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Title: Father Clark - The Pioneer Preacher
Author: Peck, John Mason
Language: English
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[Illustration:

  Painted by Tho. Cole.       Engraved by Geo. W. Hatch.
]



  “FATHER CLARK,”

  OR

  The Pioneer Preacher.

  SKETCHES AND INCIDENTS
  OF
  REV. JOHN CLARK,

  BY AN OLD PIONEER.


  NEW YORK:
  SHELDON, LAMPORT & BLAKEMAN,
  No. 115 NASSAU STREET.
  1855.



  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by

  SHELDON, LAMPORT & BLAKEMAN,

  In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
  Southern District of New York.


  JOHN J. REED,
  _Stereotyper and Printer_,
  16 Spruce street.



INTRODUCTION.


The incidents, manners and customs of frontier life in the country
once called the “Far West,”--now the valley of the Mississippi, are
interesting to all classes. The religious events and labors of good men
in “works of faith and labors of love” among the early pioneers of this
valley, cannot fail to attract the attention of young persons in the
family circle, and children in Sabbath schools.

The author of this work, as the commencement of a series of PIONEER
BOOKS, has chosen for a theme a man of singularly benevolent and
philanthropic feelings; peculiarly amiable in manners and social
intercourse; with habits of great self-denial; unusually disinterested
in his labors, and the first preacher of the gospel who ventured to
carry the “glad tidings” into the Spanish country on the western side
of the GREAT RIVER.[1]

The writer was intimately acquainted with this venerable man, who, by
all classes, was familiarly called “FATHER CLARK,” and induced him
to commence sketches for his own biography. His tremulous hand and
enfeebled powers failed him soon after he had gotten to the period of
his conversion, while a teacher in the back settlements, and he was
unable to finish the work.

By correspondence and personal interviews with many who knew Father
Clark, and from his verbal narratives in our interviews for many years,
the writer has been enabled to give a truthful sketch of the most
important incidents of his life.

While seriously disposed persons of every age and station may derive
pleasure and profit in contemplating the moral portraiture given, _it
is to the young reader, more especially, the author dedicates the
memoir of_ FATHER CLARK.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I.

  Birth--Ancestry--Misfortune of Becoming Suddenly Rich--A
    Religious Mother--Fate of an Elder Brother--Mathematics--
    Purposes of Life--Deportment in Youth--Views of War.               9


  CHAPTER II.

  Clark becomes a Sailor--Privateering--His Subsequent Reflections
    --Last Visit to his Parents--Sails as Mate to the West Indies--
    Pressed on Board the Man-of-War Tobago--A Fight and Death of the
    Gunner--Admiral Rodney--Escapes from the Tobago--Visits his
    Brother--Ships for England--Taken by the Spaniards--Obtains
    his Freedom, and again Pressed on Board the Narcissus--Deserts a
    Second Time, and Swims Ashore on James’ Island, off Charleston, at
    Great Risk.                                                       16


  CHAPTER III.

  Mr. Clark arrives at Charleston--Meets with Friends--Interview
    with John Scott--The Story and Fate of Duncan--Alarmed, and
    Relieved by an Old Shipmate--Stationed on Cooper River--
    Returns to Charleston--Protected by Three Scotch Tailors--
    They all Escape--Adventures in a Swamp--Reach Gen. Marion’s
    Army--Clark Proceeds to Georgetown--Enters a Row-galley and
    reaches Savannah--Sails to St. Thomas--Voyage to New York--
    Proclamation of Peace--Returns to the West Indies--Shipwreck--
    Various Voyages--Distress of Mind--Forsakes a Sea-faring Life.    37


  CHAPTER IV.

  Retires to the Back Settlements in South Carolina--Teaches a School
    --Self-righteousness--His Experience for Twelve Months--
    Despondency--Reads Russell’s Seven Sermons--Conversion and firm
    Hope--Removes to Georgia and Becomes a Teacher there--First
    Methodist Preachers in that Quarter--Mr. Clark joins the
    Society.                                                          51


  CHAPTER V.

  Appointed Class Leader--Desires to Visit his Native Country--
    Takes a Berth on the Royal George--Singular Notions on Board--A
    Storm--Interview with Tom Halyard--His Conversion--Arrival in
    London--Sabbath Morning--Visits the Foundry and hears Rev. John
    Wesley--Parting with Halyard--Sails for Inverness.                60


  CHAPTER VI.

  At Moorfield in London--Returns to Georgia--Received as a
    Preacher on Trial--Richmond Circuit--Testimonials--Character
    as a Preacher--Walked the Circuit--Views on the Methodist
    Episcopal Government--Views on Slavery--Blameless Habits--
    Thoughts on Marriage--Love Cured by Prayer--Gradual change
    of Views--Contemplates a New Field--Quarterly Conference--
    Conscientious Scruples--Philanthropy to Negroes--Withdraws from
    the Conference--Parting Scene.                                    86


  CHAPTER VII.

  Clark Journies towards Kentucky--His Dress and Appearance--
    Colloquy--Hospitality of Mr. Wells--Recognized by a former
    Convert--Description of a “Big Meeting”--Persuaded to Stop and
    Preach--Effects Produced--Mr. Wells Converted--A Revival--
    Shouting--Family Religion--Departs--The Wells Family turn
    Baptists.                                                        105


  CHAPTER VIII.

  Mountain Range--Manners of an Itinerant--Preaching in a
    Tavern-house--How to avoid Insults--Hospitality--Reaches
    Crab-Orchard--Preachers in Kentucky--Baptists, “Regulars” and
    “Separatists”--Principles of Doctrine--School-Teaching--
    Master O’Cafferty and His Qualities.                             134


  CHAPTER IX.

  Schoolmaster Equity in 1796--New Customs introduced--Mr. Birch
    Discarded--Enrolment--Books Used--New ones Procured--
    Astonishing Effects--Colloquy with Uncle Jesse--The New
    School-House--A Christmas Frolic--Shocking Affair by the Irish
    Master--A Political Convention--Young Democracy--A Stump
    Speech--New Customs--A True Missionary--Trouble about Money
    --Mr. Clark leaves Kentucky.                                     152


  CHAPTER X.

  Journey to Illinois--Story of the Gilham family, captured by
    Indians--Hard fare--Mr. Gilham attempts to recover them--
    Indian War--Peace made--The Family Redeemed--Removes to
    Illinois with Mr. Clark--Navigation of Western Rivers--Story
    of Fort Massac--Terrible sickness--Settlement of New Design
    --An ungodly race--First Preacher in Illinois--A Stranger in
    meeting--First Baptisms--Other Preachers--First Church Formed
    --Manners and customs of the French--Indian War--Stations or
    Forts Described--PIONEER BOOKS projected.                        179


  CHAPTER XI.

  Religious families noticed--Capt. Joseph Ogle--James Lemen, Sen.,
    --The three associates--Upper Louisiana--Attack on St. Louis
    --The Governor a Traitor--The assailants retire--American
    Emigration encouraged--Baptists and Methodists go there.         208


  CHAPTER XII.

  Forms a Methodist Class in Illinois--Gradual change of Views--
    Mode of Inquiry--Circumstances of his Baptism--Practical
    progress in Baptist Principles--Zeal and influence in promoting
    education--Early Schools in the Illinois country--A formidable
    obstruction to a pupil--Three fellows in the way--Want of books
    --A whiskey-loving teacher rightly served--Effects of Father
    Clark’s teaching--Visits Kentucky again--Visits to West Florida
    --Interview with a Sick man--Efficacy of Prayer--A
    Revolution.                                                      235


  CHAPTER XIII.

  Baptists, “Friends to Humanity”--Their Anti-slavery position--Mr.
    Clark joins them--Manner of his reception--His Views of African
    Slavery--Views of African Colonization--Made Life-member of a
    Colonization Society--Circulars on Slavery--Personal behavior
    --Conversational Gifts--Writes Family Records.                   256


  CHAPTER XIV.

  His mode of Traveling--Excursion in Missouri, 1820--His monthly
    circuit in Missouri and Illinois--A night Adventure--A
    Horseback Excursion--Origin of Carrollton Church--Faith and
    Prayer--Interview with Rev. J. Going--A “Standard” Sermon--
    An Affectionate Embrace--Comforts of Old Age--Last Illness and
    Death.                                                           268



SKETCHES OF “FATHER CLARK.”



CHAPTER I.

  Birth.--Ancestry.--Misfortune of Becoming Suddenly Rich.--A
    Religious Mother.--Fate of an Elder Brother.--Mathematics.--
    Purposes of Life.--Deportment in Youth.--Views of War.


Cast your eyes, reader, on a map of Scotland. Look towards the
north-eastern part, and you will find distinctly marked, the _Frith of
Murray_, a narrow channel of salt water, like a bay, penetrating a long
distance into the interior of Scotland, and named after the Earl of
Moray, or Murray.

Follow up this channel to the city of Inverness, once regarded as
the capital of the Scottish Highlands. Near this city is the small
and secluded parish of _Petty_, which we notice as the birth-place
of Father Clark, on the 29th of November, 1758. Here his father,
grandfather, and other ancestors, for several generations, were born,
lived and died. A brother of his grandfather, whose name was _John
Clark_, became an eminent scholar, and taught the parish school for
many years. All the family connections, for many generations, were
strict Presbyterians, who paid careful attention to the morals of their
children. The classics and mathematics, the Presbyterian catechism, and
their forms of religious worship were taught the children in the parish
schools, and in families, in that part of Scotland. They were taught to
do justly, love mercy, and always speak the truth.

The father of our John Clark was named Alexander, who, in the early
part of his life, owned and worked a farm. He had a brother named
Daniel, who was educated for the ministry in the Presbyterian church;
but he had no taste for that business, and became qualified for a
merchant. In this capacity he sailed for South Carolina; then went
to Georgia in company with some Scottish traders by the name of
Macgilvary, who monopolized the trade with the Creek Indians. In that
connection he gathered a large fortune, and dying, left his estate
to his brother Alexander, who had previously married a respectable
and religious woman. They had two sons, Daniel and John, and three
daughters, one of whom lived many years after her mother’s death.

The fortune of Daniel the elder proved the ruin of the father of our
hero. He neglected his farm, kept open house for his friends, drank
intoxicating liquors freely, lived in a style of luxury and grandeur,
gave his name and credit on the notes of his companions; loaned his
money to sharpers, and in a few years was reduced to bankruptcy.
He lived to old age, and after a long period of intemperance and
wretchedness, was reclaimed and died a penitent, past the age of
three-score and ten.

The mother of John Clark became a very religious woman, and taught
him to pray in early childhood, and that he was a sinner against
God, and must have his heart changed, be converted and saved through
Jesus Christ. Before he was eight years of age he had many serious
impressions about his salvation, many alarming fears about death and
hell, and thought he experienced a saving change at that early period
of life. He often declared to his Christian friends, that to the
instruction and prayers of his mother at that tender age, as means
under God, he was indebted for his salvation. And rarely have we known
a man more earnestly devoted to the religious instruction of children
and youth. It would come out from a gushing heart in almost every
sermon, and by kind and gentle hints and friendly expostulations leave
a deep impression on every family he visited.

His elder brother Daniel was a moral and amiable youth while under the
charge of his mother; but he was sent from home to a grammar school at
an early age. He became an excellent scholar, was taught the mercantile
business, went to Jamaica where he soon became rich. But he lost two
ships, taken by privateers in the war between Great Britain and the
American Colonies, became disheartened, gave way to temptation, and
followed the footsteps of his father by becoming intemperate, and died
a bankrupt and a miserable drunkard in the 37th year of his age.

John Clark’s father knew the benefits of a good education, and spared
no pains or expense in providing his children with the best means
of instruction that Inverness could afford. John was sent to school
at the age of five years. He read the Scriptures and other English
books before he was seven; and at that period was put to study Latin.
He learned the grammar, read Corderius, and studied the elementary
classics for two years; but he disliked the study of Latin and Greek,
for which he often sorrowed in after life. During this time he was at
a boarding school, away from home and all the kind influences of his
affectionate mother.

  “All these circumstances,” he writes in the sketches before us,
  “laid the foundation for an invincible prejudice against the
  acquisition of that useful language;--useful because much of the
  English tongue is derived from it. Also it disciplines the mind,
  corrects desultory habits, and forms a taste to imitate in oratory
  and composition, classical authors. I think it highly necessary for
  those, who aim at common education, to memorize a Latin vocabulary.
  Study mathematics to discipline the mind, and study well our
  English classic writers.

  But my early and deep-rooted aversion to the dead languages
  prevented me from receiving much advantage from Latin and Greek
  authors, so that I acquired but a smattering knowledge of those
  languages.”

When his father learned his aversion to classical studies he sent him
to an excellent school in the parish of Nairn, to learn arithmetic,
book-keeping, mathematics and natural philosophy. The purpose of
his father was to qualify him to join his brother in the mercantile
business in the island of Jamaica. At this school he studied geometry,
trigonometry, mensuration, surveying, astronomy, and navigation in all
its branches.

Two objects occupied his youthful mind, and which he craved in all
his studies. They engaged his thoughts by day and flitted through
his dreams by night. They were the only airy castles his fancy ever
built. First, to spend about eight years on ship-board, and visit
foreign countries and see the manners and customs of other nations.
And, secondly, then to settle for life in one of the American colonies.
With his mind fixed on these objects, with a steadiness of purpose that
never tired, he entered on those studies connected with navigation
with an eagerness and zest rarely equalled in youth. He could not
divest himself of this propensity to a sea-faring life for the period
proposed. He had no inclination to be a mere sailor, or to spend his
days with the profane and drunken of that class of men. He saw enough
of such specimens of degraded humanity in the port of Inverness to
excite feelings of disgust and sympathy. In all his longings to be on
ship-board, his benevolent nature sympathised with the heedless and
wicked sailors. He would often retire and weep over their miseries, and
think of plans for their reform and relief, when he should attain the
command of a ship.

During the period of youth, Clark was singularly amiable, moral,
kind-hearted and generous. He lost no time by idleness, had no
inclination to the vain amusements and frivolities of youth, and
sustained an estimable character for personal sobriety, good order
and morality. The unfortunate example of his father excited pity and
disgust; the devoutly religious character of his mother confirmed and
deepened the impressions of childhood. There was more of puritanical
strictness, form, and rigid orthodoxy, than active piety and the
outpourings of the religious emotions, in the Church of Scotland at
that period, and young Clark neither felt nor manifested those feelings
of ardent love to the Redeemer, and comfortings of the Holy Spirit,
that had been awakened in his young heart at the early age of eight
years, or which distinctly marked his religious character in after life.

Our youthful friend became an enthusiastic lover of liberty and of the
rights of man, at an early age, and which continued the ruling passion
during life. In the period of old age he records these facts.

  “When I was very young, I deeply imbibed the spirit of war--owing
  chiefly from hearing much of the success that attended the British
  arms by land and sea, during the war in Canada. When in the
  seventeenth year of my age, the Revolutionary war between Great
  Britain and her Colonies commenced, and I soon found myself as much
  opposed to the spirit of war as I was formerly in favor of it.”

This feeling remained after he became connected with the navy, and
caused him to desert the service, into which he had been forced by the
press-gang. And yet, as if to show us that a young man so amiable,
kind-hearted, and philanthropic as Clark, was far from perfection,
or even consistency of character, he engaged in the business of
privateering; a business now regarded by civilized nations as barbarous
and immoral.



CHAPTER II.

  Clark becomes a Sailor.--Privateering.--His Subsequent
    Reflections.--Last Visit to his Parents.--Sails as Mate to the
    West Indies.--Pressed on Board the Man-of-War Tobago.--A Fight,
    and Death of the Gunner.--Admiral Rodney.--Escapes from the
    Tobago.--Visits his Brother.--Ships for England.--Taken by
    the Spaniards.--Obtains his Freedom, and again Pressed on Board
    the Narcissus.--Deserts a Second Time, and Swims Ashore on James’
    Island, off Charleston, at Great Risk.


The propensity of young Clark to a sea-faring life remained ungratified
until he was twenty years old. Much as he desired to see the world, and
repulsive as was the conduct of his father to his sensitive feelings,
John had no wish to run away clandestinely--to leave his affectionate
mother and sisters, or to reject the monitions of his conscience. He
patiently waited until the proper time should come; until he attained
the period of manhood, and could go with his parent’s blessing. And
then, even filial affection and true philanthropy, prevailed over a
churlish and selfish temper, and prompted him to regard the welfare of
his parents to his own personal interests.

It was in the summer of 1778, in the twentieth year of his age, that
John Clark embraced the opportunity of carrying into effect his darling
purpose of life, by engaging in the transport service. But to this he
was induced by higher motives than a selfish indulgence. His education
had been completed, and he had spent some time copying in the town
and county office of Inverness. To the close of his life he wrote in
a style of uncommon neatness and accuracy. This employment furnished
no income beyond ordinary expenses. The extravagance and dissipation
of his father, had nearly reduced the family to want. The riches
realized from their uncle Daniel’s estate, gained doubtless by fraud
and extortion, from the Indians of Georgia, had made themselves wings
and flown away.[2] The farm in Petty was left, but the income was
barely sufficient for their support, and nothing can prosper under the
management of an intemperate husband and father; and John piously and
resolutely resolved to do his best in the business of his choice, to
keep their heads above water.

He embarked in the transport service, at low wages.[3] Finding, on his
return, that his father’s extravagance was fast wasting away their
means of support, and hoping to obtain in a more speedy way the means
of relief, he went to Greenock and entered on board a privateer;
and the voyage was so successful in capturing two valuable merchant
vessels, that in less than a year he returned home with his wages and
share of the prize money, amounting to more than $200. Of that business
then regarded lawful and honorable in war, fifty years after, he writes
thus:

  “This unchristian, inhuman, and almost piratical practice, was
  never permitted in Scotland before that war. But my moral feelings
  by this time began to be impaired, for my situation in life
  deprived me of the company of the godly, and ‘evil communications
  corrupt good manners.’[4] Although my conscience recoiled at doing
  that which I was not willing others should do to me, yet I made
  necessity my excuse, and pleaded the example of those who I then
  thought knew more and were better than I was.”

