive schools, (the Ken- 
tucky Academy, and afterwards Centre College,) while the 
State Institution was depressed. 

If the Church wishes to secure the proper and sound religious 
training of her sons, she must have the means under her own 
control ; guarded against the likelihood of change. We have 
seen the radical mistake committed by the Presbyterians, both 
in 1783 and 1798. Had they, at the very first, asked for a 
charter, recognizing denominational control, they might easily 
have obtained it. Then they had the moral ascendency ; the 
field was perfectly free from competition, and sectarian jea- 
lousies were not yet awakened ; as they afterwards found to be 
the case, when they established Centre College. Another error 
into which they fell, was to depend on the arm of flesh, and 
court the patronage of worldly men, and the eclat of distinguish- 
ed names. Hence, in the struggle of 1818 they were betrayed ; 
and had, to their mortification, (for the second time,) a Socinian 
president placed over them. 

The Presbyterians have often been accused of bigotry, when 
in truth the fault to which they have inclined, and for which 
they have severely smarted, has been excessive liberality and 
the dread of sectarian odium. Let them at last take warning 

* Prot. and Her. Aug. 27. 1844. 



from the crippled condition of various State institutions, and from 
the fate of Transylvania and Dickinson, originally founded by 
Presbyterians, and now fallen into the hands of the Method- 
ists. Let them establish Denominational Schools, as the Roman 
Catholics and the Methodists do, and provide instruction of a 
superior and commanding character, and they need not despair 
of support. The public will always find out and sustain what is 
most deserving of patronage. Let them be on the alert, or they 
will find themselves thrown into the background, and stripped 
of their hard-earned advantages by denominations which a few 
years ago were clamorous against a learned ministry, but who 
have now seen their error, and stimulated by our example, are 
straining every nerve to become our most formidable rivals. 



At the close of the war of 1812, peace and security were 
restored to the frontier, and a great impetus was in conse- 
quence given to emigration. Land rose in value, and towns 
and cities sprang up as if by magic. Business of all sorts reached 
an unnatural expansion ; and a perfect mania for speculation 
pervaded the country. To meet the increasing demand for the 
means of traffic, banks were multiplied, based on fictitious 
capital. The country was soon flooded with worthless paper. 
At length the bubble burst, and involved multitudes in ruin. 
Emigration was checked ; the inflated prices of land fell ; 
business was stopped ; credit was at an end. Commercial dis- 
tress of the severest kind threw the whole country into a 
panic ; " Relief !" was the universal cry. Moved by the popu- 
lar clamor, relief laws were enacted by several of the Western 
States ; and notes issued, pledging the faith of the State for 
their redemption. These notes were hawked about in the mar- 
ket, and were bought by speculators at one-fourth of their 
nominal value. The remedy proved worse than the disease.* 

The Legislature of Kentucky having chartered a bank, styled 
" The Bank of the Commonwealth," and finding its notes depre- 
ciated to less than fifty per cent., passed an act prolonging the 
right of replevying judgments and decrees on contracts, from 
three months to two years, unless the creditor would accept 
the Commonwealth Bank paper at its nominal value. To 
this measure was given a retro-active influence. The debtor 
class were so numerous, and so much embarrassed, that it be- 
came very popular. The whole community was divided into 

* Flint's Hist. andGeogr. of the Mississ. Valley, vol. i. p. 180. 


Relief and Anti-Relief parties, and every ordinary topic of politi- 
cal discussion was absorbed in the superior interest of this. 

In 1823, the Court of Appeals decided that the retro-active 
bearing of the Relief-laws conflicted with that clause of the 
Federal Constitution which forbids a State to do anything 
" impairing the obligation of contracts." This decision natural- 
ly excited a great ferment. The Stump resounded with de- 
nunciations of tyranny and appeals to popular prejudices. At 
the next meeting of the Legislature, in the same year, the 
course of the judges was condemned by the majority, (but not 
by two-thirds,) in strong terms, and the Governor was called 
on to remove them from office. The next year, 1824, an act 
was passed abolishing the Old Court, and establishing a new one. 
The new judges opened their court, and attempted to transact 
business. But the old judges refused to submit to this summary 
displacement, on the ground that it was a violent infringement 
of the Constitution of the State, by which the Court of Appeals 
was established, independent of legislative statutes. The final 
appeal was made to the ballot-box, in 1825 ; and one of the 
sharpest struggles ensued which Kentucky had ever known. 
The question was of the last importance. It involved the obli- 
gation of contracts, the integrity of fundamental law, and the 
stability of the judiciary. 

After a hard-fought contest, the Old Court party achieved a 
signal triumph. The re-organizing act was repealed. The 
New Court vanished, and the old judges, with Chief Justice 
Boyle at their head, whose unyielding firmness cannot be too 
much admired, resumed their functions without farther impedi- 
ment.* It redounds to the credit of Kentucky, that not only at that 
tremendous crisis, but ever since, she has maintained the most 
honorable position in the eyes of the world ; and no dark stigma 
of Repudiation blots her escutcheon. 

During a period of such fierce political animosity, when the 
polls were often converted into scenes of sanguinary strife, it 
could hardly be expected that Religion, whose dove-like spirit is 
averse to contention, should thrive and prosper. Accordingly, 
none will feel surprised to find days of fasting, humiliation and 
prayer repeatedly appointed, in view of the low state of religion, 

* Chief Justice Robertson's Biogr. Sketch of Hon. John Boyle, pp. 14, 15. 


paucity of conversions, backwardness in supporting the ministry, 
small congregations, and tlie distracted state of the public mind.* 
In 1825, a more pleasing prospect opened before the Church. 
After so long a season of dearth and deadness, revivals began to 
increase, beyond what had been known for years, and several 
churches were graciously visited with the Divine blessing in 
Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. f 

The groundswell of the political sea was now subsiding, and 
the excited mind of the public was happily diverted to the more 
important obligations of religion. A sensible improvement began 
to take place. The standard of public morals was raised. Pres- 
byterianism was more favorably received ; a greater interest was 
felt in religion generally ; and the baleful influences of New 
Lightism and Infidelity were regarded as somewhat declining.J 

The years 1826, 1827, 1828 and 1829 were marked with re- 
vivals, very extensively, both in the East and West. The 
churches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the Middle States, 
were blessed with powerful revivals. Twenty Presbyteries in 
connection with the General Assembly reported seasons of re- 
freshing, among which the Presbytery of Transylvania was sig- 
nally favored. The Spirit was copiously poured out on Centre 
College; as well as on Athens, in Georgia, and Dickinson in 
Pennsylvania. The teacher and several of the pupils of the 
Deaf and Dumb Asylum, in Danville, were hopefully converted.§ 

Among those congregations in Kentucky in which the Divine 
power was most conspicuous in melting and renewing the hearts 
of sinners were, Lexington 1st Church, Nicholas ville. Bethel, (W. 
L, Pby.) Versailles, Winchester, Hopewell, Paris, Flemingsburgh, 
New Concord, Springfield, Millersburg, Stoner Mouth, Mount 
Pleasant, Maysville, Shiloh, Ebenezer, Columbia, Bethel, (Trans. 
Pby.) Harrodsburgh, Lebanon, New Providence, Danville, Lan- 
caster, Paint Lick, Harmony, (Trans. Pby.) Buffalo Spring, Rich- 
mond, Silver Creek, Hanging Fork, and Greensburg. As the re- 
sult of these revivals, upwards of four thousand additions to the 

* Min. W. Lex. Pby., vol. iv. pp. 47, 86. 

t West. Lum. vol. ii. pp. 57, 204, 258. 

t See Narr. of W. Lex. Pby., April, 1826. Min. vol. iv. p. 86. It is observ- 
able tliat, in the narratives about this time, repeated allusions are made to the 
distraction of politics. 

i Evang. Mag. vol. x. pp. 386, 387. 


churches were reported to the General Assembly for the two 
years, 1828 and 1829.* 

But the most powerful revival which occurred about this 
period was at Lexington. Religion had long been languid ; 
Unitarianism and Infidelity had been on the increase ; and the 
virulence of party strife had been excessive. The necessity of 
some strong measures to arrest these evils was felt to be urgent, 
and engaged the attention of the clergy whenever they met. 
The Rev. Nathan H. Hall, pastor of the First Presbyterian 
Church, with the approbation of his brethren, held a protracted 
meeting for four days, the first of the kind observed in that re- 
gion. Great pains were taken to spread the intelligence, and 
considerable interest was felt in regard to it. Several clergy- 
men and a large number of people attended the services. The 
order of exercises was, a Prayer-Meeting at sunrise ; an Inquiry 
Meeting, for the serious and anxious, at nine o'clock ; and preach- 
ing at the usual hours, morning, afternoon and evening. The 
interest and solemnity perceptibly increased to the close. Great 
tenderness of heart prevailed, and many hardened sinners were 
brought under deep convictions. 

The meeting of the Synod occurred the same week, and the 
brethren who had been engaged in these interesting scenes re- 
paired thither with hearts full of their recent impressions. The 
earnestness they felt was communicated to others, and before 
they parted, the ministers had experienced something of a re- 
vival in their own breasts, and had entered into an agreement to 
pray at a concerted time for an outpouring of the Spirit on their 
respective churches. Their prayers were not offered in vain, 
and many of the churches were greatly refreshed. 

The tone of anxious feeling having become deeper at Lexing- 
ton, another protracted meeting was held within three weeks of 
the first, conducted in the same manner, and by the same minis- 
ters. The result was that five hundred persons were there 
gathered into the fold of Christ. The general effect was happy 
in the extreme. From that time Infidelity and Unitarianism lost 
their ascendency ; and, notwithstanding some subsequent lapses, 
great good was accomplished, the kingdom of Satan shaken, and 
the cause of evangelical piety strengthened.! 

* See Min. G. A. for 1828. Narr. of Relig. p. 259 ; and for 1829, Narr. of 
Relig. p. 414. 
f Reed and Matheson's visit to the Am. Churches, Lett. xii. 


The Rev. Nathan H. Hall was the son of a popular Baptist 
preacher, in Garrard county, but having been converted during 
the great revival, chose to connect himself with the Presbyte- 
rians. He was baptized, by Mr. Lyle, at a sacramental occasion 
at Danville, in August, 1802. Mr. Lyle felt some reluctance to 
do this, through an apprehension, which proved well founded, 
that some of the Baptists might be soured, and stand aloof* Mr. 
Hall was received as a candidate by the Presbytery of Transyl- 
vania, in April, 1806 ; and the Presbytery assumed the obligation 
of his support during his studies, each member agreeing to bear 
an equal proportion of the expense.f It would appear from the 
Minutes that they had grown more strict in their examination of 
candidates about this time, as they rejected one, hesitated about 
two others, and required an additional trial-piece from a fourth. 
Mr. Hall was placed under the superintendence of the Rev. 
Joshua L. Wilson. A few months after he had leave to exhort 
publicly. He was licensed to preach in 1808 ; and in 1811 was 
ordained pastor of Springfield and Hardin's Creek Churches. 
While in this charge he held an oral debate, on the Veneration 
of Images, with the Roman Catholic Bishop David, in the court- 
house at Bardstown, in which, as is not unusual in such cases, 
both sides claimed the advantage. Bishop David afterwards 
published the substance of his remarks in a pamphlet, which drew 
forth a " Reply" from Mr. Hall. The bishop rejoined with a 
" Defence of the Vindication;" and as his antagonist published 
nothing further, the bishop's party claimed for him the doubtful 
triumph of remaining master of the field. J 

* Lyle's Diary, p. 76. 

f Min. Trans. Pby., vol. iii. p. 125. This occurrence of a promising young 
man providentially cast upon them, seems to have stimulated the Presbytery to sys- 
tematic measures for the education of pious young men, as we find them, in the fol- 
lowing year, recommending the members to raise contributions for the purpose. 
Nearly $70 were collected, pp. 183, 194. Messrs. Howe, Cleland, Robertson 
and Vance were appointed a committee to find out and aid pious young men ; 
and we find afterwards the names of several occurring that were thus aided. 
With scarcely an exception they repaired to Princeton Seminary ; and some 
have acted a distinguished part in the Church since, pp. 233, 254, vol. iv. pp. 2, 
108, 115. In addition to the education of young men, attention was paid to do- 
mestic missions. The Presbytery of West Lexington supported a missionary at 
$30 and $35 per month. Min. W. Lex. Pby., vol. iv. pp. 9, 23, 64. In 1824, 
we find the same Presbytery giving a candidate for the ministry $135, contri- 
buted by the members for his support. Min. vol. iv. p. 41. 

I Spalding's Sketches, pp. 253-255. 


In 1823, Mr. Hall was invited to Lexington, as the successor 
of the Rev. Robert M. Cunningham, in the pastoral care of the 
First Presbyterian Church, where he still remains.* With a 
portly person, stentorian lungs, an ardent temperament, all the 
enthusiasm and impulse of the Kentucky character, and an un- 
bounded hospitality, he has long been the most extensively popu- 
lar preacher of the denomination in the West ; and more con- 
versant with revivals than any of his contemporaries. He excels 
in exhortation, and his appeals, standing beneath the pulpit, or in 
the aisle after sermon, urging the congregation to come up to the 
anxious seat, have sometimes been marked with a startling and 
terrific power. Constantly solicited in the most urgent manner 
to give his aid in all parts of the country, he has been instrumental 
in gathering great multitudes into the churches ; although it is 
not to be denied that the more cool and cautious look with dis- 
trust on his system of hasty admissions. His early education 
has given him great advantages in managing the Baptist contro- 
versy, in which he is acknowledged to be very expert. Mr. Hall, 
in the midst of more success than falls to the lot of most ministers, 
has also had a proportionate share of evil said against him ; and 
nothing but the most extraordinary buoyancy of temper could 
have sustained him under trials, of a public and private nature, 
severe enough to prostrate almost any other man. 

In 1828, died the Rev. John McFarlaxd, pastor of the Church 
in Paris. He came over to the Presbyterian communion from 
that of the Associate Reformed, at the same time with Dr. Mason 
and others. His talents and learning were of a high order. A 
little before his decease he published a small treatise on the Re- 
lation, Rights, Privileges and Duties of baptized children. It 
was his favorite theory that they were suitable subjects of church 
discipline, and had a right to the Lord's Supper. This he incul- 
cated from the pulpit, and in the Church Courts. He bequeathed 
$400, in books, to Centre College. 

