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Title: Russell H. Conwell
Author: Burr, Agnes Rush
Language: English
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[Illustration: RUSSELL H CONWELL]


Founder of the Institutional Church in America




With His Two Famous Lectures as Recently Delivered, entitled "Acres of
Diamonds," and "Personal Glimpses of Celebrated Men and Women"

With an Appreciative Introduction by FLOYD W. TOMKINS, D.D., LL.D.








The measure of greatness is helpfulness. We have gone back to the
method of the Master and learned to test men not by wealth, nor by
birth, nor by intellectual power, but by service. Wealth is not to be
despised if it is untainted and consecrated. Ancestry is noble if the
good survives and the bad perishes in him who boasts of his forebears.
Intellectual force is worthy if only it can escape from that cursed
attendant, conceit. But they sink, one and all into insignificance
when character is considered; for character is the child of godly
parents whose names are self-denial and love. The man who lives not
for himself but for others, and who has a heart big enough to take all
men into its living sympathies--he is the man we delight to honor.

Biographies have a large place in present day literature. A woman long
associated with some foreign potentates tells her story and it is read
with unhealthy avidity. Some man fights many battles, and his career
told by an amiable critic excites temporary interest. Yet as we read
we are unsatisfied. The heart and mind, consciously or unconsciously,
ask for some deeds other than those of arms and sycophancies. Did he
make the world better by his living? Were rough places smoothed and
crooked things straightened by his energies? And withal, had he that
tender grace which drew little children to him and made him the
knight-attendant of the feeble and overborne amongst his fellows? The
life from which men draw daily can alone make a book richly worth the

It is good that something should be known of a man whilst he yet
lives. We are overcrowded with monuments commemorating those into
whose faces we cannot look for inspiration. It is always easy to strew
flowers upon the tomb. But to hear somewhat of living realities; to
grasp the hand which has wrought, and feel the thrill while we hear of
the struggles which made it a beautiful hand; to see the face marked
by lines cut with the chisel of inner experience and the sword of
lonely misunderstanding and perchance of biting criticism, and
learn how the brave contest spelt out a life-history on feature and
brow;--this is at once to know the man and his career.

This life of a man justly honored and loved in Philadelphia will find
a welcome seldom accorded to the routine biography. It is difficult
for one who rejoices in Dr. Conwell's friendship to speak in tempered
language. It is yet more difficult to do justice to the great work
which Church and College and Hospital, united in a trinity of service,
have accomplished in our very midst. God hath done mighty things
through this His servant, and the end is not yet. To attend the Temple
services on Sunday and feel the pulse of worship is to enter into a
blessed fellowship with God and men. To see the thousands pursuing
their studies during the week in Temple College and to realize the
thoroughness of the work done is to gain a belief in Christian
education. To move through the beautiful Hospital and mark the gentle
ministration of Christian physician and nurse is to learn what Jesus
meant when, quoting Hosea, He said: "I will have mercy and not
sacrifice." And these all bring one very near to the great human
heart, the intelligent and far-reaching judgment, the ripe and real
religion of him whose life this volume tells.

May God bless Dr. Conwell in the days to come, and graciously spare
him to us for many years! We need such men in this old sin-stained and
weary world. He is an inspiration to his brothers in the ministry
of Jesus Christ, He is a proof of the power in the world of pure
Christianity. He is a friend to all that is good, a foe to all that is
evil, a strength to the weak, a comforter to the sorrowing, a man of

He would not suffer these words to be printed if he saw them. But they
come from the heart of one who loves, honors, and reverences him for
his character and his deeds. They are the words of a friend.

[Illustration: Floyd W. Tomkins Church of the Holy Trinity
Philadelphia, Oct. 6th 1905.]



Speaking of Russell Conwell's career, a Western paper has called it,
"a pioneer life."

No phrase better describes it.

Dr. Conwell preaches to the largest Protestant congregation in America
each Sunday. He is the founder and president of a college that has a
yearly roll-call of three thousand students. He is the founder and
president of a hospital that annually treats more than five thousand
patients. Yet great as these achievements are, they are yet greater in
prophecy than in fulfilment. For they are the first landmarks in a new
world of philanthropic work. He has blazed a path through the dark,
tangled wilderness of tradition and convention, hewing away the
worthless, making a straight road for progress, letting in God's clear
light to show what the world needs done and how to do it.

He has shown how a church can reach out into the home, the business,
the social life of thousands of people until their religion is their
life, their life a religion. He has given the word "church" its real
meaning. No longer is it a building merely for worship, but, with
doors never closed, it is a vital part of the community and the lives
of the people.

He has proven that the great masses of people are hungry and thirsty
for knowledge. The halls of Temple College have resounded to the tread
of an army of working men and women more than fifty thousand strong.
The man with an hour a day and a few dollars a year is as eager and as
welcome a student there, and has the same educational opportunities to
the same grade of learning as though he had the birthright of leisure
and money which opens the doors to Harvard and Yale.

He has shown that a hospital can be built not merely as a charity, not
merely as a necessity, but as a visible expression of Christ's love
and command, "Heal the sick."

In all these three lines he has blazed new paths, opened new worlds
for man's endeavors--new worlds of religious work, new worlds of
educational work. He has not only proven their need, demonstrated
their worth, but he has shown how it is possible to accomplish such
results from small beginnings with no large gifts of money, with only
the hands and hearts of willing workers.

Not only has he done a magnificent pioneer work in these great fields,
but from boyhood he has blazed trails of one kind or another, for
the pioneer fever was in his blood--that burning desire to do, to
discover, to strike out into new fields.

As a mere child, he organized a strange club called "Silence," also
the first debating society in the district schoolhouse, and circulated
the first petition for the opening of a post-office near his home in
South Worthington, Mass.

In his school days at Wilbraham Academy, he organized an original
critics' club, started the first academy paper, organized the original
alumni association.

In war time, he built the first schoolhouse for the first free colored
school, still standing at Newport, N.C.; and started the first
"Comfort Bag" movement at a war meeting in Springfield, Mass.

As a lawyer, he opened the first noon prayer meeting in the Northwest,
called the first meeting to organize the Y.M.C.A. at Minneapolis,
Minn., organized four literary and social clubs in Minneapolis,
started the first library in that city, began the publication of the
first daily paper there called "The Daily Chronicle," afterward "The
Minneapolis Tribune."

In Boston, he started the "Somerville Journal," now edited by his son,
Leon M. Conwell, one of the most quoted publications in the country.
He called the first meeting which organized the Boston Young Men's
Congress, and was one of the first editors of the "Boston Globe."
He was the personal adviser of James Redpath, who opened the first
Lecture and Lyceum Bureau in the United States.

He began a new church work in the old Baptist church building at
Lexington, Mass., and he opened in a schoolhouse the mission from
which grew the West Somerville (Mass.) Baptist church.

He was special counselor for four new Railroad companies and for two
new National banks.

In Philadelphia, in addition to being the founder of the first
Institutional church in America, of a college practically free for
busy men and women, and a hospital for the sick poor, he has organized
twenty or more societies for religions and benevolent purposes
including the Philadelphia Orphan's Home Society.

His pioneer work is not all. As a lecturer Dr. Conwell is known from
the Atlantic to the Pacific, having been on the lecture platform
for forty-three years, speaking from one hundred to two hundred and
twenty-five nights each year.

As an author he has written books that have run into editions of
hundreds of thousands, his "Life of Spurgeon" selling one hundred and
twenty-five thousand copies in four months. He has been around the
globe many times, counted among his intimate friends Garibaldi, Bayard
Taylor, Stanley, Longfellow, Blaine, Henry Ward Beecher, John G.
Whittier, President Garfield, Horace Greeley, Alexander Stevens, John
Brown, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John B. Gough and General Sherman.

He fought in the war of the Rebellion, was left for dead on the
battlefield of Kenesaw mountain--in fact, he has had a career as
picturesque and thrilling as a Scott or Dumas could picture.

Yet the man whose energy has reared enduring monuments of stone, and
more lasting ones in the hearts of thousands whose lives he has made
happier and brighter, fought his way upward alone and single-handed
from a childhood of poverty. He rose by his own efforts, in the face
of great and seemingly insurmountable obstacles and discouragements.
The path he took from that little humble farmhouse to the big church,
the wide-reaching college, the kindly hospital, the head of the
Lecture Platform, it is the purpose of this book to picture, in the
hope that it may be helpful to others, either young or old, who desire
to better their condition, or to do some work of which the inner voice
tells them the world is in need.

Dr. Conwell believes, with George Macdonald, that "The one secret of
life and development is not to devise or plan, but to fall in with the
forces at work--to do every moment's duty aright--that being the part
in the process allotted to us; and let come ... what the Eternal
Thought wills for each of us, has intended in each of us from the

Or in the words of the greatest of Books, "See that thou make it
according to the pattern that was shewed thee in the mount."

Every one at some time in his life has been "in the mount." To follow
and obey the Heavenly Vision means a life of usefulness and happiness.
That obstacles and discouragements can be surmounted, the life of
Russell Conwell shows. For this purpose it is written, that others who
have heard the Voice may go forward with faith and perseverance to
work of which the world stands in need.


In the preparation of this book, the three excellent biographies
already written, "Scaling the Eagle's Nest," by Wm. C. Higgins, "The
Modern Temple and Templars," by Robert J. Burdette, and "The Life of
Russell H. Conwell," by Albert Hatcher Smith, have been of the utmost
help. The writer wishes to acknowledge her great indebtedness to all
for much of the information in the present work. These writers have
with the utmost care gathered the facts concerning Dr. Conwell's early
life, and the writer most gratefully owns her deep obligation to them.


Chapter I.--Ancestry. John Conwell, the English Ancestor who fought for
the Preservation of the English Language. Martin Conwell of Maryland. A
Runaway Marriage. The Parents of Russell H. Conwell.

Chapter II.--Early Environment. The Family Circle. An Unusual Mother.
What She Read Her Children. A Preacher at Three Years of Age.

Chapter III.--Days of Study, Work and Play. The Schoolhouse in the
Woods. Maple Sugar-making. The Orator of the Dawn. A Boyish Prank.
Capturing the Eagle's Nest.

Chapter IV.--Two Men and Their Influence. John Brown. Fireside
Discussions. Runaway Slaves. Fred Douglas. Rev. Asa Niles. A Runaway
Trip to Boston.

Chapter V--Trying His Wings. Boyhood Days. Russell's First Case at Law.
A Cure for Stage Fever. Studying Music. A Runaway Trip to Europe.

Chapter VI--Out of the Home Nest. School Days at Wilbraham Academy. The
First School Oration and Its Humiliating End. The Hour of Prayer in the
Conwell Home at the Time of John Brown's Execution.

Chapter VII.--War's Alarms. College Days at Yale. The Outbreak of the
Civil War. Patriotic Speechmaking. New York and Henry Ward Beecher.

Chapter VIII.--While the Conflict Raged. Lincoln's Call for One Hundred
Thousand Men. Enlistment. Captain Conwell. In Camp at Springfield, Mass.
The Famous Gold-sheathed Sword.

Chapter IX.--In the Thick of the Fight. Company F at Newberne, N.C. The
Fight at Batchelor's Creek. The Goldsboro Expedition. The Battle of
Kingston. The Gum Swamp Expedition.

Chapter X.--The Sword and the School Book. Scouting at Bogue Sound.
Captain Conwell Wounded. The Second Enlistment. Jealousy and
Misunderstanding. Building of the First Free School for Colored
Children. Attack on Newport Barracks. Heroic Death of John Ring.

Chapter XI.--A Soldier of the Cross. Under Arrest for Absence Without
Leave. Order of Court Reversed by President. Certificate from State
Legislature of Massachusetts for Patriotic Services. Appointed by
President Lincoln, Lieutenant-Colonel on General McPherson's Staff.
Wounded at Kenesaw Mountain. Conversion. Public Profession of Faith.

Chapter XII.--Westward. Resignation from Army. Admission to Bar.
Marriage. Removal to Minnesota. Founding of the Minneapolis Y.M.C.A.
and of the Present "Minneapolis Tribune." Burning of Home. Breaking Out
of Wound. Appointed Emigration Agent to Germany by Governor of
Minnesota. Joins Surveying Party to Palestine. Near to Death in Paris
Hospital. Journey to New York for Operation in Bellevue Hospital. Return
to Boston.

Chapter XIII.--Writing His Way Around the World. Days of Poverty in
Boston. Sent to Southern Battlefields. Around the World for New York and
Boston Papers. In a Gambling Den in Hong Kong, China. Cholera and

Chapter XIV.--Busy Days in Boston. Editor of "Boston Traveller." Free
Legal Advice for the Poor. Temperance Work. Campaign Manager for General
Nathaniel P. Banks. Urged for Consulship at Naples. His Work for the
Widows and Orphans of Soldiers.

Chapter XV.--Troubled Days. Death of Wife. Loss of Money. Preaching on
Wharves. Growth of Sunday School Class at Tremont Temple from Four to
Six Hundred Members in a Brief Time. Second Marriage. Death of Father
and Mother. Preaching at Lexington. Building Lexington Baptist Church.

Chapter XVI.--His Entry Into the Ministry. Ordination. First Charge at
Lexington. Call to Grace Baptist Church, Philadelphia.

Chapter XVII.--Going to Philadelphia. The Early History of Grace Baptist
Church. The Beginning of the Sunday Breakfast Association. Impressions
of a Sunday Service.

Chapter XVIII.--First Days at Grace Baptist Church. Early Plans for
Church Efficiency. Practical Methods for.

Chapter XXXI.--The Manner of the Message. The Style of the Sermons.
Their Subject Matter. Preaching to Help Some Individual Church Member.

Chapter XXXII.--These Busy Later Days. A Typical Week Day. A Typical
Sunday. Mrs. Conwell. Back to the Berkshires in Summer for Rest.

Chapter XXXIII.--As a Lecturer. Wide Fame as a Lecturer. Date of Entrance
on Lecture Platform. Number of Lectures Given. The Press on His
Lectures. Some Instances of How His Lectures Have Helped People. Address
at Banquet to President McKinley.

Chapter XXXIV.--As a Writer. Rapid Method of Working. A Popular
Biographical Writer. The Books He has Written.

Chapter XXXV.--A Home Coming. Reception Tendered by Citizens of
Philadelphia in Acknowledgment of Work as Public Benefactor.

Chapter XXXVI.--The Path That Has Been Blazed. Problems That Need
Solving. The Need of Men Able to Solve Them.

Acres of Diamonds.

Personal Glimpses of Celebrated Men and Women.

[Illustration: MARTIN CONWELL]



John Conwell, the English Ancestor who fought for the Preservation of
the English Language. Martin Conwell of Maryland. A Runaway Marriage.
The Parents of Russell Conwell.

When the Norman-French overran England and threatened to sweep from
out the island the English language, many time-honored English
customs, and all that those loyal early Britons held dear, a doughty
Englishman, John Conwell, took up cudgels in their defence. Long and
bitter was the struggle he waged to preserve the English language.
Insidious and steady were the encroachments of the Norman-French
tongue. The storm centre was the Castle school, for John Conwell
realized that the language of the child of to-day is the language of
the man of to-morrow. Right royal was the battle, for it was in those
old feudal days of strong feeling and bitter, bloody partisanship. But
this plucky Briton stood to his guns until he won. Norman-French was
beaten back, English was taught in the schools, and preserved in the
speech of that day.

It was a tale that was told his children and his children's children.
It was a tradition that grew into their blood--the story of
perseverance, the story of a fight against oppression and injustice.
"Blood" is after all but family traditions and family ideals, and this
fighting ancestor handed down to his descendants an inheritance of
greater worth than royal lineage or feudal castle. The centuries
rolled away, a new world was discovered, and the progressive,
energetic Conwell family were not to be held back when adventure
beckoned. Two members of it came to America. Courage of a high
order, enthusiasm, faith, must they have had, or the call to cross
a perilous, pathless ocean, to brave unknown dangers in a new world
would have found no response in their hearts. They settled in Maryland
and into this fighting pioneer blood entered that strange magic
influence of the South, which makes for romance, for imagination, for
the poetic and ideal in temperament.

[Illustration: MIRANDA CONWELL]

Of this family came Martin Conwell, of Baltimore, hot-blooded, proud,
who in 1810, visiting a college chum in western Massachusetts, met
and fell in love with a New England girl, Miss Hannah Niles. She was
already engaged to a neighbor's son, but the Southerner cared naught
for a rival. He wooed earnestly, passionately. He soon swept away her
protests, won her heart and the two ran away and were married. But
tragic days were ahead. On her return her incensed father locked her
in her room and by threats and force compelled her to write a note to
her young husband renouncing him. He would accept no such message, but
sent a note imploring a meeting in a nearby schoolhouse at nightfall.
The letter fell into the father's hands. He compelled her to write a
curt reply bidding him leave her "forever." Then the father locked
the daughter safely in the attic, and with a mob led by the rejected
suitor, surrounded the schoolhouse and burnt it to the ground. The
husband, thinking he had been heartlessly forsaken, made a brave fight
against the odds, but seeing no hope of success, leaped from the
burning building, amid the shots fired at him, escaped down a rocky
embankment at the back of the schoolhouse, and under cover of the
woods, fled. They told his wife that he was dead.

A little son came to brighten her shadowed life, whom she named, after
him, Martin Conwell; and after seven years she married her early
lover. But Martin was the son of her first husband and always her
dearest child, and day after day when old and gray and again a widow,
she would come over the New England hills, a little lonely old woman,
to sit by his fireside and dream of those bygone days that were so

Too proud to again seek an explanation, Martin Conwell, her husband,
returned to his Maryland home, living a lonely, bitter life, believing
to the day of his death, thirty years later, that his young wife had
repudiated and betrayed him.

Martin Conwell, the son, grew to manhood and in 1839 brought a bride
to a little farm he had purchased at South Worthington, up in the
Hampshire Highlands of the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts. Here and
there among these hills, along the swift mountain streams, the land
sweeps out into sunny little meadows filled in summer with rich,
tender grasses, starred with flowers. It is not a fertile land. The
rocks creep out with frequent and unpleasing persistency. But Martin
Conwell viewed life cheerfully, and being an ingenious man, added to
the business of farming, several other occupations, and so managed to
make a living, and after many years to pay the mortgage on his home
which came with the purchase. The little farmhouse, clinging to the
bleak hillside, seemed daring to the point of recklessness when the
winter's winds swept down the valley, and the icy fingers of the storm
reached out as if to pluck it bodily from its exposed position.

But when spring wove her mantle of green over the hills, when summer
flung its leafy banners from a million tree tops, then in the
wonderful panorama of beauty that spread before it, was the little
home justified for the dangers it had dared. Back of the house the
land climbed into a little ridge, with great, gray rocks here and
there, spots of cool, restful color amid the lavish green and gold and
purple of nature's carpeting. To the north swept hills clothed with
the deep, rich green of hemlock, the faint green flutter of birch, the
dense foliage of sugar maples. To the east, in the valley, a singing
silver brook flashed in and out among somber boulders, the land
ascending to sunny hilltop pastures beyond. But toward the south from
the homestead lay the gem of the scenery; one of the most beautiful
pictures the Berkshires know. Down the valley the hills divided,
sweeping upward east and west in magnificent curves; and through the
opening, range on range of distant mountains, including Mount Tom,
filled the view with an ever-changing fairyland of beauty--in the
spring a sea of tender, misty green; in the summer, a deep, heaving
ocean of billowy foliage; in the fall, a very carnival of color--gold,
rich reds, deep glowing browns and orange. And always, at morning,
noon and night, was seen subtle tenderness of violet shadows, of hazy
blue mists, of far-away purple distances.

Such was the site Martin Conwell chose for a home, a site that told
something of his own character; that had marked influence on the
family that grew up in the little farmhouse.

A mixture of the practical, hard common sense of New England and the
sympathetic, poetic temperament of the South was in this young New
England farmer--the genial, beauty-loving nature of his Southern
father, the rigid honesty, the strong convictions, the shrewd sense of
his Northern mother. Quiet and reserved in general, he was to those
who knew him well, kind-hearted, broad-minded, fun-loving. He not
only took an active interest in the affairs of the little mountain
community, but his mind and heart went out to the big problems of the
nation. He grappled with them, sifted them thoroughly, and having
decided what to him was the right course to pursue, expressed his
convictions in deed as well as word. His was no passive nature. The
square chin denoted the man of will and aggression, and though the
genial mouth and kindly blue eyes bespoke the sympathetic heart, they
showed no lack of courage to come out in the open and take sides.

The young wife, Miranda Conwell, shared these broader interests of her
husband. She came from central New York State and did not have that
New England reserve and restraint that amounts almost to coldness. Her
mind was keen and vigorous and reached out with her husband's to grasp
and ponder the higher things of life. But the beauty of her character
lay in the loving, affectionate nature that shone from her dark eyes,
in the patient, self-sacrificing, self-denying disposition which found
its chief joy in ministering to her husband and children. Deeply
religious, she could no more help whispering a fervent little prayer,
as she tucked her boys in bed, that the Father above would watch over
and protect them, than she could help breathing, her trust in God
was so much a part of her nature. Such a silent, beautiful influence
unconsciously permeates a child's whole character, moulding it,
setting it. Unconscious of it at the time, some day a great event
suddenly crystalizes it like a wonderful chemical change, and the
beauty of it shines evermore from his life. Miranda Conwell built
better than she knew when in the every-day little things of her life,
she let her faith shine.

Not a usual couple, by any means, for the early 40's in rugged New
England. Yet their unusualness was of a kind within every one's reach.
They believed the making of a life of more importance than the making
of a living, and they grasped every opportunity of those meagre days
to broaden and uplift their mental and spiritual vision. Martin
Conwell's thoughts went beyond his plow furrow, Miranda's further than
her bread-board; and so the little home had an atmosphere of earnest
thought and purpose that clothed the uncarpeted floors and bare walls
with dignity and beauty.



The Family Circle. An Unusual Mother. What She Read Her Children. A
Preacher at Three Years of Age.

Such was the heritage and the home into which Russell H. Conwell
was born February 15, 1843. Think what a world his eyes opened
upon--"fair, searching eyes of youth"--steadfast hills holding mystery
and fascination in green depths and purple distances, streams rushing
with noisy joy over stony beds, sweet violet gloom of night with
brilliant stars moving silently across infinite space; tender moss,
delicate fern, creeping vine, covering the brown earth with living
beauty--a fascinating world of loveliness for boyish eyes to look upon
and wonder about.

The home inside was as unpretentious as its exterior suggested. The
tiny hall admitted on one side to a bedroom, on the other to a living
room, from which opened a room used as a store. Above was an attic.
The living room was the bright, cheery heart of the house. The morning
sun poured in through two windows which faced the east; a window and
door on the south claimed the same cheery rays as the sun journeyed
westward. The big open fireplace made a glowing spot of brightness.
The floor was uncarpeted, the walls unpapered, the furnishing of the
simplest, yet cheerfulness and homely comfort pervaded the room as
with an almost tangible spirit.

A brother three years older and a sister three years younger made a
trio of bright, childish faces about the hearth on winter evenings
as the years went by, while the mother read to them such tales as
childish minds could grasp. It was a loving little circle, one that
riveted sure and fast the ties of family affection and which helped
one boy at her knee in after life to enter with such sure sympathy
into the plain, simple lives of the humblest people he met. He had
lived that same life, he knew the family affection that grows with
such strength around simple firesides, and those of like circumstances
felt this knowledge and opened their hearts to him.

That Miranda Conwell was an unusual woman for those times and
circumstances is shown in those readings to her children. Not only
did she read and explain to them the beautiful stories of the Bible,
implanting its truths in their impressionable natures to blossom forth
later in beautiful deeds; but she read them the best literature of the
ancient days as well as current literature. Into this poor New England
home came the "New York Tribune" and the "National Era." The letters
of foreign correspondents opened to their childish eyes another world
and roused ambitions to see it. Henry Ward Beecher's sermons, and
"Uncle Tom's Cabin," when it came out as a serial, all such good and
helpful literature, she poured into the eager childish ears. These
readings went on, all through the happy days of childhood.

Interesting things were happening in the world then; things that were
to mould the future of one of the boys at her knee in a way she little
dreamed. A war was being waged in Mexico to train soldiers for a
greater war coming. Out in Illinois, a plain rail-splitter, farmer and
lawyer was beginning to be heard in the cause of freedom and justice
for all men, black or white. These rumors and discussions drifted into
the little home and arguments rose high around the crackling woodfire
as neighbors dropped in. Martin Conwell was not a man to watch
passively the trend of events. He took sides openly, vigorously, and
though the small, blue-eyed boy listening so attentively did not
comprehend all that it was about, Martin Conwell's views later took
shape in action that had a marked bearing on Russell's later life.

But the mother's reading bore more immediate, if less useful, fruit.
Hearing rather unusual sounds from the back yard one day, she went
to the door to listen. The evening before she had been reading the
children one of the sermons of Henry Ward Beecher and telling them
something of this great man and his work. Mounted upon one of the
largest gray rocks in the yard, stood Russell, solemnly preaching to
a collection of wondering, round-eyed chickens. It was a serious,
impressive discourse he gave them, much of it, no doubt, a transcript
of Henry Ward Beecher's. What led his boyish fancy to do it, no
one knew, though many another child has done the same, as children
dramatize in play the things they have heard or read. But a chance
remark stamped that childish action upon the boyish imagination,
making it the corner stone of many a childish castle in Spain. Telling
her husband of it in the evening, Miranda Conwell said, half jokingly,
"our boy will some day be a great preacher." It was a fertile seed
dropped in a fertile mind, tilled assiduously for a brief space by
vivid childish imagination; but not ripened till sad experiences of
later years brought it to a glorious fruition.

Another result of the fireside readings might have been serious. A
short distance from the house a mountain stream leaps and foams over
the stones, seeming to choose, as Ruskin says, "the steepest places
to come down for the sake of the leaps, scattering its handfuls of
crystal this way and that as the wind takes them." The walls of the
gorge rise sheer and steep; the path of the stream is strewn with huge
boulders, over which it foams snow white, pausing in quiet little
pools for breath before the next leap and scramble. Here and there at
the sides, stray tiny little waterfalls, very Thoreaus of streamlets,
content to wander off by themselves, away from the noisy rush of the
others, making little silvery rills of beauty in unobtrusive ways.
Over this gorge was a fallen log. Russell determined to enact the part
of Eliza in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," fleeing over the ice. It was a feat
to make a mother's heart stand still. Three separate times she
whipped him severely and forbade him to do it. He took the punishment
cheerfully, and went back to the log. He never gave up until he had
crossed it.

The vein of perseverance in his character was already setting into
firm, unyielding mould--the one trait to which Russell H. Conwell, the
preacher, the lecturer, writer, founder of college and hospital, may
attribute the success he has gained. This childish escapade was the
first to strike fire from its flint.



The Schoolhouse in the Woods. Maple Sugar-making. The Orator of the
Dawn. A Boyish Prank. Capturing the Eagle's Nest.

At three years of age, he trudged off to school with his brother
Charles. Though Charles was three years the senior, the little fellow
struggled to keep pace with him in all their childish play and work.
Two miles the children walked daily to the schoolhouse, a long walk
for a toddler of three. But it laid the foundation of that strong,
rugged constitution that has carried him so unflinchingly through
the hard work of these later years. The walk to school was the most
important part of the performance, for lessons had no attraction for
the boy as yet. But the road through the woods to the schoolhouse was
a journey of ever new and never-ending excitement. The road lay along
a silver-voiced brook that rippled softly by shadowy rock, or splashed
joyous and exultant down its boulder-strewn path. It was this same
brook whose music drifted into his little attic bedroom at night,
stilled to a faint, far-away murmur as the wind died down, rising to a
high, clear crescendo of rushing, tumbling water as the breeze stirred
in the tree tops and brought to him the forest sounds. Hour after
hour he lay awake listening to it, his childish imagination picturing
fairies and elves holding their revels in the woods beyond. An
oratorical little brook it was, unconsciously leaving an impress of
its musical speech on the ears of the embryo orator. Moreover, in its
quiet pools lurked watchful trout. Few country boys could walk along
such a stream unheeding its fascinations, especially when the doors
of a school house opened at the farther end, and many an hour when
studies should have claimed him, he was sitting by the brookside,
care-free and contented, delightedly fishing. Nor are any berries
quite so luscious as those which grow along the country road to
school. It takes long, long hours to satisfy the keen appetite of
a boy, and lessons suffered during the berry seasons. Another keen
excitement of the daily journey through a living world of mystery and
enchantment was the search for frogs. Woe to the unlucky frog that
fell in the way of the active, curious boy. Some one had told him that
old, old countryside story, "If you kill a frog, the cows will give
bloody milk." Eager to see such a phenomenon, he watched sharply. Let
an unlucky frog give one unfortunate croak, quick, sure-aimed, flew a
stone, and he raced home at night to see the miracle performed. He was
just a boy as other boys--mischievous, disobedient, fonder of play
than work or study. But underneath, uncalled upon as yet, lay that
vein of perseverance as unyielding as the granite of his native hills.

The schoolhouse inside was not unattractive. Six windows gave plenty
of light, and each framed woodland pictures no painter's canvas could
rival. The woods were all about and the voice of the little
brook floated in, always calling, calling--at least to one small
listener--to come out and see it dance and sparkle and leap from rock
to rock. If he gained nothing else from his first school days but a
love and appreciation of nature's beauties, it was a lesson well worth
learning. To feed the heart and imagination of a child with such
scenery is to develop unconsciously a love of the beautiful which
brings a pure joy into life never to be lost, no matter what stress
and storm may come. In the darkest, stormiest hours of his later life,
to think back to the serene beauty of those New England hills was as a
hand of peace laid on his troubled spirit.

This love and joy in nature--and the trait was already in his
blood--was at first all that he gained from his trips to school. Then
came a teacher with a new way of instructing, a Miss Salina Cole, who
had mastered the art of visual memory. She taught her pupils to make
on the mind a photographic impression of the page, which could be
recalled in its entirety, even to the details of punctuation. This
was a process of study that appealed immediately to Russell's boyish
imagination. Moreover, it was something to "see if he could do,"
always fascinating to his love of experiment and adventure. It had
numerous other advantages. It was quick. It promised far-reaching
results. If page after page of the school books could be stored in the
mind and called up for future reference, getting an education would
become an easy matter. Besides, they could be called up and pondered
on in various places--fishing, for instance. He quickly decided
to would master this new method, and he went at it with his
characteristic energy and determination. Concentrating all his mental
force, he would study intently the printed page, and then closing his
eyes, repeat it word for word, even giving the punctuation marks. With
the other pupils, Salina Cole was not so successful, but with Russell
Conwell, the results were remarkable. It was a faculty of the utmost
value to him in after years. When in military camp and far from books,
he would recall page after page of his law works and study them during
the long days of garrison duty as easily as though the printed book
were in his hand.

But the work was of more value to him than the mere mastery of
something new. It whetted his appetite for more. He began to want to
know. School became interesting, and he plunged into studies with an
interest and zest that were unflagging. And as he studied, ambitions
awoke. The history of the past, the accomplishments of great men
stirred him. He began to dream of the things to do in the days to

Outside of school hours his time was filled with the ordinary duties
of the farm. In the early spring, the maple sugar was to be made
and there were long, difficult tramps through woods in those misty,
brooding days when the miracle of new life is working in tree and vine
and leaf. Often the very earth seemed hushed as if waiting in awe for
this marvelous change that transforms brown earth and bare tree to a
vision of ethereal, tender green. But his books went with him, and in
the long night watches far in the woods alone, when the pans of sirrup
were boiling, he studied. So enrapt did he become that sometimes the
sugar suffered, and the patience of his father was sorely taxed when
told the tale of inattention.

It was during those long night watches that he learned by heart two
books of Milton's "Paradise Lost," and so firmly were they fixed
in the boyish memory that at this day, Dr. Conwell can repeat them
without a break. Many a time as the shadows lightened and the dim,
misty dawn came stealing through the forest, would the small boy step
outside the rude sugar-house and repeat in that musical, resonant
voice that has since held audiences enthralled, Milton's glorious
"Invocation to the Light." Strange scene--the great shadowy forest,
the distant mist-enfolded hills, the faintly flushing morning sky,
the faint splash of a little mountain stream breaking the brooding
stillness, and the small boy with intent, inspired face pouring out
his very heart in that wonderful invocation:

  "Hail, holy light, offspring of Heaven, Firstborn
  Or of the Eternal, co-eternal beam,
  May I express thee Unblamed? since God is light,
  And never but in unapproached light
  Dwelt from eternity--dwelt then in thee,
  Bright effluence of bright essence increate!
  Or hear'st thou, rather, pure Eternal Stream,
  Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun,
  Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
  Of God as with a mantle didst invest
  The rising world of waters dark and deep,
  Won from the void and formless Infinite!"

Later in spring there was plowing, though the farm was so rocky and
stony, there was little of that work to do. But here and there, a
sunny hilltop field made cultivation worth while, and as he followed
the patient oxen along the shining brown furrow, he looked away to the
encircling hills so full of mystery and fascination. What was there?
What was beyond? Then into the the morning and well into the afternoon
they pried and labored. They dug away earth and exerted to the utmost
their childish strength. Charles would soon have given up the gigantic
task, but Russell was not of the stuff that quits, and so they toiled
on. The father and mother at home wondered and searched for the boys.
Then as they began truly to get alarmed, from the woods to the south
came a crash and roar, the sound of trees snapping and then a shock
that made the earth tremble. The rock had fallen, traversing a mile,
in its downward rush to the river bed. Flushed and triumphant the
boys returned, and the neighbors who had heard the noise, when it was
explained to them, went to see the wreckage. It had dropped first a
fall of fifteen feet, where it had paused an instant. Then the earth
giving way under its tons of weight, it had plowed a deep furrow right
down the mountain side, dislodging rocks, uprooting trees, until with
a mighty crash, it struck the borders of the stream where it stands to
this day, a monument to boyish ingenuity and perseverance.

But of all the mischievous pranks of these childish days, the one that
had perhaps the greatest influence on his life was the capture of
an eagle's nest from the top of a dead hemlock. To the north of the
farmhouse a hill rises abruptly, covered with bare, outcropping rocks,
their fronts sheer and steep. On top clusters a little sombre grove
of hemlock trees, and from the midst of these rose the largest one,
straight, majestic, swaying a little in the wind that swept on from
the distant hills. In the top of this tree, an eagle had built her
nest, and it had long been a secret ambition of the boy to capture
it, the more resolved upon because it seemed impossible. One day in
October he left his sheep, ran to the foot of the hill, and with the
sure-footed agility of a mountain boy climbed the rocks and began the
ascent of the tree. From the top of a high ledge nearby two men hid
and watched him. A fall meant death, and many a time their hearts
stood still, as the intrepid lad placed his foot on a dead branch only
to have it break under him, or reached for a limb to find it give way
at his touch. The tree was nearly fifty feet high and at some time a
stroke of lightning had rent it, splintering the trunk. Only one limb
was left whole, the others had been broken off or shattered by the
storms of winter. In the very crown of the tree swayed the nest, a
rude, uncouth thing of sticks and hay.

Up and up he climbed, stopping every now and then in the midst of his
struggles to call to the sheep if he saw them wandering too far. He
had only to call them by name to bring them nibbling back again.

"Not a man in the mountains," wrote one of those who watched him in
that interesting sketch of Mr. Conwell's life, "Scaling the Eagle's
Nest," "would have thought it possible to do anything else but shoot,
that nest down. When we first saw him he was half way up the great
tree, and was tugging away to get up by a broken limb which was
swinging loosely about the trunk. For a long time he tried to break it
off, but his little hand was too weak. Then he came down from knot to
knot like a squirrel, jumped to the ground, ran to his little jacket
and took his jack-knife out of the pocket. Slowly he clambered up
again. When he reached the limb, he clung to another with his left
hand, threw one leg over a splintered knot and with the right hand
hacked away with his knife.

"'He will give it up,' we both said.

"But he did not. He chipped away until at last the limb fell to the
ground. Then he pocketed his knife, and bravely strove to get up
higher. It was a dizzy height even for a grown hunter, but the boy
never looked down. He went on until he came to a place about ten feet
below the nest, where there was a long, bare space on the trunk, with
no limbs or knots to cling to. He was baffled then. He looked up at
the nest many times, tried to find some place to catch hold of the
rough bark and sought closely for some rest higher up to put his foot
on. But there was none. An eagle's nest was a rare thing to him, and
he hugged the tree and thought. Suddenly he began to descend again
hastily, and soon dropped to the ground. Away he ran down through the
ravines, leaped the little streams and disappeared toward his home.
In a few minutes the torn straw hat and blue shirt came flitting back
among the rocks and bushes. He called the sheep to him, talked to
them, and shook his finger at them, then he clambered up the tree
again, dragging after him a long piece of his mother's clothes line.
At one end of it, he had tied a large stone, which hindered his
progress, for it caught in the limbs and splinters. The wind blew his
torn straw hat away down a side cliff, and one side of his trousers
was soon torn to strips. But he went on. When he got to the smooth
place on the tree again, he fastened one end of the rope about his
wrist, and then taking the stone which was fastened to the other end,
he tried to throw it up over the nest. It was an awkward and dangerous
position, and the stone did not reach the top. Six or seven times he
threw that stone up, and it fell short or went to one side, and nearly
dragged him down as it fell.

"The boy felt for his knife again, opened it with his teeth as he held
on, and hauling the rope up, cut off a part of it. He threw a short
piece around the trunk and tied himself with it to the tree. Then
he could lean back for a longer throw. He tied the rope to his hand
again, and threw the stone with all his energy. It went straight as an
arrow, drew the rope squarely over the nest and fell down the other
side of the tree. After a struggle he reached around for the stone,
and tied that end of the rope to a long broken limb. When he drew the
other end of the rope which had been fastened to his hand, it broke
down the sides of the nest, and an old bird arose with a wild scream.

"Then he loosed the rope which held him to the tree, and pulling
himself up with his hands on the scaling line, digging his bare toes,
heels and knees at times into the ragged bark, he was up in two
minutes to the nest."

"That is a child's ambition," said one of the men, as they both drew a
breath of relief, when he stepped safely to the ground. "Wait until he
has a man's ambition. If that vein of perseverance doesn't run out, he
will do something worth while."



John Brown. Fireside Discussions. Runaway Slaves. Fred Douglas. Rev.
Asa Niles. A Runaway Trip to Boston.

Two men entered into Russell Conwell's life in these formative days of
boyhood who unconsciously had much to do with the course of his after

One was John Brown, that man "who would rush through fire though it
burn, through water though it drown, to do the work which his soul
knew that it must do." During his residence in Springfield, this man
"possessed like Socrates with a genius that was too much for him" was
a frequent visitor at the Conwell home. Russell learned to know that
face with "features chiselled, as it were, in granite," the large
clear eyes that seemed fairly to change color with the intensity of
his feelings when he spoke on the one subject that was the very heart
of the man. Tall, straight, lithe, with hair brushed back from a high
forehead, thick, full beard and a wonderful, penetrating voice whose
tones once heard were never forgotten, his arrival was always received
with shouts by the Conwell boys. Had he not lived in the West and
fought real Indians! What surer "open sesame" is there to a boy's
heart? He was not so enrapt in his one great project, but that he
could go out to the barn and pitch down hay from the mow with Russell,
or tell him wonderful stories of the great West where he had lived as
a boy, and of the wilderness through which he had tramped as a mere
child when he cared for his father's cattle. Russell was entirely too
young to grasp the meaning of the earnest discussions that went on
about the fireplace of which this Spartan was then the centre. But in
later years their meaning came to him with a peculiar significance. A
light seemed to be shed on the horrors of slavery as if the voice of
his childhood's friend were calling from the grave in impassioned
tones, to aid the cause for which he had given his life.

Martin Conwell, progressive, aggressive, was not a man to let his
deeds lag behind his words. Such help as he could, he lent the
cause of the oppressed. He made his home one of the stations of the
"Underground Railway," as the road to freedom for escaping slaves was
called. Many a time in the dead of night, awakened by the noise of a
wagon, Russell would steal to the little attic window, to see in the
light of the lantern, a trembling black man, looking fearfully this
way and that for pursuers, being hurried into the barn. Back to bed
went Russell, where his imagination pictured all manner of horrible
cruelties the slaves were suffering until the childish heart was near
to bursting with sympathy for them and with fiery indignation at the
injustice that brought them to this pitiful state. Not often did he
see them, but sometimes childish curiosity was too strong and he
searched out the cowering fugitive in the barn, and if the runaway
happened to be communicative, he heard exaggerated tales of cruelty
that set even his young blood to tingling with a mighty desire to
right their wrongs. Then the next night, the wagon wheels were heard
again and the slave was hurried away to the house of a cousin of
William Cullen Bryant, at Cummington. As the wheels died in the
distance up the mountain road, the boyish imagination pictured the
flight, on, on, into the far north till the Canada border was reached
and the slave free. Little wonder that when the war broke out, this
boy, older grown, spoke as with a tongue of fire and swept men up by
the hundreds with his impassioned eloquence, to sign the muster roll.

One of these slaves thus helped to freedom is now Rev. J.G. Ramage, of
Atlanta, Ga. In 1905, he applied to Temple College for the degree of
LL.D. Noticing on the letter sent in reply to his request, the name
of Russell Conwell, President of the College, he wrote Dr. Conwell,
telling him that in 1856 when a runaway slave he had stopped at a
farmhouse at South Worthington, Mass., and remembered the name of
Conwell. Undoubtedly Martin Conwell was one of the men who had helped
him to freedom.

John Brown brought Fred Douglas, the colored orator, with him on one
of his visits. When Russell was told by his father that this was "a
celebrated colored speaker and statesman," the boyish eyes opened wide
with amazement, and not able to control himself, he burst out in a fit
of laughter, saying, "Why, he's not black," much to the amusement of
Douglas, who afterwards told him of his life as a slave.

The other man who so helped Russell in his younger days was the Rev.
Asa Niles, a cousin of his father's who lived on a neighboring farm.
He had heard of Russell's various exploits and saw that he was a boy
far above the average, that he had talents worth training. Himself a
scholar and a Methodist minister, he knew the value of an education,
and the worth to the world of a brilliant, forceful character with
clear ideas of right, and high ideals of duty. He was a man far ahead
of his times, broad-minded, spiritual in its best sense, and with
a winning personality, just the man to attract a clear-sighted,
keen-witted boy who quickly saw through shams and despised
affectations. Russell at that plastic period could have fallen into
no better hands. With loving interest in the boy's welfare, Asa Niles
inspired him to get the broadest education in order to make the most
of himself, yet ever held before him the highest ideals of life and
manhood. Out of the stores of his own knowledge he told him what to
read, helped, encouraged, talked over his studies with him, and in
every way possible not only made them real and vital to him, but at
every step aided him to see their worth.

His curiosity keenly aroused, his ambitions kindled by his studies,
Russell was restless to be off to see this great world he had read and
studied about. The mountains suddenly seemed like prison walls holding
him in. An uncontrollable longing swept his soul. He determined to
escape. Telling no one of his intentions, one morning just before
dawn, he raised the window of the little attic in which he and his
brother slept, climbed out over the roof of the woodshed, slipped to
the ground and made off down the valley to seek his fortune in the
world. It was a hasty resolve. In a little bundle slung over his
shoulders he had a few clothes and something to eat. How his heart
thumped as he went down the familiar path in the woods, crossed the
little brook and began the tramp toward Huntington! Every moment he
expected to hear his father's footsteps behind him. Charles might have
awakened, found him missing and roused the family! When morning came
he climbed a little hill, from which he could look back at the house.
He gazed long, and his heart nearly failed him. He could see in
imagination every homely detail of the living room, his father's chair
to the right of the fireplace, his mother's on the left, the clock
between the front windows, which his father wound every night. On a
nail hung his old rimless hat, Charlie's coat, and the little sister's
sunbonnet. His mother would soon be up and getting breakfast. They
would all sit down without him--a lump began to rise in his throat and
he almost turned back. But something in his nature always prevented
him from giving up a thing he had once undertaken. He set his teeth,
picked up his bundle and went down the road between the mountains,
the woods stretching, dense, silent, on each side, the little brook
keeping close by him like the good, true friend it was.

It was a long, long tramp to the little village of Huntington, a walk
that went for miles beneath overarching green trees, the sunlight
sifting down like a shower of gold in the dim wood aisles. The wild
mountain stream merged into the quiet Westfield river that flowed
placidly through little sunny meadows and rippled in a sedate way here
and there over stones as became the dignity of a river. Small white
farmhouses, set about with golden lilies and deep crimson peonies,
here and there looked out on the road. But his mind was intent on the
wonderful experiences ahead of him; he walked as in a dream. Reaching
Huntington, he asked a conductor if he could get a job on the train to
pay his way to Boston. The conductor eyed the lanky country boy with
sympathetic amusement. He appreciated the situation and told Russell
he didn't think he had any job just then, but he might sit in the
baggage car and should a job turn up, it would be given him. Delighted
with this piece of good luck, Russell sat in the baggage car and
journeyed to Boston.

He arrived at night. He found himself in a new world, a world of
narrow streets, of hurrying people, of house after house, but in none
of them a home for him. They would not let him sit in the station all
night, as he had planned to do in his boyish inexperience, and he
had no money, for money was a scarce article in the Conwell home. He
wandered up one street and down another till finally he came to the
water. Footsore and hungry, he crawled into a big empty cask lying on
Long Wharf, ate the last bit of bread and meat in his bundle, and went
to sleep.

The next day was Sunday, not a day to find work, and he faced a very
sure famine. He began again his walk of the streets. It was on
toward noon when he noticed crowds of children hurrying into a large
building. He stood and watched them wistfully. They made him think
of his brother and sister at home. Suddenly an overwhelming longing
seized him to be back again in the sheltering farmhouse, to see his
father, hear his mother's loving voice, feel his sister's hand in his.
Perhaps it was his forlorn expression that attracted the attention of
a gentleman passing into the building. He stopped, asked if he would
not like to go in; and then taking him by the hand led him in with the
others. It was Deacon George W. Chipman, of Tremont Temple, and ever
afterwards Russell Conwell's friend. Many, many years later, the boy,
become a man, came back to this church, organized and conducted one of
the largest and most popular Sunday School classes that famous church
has ever known.

After Sunday School, Deacon Chipman and Russell "talked things over."
The Deacon, amused and impressed by the original mind of the country
boy, persuaded him to go home, and the next morning put him on the
train that carried him back to the Berkshires.



Boyhood Days. Russell's First Case at Law. A Cure for Stage Fever.
Studying Music. A Runaway Trip to Europe.

So scanty was the income from the rocky farm that the father and
mother looked about them to see how they could add to it. Miranda
Conwell turned to her needle and often sewed far into the night,
making coats, neckties, any work she could obtain that would bring in
a few dollars. She was never idle. The moment her housework was done,
her needle was flying, and Russell had ever before him the picture of
his patient mother, working, ever working, for the family good. The
only time her hands rested was when she read her children such stories
and pointed such lessons as she knew were needed to develop childish
minds and build character. She never lost sight of this in the
pressing work and the need for money. She had that mental and
spiritual breadth of view that could look beyond problems of the
immediate present, no matter how serious they might seem, to the
greater, more important needs coming in the future.

Martin Conwell worked as a stonemason every spare minute, and in
addition opened a store in the mountain home in a small room adjoining
the living room. Neighbors and the world of his day saw only a poor
farmer, stonemason and small storekeeper. But in versatility, energy
and public spirit, he was far greater than his environment. Considered
only as the man there was a largeness of purpose, a broadness of
mental and spiritual vision about him that gave a subtle atmosphere of
greatness and unconsciously influenced his son to take big views of

In the little store one day was enacted a drama not without its effect
on Russell's impressionable mind. For a brief time, the store became
a court room; a flour barrel was the judge's bench, a soap box and
milking stool, the lawyers' seats. The proceedings greatly interested
Russell, who lay flat on his breast on the counter, his heels in the
air, his chin in his hands, drinking it in with ears and eyes.


A neighbor had lost a calf, a white-faced calf with a broken horn. In
the barn of a neighbor had been seen a white-faced calf with a broken
horn. The coincidence was suspicions. The plaintiff declared it was
his calf. The defendant swore he had never seen the lost heifer, and
that the one in his barn he had raised himself. Neighbors lent their
testimony, for the little store was crowded, a justice of the peace
from Northampton having come to try the case. One man said he had seen
the defendant driving a white-faced calf up the mountain one night
just after the stolen calf had been missed from the pasture. The
defendant intimated in no mild language that he must be a close blood
relation to Ananias. Hot words flew back and forth between judge,
lawyers and witnesses, and it began to look as if the man in whose
barn the calf was placidly munching was guilty. Just then Russell,
with a chuckle, slipped from the counter and disappeared through the
back door. In a minute he returned, and solemnly pushed a white-faced
calf with a broken horn squarely among the almost fighting disputants.
There was a lull in the storm of angry words. Here was the lost calf.
With a bawl of dismay and many gyrations of tail, it occupied the
centre of the floor. None could dispute the fact that it was the calf
in question. The defendant assumed an injured, innocent air, the
plaintiff looked crestfallen. Russell explained he had found the calf
among his father's cows. But, knowing the true situation, he had
enjoyed the heated argument too hugely to produce the calf earlier in
the case.

The event caused much amusement among the neighbors. Some said if they
ever were hailed to court, they should employ Russell as their lawyer.
The women, when they dropped in to see his mother, called him the
little lawyer. The boyish ambition to be a minister faded. Once more
he went to building castles in Spain, but this time they had a legal

Thus the years rolled by much as they do with any boy on a farm.
Of work there was plenty, but he found time to become a proficient
skater, and a strong, sturdy swimmer, to learn and take delight in
outdoor sports, all of which helped to build a constitution like iron,
and to give him an interest in such things which he has never
lost. The boys of Temple College find in him not only a pastor and
president, but a sympathetic and understanding friend in all forms of
healthy, honorable sport.

Attending a Fourth of July parade in Springfield, he was so impressed
with the marching and manoeuvres of the troops that he returned home,
formed a company of his schoolmates, drilled and marched them as if
they were already an important part of the G.A.R. He secured a book on
tactics and studied it with his usual thoroughness and perseverance.
He presented his company with badges, and one of the relics of his
childhood days is a wooden sword he made himself out of a piece of
board. Little did any one dream that this childish pastime would in
later years become the serious work of a man.

In all the school and church entertainments he took an active part.
His talent for organizing and managing showed itself early, while his
magnetism and enthusiasm swept his companions with him, eager only to
do his bidding. Many were the entertainments he planned and carried
through. Recitations, dialogues, little plays all were presented under
his management to the people of South Worthington. It was these that
gave him the first taste of the fascination of the stage and set him
to thinking of the dazzling career of an actor. He is not the only
country boy that has dreamed of winning undying fame on the boards,
but not every one received such a speedy and permanent cure.

"One day in the height of the maple sugar season," says Burdette, in
his excellent life of Mr. Conwell, "The Modern Temple and Templars,"
"Russell was sent by his father with a load of the sugar to
Huntington. The ancient farm wagon complicated, doubtless, with sundry
Conwell improvements, drawn by a venerable horse, was so well loaded
that the seat had to be left out, and the youthful driver was forced
to stand. Down deep in the valley, the road runs through a dense
woodland which veiled the way in solitude and silence. The very place,
thought Russell, for a rehearsal of the part he had in a play to be
given shortly at school; a beautiful grade, thought the horse, to trot
a little and make up time. Russell had been cast for a part of a crazy
man--a character admirably adapted for the entire cast of the average
amateur dramatic performer. He had very little to say, a sort of
'The-carriage-waits-my-lord' declamation, but he had to say it with
thrilling and startling earnestness. He was to rush in on a love scene
bubbling like a mush-pot with billing and cooing, and paralyze the
lovers by shrieking 'Woe! Woe! unto ye all, ye children of men!'
Throwing up his arms, after the manner of the Fourth of July orator's
justly celebrated windmill gesture, he roared, in his thunderous
voice: 'Woe! Woe! unto ye--'

"That was as far as the declamation got, although the actor went
considerably farther. The obedient horse, never averse to standing
still, suddenly and firmly planted his feet and stood--motionless as a
painted horse upon a painted highway. Russell, obedient to the laws of
inertia, made a parabola over the dashboard, landed on the back of the
patient beast, ricochetted to the ground, cutting his forehead on the
shaft as he descended, a scar whereof he carries unto this day, and
plunged into a yielding cushion of mud at the roadside."

He returned home, a confused mixture of blood, mud, black eyes and
torn clothes. Such a condition must be explained. It could not
be turned aside by any off-handed joke. The jeers and jibes, the
unsympathetic and irritating comments effectually killed any desire
he cherished for the life of the stage. It became a sore subject. He
didn't even want it mentioned in his hearing. He never again thought
of it seriously as a life work.

But one thing these entertainments did that was of great value. They
developed and fostered a love of music and eventually led to his
gaining the musical education which has proven of such value to him.
He had a voice of singular sweetness and great power. At school, at
church, in the little social gatherings of the neighborhood, whenever
there was singing his voice led. It was almost a passion with him. At
the few parades and entertainments he saw in nearby towns, he watched
the musicians fascinated. He was consumed with a desire to learn to
play. Inventive as he was and having already made so many things
useful about the farm or in the house, it is a wonder he did not
immediately begin the making of some musical instrument rather than go
without it. Probably he would, if an agent had not appeared for the
Estey Organ Company. They were beginning to make the little home
organs which have since become an ornament of nearly every country
parlor. But they were rare in those days and the price to Martin
Conwell, almost prohibitive. Knowing Russell's love of music, the
father fully realized the pleasure an organ in the home would give his
son. But the price was beyond him. He offered the man every dollar he
felt he could afford. But it was ten dollars below the cost of the
organ and the agent refused it.

Martin Conwell felt he must not spend more on a luxury, and the agent
left. Crossing the fields to seek another purchaser, he met Miranda
Conwell. She asked him if her husband had bought the organ. His answer
was a keen disappointment The mother's heart had sympathized with the
boy's passion for music and knew the joy such a possession would be to
Russell. Ever ready to sacrifice herself, she told the man she would
pay him the ten dollars, if he would wait for it, but not to let her
husband know. The agent returned to Martin Conwell, told him he would
accept his offer, and in a short time a brand new organ was installed
in the farmhouse. Miranda Conwell sewed later at nights, that was all.
Not till she had earned the ten dollars with her needle did she tell
her husband why the agent had, with such surprising celerity, changed
his mind in regard to the price.

Russell's joy in the organ was unbounded, and the mother was more than
repaid for her extra work by his pleasure and delight. He immediately
plunged unaided into the study of music, and he never gave up until he
was complete master of the organ. His was no half-hearted love. The
work and drudgery connected with practising never daunted him. He kept
steadily at it until he could roll out the familiar songs and
hymns while the small room fairly rang with their melody. He also
improvised, composing both words and music, a gift that went with him
into the ministry and which has given the membership of Grace Baptist
Church, Philadelphia, many beautiful hymns and melodies.