After remaining with his parents a few days, and leaving all the money
he could spare, for their use, he gave them the parting hand, and in
accordance with a promise made with one of the owners of the privateer,
he entered as mate one of the prize ships taken, called the Hero, for a
voyage to the West Indies. There he intended to join his brother, and
engage in business with him.

Little did he anticipate this was the last parting time with his
parents, but let him tell the story.

  “I shall never forget the morning I left them. My mother, who loved
  me most tenderly, when we parted, expressed, with the greatest
  confidence, without shedding a tear, that God would preserve me by
  land and by sea, from every danger. My father walked with me about
  one mile to a small river where I had appointed to meet a young
  man with a horse for me to ride to Port Glasgow, near Greenock,
  where the ship was to fit out; and as we parted, my dear old
  father wept like a child. Very likely he had forebodings he would
  never again fix his paternal eyes on me, for he was infirm, and
  his constitution much broken by intemperate habits. This was in
  May, 1779, and he died in the autumn following. I left my friends
  mourning, while I went away rejoicing; for though I intended to
  follow a sea-faring life for a few years, I fancied it was in my
  own power to see them whenever I pleased. I little imagined that
  man may appoint, but God may disappoint.

  “I went on my way merrily, without the least thought that Unerring
  Wisdom had set the day of adversity over against the day of
  prosperity, to the end that man should find nothing after him.[5]
  According to my engagement, I shipped with my friend, the owner’s
  son, on the Hero as second mate, from Port Glasgow, to the Cove of
  Cork in Ireland, where we waited for a convoy. There we were joined
  by a large fleet of victuallers, store ships, and transports, with
  one or two regiments of Hessians, for the port of New York. Our
  vessel and some others was bound for the West Indies. We set sail
  under convoy[6] of the frigate Roebuck, of forty-four guns. The
  convoy and transports were destined for New York, and we that were
  bound to the West Indies sailed in company to a certain latitude,
  when we parted, and were then under convoy of the Leviathan, of
  seventy guns, and a sloop of war of sixteen guns. Then I began
  to notice and examine God’s marvellous works in the boisterous
  deep. Nothing transpired during the passage worth relating until
  we got to Barbadoes, and there I was pressed on board the Tobago,
  a British war vessel of eighteen guns. Here ended my prosperity
  and adversity came. Or shall I say this seeming affliction was
  a blessing in disguise, intended by Infinite Wisdom for my
  everlasting good?

  “My wages on the Hero were forty-five dollars, for which I sent an
  order to my mother that she might receive it. Although my mother
  out-lived my father seven years, I afterwards learned with great
  satisfaction neither my father nor mother suffered for want of the
  necessaries or comforts of life while they lived; for many years
  after I learnt my mother left upwards of sixty dollars of the
  wages I had sent her.”

Mr. Clark was now a sailor, pressed by arbitrary authority on board
the British man-of-war, Tobago, and lying in the harbor of Carlisle,
in the Island of Barbadoes, to prevent American and French privateers
from plundering the plantations in the bays and road-steads of that
Island. This business was against all his principles and feelings; for
in all his longings for a sea-faring life, it never entered into his
calculations to serve on board a man-of-war. Let him give his own views
and feelings:

  “I was continually unhappy while in the navy, and would have
  ventured my life to have obtained my former liberty. I made an
  unsuccessful attempt to escape the night before the ship left
  Barbadoes, but was detected, and both my feet put in irons, and a
  sentinel placed over me, with a candle and a drawn sword, the whole
  night. Next morning the ship weighed anchor, and steered on our
  course. Great Britain was then at war with three maritime nations,
  and we suspected every ship that passed, especially if alone, to be
  a cruiser and an enemy.

  “Before night we espied a ship bearing down towards us, when our
  ship prepared for action. The boatswain blew his pipe, and hoarsely
  bawled, ‘All hands to quarters, ahoy!’ My irons were taken off,
  and after a severe reprimand, I was ordered to my post. When we
  came within hailing distance, we found the ship to be the Venus,
  a British frigate, and passed, after giving and exchanging three
  cheers.”

They were about three months lying off and on, upon cruizing ground,
in the Caribbean Sea, very short of provisions. Their butter, cheese,
flour, lard, and fruit, failed entirely, and much of the time they were
on short allowance, when they joined the fleet lying at St. Lucia. The
force consisted of two squadrons, one commanded by Admiral Parker, the
other by that truly pious Admiral Rolly, as Clark denotes him. The
French fleet lay at Martinique, not far distant, but were too numerous
and powerful to risk an encounter. So the British lay in the harbor,
with springs on their cables, waiting for a reinforcement, and fresh
supplies of provisions and naval stores. The French were waiting to be
reinforced by the Spanish fleet and land-forces from Hispaniola, (now
Hayti,) and both united, purposed to invade the Island of Jamaica. The
British Government, knowing the precarious situation of that valuable
island, made every effort to send relief, but they were hard pressed
by the war in the American Colonies, and they needed an energetic, and
skillful commander, to save their West India possessions.

They had a naval officer of great skill and courage, but he had been
absent many years on the continent of Europe. This was the celebrated
Sir George Brydges Rodney, who had distinguished himself in the West
Indies, in 1761, by the capture of Martinique. He was an admirable
commander in the navy, but while on land, was profligate, and had
wasted his estate, and become hopelessly in debt. In this situation
he left England to reside on the continent of Europe. His biographer
says, “He injured his finances in a contested election for Parliament
in 1768.” The French government made some overtures to him, which would
have repaired his fortune, but he rejected them with indignation, and
remained true to his native country.

Such was the alarming state of affairs in the West Indies that the
government called home Sir G. B. Rodney, paid his debts, redeemed
his estates, and gave him the chief command of the fleet in the West
Indies. This policy, probably, prevented Jamaica from falling into the
hands of France or Spain. Admiral Rodney, with a reinforcement, joined
the fleet at St. Lucia; and, as Clark says, “It was the best equipped
squadron I ever saw.”

Rodney soon captured a Spanish squadron, and used the prisoners with
great humanity. This became known to Charles III., the venerable king
of Spain, and he issued orders to his naval and military officers to
treat all British prisoners humanely.

The arrival of Admiral Rodney at St. Lucia, was the occasion of great
joy in the fleet, which had been penned up there for many months,
and the French in turn were blockaded in the Island of Martinique,
and could not join the Spanish fleet in Hispaniola. While Rodney was
watching the French and Spanish fleets, the Tobago, on which our friend
Clark had been forced by a press-gang, was ordered to Jamaica with
despatches in all possible haste. On this voyage Clark narrates an
incident deserving a place in this little work.

  “We had a venerable man on board our ship for chief gunner, who,
  from some unknown cause, had taken a dislike to me, and never gave
  me a kind word. One beautiful, moonlight night, while sailing near
  Hispaniola, it was my turn at the helm, and I was astonished at
  the unexpected behavior of the gunner to me. He approached me with
  as much respect as if I had been his superior in rank or station.
  Had he been an intemperate man, I should have accounted for his
  conduct, as some men are remarkably good natured while under the
  influence of liquor, and others are very cross and surly. But he
  was a moral man and never became intoxicated. He appeared in his
  conversation like a person who had done with this world, and in
  kind and respectful language gave me a sketch of his life. He had
  been in the British navy forty years; but the subject on which he
  dwelt with the most feeling was the bursting of cannon in action;
  and expressed with an emphatic tone of voice, he had never known a
  gun “expended”[7] but that a gunner was expended with it.

  Next day after dinner as we were sailing near the same Island, an
  armed brig popped out from the Island and gave us a chase. Our
  business required haste, and we could not stay merely to fight, and
  we endeavored to decoy her near by housing our guns. Suspecting our
  manœuvres, she fired two guns, and altered her course. We, in turn,
  intended to fire a broadside soon as we could bring our guns to
  bear. But, alas! the sixth gun we fired burst, and mortally wounded
  three men, and maimed several others for life.

  Our venerable gunner had one foot entirely cut off, and the other
  hung by his leg. The surgeon told him, he could not survive, and he
  called for his mate, and told him to adjust his temporal affairs
  with the Board of Admiralty, and with great composure of mind, and
  in hope of mercy, he yielded up his spirit.”

This incident made a lasting impression on the mind of Clark. The
manner of his approach the preceding night, the long and somewhat
religious conversation he held, the premonition he seemed to entertain
of the approaching calamity, and his sober, orderly and correct life
left the fixed impression that the gunner was a Christian. A young man
had his skull fractured by the same gun, and Clark stood by and saw the
surgeon trepan him, while he exhibited the greatest degree of fortitude
and patience. The wounded men were all sent to the hospital in Jamaica,
where this youth died.

The fleet they had left behind under Rodney soon had an opportunity
to act on the offensive. The French fleet that had been blockaded
were reinforced by Count de Grasse, and made an attempt to join the
Spanish fleet. They were followed by Admiral Rodney, who sunk one of
the largest vessels and captured five others. For this act of naval
heroism, he was created a baronet, had a pension of two thousand pounds
sterling per annum settled on him by the crown, and at his decease in
1792, a monument was erected in St. Paul’s church, London.

The Tobago, on which Clark was, needing repairs, she was hove down
for the purpose in Port Royal. In consideration of his fidelity and
good conduct after his attempt to desert, Mr. Clark was promoted to
the station of quarter-master. This did not reconcile him to the war,
nor to the despotism of the officers, and the sufferings of the men
on board of a war vessel. He was still resolved on escaping the first
opportunity, for as he had been forced on board a man-of-war, in
violation of his rights, he thought it no wrong to escape the first
opportunity. In company with two other young men he escaped one night,
and reached Savannah La Mar, a port on the south-western part of the
Island. Here he found a ship taking in lading for London; and so
weak-handed, that they scarcely had men enough to heave the anchor.
Clark and his comrades were employed at once and helped load the ship;
and in great haste to be off, or the time of their insurance would
expire. “Here,” he states, “for the first and last time in my life, I
worked on the Sabbath for double wages.”

When the Captain paid off Clark and his companions, he used a stratagem
to induce them to work the ship to England. The wages then were forty
guineas and forty gallons of rum for the voyage; but John Clark had
resolved to visit his brother, according to a promise he made his
mother when he parted with her, and no high wages or other inducement
would tempt him to break his promise. The Captain professed great
generosity, and proposed treating Clark and a young man who was to be
his traveling companion, to French brandy; and as Clark suspected with
drugged liquor, in order to detain them. He drank but little, while his
comrade praised the liquor and took it freely. They had not proceeded
far before the young man’s legs gave out, and they were compelled to
stop at a strange house till next morning. During the night, the young
man was robbed of all he had, and being destitute, Clark, as a genuine
sailor, and benevolent withal, divided his purse with his unfortunate
friend. And he moralizes on it in this language:--“So here I saw the
fruits of Sabbath-breaking and trifling company.” But on looking back
on the events of providence from the pinnacle of three score and ten,
he says:--

  “I now find that it was the interposition of a particular
  providence of Him, who is loving and mindful of all his creatures,
  that the forty guineas and forty gallons of rum, and the French
  brandy made no impression on my mind to induce me to alter my
  intentions, and especially my promise to the best of mothers.”

He learned at a later period, that though the ship got to her place of
rendezvous, yet before the fleet was ready to sail to England, it was
overtaken by a most furious hurricane, and the ship he aided to load,
was stranded, about a quarter of a mile from the beach. The cargo was
lost, and the wicked Captain and every sailor on board perished. Clark
adds, “So fatal was that storm on that ungodly people, (the inhabitants
of Savannah la Mar,) that there was scarcely as many left, as would
bury the dead in proper season.”

Mr. Clark traveled across the Island to find his brother, and then
went to work to obtain money enough to purchase decent clothes,
before he would venture into the presence of his brother, who lived
in a decent family, and was much respected. He earned money, but
Providence seemed to frown on him, for he lost it, and all he had. So
he says, “I resolved at last to see my brother, just as I was in my
tarpaulin dress, as sinners ought to come to the Saviour, without any
righteousness of their own.”

After informing his brother of his career, he blamed him much for
leaving the navy; for the education he had and the position he attained
would have insured his promotion, and he might have obtained wealth
and dignity. He soon found there was no employment he could obtain
at Montego bay, and be near his brother, unless it was that of
book-keeper on some plantation, and that was an unprofitable business.
His brother had become addicted to intemperance, and seemed to be
following the course of his unhappy father.

While waiting and undetermined what to do, a Letter of Marque[8]
belonging to Glasgow came into Montego bay, and Mr. Clark engaged as a
hand, and set out for his native country.

All now seemed encouraging, and he felt thankful to God that he should
soon see his parents and sisters again. But while sailing in the Gulf
of Mexico, the vessel was attacked and taken by two Spanish frigates of
superior force, and the crew were carried prisoners to Havana, in the
Island of Cuba. Here Clark remained a prisoner of war nineteen months.
Formerly the Spanish authorities treated their English prisoners with
great cruelty, but since the humane regimen of Admiral Rodney and the
orders of the King of Spain, already noticed, their treatment was
kind and humane. But to be confined in a prison, though provided with
wholesome food and other necessaries, was by no means pleasant; and the
time wore away slowly.

A cartel being arranged, Clark and other prisoners were liberated and
soon on shipboard.[9] With gladsome hearts and active hands, they heard
the boatswain sing out, “heave O!” as the anchor was raised and the
sails unfurled to the winds of heaven; and soon they were ploughing the
rippling waves towards a land of freedom. The wind proved favorable,
and in a few days they were at anchor off Charleston, outside the
bar. Here the good fortune of Clark was again reversed. The eye of an
infinite Providence was fixed on this man; his steps were mysteriously
directed in all his wanderings, and it was needful he should pass
through other and more severe trials, until as gold well-refined, he
should be fitted for the Master’s use. Mr. Clark expected to be landed
in a maritime port, and have eight days allowed him to choose a vessel
and berth. But an hour had not passed before a recruiting officer and
press-gang were on board, and poor Clark and several others were again
_pressed_ on board another man-of-war by British authority.

Surely there is no condition of servitude so galling to humanity, and
so directly a violation of human rights, and so subversive of rational
liberty, as the infamous press-gang in the British navy. We rejoice
that the just and humane sentiments of the age, have mitigated, though
not entirely removed, this odious form of despotism in the British
government. Through the operation of such oppression, Mr. Clark found
himself on board the Narcissus, of twenty guns, and most unwillingly
held in the service of George III. Read his own remarks on the subject.

  “Now, I was more determined than ever to obtain my liberty. The
  love of liberty is implanted in our very nature, and nothing can
  supply the lack of it. We fared well on board the Narcissus; we had
  the best of fresh meat when it could be obtained, besides butter,
  cheese, plum-pudding, and a pint of Madeira wine for each day, but
  all that could not supply the lack of rational liberty.

  “The people of the slaveholding States ought to consider this
  well; for the spirit of liberty is like a magazine full of powder.
  If it takes fire, it will consume all within its reach, and the
  danger increases daily. Many slaveholders sincerely conclude that
  if they work their slaves moderately, clothe and feed them well,
  the slaves ought to be contented, but Scripture, sound philosophy,
  and experience--yes, my own experience--prove such arguments to be
  sophistry. For although I fared on board the Narcissus as well as I
  could reasonably desire, yet I was more discontented than ever. So
  I found the old saying verified,--”

          ‘Feed me with ambrosia;
    Wash it down with Nectar;
    And what will it avail, if liberty be wanting.’

  My desires for liberty and peace were so great, that death or
  liberty was the constant language of my heart.”

About this time the British evacuated Savannah, and the Narcissus was
appointed a convoy to the transports that moved the refugees from that
city to St. Augustine. After performing this duty, the ship returned
and lay off Charleston again. Orders were issued to sail to New York,
and the night previous Clark and his mess-mates were employed in making
preparations for the voyage.

After being discharged from duty, and while at their mess, John Scott
and John Clark were invited to join another mess and take grog. The
proposal was then made to Clark and his messmate, to obtain their
liberty that night by swimming to James’ Island, it being from one and
a-half to two miles distant. The plan was arranged by Clark to strip
in the bow of the ship, all but their trowsers, and swim at first
straight ahead in a quartering direction, until they could no longer be
seen from the ship, and then turn in the course of the island. He was
chosen to take the lead, and he dashed ahead in the direction he had
chosen. The others made some delay, as Clark was to turn on his back
and wait for them. He found, on trial, the salt water so dashed over
his face, that he was compelled to swim for his life. His situation
became extremely perilous; the rippling waves dashed in his face and he
began to despair of life. And now he became alarmed at the prospect of
immediate death, and his sins rushed on his conscience to that degree
that even in the perilous condition he was, he dared not to pray for
deliverance. The prayers of his mother seemed to ring in his ears, and
in his disturbed imagination the spray that beat upon his face were
her scalding tears. Like flashes of lightning his sins pierced his
conscience, and the terrors of the law, like peals of thunder, rolled
over his sinking soul. Such were his views of his sin and guilt, while
swimming for his life, that he dared not pray, lest his cries to heaven
for mercy should provoke the vengeance of an angry God to sink him in
the deep. But let him tell his own experience from his journal at this
terrible crisis.

  “I expected to launch into the presence of a frowning and
  sin-avenging God, whose tender mercies for many years I had
  trampled under my ungodly feet;--I had broken many promises of
  amendment;--a yawning hell seemed moving from beneath, at the
  ocean’s depth, to meet me on my sinking. Human language cannot
  express the agitation of my mind, and such was my perturbation for
  a time, that my strength failed me to such a degree that I could
  hardly keep myself from sinking. I would willingly have sunk, but
  the thought of dying without the hope of mercy, was so terrible
  that I resolved to swim as long as I could keep my head above
  water, or until deprived of my senses, or till some greedy shark,
  of which the harbor was never clear, should devour me, and put an
  end to my struggling.”

The impression of dying under the curse of God’s violated law, thrilled
through his nerves like an electric shock, and he felt in an instant
increased vigor, and swam with greater ease. He could not see the land,
and when despairing of deliverance, he found a ship at anchor about 200
yards from him, and two miles from any other vessel, and hope inspired
his heart and nerved his arms to further effort, and he resolved to
board the vessel, knowing that some of the sailors would give him
clothes and help him to land. But all was still. Both officers and men
were on shore, or in the city of Charleston. He found an old, ragged,
and greasy shirt, and a small boat moored to the ship, but conscience
demurred: “How can you be guilty of such iniquity, of taking other
men’s property, when God has wrought such a deliverance?” But reason
responded: “It is no more than I would cheerfully allow others to do
to me under a change of circumstances.”