It was about this period (1828) that the Rev. Frederick A. 
Ross and James Gallaher acted a conspicuous part as itinerant 
Evangelists, or Revival Preachers. This title was now coming 
greatly into vogue, both in the East and West, and was for some 
time very popular, until its manifest abuse caused it to be dis- 

* Min. W. L. Pby., vol. iv. p. 26. 


continued. The above-named ministers travelled extensively in 
Kentucky and Ohio, and they w^ere very successful in producing 
great religious excitement wherever they labored. They made 
great use of the Anxious Seat, and similar devices, familiarly 
known as "New Measures."* 

Camp-meetings were also revived, and as long as they were 
held in neighborhoods which were truly missionary ground, 
where there were no houses large enough to accommodate a 
multitude of persons, they appeared to be useful. A number of 
converts were made in a few months. It was not long, however, 
before camp-meetings were unnecessarily multiplied, and brought 
within two or three miles of populous towns. This gave occa- 
sion to great disorder, Sabbath-breaking, drinking and levity. 
The judicious withdrew their countenance, and they gradually 
fell into disuse as nuisances.f 

The name of the late Rev. David Nelson, M.D., ought not to 
be omitted in this place. He had studied medicine in Danville, 
where he also imbibed Infidel notions, and afterwards became an 
army surgeon in the war of 1812. Being converted from In- 
fidelity, he was admirably fitted to grapple with deistical ob- 
jections, and scatter their sophistry to the winds. Of this his last 
production, "The Cause and Cure of Infidelity," is a standing 
proof. Many and continually recurring instances might be fur- 
nished of its usefulness. The very oddity of his manners, the 
slovenliness of his appearance, and his aversion to ascend a pul- 
pit, preferring to stand underneath, or on a bench, served to at- 
tract the popular curiosity. His style was didactic and argu- 
mentative, rather than hortatory ; but when his appeals to the 
judgment were followed by a speaker capable of moving the 
passions, the eflfect produced was happy in the extreme. Dr. 
Nelson removed to the neighborhood of Quincy, Illinois, where 
he attempted to found a Mission Institute on a large scale, com- 
mensurate with the wants of the world. The plan was truly 
magnificent, contemplating the collection of at least five hundred 

* The introduction of the Anxious Seat is ascribed to Dr. Anderson, of Ten- 
nessee. Though fallen into discredit, it is still practised by some orthodox minis- 
ters. It was a favorite measure of Mr. Finney, and as decidedly disapproved by 
Mr. Nettleton. 

f A camp-meeting has been held occasionally of late years by the Presbyte- 
rians of Kentucky, but under such efficient and prudent regulations tliat no dis- 
orders have arisen. 


Students. Economy was to be consulted by each student, like 
the sons of the prophets in the days of EUsha, takinfr an axe 
and hewing from the adjoining forest the materials for his humble 
cabin ; while his repast was to consist of rice, corn-meal, or like 
simple fare, prepared by his own hands. This great and good 
man, after being reduced by repeated epileptic attacks to the 
wreck of his former self, was removed to a better world in the 
year 1844. 

The loud calls for an increase of ministers, and the inconveni- 
ence and expense of sending candidates to so distant a school as 
Princeton, induced the General Assembly, in 1826, to take mea- 
sures for establishing a Theological Seminary in the West. 
The location concluded upon was Alleghany Town, opposite 
Pittsburg. The subject of a Western Theological Seminary 
had long occupied the attention of the churches in Kentucky 
and the adjoining States ; but the Synod of Kentucky was dis- 
posed to discourage an independent Seminary, being warmly 
attached to Princeton, to which their candidates had been sent 
with great uniformity ; some being dismissed to the Presbytery 
of New Brunswick for the purpose. 

The Synod, in 1824, corresponded with the Synods of Ohio 
and Tennessee, with a view to dissuade them from attempting 
to set up an independent institution, urging that Princeton should 
be patronized ; for since its erection a new era had dawned, and 
large and respectable accessions had been received from its 
halls ; and that when a Western Seminary should be called for, 
there should be but one great school under the direct supervision 
of the General Assembly itself.* It was maintained that the site 
of the contemplated seminary should be as nearly as possible in 
the centre of the Mississippi Valley, and neither east nor north 
of Cincinnati, t In consequence, great dissatisfaction was felt at 
the Assembly's making choice of Alleghany Town, as not an- 
swering the wants and wishes of the West. J In 1828, the 

* Min. Syn. Ky., vol. iii. p. IIL f ^I'"- W. L. Pby., vol. iv. p. 82. 

1 As a curious illustration of this and of the expan.sion of the great West, it 
may be stated that when the General Assembly met in Pittsburor in 1835, the 
Eastern members took their wives with them to see the West, while the Western 
members took theirs to see the East ! In 1825, the Assembly appointed General 
Jackson of Tennessee, Judge Benjamin Mills of Kentucky, Hon. John Thomp- 
son of Ohio, and Drs. Obadiah Jennings and Andrew Wylie of Pennsylvania, 
Commissioners to report to the Board of Directors upon a location. They, it is 


Synod of Kentucky added a Theological Department to Centre 
College,* but the scheme proved abortive. 

About the same time Lane Seminary was founded at Cincin- 
nati ;f and some few years afterwards, in consequence of distrust 
of the soundness of the instruction there given, another was 
started at South Hanover in Indiana, by the united Synods of 
Cincinnati and Indiana ; but in the foundation of neither had the 
Synod of Kentucky any direct agency. 

In the year 1838, on an overture from the West Lexington Pres- 
bytery, the Synod passed several important resolutions, pronounc- 
ing it of great importance to the interests of the Presbyterian 

understood, pitched upon Walnut Hills in the vicinity of Cincinnati, the Kem- 
per family offering the ground. But by manoeuvring and superior promises. 
Walnut Hills was rejected in 1828, and Alleghany Town chosen, by a close vote 
of two majority ; that majority being furnished by the votes of Pittsburg mem- 
bers. The funds were wasted in cutting a high hill to form a spacious espla- 
nade; the magnificent subscriptions of $36,000 in the Synod of Pittsburg in 
addition to $15,000 in the city were never realized ; the title proved wretchedly 
invalid ; the Western Synods declined to co-operate ; and for these and other 
reasons, Dr. Jane way resigned his professorship in 1829. See Minutes G. A. 
1825-1828, and Dr. Janeway's MS. Statement G. A., 1829. The decision of 
1823, led to consequences that cannot be sufficiently deplored. Had the Semi- 
nary been then located at Walnut Hills, Mr. Arthur Tappan would probably 
never have offered to found a professorship for Dr. Beecher ; Dr. Beecher would 
not have crossed the mountains ; Cincinnati would not have become a focus of 
New School influence ; and the Western Churches would possess at this day a 
School in a central and popular position. 

* Min. Syn. Ky., vol. iii. p. 153, vol. iv. pp. 6, 99. 

t Some time after the religious excitement of 1828, the two Messrs. Lane, of 
Boston, having been convinced from personal observation, on their way to New 
Orleans, of the necessity of the case, resolved to found a Literary and Theolo- 
gical institution at Walnut Hills, four miles from Cincinnati. They were Bap- 
tists, but men of liberal and comprehensive views. They presented the proposi- 
tion first to their own denomination, but not finding them inclined to co-operate, 
they resolved to make their munificent offer to the Presbyterians, in connection 
with the General Assembly. Lane Seminary was accordingly founded, after 
conference with the Professors at Princeton, and with Drs. VVilson and Nelson. 
The Rev. Mr. Beckwith, of Lowell, was first president of the literary department, 
but soon retired. When the Theological department was established, Arthur 
Tappan, a merchant of New York, offered to found a professorship, on condition 
that Dr. Lyman Beecher be the incumbent. Dr. Beecher was then believed to 
be orthodox and sound in his views. The Literary department was soon after 
transferred to the Miami University under the care of Dr. Bishop. Although 
Dr. Wilson publicly demanded in a pamphlet an explanation of this transfer, 
none was ever given. In the schism of 1838, Lane Seminary went with its 
professors over to the New School body ; nor did the Old School Assembly take 
any measures for its recovery, adhering to the spirit of the compromise proposed 
before, that each party should retain possession of the institutions which they 
controlled. The Kemper family, however, who are warmly Old School, and 
who had made a donation of the land, felt very much aggrieved, and have seve- 
ral times threatened to institute a suit in their own name. 


Church in the valley of the Mississippi, that a well-endowed 
Theological Seminary should without delay be established in 
the West or South-west, They determined to unite with the ad- 
joining Synods in supporting such an institution, and sending 
delegates to a Convention invited to meet at Louisville for the 
purpose. The Rev. Messrs. Price, Rice, and Bullock, with 
elders McCalla, Wood, and Thornton, were chosen their dele- 
gates. The Rev. Lewis W. Green, then one of the faculty of 
Centre College, a ripe and finished scholar, was elected the Sy- 
nod's Professor of Biblical Criticism and Oriental Literature. 
The Synod expressly reserved the right at any time to with- 
draw its professor and any funds it might furnish. The Conven- 
tion met at Louisville, on the 22d of November, and among other 
arrangements, decided on New Albany on the Indiana shore, a 
little below Louisville, as the site of the Seminary ; the late 
Elias Ayres, Esq., a pious merchant of that place, generously 
offering 810,000 on condition of the united Synods raising as 
much more to complete the endowment. The Seminary at 
South Hanover was merged in the new institution, and its pro- 
fessors and funds transferred with it. The venerable Dr. Mat- 
thews was placed at the head of the New Albany school, which 
he still continues to adorn. Professor Green withdrew in the 
course of a year, and with his withdrawal the connection of the 
Synod of Kentucky ceased. In the year 1840, that connection 
was resumed, and there are now seven Synods united in the 
control of the Seminary, viz : the Synods of Indiana, Northern 
Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Cincinnati, West Tennessee, and Ken- 

The year 1833 was memorable on account of the awful 
ravages of that formidable epidemic, capricious in its march, in- 
scrutable in its features, and balHing the resources of the medical 
art, the Asiatic Cholera. Generated in the rank jungles of the 
Sunderbunds in 1817, it had made the tour of the world, and 
crossing the Atlantic on the wings of the wind, came to spread 
its devastations over the United States. Cincinnati, Maysville, 
Flemingsburg, Springfield, Millersbu^g, Georgetown, Paris, Har- 
rodsburg, Frankfort, Shelbyville, Louisville, Simpsonville, Nash- 
ville, all suffered more or less severely. But in no place, per- 
haps, was the mortality greater than in the city of Lexington. 
It was fondly believed that this beautiful city would escape en- 


tirely, on account of its elevated situation, freedom from large 
collections of water, and general salubrity. But these expecta- 
tions, encouraged as they were by the public assertions of the 
medical faculty, and backed by the positive authority of the 
professor's chair, were doomed to a bitter disappointment. Early 
in June, 1833, the epidemic made its appearance, and filled every% 
house with mourning. 

In the short space of nine days, fifteen hundred persons were 
prostrated, and dying at the rate of fifty a day. The horrors of 
that period no one can adequately conceive. The rain fell in 
unprecedented torrents, while the incessant glare of lightning 
and the roll of thunder made the night terrific. Amid the up- 
roar of the elements the watchers sat mournfully in the chamber 
of death ; and all night, during the lull of the storm, might be 
heard the feet of the anxious messengers hurrying along the 
streets, and besieging the doors of the apothecaries and physi- 

Within a fortnight it was computed that about five hundred 
persons fell victims, nothwithstanding half the population had 
fled at an early period.* The panic was terrible. While many 
left the city, others kept aloof from rendering assistance through 
fear of infection ; and there can be no doubt that numbers died 
in solitude for want of friendly succor. The streets were 
deserted. The market-place was desolate. Had it not been 
for the activity of the city authorities and the humanity of the 
charitable, the horrors of famine must have been added to those of 
pestilence. To complete the desperate condition of things, three 
physicians died, three more were absent, and of the rest, scarcely 
one escaped an attack of disease himself. The clergy, active as 
they were in attendance at the bedside of the sick and dying, 
were insufficient to meet the demand for their services. Some 
of the most respectable citizens were hurried off to the place of 
interment in a rough deal coffin placed in a cart, without funeral 
procession or religious ceremonies. The grave-yards were 
choked. Coffins were laid down at the gates by the score, in 
confused heaps ; and among them, horrible to relate ! corpses 
wrapped up only in the bed-clothes in which they had but an 
hour or two before expired. There they lay, each waiting their 

* Dr. Yandell estimates the deaths at 450. AcccuBt of Spasmodic Cholera 
iu Lexington, p. 23. 


turn to be deposited in the long trenches which were hastily dug 
for the necessities of the occasion. 

The epidemic shortly disappeared, in some places less rapidly 
than others ; but no remarkable religious concern seemed to be 
the immediate result of this awful visitation. On the contrary 
the minds of the people appeared rather stunned and stupefied. 
But the following year, 1834, was signalized as a year of revi- 
vals, and nowhere more conspicuously than in the very city 
where the desolations had been greatest. There was a con- 
tinued series of meetings held in Lexington for three or four 
weeks, night and day, in which nearly all the denominations 
participated ; the result of which was, that about four hundred 
additions were made to the various churches as the trophies of 
divine grace. 

The subject of Slavery began about this time to be vehemently 
agitated by the advocates of immediate abolition in the United 
States. It is proper, therefore, to recite in this place the course 
of ecclesiastical action, taken from the beginning in Kentucky, 
and to show that the uniform testimony of the Presbyterian 
Church has been in favor of no other plan than Gradual Eman- 

The subject early engaged the attention of the reflecting and 
the conscientious. On the eve of the Convention, held in 1792, 
to draw up a State Constitution, that venerable patriarch, David 
Rice, published a pamphlet, under the signature of Philanthro- 
pos, entitled, " Slavery inconsistent with Justice and Good 
Policy." He spoke freely of the infringement of personal rights ; 
the want of protection for female chastity ; the violent separa- 
tion of families ; the deprivation by law of religious and moral 
instruction ; the growing danger of servile insurrection ; the 
tendency to sap the foundations of moral and political virtue ; 
the inducing habits of idleness and vice, especially among the 
young men ; the comparative unproductiveness of slave proper- 
ty ; the discouraging of valuable emigration from the eastward ; 
and the probable deterioration of the country. He undertook 
to answer objections, especially those drawn from the supposed 
sanction of the Scriptures, and the silence of the apostles. 
He proposed that the Convention should " resolve uncondition- 
ally to put an end to slavery in Kentucky." The details of the 
plan might be left to a subsequent legislature. But in view of 


the difficulties that surrounded the subject, he avowed his beUef 
that " a gradual emancipation only can be advisable." His 
views may be gathered from the following paragraph : " The 
legislature," said he, " if they judged it expedient, would prevent 
the importation of any more slaves : they would enact that all 
born after such a date should be born free ; be qualified by pro- 
per education to make useful citizens ; and be actually freed at 
a proper age. It is no small recommendation of this plan, that 
it so nearly coincides with the Mosaic law, in this case provid- 
ed ; to which, even suppose it a human institution, great respect 
is due for its antiquity, its justice, and humanity."* These views 
were zealously supported by Mr. Rice in the convention, but 
throuo-h the influence of those distinguished statesmen, John 
Breckenridge and Col. Nicholas, he was defeated. 

In 1794, the Presbytery of Transylvania, then covering the 
entire State, passed a resolution to the effect that slaves should 
be instructed to read the Scriptures, and be prepared for free- 

The subject was several times brought before them, and on 
one occasion, 1796, they expressed their opinion as follows : 
"The remonstrance against slavery was taken up, when Pres- 
bytery, after mature deliberation, came to the following resolu- 
tion, viz : That although Presbytery are fully convinced of the 
great evil of slavery, yet they view the final remedy as alone 
belonging to the civil powers ; and also do not think that they 
have sufficient authority from the word of God to make it a 
term of Church communion. They, therefore, leave it to the 
consciences of the brethren to act as they may think proper ; 
earnestly recommending to the people under their care to 
emancipate such of their slaves as they may think fit subjects of 
liberty ; and that they also take every possible measure, by 
teaching their young slaves to read and giving them such other 
instruction as may be in their power, to prepare them for the 
enjoyment of liberty, an event which they contemplate with the 
greatest pleasure, and which, they hope, will be accomplished 
as soon as the nature of things will admit." J 

* Bishop's Rice, (where see the whole essay in the appendix,) p. 415. 

t Mins. Trans. Pby. vol. i. p. 147. 

I Min. Trans. Pby. vol. ii. pp. 102, 103. 