Later he learned the bass viol, violoncello and cornet, and made money
by playing for parties and entertainments in his neighborhood. Years
afterward, when pastor of Grace Church, and with the Sunday School
on an excursion to Cape May, he saw a cornet lying on a bench on the
pier. Seized with a longing to play again this instrument of his
boyhood, he picked it up and began softly a familiar air. Soon lost to
his surroundings, he played on and on. At last remembering where he
was, he laid down the instrument and walked away. The owner, who had
returned, followed him and offered him first five dollars and then ten
to play that night for a dance at Congress Hall.

Martin Conwell, during Russell's boyhood days, carefully guarded his
son from being spoiled by the flattery of neighbors and friends. He
realized that Russell was a boy in many ways above the average, but
his practical common sense prevented him from taking such pride in
Russell's various achievements as to let him become spoiled and
conceited. Many a whipping Russell received for the personal songs he
composed about the neighbors. But that was not prohibitive. The very
next night, Russell would hold up to ridicule the peculiarity of some
one in the neighborhood, much to his victim's chagrin and to the
amusement of the listeners. He was forever inventing improvements for
the fishing apparatus, oars, boats, coasting sleds, household and farm
utensils, often forgetting the tasks his father had given him while
doing it. Naturally, this exasperated Martin Conwell, who had no help
on the farm but the boys, and the rod would again be brought into
active service. Once, after whipping him for such neglect of work--he
had left the cider apples out in the frost--Martin Conwell asked his
son's pardon because he had invented an improved ox-sled that was of
great practical value.

When he was fifteen he ran away again. No friendly Deacon Chipman
interfered this time, nor is it likely he would easily have been
turned from the project, for he planned to go to Europe. He went to
Chicopee to an uncle's, whom he frankly told of his intended trip. The
uncle kept Russell for a day or two by various expedients, while he
wrote to his father telling him Russell was there and what he intended
doing. The father wrote back saying to give him what money he needed
and let him go. So Russell started on his journey over the sea. He
worked his way on a cattle steamer from New York to Liverpool. But it
was a homesick boy that roamed around in foreign lands, and as he has
said most feelingly since, "I felt that if I could only get back home,
I would never, never leave it again." He did not stay abroad long and
when he returned to his home, his father greeted him as if he had been
absent a few hours, and never in any way, by word or action, referred
to the subject. In fact, so far as Martin Conwell appeared, Russell
might have been no farther than Huntington.

Thus boyhood days passed with their measure of work and their measure
of play. He lived the healthy, active life of a farm boy, taking a
keen interest in the affairs of the young people of the neighborhood,
amusing the older heads by his mischievous pranks. He diligently and
perseveringly studied in school hours and out. He read every book he
could get hold of. He was sometimes disobedient, often intractable, in
no way different from thousands of other farm boys of those days or

But the times were coming which would test his mettle. Would he
continue to climb as he had done after the eagle's nest, though
compelled many times to go to the very ground and begin over again?

Would the experiences of life transmute into pure gold, these
undeveloped traits of character or prove them mere dross? It
rested with him. He was the alchemist, as is every other man. The
philosopher's stone is in every one's hands.



School Days at Wilbraham Academy. The First School Oration and Its
Humiliating End. The Hour of Prayer in the Conwell Home at the Time of
John Brown's Execution.

The carefree days of boyhood rapidly drew to a close. The serious work
of life was beginning. The bitter struggle for an education was at
hand. And because one boy did so struggle, thousands of boys now are
being given the broadest education, practically free.

Russell had gone as far in his studies as the country school could
take him. Should he stop there as his companions were doing and settle
down to the work of the farm? The outlook for anything else was almost
hopeless. He had absolutely no money, nor could his father spare him
any. He knew no other work than farming. It was a prospect to daunt
even the most determined, yet Russell Conwell is not the only farmer's
boy who has looked such a situation in the face and succeeded in spite
of it. Nor were helping hands stretched out in those days to aid
ambitious boys, as they are in these.

Asa Niles, matching Russell's progress with loving interest, told
Martin Conwell the boy ought to go to Wilbraham Academy. His own son
William was going, and he strongly urged that Charles and Russell
Conwell enter at the same time. It was no light decision for the
father to make. He needed the boys in the work on the farm. Not only
was he unable to help them, but it was a decided loss to let them go.
Long and earnest were the consultations the father and mother held.
The mother, willing to sacrifice herself to the utmost, said, of
course, "let them go," deciding she could earn something to help them
along by taking in more sewing. So it was decided, and in the fall
of 1858, Russell and his brother entered the Academy of Wilbraham, a
small town about twelve miles east from Springfield.

It was bitter, uphill work. All the money the two boys had, both to
pay their tuition and their board, they earned. They worked for the
near-by farmers. They spent long days gathering chestnuts and walnuts
at a few cents a quart. They split wood, they did anything they could
find to do. In fact, they worked as hard and as long as though no
studies were awaiting to be eagerly attacked when the exhausting
labor was finished. Such tasks interfered with their studies, so that
Russell never stood very high in his Academy classes. Part of the time
they lived in a small room on the outskirts of the village, barren of
all furniture save the absolutely necessary, and for six weeks at a
stretch, lived on nothing but mush and milk. Their clothes were of
the cheapest kind, countrified in cut and make, a decided contrast
to those of their fellow students, who came from homes of wealth and
refinement It is very easy for outsiders and older heads to talk
philosophically of being above such things, but young, sensitive boys
feel such a position keenly and none but those who have actually
endured such a martyrdom of pride know what they suffer. It takes the
grittiest kind of perseverance to face such slights, to seem not to
see the amused glance, not to hear the sneering comment, not to notice
the contemptuous shrug.

Such slights Russell endured daily from certain of his classmates,
and though he realized fully that the opinion of these was of little
value, nevertheless they hurt. But to the world he stood his ground
unflinchingly, even if there were secret heartaches. He studied
hard, and what he studied he learned. He had his own peculiar way
of studying. Once he was missing from his classes several days. The
teachers reported it to the principal, Dr. Raymond, who investigated.
He found Russell completely absorbed in history and mastering it at a
mile-a-minute gait. Dr. Raymond was wise in the management of boys,
especially such a boy as Russell, and he reported to the teachers,
"Let him alone. Conwell is working out his own education, and it isn't
worth while to disturb him."

His passion for debate and oratory found full scope in the debating
societies of the Academy. These welcomed him with open arms. He was
so quick with his witty repartee, could so readily turn an opponent's
arguments against him, that the nights it was known he would speak,
found the "Old Club" hall always crowded to hear "that boy from the

Thus working as hard as though he were doing nothing else, and
studying as hard as though he were not working, Russell made his way
through two terms of the academic year. Nobody knows or ever will
know, all he suffered. Often almost on the point of starvation, yet
too proud and sensitive to ask for help, he toiled on, working by day
and studying by night. He never thought of giving up the fight and
going back to the farm. But funds completely ran out for the spring
term and he yielded the struggle for a brief while, returning to help
his father, or to earn what he could teaching school, or working on
neighboring farms, saving every cent like a very miser for the coming
year's tuition. In addition, he kept up with his studies, so that when
he returned the next fall, he went on with his class the same as if he
had attended for the entire year.

The second year was a repetition of the first, work and study,
grinding poverty, glorious perseverance. Again the spring term found
him out of funds, and this time he replenished by teaching school at
Blandford, Massachusetts. Among his pupils here was a bully of the
worst type, whose conduct had caused most of the former teachers to
resign. In fact, he was quite proud of his ability to give the school
a holiday, and as on former occasions, made his boasts that it
wouldn't be long before the new teacher would take a vacation. The
other pupils watched with eager curiosity for the conflict. In due
course of time it came. Russell at first dealt with him kindly. It
hadn't been so many years since he himself had been the cause of
numerous uproars at school. But this youth was not of the kind to be
impressed by good treatment. He simply took it as a showing of the
white feather on the part of the new teacher and became bolder in his
misconduct. On a day, when he was unruly beyond all pardon, Russell
took down the birch and invited him up before the school to receive
the usual punishment. The great occasion had come. The children waited
with bated breath. The boy refused openly, sneeringly. The next
moment, he thought lightning had struck him. He was grabbed by the
neck, held with a grip of iron despite all his struggles, whipped
before the gaping school, taken to the door and kicked out in the
snow. Then the school lessons proceeded. It made a sensation, of
course. Some of the parents wanted to request the new teacher to
resign. But others rallied to his support and protested to the school
board that the right man had been found at last. And so Russell held
the post until the school term was over. Thirty-five years after,
Russell Conwell, pastor of the Baptist Temple, was asked to head a
petition to get this same evil doer out of Sing Sing prison.

But despite his hard work and hard study at Wilbraham, the spirit of
fun cropped out as persistently as in his younger days at the country
school. A chance to play a good joke was not to be missed. At one of
the school entertainments, a student whom few liked was to take part.
Relatives of his had given a large sum of money to the Academy, and
on this account he somewhat lorded it over the other boys. He was, in
addition, foppish in his dress, and on account of his money, position,
and tailor, felt the country boys of the class a decided drawback to
his social status. So the country boys decided to "get even," and they
needed no other leader while Russell Conwell was about. Finally it
came the dandy's turn to go on the platform to deliver a recitation.
Just as he stepped out of the little anteroom before the audience,
Russell, with deft fingers, fastened a paper jumping-jack to the tail
of his coat, where it dangled back of his legs in plain view of the
audience but unobserved by himself. With every gesture the figure
jumped, climbed, contorted, and went through all manner of gymnastics.
The more enthusiastic became the young orator, the more active the
tiny figure in his rear. The audience went into convulsions. Utterly
unable to tell what was the matter, he finally retired, red and
confused, and the audience wiped away the tears of laughter.

It was at one of these entertainments that Russell himself met with a
bitter defeat. A public debate was announced in which he was to take
part. His classmates had spread abroad the story of his eloquence and
the hall was packed to hear him. Knowing that it would be a great
occasion and conscious of his poor clothes, he determined to make an
impression by his speech. He prepared it with the utmost care, and
to "make assurance doubly sure," committed it to memory, a thing he
rarely did. His turn came. There was an expectant rustle through the
audience, some almost audible comments on his clothes, his height, his
thinness. He cleared his voice. He started to say the first word. It
was gone. Frantically he searched his memory for that speech. His mind
was a blank. Again he cleared his voice and wrestled fiercely with his
inner consciousness. Only one phrase could he remember, and shouting
in his thunderous tones, "Give me liberty or give me death," sat down,
"not caring much which he got," as Burdette says, "so it came quickly
and plenty of it."

It was while at Wilbraham that he laid down text books and stepped
aside for a brief space to pay honor to a hero. Sorrow hung like a
pall over the little home at South Worthington. In far-off Virginia,
a brave, true-hearted man had raised a weak arm against the hosts of
slavery, raised it and been stricken down. John Brown had been tried,
convicted and sentenced to be hanged. The day of his execution was a
day of mourning in the Conwell home. As the hour for the deed drew
near, the father called the family into the little living room where
Brown had so often sat among them. And during the hour while the
tragedy was enacted in Virginia, the family sat silent with bowed
heads doing reverence to the memory of this man who with single-minded
earnestness went forward so fearlessly when others held back, to
strike the shackles from those in chains.

It was a solemn hour, an hour in which worldly ambitions faded before
the sublime spectacle of a man freely, calmly giving his very life
because he had dared to live out his honest belief that all men should
be free. Like a kaleidoscope, Brown's history passed through Russell's
mind as he sat there. He saw the brutal whipping of the little slave
boy which had so aroused Brown's anger when, a small boy himself, he
led cattle through the western forests. Russell's hands clenched as
he pictured it and he felt willing to fight as Brown had done,
single-handed and alone if need be, to right so horrible a wrong.
He could see how the idea had grown with John Brown's growth and
strengthened with his strength until he came to manhood with a single
purpose dominating his life, and a will to do it that could neither be
broken nor bent. He pictured him in Kansas when son after son was laid
on the altar of liberty as unflinchingly as Abraham held the knife at
his own son's breast at God's behest. Then the first "blow at Harper's
Ferry in the cause of liberty for all men--the capture of the town
of three thousand by twenty-two men, and now this--the public
execution--the fearless spirit that looked only to God for guidance,
that feared neither man nor man's laws, stopped on the very threshold
of the supreme effort for which he had planned his life. Stopped? It
was the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment of Infantry that was the first to
sing on its way South, that song, afterward sung by the armies of a
nation to the steady tramp of feet,

  "John Brown's body lies mouldering in the grave,
        But his soul goes marching on."



College Days at Yale. The Outbreak of the Civil War. Patriotic
Speechmaking. New York and Henry Ward Beecher.

School days at Wilbraham ended, Russell determined to climb higher. As
yet, he scarcely knew the purpose of his studying. Ambitions seethed
in him to know, to be able to do. He only realized that he must have
the tools ready when the work came. Not daunted, therefore, by the
bitter experiences at Wilbraham, Russell determined to go to Yale.
This meant a stern fight indeed, one that would call out all his
reserves of determination, perseverance and indifference to the jeers
and jibes of unthinking and unfeeling classmates. But he did not
flinch at the prospect. His brother Charles went with him, and in
the fall of '60 they entered Yale College. If poverty was bitter at
Wilbraham, it was bitterer here. They were utter strangers among
hundreds of boys from all parts of the country, the majority of them
coming from homes of luxury and with money for all their needs. At
Wilbraham, there had been a certain number of boys from their own
section, many of them poor, though few so poor as themselves. They had
not felt so altogether alone as they did at Yale. It is perhaps for
this reason that so little is known of Russell Conwell's career at
Yale. He was as unobtrusive as possible. "Silent as the Sphinx," some
describe him. His sensitive nature withdrew into itself, and since he
could not mingle with his classmates on a ground of equality, he kept
to himself, alone, silent, studying, working, but telling no one how
keenly he felt the difference between his own position and that of his
fellow students. He worked for the nearby farmers as at Wilbraham and
did anything that he could to earn money. But his clothes were poor,
his manner of living the cheapest, and except in classes, his fellow
students met him little.

He took the law course and followed fully the classical course at the
same time--a feat no student at that time had ever done and few, if
any, since. How he managed it, working as hard as he did at the
same time, to earn money, seems impossible to comprehend. His iron
constitution, for one thing, that seemed capable of standing any
strain, helped him. And his remarkable ability to photograph whole
pages of his text books on his memory was another powerful ally. He
could reel off page after page of Virgil, Homer, Blackstone--anything
he "memorized" in this unusual fashion. Well for him that he grasped
the opportunity to learn this method presented him as a child. But
it has always been one of the traits of his character to see
opportunities where others walk right over them, and to seize and make
use of them.

He did not register in the classical course as he was too poor to pay
the tuition fee, nor did he join any of the clubs, as he could not
afford it. He seldom appeared in debates or the moot courts, for
he was so shabbily dressed he felt he would not be welcome. It was
undoubtedly these humiliating experiences, combined with certain of
his studies and reading, that caused him to drift into an atheistic
train of thought. Working hard, living poor, desiring so much, yet
on all sides he saw boys with all the opportunities he longed
for, utterly indifferent to them. He saw boys spending in riotous
dissipation the money that would have meant so much to him. He saw
them recklessly squandering health, time, priceless educational
opportunities, for the veriest froth of pleasure. He saw them sowing
the wind, yet to his inexperienced eyes not reaping the whirlwind, but
faring far more prosperously than he who worked and studied hard and
yet had not what they threw so lightly away. It was all at variance
with his mother's teaching, with such of the preaching at the little
white church as he had heard. Bible promises, as he interpreted them,
were not fulfilled. So he scoffed, cynically, bitterly, and said, as
many another has done before he has learned the lessons of the world's
hard school, "There is no God." And having said it, he took rather a
pride in it and said it openly, boastingly.

As at Wilbraham, funds ran out before the school year was completed
and he left Yale and taught district school during the day and vocal
and instrumental music in the evenings.

But into this eager, undaunted struggle for an education came the
trumpet call to arms. With the memory of John Brown like a living coal
in his heart, with the pictures of the cowering, runaway slaves ever
before his eyes, he flung away his books and was one of the first to
enlist. But his father interfered. Russell was only eighteen. Martin
Conwell went to the recruiting officer and had his name taken from the
rolls. It was a bitter disappointment. But since he might not help
with his hands, he spoke with his tongue. All his pent-up enthusiasm
flowed out in impassioned speeches that brought men by the hundreds to
the recruiting offices. His fame spread up and down the Connecticut
valley and wherever troops were to be raised, "the boy" was in demand.

"His youthful oratory," says the author of "Scaling the Eagle's Nest,"
"was a wonderful thing which drew crowds of excited listeners wherever
he went. Towns sent for him to help raise their quotas of soldiers,
and ranks speedily filled before his inspiring and patriotic
speeches. In 1862 I remember a scene at Whitman Hall in Westfield,
Massachusetts, which none who were there can forget. Russell had
delivered two addresses there before. On that night there were two
addresses before his by prominent lawyers, but there was evident
impatience to hear 'The boy.' When he came forward there was the most
deafening applause. He really seemed inspired by miraculous powers.
Every auditor was fascinated and held closely bound. There was for a
time breathless suspense, and then at some telling sentence the whole
building shook with wild applause. At its close a shower of bouquets
from hundreds of ladies carpeted the stage in a moment, and men from
all parts of the hall rushed forward to enlist."

The adulation and flattery showered upon him were enough to turn any
other's head. But it made no impression upon him. Heart, mind and soul
he was wrapped up in the cause. He was burning with zeal to help the
oppressed and suffering. His words poured from a heart overflowing
with pity, love, and indignation. Never once did he think of himself,
only of those in bonds crying, "Come over and help us."

When Lincoln made his great address in Cooper Institute in 1860,
Russell was there. It was a longer journey from New England to New
York in those days than it is now, and longer yet for a boy who had so
little money, but he let no obstacle keep him away.

He utilized his visit also to hear Beecher, the man who had taken so
powerful a hold of his childish fancy. Ever since those boyish days
when his mother read Beecher's sermons to him, and standing on the big
gray rock he had imagined himself another Beecher, he had longed to
hear this great man. It was only this childish desire holding fast to
him through the year that took him now, for church-going itself had no
attraction for him.

He sat on the steps of the gallery and heard this wonderful man preach
a sermon in which he illustrated an auctioneer selling a negro girl at
the block. He sat as one entranced. So did the immense audience, held
spellbound by the scene so graphically pictured. It was the first
interesting sermon he had ever heard. It made a tremendous impression
on him, not only in itself, but as a vivid contrast between the
formal, rattling-of-dry-bones sermon and the live, vital discourse
that takes hold of a man's mind and heart and compels him to go out
in the world and do things for the good of his fellow men. Long it
remained in his memory, but the greatest inspiration from it did not
come till later years, when suddenly it stood forth as if illumined,
to throw a brilliant radiance on a path he had decided to tread.



Lincoln's Call for 100,000 Men. Enlistment. Captain Conwell. In Camp
at Springfield, Mass. The Famous Gold-sheathed Sword.

In 1862, Lincoln sent out an earnest call for 100,000 men for the war.
Russell was not longer to be denied, and his father permitted him to
enlist. What silent agony, what earnest prayers for his safety went
up from his mother's heart, only other mothers in those terrible days

He raised a company from Worthington, Chesterfield, Huntington,
Russell, Blandford and the neighboring towns and was unanimously
elected captain, though only nineteen. His earnest, fiery speeches had
already made him famous, and when it was known he had enlisted and was
raising a company, there was a rush to get into it, and the men as
with one voice, demanded that he be their captain. No one ever thought
of canvassing against him. A committee was appointed to wait on
Governor Andrew to persuade him to commission Russell in spite of his
age, and when he received the appointment, the cheers and applause of
the enthusiastic, the quiet satisfaction of the sedate, showed the
place which he had in their hearts. It is almost incomprehensible to
those not acquainted with the man, but those who have come in contact
with him, know what a hold he would soon gain over those "Mountain
Boys," as the company was called. His kindly sympathy would quickly
make them feel that in their captain, each had a warm personal friend.
His generous heart would back up that belief with a hundred and one
little acts of thoughtful kindness. Over each and every one would be
exercised a watchful care that cheered the long days, lightened heavy
loads, lessened discomforts. It is little wonder that their devotion
to him amounted almost to adoration. Gray-haired men followed him as
proudly as though his years matched theirs. Indeed, to their loyalty
was added a fatherly feeling of guardianship over him, because of his
youth, that brought a new pleasure into the relationship. The company
was knit together with the bonds of loving comradeship as were few

The rendezvous of the company was at Huntington, and there a banquet
was given before the troops departed for war. Proud day for him when
he marched down the familiar road from South Worthington, through the
autumn woods with their slowly falling leaves, their shadowy forest
aisles all glorious now with the banners of autumn, past the white
farmhouses with their golden lilies, the faithful little brook singing
ever at his side. Sad day for his mother as she watched him go, long
looking after him, till she could see no more for tears.

From Huntington the company went into camp at Springfield. And now
came into use, those tactics and drills he had studied as a boy, and
others he had been secretly studying ever since the war broke out. His
men were astonished to find how perfectly at home he was in military
tactics. It further added to their pride in him. They fully expected
him to know as little as they, but when he came to his work fully
prepared, to their admiration of him as an orator, their love as a
leader, was now added their confidence as an officer.

Camp life at Springfield made war no longer a glorious contemplation
but an uncomfortable reality. The ground for a bed, a spadeful
of earth for a pillow, sharp mountain winds, cold autumn storms,
insufficient food, hinted at the hardships to follow. The gold and the
alloy in the men's characters began to shine out, and Company F soon
realized in practical ways, the nature of the man who led them. His
new uniform overcoat went to a shivering boy, his rations were divided
with those less fortunate, his blankets were given to a comrade in
need. Always it was of his men, not himself, he thought.

Before leaving camp for the seat of war, Captain Conwell was presented
with a sword by his Company, bearing this inscription:--

"Presented to Captain Russell H. Conwell by the soldiers of Company F,
46th Mass. Vol. Militia, known as 'The Mountain Boys.' Vera Amicitia
est sempiterna. (True friendship is eternal.)" Colonel Shurtleff made
the speech of presentation. The passionately eloquent reply of the
boy captain is yet remembered by those who heard it. He received the
beautiful, glittering weapon in silence. Slowly he drew the gleaming
steel from its golden sheath and solemnly held it upward as if
dedicating it to heaven, the sunlight bathing the blade with blinding
flashes of light. His eyes were fixed upon the steel, as if in a rapt
vision, he swept the centuries past, the centuries to come, and saw
what it stood for in the destinies of men. Breathless silence fell
upon his waiting comrades. Thus for a few moments he stood and then he
spoke to the sword.

"He called up the shade of the sword of that mighty warrior Joshua,
which purified a polluted land with libations of blood, and made
it fit for the heritage of God's people; the sword of David, that
established the kingdom of Israel; the sword of that resistless
conqueror, Alexander, that pierced the heart of the Orient; the Roman
short sword, the terrible gladius, that carved out for the Caesars
the sovereignty of the world; the sword of Charlemagne, writing its
master's glorious deeds in mingling chapters of fable and history; the
sword of Gustavus Adolphus, smiting the battalions of the puissant
Wallenstein with defeat and overthrow even when its master lay dead on
the field of Lutzen; the sword of Washington, drawn for human freedom
and sheathed in peace, honor, and victory; then he bade the sword
remember all it had done in shaping the destinies of men and nations;
how it had written on the tablets of history in letters red and lurid,
the drama of the ages; closing, he called upon it now, in the battle
for the Union, to strike hard and strike home for freedom, for
justice, in the name of God and the Right; to fail not in the work to
which it was called until every shackle in the land was broken, every
bondman free, and every foul stain of dishonor cleaned from the flag."



Company F at Newberne, N.C. The Fight at Batchelor's Creek. The
Goldsboro Expedition. The Battle of Kingston. The Gum Swamp

Breaking camp, the 46th left the beautiful, placid scenery about
Springfield, its silver river, its silent mountains, for Boston, where
they embarked for North Carolina, November 5th, 1862. They sailed out
of Boston Harbor in the teeth of a winter gale which increased so in
fury that the boat was compelled to put back. When they finally did
leave, the sea was still very rough and they had a slow, stormy

It goes without saying that many of the men were ill. The boat was
crowded, the accommodations insufficient, and numbers of the Mountain
Boys had never been on the water before. To the confusion of handling
such a body of men was added inexperience in such work. The members of
Company F would have fared badly had it not been for the forethought
of their boy captain. It seemed as if he had passed beforehand in
mental review, the experiences of these weeks and anticipated their
needs. Out of his own funds, he laid in a stock of medicines and
delicacies for the sick. Indeed, those who know, say that he expended
all of his pay in sutler's stores and various things to make his men
more comfortable. Night and day, he was with those who suffered,
cheering, sympathizing, nursing. He was the life of the ship. His men
saw that his kindness and comradeship were not of the superficial
order, but genuine, sincere, a part of his very self and they became,
if possible, more passionately attached to him than ever.

The placid Neuse river was a glad sight when at last they reached its
mouth and steamed up to Newberne, North Carolina. General Burnside had
already captured the town and Company F began army duties in earnest
with garrison work in the little Southern city, with its long dull
lines of earthworks, its white tents, its fleet of gunboats floating
lazily on the river. The constant tramp of soldiers' feet echoed along
the side-walks of this erstwhile quiet, Southern town. Sentries stood
on the corners challenging passers-by, wharves creaked under the loads
of ordnance and quartermasters' stores. Army wagons and ambulances
were constantly passing in the street, all strange and novel at first
to the Mountain Boys but soon familiar. Drilling and guard duty
filled their days. Morning and afternoon they drilled, and the actual
possession of the enemies' country, the warlike aspect of everything
about them, made drilling a far more real and important matter than it
had seemed at home. Captain Conwell felt his responsibility and threw
himself into the work with an earnestness that infected his men. They
would rather drill with him two hours than with any other officer a
half hour. They not only caught the contagion of his enthusiasm, but
he changed the dull, monotonous drudgery of it, into real, fascinating
work by marching them into seemingly hopeless situations and then in
some unexpected and surprising way, extricating them. Nor did he
spare himself any of the unpleasant phases of the work. One day, the
Colonel, while drilling the regiment, noticed that many of the men of
Company F marched far out of their places to avoid a mudhole in the
road. He marched and countermarched them over the same ground to
compel the men to keep their rank and file regardless of the mud.
Captain Conwell saw his object, and himself plunged into the mire, his
men followed, and were thus saved the reprimand which threatened.

During these days, Captain Conwell kept up with the law studies
abandoned at Yale. Every spare minute, he devoted to his books and
committed to memory, one whole volume of Blackstone during the term of
his first enlistment Not many of the soldiers so used their hours
off duty. But it is this turning of every minute to account that has
enabled Dr. Conwell to accomplish so much. He has made his life count
for a half dozen of most person's by never wasting a moment.

The monotony of garrison duty was broken first by a small fight at
Batchelor's Creek, seven miles above Newbern, but only four companies
were engaged. The Mountain Boys saw the first blood spilled at
Kingston and gained there the first glimpse of the horrors of war.
Nearly the entire marching force was sent into the interior on this
expedition, known as the Goldsboro expedition, the object being to cut
the Weldon railroad at Goldsboro, North Carolina. It was a hard march
with short and uncertain halts and occasional cavalry skirmishes. At
Kingston, they met the enemy in force. The Confederates were massed
about the bridge over the Neuse river and held it bravely till the
charge of the 9th New Jersey and 10th Connecticut drove them from
their position and left the woods and a little open field covered with
the dead and dying. The 46th Massachusetts followed the retreating
army and had that first experience with the grim, bloody side of war
that always makes such a strong impression on the green soldier.

They bivouacked at Kingston and next day marched to the Weldon
railroad, reaching it at the bridge below Goldsboro, where the
Confederates had massed a large body of troops to protect their lines
of communication and supplies. This was a battle in earnest, the
artillery was deafening, and the enemy repeatedly charged the Union
lines. The Northern batteries were on a knoll in front, and at the
very moment that a long line of gray was seen approaching through this
field and the Massachusetts men were ordered to lie down, so that the
shot and shell could pass over them, their boy captain walked openly
forward to the batteries and stood there in the smoke. Careless of
himself, he yet realized to the full the meaning of this grim duel,
for when the fight was over and the Northern men cheering, he was
silent Captain Walkley asked why he did not cheer with the others.
"Too many hearts made sad to-day," was the significant reply that
showed he counted the cost to its bitter end, though he went forward
none the less bravely.

Long, monotonous days of garrison duty followed for the men, days of
drilling, of idling up and down the streets of the dull Southern town.
But Captain Conwell used his spare minutes to advantage, and when
no work connected with his company or the personal welfare of his
comrades occupied him, he was studying. Then came the order to drive
the Confederates from a fort they were erecting on the Newbern
Railroad about thirty miles inland. This expedition, known as the Gum
Swamp Expedition, was an experience that tested the mettle of the men
and the resources of the young captain, and an experience none of the
survivors ever forgot. It was a forced march, a quick charge. The
Confederates fled leaving their fort unfinished. The Union men having
successfully completed their work, began the return to Newberne, and
here disaster overtook them. The Confederates hung on their rear,
riddling their ranks with shot and shell. Suffering, maddened, with no
way to turn and fight, for the enemy kept themselves well hidden, with
no way of escape ahead if they remained on the road, they plunged into
the swamp, that swept up black and dismal to the very edge of the
highway. The Confederate prisoners with them, warned them of their
danger, but the men were not to be stayed when a deadly rain of the
enemy's balls was thinning their ranks every minute. The swamp was one
black ooze with water up to their waists, a tangle of grass, reeds,
cypress trees, bushes. Loaded down with their heavy clothing, and
their army accoutrements, one after another the men sank from sheer
exhaustion. No man could succor his brother. It was all he could do to
drag himself through the mire that sucked him down like some terrible,
silent monster of the black, slimy depths. But Captain Conwell would
not desert a man. He could not see his comrades left to die before his
very eyes, those men who came right from his own mountain town, his
own boy friends, the ones who had enlisted under him, marched and
drilled with him. Rather would he perish in the swamp with them. He
worked like a Hercules, encouraging, helping, carrying some of the
more exhausted. A wet, straggling remnant reached Newberne. Even then,
when Captain Conwell found that two of his own company were missing,
he plunged back into the swamp to rescue them. Hours passed, and just
as a relief expedition was starting to search for him, he came back,
his hat gone, his uniform torn into rags, but with one of the men with
him and the other left on a fallen tree with a path blazed to lead the
rescuers to him. No heart could withstand such devotion as that. Young
and old, it touched his men so deeply, they could not speak of it
unmoved. They would gladly have died for him if need be, as one
did later, changing by his heroic act the whole current of Russell
Conwell's life.

This same earnest desire to save that made him plunge back into that
swamp, regardless of self, is with him still to-day, now that his
whole soul is consumed with a longing to save men from moral death. He
lets nothing stand in his way of reaching out a succoring hand. Then
it was his comrades that he loved with such unselfish devotion. Now,
every man is his brother and his heart goes out with the same earnest
desire to help those who need help. The genuineness, the unselfishness
of it goes straight to every man's heart. It binds men to him as in
the old days, and it gives them new faith in themselves. The love
of humanity in his heart is, and always has been, a clear spring,
unpolluted by love of self, by ambition, by any worldly thing.



Scouting at Bogue Sound. Capt. Conwell Wounded. The Second Enlistment.
Jealousy and Misunderstanding. Building of the First Free School for
Colored Children. Attack on Newport Barracks. Heroic Death of John

Once more, garrison duty laid its dull hand on the troops, varied by
little encounters that broke the monotony and furnished the material
for many campfire stories, but otherwise did little damage. The men
eagerly welcomed these scouting expeditions, and when an especially
dangerous one to Bogue Sound was planned, and Company F, eager to be
selected, Captain Conwell personally interceded with the Colonel that
his men might be given the task. The region into which they were sent
was known to be full of rebels, and as they approached the danger
zone, Captain Conwell ordered his men to lie down, while he went
forward to reconnoitre. Noticing a Confederate officer behind a tree,
he stole to the tree, and reaching as far around as he could, began
firing with his revolver. Not being experienced in the shooting of
men and believing since it must be done, "'twere well it were done
quickly," he shot all his loads in quick succession. His enemy, more
wily, waited till the Captain's ammunition was gone and then slowly
and with steady aim began returning the fire. But Captain Conwell's
comrades watching from a distance saw big peril, and disobeying
orders, rose as one man and came to his rescue. The Confederate fled
but not before he had left a ball in Captain Conwell's shoulder which,
of little consequence at the time, later came near causing his death.

Thus the days passed away, and as the term of enlistment drew to
a close, General Foster sent for Captain Conwell and promised
to recommend him for a colonelcy if he would enter at once upon
recruiting service among his men. This he willingly consented to do,
and as may be imagined his men nearly all wanted to re-enlist under
him. Such a commission, however, for one so young aroused bitter
jealousy among officers of other companies, and Captain Conwell
hearing of it, decided not to accept the appointment. He wrote the
Governor that he would be content with the captain's commission again
and that he preferred not to raise contention by receiving anything
higher. The company returned home, but before the new re-organization
was effected, Captain Conwell was attacked with a serious fever. By
the time he recovered, the new regiment had been organized and new
officers put over it. Of course, his men were dissatisfied. With the
understanding that such of his old comrades as wished could join it,
he went to work immediately recruiting another company. But nearly all
his old men wanted to come into it, the new men recruited would
not give him up, and the anomalous position arose of two companies
clamoring for one captain. While it created much comment, it did not
lessen the jealousy which his popularity had aroused, among men and
officers not intimately associated with him, so that his second
enlistment began under a cloud of disappointment for his men, and
jealousy among outsiders, that seemed to bring misfortune in its

His new men, however, never failed him. His thoughtful care for them,
his kindness, his unselfishness won their loyalty and love as it had
done in Company F, and Company D, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteers were to
a man as devoted and as attached to him as ever were his old comrades
of the first days of the war.

In this company went as Captain Conwell's personal orderly, a young
boy, John Ring, of Westfield, Massachusetts, a lad of sixteen or
seventeen. Entirely too young and too small to join the ranks of
soldiers, he had pleaded with his father so earnestly to be permitted
to go to the war that Mr. Ring had finally consented to put him in
Captain Conwell's charge. The boy was a worshipper at the shrine of
the young Captain. He had sat thrilled and fascinated under the magic
of the burning words which had swept men by the hundreds to enlist. It
was Captain Conwell's speeches that had stirred the boy and moved him
with such fiery ardor to go to war. No greater joy could be given him,
since he could not fight, than to be in his Captain's very tent to
look after his belongings, to minister in small ways to his comfort. A
hero worshipper the lad was, and at an age when ideals take hold of a
pure, high-minded boy with a force that will carry him to any height
of self-sacrifice, to any depth of suffering. He had been carefully
reared in a Christian home and read the Bible every morning and every
evening in their tent, a sight that so pricked the conscience
of Captain Conwell, as he remembered his mother and her loving
instructions, that he forbade it. But though John Ring loved Captain
Conwell with a love which the former did not then understand, the boy
loved duty and right better, and bravely disobeying these orders, he
read on.

The company was stationed at Fort Macon, North Carolina, for awhile,
and then sent to Newport Barracks. Here it was that Captain Conwell
and his soldiers cut the logs and built the first free schoolhouse
erected for colored children. Colonel Conwell himself taught it at
first and then he engaged a woman to teach. It is still standing.

Months passed away and the men received no pay. Request after request
Captain Conwell sent to headquarters at Newberne, but received no
reply. The men became discontented and unruly. Some had families at
home in need. All of these tales were poured into the young Captain's
ears. Ready ever to relieve trouble, impatient always to get to work
and remedy a wrong, instead of talking about it, Captain Conwell
decided to ride to Newberne, find out what was the matter and have the
men's money forwarded at once. Leaving an efficient officer in command
and securing a pass, which he never stopped to consider was not a
properly made-out permit for a leave of absence for a commanding
officer, he took an orderly and started. It was a twenty-mile ride
to Newberne and meant an absence of some time. But he anticipated no
trouble, for the rebels had been letting the Northern troops severely
alone for nearly a year.

He had covered barely two-thirds of the distance, when a Union man
passed, who shouted as he hurried on, "Your men are in a fight."
Conwell and his orderly turned, put their horses to the gallop and
rode back furiously. It was too late. The country between was swarming
with Confederates. He ran into the enemies' pickets and barely escaped
capture by swimming a deep creek, shot spattering all around them. He
made desperate efforts to ride around the lines but failed. Then he
tried descending the river by boat, but the enemy had captured the
entire line of posts. Frustrated at all points, nothing was to be done
but retrace his steps to Newberne, where the worst of news awaited
him. The assault upon his fort had been sudden and in overwhelming
force. His men had been shot down or bayonetted, the remnant driven to
the woods. The whole ground was in the hands of the enemy.

Nor was this all. Back at that little fort had been enacted one of the
saddest tragedies of the war. When the Union soldiers fled, they had
retreated across the long railroad bridge that spanned the Newport
river, and to prevent the enemy following, had set it on fire. Just as
the flames began to eat into the timbers, John Ring, the boy orderly,
thought of his Captain's sword, that wonderful gold-sheathed sword
which had been presented to Captain Conwell on the memorable day in
Springfield when he had so eloquently called upon it to fight in the
cause of Justice. It had been left behind in the Captain's tent, the
Army Regulations requiring that he wear one less conspicuous. Even now
it might be in the hands of some slave-owning Confederate. Maddened at
the thought, John King leaped on to the burning bridge, plunged
back through the fire, through the ranks of the yelling, excited
Confederates, reached the tent unobserved and grasped the sword of his
idolized Captain. Again he made a rush for the flame-wrapped bridge.
But this time the keen eyes of the enemy discerned him.

"Look at the Yank with the sword. Wing him! Bring him down." And
bullets sped after the fearless boy. But he fled on undeterred, and
plunged into the mass of flame and smoke. The fire had gained too
great headway by this time for any living thing to pass through it
unhurt. He saw it was useless to attempt to cross as before, and
belting the sword about him, he dropped beneath the stringers and
tried to make his way hand over hand. All about him fell the blazing
brands. The biting smoke blinded him. The very flesh was burning from
his arms. The enemies' bullets sung about him. But still he struggled
on. In sheer admiration of his courage, the Confederate general gave
the order to cease firing, and the two armies stood silent and watched
the plucky fight of this brave boy. Inch by inch, he gained on his
path of fire. But he could see no longer. In torturing blackness
he groped on, fearful only that he might not succeed in saving the
precious sword, that in his blindness he might grasp a blazing timber
and his hand be burnt from him, that death in a tongue of flame be
swept down into his face, that the bridge might fall and the sword be
lost. At last he heard his comrades shouting. They guided him with
their cheers, "A little farther," "Keep straight on," "You're all
right now." And then he dropped blazing into the outstretched arms
of his comrades, while a mighty shout went up from both sides of the
river, as enemy and friend paid the tribute of brave men to a brave


With swelling hearts and tear-blinded eyes, they tenderly laid the
insensible hero on a gun carriage and took him to the hospital. Two
days of quivering agony followed and then he met and bravely faced his
last enemy. Opening his eyes, he said clearly and distinctly, "Give
the Captain his sword." Then his breath fluttered and the little
armor-bearer slept the sleep of peace.



Under Arrest for Absence Without Leave. Order of Court Reversed by
President. Certificate from State Legislature of Massachusetts for
Patriotic Services. Appointed by President Lincoln Lieutenant-Colonel
on General McPherson's Staff. Wounded at Kenesaw Mountain. Conversion.
Public Profession of Faith.

The tragic death of John Ring was the final crushing news that came to
Captain Conwell at Newberne. Combined with the nervous strain he had
been under in trying to get back to his men, the condemnation from his
superior officers for his absence, it threw him into a brain fever.
Long days and nights he rolled and tossed, fighting over again the
attack on the fort, making heroic efforts to rescue John Ring from his
fiery death, urging his horse through tangled forests and dark rivers
that seemed never to have another shore. For weeks the fever racked
and wasted him, and finally when feeble and weak, he was once more
able to walk, he found himself under arrest for absence without leave
during a time of danger.

It had been reported to General Palmer that the defeat of the Federal
troops might have been avoided had the officers been on duty. An
investigation was ordered and Captain Conwell was asked for his permit
to be absent. He had simply his pass through the lines, a vastly
different thing he found from an authorized permit of absence. The
investigation dragged its slow course along, as all such things,
encumbered by red tape, do. Disgusted and humiliated by being kept a
prisoner for months when the country needed every arm in its defense,
by having such a mountain made of the veriest molehill built of a kind
act and boyish inexperience, he refused to put in a defense at the
investigation and let it go as it would. Setting the Court of Inquiry
more against him, a former Commander, General Foster, espoused his
cause too hotly and wrote to General McPherson for an appointment for
a "boy who is as brave as an old man." The Court of Inquiry, made up
of local officers, most of them jealous of his popularity, resented
this outside interference and the verdict was against him. But others
higher in authority took up the matter and Captain Conwell was ordered
to Washington. The President reversed the order of the Court. He
was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, detailed for service on General
McPherson's staff and ordered West. General Butler, under whose
command Captain Conwell served, afterward made a generous
acknowledgment of the injustice of the findings and expressed in warm
words his admiration of Captain Conwell, and the State Legislature
of Massachusetts gave him a certificate for faithful and patriotic
services in that campaign.

Nevertheless, it was an experience that sorely embittered his soul.
Intentionally he had done nothing wrong, yet he had been humiliated
and made to eat the bitter fruits of the envy and jealousy of others.
It saddened but did not defeat him. His heart was too big, his nature
too generous. He could forgive them freely, could do them a kindness
the very first opportunity, but that did not take away the pain at his
heart. One may forgive a person who burns him, even if intentionally,
but that does not stop the burn from smarting.

Saddened, and with the futility of ambition keenly brought home
to him, he joined General McPherson, and in the battle of Kenesaw
Mountain he received a serious wound. He had stationed a lookout
to watch the Confederate fire while he directed the work of two
batteries. It was the duty of the lookout to keep Colonel Conwell and
his gunners posted as to whether the enemy fired shot or shell, easily
to be told by watching the little trail of smoke that followed the
discharge. If a shot were sent, they paid no attention to it for it
did little damage, but if it were a shell it was deemed necessary to
seek protection.

Colonel Conwell was leaning on the wheel of one of the cannon when
there was a discharge from the guns of the enemy. The lookout yelled,
"Shot." But it was a fatal shell that came careening and screaming
toward them, and before Conwell or his men could leap into the
bomb-proof embankment, it struck the hub of the very wheel against
which he leaned, and burst.

When he came to himself, the stars were shining, the field was silent
save for the feeble moans of the wounded, the voices and footsteps
of parties searching for the injured. He was in a quivering agony of
sharp, burning pain, but he could neither move nor speak. At last, he
heard the searchers coming. Nearer, nearer drew the voices, then for
a moment they paused at his side. He heard a man with a lantern say,
"Poor fellow! We can do nothing for him." Then they passed on, leaving
him for dead, among the dead.

All that June night he lay there, looking up at the stars that studded
the infinity of space. About him were dark, silent forms, rigid in the
sleep of death. Those were solemn hours, hours when he looked death in
the face, and then backward over the years he had lived. Useless years
they seemed to him now, years filled with petty ambitions that had to
do solely with self. All the spiritual ideals of life, the things that
give lasting joy and happiness because they are of the spirit and
not of the flesh, he had scoffingly cast aside and rejected. He had
narrowed life down to self and the things of the world. He had no such
faith as made his mother's hard-working life happy and serene because
it transformed its sordid care into glorious service of her Heavenly
King. He had no such faith as carried John Ring triumphant and
undismayed through the gates of fiery death in performance of a loving
service. Suddenly a longing swept over him for this priceless faith,
for a personal, sure belief in the love of a Savior. One by one the
teachings of his mother came back to him, those beautiful immortal
truths she had read him from that Book which is never too old to touch
the hearts of men with healing. Looking up at the worlds swinging
through space to unknown laws, with the immensities of life, death and
infinity all about him, his disbelief, his atheism dropped away. Into
his heart came the premonitions of the peace of God, which passeth
understanding. Life broadened, it took on new meaning and duty, for a
life into which the spirit of God has come can never again narrow down
to the boundaries of self. He determined henceforth to live more for
others, less for himself; to make the world better, somebody happier
whenever he could; to make his life, each day of it, worthy of that
great sacrifice of John Ring.

He being an officer, they came back for his body, and found a living
man instead of the dead. He was taken to the field hospital. One arm
was broken in two places, his shoulder badly shattered, and because
there was no hope of his living, they did not at once amputate his
arm, which would have been done had he been less seriously injured.

Long days he lay in the hospital with life going out all about him,
the moan of the suffering in his ears, thinking, thinking, of the
mystery of life and death, as the shadows flitted and swayed through
the dimly lighted wards at night, the sunshine poured down during the
day. His love of humanity burned purer. His desire to help it grew
stronger. Long were the talks he had with the chaplain, a Baptist
preacher, and when he recovered and left the hospital, his mind was
fully made up. Like his father, his actions never lagged behind his
speech, and he made at once an open profession of the faith on which
he now leaned with such happy confidence.

The fearless, unselfish love of humanity, the desire to help the
oppressed that burned in the bosom of John Brown had sent the
impetuous boy into the war.

The fearless, unselfish act of John Ring sent Colonel Conwell out of
the war a God-fearing man, determined to spend his life for the good
of humanity.

Providence uses strange instruments. Thousands in this country to-day
have been inspired, helped, made different men and women through
knowing Russell Conwell. What may not some of them do to benefit
their country and their generation! Yet back of him stand this old
gray-haired man and a young, fearless boy, whose influence turned the
current of his life to brighten and bless countless thousands.



Resignation from Army. Admission to Bar. Marriage. Removal to
Minnesota. Founding of Minneapolis Y.M.C.A. and of the Present
"Minneapolis Tribune." Burning of Home. Breaking Out of Wound.
Appointed Emigration Agent to Germany by Governor of Minnesota. Joins
Surveying Party to Palestine. Near to Death in Paris Hospital. Journey
to New York for Operation in Bellevue Hospital. Return to Boston.

When Colonel Conwell was able to leave the hospital, he was still
unable to assume active duty in the field, and he was sent to
Nashville for further rest and treatment. Here he reported to General
Thomas and was instructed to proceed to Washington with a despatch for
General Logan. Colonel Conwell started, but the rough traveling of
those days opened his wounds afresh and he completely broke down
at Harper's Ferry. Too weak longer to resist, he yielded to the
entreaties of his friends, sent in his resignation and returned home
for rest and nursing. Before he fully recovered, peace was declared.

Free to resume his studies, he entered the law office of Judge W.S.
Shurtleff, of Springfield, Massachusetts, his former Colonel, read law
there for a short time, then entered the Albany University, where he

Shortly after passing his examination at the bar and receiving his
degree, he was married at Chicopee Falls, March 8, 1865, to Miss
Jennie P. Hayden, one of his pupils in the district school at West
Granville, Massachusetts, and later one of his most proficient music
scholars. Her brothers were in his company, and when Company F was in
camp at Springfield after the first enlistment, she was studying at
Wilbraham and there often saw her soldier lover. Anxious days and
years they were for her that followed, as they were for every other
woman with father, husband, brother or sweetheart in the terrible
conflict that raged so long. But she endured them with that silent
bravery that is ever the woman's part, that strong, steady courage
that can sit at home passive, patient, never knowing but that
life-long sorrow and heartache are already at the threshold.

Immediately after their marriage, they went West and finally settled
in Minneapolis. Colonel Conwell opened a law office, and while waiting
for clients acted as agent for a real estate firm in the sale of land
warrants. He also began to negotiate for the sale of town lots. This
not being enough for a man who utilized every minute, he became local
correspondent for the "St. Paul Press." Nor did he stop here, though
most men would have thought their hands by this time about full. He
took an active part in local politics and canvassed the settlement and
towns for the Republican and temperance tickets. He also was actively
interested in the schools, and not only advocated public schools and
plenty of them, but was a frequent visitor to the city and district
schools, talking to the children in that interesting, entertaining
way that always clothes some helpful lesson in a form long to be

True to the faith he had found in the little Southern hospital, he
joined the First Baptist Church of Saint Paul. But mere joining was
not sufficient. He must work for the cause, and he opened a business
men's noon prayer-meeting in his law office at Minneapolis, rather a
novel undertaking in those days and in the then far West. For three
months, only three men attended. But nothing daunted, he persevered.
That trait in his character always shone out the more brightly,
the darker the outlook. Those three men were helped, and that was
sufficient reason that the prayer-meeting be continued. Eventually it
prospered and resulted finally in a permanent organization from which
grew the Minneapolis Y.M.C.A.

Poor though he was, and he started in the West with nothing, he made
friends everywhere. His speeches soon made him widely known. His
sincerity, his unselfish desire to help others, his earnestness to aid
in all good works brought him, as always, a host of loyal, devoted
followers. A skating club of some hundred members made him their
President, and his first law case in the West came to him through this

A skating carnival was to be given, and the club had engaged an
Irishman to clear a certain part of the frozen Mississippi of snow for
the skating. This he failed to do at the time specified and the club
had it cleaned by some one else. Claiming that he would have done
it, had they waited, the Irishman sued the club. Colonel Conwell, of
course, appeared for the defense. The whole hundred members marched to
the court house, the scene being town talk for some days. Needless to
say he won his suit.

His love for newspaper work led him to start the "Minneapolis
Chronicle" and the "Star of the North," which were afterward merged
into "The Minneapolis Tribune," for which his clever young wife
conducted a woman's column, in a decidedly brilliant, original manner.
Mrs. Conwell wrote from her heart as one woman to other women, and
her articles soon attracted notice and comment for their entertaining
style and their inspiring, helpful ideas.

At this time they were living in two rooms back of his office, for
they were making financial headway as yet but slowly. But times
brightened and Colonel Conwell was soon able to purchase a handsome
home and furnish it comfortably, taking particular pride in the
gathering of a large law library.

It seemed now as if life were to move forward prosperously. But
greater work was needed from Russell Conwell than the comfortable
practice of law. One evening while the family were from home, fire
broke out and the house and all they owned was destroyed. Running
to the fire from a G.A.R. meeting, a mile and a half away, Colonel
Conwell was attacked with a hemorrhage of the lungs. It came from
his old army wounds and the doctor ordered him immediately from that
climate, and told him he must take a complete rest. Here was disaster
indeed. Every cent they had saved was gone. And with it the strength
to begin again the battle for a living. It was a hard, bitter blow for
a young, ambitious man, right at the start of his career; a stroke of
fate to make any man bitter and cynical. But his was not a nature to
permit misfortune to narrow him or make him repine. He rose above it.
It did not lesson his ambitions. It broadened, humanized them. It made
him enter with still truer sympathy into other people's misfortune.
And his trust in God was so strong, his faith so unshaken, he knew
that in all these bitter experiences of life's school was a lesson. He
learned it and used it to get a broader outlook.

His friends rallied to his aid. Prominent as an editor, lawyer, leader
of the Y.M.C.A., it was not difficult to get him an appointment from
the Governor, already a warm friend. He secured the position of
emigration agent to Europe, and he turned his face Eastward. Mrs.
Conwell was left in Minneapolis, and he sailed abroad in the hope that
the sea trip and change of climate would heal the weakened tissue of
his lung and fully restore him to health. But it was a vain hope. His
strength would not permit him to fulfill the duty expected of him as
emigration agent and he was compelled to resign. For several months
he wandered about Europe trying one place, then another in the vain
search for health. He joined a surveying party and went to Palestine,
for even in those days that inner voice could not he altogether
stilled that was calling him to follow in the footsteps of the Savior
and preach and teach and heal the sick. The land where the Savior
ministered had a strong fascination for him, and he gladly seized the
opportunity to become a member of this surveying party and walk over
the ground where the Savior had gone up and down doing good.

But the trip was of no benefit to his health. Instead of gaining he
failed. He grew weaker and weaker. The hemorrhages became more and
more frequent. Finally he came to Paris and lying, a stranger and
poor, in Necker Hospital was told he could live but a few days. Face
to face again with that grim, bitter enemy of the battlefield, what
thoughts came crowding thick and fast--thoughts of his young wife in
far-away America, of father and mother, memories of the beautiful
woods, the singing streams of the mountain home, as the noise and
clamor of Paris streets drifted into the long hospital ward.

Then came a famous Berlin doctor to the dying American. He studied the
case attentively, for it was strange enough to arouse and enlist all
a doctor's keen scientific interest. When analyzed, copper had been
found in the hemorrhage, with no apparent reason for it, and the Paris
doctors were puzzling over the cause. "Were you in the war?" asked the
great man. "Were you shot?"


"Shot in the shoulder?"

Then came back to Colonel Conwell, the recollection of the duel with
the Confederate around a tree in the North Carolina woods and the shot
that had lodged in his shoulder near his neck and was never removed.

"That is the trouble," said the physician. "The bullet has worked down
into the lung and only the most skillful operation can save you,
and only one man can do it"--and that man was a surgeon in Bellevue
Hospital, New York.

Carefully was the sinking man taken on board a steamer. Only the most
rugged constitution could have stood that trip in the already weakened
condition of his system. But those early childhood days in the
Berkshire Hills had put iron into his blood, the tonic of sunshine and
fresh air into his very bone and muscle. Safely he made the journey,
though no one knew all he suffered in those terrible days of weakness
and pain on the lone, friendless trip across the Atlantic. Safely he
went through the operation. The bullet was removed, and with health
mending, he made his way to Boston where his loving young wife awaited

But out of these experiences, suffering, alone, friendless, poor, in
a strange city, grew after all the Samaritan Hospital of Philadelphia
that opens wide its doors, first and always, to the suffering sick



Days of Poverty in Boston. Sent to Southern Battlefields. Around the
World for New York and Boston Papers. In a Gambling Den In Hong Kong,
China. Cholera and Shipwreck.

Abject poverty awaited him on his return to Boston. The fire in St.
Paul had left them but little property, while their enforced hurried
departure compelled that little to be sold at a loss. This money
was now entirely gone, and once more he faced the world in absolute
poverty. He rented a single room in the East district of Boston and
furnished it with the barest necessities. Colonel Conwell secured a
position on "The Evening Traveller" at five dollars a week, and Mrs.
Conwell cheerily took in sewing. Thus they made their first brave
stand against the gaunt wolf at the door. Here their first child was
born, a daughter, Nima, now Mrs. E.G. Tuttle, of Philadelphia. These
were dark days for the little household. Night after night the father
came home to see the one he loved best in all the world, suffering
for the barest necessities of life, yet cheerful, buoyant, never
complaining. So sensitive to the sufferings of others that he must do
all in his power to relieve even his comrades in the war when, injured
or ill, what mental anguish must he have endured when his dearly loved
wife was in want and he so powerless to relieve it. She read his heart
with the sure sympathy of love, knew his bitter anguish of spirit, and
suffered the more because he suffered. But bravely she cheered him,
encouraged him, and spent all her own spare minutes doing what she
could to add to the family income.