He got into the boat with the least noise possible, cast her loose,
and sculled toward the land. A light breeze springing up he hoisted
his oar for a mast, the old shirt for a sail, shipped the rudder and
sailed for James’ Island. After tying the boat so that it might be
found by the owners, he crept into a hay-stack and rested till morning.
After waking, much refreshed from the fatigue and exposure of the past
night, Clark sought a position where, undiscovered, he might watch the
movements of the Narcissus. At sunrise her morning gun boomed over
the waters, and with joyful emotions he saw the signal hoisted for
her departure. The wind was fair, and the dreaded ship was soon under
weigh, and was soon out of sight.



CHAPTER III.

  Mr. Clark arrives at Charleston.--Meets with Friends.--Interview
    with John Scott.--The Story and Fate of Duncan.--Alarmed, and
    Relieved by an Old Shipmate.--Stationed on Cooper River.--
    Returns to Charleston.--Protected by Three Scotch Tailors.--
    They all Escape.--Adventures in a Swamp.--Reach Gen. Marion’s
    Army.--Clark Proceeds to Georgetown.--Enters a Row-galley and
    reaches Savannah.--Sails to St. Thomas.--Voyage to New York.--
    Proclamation of Peace.--Returns to the West Indies.--Shipwreck.
    --Various Voyages.--Distress of Mind.--Forsakes a Sea-faring
    Life.


At that time transport ships were collecting in the harbor, and waiting
to carry off the troops, for the British were about to evacuate the
town. This was in 1782. James Island, where Mr. Clark got on land, is a
large island south-east and opposite Charleston, across Ashley river,
and is separated from the ocean by Folly Island and a channel between;
and has several other islands contiguous. Clark says, after noticing
the departure of the ship:--

  “The next thing that occupied my mind, was, how I would get to
  Charleston, and what would I do there? I thought that with an old,
  greasy and torn shirt, and a pair of trowsers as my only covering,
  every one would take me for an idiot, or at least a worthless
  vagabond. Could I have seen then as I now see, the hand of HIM who
  makes sparrows, ravens, lions and other creatures objects of his
  care; and that all his dispensations towards the children of men
  are tokens of his paternal love, and means to instruct us;--that
  without HIM we can do nothing;--if I had then seen these things as
  I now do, I might have enjoyed peace with God, and been delivered
  from all tormenting fear. But I was blinded by unbelief or I should
  have known that what I had experienced the night before of the
  goodness of God in my preservation would have inspired me with hope
  for the future.”

He soon found a negro hut where he obtained food, and was told he could
get a passage to Charleston in a fishing boat. All this time Mr. Clark
knew nothing of the fate of his four comrades, who he was confident had
followed him, and who, he supposed, were in the ocean, or in nautical
language had “gone to Davy Jones’ locker.” He was taken in a fishing
boat across the wide river, and landed at the upper wharf, which he
regarded as a providential favor, for it gave him opportunity to keep
out of the way of the officers of the navy, and find amongst the common
sailors some old shipmate who might aid him in his necessities. He
found sailors, in great numbers, at every wharf, and there were many
ships taking in lading for British ports, expecting the war would soon
close. The great men of France, England, and the United States, were
then arranging terms of peace.

Mr. Clark continued his tour along the wharves until he almost
despaired of seeing any one who would befriend him. When almost at
his wits’ end, he espied three men putting tobacco into the hold of a
vessel, and to his astonishment and joy he knew them; for many months
before, he and his mess-mate John Scott had showed them what they
thought was a great favor. It is a peculiar trait of sailors to be
grateful, and never forget an act of kindness. But let the interview be
in his own language.

  “I made towards them with quick steps, and a gladsome heart. I
  found they were gentlemen indeed, though at first they did not seem
  to know me. Their disinterested generosity exceeded any thing of
  the kind I ever met with before. They clothed me from head to foot,
  and gave me refreshment.[10] I then went into the hold, to assist
  the second mate to stow away tobacco. I was not long engaged in
  that business before I heard the voice of John Scott on deck--my
  mess-mate, who I supposed was drowned. I concealed myself as
  long as I could, while listening to his conversation; for he was
  narrating the tragical story of the death of John Duncan and myself
  to the captain.”

We will give John Scott a chance to tell his own tale, as recorded from
the memory of our friend John Clark.


JOHN SCOTT’S STORY.

  “The men who proposed the hazardous undertaking to me and my
  mess-mate, John Clark, set out from the ship after him, but in a
  contrary course from mine. One of them, after swimming about one
  hundred yards, concluding he could not hold out to reach the shore,
  returned and got on board without being discovered. Another swam
  about one hundred yards further, and found he would fail, hailed
  the ship and was taken up by the boat. But I and John Duncan held
  on our course about half way to the land, when Duncan began to
  fail; and the last words I heard him utter, were, ‘Lord, have mercy
  on me.’ I got to the island, but entirely naked, except a silk
  handkerchief around my waist. I then ran up and down the sand beach
  to keep warm till day-light, when I walked on the island and came
  to a large brick house, where a lady stood in the door-way and
  directed me to the barn, where a British sergeant lay, who gave me
  a pair of trowsers, and the lady sent me a fine, ruffled shirt, and
  a half-worn beaver hat, and gave me a hearty breakfast.”

Scott got a passage to Charleston on a fishing boat, for which he paid
two dollars; so it seems they weighed his purse by his fine clothes.
While John Scott was narrating the desperate adventure, and how two of
the number got back to the Narcissus, and Duncan was drowned, with sobs
and tears he mentioned his dear mess-mate, John Clark, who, he doubted
not, had perished, or been devoured by a shark, for though an excellent
swimmer, he could never reach land in that direction. “And here,” said
the generous-hearted sailor, “is the purse he knit and gave me, and I
am determined to keep it as long as two meshes will hold together; for
he was the best friend I ever had.”

Clark could listen no longer, but called out JOHN SCOTT, while the
tears like rain drops, gushed from his eyes, as he sprang on deck, and
in a moment the two shipmates, each supposing the other dead, were in
each others’ arms! They now pledged themselves to each other, never
to part, but to live together like brothers. But it is not in man
that walketh to direct his steps.[11] They heard of a Captain Kelly,
who was fitting out a privateer and wanted hands. On application for
berths as privates, they learned he wanted officers, and would take
them as lieutenants. Clark was deficient in practice, and Scott lacked
knowledge in the art of navigation. After some further consideration
they went on board the privateer, and to their satisfaction found
one of their former fellow-prisoners engaged as surgeon. They now
thought they were provided for and should be contented, but before
they were ready to sail, a ship of war came into the harbor, with a
full description of the deserters from the Narcissus, and orders to
search every vessel for them. This so alarmed Clark and his mess-mate
that they were at their wits’ end. At this crisis Clark fell into the
company of an old shipmate by name of John Stewart. They had been
captured in company by the Spanish frigates and were messmates while
in prison in Havana. Stewart advised Clark to take a berth on an armed
sloop, employed as a guard ship, and stationed in Cooper river, a few
miles above Charleston. What became of his friend Scott we learn no
more. They separated and probably never met again on earth.

Mr. Clark now felt his mind relieved from the fear of recapture, but
the respite did not last long. For wages he had nineteen dollars per
month, and a complete asylum from the dangers to which he had been
exposed; plenty of good rations, and very little to do; so he had
two-thirds of his time to improve his mind, which he did not neglect.
But God had wise and gracious designs to accomplish by him, and his
measure of afflictions was not full. His rest was of short duration,
for the sloop was ordered down to Charleston to undergo repairs. There
he was peculiarly exposed to apprehension as a deserter, and knew not
how to escape detection. But the Friend of mankind provided another
asylum, as unexpected as his former deliverances. Connected with the
remnant of the British army that still occupied Charleston, were three
Scotchmen, brothers, who came from his native district. They were
tailors, and employed in altering and fitting the military clothing,
so as to suit each person. With them he became acquainted, and they
concealed him until they were about to be shipped off with the regiment
to New Providence. They told him, in confidence, their parents lived in
North Carolina, that the time of their enlistment had nearly expired,
that they disliked the army, and desired to escape to a country that
was now free. Finally, they entreated Clark to procure a boat, and take
them across Ashley river; and if he wished to accompany them, to obtain
a man to row the boat back to Charleston. This was a providential
opening for Clark to escape, and he engaged his friend Stewart to help
them off.

At eight o’clock at night, Clark, the three tailors, and Stewart as
boatman, were on the water, and hailed by every ship they passed:
“Boat ahoy--what boat is that?” Clark regularly responded in the true
marine accent, “_Guard-boat_;” and thus they escaped unmolested. The
last ship they passed ordered them to stop and come on board, but they
kept on directly towards the margin of a large swamp that lay close by
the river. They intended to turn up the river when on the border of
the swamp, and land on dry and firm ground above. After considering
themselves out of danger, they leisurely plied two oars, while Clark
sat in the stern and steered. Not a word had been spoken by the party,
until one of the men broke silence in a low but emphatic tone, “Lord,
have mercy on us--there’s a boat close on us--put ashore--put ashore!”

Clark instantly put the boat towards the shore, struck the muddy bank,
and all plunged into the swamp but Stewart, who turned down stream.
A palmetto swamp, when covered with water, is a horrible place in
day-light--what must it have been to these wretched wanderers in a
dark night! What the boat was after that alarmed them, or who manned
it, they never learned. It might have been sent from the last ship who
suspected the “guard-boat” was not its real character; or it might have
contained a party of runaways like their own; or some of the native
inhabitants might have made a stealthy visit to town.

Mr. Clark and his friends were frequently up to their knees in mud and
water, and tearing their clothes and skins with the rough palmetto
leaves. The Scotch tailors were excessively frightened, quite panic
struck, expecting every moment to be made prisoners; or perhaps
shot down in the swamp. The grass was higher than their heads, and
they could not see five yards distant. Clark allayed their fears by
assuring them there was no danger from soldiers or marines, for no
person, unless insane, would attempt to follow them in such a swamp. He
urged them to keep together while he led the party. After a terrible
struggle, they got across the swamp about four o’clock in the morning.
Next day they secreted themselves in a thicket and rested till night,
and then traveled on a south-western course by the direction of the
stars. They knew the camp of General Marion was somewhere in the pine
barrens, and steered their course in that direction. Next day they
were so far within the American lines, they ventured to call on the
inhabitants and found them truly generous, and were made welcome and
comfortable. The day following they reached Marion’s camp, reported
themselves as deserters from the British in Charleston, and were
received by the heroic General and his men with true politeness.
Next day the three Scotch tailors applied for passports to North
Carolina, and Clark for one to Georgetown in South Carolina, which
were readily granted. Though the war had practically ended, peace had
not been proclaimed, and every thing was in an unsettled state. Mr.
Clark reached Georgetown, sixty miles north of Charleston, but found
no employment there. The British had evacuated the place, but the
inhabitants were left destitute, and subsisted on rations furnished
by the American army, and every thing was in confusion. Being almost
destitute of clothes and money, Mr. Clark engaged for a short voyage
on a coasting vessel, and came very near being captured by a British
whale-boat. It was only by a desperate effort they escaped. Soon after
returning from that trip, an American row-galley, with thirty oars when
she had a full complement of seamen, came into port. She was armed with
swivels, muskets and cutlasses, and bound on a cruise to Savannah.
As the boat wanted seamen, Clark obtained a berth on board. On their
voyage they lay by one night at Bull’s Island, and in the morning
found two British whale-boats lying near, and all hands fast asleep.
The Americans fired a musket and halloed to arouse them, but as it was
understood the war was over, neither party was disposed for a fight. So
they parted in peace. The American boat staid at Bull’s Island another
night, to see that the British boats did no injury to the inhabitants,
and then went to Savannah.

By this time Mr. Clark had become heartily tired of war on both sides,
and his conscience was reproaching him for engaging in such exploits;
he was continually unhappy, for God was calling him to enter his
service, and like Jonah he was trying to escape. But he felt it to be
his duty to obtain the means of subsistence, and a Sweedish neutral
vessel from St. Thomas, being in Savannah, he shipped on board and
sailed for that island. As the vessel belonged in that port, all hands
were paid off and discharged. The captain, who had taken a fancy to
Clark, offered him the post of mate if he would sail with him, but the
mate had treated Clark with so much friendship, he would not take his
place. The mate, Clark, and several hands, made arrangements to lodge
on shore with a Mr. Campbell. The town of St. Thomas was a neutral
port, and ships from five nations, who had been at war some years, were
frequently in the harbor. To prevent collisions among the sailors of
these different nations, especially when intoxicated, and to preserve
peace and good order, the town authorities required each seaman who
lodged in the town, to obtain a license from the officer who had charge
of that business. Mr. Campbell told Clark and his comrades if they were
in bed by nine o’clock, they need not apply for a license. But they
found their host was mistaken, or else he purposely deceived them.
Though all were in bed and perfectly quiet, they were aroused up by
the police, sent to the fort, and amongst hosts of fleas, and heaps
of filth, were kept until ten o’clock next morning. And then they got
released by paying fines and costs at the rate of about twenty dollars
per head, for a most wretched night’s lodging.

Next day they went to Tortola, a small island that belonged to Great
Britain. Here they shipped on the Peggy, a vessel bound to the port of
New York, and laden with rum and sugar. Clark’s friend was first mate,
and he was made second mate. His friend left the ship at New York, and
our friend John Clark, who was amply qualified, was advanced to the
post of chief mate. While they lay in the harbor of New York, peace was
proclaimed, and Clark, though an officer on board a British merchant
vessel, on the day of public rejoicing could not resist the impulse to
unite with the Americans in their shouts to Liberty. He felt thankful
to God that though he had been forced sorely against his will and all
his notions of the rights of man as a creature of God, to perform
service on board of British war ships, he had never been compelled
to fight that people who were contending for their just rights, and
whose banner was freedom. The truth is, Mr. Clark was innately and by
conviction, a true republican, and an enemy to oppression in every form.

The vessel in which he was now second in command, took in a cargo of
lumber and sailed for Tortola, where they loaded with a cargo of wine
and West India goods, and again sailed for New York. A terrible storm
drove them ashore near Cape Hatteras, off the coast of North Carolina,
where the vessel was lost, but the crew and cargo saved. Cape Hatteras
is the extreme point of a long low island that separates Pamlico Sound
from the Atlantic ocean. From North Carolina he made a voyage to Cape
Francois, now Cape Haytien, in the island of Hayti; from thence to
Charleston in South Carolina, thence to Jamaica and back to Charleston.
Nothing special occurred in these voyages in which Mr. Clark had the
berth of first mate. He now made some preparations for a voyage to
London, but he was a very unhappy man, and had been, at times, since
his escape from the Narcissus. We will hear his own story.

  “’Twas now the Spirit of HIM who died on the cross to save sinners,
  that alarmed me continually with an assurance that I should never
  see the face of God in peace unless I quit the sea-faring business.
  I resolved to go into the country and teach a school, where I could
  have opportunity to read the Bible, meditate, and attend to the
  salvation of my soul. My conviction and repentance increased to
  despondency, and I now found no difficulty in refraining from the
  use of ardent spirits, which had been growing by long habit, until
  it had become truly alarming. Before I met with this distressing
  but gracious and salutary change, I was a willing slave to sin and
  Satan; but now I was still a slave, but a very unwilling one. I
  have believed for many years that there is an important difference
  between being awakened and being penitent. A person who is
  thoroughly awakened and does not repent, is filled with tormenting
  fear, which may be the beginning of wisdom.”[12]



CHAPTER IV.

  Retires to the Back Settlements in S. Carolina.--Teaches a School.
    --Self-righteousness.--His Experience for Twelve Months.--
    Despondency.--Reads Russell’s Seven Sermons.--Conversion and
    firm Hope.--Removes to Georgia and Becomes a Teacher there.--
    First Methodist Preachers in that Quarter.--Mr. Clark joins the
    Society.


It was early in the month of March, 1785, that Mr. Clark, after much
struggling of mind and conscience, came to the determination to quit
the seas and become a religious man. The captain and hands were anxious
he should remain, and make the voyage with them to London. The only
defect they perceived in his character as a sailor and officer, was,
his desponding temper, and singular habit of being much alone. None
of his friends knew the nature of his troubles; none could sympathize
with him; and had he known himself and the true nature of the Christian
religion, he might have exclaimed with the ancient patriarch,
“Miserable comforters are ye all.”[13] But he then had no clear views
of gospel truth, nor how a holy and righteous God could justify and
save a sinner consistent with his law which saith--“The soul that
sinneth, it shall die.”[14] But he can best describe his own case in
the language he left in the sketch before us.

  “I have already mentioned being afflicted with that tormenting fear
  that precedes repentance, and which is unspeakably great. Had I
  then known as much of the gospel as I now do, I need not have made
  such mistakes as I did, nor suffered the hundredth part I was made
  to suffer. For I firmly believe that when an awakened sinner can
  say with all his heart, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner,’ like the
  publican,[15]; or with Saul of Tarsus, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have
  me to do?’[16]; or in the language of one of our sweetest hymns,

    ‘Here, Lord, I give myself away;
      ’Tis all that I can do;[17]’

  he is then in a state of salvation, though he may not have received
  the spirit of adoption.[18]

  “I had been in great distress as a sinner, off and on for more than
  two years. At times I would be in the greatest distress, and have a
  horror of conscience beyond description, and then it would wear off
  and I would return to my sinful courses. The first of my permanent
  conviction was while in the port of Charleston in March, 1785,
  after I had engaged to make a voyage to London as second mate, when
  I became continually alarmed, lest if I went to sea another voyage
  I should never see land, nor the face of God in peace; my day of
  grace would be past. In this awful distress of mind I obtained my
  discharge, and under this salutary but distressing conviction, I
  set out for the back settlement of South Carolina. On Saturday I
  came to a tavern house near the Eutaw Spring, and told the family,
  I made it a matter of conscience not to travel on the Sabbath, and
  wished to tarry with them till Monday. But they misunderstood my
  case, and got some of the neighbors to watch the house on Sunday
  night; imagining I was a robber, and had accomplices to aid in
  robbing the house. But I did not blame them, for I felt deeply my
  wickedness against God, and appeared to my self worse than any
  robber on earth.