Repeated petitions, &;c., on the subject of slavery are 
found among tlie filed papers of the Presbytery ;* together 
with a letter sent from the General Assembly, signed by Dr. 
John McKnight, Moderator, 1795, stating what the Assembly, 
had done to favor emancipation, and exhorting to mutual for- 
bearance and peace. 

In 1797, the question, "Is slavery a moral evil?" was taken 
up, and determined in the affirmative. The question, " Are all 
persons who hold slaves guilty of a moral evil?" was answered 
in the negative. A third question, " Who are not guilty of 
moral evil in holding slaves V was considered of so much im- 
portance, that its consideration was postponed until a future 
day. The following year it was debated, and again post- 
pone d.f 

In 1800, a memorial from Cane Ridge and Concord was re- 
ferred by the West Lexington Presbytery to the Synod of 
Virginia and the General Assembly. In their letter to the 
Synod of Virginia, they call slavery " a subject likely to occa- 
sion much trouble and division in the churches in this country." 
They also express it as the opinion of a large majority of this 
Presbytery, and of the sister Presbyteries, that slaveholding 
should exclude from church privileges, but hesitate to decide 
till directed by higher judicatories.^ 

In 1802, we find the same body not allowing church sessions 
to prohibit slaveholders from communion, and thus to make 
terms of communion unsanctioned by the higher judicatories.^ 

In 1823, the Synod of Kentucky appointed committees to fur- 
ther the American Colonization Society, and to promote the 
object by correspondence with influential men in different parts 
of the State.y Indeed, recommendations of this Society are 
found so frequently on the minutes as to be almost annual. In 
1830, the churches were enjoined^ to raise collections to aid in 

* The name of Malcolm Worley appears more than once appended to these 
petitions. The attentive reader of the chapter on the cxtravaginces of the 
Great Revival must have become familiar with liis name as ready to espouse 
any fanatical ultraism. 

f Min. Trans. Pbv. vol. ii. pp. 163, 224. t Min. W. Lex. Pby. vol. i. p. 38. 

J Min. W. Lex. Pby. vol. i. p. 81. 

II Min. Syn. Ken. vol. iii. pp. G5, 108, 122. 

11 It is ijpt unworthy of note that the assumption oi the polestas ordinansha,? 
been much more cautiously indulged in of late years than formerly, and the 


building a church in Liberia. Unhappily, the injunction proved 
not to be generally complied with, and the next year was re- 

In 1825, the Synod directed ministers to pay more attention 
to the religious instruction of the slaves. In 1826, fifteen 
schools for people of color were reported, f 

In 1833, the following overture was discussed in the Synod, 
for two days, with considerable spirit, viz : " Resolved, that in 
the view of this Synod, slaveiy, as it exists within our bounds, is 
a great moral evil, and inconsistent with the word of God. 
And we do, therefore, recommend to all our ministers and mem- 
bers, who hold slaves, to endeavor to have them instructed in 
the knowledge of the Gospel ; and to promote, in every peace- 
able way, the interests of the Colonization Society ; and to favor 
all proper measures for gradual voluntary emancipation." An 
amendment was offered, striking out the words, " and inconsist- 
ent with the word of God," which was rejected. The debate 
waxed warmer and warmer, when it was abruptly brought to a 
close by the adoption of the following resolution, moved by the 
Rev. Samuel V. Marshall : " Inasmuch as, in the judgment of 
the Synod, it is inexpedient to come to any decision on the very 
difficult and delicate question of slavery, as it is v/ithin our 
bounds ; therefore resolved, that the whole subject be indefinitely 
postponed." It was carried — ayes 41, nays 36, non liquet l.J 

But the subject was not to remain so quietly disposed of The 
next year, at Danville, the whole matter was again brought up, 
and a series of resolutions were adopted, no less decided in their 
tone than that which had lately been postponed. By an over- 

form of injunction has pelcled to that of recommendation. Yet we find the old 
Presbytery of Transylvania at various times granting permissiim. to congrega- 
tions to build churches, and in one instance refusing permission, though granting 
supplies. The case was tliat of Fleming church, Mason county, in 1795. 

* Min. Syn. Ky. vol. iv. pp. 199, 220. 

f Min. Syn. Ky. vol. iii. pp. 133, 156. In 1830, appeared a variety of essays, 
which attracted no little attention. One series (of seven numbers) was written 
by Robert J. Breckenridge, (signed B. ;) anothw' by that venerable and erudite 
scholar, George Clarke, (signed C.;) and a third by the late Judge Green, 
(signed Philo C.) These gentlemen were all attached to the Presbyterian 
Church. Their publications were elicited by an attempt (which proved abor- 
tive,) to repeal the law forbidding the importation of slaves into the State. 
and displayed great ability as well as moral courage ; for they cost the lirst- 
namod gentleman his seat in the Legislature. Bait. ReL Mag. vol.^vU. p. 9. 

|; Min. Syn. Ky. vol. v. pp. 28, 31. 



whelming majority* a committee of ten were appointed to pre- 
pare a plan for the instruction and future emancipation of the 
slaves. The committee were, the Hon. John Brown, Chairman ; 
Judge Green, President Young, Thomas Porter Smith, Esq., 
Charles N. Cunningham, Esq., J. R. Alexander, Esq., Rev. 
Robert Stuart, Rev. James K. Burch, Rev. Nathan H. Hall, 
and Rev. W. L. Breckenridge ;t men of great weight of charac- 
ter and commanding influence. The following year, 183.5, they 
published to the world their proposed plan, in a pamphlet of G4 
pages, from the pen of President Young. J It was regarded as 
an able document, taking strong and decided ground in favor of 
gradual emancipation. It fearlessly recounted the evils of 
slavery ; its degrading influence ; its dooming thousands to 
hopeless ignorance ; its depriving them, in a great measure, of 
the privileges of the Gospel ; its licensing cruelty ; its producing 
licentiousness among the slaves ; its demoralizing eflfect on the 
whites as well as the blacks ; and its drawing down the ven- 
geance of Heaven. After answering objections, the committee 
proceed to unfold their plan. 

" The plan, then, which we propose," say they, " is, for the 
master to retain, during a limited period, and with regard to the 
real welfare of the slave, that authority which he before held, 
in perpetuity, and solely for his own interest. Let the full 
liberty of the slave be secured against all contingencies, by a 
recorded deed of emancipation, to take effect at a specified time. 
In the mean while, let the servant be treated with kindness — let 
all those things which degrade him be removed — let him enjoy 
means of instruction — let his moral and religious improvement 
be sought — let his prospects be presented before him, to stimu- 
late him to acquire those habits of foresight, economy, industry, 
activity, skill, and integrity, which will fit him for using well the 
liberty he is soon to enjoy." 

" 1. We would recommend that all slaves now under 20 years 
of age, and all those yet to be born in our possession, be eman- 
cipated as they severally reach their 25th year. 

* The vote stood — yeas 56, nays 8, non liquet 7. 

f Mill. Syn. Ky. vol. v. p. 50-52. 

I Half of it was an appendix, consisting of a reply of Pros. Young to Messrs. 
Steele and Crothers, designed to prove " the doctrine of immediate emancipation 


" 2. We recommend that deeds of emancipation be now drawn 
up, and recorded in our respective county courts, specifying the 
slaves whom we are about to emancipate, and the age at which 
each is to become free. 

" 3. We recommend that our slaves be instructed in the 
common elementary branches of education. 

" 4. We recommend that strenuous and persevering efforts be 
made to induce them to attend regularly upon the ordinary ser- 
vices of religion, both domestic and public. 

" 5. We recommend that great pains be taken to teach them 
the Holy Scriptures ; and that, to effect this, the instrumentality 
of Sabbath-schools, wherever they can be enjoyed, be united 
with that of domestic instruction. 

" These are measures which all ought to adopt ; and we know 
of no peculiarity of circumstances in the case of any individual, 
which can free him from culpability if he neglects them."* 

These propositions were far in advance of public sentiment, 
as prevailing at that time. No formal action was ever taken by 
the Synod in regard to them. In the morbid and feverish state 
of the public mind, it is not to be concealed, that by some they 
were considered as going to an unwarrantable and imprudent 
length. One of its suggestions was the payment of an amount 
of wages to the slave equal to the hire paid his owner. The 
northern Abolitionists were w^aging a hot crusade against slave- 
ry, sending out itinerant lecturers, and loading the mails with 
inflammatory publications. Their measures were marked with 
a fanatical virulence rarely exhibited, and the South and South- 
west were exasperated beyond forbearance. Even in the free 
States mobs and riots ensued. In the slave States the effects 
were truly disastrous. The prospect of emancipation was re- 
tarded for years. The laws bearing on the slave population 
were, in some States, made more stringent than ever, and their 
privileges were curtailed. In Kentucky, the religious meetings 
of the blacks were broken up or interrupted, and their Sabbath- 
schools dispersed. f Such was the embittered state of public 

* Plan, pp. 26, 28, 29. 

J Mr. Jame-s Weir a wealthy manufacturer of Lexington, and a subject of the 
recent revival in that city, employed the Rev. W. W. Hall as a missionary to 
instruct his numerous slaves and other persons of color. But the missionary 
one day received a threatening note, warning him to close his Sunday School , 


feeling, that when the question of altering the State Constitution 
was submitted to the people, the friends of the slave preferred 
letting it quietly be lost, rather than run the risk of changes 
which might rivet more closely the yoke of bondage. The inno- 
cent cause of Colonization, before so much a favorite, suffered 
greatly for a time, many perversely confounding it with Aboli- 
tionism. The effervescence, however, has long since subsided, 
and a favorable re-action has taken place. During the year 
1845, the Agent of the American Colonization Society collected 
from the voluntary generosity of its friends in the State, the sum 
of five thousand dollars, for the purpose of purchasing a district 
of country in Africa, to be called " Kentucky in Liberia," and to 
be appropriated to the residence of emigrants from Kentucky, 
each of whom, on arriving, is to receive a grant of land. A ter- 
ritory was secured, described by the Governor of Liberia as a 
beautiful, healthy, and favorable location ; and the foundation of 
a settlement was laid there early in the following year, increased 
by the addition of a second company, after the lapse of another 
twelvemonth. It is now in contemplation to induce the Legis- 
lature of the State to follow the noble example of that of Mary- 
land, in contributing an annual sum to aid in removing emigrants, 
and thus raise up on the shores of Africa, an enlightened, free, 
and happy commonwealth, the germ of a future empire, grate- 
fully perpetuating the recollection of its origin in the use of its 
adopted name.* 

The resolutions of the General Assembly of 1845, at Cincin- 
nati, (which were drafted by the Rev. Nathan L. Rice, D.D., a 
native of Kentucky,) taking the ground that it is not competent 
to the Church to legislate where Christ and his apostles have not 
legislated, proved highly acceptable to the churches south of 
the Ohio, as well as generally. On this rock the Baptist and 
Methodist denominations had just before split ; and it is matter 
of devout thankfulness that the Presbyterian Church has been 
saved from following their example, and is now so harmonious 
upon this subject as to be relieved from the slightest apprehen- 
sion of a schism. 

or it would be done by force. The school was in consequence closed, (contra- 
ry to the decided advice of the author, who looked on the anonymous note as 
nothing more than an idle threat,) and the labors of the missionary were sus- 
* Presb. Her. June 19, 1845. Liberia Adv. May 22, 1846. 



After thirty years of freedom from intestine strife, during 
which time she had acquired a commanding position and influ- 
ence, the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky was torn for the 
fourth time, most needlessly, by the ploughshare of division. 
Happily her dear-bought experience enabled her to weather the 
storm in safety, and the injury she sustained was comparatively 

Two parties had of late years been arrayed against each other, 
known by the distinctive names of Old and New School ; the 
first being conservative in their views, the latter latitudinarian. 
They differed in regard to doctrines, in regard to measures, in 
regard to ecclesiastical polity, and in regard to the Plan of Union 
of 1801. 

Although the New School party embraced many who were 
sound in Doctrine, it is certain that Semi-Pelagianism was exten- 
sively fostered and shielded from discipline within its ranks ; 
while a portion ran into wilder errors than the rankest Pelagian 
ever dreamed of. The following tenets were held, jointly or 
severally, by a large number of the party : That we have no 
more to do with the sin of Adam than of any other parent. 
That he was in no sense our Covenant Head or Federal Repre- 
sentative. That to say we sinned in him conveys no intelligible 
idea to any man of common sense. That the sufferings and 
death of infants are no wise penal, but to be accounted for on 
the same principle as those of the brute creation. That there is 
no such thing as Original Sin, or a sinful nature. That sin is 
only an abuse of the principle of self-love, which is in itself 
neither sinful nor holy. That there can be no sin except in acts. 


That God could not have prevented the existence of sin "witiiout 
interfering with free agency. That Election is founded on 
foreknowledge of character, and that there is no such thing 
as Special Grace. That Imputed Righteousness is imputed 
nonsense. That the Atonement of itself, secured the salva- 
tion of no man, being merely symbolical or governmental, a 
satisfaction to public or general justice, and only opening a 
door of h6pe. That Christ did not endure the penalty of the 
law, and was not our legal substitute. That to say our guilt was 
imputed to him implies a transfer of moral character. That 
Regeneration is a man's own act, and consists in changing his 
governing purpose, which he is competent to perform without 
the aid of the Holy Spirit. That ability is the measure of obli- 
gation. That man's only inability is inability of will. That the 
Holy Spirit does not operate directly upon the heart, but only 
through or upon the truth presented, otherwise free moral agency 
would be destroyed. And lastly, that having all requisite ability 
to obey God's law, it is possible to attain perfection in this life, if 
we will to do so, and it is our duty thus to will.* 

Besides the New Divinity, sometimes called New England 
Theology, (but improperly, for there was a strong Old School 
party among the Congregationalists of New England,) and some- 
times Taylorism, from Dr. Taylor of New Haven, its prominent 
advocate, there was a set of New Measures that came very ex- 
tensively into vogue. These comprehended some things that 
were good, and others that were exceptionable ; periodical and 
spasmodic excitements ; artificial revivals ; an order of so-called 
revival preachers ; praying publicly for ministers as if they were 
unconverted, (after the manner of Davenport ;) protracted meet- 

* Sec Fitch's Discourses ; Taylor's Discourses ; Harvey's Letters on Theol. 
Specul. in Conn. ; Spring on Means of Regeneration, and on Native Depravity ; 
Griffin on Divine Efficiency, and on Regeneration ; Wood's Letters to Taylor ; 
Tyler's Letters on New Haven Theology ; Tyler's Memoir of Ncttloton, p. 290 ; 
Rand's Strictures on Finney ; Lord's Views in Tlieology ; Christian Spectator, 
passim ; Biblical Repertory, passim ; Wood's Old and New Theology ; Rice's 
Old and New Schools ; Crockers Catastrophe of the Presb. Ch. chaps. .\ii. x.\ii. ; 
Reid and Matheson's Visit to the American Churches, Lett, xxxii. Beman's 
Four Letters on the Atonement ; Duffield on Regeneration ; Barnes' Sermon on 
the Way of Salvation, and Comm. on Romans : Stuart's Comm. on Romans ; 
Beccher's Views in Theology ; Cox on Regeneration, and art. in Bibl. Report. 
vol. iii. p. 48-2; Finney's Lectures; Mahan on Cliristian Perfection; The Per- 
fectionist ; New York Evangelist, passim ; Testimony of the Gen. Assembly of 
1837 against Sixteen Errors, Min. p. 468 ; Protest of Duffield and others on the 
Sixteen Errors, Min. p. 481, «Sic. 


ings from four to forty days in length, not after the pattern of 
the Scotch sacramental meetings, nor demanded by urgent 
necessity, but got up as part of the machinery for producing a 
revival ; the anxious seat, or the clearing of several pews in 
front of the pulpit after a stimulating exhortation, and urging 
those that were anxious for their salvation to occupy them as a 
decisive step towards conversion ; rising to be prayed for in the 
congregation ; sun-rise prayer-meetings ; conference or inquiry 
meetings ; domiciliary visits by church members or young con- 
verts, two and two, for prayer and exhortation ; pointed addresses 
to the impenitent, with a view to immediate conversion ; hasty 
admissions to church membership ; insisting on submitting to God 
as the test of conversion, and discouraging all preliminary prayer, 
reading the Scriptures, or resort to the outward means of grace ; 
with various other contrivances to bring a rush of proselytes into 
the Church, many of whom, upon cooling down, discovered that 
they had acted under the pressure of animal excitement, and 
renounced their Christian profession.* Where these New Mea- 
sures prevailed to any extent, as in Western New York, the 
ground was completely burnt over, all healthy religious action 
was interrupted, and a permanent moral desolation was the con- 
sequence. Prejudices were created against even genuine revi- 
vals ; and scoffers, infidels, Unitarians, Universalists, and every 
form of error took advantage of the check given to evangelical 
doctrine, and throve exceedingly. 