Thus they pluckily-worked, never repining nor complaining at fate,
though knowing in its bitterest sense what it is to be desperately
poor, to suffer for adequate food and clothing. Colonel Conwell
learned in that hard experience what it is to want for a crust of
bread. No man can come to Dr. Conwell to this day with a tale of
poverty, suffering, sickness, but what the minister's eyes turn
backward to that one little room with its pitiful makeshifts of
furniture, its brave, pale wife, the wee girl baby; and his hand goes
out to help with an earnest and heartfelt sympathy surprising to the

But the tide turned ere long. Colonel Conwell's work on the paper soon
began to tell. His salary was raised and raised, until comfort once
more with smiling face took up her abode with them. They moved into a
pretty home in Somerville. Colonel Conwell resumed his law practice
and began, as in the West, to deal in real estate. He also continued
his lecturing.

Busy days these were, but his life had already taught him much of the
art of filling each minute to an exact nicety in order to get the most
out of it. His paper sent him as a special correspondent to write up
the battlefields of the South, and his letters were so graphic and
entertaining as to become a widely known and much discussed feature
of the paper. Soldiers everywhere read them with eager delight and
through them revisited the scenes of the terrible conflict in which
each had played some part. While on this assignment, he invaded a
gambling den in New Orleans, and interfering to save a colored man
from the drunken frenzy of a bully, came near being killed himself.
Coming to the aid of a porter on a Mississippi steamboat, he again
narrowly escaped being shot, striking a revolver from the hand of a
ruffian just as his finger dropped on the trigger. He mixed with all
classes and conditions of men and saw life in its roughest,
most primal aspect But all these experiences helped him to that
appreciation of human nature that has been of such, value and help to
him since.

These letters aroused such widespread and favorable comment that the
"New York Tribune" and "Boston Traveller" arranged to send him on a
tour of the world. When the offer came to him, his mind leaped the
years to that poorly furnished room in the little farmhouse, where he
had leaned on his mother's knee and listened with rapt attention while
she read him the letters of foreign correspondents in that very "New
York Tribune." The letter he wrote his mother telling her of the
appointment was full of loving gratitude for the careful way she
had trained his tastes in those days when he was too young and
inexperienced to choose for himself.

It was a wrench for the young wife to let him go so far away, but she
bravely, cheerfully made the sacrifice. She was proud of his work and
his ability, and she loved him too truly to stand in the way of his

This journey took him to Scotland, England, Sweden, Denmark, France,
Italy, Germany, Russia, Palestine, Arabia, Egypt and Northern Africa.
He interviewed Emperor William I, Bismarck, Victor Emanuel, the then
Prince of Wales, now Edward VII of England. He frequently met Henry
M. Stanley, then correspondent for the London papers, who wrote from
Paris of Colonel Conwell, "Send that double-sighted Yankee and he will
see at a glance all there is and all there ever was."

He also made the acquaintance of Garibaldi, whom he visited in his
island home and with whom he kept up a correspondence after he
returned. Garibaldi it was who called Colonel Conwell's attention to
the heroic deeds of that admirer of America, the great and patriotic
Venetian, Daniel Manin. In the busy years that followed on this trip
Colonel Conwell spent a long time gathering materials for a biography
of Daniel Manin, and just before it was ready for the press the
manuscript was destroyed by fire in the destruction of his home
at Newton Centre, Massachusetts, in 1880. One of his most popular
lectures, "The Heroism of a Private Life," took its inception from the
life of this Venetian statesman.

He also gave a series of lectures at Cambridge, England, on Italian
history that attracted much favorable comment.

Mr. Samuel T. Harris, of New York, correspondent of the "New York
Times" in 1870, in a private letter, says, "Conwell is the funniest
chap I ever fell in with. He sees a thousand things I never thought of
looking after. When his letters come back in print I find lots in them
that seems new to me, although I saw it all at the time. But you don't
see the fun in his letters to the papers. The way he adapts himself to
all circumstances comes from long travel; but it is droll. He makes a
salaam to the defunct kings, a neat bow to the Sudras, and a friendly
wink at the Howadji, in a way that puts him cheek-by-jowl with them
in a jiffy. He beats me all out in his positive sympathy with these
miserable heathen. He has read so much that he knows about everything.
The way the officials, English, too, treat him would make you think he
was the son of a lord. He has a dignified condescension in his manner
that I can't imitate."

Part of the time Bayard Taylor was his traveling companion, and there
grew up between these two kindred spirits an intimate friendship that
lasted until Taylor's death.

All through the trip he carried books with him, and every minute not
occupied in gathering material for his letters was passed in reading
the history of the scenes and the people he was among, in mastering
their language. Such close application added an interesting background
of historical information to his letters, a breadth and culture, that
made them decidedly more valuable and entertaining than if confined
strictly to what he saw and heard. It was on this journey that he
heard the legend from which grew his famous lecture, "Acres of
Diamonds," which has been given already three thousand four hundred
and twenty times. It gave him an almost inexhaustible fund of material
on which he has drawn for his lectures and books since.

During his absence his second child, a son, Leon, was born. He
returned home for the briefest time, and then completed the tour by
way of the West and the Pacific. He lectured through the Western
States and Territories, for already his fame as a lecturer was
spreading. He visited the Sandwich Islands, Japan, China, Sumatra,
Siam, Burmah, the Himalaya Mountains, India, returning home by way of
Europe. His Hong Kong letter to "The Tribune," exposing the iniquities
of the labor-contract system in Chinese emigration, created quite a
stir in political and diplomatic circles. It was while on this trip
he gathered the material for his first book, "Why and How the Chinese
Emigrate." It was reviewed as the best book in the market of its kind.
The "New York Herald" in writing of it said: "There has been little
given to the public which throws more timely and intelligent light
upon the question of coolie emigration than the book written by Col.
Russell H. Conwell, of Boston."

These travels were replete with thrilling adventures and strange
coincidents. When he left Somerville after his brief visit, for his
trip through the Western States, China and Japan, a broken-hearted
mother in Charlestown, Mass., asked him to find her wandering boy,
whom she believed to be "somewhere in China." A big request, but
Colonel Conwell, busy as he was, did not forget it. Searching for him
in such places as he believed the boy would most likely frequent,
Colonel Conwell accidentally entered, one night in Hong Kong, a den of
gamblers. Writing of the event, he says:

"At one table sat an American, about twenty-five years old, playing
with an old man. They had been betting and drinking. While the
gray-haired man was shuffling the cards for a 'new deal' the young
man, in a swaggering, careless way, sang, to a very pathetic tune, a
verse of Phoebe Carey's beautiful hymn,

  'One sweetly solemn thought
    Comes to me o'er and o'er:
  I'm nearer home to-day
    Than e'er I've been before.'

Hearing the singing several gamblers looked up in surprise. The old
man who was dealing the cards grew melancholy, stopped for a moment,
gazed steadfastly at his partner in the game, and dashed the pack upon
the floor under the table. Then said he, 'Where did you learn that
tune?' The young man pretended that he did not know he had been
singing. 'Well, no matter,' said the old man, I've played my last
game, and that's the end of it. The cards may lie there till doomsday,
and I will never pick them up,' The old man having won money from
the other--about one hundred dollars--took it out of his pocket, and
handing it to him said: 'Here, Harry, is your money; take it and
do good with it; I shall with mine.' As the traveler followed them
downstairs, he saw them conversing by the doorway, and overheard
enough to know that the older man was saying something about the song
which the young man had sung. It had, perhaps, been learned at a
mother's knee, or in a Sunday-school, and may have been (indeed it
was), the means of saving these gamblers, and of aiding others through
their influence toward that nobler life which alone is worth the

The old man had come from Westfield, Mass. He died in 1888, at Salem,
Oregon, having spent the last seven years of his life as a Christian
Missionary among the sailors of the Pacific coast. He passed away
rejoicing in the faith that took him

  "Nearer the Father's House,
  Where many mansions be,
  Nearer the great white throne,
  Nearer the jasper sea."

The boy, Harry, utterly renounced gambling and kindred vices.

While coming from Bombay to Aden, cholera broke out on the ship and
it was strictly quarantined. It was a ship of grief and terror.
Passengers daily lost loved ones. New victims were stricken every
hour. The slow days dragged away with death unceasingly busy among
them. Burials were constant, and no man knew who would be the next
victim. But Colonel Conwell escaped contagion.

On the trip home, across the Atlantic, the steamer in a fearful gale
was so dismantled as to be helpless. The fires of the engine were out,
and the boat for twenty-six days drifted at the mercy of the waves.
No one, not even the Captain, thought they could escape destruction.
Water-logged and unmanageable, during a second storm it was thought to
be actually sinking. The Captain himself gave up hope, the women grew
hysterical. But in the midst of it all, Colonel Conwell walked the
deck, and to calm the passengers sang "Nearer my God to Thee,"
with such feeling, such calm assurance in a higher power, that the
passengers and Captain once again took courage. But strangest of all,
on this voyage, while sick, he was cared for by the very colored
porter whose life he had saved on the Mississippi steamboat.



Editor of "Boston Traveller." Free Legal Advice for the Poor.
Temperance Work. Campaign Manager for General Nathaniel P. Banks.
Urged for Consulship at Naples. His Work for the Widows and Orphans of

Returning to Somerville, Mass., the long journey ended, he found the
editorial chair of the "Boston Traveller" awaiting him. He plunged
into work with his characteristic energy. The law, journalism,
writing, lecturing, all claimed his attention. It is almost incredible
how much he crowded into a day. Five o'clock in the morning found him
at work, and midnight struck before he laid aside pen or book. Yet
with all this rush of business, he did not forget those resolves he
had made to lend a helping hand wherever he could to those needing it.
And his own bitter experiences in the hard school of poverty taught
him how sorely at times help is needed. He made his work for others
as much a part of his daily life as his work for himself. It was
an integral part of it. Watching him work, one could hardly have
distinguished when he was occupied with his own affairs, when with
those of the poor. He did not separate the two, label one "charity"
and attend to it in spare moments. One was as important to him as the
other. He kept his law office open at night for those who could not
come during the day and gave counsel and legal advice free to the
poor. Often of an evening he had as many as a half hundred of these
clients, too poor to pay for legal aid, yet sadly needing help to
right their wrongs. So desirous was he of reaching and assisting those
suffering from injustice, yet without money to pay for the help they
needed, that he inserted the following notice in the Boston papers:

"Any deserving poor person wishing legal advice or assistance will be
given the same free of charge any evening except Sunday, at No. 10
Rialto Building, Devonshire Street. None of these cases will be taken
into the courts for pay."

These cases he prepared as attentively and took into court with as
eager determination to win, as those for which he received large fees.
Of course such a proceeding laid him open to much envious criticism.
Lawyers who had no such humanitarian view of life, no such earnest,
sincere desire to lighten the load of poverty resting so heavily on
the shoulders of many, said it was unprofessional, sensational, a "bid
for popularity." Those whom he helped knew these insinuations to be
untrue. His sympathy was too sincere, the assistance too gladly
given. But misunderstood or not, he persevered. The wrongs of many an
ignorant working man suffering through the greed of those over him,
were righted. Those who robbed the poor under various guises were made
to feel the hand of the law. And for none of these cases did he ever
take a cent of pay.

Another class of clients who brought him much work but no profit were
the widows and orphans of soldiers seeking aid to get pensions. To
such he never turned a deaf ear, no matter the multitude of duties
that pressed. He charged no fee, even when to win the case, he was
compelled to go to Washington. Nor would he give it up, no matter what
work it entailed until the final verdict was given. His partners say
he never lost a pension case, nor ever made a cent by one.

An unwritten law in the office was that neither he nor his partners
should ever accept a case if their client were in the wrong, or
guilty. But this very fact made wrongdoers the more anxious to secure
him, knowing it would create the impression at once that they were

A story which went the rounds of legal circles in Boston and finally
was published in the "Boston Sunday Times," shows how he was cleverly
fooled by a pick-pocket The man charged with the crime came to Colonel
Conwell to get him to take the case. So well did he play the part of
injured innocence that Colonel Conwell was completely deceived and
threw himself heart and soul into the work of clearing him. When the
case came up for trial, the lawyer and client sat near together in the
court room, and Colonel Conwell made such an earnest and forceful plea
in behalf of the innocent young man and the harm already done him by
having such a charge laid at his door that it was at once agreed the
case should be dismissed, by the District Attorney's consent. So
lawyer and client walked out of court together, happy and triumphant,
to Colonel Conwell's office, where the pick-pocket paid Colonel
Conwell his fee out of the lawyer's own pocketbook which he had deftly
abstracted during the course of the trial.

The incident caused much amusement at the time, and it was a long
while before Colonel Conwell heard the last of it.

Into work for temperance he went heart and soul, not only in speech
but in deed. Though he never drank intoxicating liquor himself, he
could never see a man under its baneful influence but that heart and
hand went out to help him. Many a reeling drunkard he took to his
Somerville home, nursed all night, and in the morning endeavored with
all his eloquence to awaken in him a desire to live a different life.
Deserted wives and children of drunkards came to him for aid, and many
of the free law cases were for those wronged through the curse of

Friend always of the workingman, he was persistently urged by their
party to accept a nomination for Congress. But he as persistently
refused. But he worked hard in politics for others. He managed one
campaign in which General Nathaniel P. Banks was running on an
independent ticket, and elected him by a large majority. His name
was urged by Senators Charles Sumner and Henry Wilson for the United
States Consulship at Naples, the lectures he had given at Cambridge,
England, on Italian history having attracted so much favorable comment
by the deep research they showed, and the keen appreciation of Italian
character. He was considered an expert in contested election cases and
he frequently appeared before the Legislature on behalf of cities and
towns on matters over which it had jurisdiction.

Mr. Higgins, who knew him personally, writing of these busy days in
"Scaling the Eagle's Nest," says:

"He prepared and presented many bills to Congressional Committees at
Washington, and appeared as counsel in several Louisiana and Florida
election eases. His arguments before the Supreme Courts in several
important patent cases were reported to the country by the Associated
Press. He had at one time considerable influence with the President
and Senators in political appointments, and some of the best men still
in government office in this State (Massachusetts) and in other
New England States, say they owe their appointment to his active
friendship in visiting Washington in their behalf. But it does not
appear that through all these years of work and political influence he
ever asked for an appointment for himself."

Catholics, Jews, Protestants and non-sectarian charities sought his
aid in legal matters, and so broad was his love for humanity that all
found in him a ready helper. At one time he was guardian of more than
sixty orphan children, three in particular who were very destitute,
were through his intercession with a relative, left a fortune of
$50,000. Yet despite all these activities, he found time to lecture,
to write boots, to master five languages, using his spare minutes on
the train to and from his place of business for their study. In 1872
he made another trip abroad. Speaking of him at this time, a writer in
the London Times says:

"Colonel Conwell is one of the most noteworthy men of New England. He
has already been in all parts of the world. He is a writer of singular
brilliancy and power, and as a popular lecturer his success has been
astonishing. He has made a place beside such orators as Beecher,
Phillips and Chapin."

Thus the busy years slipped by, years that brought him close to the
great throbbing heart of humanity, the sorrows and sufferings of the
poor, the aspirations and ambitions of the rich, years in which he
looked with deep insight into human nature, and, illumined by his love
for humanify, saw that an abiding faith in God, the joy of knowing
Christ's love was the balm needed to heal aching hearts, drive evil
out of men's lives, wretchedness and misery from many a home. More and
more was he convinced that to make the world better, humanity happier,
the regenerating, uplifting power of the spirit of God ought to be
brought into the daily lives of the people, in simple sincerity,
without formalism, yet as vital, as cherished, as freely recognized a
part of their lives as the ties of family affection which bound them



Death of Wife. Loss of Money. Preaching on Wharves. Growth of Sunday
School Class at Tremont Temple from Four to Six Hundred Members in a
Brief Time. Second Marriage. Death of Father and Mother. Preaching at
Lexington. Building Lexington Baptist Church.

Into this whirl of successful, happy work, the comforts and luxuries
of prosperity, came the grim hand of death. His loving wife who had
worked so cheerfully by his side, who had braved disaster, bitter
poverty, hardship, with a smile, died of heart trouble after a few
days' illness, January 11, 1872. It was like a thunderbolt from a
cloudless sky. In the loneliness and despair that followed, worldly
ambitions turned to dust and ashes. He could not lecture. He could not
speak. The desolation at his heart was too great. His only consolation
was the faith that was in him, a "very present help," as he found, "in
time of trouble." This bitter trial brought home to him all the more
intensely the need of such comfort for those who were comfortless. His
heart went out in burning sympathy for those sitting in darkness like
himself, but who had no faith on which to lean, nothing to bring
healing and hope to a broken heart. Her death was a loss to the
community as well as to her family. Her writings in the "Somerville
Journal" had made a decided impression, while her sweet womanly
qualities had endeared her to a wide circle of friends. Noting her
death, a writer in one of the Boston papers said:

"Mrs. Conwell was a true and loving wife and mother. Kind and
sympathetic in her intercourse with all, and possessed of those rare
womanly graces and qualities which endeared her to those with whom she
was acquainted. Her death leaves a void which cannot be filled even
outside her own household. Her writings were those of a true woman,
always healthful in their tone, strong and vigorous in ideas and
concise in language."

Other troubles came thick and fast. He lost at one time fifty thousand
dollars in the panic of '74, and at another ten thousand dollars by
endorsing for a friend. His old acquaintance, poverty, again took up
its abode with him. In addition, he was heavily in debt. Those were
black days, days that taught him how unstable were the things of this
world--money, position, the ambitions that once had seemed so worthy.
The only thing that brought a sense of satisfaction, of having done
something worth while, was the endeavor to make others happier, to put
joy into lives as desolate as his own. Such work brought peace.

To forget his own troubles in lightening those of others, he went
actively into religious work. He took a class in the Sunday School of
Tremont Temple, that very Sunday School into which Deacon Chipman had
taken him a runaway boy some twenty years before. The class grew from
four to six hundred in a few months. He preached to sailors on the
wharves, to idlers on the streets, in mission chapels at night. The
present West Somerville, Massachusetts, church grew from just such
work. He could not but see the fruits of his labors. On all sides it
grew to a quick harvest.

The thought that he was thus influencing others for good, that he
was leading men and women into paths of sure happiness brought him
a spiritual calm and peace such as the gratification of worldly
ambitions had never given him. More and more he became convinced it
was the only work worth doing. The strong love for his fellowmen, the
desire to help those in need and to make them happier which had always
been such a pronounced characteristic, had set him more than once
to thinking of the ministry as a life work. Indeed, ever since that
childish sermon, with the big gray rock as a pulpit, it had been in
his mind, sometimes dormant, breaking out again into strong feeling
when for a moment he stood on some hilltop of life and took in its
fullest, grandest meaning, or in the dark valley of suffering and
sorrow held close communion with God and saw the beauty of serving Him
by serving his fellowmen. That the inclination was with him is shown
by the fact that when he was admitted to the bar in Albany in 1865, he
had a Greek Testament in his pocket.

As soon as his means permitted after the war, he gathered a valuable
theological library, sending to Germany for a number of the books. In
1875, when he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the
United States, he delivered an address that same evening in Washington
on the "Curriculum of the School of the Prophets in Ancient Israel."
From all parts of the Old World he gathered photographs of ancient
manuscripts and sacred places, and kept up a correspondence with many
professors and explorers interested in these topics. He lectured in
schools and colleges on archaeological subjects, with illustrations
prepared by himself.

It is not to be wondered that with his keen mind and his gift of
oratory the law tempted him at first to turn aside from the promptings
of the inner spirit. Nor is it to be wondered that even when
inclination led strongly he still hesitated. It was no light thing for
a man past thirty to throw aside a profession in which he had already
made an enviable reputation and take up a new lifework. With two small
children depending upon him, it was a question for still more serious

But gradually circumstances shaped his course. In 1874, he married
Miss Sarah F. Sanborn whom he had met in his mission work. She was of
a wealthy family of Newton Centre, the seat of the Newton Theological
Seminary. One of the intimate friends of the family was the Rev. Alvah
Hovey, D.D., President of the Seminary. Thus while inclination pulled
one way and common sense pulled the other, adding as a final argument
that he had no opportunity to study for the ministry, he was thrown
among the very people who made it difficult not to study theology.
Troubled in mind he sought Dr. Hovey one day and asked how to decide
if "called to the ministry." "If people are called to hear you," was
the quick-witted, practical reply of the good doctor. But still he
hesitated. His law practice, writing, lecturing, claimed part of him;
his Sunday School work and lay preaching, a second and evergrowing
stronger part. His law practice became more and more distasteful, his
service to the soul needs of others, more and more satisfying.

[Illustration: MRS. SARAH F. CONWELL]

In 1874 his father died, and in 1877 he lost his mother, these sad
bereavements still further inclining his heart to the work of the
ministry. They were buried at South Worthington, in a sunny hilltop
cemetery, open to the sky, the voice of a little brook coming softly
up from among the trees below. This visit to his old home under such
sad circumstances, the memory of his father's and mother's prayers
that the world might not be the worse, but that it might be the better
for his having lived in it, deepened the growing conviction that he
should give his life to the work of Christ.

At last came the deciding event. In 1879, a young woman visited
Colonel Conwell, the lawyer, and asked his advice respecting the
disposition of a Baptist Meeting House in Lexington. He went to
Lexington and called a meeting of the members of the old church,
for the purpose of securing legal action on the part of that body
preparatory to selling the property. He got some three or four old
Baptists together and, as they talked the business over, "they became
reluctant to vote, either to sell, destroy, keep, or give away the
old meeting-house," says Burdette, in "Temple and Templars." "While
discussing the situation with these sorrowful old saints--and one good
old deacon wept to think that 'Zion had gone into captivity,'--the
preacher came to the front and displaced the lawyer. It was the crisis
in his life; the parting of the ways. In a flash of light the decision
was made. 'It flashed upon me, sitting there as a lawyer, that there
was a mission for me there,' Dr. Conwell has often said, in speaking
of his decision to go into the ministry. He advised promptly and
strongly against selling the property. 'Keep it; hold service in it;
repair the altar of the Lord that is broken down; go to work; get
God to work for you, and work with Him; 'God will turn again your
captivity, your months shall be filled with laughter and your tongues
with singing." They listened to this enthusiastic lawyer whom they had
retained as a legal adviser, in dumb amazement 'Is Saul also among the
prophets?' But having given his advice, he was prompt to act upon it
himself. 'Where will we get a preacher?' 'Here is one who will serve
you until you can get one whom you will like better, and who can
do you more good. Announce preaching in the old meeting house next

"It was nothing new for Colonel Conwell to preach, for he was engaged
in mission work somewhere every Sunday; so when the day came, he was
there. Less than a score of hearers sat in the moldy old pews. The
windows were broken and but illy repaired by the curtaining cobwebs.
The hand of time and decay had torn off the ceiling plaster in
irregular and angular patches. The old stove had rusted out at the
back, and the crumbling stove-pipe was a menace to those who sat
within range of its fall. The pulpit was what Mr. Conwell called a
'crow's perch,' and one can imagine the platform creaking under the
military tread of the tall lawyer who stepped into its lofty height to
preach. But, old though it was, they say, a cold, gloomy, damp, dingy
old box, it was a meeting house and the Colonel preached in it. That a
lawyer should practice, was a commonplace, everyday truth; but that a
lawyer should preach--that was indeed a novelty. The congregation of
sixteen or seventeen at the first service grew the following Sabbath,
to forty worshippers. Another week, and when the new preacher climbed
into that high pulpit, he looked down upon a crowded house; the little
old chapel was dangerously full. Indeed, before the hour for service,
under the thronging feet of the gathering congregation, one side of
the front steps--astonished, no doubt, and overwhelmed by the unwonted
demand upon its services--did fall down. They were encouraged to
build a fire in the ancient stove that morning, but it was past
regeneration; it smoked so viciously that all the invalids who had
come to the meeting were smoked out. The old stove had lived its
day and was needed no longer. There was a fire burning in the old
meeting-house that the hand of man had not lighted and could not
kindle; that all the storms of the winter could not quench. The pulpit
and the preacher had a misty look in the eyes of the old deacons at
that service. And the preacher? He looked into the earnest faces
before him, into the tearful, hopeful eyes, and said in his own strong
heart, 'These people are hungry for the word of God, for the teachings
of Christ. They need a church here; we will build a new one.'

"It was one thing to say it, another to achieve it. The church
was poor. Not a dollar was in the treasury, not a rich man in the
membership, the congregation, what there was of it, without influence
in the community. But lack of money never yet daunted Dr. Conwell. The
situation had a familiar look to him. He had succeeded many a time
without money when money was the supreme need, and he attacked this
problem with the same grim perseverance that had carried him so
successfully through many a similar ordeal."

"After service he spoke about building a new church to two or three of
the members. 'A new church?' They couldn't raise enough money to put
windows in the old one, they told him."

"'We don't want new windows, we want a new church,' was the reply."

"They shook their heads and went home, thinking what a pity it was
that such an able lawyer should be so visionary in practical church
affairs. Part of that night Colonel Conwell spent in prayer; early
next morning he appeared with a pick-axe and a woodman's axe and
marched upon that devoted old meeting-house, as he had marched against
Hood's intrenchments before Atlanta. Strange, unwonted sounds saluted
the ears of the early risers and awakened the sluggards in Lexington
that Monday morning. Bang, Bang, Bang! Crash--Bang! Travelers over the
Revolutionary battlefield at Lexington listened and wondered. By and
by a man turned out of his way to ascertain the cause of the
racket. There was a black coat and vest hanging on the fence, and
a professional-looking man in his shirt sleeves was smashing the
meeting-house. The rickety old steps were gone by the time this man,
with open eyes and wide-open month, came to stare in speechless
amazement. Gideon couldn't have demolished 'the altar of Baal and the
grove that was by it' with more enthusiastic energy, than did this
preacher tumble into ruin his own meeting-house, wherein he had
preached not twelve hours before. Other men came, looked, laughed,
and passed by. But the builder had no time to waste on idle gossips.
Clouds of dust hovered about him, planks, boards, and timbers came
tumbling down in heaps of ruin."

"Presently there came along an eminently respectable citizen, who
seldom went to church. He stared a moment, and said, 'What in the name
of goodness are you doing here?'"

"'We are going to have a new meeting-house here,' was the reply, as
the pick-axe tore away the side of a window-frame for emphasis."

"The neighbor laughed, 'I guess you won't build it with that axe,' he

"'I confess I don't know just exactly how it is going to be done,'
said the preacher, as he hewed away at a piece of studding, 'but in
some way it is going to be done.'"

"The doubter burst into an explosion of derisive laughter and walked
away. A few paces, and he came back; walking up to Colonel Conwell he
seized the axe and said, 'See here, Preacher, this is not the kind of
work for a parson or a lawyer. If you are determined to tear this old
building down, hire some one to do it. It doesn't look right for you
to be lifting and pulling here in this manner.'"

"'We have no money to hire any one,' was the reply, 'and the front of
this structure must give way to-day, if I have to tear it down all

"'I'll tell you what I'll do,' persisted the wavering doubter; 'if you
will let this alone, I'll give you one hundred dollars to hire some

"Colonel Conwell tranquilly poked the axe through.' the few remaining
panes yet unbroken in the nearest window and replied, 'We would like
the money, and I will take it to hire some one to help, but I shall
keep right on with the work myself.'"

"'All right,' said the doubter; 'go ahead, if you have set your heart
upon it. You may come up to the house for the hundred dollars any time

"And with many a backward look the generous doubter passed on, half
beginning to doubt his doubts. Evidently, the Baptists of Lexington
were beginning to do something. It had been many a year since they had
made such a noise as that in the village. And it was a noise destined
to be heard a long, long way; much farther than the doubter and a
great many able scientists have supposed that sound would 'carry.'"

"After the doubter came a good-natured man who disliked churches in
general, and therefore enjoyed the fun of seeing a preacher tug and
puff in the heavy work of demolition, for the many-tongued rumor by
this time had noised it all around Lexington that the new preacher was
tearing down the Baptist meeting-house. He looked on until he could no
longer keep his enjoyment to himself."

"'Going to pull the whole thing down, are you?' he asked."

"'Yes, sir,' replied the working preacher, ripping off a strip of
siding, 'and begin all new.'"

"'Who is going to pay the bills?' he asked, chuckling."

"The preacher tucked up his sleeves and stepped back to get a good
swing at an obstinate brace; 'I don't know,' he said, 'but the Lord
has money somewhere to buy and pay for all we need.'"

"The man laughed, in intense enjoyment of the absurdity of the whole
crazy business."

"'I'll bet five dollars to one,' he said, with easy confidence of a
man who knows his bet will not be taken up, 'that you won't get the
money in this town.'"

"Mr. Conwell brought the axe down with a crashing sweep, and the
splinters flew out into the air like a cloud of witnesses to the
efficacy of the blow."

"'You would lose your money, then,' quietly said the preacher, 'for
Mr.---- just now came along and has given me a hundred dollars without

"The man's eyes opened a trifle wider, and his next remark faded into
a long-drawn whistle of astonishment. Presently--'Did you get the
cash?' he asked feebly."

"'No, but he told me to call for it to-day.'"

"The man considered. He wasn't enjoying the situation with quite so
much humor as he had been, but he was growing more interested."

"'Well! Is that so! I don't believe he meant it,' he added hopefully.
Then, a man after all not disposed to go back on his own assertion, he
said, 'Now I'll tell you what I'll do. If you really get that hundred
dollars out of that man, I'll give you another hundred and pay it

"And he was as good as his word."

"All that day the preacher worked alone. Now came in the training of
those early days on the farm, when he learned to swing an axe; when he
builded up rugged strength in a stalwart frame, when his muscles were
hardened and knotted with toil."

"'Passers-by called one after another, to ask what was going on. To
each one Colonel Conwell mentioned his hope and mentioned his gifts.
Nearly every one had added something without being asked, and at six
o'clock, when Colonel Conwell laid down the pick and axe at the end of
his day's work, he was promised more than half the money necessary to
tear down the old meeting-house and build a new one."

"But Colonel Conwell did not leave the work. With shovel, or hammer,
or saw, or paint-brush, he worked day by day all that summer alongside
the workmen. He was architect, mason, carpenter, painter, and
upholsterer, and he directed every detail, from the cellar to the
gilded vane, and worked early and late. The money came without asking
as fast as needed. The young people who began to flock about the
faith-worker undertook to purchase a large bell, and quietly had
Colonel Conwell's name cast on the exterior, but when it came to the
difficult task of hanging it in the tower, they were obliged to call
Colonel Conwell to come and superintend the management of ropes and
pulleys. Then the deep, rich tones of the bell rang out over the
surprised old town the triumph of faith.' An unordained preacher, he
had entered upon his first pastorate, and signalized his entrance upon
his ministry by building a new meeting-house, awakening a sleeping
church, inspiring his congregation with his own enthusiasm and zeal."

At last he had found his work. With peace and deep abiding joy he
entered it. Doubts no longer troubled him. His heart was at rest.
"Blessed is he who has found his work," writes Carlyle; "let him ask
no other blessedness."



Ordination. First Charge at Lexington. Call to Grace Baptist Church,

For this work he had been trained in the world's bitter school of
experience. He had learned lessons there of infinitely more value in
helping humanity than any the theological seminary could teach him. He
knew what it was to be poor, to be utterly cast down and discouraged,
to be sick and suffering, to sit in the blackness of despair for the
loss of loved ones. From almost every human experience he could reach
the hand of sympathy and say, "I know. I have suffered." Such help
touches the heart of humanity as none other can. And when at the same
time, it points the way to the Great Comforter and says again, "I
know, I found peace," it is more powerful than the most eloquent
sermon. Nothing goes so convincingly to a man's heart as loving,
sympathetic guidance from one who has been through the same bitter

He was ordained in the year 1879, the council of churches, called for
his ordination, met in Lexington, President Alvah Hovey of Newton
Seminary presiding. Among the members of the council was his life-long
friend, George W. Chipman, of Boston, the same good deacon who had
taken him a runaway boy into the Sunday School of Tremont Temple.
The only objection to the ordination was made by one of the pastors
present, who said, "Good lawyers are too scarce to be spoiled by
making ministers of them."

The ordination over, the large law offices in Boston were closed. He
gave his undivided time and attention to his work in Lexington. The
lawyer, speaker and writer ceased to exist, but the pastor was found
wherever the poor needed help, the sick and suffering needed cheer,
the mourning needed comfort, wherever he could by word or act preach
the gospel of the Christ he served.

His whole thought was concentrated in the purpose to do good. No one
who knew him intimately could doubt his entire renunciation of worldly
ambitions, the sacrifice was so great, yet so unhesitatingly made.
Buried from the world in one way, he yet lived in it in a better way.
Large numbers of his former legal, political and social associates
called his action fanaticism. Wendell Phillips, meeting Colonel
Conwell and several friends on the way to church, one Sunday morning,
remarked that "Olympus has gone to Delphi, and Jove has descended to
be an interpreter of oracles."

His salary at the start was six hundred dollars a year, little more
than ten dollars a week. But it was enough to live on in a little New
England village and what more did he need? The contrast between it
and the ten thousand dollars a year he had made from his law practice
alone, never troubled him.

[Illustration: THE BAPTIST TEMPLE]

The church was crowded from the first and the membership grew rapidly.
His influence quickly spread to other than church circles. The town
itself soon felt the effect of his progressive, energetic spirit. It
awoke to new life. Other suburban villages were striding forward into
cities and leaving this old Battlefield of the Revolution sleeping
under its majestic elms. Mr. Conwell sounded the trumpet. Progress,
enterprise, life followed his eloquent encouragement. Strangers
were welcomed to the town. Its unusual beauty became a topic of
conversation. The railroad managers heard of its attractiveness and
opened its gates with better accommodations for travelers.

The governor of the state (Hon. John D. Long) visited the place on Mr.
Conwell's invitation, and large business enterprises were started and
strongly supported by the townspeople. From the date of Mr. Conwell's
settlement as pastor, the town took on a new lease of life. He showed
them what could be done and encouraged them to do it.

One of the town officers writing of that time, says: "Lexington can
never forget the benefit Mr. Conwell conferred during his stay in the

Then all unknown to Mr. Conwell, a man came up to Lexington one Sunday
in 1882, from Philadelphia, and heard him preach in the little stone
church under the stately New England elms. It was Deacon Alexander
Reed of the Grace Baptist Church of Philadelphia, and as a result of
his visit, Mr. Conwell received a call from this church to be its
pastor. It was like the call from Macedonia to "come over and help
us." For the church was heavily in debt, and one of the arguments
Deacon Reed used in urging Mr. Conwell to accept was that he "could
save the church." He could have used no better argument. It was the
call to touch Mr. Conwell's heart. A small church, and struggling
against poverty; a people eager to work, but needing a leader. No
message could have more surely touched that heart eager to help
others, to bring brightness, joy and higher aspirations into troubled
lives. It was a wrench to leave Lexington, the church and the people
who had grown so dear to him. But the harvest called. There was need
of reapers and he must go.



The Early History of Grace Baptist Church. The Beginning of the Sunday
Breakfast Association. Impressions of a Sunday Service.

The church to which Mr. Conwell came and from which has grown the
largest Baptist church in the country, and which was the first
institutional church in America, had its beginning in a tent. In 1870
a little mission was started in a hall at Twelfth and Montgomery
Avenue by members of the Young Men's Association of the Tenth Baptist
Church. The committee in charge was Alexander Reed, Henry C. Singley,
Fred B. Gruel and John Stoddart. A Sunday School was started and
religious services held Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The
little mission flourished, and within a year it was deemed advisable
to put some one in charge who could give it his full time. The Rev.
L.B. Hartman was called and the work went forward with increasing
prosperity. He visited the families in the neighborhood, interested
the children in the Sunday School, held two preaching services every
Sunday and usually two prayer meetings during the week. In 1872,
evangelistic services were held which resulted in a number of
conversions. The need now became so imperative for a recognized
church, that on Feb. 12, 1872, one was formally organized with
forty-seven members, L.B. Hartman pastor, and John A. Stoddart, Henry
O. Singley and G.G. Mayhew, deacons. The membership still increased
rapidly, the little hall was crowded to discomfort, and it was decided
to take a definite step toward securing a church building of their
own. A lot was purchased at Berks and Mervine for $7,500, a tent with
a seating capacity of 500 erected, and Grace Baptist Church had its
first home. The opening services of the tent were memorable for many

After addresses had been made by Drs. Malcolm, Peddie, Rowland and
Wayland, an effort was made to raise the twelve hundred dollars due on
the tent. A wealthy layman, Mr. William Bucknell, offered to pay the
twelve hundred dollars provided the members of Grace Baptist Church
should henceforth abstain from the use of tobacco. The alert chairman
said, "All who are in sympathy with Brother Bucknell's proposition,
please rise." The entire audience arose. Mr. Bucknell made out his
check next morning for twelve hundred dollars.

In 1874, the tent was moved to a neighboring lot, where it was used as
a mission. Homeless wanderers were taken in, fed and pointed the
way to a different and better life. From this work grew the Sunday
Breakfast Association of Philadelphia.

A contract was made for a new church building, and in 1875 Grace
Church moved into the basement of the new building at Berks and
Mervine Streets. But dark days came. The financial burden became
excessive. Judgment bonds were entered against the building, the
sheriff was compelled to perform his unpleasant duty, and the property
was advertised for sale. A council of Baptist churches was called to
determine what should be done.

The sheriff was persuaded to wait. The members renewed their exertions
and once more the church got on its financial feet sufficiently to
meet current financial expenses. The plucky fight knit them together
in strong bonds of good fellowship. It strengthened their faith, gave
them courage to go forward, and taught them the joy of working in
such a cause. And while they were struggling with poverty and looking
disaster often in the face, up in Massachusetts, the man who was to
lead this chosen people into a new land of usefulness, was himself
fighting that battle as to whether he should hearken to the voice of
the Spirit that was calling him to a new work. But finally he left all
to follow Him, and when this church, going down under its flood of
debt, sent out a cry for help, he heard it and came. To his friends in
Massachusetts it seemed as if he were again throwing himself away. To
leave his church in Lexington on the threshold of prosperity, for a
charge little more than a mission, with only twenty-seven present to
vote on calling him, seemed the height of folly. But he considered
none of these things. He thought only of their need.

On Thanksgiving Day, 1882, he came. The outer walls of the small
church were up, the roof on, but the upper part was unfinished,
the worshippers meeting in the basement And over it hung a debt of
$15,000. But the plucky band of workers, full of the spirit that
makes all things possible, had found a leader. Both had fought bitter
fights, had endured hardships and privations, had often nothing but
faith to lean on, and pastor and people went forward to the great work
awaiting them.

Out of his love of God, his great love of humanity, his desire to
uplift, to make men better and happier, out from his own varied
experiences that had touched the deeps of sorrow and seen life over
all the globe, came words that gripped men's hearts, came sermons that
packed the church to the doors.

It was not many months before his preaching began to bear fruits. Not
only was the neighborhood stirred, but people from all parts of the
city thronged to hear him.

In less than a year, though the seating capacity of the church was
increased to twelve hundred, crowds stood all through the service. It
became necessary to admit the members by tickets at the rear, it being
almost impossible for them to get through the throngs of strangers at
the front. Upon request, these cards of admission were sent to those
wishing them, a proceeding that led to much misunderstanding among
those who did not know their purpose nor the reason for their use. But
it was the only way that strangers in the city or those wishing to
attend a special service could be sure of ever getting into the

A Methodist minister of Albany gives a description in "Scaling the
Eagle's Nest," of his attendance at a service that pictures most
graphically the situation:

"I arrived at the church a full hour before the evening service. There
was a big crowd at the front door. There was another crowd at the side
entrance. I did not know how to get a ticket, for I did not know, till
I heard it in the jam, that I must have one. Two young people, who
like many got tired of waiting, gave me their tickets, and I pushed
ahead. I was determined to see how the thing was done. I was
dreadfully squeezed, but I got in at the back entrance and stood in
the rear of the pretty church. All the camp chairs were already taken.
Also all extra seats. The church was rather fancifully frescoed. But
it is an architectural gem. It is half amphitheatrical in style. It is
longer than it is wide, and the choir gallery and organ are over the
preacher's head. It looks underneath like an old-fashioned sounding
board. But it is neat and pretty. The carpet and cushions are bright
red. The windows are full of mottoes and designs. But in the evening
under the brilliant lights the figures could not be made out.

"There was an unusual spirit of homeness about the place, such as I
never felt in a church before. I was not alone in feeling it. The
moment I stood in the audience room, an agreeable sense of rest and
pleasure came over me. Everyone else appeared to feel the same. There
was none of the stiff restraint most churches have. All moved about
and greeted each other with an ease that was pleasant indeed. I saw
some people abusing the liberty of the place by whispering, even
during the sermon. They may have been strangers. They evidently
belonged to the lower classes. But it was a curiosity to notice
the liberty every one took at pauses in the service, and the close
attention there was when the reading or speaking began.

"All the people sang. I think the great preacher has a strong liking
for the old hymns. Of course I noticed his selection of Wesley's
favorite. A little boy in front of me stood upon the pew when the
congregation rose. He piped out in song with all his power. It was
like a spring canary. It was difficult to tell whether the strong
voice of the preacher, or the chorus choir, led most in the singing. A
well-dressed lady near me said 'Good evening,' most cheerfully, as a
polite usher showed me into the pew. They say that all the members do
that. It made me feel welcome. She also gave me a hymn-book. I saw
others being greeted the same. How it did help me praise the Lord! At
home with the people of God! That is just how I felt. I was greatly
disappointed in the preacher. Agreeably so, after all. I expected to
see an old man. He did not look over thirty-five. He was awkwardly
tall. I had expected some eccentric and sensational affair. I do not
know just what, but I had been told of many strange things. I think
now it was envious misrepresentation. The whole service was as simple
as simple can be. And it was surely as sincere as it was simple. The
reading of the hymns was so natural and distinct that they had a
now meaning to me. The prayer was very short, and offered in homely
language. In it he paused a moment for silent prayer, and every one
seemed to hold his breath in the deepest, real reverence. It was so
different from my expectations. Then the collection. It was not an
asking for money at all. The preacher put his notice of it the other
way about He said, 'The people who wish to worship God by giving their
offering into the trust of the church could place it in the baskets
which would be passed to any who wanted to give.' The basket that went
down to the altar by me was full of money and envelopes. Yet no one
was asked to give anything. It was all voluntary, and really an
offering to the Lord. I had never seen such a way of doing things in
church collections. I do not know as the minister or church require it
so. The church, was packed in every corner, and people stood in the
aisles. The pulpit platform was crowded so that the preacher had
nothing more than standing room. Some people sat on the floor, and a
crowd of interested boys leaned against the pulpit platform. When the
preacher arose to speak, I expected something strange. It did not seem
possible that such a crowd could gather year after year to listen to
mere plain preaching. For these are degenerate days. The minister
began so familiarly and easily in introducing his text that he was
half through his sermon before I began to realize that he was actually
in his sermon. It was the plainest thing possible. I had often heard
of his eloquence and poetic imagination. But there was little of
either, if we think of the old ideas. There was close continuous
attention. He was surely in earnest, but not a sign of oratorical
display. There were exciting gestures at times, and lofty periods.
But it was all so natural. At one point the whole audience burst into
laughter at a comic turn in an illustration, but the preacher went on
unconscious of it. It detracted nothing from the solemn theme. It was
what the 'Chautauqua Herald' last year called a 'Conwellian evening.'
It was unlike anything I ever saw or heard. Yet it was good to be
there. The sermon was crowded with illustrations, and was evidently
unstudied. They say he never takes time from his many cares to write a
sermon. That one was surely spontaneous. But it inspired the audience
to better lives and a higher faith. When he suddenly stopped and
quickly seized a hymn-book, the audience drew a long sigh. At once
people moved about again and looked at each other and smiled. The
whole congregation were at one with the preacher. There was a low hum
of whispering voices. But all was attention again when the hymn was
read. Then the glorious song. One of the finest organists in the
country, a blind gentleman by the name of Wood, was the power behind
the throne. The organ did praise God. Every one was carried on in a
flood of praise. It was rich. The benediction was a continuation of
the sermon and a closing prayer, all in a single sentence. I have
never heard one so unique. It fastened the evening's lesson. It was
not formal. The benediction was a blessing indeed. It broke every rule
of church form. It was a charming close, however. No one else but
Conwell could do it. Probably no one will try. Instantly at the close
of the service, all the people turned to each other and shook hands.
They entered into familiar conversation. Many spoke to me and invited
me to come again. There was no restraint. All was homelike and happy.
It was blessed to be there."



Early plans for Church Efficiency. Practical Methods for Church Work.
The Growing Membership. Need of a New Building.

The preaching filled the church. Men and women felt that to miss a
sermon was to miss inspiration and strength for the coming week's
work, a broader outlook on life, a deeper hold on spiritual truths.
But it was more than the sermons that carried the church work forward
by leaps and bounds, added hundreds to its membership, made it a power
for good in the neighborhood that gradually began to be felt all over
the city.

The spirit of the sermons took practical form. Mr. Conwell followed no
traditions or conventions in his church work. He studied the needs of
the neighborhood and the hour. Then he went to work with practical,
common sense to meet them. First he determined the church should be
a home, a church home, but nevertheless a home in its true sense,
overflowing with love, with kindness, with hospitality for the
stranger within its gates. Committees were formed to make strangers
welcome, to greet them cordially, find them a seat if possible, see
that they had hymn books, and invite them heartily to come again. And
every member felt he belonged to this committee even if not actually
appointed on it, and made the stranger who might sit near him feel
that he was a welcome guest. When the church became more crowded,
members gave up their seats to strangers and sat on the pulpit, and it
was no unusual sight in the church at Berks and Mervine streets to see
the pulpit, as well as every other inch of space in the auditorium,
crowded. Finally, when even this did not give room enough to
accommodate all who thronged its doors, members took turns in staying
away from certain services. No one who has not enjoyed the spiritual
uplift, the good fellowship of a Grace Church service can appreciate
what a genuine personal sacrifice that was.

After the service, Mr. Conwell stationed himself at the door and shook
hands with all as they left, adding some little remark to show his
personal interest in their welfare if they were members, or a cordial
invitation to come again, if a stranger. The remembrance of that
hearty handclasp, that frank, friendly interest, lingered and stamped
with a personal flavor upon the hearer's heart, the truths of
Christianity that had been preached in such simple, clear, yet
forcible fashion from the pulpit.

Another of Mr. Conwell's methods for carrying out practical
Christianity was to set every body at work. Every single member of the
church was given something to do. As soon as a person was received
into the membership, he was invited to join some one or other of the
church organizations. He was placed on some committee. In such
an atmosphere of activity there was no one who did not catch the
enthusiasm and feel that being a Christian meant much more than
attending church on Sundays, putting contributions in the box, and
listening to the minister preach. It was a veritable hive of applied
Christianity, and many a man who hitherto thought he had done his full
duty by attending church regularly and contributing to its support had
these ideas, so comfortable and self-satisfied, completely shattered.

The membership was composed almost entirely of working people, men and
women who toiled hard for their daily bread. There were no wealthy
people to help the work by contributions of thousands of dollars. The
beginnings of all the undertakings were small and unpretentious. But
nothing was undertaken until the need of it was felt; then the people
as a whole put their shoulders to the wheel and it went with a will.
And because it practically filled a need, it was a success.

The pastor was the most untiring worker of all. With ceaseless energy
and unfailing tact, he was the head and heart of every undertaking.
Day and night he ministered to the needs of his membership and the
community. To the bedside of the sick he carried cheer that was better
than medicine. In the homes where death had entered, he brought the
comfort of the Holy Spirit. Where disgrace had fallen like a pall, he
went with words of hope and practical advice. Parents sought him to
help lead erring children back from a life of wretchedness and evil.
Wherever sorrow and trouble was in the heart or home he went, his
heart full of sympathy, his hands eager to help.

Much of his time, too, in those early days of his ministry was devoted
to pastoral calls, not the formal ministerial call where the children
tiptoe in, awed and silent, because the "minister is there." Children
hailed his coming with delight, the family greeted him as an old, old
friend before whom all ceremony and convention were swept away. He was
genuinely interested in their family affairs. He entered into their
plans and ambitions, and he never forgot any of their personal history
they might tell him, so that each felt, and truly, that in his pastor
he had a warm and interested friend.

His own simple, informal manner made every one feel instantly at home
with him. He soon became a familiar figure upon the streets in the
neighborhood of his church, for morning, noon and night he was about
his work, cherry, earnest, always the light of his high calling
shining from his face. The people for squares about knew that here was
a man, skilled and practical in the affairs of the world, to whom they
could go for advice, for help, for consolation, sure that they would
have his ready sympathy and the best his big heart and generous hands
could give.

Such faithful work of the pastor, such earnest, active work of the
people could not but tell. The family feeling which is the ideal of
church fellowship was so strong and warm that it attracted and drew
people as with magnetic power. The church became more and more
crowded. In less than a year it was impossible to seat those who
thronged to the Sunday services, though the auditorium then had a
seating capacity of twelve hundred.

"I am glad," the pastor once remarked to a friend, "when I get up
Sunday morning and can look out of the window and see it snowing,
sleeting, and raining, and hear the wind shriek and howl. 'There,' I
say, 'I won't have to preach this morning, looking all the while at
people patiently standing through the service, wherever there is a
foot of standing room.'"


The membership rose from two hundred to more than five hundred within
two years. A question began to shape itself in the minds of pastor
and people. "What shall we do?" As a partial solution of it, the
proposition was made to divide into three churches. But, as in the old
days of enlistment when two companies clamored for him for captain,
all three sections wanted him as pastor, and so the idea was

Still the membership grew, and the need for larger quarters faced them
imperatively and not to be evaded. The house next door was purchased
which gave increased space for the work of the Sunday School and the
various associations. But it was a mere drop in the bucket. Every room
in it was filled to overflowing with eager workers before the ink was
fairly dry on the deed of transfer.

Then into this busy crowd wondering what should be done came a little
child, and with one simple act cleared the mist from their eyes and
pointed the way for them to go.



How a Little Child Started the Building Fund for the Great Baptist

One Sunday afternoon a little child, Hattie Wiatt, six years old,
came to the church building at Berks and Mervine to attend the Sunday
School. She was a very little girl and it was a very large Sunday
School, but big as it was there was not room to squeeze her in. Other
little girls had been turned away that day, and still others, Sundays
before. But it was a bitter disappointment to this small child; the
little lips trembled, the big tears rolled down her cheeks and the
sobs that came were from the heart. The pastor himself told the little
one why she could not come in and tried to comfort her. His heart was
big enough for her and her trouble if the church was not. He watched
the childish figure going so sadly up the street with a heart that was
heavy that he must turn away a little child from the house of God,
from the house raised in the name of One who said, "Suffer little
children to come unto me."

She did not forget her disappointment as many a child would. It had
been too grievous. It hurt too deeply to think that she could not go
to that Sunday School, and that other little girls who wanted to go
must stay away. With quivering lip she told her mother there wasn't
room for her. With a sad little heart she spent the afternoon thinking
about it, and when bedtime came and she said her prayers, she prayed
with a child's beautiful faith that they would find room for her so
that she might go and learn more about Jesus. Perhaps she had heard
some word dropped about faith and works. Perhaps the childish mind
thought it out for herself. But she arose the next morning with a
strong purpose in her childish soul, a purpose so big in faith, so
firm in determination, it could put many a strong man's efforts to
the blush. "I will save my money," she said to herself, "and build a
bigger Sunday School. Then we can all go."

From her childish treasures she hunted out a little red pocketbook
and in this she put her pennies, one at a time. What temptations that
childish soul struggled with no one may know! How she shut her eyes
and steeled her heart to playthings her friends bought, to the
allurements of the candy shop window! But nothing turned her from
her purpose. Penny by penny the little hoard grew. Day after day the
dimpled fingers counted it and the bright eyes grew brighter as the
sum mounted. That mite cast in by the widow was no purer, greater
offering than these pennies so lovingly and heroically saved by this
little child.

But there were only a few weeks of this planning, hoping, saving. The
little Temple builder fell ill. It was a brief illness and then the
grim Reaper knocked at the door of the Wiatt home and the loving,
self-sacrificing spirit was born to the Father's House where there are
many mansions, where there was no lack of room, for the little heart
so eager to learn more of Jesus.

With her dying breath she told her mother of her treasure, told her it
was for Grace Baptist Church to build.

In the little red pocketbook was just fifty-seven cents. That was her
legacy. With swelling heart, the pastor reverently took it; with misty
eyes and broken voice he told his people of the little one's gift.

"And when they heard how God had blessed them with so great an
inheritance, there was silence in the room; the silence of tears and
earnest consecration. The corner stone of the Temple was laid."



How the Money was Raised. Walking Clubs. Jug Breaking. The Purchase of
the Lot. Laying the Corner Stone.

Thus was their path pointed out to them and they walked steadily
forward in it from that day.

Plans were made for raising money. The work went forward with a vim,
for ever before each worker was the thought of that tiny girl, the
precious pennies saved one by one by childish self-denial. The child's
faith was equaled by theirs. It was a case of "Come unto me on the
water." They were poor. Nobody could give much. But nobody hesitated.

It was not only a question of giving, even small sums. What was given
must be saved in some way. Few could give outright and not feel it.
Incomes for the most part just covered living expenses, and expenses
must be cut down, if incomes were to be stretched to build a church.
So these practical people put their wits to work to see how money
could be saved. Walking clubs were organized, not for vigorous cross
country tramps in a search for pleasure and health, but with an
earnest determination to save carfare for the building fund. Tired men
with muscles aching from a hard day's work, women weary with a long
day behind the counter or typewriter, cheerfully trudged home and
saved the nickels. Women economized in dress, men who smoked gave it
up. Vacations in the summer were dropped. Even the boys and girls
saved their pennies as little Hattie Wiatt had done, and the money
poured into the treasury in astonishing amounts, considering how small
was each individual gift. All these sacrifices helped to endear the
place to those who wove their hopes and prayers about it.

A fair was given in a large hall in the centre of the city which
brought to the notice of many strangers the vigorous work the church
was doing and netted nearly five thousand dollars toward the building
fund. It was a fair that went with a vim, planned on business lines,
conducted in a practical, sensible fashion.