  “On Monday morning I fell in company with some backwoods people,
  who had been to Charleston and were going to Fishing river
  settlement on the frontiers. Both parties soon became well suited;
  for I wanted to teach school, and they wanted a teacher. They
  treated me kindly, and I went home with them, and in a few days
  a school was made up, and I engaged to teach for them one year.
  I now endeavored to abstain from every appearance of evil, read
  the Scriptures, and prayed in secret several times in a day. I
  was so far from knowing the gospel method of salvation, that,
  notwithstanding the instruction given me in childhood, from the
  Bible and the Presbyterian catechism, I sincerely thought that true
  religion consisted only in outward reformation of conduct. My moral
  and serious deportment surprised my employers, who were irreligious
  and not over much righteous. They thought it very singular that a
  man who had followed a sea-faring life, should be so humble and
  religious, and often spoke of it. But they no more comprehended the
  state of my mind, nor understood my case than they could lessons in
  Latin, Greek, or Hebrew.

  “I spared no pains to attain to the highest degree of
  self-righteousness, and really thought that would stand by me
  in the great day of final accounts. Yet notwithstanding all my
  efforts, my besetting sins would return upon me with all their
  force. The more I strove to be righteous, the stronger it seemed
  my sins grew; and what is always an inseparable companion, despair
  tormented me to such a degree that my life became an intolerable
  burthen. After hearing my classes read in the Old and New
  Testament, I often went out of my school-house to weep and pray.
  I would go into a thicket, throw myself on the ground and cry for
  mercy; yet for a twelve month I was trying to prepare myself that I
  might deserve mercy. No pen can describe the horrible temptations
  that beset me, and the sore trials that I experienced. My whole
  life seemed to me to have been a series of the vilest actions,
  words and thoughts imaginable. I had agreed to board round with the
  scholars, but Mr. Andrew Love, a generous, kind-hearted gentleman,
  offered to board me gratis. This gave me more time for reading,
  and opportunity for retirement. At times, I thought I was so bad
  the Almighty could not have mercy on me; and then it seemed as if
  a curse hung over every thing I set my hand to do. It seemed to me
  at times it was an imposition on the people for one so wicked, as I
  regarded myself, to attempt to instruct the youth. I could blame no
  person but myself. My life was a burden, and I often wished I could
  be annihilated.

  “It is a most laudable custom with the pious Presbyterians where
  I was brought up, for all the family that can read, to spend the
  Sabbath, when not at Church, in reading the Scriptures, and some
  good religious book. But I even thought it wrong for such a sinful
  person as I was to look into a good book; and such books were very
  scarce in Fishing river settlement. I made inquiry for such books,
  and one of my employers sent me ‘Russells’s Seven Sermons.’ I
  ventured to read the discourse on the sin against the Holy Ghost,
  though with a very trembling heart. But the happy change that came
  over my mind tongue cannot express. It was the mere glimmerings of
  hope that through Jesus Christ there was mercy for me. I now felt
  a degree of reconciliation to God that I cannot describe. I knew
  before my heart was enmity against God, and at times I felt angry
  that God would not have mercy on me. I was now astonished beyond
  expression how I could have had such feelings, and what had become
  of my sinful nature. My past sins, which seemed to be unpardonable,
  were gone, and it seemed that nothing but love to God and man
  had been left in their place. Although I had been taught from my
  infancy the doctrine of salvation through the merits of Christ, yet
  I never before believed truly in his divine merits and gracious
  intercession, but held on to my own righteousness; and yet I was
  rationally convinced I had none, and I learned by bitter experience
  I could get none by my own working.”

Mr. Clark now enjoyed peace of conscience and faith in the Lord Jesus,
yet for some time he did not know this was a state of salvation. He
had learned this lesson, that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord
but by the Holy Ghost.[19] But it was several years after, as he grew
in knowledge and the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,[20]
that he became established in faith and hope, and for more than forty
years, he had no doubts of divine acceptance.

The inquiry was once made of a shrewd, old Scots divine, “What is the
_best_ evidence of a gracious state?” The prompt reply was, “Forty
years close walk with God.” Our old friend gave this evidence and
something over. According to his own narrative which we have copied,
his experience of a great and gracious deliverance from the bondage of
sin (which he always ascribed to the mighty agency of the Holy Ghost,)
took place in March, 1786; just one year after he left ship-board in
Charleston. He lived to the autumn of 1833; the period of more than
forty-seven years; and during the whole time, without any drawing back,
he exhibited daily living evidence of the wonderful and gracious change
he experienced. He was remarkable for meekness, humility, and godly
fear, and yet he never expressed a doubt of his adoption.

We do not find in his narrative any account of religious meetings, or
that he heard any one preach for more than a year; nor can we find any
evidence of any church having been organized in this remote settlement,
by any denomination. His school, which had been a large one, closed a
few weeks after he met with the change by which he passed from death to
life. About that period the country south of the Savannah river, now
in the middle part of Georgia, was new, and attracted the attention of
a large immigration from Virginia, and Mr. Clark supposed the work of
surveyors would be in demand. He thought he might obtain a contract,
and then look out and purchase land for a farm and settle down for
life. But he piously observes, after nearly half a century had past
away, “The Author of all events had a higher and more responsible
calling than any that occurred to my mind, and that was to preach the
gospel.”

He went to Georgia, to the country on Broad river, a branch of the
Savannah, some where in the region of the present counties of Elbert,
Wilkes, Oglethorpe and Madison, then all new, and to which immigration
was rapidly tending. But he found no demand for surveying, and again
took up a school, near Colonel Wootten’s residence on Broad river.
A school was raised in the following manner. The teacher, after
consulting some of the heads of families, and learning the probability
that a sufficient number of pupils could be obtained to justify the
engagement, on his part, drew up an article in the neatest style
of penmanship he could, forming a contract between himself and the
signers; he engaging to teach the branches named, at a certain rate per
quarter, and they engaging to pay him a specified sum at the close of
each term. The subscribers would put opposite their names the number of
scholars they engaged to pay for, and if they sent more, the expense
would be in proportion; if less, they were still bound to pay their
subscriptions. A popular teacher would soon have a third more scholars
than at first subscribed. This mode of contract for teaching the common
English branches has been almost universal through the south-western
States, and prevails to this day. In some instances two or three
persons will make a contract with a teacher, and bind themselves to
pay a salary, and then look to their neighbors to aid in making up the
school.

The school houses, if that term be applicable to the most inferior
of the whole race of “log-cabins,” were constructed of rough, unhewn
logs, with a chimney of sticks and clay at one end; the door-way in
front, and the shutter, if it had one, made of split slabs or boards.
A log cut out of one side left an aperture for a window, and a slab
placed under it, running the length of the room answered the purpose
of a writing-desk. The floor was of earth and seldom cleansed. The
surrounding forest, in the border of which this rough cabin was
located, furnished ample supplies of fuel, and a spring of water near
poured out the refreshing and primitive draught for the thirsty pupils.

About the time Mr. Clark began his school, as he states,

  “Two Methodist preachers, by name of John Major and Thomas
  Humphries, formed a circuit in those parts, and preached at Col.
  Wootten’s house, where I boarded. They pleased me so well that I
  joined them.”

Turning to the Minutes of the Methodist Conference, we find the names
of these ministers placed on the Georgia circuit for 1786.[21] Their
labors were abundant and efficient, and several societies were formed
in that part of Georgia.



CHAPTER V.

  Appointed Class Leader.--Desires to Visit his Native Country.--
    Takes a Berth on the Royal George.--Singular Notions on Board.
    --A Storm.--Interview with Tom Halyard.--His Conversion.--
    Arrival in London.--Sabbath Morning.--Visits the Foundry and
    hears Rev. John Wesley.--Parting with Halyard.--Sails for
    Inverness.


We are unable to give anything very definite about the religious
employment of Mr. Clark while he remained in Georgia. He was prompt
and gifted in prayer-meetings, and before many months was appointed
class-leader. We never learned when he commenced regular preaching.
Without a license he gave exhortations in the prayer-meetings; but his
private conversations were probably the most effective means at that
period in bringing sinners to Christ.

Gradually, and with many misgivings, on his part, his mind became
impressed with the duty of preaching the gospel to his fellow men. He
was meek, modest, humble, and thought far less of his gifts than others
did. His sensitive conscience shrunk at undertaking a work for which he
felt so poorly qualified, and we suppose he did not appear before the
public as a preacher until after his return from his native country.
His amiable temper, courteous manners, and kind feelings, without any
effort on his part, gained him the confidence and good will of all with
whom he held intercourse.

It was not more than one or two years after he joined the Methodists
that he resolved on a visit to his native land. He had received the
avails of teaching for several terms; his dress was plain, cotton
homespun, and cost but little; and his board had been gratuitously
bestowed by Colonel Wootten. It was a beautiful morning in April that
he led for the last time, by the solicitations of his host, in the
family devotions, and after breakfast, and again singing a favorite
song, he gave the parting hand to each of the family, white and black.

“I’ll go with you, brother Clark, to the forks of the road,” said the
venerable Colonel. As they walked along the lane, Clark thought, though
kindly repulsed before, he would again tender payment for his board and
several articles of clothing he had received as gratuities, and he
mentioned the subject as they arrived at the junction where they must
part. “No, my dear brother,” said the kind-hearted old Methodist, “you
have done a heap more for my family than they can ever do for you. For
until you talk’d to that wayward boy, our George, who was wild like,
and had been after cards and whiskey, I felt orfully afeared he would
be lost and ruined te-totally. But when I know’d you’d tuk him in
hand, and I’d he’rn you pray so all-graciously for him in the tobacco
house, I sort’r pluck’d up heart, and concluded my poor prayers for him
would’nt do no harm. So I prayed too as hard as I could. An’ now he’s
so steady and cheerful, and sings so pretty sin’ he join’d Society.--O,
brother Clark, I hate to part with you; but do pray for me and mine,
when you’re on the great ocean;--and should you ever get back ag’in
to Georgia, remember my house’s your home, as long as I live. And ef
George lives and holds out as he’s begun, he’ll never let you want, for
I do believe he loves you better nor his father and mother.”

The old Colonel was full and he could say no more--his heart was
gushing out of his eyes like a shower of rain, as he gave the hand of
Mr. Clark such a parting squeeze as caused him never to forget this old
Methodist brother.

He might have paid his passage and gone in the cabin of one of the slow
sailing vessels of that period, which were usually from two to three
months in crossing the ocean to Europe. But though he never knew the
feeling of avarice;--though he never hoarded up money for its own sake,
but believed steadfastly in the same providence that clothes the lilies
of the field, and feeds the birds of the air, he went aboard like a
true-hearted sailor, before the mast. Arriving at Charleston, he found
the Royal George, a trim, snug, merchant ship, just fitting out for the
port of London, and shipped as a regular seaman.

The wind proved fair, and for some weeks the weather was
favorable;--then a terrific storm overtook them which lasted three
days. Clark manifested due courtesy with his shipmates, and showed
prompt obedience to the officers. The Captain eyed him closely, but
during the storm he found him to be a prime sailor, and that he
understood both the theory and practice of navigating a ship. The
sailors in the forecastle thought he had queer ways, but all concurred
in the opinion of the Captain and mates that he had smelt salt water
before; and yet he was singular.

When he first came aboard, they spoke of him as a “green ’un;” “a
land-lubber.” “He might do to punish _grub_, but he’d never do in a
storm.”

The storm came on, and Jack Clark, as he was called, was found to be
the best hand in the mess to work ship. He could run up the shrouds and
out on the yard arms, like a monkey; hold on with one hand and take in
a reef with the other in the quickest time. From the captain, whose
keen look was on him as he walked the quarter-deck in sullen dignity,
to the cabin boy whose laughing eye watched the new hand; all perceived
he was a regular “old salt;” and if he had commanded a ship, as some
one intimated, he had never crept in at the cabin window.

But he was a strange fellow, for when grog time came John was seldom
seen coming for his allowance. When fair weather came, and the sailors
lay about the deck sunning themselves, and spinning long yarns, John
Clark was reading in his berth. Thus days and weeks passed away, with
the usual monotony of an old fashioned sea voyage.

“What book is that Jack Clark reads so much?”--said one old salt
to another as several hands lay basking on deck one day. “It’s the
BIBLE,” was the reply from a pale looking sailor, who had just got
out from a sick-berth, “for he read a long yarn out of it the other
day to me.” “Hurrah,” shouted a wicked and witty fellow, who was
listening;--“Is--Jack--what d’ call ’em--a PARSON?” “I don’t know about
that,” said pale face, “but I think there are not many parsons about
Lun-nun that know more about the Bible than Jack Clark. And I can tell
ye more, shipmates, he can _pray_ too, and make his prayers as he goes
along without the book; for I he’rn him not long sin’.” “You he’rn
him pray!” shouted two or three voices in quick succession. “A sailor
_pray_, and that without a book? Well, that’s more than the parsons can
do.”

The sailor who had let out the secret of John’s praying, was in a
serious mood. He had taken a kind of sailor prejudice to Clark when
he first came aboard, and manifested no disposition to be on terms
of intimacy. This sailor, whom we will call Tom Halyard, (having
forgotten his real name) had been sick for several days, and was
neglected by his shipmates,--even those of his own mess, except Clark,
who nursed him, obtained from the cook a little nourishing soup, and
showed so much sympathy as to spoil all his prejudices and win his
confidence. There is nothing like sympathy and kindness to work one’s
way into the heart’s core of a true sailor. Taking advantage of a
convenient interview in private, when he was beginning to recover,
Clark had a long conversation with this man on personal religion, and
the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Thomas Halyard had a pious mother, who in giving him some of the formal
lessons prescribed by the English church, talked to him about his state
by nature as a sinner in such a way as no one but a mother can talk.
Tom’s mother died when he was a little boy. His father was a profane
drunkard, and cared nothing for godliness, and hated God-fearing
people. His repeated acts of outrage and abuse of the poor motherless
boy, drove all filial feelings from his heart, and made him disgusted
with his father’s brutal manners. He ran away while quite a youth,
and went on board a ship. He soon learned the habits of a sailor, and
could swear as profanely and drink as full an allowance of grog as the
best of them in the ship. Yet there were moments when the image of his
mother, and especially her dying words to him, and prayer and praise to
God, would come with power on his memory. He had once been sick when
he was a little child, and his kind mother nursed him, placed her hand
on his feverish brow, and spoke words of kindness and love in his ear,
which he could never forget. The kindness and conversation of Clark,
during his recent illness, had broken through the crust that the world
and a wicked life had encased his softer nature in, and unsealed the
fountain. Tom wept like a child as he lay in his hammock, and listened
to the simple teaching of his brother sailor, and heard him read
lessons of instruction from the Book of God.

John Clark told him some thing of the history of his own life, how he
left the man-of-war and swam ashore, and how God mercifully preserved
his life in that perilous adventure. But when he told him how the Lord
brought him to see his wretched state as a sinner, and the wonderful
deliverance and joys of pardoning mercy in the interior of South
Carolina, and the new life he since lived;--all was so strange and
wonderful,--so unlike any thing he had heard before, and with all so
touching, that the tears rolled down the weather-beaten cheeks of
this tar; he sobbed aloud, and before he was aware of the scene he
was enacting, John Clark was on his knees beside his hammock, praying
in an audible, but low, musical voice for his salvation. No wonder
the sin-struck sailor thought John could pray better than the parsons
could with a book. True, he knew very little about parsons, for he had
followed the sea more than twenty years, and during that time had seen
“divine service” performed on land not half a dozen times. Sometimes
he heard the burial service read by a captain over the mortal remains
of some shipmate, who had been sent to “Davy Jones’ Locker,” over the
ship’s side.

From the time Mr. Halyard disclosed the character of John Clark to
the crew, he was treated with particular respect. Wild and wicked,
and as little disposed to knock off drinking and swearing, and put on
religion, all respected their shipmate John Clark. The officers found
out the “cut of his jib,” and treated him accordingly. Sailors find out
the peculiar traits of human nature quite as soon as any class. Had
Clark put on a sour face and assumed the airs of a religious man; had
he been unsocial and moody, and reproved them in a harsh and unkind
tone of voice, and in presence of others for their drinking, swearing
and frolicking habits, and taken pains to appear peculiarly righteous,
he would have seen trouble. They would have regarded him a graceless
hypocrite, and treated him with contempt and persecution. He gave them
no direct reproofs, and yet his manners and intercourse, courteous,
kind and winning, impressed their consciences more than a hundred moral
lectures would have done. They feared him, respected him and even loved
him.

The voyage finally wore away, and they were in the port of London and
safely moored, on Saturday; after sailing up the river Thames from
its mouth at the Nore, about forty-five miles. At that period London
was a great city, though since that period, its population has more
than doubled; its fine houses and long, winding streets have extended,
and its blocks and squares, have gone far out into what was then open
country. Boarding-houses for sailors were then a horrible “den of
thieves,” and the abodes of intoxication and other infamous vices.
And, even in this age of philanthropy and reform, there are numerous
places in London and all other large seaports where decoys are employed
to entice the newly arrived mariner to places where he can be filched
of his money, his senses and his life. But Christian philanthropy has
hoisted the Bethel flag, as the signal where sailors can worship God in
comfort and peace, and boarding-houses have been established as places
of virtue, good order, temperance and comfort for this useful class of
humanity. John Clark had no inclination for accommodations in houses of
infamy, and Tom Halyard seemed very much inclined to follow his example.

Sabbath morning came; the sun shone dimly through the smoke and haze of
a London atmosphere, and the sailors generally were making preparations
to desecrate the Lord’s day by their customary visits to rum shops and
infamous houses. Mr. Clark had risen early and performed the service
required of him as a sailor, put off his tarpaulin dress, and appeared
on deck with a smiling countenance, in a neat and cleanly suit, having,
as the sailors said, the “cut and jib of a land-lubber.” One of his
shipmates cried out,--“halloo, Jack,--whither ahoy now?” “I’m going to
find a place to worship God, with his people.” Clark lingered on deck
for a few moments on the Sabbath morning, when Thomas Halyard appeared
in his Sunday suit, rigged out in real sailor trim.