The modes of conducting Education and Missions formed an- 
other fruitful source of controversy. The Old School considered 
them safest under ecclesiastical control ; the New preferred to 
leave them under the direction of irresponsible Voluntary So- 
cieties, the American Education Society, the American Home 
Missionary Society, and the American Board of Commissioners 
for Foreign Missions. f 

* See Sprajrue on Revivals, app. ; Annan on the Anxious Bench ; Finney's 
Lectures on Revivals ; Tyler's Memoir of Nettleton, p. 245 ; Baird's Relig. in 
America, p. 214; Beecher's Letter; Reid and Matlieson, Lett. xxxi. 

t See Dr. Carnahan's able article on the Am. Education Soc. Prof. Stuart's 
Examination ; and the Reply to the Examination, in the Bibl. Repert. for 1829, 
vol. i. pp. 344, 560, 602. Dr. Wilson's Four Propositions sustained against the 
A. H. M. S. ; Cushraan's Appeal ; Peters' Six Letters ; Official Reply of Board 
of Dom. Miss. ; Protest of Peters and others against the Assembly's censure of 
the A. H. M. S. and the A. E. S. Min. 1837, pp. 442, 488. 


The plan of Union, contrary to its original intention, became 
another apple of discord. In consequence of the increasing 
emigration of New England people to the West, the General 
Assembly had consented, in 1801, at the suggestion of the General 
Association of Connecticut, that for convenience sake, Presby- 
terians and Congregationalists in the new settlements might 
unite in constituting churches, choosing a minister of either per- 
suasion, dispensing with ruling elders, settling all difliculties 
that might arise by Councils instead of Presbyteries, and ap- 
pointing committeemen to sit in Presbytery as ruling elders. 
The effect of this plan, by means of the multiplied Presbyteries 
and Synods that were fostered under its operation, as well as 
by means of its gross abuse, was to give the Congregational 
elements an undue preponderance in the Church courts ; and 
laymen who had never adopted, or perhaps even read, the Confes- 
sion of Faith, and who felt a natural predilection for the peculi- 
arities of New England, decided on a creed, discipline, and 
polity purely Presbyterian.* So great were the abuses of this 
plan of Union, (never designed to be other than a temporary ar- 
rangement,) that in the Western Reserve Synod, (Ohio,) out of 
one hundred and thirty-nine churches, but nine were organized 
on the Presbyterian model. The remaining hundred and thirty 
were Congregational or mixed. In the Synods of Utica, Ge- 
neva, and Genesee, (Western New York,) two-fifths of the 
churches were of the same description. f Yet all these churches 
claimed a representation not only in the Presbyteries and the 
Synods, but also in the General Assembly. This gross enormity 
was long concealed from the unconscious Presbyterians, by these 
churches being reported as Presbyterian Churches, and it was 
only by degrees that the truth was dragged to light. 

What first excited suspicion was the evident coalition between 
the Voluntary Societies and the New School party, (especially 
that portion of them brought in through the plan of Union,) to 
spread the new divinity, and to put down the Boards of the 
Church.J Under the affectation of superior zeal, they labored 

* Assembly's Digest, p. 297 ; Crocker's Catastrophe, pp. 6-46. Past, and 
Circ. Letters of Gen. Assembly, 1837. Min. pp. 499,502; Miller's Church 
Case, passim. 

f Miller's Presb. Church Case, pp. 136, 662. 

\ Crocker's Catastrophe, p. 114. 



to ingratiate themselves with the people, and sneered at the Old 
Scliool as enemies to revivals, behind the spirit of the age, unil- 
luminated by the glorious light of the nineteenth centmy, grop- 
ing in the gloom of the dark ages, and unable to keep up with 
the modern march of mind. They had no commendations ex- 
cept for men of the right stamp, by v^^hich cant phrase they 
meant such only as coincided in all respects with themselves. 
Anniversary meetings, resembling the Great Week at New 
York, were got up with incredible pains, at various prominent 
points, such as Cincinnati, Lexington, Alton, St. Louis and Jack- 
sonville. Those who looked farther than the surface of things, 
fancied they could detect a secret plot to undermine the whole 
fabric of Presbyterianism ; to alter the Confession of Faith, or 
retain it only " for substance of doctrine ;" to introduce teachers 
of the New Divinity into Princeton Seminary ; and to make the 
whole Church essentially Congregational under a Presbyterian 

In Kentucky the controversy never had so much reference to 
doctrinal differences as to the mode of conducting education and 
home missions, in which subject the West naturally felt a deep 
interest. There, as elsewhere, the consequences of the collision 
between the rival institutions were heartburnings, suspicions, 
alienations of feeling, disaffection among ministers and churches, 
and all the concomitant evils of separate action.f At first, in- 
deed, Kentucky had hailed the organization of the American 
Home Missionary Society ; Dr. Blythe had seconded the motion 
for the adoption of its constitution ; and the Synod had repeat- 
edly given it their annual collections-^ But when they found 
it systematically sending New School missionaries, unasked, to 
supply their vacancies, and observed its immense and growing 
patronage,§ they feared a deep-laid plot to secure a balance of 

* Dr. Wilson's Four Propositions, Cincinnati, 1831. Dr. Peters' Plea for 
Union in the West. Official Reply of the Board of Missions. Cushman's Ap- 
peal to tlic public, against the Four Propositions. Dr. Carnahan's article in the 
Bibl. Repertory, 1829, exposing the enormous patronage of the Am. Education 
Soc. Prof. Stuart's Examination ; both republished in pamphlet form. 

t Letter of Messrs. Hall, Young, and Hinckley, (editor of the West. Lumi- 
nary.) dated Lexington, Aug. 22, 1830, and addressed to the Committee of the 
Cine. Pby. Four Prop. p. 10. 

I Four Prop. p. 18. Min. Syn. Ky. vol. iii. p. 157 ; vol. iv. pp. 21, 31. 

^ " Power over a man's support has always been held and admitted to be 
power over his will." Senator Benton's speech on the N. Y. Custom House. 


power by an artful distribution of their adherents among the 
jiresbyteries. Dr. Blythe and Dr. Wilson were among the nkst 
to take the alarm. 

So high did the feud rise, and so flagrant were its evils, that 
the General Assembly, in May, 1831,* on the instigation of the 
New School party, directed the Western Presbyteries to confer 
together on the best method of conducting missions, and report 
the next year. In consequence of this recommendation, opposed 
by Dr. Wilson, but seconded by a circular from the West Lex- 
ington Presbytery, a convention of forty-three delegates from 
twenty presbyteries in the Valley of the Mississippi met at Cin- 
cinnati, November 23d, 1831. The delegates from Kentucky 
were Messrs. Cameron, Blythe, Steel, Paxton, Whitney, W. L. 
Breckenridge, ministers ; and Messrs. Harbison, Robt. J. Breck- 
enridge, T. P. Smith, and Hodge, ruling elders ; all except 
Messrs. Whitney and Smith, Old School men, and in favor of 
the Assembly's Board. Dr. Blythe was chosen Moderator, and 
the Rev. Samuel Steele, of Kentucky, and the Rev. A. O. Patter- 
son, of Ohio, Secretaries. 

From an analysis of the votes, and reports of Presbyteries 
not represented, it may be gathered that of forty-seven Presby- 
teries in the Valley, twenty-one were in favor of the Assembly's 
Board ; seven in favor of the Home Missionary Society, or in- 
dependent action ; four were divided ; and from fifteen there 
was no report. Six Synods expressed their opinions, and five 
were not heard from. The Synod of Kentucky, at its meeting 
a month previous, had decidedly advocated the General Assem- 
bly as the safest depository of power.f The Convention sat for 
seven days, and the discussions were spirited. By an over- 
whelming vote, they decided in favor of the General Assembly's 
mode of conducting missions, and deprecated any union of the 
conflicting institutions as fraught with mischief.J They also 

* This was the Assembly which acquitted Mr. Barnes for his sermon on the 
Way of Salvation ; and to which was submitted Dr. John II. Rice's Overture 
on the distinctive duty of the Ciiurch to conduct missions. This year (1831) 
Tabor Presbytery was erected by the Synod of Kentucky, in the northern part 
of the State, and dissolved the year following. Min. Syn. vol. iv. p. 261 ; 
V. p. 10. 

f Min. of Convention, pp. 10, 20. 

t Min. of (x)nv. p. 8. The vote was 54 to 15 ; the votes having been pro- 
portioned according to the ratio of Prosbytcrial representation. 


addressed a circular to the Churches.* The elders drew up a 
separate memorial to the next Assembly, on the subject of un- 
equal representation.f 

The Minority published a counter-report, in which they com- 
plained bitterly of the heavy vote of the Synod of Pittsburg, 
and endeavored to weaken the force of the decision. The 
result of the whole was, that all went on as before, save that the 
war was no longer a covert one. As for the final vote, the 
New School treated it with not the smallest respect ; though the 
proposition had emanated from them, with the tacit understand- 
ing that the decision was to be binding on all parties.^ 

For four years the New School had a controlling influence in 
the Assembly, and paralyzed every effort of the Church to move 
in her distinctive character. Then came, in 1834, the Act and 
Testimony (of which Robert J. Breckenridge, by this time or- 
dained a clergyman, and become the master spirit of the Reform 
movement, was the drafter,) complaining of doctrinal errors, the 
relaxation of discipline, and the alarming violation of Church 
order. The signatures swelled to two thousand and seventy- 
five ; ninety-seven of which came from Kentucky, viz : seventeen 
ministers and eighty elders. § In the fall succeeding, the Synod 
adopted the entire paper, being the only Synod that did so, be- 
sides that 

The convention and memorial of 1835, and the measures of 
the Old School majority in the Assembly, must be left to the 
general historian.TI In the fall, the Synod of Kentucky expressed 
their gratification with the transfer of the Western Foreign 

* Min. of Conv. p. 19. 

f Bait. Lit. and Relig. Mag. vol. iv. p. 104. 

j Mem. of Monfort and others, praying a redress of grievances, p. 9. 

^ Act and Testimony, pamphlet form, pp. 28. Defence of the Act and Testi- 
mony, by the drafter, pp. 8. 

II Min. Syn. vol. v. pp. 55-57. Bait. Lit. and Rel. Mag. vol. vi. p. 98. This 
was not done without discussion. Two substitutes for the paper were offered, one 
by President Young, the other by Dr. Cleland, both of which were rejected ; and 
the original paper was carried by the overwhelming vote of fifty-seven ayes to 
two noes, and five non liquets. 

IF This year occurred the trials of Messrs. Barnes and Beecher. This year 
also appeared Marshall's Disc, before the W. Lex. Pby., on the Peace and 
Union of the Church ; pp.22. Dr. Wilson's Letter to Bishop, pp. 14; One 
Proposition sustained against the New School, exposing their revolutionizing 
schemes, pp. 16 ; and Plea in the case of Beecher, before Syn. of Cine, pp. 120 ; 
Review of Barnes on Rom. pp. 30 ; the Moderates and Ultra Partisans, pp. 17 ; 
W. L. Breckenridge's Letters to Presbyterians, pp. 39. 


Missionary Society, and also recommended the Kentucky Edu- 
cation Society, which was designed to aid beneficiaries in 
Centre College.* In 1836, the New School regained their as- 
cendency in the Assembly, and rescinded all that had been done 
the preceding year. 

In the fall of 183G, the Synod of Kentucky met at Bardstown, 
and took a stand Ion" to be remembered. A series of strong 
resolutions was offered by the Rev. Samuel V. Marshall, (son of 
the late Robert Marshall,) the substance of which passed in the 
form of a substitute proposed by the Rev, W. L. Breckinridge, 
condemning Barnes' Notes on Romans : (ayes, 34 ; noes, 9 ; 
non liquet, 5 ;) deploring the refusal to take distinctive action on 
foreign missions ; (ayes, 40 ; noes, 7 ;) recommending the West- 
ern Foreign Missionary Society ; solemnly declaring the farther 
operation of the American Home Missionary Society and the 
American Education Society within their bounds to be against 
their wishes and consent ; (ayes, 39 ; noes, 10 ;) and requesting 
those Societies to retire without delay from their bounds, and 
make no further collections in their churches, nor in any way 
continue to operate within the Synod's geographical limits ; 
(ayes, 33 ; noes, 14 ; n. 1., 3.)f Eleven members, seven of 
whom were ministers, entered their protest against the above 
resolutions. The Synod passed a vote highly approbatory of 
the Assembly's Board of Domestic Missions, whose plan was 
presented by its indefatigable and successful agent, the Rev. 
Sylvester Scovel, now President of South Hanover College. 
The annual collection was given to the Western Foreign 
Missionary Society, under the patronage of the Synod of Pitts- 

While the New School, flushed with the insolence of recent 
triumph in the Assembly of 1836, counted on the tame submis- 
sion or sullen secession of their opponents, a simultaneous burst 
of indignation broke from the Old School ranks. The spirit of 
the party was thoroughly aroused. The eyes of the most scep- 
tical were opened ; Moderates and Middle men no longer held 
back. Princeton, which had at first reprobated the Act and Tes- 

* Min. Syn. vol. v. pp. 59, 73. Synod also approved the course of Ebenezer 
Pby. in requiring a candidate to leave Oborlin Institute, p. 70. 
t Min. Svn. vol. v. pp. 81-83. 
X Min. Syn. vol. v. pp. 79, 80. 


timony, threw her weight into the scale. The friends of ortho- 
doxy and sound Presbyterianism ralUed in an unbroken mass, 
and prepared for a united and vigorous charge along the whole 
line. In the Reform Measures of 1837, the establishment of a 
Board of Foreign Missions, the dissolution of the Elective Affin- 
ity Presbytery, the abrogation of the Plan of Union, and fhe 
disowning of the four unconstitutional Synods, the Synod of 
Kentucky heartily concurred. 

When the Schism took place the following year, 1838, (the 
details of which cannot be here narrated,*) the commissioners 
from Kentucky, chosen with an eye to the probable result, did 
their duty to a man, both in the Assembly and the Convention 
which preceded it. In the ensuing fall, the Synod formally de- 
clared its adherence to the Old vSchool Assembly. 