Another effort that brought splendid results was the giving out of
little earthen jugs in the early summer to be brought to the harvest
home in September with their garnerings. It was a joyous evening when
the jugs were brought in. A supper was given, and while the church
members enjoyed themselves at the tables, the committee sat on the
platform, broke the jugs, counted the money and announced the amount.
The sum total brought joyous smiles to the treasurer's face.

Innumerable entertainments were held in the church and at homes of
the church members. Suppers were given in Fairmount Park during the
summer. Every worthy plan for raising money that clever brains could
devise and willing hands accomplish was used to swell the building

Thus the work went ahead, and in September, 1886, the lot on which
The Temple now stands at Broad and Berks was purchased at a cost of
twenty-five thousand dollars. Thus encouraged with tangible results,
the work for the building fund was pushed, if possible, with even
greater vigor. Ground was broken for The Temple March 27, 1889. The
corner stone was laid July 13, 1890, and on the first of March, 1891,
the house was occupied for worship.

The only large amount received toward the building fund was a gift of
ten thousand dollars on condition that the church be not dedicated
until it was free of debt. In a legal sense, calling a building by the
name of the congregation worshipping in it is a dedication, and so the
building, instead of being called The Grace Baptist Church, was called
the Baptist Temple, a name which will probably cling to it while one
stone stands upon another.

Raising money and erecting a building did not stop the spiritual work
of the church. Rather it increased it. People heard of the church
through the fairs and various other efforts to raise money, came to
the service, perhaps out of curiosity at first, became interested,
their hearts were touched and they joined. Never did its spiritual
light burn more brightly than in these days of hard work and
self-denial. The membership steadily rose, and when Grace Church moved
into its new temple of worship, more than twelve hundred members
answered the muster roll.



The First Sunday. The Building Itself--Its Seating Capacity,
Furnishing and Lighting. The Lower Temple and its Various Rooms and
Halls. Services Heard by Telephone at the Samaritan Hospital.

That was a great day--the first Sunday in the new Temple. Six years
of labor and love had gone to its building and now they possessed the

"During the opening exercises over nine thousand people were present
at each service," said the "Philadelphia Press" writing of the event.
The throng overflowed into the Lower Temple; into the old church
building. The whole neighborhood was full of the joyful members of
Grace Baptist Church. The very air seemed to thrill with the spirit
of thanksgiving abroad that day. All that Sabbath from sunrise until
close to midnight members thronged the building with prayers of
thankfulness and praise welling up from glad hearts.

Writing from London several years later, Mr. Conwell voiced in words
what had been in his mind when the church was planned:

"I heard a sermon which helped me greatly. It was delivered by an old
preacher, and the subject was, 'This God is our God,' He described the
attributes of God in glory, knowledge, wisdom and love, and compared
Him to the gods the heathen do worship. He then pressed upon us the
message that this glorious God is the Christian's God, and with Him we
cannot want. It did me so much good, and made me long so much for more
of God in all my feelings, actions, and influence. The seats were
hard, and the tack of the pew hard and high, the church dusty and
neglected; yet, in spite of all the discomforts, I was blessed. I
was sorry for the preacher who had to preach against all those
discomforts, and did not wonder at the thin congregation. Oh! it is
all wrong to make it so unnecessarily hard to listen to the gospel.
They ought for Jesus' sake tear out the old benches and put
in comfortable chairs. There was an air about the service of
perfunctoriness and lack of object, which made the service indefinite
and aimless. This is a common fault. We lack an object and do not aim
at anything special in our services. That, too, is all wrong. Each
hymn, each chapter read, each anthem, each prayer, and each sermon
should have a special and appropriate purpose. May the Lord help me,
after my return, to profit by this day's lesson."

No hard benches, no air of cold dreariness marks The Temple. The
exterior is beautiful and graceful in design, the interior cheery and
homelike in furnishing.

The building is of hewn stone, with a frontage on Broad Street of one
hundred and seven feet, a depth on Berks Street of one hundred and
fifty feet, a height of ninety feet. On the front is a beautiful half
rose window of rich stained glass, and on the Berks Street side a
number of smaller memorial windows, each depicting some beautiful
Biblical scene or thought. Above the rose window on the front is a
small iron balcony on which on special occasions, and at midnight on
Christmas, New Year's Eve and Easter, the church orchestra and choir
play sacred melodies and sing hymns, filling the midnight hour with
melody and delighting thousands who gather to hear it.

The auditorium of The Temple has the largest seating capacity among
Protestant church edifices in the United States. Its original seating
capacity according to the architect's plans, was forty-two hundred
opera chairs. But to secure greater comfort and safety only thirty-one
hundred and thirty-five chairs were used.

Under the auditorium and below the level of the street is the part of
the building called the Lower Temple. Here are Sunday School rooms,
with a seating capacity of two thousand. The Sunday School room and
lecture room of the Lower Temple is forty-eight by one hundred and six
feet in dimensions. It also has many beautiful stained-glass windows.
On the platform is a cabinet organ and a grand piano. In the rear of
the lecture room is a dining-room, forty-five by forty-six feet,
with a capacity for seating five hundred people. Folding tables and
hundreds of chairs are stowed away in the store rooms when not in use
in the great dining-room. Opening out of this room are the rooms of
the Board of Trustees, the parlors and reading-rooms of the Young
Men's Association and the Young Women's Association, and the kitchen,
carving-room and cloak-room. Through the kitchen is a passageway to
the engine and boiler rooms. In pantries and cupboards is an outfit
of china and table cutlery sufficient to set a table for five hundred
persons. The kitchen is fully equipped, with two large ranges,
hot-water cylinders, sinks and drainage tanks. In the annex beyond the
kitchen, a separate building contains the boilers and engine room and
the electric-light plants.

The steam-heating of the building is supplied by four one hundred
horse-power boilers. In the engine room are two one hundred and
thirty-five horse-power engines, directly connected with dynamos
having a capacity of twenty-five hundred lights, which are controlled
by a switchboard in this room. The electrician is on duty every day,
giving his entire time to the management of this plant. The building
is also supplied with gas. Directly behind the pulpit is a small
closet containing a friction wheel, by means of which, should the
electric light fail for any reason, every gas jet in The Temple can be
lighted from dome to basement.

For cleaning the church, a vacuum plant has been installed, which
sucks out every particle of dust and dirt. It does the work quickly
and thoroughly, in fact, so thoroughly it is impossible even with the
hardest beating to raise any dust on the covered chairs after they
have been cleaned by this process. Such crowds throng The Temple that
some quick, thorough method of cleaning it became imperative.

Back of the auditorium on the street floor are the business offices of
the church, Mr. Conwell's study, the office of his secretary and of
the associate pastor. All are practically and cheerfully furnished,
fitted with desks, filing cabinets, telephones, speaking tubes,
everything to carry forward the business of the church in a
time-saving, businesslike way.

The acoustics of the great auditorium are perfect. There is no
building on this continent with an equal capacity which enables the
preacher to speak and the hearers to listen with such perfect comfort.
The weakest voice is carried to the farthest auditor. Lecturers who
have tested the acoustic properties of halls in every state in the
Union speak with praise and pleasure of The Temple, which makes the
delivery of an oration to three thousand people as easy, so far as
vocal effort is concerned, as a parlor conversation.

Telephonic communication has recently been installed between the
auditorium and the Samaritan Hospital. Patients in their beds can
hear the sermons preached from The Temple pulpit and the music of the
Sunday services.

Compared with other assembly rooms in this country, the auditorium of
The Temple is a model. It seats thirty-one hundred and thirty-five
persons. The American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, seats
twenty-nine hundred; the Academy of Music, Brooklyn, twenty-four
hundred and thirty-three; Academy in New York, twenty-four hundred and
thirty-three; the Grand Opera House, Cincinnati, twenty-two hundred
and fifty; and the Music Hall, Boston, twenty-five hundred and

But greater than the building is the spirit that pervades it. The
moment one enters the vast auditorium with its crimson chairs, its
cheery carpet, its softly tinted walls, one feels at home. Light
filters in through rich windows, in memory of some member gone before,
some class or organization. Back of the pulpit stands the organ, its
rich pipes rising almost to the roof. Everywhere is rich, subdued
coloring, not ostentatious, but cheery, homelike.

Large as is the seating capacity of The Temple, when it was opened it
could not accommodate the crowds that thronged to it. Almost from the
first, overflow meetings were held in the Lower Temple, that none
need be turned away from the House of God. From five hundred to two
thousand people crowded these Sunday evenings in addition to the large
audience in the main auditorium above.

The Temple workers had come to busy days and large opportunities. But
they took them humbly with a full sense of their responsibility, with
prayer in their hearts that they might meet them worthily. Their
leader knew the perils of success and with wise counsel guided them
against its insidious dangers.

"Ah, that is a dangerous hour in the history of men and institutions,"
he said, in a sermon on the "Danger of Success," "when they become too
popular; when a good cause becomes too much admired or adored, so that
the man, or the institution, or the building, or the organization,
receives an idolatrous worship from the community. That is always
a dangerous time. Small men always go down, wrecked by such dizzy
elevation. Whenever a small man is praised, he immediately loses
his balance of mind and ascribes to himself the things which others
foolishly express in flattery. He esteems himself more than he is;
thinking himself to be something, he is consequently nothing. How
dangerous is that point when a man, or a woman, or an enterprise has
become accepted and popular! Then, of all times, should the man or the
society be humble. Then, of all times, should they beware. Then, of
all times, the hosts of Satan are marshaled that by every possible
insidious wile and open warfare they may overcome. The weakest hour in
the history of great enterprises is apt to be when they seem to be,
and their projectors think they are, strongest. Take heed lest ye fall
in the hour of your strength. The most powerful mill stream drives the
wheel most vigorously at the moment before the flood sweeps the mill
to wildest destruction."

Just as plainly and unequivocally did he hold up before them the
purpose of their high calling:

"The mission of the church is to save the souls of men. That is its
true mission. It is the only mission of the church. That should be its
only thought. The moment any church admits a singer that does not sing
to save souls; the moment a church calls a pastor who does not preach
to save souls; the moment a church elects a deacon who does not work
to save souls; the moment a church gives a supper or an entertainment
of any kind not for the purpose of saving souls--it ceases in so much
to be a church and to fulfil the magnificent mission God gave it.
Every concert, every choir service, every preaching service, every
Lord's supper, every agency that is used in the church must have the
great mission plainly before its eye. We are here to save the souls of
dying sinners; we are here for no other purpose; and the mission of
the church being so clear, that is the only test of a real church."

The thousands of men and women Grace Church has saved and placed in
paths of righteousness and happiness, show that it has nobly stood
the test, that it has proved itself a church in the true sense of the



The Ladies' Aid Society. The Young Women's Association. The Young
Men's Association. The Ushers' Association. The Christian Endeavor
Societies. The Many Other Organizations. What They Do, and How They Do

Now that the church was built, now that such power was in its hands,
how should it work?

"The church of Christ should be so conducted always as to save the
largest number of souls, and in the saving of souls the Institutional
church may be of great assistance," said Russell Conwell in an address
on "The Institutional Church." "It is of little matter what your
theories are or what mine are; God, in His providence, is moving His
church onward and moving it upward at the same time, adjusting it
to new situations, fitting it to new conditions and to advancing
civilization, requiring us to use the new instrumentalities he has
placed in our hands for the purpose of saving the greatest number of
human souls."

The conditions confronting him, the leader of this church studied. He
turned his eyes backward over the years. He thought of his own boyhood
when church was so distasteful. He thought of those ten busy years in
Boston when he had worked among all classes of humanity, with churches
on all sides, yet few reaching down into the lives of the people in
any vital way. He knew of the silent, agonizing cry for help, for
comfort, for light, that went up without ceasing day and night from
humanity in sorrow, in suffering, in affliction, went up as it were to
skies of brass, yet he knew a loving Savior stood ready to pour forth
his healing love, a Divine Spirit waited only the means, to lay a
healing touch on sore hearts. What was needed was a simple, practical,
real way to make it understandable to men, to bring them into the
right environment, to make their hearts and minds receptive, to point
the way to peace, joy and eternal life. He brought to bear on this
problem all the practical, trained skill of the lawyer, the keen
insight and common sense, the knowledge of the world, of the traveler
and writer. Every experience of his own life he probed for help and
light on this great work Nothing was done haphazard. He studied the
wants of men. He clearly saw the need. He calmly surveyed the field,
then he went to work with practical common sense to fill it, filling
his people with the enthusiasm and the faith that led him, doing with
a will all there was to do, and then leaving the rest with God. Never
did he think of himself, of how he might lighten his tasks, give
himself a little more leisure or rest. The work needing to be done and
how to do it was his study day and night.

[Illustration: This Picture Shows the Four Speaking Tubes Which
Connect by Telephone with the Samaritan Hospital]

A reporter of the "Philadelphia Press" once asked Dr. George A. Peltz,
the associate pastor of Grace Church, "if you were called upon to
express in three words the secret of the mysterious power that has
raised Grace Church from almost nothing to a membership of more than
three thousand, that has built this Temple, founded a college, opened
a hospital, and set every man, woman and child in the congregation to
working, what would be your answer?"

"Sanctified common sense," was the Doctor's unhesitating reply.

Rev. F.B. Meyer, in speaking on "Twentieth Century Evangelism," at
Bradford, England, in 1902, made a plea for "the institutional church,
the wide outlook, more elastic methods, greater eagerness to reach and
win outsiders, more varied service on the part of Christian people,
that the minister of any place of worship should become the recognized
friend of the entire district in which his chapel is placed."

The "elastic method" is characteristic of the work of The Temple.
When Dr. Conwell first came to Grace Church, he organized four
societies--the Ladies' Aid Society, the Business Men's Union, the
Young Women's Association, the Young Men's Association. Into one or
another of these, every member of the church fitted, and as the new
members came into the fellowship, they found work for their hands in
one or the other.

The Ladies' Aid Society is the pastor's right hand. It stands ready
to undertake any project, social, religious, financial, to give
receptions in honor of noted visitors, to hold a series of special
meetings, to plan suppers, festivals, and other affairs--whenever it
is necessary to raise money. Its creed, if one might so call it, is:

    "Use every opportunity to bring in new members.

    "Remember the name of every new church member.

    "Visit useless members and encourage them for their own sake to
    become useful.

    "Visit persons when desired by the Pastors.

    "Speak cheerfully to each person present on every opportunity.

    "Regard every patron of your suppers or entertainments, and every
    visitor to your religious meetings, as a guest calling on you in
    your own house.

    "Accept contributions and subscriptions for the various Christian

    "Bring in every suggestion you hear which is valuable, new or
    effective in Christian work elsewhere.

    "Never allow a meeting to pass without your doing _some one
    practical_ thing for the advancement of Christ's kingdom.

    "Make yourself and the Society of some certain use to some person,
    or some cause, each week."

The Society helps in the church prayer meetings, in refurnishing
and improving the church property, in celebrating anniversaries, in
missionary enterprises, securing the insertion of tablets in the
Temple walls, in clothing the poor, in supporting the local missions
connected with the church, in calling socially on church members or
members of the congregation, in evangelistic meetings, in household
prayer meetings, in supporting reading rooms, in comforting those in
special affliction, in visiting the sick, in aiding the needy, in
paying the church debt, in maintaining Mother's meetings, in looking
after the domestic wants of the Temple, in sewing for the Hospitals,
the Missions, the Baptist Home, the Orphanage, church fairs,
Missionary workers, the poor, in managing church suppers and
receptions connected with Ordinations, Conventions, and other
religious gatherings.

It is one of the most important organizations of the church and has
its own rooms handsomely furnished and well supplied with reading

The Business Men's Union drew into a close band the business men of
the church and used their knowledge of business affairs to plan and
carry out various projects for raising money for the building fund.
They also took a deep personal interest in each other's welfare as is
shown by the following incident, taken from the "Philadelphia Press":

"At one time a member became involved in financial difficulties in a
very peculiar way. Previous to connecting himself with the church,
he had been engaged in a business which he felt he could not
conscientiously continue after his conversion. He sold his interest
and entered upon mercantile pursuits with which he was unfamiliar. As
a result, he became involved and his establishment was in danger of
falling into the sheriff's hands.

"His situation became known to some members of the Business Men's
Union, and a committee was appointed to look into his affairs. His
books were found to be straight and his stock valuable. The members
immediately subscribed the thousands of dollars necessary to relieve
him of all embarrassment, and the man was saved."

After the building was completed and the imperative need for such an
organization was past, the members joined other organizations needing
their help, and it disbanded. It is typical of the elastic methods of
Grace Church that no society outlives its usefulness. When the need
is past for it as a body, the members look elsewhere for work, and
wherever each is needed, there he goes heart and soul to further some
other endeavor.

The Young Women's Association is composed of young women of the
church. It bubbles over with youthful enthusiasm and energy and is one
of the strongest agencies for carrying forward the church work. Its
creed is:

    "Secure new members.

    "Attend the meetings, propose new work, urge on neglected duties.

    "Help the prayer meetings.

    "Volunteer for social meetings.

    "Aid in the entertainments.

    "Originate plans for Christian benevolent work.

    "Welcome young women to the Church.

    "Visit the sick members of the Church.

    "Seek after and encourage inquirers.

    "Hold household devotional meetings.

    "Sustain missionary work for young women.

    "Make the Church home cheerful and happy.

    "Arrange social home gatherings for various church or charitable

    "Solicit books or periodicals for the reading room or circulating

    "Secure employment for the needy.

    "Treat all visitors to the rooms as special personal guests in
    your home.

    "Undertake large things for the Church and Christ in many ways, as
    may be suggested by any new conditions and deeds.

    "Instruct in domestic arts, dressmaking, millinery, cooking,
    decoration, and, through the Samaritan Hospital, in the art of

    "Furnish statedly instructive entertainments for the young.

    "Develop the various singing services.

    "Specially care for and assist young sisters.

    "Coöperate in sewing enterprises of all sorts.

    "Aid the Pastors by systematic visitation.

    "Push many branches of City Missions, especially with reference to
    developing young women as workers.

    "Maintain suitable young women as missionaries at home or in
    foreign fields.

    "Carry sunshine to darkened hearts and homes.

    "Be noble, influential Christian women."

It has a room of its own in the Lower Temple, with circulating
library, piano and all the cheerful furnishings of a parlor in the
home. To this bright room comes many a girl from her dreary boarding
house to spend the evening in reading and social chat. It has been
the cheery starting point in many a girl's life to a career of happy

The Young Men's Association follows similar lines and is an equally
important factor in the church work. It plans to:

    "Help increase the membership and efficiency of the Young Men's
    Bible Class and other similar organizations.

    "Persistently follow the meetings of these associations and keep
    them in the hands of able, consecrated managers and officers, who
    will lead in the best enterprises of the church.

    "Make the reading-room attractive and helpful.

    "Help sustain the great Sunday morning prayer meeting.

    "Invite passers-by to enter the church, and welcome strangers who
    do enter.

    "Advise seekers after God.

    "Bring back the wandering.

    "Organize relief committees to save the lost young men of the

    "Look after traveling business men at hotels, and bring them to
    The Temple.

    "Promote temperance, purity, fraternity and spiritual life.

    "Initiate the most important undertakings of the church.

    "Surround themselves with strong young men, and inaugurate
    vigorous, fresh plans and methods for bringing the gospel to the
    young men of to-day in store, shop, office, school, college, on
    the streets, and elsewhere.

    "Visit sick members, help into lucrative employment, organize
    religious meetings, make the church life of the young bright,
    inspiring and noble, plan for sociables, entertainments for closer
    acquaintance and for raising money for Christian work and to use
    their pens for Christ among young men whom they know, and also
    with strangers."

It has a delightful room in the Lower Temple, carpeted, supplied with
books, good light, a piano, comfortable chairs. It is a real home for
young men alone in the city or without family or home ties.

During the building of The Temple many associations were formed which,
when the need was over, merged into others. As Burdette says:

"Often a working guild of some sort is brought into existence for a
specific but transient purpose; the object accomplished, the
work completed, the society disbands, or merges into some other
organization, or reorganizes under a new name for some new work. The
work of Grace Church is like the operations of a great army; recruits
are coming to the front constantly; regiments being assigned to this
corps, and suddenly withdrawn to reinforce that one; two or three
commands consolidated for a sudden emergency; one regiment deployed
along a great line of small posts; infantry detailed into the
batteries, cavalry dismounted for light infantry service, yet all
the time in all this apparent confusion and restless change which
bewilders the civilian, everything is clear and plain and
perfectly regular and methodical to the commanding general and his

Another association of this kind was the "Committee of One Hundred,"
organized in 1891. The suggestion for its organization came from the
Young Women's Association. A number of them went to the Trustees and
proposed that the Board should appoint a committee of fifty from among
the congregation to devise ways and means to raise money for paying
off the floating indebtedness of the church. The suggestion was
adopted. The Committee of Fifty was appointed, each organization of
the church being represented in it by one or more members. It met for
organization in 1892. The Young Women's Association, pledged itself to
raise $1,000 during the year. Other societies pledged certain sums.
Individuals went to work to swell the amount, and in one year, the
Committee reported that the floating debt of the church, which at the
time of the Committee's organization was $25,000, was paid. Encouraged
by this success the Committee enlarged itself to one hundred and
vigorously attacked the work of paying off the mortgage of $15,200 on
the ground on which the college was to be built.

Among the minor associations of the church that promoted good
fellowship and did a definite good work in their time were the
"Tourists' Club," a social development of the Young Women's
Association. The members took an ideal European trip while sitting in
the pleasant reading room in the Lower Temple. A route of travel was
laid out a month in advance. Each member present took some part; to
one was assigned the principal buildings; to another, some famous
painting; to others, parks, hotels, places of amusement, ruins, etc.,
until at the close of the evening they almost could hear the tongue of
the strange land through which in fancy they had journeyed. Maps and
pictures helped to materialize the journey.

The "Girls" Auxiliary was formed to meet the needs of the younger
members of the church. Any girl under sixteen could become a member
by the payment of monthly dues of five cents. There were classes in
embroidery, elocution, sewing, etc.

The "Youth's Culture League" was organized for the work among youth of
the slums; an effort to supplement public school education, making it
a stepping-stone to higher culture and better living.

Sports of various kinds of course received attention. The Temple
Guard, the Temple Cyclers, the Baseball League gave opportunity for
all to enjoy some form of healthy outdoor sport. But since the college
and its gymnasium have become so prominent, those who now join such
organizations usually do it through college instead of church doors.

The following incident from the "Philadelphia Evening Bulletin" is
typical of the help these organizations often gave the church in its
religious work:

[Illustration: THE OBSERVATORY

Built on the Site of the Old Hemlock Tree]


"Eight and a half years ago the Rev. Russell H. Conwell surprised a
great many people by organizing a military company among his little
boys. The old wiseacres shook their heads, and the elders of the old
school wondered at this new departure in church work. Then again he
fairly shocked them by making the organization non-sectarian, and
securing one of the best tacticians in the city to instruct the
boys in military science.... From the first the company has clearly
demonstrated that it is the best-drilled military organization in the
city, and the number of prizes fairly won demonstrates this. However,
the company does not wish to be understood as being merely in
existence for prize honors, although it cannot be overlooked that
twenty victories over as many companies afford them the best record in

"In 1896, the Samaritan Rescue Mission was established by the Grace
Baptist Church, and proving a great financial burden, Dr. Conwell
offered to give a lecture on Henry Ward Beecher. The Guard took the
matter up, brought Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher, despite her threescore
years and ten, to Philadelphia for the first time in her life, and
so great was the desire of the church-loving public of this city to
attend that the mission did not perish."

When the stress of building and paying the church debt was passed,
many of these societies went heart and soul into the Christian
Endeavor work. Indeed, for awhile it seemed as if the Christian
Endeavor would absorb all the church associations. There are at
present fifteen Christian Endeavor Societies in the church. In
addition to the Christian Endeavor pledge, the following special ways
in which they can forward the church work is ever held before each

"For the sake of your character and future success, as well as for the
supreme cause, keep your pledge unflinchingly.

"Endeavor persistently, but courteously, to seek after those who ask
for our prayers and advice at any meeting.

"Never discontinue your endeavors to get new members for the
societies. Follow it continually in the name of the Lord.

"Endeavor each day to think, speak, act and pray like the Savior.

"Endeavor and present plans for effective work. Build up a standard of
noble living in the Church.

"Send comforting messages to members of the Church in sorrow, send
flowers to the sick, or for the funeral, look after the orphans, visit
the widows and the fatherless, write letters of advice, invitation,
condolence, establish missions for new churches in growing parts of
the city, and hold by kindness at least one thousand personal friends
at The Baptist Temple.

"Select one leading duty, and follow it without waiting to be asked.

"Make yourself a master of some special line of Christian effort.

"Save some one!"

Five of these societies some years ago started a mission at Logan,
a suburb of Philadelphia, and so successful was their work that the
mission soon grew into a flourishing church.

The Ushers' Association is one of the strongest and most helpful
organizations in furthering the church work. The ushers number
twenty-four, and are banded together in a businesslike association for
mutual pleasure and good fellowship, and also to better conduct their
work and the church interests they have in hand. They are under the
leadership of a chief usher who is president of the Association. The
spirit of hospitality that pervades The Temple finds its happiest
expression in the courteous welcome and ready attention accorded
visitors by the ushers.

All members of the church who are willing to give up their seats to
strangers on special occasions send their names to the chief usher.
And it is no unusual thing to see a member cheerfully relinquish his
seat after a whispered consultation with an usher in favor of some
stranger who is standing.

In addition to their work in seating the crowd that throng to The
Temple either for Sunday services or the many entertainments that fill
the church during the week, the Ushers' Association itself during the
winter gives a series of fine entertainments. Its object is to offer
amusement of the very highest class, so that people will come to the
church rather than go elsewhere in their leisure hours and thus be
surrounded by influences of the best character and by an atmosphere
that is elevating and refining. They have also undertaken to pay off
the balance of the church debt.

Missionary interests at Grace Church are well looked after. The church
has educated and supported a number of missionaries in home and
foreign fields, as well as contributed money and clothing to the
cause. The Missionary Circle combines in one organization all those
interested in missionary work. One afternoon a month the members meet
in the Lower Temple to sew, have supper together, and afterward hold
religious services. The members are advised in the church hand-book

"Suggest plans for raising money; arrange for a series of addresses;
organize children's societies; distribute missionary literature;
maintain a circulating library of missionary books; correspond with
missionaries; solicit and work for the 'missionary barrels'; send out
'comfort bags'; advocate missions in the prayer meetings and socials;
encourage those members who are preparing for or are going into
foreign fields, and maintain special missionary prayer meetings."

Members of the church have started several missions, some of which
have already grown into flourishing churches. The Logan Baptist Church
and the Tioga Baptist Church, are both daughters of The Temple.

The Samaritan Aid Society sews and secures contributions of clothing
and such supplies for the Samaritan Hospital. Other charities,
however, needing such help, find it ever willing to lend its aid. It
is ready for any emergency that may arise. A hurry call was sent
once for sheets, pillow cases and garments for the sick at Samaritan
Hospital. The President of the Society quickly summoned the members.
Merchants were visited and contributions of muslin and thread secured.
Sewing machines were sent to the Lower Temple. An all-day sewing bee
was held, those who could, came all day, others dropped in as time
permitted, and by sunset more than three hundred pieces of work were

Two other organizations very helpful to the members of the church
are the Men's Beneficial Association and the Women's Beneficial
Association. They are purely for the benefit of church members during
sickness or bereavement, and are managed as all such associations are,
paying $5.00 a week during sickness and $100 at death.

The books are closed at the end of each year and the fund started

The Temple Building and Loan Association was organized by the
membership of the Business Men's Association, and is officered by
prominent members of the church. But it is not in any way a church
organization and is not under the management of the church. It is
very successful and its stockholders are composed largely of church

To keep members and friends in touch with the many lines of activity
in which the church works, a magazine, "The Temple Review," is
published. It is a private business enterprise, but it chronicles
church work and publishes each week Dr. Conwell's sermons. Many
living at a distance who cannot come often to The Temple find it most
enjoyable and helpful to thus obtain their pastor's sermons, and to
look through the printed page into the busy life of the church itself.
It helps members in some one branch of the church work to keep in
touch with what others are doing. The work of the college and hospital
from week to week is also chronicled, so that it is a very good mirror
of the many activities of the Grace Church membership.

Thus in good fellowship the church works unitedly to further Christ's
kingdom. New organizations are formed as some enthusiastic member
discerns a new need or a new field. It is a veritable hive of industry
whose doors are never closed day or night.



The Temple Fairs. How They are Planned. Their Religious Aim.
Appointment of Committees. How the Committees Work. The Church
Entertainments. Their Character.

Not only does the church work in a hundred ways through its regular
organizations to advance the spiritual life of its members and the
community, but once every year, organization fences are taken down and
as a whole and united body, it marches forward to a great fair. The
Temple fairs are famous. They form an important feature of church
life, and an important date in the church calendar.

"The true object of a church fair should be to strengthen the church,
to propagate the Gospel, and to bring the world nearer to its God."
That is Dr. Conwell's idea of the purpose of a church fair and the
basic principle on which The Temple fairs are built. They always open
on Thanksgiving Day, the anniversary of Dr. Conwell's coming to the
church and continue for ten days or two weeks thereafter. These fairs
are most carefully planned. The membership, of course, know that a
fair is to be held; but before any definite information of the special
fair coming, is given them, a strong foundation of systematic, careful
preparation is laid. In the early summer, before Dr. Conwell leaves
for his two months' rest at his old home in the Berkshires, he and the
deaconess of the church go over the ground, decide on the executive
committee and call it together. Officers are elected, Dr. Conwell
always being appointed president and the deaconess, as a rule,
secretary. The whole church membership is then carefully studied,
and every member put at work upon some committee, a chairman for
the committee being appointed at the same time. A notice of their
appointment, the list of their fellow workers, and a letter from the
pastor relative to the fair are then sent to each. Usually these lists
are prepared and forwarded from Dr. Conwell's summer home. The chief
purpose of the fair, that of saving souls, is ever kept in view. The
pastor in his letter to each member always lays special stress on it.
Quoting from one such letter, he says:

"The religious purpose is to consolidate our church by a more
extensive and intimate acquaintance with each other, and to enlarge
the circle of social influence over those who have not accepted

"This enterprise being undertaken for the service of Christ, each
church member is urged to enter it with earnest prayer, and to use
every opportunity to direct the attention of workers and visitors to
spiritual things.

"Each committee should have its prayer circle or a special season set
apart for devotional services. This carnival being undertaken for the
spiritual good of the church, intimate friends and those who have
hitherto worked together are especially requested to separate on
this occasion and work with new members, forming a new circle of

"Do not seek for a different place unless it is clear that you can do
much more in another position, for they honor God most who take up His
work right where they are and do faithfully the duty nearest to them.

"Your pastor prays earnestly that this season of work, offering, and
pleasure may be used by the Lord to help humanity and add to the glory
of His Kingdom on earth."

This is the tenor of the letters sent each year. This is the purpose
held ever before the workers.

Each committee is urged to meet as soon as possible, and, as a rule,
the chairman calls a meeting within a week after the receipt of the
list. Each committee upon meeting elects a president, vice-president,
secretary and treasurer, which, together with the original executive
committee, form the executive committee of the fair.

During the summer and fall, until the opening of the fair, these
various committees work to secure contributions or whatever may be
needed for the special work they have been appointed to do. If they
need costumes, or expensive decorations for the booths, they give
entertainments to raise the money. All this depends upon the character
of the fair in general. Sometimes it is a fair in the accepted sense
of the word, devoted to the selling of such goods as interested
friends and well-wishers have contributed. At other times it takes
on special significance. At one fair each committee represented a
country, the members dressed in the costume of its people, the booth
so far as possible was typical of a home, or some special building.
Such products of the country as could be obtained were among the
articles sold or exhibited.

Every committee meeting is opened with prayer, and each night during
the fair a prayer meeting is held. In addition, a committee is
appointed to look after the throng of strangers visiting the fair, and
whenever possible, to get them to register in a book kept especially
for that purpose at the entrance. To all those who sign the register,
a New Year's greeting is sent as a little token of recognition and
appreciation of their help.

Much of the great tide of membership that flows into the church comes
through the doors of these church fairs. The fairs are really revival
seasons. They are practical illustrations of how a working church
prays, and a praying church works. Christianity has on its working
clothes. But it is Christianity none the less, outspoken in its faith,
fearless in its testimony, full of the love that desires to help every
man and woman to a higher, happier life.

The church entertainments form another important feature of church
life. Indeed, from the first of September until summer is well
started, few weekday nights pass but that some religious service or
some entertainment is taking place in The Temple. In the height of
the season, it is no uncommon thing for two or three to be given
in various halls of The Temple on one evening. An out-of-town man
attending a lecture at the Lower Temple, and seeing the throngs of
people pouring in at various entrances, asked the custodian of the
door if there were a rear entrance to the auditorium.

"Here's where you go in for the lecture," was the reply. "There are
two other entertainments on hand this evening in the halls of the
Lower Temple. That's where those people are going."

In regard to church fairs and entertainments, Dr. Conwell said in a
sermon in 1893:

"The Lord pity any church that has not enough of the spirit of Christ
in it to stand a church fair, wherein devout offerings are brought to
the tithing-house in the spirit of true devotion; the Lord pity any
church that has not enough of the spirit of Jesus in it to endure or
enjoy a pure entertainment. Indeed, they are subjects for prayer if
they cannot, without quarrels, without fightings, without defeat to
the cause of Christ, engage in the pure and innocent things God offers
to His children."

And in an address on "The Institutional Church," he says:

"The Institutional church of the future will have the best regular
lecture courses of the highest order. There will be about them
sufficient entertainment to hold the audience, while at the same time
they give positive instruction and spiritual elevation. Every church
of Christ is so sacred that it ought to have within its walls anything
that helps to save souls. If an entertainment is put into a church
for any secular purpose--simply to make money--that church will be
divided; it will be meshed in quarrels, and souls will not be saved
there. There must be a higher end; as between the church and the world
we must use everything that will save and reject everything that will
injure. This requires careful and close attention. You must keep in
mind the question, 'Will Jesus come here and save souls?' Carefully
eliminate all that will show irreverence for holy things or disrespect
for the church. Carefully introduce wherever you can the direct
teachings of the Gospel, and then your entertainments will be the
power of God unto salvation. The entertainments of the church need to
be carefully guarded, and, if they are, then will the church of the
future control the entertainments of the world. The theatre that has
its displays of low and vulgar amusement will not pay, because the
churches will hold the best classes, and for a divine and humane
purpose will conduct the best entertainments. There will be a double
inducement that will draw all classes. The Institutional church of the
future will be free to use any reasonable means to influence men for

The Temple, as can be seen, believes in good, pure, elevating
amusements. But every entertainment to be given is carefully
considered. In such a vast body of workers, many of them young and
inexperienced, this is necessary. By a vote of the church, every
programme to be used in any entertainment in The Temple must first
be submitted to the Board of Deacons. What they disapprove cannot be
presented to the congregation of Grace Church under any circumstance.

The concerts and oratorios of the chorus are of the very highest order
and attract music lovers from all parts of the city and nearby towns.
The other entertainments in the course of a year cover such a variety
of subjects that every one is sure to find something to his liking.
Among the lectures given in one year were:

"Changes and Chances," by Dr. George C. Lorimer.

"The Greek Church," by Charles Emory Smith.

"Ancient Greece," by Professor Leotsakos, of the University of Athens.

An illustrated lecture on the Yellowstone Park, by Professor George L.

"Work or How to Get a Living," by Hon. Roswell G. Horr.

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," by Rev. Robert Nourse, D.D.

"Backbone," by Rev. Thomas Dixon.

The other entertainments that season included selections from "David
Copperfield," by Leland T. Powers; readings by Fred Emerson Brooks,
concerts by the Germania Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Quintette Club
of Boston and the Ringgold Band of Reading, Pennsylvania; a "Greek
Festival," tableaux, by students of Temple College; "Tableaux of East
Indian Life," conducted by a returned missionary, Mrs. David Downie;
"Art Entertainment," by the Young Women's Association; concert by the
New York Philharmonic Club; and many entertainments by societies of
the younger people, music, recitations, readings, debates, suppers,
excursions, public debates, class socials. The year seems to have been
full of entertainments, teas, anniversaries, athletic meetings, "cycle
runs," gymnasium exhibitions, "welcomes," "farewells," jubilees,
"feasts." But every year is the same.

A single society of the church gave during one winter a series of
entertainments which included four lectures by men prominent in
special fields of work, four concerts by companies of national
reputation, and an intensely interesting evening with moving pictures.

"We are often criticised as a church," said Mr. Conwell, in an
address, "by persons who do not understand the purposes or spirit of
our work. They say, 'You have a great many entertainments and socials,
and the church is in danger of going over to the world.' Ah, yes; the
old hermits went away and hid themselves in the rocks and caves and
lived on the scantiest food, and 'kept away from the world,' They were
separate from the world. They were in no danger of 'going over to the
world.' They had hidden themselves far away from man. And so it is in
some churches where in coldness and forgetfulness of Christ's purpose,
of Christ's sacrifice, and the purpose for which the church was
instituted, they withdraw themselves so far from the world that they
cannot save a drowning man when he is in sight--they cannot reach down
to him, the distance is too great--the life line is too short. Where
are the unchurched masses of Philadelphia to-day? Why are they not
in the churches at this hour? Because the church is so far away. The
difference that is found between the church which saves and that which
does not is found in the fact that the latter holds to the Pharisaical
profession that the church must keep itself aloof from the
people--yes, from the drowning thousands who are going down to
everlasting ruin--to be forever lost. The danger is not now so much in
going over to the world as in going away from it--away from the world
which Jesus died to save--the world which the church should lead to

In all these entertainments, the true mission of the church is never
forgotten--that mission which its pastor so earnestly and often says
is "not to entertain people. The church's only thought should be to
turn the hearts of men to God."



How the Finances are Managed. The Work of the Deacons. The Duties of
the Trustees.

"The plain facts of life must be recognized," says Dr. Conwell. The
business affairs of Grace Baptist Church are plain facts and big ones.
There is no evading them. The membership is more than three thousand.
A constant stream of money from the rental of seats, from voluntary
offerings, from entertainments, is pouring in, and as quickly going
out for expenses and charitable purposes. It must all be looked after.
A record of the membership must be kept, changes of address made--and
this is no light matter--the members themselves kept in touch with.
It all means work of a practical business nature and to get the best
results at least expenditure of time and money, it must all be done in
skilled, experienced fashion. Dr. Conwell, in speaking of the careful
way in which the business affairs of the church are conducted, says:

"What has contributed most as the means used of God to bring Grace
Church up to its efficiency? I answer it was the inspired, sanctified,
common sense of enterprising, careful business men. The disciplined
judgment, the knowledge of men, the forethought and skill of these
workers who were educated at the school of practical business
life, helped most. The Trustees and working committees in all our
undertakings, whether for Church, Hospital, College, or Missions, have
been, providentially, men of thorough business training, who used
their experience and skill for the church with even greater care and
perseverance than they would have done in their own affairs.

"When they wanted lumber, they knew where to purchase it, and how to
obtain discounts. When they needed money, they knew where the money
was, and what securities were good in the market. They saved by
discounting their own bills, and kindly insisted that contractors and
laborers should earn fairly the money they received. They foresaw the
financial needs and always insisted on securing the money in full time
to meet demands.

"Some men make religion so dreamy, so unreal, so unnatural, that the
more they believe in it the less practical they become. They expect
ravens to feed them, the cruse of oil to be inexhaustible, and the
fish to come to the right side of the ship at breakfast time. They
trust in God and loaf about. They would conduct mundane affairs as
though men were angels and church business a series of miracles. But
the successful church worker is one who recognizes the plain facts of
life, and their relation to heavenly things; who is neither profane
nor crazy, who feels that his experience and judgment are gifts of God
to be used, but who also fully realizes that, after all, unless God
lives in the house, they labor in vain who build it.

"None of our successful managers have been flowery orators, nor have
they been in the habit of wearying man and the Lord with long prayers.
If they speak, they are earnest and conservative. They are men whom the
banks would trust, whose recommendations are valuable, who know a
counterfeit dollar or a worthless endorsement They read men at a glance,
being trained in actual experience with all classes. They have been the
pillars of the church. While some have been praying with religious
phraseology that the stray calf might be sent home, these men have gone
after him and brought him back. They have faithfully done their part,
and God has answered their earnest prayers for the rest."

Dr. Peltz, for many years associate pastor of The Temple, in speaking
of the business management of the affairs of the church, says:

"Many persons imagine that the financial organization of Grace Baptist
Church must be something out of the usual way, because the results
have been so unusual. There is nothing peculiar in the general plan of
financial procedure, but great pains are taken to work the plan for
all it is worth. Special pains have been taken to secure consecrated
and competent men for the Board of Trustees. And the Trustees do this
one thing, a rule of the church permitting a man to hold but one
elective office. Competent financiers, consecrated to this work, and
doing it as carefully as they would do their own business, is the
statement that tells the whole story."

All these business matters are in the hands of the deacons and
Trustees, the deacons, if any distinction in the work can be made,
looking after the membership, the Board of Trustees attending to the
financial matters.

[Illustration: _Photo by Gutehunst_ PROFESSOR DAVID D WOOD]

After a person has signified his intention to join the church, he
meets the deacons, who explain to him the system by which members
contribute to the support of the church. If he desires to contribute
by taking a sitting, he is assigned a seat according to the amount he
wishes to pay, or he can pay the regular church dues, $1.20 a year
for those under eighteen years of age, $3.00 for those over that age.
Those who take sittings find in their seats, on the first of every
month, a small envelope made out in bill form on the face, stating the
month and the amount due. Into this they can place their money,
seal it, and put it into the basket when the offering is taken. The
following Sunday a receipt is placed in their seat, a duplicate being
kept in the office. Envelopes are sent those who do not have sittings,
and in these they can send in their dues any time within the year.

In addition to the little envelope for the seat rent, every Sunday
envelopes are placed in each seat for the regular Sunday offering.
These envelopes read:



  Amount  ..................

  Name ........................

  Address ......................

  This offering is made in thankful recognition of the Mercy and
  Goodness of God during the past week, and with the hope that
  my gift and my prayer may he acceptable to God.

  In addition to the amount raised from sittings and dues, it is
  necessary for the payment of the debt on the Temple to have
  givers for 5 years as follows:

  100 persons who will contribute 50 cents per week. 300 persons
  25 cents per week. 1000 persons 10 cents per week. 1300
  persons 5 cents per week.


  Can enclose special Messages for the Pastor with their offerings.

  This Gift will be Recorded on the books of the Church.

All this money pours into the business office of the church, where it
is taken in charge by the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees
and duly recorded by the Financial Secretary.

The business office is a very businesslike place, with files,
typewriter, letter-copying press, big ledgers and all the modern
appliances of an up-to-date business office.

The card system is used for keeping the record of member's
contribution, being printed in a form that will last for eight years.

All payments are entered on these, and at any time at a moment's
notice, a member can tell just what he has paid or what he owes on the
year's account.

But in addition, the Sunday offerings of all those who place their
contributions in envelopes at the morning and evening service and sign
their names, are entered on cards, and when it is remembered that the
basket collections alone for the year 1904 amounted to $6,995.00, it
can be seen that this is no light task. But The Temple appreciates
what is given it, and likes to keep a record. Any person giving to The
Temple and signing his name to his gift, can find at any time how much
he has contributed during the year.

All this income is deposited to the order of the church treasurer,
who is then at liberty to draw against it as directed by the Board of
Trustees and properly certified by their chairman and secretary. The
business office is kept open during the entire week with the exception
of two afternoons, and two evenings.

The pew committee, which is composed of three members of the Board of
Trustees, attends to the rental of the many sittings in The Temple. A
large number of the regular attendants at the services of The Temple
are not members of the church. They enjoy the services and so rent
sittings that they may he sure of a seat. The third committee drawn
from the Board of Trustees is the House Committee, composed of three
members. It has charge of The Temple building; sees to its being kept
in order; arranges for all regular and special meetings; sees that the
building is properly heated and lighted; decides on all questions as
to the use of the house for any purpose, for the use of a part of it
for special purposes; manages the great crowds that so often throng
the building; has charge of the doors when entertainments are going
on; in short, makes the most and the best of the great building under
its care. Six persons are constantly employed in taking care of The
Temple, and often there is necessity for securing extra help for the
caretakers of this church whose doors are never shut.

The Deacons, as always, look after the welfare of the membership. On
Communion Sundays, cards are passed the members that they may sign
their names. These cards the Deacons take charge of and record the
members present and those absent If a member is away three successive
communion Sundays the Deacons call on him, if he lives in the city, to
find the cause of his absence. If he resides in some neighboring town,
they send a kindly letter to know if it is not possible for him to
attend some of the Communion services. In person or by letter, they
keep a loving watch over the vast membership, so that every member
feels that even though he may not attend often, he is not forgotten.

Thus the business of Grace Baptist Church is managed prayerfully but
practically. If some part of the machinery seems cumbersome, shrewd
and experienced minds take the matter in hand and see whereby it can
be improved. What may seem a good method to-day, a year from now may
be deemed a waste of time and energy and cast aside for the new and
improved system that has taken its place in the world of every-day
work. In its business methods the church keeps up to the times, as
well as in its spiritual work. It knows it cannot grow if it is not



Its Leader, Professor David Wood. How he Came to the Church. A sketch
of His life. The Business Management of the Chorus. The Fine System.
The Sheet Music and Its Care. Oratorios and Concerts. Finances of the
Chorus. Contributions it has Made to Church Work.

With a pastor who had loved music from childhood, who taught it in
his early manhood, who was himself proficient on several instruments,
music naturally assumed an important place in Temple life and work.
From the moment of his entering upon the pastorate of Grace Baptist
Church, Mr. Conwell made the music an enjoyable feature of the

In this early work of organizing and developing a church choir, he
found an able and loyal leader in Professor David D. Wood, who threw
himself heart and soul into helping the church to grow musically. He
has been to the musical life of the church what Mr. Conwell has been
to its spiritual growth, and next to their pastor himself, it is
doubtful if any man is so endeared to the Grace Church membership as
is Professor Wood, their blind organist.

He came to them in May, 1885, the regular organist being sick. His
connection with the church came about in the most simple manner and
yet it has been invaluable to the work of The Temple. His son was an
attendant at the church, and when the regular organist fell ill,
asked his father if he would not take his place. Ever ready to do a
kindness. Professor Wood consented. The organist never sufficiently
recovered to come back to his post, being compelled to go West finally
for his health. Mr. Conwell asked Professor Wood to take the position,
and from that day to the present he has filled it to the satisfaction
and gratification of the Grace Church.

He was born in Pittsburgh, March 2, 1838. His parents were poor, his
father being a carpenter and he himself built the little log cabin in
which the family lived. When David was a baby only a few months old,
he lost the sight of one eye by inflammation resulting from a severe
cold. When about three years old, he noiselessly followed his sister
into the cellar one day, intending in a spirit of mischief to blow out
the candle she was carrying. Just as he leaned over to do it, she,
unconscious that he was there, raised up, thrusting the candle in her
hand right into his eye. The little boy's cry of pain was the first
warning of his presence. The eye was injured, but probably he would
not entirely have lost its sight had he not been attacked shortly
after this with scarlet fever. When he recovered from this illness
he was entirely blind. But the affliction did not change his sweet,
loving disposition. He entered as best he could into the games and
sports of childhood and grew rugged and strong. One day, while playing
in the road, he was nearly run over by a carriage driven by a lady.
Learning the little fellow was blind, she became interested in him
and told his father of the school for the blind in Philadelphia. His
parents decided to send him to it, and at five years of age he was
sent over the mountains, making the journey in five days by canal.

He was a bright, diligent pupil and a great reader, showing even at an
early age his passion for music. When eight years old, he learned the
flute. Soon he could play the violin and piano, and in his twelfth
year he began playing the organ. All these instruments he took up and
mastered himself without special instruction. In mathematics, James G.
Blaine was his instructor for two years.

After leaving school his struggles to succeed as an organist were hard
and hitter. Despite his unusual ability, it was difficult to secure a
position. He met with far more refusals than encouragement. But he was
persistent and cheerful. Finally success came. Two days before Easter
the organist of an Episcopal church was suddenly incapacitated and no
one could be found to play the music. Professor Wood offered himself.
The rector's wife read the music to him. He learned it in an hour,
and rehearsal and the services passed off without a break. He was
immediately engaged, his salary being one hundred dollars a year, his
next position paid him fifty dollars a year. In 1864, he went to St.
Stephen's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, as choirmaster and organist,
which position he still holds, playing at The Temple in the evenings

He is to-day one of the most widely known organists of the country,
being acknowledged everywhere a master of the instrument. He is a
member of the faculty of the Philadelphia Musical Academy, principal
of the music department in the Pennsylvania School for the Blind. It
is said he has trained more good organists than any other teacher in

His cheery, kindly personality wins loyalty and devotion at once. His
Christianity is the simple, loving, practical kind that fairly shines
from his presence and attracts people to him immediately. The members
of the Chorus of The Temple are devoted to him. No rules are required
to keep them in order; no other inspiration to do their best is needed
than his simple wish.

In the old church at Mervine and Berks streets he had a volunteer
choir of about twenty, all that the little organ loft would
accommodate. They could sing as the birds sing, because they had
voices and loved it, but of musical training or education they had
little. They were drawn from the membership of the church, composed of
poor working people.

From this nucleus grew the chorus of The Temple, which was organized
in 1891, six weeks before the membership took possession of its new
building. With the organization of this large chorus, Professor Wood
faced a new and difficult problem. How was he to hold from one hundred
to one hundred and fifty people together, who were not paid for their
services, who were not people of leisure to whom rehearsals are no tax
on time or strength? These were nearly all working people who came to
rehearsal after a day's tiring employment. That he has succeeded so
splendidly in these fourteen years proves his fine leadership.

He had a body of workers devoted to the church, people before whom was
ever held up the fact that they could serve the Master they all loved
by singing, if they could in no other way; that they could give their
voices, if they could give nothing else. He had a body of workers
devoted also to himself, who would have followed him unhesitatingly no
matter what commands he lay upon them. But he felt they should have
some other encouragement, some other interest to hold them together,
so almost immediately upon their organization he took up the study of
Haydn's "Creation." It seemed a stupendous undertaking for a young and
inexperienced chorus, one with no trained voices, few of whom could
even read music at sight. But they plunged into the study with spirit.
No incentive was needed to come to rehearsals, no one thought of
dropping out. Indeed, the opportunity to study such music under such
a master brought many new members. And in the fall of that year the
oratorio was given with splendid success.

This method has been followed ever since. Every year some special work
is taken up for study and given in the fall. It is an event that is
now a recognized feature of the city's musical life, eagerly awaited
by music lovers not only of Philadelphia but of nearby towns. In
addition to Haydn's "Creation," which has been sung four times,
the chorus has given Handel's "Messiah" three times, Mendelssohn's
"Elijah" twice, Beethoven's "Mount of Olives," Mendelssohn's "Hymn of
Praise," Miriam's "Song of Triumph." It has also given a number of
secular concerts. For all this extra work neither Professor Wood nor
any member of the chorus has ever received one cent of pay. It is all
cheerfully contributed. The oratorios are given with a full orchestra
and eminent soloists. In the secular concerts the music is always of
the highest order. Guilmant, the celebrated French organist, gave a
recital at The Temple while in this country. The chorus believes
in the best, both in the class of music it gives and the talent it
secures, and has long been looked on by those interested in the city's
musical welfare as a society that encourages and supports all that
is high and fine in music. Among the selections given at the Sunday
services are Gounod's "Sanctus," the magnificent "Pilgrim's Chorus,"
the "Gloria," from Mozart's "Twelfth Mass," Handel's beautiful
"Largo," the "St. Cecilia Mass," and others of the same character.

The plan of fining members for absence from rehearsal, which was
adopted at the time the chorus was organized, has also had much to do
with its success, though it is rather unusual for a choir. Instead of
being paid to sing, they pay if they do not sing. The fine at first
was twenty-five cents for each failure to attend rehearsal or Sunday
service. Many shook their heads and said it was a bad idea, that the
members wouldn't come and couldn't pay the fine, and that the chorus
would go to pieces. But the members did come, and when for any reason
they were compelled to stay away they cheerfully paid the fine and the
chorus flourished. These fines helped to pay the current expenses of
the chorus. In the last three years the amount has been reduced to
ten cents, but it still nets a sum in the course of the year that the
treasurer welcomes most gladly. A collection is also taken at each
service among the members, which likewise helps to swell the chorus

Speaking of the organization and work of such a chorus, Professor Wood

"In organizing a church chorus one must not be too particular about
the previous musical education of applicants. It is not necessary that
they be musicians, or even that they read music readily. All that I
insist upon is a fairly good voice and a correct ear. I assume, of
course, that all comers desire to learn to sing. Rehearsals must be
scrupulously maintained, beginning promptly, continuing with spirit,
and not interrupted with disorder of any kind. A rehearsal should
never exceed two hours, and a half hour less is plenty long enough,
if there is no waste of time. In learning new music, voices should be
rehearsed separately; that is, all sopranos, tenors, basses, and altos
by themselves first, then combine the voices. You should place before
a choir a variety of music sufficient to arouse the interest of all
concerned. This will include much beyond the direct demand for church
work. The chorus of The Temple has learned and sung on appropriate
occasions war songs, college songs, patriotic songs, and other grades
of popular music.

"No one man's taste should rule in regard to these questions as
to variety, although the proprieties of every occasion should be
carefully preserved. Due regard must be paid to the taste of members
of the chorus. If any of them express a wish for a particular piece, I
let them have it. When it comes my time to select, they are with me.
Keep some high attainment before the singers all the time. When the
easier tasks are mastered, attempt something more difficult. It
maintains enthusiasm to be ever after something better, and
enthusiasm is a power everywhere. In music, this is 'the spirit which

"In the preparation of chorus work do not insist on perfection. When
I get them to sing fairly well, I am satisfied. To insist on extreme
accuracy will discourage singers. Do not, therefore, overtrain them.

"An incredible amount may be done even by a crude company of singers.
When the preparation began for the opening of The Temple, there was
but a handful of volunteers and time for but five rehearsals. But
enthusiasm rose, reinforcements came, and six anthems, including the
'Hallelujah Chorus,' were prepared and sung in a praiseworthy manner.
Do not fear to attempt great things. Timidity ruins many a chorus.

"Do not be afraid to praise your singers. Give praise, and plenty of
it, whenever and wherever it is due. A domineering spirit will prove
disastrous. Severity or ridicule will kill them. Correct faults
faithfully and promptly, but kindly.