“Where away now, Tom?” enquired one of the sailors, while he cocked his
eye at another, with the true sailor leer, and rolled his quid from
one cheek to the other. “Only going a short voyage on land with Jack
Clark”--was the response, in a serious tone.

“I’ll be harpooned if Tom Halyard is not a-going to turn parson,” said
one. “Not yet,” replied another. “Tom was on the sick list not long
since, and thought he was bound for kingdom come;--and Jack Clark
physicked the old boy out of him, and he’s now going to chapel to pay
off old scores.” “And I’ll tell you what, shipmates,” said another,
“we’ve all been bad enough to be keel-hauled, and John Clark and
Thomas Halyard are as good sailors as I ever wish to mess with. ’Spose
we follow them and hear what the parson says to-day?” “Agreed,” said
several voices, and away they went up the street, headed by Clark and
Halyard, who walked lovingly arm in arm.

It became a fixed principle in the mind of Mr. Clark, at that early
period of his religious history to follow as Providence led; or,
which was the same thing to him, after a season of prayer for divine
direction, to follow such impressions of his own mind as appeared to
spring from a truthful and right source. Neither he, nor his companion
knew any chapel in London, or where to go;--but they walked on in a
friendly manner. Mr. Halyard asked questions how they were to conduct
themselves in church, and Mr. Clark described how the meetings were
managed in Georgia.

They had passed through several streets, when Mr. Clark saw a man
walking in the same direction, and ventured to inquire if he could
direct them to some chapel where the gospel was preached. “And it’s
being afther the gospel ye would be axing? Well, it’s mesel’ that
answer ye, for I’m a going there mesel’--’Tis to the Foundry ye’d
like to go?” Clark replied they were strangers in London, just from
ship-board, and wished to find some church where they could hear the
gospel. The honest Hibernian with whom they had come in contact, was
a zealous Methodist, then on his way to the “Foundry,” in Moorfields,
where the celebrated John Wesley established his regular meetings in
1739. This venerable patriarch of Methodism was still there, and
though fourscore years old, preached on the occasion of the sailors’
visit. Mr. Clark had heard of the achievements of Mr. Wesley, from the
preachers in Georgia, and it had been among his warmest aspirations to
see and hear this distinguished divine before his return to America.
It was a singular providence that guided him to the Foundry chapel the
first Sabbath he spent in London. The scene was almost overpowering,
and he listened with rapt attention and drank in every word the
preacher uttered.

Halyard wept profusely, though on board ship, and before his illness,
and Clark’s conversation, he had been singularly hard-hearted. No
distress could bring a tear from his eyes.

The other sailors behaved with decorum. The scene was new to all. None
before, except Mr. Clark, had ever known a “parson,” as they called all
ministers, pray without a book, or preach anything but a written or a
printed discourse. Whether any lasting impressions were made on their
companions is not known; but Halyard was an altered man, and one of the
“first fruits” of John Clark’s labors.

They spent the day at the Foundry; some of the generous-hearted,
christian brethren shared with them their lunch, and invited them to
attend class-meeting in the afternoon. The next week they obtained
their discharge from the ship, and Thomas Halyard went into the country
to find some distant relatives, and John Clark entered a coasting
vessel and sailed along the coast of England and Scotland, and up the
Moray Firth to Inverness, on his way to his native parish.

Mr. Clark had not heard from his surviving friends for several years.
He learned the news of the decease of his father when he visited his
brother in Jamaica, but his mother and two sisters were then alive
and well. No mails were then carried across the ocean, and it was a
rare thing that opportunity presented to send a letter. He had written
two or three letters while in the sea-faring business, but he knew
not whether they ever reached their destination; and they were never
received.

A mixture of the most pleasurable and painful emotions agitated his
mind as the rough hills and mountains of his native land hove in sight,
and the schooner on which he engaged to work his passage, entered the
estuary of Moray Firth. And as they passed Nairn, where he attended
the boarding school and studied the sciences, his feelings became
overpowering. The scenes and incidents of youth, and his airy visions
of a sea-faring life; the wonderful providence of God that led him in
a way that he knew not, preserved him amid a thousand dangers, and
brought him back to his native hills, were so oppressive that he could
no longer look on the hills and vales around him, until he had retired,
wept heartily and offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God for his
mercies that endureth forever.

Coming again on deck as they slowly sailed with a light breeze up
the Firth, towards the mouth of the river Ness, every feature of
the landscape appeared natural and familiar. There in the distant
perspective were the alpine mountains of Scotland, as range on range
exhibited features of the wildest grandeur. Again, as they approached
the city, his eye caught the aspect of the rich lowland country lying
along the Ness and Spey rivers. Here was a maritime landscape scarcely
equalled in Great Britain. Mr. Clark had a natural taste for the
beauties of nature. He delighted to gaze and meditate on the works of
God, as seen in the natural scenery of the earth. But now he could not
keep his mind on these displays of divine power, wisdom and goodness
around him. Other and more powerful emotions controlled his thoughts.
More than a hundred times during the last twenty-four hours had the
question arisen out of the depths of his heart, “Is my dear mother
alive?” Alas! the affectionate son, whose longings to embrace his
mother, and pour into her bosom the story of his wanderings and his
conversion; and pour out his soul to God, and mingle his prayers with
hers in thanksgiving and praise, never enjoyed such a happy meeting.
His mother had been dead two years and yet he knew it not.

The schooner was safely moored at one of the docks in the harbor of
Inverness, and Mr. Clark, having obtained his discharge, and bid the
kind officers and crew a friendly farewell, proceeded up the city
towards his native parish. A familiar name on the sign of a shop-keeper
caught his eye, and he stepped within, and instantly recognized an old
acquaintance. Mr. Clark in youth, as in old age, was of very light
complexion, blue eyes, and light-colored hair, of moderate height,
and light, slender make. The man who stood before the shop-keeper,
was sun-burnt, swarthy, robust, and dressed in sailor trim. He could
perceive some lineaments in his countenance which seemed familiar,
but could not recollect when, or where, if ever, he had seen the
person that now stood before him, while he leaned over the counter.
Soon as Clark gave his name and parentage, both hands were seized with
a friendly grasp, and a shower of welcomes was poured out in genuine
Gælic; for though Mr. Mackenzie spoke English like a native, he never
failed to resort to his Highland tongue, when moved by strong emotions.

Upon inquiry Mr. Clark for the first time realized he was an orphan.
_His mother was dead!_ The generous Highlander had the tact to
understand that under the pressure of such intelligence, his guest
would do best alone. Again he bade him welcome in plain English, and
insisted his house should be his home while he remained in Inverness;
at least he must not leave that night;--introduced him into a neat
parlor, and, pleading special business for absence, left him to his own
thoughts. This retirement exactly suited the feelings of Mr. Clark. He
pondered over the parting scene with his father and mother; counted
up nine years and some months since that time; recollected his mother
was more than three-score and ten years old; that she was a true child
of God, and died with a full hope of eternal life, and that the only
trouble she felt was about the uncertain fate of her youngest son
John. He learned also, from the Highlander, that his father ceased
his intemperate habits soon after their parting, and appeared to have
become a true penitent, and died in peace. A married sister who lived
near Inverness had died in child-bed shortly after his mother.

With a chastened spirit of submission he fell on his knees, and
with mingled feelings of thankfulness and grief, he found relief in
committing himself and his surviving relatives to God. Before he left
Scotland he heard of the untimely death of his brother Daniel in the
island of Jamaica.

Next morning Mr. Clark left his hospitable host, and directed his
course to his birth-place, the parish of Petty. He had learned that
his only surviving sister was there, in comfortable circumstances, and
managing the farm (held by a lease-hold) with the aid of a laboring man
and his wife as domestics. He felt a desire to find out if his sister
knew him, before he gave any intimations of relationship. He called at
the house as a stranger, asked for a cup of water and the privilege to
rest himself a short time, and entered into conversation on general
topics, but could perceive no evidence of recognition. As if an entire
stranger, he made inquiries about the country and its inhabitants, and
finally drew her into conversation about the family, and asked many
questions. The young woman appeared cheerful and communicative, and
answered his questions truthfully and with frankness; told him of her
father’s death, without exposing his frailties; then of her mother, and
a sister who had followed her mother. Then she mentioned her brother
Daniel in the West Indies, who had been rich but lost his ships by
being captured in the late war. The family history seemed closed, and
no mention was made of any other brother, until with a careless air he
made inquiry if these were all her immediate relations. His eyes being
fixed on her countenance, he perceived a change. Her chin quivered
slightly, her lips were compressed, and a tremor was in her voice as
she named another brother, the youngest of the family, who went to sea
before his father’s death. But they had never heard from him, only that
he had been pressed on board a war ship, and a vague rumor that he had
been taken prisoner by the Spaniards; and she supposed him dead, but
would give anything to know his fate.

John Clark had commanded his feelings through all the conversation, but
he could stand it no longer. Every fibre of his heart gave way, and
hardly conscious what he did, seized her hand, and exclaimed, while the
tears gushed out like a fountain,--“I AM YOUR BROTHER JOHN.”

We have heard him narrate this interview, when old and grey-headed; and
he could not refrain from sobbing and weeping. Many persons are now
living in Illinois and Missouri who have heard the same tale and seen
the outpouring of fraternal affection, forty years after the event. The
interview between the brother and sister, the only survivors of the
family, was too sacred to be exposed to profane eyes. Though it failed
not to work powerfully on his feelings, he would rehearse the tale of
the interview on the request of his religious friends.

It was some hours before either party could obtain self-command to
attend to the avocations of life. Each had a long story of trials
and deliverances to tell. Clark found his sister devoutly pious. Her
countenance bore the image of her mother at her age, and the mental and
moral features held a close resemblance. As the evening approached
they walked together towards the parish church. Around its moss-covered
walls, was the parish cemetery, where slept the congregated dead of
many generations. The sister led the way to a sacred spot she often
visited. Here were a row of grassy hillocks, under an overspreading
larch, with rough and plain monuments. There lay his father, mother,
and sister, all buried since he left his native parish. Mr. Clark gazed
mournfully on his mother’s grave; on the head stone with dim eyes
and quivering lips he read, “MARY CLARK.” Taking his sister gently
by the hand, he said, “_Let us pray here_,” and as he knelt on the
grave, holding the hand of his sister, he poured his heart out to the
prayer-hearing God in streams of thankfulness and humble devotion. He
praised the Lord for the gift of such a mother, so pious, devout and
affectionate;--and for entire submission to the will of heaven in the
loss sustained. He prayed for his sister, in language affectionate,
kind and spiritual; _thanked God_ that they had been spared to meet
again in time; and that she was a child of grace, and was walking in
the footsteps of her mother towards the heavenly Canaan.

Nor was the brother in a distant land forgotten, _if he was alive_,
and that God would have mercy on him and turn his feet into the pathway
of righteousness. Alas! That brother had been dead many months, as the
letter that conveyed the mournful intelligence, testified, that reached
his sister a few days after their first interview.

Mr. Clark had a gift of prayer quite uncommon. His language was simple,
chaste, solemn and dignified, devoid of all cant, and peculiarly
expressive. He seemed to hold converse with the Lord of heaven, as with
a familiar friend. His prayers were singularly fervent and effectual,
and remarkably adapted to the occasion and circumstances. He used no
repetition of vain words, and despised all high sounding phrases and
incongruous imagery, which some persons of inflated minds and heated
imaginations employ in prayer.

Oppressive feelings were ever removed from the heart of Father
Clark, in seasons of prayer. He arose from his knees with a smiling
countenance, and wiped the tears that fell in streams from the eyes
of his beloved sister, and cheered her heart by repeating the blessed
promises of the gospel with which he was familiar.

Next day his sister called him to her room, and told him she had a
solemn duty to perform, enjoined on her by their sainted mother, on
her dying bed. She then presented him with a purse of gold and silver,
of more than sixty dollars value. “This our mother made me sacredly
promise to give you, should you ever return. It is your own;--the
avails of your wages and prize money, the last you sent her, when we
heard from you the last time. We managed by careful economy to do
without it, and it is her legacy.”

She then took from a drawer a set of silver spoons, and divers other
family relics, all of which had been preserved for her lost son. The
scene was most affecting, and it was more than an hour, and not until
he had retired and held communion with God, he could obtain control
over his feelings so as to reply:--

  “My dear sister, the memory of our mother is exceedingly precious,
  and her maternal love and kindness overpowers me. I need not those
  articles to keep her in remembrance. Like my blessed Master, I
  have no home in this world, and I have really no use for these
  gifts. I feel that God has called me to preach the Gospel, and in
  a few days I must leave you again, and return to London, and spend
  some time with that great and good man, Mr. Wesley, and study with
  his ministers, and then go back to America, and spend my days
  instructing the ignorant and preaching the gospel of Christ to
  the destitute. We must soon part, probably never to meet again
  on earth, but let us so live that we may be united with our dear
  mother in heaven.”

After much urging, he consented to keep one spoon, and two or three
other little articles, and told his sister to keep the rest, and to use
the money for her comfort, or to relieve the poor and distressed. He
had enough for present wants, and his trust for the future was in the
same beneficent providence that covers the earth with herbage and is
kind and bountiful to all his creatures.

Time fled away rapidly in their affectionate intercourse. Mr. Clark
visited such of his old acquaintance as were living in the vicinity,
amongst whom were several distant relatives. His habits of cheerfulness
and his earnest religious conversation filled them with surprise. They
did not quite relish so much spirituality and holy fervor. Some were
eager for disputation on doctrinal points, and tenacious of their
metaphysical speculations. They could repeat whole paragraphs from
the larger and shorter catechism, and numerous texts of Scripture;
and as Clark thought, with frequent misapplications. Not a few
could talk eloquently about the “Solemn League and Covenant,” and
“David’s psalms,” while they condemned in the strongest language the
versification of the pious Watts. But his story of his long and pungent
conviction of sin, the views he entertained of the sinfulness of
fallen, corrupt human nature, and the sensations of the new birth, and
the joyful emotions of living in communion with God daily, were matters
too abstruse and incomprehensible for their conceptions.

The most of persons with whom he conversed were very orthodox,
according to the creed of their forefathers and the catechism in which
they had been taught from childhood. All were church members and had
been from infancy. They believed in original sin, effectual calling,
divine decrees, fore-ordination, and final perseverance. They were
quite clear in the doctrine of justification, and redemption in Christ;
but Mr. Clark could not find many who could narrate what he called “an
experience of grace;” his sister and a few others excepted.

The parting hour soon came, but the scene was too sacred to be exposed
to vulgar gaze. On a pleasant morning, a modest looking man, about
thirty years of age, drest in a sailor’s garb, with a change of
clothes, tied up in a parti-colored handkerchief, was seen walking
pensively along the highway towards the city and port of Inverness.
The Caledonian shop-keeper was visited, but no persuasion could induce
the traveler to tarry. A coasting vessel lay at the wharf; and thither
John Clark wended his way. He had visited the port a few days previous,
engaged a berth as an ordinary seaman, and knew the day she was to sail
for London. In a few hours, the wind being fair, they were moving down
the channel of the Firth of Moray.



CHAPTER VI.

  At Moorfield in London.--Returns to Georgia.--Received as a
    Preacher on Trial.--Richmond Circuit.--Testimonials.--
    Character as a Preacher.--Walked the Circuit.--Views on the
    Methodist Episcopal Government.--Views on Slavery.--Blameless
    Habits.--Thoughts on Marriage.--Love cured by Prayer.--
    Gradual change of Views.--Contemplates a New Field.--Quarterly
    Conference.--Conscientious Scruples.--Philanthropy to Negroes.
    --Withdraws from the Conference.--Parting Scene.


In a few days Mr. Clark found himself in London, and located at a
cheap and retired boarding house in a pious Methodist family. He now
sought acquaintance with several of the more intelligent class of Mr.
Wesley’s preachers, told them his trials and convictions of duty, and
solicited advice. He was directed to the publications of Mr. Wesley,
and also those of Rev. John Fletcher, of Madeley, and by reading and
conversations with the venerable John Wesley, who treated him with
great kindness, he obtained full and clear views of the doctrines they
taught, the discipline they enforced, and their reasons for separate
action from the Church of England.

We have no facts to narrate particulars of the extent of Mr. Clark’s
studies, nor how long he remained in the vicinity of Moorfields.

His interviews with the venerable founder of Methodism, then in
the 85th year of his age, were frequent, and as he thought highly
instructive. And though in a few years he found reasons to withdraw
from the society he founded and the creed and discipline he adopted, he
often referred to him in his preaching and private conversations as the
“great and good Mr. Wesley;” and he would state his views on various
points with accuracy and in kind and courteous language. He also
became acquainted with the writings and peculiar views of the noted
German Bengel, or, as his name was given in Latin, _Bengelius_, and
imbibed some of his peculiar notions. Those especially relating to the
millennium found in Bengel’s exposition of the Book of Revelation, were
often given by Father Clark. Bengel figured up the periods, and taught
that the forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days, expired
in 1810, and the Millennium would commence in 1836. The Millennium,
in the sense Father Clark understood it, was not the _personal_, but
the more gracious and glorious reign of Christ on earth as Mediator
and Saviour. On this topic he would dwell with a holy ecstacy, while
his great modesty and humility led him to express himself as uttering
the opinions of a man merely. He never attempted to make proselytes to
speculations or opinions, but to Christ and entire submission to him.