This meeting of the Synod was at Paris, October 12th, 1838, 
and was fraught with interest. It was known that there was a 
dissatisfied minority, and it was whispered that they had held a 
secret convention in the same place a short time previous ; but 
some of the leading members of both parties conferring together 
in piivate, they came to a mutual understanding to maintain har- 
mony and avoid a division. 

The committee on the minutes of the General Assembly 
submitted the following resolutions, which were adopted with- 
out debate : — 

"1. Resolved, That this Synod recognize and acknowledge 
the General Assembly which organized and continued to hold 
its sessions in the Seventh Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, 
in May last, of which the Rev. Wm. S. Plumer was Mode- 
rator, as the only true General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
Church in the United States of America. 

" 2. Resolved, That the decisions of civil courtsf can only 
extend to 'church property, and cannot in any way affect the 
ecclesiastical rights and standing of churches and church mem- 

* See, for a minute account of those transactions, Breckinridge's Documen- 
tary Hist, of the Assembly of 1837, and Memoirs, to serve as a Hi:-t. of the 
Semi-Pelag. Controv. in the Presb. Ch., Bait. Lit. and Rel. Mag. vols. iii. iv. v. 

t Tlie Trustees elected by the New School Assembly sued those of the Old 
School, in the Court of Nisi Prius, Pennsylvania, March 4, 1839, when judgment 
was given by Judge Rodgers in their favor ; but the decision was reversed, as 
contrary to evidence, by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Chief Justice Gib- 
son presiding, jNIay 8th, on a motion for a new trial. See Miller's Church case, 
pp. 461,587. 


bers, and whatever may be their decisions in relation to the funds 
of the Church, we will adhere to the said General Assembly ^ 
, The yeas and nays were called for on the first of these reso- 
lutions, and the yeas amounted to 77. There were no nays, nor 
non liquets. The second resolution was adopted unanimously.* 

Dr. Cleland then presented the following paper, with a request 
that it might be recorded immediately after the preceding 
resolutions : — 

" We, the undersigned, anxious to preserve the harmony and 
influence of the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky, do hereby 
assent to the resolutions proposed with the following explana- 
tions: 1. In affirming that the Assembly which met in the 7th 
Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia in May last, is the only 
true General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Unit- 
ed States, we mean distinctly to say that we do submit to it. 
While, on the one hand, we express no opinion as to the legal 
question now pending between the conflicting Assemblies, we 
are free to state, on the»other, that no decision of that question 
by the civil magistrate shall influence our future course. 2. We 
declare our adherence to said Assembly, but distinctly withhold 
our approbation of the Reform Measures of the Assemblies of 
'37 and '38. Thomas Cleland, Jos. C. Stiles, Jno. H. Brown, 
Andw. A. Shannon, G. W. Kennedy, Saml. Maccoun, D. M. 
Winston, P. L. McAboy, Edw. P. Humphrey, Wm. Dickey, 
H. St. John Van Dake, John H. Berryman, Charles Philips, 
Jos. Wilson, Timothy Root, Jno. Rootes Thornton, E. Herriott, 
David Castleman, J. T. Hendrick." 

Whereupon, Synod oi'dered the following minute to be re- 
corded : — " Synod very cheerfully permits this paper to be put 
upon the records ; at the same time reaffirming our cordial ap- 
proval of the leading acts of the General Assemblies of 1837 
and 1838."t 

All hearts beat high with pleasure at this amicable termina- 
tion of affairs, and the fraternal spirit which appeared to prevail. ' 
The ministers returned to their labors with renewed alacrity, 
and encouraging revivals occurred in several places. But the 

* Min. SjTi. vol. V. p. 113. 

i" Min. Syn. vol. v. pp. 114, 115. The names of the ministers in the above 
document have been italicized for convenience sake. It was signed by eleven 
ministers, and eight ruling elders ; nineteen in all. 



prospect was soon overcast. At the meeting of the Synod at 
Hopkinsville, October 9th, 1839, it was painfully evident that 
the elements of discord had been at work. The Bowling-green^ 
Church had admitted a New School minister to supply their 
pulpit, and their conduct came up by a reference from Muhlen- 
burg Presbytery. After inquiring into the case, the Synod 
admonished the church of the consequences of employing a 
minister not in connection with them ; and declared the invita- 
tion disorderly and irregular, and the conduct of the individual 
in question an indelicate and unchristian intrusion.* 

While the seeds of trouble were sown in the south-western 
section, the northern region was not exempted from the same 
baleful influence. The minority, notwithstanding their promise 
of submission and adherence at Paris, were restive and uneasy. 
At the request of Mr. Stiles, an Interlocutory meeting was held 
with closed doors.f Messrs. Cleland and Stiles then took the 
opportunity of unbosoming themselves at some length. The 
grievances of which they complained were the arbitrary action 
of the General Assembly, and the publications in the periodical 
under the patronage of the Synod. J They interpreted the 
arrangement at Paris as a compromise, by which both parties 
bound themselves to mutual silence on the points of difference. 
.Messrs. Burch, W. L. Breckinridge, and Rice, took the floor in 
vindication of the Synod, and of the paper, of which the two last- 
named gentlemen were joint editors. It was explicitly main- 
tained by them that all the Synod meant was, that the minority 
would not be required to approve the acts of 1837 and 1838 ; while 
it was their understanding that so long as approval was not re- 
quired, the minority consented to adhere and submit in good faith. 
This agreement the Synod had never violated on their part, nor 

* Min. Syn. vol. v. p. 131. f Min. Syn. vol. v. pp. 125, 129. 

t The only connection of the Synod with the Protestant and Herald, was a 
.recommendation of it to the churches. The articles which gave so mucli oflence 
were certain numbers by Mr. Rice, since published in pamphlet form, (pp. 80,) 
entitled The Old and New Schools. This was a masterly production, and clearly 
stated the views of the New School on the subjects of Imputation, Atonement, 
Justification, Regeneration, Ability, the Missionary Question, and Church 
Polity. There was also an editorial or two, by Mr. Breckinridge, severely re- 
flecting on men who could unblushingly maltreat the church with which they 
w-ere connected ; wliich gave great offence, particularly the exclamation, " O 
shame ! where is thy blush ?" How little reason there was to complain, must be 
apparent from the admission into the Protestant and Herald, of a series of ar- 
ticles from Mr. Stiles' pen, as well as communications from Dr. Cleland in reply 



required approval of any one. As for the paper, it was not un- 
der the control of Synod, nor was Synod responsible for its 
articles. It was an independent press. In regard to the 
general issue, which, after so long slumber, and without any 
new provocation, was all at once revived, it was said by some 
of the speakers, that, for themselves, they could not stay in a 
church if their hearts were not in it.* This remark was misin- 
terpreted into an invitation to leave the church, and it was con- 
sidered as unkind in the Synod to suffer the interview to close 
without taking any steps to remove the impression. f The truth 
was, that in consequence of the dissatisfied brethren requesting 
leave of absence for private reasons, the Interlocutory meeting 
was abruptly terminated. J In consequence of this interruption 
several members of Synod who had intended to express their 
opinions, were prevented from doing so,§ and no action was had 
in the premises. The whole matter was afterwards exceedingly 
misrepresented, and made to furnish material for the new cry 
that was now got up, the pretence of persecution. 

So far from regarding the admonition of the Synod, the Bowl- 
ing-green Church, or rather, a portion of them, took an inde- 
pendent stand, and published to the world their reasons, in a 
pamphlet, written by the Rev. Archer C. Dickerson, and signed 
by himself and the Session. || 

Mr. Stiles, true to the new ground he had taken, although for 
the last three years he had professed total ignorance of the con- 
troversy, and perfect indifference to it, (absorbed in lecturing 
and writing against Campbelhsm,T[) delivered two discourses at 
Versailles, on the first Sabbath in January following, (1840,) of 
a highly inflammatory character ; in which he inveighed with 
great severity against the Assemblies of '37 and '38, and the 
course pursued by the Synod, These discourses produced such 
a ferment that a called meeting of the West Lexington Presby- 
tery was held at Versailles on the 21st of the month, to take 

* See Price's Speech, p. 21. 

t Manifesto, p. 2. t M'"- Sy°- '^'o'- "^'^ PP- ^29, 130, 

5 Price's Speech, p. 46. • Reply to the Manifesto, p. 6. 

II An Expression of the Views of the Presbyterian Church at BowHng-green, 
Ky., relative to the late dismemberment of the Prcsb. Ch. in the U. S., pp. 14. 

IT Mr. Stiles had held several oral debates with Mr. Campbell, Mr. Johnson, 
&c. See Letter to Alex. Campbell, pp. 57, Reply to Alex. Campbell, No. 2, 
pp. 56, He also contemplated publishing a controversial newspaper. 


into consideration the sermons and the distracted state of the 
congregation. Some of the older members were for stringent 
and decisive measures to arrest the evil, others were persuaded 
that nothing would be lost by delay, while several churches 
might be saved which premature action might alienate. The 
milder counsels prevailed, and Mr. Stiles was cautioned to be 
more careful in his future course and statements. Two or three 
ministerial friends had a private conference with him, in which 
they represented the evils and hazards of his course. But their 
representations were in vain ; he was obstinately bent on pro- 
curing a repeal of the Assembly's obnoxious acts by exciting an 
overwhelming public sentiment against them among the private 
members of the Church. 

The Rev. Joseph C. Stiles, D.D., was a native of Georgia, 
(whence he removed about two or three years previously to the 
time we are describing,) and had been a lawyer by profession. He 
was endowed by nature with a tall, commanding person, impetuous 
and impulsive feelings, an exuberant fancy, an earnest vehemence 
of manner, and a perfect torrent of eloquence. His fluency, ani- 
mation, and zeal, made him a highly popular preacher. But 
with these qualities he combined all the elements of an enthu- 
siast. He relied on a divine warrant for the course he pursued ; 
and regardless of consequences and results, pressed forward, ac- 
knowledging that all was dark before him, but praying for light 
to enable him to take one step at a time. After such prayers, 
he felt a happiness that he was satisfied God would not permit 
him to experience if he were in error.* 

The Rev. Thomas Cleland, D.D,, was born in Maryland, 
A.D. 1777, and at an early age removed to Washington county, 
Kentucky. His father intended him for the law, but his own 
preferences were for the ministry. Always serious and sedate, 
his religious impressions were deepened under the preaching of 
Dr. Blythe, while at Pisgah academy. His education was in- 
terrupted by the death of his father, and the consequent neces- 
sity of his succeeding to the business, which was that of an inn- 
keeper. When twenty-four years old, he attended the great 
camp-meeting at Cane Ridge, in 1801, on which occasion he ex- 

* See a curious instance of his early insubordination, Price's Speech, p. 32 ; 
and of his boasting of having " scared" Alexander Campbell by the directness 
of his prayers. Reply to Campbell, No. 2, p. 42. 



horted for two hours, to which several persons traced their con- 
version. After this he was frequently asked to counsel the sick 
and distressed in mind, and to exhort in public. When the 
Presbytery of Transylvania met some months afterwards to 
ordain Mr. Robertson, Mr. Cleland repaired thither for the dou- 
ble purpose of obtaining a supply for his neighborhood, and of 
procuring a clergyman to marry him. After the ceremony was 
performed, the Presbytery went into session, and at about eleven 
o'clock at night, sent for Mr. Cleland to meet them. To his sur- 
prise they urged him to prepare for the ministry, and after a 
long interview, released him at one o'clock, charging him to 
consider the matter, and give them an answer in the morning. 
What deg^ree of reflection a young man was likely to bestow 
upon such a subject on his wedding night, must be left to the 
reader's conjectures. In due time Mr. Cleland was licensed, 
and for awhile was connected with one of Mr. Templin's 
churches in Washington county. The standing he enjoyed 
among his brethren may be inferred from his being one of the 
Commission of Synod in the Cumberland difficulties, in 1805. 
In 1813, he was ordained over New Providence and Cane Run 
(now Harrodsburg) churches, where he labored for many years 
with remarkable success. He was blessed with several revi- 
vals, and hundreds looked to him as their spiritual father. Dr. 
Cleland has been a diligent student, and has wielded the pen 
with signal ability against Mr. Stone, and against Alexander 
Campbell. His writings were popular and had an extensive 
sale. His printed works are, 1. A Brief History of the Action 
of Synod in the case of the Cumberland Presbyterians, 1823, pp. 
29, 8vo. 2. The Socini-Arian Detected, a scries of letters to B. 
W. Stone, 1815, pp. 101. 12mo. 3. Unitarianism Unmasked, a 
Reply to Stone's Letters to Blythe, 1825, pp. 184. 12mo. 5. 
Narrative of the Bodily Exercises, in the Biblical Repertory, 
July, 1834. G. Letters on Campbellism. 7. A Hymn Book, 
selected for the use of prayer meetings, revivals, &c., an excel- 
lent collection, and extensively used in the West. That one who 
had been so valorous a champion for orthodoxy and sound order 
should throw himself into the arms of the New School, naturally 
created some surprise ; but, notwithstanding his popularity, (to 
secure which great pains were taken to win him over.) he failed 
to carry the great body of his church along with him. 


Before the close of the winter appeared a manifesto, signed 
by Messrs. Cleland, Stiles, Winston, and Maccoun. Mr. Win- 
ston was the bosom friend of Mr. Stiles, and had recently ac- 
companied him from Georgia. Mr. Maccoun was an elder of 
Dr. Cleland's Church. The manifesto denounced in no measured 
terms the reform measures as erecting a new basis, and invited 
a convention of sympathizers at Versailles.* 

On the 17th of March the Convention met. It was composed 
of nine ministers and twenty elders, some of whom attended 
solely with a view to preserve peace and prevent an open 
schism.f Two of the ministers were avowed New School men, 
and not in connection with the Old School Assembly, Messrs. 
Dickerson and Alexander Wheeler Campbell,J After a session 
of two days, the Convention adjourned to meet again at the call 
of the chairman ; a committee being appointed to issue an ad- 
dress to the public, setting forth their views. In this whole busi- 
ness Mr. Stiles was the leading spirit, and the Address bears the 
evident impress of his fervid pen.§ 

Now were the meetings of Presbytery converted into scenes 
of continual altercation. Mr. Stiles omitted no opportunity of 
introducing his favorite opinions, while the reform measures 

* '• A Manifesto, containing a plain statement of facts, relative to the acts and 
doings of the General Assemby and its inferior judicatories, together with the 
sentiments of the undersigned members of the Synod of Kentucky," p. 22. To 
this manifesto a " Reply" was published by the writer of these pages, which 
called forth an "Answer" from the Rev. Harvey Woods ; a further notice in 
" The Presbyterian Controversy Settled," by Dr. Cleland ; and a " Review" by 
Dr. Stiles, in the Presbyterian Sentinel, vols. i. and ii. (a periodical started in 
Louisville, by the dissatisfied brethren, in the fall of 1841.) Each of the three 
condescended to petty personalities, unworthy of themselves and of the grave con- 
troversy in which they were embarked. The New School Assembly, by an odd 
misnomer, assumed the name of The Constitutional Assembly, although retaining 
the unconstitulional Congregational elements ; while to that of the Old School 
was given the equally inappropriate title of The Ne^v Basis Assembly, although 
they were actually restoring the old basis of the Church. This latter term was 
a perversion of the very harmless words in the first of the Three Acts of 1838, 
requiring adherence "upon the basis of the Assembhes of 1837 and 1838;" 
meaning nothing more than submission to the reform measures of those Assem- 

i Price's Speech, p. 35. 