"In the matter of discipline I am a strong advocate of the 'fine
system.' It is the only way to keep a chorus together. The fines
should he regulated according to the financial ability of the chorus.
Our fine at The Temple was at first twenty-five cents for every
rehearsal and every service missed. It has since been dropped to ten
cents. This is quite moderate. In some musical societies the fine is
one dollar for every absence. This system is far better than monthly

"The advantages to members of a chorus are many and of great value.
Concerted work has advantages which can be secured in no other way. A
good chorus is an unequaled drill in musical time. The singer cannot
humor himself as the soloist can, but must go right on with the grand
advance of the company. He gets constant help also, in the accurate
reading of music. Then, too, there is an indescribable, uplifting,
enkindling power in the presence and coöperation of others. The volume
of song lifts one, as when a great congregation sings. It is the
_esprit du corps_ of the army; that magnetic power which comes from
the touch of elbows, and the consecration to a common cause. No
soloist gets this.

"Some would-be soloists make a great mistake right here. They think
that chorus work spoils them as soloists. Not at all, if they have
proper views of individual work in a chorus. If they propose to sing
out so they shall sound forth above all others, then they may damage
their voices for solo work. But that is a needless and highly improper
use of the voice. Sing along with the others in a natural tone. They
will be helped and the soloist will not be harmed.

"The best conservatories of music in the world require of their
students a large amount of practice in concerted performance and will
not grant diplomas without it. All the great soloists have served
their time as chorus singers. Parepa-Rosa, when singing in the solo
parts in oratorio, would habitually sing in the chorus parts also,
singing from beginning to end with the others.

"Many persons have expressed their astonishment at the absence of the
baton both from the rehearsals and public performances of the chorus
of The Temple. Experience has proven to me, beyond a doubt, that a
chorus can be better drilled without a baton than with it, though it
costs more labor and patience to obtain the result. To sing by common
inspiration is far better than to have the music 'pumped out,' as is
too often the case, by the uncertain movements of the leader's baton."

With a membership that has ranged from one hundred to two hundred
and fifty, skilled business management is needed to keep everything
running smoothly.

The record of attendance is regulated by the use of checks. Each
member of the chorus is assigned a number. As they come to rehearsal,
service, or concert, the singer removes the check on which is his
number from the board upon which it hangs and gives it to the person
appointed to receive it as he passes up the stairway to his seat
in the choir. When the numbers are checked up at the close of the
evening, the checks which have not been removed from the board are
marked "absent."

The bill for sheet music for one year is something between $400 and
$500. To care for so much music would be no light task if it were not
reduced to a science. The music is in charge of the chorus librarian,
who gives to each member an envelope stamped with his number and
containing all the sheet music used by the chorus. Each member is
responsible for his music, so that the system resolves itself into
simplicity itself. In the Lower Temple enclosed closets are built in
the wall, divided into sections, in which the envelopes are kept by
their numbers, so that it is but the work of a moment to find the
music for any singer. An insurance of $1,200 is carried on the music.

Typical of the spirit of self-sacrifice that animates the chorus is
the fact that for nearly ten years after the choir was organized, one
of the members, in order to reduce the expense for sheet music, copied
on a mimeograph all the music used by the members. It was a gigantic
task, but he never faltered while the need was felt.

In order to avoid confusion both in rehearsals and at each service,
every singer has an appointed seat. There is also a system of signals
employed by the organist, clearly understood and promptly responded
to by the chorus, for rising, resuming their seats, and for any other
duty. This regularity of movement, the precision with which the great
choir leads the attitudes and voices of the congregation in all the
musical services, the entire absence of confusion, impresses the
thoroughness of the chorus drill upon every one, and adds greatly to
the effectiveness and decorum of the service.

Most remarkable of all the work of the chorus, perhaps, is the fact
that it has not only paid its way, but it has in addition contributed
financially to the help of the church. Most choral societies have to
be supported by guarantors, or friends or members must reach down in
their pockets and make up the deficits that occur with unpleasant
regularity. But the chorus of The Temple has borne its own expenses
and at various times contributed to the church work.

At the annual banquet in 1905, the following statement was made of the
financial history of the chorus since 1892:

Amount Received--
  Collections from members                          $ 2,564.60
  Fines paid by members                                 975.60
  Gross receipts from concerts                       11,299.40
Amount Disbursed--
  For music                                         $ 2,167.80
  For sundry expenses for socials, flowers for sick,
  contributions for benevolent purposes, etc.         1,035.81
  Expenses of concerts                                8,506.34
  Contributions to church, college, hospital, Sunday
  School, repairs to organ, etc.                      3,050.51

The chorus has furnished a private room in the Samaritan Hospital at a
cost of $250, pays half the cost of the telephone service to a shut-in
member, so that while lying on his bed of sickness he can still hear
the preaching and singing of his beloved church, and has contributed
to members in need; in fact, whatever help was required, it has come
forward and shouldered its share of the financial burdens of the
church. It is a chorus that helps by its singing in more ways than
singing, though that were enough.

Out of the chorus has grown many smaller organizations which not only
assist from time to time in the church and prayer meeting services,
but are in frequent demand by Lyceums and other churches. All the
money they earn is devoted to some part of The Temple work.

The organ which rears its forest of beautiful pipes in the rear of the
church is one of the finest in the country. It was built under the
direct supervision of Professor Wood at a cost of $10,000. The case
is of oak in the natural finish, 35 feet wide, 35 feet high, 16 feet
deep. It has 41 stops, 2,133 pipes, four sets of manuals, each manual
with a compass of 61 notes; there are 30 pedal notes, 9 double-acting
combination pedals; all the metal pipes are 75 per cent pure tin.

In loving Christian fellowship the chorus abides. No difficulty that
could not be settled among themselves has ever rent it; no jealousies
mar its peaceful course. Professor Wood is a wise leader. He leaves
no loophole for the green-eyed monster to creep in. He selects no one
voice to take solo parts. If a solo occurs, he gives it to the whole
of that voice in the chorus or to a professional.

Dr. Conwell reads the hymns with so much expression and feeling that
new meaning is put into them. The stranger is quietly handed a hymn
book by some watchful member. The organ swings into the melody of the
hymn, the chorus, as one, rises, and a flood of song sweeps over the
vast auditorium that carries every one as in a mighty tide almost up
to the gates of heaven itself. And as it ebbs and sinks into silence,
faith has been refreshed and strengthened, hardened hearts softened,
the love of Christ left as a precious legacy with many a man and woman



A Typical Sunday. The Young People's Church. Sunday School. The
Baptismal Service. Dedication of Infants. The Pastor's Thanksgiving
Reception to Children. Sunrise Services. Watch Meeting.

Sunday is a joyous day at The Temple, and a busy one. It is crowded
with work and it is good to be there. Services begin at half after
nine with prayer meetings in the Lower Temple by the Young Men's
Association and the Young Women's Association. The men's is held in
the regular prayer meeting room; the women's in the room of their
association. Each is led by some member of the association who is
assigned a subject for the morning's study. These subjects, together
with the leaders' names, are prepared in advance and printed on a
little schedule which is distributed among the church members, so that
they may know who has charge of the prayer meeting and the topic for

Dr. Conwell has for twenty-two years presided at the organ in the
men's meeting, and usually before the services are over takes a peep
into the women's gathering, leaving a prayer or a brief word of cheer
and inspiration. The meetings are not long, but they are full of
spiritual strength. Men and women, tired with the business life of the
week, find them places of soul refreshment where they can step aside
from the rush and press of worldly cares and commune with the higher,
better things of life.

By the time the prayer meetings are over, the members of the chorus
are thronging the Lower Temple, receiving their music and attendance
checks, waiting for the signal to march to their seats in the church

The morning services begin at half after ten, with the singing of
the Doxology, the chanting of the Lord's Prayer by the choir and
congregation, followed by the sermon. At the close of the service, Dr.
Conwell steps from the pulpit and meets all strangers or friends with
a hearty handclasp and a cordial word of greeting.

While morning service is being conducted in The Temple, a Young
People's Church is held in the Lower Temple. Dr. Conwell has not
forgotten those wearisome Sundays of his boyhood when, too young to
appreciate the church service, he fidgeted, strove to keep awake,
whittled, and ended it all by thoroughly disliking church. He wants no
such unhappy youngsters to sit through his preaching. He wants no such
dislike of the church imbedded in childish hearts and minds. So he
planned the Young People's Church. Boys and girls between three and
fourteen attend it, and Sunday morning the streets in the neighborhood
of The Temple are thronged with happy-faced children on the way to
their own church, the youngest in the care of parents, who are able
later to enjoy more fully The Temple services, since they are not
compelled to keep a watchful eye on a restless child.

Before the services begin, the children are very much at home. No
stiff, silent formalism chills youthful spirits. They are as joyous
and happy as they would be in their own homes. As the moment
approaches for the services to begin, they take their seats and at a
given signal rise and recite, "The Lord is in His holy Temple. Let all
the earth keep silence before Him." A hush falls and then the sweet,
childish voices begin that beautiful psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want," and without break or faltering, recite it to the
end. Songs follow, bright, cheerful songs full of life, which they
sing with a will. Then responsive readings and the Lord's Prayer and
always plenty of singing. A short talk is given by the leader, often
some one especially secured for the occasion, a talk not over their
heads, but into their hearts, a talk whose meaning they can grasp and
which sets young minds to thinking of the finer, nobler things of
life and inspires them to so live as to be good and useful. Sometimes
lantern exhibits to illustrate special topics are given. The mere
sight of their bright, happy faces in contrast to the dull, bored
expression of the usual child in church proves the wisdom of the work.

The children, as far as possible, perform all the duties of the
services. A small boy plays the music for their songs, two small girls
keep a record of the attendance, children take up the offering. But
it is a church in more than mere services. Committees from among the
children are appointed for visiting, for calling on the sick, to plan
for entertainments, provide the games for the socials, and to look
after all details of this character. There are also two officers, a
secretary and treasurer. An advisory committee of ladies, members of
The Temple, keep an oversight and guiding hand on the work of the
children. The instruction is all in the hands of trained teachers,
mostly from the college, including as Director the lady Dean of the
College, Dr. Laura H. Carnell.

In the afternoon the Sunday Schools meet. The youngest children are
enrolled in the primary or kindergarten department. This has a bright,
cheery room of its own in the Lower Temple, with a leader and a number
of young women scattered here and there among the children to look
after their needs and keep them orderly. Hats are taken off and hung
on pegs on the wall and the youngsters are made to feel very much at

One of the prettiest features of the service in this department is
the offering of the birthday pennies. All the members who have had a
birthday during the week come forward to put a penny for each year
into the basket. Then the class stands up and recites a verse and
sings a song on birthdays. Very pretty and inspiring both verse and
song are, and then the honored ones return to their seats, wishing, no
doubt, they had a birthday every week.

The taking of the offering is also a pretty ceremony. Verses on giving
are recited by the children, then one small child takes his stand in
the doorway, holding the basket, and the children all march by and
drop in their pennies.

The intermediate department claims the next oldest children. It is
led by an orchestra composed of members of the Sunday School, and the
singing is joyous and spirited. The superintendent walks around among
the scholars during the opening exercises, smiling, encouraging,
giving a word of praise, urging them to do better. The fresh, clear
voices rise clear and strong. Outside, on Broad Street, people stop to
listen. Men lean up against the windows and drink in the melody. No
one knows what messages of peace and salvation those songs carry out
to the throng on the city street.

The classes of the senior department meet in the various rooms of the
college, and the adult class in the auditorium of The Temple. This Dr.
Conwell conducted himself for a number of years, until pressure of
work compelled him to use these hours for rest. A popular feature of
his service was the question box, in which he answered any question
sent to him on any subject connected with religious life or experience
or Christian ethics in everyday life. The questions could be sent by
mail or handed to him on the platform by the ushers. They were most
interesting, and the service attracted men and women from all parts of
the city. The following was one of the questions, during the year of
building the college:

"Five thousand dollars are due next week, and $15,000 next month. Will
you set on foot means to raise this amount or trust wholly to God's

And the pastor answered from the platform:

"I would trust wholly in God's direction. This is a sort of test of
faith, and I would make it more so in the building of the College.
I do not know for certain now where the money is to come from next
Wednesday; I have an idea. But a few days ago I did not know at all. I
do not see where the $15,000 is to come from in December unless it be
that the Feast of Tithes will bring in $10,000 towards it; that would
be a marvelous sum for the people to give, but if it is necessary they
will give it. We are workers together with God. I have partly given
up my lecture work this month, as the church thought it was best, but
suppose there should come to me from Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, or
some other place a call to go and lecture on the 10th or 12th
of December, and they should offer me $500 or more--I would say
immediately, 'Yes, I will go'; that is God's call to help the College;
that would be the direction of God. Such opportunities will come to
those who should give this $15,000. If God intends the amount due on
the College to be paid (and I believe he does), he will cause the
hearts of those who desire to help to give money toward this cause. We
trust entirely to God. I don't believe if I were to lie down, and the
church should stop, that it would be paid. But I am sure that if we
work together with God, He will never fail to do as He promises, and
He won't ask us to do the impossible. I tell you, friends, I feel
sure that the $5,000 will be paid next Wednesday, and I feel sure the
$15,000 will be paid when it is due."

It may be interesting to know that the $5,000 was paid; and when the
$15,000 was due in December, the money was in the treasury all ready
for it.

From half after six on, there are the meetings of the various
Christian Endeavor Societies in the Lower Temple. At half after seven
the evening services begin and an overflow meeting is held at the same
time in the Lower Temple for those who find it impossible to gain
admittance to the main auditorium.

The preaching service is followed by a half-hour prayer meeting in the
Lower Temple in which both congregations join, taxing its capacity
to the utmost. It is a half hour that flies, a half hour full of
inspiration and soul communion with the "Spirit that moved on the
waters," a fitting crown to a day devoted to His service.

After the solemn benediction is pronounced, a half hour more of good
fellowship follows. The pastor meets strangers, shakes hands with
members, makes a special effort to hold a few words of personal
conversation with those who have risen for prayer. Friends and
acquaintances greet each other, and the home life of the church comes
to the surface. The hand of the clock creeps to eleven, sometimes
past, before the last member reluctantly leaves.

Baptism is a very frequent part of the Sunday services at The Temple,
usually taking place in the morning. It is a beautiful, solemn
ordinance. The baptistry is a long, narrow pool, arranged to resemble
a running stream. Years ago, when Dr. Conwell was in Palestine, he was
much impressed with the beauty of the river Jordan at the place where
Jesus was baptized. Always a lover of the beautiful in nature, the
picture long remained in his memory, especially the leaves and
blossoms that drifted on the stream. When The Temple was planned he
thought of it and determined to give the baptismal pool as much of the
beauty of nature as possible.

It is fifteen feet wide, sixty feet long, and during the hour of the
solemn ordinance, the brook is running constantly. The sides of the
pool, the pulpit and platform, summer or winter, are banked with
flowers, palms, moss and vines. On the surface of the water float
blossoms, while at the back, banked with mosses and flowers, splashes
and sparkles a little waterfall. Over all falls the soft radiance of
an illuminated cross. It is a beautiful scene, one that never fades
from the memory of the man or woman who is "buried with Christ by
baptism into death," to be raised again in the likeness of His
resurrection. The candidates enter at the right and pass out at
the left, the pastor pressing into the hands of each, some of the
beautiful blossoms that float on the water. During the whole service
the organ plays softly, the choir occasionally singing some favorite

When the number of candidates is large, being on occasion as high as
one hundred and seventy-seven adults, the associate pastor assists. It
is no unusual thing to see members of a family coming together to
make this public profession of their faith. Husband and wife, in many
cases; husband, wife and children in many others; a grandmother and
two grandchildren on one occasion, and on yet another, a venerable
gray-haired nurse came with four of the family in which she had served
for many years, and the five entered the baptistry together.

"Among the converts," says one who witnessed a baptismal service,
"there were aged persons with their silvered hair. There were stalwart
men, fitted to bear burdens in the church for many years to come.
There were young men and maidens to grow into strong men and women
of the future church. There were little children sweet in their
simplicity and pure love of the Savior, little children who were
carried in the arms of those who assisted, and whom Dr. Conwell
tenderly held in his arms as he buried them with Christ."

Another solemn service of the church is the dedication of infants. Any
parents who wish, may bring their child and reverently dedicate it to
God, solemnly promising to do all within their power to train it and
teach it to lead a Christian life and to make a public profession of
faith when it has arrived at the years of discretion. The service

QUESTION.--Do you now come to the Lord's house to present your child
(children) to the Lord? ANSWER.--We do.

QUES.--Will you promise before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that you will, so far as in you lieth, teach this child the Holy
Scriptures, and bring him (her) up in the nurture and admonition of
the Lord? Will you train his (her) mind to respect the services of the
Lord's House, and to live in compliance with the teachings and example
of our Lord? When he reaches the years of understanding, will you show
him the necessity of repentance, explain to him the way of salvation,
and urge upon him the necessity of conversion, Baptism, and union with
the visible Church of Christ? ANS.--We will.

QUES.--By what name do you purpose to register him (her or them) at
this time? ANS.--

       *       *       *       *       *

_Beloved_: These parents have come to the house of God at this time to
present this child (these children) before the Lord in imitation of
the presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple as recorded by the
Evangelist Luke, saying, "When the days of her [Mary's] purification
according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him
to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice
according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of
turtle doves or two young pigeons." These parents have learned from
the Lord Jesus himself that he desires that all the children should
come unto him, and that he was pleased when the little children
were brought unto him that he might put his hands on them and pray.
Therefore, in obedience to the scriptures, these parents are here to
present this child unto the Lord Jesus in spirit, that he may take him
up in his arms, place his spiritual hands on him and bless him.

We will turn, therefore, to the Holy Scriptures for direction, as they
are our only rule of faith and practice, and ascertain the wishes and
commandments of the Lord in this matter.

_I Sam. I, 26, 27, 28_:

And Hannah said, O my Lord, as thy soul liveth, my Lord, I am the
woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord.

For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which
I asked of him;

Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he
shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mark X, 13, 14, 15_:

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and
his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them,
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for
of such is the kingdom of God.

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God
as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed

       *       *       *       *       *

_Luke XVIII, 15, 16, 17_:

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; but
when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to
come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God
as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Matt. XVIII, 2-6, 14_:

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as
little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the
same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me,
it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Even so it is not the will of your father which is in heaven, that one
of these little ones should perish.

Therefore, believing it is wise and that it is a sacred duty to
dedicate our precious little ones to God in this solemn manner;
believing that all the dear children are especially loved by Christ;
and that when taken from this world before active, intentional
participation in sin, they are saved by His merciful grace; and
believing that Christ by His example, and the apostles by their direct
teaching, reserve the sacred ordinance of baptism for repentant
believers, we will now unitedly ask the Lord to accept the
consecration of this child (children), and to take him in His
spiritual arms and bless him.




       *       *       *       *       *

The pastor's reception to the children Thanksgiving afternoon is a
service the youngsters await from one year to another. Each child is
supposed to bring some article to be given to Samaritan Hospital. One
year each child brought a potato, which in the aggregate amounted to
several barrels. A writer in the "Temple Magazine," describing one of
these services, says:

"The children came from all directions, of all sizes and in all
conditions. One lad marched up the aisle to a front seat, and his
garments fluttered, flag-like, at many points as he went; others were
evidently rich men's darlings, but all were happy, and their bright
eyes were fixed on the curtained platform, rather than on each other.
They came until four or five thousand of them had arrived, filling
every nook and corner of the Upper Temple."

"Then Dr. Conwell came in, made them all feel at home--they already
were happy--and music, songs and entertainment followed for an hour
or more. At the close he shook hands with every happy youngster who
sought him--and few failed to do it--gave each a cheery word and
hearty handclasp, and then the little ones scattered, swarming along
the wide pavements of Broad Street till the Thanksgiving promenaders
wondered what had broken loose and whence the swarms of merry children

Sunrise services are held Easter and Christmas mornings at seven
o'clock. These beautiful days are ushered in by a solemn prayer
meeting, spiritual, uplifting, which seems to attune the day to the
music of heavenly things, and to send an inspiration into it which
glorifies every moment.

Another service very dear to the members of Grace Baptist Church is
watch meeting. The services begin at eight o'clock New Year's Eve
with a prayer meeting which continues until about half after nine. An
intermission follows and usually a committee of young people serve
light refreshments for those who want them. At eleven o'clock the
watch meeting begins. It is a deeply spiritual meeting, opened by the
pastor with an earnest prayer for guidance in the year to come, for
renewed consecration to the Master's service, for a better and higher
Christian life both as individuals and a church. Hymns follow and a
brief, fervid talk on the year coming and its opportunities, of the
record each will write on the clean white page in the book of life
to be turned so soon. As midnight approaches, every church member is
asked to signify his re-dedication to God and His service by standing.
Then the solemn question is put to others present if they do not want
to give themselves to God, not only for the coming year, but for all
years. As twelve o'clock strikes, all bow in silent prayer while the
organ, under the pastor's touch, softly breathes a sacred melody.

A few minutes later the meeting adjourns, "Happy New Years" are
exchanged, and the church orchestra on the iron balcony over the great
half rose window on Broad Street breaks into music.

Sometimes an audience of a thousand people gather on the street to
listen to this musical sermon, preached at the parting of the ways, a
eulogy and a prophecy. A writer in the "Philadelphia Press" relates
the following incident in connection with a watch meeting service:

"For the last half hour of the old and the first half hour of the new
year the band played sacred melodies to the delight of not less than
a thousand people assembled on the street. Diagonally across Broad
Street and a short distance below the church is the residence of the
late James E. Cooper, P.T. Barnum's former partner, the millionaire
circus proprietor. He had been ailing for months and on this night he
lay dying.

"Although not a member he had always taken a personal interest in
Grace Church, and one of his last acts was the gift of $1,000 to the
building fund. On this night, the first on which The Temple balcony
had been used for its specially designed purpose, among the last of
earthly sounds that were borne to the ears of the dying man was the
music of 'Coronation' and 'Old Hundred,'--hymns that he had learned in
childhood. The watch meeting closed and from a scene of thanksgiving
and congratulation Rev. Mr. Conwell hurried to the house of mourning,
where he remained at the bedside of the stricken husband and father
until the morning light of earth came to the living and the morning of
eternity to the dying."

Sacred music on the balcony at midnight also ushers in Christmas
and Easter. "On the street, long before the hour, the crowds gather
waiting in reverent silence for the opening of the service," writes
Burdette, in "Temple and Templars." "The inspiring strains of 'the
English Te Deum,' 'Coronation,' rise on the starlit night, thrilling
every soul and suggesting in its triumphant measures, the lines of
Perronet's immortal hymn made sacred by a thousand associations--'All
hail the power of Jesus' Name.'" "This greeting of the Resurrection,
as it floats out over Monument Cemetery just opposite, where sleep
so many thousands, does seem like an assurance sent anew from above,
cheering those who sleep in Jesus, telling them that as their Lord
and King had risen, and now lives again, so shall they live also.
Men looked at the graves of them that slept, listened to the song of
triumph that was making the midnight glorious, remembered the risen
Christ who was the theme of the song, thought of that other midnight,
the riven tomb, the broken power of Death a conquered conqueror,
and seemed to hear the Victor's proclamation as the apostle of the
Apocalypse heard it, pealing like a trumpet voice over all the earth,
'I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth and was dead; and
behold, I am alive forevermore; Amen; and have the keys of hell and

"The music continues, the band playing 'The Gloria,' 'The Heavens are
Telling,' 'The Palms'; now and then the listeners join in singing as
the airs are more familiar, and 'What a Friend we Have In Jesus,'
'Whiter than Snow,' 'Just as I Am,' and other hymns unite many of the
audience on the crowded streets about The Temple in a volunteer choir,
and when the doxology, 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow,'
closes the service, hundreds of voices swell the volume of melody that
greets the Easter morning."



The Prayer Meeting Hall. How the Meeting is Conducted. The Giving of
Favorite Bible Verses. Requests for Prayer. The Lookout Committee.

The prayer meetings of Grace Baptist Church are characterized by a
cheery, homelike atmosphere that appeals forcibly and at once to any
one who may chance to enter, inclining him to stay and enjoy the
service, be he the utmost stranger.

But underneath this and soon felt, is the deep spiritual significance
of the meeting, which lays hold on men's hearts, inspiring, uplifting,
sending them home with a sense of having "walked with God" for a
little while.

The large prayer meeting hall is usually crowded, the attendance
including not only members of the church but hundreds who are not
members of any church. It is no unusual sight to see all the various
rooms of the Lower Temple thrown into one by the raising of the
sashes, and this vast floor packed as densely as possible, while a
fringe of standers lines the edges. People will come to these prayer
meetings though they cannot see the platform, though they must lose
much of what is said. But the spirit of the meeting flows into their
hearts and minds, sending them home happier, and with a strengthened
determination to live a more righteous life.

Frequently Dr. Conwell arrives ten or fifteen minutes before the time
for the service to begin. As he walks to the platform, he stops and
chats with this one, shakes hands with another, nods to many in the
audience. At once all stiffness and formalism vanish. It is a home, a
gathering of brothers and sisters. It is the meeting together of two
or three in His name, as in the old apostolic days, though these two
or three are now counted by the hundreds.

When Dr. Conwell thus arrives early, the time is passed in singing.
Often he utilizes these few minutes to learn new hymns. So that when
the real prayer meeting is in progress, there will be no blundering
through new tunes or weak-kneed renditions of them. The singing, Dr.
Conwell wants done with the spirit. He will not sing a verse if the
heart and mind cannot endorse it. After singing several hymns in this
earnest, prayerful fashion, every one present is fully in tune for the
services to follow. Prayer meeting opens with a short, earnest prayer.
Then a hymn. It is Dr. Conwell's practice to have any one call out the
number of a hymn he would like sung. And it is no unusual thing to
hear a perfect chorus of numbers after Dr. Conwell's "What shall we

A chapter from the Bible is read and a short talk on it given. Then
Dr. Conwell says, "The meeting now is in your hands," and sits down as
if he had nothing more to do with it. But that subtle leadership which
leads without seeming to do so, is there ready to guide and direct.
He never allows the meeting to grow dull--though it seldom exhibits a
tendency to do so. If no one is inclined to speak, hymns are sung. An
interesting feature, and one that is tremendously helpful in leading
church members to take part in the prayer meeting, is the giving
of Bible verses. It is a frequent feature of Grace Church prayer
meetings. "Let us have verses of Scripture," or "Each one give his
favorite text," Dr. Conwell announces. Immediately from all parts of
the large room come responses. Some rise to give them, others recite
them sitting. Hundreds are given some evenings in a short space of
time, sometimes the speakers giving a bit of personal experience
connected with the verse.

The prayer meetings are always full of singing, often of silent
prayer; and never does one end without a solemn invitation to those
seeking God and wishing the prayers of the church, to signify it by
rising. While the request is made, the audience is asked to bow in
silent prayer that strength may be given those who want God's help
to make it known. In the solemn hush, one after another rises to his
feet, often as many as fifty making this silent appeal for strength to
lead a better life. Immediately Dr. Conwell leads into an eloquent,
heartfelt prayer that those seeking the way may find it, that the
peace that passeth understanding may come into their hearts and lives.

But Dr. Conwell doesn't let the matter rest here. A committee of
church members already appointed for just such work, is posted like
sentinels about the prayer meeting room, ready to extend practical
help to those who have asked for the prayers of the church. After
the services are over, each one who has risen is sought out, by some
member of this committee, talked with in a friendly, sympathetic way,
and his name and address taken. These are given to Dr. Conwell If time
permits, he writes to many of them. All of them he makes the subject
of personal prayer.

Frequently, before asking those to rise who wish the prayers of the
church, Dr. Conwell asks if any one wishes to request prayers for
others. The response to this is always large. A member of the staff
of "The Temple Magazine" made a note at one prayer meeting of these
requests and published it in the magazine. Three requests were made
for husbands, eight for sons, one for a daughter, three for children,
ten for brothers, two for sisters, two for fathers, one for a cousin,
one for a brother-in-law, four for friends, eleven for Sunday School
scholars, one for a Sunday School class, four for sick persons, two
for scoffers, twenty-one for sinners, four for wanderers, five for
persons addicted to drink, three for mission schools, five for
churches--one that was divided, another deeply in debt, another for
a sick pastor and the other two seeking a higher development in

As many of these requests come from church members, both pastor and
people pay especial attention to them and practically, as well as
prayerfully, try to reach those for whom prayers are asked. In many
cases distinct answers to these prayers are secured, so evident that
none could mistake them. At an after-service on Sunday evening a
mother asked prayers for a wayward son in Chicago. Dr. Conwell and
some of the deacons led the church in prayer for the boy, very
definitely and in faith. At that same hour, as the young man afterward
related, he was passing a church in Chicago, and felt strangely
impressed to enter and give his heart to Christ. It was something he
had no intention of doing when he left his hotel a few minutes before.
But he went in, joined in the meeting, asked for forgiveness of his
sins and the prayers of the church to help him lead a better life,
and accepted Christ as his personal Savior. In the joy of his new
experience, he wrote his mother immediately.

At another prayer meeting, Dr. Conwell read a letter from a gentleman
requesting the prayers of the church for his little boy whom the
doctors had given up to die. He stated in the letter that if God would
spare his child in answer to prayer, he would go anywhere and do
anything the Lord might direct. After reading the letter, Dr. Conwell
led earnestly in prayer, beseeching that the child's life might be
saved since it meant much for the cause of Christ on earth. Several
members of the church made fervent prayers for the child, and at the
close of the meeting, many expressed themselves as being confident
that their prayers would be answered. At that same hour, the disease
turned. The child has grown to be a young man, and with his father is
a member of Grace Church.

Such direct, unmistakable answers to prayer strengthen faith, give
confidence to ask for prayers for loved ones, and make it a very
earnest, solemn part of the prayer meeting service. Thus working and
praying, praying and working, the church marches forward.



The Night Temple College Was Born. Its Simple Beginning and Rapid
Growth. Building the College. How the Money was Raised. The Branches
it Teaches. Instances of Its Helpfulness. Planning for greater Things.

In a letter written to a member of his family, from which we quote the
following, Dr. Conwell tells how the idea of Temple College was born
in his mind one wintry night.

"A woman, ragged, with an old shawl over her head, met me in an alley
in Philadelphia late one night. She saw the basket on my arm, and
looked in my face wistfully, as a dog looks up beside the dinner
table. She was hungry, and was coming in empty. I shook my head, and
with a peculiarly sad glance she turned down the dark passage. I
had found several families hungry, and yet I felt like a hypocrite,
standing there with an empty basket, and a woman, perhaps a mother, so
pale for lack of decent food.

"On the corner was a church, stately and architecturally beautiful by
day, but after midnight it looked like a glowering ogre, and looked so
like Newgate Prison, in London, that I felt its chilly shadow. Half
a million cost the cemented pile, and under its side arch lay two
newsboys or boot-blacks asleep on the step.

"What is the use? We cannot feed these people. Give all you have, and
an army of the poor will still have nothing; and those to whom you do
give bread and clothes to-day will be starving and naked to-morrow.
If you care for the few, the many will curse you for your partiality.
While I stood meditating, the police patrol drove along the street,
and I could see by the corner street lamp that there were two women,
one little girl and a drunken old man in the conveyance, going to
jail! I could do nothing for them.

"At my door I found a man dressed in costly fashion, who had waited for
me outside, as he had been told that I would come soon, and the family
had retired. He said his dying father had sent for me. So I left the
basket in a side yard and went with the messenger. The house was a
mansion on Spring Garden Street. The house was inelegantly overloaded
with luxurious furniture, money wasted by some inartistic purchasers.
The paintings were rare and rich. The owners were shoddy. The family
of seven or eight gathered by the bedside when I prayed for the dying
old man. They were grief-stricken and begged me to stay until his soul
departed. It was daylight before I left the bedside, and as the dying
still showed that the soul was delaying his journey, I went into the
spacious, handsome library. Seeing a rare book in costly binding among
the volumes on a lower shelf, I opened the door and took it out My
hands were black with dust. I glanced then along the rows and rows of
valuable books, and noticed the dust of months or years. The family
were not students or readers. One son was in the Albany Penitentiary;
another a fugitive in Canada. At the funeral, afterwards, the wife
and daughter from Newport were present, and their tears made furrows
through the paint. Those rich people were strangely poor, and a book
on a side table on the 'Abolition of Poverty' seemed to be in the
right place.

"That night was conceived the Temple College idea. It was no new
truth, no original invention, but merely a simpler combination of old
ideas. There was but one general remedy for all these ills of poor and
rich, and that could only be found in a more useful education. Poverty
seemed to me to be wholly that of the mind. Want of food, or clothing,
or home, or friends, or morals, or religion, seemed to be the lack of
the right instruction and proper discipline. The truly wise man need
not lack the necessities of life, the wisely educated man or woman
will get out of the dirty alley and will not get drunk or go to
jail. It seemed to me then that the only great charity was in giving

"The first class to be considered was the destitute poor. Not one in a
thousand of those living in rags on crusts would remain in poverty if
he had education enough of the right kind to earn a better living by
making himself more useful. He is poor because he does not know any
better. Knowledge is both wealth and power.

"The next class who stand in need of the assistance love wishes to
give is the great mass of industrious people of all grades, who are
earning something, who are not cold or hungry, but who should earn
more in order to secure the greater necessities of life in order to be
happy. They could be so much more useful if they knew how. To learn
how to do more work in the same time, or how to do much better work,
is the only true road to riches which the owner can enjoy.

[Illustration: THE SAMARITAN HOSPITAL Showing the houses in which it
was originally located, and part of the new building]

"To help a man to help himself is the wisest effort of human love. To
have wealth and to have honestly earned it all, by labor, skill or
wisdom, is an object of ambition worthy of the highest and best.
Hence, to do the most good to the great classes, rich or poor, we must
labor industriously. The lover of his kind must furnish them with the
means of gaining knowledge while they work.

"Then there was a third class of mankind, starving, with their tables
breaking with luscious foods, cold in warehouses of ready-made
clothing of the most costly fabrics; seeing not in the moon-light, and
restless to distraction on beds of eiderdown. They do not know the
use or value of things. They are harassed with plenty they cannot
appropriate. They are doubly poor. They need education. The library
is a care, an expense and a disgrace to the owner who cannot read. To
give education to those in the possession of property which they might
use for the help of humanity and which they might enjoy, is as clear a
duty and charity as it is to help the beggar. And, indeed, indirectly
the education of the unwise wealthy to become useful may be the most
practical way of raising the poor. There is a need for every dollar of
the nation's property, and it should be invested by men whose minds
and hearts have been trained to see the human need and to love to
satisfy it.

"The thought that in education of the best quality was to be found the
remedy for hunger, loneliness, crime and weakness was most clearly
emphasized to my mind by the coming of two young men who had felt the
need from the under side. They had received but little instruction;
they were over twenty years of age, and they wished to enter the
ministry. Was there any way open for a poor, industrious laborer to
get the highest education while he supported his mother, sister and
himself? I urged them to try it for the good of many who would
follow them if they made it a clear success. I was elated almost to
uncontrollable enthusiasm the night they came to my study to begin
their course. They brought five with them, and all proved themselves
noble men. One is not, for God took him. But the others are moulding
and inspiring their world."

Thus was conceived the idea of the institution that is now educating
annually three thousand men and women. The need for it has been
plainly proven. Rev. Forest Dager, at one time Dean of Temple College,
said in regard to the people who in later life crave opportunities for

"That the Temple College idea of educating working men and working
women, at an expense just sufficient to give them an appreciation of
the work of the Institution, covers a wide and long-neglected field
of educational effort, is at once apparent to a thoughtful mind.
Remembering that out of a total enrollment in the schools of our land
of all grades, public and private, of 14,512,778 pupils, 96-1/2 per
cent are reported as receiving elementary instruction only; that not
more than 35 in 1,000 attend school after they are fourteen years of
age; that 25 of these drop out during the next four years of their
life; that less than 10 in 1,000 pass on to enjoy the superior
instruction of a college or some equivalent grade of work, we begin
to see the unlimited field before an Institution like this. Thousands
upon thousands of those who have left school quite early in life,
either because they did not appreciate the advantages of a liberal
education, or because the stress of circumstances compelled them to
assist in the maintenance of home, awake a few years later to the
realization that a good education is more than one-half the struggle
for existence and position. Their time through the day is fully
occupied; their evenings are free. At once they turn to the evening
college, and grasping the opportunities for instruction, convert those
hours which to many are the pathway to vice and ruin, into stepping
stones to a higher and more useful career ... An illustration of the
wide-reaching influence of the College work is the significant fact
that during one year there were personally known to the president,
no less than ninety-three persons pursuing their studies in various
universities of our country, who received their first impulses toward
a higher education and a wider usefulness in Temple College."

In 1893, in an address on the Institutional church, delivered before
the Baptist Ministers' Conference in Philadelphia, Dr. Conwell said:

"At the present time there are in this city hundreds of thousands--to
speak conservatively, (I should say at least five hundred thousand
people) who have not the education they certainly wish they had
obtained before leaving school. There are at least one hundred
thousand people in this city willing to sacrifice their evenings and
some of their sleep to get an education, if they can get it without
the humiliation of being put into classes with boys and girls six
years old. They are in every city. There is a large class of young
people who have reached that age where they find they have made a
mistake in not getting a better education. If they could obtain one
now, in a proper way, they would. The university does not furnish such
an opportunity. The public school does not.

"The churches must institute schools for those whom the public does
not educate, and must educate them along the lines they cannot reach
in the public schools.

"We are not to withdraw our support from, nor to antagonize, the
public schools; they are the foundations of liberty in the nation. But
the public schools do not teach many things which young men and young
women need. I believe every church should institute classes for the
education of such people, and I believe the Institutional church will
require it. I believe every evening in the week should be given to
some particular kind of intellectual training along some educational
line; that this training should begin with the more evident needs of
the young people in each congregation, and then be adjusted as the
matter grows, to the wants of each."

So, because one poor boy struggled so bitterly for an education,
because a man, keen-eyed, saw others' needs, reading the signs by the
light of his own bitter experience, a great College for busy men and
women has grown, to give them freely the education which is very bread
and meat to their minds.

Most people use for their own benefit the lessons they have learned in
the hard school of experience. They have paid for them dearly. They
endeavor to get out of them what profit they can. Not so Dr. Conwell.
He uses his dearly bought experiences for the good of others, turning
the bitterness which he endured, into sweetness for their refreshment.

The Temple College was founded, as was stated in its first catalogue,
for the purpose "of opening to the burdened and circumscribed manual
laborer, the doors through which he may, if he will, reach the fields
of profitable and influential professional life.

"Of enabling the working man, whose labor has been largely with his
muscles, to double his skill through the helpful suggestions of a
cultivated mind.

"Of providing such instruction as shall be best adapted to the higher
education of those who are compelled to labor at their trades while
engaged in study, or who desire while studying to remain under the
influence of their home or church.

"Of awakening in the character of young laboring men and women a
strong and determined ambition to be useful to their fellowmen.

"Of cultivating such a taste for the higher and most useful branches
of learning as shall compel the students, after they have left the
college, to continue to pursue the best and most practical branches
of learning to the very highest walks of mental and scientific

A broad, humanitarian purpose it is, one that grew out of the heart of
a man who loved humanity, who believed in the practical application of
the teachings of Christ, who knew a cause would succeed if it filled a

Dr. Conwell's own experience, his observations of life had told
him that this great need existed, but it was brought home to him
practically in 1884, when these two young men of whom he speaks in
the letter quoted came to him and said they wanted to study for the
ministry but had no money. His mind leaped the years to those boyhood
days when he longed for an education but had no money. He fixed an
evening and told them he would teach them himself. When the night
came, the two had become seven. The third evening, the seven had grown
to forty. It was in the days when pastor and people were working hard
for their new church and his hands were full. But he did not shirk
this new task that came to him. Forty people eager to study, anxious
to broaden their mental vision, to make their lives more useful, could
not be disappointed, most assuredly not by a man who had known this
hunger of the mind. Teachers were secured who gave their services
free, the lower parts of the church where they were then worshipping
at Berks and Mervine streets were used as class rooms and the work
went forward with vigor.

The first catalogue was issued in 1887, and the institution chartered
in 1888, at which time there were five hundred and ninety students.
The College overflowed the basement of the church into two adjoining
houses. When The Temple was completed the College occupied the whole
building. When that was filled it moved into two large houses on Park
Avenue. Still growing, it rented two large halls.

The news that The Temple College had enlarged quarters in these halls
brought such a flood of students that almost from the start applicants
were turned away. Nothing was to be done but to build. It was a
serious problem. The church itself had but just been completed and a
heavy debt of $250,000 hung over it. To add the cost of a college to
this burden of debt required faith of the highest order, work of the
hardest. But God had shown them their work and they could not shirk it.

"For seven years I have felt a firm conviction that the great work,
the special duty of our church, is to establish the College," said Dr.
Conwell, in speaking of the matter to his congregation. "We are now
face to face with it. How distinctly we have been led of God to this
point! Never before in the history of this nation have a people had
committed to them a movement more important for the welfare of mankind
than that which is now committed to your trust in connection with the
permanent establishment of The Temple College. We step now over the
brink. Our feet are already in the water, and God says, 'Go on, it
shall be dryshod for you yet'; and I say that the success of this
institution means others like it in every town of five thousand
inhabitants in the United States."

"One thing we have demonstrated--those who work for a living have time
to study. Some splendid specimens of scholarship have been
developed in our work. And there are others, splendid geniuses, yet
undiscovered, but The Temple College will bring them to the light, and
the world will be the richer for it. By the use of spare hours--hours
usually running to waste--great things can be done. The commendation
of these successful students will do more for the college than any
number of rich friends can do. It will make friends; it will bring
money; it will win honor; it will secure success."

An investment fund was created and once more the people made their
offerings. The same self-sacrificing spirit was evident as in the
building of the church. One boy brought to the pastor fifty cents, the
first money he had ever earned; a woman sent to the treasury a gold
ring, the only gift she could make, which bore interest in the
suggestion that all who chose might offer similar gifts as did the
women in the day of Moses. A business man hearing of this said, "If a
day is appointed, I will on that day give to the College all the gold
and silver that comes into my store for purchases." Every organization
of Grace Church contributed time, work, money, and prayer to the
building of the College. Small wonder then that obligations were met
and payments made promptly.

One of the most successful methods by which money was raised for
the College was the "Penny Talent" effort in 1893. Burdette, in his
"Temple and Templars" has made a most painstaking record of the
various ways in which the talent was used. He says:

"Each worker was given a penny, no more. Four thousand were given out
at one service. One man put his penny in a neat box, took it to his
office, and exhibited his 'talent' at a nickel a 'peep.' He gained
$1.70 the first day of his 'show,' A woman bought a 'job lot' of
molasses with her penny, made it into molasses candy, sold it in
square inch cakes, after telling the customer her story; payments were
generous and she netted $1.80. Then the man who sold her the molasses
returned her penny. Another sister established a 'cooky' business,
which grew rapidly. One boy kept his penny and went to work, earned 50
cents, the first money he ever earned in his life. It was a big penny,
but he was bubbling over with enthusiasm and in it all went; he
brought it straight to his pastor. One worker collected autographs
and sold them. A boy sold toothpicks. One young man made silver
buttonhooks and a young lady sold them. A woman traded her penny up
to a dollar, made aprons from that time on until she earned $10. One
class of seven girls in the Sunday-school united its capital and gave
a supper at the Park and netted $50. The Young Men's Bible Class
constructed a model of the College building, which they exhibited. The
children gave a supper in the Lower Temple, which added $100 to the
College fund. There came into the treasury $1.00 'saved on carfares';
'whitewashing a cellar' brought $3. Thrice, somebody walked from
Germantown to The Temple and back, saving 75 cents; a wife saved $20
from household allowances. A little girl of seven years went into a
lively brokerage business with her penny, and took several 'flyers'
that netted her handsome margins. Here is her report--

"'Sold the "talent penny" to Aunt Libby for seven cents; sold the
seven cents to Mamma for 25 cents; sold the 25 cents to Papa for 50
cents. Aunt Caddie, 10 cents; Uncle Gilman, 5 cents; Cousin Walter, 4
cents; cash, 25 cents,--$1.04 and the penny talent returned.'

"'Pinching the market-basket' sent in $2.50; 'all the pennies and
nickels received in four months, $12.70'; 'walking instead of riding,
$6.50'; 'singing and making plaster plaques, $7.' A dentist bought of
a fellow dentist one cent's worth of cement filling-material; this he
used, giving his labor, and earned 50 cents; with this he bought 50
cents' worth of better filling, part of which he used, again giving
his labor, and the College gained $3.00. A boy sold his penny to a
physician for a dollar. The physician sold the 'talent penny' for 10
cents, which he exchanged at the Mint for bright new pennies. These he
took to business friends and got a dollar apiece for them; added $5.00
of his own and turned in $15.00. Donations of one cent each were
received through Mr. William P. Harding, from Governor Tillman of
South Carolina, Governor McKinley of Ohio, Governor Russell of
Massachusetts. From Governor Fuller of Vermont--a rare old copper
cent, 1782, coined by Vermont before she was admitted to the Union;
the governors' letters were sold to the highest bidders. Everybody who
worked, everybody who traded with the penny, did something, and every
penny was blessed, so lovingly and so zealously was the trading done.
It was the Master's talent which they were working with. All the
little things that went into the treasury; lead pencils, tacks, $3.00
in one case and $5.00 in another; 'beefs liver, $14.00'--think of
that! How tired the boarders must have grown of liver away out on
Broad Street--stick pins, hairpins, and the common kind that you bend
and lose; candy, pretzels, and cookies; 'old tin cans,' wooden spoons,
pies; one man sent $50.00 as a gift because he said 'his penny had
brought him luck'; another found 16 pennies, which good fortune he
ascribed to the penny in his pocket.

"So in October the workers who had received their pennies in April
came together to show what they had done. Four thousand pennies had
been given out; $6,000 came directly from the returns, and indirectly
about $8,000 more.

"The 'Feast of Tithes,' held in December of the same year, was a great
fair, extending through seven week days. The displays of goods and the
refreshment booths were in the Lower Temple, while fine concerts and
other entertainments were given in the auditorium. The Feast of Tithes
netted $5,500 for the College fund."

Thus the work progressed. No one could give large amounts, but many
gave a little, and stone by stone the building grew. In August, 1893,
the corner stone of the College building was laid. Taking up the
silver trowel which had been used in laying the corner stone of The
Temple, in 1889, Dr. Conwell said:

"Friends, to-day we do something more than simply lay the corner stone
of a college building. We do an act here very simply that shows to the
world, and will go on testifying after we have gone to our long rest,
that the church of Jesus Christ is not only an institution of theory,
but an institution of practice. It will stand here upon this great
and broad street and say through the coming years to all passersby,
'Christianity means something for the good of humanity; Christianity
means not only a belief in things that are good and pure and
righteous, but it also means an activity that shall bless those who
need the assistance of others.' It shall say to the rich man, 'Give
thou of thy surplus to those who have not.' It shall say to the poor
man, 'Make thou the most of thy opportunities and thou shalt be the
equal of the rich.'

"Now, in the name of the people who have given for this enterprise,
in the name of the many Christians who have prayed, and who are now
sending up their prayers to heaven, I lay this corner stone."

The work went on. In May, 1894, a great congregation thronged The
Temple to attend the dedication services of "Temple College," for it
was in its new home; a handsome building, presenting with The Temple a
beautiful stone front of two hundred feet on the broad avenue which it
faces. Robert E. Pattison, governor of Pennsylvania, presided, saying,
in his introductory remarks, "Around this noble city many institutions
have arisen in the cause of education, but I doubt whether any of them
will possess a greater influence for good than Temple College." Bishop
Foss, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, offered prayer. The orator
was Honorable Charles Emory Smith, of Philadelphia, ex-minister
to Russia. Mr. James Johnson, the builder, gave the keys to the
architect, Mr. Thomas P. Lonsdale, who delivered them to the pastor of
Grace Church and president of Temple College, remarking that "it was
well these keys should be in the hands of those who already held the
keys to the inner temple of knowledge."

President Conwell, receiving the keys, said that, "by united effort,
penny by penny, and dollar by dollar, every note had been paid, every
financial obligation promptly met. It is a demonstration of what
people can do when thoroughly in earnest in a great enterprise."

Academies were also started in distant parts of the city for the
benefit of those who could not reach the college in time for classes.
Unfortunately these academies were compelled to close on account of
lack of funds. Many pitiful letters were received at the college
from those who were thus shut out of educational advantages. One in
particular, poorly spelled but breathing its bitter disappointment,
said that the writer (a woman) was just beginning to hope she would
get her head above water some day. But that now she must sink again. A
little light had begun to glimmer for her through the blackness, but
that light had been taken away. She was going down again into the
depth of hopeless ignorance with no one to lend a helping hand--the
tragedy of which Carlyle wrote when he penned "That there should
be one man die ignorant who is capable of knowledge, this I call a

The College at first was entirely free, but as the attendance
increased, it was found necessary to charge a nominal tuition fee in
order to keep out those who had no serious desire to study, but came
irregularly "just for the fun of the thing." When it was decided to
charge five dollars a year for the privilege of attending the evening
classes, the announcement was received with the unanimous approbation
of the students who honestly wished to study, and who more than any
others were hindered by the aimless element.

Not only did the poor and those who were employed during the day come,
but before long the sons and daughters of the well-to-do were knocking
at the doors, not for admission to the evening classes but for day
study. So the day department was opened. Not only has it proved
most successful in its work, but it has helped the College to meet

The curriculum of the College is broad. A child just able to walk can
enter the kindergarten class in the day department and receive his
entire schooling under the one roof, graduating with a college degree,
taking a special university course, or fitting himself for business.

Four university courses are given--theology, law, medicine, pharmacy.
The Medical and Theological Departments take students to their
graduation and upon presentation of their diploma before the State
Board they are admitted to the State Examination. The Theological
Course, of course, graduates a man the same as any other theological

Post-graduate courses are also given.

The college courses include--arts, science, elocution and oratory,
business, music, civil engineering, physical education. The graduates
of the college course are admitted to the post-graduate courses of
Pennsylvania, Yale, Princeton and Harvard on their diplomas. Students
pass from any year's work of the college course to the corresponding
course of other Institutions.

The preparatory courses are college preparatory, medical preparatory,
scientific preparatory, law preparatory, an English course and a
business preparatory course. Thus, if one is not ready to enter one of
the higher courses, he can prepare here by night study for them.

The Business Course includes a commercial course, shorthand course,
secretarial course, conveyancing course, telegraphy course,
advertisement writing and proofreading.

There are normal courses for kindergarteners and elementary teachers,
and in household science, physical training, music, millinery,
dressmaking, elocution and oratory.

Special courses are given in civil engineering, chemistry, elocution
and oratory, painting and drawing, sign writing, mechanical and
architectural drawing, music, physical training, dressmaking,
millinery, cooking, embroidery, and nursing, the last being given at
the Samaritan Hospital.

All of these courses, excepting the Normal Kindergarten, can be
studied day or evening, as best suits the student.

The kindergarten and model schools cover the work of the public
schools from the kindergarten to the highest grammar grades, fitting
the student to enter the first year of the preparatory department.
These classes are held in the daytime only.

The power to confer degrees was granted in 1891. The teaching force
has been greatly enlarged until at present there are one hundred
and thirty-five teachers and an average of more than three thousand
regular students yearly.

The number of students instructed at Temple College in proportion to
money expended and buildings used is altogether out of proportion
to any other college in America. Some idea of the breadth of study
presented at Temple College may be had from a comparison with
Harvard. Harvard has more than five thousand students, four hundred
instructors, and presents five hundred courses of study. Its growth
since 1860 has been wonderful. In 1860, while one man might not have
been able in four years to master all the subjects offered, he could
have done so in six. It was estimated in 1899 that the courses
of study offered were so varied that sixty years would have been
required. It would take one student ninety-six years to take all the
courses presented by the Temple College.

From the time of the opening of Temple College up to the closing
exercises of 1905, its students have numbered 55,656. If an answer is
desired to the question, "Is such an institution needed," that number
answers is most emphatically. That more than fifty thousand people,
the majority of them wording men and women, will give their nights
after a day of toil, to study, proves that the institution that gives
them the opportunity to study is sorely needed.

The life story of men and women who have studied here and gone on to
lives of usefulness would make interesting reading. One young girl who
lived in the mill district of Kensington was earning $2.50 a week,
folding circulars, addressing envelopes and doing such work. Her
parents were poor. She had the most meagre education, and the outlook
for her to earn more was dark. Some one advised her to go to Temple
College at night and study bookkeeping. A few years after, her
well-wisher saw her one evening at the college, bright, happy, a
different girl in both dress and deportment She had a position as
bookkeeper at $10 a week and was going on now and taking other

That is the ordinary story of the work Temple College does, multiplied
in thousands of lives. Others are not so ordinary. One of the early
students was a poor man earning $6.00 a week. To-day he is earning
$6,000 a year in a government position at Washington, his rise in
life due entirely to the opportunities of study offered him at Temple
College. A lady who had been brought up in refined and cultured
society was compelled to support herself, her husband and child
through his complete physical breakdown. She took the normal course
in dressmaking and millinery, and has this year been appointed the
Director of the Domestic Science work in a large institution at a very
good salary, being able to keep herself and family in comfort. One of
the present college students was a weaver without any education at
all, getting not only his elementary education and his preparatory
education here, but will next year graduate from the college
department. He has been entirely self-supporting in the meantime, and
will make a fine teacher of mathematics. He has been teaching extra
classes in the evening department of the College for several years.

One of the students who entered the classes in 1886 was a poor boy
of thirteen. For nineteen long years he has studied persistently at
night, passing from one grade to another until this summer (1905) his
long schooling was crowned with success and he was admitted to the
bar. All these weary years he has worked hard during the day, for
there were others depending upon him, and at night despite his
physical weariness, has faithfully pursued his studies. He deserves
his success and the greater success that will come to him, for such a
man in those long years has stored away experiences that will make him
a power.

Another student in the early days of the college was a poor boy who
had no education whatever, having been compelled to help earn the
family living as soon as he was able, his father being a drunkard. For
fifteen years he studied, passing from one grade to another until in
1899, he had the great joy of being ordained to the ministry, six of
his ministerial brethren gathering around him in the great Temple and
laying on his head the hands of ordination, feeling they were setting
apart to the struggles and hardships of the Gospel ministry one who
had shown himself worthy of his exalted calling.

One of the official stenographers connected with the Panama Canal
Commission was a breaker boy who came to Philadelphia from the mining
district poor and ignorant, and studied in Temple College at night,
working during the day to earn his living.

Such records would fill a book. They prove better even than numbers
the worth of such an institution. If only one such man or woman is
lifted to a happier, more useful life, the work is worth while.