We have no knowledge whether Mr. Clark commenced preaching in London,
but as what was called “lay-preaching” was customary by persons not in
“orders” in the church, or not officially authorized by dissenters, we
are of opinion our friend did engage in this manner. We are equally
deficient in the particulars of his return to America, but think it was
in 1789; and to his late residence on Broad river in Georgia. No family
received him with more tokens of Christian affection and joy than
that of Colonel Wootten. His mind was now deeply impressed with the
duty of devoting his life as an instrument of salvation to his fellow
creatures. It is supposed he commenced preaching in company with the
regular circuit preachers soon after his arrival in Georgia. In 1791,
his name appears for the first time on the Conference Minutes of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, when he was received on trial and placed on
Richmond circuit[22]. This was in the region of Augusta. The Conference
was held in February, and he went forth, as was ever afterward his
custom, like his blessed Lord, with staff in hand, and on foot to
perform the work whereunto he had been called. We find his name on
the Conference Minutes from 1791 to 1796, passing through the regular
grades of probationary service, until ordained as deacon by bishop
Asbury in the winter of 1794[23].

The circuits on which he labored, in most instances, were new ones,
and in that part of Georgia which lies above Augusta and between the
Savannah and Oconee rivers.

TABULAR STATEMENT.

  +-------+--------------+--------------+--------------+
  | YEAR. |   CIRCUIT.   | No. of White | No. of Black |
  |       |              |   Members.   |   Members.   |
  +-------+--------------+--------------+--------------+
  | 1791  | Richmond,    |     500      |      72      |
  | 1792  | Oconee,      |     220      |      21      |
  | 1793  | Bush River,  |     555      |      30      |
  | 1794  | Broad River, |     435      |      68      |
  | 1795  | Union,       |     376      |      39      |
  +-------+--------------+--------------+--------------+

As a Methodist preacher, he was faithful in the ministry, and
successful in the conversion of sinners. We have seen persons who were
under his ministerial charge, and who spoke of him in strong terms, as
an interesting and spiritually minded preacher. Of these we will name
one, Mr. Thomas Hatton, who resided in 1834 in the upper part of Boone
county, Mo., an old man, whom we visited for the purpose of learning
the characteristics of the ministry of Father Clark in Georgia. Mr.
Hatton was a class-leader and steward on the circuit of Mr. Clark in
1794. His house was one of the preaching stations, and he was with him
at the quarterly conferences in the district, and spoke of him as a
lively, spiritual preacher, greatly beloved by the people, and his
labors as very successful. He _walked_ the circuit, and could not be
induced by his brethren to ride a horse. When asked for the reasons of
his objections to traveling on horseback, he pleasantly remarked, “The
Saviour walked on his preaching excursions in Judea.” There were other
reasons assigned, and to his intimate friends he would say, “As long as
my fellow creatures are made beasts of burden, I cannot feel easy on
horseback.” The fact is, he had never been accustomed to exercise on
horseback, had no skill in managing one, and was distressingly fearful
he should injure the horse, or the horse would harm him. No animal
exceeds a horse in sagacity to find out the feelings and fears of his
rider, and his behavior corresponds. No man felt more uncomfortable
than Father Clark on horseback, and hence he preferred walking, until
it became to him the least fatiguing mode of traveling.

We have given a sketch of his strong feelings and conscientious
principles in favor of personal liberty when pressed on the man-of-war.
These feelings and principles increased and became the more firmly
established as he advanced in life. He never disguised his sentiments;
and never announced them in any public form, without the clearest
conviction of duty and in the way of doing good. Mr. Hatton stated
that generally on his circuit he put up at houses where there were no
slaves, while his intercourse and demeanor were such as to give no
offense, or excite suspicions of improper designs.

The same views of equality and freedom, led him to investigate,
prayerfully and scripturally, the ecclesiastical government and code of
discipline instituted by Mr. Wesley, and introduced into the American
conferences. Personally, and as a great reformer in the church of
England, Father Clark had great veneration for John Wesley, but he
was singularly scriptural and conscientious in all his religious
views, and learned from the New Testament that a church was a local
society, with all its members on terms of social equality; that church
fellowship involves personal acquaintance; and that all discipline
should begin and end in the local society or church, in which the
members are in covenant relation. The more he considered the form of
government of the Methodist Episcopal church, the more did he become
conscientiously opposed to giving it the sanction that a minister
and ruler necessarily implied. Yet he came to no hasty conclusions,
made no denunciations of his brethren in authority, but continued
calmly to investigate the subject and offer up prayer daily for divine
illumination. He never set himself forward as a leader in schism,
nor is there any evidence that he made the least attempt to produce
disaffection among his brethren, or lead off a party, or even make a
single proselyte.

At the same time, his sympathies were awakened and his humane feelings
much afflicted with the treatment of slaves around him. That class
of people were increasing, and their well-being less an object of
concern to their masters, than the profits of their labor. Large
numbers were imported annually into Charleston, by northern ships, and
as the demand for laborers increased, many natives of Africa in the
most abject condition were purchased and brought within his circuits.
These were ignorant and stupid, and seemed almost beyond the reach of
gospel ministrations. A single object was the aim of all his labors; to
glorify the Lord by promoting the salvation of sinners of every nation,
condition and color.

Being perfectly frank, open, undisguised and courteous in his
intercourse with the planters, he had freedom of access to their slaves
for purposes of religious instruction; a privilege he never abused, nor
did he cause any one to doubt his sincerity.

Still the customs and usages of the planters were not congenial to the
simplicity and humility of his nature, and it had been a matter of
anxious inquiry, and prayer for divine direction, where the Lord would
have him labor. He did not expect any other revelation from heaven than
that contained in the Bible, yet he had such simple faith in the divine
promises, and such unshaken confidence in God’s directing providence,
as to believe in and look for specific answers to prayer when in doubt
and difficulty. He expected, and received impressions of mind, in
answer to prayer, that to him were satisfactory, and we are not aware
in a single instance in which he was misled by following these answers
to prayer, as he called them.

It was at some period of his labors as a circuit preacher in Georgia,
that his thoughts were directed towards marriage; and he became
acquainted with a pious and sensible young woman, of excellent
character and well brought up, towards whom he thought he felt such
attachment as would justify a more intimate acquaintance. Her society
was agreeable and pleasant, her conversation intelligent and serious.
He made no direct proposals, but their intercourse had been such
that she might naturally look for a more explicit explanation of his
views. He found his heart was drawn out after this young woman, and
her parents treated him with more than customary respect. She became
the object of his thoughts by day, and her image flitted through his
imagination while in dream-land at night. He discovered that when he
ought to have been pondering over the topics of his next discourse,
as he was slowly walking the pathway to his appointments, he was
meditating plans of future happiness in the domestic relation. His
spiritual intercourse with heaven was less frequent, his devotional
feelings grew languid, and his sermons were dull and unimpressive.
Spiritual joys were fled. It was now a crisis in his spiritual course.
He durst not forsake the calling to which God had directed him,
nor lessen his usefulness as a minister of Christ, by any earthly
associations, or any schemes of domestic happiness. He had one antidote
for all his troubles; one guide through every labyrinth of trial and
duty; that was PRAYER, prolonged and repeated until he was effectually
humbled, and entirely willing to know and do his duty. He could deny
himself of any lawful gratification, take up the cross and follow
Christ with resolute determination and untiring perseverance. He had
acquired this power by growth in grace, and the knowledge of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The answer he obtained in deep and lasting impressions of mind, was,
never to marry and thereby entangle himself with the affairs of this
world. The conflict was over; the victory was won, and he went on his
way preaching, with renewed unction and great enlargement.

Though he had not mentioned marriage to the young woman, much less
gained her affections and raised hopes, by solemn protestations and
promises to be now blasted, he had that nice sense of honor; or shall
we say Christian duty, to make her a final visit and avow his feelings,
and the conclusion to which he had arrived on a point of duty to God
and the church. He expressed the hope she would ever regard him with
Christian friendship. His age at this period must have been about
thirty-five years, and no one after ever heard him express a desire,
or a regret concerning the connubial relation.

His anxieties about leaving the Methodist Episcopal church, and his
feelings relative to slavery, were at a culminating point in 1795. His
views of slaveholding were not discordant with the expressions of the
church he served. This subject had been agitated in the Conferences
for several years. In the minutes for 1784, we find this rule, in the
forms of question and answer, and it remained in force during the whole
period of Mr. Clark’s connection with the Conference:

  “_Ques. 12. What shall we do with our friends that buy and sell
  slaves?_

  “_Ans._ If they buy with no other design than to hold them as
  slaves, and have been previously warned, they shall be expelled,
  and permitted to sell on no consideration.”[24]

In answer to his oft repeated prayer for divine direction as to
the field of his future labors, he received the impression, and it
became a conviction of duty, that he must travel in a north-western
direction. Tennessee and Kentucky were in that direction, and the
Illinois country, and the Spanish province of Upper Louisiana far
in the distance beyond; but he felt a calm confidence in Divine
Providence, and that the specific field of usefulness would be pointed
out in due season. All these questions were agitated and settled in his
own judgment and conscience, before he made known his decision to his
brethren.

The next Annual Conference would be in Charleston, January 1st, 1796,
but it was not necessary for him to be present. His withdrawal could
be tendered by some of the brethren. He attended the last Quarterly
Conference in the district, where he gave notice of his intention
of a withdrawal from the government and discipline of the Methodist
Episcopal Church. This he had a right to do without any forfeiture or
implication of his ministerial character. His brethren respected his
feelings and scruples, and would give a fair representation of his case
to the Annual Conference.

The schism caused by Rev. James O’Kelley, in Virginia, had commenced
in 1792, and at one period threatened a formidable rupture in the
Methodist connexion throughout the Southern States. Mr. O’Kelley was
troubled about the appointing power of the bishop, and other features
of ecclesiastical authority. He was a very popular preacher, and had
the qualifications and desire for the leader of a party. He made both
personal and official attacks on bishop Asbury, but the Conference
sustained the Bishop by a large majority. Doubtless Mr. Clark accorded
with the opinions of Mr. O’Kelley in his views of the undue authority
conferred on the bishop by the constitution of the Society, but he
had none of his spirit as a partizan, was in both theory and practice
a peace-maker, and respected the views and feelings of his brethren,
though he conscientiously differed from them. His views were deeper
and covered far more ground than those of O’Kelley. All his notions of
church government and discipline were drawn from the New Testament, and
he regarded that as sole authority in the case.

There were also points of doctrine wherein he differed from his
Methodist brethren. He could not reconcile the dogma of “falling from
grace,” with the entire dependence of the believer on the righteousness
and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ; nor of sinless perfection with the
universal fact of the moral infirmities and soul-humbling confessions
of the best of Christians. And he preached repentance in a more
evangelical form than many of his brethren, and always made the
distinction plain between the awakened sinner, though under the most
pungent convictions, and the truly penitent.

Such being his moral temper, and course of action, no unkind feelings
took place when he announced his intentions, and sent to the Annual
Conference the report of his circuit and announcement of his withdrawal.

His field of labor for most of the years he had been connected with
the Conference, was on new circuits. Though not in name, he was in
fact, the Conference missionary, and each year had extended the
appointments in his circuit. At the Quarterly Conference to which
we have alluded, the stewards brought in the collections for the
preachers, and the deficiencies were made up. It had caused some
uneasiness to the sensitive conscience of Father Clark that much the
largest contributions came from the wealthy who were slaveholders, and
he thought of the perquisites bestowed as the proceeds of the sweat
and toils of servitude. He had heretofore received his share in the
collections with many misgivings, and now as he was about to leave, he
hesitated about taking such proceeds with him.

The amount of salary then allowed a circuit preacher, without family,
was sixty-four dollars, and he had received but a small amount of it.
The balance, about fifty dollars, was paid to him by the stewards, all
in silver coin. He took the money, tied it in his handkerchief, and
retired from the Conference room to a grove, his feelings agitated
with the question of duty about receiving this money; and sought
for direction in prayer, as he was wont to do in every perplexity.
Obtaining relief, he returned to the Conference room, laid the money on
the table, and calmly said, “Brethren, I cannot take it. You know my
trials; the Conference may use it as the brethren please;” and again
went out.

There was within the bounds of this district a case that called for
relief. A society of blacks, of course slaves, had purchased a house
and a few acres of land for a burying-ground. They had paid in part,
but their last instalment of about seventy dollars would soon be due,
and if not met, the property would be forfeited; and they applied to
the Conference for aid. The case was called up during preacher Clark’s
absence, and one of the brethren suggested that the money returned
by “brother Clark,” still lying on the table, be applied to this
charitable purpose. A smile of joy lighted up the features of the
Conference, when, on the suggestion that there would be lacking some
twenty dollars, brother R. arose and proposed to be one of ten to
liquidate the debt. Mr. Clark having returned from his place of prayer,
and being told by the president of the motion to dispose of his money,
and how that disposition would suit his views, by relieving the black
brethren, he replied: “Brethren, I could not conscientiously use the
money myself, and I returned it to the Conference; it is theirs, to do
as they please; but as they have kindly inquired about my feelings in
the case, it meets my hearty approbation. It goes where it ought, to
relieve those who have produced it.”

In this last interview with a brother, who doubtless they pitied for
his singular notions, there was not an unkind word said, nor a sour,
unpleasant look seen. They understood he was about to leave that part
of the country, and kindly inquired where he would direct his course.

“Like the good old patriarch, I am going to a country I never saw, and
rejoice in the same Lord to direct my steps.”

The business of the Conference being ended, they engaged in the parting
exercises. The brother who presided gave a few words of parting advice,
and called on brother Clark to lead in prayer, when with loud and
tremulous voices, and the tears streaming down their cheeks, they sung
the well-known hymn,

    “Blest be the tie that binds
      Our hearts in Christian love;
    The fellowship of kindred minds
      Is like to that above;” etc.[25]

while hand was clasped in hand, and arms thrown around each others
necks, and loud shouts of praise ascended to their common Father.
It was in this manner Father Clark parted with his brethren in
Georgia, and took his leave of the Methodist Episcopal Church as an
ecclesiastical institution.

It is nothing new or strange for a man to change his religion, or leave
one sect and go over to another. And nothing is more natural when men
are actuated by prejudices, or partizan feelings, than to turn all
these passions against the party they have left. Not so did the good
man whose history we are surveying. His religion was that of love; and
his natural temper, mild, placable, and forbearing, was so much under
the controlling influence of the love of God as to sanctify and give a
heavenly tinge to his natural disposition.

Though he differed from his brethren, and in all honesty of intention
thought their church government and some of their doctrines and
practices unscriptural, he still loved them as Christians, and knew
they were performing a great work in Georgia. Had he been denunciatory,
overbearing, ambitious of ruling, obstinate, or petulant, their
dislike of these offensive traits of character, might soon have
degenerated into hatred of his person. We never knew a man more nice
and discriminating in the line between his own rights and privileges,
and those of his brethren. They might have felt emotions of pity and
regret, for what they regarded as singular notions, and fancied these
notions would hinder, if not destroy his usefulness. Still they loved
him and gave him their good wishes.

His connexion was not formally dissolved until the Annual Conference
met in January, when the following entry was made on the Minutes.

“_Ques. 8. What preachers have withdrawn themselves this year from our
order and connexion?_

“_Ans._ William Ball and _John Clark_.”



CHAPTER VII.

  Clark Journies towards Kentucky.--His Dress and Appearance.--
    Colloquy.--Hospitality of Mr. Wells.--Recognized by a former
    Convert.--Description of a “Big Meeting.”--Persuaded to Stop
    and Preach.--Effects Produced.--Mr. Wells Converted.--A
    Revival.--Shouting.--Family Religion.--Departs.--The Wells
    Family turn Baptists.


It was early in the month of February, and in the year of our Lord,
one thousand seven hundred and ninety-six, that a stranger was seen
passing along the pathway that led down the range of low bluffs toward
the Savannah river. He was on foot, with a small bundle of clothing
tied in a handkerchief which hung over his shoulder, and was supported
by a stout walking stick. His countenance was cheerful, as he tripped
lightly along, without seeming to be wearied with the day’s weary
journey through the forest, with seldom a house on the public road.
His dress was the ordinary garb of the country, coarse cotton and wool
mixed, and of a greyish or light blue color. The outside garment was
a hunting-shirt; an article then worn by all classes on the frontiers.
This was a loose open frock that reached half-way down the thighs, with
large sleeves, and the body open in front, unless fastened by a girdle
or belt around the breast; the large cape fastened to the collar, and
the edges fringed with strips of reddish cloth. The materials of all
his garments were cotton with a mixture of wool, and spun and wove
in the families where he had lived. On his head was a low-crowned
felt hat, and his feet were shod with a kind of moccasins called
“shoe-packs.” These were made of thick leather, tanned by the farmers
with oak bark in a trough, and dressed with the oil or fat of the
raccoon, or opossum. The soles were fastened to the upper-leather by a
leathern thong, called by backwoodsmen, a “whang.”

“And is that strange-looking man a minister of the Gospel?”

“Yes; that is our excellent friend, Father Clark; called by all the
religious people of that time, _Brother_ Clark. Why do you ask?”

“Because he is dressed so singular and shabby.”

“Why do you say ‘_shabby_?’ I said no such thing. His garments are not
ragged, for that is what you mean by _shabby_, if you understand the
English language. His hunting-shirt, jacket,[26] and trowsers were new,
whole, and less soiled than yours will be in a single day when you run
through the dusty streets, and playground at school; though he has
traveled more than fifty miles.”

“But he looked so strange and odd in such clothes, and he a minister
of Jesus Christ? I never heard of a minister being dressed in such a
singular manner.”

“Ministers of the Gospel certainly ought not to be singular in their
dress, lest the people think they desire to be noticed for their
garments. I told you before, his dress ‘was in the ordinary garb of
the country.’ Mr. Clark wore such garments as the men did to whom he
preached, and therefore he appeared plain and equal with them. And his
loose garments, especially in a warm climate, were far more comfortable
than to be yoked up in a modern fashionable dress-coat, like the
ministers in these days.”

“But I should laugh so to see a minister in such a dress as Father
Clark wore; it would look so funny.”

“That would only prove you to be very foolish; or, to know very
little. Suppose preachers of the Gospel should appear in our costly
and fashionable church-houses, dressed just as Jesus Christ and the
Apostles did in Judea? Would you be silly enough to laugh at them?”

“How did they dress?”

“Have you forgotten your lesson in the Biblical Antiquities, from the
Sunday-School library, you read a few weeks since? There you learn
about the dress worn in Judea.”[27]

“Why don’t our ministers dress as Jesus Christ did?”