X Tliis is the gentleman who distinguished himself in the New School Assem- 
bly of 1846 by his proposal of a joint celebration of the Lord's Supper by the 
two Assemblies, as an initiative towards a re-union. This may be regarded as 
a well-meant atonement for his divisive course in Kentucky, although by the 
blundering way in which it was managed, it did more harm than good, and 
served to postpone the desired re-union. 

\ See Proceedings of the Convention at Versailles, with Address, p. 21. 


found able advocates in Messrs. Price and Bullock. At length 
matters reached a crisis. A respectable minority of the Ver- 
sailles congregation memorialized the West Lexington Presby- 
tery against IVh*. Stiles' being settled part of his time over them, 
on account of their disapprobation of his proceedings. The 
Presbytery, in the exercise of that supervisory power with which 
the constitution invests them,* acceded to their wishes. Upon 
this, the session undertook to discipline the memorialists, among 
whom was one of their own number whom they suspended. On 
their appeal to the Presbytery, this decision was reversed, and 
the session themselves deposed on the ground of malicious pro- 
secution, and manifest unfitness for their office. The Session in 
turn appealed to the Synod ; and the appeal was issued at Dan- 
ville, September 24th. After a warmly contested trial, the 
Synod, " in view of the extraordinary nature of the Session's 
proceedings, the obvious partiality, prejudice, injustice, and irre- 
gularity of their course," sustained the decision of the Presby- 
tery, with the exception of the suspension from church privileges. 
The Presbytery being technically out of the house, the vote stood, 
ayes, 20 ; noes, 10 ; non liquet, l.f 

Heated by enthusiasm, flattered by his satellites, spurred on 
by his correspondents, and mistaking the caution of the Presby- 
tery for cowardice, Mr. Stiles became insufferably arrogant in 
his demeanor. The Presbytery waited their time, unmoved, and 
were neither to be hurried nor provoked by his taunts or de- 
fiances ; J for they perceived that every month's delay strength- 
ened their hands and weakened those of their adversaries. The 
malcontents, finding that they had little hope of success un- 
less they could appeal to the native repugnance of the Western 
people to tyranny and oppression, were clamorous for persecu- 
cution, and eager for the influence and popularity which such a 
cry would create ; but the prudent conduct of the Church Courts 
afforded not the slightest pretext for such an appeal. In truth 
it would have been too ridiculous to pretend in one breath that 

* Form of Govt. Book I. c. X. sect. 8. 

t Min. Syn. vol. v. p. 145. 

I " Mr. Stiles had. in writing, complained to Synod that his Presbytery would 
not try hiin. He had, in a speech delivered to the Synod, taunted the Presby- 
tery for not trying him, and more than insinuated that the Presbytery was afraid 
of him." Price's Speech, p. 7. 


their power and influence intimidated the Old School body, and 
at the same time that they were so helpless as to be the victims 
of their unsparing persecution. 

The result was precipitated by Mr. Stiles' circulating reports 
unfavorable to the veracity of the Rev. Jacob F. Price, formerly 
his bosom friend.* Mr. Price, conceiving it due to his own 
character not to rest under such imputations, arraigned Mr. 
Stiles before the West Lexington Presbytery on the double 
charge of public and private offences. 

Mr. Stiles, in turn, tabled charges against Mr. Price. The 
personal difficulties were, however, adjusted at the meeting of 
the Synod, in September, through the friendly intervention of 
Dr. Blythe, President Young and General McAfee. Mutual 
concessions were made, and all the private charges were with- 
drawn. Mr. Price was willing to withdraw the public charges 
also ; but this Mr. Stiles would not permit, and insisted on a 
trial. f 

Accordingly, in the month of November, 1840, the Presbytery 
met, in Versailles, and fearlessly entered on the discharge of their 
duty, in the midst of obloquy and reviUngs from the devoted par- 
tisans of the accused. One member was a viper ; another was 
a bloodhound ; another was a Grand Inquisitor ; another was a 
Juvenile Patriarch ; another was compared to the beast in the 
Revelation that looked like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. Mr. 
Stiles was tried on the general charge of "A Breach of Ministe- 
rial Vows, in attempting to produce Schism." Under this were 
embraced seven specifications, viz : 

" Specification I. By misrepresenting and holding up the acts 
of the highest judicatory of the Presbyterian Church, in sermons 
and various publications, as arbitrary, tyrannical, oppressive, &c., 
calculated to prejudice the character of the Church, when he had 
twice votedj to adhere and submit to the Old School Assembly, 
with a full knowledge of these acts. 

" Specification II. By misrepresenting the Synod at Hopkins- 
ville, and attempting to throw odium upon it. 

* Letter to Stiles, Price's Speech, p. 45. Mr. Price was pastor of the Pisgah 
congregation, and a descendant of the venerable Jacob Fishback. 

I Price's Speech, p. 48. 

X Once at Winchester, in 18.38, on the vote to approve the Report of the writer 
of these pages, who had, as a Commissioner of the Presbytery, sat in the Old 
School Assembly ; and a second time, at Paris, in Synod. 


" Specification III. By pursuing such a course, and making 
such representations of the Church, of which he is a minister and 
member, as tend to produce schism. 

" Specification IV. By declaring, in open Presbytery, and else- 
where, that he first purposed, upon his return from Synod last fall, 
to leave, but afterwards concluded to remain in his present eccle- 
siastical connection, to enlighten the minds of his brethren, and 
bring the Church over to his views, i. e., to agitate and distract 
the churches. 

"Specification V. By aiding in calling a Convention, to be com- 
posed in part of ministers and laymen not in our ecclesiastical con- 
nection, to counsel and advise what he should do as to his present 
church relations. 

"Specification VI. By aiding and abetting the Session of the 
Versailles Presbyterian Church in a slanderous and party prose- 
cution, against the minority of said church, for expressing in me- 
morials to the West Lexington Presbytery their belief of the in- 
jurious tendency of his course. 

" Specification VII. By aiding and abetting the Rev. A. W. 
Campbell, who has been attempting to draw off the Greer's Creek 
Church froin its present ecclesiastical connection."* 

The examination of the witnesses, and the hearing of the par- 
ties, occupied four days, after which the decision of the court 
w^as rendered, as follows: 

" Presbytery having deliberately and seriously considered the 
case of prosecution against the Rev. J. C. Stiles, have come to the 
following conclusion or judgment, viz : That the charge and spe- 
cifications preferred against the Rev. J. C. Stiles are established 
by the evidence ; and that he be admonished by the Moderator 
of the serious and lamentable evils he has occasioned to the 
Church and its judicatories by his imprudent, agitating, revolu- 
tionary and schismatical course, and that he be warned against 
a continuance of such conduct ; and further, that Mr. Stiles be 
requested to subscribe the following acknowledgment, viz : ' I 
acknowledge the course I have pursued to be wrong, and at- 
tended with evil consequences, which I deeply regret, and I 

* Mr. Stiles had assisted Mr. Campbell in holdintr a sacramental meeting at 
this church, with a view to Mr. C.'s settlement, and had sat down at the table, 
and taken the elements from his hands. 


solemnly promise, in reliance on Divine grace, to abstain in 
future from all such measures as tend to divide and distract the 
Church.' And if Mr. Stiles nov^^ submit to this decision, he be 
considered as in good standing in the Church ; but if he refuse to 
submit, that he be forthwith suspended, for contumacy, from all 
the functions of the Gospel ministry, until he shall submit." 

The above minute was adopted by the following vote : Ayes, 
21 ; (nine ministers, twelve elders,) Noes, 3; (all of whom were 

The decision was then read to the defendant, to which he re- 
fused to submit, or to any censure the body might deliver ; 
whereupon the Moderator proceeded to pronounce the sentence 
of suspension from all the functions of the Gospel ministry.* 
The defendant rose in his place and received the sentence, and 
immediately left the house, followed by a large number of his 
adherents, principally of the female sex, some of whom made in- 
sulting remarks to the members as they passed. The Presby- 
tery, the next year, finding that Mr. Stiles continued to preach 
notwithstanding this suspension, passed a resolution to depose 
him from the office of the ministry, and recognize him no more 
as a minister or member of the Presbyterian Church. 

Meantime, in the course of the winter, the Convention met in 
the city of Lexington, for the double purpose of shielding Mr. 
Stiles, and of gathering a great harvest from the two Presbyte- 
rian Churches in that place. They had been promised hundreds 
of adherents if they would make a strong demonstration there ; 
but although they were in session several days, (in the Methodist 
Church,) and had many discussions and speeches, and had now, 
in addition, the magic spell of pretended persecution to conjure 
with, they gained not a single proselyte from the second church, 
and but half a dozen from the first. The Convention resolved 
itself into a Synod, embracing three Presbyteries, each Presby- 
tery consisting of a bare quorum of ministers ; some of whom 
were importations from Ohio and Tennessee. One of their first 
acts was to restore Mr. Stiles. The new Synod (which took the 
name of the Synod of Kentucky, and for a time assumed an in- 
dependent stand, but soon after joined the New School Assem- 
bly) commenced its career with nine or ten ministers, and a frag- 

* Min. of West Lex. Pby. Price's Speech, p. 42. 



ment of a church; but m 1842 they boasted of eleven ministers 
and fourteen churches. They have had httle accession to their 
strength of late, especially since the master-spirit, Mr. Stiles, re- 
moved to Richmond, Virginia. The New School Synod of Ken- 
tucky at present embraces the Presbytery of Harmony, with six 
ministers and nine churches ; the Presbytery of Providence, with 
four ministers and five churches ; and the Presbytery of Green 
river, with four ministers and seven churches ; in all, fourteen 
ministers, twenty-one churches, and nine hundred and fifty-four 

It was rumored in the year 1845 that they took into serious 
consideration the subject of a re-union with the Old School 
Synod, but having previously agreed to do nothing unless they 
could be unanimous, and two of the members (understood to be 
Dr. Cleland and Mr. Dickerson) opposing the proposition, it was 

The failure of this attempt to create an important schism, in 
spite of the eloquence of one of the parties, and the respect and 
aflfection which clustered round the name of another, reflects 
great credit on the firmness and Christian courtesy of the Old 
School body. Seldom has there been so overwhelming a major- 
ity that used their power with so much moderation. They were 
indeed greatly grieved at the defection of such a man as Dr. 
Cleland, and would even now gladly hail his return. They could 
not easily forget the noble part he acted in the stormy times of 
1805, when he sat as one of the Commission of Synod to adjust 
the Cumberland Presbyterian difficulties, and they lamented the 
contrast between his present and his former positions. 

In 1841, the Presbyterian Church was called to mourn the loss 
of that eminent servant of God, the Rev. John Breckinkidgb, 
D.D. This eloquent and popular divine was born July 4th, 1797, 
at Cabin's Dale, the family seat, near Lexington, Kentucky. His 
father was the late Hon. John Breckinridge, a leading statesman 
in his day, and Attorney-General of the United States under Pre- 
sident Jefferson. His mother was of the Cabell family of Vir- 
ginia. She was a remarkably strong-minded woman, and like 
the mother of the Gracchi, might look with pardonable pride 

* Min. N. S. G. A. for 1846. 


upon her children, whom it was her first care to teach to fear 
God, her next, not to fear the face of man. He was educated at 
Nassau Hall, under President Green, and was designed for the 
law ; but in the midst of his gay and wild career, he was con- 
verted by the grace of God, and devoted himself to the ministry, 
much against his family's (then) wishes. In 1822 he was made 
Chaplain to Congress ; and in 1823 ordained pastor of the 2d or 
McChord Church in Lexington, in his native State. Here he 
successfully combated Dr. Holley, and the Infidel party who sup- 
ported him ; to aid in which contest he established the Western 
Luminary. In 1826, he was called to the Second Presbyterian 
Church in Baltimore, and under his faithful ministry a powerful 
revival soon followed. In 1831, he was appointed Correspond- 
ing Secretary and General Agent of the Assembly's Board of 
Education ; to which he gave such an impulse during the five 
years he was at the helm, as to augment the number of beneficia- 
ries from sixty to a thousand. Without doubt, the Old School 
cause was indebted for much of its stability to his unparalleled 
energy and exertions. In 1836, he went to Princeton Seminary, 
as Professor of Pastoral Theology, but resigned the chair in 1838, 
for the more active duties of the Agency of the Assembly's new 
Board of Foreign Missions. To this object he brought his charac- 
teristic enthusiasm, and contributions flowed into the treasury in 
an unwonted stream. He not only travelled, or rather flew, over 
the United States, but extended his tour to the republic of Texas, 
where he was treated by the highest functionaries with marked re- 
spect, and was requested to nominate chaplains for the navy. 
His health failing, he resigned, and spent two winters in New 
Orleans, preaching to the church of which he was elected pastor. 
Had his life been spared, he would have accepted the Presidency 
of Oglethorpe University in Georgia. But his race was run. 
The effect of his residence in the South was to derange his biliary 
organs, prostrate his nervous energy, and develope bronchitis. 
He returned to the family seat, Cabell's Dale, and died, after a 
protracted illness, on the 4th of August, 1841, in the forty-fourth 
year of his age. His last hours were tranquil ; not triumphant, 
but serene. He reposed with firm faith on the mediation of the 
Redeemer. He calmly watched the cessation of his pulse, and 
the various symptoms of approaching death. His last words 



were, ** God is with me !" A little after lie sweetly fell asleep in 

Dr. Breckinridge was twice married. His first wife was Mar- 
garet, daughter of Dr. Miller, of Princeton ; his second was Mary 
Ann, daughter of Mr. Babcock, of Stonington, Connecticut. He 
left one son and three daughters. 