Such an institution can do much for the purification of politics.
Before the students are ever held high ideals of right living, of
honesty, of purity. All the associations of the College are conducive
to clean character and high ideals. As the largest number of the
students are men and women from active business life, they are keenly
alive to the questions of the day. They know the responsibility for
honest government rests with each voter, that to have clean politics
every man and woman must individually do his share to uphold high
standards in political and social life, that only men whose characters
are above reproach should be elected to office. That the President of
their college shares these views and knows also what a power lies in
their hands, is shown by the following letter:

"Fraternal Greetings: The near approach of an important election leads
me to suggest to you the following:

"First. There being now in this city over seven thousand voters who
have been students in the Temple College, you have by your votes
and your influence, either by combination or as individuals, a
considerable political power. You should use it for the good of your
city, state, and nation.

"Second. In city affairs I urge you to think first of the poor. The
rich do not need your care. Vote only for such city candidates as will
most speedily secure for the more needy classes pure water, clean
streets, cheaper homes, cheaper and more useful education, healthier
environment, cheap and quick transportation, the development of the
labor-giving improvements, and the increase of sea-going and inland
commerce. Select large-hearted, cool-headed men for city officers,
regardless of national parties.

"Third. Let no man or party purchase your patriotic birthright for a
fifty-cent tax bill or any other sum.

"Fourth. In selecting your candidates for state offices remember the
needs of the people. Favor the granting to the submerged poor a more
favorable opportunity to help themselves. Move in the most reasonable
and direct way toward the ultimate abolition of the sale of
intoxicating liquors as a beverage, and for the increase of hospital
and college privileges for the afflicted and the ignorant.

"Fifth. In national politics, remember that both parties have a
measure of truth in their principles, and the need of the time is
noble, conscientious lovers of humanity, who will not be led by party
enthusiasm into any wild schemes in either direction which would
result in the destruction of business and the degradation of national
honor. Think independently, vote considerately, stand unflinchingly
against any measure that is wrong, and vigorously in favor of every
movement that is right. This is an opportunity to do a great, good
deed. Quit you like men. With endearing affection,


Even now the press of students is so great the trustees are planning
larger things. The "Philadelphia Press,' speaking of the new work to
be undertaken, said:

"A city university, with a capacity of seven thousand students, more
than are attending any other one seat of learning in the United
States, is to be built in Philadelphia. It will be the university of
the Temple College and will stand on the site of the old Broad Street
Baptist Church at the southeast corner of Broad and Brown Streets,
and the lot adjoining the church property on the south side on Broad

"The new structure will cost $225,000, while the ground on which it
will be built is worth $165,000, making the total value of the new
institution $390,000.

"Rev. Russell H. Conwell, D.D., pastor of the Grace Baptist Church,
at Broad and Berks Streets, and President of Temple College, said
yesterday that the new university will be completed and ready for
occupancy by September, 1906. In the twenty years of its existence
Temple College has grown as have few educational institutions in
America, until now it has more than three thousand students enrolled

"With the erection of the university building the institution will
have facilities for educating four thousand more students, or a total
of seven thousand.

"Some idea of how the other great universities of the country compare
with regard to the number of students attending them with this new
university of Philadelphia is shown by the following table:

Name.                 Number of Students,

Temple University     7,000

Harvard               5,393

Yale                  2,995

Pennsylvania          2,692

Princeton             1,373

"The Temple University building will be eight stories high, at
least that is the plan the trustees have in mind at present, but the
structure will be so built that a height of two stories may be added
at any time. It will have a frontage of 129 feet on Broad Street and
140 feet on Brown Street. The corner property was deeded as a gift to
Temple College by the Broad and Brown Streets Church and the College
then purchased the adjoining property on Broad Street. In appreciation
of the gift the College has offered the use of the university chapel,
which will be built in the building, to the Broad and Brown Streets
Church congregation for a place of worship.

"The university will be built of stone, and while not an elaborate
structure, it will be substantial and suitable in every respect and
imposing in its very simplicity.

"In addition to the university offices there will be a large
gymnasium, a free dispensary, departments of medicine, theology, law,
engineering, sciences, and, in fact, all the branches of learning that
are taught in any of the great universities. There will be a library
and lecture room for every department, pathological and chemical
laboratories and a sufficient number of classrooms to preclude
crowding of students for the next ten or fifteen years.

"There are now one hundred and thirty-five instructors in Temple
College, but when the university is opened this number will be
increased to three hundred.

"The present college building, which adjoins the Baptist Temple, will
continue to be used, but only for the normal classes and lower grade
of work. The building will be remodeled. The dwelling adjoining the
college which has been occupied as the theological department will be
vacated when the university is completed.

"Dr. Conwell, the father of Temple College and who in years to come
will be spoken of as the father of Temple University, said yesterday:

"'It will be a university for busy people, the same as the college has
been a college for busy people. Our institution reaches and benefits
a class--in some respects the greatest class--of persons who want
to study and enlarge their education, but cannot attend the other
universities and colleges for financial reasons and because of their

"'There's many a man and woman, young and middle-aged, who is not
satisfied with himself--he wants to go on farther, he wants to learn
more. But his daily work won't allow him to complete his education
because of the inconvenient hours of the classes and lectures in
other colleges. And he comes to Temple, as there classes are held
practically all day and for several hours at night. The terms of the
course at Temple College are reasonable, and thus many young men or
women may prepare themselves for higher and more remunerative work,
whereas they would not feel that they could afford to pay the tuition
fee at some other institution. The Temple University will be similar
to the London University, a city university for busy persons.'"

Thus Temple College grows because it is needed. And such an
institution is needed in other cities as well as in Philadelphia. This
is but the pioneer. It can have sister institutions wherever people
want to study and Christian hearts want to help.

It grows also because in the heart of one man, its founder, is the
bitter knowledge of how sorely such an institution is needed by those
who want to study, and who himself works hand, heart and soul so that
it shall never fail those who need it.

Says James M. Beck, the noted lawyer: "There have been very wealthy
men who, out of the abundance of their resources, have founded
colleges, but I can hardly recall a case where a man, without abundant
means, by mere force of character and intellectual energy, has both
created and maintained an institution of this size and character,'"

Far back in the dim light of the centuries, Confucius wrote, "Give
instruction unto those who cannot obtain it for themselves." This is
the great and useful work the Temple College is doing and doing it
nobly, a work that will count for untold good on future generations.



Beginning in Two Rooms. Growth. Number of Beds. Management. Temple
Services Heard by Telephone. Faith and Nationality of Those Cared For.

His pastoral work among his church members and others of the
neighborhood brought to Dr. Conwell's mind constantly the needs of the
sick poor. Scarcely a week passed that some one did not come to him
for help for a loved one suffering from disease, but without means to
secure proper medical aid. Sick and poor--that is a condition which
sums up the height of human physical suffering--the body racked with
pain, burning with fever, yet day and night battling on in misery,
without medical aid, without nursing, without any of the comforts that
relieve pain. Nor is the sick one the only sufferer. Those who love
him endure the keenest mental anguish as they stand by helpless,
unable to raise a finger for his relief because they are poor. Through
the deep waters of both these experiences Dr. Conwell had himself
passed. He knew the anguish of heart of seeing loved ones suffer, of
being unable to secure for them the nourishing food, the care needed
to make them well. He knew the wretchedness of being sick and poor and
of not knowing which way to turn for help, while quivering flesh and
nerves called in torture for relief. His heart went out in burning
sympathy to all such cases that came to his knowledge, and generously
he helped. But they were far too many for one man, big-hearted and
open-handed as he might be. More and more the need of a hospital in
that part of the city was impressed upon him. Accidents among his
membership were numerous, yet the nearest hospital was blocks and
blocks away, a distance which meant precious minutes when with every
moment life was ebbing.

He laid the matter before his church people. Down through the
centuries came ringing in their ears that command, "Heal the sick."
They knew it was Christ's work--"Unto Him were brought all sick people
that were taken with divers diseases and he healed them."

So they decided to rent two rooms where the sick could be cared for,
and later built a hospital for the poor, where without money and
without price, the best medical aid, the tenderest nursing were at the
command of those in need.

"The Hospital was founded," says Dr. Conwell, "and this property
purchased in the hope that it would do Christ's work. Not simply to
heal for the sake of professional experience, not simply to cure
disease and repair broken bones, but to so do those charitable acts as
to enforce the truth Jesus taught, that God 'would not that any should
perish, but that all should come unto Him and live.' Soul and body,
both need the healing balm of Christianity. The Hospital modestly
and touchingly furnishes it to all classes, creeds, and ages whose
sufferings cause them to cry out, 'Have mercy on me!'"

So far as buildings were concerned, it began in a small way, though
its spirit of kindness and Christian charity was large. After one year
in rented rooms, a house was purchased on North Broad Street, near
Ontario Street, and fitted up as a hospital with wards, operating room
and dispensary. It was situated just where a network of railroads
focuses and near a number of large factories and machine shops, where
accidents were occurring constantly. Almost immediately its wards were
filled. The name "Samaritan Hospital" was given as typical of its work
and spirit, its projectors and supporters laying down their money and
agreeing to pay whatever might be needed, as well as giving of their
personal care and attention to the sufferer. But though Dr. Conwell's
heart is big, his head is practical. He does not believe in
indiscriminate charity.

"Charity is composed of sympathy and self-sacrifice. There is no
charity without a union of these two," he said, in an address years
ago at Music Hall, Boston. "To make a gift become a charity the
recipient must feel that it is given out of sympathy; that the
donor has made a sacrifice to give it; that it is intended only as
assistance and not as a permanent support, unless the needy one he
helpless; and that it is not given as his right. To accomplish this
end desired by charitable hearts demands an acquaintance with the
persons to be assisted or a study of them, and a great degree of
caution and patience. It is not only unnecessary, but a positive wrong
to give to itinerant beggars. There is no such thing as charity about
a so-called state charity. It is statesmanship to rid the community of
nuisances, to feed the poor and prevent stealing and robbery, but it
should not be called 'a charity.' The paupers take their provision as
their right, feel no gratitude, acquire no ambition, no industry, no
culture. The state almshouse educates the brain and chills the heart.
It fastens a stigma on the child to hinder and curse it for life. Any
institution supported otherwise than by voluntary contribution, or
in the hands of paid public officials, can never have the spirit of
charity nor be correctly called a charity. Boston's public charitable
institutions, so called, are not charities at all; the motive is not
sympathy, but necessity. The money for the support of paupers is not
paid with benevolent intentions by the tax-payers, nor do the inmates
of almshouses so receive it. I have been engaged in gathering
statistics, and have found sixty-three per cent of all persons who
applied for assistance at the various institutions were impostors,
while many were swindlers and professional burglars."

The sick poor are never turned away from Samaritan Hospital, but those
who are able to pay are requested to do so. Dr. Conwell believes
it would be a wrong to treat such people free, an injustice to
physicians, as well as an encouragement of a wrong spirit in
themselves. The hospital has a number of private rooms in which
patients are received for pay. Many have been furnished by members of
Grace Baptist Church in memory of some loved one "gone before," or by
Sunday School classes or church organizations.

It may have been the fact that it started in an ordinary house that
gave the Hospital its cheery, homelike atmosphere. It may have been
the spirit of the workers. But its homelike air is noticeable. While
rules are strictly enforced, as they must be, there is a feeling of
personal interest in each patient that makes the sick feel that she is
something more than a "case" or a "number."

"The lovely Christ spirit," says Dr. Conwell, "which inclines men and
women to care for their unfortunate fellowmen, is especially beautiful
when in addition to the healing of wounds and disease, the afflicted
sufferers are welcomed to such a home as the Samaritan Hospital has
become. All such kind deeds become doubly sweet when done in the name
of Christ, because they carry with them sympathy for those in pain,
love for the loveless, a home for the homeless, friendship for the
friendless, and a divine solace, which are often more than surgical
skill or medical science. Such an institution the Samaritan Hospital
is ever to be. It began in weakness and inexperience, but with
Christian devotion and affection, its founders and supporters have
conquered innumerable difficulties, and can now say unreservedly that
they have a hospital with all the conveniences and all the influences
of a Christian home."

The hospital was opened February 1, 1892. It did not take long to
prove the need of the work. Before the year was out it was so crowded
that an addition had to be built, and now magnificent buildings stand
adjoining the original "house" as a monument to the untiring work
and zeal of Grace Church members and their friends. It is now an
independent corporation.

The hospital is fitted with all modern appliances for caring for the
sick. It has a hundred and seventy beds, and a large and competent
staff of physicians numbering many of the best in the city. There is
also a training school for nurses, the original hospital building
being now fitted up and furnished as a nurses' home. More than five
thousand different cases are ministered to during the year in the beds
and dispensary. The annual expense of running the hospital is more
than forty thousand dollars, the value of the property more than three
hundred thousand dollars.

In addition to the customary weekly visiting days, visitors are
allowed on one evening during the week and on Sunday afternoons. These
rather unusual visiting hours are an innovation of Dr. Conwell's for
the benefit of busy workers who cannot visit their sick friends or
relatives on week days.

A novel feature of the hospital and one which brings great pleasure to
the patients, is the telephone service connecting it with The Temple,
whereby those who are able, can hear the preaching of the pastor
Sunday morning and evening at the big church farther down Broad

One of the most efficient aids in the hospital's growth has been
the Board of Lady Managers. When the hospital was opened in 1892, a
committee of six ladies was appointed by Mr. Conwell to take charge of
the housekeeping affairs, and from this committee has grown this Board
which has done so much to aid the hospital, both by raising money and
looking after its household affairs.

This committee had entire charge of the house department, visiting it
weekly, inspecting the house, and making suggestions to the trustees
for improving the work in that department.

The Board is divided into Finance, Visiting, Flower, Linen, Ward
Supplies, House Supplies and Sewing Committee. The chairman of these
committees, together with the five officers, constitute the Executive
Committee, and meet with the trustees at their regular monthly

In addition to paying the housekeeping bills, the board has come many
times to the assistance of the trustees, and by giving entertainments,
holding sales, teas, receptions, has raised large sums of money for
special purposes. In connection with this Board is the Samaritan Aid
Society which annually contributes about three hundred new articles of
clothing and bedding.

The Board of Trustees is composed of able, experienced business men
who apply their knowledge of business affairs to the conduct of the
hospital. It means a sacrifice of much time on their part, but it is
cheerfully given.

The hospital is non-sectarian. Suffering and need are the only
requisites for admission. During the past year among those who were
cared for were:

Catholic       284
Baptist        134
Methodist      141
Episcopalian   112
Lutheran        97
Presbyterian    96
Hebrew          89
Protestant      54
Reformed        25
Friends         12
Confucianism     5
Congregational   4
United Brethren  3
Evangelist       3
Christian        2
Not recorded    60


The nativity of the patients showed that nearly all countries were
represented--Russia, Poland, Italy, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Scotland,
England, Germany, Ireland, China, Hungary, Australia, Switzerland,
Jerusalem, Roumania and Armenia.

Never was the worth of its work better shown than in the terrible Ball
Park accident, which happened in Philadelphia in 1904, when by the
collapsing of the grandstand hundreds were killed and injured. Without
a moment's notice, more than a hundred patients were rushed to the
hospital and cared for. When the wards were filled, cots were placed
in the halls, in the offices, wherever there was room, and the injured
tenderly treated.

Thus from small beginnings and a great need it has steadily grown,
supported by contributions and upheld by the faithful work of those
who labor for the love of the Master. Sacrifices of time and money
have been freely made for it, for the people who have worked to
support it are few of them rich. It still needs help, for "the poor
ye have always with you." And while there are poor people and sick
people, Samaritan Hospital will always need the help of the more
fortunate to aid it in its great work of relieving pain.



Boundless Love for Men. Utter Humility. His Simplicity and
Informality. Keen Sense of Humor. His Unconventional Methods of Work.
Power as a Leader. His Tremendous Faith.

What of the personality of the man back of all this ceaseless work,
these stupendous undertakings? Much of it can be read in the work
itself. But not all. One must know Dr. Conwell personally to realize
that deep, abiding love of humanity which is the wellspring of his
life and which shows itself in constant and innumerable acts of
thoughtfulness and kindness for the happiness of others. He cannot see
a drunkard on the street without his heart going out in a desire to
help him to a better life. He cannot see a child in tears, but that
he must know the trouble and mend it. From boyhood, it was one of the
strongest traits of his character, and when it clasped hands with a
man's love of Christ, it became the ruling passion of his life. The
woes of humanity touch him deeply. He freely gives himself, his time,
his money to lighten them. But he knows that to do his best, is but
comparatively little. To him it is a pitiful thing that so much of the
world's, misery cannot be relieved because of the lack of money; that
people must starve, must suffer pain and disease, must go without the
education that makes life brighter and happier, simply for the want of
this one thing of so little worth compared with the great things of
life it has the power to withhold or grant.

One must also be intimately associated with Dr. Conwell to realize the
deep humility that rules his heart, that makes him firmly believe any
man who will trust in God and go ahead in faith can accomplish all
that he himself has done, and more.

"You do not know what a struggle my life is," he said once to a
friend. "Only God and my own heart know how far short I come of what I
ought to be, and how often I mar the use He would make of me even when
I would serve Him."

And again, at the Golden Jubilee services, in honor of his fiftieth
birthday, he said publicly what he many times says in private:

"I look back on the errors of by-gone years; my blunders; my pride;
my self-sufficiency; my willfulness--if God would take me up in my
unworthiness and imperfection and lift me to such a place of happiness
and love as this--I say, He can do it for any man.

"When I see the blunders I unintentionally make in history, in
mathematics, in names, in rhetoric, in exegesis, and yet see that God
uses even blunders to save men--I sink back into the humblest place
before Him and say, 'If God can use such preaching as that, blunders
and mistakes like these; if He can take them and use them for His
glory, He can use anybody and anything.' I let out the secret of my
life when I tell you this: If I have succeeded at all, it has been
with the conscious sense that as God has used even me, so can He use
others. God saved me and He can save them. My very faults show me,
they teach me, that any person can be helped and saved."

Speaking of his sermons, which are taken down by a stenographer and
typewritten for publication in the "Temple Review," he said, with
the utmost dejection, "Positively they make me sick. To think that I
should stand up and undertake to preach when I can do no better than

He has ever that sense of defeat from which all great minds suffer
whose high ideals ever elude them.

In manner and speech, he is simple and unaffected, and approachable at
all times. When not away from the city lecturing, he spends a certain
part of the day in his study at the church, where any one can see
him on any matter which he may wish to bring to his attention. The
ante-room is thronged at the hour when it is known that he will be
there. People waylay him in the church corridors, and on the streets,
so well known is his kindly heart, his attentive ear, his generous

Not only do these visitors invade the church, but they come to his
home. Early in the morning they are there. They await him when he
returns late at night. As an instance of their number, one Saturday
afternoon late in June he had one hour free which he hoped to take for
rest and the preparation of the next morning's sermon. During that one
hour he had six callers, each staying until the next arrived. One of
these was a young man whom Dr. Conwell had never seen, a boy no more
than seventeen or eighteen. He had a few weeks before made a runaway
marriage with a girl still younger than himself. Her parents had
indignantly taken the bride home, and the young husband came to Dr.
Conwell to ask him to seek out these parents and persuade them to let
the child wife return to her husband.

He has a knack of putting everybody at ease in his presence, which
perhaps accounts for the freedom with which people, even utter
strangers, come to him and pour into his ear their life secrets. This
earnest desire to help people, to make them happier and better,
shines from his life with such force that one feels it immediately on
entering his presence and opens one's heart to him. He helps, advises,
and, because he is so preeminently a man of faith and believes so
firmly that all he has done has been accomplished by faith and
perseverance, he inspires others with like confidence in themselves.
They go away encouraged, hopeful, strengthened for the work that lies
ahead of them, or for the trouble they must surmount It is little
wonder the people throng to him for help.

His simple, informal view of life is shown in other things. During a
summer vacation in the Berkshires he was scheduled to lecture in one
of the home towns. His old friends and neighbors dearly love to hear
him, and nearly always secure a lecture from him while he is supposed
to be resting. Entirely forgetting the lecture, he planned a fishing
trip that day. Just as the fishing party was ready to start, some one
remembered the lecture. There would not be time to go fishing,
return, dress and go to the lecture town. But Dr. Conwell is a great
fisherman, and he disliked most thoroughly to give up that fishing
trip. He thought about it a few minutes, and then in his informal,
unconventional fashion, decided he would both fish and lecture. He
packed his lecturing apparel in a suit case, tied a tub for the
accommodation of the fish on the back of the wagon and started. All
day he fished, happy and contented. When lecturing time drew near,
rattling and splashing, with a tubful of fish, round-eyed and
astonished at the violent upheavals of their usual calm abiding place,
he drove up to the lecture hall, changed his clothes, and at the
appointed time appeared on the platform and delivered one of the best
lectures that section ever heard.

Some people call his methods sensational. They are not sensational
in the sense of merely making a noise for the purpose of attracting
attention. They are unconventional. Dr. Conwell pays no attention to
forms if the life has gone out of them, to traditions, if their spirit
is dead, their days of usefulness past. He lives in the present He
sees present needs and adopts methods to fit them. No doubt, many said
it was sensational to tear down that old church at Lexington himself.
But there was no money and the church must come down. The only way to
get it down and a new one built, was to go to work. And he went to
work in straightforward, practical fashion. It takes courage and
strength of mind thus to tear down conventions and forms. But he does
not hesitate if he sees they are blocking the road of progress. This
disregard of customs, this practical common-sense way of attacking
evil or supplying needs is seen in all his church work. And because it
is original and unusual, it brings upon him often, a storm of adverse
criticism. But he never halts for that. He is willing to suffer
misrepresentation, even calumny, if the cause for which he is working,
progresses. He cares nothing for himself. He thinks only of the Master
and the work He has committed to his hands.

Though the great masses in their ignorance and poverty appeal to him
powerfully and incite him to tremendous undertakings for their relief,
he does not, because his hands are so full of great things, turn
aside from opportunities to help the individual. Indeed, it is this
readiness to answer a personal call for help that has endeared him
so to thousands and thousands. No matter what may he the labor or
inconvenience to himself, he responds instantly when the appeal comes.

Two men, now members of the church, often tell the incident that led
to their conversion. One evening they fell to discussing Dr. Conwell
with some young friends who were members of the church. The young men
stoutly maintained that "Conwell was like all the rest--in it for the
almighty dollar." The church members as stoutly asserted that he was
actuated by motives far above such sordid consideration. But the
men would not yield their point and the subject was dropped. A few
evenings later, coming out of a saloon at midnight into a blinding
snowstorm, they heard a man say, "My dear child, why did you not tell
me before that you were in need. You know I would not let you suffer."

"That's Conwell," said one of the young fellows.

"Nothing of the kind," replied the other. "What's the matter with you?
Catch him out a night like this."

"But I tell you that was Conwell's voice," said the first man. "I know
it. Let's follow him and see what he's doing."

Through the thickly falling snow, they could see the tall figure of
Dr. Conwell with a large basket on one arm and leading a little child
by the hand. Keeping a sufficient distance behind, they followed him
to a poor home in a little street, saw him enter, saw the light flash
up and knew that he was living out in deed the doctrine he preached.
Silent, they turned away. What his spoken word in The Temple could not
do his ministry at midnight had accomplished, and they became loyal
and devoted members of the church.

In conversation with a street car conductor at one time, he found the
man eager to hear of Christ and His love, but unable to give heed on
the car because he might be reported for inattention to his duties and
lose his place. Dr. Conwell asked him where he took dinner, and at the
noon hour was there and, plainly and simply, as the man ate his lunch,
told what Christ's love in his heart and life would mean.

Such stories could be multiplied many times of this personal ministry
that seeks day and night, in season and out, to make mankind better,
to lift it up where it may grasp eternal truth.

Francis Willard says:

"To move among the people on the common street; to meet them in the
market-place on equal terms; to live among them not as saint or monk,
but as a brother man with brother men; to serve God not with form or
ritual, but in the free impulse of the soul; to bear the burden
of society and relieve its needs; to carry on its multitudinous
activities in the city, social, commercial, political, and
philanthropic--this is the religion of the Son of man." This is the
religion of Dr. Conwell.

As a leader and organizer he is almost without an equal in church
work. He sees a need. His practical mind goes to work to plan ways to
meet it. He organizes the work thoroughly and carefully; he rallies
his workers about him and then leads them dauntlessly forward to
success. He has weathered many a fierce gale of opposition, won out in
many a furious storm of criticism. The greater the obstacles, the more
brightly does his ability as a leader shine. He seems to call up from
some secret storehouse reserves of enthusiasm. He gets everybody
energetically and cheerfully at work, and the obstacles that seemed
insurmountable suddenly melt away. As some one has said, "He attempts
the impossible, yet finds practical ways to accomplish it"

The way he met an unexpected demand for money during the building of
the church illustrates this:

The trustees had, as they thought, made provision for the renewal of a
note of $2,000, due Dec. 27th. Late Friday, Dec. 24th, the news came
that the note could not be renewed, that it must be paid Monday.
They had no money, nothing could be done but appeal to the people on

But it was not a usual Sunday. The Church, just the night before, had
closed a big fair for the College. Many had served at the fair tables
almost until the Sabbath morning was ushered in. They were tired. All
had given money, many even beyond what they could afford. It was,
besides, the day after Christmas, and if ever a man's pocketbook is
empty, it is then. To make the outlook still drearier, the day opened
with a snowstorm that threatened at church time to turn into a
drizzling rain. Here was truly the impossible, for none of the people
at any time could give a large sum. Yet he faced the situation
dauntlessly, aroused his people, and by evening $2,200 had been
pledged for immediate payment, and of that $1,300 was received in cash
that Sunday.

In a sermon once he said:

"Last summer I rode by a locality where there had been a mill, now
partially destroyed by a cyclone. I looked at the great engine lying
upon its side. I looked at the wheels, at the boilers so out of place,
thrown carelessly together. I saw pieces of iron the uses of which I
did not understand. I saw iron bands, bearings, braces, and shafting
scattered about, and I found the great circular saw rusting, flat in
the grass. I went on my way wondering why any person should abandon so
many pieces of such excellent machinery, leaving good property to go
to waste. But again, not many weeks ago, I went by that same place and
saw a building there, temporary in its nature, but with smoke pouring
out of the stack and steam hissing and puffing from the exhaust pipe.
I heard the sound of the great saw singing its song of industry; I saw
the teamsters hauling away great loads of lumber. The only difference
between the apparently useless old lumber and scrap iron, piled
together in promiscuous confusion, machinery thrown into a heap
without the arrangement, and the new building with its powerful engine
working smoothly and swiftly for the comfort and wealth of men,
was that before the rebuilding, the wheels, the saw, the shafting,
boilers, piston-rod, and fly wheel had no definite relation to each
other. But some man picked out all these features of a complete mill
and put them into proper relation; he adjusted shaft, boiler, and
cogwheel, put water in the boiler and fire under it, let steam into
the cylinders, and moved piston-rod, wheels, and saw. There were no
new cogs, wheels, boilers, or saws; no new piece of machinery; there
has only been an intelligent spirit found to set them in their proper
places and relationship.

"One great difficulty with this world, whether of the entire globe or
the individual church, is that it is made up of all sorts of machinery
which is not adjusted; which is out of place; no fire under the
boiler; no steam to move the machinery. There is none of the necessary
relationship--there can he no affinity between cold and steam,
between power wasted and utility; and to overcome this difficulty is
one of the great problems of the earth to-day. The churches are very
much in this condition. There are cogwheels, pulleys, belting, and
engines in the church, but out of all useful relationship. There are
sincere, earnest Christians, men and women, but they are adjusted
to no power and no purpose; they have no definite relationship to
utility. They go or come, or lie still and rust, and a vast power for
good is unapplied. The text says "We are ambassadors for Christ"; that
means, in the clearest terms, the greatest object of the Christian
teacher and worker should be the bringing into right relations all the
forces of men, and gearing them to the power of Christ"

He undoubtedly understands bringing men together, and getting them
at work to secure almost marvelous results. A friend speaking of his
ability once said: "I admire Mr. Conwell for the power of which he is
possessed of reaching out and getting hold of men and grappling them
to himself with hooks of steel.

"I admire him not only for the power he has of binding men not only
to himself, but of binding men to Christ, and of binding them to one
another; for the power he has of generating enthusiasm. His people
are bound not only to the church, to the pastor, to God, but to one

He never fails to appreciate the spirit with which a church member
works, even if results are not always as anticipated, or even if the
project itself is not always practical. He will cheerfully put his
hand down into his pocket and pay the bill for some impractical
scheme, rather than dampen the ardor of an enthusiastic worker. He
knows that experience will come with practice, but that a willing,
zealous worker is above price.

Those who know him most intimately find in him, despite his strong,
practical common sense, despite his years of hard work in the world,
despite the many times he has been deceived and imposed upon, a
certain boyish simplicity and guilelessness of heart, a touch of the
poetic, idealistic temperament that sees gold where there is only
brass; that hopes and believes, where reason for hope and belief
there is none. It is a winning trait that endears friends to him
most closely, that makes them cheerfully overlook such imprudent
benefactions as may result from it, though he himself holds it with
a strong rein, and only reveals that side of his nature to those who
know him best.

He studies constantly how he may help others, never how he may rest
himself. At his old home at South Worthington, Mass., he has built and
equipped an academy for the education of the boys and girls of the
neighborhood. He wants no boy or girl of his home locality to have
the bitter fight for an education that he was forced to experience.
It is a commodious building with class-rooms and a large public hall
which is used for entertainments, for prayer meetings, harvest homes
and all the gatherings of the nearby farming community.

Many other enterprises besides those directly connected with the
church grow out of Dr. Conwell's desire to be of service to mankind.
But like the organizations of the church, the need for them was
strongly felt before they took form.

While officiating at the funeral of a fireman who had lost his life by
the falling walls of a burning building and who had left three small
children uncared for, Dr. Conwell was impressed with the need of a
home for the orphans of men who risked their lives for the city's
good. Pondering the subject, he was called that same day to the
bedside of a shut-in, who, while he was there, asked him if there was
any way by which she could be of service to helpless children left
without paternal care or support. She said the subject had been on her
mind and such a work was dear to her heart. She was a gifted writer
and wielded considerable influence and could, by her pen, do much good
for such a work, not only by her writings but by personal letters
asking for contributions to establish and support an orphanage. The
coincidence impressed the matter still more strongly on Dr. Conwell's
mind. But that was not the end of it. Still that same day, a lady came
to him and asked his assistance in securing for her a position as
matron of an orphanage; and a woman physician came to his study
and offered her services free, to care for orphan children in an
institution for them.

Such direct leading was not to be withstood. Dr. Conwell called on a
former chief of police and asked his opinion as to an orphanage for
the children of fireman and policeman. The policeman welcomed the
project heartily, said he had long been thinking of that very problem,
and that if it were started by a responsible person, several thousand
dollars would be given by the policeman for its support. Still
wondering if he should take such leadings as indications of a definite
need, Dr. Conwell went to his study, called in some of his church
advisers and talked the matter over. Nothing at that meeting was
definitely settled, because some work interrupted it and those present
dispersed for other duties. But as they disbanded and Dr. Conwell
opened his mail, a check fell out for $75 from Rev. Chas. M. Sheldon,
which he said in the letter accompanying it, he desired to give toward
a movement for helping needy children.

Dr. Conwell no longer hesitated, and the Philadelphia Orphans' Home
Society, of which he is president, was organized, and has done a good
work in caring for helpless little ones, giving its whole effort to
securing permanent homes for the children and their adoption into
lonely families.

Although most of the money from his lectures goes to Temple College,
he uses a portion of it to support poor students elsewhere. He has
paid for the education of 1,550 college students besides contributing
partly to the education of hundreds of others. In fact, all the money
he makes, outside of what is required for immediate needs of his
family, is given away. He cares so little for money for himself, his
wants are so few and simple, that he seldom pays any attention as to
whether he has enough with him for personal use. He found once when
starting to lecture in New Jersey that after he had bought his ticket
he hadn't a cent left. Thinking, however, he would be paid when the
lecture was over, he went on. But the lecture committee told him they
would send a check. Having no money to pay a hotel bill, he took the
train back. Reaching Philadelphia after midnight he boarded a trolley
and told the conductor who he was and his predicament, offering to
send the man the money for his fare next day. But the conductor was
not to be fooled, said he didn't know Dr. Conwell from Adam, and
put him off. And Dr. Conwell walked twenty long blocks to his home,
chuckling all the way at the humor of the situation.

He has a keen sense of humor, as his audiences know. Though the
spiritual side of his nature is so intense, his love of fun and
appreciation of the humorous relieves him from being solemn or
sanctimonious. He is sunny, cheerful, ever ready at a chance meeting
with a smile or a joke. Children, who as a rule look upon a minister
as a man enshrouded in solemn dignity, are delightfully surprised to
find in him a jolly, fun-loving comrade, a fact which has much to do
with the number of young people who throng Grace church and enter its

The closeness of his walk with God is shown in his unbounded faith,
in the implicit reliance he has in the power of prayer. Though to the
world he attacks the problems confronting him with shrewd, practical
business sense, behind and underneath this, and greater than it all,
is the earnestness with which he first seeks to know the will of God
and the sincerity with which he consecrates himself to the work.
Christ is to him a very near personal friend, in very truth an Elder
Brother to whom he constantly goes for guidance and help, Whose will
he wants to do solely, in the current of Whose purpose he wants to
move. "Men who intend to serve the Lord should consecrate themselves
in heart-searching and prayer," he has said many and many a time. And
of prayer itself he says:

"There is planted in every human heart this knowledge, namely, that
there is a power beyond our reach, a mysterious potency shaping the
forces of life, which if we would win we must have in our favor. There
come to us all, events over which we have no control by physical or
mental power. Is there any hope of guiding those mysterious forces?
Yes, friends, there is a way of securing them in our favor or
preventing them from going against us. How? It is by prayer. When a
man has done all he can do, still there is a mighty, mysterious agency
over which he needs influence to secure success. The only way he can
reach that is by prayer."

He has good reason to believe in the power of prayer, for the answers
he has received in some cases have seemed almost miraculous.

When The Temple was being built, Dr. Conwell proposed that the new
pipe organ be put in to be ready for the opening service. But the
church felt it would be unwise to assume such an extra burden of debt
and voted against it. Dr. Conwell felt persuaded that the organ ought
to go in, and spent one whole night in The Temple in prayer for
guidance. As the result, he decided that the organ should be built.
The contract was given, the first payment made, but when in a few
months a note of $1,500 came due, there was not a cent in the treasury
to meet it. He knew it would be a most disastrous blow to the church
interests, with such a vast building project started, to have that
note go to protest. Yet he couldn't ask the membership to raise the
money since it had voted against building the organ at that time.
Disheartened, full of gloomy foreboding, he came Sunday morning to the
church to preach. The money must be ready next morning, yet he knew
not which way to turn. He felt he had been acting in accordance with
God's will, for the decision had been made after a night of earnest
prayer. Yet here stood a wall of Jericho before him and no divine
direction came as to how to make it fall. As he entered his study, his
private secretary handed him a letter. He opened it, and out fell a
check for $1,500 from an unknown man in Massillon, Ohio, who had once
heard Dr. Conwell lecture and felt strangely impelled to send him
$1,500 to use in The Temple work. Dr. Conwell prayed and rejoiced in
an ecstasy of gratitude. Three times he broke down during the sermon.
His people wondered what was the matter, but said he had never
preached more powerfully.

He is a man of prayer and a man of work. Loving, great-hearted,
unselfish, cheery, practical, hard-working, he yet draws his greatest
inspiration from that silent inner communion with the Master he serves
with such single-hearted, unfaltering devotion.



The Style of the Sermons. Their Subject Matter. Preaching to Help Some
Individual Church Member.

In the pulpit, Dr. Conwell is as simple and natural as he is in his
study or in the home. Every part of the service is rendered with the
heart, as well as the understanding. His reading of a chapter from the
Bible is a sermon in itself. The vast congregation follow it with as
close attention as they do the sermon. He seems to make every verse
alive, to send it with new meaning into each heart. The people in it
are real people, who have lived and suffered, who had all the hopes
and fears of men and women of to-day. Often little explanations are
dropped or timely, practical applications, and when it is over, if
that were all of the service one would be repaid for attending.

The hymns, too, are read with feeling and life. If a verse expresses a
sentiment contrary to the church feeling, it is not sung. He will not
have sung what is not worthy of belief.

The sermons are full of homely, practical illustrations, drawn from
the experiences of everyday life. Dr. Conwell announces his text and
begins quite simply, sometimes with a little story to illustrate his
thought. If Bible characters take any part in it, he makes them real
men and women. He pictures them so graphically, the audience sees
them, hears them talk, knows what they thought, how they lived. In a
word, each hearer feels as if he had met them personally. Never again
are they mere names. They are living, breathing men and women.

Dr. Conwell makes his sermons human because he touches life, the
life of the past, the life of the present, the lives of those in his
audience. He makes them interesting by his word pictures. He holds
attention by the dramatic interest he infuses into the theme. He has
been called the "Story-telling Preacher" because his sermons are so
full of anecdote and illustrations. But every story not only points
a moral, but is full of the interest that fastens it on the hearer's
mind. Children in their teens enjoy his sermons, so vivid are they, so
full of human, every day interest. Yet all this is but the framework
on which is reared some helpful, inspiring Biblical truth which is
the crown, the climax, and which because of its careful upbuilding by
story and homely illustration is fixed on the hearer's mind and heart
in a way never to be forgotten. It is held there by the simple things
of life he sees about him every day, and which, every time he sees
them, recall the truth he has heard preached. Dr. Thomas May Pierce,
speaking of Dr. Conwell's method of preaching, says:

"Spurgeon sought the masses and found them by preaching the gospel
with homely illustrations; Russell H. Conwell comes to Philadelphia,
he seeks out the masses, he finds them with his plain presentation of
the old, old story."

Occasionally he paints word pictures that hold the audience
enthralled, or when some great wrong stirs him, rises to heights of
impassioned oratory that bring his audience to tears. He never writes
out his sermons. Indeed, often he has no time to give them any
preparation whatever. Sometimes he does not choose his text until he
comes on the platform. Nobody regrets more than Dr. Conwell this lack
of preparation, but so many duties press, every minute has so many
burdens of work, that it is impossible at times to crowd in a thought
for the sermon. It is left for the inspiration of the moment. "I
preach poor sermons that other men may preach good ones," he remarked
once, meaning that so much of his time was taken up with church work
and lecturing that he has little to give his sermons, and almost all
of the fees from his lectures are devoted to the education of men for
the ministry.

His one purpose in his sermons is to bring Christ into the lives of
his people, to bring them some message from the word of God that will
do them good, make them better, lift them up spiritually to a higher
plane. His people know he comes to them with this strong desire in his
heart and they attend the services feeling confident that even though
he is poorly prepared, they will nevertheless get practical and
spiritual help for the week.

When he knows that some one member is struggling with a special
problem either in business, in the home circle, in his spiritual life,
he endeavors to weave into his sermon something that will help him,
knowing that no heart is alone in its sorrow, that the burden one
bears, others carry, and what will reach one will carry a message or
cheer to many.

"During the building of The Temple," says Smith in his interesting
life of Dr. Conwell, "a devoted member, who was in the bookbinding
business, walked to his office every morning and put his car-fare into
the building fund. Dr. Conwell made note of the sacrifice, and asked
himself the question, 'How can I help that man to be more prosperous?'
He kept him in mind, and while on a lecturing trip he visited a town
where improved machines for bookbinding were employed. He called at
the establishment and found out all he could about the new machines.
The next Sunday morning, he used the new bookbinder as an illustration
of some Scriptural truth. The result was, the church member secured
the machines of which his pastor had spoken, and increased his income
many-fold. The largest sum of money given to the building of the new
Temple was given by that same bookbinder.

"A certain lady made soap for a fair held in the Lower Temple. Dr.
Conwell advised her to go into the soap-making business. She hesitated
to take his advice. He visited a well known soap factory, and in one
of his sermons described the most improved methods of soap-making as
an illustration of some improved method of Christian work. Hearing the
illustration used from the pulpit, the lady in question acted on the
pastor's previous advice, and started her nephew in the soap business,
in which he has prospered.

"A certain blacksmith in Philadelphia who was a member of Grace
Church, but who lived in another part of the city, was advised by Dr.
Conwell to start a mission in his neighborhood. The mechanic pleaded
ignorance and his inability to acquire sufficient education to enable
him to do any kind of Christian work. On Sunday morning Dr. Conwell
wove into his sermon an historical sketch of Elihu Burritt, that poor
boy with meagre school advantages, who bound out to a blacksmith, at
the age of sixteen, and compelled to associate with the ignorant, yet
learned thirty-three languages, became a scholar and an orator of
fame. The hesitating blacksmith, encouraged by the example of Elihu
Burritt, took courage and went to work. He founded the mission which
soon grew into the Tioga Baptist Church."

In addition to helping his own church members, this method of
preaching had other results. Smith gives the following instance:

"A few years ago the pastor of a small country church in Massachusetts
resolved to try Dr. Conwell's method of imparting useful information
through his illustrations, and teaching the people what they needed
to know. Acting on Dr. Conwell's advice, he studied agricultural
chemistry, dairy farming, and household economy. He did not become
a sensationalist and advertise to preach on these subjects, but he
brought in many helpful illustrations which the people recognized as
valuable, and soon the meeting-house was filled with eager listeners.
After careful study the minister became convinced that the farmers on
those old worn-out farms in Western Massachusetts should go into the
dairy business, and feed their cows on ensilage through the long New
England winter. One bright morning he preached a sermon on 'Leaven,'
and incidentally used a silo as an illustration. The preacher did not
sacrifice his sermon to his illustration, but taught a great truth
and set the farmers to thinking along a new line. As a result of that
sermon one poor farmer built a silo and filled it with green corn in
the autumn; his cows relished the new food and repaid him splendidly
with milk. That farmer Is the richest man In the country to-day. This
is only one of a great many ways in which that practical preacher
helped his poor, struggling parishioners by using the Conwell method.
What was the spiritual result of such preaching among the country
people? He had a great, wide, and deep revival of religion, the first
the church had enjoyed for twenty-five years."

Thus Dr. Conwell weaves practical sense and spiritual truths together
in a way that helps people for the span of life they live in this
world, for the eternal life beyond. He never forgets the soul and its
needs. That is his foremost thought. But he recognizes also that there
is a body and that it lives in a practical world. And whenever and
wherever he can help practically, as well as spiritually, he does it,
realizing that the world needs Christians who have the means as well
as the spirit to carry forward Christ's work.

Speaking of his methods of preaching, Rev. Albert G. Lawson, D.D.,

"He has been blessed in his ministry because of three things: He has a
democratic, philosophic, philanthropic bee in his bonnet, a big one,
too, and he has attempted to bring us to see that churches mean
something beside fine houses and good music. There must be a
recognition of the fact that when a man is lost, he is lost in body as
well as in soul One needs, therefore, as our Lord would, to begin at
the foundations, the building anew of the mind with the body; and
I bless God for the democratic, and the philosophic, and the
philanthropic idea which is manifest in this strong church. I hope
there will be enough power in it to make every Baptist minister sick
until he tries to occupy the same field that Jesus Christ did in his
life and ministry; until every one of the churches shall recognize the
privilege of having Jesus Christ reshaped in the men and women near



A Typical Week Day. A Typical Sunday. Mrs. Conwell. Back to the
Berkshires in Summer for Rest.

By the record of what Dr. Conwell has accomplished may be judged how
busy are his days.

In early youth he learned to use his time to the best advantage.
Studying and working on the farm, working and studying at Wilbraham
and Yale, told him how precious is each minute. Work he must when he
wanted to study. Study he must when he needed to work. Every minute
became as carefully treasured as though it were a miser's gold. But it
was excellent training for the busy later days when work would press
from all sides until it was distraction to know what to do first.

"Do the next thing," is the advice he gives his college students. It
is undoubtedly a saving of time to take the work that lies immediately
at hand and despatch it. But when the hand is surrounded by work in a
score of important forms, all clamoring for recognition, what is "the
next thing" becomes a question difficult to decide.

Then it is that one must plan as carefully to use one's minutes as he
does to expend one's income when expenses outrun it.

His private secretary gave the following account, in the "Temple
Magazine," of a week day and a Sunday in Dr. Conwell's life:

"No two days are alike in his work, and he has no specified hour for
definite classes of calls or kinds of work.

"After breakfast he goes to his office in The Temple. Here visitors
from half a dozen to twenty await him, representing a great variety of
needs or business.

"Visitors wait their turn in the ante-room of his study and are
received by him in the order of their arrival. The importance of
business, rank or social position of the caller does not interfere
with this order.


"Throughout the whole day in the street, at the church, at the
College, wherever he goes, he is beset by persons urging him for
money, free lectures, to write introductions to all sorts of books,
for sermons, or to take up collections for indigent individuals or
churches. Letters reach him even from Canada, asking him to take care
of some aunt, uncle, runaway son, or needy family, in Philadelphia.
Sometimes for days together he does not secure five minutes to attend
to his correspondence. Personal letters which he must answer himself
often wait for weeks before he can attend to them, although he
endeavors, as a rule, to answer important letters on the day they
are received. People call to request him to deliver addresses at
the dedication of churches, schoolhouses, colleges, flag-raisings,
commencements, and anniversaries, re-unions, political meetings, and
all manner of reform movements. Authors urge him to read their work in
manuscript; orators without orations write to him and come to him for
address or sermon; applications flow in for letters of introduction
highly recommending entire strangers for anything they want. Agents
for books come to him for endorsements, with religious newspapers for
subscriptions and articles, and with patent medicines urging him to be
'cured with one bottle.'

"It is well known that he was a lawyer before entering the ministry,
and orphans, guardians, widows, and young men entering business come
to him asking him to make wills, contracts, etc., and to give them
points of law concerning their undertakings. Weddings and funerals
claim his attention. Urgent messages to visit the sick and the dying
and the unfortunate come to him, and these appeals are answered first
either by himself or the associate pastor; the cries of the suffering
making the most eloquent of all appeals to these two busy men."

Frequently he comes to the church again in the afternoon to meet
some one by appointment. Both afternoon and evening are crowded with
engagements to see people, to make addresses, to attend special
meetings of various kinds, with College and Hospital duties.

"I am expected to preside at six different meetings to-night," he said
smilingly to a friend at The Temple one evening as the membership
began to stream in to look after its different lines of work.

Much, of the time during the winter he is away lecturing, but he keeps
in constant communication with The Temple and its work. By letter,
wire or telephone he is ready to respond to any emergency requiring
his advice or suggestion. These lecture trips carry him all over the
country, but they are so carefully planned that with rare exceptions
he is in the pulpit Sunday morning. Frequently, when returning, he
wires for his secretary to meet him part way, if from the West, at
Harrisburg or Altoona; if from the South, at Washington or beyond. The
secretary brings the mail and the remaining hours of the journey are
filled with work, dictating letters, articles for magazines or press,
possibly material for a book, whatever work most presses.

Pastoral calls in the usual sense of the term cannot be made in a
membership of more than three thousand. But visits to the sick, to
the poor, to the dying, are paid whenever the call comes. To help and
console the afflicted, to point the way to Christ, is the work nearest
and dearest to Dr. Conwell's heart and always comes first. Funerals,
too, claim a large part of the pastor's time, seven in one day among
the Grace Church membership calling for the services of both Dr.
Conwell and his associate. Weddings are not an unimportant feature,
six having been one day's record at The Temple.

Of his Sundays, his secretary says:

"From the time of rising until half-past eight, he gives special
attention to the subject of the morning sermon, and usually selects
his text and general line of thought before sitting down to breakfast.
After family prayers, he spends half an hour in his study, at home,
examining books and authorities in the completion of his sermon.
Sometimes he is unable to select a text until reaching The Temple. He
has, though rarely, made his selection after taking his place at the

"At nine-thirty, he is always promptly in his place at the opening of
the Young Men's prayer-meeting or at the Women's prayer-meeting in the
Lower Temple. At the Young Men's meeting he plays the organ and leads
the singing. If he takes any other part in the meeting he is very
brief, in talk or prayer.

"At half-past ten he goes directly to the Upper Temple, where as a
rule he conducts all the exercises with the exception of the 'notices'
and a prayer offered by the associate pastor, or in his absence at an
overflow service in the Lower Temple, by the dean of the College or
chaplain of the Hospital. The pastor meets the candidates for
baptism in his study before service, for conference and prayer. In
administering the ordinance, he is assisted by the associate pastor,
who leads the candidates into the baptistry.

"The pastor reads the hymns. It is his custom to preach without
any notes whatever; rarely, a scrap of paper may lie on the desk
containing memoranda or suggestions of leading thoughts, but
frequently even when this is the case the notes are ignored.

"A prominent--possibly the prevailing--idea in the preparation of his
sermons is the need of individuals in his congregation. He aims to
say those things which will be the most helpful and inspiring to the
unconverted seeking Christ, or to the Christian desiring to lead a
nobler spiritual life. It may be said of nearly all his illustrations
that they present such a variety of spiritual teaching that different
persons will catch from them different suggestions adapted to needs of

"The morning service closes promptly at twelve o'clock; then follows
an informal reception for thirty minutes or it may be an hour, for
hundreds, sometimes a thousand and more, many of them visitors from
other cities and states, press forward to shake hands with him. This,
Dr. Conwell considers an important part of his church work, giving him
an opportunity to meet many of the church members and extend personal
greetings to those whom he would have no possible opportunity to visit
in their homes.

"He dines at one o'clock. At two, he is in The Temple; again he
receives more callers, and if possible makes some preparation for
services of the afternoon, in connection with the Sunday-school work.
At two-thirty, he is present at the opening of the Junior department
of the Sunday-school in the Lower Temple, where he takes great
interest in the singing, which is a special feature of that
department. At three o'clock, he appears promptly on the platform in
the auditorium where the Adult department of the Sunday-school meets,
gives a short exposition of the lesson for the day, and answers from
the Question Box. These cover a great variety of subjects, from the
absurdity of some crack-brained crank to the pathetic appeal of some
needy soul. Some of these questions may be sent in by mail during the
week, but the greater part of them are handed to the pastor by the
ushers. To secure an answer the question must be upon some subject
connected with religious life or experience, some theme of Christian
ethics in everyday life.

"When the questions are answered, the pastor returns to the Lower
Temple, going to the Junior, Intermediate, or Kindergarten department
to assist in the closing exercises. At the close of the Sunday-school
session, teachers and scholars surround him, seeking information or
advice concerning the school work, their Christian experience or
perhaps to tell him their desire to unite with the church.[A]

[Footnote A: Lately (1905), however, he has had to give up much of
this Sunday-school work on account of the need of rest.]

"As a rule, he leaves The Temple at five o'clock If he finds no
visitors with appeals for counsel or assistance waiting for him at his
home, he lies down for half an hour. Usually the visitors are there,
and his half-hour rest is postponed until after the evening service.

"Supper at five-thirty, after which he goes to his study to prepare
for the evening service, selecting his subject and looking up such
references as he thinks may be useful. At seven-fifteen, he is in The
Temple again, often visiting for a few moments one of the Christian
Endeavor societies, several of which are at that time in session in
the Lower Temple. At half-past seven the general service is held in
the auditorium. The evening sermon is published weekly in the "Temple
Review." He gives all portions of this service full attention.

"At nine o'clock this service closes, and the pastor goes once more
to the Lower Temple, where both congregations, the 'main' and the
'overflow' unite, so far as is possible, in a union prayer service.
The hall of the Lower Temple and the rooms connected with it are
always overcrowded at this service meeting, and many are unable to
get within hearing of the speakers on the platform. Here Dr. Conwell
presides at the organ and has general direction of the evangelistic
services, assisted by the associate pastor. As enquirers rise for
prayers,--the prayers of God's people,--Dr. Conwell makes note of each
one, and to their great surprise recognizes them when he meets them on
the street or at another service, long afterward. This union meeting
is followed by another general reception especially intended for a few
words of personal conversation with those who have risen for prayer
and with strangers who are brought forward and introduced by members
of the church. This is the most fatiguing part of the day's work and
occupies from one hour to an hour and a half. He reaches home about
eleven o'clock and before retiring makes a careful memoranda of such
people as have requested him to pray for them, and such other matters
as may require his attention during the week. He seldom gets to bed
much before midnight."

In all the crowd and pressure of work, he is ably assisted by Mrs.
Conwell. In the early days of his ministry at Grace Church she was
his private secretary, but as the work grew for both of them, she was
compelled to give this up.

She enters into all her husband's work and plans with cheery, helpful
enthusiasm. Yet her hands are full of her own special church work, for
she is a most important member of the various working associations of
the church, college and hospital. For many years she was treasurer of
the large annual fairs of The Temple, as well as being at the head of
a number of large teas and fairs held for the benefit of Samaritan
Hospital. In addition to all this church and charitable work, she
makes the home a happy centre of the brightest social life and a
quiet, well-ordered retreat for the tired preacher and lecturer when
he needs rest.

A writer in "The Ladies' Home Journal," in a series of articles on
"Wives of Famous Pastors," says of Mrs. Conwell:

"Mrs. Conwell finds her greatest happiness in her husband's work, and
gives him always her sympathy and devotion. She passes many hours at
work by his side when he is unable to notice her by word or look; she
knows he delights In her presence, for he often says when writing, 'I
can do better if you remain.' Her whole life is wrapped up in the work
of The Temple, and all those multitudinous enterprises connected with
that most successful of churches.

"She makes an ideal wife for a pastor whose work is varied and whose
time is as interrupted as are Mr. Conwell's work and time. On her
husband's lecture tours she looks well after his comfort, seeing to
those things which a busy and earnest man is almost sure to overlook
and neglect. In all things he finds her his helpmeet and caretaker."

From this busy life the family escape in summer to Dr. Conwell's
boyhood home in the Berkshires. Here amid the hills he loves, with the
brook of his boyhood days again singing him to sleep, he rests and
recuperates for the coming winter's campaign.

The little farmhouse is vastly changed since those early days. Many
additions have been made, modern improvements added, spacious porches
surround it on all sides, and a green, velvety lawn dotted with
shrubbery and flowers has replaced the rocks and stones, the sparse
grass of fifty years ago. If Martin and Miranda Conwell could return
and see the little house now with its artistic furnishings, its walls
hung with pictures from those very lands the mother read her boy
about, they would think miracles had indeed come to pass.

In front of the house where once flashed a little brook that "set the
silences to rhyme" is now a silvery lake framed in rich green foliage.
Up in the hill where swayed the old hemlock with the eagle's nest for
a crown rises an observatory. From the top one gazes in summer into a
billowy sea of green in which the spire of the Methodist church rises
like a far distant white sail.