“Because you would laugh at them. Nor would Father Clark have worn
the same dress he did in Georgia and Illinois, had he been a pastor
in Boston, New York, or Philadelphia. In such matters as were not
religious and did not pertain to the service of God, but were earthly
comforts, about which God has given no revelation, but left every one
to his own reason and common sense, Father Clark, as did Paul, would
have become ‘all things to all men.’[28] According to his notions of
propriety, the dress he wore in Georgia was convenient and comfortable.
The women who loved and respected him as a minister of Christ, made
the cloth and cut out the garments, and gave them to him in the same
form as they made for their husbands and sons; and he felt thankful
and comfortable. Besides, he preferred to live plain, and economical,
and by that means had money to give away to purchase the house and
burying-ground for the poor Africans.

“But had he received a large salary as your ministers do, or possessed
millions of property as the rich merchants, speculators, bankers, and
railroad brokers now do, he would still have dressed very plain, and
lived in such a manner as to have had the means of doing good amongst
men. I very much doubt if even the force of custom would have induced
him to appear before the people in a lugubrious garb of _black_, as
clergymen do.”

“What causes ministers to dress in _black_ clothes?”

“Doubtless because they like to be fashionable, and be noticed a little
for their distinctive dress. Some folks think black looks solemn, and
therefore suited to the clerical profession. But, after all, a solemn,
sour appearance is a species of clerical trick, which Father Clark
never would perform. He was always pleasant and cheerful, and was the
more useful for it.”

“But still I do not see why our ministers should be so fond of _black
clothes_.”

“We will answer that question, and then follow Father Clark. Black was
introduced as a clerical garb, after the church became apostate, and
was one color of the priestly garb. Probably nine-tenths of those who
have worn it, both Catholics and Protestants, have been anything else
than the true followers of Christ. An eccentric writer of a former
period, in a satire on this fashion of an ungodly priesthood, gives
this reason why they wore black as an official garb:--“_That they might
the more exactly resemble their great master Beelzebub, whose garments
are all very dingy._”

We left our old friend Clark, wending his way down the range of low
hills that looked over the expansive bottom lands on the opposite side
of the Savannah. Near the river was a house where lived a plain, rough
frontier man, who kept the ferry. The house was a double cabin of hewn
logs, and a space between the rooms about ten feet in width. The owner
was sitting in this passage as Mr. Clark came to the stile, or steps by
which the door-yard fence was passed. The sun was descending towards
the western hills, and its face would soon be hidden by the range of
forest-land along the river.

“Good evening, friend. Can I stay with you to-night?”

“I reckon you can, if you will get along with such fare as we have.
Come in, stranger. Kitty, run and get the gentleman a chair; that’s a
good gal.”

A blue-eyed little girl, apparently about ten years of age, brought
from one of the rooms a plain, country-made chair, and Mr. Clark was
soon seated. In the meantime the host eyed the stranger, as though he
had seen him somewhere, but could not recollect.

“Sort’r pleasant weather, these days, stranger?”

“Yes: and we ought to be thankful to a merciful Providence for good
weather, and all other good things in this life.”

“Traveling far, stranger?”

“Some distance. I’m bound for _Kaintuck_.”

“Law me--’way to that country? And do you calkelate to walk all the way
there?”

“Yes; I prefer walking to riding.”

“Now, stranger, I begin to s’pect you are the preacher I he’rn tell of,
who was at the big meetin’ on ‘Coon Creek, a year or two sin’. What
mought your name be?”

“John Clark.”

“That’s the very thing. Here, old ’oman; Patsey, come here;” he called
to his “better half,” who was in the kitchen in the rear of the house,
attending to her domestic concerns.

“What’s wantin’, old man? I’ll be in soon.”

Presently a decent looking female, apparently about forty, with a
sun-bonnet on her head, and dressed in a short gown and petticoat of
the same stuff as her husband’s garments--cotton and wool mixed--came
in. No sooner did she cast her eyes on the preacher than she knew him,
and broke out--

“Dear me, if this ain’t Brother Clark, sure as I’m alive!” and she
sprang forward and shook hands with him, with as much rude, but hearty
simplicity, as if he had been her own brother; and bid him equally
welcome.

This recognition of one who appeared as a stranger needs a little
explanation.

More than two years before this period, Preacher Clark, and two other
Methodist ministers, held a meeting for several days in a frontier
settlement, some twelve or fifteen miles from the ferry, and Mrs.
Patsey Wells was there. Mr. Wells had emigrated from Pittssylvania
county, Virginia, to Georgia, about eight or nine years previous. He
was not a professor of religion, but accustomed to hear the Baptists
in his native State. His wife’s father and mother were Baptists, and
she had been in the habit of attending their meetings, and at times was
under serious impressions. She thought she must wait the Lord’s time,
when, if she was to be converted, she would be; at least she understood
the matter in this way from what she heard the preachers say. In the
new region of Georgia, where they settled, there was no preaching,
or preacher of any kind. Her husband got hold of a valuable tract of
land lying along the Savannah river, on the south, or Georgia side,
at a convenient crossing-place, where he established a ferry. In the
course of a few years it became a thoroughfare on one of the principal
roads leading from the settlements on the Upper Oconee and Broad river,
across the upper part of South Carolina towards Virginia.

Mrs. Wells felt unhappy that her children were growing up without any
religious instruction, and she could hear no one preach. But she had
the care of a family to claim her attention, and withal became quite
worldly in spirit, as their landed property rose in value, and the
comforts of life increased. She was industrious, tidy, and kept on well
after a worldly sort, but still felt at times unhappy, as if there was
some great want unsupplied.

Mr. Wells was a good-natured, hospitable man, seldom got in debt, and
then got out as soon as possible. He was reasonably industrious and
with four stalwart sons, who were from twelve to eighteen years of age,
he had opened a large farm and made some tobacco for the Charleston
market. The reason he gave why he bought no negroes was, “he thought
them more plague than profit,” and he was determined his sons should
learn to work, and get their living as he had done, by hard labor.

He really thought he was a good man, though he never served the Lord,
nor thought of the high and responsible relation he sustained to his
Creator and Redeemer, and made no provision for another world. True
he loved a big dram, and the habit increased on him, but he only got
tipsy, and behaved very foolish when he attended courts, elections, and
horse-races; and mortified his wife Patsey by his silly behavior when
he came home late at night. He was good-natured when drunk, boasted
of his wife, children, and property, and never abused Patsey or the
children; and would laugh, and tell jocular stories about himself, when
he was sober.

His wife Patsey, as he called her when talking about her to others,
heard of the Methodist meeting and felt very much like going. She had
heard Methodist preachers in Virginia, but did not like their ways,
and would have preferred to hear the Baptists; but none came into that
settlement. One of her old Virginia female acquaintances lived at the
place of the meeting, and she had intended for a long time to make her
a visit; and now it would be economical in time and expense to gain two
objects in one journey. So she left the “old man” and younger boys to
tend ferry and keep house with the two little girls; and she, and her
eldest son, went each on horseback to the meeting.

It was a powerful time on the frontiers; there was a shaking among the
dry bones; and many a stout-hearted sinner fell as if slain before the
Lord. There were three preachers present, each with gifts differing
from those of his brethren. The first we shall describe, was considered
as a sort of Boanerges among his brethren; at least so far as lungs
and voice were concerned. And he used many “big words,” quite beyond
the comprehension of plain, illiterate people. Some supposed him to be
a great preacher, and very learned, because they could not understand
him. The second preacher was what the people called “a powerful
exhorter.” He could not work in the lead to any advantage, but he could
follow a clear-headed preacher, and enforce the things said on the
consciences of the people by persuasive language and apt illustrations
with great effect. Mr. Clark after all did most of the real preaching,
and every one on the ground heard him with fixed attention.

The meeting was held in the shade of the forest, where a “stand” had
been prepared for the purpose. This was an elevated platform of split
slabs, and a book board, breast high in front of the preacher, on
which he might lean. Seats were made of the halves of small timbers,
the ends of which were placed on logs, and covered over a space of
ground large enough to accommodate several hundred hearers. In front
of the stand was an open space, with low seats around, and called the
altar, where the “mourners,” or persons who were seriously impressed,
were invited. At a late hour they separated and went to the houses of
the people who lived within a convenient distance for refreshment and
lodging. Prayer meetings were held at the houses at night, until late
bed-time. Some families that came from a distance with wagons, brought
provisions and encamped on the ground. Others, as did Mrs. Wells and
her son, were accommodated by the hospitality of the people, and
invitations were given publicly each day, if any strangers had arrived,
they would find a welcome. This was not a regular camp-meeting, for
those religious gatherings had not been instituted.

The husband of the woman whom Mrs. Wells came to visit, was a
Methodist, and performed a principal part in getting up and sustaining
this meeting. His wife had not joined society, but was a seeker, and
gave evidence of conversion at an early stage of the proceedings. Mr.
Clark took his meals and lodged with brother Lowe and family, where
Mrs. Wells stopped, and it was under his preaching and exhortations
that she became powerfully wrought upon, and was in great distress. In
kind and sympathizing language Mr. Clark conversed with her freely.
She had heard persons narrate their experience and conversion in the
church meetings where her father and mother belonged, and had obtained
some general knowledge of the gracious change all true Christians must
experience before they are fit to join a church of Jesus Christ;--that
a sinner must be under conviction, and have a “law-work,” as the
preachers called it, and obtain a “hope,” as it was termed. But she
knew very little about the nature of a real conversion, and the way
of salvation through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Her female
friend told her she must pray earnestly and strive powerfully “to get
religion;” and Mr. Clark showed her from the Scriptures the sinfulness
and helplessness of fallen, corrupt human nature, and the infinite
ability and gracious willingness of Jesus Christ to save her, and the
mighty agency of the Holy Spirit in that work. He told her something
of his own experience in trying to make himself righteous, instead of
receiving Christ in all his fullness, and “who of God is made unto us
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”[29]

This instruction had its due effect on her mind. Very soon she
despaired of making herself better, and felt her dependence on the Lord
to that degree, as to beg the preacher to pray to God to have mercy on
her; while with an audible voice she cried out in agony, “Lord, have
mercy on me, a miserable sinner.” We have given some account already
of the simplicity and effect of the prayers of Father Clark, but in
this, as in other cases of prayer for sinners in distress, his whole
heart seemed to go out in strains of the most moving supplications, as
though he could take no denial;--as though the eternal salvation of
the deathless spirit hung on the issue. Before he closed, Mrs. Wells,
who lay prostrate across her chair, groaning and crying for mercy, as
if wholly unconscious of what she said or did, sprang to her feet,
clapped her hands in a joyous ecstacy, and at the top of her voice,
in exultant tones exclaimed, “Glory to the Lord Jesus! Glory to the
Lord Jesus!--he’s pardoned my sins;--he’s pardoned my sins!”--and with
continuous shoutings and exclamations, until nature was exhausted, she
sunk into the arms of Mrs. Lowe, who placed her in the chair. Here she
sat, still rubbing her hands in ecstacy, and in a subdued voice, nearly
powerless, still cried, “glory, glory.”

“Well, I don’t believe in such conversions as that,” says a sentimental
lady;--a church member;--though she spent the half of the preceding
night over a specimen of the yellow-colored “light” literature that now
fills all our highways and by-ways;--and sighing and sentimentalizing
over an unreal and mawkish story of love and suicide.

“’Tis all fox-fire,” declares a grave and reverend divine, whose
intellect is as clear and as cool as an iceberg, and who has not enough
of impulse to raise the slightest emotions in his soul.

“What a lamentable thing it is to have ignorant persons carried away
with such enthusiastic notions,” responds a metaphysical philosopher,
who can map out the whole field of the human mind, and describe to the
tenth part of a grain the degree of emotion one ought to have under
all circumstances.

Those who weigh the impressions and emotions of gospel truth in one
metaphysical scale; who cannot endure any excitement in others above
their own passionless temperament;--who never had a muscle agitated
nor a nerve affected by the unseen workings of the inner man, will
have very orthodox notions about such impulsive feelings as Mrs. Wells
manifested when she suddenly felt herself relieved from the burden of
her sins, and enjoyed the gracious conviction of the power and mercy of
Jesus Christ in her salvation.

It is a very queer kind of philosophy that admits persons to faint,
fall, and even die under the pressure of some sudden and overwhelming
calamity; or from ecstacy from hearing joyful news of an earthly
kind, and yet accounts such paroxysms as Mrs. Wells had, “fox-fire,”
“enthusiasm,” and the fruits of “ignorance.” Mrs. Wells was a woman
of strong emotions, easily excited, and never trained to disguise her
feelings under a cold, conventional exterior. She behaved naturally,
and under the circumstances quite decorously enough. No one was
disturbed or interrupted by her shouts, but every unconverted sinner
in the room became most deeply impressed, and the revival became
general in the congregation. The meeting continued and the excitement
kept up for more than a week; during which a large society was
gathered, chiefly of those who professed to be converted, and Mrs.
Wells joined. A new circuit was formed, and a preaching station fixed
in the neighborhood of Wellsburgh; as some waggish traveler named the
ferry farm.

It was not strange or singular that Mrs. Patsey Wells greeted Father
Clark so joyfully, or that her husband, who had heard her describe the
preacher at the meeting on Coon Creek should have guessed so readily.
He not only spent the night with this hospitable family, but could
not get away even had he desired, until he had made an appointment,
and word was sent through the settlement for the people to gather for
preaching.

In all frontier settlements in the south-western States, it makes very
little difference in gathering a congregation, whether the preaching
is on the week day or the Sabbath. All classes turned out in their
ordinary working dress, for which they had a change of clean garments
ready. They knew nothing and cared little to which Christian sect
the strange preacher belonged; as all preached very much alike, and
iterated the same common place truths of the Bible on such occasions.
Men wholly worldly, and not very moral; who fingered bits of spotted
pasteboard, drank whiskey, and attended horse-races and shooting
matches, would turn out to hear a strange preacher, or go to a “big”
meeting, as these large convocations were called; where several
preachers of diverse gifts were expected.

The youngsters of the family were on their horses before the sun peered
his bright face over the hills of Georgia, and rode throughout the
settlements, and hallooed at every cabin to give the inmates notice
that “mother’s preacher” had come, and would preach at ’Squire Redman’s
that day. Of course every body understood the hour for meeting would
be twelve o’clock. Though the people were scattered over the hills
and along the vallies for many miles distant, the news spread, and by
eleven o’clock men, women and children, two and three often on one
horse, were approaching ‘Squire Redman’s plantation from every point of
the compass. A full complement of dogs to every family were on foot,
coursing along the margin of the woods near the pathway, smelling for
game, and barking up hollow trees. The children of course, large and
small, had to be taken, or the mothers could not go, and the dogs,
accustomed to follow their masters and the horses would go, whether
wanted or not. And should the young children cry and the dogs bark,
both the preacher and hearers were used to such trifling annoyances,
and never went into spasms, as we have seen a preacher, or a new comer
from a particular section of country. In the vicinity of Mr. Redman’s
house, and near a large spring, was the “stand” for the circuit
preacher, when the weather was favorable; and the dwelling house
afforded shelter in stormy weather, for which the owner had provided
rough moveable seats for the accommodation of his neighbors.

The preaching of Father Clark on this occasion was interesting,
instructive, and impressive. Several of the hearers, besides Mrs.
Wells and her son Jacob, had heard him at Coon Creek meeting. Wet
eyes were seen, and sister Wells was in raptures; alternately praying
with internal agony for her husband and children, and then smiling in
ecstasy, as the preacher described, with an occasional incident or
anecdote, the amazing love, power and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
to save the lost. Mr. Wells heard the text and the introduction with
reverent attention; as the speaker advanced he was observed in an
unusual position; his body was bent forward, his eyes fixed, and
his mouth half open as though he would take in every word. Again,
his posture was changed, his elbows rested on his knees, his hands
supported his head, and a tremor seemed to agitate his whole frame.
Those who sat near him saw the tears dropping fast to the ground, and
it was evident he was unusually and powerfully affected by the sermon.
This did not escape the notice of his wife, who was seated among the
females on the opposite side of the stand, and every one could see
she was exceedingly agitated. Others were affected, amongst whom were
some rough looking, stout-hearted men, who never before discovered any
agitation under preaching. Two of the youngsters of the Wells’ family
were among the anxious. Jacob, or Jake as he was familiarly called,
who accompanied his mother to the great meeting on Coon Creek, had
been serious at times since; while at other times he seemed to be more
thoughtless, wayward and wicked than ever. He was there, said nothing;
but held his head down.

Father Clark’s sermon did not exceed an hour, but there was singing,
praying, and conversation with persons in distress. ‘Squire Redman, who
was class-leader, gave a warm and feeling exhortation, prayed two or
three times, and finally held a private conversation with our friend
Wells, and pronounced him to be “powerfully convicted,” and “not far
from the kingdom of God.”

We hope our fastidious, cold-hearted, philosophical readers will not
get offended and throw the book aside because good Mrs. Wells had a
paroxysm of shouting on this occasion. Those readers, whose emotions
were never excited until every fibre of the heart seemed ready to
give way for a husband and children, as she was, who she knew by her
own sad experience were in the broad road that leads to the gates of
eternal death, may retain their cold, calculating fire-side philosophy.
But we shall permit this impulsive, warm-hearted woman to shout, and
express her thankfulness to heaven in the strongest manner, and to her
heart’s content. A little too much heat and moisture are infinitely
more fructifying in faith and holy living, than ice-bound cliffs and a
region of perpetual frost. She had been praying for more than two years
for her “old man and little ones,” as she called them, and now she had
evidence that the Lord was at work with them. Under these circumstances
it would not do to stop the meeting, and the appointment was given out
for that night at ‘Squire Redman’s house, and next day at the stand.

Father Clark, the Wells family, and several others tarried for dinner,
and a good opportunity was presented to converse with Mr. Wells.
Mrs. Wells and two or three other women turned into the kitchen with
mother Redman, and by four o’clock, two or three tables were filled in
succession by hungry guests, the men first served, the females next,
and then the children. Bountiful were the supplies of meat, chickens,
eggs, corn-dodgers, and sweet potatoes, with pickled beets, cucumbers,
and divers other condiments; enough to supply a whole settlement,
including the dogs.