Dr. Breckinridge was a model of manly beauty, and his finely 
proportioned person was set off" by the most aflfable deportment 
and courtly manners. He was a Christian gentleman, in every 
sense of the word. His popularity was unbounded, and he won 
all hearts wherever he appeared. He occupied the foremost 
rank among the pulpit orators of America. All classes were 
alike captivated by his eloquence, though they might not be able 
to tell wherein lav the charm. His oratorv was of that jrlowinor 
and earnest style peculiar to the South, which cares little for 
satisfying the intellect if it cannot also reach the heart. When 
he spoke, every feature of his countenance was lit up with ex- 
pression. Brilliant in the pulpit, and tender in pastoral visitation, 
he yet excelled in that practical tact and mastery of other men's 
minds which peculiarly fit for great undertakings. Sanguine in 
his temperament, he infected every one else with his enthusiasm. 
Fearless and intrepid, he never forgot, nor allowed others to 
forget, that he was a Kentuckian. Of an active turn, he was 
incessantly occupied, in addition to his professional duties, with 
the various benevolent schemes of the day ; and of colonization 
in particular, he was an ardent, and, amid the hisses and de- 
nunciations of its enemies, an unflinching advocate. He shrank 
not from polemical discussion, and once maintained a controversy 

* Will it bo believed, that of such a man, and after so short an interval, the 
scandalous story should be raised, that on liis deatii-bed he repented bitterly of hav- 
ing spoken against the Roman Catholic Church, and begged to unburden his 
conscience to a priest, but that his hard-hearted brothers refused, and buried him 
in silence and privacy ! This atrocious calumny has been recently told by the 
(Roman) Catholic News Letter, of St. Louis!!! His brothers, William and 
Robert, have published an indignant and unqualified denial of the whole fabrica- 
tion. The writer of these pages may be permitted to add, that he visited and 
conversed with this eminent servant of God during his last sickness, and was 
present at his burial, amid the ashes of his kindred. The funeral was attended 
by a large and respectable concourse, from Lexington and the immediate vicinity, 
and a sermon was preached on the occasion by tiie pastor of the neighboring 
church. He hesitates not to pronounce this .story one of the most base and 
malignant libels ever propagated. Tb.e News l^etter has felt itself compelled to 
retract the falsehood, in the most unequivocal manner, but ignorance and preju- 
dice will doubtless continue to retail the calumny. 


with the Roman Catholic Bishop, Hughes, who found him no con- 
temptible antagonist. He fell a sacrifice to his unwearied 
activity. In Baltimore, in 1829, he ruptured a blood-vessel, but 
when urged by his medical adviser to desist from preaching, 
" Doctor," said he, " I had rather wear out than rust out in my 
Master's service." Visiting the writer of this sketch on his way 
to New Orleans, in 1840, the doubt was suggested whether the 
climate would not injure his shattered constitution, and never 
will his characteristic answer be forgotten. Quoting a remark 
of Whitefield, he replied, while his eye kindled with unnatural 
lustre, " / a7n immortal till my work is done.^' 

In the year 1846, died the Rev. Joshua Lacy* Wilson, D.D. 
He was born in Bedford county, Virginia, Sept. 22, 1774, and in 
the fall of 1781, when seven years of age, removed to the neigh- 
borhood of Danville, Kentucky, with his mother and step-father, 
John Templin, father of Terah Templin. They spent two years 
in stations, and at Harrod's Station heard Mr. Rice's first sermon. 
They afterwards removed to a small farm in Jessamine county. 
He was brought up to the trade of a blacksmith, and had no 
education beyond what his mother gave him, till he was twenty- 
two years old. At that period he was converted, and joined the 
Jessamine Church. He was baptized by Mr. Crawford, in a log 
house, with an earthen floor and a fire in the centre, the smoke 
escaping as it could. Being of a vigorous and inquiring mind, 
he now sold the farm, and with the proceeds procured an educa- 
tion at Pisgah Academy and elsewhere, and afterwards became 
himself a teacher in Frankfort. Here he spent two years, and 
commenced reading law, but abandoned it for theology. He 
studied with Rev. Mr. Vance on Beargrass, in 1800, and assist- 
ed him at the same time in his classical school. In 1802 he was 
licensed at Spring Hill, Tennessee, (Mr. Craighead's church,) 
and in 1804 was ordained pastor of Bardstown and Big Spring 
Churches, being now thirty years of age. In 1805, he sat as a 
member of the Commission of Synod in the Cumberland difficul- 
ties. In 1808, he was called to the (First) Church in Cincinnati, 
where he remained for thirty-eight years, part of the time teach- 
ing a classical school. 

This church had been organized in 1791, by Father Rice, and 
the pulpit had been filled by the Rev. James Kemper, William 

* He was a nephew of the Rev. Drury Lacy, of Virginia. 



Arthurs, Peter Wilson, M. G. Wallace, and John Davies. The 
town was small, having been built but five years, and contained 
only 1,500 inhabitants. The church consisted of but 80 members, 
scattered over 20 miles. It was then, and for twelve years, the 
only church in the place. But its growth was great. At one 
time it had 600 communicants, and from it have been colonized 
no fewer than five churches. In 1828, occurred a great revival, 
which originated in this congregation, when nearly five hundred 
were added to the First and Second Churches. The anxious-seat 
and camp-meetings were then introduced by Messrs. Ross and 
Gallaher, with the pastor's sanction, but he afterwards decided- 
ly disapproved of them. 

When the New School difficulties commenced. Dr. Wilson 
was one of the first to take the alarm. He threw down the 
gauntlet in 1831, by the publication of his Four Propositions, 
exposing the ambitious designs of the Home Missionary Society. 
The Pandect having been manoeuvred out of his hands, and con- 
verted into the Cincinnati Journal, a New School print, he start- 
ed the Standard without prospectus or subscriptions. Dr. 
William Ridgley and Mr. Cist aided gratuitously in the edito- 
rial department, (till Mr. Burtt was employed as sole editor,) 
and Messrs. John Mahard, James Mclntire, John and Nathan 
Baker, and James Johnson, were the principal friends who aided 
with their purse. 

Dr. Wilson was consulted by the Messrs. Lane about their 
projected Seminary, and was instrumental in inviting Dr. Beecher 
to its presidency in 1832 ; but becoming satisfied of Dr. Beecher's 
unsoundness, he prosecuted him for heresy, first before the Pres- 
bytery, and next before the Cincinnati Synod, in October, 1835. 
The appeal was sustained, and Dr. Beecher admonished to be 
more guarded in future. At the Synod's request Dr. Beecher pub- 
lished his Views in Theology, pp, 240, 12mo. Dr. Wilson, being 
dissatisfied with the mild course of the Synod, carried an appeal to 
the Assembly of 1836, but was persuaded to withdraw it, as Mr. 
Barnes' case would settle the principle involved. This unplea- 
sant business was conducted throughout without any personal 
animosity, or a single unkind word, according to his distinguished 
adversary's own admission. 

Dr. Wilson, for some years before his death, was in feeble 
health, in consequence of injuries received from the overturning 


of a coach, and his son was associated with him in the pastoral 
charge. He departed this hfe on the 14th of August, 1846, in 
the 72d year of his age. His death-bed was composed and 
happy. '" Heart cannot conceive," said he, with beaming coun- 
tenance, " tongue cannot tell, what I feel ; yes, all is well." 

Dr. Wilson was not an eloquent man in the ordinary sense of 
the term ; but his matter was weighty, well-digested, and per- 
spicuous, and his manner deeply impressive, dignified, and devout. 
His person was uncommonly tall, and his presence commanding. 
He had some of the faults common to the self-educated ; and his 
original and independent turn made him appear to some eccen- 
tric, to others bigoted and harsh. Thus he never would allow 
his portrait to be taken, as he deemed it a violation of the second 
commandment. But no one denied his stern unbending inte- 
grity, his candor, conscientiousness, and truth. His character 
was unsullied and beyond reproach. Whatever were his deter- 
minations, he stood up in their defence like a sturdy oak, that 
never bends its head to the storm ; and when convinced of a 
mistake, he acknowledged it with equal promptness and mag- 
nanimity. For thirty-eight years he was at the head of every 
social, moral, and intellectual enterprise of the day in Cincinnati, 
and to his personal influence Cincinnati College is largely 
indebted for her existence and prosperity. 

His published writings are : 1. Four Propositions sustained 
against the Home Missionary Society; 1831, pp. 19, 12mo. 
2. Letter to Dr. Nelson ; 1834, pp. 12, 12mo. 3. Letter to Dr. 
Bishop, 1835, pp. 14, 8vo. 4. A Pamphlet to the Editors of 
the Bibl. Repert. on the Act and Test., signed, A Gentleman. 
5, One Proposition sustained against the New School ; 1835, pp. 
16, 12mo. 6. Plea before Synod of Cine, in the case of Dr. 
Beecher; 1837, pp. 120, 8vo. 7. Episcopal Methodism, or 
Dagonism Exhibited, in answer to a poem in three cantos, called 
The Dagon of Calvinism, or the Moloch of Decrees. 8. A Dis- 
course against Witchcraft ; intended to apply to Mesmerism and 
Clairvoyance. 1846. 

Here closes our sketch of the eventful history of the Presby- 
terian Church in Kentucky. We have seen the share which she 
has taken in the evangelization of the West, and the fruits of 
somewhat more than half a century's toil. Three generations 
ago, Kentucky was a tangled wilderness, whose silence was 


broken only by the howl of the wild beast, or the whoop ol" the 
savage ; but the wilderness has been reclaimed, and made to 
blossom, literally and metaphorically, as the rose. Where 
waved the forest or the cane-brake, now stand numerous 
churches, most of them neat and commodious, and some truly 
elegant in their structure, within whose walls the pure and sim- 
ple rites of religion are decently celebrated every Sabbath, and 
the truths of the Gospel faithfully, and often eloquently, pro- 
claimed. The pulpits are filled with a clergy, trained for the 
most part in halls founded by the unwearied perseverance of 
the Church, in spite of repeated opposition and defeat, and 
second to none in those sterling qualities which most adorn the 
sacred office. Amid all the fluctuations of theological opinion 
and the vicissitudes of conflicting parties, the Synod of Kentucky 
has maintained a firm and consistent stand ; it has borne a bold 
and unequivocal testimony in favor of the ancient landmarks of 
truth and order ; and there is no Synod in a more healthy, sound, 
and harmonious condition.* Among the eldership are found 
names that must be revered wherever judicious counsels and a 
godly life are held in esteem. The laity, less accustomed to 
read than to think, are shrewd and intelligent, and of an inde- 
pendent turn of mind. They are warm-hearted, frank, and 
hospitable, easily swayed by the impulse of the moment, and 
ready to go any length to serve a friend or chastise an enemy. 
The present generation are greatly in advance of their fore- 
fathers, as regards the support of the Gospel and the benevolent 
operations of the day. Owing to the frequent emigration of the 
population to more recently opened States, the churches appear 
stationary in point of numbers ; but this is a fallacious appear- 
ance, and one which has been very unfairly quoted in certain 
quarters ; since it is obvious on reflection, that to supply this 
constant drain, the churches must necessarily have large annual 
accessions. While the congregations in Kentucky are thimied 
by this wasting process, it is a consolatory thought that they are 

* The Synod of Kentucky embraces six Presbyteries : Transylvania, West 
Lexington, Louisville, Mulilenburg, Ebenezer, and Bowling-green ; seventy- 
nine ministers ; one hundred and forty churches ; and nine thousand five hun- 
dred communicants. The contributions during the year 1845 to the Assembly's 
Boards of Education and Foreign and Domestic Missions, and other benevolent 
objects, exceeded $13,000 ; to say nothing of all that has been done for Centre 
College, which has an endowment of $70,000. 


serving as nurseries for the mighty West ; and that the migrating 
ministers and members are employed by Providence in scatter- 
ing the seeds of Gospel truth and the institutions of the Church 
over the vv^ide valley of the Mississippi. And finally, let it be 
recorded to their honor, that though outnumbered by several 
other sects, they are alw^ays among the foremost in every good 
word and work, and none exert a more sensible or wholesome 
influence upon the community. Hated and feared they may be, 
but never despised. 

Connected with the history of this section of the Presbyterian 
Church are many names on which memory loves to linger : the 
patriarchal Rice ; the sprightly Allen ; the learned Campbell; 
the tender-hearted Lyle ; the dignified Blythe ; the caustic 
Cameron ; the brilliant McChord ; the uncompromising Wilson ; 
the guileless Stuart ; the courtly Breckinridge. It were easy 
to swell the Hst by the addition of living worthies, both from the 
clergy and the eldership, who have done good service to the 
cause of the Redeemer ; but their merits it is not for a contem- 
porary to chronicle. 

*' salve, magna mater virum r 



l)avid Rice, 
Samuel Findley, 
Matthew Houston, 
Samuel B. Robertson, 
Thomas Craighead, 
Terah TempUn, 
James Balch, 
James McGready> 
William Hodge, 
John Bowman, 
William McGee, 
John Rankin, 
Samuel Donnell, 
•William Mahon, 
Samuel Mcx^dow, 
John Howe, 
James Vance, 
Archibald Cameron, 
Jeremiah Abell, 
James Crawford, 
Samuel Shannon, 
Isaac Tull, 
Robert Marshall, . 
James Blythe, D,D., 
James Welch, 
Joseph P. Howe, 
Samuel Rannels, 
John Lyle, 
Barton VV. Stone, 
William Robinson, 
James Kemper, 
John P. Campbell, M.D., 
Richard McNemar, 
John Thompson, 
John E. Finley, 
John Dunlavy. 
Matthew G. Wallace* 

Robert Stuart^* 


Thomas Cleland, D.D., 
Joshua L. Wilson, D.D., 
Robert Wilson, 
Finis Ewing, 
John Andrews, 
James Hawe, 
Samuel King. 


James Gilleland, 
William Dicky, 
William Williamson, 
Robert G. Wilson, 
Robert B. Dobbins, 
Samuel Hodge, 
Thomas Nelson. 

Samuel T. Scotti 


Robert M. Cunningham, 
James Hoge, 
Samuel Woods. 

John Todd. 


Benj. Irvine, 
Duncan Brown, 
Nicholas Pittingef, 
Samuel K. Nelson, 
Joseph B. Lapsley, 
James W. Stephenson, 
Sai^el Baldridge. 


James H. Dickey, 
Isaac Anderson, D.D.j 
Nathan H. Hall, 
Daniel Hayden, 
Samuel G. Ramsav» 
Charles Coffin, D.D., 
Mathew Donald, 
John McCampbell, 
James Witherspoon. 


John Boyd, 
Jacob Lake> 
William Gray, 
Robert Henderson, 
Gideon Blackburti, D.D., 
John Gillespie. 


John Smith, 
James Gillelatid. 

William W. Martin. 


Hugh Shaw, 
John R. Kerr, 
George Newton, 
Thomas J. Hall, 
James Smylie, 
Daniel Comfort, 
Joseph Bnllin, 
William Montgomefyj 
Andrew S. Morrison, 
Jacob Rickhow, 
David Wier. 

♦ Besides the above, there were in the Original Presbv. of Translyvania,— Gary H. 
Allen, Adam Rankin. Andrew McClure, Wm. Speer, Robt. Finley, Peter Wilscm. 




William K. Stuart, 
Robert Hardin, 
James H. Bowman. 

1817. « 

John T. Edgar, D.D., 
John R. Moreland, 
James McChord. 


Isaac Reed, 
John Rankin, 
Daniel C. Banks, 
John F. Crowe, D.D. 


James C. Barnes, 
Samuel Caruthers, 
John R. Moreland, 
Robert H. Bishop, D.D. 


Eli Smith, 
John McFarland, 
William L. McCalla, 
Thomas C. Searle. 


Andrew A. Shannon, 
James K. Burch, 
David H. PhiUips. 

Ralph Cushman. 


William Scott, 

John Breckinridge, D.D., 

Charles Phillips, 

Andrew Todd, 

Jerem. Chamberlain, D.D. 

John T. Hamilton, 

Robert A. Lapsley, 

Isaac Bard, 

Dewy Whitney. 


David C. Proctor, 
John Hudson, 

James L. Marshall, 
Samuel Taylor. 


Stephen Bliss, 
Alexander Williamson, 
George Bush, 
Tilly H. Brown, 
William Dickson, 
Lyman Whitney, 
Benjamin F. Spillman, 
Stephen Lindsley, 
Baynard R. HaU- 


Samuel Steel, 
Samuel K. Snead, 
William Henderson, 
Joseph C. Harrison, 
William M. King. 


Robert Holeman, 
Samuel V. Marshall, 
Samuel Y. Garrison, 
Simeon H. Crane, 
Alexander R. Curry, 
John N. Blackburn. 


David Nelson, M.D., 
Samuel Wilson, 
Samuel Davies Blythe, 
Thomas Caldwell, 
John J. Pierce. 
Samuel E. Blackburn, 
James H. Logan. 


John H. Brown, 
John C. Young, D.D., 
Eli N. Sawtell, 
John K. Cunningham, 
William H. Forsythe, 
John D. Paxton, 
Orramel S. Hinckley, 
John Jones, 
T. J. A. Mines, 
WiUiam Hamilton, 
John McDonald. A 


James Hawthorn, 
N. M. Urmston. 

William G. Gallaher, 
John P. Trotter, 
Hugh Patton, 
Solomon G. Ward, 
Samuel Lymi. 