It is a happy family that gathers in the old homestead during the
summer days. His daughter, now Mrs. Tuttle, comes with her children,
Mr. Turtle, who is a civil engineer, joining them when his work
permits. Dr. Conwell's son Leon, proprietor and editor of the
Somerville (Mass.) "Journal," with his wife and child, always spend as
much of the summer there as possible. One vacant chair there is in the
happy family circle. Agnes, the only child of Dr. and Mrs. Conwell,
died in 1901, in her twenty-sixth year. She was the wife of Alfred
Barker. A remarkably bright and gifted girl, clever with her pen,
charming in her personality, an enthusiastic and successful worker in
the many interests of church, college and hospital, her death was a
sad loss to her family and friends.

Not only the beauty of the place but the associations bring rest and
peace to the tired spirit of the busy preacher and lecturer, and he
returns to his work refreshed, ready to take up with rekindled energy
and enthusiasm the tasks awaiting him.

Thus his busy life goes on, full of unceasing work for the good of
others. Over his bed hangs a gold sheathed sword which to him is a
daily inspiration to do some deed worthy of the sacrifice which it
typifies. "I look at it each morning," said Dr. Conwell to a friend,
"and pray for help to do something that day to make my life worthy of
such a sacrifice." And each, day he prays the prayer his father prayed
for him in boyhood days, "May no person be the worse because I have
lived this day, but may some one be the better."



His Wide Fame as a Lecturer. Date of Entrance on Lecture Platform.
Number of Lectures Given. The Press on His Lectures. Some Instances of
How His Lectures Have Helped People. Address at Banquet to President

In the maze of this church, college and hospital work, Dr. Conwell
finds time to lecture from one hundred to two hundred and twenty-five
times in a year. Indeed, he frequently leaves Philadelphia at midnight
after a Sunday of hard work, travels and lectures as far as Kansas and
is back again for Friday evening prayer meeting and for his duties the
following Sunday.

As a lecturer, he is probably known to a greater number of people
than he is as a preacher, for his lecturing trips take him from the
Atlantic to the Pacific. Since he began, he has delivered more than
six thousand lectures.

He has been on the lecture platform since the year 1862, giving on
an average of two hundred lectures in a year. In addition, he has
addressed many of the largest conventions in America and preaches
weekly to an audience of more than three thousand. So that he has
undoubtedly addressed more people in America than any man living. He
is to-day one of the most eminent and most popular figures on the
lecture platform of this country, the last of the galaxy of such men
as Gough, Beecher, Chapin. "There are but ten real American lecturers
on the American platform to-day," says "Leslie's Weekly." "Russell
Conwell is one of the ten and probably the most eminent."

His lectures, like his sermons, are full of practical help and good
sense. They are profusely illustrated with anecdote and story that
fasten the thought of his subject. He uses no notes, and gives his
lecture little thought during the day. Indeed, he often does not know
the subject until he hears the chairman announce it. If the lecture is
new or one that he has not given for many years, he occasionally has a
few notes or a brief outline before him. But usually he is so full
of the subject, ideas and illustrations so crowd his mind that he is
troubled with the wealth, rather than the dearth, of material. He
rarely gives a lecture twice alike. The main thought, of course, is
the same. But new experiences suggest new illustrations, and so, no
matter how many times one hears it, he always hears something new.
"That's the third time I've heard Acres of Diamonds," said one
delighted auditor, "and every time it grows better."

Perhaps the best idea of his lectures can be gleaned from the press
notices that have appeared, though he never keeps a press notice
himself, nor pays any attention to the compliments that may have been
paid him. These that have been collected at random by friends by no
means cover the field of what has been said or written about him.

Speaking of a lecture in 1870, when he toured England, the London
"Telegraph" says:

"The man is weirdly like his native hills. You can hear the cascades
and the trickling streams in his tone of voice. He has a strange and
unconscious power of so modulating his voice as to suggest the roar of
the tempest in rocky declivities, or the soft echo of music in distant
valleys. The breezy freshness and natural suggestiveness of varied
nature in its wild state was completely fascinating. He excelled in
description, and the auditor could almost hear the Niagara roll as he
described it, and listened to catch the sound of sighing pines in his
voice as he told of the Carolinas."

"The lecture was wonderful in clearness, powerful, and eloquent in
delivery," says the London "News." "The speaker made the past a living
present, and led the audience, unconscious of time, with him in his
walks and talks with famous men. When engrossed in his lecture his
facial expression is a study. His countenance conveys more quickly
than his words the thought which he is elucidating, and when he refers
to his Maker, his face takes on an expression indescribable for its
purity. He seems to hold the people as children stare at brilliant and
startling pictures."

"It is of no use to try to report Conwell's lectures," is the verdict
of the Springfield "Union." "They are unique. Unlike anything or any
one else. Filled with good sense, brilliant with new suggestions, and
inspiring always to noble life and deeds, they always please with
their wit. The reader of his addresses does not know the full power of
the man."

"His stories are always singularly adapted to the lecturer's purpose.
Each story is mirth-provoking. The audience chuckled, shook, swayed,
and roared with convulsions of laughter," says the "London Times." "He
has been in the lecture field but a few years, yet he has already made
a place beside such men as Phillips, Beecher, and Chapin."

"The only lecturer in America," concludes the Philadelphia "Times,"
"who can fill a hall in this city with three thousand people at a
dollar a ticket."

The most popular of all his lectures is "Acres of Diamonds," which he
has given 3,420 times, which is printed, in part, at the end of the
book. But his list of lectures is a long one, including:

  "The Philosophy of History."
  "Men of the Mountains."
  "The Old and the New New England."
  "My Fallen Comrades."
  "The Dust of Our Battlefields."
  "Was it a Ghost Story?"
  "The Unfortunate Chinese."
  "Three Scenes in Babylon."
  "Three Scenes from the Mount of Olives."
  "Americans in Europe."
  "General Grant's Empire."
  "Princess Elizabeth."
  "Success in Life."
  "The Undiscovered."
  "The Silver Crown, or Born a King."
  "Heroism of a Private Life."
  "The Jolly Earthquake."
  "Heroes and Heroines."
  "Garibaldi, or the Power of Blind Faith."
  "The Angel's Lily."
  "The Life of Columbus."
  "Five Million Dollars for the Face of the Moon."
  "Henry Ward Beecher."
  "That Horrid Turk."
  "Cuba's Appeal to the United States."
  "Anita, the Feminine Torch."
  "Personal Glimpses of Celebrated Men and Women."

His lecturing tours now are confined to the United States, as his
church duties will not permit him to go farther afield, but so wide is
his fame that a few years ago he declined an offer of $39,000 for a
six months' engagement In Australia. This year (1905) he received an
offer of $50,000 for two hundred lectures in Australia and England.

He lectures, as he preaches, with the earnest desire ever uppermost
to help some one. He never goes to a lecture engagement without a
definite prayer to God that his words may be so directed as to do some
good to the community or to some individual. When he has delivered
"Acres of Diamonds," he frequently leaves a sum of money with the
editor of the leading paper in the town to be given as a prize for any
one who advances the most practical idea for using waste forces in the
neighborhood. In one Vermont town where he had lectured, the money was
won by a young man who after a careful study of the products of
the neighborhood, said he believed the lumber of that section was
especially adapted to the making of coffins. A sum of $2,000 was
raised, the water power harnessed and a factory started.

A man in Michigan who was on the verge of bankruptcy, having lost
heavily in real estate speculation, heard "Acres of Diamonds," and
started in, as the lecture advises, right at home to rebuild his
fortunes. Instead of giving up, he began the same business again,
fought a plucky fight and is now president of the bank and a leading
financier of the town.

A poor farmer of Western Massachusetts, finding it impossible to
make a living on his stony place, had made up his mind to move and
advertised his farm for sale. He heard "Acres of Diamonds," took to
heart its lessons. "Raise what the people about you need," it said to
him. He went into the small fruit business and is now a rich man.

The man who invented the turnout and switch system for electric cars
received his suggestion from "Acres of Diamonds."

A baker heard "Acres of Diamonds," got an idea for an improved oven
and made thousands of dollars from it.

A teacher in Montrose, Pennsylvania, was so impressed with the
practical ideas in the now famous lecture that he determined to teach
what his pupils most needed to know. Being in a farming district, he
added agricultural chemistry to their studies with such success that
the next year he was elected principal of one of the Montrose schools
and shortly afterward was appointed Superintendent of Education and
President of the State University of Ohio.

But incidents by the hundreds could be related or practical, helpful
results that flow from Dr. Conwell's lectures.

There is yet another side of their helpfulness that the world knows
little about. In his early lecturing days, he resolved to give his
lecture fees to the education of poor boys and faithfully through all
these years has that resolve been kept The Redpath Lyceum Bureau has
paid him nearly $300,000, and more than $200,000 of this has gone
directly to help those poor in purse who hunger after knowledge, as he
himself did in those days at Wilbraham when help would have been so
welcome. The balance has been given to Temple College, which in itself
is the strongest and most helpful hand ever stretched out to those
struggling for an education.

In addition to his lectures, he is called upon to make innumerable
addresses at various meetings, public gatherings and conventions.
Those who have never heard him speak may gather some idea of the
impression he makes by the following letter written by a gentleman
who attended the banquet given to President McKinley at the G.A.R.
encampment in Philadelphia in 1899:

"At the table with the President was Russell H. Conwell, and no one
near me could tell me who he was. We mistook him for the new Secretary
of War, until Secretary Root made his speech. There was a highly
intelligent and remarkably representative audience of the nation at a
magnificent banquet in the hall decorated regardless of cost.

"The addresses were all specially good and made by men specially
before the nation. Yet all the evening till after midnight there
were continuous interruptions and much noise of voices, dishes, and
waiters. Men at distant tables laughed out often. It was difficult to
hear at best, the acoustics were so bad. The speakers took it as a
matter of course at such a 'continuous performance.' Some of the
Representatives must have thought they were at home in the House at
Washington. They listened or not, as they chose. The great hall was
quiet only when the President gave his address, except when the
enclosed remarks were made long after midnight, when all were worn out
with speeches.

"When, about the last thing, Conwell was introduced by the chairman,
no one heard his name because of the noise at the tables. Two men
asked me who he was. But not two minutes after he began, the place
was still and men craned their necks to catch his words. I never saw
anything so magical. I know how you would have enjoyed it. Its effect
was a hot surprise. The revelers all worn; the people ready to go
home; the waiters impatient; the speech wholly extemporaneous. It was
a triumph that did honor to American oratory at its best. The applause
was decisive and deafening. I never heard of anything better done
under such circumstances.

"None of the morning papers we could get on the train mentioned either
Conwell or his great speech. Perhaps Conwell asked the reporters to
suppress it. I don't know as to that. But it was the first thing we
looked for. Not a word. There is no clue to account for that. Yet that
is the peculiarity of this singular life: one of the most public, one
of the most successful men, but yet one of the least discussed or
written about. He was to us as visitors the great feature of that
banquet as a speaker, and yet wholly ignored by the press of his own
city. The United States Senator Penrose seemed only to know in a
general way that Conwell was a great benefactor and a powerful citizen
and preacher. Conwell is a study. I cogitated on him all day. I was
told that he marched throughout the great parade in the rear rank of
his G.A.R. post. It is the strangest case of a private life I have
ever heard mentioned. The Quakers will wake up resurrection day and
find out Conwell lived in Philadelphia. It is startling to think how
measureless the influence of such a man is in its effect on the world.
Through forty years educating men, healing the sick, caring for
children, then preaching to a great church, then lecturing in the
great cities nearly every night, then writing biographies; and also an
accessible counselor to such masses of young people!"

The address referred to in the foregoing letter was taken down in
shorthand, and was substantially as follows:

"Comrades: I feel at this moment as Alexander Stephens said he felt at
the close of the war of 1865, and it can well be illustrated by the
boasting athlete who declared he could throw out twenty men from a
neighboring saloon in five minutes. He requested his friend to stand
outside and count as he went in and threw them out. Soon a battered
man was thrown out the door far into the street. The friend began his
count and shouted, 'One!' But the man in the street staggered to his
feet and angrily screamed, 'Stop counting! It's me!' When this feast
opened I was proudly expecting to make a speech, but the great men who
have preceded me have done all and more than I intended to do. The
hour is spent--they are sounding 'taps' at the door. I could not hope
to hold your attention. It only remains for me to do my duty in behalf
of Meade Post, and do it in the briefest possible space.

"Comrades of Boston and New York, you have heard the greetings
when you entered the city--you have seen the gorgeous and artistic
decorations on halls and dwellings--you have heard the shouts of the
million and more who pressed into the streets, waved handkerchiefs
from the stands, and looked over each other's heads from all the
windows and roofs throughout that weary march. Here you see the lovely
decorations, the most costly feast, and listen to the heart-thrilling,
soul-subduing orchestra. All of these have already spoken to you an
unmistakable message of welcome. Knowing this city as I do, I can say
to you that not one cornet or viol, not one hymn or shout, not one
wave in all the clouds which fair hands rolled up, not one gun of all
that shook the city, not one flush of red on a dear face of beauty,
not one blessing from the aged on his cane, not one tear on the
eyelids which glowed again as your march brought back the gleam of a
morning long since dead, not one clasp of the hand, not one 'God bless
you!' from saint or priest in all this fair city, but I believe has
been deeply, earnestly, sincere.

"This repast is not the result of pride--is not arranged for gluttony
or fashion. No political scheme inspired its proposal, and no ulterior
motive moved these companions to take your arm. The joy that seems to
beam in the comrade's eye and unconsciously express itself in word and
gesture, is real. It is the hearty love of a comrade who showed his
love for his country by battle in 1862, and who only finds new ways in
time of peace for expressing the same character now. The eloquence of
this night has been unusually, earnestly, practically patriotic and
fraternal. It has been the utterance of hearts beating full and strong
for humanity. Loyalty, fraternity, and charity are here in fact. It is
true, honest, heart. Such fraternal greetings may be as important for
liberty and justice as the winning of a Gettysburg. For the mighty
influence of the Grand Army of the Republic is even more potent now
than it was on that bloody day. Peace has come and the brave men
of the North recognize and respect the motives and bravery of that
Confederate army which dealt them such fearful blows believing _they_
were in the right. But the glorious peace we enjoy and the greatness
of our nation's name and power are due as much to the living Grand
Army as to the dead. I am getting weary of being counted 'old,' but I
am more tired of hearing the soldier overpraised for what he did in
1861. You have more influence now than then, and are better men in
every sense. At Springfield, Illinois, they illustrated the growth of
the city by telling me that in 1856 a lunatic preacher applied to Mr.
Lincoln for his aid to open the legislative chamber for a series of
meetings to announce that the Lord was coming at once. Mr. Lincoln
refused, saying, 'If the Lord knew Springfield as well as I do, he
wouldn't come within a thousand miles of it.' But now the legislative
halls are open, and every good finds welcome in that city. The world
grows better--cities are not worse. The nation has not gone backward,
and all the good deeds did not cease in 1865. The Grand Army of the
Republic, speaking plainly but with no sense of egotism, has been
praised too much for the war and too little for its heroism and power
in peace. Does it make a man an angel to eat hardtack? Or does it
educate in inductive philosophy to chase a pig through a Virginia
fence? Peace has its victories no less renowned than war.

"The Grand Army is not growing old. You all feel younger at this
moment than you did at the close of the day's march. Your work is not
finished. You were not fossilized in 1865. The war was not a nurse,
nor was it a very thorough schoolmaster. It did serve, however, to
show to friends and country what kind of men America contained. Not I
nor you perhaps can take this pleasing interpretation to ourselves,
but looking at the five hundred thousand men who outlived the war, we
see that they were the same men before the war and have remained
the same since the war. Their ability, friendship, patriotism, and
religion were better known after they had shown their faith by deeds,
but their identity and character were in great measure the same.

"Many of our Presidents have been taken from the ranks of the army.
But it would be a mockery of political wisdom to declare that a free,
intelligent people elect a chief executive simply to reward him for
having been in the war of 1861. Captain Garfield, Lieutenant Hayes,
Major McKinley, and General Grant were not put at the head of the
nation as one would vote a pension. They were elected because the
people believed them to be the very best statesmen they could select
for the office. For a time every foreign consul except four was a
soldier. Two-thirds of Congress had been in the army. Twenty-nine
governors in the same year had been in military service. Nine
presidents of universities had been volunteers in 1863. Three thousand
postmasters appointed in one year were from the army. Cabinet
officers, custom-house officers, judges, district attorneys, and
clerks in public offices were almost exclusively selected from army
men. Could you look in the face of the nations and declare that with
all our enterprise, learning, progress, and common sense, we had such
an inadequate idea of the responsibilities of government that we
elected men to office who were incapable, simply because they had
carried a gun or tripped over a sword! No, no. The shrewd Yankee and
the calculating Hoosier are not caught with such chaff. They selected
these officers as servants of the nation because the war had served to
show what sort of men they were.

"In short, they appointed them to high positions because they were
true men. They are just as true men now. They are as patriotic, as
industrious, as unselfish, as brave to-day as they were in the dark
days of the rebellion. Their efforts are as honest now as they were
then, to perpetuate free institutions and maintain the honor of the

"They have endowed colleges, built cathedrals, opened the wilderness
to railroads, filled the American desert with roses, constructed
telephone, telegraph, and steamship lines. They have stood in
classroom and in the pulpit by the thousand; they have honored our
courts with their legal acumen; they have covered the plains with
cities, and compelled the homage of Europe to secure our scholars, our
wheat and our iron. The soldier has controlled the finances of
banking systems and revolutionized labor, society, and arts with his
inventions. They saw poor Cuba, beautiful as her surf and femininely
sweet as her luscious fruits, tortured in chains. They saw her lovely
form through the blood that covered her, and Dewey, Sampson, Schley,
Miles, Merritt, Sigsbee, Evans, Philip, Alger, and McKinley of the
Grand Army led the forces to her rescue. The Philippines in the
darkness of half-savage life were brought unexpectedly under our
colors because Dewey and his commanders were in 1898 just the same
heroes they were in 1864.

"At the bidding of Meade Post, then, I welcome you and bid you
farewell. This gathering was in the line of duty. Its spectacle has
impressed the young, inspired the strong man, and comforted the aged.
The fraternity here so sincerely expressed to-night will encourage us
all to enfold the old flag more tenderly, to love our country more
deeply, and to go on in every path of duty, showing still the spirit
of '61 wherever good calls for sacrifice or truth for a defender."



His Rapid Method of Working. A Popular Biographical Writer. The Books
He Has Written.

Still the minutes are not full. The man who learned five languages
while going to and from his business on the street cars of Boston
finds time always to crowd in one thing more. Despite his multitude of
other cares, Dr. Conwell's pen is not idle. It started to write in his
boyhood days and it has been writing ever since.

His best known works are his biographies. Charles A. Dana, the famous
editor and publisher of the New York "Sun," just before his death,
wrote to Harper Brothers recommending that Mr. Conwell be secured to
write a series of books for an "American Biographical Library," and in
his letter said:

"I write the above of my own notion, as I have seldom met Mr. Conwell;
but as a writer of biographies he has no superior. Indeed, I can say
considerately, that he is one of America's greatest men. He never
advertises himself, never saves a newspaper clipping concerning
himself, never keeps a sermon of his own, and will not seek applause.
You must go after him if you want him. He will not apply to you. His
personal history is as fascinating as it is exceptional. He took
himself as a poor back country lad, created out of the crude material
the orator which often combines a Webster with Gough, and made himself
a scholar of the first rank. He created from nothing a powerful
university of high rank in Philadelphia, especially for the common
people. He created a great and influential church out of a small
unknown parish. He has assisted more men in securing an education than
any other American. He has created a hospital of the first order and
extent. He has fed the poor and housed large numbers of orphans. He
has written many books and has addressed more people than any other
living man. To do this without writing or dictating a line to
advertise himself is nothing else than the victory of a great genius.
He is a gem worth your seeking, valuable anywhere. I say again that I
regard Russell H. Conwell, of Philadelphia, as America's greatest man
in the best form. I cannot do your work; he can."

His most successful biography, his "Life of Charles H. Spurgeon," was
written in a little more than two weeks. In fact, it was not written
at all, it was dictated while on a lecturing trip. When Spurgeon died,
a publisher telegraphed Dr. Conwell if he would write a biography of
the great London preacher. Dr. Conwell was traveling at the time in
the West, lecturing. He wired an affirmative, and sent for his private
secretary. It was during the building of the College when great
financial responsibilities were resting on him, and he was lecturing
every night to raise money for the college building fund. His
secretary accompanied him on the lecture trip. Dr. Conwell dictated
the book on the train during the day, the secretary copied it from his
notes at night while Dr. Conwell lectured. At the end of two weeks
the book of six hundred pages was nearly completed. It had a sale of
125,000 copies in four months. And all the royalties were given to a
struggling mission of Grace Baptist Church.

[Illustration: TEMPLE COLLEGE]

His biography of Elaine was written almost as rapidly. In a few hours
after Blaine was nominated as candidate of the Republican party for
the presidency. Dr. and Mrs. Conwell boarded a train and started for
Augusta, Maine. In three weeks the book was completed.

He has worked at times from four o'clock in the morning until twelve
at night when work pressed and time was short.

His life of Bayard Taylor was also written quickly. He had traveled
with Taylor through Europe and long been an intimate friend, so that
he was particularly well fitted for the work. The book was begun after
Taylor's death, December 19, 1878, in Germany, and completed before
the body arrived in America. Five thousand copies were sold before the

Dr. Conwell presided at the memorial service held in Tremont Temple,
Boston. Many years after, in a sermon preached at The Temple, he thus
described the occasion:

"When Bayard Taylor, the traveler and poet, died, great sorrow was
felt and exhibited by the people of this nation. I remember well the
sadness which was noticed in the city of Boston. The spontaneous
desire to give some expression to the respect in which Hr. Taylor's
name was held, pressed the literary people of Boston, both writers and
readers, forward to a public memorial in the great hall of Tremont
Temple. As a friend of Mr. Taylor's I was called upon to preside at
that memorial gathering. That audience of the scholarly classes was a
wonderful tribute to a remarkable man, and one for which. I feel still
a keen sense of gratitude. I remember asking Mr. Longfellow to write
a poem, and to read it, and standing on the broad step at his front
door, in Cambridge, he replied to my suggestion with the sweet
expression: 'The universal sorrow is almost too sacred to touch with a

"But when the evening came, although Professor Longfellow was too ill
to be present, his poem was there. The great hall was crowded with
the most cultivated people of Boston. On the platform sat many of
the poets, orators and philosophers, who have since passed into
the Beyond. When, after several speeches had been made, I arose to
introduce Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the pressure of the crowd was too
great for me to reach my chair again, and I took for a time the seat
which Dr. Holmes had just left, and next to Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Never were words of poet listened to with a silence more respectfully
profound than were the words of Professor Longfellow's poem as they
were so touchingly and beautifully read by Dr. Holmes:

  "'Dead he lay among his books,
  The peace of God was in his looks!

         *       *       *       *       *

  Let the lifeless body rest,
  He is gone who was its guest.--
  Gone as travelers haste to leave
  An inn, nor tarry until eve!
  Traveler, in what realms afar,
    In what planet, in what star,
  In what vast, aerial space,
  Shines the light upon thy face?
    In what gardens of delight
    Rest thy weary feet to-night--'

       *       *       *       *       *

"Before Dr. Holmes resumed his seat, Mr. Emerson whispered in my ear,
in his epigrammatic style, 'This is holy Sabbath time.'"

Among the books which Dr. Conwell has written are:

  "Lessons of Travel."
  "Why and How Chinese Emigrate."
  "Nature's Aristocracy."
  "History of the Great Fire in Boston."
  "The Life of Gen. U.S. Grant."
  "Woman and the Law."
  "The life of Rutherford B. Hayes."
  "History of the Great Fire in St. Johns."
  "The Life of Bayard Taylor."
  "The Life, Speeches, and Public Service of James A. Garfield."
  "Little Bo."
  "Joshua Gianavello."
  "The Life of James G. Blaine."
  "Acres of Diamonds."
  "Gleams of Grace."
  "The Life of Charles H. Spurgeon."
  "The New Day."

The manuscript which he prepared most carefully was the "Life of
Daniel Manin," which was destroyed by fire when his home at Newton
Centre was burned. He had spent much time and labor collecting data on
Italian history for it, and the loss was irreparable.

"Joshua Gianavello" is a biographical story of the great Waldensian
chieftain who loved religions liberty and feared neither inquisition
nor death. It is dedicated to "the many believers in the divine
principle that every person should have the right to worship God
according to the dictates of his own conscience; and to the heroic
warriors who are still contending for religious freedom in the yet
unfinished battle."

The same powerful imagination that pictures so realistically to his
lecture and church audiences the scenes and people he is describing,
makes them live in his books. His style holds the reader by its
vividness of description, its powerful delineation of character and

His latest book, "The New Day," is an amplification of his great
lecture, "Acres of Diamonds." It is not only delightful reading but
it is full of practical help for the affairs of everyday life. For
no matter in what field Dr. Conwell works, this great desire of his
life--to help his brother man--shines out.



Reception Tendered by Citizens of Philadelphia in Acknowledgment of
Work as Public Benefactor.

One more scene in the life of this man who, from a barefoot country
boy with no advantages, has become one of the most widely known of the
preachers, lecturers and writers of the day, as well as the founder
of a college and hospital holding an honored position among the
institutions of the country.

In 1894, acting upon the advice of his physician, Dr. Conwell went
abroad. It is no unusual thing for pastors to go abroad, nor for
members of their church and friends to see them off. But for Grace
Baptist Church personally to wish its pastor "Bon voyage" is something
of an undertaking. A special train was chartered to take the members
to New York. Here a steamer engaged for the purpose awaited them, and
twelve hundred strong, they steamed down the harbor alongside the "New
York" that Dr. Conwell's last glimpse of America might be of the faces
of his own church family.

On his return six hundred church members met him and gave him a royal
welcome, and a large reception was held in The Temple to show how glad
were the hearts of his people that he was restored to them in health.

But it was not enough. The people of Philadelphia said, "This man
belongs to us." In all parts of the city, in all walks of life, were
men and women who had studied at Temple College, whose lives were
happier, more useful because of the knowledge they had gained there,
for whom he had opened these college doors. The Samaritan Hospital had
sent forth people by the hundreds whose bodies had been healed and
their spirits quickened because his kindly heart had foreseen their
need and his generous hands labored to help it. Everywhere throughout
the whole city was felt the leaven of his work, and the people as a
body said, "We will show our appreciation of the work he has done for
Philadelphia, we will show that we recognize him as one of the city's
greatest benefactors and philanthropists."

A committee of twenty-one citizens was formed, of which the Mayor,
Edwin S. Stuart, was chairman, and a reception was tendered Dr. and
Mrs. Conwell and the others of his party in the name of the citizens
of Philadelphia. It was given at the Academy of Fine Arts. With its
paintings and statuary, its broad sweeping staircases, it made a
magnificent setting for the throngs of men and women who crowded to
pay their respects to this man who had lived among them, doing good.

The line of waiting guests reached for two blocks and more and for
hours moved in steady procession before the receiving party. At last
the final farewell was said and on toward midnight Dr. Conwell stepped
into the carriage waiting to take him home.

But the affair was not over. The college boys felt that shaking hands
in formal fashion did not express sufficiently their loyalty and
devotion, their joy in the return of their beloved "Prex." They
unharnessed the horses, and with college cheers and yells triumphantly
drew their president all the way from the Academy of Fine Arts to his
home, a distance of two miles. As they passed Temple College, their
enthusiasm broke all bounds and they drew up the carriage at the
Doctor's residence, two blocks beyond the College, with a yell and a
flourish that fairly lifted the neighbors from their beds.

It was in every way a homecoming and a welcome that proved how
wide-reaching has been the work Dr. Conwell has done, how deeply it
has touched the lives of thousands of people in Philadelphia. This
spontaneous act of appreciation was but the tribute paid by grateful



Problems that Need Solving. The Need of Men Able to Solve Them.

    "O do not pray for easy lives
  Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for
    Tasks equal to your powers. Pray
  For powers equal to your tasks.
    Then the doing of your work shall be
  No miracle. But you shall be a miracle,
    Every day you shall wonder at yourself,
  At the richness of life that has come to you
    By the Grace of God."

wrote that great preacher, Phillips Brooks.

The world does not want easy lives but strong men. Every age has its
problems. Every age needs men with clear moral vision, strong hands,
humane hearts to solve these problems. Character, not the fortune of
birth, qualifies for leadership in such a work. And such work ever
waits, the world over, to be done. In every large city of the country
are thousands crying for better education, the suffering poor are
holding up weak hands for help, men and women morally blind, are
asking for light to find Christ--the Christ of the Bible, not the
Christ of dogma and creed, religion pure and undefiled, the church in
the simplicity of the days of the apostles, the church that reaches
out a helping hand to all the needs of humanity.

Institutional churches are needed, not one, but many of them, in the
cities, churches that help men to grapple with the stern actualities
of everyday life, churches that preach by works as well as by word,
churches in which the man in fustian is as welcome as the one in
broadcloth, churches whose influence reaches into the highways and
byways and compels people to come in by the very cordiality and
kindness of the invitation, churches that help people to live better
and more happily in this world, while at the same time preparing them
for the world to come.

"In no other city in the country is there such an example of the
quickening force of a united and working church organization as
is given by the North Broad Street Temple, Philadelphia," says an
editorial writer in the Philadelphia "Press." "Twenty such churches
in this city of 1,250,000 people would do more to evangelize it and
re-awaken an interest in the vital truths of Christianity than the
hundreds of church organizations it now has. The world is demanding
more and better returns from the church for the time and money given
it. Real, practical Christian work is what is asked of the church. The
sooner it conforms to this demand, the more quickly it will regain
its old influence and be prepared to make effective its fight against

Hospitals are needed that heal in the name of Christ, that heal ills
of the body and at the same time by the spirit of love that permeates,
by the Christian spirit that animates all connected with them, cure
the ills of the soul and send the sufferers away rejoicing in spirit
as well as in body, with a brighter outlook on the world and increased
faith in humankind.

Colleges are needed the length and breadth of this land, wherever the
poor and ignorant sit in darkness. In every town of five thousand or
more, a college for working people on the lines of the Temple College
would be thronged with eager, rejoicing students. And the world is the
better for every man and woman raised to a higher plane of living. Any
life, no matter how sordid and narrow, how steeped in ignorance, if
swept sweet and clean by God's love, if awakened by ambition and then
given the opportunity to grow, can be changed into beauty, sweetness
and usefulness. And such work is worth while.

The way has been blazed, the path has been pointed out, it only
remains for those who follow after to walk therein. And if they walk
therein, they will gain that true greatness and deep happiness which
Phillips Brooks says comes ever "to the man who has given his life
to his race, who feels that what God gives him, He gives him for


Dr. Conwell's most famous lecture and one of his earliest has been
given at this writing (October, 1905) 3420 times. The income from it
if invested at regular rates of interest would have amounted very
nearly to one million dollars.


Is Dr. Conwell's latest lecture. It is a backward glance over his own
life in which he tells in his inimitable fashion many of its most
interesting scenes and incidents. It is here published for the first


[Footnote A: Reported by A. Russell Smith and Harry E. Greager.]

[Mr. Conwell's lectures are all delivered extemporaneously and differ
greatly from night to night.--Ed.]

I am astonished that so many people should care to hear this story
over again. Indeed, this lecture has become a study in psychology;
it often breaks all rules of oratory, departs from the precepts of
rhetoric, and yet remains the most popular of any lecture I have
delivered in the forty-four years of my public life. I have sometimes
studied for a year upon a lecture and made careful research, and then
presented the lecture just once--never delivered it again. I put too
much work on it. But this had no work on it--thrown together perfectly
at random, spoken offhand without any special preparation, and it
succeeds when the thing we study, work over, adjust to a plan is an
entire failure.

The "Acres of Diamonds" which I have mentioned through so many years
are to be found in Philadelphia, and you are to find them. Many have
found them. And what man has done, man can do. I could not find
anything better to illustrate my thought than a story I have told
over and over again, and which is now found in books in nearly every

In 1870 we went down the Tigris River. We hired a guide at Bagdad to
show us Persepolis, Nineveh and Babylon, and the ancient countries of
Assyria as far as the Arabian Gulf. He was well acquainted with the
land, but he was one of those guides who love to entertain their
patrons; he was like a barber that tells you many stories in order to
keep your mind off the scratching and the scraping. He told me so
many stories that I grew tired of his telling them and I refused to
listen--looked away whenever he commenced; that made the guide quite
angry, I remember that toward evening he took his Turkish cap off his
head and swung it around in the air. The gesture I did not understand
and I did not dare look at him for fear I should become the victim of
another story. But, although I am not a woman, I did look, and the
instant I turned my eyes upon that worthy guide he was off again. Said
he, "I will tell you a story now which I reserve for my particular
friends!" So then, counting myself a particular friend, I listened,
and I have always been glad I did.

He said there once lived not far from the River Indus an ancient
Persian by the name of Al Hafed. He said that Al Hafed owned a very
large farm with orchards, grain fields and gardens. He was a contented
and wealthy man--contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because
he was contented. One day there visited this old farmer one of those
ancient Buddhist priests, and he sat down by Al Hafed's fire and told
that old farmer how this world of ours was made. He said that this
world was once a mere bank of fog, which is scientifically true, and
he said that the Almighty thrust his finger into the bank of fog and
then began slowly to move his finger around and gradually to increase
the speed of his finger until at last he whirled that bank of fog
into a solid ball of fire, and it went rolling through the universe,
burning its way through other cosmic banks of fog, until it condensed
the moisture without, and fell in floods of rain upon the heated
surface and cooled the outward crust. Then the internal flames burst
through the cooling crust and threw up the mountains and made the
hills of the valley of this wonderful world of ours. If this internal
melted mass burst out and cooled very quickly it became granite; that
which cooled less quickly became silver; and less quickly, gold; and
after gold diamonds were made. Said the old priest, "A diamond is a
congealed drop of sunlight."

This is a scientific truth also. You all know that a diamond is pure
carbon, actually deposited sunlight--and he said another thing I would
not forget: he declared that a diamond is the last and highest of
God's mineral creations, as a woman is the last and highest of God's
animal creations. I suppose that is the reason why the two have such a
liking for each other. And the old priest told Al Hafed that if he had
a handful of diamonds he could purchase a whole county, and with a
mine of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through the
influence of their great wealth. Al Hafed heard all about diamonds
and how much they were worth, and went to his bed that night a
poor man--not that he had lost anything, but poor because he was
discontented and discontented because he thought he was poor. He said:
"I want a mine of diamonds!" So he lay awake all night, and early in
the morning sought out the priest. Now I know from experience that
a priest when awakened early in the morning is cross. He awoke that
priest out of his dreams and said to him, "Will you tell me where I
can find diamonds?" The priest said, "Diamonds? What do you want with
diamonds?" "I want to be immensely rich," said Al Hafed, "but I don't
know where to go." "Well," said the priest, "if you will find a river
that runs over white sand between high mountains, in those sands you
will always see diamonds." "Do you really believe that there is such a
river?" "Plenty of them, plenty of them; all you have to do is just go
and find them, then you have them." Al Hafed said, "I will go." So he
sold his farm, collected his money at interest, left his family in
charge of a neighbor, and away he went in search of diamonds. He began
very properly, to my mind, at the Mountains of the Moon. Afterwards he
went around into Palestine, then wandered on into Europe, and at last
when his money was all spent, and he was in rags, wretchedness and
poverty, he stood on the shore of that bay in Barcelona, Spain, when
a tidal wave came rolling in through the Pillars of Hercules and the
poor afflicted, suffering man could not resist the awful temptation to
cast himself into that incoming tide, and he sank beneath its foaming
crest, never to rise in this life again.

When that old guide had told me that very sad story, he stopped the
camel I was riding and went back to fix the baggage on one of the
other camels, and I remember thinking to myself, "Why did he reserve
that for his _particular friends_?" There seemed to be no beginning,
middle or end--nothing to it. That was the first story I ever heard
told or read in which the hero was killed in the first chapter. I had
but one chapter of that story and the hero was dead. When the guide
came back and took up the halter of my camel again, he went right on
with the same story. He said that Al Hafed's successor led his camel
out into the garden to drink, and as that camel put its nose down into
the clear water of the garden brook Al Hafed's successor noticed a
curious flash of light from the sands of the shallow stream, and
reaching in he pulled out a black stone having an eye of light that
reflected all the colors of the rainbow, and he took that curious
pebble into the house and left it on the mantel, then went on his way
and forgot all about it. A few days after that, this same old priest
who told Al Hafed how diamonds were made, came in to visit his
successor, when he saw that flash of light from the mantel. He rushed
up and said, "Here is a diamond--here is a diamond! Has Al Hafed
returned?" "No, no; Al Hafed has not returned and that is not a
diamond; that is nothing but a stone; we found it right out here in
our garden." "But I know a diamond when I see it," said he; "that is a

Then together they rushed to the garden and stirred up the white sands
with their fingers and found others more beautiful, more valuable
diamonds than the first, and thus, said the guide to me, were
discovered the diamond mines of Golconda, the most magnificent diamond
mines in all the history of mankind, exceeding the Kimberley in its
value. The great Kohinoor diamond in England's crown jewels and the
largest crown diamond on earth in Russia's crown jewels, which I had
often hoped she would have to sell before they had peace with Japan,
came from that mine, and when the old guide had called my attention to
that wonderful discovery he took his Turkish cap off his head again
and swung it around in the air to call my attention to the moral.
Those Arab guides have a moral to each story, though the stories are
not always moral. He said had Al Hafed remained at home and dug in his
own cellar or in his own garden, instead of wretchedness, starvation,
poverty and death in a strange land, he would have had "acres of
diamonds"--for every acre, yes, every shovelful of that old farm
afterwards revealed the gems which since have decorated the crowns of
monarchs. When he had given the moral to his story, I saw why he had
reserved this story for his "particular friends." I didn't tell him I
could see it; I was not going to tell that old Arab that I could see
it. For it was that mean old Arab's way of going around a thing, like
a lawyer, and saying indirectly what he did not dare say directly,
that there was a certain young man that day traveling down the Tigris
River that might better be at home in America. I didn't tell him I
could see it.

I told him his story reminded me of one, and I told it to him quick. I
told him about that man out in California, who, in 1847, owned a
ranch out there. He read that gold had been discovered in Southern
California, and he sold his ranch to Colonel Sutter and started off to
hunt for gold. Colonel Sutter put a mill on the little stream in
that farm and one day his little girl brought some wet sand from the
raceway of the mill into the house and placed it before the fire to
dry, and as that sand was falling through the little girl's fingers
a visitor saw the first shining scales of real gold that were ever
discovered in California; and the man who wanted the gold had sold
this ranch and gone away, never to return. I delivered this lecture
two years ago in California, in the city that stands near that farm,
and they told me that the mine is not exhausted yet, and that a
one-third owner of that farm has been getting during these recent
years twenty dollars of gold every fifteen minutes of his life,
sleeping or waking. Why, you and I would enjoy an income like that!

But the best illustration that I have now of this thought was found
here in Pennsylvania. There was a man living in Pennsylvania who
owned a farm here and he did what I should do if I had a farm in
Pennsylvania--he sold it. But before he sold it he concluded to secure
employment collecting coal oil for his cousin in Canada. They first
discovered coal oil there. So this farmer in Pennsylvania decided that
he would apply for a position with his cousin in Canada. Now, you see,
this farmer was not altogether a foolish man. He did net leave his
farm until he had something else to do. Of all the simpletons the
stars shine on there is none more foolish than a man who leaves one
job before he has obtained another. And that has especial reference to
gentlemen of my profession, and has no reference to a man seeking a
divorce. So I say this old farmer did not leave one job until he had
obtained another. He wrote to Canada, but his cousin replied that he
could not engage him because he did not know anything about the oil
business. "Well, then," said he, "I will understand it." So he set
himself at the study of the whole subject. He began at the second day
of the creation, he studied the subject from the primitive vegetation
to the coal oil stage, until he knew all about it. Then he wrote to
his cousin and said, "Now I understand the oil business." And his
cousin replied to him, "All right, then, come on." That man, by the
record of the county, sold his farm for eight hundred and thirty-three
dollars--even money, "no cents." He had scarcely gone from that farm
before the man who purchased it went out to arrange for the watering
the cattle and he found that the previous owner had arranged the
matter very nicely. There is a stream running down the hillside there,
and the previous owner had gone out and put a plank across that stream
at an angle, extending across the brook and down edgewise a few inches
under the surface of the water. The purpose of the plank across that
brook was to throw over to the other bank a dreadful-looking scum
through which the cattle would not put their noses to drink above the
plank, although they would drink the water on one side below it. Thus
that man who had gone to Canada had been himself damming back for
twenty-three years a flow of coal oil which the State Geologist of
Pennsylvania declared officially, as early as 1870, was then worth to
our State a hundred millions of dollars. The city of Titusville now
stands on that farm and those Pleasantville wells flow on, and that
farmer who had studied all about the formation of oil since the second
day of God's creation clear down to the present time, sold that farm
for $833, no cents--again I say "no sense."

But I need another illustration, and I found that in Massachusetts,
and I am sorry I did, because that is my old State. This young man I
mention went out of the State to study--went down to Yale College and
studied Mines and Mining. They paid him fifteen dollars a week during
his last year for training students who were behind their classes in
mineralogy, out of hours, of course, while pursuing his own studies.
But when he graduated they raised his pay from fifteen dollars to
forty-five dollars and offered him a professorship. Then he went
straight home to his mother and said, "Mother, I won't work for
forty-five dollars a week. What is forty-five dollars a week for a man
with a brain like mine! Mother, lets go out to California and stake
out gold claims and be immensely rich." "Now" said his mother, "it is
just as well to be happy as it is to be rich."

But as he was the only son he had his way--they always do; and they
sold out in Massachusetts and went to Wisconsin, where he went into
the employ of the Superior Copper Mining Company, and he was lost from
sight in the employ of that company at fifteen dollars a week again.
He was also to have an interest in any mines that he should discover
for that company. But I do not believe that he has ever discovered a
mine--I do not know anything about it, but I do not believe he has. I
know he had scarcely gone from the old homestead before the farmer
who had bought the homestead went out to dig potatoes, and as he was
bringing them in in a large basket through the front gateway, the ends
of the stone wall came so near together at the gate that the basket
hugged very tight. So he set the basket on the ground and pulled,
first on one side and then on the other side. Our farms in
Massachusetts are mostly stone walls, and the farmers have to be
economical with their gateways in order to have some place to put the
stones. That basket hugged so tight there that as he was hauling it
through he noticed in the upper stone next the gate a block of native
silver, eight inches square; and this professor of mines and mining
and mineralogy, who would not work for forty-five dollars a week, when
he sold that homestead in Massachusetts, sat right on that stone to
make the bargain. He was brought up there; he had gone back and forth
by that piece of silver, rubbed it with his sleeve, and it seemed to
say, "Come now, now, now, here is a hundred thousand dollars. Why
not take me?" But he would not take it. There was no silver in
Newburyport; it was all away off--well, I don't know where; he didn't,
but somewhere else--and he was a professor of mineralogy.

I do not know of anything I would enjoy better than to take the whole
time to-night telling of blunders like that I have heard professors
make. Yet I wish I knew what that man is doing out there in Wisconsin.
I can imagine him out there, as he sits by his fireside, and he is
saying to his friends, "Do you know that man Conwell that lives in
Philadelphia?" "Oh, yes, I have heard of him." "And do you know that
man. Jones that lives in that city?" "Yes, I have heard of him." And
then he begins to laugh and laugh and says to his friends, "They have
done the same thing I did, precisely." And that spoils the whole joke,
because you and I have done it.

Ninety out of every hundred people here have made that mistake this
very day. I say you ought to be rich; you have no right to be poor. To
live in Philadelphia and not be rich is a misfortune, and it is doubly
a misfortune, because you could have been rich just as well as be
poor. Philadelphia furnishes so many opportunities. You ought to be
rich. But persons with certain religious prejudice will ask, "How can
you spend your time advising the rising generation to give their time
to getting money--dollars and cents--the commercial spirit?" Yet I
must say that you ought to spend time getting rich. You and I know
there are some things more valuable than money; of course, we do. Ah,
yes! By a heart made unspeakably sad by a grave on which the autumn
leaves now fall, I know there are some things higher and grander and
sublimer than money. Well does the man know, who has suffered, that
there are some things sweeter and holier and more sacred than gold.
Nevertheless, the man of common sense also knows that there is not any
one of those things that is not greatly enhanced by the use of money.
Money is power. Love is the grandest thing on God's earth, but
fortunate the lover who has plenty of money. Money is power; money has
powers; and for a man to say, "I do not want money," is to say, "I do
not wish to do any good to my fellowmen." It is absurd thus to talk.
It is absurd to disconnect them. This is a wonderfully great life, and
you ought to spend your time getting money, because of the power there
is in money. And yet this religious prejudice is so great that some
people think it is a great honor to be one of God's poor. I am looking
in the faces of people who think just that way. I heard a man once
say in a prayer meeting that he was thankful that he was one of God's
poor, and then I silently wondered what his wife would say to that
speech, as she took in washing to support the man while he sat and
smoked on the veranda. I don't want to see any more of that kind of
God's poor. Now, when a man could have been rich just as well, and he
is now weak because he is poor, he has done some great wrong; he has
been untruthful to himself; he has been unkind to his fellowmen. We
ought to get rich if we can by honorable and Christian methods, and
these are the only methods that sweep us quickly toward the goal of

I remember, not many years ago a young theological student who came
into my office and said to me that he thought it was his duty to come
in and "labor with me." I asked him what had happened, and he said: "I
feel it is my duty to come in and speak to you, sir, and say that the
Holy Scriptures declare that money is the root of all evil." I asked
him where he found that saying, and he said he found it in the Bible.
I asked him whether he had made a new Bible, and he said, no, he had
not gotten a new Bible, that it was in the old Bible. "Well," I
said, "if it is in my Bible, I never saw it. Will you please get the
text-book and let me see it?" He left the room and soon came stalking
in with his Bible open, with all the bigoted pride of the narrow
sectarian, who founds his creed on some misinterpretation of
Scripture, and he puts the Bible down on the table before me and
fairly squealed into my ear, "There it is. You can read it for
yourself." I said to him, "Young man, you will learn, when you get a
little older, that you cannot trust another denomination to read the
Bible for you." I said, "Now, you belong to another denomination.
Please read it to me, and remember that you are taught in a school
where emphasis is exegesis." So he took the Bible and read it: "The
_love_ of money is the root of all evil." Then he had it right. The
Great Book has come back into the esteem and love of the people, and
into the respect of the greatest minds of earth, and now you can quote
it and rest your life and your death on it without more fear. So, when
he quoted right from the Scriptures he quoted the truth. "The love of
money is the root of all evil." Oh, that is it. It is the worship of
the means instead of the end, though you cannot reach the end without
the means. When a man makes an idol of the money instead of the
purposes for which it may be used, when he squeezes the dollar until
the eagle squeals, then it is made the root of all evil. Think, if you
only had the money, what you could do for your wife, your child, and
for your home and your city. Think how soon you could endow the Temple
College yonder if you only had the money and the disposition to give
it; and yet, my friend, people say you and I should not spend the time
getting rich. How inconsistent the whole thing is. We ought to be
rich, because money has power. I think the best thing for me to do is
to illustrate this, for if I say you ought to get rich, I ought, at
least, to suggest how it is done. We get a prejudice against rich men
because of the lies that are told about them. The lies that are told
about Mr. Rockefeller because he has two hundred million dollars--so
many believe them; yet how false is the representation of that man
to the world. How little we can tell what is true nowadays when
newspapers try to sell their papers entirely on some sensation! The
way they lie about the rich men is something terrible, and I do not
know that there is anything to illustrate this better than what the
newspapers now say about the city of Philadelphia. A young man came
to me the other day and said, "If Mr. Rockefeller, as you think, is a
good man, why is it that everybody says so much against him?" It is
because he has gotten ahead of us; that is the whole of it--just
gotten ahead of us. Why is it Mr. Carnegie is criticised so sharply by
an envious world? Because he has gotten more than we have. If a man
knows more than I know, don't I incline to criticise somewhat his
learning? Let a man, stand in a pulpit and preach to thousands, and if
I have fifteen people in my church, and they're all asleep, don't I
criticise him? We always do that to the man who gets ahead of us. Why,
the man you are criticising has one hundred millions, and you have
fifty cents, and both of you have just what you are worth. One of
the richest men in this country came into my home and sat down in my
parlor and said: "Did you see all those lies about my family in the
paper?" "Certainly I did; I knew they were lies when I saw them." "Why
do they lie about me the way they do?" "Well", I said to him, "if you
will give me your check for one hundred millions, I will take all the
lies along with it" "Well," said he, "I don't see any sense in their
thus talking about my family and myself. Conwell, tell me frankly,
what do you think the American people think of me?" "Well," said I,
"they think you are the blackest-hearted villain that ever trod the
soil!" "But what can I do about it?" There is nothing he can do about
it, and yet he is one of the sweetest Christian men I ever knew. If
you get a hundred millions you will have the lies; you will be lied
about, and you can judge your success in any line by the lies that are
told about you. I say that you ought to be rich. But there are ever
coming to me young men who say, "I would like to go into business,
but I cannot." "Why not?" "Because I have no capital to begin on."
Capital, capital to begin on! What! young man! Living in Philadelphia
and looking at this wealthy generation, all of whom began as poor
boys, and you want capital to begin on? It is fortunate for you that
you have no capital. I am glad you have no money. I pity a rich man's
son. A rich man's son in these days of ours occupies a very difficult
position. They are to be pitied. A rich man's son cannot know the very
best things in human life. He cannot. The statistics of Massachusetts
show us that not one out of seventeen rich men's sons ever die rich.
They are raised in luxury, they die in poverty. Even if a rich man's
son retains his father's money even then he cannot know the best
things of life.

A young man in our college yonder asked me to formulate for him what
I thought was the happiest hour in a man's history, and I studied it
long and came back convinced that the happiest hour that any man ever
sees in any earthly matter is when a young man takes his bride over
the threshold of the door, for the first time, of the house he himself
has earned and built, when he turns to his bride and with an eloquence
greater than any language of mine, he sayeth to his wife, "My loved
one, I earned this home myself; I earned it all. It is all mine, and
I divide it with thee." That is the grandest moment a human heart may
ever see. But a rich man's son cannot know that. He goes into a finer
mansion, it may be, but he is obliged to go through the house and say,
"Mother gave me this, mother gave me that, my mother gave me that,
my mother gave me that," until his wife wishes she had married his
mother. Oh, I pity a rich man's son. I do. Until he gets so far along
in his dudeism that he gets his arms up like that and can't get them
down. Didn't you ever see any of them astray at Atlantic City? I saw
one of these scarecrows once and I never tire thinking about it. I was
at Niagara Falls lecturing, and after the lecture I went to the hotel,
and when I went up to the desk there stood there a millionaire's son
from New York. He was an indescribable specimen of anthropologic
potency. He carried a gold-headed cane under his arm--more in its head
than he had in his. I do not believe I could describe the young man if
I should try. But still I must say that he wore an eye-glass he could
not see through; patent leather shoes he could not walk in, and pants
he could not sit down in--dressed like a grasshopper! Well, this human
cricket came up to the clerk's desk just as I came in. He adjusted his
unseeing eye-glass in this wise and lisped to the clerk, because it's
"Hinglish, you know," to lisp: "Thir, thir, will you have the kindness
to fuhnish me with thome papah and thome envelopehs!" The clerk
measured that man quick, and he pulled out a drawer and took some
envelopes and paper and cast them across the counter and turned away
to his books. You should have seen that specimen of humanity when the
paper and envelopes came across the counter--he whose wants had always
been anticipated by servants. He adjusted his unseeing eye-glass and
he yelled after that clerk: "Come back here thir, come right back
here. Now, thir, will you order a thervant to take that papah and
thothe envelopes and carry them to yondah dethk." Oh, the poor
miserable, contemptible American monkey! He couldn't carry paper and
envelopes twenty feet. I suppose he could not get his arms down. I
have no pity for such travesties of human nature. If you have no
capital, I am glad of it You don't need capital; you need common
sense, not copper cents.

A.T. Stewart, the great princely merchant of New York, the richest man
in America in his time, was a poor boy; he had a dollar and a half and
went into the mercantile business. But he lost eighty-seven and a half
cents of his first dollar and a half because he bought some needles
and thread and buttons to sell, which people didn't want. Are you
poor? It is because you are not wanted and are left on your own hands.
There was the great lesson. Apply it whichever way you will it comes
to every single person's life, young or old. He did not know what
people needed, and consequently bought something they didn't want, and
had the goods left on his hands a dead loss. A.T. Stewart earned there
the great lesson of his mercantile life and said, "I will never buy
anything more until I first learn what the people want; then I'll make
the purchase." He went around to the doors and asked them what they
did want, and when he found out what they wanted, he invested his
sixty-two and a hall cents and began to supply "a known demand." I
care not what your profession or occupation in life may be; I care not
whether you are a lawyer, a doctor, a housekeeper, teacher or whatever
else, the principle is precisely the same. We must know what the world
needs first and then invest ourselves to supply that need, and success
is almost certain. A.T. Stewart went on until he was worth forty
millions. "Well," you will say, "a man can do that in New York, but
cannot do it here in Philadelphia." The statistics very carefully
gathered in New York in 1889 showed one hundred and seven millionaires
in the city worth over ten millions apiece. It was remarkable and
people think they must go there to get rich. Out of that one hundred
and seven millionaires only seven of them made their money in New
York, and the others moved to New York after their fortunes were made,
and sixty-seven out of the remaining hundred made their fortunes in
towns of less than six thousand people, and the richest man in
the country at that time lived in a town of thirty-five hundred
inhabitants, and always lived there and never moved away. It is not
so much where you are as what you are. But at the same time if the
largeness of the city comes into the problem, then remember it is the
smaller city that furnishes the great opportunity to make the millions
of money. The best illustration that I can give is in reference to
John Jacob Astor, who was a poor boy and who made all the money of the
Astor family. He made more than his successors have ever earned, and
yet he once held a mortgage on a millinery store in New York, and
because the people could not make enough money to pay the interest and
the rent, he foreclosed the mortgage and took possession of the store
and went into partnership with the man who had failed. He kept the
same stock did not give them a dollar of capital, and he left them
alone and went out and sat down upon a bench in the park. Out there on
that bench in the park he had the most important, and to my mind, the
pleasantest part of that partnership business. He was watching the
ladies as they went by; and where is the man that wouldn't get rich
at that business? But when John Jacob Astor saw a lady pass, with her
shoulders back and her head up, as if she did not care if the whole
world looked on her, he studied her bonnet; and before that bonnet
was out of sight he knew the shape of the frame and the color of the
trimmings, the curl of the--something on a bonnet Sometimes I try to
describe a woman's bonnet, but it is of little use, for it would be
out of style to-morrow night. So John Jacob Astor went to the store
and said: "Now, put in the show window just such a bonnet as I
describe to you because," said he, "I have just seen a lady who likes
just such a bonnet. Do not make up any more till I come back." And he
went out again and sat on that bench in the park, and another lady of
a different form and complexion passed him with a bonnet of different
shape and color, of course. "Now," said he, "put such a bonnet as that
in the show window." He didn't fill his show window with hats and
bonnets which drive people away and then sit in the back of the store
and bawl because the people go somewhere else to trade. He didn't put
a hat or bonnet in that show window the like of which he had not seen
before it was made up.

In our city especially there are great opportunities for
manufacturing, and the time has come when the line is drawn very
sharply between the stockholders of the factory and their employés.
Now, friends, there has also come a discouraging gloom upon this
country and the laboring men are beginning to feel that they are being
held down by a crust over their heads through which they find it
impossible to break, and the aristocratic money-owner himself is so
far above that he will never descend to their assistance. That is the
thought that is in the minds of our people. But, friends, never in the
history of our country was there an opportunity so great for the poor
man to get rich as there is now and in the city of Philadelphia. The
very fact that they get discouraged is what prevents them from getting
rich. That is all there is to it. The road is open, and let us keep it
open between the poor and the rich. I know that the labor unions have
two great problems to contend with, and there is only one way to solve
them. The labor unions are doing as much to prevent its solving as are
the capitalists to-day, and there are positively two sides to it. The
labor union has two difficulties; the first one is that it began to
make a labor scale for all classes on a par, and they scale down a man
that can earn five dollars a day to two and a half a day, in order to
level up to him an imbecile that cannot earn fifty cents a day. That
is one of the most dangerous and discouraging things for the working
man. He cannot get the results of his work if he do better work or
higher work or work longer; that is a dangerous thing, and in order to
get every laboring man free and every American equal to every other
American, let the laboring man ask what he is worth and get it--not
let any capitalist say to him: "You shall work for me for half of what
you are worth;" nor let any labor organization say: "You shall work for
the capitalist for half your worth." Be a man, be independent, and
then shall the laboring man find the road ever open from poverty to
wealth. The other difficulty that the labor union has to consider, and
this problem they have to solve themselves, is the kind of orators who
come and talk to them about the oppressive rich. I can in my
dreams recite the oration I have heard again and again under such
circumstances. My life has been with the laboring man. I am a laboring
man myself. I have often, in their assemblies, heard the speech of the
man who has been invited to address the labor union. The man gets up
before the assembled company of honest laboring men and he begins by
saying: "Oh, ye honest, industrious laboring men, who have furnished
all the capital of the world, who have built all the palaces and
constructed all the railroads and covered the ocean with her
steamships. Oh, you laboring men! You are nothing but slaves; you are
ground down in the dust by the capitalist who is gloating over you as
he enjoys his beautiful estates and as he has his banks filled with
gold, and every dollar he owns is coined out of the hearts' blood of
the honest laboring man." Now, that is a lie, and you know it is a
lie; and yet that is the kind of speech that they are all the time
hearing, representing the capitalists as wicked and the laboring men
so enslaved. Why, how wrong it is! Let the man who loves his flag and
believes in American principles endeavor with all his soul to bring
the capitalist and the laboring man together until they stand side by
side, and arm in arm, and work for the common good of humanity.

He is an enemy to his country who sets capital against labor or labor
against capital.

Suppose I were to go down through this audience and ask you to
introduce me to the great inventors who live here in Philadelphia.
"The inventors of Philadelphia," you would say "Why we don't have any
in Philadelphia. It is too slow to invent anything." But you do have
just as great inventors, and they are here in this audience, as ever
invented a machine. But the probability is that the greatest inventor
to benefit the world with his discovery is some person, perhaps some
lady, who thinks she could not invent anything. Did you ever study the
history of invention and see how strange it was that the man who made
the greatest discovery did it without any previous idea that he was an
inventor? Who are the great inventors? They are persons with plain,
straightforward common sense, who saw a need in the world and
immediately applied themselves to supply that need. If you want to
invent anything, don't try to find it in the wheels in your head nor
the wheels in your machine, but first find out what the people need,
and then apply yourself to that need, and this leads to invention on
the part of people you would not dream of before. The great inventors
are simply great men; the greater the man the more simple the man; and
the more simple a machine, the more valuable it is. Did you ever know
a really great man? His ways are so simple, so common, so plain, that
you think any one could do what he is doing. So it is with the great
men the world over. If you know a really great man, a neighbor of
yours, you can go right up to him and say, "How are you, Jim, good
morning, Sam." Of course you can, for they are always so simple.

When I wrote the life of General Garfield, one of his neighbors took
me to his back door, and shouted, "Jim, Jim, Jim!" and very soon "Jim"
came to the door and General Garfield let me in--one of the grandest
men of our century. The great men of the world are ever so. I was down
in Virginia and went up to an educational institution and was directed
to a man who was setting out a tree. I approached him and said, "Do
you think it would be possible for me to see General Robert B. Lee,
the President of the University?" He said, "Sir, I am General Lee."
Of course, when you meet such a man, so noble a man as that, you will
find him a simple, plain man. Greatness is always just so modest and
great inventions are simple.

I asked a class in school once who were the great inventors, and a
little girl popped up and said, "Columbus." Well, now, she was not so
far wrong. Columbus bought a farm and he carried on that farm just as
I carried on my father's farm. He took a hoe and went out and sat down
on a rock. But Columbus, as he sat upon that shore and looked out upon
the ocean, noticed that the ships, as they sailed away, sank deeper
into the sea the farther they went. And since that time some other
"Spanish ships" have sunk into the sea. But as Columbus noticed that
the tops of the masts dropped down out of sight, he said: "That is the
way it is with this hoe handle; if you go around this hoe handle, the
farther off you go the farther down you go. I can sail around to the
East Indies." How plain it all was. How simple the mind--majestic
like the simplicity of a mountain in its greatness. Who are the great
inventors? They are ever the simple, plain, everyday people who see
the need and set about to supply it.

I was once lecturing in North Carolina, and the cashier of the bank
sat directly behind a lady who wore a very large hat. I said to that
audience, "Your wealth is too near to you; you are looking right over
it." He whispered to his friend, "Well, then, my wealth is in that
hat." A little later, as he wrote me, I said, "Wherever there is a
human need there is a greater fortune than a mine can furnish." He
caught my thought, and he drew up his plan for a better hat pin than
was in the hat before him, and the pin is now being manufactured. He
was offered fifty-five thousand dollars for his patent. That man
made his fortune before he got out of that hall. This is the whole
question: Do you see a need?

I remember well a man up in my native hills, a poor man, who for
twenty years was helped by the town in his poverty, who owned a
wide-spreading maple tree that covered the poor man's cottage like
a benediction from on high. I remember that tree, for in the
spring--there were some roguish boys around that neighborhood when I
was young--in the spring of the year the man would put a bucket there
and the spouts to catch the maple sap, and I remember where that
bucket was; and when I was young the boys were, oh, so mean, that
they went to that tree before than man had gotten out of bed in the
morning, and after he had gone to bed at night, and drank up that
sweet sap. I could swear they did it. He didn't make a great deal of
maple sugar from that tree. But one day he made the sugar so white
and crystaline that the visitor did not believe it was maple sugar;
thought maple sugar must be red or black. He said to the old man: "Why
don't you make it that way and sell it for confectionary?" The old man
caught his thought and invented the "rock maple crystal," and before
that patent expired he had ninety thousand dollars and had built a
beautiful palace on the site of that tree. After forty years owning
that tree he awoke to find it had fortunes of money indeed in it. And
many of us are right by the tree that has a fortune for us, and we own
it, possess it, do what we will with it, but we do not learn its value
because we do not see the human need, and in these discoveries, and
inventions this is one of the most romantic things of life.

I have received letters from all over the country and from England,
where I have lectured, saying that they have discovered this and that,
and one man out in Ohio took me through his great factories last
spring, and said that they cost him $680,000, and said he, "I was
not worth a cent in the world when I heard your lecture "Acres of
Diamonds"; but I made up my mind to stop right here and make my
fortune here, and here it is." He showed me through his unmortgaged
possessions. And this is a continual experience now as I travel
through the country, after these many years. I mention this incident,
not to boast, but to show you that you can do the same if you will.

Who are the great inventors? I remember a good illustration in a man
who used to live in East Brookfield, Mass. He was a shoemaker, and he
was out of work, and he sat around the house until his wife told him
"to go out doors." And he did what every husband is compelled by law
to do--he obeyed his wife. And he went out and sat down on an ash
barrel in his back yard. Think of it! Stranded on an ash barrel and
the enemy in possession of the house! As he sat on that ash barrel, he
looked down into that little brook which ran through that back yard
into the meadows, and he saw a little trout go flashing up the stream
and hiding under the bank. I do not suppose he thought of Tennyson's
beautiful poem:

  "Chatter, chatter, as I flow,
   To join the brimming river,
  Men may come, and men may go,
   But I go on forever."

But as this man looked into the brook, he leaped off that ash barrel
and managed to catch the trout with his fingers, and sent it to
Worcester. They wrote back that they would give him a five dollar bill
for another such trout as that, not that it was worth that much, but
he wished to help the poor man. So this shoemaker and his wife, now
perfectly united, that five dollar bill in prospect went out to get
another trout They went up the stream to its source and down to the
brimming river, but not another trout could they find in the whole
stream; and so they came home disconsolate and went to the minister.
The minister didn't know how trout grew, but he pointed the way. Said
he, "Get Seth Green's book, and that will give you the information you
want." They did so, and found all about the culture of trout. They
found that a trout lays thirty-six hundred eggs every year and every
trout gains a quarter of a pound every year, so that in four years a
little trout will furnish four tons per annum to sell to the market
at fifty cents a pound. When they found that, they said they didn't
believe any such story as that, but if they could get five dollars a
piece they could make something. And right in that same back yard with
the coal sifter up stream and window screen down the stream, they
began the culture of trout. They afterwards moved to the Hudson, and
since then he has become the authority in the United States upon the
raising of fish, and he has been next to the highest on the United
States Fish Commission in Washington. My lesson is that man's wealth
was out there in his back yard for twenty years, but he didn't see it
until his wife drove him out with a mop stick.

I remember meeting personally a poor carpenter of Hingham,
Massachusetts, who was out of work and in poverty. His wife also drove
him out of doors. He sat down on the shore and whittled a soaked
shingle into a wooden chain. His children quarreled over it in the
evening, and while he was whittling a second one, a neighbor came
along and said, "Why don't you whittle toys if you can carve like
that?" He said, "I don't know what to make!" There is the whole thing.
His neighbor said to him: "Why don't you ask your own children?" Said
he, "What is the use of doing that? My children are different from
other people's children." I used to see people like that when I taught
school. The next morning when his boy came down the stairway, he said,
"Sam, what do you want for a toy?" "I want a wheel-barrow." When his
little girl came down he asked her what she wanted, and she said, "I
want a little doll's washstand, a little doll's carriage, a little
doll's umbrella," and went on with a whole lot of things that would
have taken his lifetime to supply. He consulted his own children right
there in his own house and began to whittle out toys to please them.
He began with his jack-knife, and made those unpainted Hingham toys.
He is the richest man in the entire New England States, if Mr. Lawson
is to be trusted in his statement concerning such things, and yet
that man's fortune was made by consulting his own children in his own
house. You don't need to go out of your own house to find out what to
invent or what to make. I always talk too long on this subject.

I would like to meet the great men who are here to-night. The great
men! We don't have any great men in Philadelphia. Great men! You
say that they all come from London, or San Francisco, or Rome,
or Manayunk, or anywhere else but here--anywhere else but
Philadelphia--and yet, in fact, there are just as great men in
Philadelphia as in any city of its size. There are great men and women
in this audience. Great men, I have said, are very simple men. Just as
many great men here as are to be found anywhere. The greatest error in
judging great men is that we think that they always hold an office.
The world knows nothing of its greatest men. Who are the great men of
the world? The young man and young woman may well ask the question. It
is not necessary that they should hold an office, and yet that is the
popular idea. That is the idea we teach now in our high schools and
common schools, that the great men of the world are those who hold
some high office, and unless we change that very soon and do away
with that prejudice, we are going to change to an empire. There is
no question about it. We must teach that men are great only on their
intrinsic value, and not on the position that they may incidentally
happen to occupy. And yet, don't blame the young men saying that they
are going to be great when they get into some official position. I ask
this audience again who of you are going to be great? Says a young
man: "I am going to be great" "When are you going to be great?" "When
I am elected to some political office," Won't you learn the lesson,
young man; that it is _prima facie_ evidence of littleness to hold
public office under our form of government? Think of it. This is a
government of the people, and by the people, and for the people, and
not for the office-holder, and if the people in this country rule as
they always should rule, an officeholder is only the servant of the
people, and the Bible says that "the servant cannot be greater than
his master," The Bible says that "he that is sent cannot be greater
than him who sent him." In this country the people are the masters,
and the office-holders can never be greater than the people; they
should be honest servants of the people, but they are not our greatest
men. Young man, remember that you never heard of a great man holding
any political office in this country unless he took that office at an
expense to himself. It is a loss to every great man to take a public
office in our country. Bear this in mind, young man, that you cannot
be made great by a political election. Another young man says, "I am
going to be a great man in Philadelphia some time." "Is that so? When
are you going to be great?" "When there comes another war! When we get
into difficulty with Mexico, or England, or Russia, or Japan, or with
Spain again over Cuba, or with New Jersey, I will march up to the
cannon's mouth, and amid the glistening bayonets I will tear down
their flag from its staff, and I will come home with stars on my
shoulders, and hold every office in the gift of the government, and I
will be great." "No, you won't! No, you won't; that is no evidence
of true greatness, young man." But don't blame that young man for
thinking that way; that is the way he is taught in the high school.
That is the way history is taught in college. He is taught that the
men who held the office did all the fighting.

I remember we had a Peace Jubilee here in Philadelphia soon after the
Spanish war. Perhaps some of those visitors think we should not have
had it until now in Philadelphia, and as the great procession was
going up Broad street I was told that the tally-ho coach stopped right
in front of my house, and on the coach was Hobson, and all the people
threw up their hats and swung their handkerchiefs, and shouted "Hurrah
for Hobson!" I would have yelled too, because he deserves much more of
his country than he has ever received. But suppose I go into the High
School to-morrow and ask, "Boys, who sunk the Merrimac?" If they
answer me "Hobson," they tell me seven-eighths of a lie--seven-eighths
of a lie, because there were eight men who sunk the Merrimac. The
other seven men, by virtue of their position, were continually exposed
to the Spanish fire, while Hobson, as an officer, might reasonably be
behind the smoke-stack. Why, my friends, in this intelligent audience
gathered here to-night I do not believe I could find a single person
that can name the other seven men who were with Hobson. Why do we
teach history in that way? We ought to teach that however humble the
station a man may occupy, if he does his full duty in his place, he is
just as much entitled to the American peopled honor as is a king upon
a throne. We do teach it as a mother did her little boy in Now York
when he said, "Mamma, what great building is that?" "That is General
Grant's tomb." "Who was General Grant?" "He was the man who put down
the rebellion." Is that the way to teach history?

Do you think we would have gained a victory if it had depended on
General Grant alone? Oh, no. Then why is there a tomb on the Hudson at
all? Why, not simply because General Grant was personally a great man
himself, but that tomb is there because he was a representative man
and represented two hundred thousand men who went down to death for
their nation and many of them as great as General Grant. That is why
that beautiful tomb stands on the heights over the Hudson.

I remember an incident that will illustrate this, the only one that I
can give to-night. I am ashamed of it, but I don't dare leave it out.
I close my eyes now; I look back through the years to 1863; I can see
my native town in the Berkshire Hills, I can see that cattle-show
ground filled with people; I can see the church there and the town
hall crowded, and hear bands playing, and see flags flying and
handkerchiefs steaming--well do I recall at this moment that day.
The people had turned out to receive a company of soldiers, and that
company came marching up on the Common. They had served out one term
in the Civil War and had re-enlisted, and they were being received
by their native townsmen. I was but a boy, but I was captain of that
company, puffed out with pride on that day--why, a cambric needle
would have burst me all to pieces. As I marched on the Common at the
head of my company, there was not a man more proud than I. We marched
into the town hall and then they seated my soldiers down in the center
of the house and I took my place down on the front seat, and then the
town officers filed through the great throng of people, who stood
close and packed in that little hall. They came up on the platform,
formed a half circle around it, and the mayor of the town, the
"chairman of the Select men" in Kew England, took his seat in the
middle of that half circle, He was an old man, his hair was gray; he
never held an office before in his life. He thought that an office was
all he needed to be a truly great man, and when he came up he adjusted
his powerful spectacles and glanced calmly around the audience with
amazing dignity. Suddenly his eyes fell upon me, and then the good old
man came right forward and invited me to come up on the stand with the
town officers. Invited me up on the stand! No town officer ever took
notice of me before I went to war. Now, I should not say that. One
town officer was there who advised the teacher to "whale" me, but I
mean no "honorable mention." So I was invited up on the stand with the
town officers. I took my seat and let my sword fall on the floor, and
folded my arms across my breast and waited to be received. Napoleon
the Fifth! Pride goeth before destruction and a fall. When I had
gotten my seat and all became silent through the hall, the chairman of
the Select men arose and came forward with great dignity to the table,
and we all supposed he would introduce the Congregational minister,
who was the only orator in the town, and who would give the oration
to the returning soldiers. But, friends, you should have seen the
surprise that ran over that audience when they discovered that this
old farmer was going to deliver that oration himself. He had never
made a speech in his life before, but he fell into the same error that
others have fallen into, he seemed to think that the office would make
him an orator. So he had written out a speech and walked up and down
the pasture until he had learned it by heart and frightened the
cattle, and he brought that manuscript with him, and taking it from
his pocket, he spread it carefully upon the table. Then he adjusted
his spectacles to be sure that he might see it, and walked far back on
the platform and then stepped forward like this. He must have studied
the subject much, for he assumed an elocutionary attitude; he rested
heavily upon his left heel, slightly advanced the right foot, threw
back his shoulders, opened the organs of speech, and advanced his
right hand at an angle of forty-five. As he stood in that elocutionary
attitude this is just the way that speech went, this is it precisely.
Some of my friends have asked me if I do not exaggerate it, but I
could not exaggerate it. Impossible! This is the way it went; although
I am not here for the story but the lesson that is back of it:

"Fellow citizens." As soon as he heard his voice, his hand began to
shake like that, his knees began to tremble, and then he shook all
over. He coughed and choked and finally came around to look at his
manuscript. Then he began again: "Fellow citizens: We--are--we are--we
are--we are--We are very happy--we are very happy--we are very
happy--to welcome back to their native town these soldiers who have
fought and bled--and come back again to their native town. We are
especially--we are especially--we are especially--we are especially
pleased to see with us to-day this young hero (that meant me)--this
young hero who in imagination (friends, remember, he said
"imagination," for if he had not said that, I would not be egotistical
enough to refer to it)--this young hero who, in imagination, we have
seen leading his troops--leading--we have seen leading--we have
seen leading his troops on to the deadly breach. We have seen his
shining--his shining--we have seen his shining--we have seen his
shining--his shining sword--flashing in the sunlight as he shouted to
his troops, 'Come on!'"

Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear! How little that good, old man knew about
war. If he had known anything about war, he ought to have known what
any soldier in this audience knows is true, that it is next to a crime
for an officer of infantry ever in time of danger to go ahead of his
men. I, with my shining sword flashing in the sunlight, shouting to my
troops: "Come on." I never did it. Do you suppose I would go ahead of
my men to be shot in the front by the enemy and in the back by my own
men? That is no place for an officer. The place for the officer is
behind the private soldier in actual fighting. How often, as a staff
officer, I rode down the line when the Rebel cry and yell was coming
out of the woods, sweeping along over the fields, and shouted,
"Officers to the rear! Officers to the rear!" and then every officer
goes behind the line of battle, and the higher the officer's rank,
the farther behind he goes. Not because he is any the less brave, but
because the laws of war require that to be done. If the general came
up on the front line and were killed you would lose your battle
anyhow, because he has the plan of the battle in his brain, and must
be kept in comparative safety. I, with my "shining sword flashing in
the sunlight." Ah! There sat in the hall that day men who had given
that boy their last hardtack, who had carried him on their backs
through deep rivers. But some were not there; they had gone down to
death for their country. The speaker mentioned them, but they were but
little noticed, and yet they had gone down to death for their country,
gone down for a cause they believed was right and still believe was
right, though I grant to the other side the same that I ask for
myself. Yet these men who had actually died for their country were
little noticed, and the hero of the hour was this boy. Why was he the
hero? Simply because that man fell into that same foolishness. This
boy was an officer, and those were only private soldiers. I learned
a lesson that I will never forget. Greatness consists not in holding
some office; greatness really consists in doing some great deed with
little means, in the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private
ranks of life; that is true greatness. He who can give to this people
better streets, better homes, better schools, better churches, more
religion, more of happiness, more of God, he that can be a blessing to
the community in which he lives to-night will be great anywhere, but
he who cannot be a blessing where he now lives will never be great
anywhere on the face of God's earth. "We live in deeds, not years, in
feeling, not in figures on a dial; in thoughts, not breaths; we should
count time by heart throbs, in the cause of right." Bailey says: "He
most lives who thinks most."

If you forget everything I have said to you, do not forget this,
because it contains more in two lines than all I have said. Bailey
says: "He most lives who thinks most, who feels the noblest, and who
acts the best."


[Footnote A: Stenographic report by A. Russell Smith, Sec'y.]

When I had been lecturing forty years, which is now four years ago,
the Lecture Bureau suggested that before I retire from the public
platform, that I should prepare one subject and deliver it through the
country. For I had told the Bureau thirty years ago that when I had
lectured forty years, I would retire. They therefore suggested a talk
on this topic, "Personal Glimpses of Celebrated Men and Women." But a
death in our family which destroyed the homeness of our house produced
such an effect upon us that after the forty years came we found that
we would rather wander than stay at home, and consequently we are
traveling still, and will do so until the end. This explanation will
show why many of these things are said. For I must necessarily bring
myself often into this topic, sometimes unpleasantly to myself. Mark
Twain says, that the trouble with an old man is that he "remembers so
many things that ain't so," and with Mark Twain's caution in my ears,
I will try to give you these "Personal Glimpses of Celebrated Men and

I do not claim to be a very intimate friend of great men. But a fly
may look at an elephant, and for this reason we may glance at the
great men and women whom I have seen through the many years of public
life. Sometimes those glimpses give us a better idea of the real man
or woman than an entire biography written while he was living would
do; and to-night as a grandfather would bring his grandchildren to his
knee and tell them of his little experiences, so let me tell to you
these incidents in a life now so largely lived out.

As I glance back to the Hampshire Highlands of the dear old Berkshire
Hills in Massachusetts, where my father worked as a farmer among the
rooks for twenty years to pay off a mortgage of twelve hundred dollars
upon his little farm, my elder brother and myself slept in the attic
which had one window in the gable end, composed of four lights and
those very small. I remember that attic so distinctly now, with the
ears of corn hung by the husks on the bare rafters, the rats running
over the floor and sometimes over the faces of the boys; the patter of
the rain upon the roof, and the whistle of the wind around that gable
end, the sifting of the snows through the hole in the window over
the pillow on our bed. While these things may appear very simple and
homely before this great audience, yet I mention them because in this
house I had a glimpse of the first great man I ever saw. It was far in
the country, far from the railroad, far from the city, yet into
that region there came occasionally a man or woman whose name is a
household word in the world. In those mountains of my boyhood there
was then an "underground railroad" running from Virginia to Canada.
It was called an "underground railroad," although it was a system
by which the escaped slaves from Virginia came into Delaware, from
Delaware into Philadelphia, then to New York, then to Springfield, and
from Springfield my father took the slaves by night to Worthington,
Mass., and they were sent on by St. Albans, over the Canada line into
liberty. This "underground railroad" system was composed of a chain of
men of whom my father was one link. One night my father drove up in
the dark, and my elder brother and I looked out to see who it was he
had! brought home with him. We supposed he had brought a slave whom he
was helping to escape. Oh, those dreary, dark days, when we were
in continual dread lest the United States Marshal should arrest my
father, throw him into prison for thus assisting these fugitive
slaves. The gloomy memory of those early years chills me now. But as
we gazed out that dark night, we saw that it was a white man with
father and who helped unhitch the horses and put them in the barn. In
the morning this white man sat at the breakfast table and my father
introduced him to us, saying: "Boys, this is Frederick Douglass, the
great colored orator," While I looked at him, giggling as boys will
do, Mr. Douglass turned to us and said, "Yes, boys, I am a colored
man; my mother was a colored woman and my father a white man," and
said he, "I have never seen my father, and I do not know much about
my mother. I remember her once when she interfered between me and the
overseer, who was whipping me, and she received the lash upon her
cheek and shoulder, and her blood ran across my face. I remember
washing her blood from my face and clothes." That story made a deep
impression on us boys, stamped indelibly on our memories. Frederick
Douglass is thus mentioned to illustrate the subject that I have come
to teach to-night. He frequently came to our house after that and my
mother often said to him, "Mr. Douglass, you will work yourself to
death," but he replied that until the slaves were free, and that would
be very soon, he must devote his life to them. But after that, said
he, "I will retire to Rochester, New York, where I have some land and
will build a house." He told us how many rooms it would have, what
decorations would be there, but when the war had been over several
years, he came to the house again and my father asked him about the
house in Rochester. "Well," he said, "I have not built that one yet,
but I have my plans for it. I have some work yet to do; I must take
care of the freedmen in the South, and look after their financial
prosperity, then I will build my cottage." You all remember that he
never built his house, but suddenly went on into the unknown of the
greatest work of his life.

I remember that in 1852, my father came with another man who was put
for the night into the northwest bedroom--this is the room where those
New Englanders always put their friends, because, perhaps, pneumonia
comes there first--that awful, cold, dismal, northwest bedroom.
Thinking a favorite uncle had come, I went to the door early in the
morning. The door was shut--one of those doors which, if you lift
the latch, the door immediately swings open. I lifted the latch and
prepared to leap in to awaken my uncle and astonish him by my early
morning greeting. But when the door swung back, I glanced toward the
bed. The astonishment chills me at this moment, for in that bed was
not my uncle; but a giant, whose toes stood up at the foot-board,
and whose long hair was spread out over the pillow and his long gray
whiskers lay on the bed clothes, and oh, that snore--it sounded like
some steam horn. That giant figure frightened me and I rushed out
into the kitchen and said, "Mother, who is that strange man in the
northwest bed room?" and she said, "Why, that is John Brown." I had
never seen John Brown before, although my father had been with him
in the wool business in Springfield. I had heard some strange things
about John Brown, and the figure of the man made them seem doubly
terrible. I hid beside my mother, where I said I would stay until the
man was through his breakfast, but father came out and demanded that
the boys should come in, and he set me right under the wing of that
awful giant. But when John Brown saw us coming in so timidly, he
turned to us with a smile so benign and beautiful and so greatly in
contrast to what we had pictured him, that it was a transition. He
became to us boys one of the loveliest men we ever knew. He would go
to the barn with us and milk the cows, pitch the hay from the hay-mow;
he drove the cattle to water for us, and told us many a story, until
the dear, good old man became one of the treasurers of our life. It is
true that my mother thought he was half crazy, and consequently she
and father did not always agree about him, and did not discuss him
before the children. But nevertheless, be he a crank, or a fanatic,
or what he may, one thing is sure, the richest milk of human kindness
flowed from that heart and devoted itself sincerely to the uplift of
humanity. I remember him with love, love deep and sacred, up to this
present time. However great an extremist John Brown was, there were
many of them in New England. Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison
and John Brown never could agree. John Brown used to criticise Wendell
Phillips severely. He said that Wendell Phillips could not see to read
the clearest signs of revolution, and he was reminded by the husband
who bought a grave-stone that had been carved for another woman, but
the stone-cutter said "That has the name of another person." "Oh,"
said the widower, "that makes no difference; my wife couldn't read."
John Brown once said of Wm. Lloyd Garrison that he couldn't see the
point and was like the woman who never could see a joke. One morning,
seated at the breakfast table, her husband cracked a joke, but she did
not smile, when he said, "Mary, you could not see a joke if it were
fired at you from a Dalgreen gun," whereupon she remarked: "Now John,
you know they do not fire jokes out of a gun." Well do I recall that
December 2d of 1859. Only a few weeks before John Brown came to our
house and my father subscribed to the purchase of rifles to aid in the
attempt to raise the insurrection among the slaves. The last time I
saw John Brown he was in the wagon with my father. Father gave him the
reins and came back as though he had forgotten something. John Brown
said, "Boys, stay at home; stay at home! Now, remember, you may never
see me again," and then in a lower voice, "And I do not think you ever
will see me again," but "Remember the advice of your Uncle Brown (as
we called him), and stay at home with the old folks, and remember
that you will be more blessed here than anywhere else on earth." The
happiest place on earth for me is still at my old home in Litchfield,
Connecticut. I did not understand him then, but on December 2d at
eleven o'clock my father called us all into the house and all that
hour from eleven to twelve o'clock we sat there in perfect silence. As
the old clock in that kitchen struck eleven, I heard the bell, ring
from the Methodist Church, its peal coming up the valley, from hill to
hill, and echoing its sad tone as the hour wore on. The peal of that
bell remains with me now; it has ever been a source of inspiration to
me. Sixty times struck that old bell. Once a minute, and when the
long sad hour was over, father put his Bible upon the mantel and went
slowly out, and we all solemnly followed, going to our various duties.
That solemn hour had a voice in the coming great Civil War of 1861-65.
At that hour John Brown was hanged in Virginia. All through New
England, they kept that hour with the same solemn services which
characterized my father's family. When the call came for volunteers
the young men of New England enlisted in the army, and sang again and
again, that old song, "John Brown's body lies mouldering in the grave,
but his soul goes marching on." His soul is still marching on. And
while I am one of those who would be the first to resist any attempt
to mar the sweet fraternity that now characterises the feeling between
the North and South, as I believe that the Southern soldier fought
for what he believed to be right, and consequently is entitled to our
fraternal respect, and while I believe that John Brown was sometimes a
fanatic, yet this illustration teaches us this great lesson and that
John Brown's advice was true. His happiest days were passed far back
in the quiet of his old home.

Near to our home, in the town of Cummington, lived William Cullen
Bryant, one of the great poets of New England. He came back there to
spend his summers among the mountains he so clearly loved. He promised
the people of Cummington that he would again make his permanent home
there. I remember asking him if he would come clown to the stream
where he wrote "Thanatopsis" and recite it for us. The good, old
neighbor, white haired and trembling, came down to the banks of that
little stream and stood in the shade of the same old maple where he
had written that beautiful poem, and read from the wonderful creation
that made his name famous.

  "So live that when thy summons comes, to join
  The innumerable caravan which moves
  To that mysterious realm where each must take
  His chamber in the silent halls of death,
  Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
  Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained and soothed
  By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
  Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
  About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

"Yes," he said, "I will come back to Cummington." So he went to Europe
but came not back to occupy that home. He loved the old home. We were
driving by his place one day when we saw him planting apple trees in
July. We all know that apple trees won't grow when planted in July, so
my father, knowing him well, called to him and said, "Mr. Bryant, what
are you doing there? They won't grow." Mr. Bryant paused a moment and
looked at us, and then said half playfully: "Conwell, drive on, you
have no part nor lot in this matter. I do not expect these trees to
grow; I am setting them out because I want to live over again the days
when my father used to set trees when they would grow. I want to renew
that memory." He was wise, for in his work on "The Transmigration of
Races" he used that experience wonderfully.

In 1860, when we were teaching school, my elder brother and myself, in
Blanchford, Massachusetts, were asked to go to Brooklyn with the body
of a lady who died near our schools. We went to Brooklyn on Saturday
and after the funeral, our friends asked us to stay over Sunday,
saying that they would take us to hear Henry Ward Beecher! That was a
great inducement, because my father read the "Tribune" every Sunday
morning after his Bible (and sometimes before it) and what Henry Ward
Beecher said, my father thought, "was law and Gospel." Sunday night,
we went to Plymouth Church, and there was a crowd an hour before the
service, and when the doors were opened we were crowded up the stairs.
We boys were thrust back into a dirty corner where we could not
see. Oh, yes, that is the way they treat the boys, put them any
place--they're only boys! I remember the disappointment of that night,
when we went there more to see than hear. But finally Mr. Beecher came
out and gave out his text. I remember that I did not pay very much
attention to it. In the middle of the sermon Mr. Beecher began in the
strangest way to auction off a woman: "How much am I offered for the
woman?" he yelled, and while in his biographies, they have said that
this woman was sold in the Broadway Tabernacle, but I afterwards asked
Mrs. Beecher and she said that Mr. Beecher had not sold this woman
twice, so far as she knew, but that she recalled distinctly the sale
in the Plymouth Church. I remember standing up on tip-toes to look
for that woman that was being sold. After he had finished, after the
singing of the hymn, he said "Brethren, be seated," and then said,
"Sam, come here." A colored boy came up tremblingly and stood beside
him. "This boy is offered for $770.00; he is owned in South Carolina
and has run away. His master offers him to me for $770.00, and now if
the officers of the church will pass the plates the boy shall be set
free," and when the plates were returned over $1700.00 came in. As we
went our way home I said to my elder brother: "Oh, what a grand thing
it must be to preach to a congregation of fifteen hundred people." But
my elder brother very wisely said: "You don't know anything about it;
you do not know whether he is happy or not." "Well," I suggested,
"wasn't it a strange thing to introduce a public auction in the middle
of a sermon," and my elder brother again said that if they did more
of that in a country church they would have a larger congregation.
Afterwards I was quite fortunate to know Mr. Beecher and frequently
reported his sermons. I often heard him say that the happiest years
he ever knew were back in Lawrenceville, Ohio, in that little church
where there were no lamps and he had to borrow them himself, light
them himself, and prepare the church for the first service. He told
how he swept the church, lighted the fire in the stove, and how it
smoked; then how he sawed the wood to heat the church, and how he went
into carpenter work to earn money to pay his own salary, yet he
said that was the happiest time of his life. Mrs. Beecher told me
afterwards that Mr. Beecher often talked about those days and said
that bye and bye he would retire and they would again go back to the
simple life they had enjoyed so much.

When he had built his new home near the Hudson, Robert Collier and I
visited him. We found in the rear of an addition that clap-boards had
been put up in all sorts of adjustment. Mr. Collier asked him: "Where
did you find a carpenter to do such poor work as that?" and Mr.
Beecher said humorously: "You could not hire that carpenter on your
house." Then he said: "Mr. Collier, I put those boards on that house
myself. I insisted that they leave that work for me to do. I have been
happy putting on these boards and driving these nails. They took me
back to the old days at Lawrenceville, where we lived over a store
and our pantry was a dry goods box. But there we were so happy. I am
hoping sometime to be as happy again, but it is not possible to do it
while I am in the service of the public." He had promised himself and
his wife some day to go back to that simple life. But his sudden death
taught the same great lesson with all the examples I give of great men
and women. Rev. Robt. Collier always enjoyed the circus--the circus
was the great place of enjoyment outside, perhaps, of his pulpit work.
It was Robert Collier who used to tell the story of the boy whose aunt
always made him go to church, but after going to a circus he wrote to
his aunt: "Auntie, if you had ever been to a circus, you wouldn't go
to another prayer-meeting as long as you live." The love of Collier
for the circus only shows the simplicity of the great man's mind. Mr.
Collier is said to have paid a dollar for a fifty cent ticket to the
circus, only making it conditional that he was to have the privilege
of going 'round to the rear and crawling under the tent, showing what
he must have done when a boy. The fact of Mr. Collier's love for the
circus was one of the strange things in the eccentricities of a great
man's life. Once Mr. Barnum came into Mr. Collier's church and Mr.
Collier said to the usher: "Please show Mr. Barnum to a front seat
for he always gives me one in _his_ circus." These simplicities often
show that somewhere back in each man's life there is a point where
happiness and love are one, and when, that point is passed, we go on
longing to the return.

The night after he went to hear Henry Ward Beecher's great sermon they
persuaded us to stay until the following Monday night, because there
was to be a lecture at the Cooper Institute and there was to be a
parade of political clubs, and fire works, so as country boys, easily
influenced, we decided that the school could wait for another day, and
staid for the procession. We went to Cooper's Institute and there
was a crowd as there was at Beecher's church. We finally got on the
stairway and far in the rear of the great crowd, but my brother stood
on the floor, and I sat on the ledge of the window sill, with my feet
on his shoulders, so he held me while I told him down there what was
going on over yonder. The first man that came on the platform, and
presided at that meeting, was William Cullent Bryant, our dear old
neighbor. When we boys in a strange city saw that familiar face, oh,
the emotions that arose in our hearts! How proud we were at that hour,
that he, our neighbor, was presiding on that occasion. He took his
seat on the stage, the right of which was left vacant for some one yet
to come. Next came a very heavy man, but immediately following him
a tall, lean man. Mr. Bryant arose and went toward him, bowing and
smiling. He was an awkward specimen of a man and all about me people
were asking "Who is that?" but no man seemed to know. I asked a
gentleman who that man was, but he said he didn't know. He was an
awkward specimen indeed; one of the legs of his trousers was up about
two inches above his shoe; his hair was dishevelled and stuck out like
rooster's feathers; his coat was altogether too large for him in the
back, his arms much longer than the sleeves, and with his legs twisted
around the rungs of the chair, was the picture of embarrassment. When
Mr. Bryant arose to introduce the speaker of that evening, he was
known seemingly to few in that great hall. Mr. Bryant said: "Gentlemen
of New York, you have your favorite son in Mr. Seward and if he were
to be President of the United States, every one of us would be proud
of him." Then came great applause. "Ohio has her favorite son in Judge
Wade; and the nation would prosper under his administration, but
Gentlemen of New York, it is a great honor that is conferred upon me
to-night, for I can introduce to you the next President of the United
States, Abraham Lincoln." Then through that audience flew the query as
to whom Abraham Lincoln was. There was but weak applause. Mr. Lincoln
had in his hand a manuscript. He had written it with great care and
exactness and the speech which you read in his biography is the one
that he wrote, not the one that he delivered as I recall it, and it is
fortunate for the country that they did print the one that he wrote. I
think the one he wrote had already been set up in type that afternoon
from his manuscript, and consequently they did not go over it to see
whether it had been changed or not. He had read three pages and had
gone on to the fourth when he lost his place and then he began to
tremble and stammer. He then turned it over two or three times, threw
the manuscript upon the table, and, as they say in the west, "let
himself go." Now the stammering man who had created only silent
derision up to that point, suddenly flashed out into an angel of
oratory and the awkward arms and dishevelled hair were lost sight
of entirely in the wonderful beauty and lofty inspiration of that
magnificent address. The great audience immediately began to follow
his thought, and when he uttered that quotation from Douglass, "It is
written on the sky of America that the slaves shall some day be free,"
he had settled the question that he was to be the next President
of the United States. The applause was so-great that the building
trembled and I felt the windows shake behind me. Afterward, as we
walked home, I said to my elder brother again, "Wasn't it a great
thing to be introduced to all those people as the next President of
the United States?" and my elder brother very wisely said: "You do not
know whether he was really happy or not." Afterwards, in 1864, when
one of my soldiers was unjustly sentenced and his gray-haired mother
plead with me to use what influence I would have with the President, I
went to Washington and told the story to the President. He said he
had heard something about it from Mr. Stanton, and he said he would
investigate the matter, and he did afterward decide that the man
should not be put to death. At the close of that interview I said to
the President: "I beg your pardon, Mr. Lincoln, but is it not a most
exhausting thing to sit here hearing all these appeals and have all of
this business on your hands?" He laid his head on his hand, and in a
somewhat wearied manner, said, with a deep sigh: "Yes, yes; no man
ought to be ambitious to be President of the United States," and said
he, "When this war is over, and that won't be very long, I tell my
"Tad" that we will go back to the farm where I was happier as a boy
when I dug potatoes at twenty-five cents a day than I am now; I tell
him I will buy him a mule and a pony and he shall have a little cart
and he shall make a little garden in a field all his own," and the
President's face beamed as he arose from his chair in the delight of
excitement as he said: "Yes, I will be far happier than I have ever
been here." The next time I looked in the face of Abraham Lincoln was
in the east room of the White House at Washington as he lay in his
coffin. Not long ago at a Chautauqua lecture I was on the very farm
which he bought at Salem, Illinois, and looked around the place where
he had resolved to build a mansion, but which was never constructed.

Near my home in the Berkshires, Charles Dudley Warner was born. When
he had accomplished great things in literature and had written "My
Summer in a Garden," that popular work which attracted the attention
of his newspaper friends, he went to Hartford, where the latter gave
him a banquet. I was invited to attend and report it for the public
press. They lauded him and said how beautiful it was to be so elevated
above his fellow men, and how great he was in the estimation of the
world But he in his answer to the toast said, "Gentlemen, I wish for
no fame, I desire no glory and you have made a mistake if you think
I enjoy any such notoriety. I envy the Hartford teacher whose smile
threw sunshine along her pathway." Then he told us the story of a poor
little boy, cold and barefooted, standing on the street on a terribly
cold day. A lady came along, and looking kindly at him, said, "Little
boy, are you cold?" The little fellow, looking up into her face, said,
"Yes Ma'am, I was cold till you smiled." He would rather have a smile
like that and the simple love of his fellow men than to have all the
fame of the earth. He was honored in all parts of the world by the
greatest of the great, yet he was a sad man when he wrote "My Summer
in a Garden," and it all seems a mystery how he could in such grief
have written that remarkable little tale. This sadness is often
associated with humorists. Mr. Shaw was one of the saddest men I
ever met. Why, he cried on the slightest occasion. I went one day to
interview him in Boston, and Mr. Shepard, his publisher, said "Please
don't trouble Josh Billings now." "What is the matter?" "Oh, he is
crying again," said Mr. Shepard. I asked him how Mr. Shaw could write
such funny things as he did. He then showed me the manuscript (which
Mr. Shaw had just placed on his desk and which he had just written),
in which he says, "I do not know any cure for laziness, but I have
known a second wife to hurry it up some." Artemus Ward wrote the most
laughable things while his heart was in the deepest wretchedness.
Often these glimpses of the funny men whose profession would seem to
show them to be the happiest of earth's people, prove that they are
sometimes the most gloomy and miserable.

John B. Gough, the great temperance orator, the greatest the world has
ever seen, said to me one evening at his home that he would lecture
for forty years, and then would stop. But his wife said, "Now, John,
you know you won't give it up." He assented, "Yes, I will." But his
wife said, "No you won't. You men when you drink of public life find
it like a drink of whiskey, and you are just like the rest of the
men." "No," said he. Then Mr. Gough told again his familiar story of
the minister who was preaching in his pulpit in Boston when he saw the
Governor of the State coming up the aisle. Immediately he began to
stammer, and finally said: "I see the Governor coming in, and as I
know you will want to hear an exhortation from him, I think that I had
better stop." Then one of the old officials leaped up from one of the
front seats and said, "I insist upon your going on with your sermon,
sir; you ought not be embarrassed by the Governor's coming in. We are
all worms! All worms! nothing but worms!" Then the minister was
angry and shouted: "Sir, I would have you understand that there is
a difference in worms." Mr. Gough said he was different from other
people yet the years came and went, and he stayed on the public
platform. One night a committee from Frankford, Philadelphia, asked me
to write him and ask him to lecture for them. I wrote and whether my
influence had anything to do with it or not, I do not know, but he
came from New York and when he was in about the middle of his lecture,
he came to that sentence, "Young man, keep your record clear, for a
single glass of intoxicating liquor may somewhere, in after years,
change into a horrid monster that shall carry you down to woe." And
when he had uttered that wonderful sentence of advice, he slopped to
get breath, reached for a drink of water, swung forward and fell over.
The doctor said he was too late for any earthly aid, and John B.
Gough, with his armor on, went on into Glory. He never found that
earthly rest he had promised himself. His garden never showed its
flowers, and his fields were never strewn with grain.

When our regiment was encamped in Faneuil Hall at Boston before
embarking for the war in 1863, Mr. Wendell Phillips sent an invitation
to the officers of the regiment to visit his home. But when we reached
his house we found that he had been called to Worcester suddenly to
make a speech. But we found his wife there in her rolling chair, for
she was a permanent invalid. Our evening was spent very pleasantly,
but I said to her: "Are you not very lonesome when Mr. Phillips is
away so much?" "Yes," she said, "I am very lonesome; he is father,
mother, brother, sister, husband and child to me," and said she, "he
cares for me with the tenderness of a mother; he waits upon me, he
takes me out, and brings me in; he dresses me, and it now seems so
strange that he is not by my side. If it were not for him, I should
die, but he says that as soon as the slaves are free that he will come
back and be the same husband he was before." The officers standing
around me smiled as they heard of his promise to retire, but said she,
"Oh, yes, he will do as he promised." When the war was over and the
slaves were free, and he had scolded General Grant all he wished, he
did do as he promised, and did retire. He sold his house in the city
and bought one in Waverly, Massachusetts. He did prove the exception
and went back to the private life that he had promised himself and
his wife. Every Sunday morning as I drove by his home I could see him
swinging on his gate. It was a double gate over the driveway, and he
would pull that gate far in, get on it and then swing way out over the
side-walk and then in again. Well, he used to swing on that gate every
Sunday morning, and my family wondered why it was that he always did
it on that particular morning. One Sunday morning when I drove by,
I found Mr. Phillips swinging on his gate over the side-walk, and I
said, "Mr. Phillips, my family wish me to ask you why you swing on
this gate every Sunday morning." Mr. Phillips, who had a very deep
sense of humour, stepped off the gate, stood back, and assuming a
dignified, ministerial air, "I am requested to discourse to-day upon
the text 'Why I swing upon this gate on Sunday morning,' and I will,
therefore, divide my text into two heads." I quickly told him that I
must get to church some time that day. "Then," said he, with a smile,
"just one word more: Why do I swing on a gate? Because the first time
I saw my wife she was swinging on the gate, and the second time I saw
her, we kissed each other over the top of the gate, and when I swing
it reminds me of other happy days long gone by. That, sir, is the
reason I swing upon this gate." Then his humor all disappeared and he
said: "I really swing upon this gate on Sunday morning because I think
the next thing to the love of God is love of man for a true woman--as
you cannot say you love God and hate your brother, neither can you say
you love God unless you have first loved a human being, and I swing on
this gate on Sunday morning because to me it is next to life's highest
worship." And then, in a majestic manner, he said, "Conwell, all
within this gate is PARADISE and all without it MARTYRDOM." In that
wonderful sentence, which I feel sure I recall accurately, he uttered
the most glorious expression that could ever come from uninspired

I had a glimpse of James G. Elaine when I went to his home in Augusta,
Maine, to write his biography for the committee. A day or two after it
was finished a distinguished Senator from Washington came to see me in
Philadelphia and asked if Mr. Blaine had seen the book, and I told him
that he certainly had. "Did he see that second chapter?" "Of course he
did," said I; "he corrected it." Then he wanted to know how much money
it would take to get the book out of circulation. "Why, what is the
matter with the book," said I, but he would not tell me, and said that
he would pay me well if I would only keep the book from circulation.
He did not tell me what was the matter. I told him that the publishers
owned the copyright, having bought it from me. He said, "Is it not
possible for you to take a trip to Europe to-morrow morning?" "But why
take a trip to Europe?" "The committee will pay all of your expenses,
all your family's expenses, and of any servants you wish lo take with
you--only get out of the country." "Well," I said, "I am not going to
leave the country for my country's good, unless I know what I am going
for." I never could find out what the trouble with that second chapter
was, and I afterwards asked Mrs. Blaine if she knew what was the
matter. She then broke out in a paroxysm of grief and said that if he
had stayed in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he was a teacher, "he
would be living yet." She said "he had given thirty years of his life
to the public service, and now they have so ungratefully disgraced his
name, sent him to an early grave, and all in consequence of what he
has done for the public. He is a stranger to his country--a stranger
to his friends," and then she said, "O would to God he had stayed in
Pennsylvania!" I left her then, but I have never known what was in
that second chapter that caused the disturbance. But I do know
the second chapter was concerning their early and happy life in
Washington, Pennsylvania, where he taught in the college.

Near our home in Newton, Massachusetts, was that of F.F. Smith, who
wrote "America." It was of him that Oliver Wendell Holmes said that
"Nature tried to hide him by naming him Smith." Smith lived that quiet
and restful life that reminds one of Tennyson's "Brook" when thinking
of him. He knew the glory of modest living.

The last time I saw the sweet Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier,
was in Amesbury, before he died. He sent a note to the lecture hall
asking me to come to come to him. I asked him what was his favorite
poem of his own writing. He said he had not thought very much about
it, but said that there was one that he especially remembered:

  "I know not where His islands lift
     Their fronded palms in air,
  I only know I cannot drift
     Beyond His love and care."

I then asked him, "Mr. Whittier, how could you write all those war
songs which sent us young men to war, and you a peaceful Quaker? I
cannot understand it." He smiled and said that his great-grandfather had
been on a ship that was attacked by pirates, and as one of the pirates
was climbing up the rope into their ship, his great-grandfather
grasped a knife and cut the rope, saying: "If thee wants the rope,
thee can have it." He said that he had inherited something of the same

At Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Bayard Taylor took me to the grave of
his wife, and said "Here is the spot where I determined to live anew.
From this grave the real experiences of my life began." There he was
completing his home called "Cedar Croft." But he died while U.S.
Minister to Germany. The Young Men's Congress of Boston, when
arranging for a great memorial service in Tremont Temple, asked me to
call on Dr. Oliver Wendel Holmes to ask him to write a poem on Bayard
Taylor's death. When I asked Mr. Holmes to write this poem, to be read
in the Tremont Temple, he was sitting on the rocking chair. He rocked
back and kicked up his feet, and began to laugh. "I write a poem on
Bayard Taylor--ah, no--but I tell you, if you will get Mr. Longfellow
to write a poem on Bayard Taylor's death, I will read it." These
things only show the eccentricities of Mr. Holmes. So I went to Mr.
Longfellow and told him what Dr. Holmes had said, and here is the poem
he wrote:

  "Dead he lay among his books!
  The peace of God was in his looks.
  As the statues in the gloom
  Watch o'er Maximilian's tomb,
  So those volumes from their shelve.
  Watched him, silent as themselves.
  Ah, his hand will never more
  Turn their storied pages o'er.
  Never more his lips repeat
  Songs of theirs, however sweet.
  Let the lifeless body rest!
  He is gone who was its guest.
  Gone as travellers haste to leave
  An inn, nor tarry until eve.

  "Traveller! in what realms afar,
  In what planet, in what star,
  In what gardens of delight
  Rest thy weary feet to-night?
  Poet, thou whose latest verse
  Was a garland on thy hearse,
  Thou hast sung with organ tone
  In Deukalion's life thine own.
  On the ruins of the Past
  Blooms the perfect flower, at last
  Friend, but yesterday the bells
  Rang for thee their loud farewells;
  And to-day they toll for thee,
  Lying dead beyond the sea;
  Lying dead among thy books;
  The peace of God in all thy looks."

That great traveller, like Mr. Longfellow, used to tell me of his
first wife. He always said that her sweet spirit occupied that room
and stood by him. I often told him that he was wrong and argued with
him, but he said, "I know she is here." I often thought of the great
inspiration she had been to him in his marvelous poems and books.
Poor Bayard Taylor, "In what gardens of delight, rest thy weary feet
to-night?" Mr. Longfellow once said that Mary "stood between him and
his manuscript," and he could not get away from the impression that
she was with him all the time. How sad was her early death and how he
suffered the martyrdom of the faithful! Longfellow's home life was
always beautiful But his later years were disturbed greatly by
souvenir and curiosity seekers.

Horace Greeley died of a broken heart because he was not elected
President of the United States, and never was happy in the last years
of his life. His idea of true happiness was to go to some quiet
retreat and publish some little paper. He once declared at a dinner in
Brooklyn that he envied the owner of a weekly paper in Indiana whose
paper was so weakly that the subscribers did not miss it if it failed
to appear.

Mr. Tennyson told me that he would not exchange his home, walled in as
it was like a fortress for Windsor Castle or the throne of the Queen.

Mr. Carnegie said to me only a few months ago that if a man owned his
home and had his health he had all the money that man needed to be as
happy as any person can be. Mr. Carnegie was right about that.

Empress Eugenie, in 1870, was said to be the happiest woman in France.
I saw her in the Tuilleres at a gorgeous banquet and a few years
after, when her husband had been captured, her son killed and she was
a widow, at the Chislehurst Cottage, I said to her, "The last time
I saw you in that beautiful palace you were said to be the happiest
woman in the world." "Sir," she said, "I am far happier now than I was
then." It was a statement that for a long time I could not understand.

I caught a glimpse of Garibaldi weeping because he did not go back
with his wife, Anita, to South America.

I visited Charles Dickens at his home and asked him to come to America
again and read from his books, but Mr. Dickens said "No, I will never
cross the ocean; I will not go even to London. When I die, I am to be
buried out there on the lawn," and he pointed out the place to me. A
few weeks later I hired a custodian to let me in early at the rear
gate of Westminster Abbey, for Parliament had changed Mr. Dickens's
will in one respect, and provided that he should not be buried on the
lawn of his cottage, but instead in Westminster Abbey, but they made
no other change in his will. There I looked on the fifteen men, all
whom the will allowed to be present at his funeral, who were bearing
all that was mortal of Charles Dickens to his rest, and I heard Dean
Stanley say "While Mr. Dickens lived, his loss was our gain; but
now his gain is our loss." When he uttered that great truth, very
condensed, in that beautiful language, he showed that human life in
the public service of one's fellow men may be nothing more or less
than continual sacrifice.

My friends, if you are called to public service; if you have influence
that you can use for the public good, do not hesitate to go if you are
SURE that DUTY calls you. But if, instead, no voice of God, no call of
mankind, doth require that you go out and give up the best of life for
your fellows, remember how fortunate you are. If you can go to your
home at evening and read your paper in peace, and rest undisturbed,
do so, and remember that you have reached the very height of personal
happiness. Then seek no farther, count thyself happy and go no farther
than God shall call you. For the happiest man is not famous, nor
rich, but he who hath his loved ones in an undisturbed peace around.
Remember what Wendell Phillips said, "All within this gate is
Paradise; all without it is MARTYDROM."

I had a glimpse of Generals Grant and Sheridan wrestling like boys,
over a box of cigars sent into General Grant's tent. They were boys

I had a glimpse of Li-Hung Chang at Nanking, China, at an execution by
beheading, and a glimpse of him an hour later playing leap frog with
his grandchildren. Childhood was a joy, manhood a tragedy.

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