Joseph Huber, 

James T. Smith, 

William Rannels, 

W. L. Breckinridge, D.D, 

J. L. Yantis, 

J. F. Price. 


Simeon Salisbury, 
Samuel Calvert, 
Robert Davidson, D.D., 
Daniel C. Banks, 
George W. Ashbridge, 
Charles A. Campbell, 
Andrew M. Keith, 
William J. Keith, 
Lorin Andrews, 
W. L. Alexander. 


B. J. Wallace, 
Timothy Root, 
Charles Stewart, 
Isaac Van Doren, 
J. Wm. Blythe, 
Lewis D. Howell, 
Alexander Logan, 
John J. Rice. 


Alfred Hamilton, 
N. L. Rice, D.D., 
R. H. Lilly, 
Hervey Woods, 
John G. Simrall, 
John F. Coons, 
Latten W. Dunlap, 
David S. Todd. 


Henry J. Venable, 
Daniel Baker, 
H. H. Hfcpkins, 
D. L. Russell, 
William Hamilton, 
G. G. McAfee, 
William D. Jones. 




Joshua T. Pv-ussell, 
Michael A. Reniley, 
Andrew H. Kerr, 
Edward P. Humphrey, 
Samuel Lynn, 
William VV. Hall, M.D., 
Joseph Ijane, 
Joseph C. Stiles, D.D., 

D. M. Winston, 
Samuel Wilson, 
Thomas Cole. 


Sylvester Scovel,D.D., 
W. B. Rice, 

E. T. McLean, 
David Page, 
George W. Kennedy, 
S. S. McRoberts, 
John T. Hendrick, 
Robert C. Grundy, 
P. L. McAboy. 


D. T. Stuart, 
Justus M. Clark. 
» Geo. W. Coons, 
Joseph J. Bullock, 
John H. Condit, 


W. W. Hill, 
F. Thornton, 

Isaac JNIcIlvaine, 
L.W. Green, D.D., 
George W. McElroy, 
Samuel D. StuarL 


AS. Howsley, 
John Lylo, 
William R. Preston. 


J. Kennedy, 
Joseph B. Hadden, 

S. S. Templeton, 
Robert F. Caldwell, 
John S. Watt. 


E. K. Lynn, 
John Montgomery, 
Aaron Hogue, 

F. S. Howe, 
Joseph Piatt, 
James Woods, 
John D. Matthews, 
William Orr. 


James Greene, 
H. S. Dickson, 
William T. Venable, 
William Y. Allen, 
A. W. Young, 
Joseph Templeton, 
John Sherer, 

James T. I^psley, 
C. A. Wylio, 
WilHam ( '. Matthews, 
Abel A. Case, 
G. B. Armstrong, 
A. E. Thome. 


Bryant D. Thomas, 
Samuel Williams, 
Robert A. Johnson, 
H. P. Thompson, 
Ralph Harris, 
Joshua F. Green, 
Ezekicl Fnrman, 
Benjamin Boyd, 
John M. IMcConaughy, 
William G. Rice. 


Jephtha Harrison, 
Allen D. Metcalf, 
William A. Smith, 
J. D. Shane, 
Bryce G. Fields, 
J. C. Bayless, 
J. S. H. Henderson. 


James Smith, 
Fielding N. Ewing, 
Samuel W. Cheney, 
F. G. Strahan, 
Gilbert M. Hair, 
D. L. Gray, 
Peter Donan. 






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ber of very fine engravings, illustrating scenes, manners and customs in the heathen world ; and we desire to 
call the attention of those interested in missions to this publication. It is the most extensive and complete 
history of missions which has been prepared, and contains a mass of important and interesting inforniiition, 
■which would not be readily found elsewhere. For a family book, one to which the children will resort to find 
striking facts and interesting narratives, and for the clergyman, who wishes to have a storehous.-, to which he 
may always refer for valuable materials, these volumes will be found most happily adapted.'' — Aacocate. 

ZERLAND, &c. By J. H. Merle D'Aubigae, D.D. 

REVISED EDITION— 4 vols. 12mo. half cloth - - - - $1 50 

Do. do. do. do. full cloth - - - - <fr2 UO 

Do. do. 4th volume separate, half cloth - - 38 

Do. do. do. do. full cloth ... 50 

Do. do. Complete in one 8vo. vol., cloth - - - $1 00 
Of this edition the Author says, — 

" I have revised this translation line by line, and word by word, and I have restored the sense wherever I did 
not find it clearly rendered. It is the only one that 1 have corrected. I declare in consequence that 1 acknow- 
ledge this translation as the only faithful expression of my thoughts in the English language, and I rivouimead 
it as such to all my readers. Farther, I have made in this edition numorous corrections and additions, fre- 
quently of importance. Same facts h.ave been related that have not been introduced elsewhere, so that it will 
thus have an indisputuble authority overall others." 
DAVID'S PS.4LMS-32mo gilt. 

Do. do. WITH RKOWN'S NOTES. l8mo. » 



THING.S." By the late Dr .Abercrombie. 32mo. gilt c l^e 
ALEXAN DER.— COUNSELS FOR THE YOUNG. By the Rev. Dr. Alexander. 32mo. gilt edge. 
HENRY. -THE FLE-iVSANTNESS OF A RELIGIOUS LIFE. By the Rev. Alatthew Henry. 32mo. 

gilt elge. 
HAMILTON.— LIFE OF BISHOP HALL. By the Rev. James Hamilton, liilxao. gilt edge. 



This Series of Books is printed on AVhite Paper. Neatly bound in 
English cloth. Gilt Backs. 18mo. 

DUNCAN —MEMOIR OF MRS. MARY LUNDIE DUNCAN. Being Recollections of a Daughter 
by her Mother. New ed. 

MEMOIR OF GEORGE ARCHIBALD LUNDIE ; or, Missionary Life in Samoa. By Mrs. Duncan. 

THE COTTAGE FIRESIDE ; or, the Parish Schoolmaster. By Henry Duncan, D.D. 

TALES OF THE SCOTTISH PEASANTRY. By Dr. Duncan, and others. 










CHRISTIAN EXPERIENC E— By the Author of " Christian Retirement." 

WILSON —LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF SCOTTISH LIFE. By Professor Wilson, of Edinburgh. 

New ed. 

FRY — SABBATH MUSINGS. By Caroline Fry, author of "Christ our Law," " Christ our Example," 
" Scripture Reader's Guide," &c. &c. 


CRAMP— REFORMATION IN EUROPE. The History of the Reformation in Europe. With a 

Chronology. By the author of ''The Council of Trent," " Text Book of Popery," &c. 

M O N O D — LUCILLA ; or, the Reading of the Bible. By Adolphe Monod, D.D. Translated from the 


MCCR IE— LECTURES ON THE BOOK OF ESTHER. By the late Thomas McCrie, D.D., author 

of " The Life of John Knox," &c. 

PATTERSON- A CONCISE SYSTEM ON THEOLOGY; being the Shorter Catechism of the 
Westmiuster Assembly of Divines, analyzed and explained, by Alexander S. Paterson, A.M. 



M. Olmstead. 

R I C H M O N D— THE ANNALS OF THE POOR. Containing " The Dairyman's Daughter," "The 
Young Cottager," " The Negro Servant," &c. By Legh Richmond. 

THE OLD WHITE MEETING-HOUSE ; or. Reminiscences of a Country Congregation 

LIFE IN NEW- YORK. By the Author of "The Old White Meeting-House." 

ROGER S — JACOB'S WELL. By the Rev. George Albert Rogers, A.M. 

\A/ AT E R B U R Y— THE BOOK FOR THE SABBATH. I. The Origin, Design, and Obligation of 
the Sabbath. II. Practical Improvement of the Sabbath. III. Devotional Exercises for the Sabbath. 
By the Rev. J. B. Waterbury. 

LOCK WOOD— MEMOIR OF JOHN B. LOCK WOOD. By his Father. With a Portrait. 

POLLOK— TALES OF THE SCOTTISH COVENANTERS. Containing " Helen of the Glen "— 
" The Persecuted Family "— '' Ralph Gemmell." By Robert Follok. 

Texts of the Bible, with Practical Ob.-ervations for every day in the Year. By C. H. V. Bogatzky. 

Hugh White, A.M., of St. Mary's Parish, DubUn. 

THE BELIEVER : a Series of Discourses. By the same author. 


MY SCHOOL-BOY DAYS. A very interesting Juvenile Book. 


carter's publications. 

BONN ET— FAMILY OF BETHANY; or, Meditations on the Eleventh Chapter of the Gospel ac- 
cording to St. John. By L Bonnet. Translated from the French. With an lutruductorv Eaiiav hv 
Kev. Hugh White. •^' ' 

MEDITATIONS ON THE LORD'S PKAYER. By the Rev. L Bonnet, author of " The Family ac 

Bethany " ■' 

ALIQU IS— THE RETROSPECT; or, Review of Providential Mercies ; with Anecdoteg of variona 
Characters. By Aliqui8, formerly a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and now a Minister in the Estab- 
liohed Church, trom the 17th London edition. 

KRUMMACH E R— THE MARTYR LAMB ; or, Christ the Representative of his People In all 
Ages. By F. W. Krummacher, D.U. 

ELIJAH THE TISHBITE. By F. W. Krummacher, D.D., author of « The Martyr Lamb." 

JAY— THE CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATED; In a Course of Lectures, delivered in Ariryle Chapel, 
Bath. By the Rev. Wm. Jay. tj i' , 

BROWNLEE— THE CHRISTIAN FATHER AT HOME ; or, A Manual of Parental Instruction. 
By W. C. Brownlee, D.D. 

BURN S— CHRISTIAN FRAGMENTS; or. Remarks on the Nature, Precepts, and Comforts of Reli- 
gion. By John Burns, M.D., F.R.S., Professor of Surgery in the University of Glasgow, &c. 


Life, illustrative of the Spiritual Blessings and Temporal Advantage of Early Piety. By Anne Wood- 

H EN RY— COMMUNICANT'S COMPANION. By the Rev. Matthew Henry. With an Introduc- 
tory Essay, by the Kev. John Brown, Edinburgh. 



SCO U GAL— WORKS OF REV. HENRY SCOUGAL ; consisting of the Life of God in the Soul, 
Sermons, &c. 

BUCHANAN —COMFORT IN AFFLICTION. A Series of Meditations. By the Rev. James 
Buchanan, D.D. 



CONTRIBUTIONS OF Q. Q. With some Pieces not before published. By Jane Taylor. 2 vols. 


Mrs. Taylor and Jane Taylor. 


DISPLAY. A Tale. By Jane Taylor. 


Jane Taylor. 

F R Y— THE SCRIPTURE READER'S GUIDE. By Caroline Fry. From the London edition. 


LIFE IN EARNEST. Six Lectures on Christian Activity and Ardour. By the Rev. James Ham- 



HARP ON THE WILLOWS— Remembering Zion— Farewell to Egvpt— The Church in the House— 

The Dew of Hermon— and The Destination of the Jews. By the Rev. James Hamilton, of London. 
From the forttj-fifth London edition. 

BEITH — SORROWING, YET REJOICING; or, Narrative of Succe-'sive Bereavements in n 
Minister's Family. By the Rev. A. Beith, Stirling, Scotland. 

S I N C L A I R— CHARLIE SEYMOUR ; or, the Good Aunt and the Bad Aunt. By Miss Catharine 

p I KE — TRUE HAPPINESS ; or, the Excellence and Power of Eariy Religion. By J. G. Pike, author 

of " Persuasive' to Early Piety "— " Divine Origin of Christianity," &c. 
RELIGION AND ETERNAL LIFE; or, Irreligion and Perpetual Ruin, the only Alternative for 

Mankind. By the same author. 

BOSTO N— CROOK IN THE LOT. By Thomas Boston. 

AND ONLY DAUGHTKR, HANNAH JERRAM; with a Short Account of the Last lUness and Death 
of her Elder Brother, Charies Stranger Jerram. By Charles Jerram, A.M. 


carter's publications. 

^'i„'"'"^^'^^^®~^NECDOTES ON THE SHORTER CATECHISM. By John Whitecroas. 

Teacher, Edinburgh. 

GRIFFITHS —LIVE WHILE YOU LIVE. By the Rev. Thomas Griffiths, A.M., Homerton. 

BAXTER— A C.\LL TO THE UNCONVERTED. Now or Never, and Fifty Reasons. By Richard 
Baxter. With an Introduction, by Dr. Chalmers. 

♦JAY — JUBILEE MEMORIAL; being the Sermons, Meetings, Presentations, and Full Account of the 
Jubilee Commemorating the Rev. Wm. Jay's Fifty Years' Ministry at Argyle Chapel, Bath. 



BON A R— THE NIGHT OF WEEPING; or. Words for the Suffering Family of God. By the Rev. 
Horatio Bonar, Kelso, Scotland. 

H A \A^ K E R — ZION'S PILGRIM ; or, the Way to the Heavenly Canaan, Familiarly lUustrated. By 

the Rev. Robert Hawker, D.D. 

ALLEI N E— GOSPEL PROMISES; being a Short View of the Great and Precious Promises of the 
Gospel. By the Rev. Joseph AUeine, author of the "Alarm to the Unconverted," &c. 

DO D DR i DGE— TILE LIFE OF COL. GARDINER. By Philip Doddridge, D.D. 

H E N R Y— A METHOD OF PRAYER. By Matthew Henry. 

HOWELL, Esq., of Bath. By the Rev. David Pitcairn. With an Introductory, by the Rev. John 


steth. With an Introduction, Notes, and an Essay, by G. T. Bedell, D.D., late Rector of St. Andrew's 
Church, Philadelphia. 

CAMERON —FARMER'S D.WGHTER. A Tale. By Mrs. Cameron. 

CHRISTIANITY. By Lady Colquhoun. 

CUNNINGHAM— A WORLD WITHOUT SOULS. By J. W. Cunningham, Vicar of Harrow. 


C EC I L— LIFE OF REV. JOHN NEWTON. By the Rev. Richard Cecil, A.M. 

KE N N E DY— PROFESSION IS NOT PRINCIPLE; or, the Name of Christian is not Christianity. 
By Grace Kennedy, author of " Hannah Ross," &c. 


PC L LO K — HELEN OF THE GLEN. A Tale of the Scotch Covenanters. By Robert PoIIok, author 

of the " Course of Time," &c. 

PERSECUTED FAMILY. A Narrative of the Sufferings of the Covenanters in the Reign of 

Charles II. By Robert Pollok, author of the " Course of Time," &c. 

RALPH GEMMELL ; or, the Banks of the Irvine. A Tale of the Scottish Covenanters. By Robert 


FOR D — DECAPOLIS ; or, the Individual Obligation of Christians to save Souls from Death. By David 
E. Ford. Fifth Edition. 

THE SINNER'S FRIEND. From the 87th London Edition, completing upwards of half a million. The 
Sinner's Friend is printed in sixteen different languages. 

R I C H M O N D— MEMOIR OF HANNAH SINCLAIR. By the Rev. Legh Richmond. 

Geo. B. Phillips. With a Memoir by Mrs. Duncan. 

N O E L— INFANT PIETY. A Book for Little Children. By the Rev. Baptist W. Noel, M.A. 

H U S S— A MEMOIR OF JOHN HUSS. Translated from the German. 

D' A U B I G N E— LUTHER AND CALVIN ; or, the True Spirit of the Reformed Church. By. J. 
H. Merle D'Aubigne, author of th'i "History of the Reformation," &c. 



by the Rev. L. P. W. Balch — An Address by Dr. Beecher — and Sermon by Rev. Thomas Smyth, D.D., 
delivered on board the Steamer Great Western, after the severe Storm encountered on her Kecent