It would have been the season of winter in a northern climate, but it
was then the opening of spring, in the early part of February; the
weather was pleasant and not disagreeably warm. After the first table
was through, Mr. Clark gave our friend Wells a jog of the elbow, and
they walked together into the forest to a retired place. Mrs. Wells
saw the movement, tried to partake of the refreshment at the second
table, but her appetite failed. She was too deeply affected to speak,
and with another female who belonged to the same society, was seen
moving pensively in another direction, towards the thick forest. We
will not intrude. Her husband, whom, under all the rough exterior of
unpolished nature, she truly loved, was in a most critical situation.
She had conversed with him, kindly and affectionately, about his
eternal interests, when he seemed in a mood to listen; she had told him
incidents of her own experience; her agony of distress and the efficacy
of Mr. Clark’s prayers on her behalf. He had offered no objection
to her joining society, though she knew he disliked the Methodists
before she joined, and seldom attended the meetings since the circuit
had been established. For the first time within the period of their
acquaintance, he was anxious about his soul;--she knew it, felt it,
and who will blame her if she and her female companion prayed for him
audibly and fervently, while Father Clark had him on his knees in
another direction, where no eye but the eye of God was upon them, and
no other ear was listening.

Towards the setting sun, and as the people began to collect for the
night meeting, Mr. Clark and his friend Wells were seen coming out
of the woods, arm in arm, engaged in conversation. Mr. Wells seemed
cheerful, if not happy, while the countenance of Mr. Clark was lighted
up with a heavenly smile. From that day Samuel Wells was an altered man.

The meeting continued over the Sabbath, during which several others
gave evidence of a change of heart and life, and when the newly
appointed preacher from the Conference made his appearance at this
remote station on the circuit, the following week, he found a
revival in progress, and that his old acquaintance who had left the
“connexion,” had been at work in the Lord’s harvest, and the Methodist
society had sustained no damage by his independent labors.

Mr. Clark returned to the ferry with his friends, the Wells family, but
there was enough of rejoicing and friendly conversation to occupy him
that day. Besides, he must not think of departing on his journey before
his clothes were in order, and everything ready; so mother Wells
argued.

And there was another duty to perform which no itinerant, or faithful
pastor, will neglect. Religious meditation, and especially prayer
in the hearing of others, was a new business to Mr. Wells, and it
required just such a man as Father Clark to encourage, instruct and
lead him into the practice of household religion. Though his speech was
somewhat incoherent, and a tremor shook his brawny limbs, in making
the first attempt in presence of the preacher, his wife and children;
he had decision enough to go forward, and soon acquired a gift that
was profitable in the society and class-meetings. And now there was
another serious difficulty. He had no Bible in his house; only a torn
and shattered Testament, which his wife had read over and over, on
the dreary Sabbaths she had passed with her family. Her husband had
promised on two occasions, when he visited Charleston and sold his
tobacco, to buy one. But on one journey he had made inquiry at several
stores and found none; the other time “getting a little overtaken,” as
he called it, he had forgotten the business, though he did not fail
to bring his wife a new calico dress, and several other luxuries she
had not requested. The idea of Bible Societies, and special efforts to
supply the destitute with the Word of God, had entered into the mind of
no one. Nor could such books be found for sale in any of the interior
settlements of the South or West.

Father Clark had a neat pocket Bible, which he obtained in London,
and which was his daily companion. He was now in a strait betwixt the
conflicting claims of duty. Generosity and sympathy spoke loudly to
his heart to give this family his Bible. Conscience and reason seemed
to say, “You cannot spare this book. How can a preacher do without
a Bible?” After a season of prayer on the subject, faith turned the
scale, “Leave the Bible, and trust in the Lord for another;” and so it
was decided, and he never regretted it.

The parting scene was affecting. Mr. Wells and his wife both wept like
children, and begged him not to forget them in his prayers, and if
he ever came that way again to make their house his home. The whole
family walked with him to the river bank, and Mr. Wells and his two
eldest sons worked the ferry-boat over the river. As they turned into
a slight bend in the river, they could see mother Wells still sitting
on the bank, with her handkerchief to her eyes, deeply affected that
she should see her preacher’s face, and hear his voice no more; yet,
devoutly thankful that the Lord had sent him that way as the instrument
of salvation to her house.

The boat was tied to the shore, and the old man and his two sons walked
with the preacher through the low bottom-land that lined the bank of
the Savannah river, to the bluffs and up-lands of South Carolina. As
they were about to part, the preacher kneeled down and prayed with
them, and especially mentioned the young lads, that they might be
like young Timothy, and serve the Lord from their youth. Mr. Clark
was now seen slowly but cheerfully ascending the sloping hills, that
led towards Greenville district, while in silence the father and sons
returned to their home.

Leaving father Clark to pursue his journey towards the mountain
range in the north-west, we will continue a while on the banks of the
Savannah, to learn a little of the future history of the Wells family.

The rule of the Saviour, to judge of religious excitements and
conversions, is, “By their _fruits_ shall ye know them.” Our
metaphysical and philosophical friends, with the class of
cold-blooded, grave divines, who measure the character of others by
their own passionless natures; with the sentimental ladies who are
dreadfully shocked at religious ebullitions, may be assured that the
excitable Mrs. Wells, and her more sluggish husband, never “fell from
grace,” as our Methodist friends denominate the result of spurious
conversions. It is true they left the Methodist society, and were
baptized into the fellowship of a Baptist church, but this was in
accordance with their original predilections and previous training.

During the period of Mr. Clark’s sojourn in Georgia, Baptist churches
and preachers were more numerous than Methodists. In the region south
and east of Augusta, they were by far the most numerous class of
Christians. In 1792, there were about fifty-seven Baptist churches,
fifty-eight ordained preachers, twenty-five candidates, and about 2,400
communicants in Georgia. The Georgia Association had been constituted
in 1784, and in 1792 included about twenty-five churches. The Hepzibah
Association was organized in 1794, and the churches extended along the
waters of the Ogeechee and Oconee rivers. The ministers who itinerated
in upper settlements, on Oconee and Broad rivers, after Mr. Clark left
the country, were Mr. John Cleveland, who crossed the Savannah river
from South Carolina, D. Thornton, William Davis, Thomas Johnson, and
Thomas Gilbert. Mr. Cleveland became acquainted with the Wells family
by crossing their ferry, and they liked his style of preaching and that
of his brethren, and being taught the way of the Lord more perfectly,
with others, were baptized, and a church was raised up near their
residence.



CHAPTER VIII.

  Mountain Range.--Manners of an Itinerant.--Preaching in a
    Tavern-house.--How to avoid Insults.--Hospitality.--Reaches
    Crab-Orchard.--Preachers in Kentucky.--Baptists; “Regulars” and
    “Separatists.”--Principles of Doctrine.--School-Teaching.--
    Master O’Cafferty and His Qualities.


A range of high mountains is to be seen on the map, running in a
south-western direction, and separating the State of Virginia from
Kentucky; and then passing in a diagonal direction across Tennessee
into Georgia. This range gives rise to the Sandy, Kentucky, and
Cumberland rivers, on the north-western side, and the Clinch and
Holston, the principal branches of the Tennessee river, on the
south-eastern side. Through this range of mountains is a singular
depression, called the “Cumberland Gap,” through which the first
emigrants from Virginia and North Carolina passed to Kentucky. And
through this “Pass” runs the great highway that has been traveled for
threescore years, from the south-eastern to the north-western States.
The range of mountains is from thirty to fifty miles in width, and in
the central part rises up in immense rocky ranges. The “Gap” is at
the south-western corner of Virginia, and the south-eastern corner of
Kentucky, where the extreme points of these States touch the northern
boundary of Tennessee. Mountains are piled on mountains through this
region. In the vicinity of the Gap is a ledge of black rocks near the
summit, which extends thirty miles, with a perpendicular fall to the
south-east, of two hundred feet. The Pine Mountain is on the border of
Knox county, in Kentucky, and presents to the eye of the traveler a
scene of sublimity and grandeur, not exceeded in mountain views. There
is a view, the wildest and most romantic, where the Cumberland river
passes through a gorge, dashing and foaming at a terrific rate. Here
the limestone cliffs rise to the height of thirteen hundred feet.

Standing on a high precipice, from which the eye could range over a
vast extent of country, on a clear and pleasant day in the month of
March, a traveler was seen gazing on the scenery around him. Though
his dress was soiled by a long journey, every feature and action were
familiar to the observer. It is the Itinerant preacher, whom we left
near the Savannah river a few weeks since; and he has ascended the
mountain several hundred feet above the Gap, to feast his eyes on the
stupendous works of Infinite wisdom and power. His mind expands with
the mountain scenery; his imagination has carried him back to his
native land; his adoring thoughts ascend to the Bestower of every good,
for the protection he has enjoyed; hope burns bright in his eyes, for
in the direction he is now gazing are spread out the fertile vales of
Kentucky, to which he is bound.

He has traveled through Greenville District, in South Carolina,
Buncombe County in North Carolina, and across East Tennessee. He has
forded or swam the creeks and rivers on his route, but makes no
complaint of fatigue, suffering, or danger. He had a small sum of money
to pay his expenses, was never obtrusive, yet rarely did he fail of
finding friends, and frequently religious families, who delighted to
exercise their hospitality on so inoffensive a traveler. Unless the
weather proved stormy, he traveled five days each week, and put up for
Saturday and Sabbath in the bounds of some religious congregation, or
in some destitute settlement where he could preach the Gospel.

Some ministers, even while young, are very annoying to families, by
expecting personal attentions, seeming not to think how much they
impose on hospitable families. Father Clark was particularly careful
never to give the least trouble that he could avoid, and hence all who
knew him were the more ready to receive him. He expected and desired
no special attention as a minister; attended to his own personal
affairs, and put no family to any inconvenience. He never assumed the
ministerial character, put on no airs of dignity, and if he led the
conversation, he could give it a religious turn without offence to any
one; and he would leave the best impressions on the family without
any apparent effort. Again and again, he was solicited to stay and
preach with the people, with assurances of every aid he might need. On
two or three occasions contributions were made privately and handed
to him, where he spent a Sabbath and preached the Gospel, until it
became painful to his feelings to receive such gratuities, as he needed
nothing.

Two days before we found him on the mountain summit, he had tarried
at a noted tavern at the foot of the long and steep mountain called
Clinch. Here were men with pack-horses and peltry, on their way to
the settlements in the old States. Explorers to the new countries of
Tennessee and Kentucky, put up at this tavern. There was drinking,
gaming, profane swearing, and all manner of vulgar and blackguard
language. Mr. Clark supposed the time would pass very unpleasantly, but
an elderly gentleman, who was on his way to Kentucky as an explorer,
happened to fall into conversation, and found him to be a religious
man, and on putting the question direct, the fact was acknowledged
that he was a preacher. This gentleman conferred with two or three
other persons of his acquaintance, and after consulting the landlord,
proposed they should have religious worship before they retired. It
met with general approbation. Every one present knew it was a free
country, and he might stay or retire. Those in the heat of gaming, and
half-sprung with whiskey, could have had a room for their favorite
amusements, but cards were laid aside, and the landlord declared he
never heard any say they regretted having spent an hour that night in
hearing the stranger give a lecture. His preaching and exhortations
were never in the form of denunciation, though pointed and plain, and
well adapted to touch and arouse the slumbering consciences of sinners.
He never failed to give evidence that his sympathies were awakened on
their behalf; that he _felt_ for guilty sinners, and desired to do them
good.

He did not rail against drunkards, gamblers, and profane swearers, in
his discourse, or manifest the least annoyance in conversation with
any person; and yet all these vicious indulgences ceased, and every
swearing reprobate seemed to put a double guard on his lips. All the
company rested quietly, and arose cheerfully in the morning. The
gentleman who had invited Mr. Clark to preach, approached the landlord
privately, and proposed to pay the stranger’s bill when he settled his
own. “No, sir,” said the landlord, “that gentleman has been a welcome
guest in my family, for they have had comfortable rest, and if it had
not been for him, we should have had drinking, swearing, and fighting
through the night, to the annoyance of all quiet people.”

When Mr. Clark called for his bill after breakfast, as he was about to
depart on his journey, he received for answer, “Your bill, sir, is more
than paid. It is not customary to charge preachers, though every one of
that class who travels this road don’t keep the house in as good order
as you did last night. But you are welcome to the best I have, every
time you pass this way.”

Down the mountain range, towards Crab-Orchard, the country was thinly
settled. Every eight or ten miles was a cluster of log-cabins, with
stabling of the same materials, a rack to hitch horses at in front, and
occasionally a rudely daubed sign on a post, that on close inspection
might indicate that “_private entertainment_” could be had there.
No public houses existed in that region, unless in a town or county
seat, where lawyers and clients, judges and jurymen, could purchase
intoxicating liquors to wash down their corn-bread and bacon on
court days. Every farmer through the country, who lived on a great
road, and had a supply of “corn and fodder” for horses, “and chicken
fixin’s,” and “corn dodgers,” with comfortable beds for travelers,
kept “private entertainment.” No one thought of getting a license and
selling intoxicating drinks. The bottle or jug of whiskey was always
set on the table at such houses of entertainment, with a bowl of sugar,
and a pitcher of water fresh from the spring, and “help yourselves,
strangers,” was the courteous invitation. Whether the traveler drank
more or less, or none at all, made not the least difference in his
bill. Fifty cents for horse-keeping, supper, and lodging, was the
uniform price for nearly half a century, at these country houses of
entertainment throughout this valley. And if any one had charged Father
Clark, a quarter or three bits[30] was ample compensation.

It was early in April when our Itinerant reached the vicinity of
Crab-Orchard, in Lincoln County. Hearing there was an appointment for
preaching in the neighborhood, he went with the family with whom he
had put up. The preacher was a plain frontier-looking man, dressed in
the costume of the country; a hunting-shirt of dressed deer-skins,
and trowsers of cotton and wool mixed, of very coarse texture, colored
brown with the bark of a species of the white walnut tree.[31] The
house where the people assembled was a double log cabin, rough hewn,
and when all had gathered, it contained about seventy-five or eighty
persons. The name of the preacher was Jolliff; and he preached the
Gospel to his neighbors and the people generally, as opportunity
offered, without any thought about compensation in this life. He was
a plain, unlearned preacher, and enforced such truth as he understood
on the minds of his hearers. He had been, and perhaps was still a
Methodist preacher of the local order, but he afterwards joined a class
of Baptists called _Separates_ in Kentucky.

Mr. Clark’s dress we have already described, but it was in a style
somewhat in advance of the good people in Kentucky, who lived many
hundred miles distant from any market, and were compelled to live
in a plain, rough way. Mr. Jolliff fell into conversation with the
stranger, while the people were gathering, found out his business in
the country, and insisted he should preach. Apologies and excuses are
useless on such occasions for those ministers who keep their minds in
habitual preparation to say something to the people on any sudden call,
and Mr. Clark, though a modest man, who never put himself forward,
consented. The people listened with attention, and spoke of him as “a
right smart preacher.” Some doubted what others affirmed, that he was
a learned man, for he was so plain and simple in his language, and his
illustrations were from things so common, that they understood every
word.

Mr. Jolliff, who lived several miles from the place of meeting, was so
much pleased with the discourse, that he persuaded Mr. Clark to attend
the meeting in his neighborhood on the following Saturday and Sabbath,
and to come to his house on Friday evening.

There were a number of preachers in Lincoln and the adjacent counties,
all Baptists, though somewhat divided on certain points of doctrine,
and not altogether friendly in ministerial intercourse. Each possessed
his share of the imperfections of human character; each was more or
less selfish; petty rivalries prevailed, and small differences were
magnified, as each party looked at the other through the medium of
prejudice. In a word, the pioneer preachers of Kentucky, were very
much like the ministers of the Gospel in every age, nation, and
country; no better, no worse; only a little more frank, and even blunt
in their personal intercourse, and did not conceal their thoughts
and emotions with the same ingenuity and tact as has been done in
some places. Hence, if there were petty jealousies, rivalries, and
surmisings, (all of which traits are wrong and unchristian every
where,) they let their passions be seen, and the want of union and
mutual coöperation was the natural result.

There were two principal divisions amongst Baptists in Kentucky, which
were brought with them from Virginia and the Carolinas. The parties
were called “_Regular_,” and “_Separate_.” These parties originated
more than forty years before the period of our history.

The Regular Baptists in the Middle States originated from Wales; and in
several instances, churches already organized came over as colonists.
They settled mostly in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and a corner of
Delaware and Maryland, towards the close of the seventeenth, and during
the eighteenth centuries, previous to the American revolution. At a
later period, the descendants of these early colonists removed south,
and formed the nucleus of churches in Virginia, and even in North
and South Carolina. The doctrines they taught, as they interpreted
the Scriptures, may be found in a little book commonly called the
“Philadelphia Confession of Faith,” because it was revised, adopted and
published by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742.[32]

All true Baptists take the word of God, the inspired writings, as their
_sole rule_ of faith and practice. There were some diversities among
the Regular Baptists about certain doctrinal principles, as there
were also among the Separates. These diversities in some localities
prevented for a time cordial union, correspondence and coöperation,
chiefly because they misunderstood each other in their modes of
explanation. The differences in all the parties consisted in the way
each party reasoned on abstruse points. Each put that construction on
the language employed by the other that accorded with the peculiar
technical meaning he attached to the same words.

The “Separate Baptists” originated in Virginia and the Carolinas from
two leading ministers who, with their adherents, came from New England
about 1754. The leaders were Shubael Stearns and Daniel Marshall. These
men were Congregationalists, and belonged to a party that _separated_
from the old Puritan Congregationalists of New England; being less
Calvinistic in doctrine, and believing that such men as had grace,
gifts, and a “call of God” to the ministry, ought to preach the
Gospel if they had no collegiate education. This party were at first
Pædobaptists; that is, they believed and practiced infant baptism on
the faith and the covenant relation of the parents; but gradually
they gave up this practice, and in the end most of the ministers and
members of this party joined the Baptist churches.

Elder Stearns became a Baptist, and was ordained in Connecticut, but
led by impressions of mind, with several relatives and brethren,
removed south to Virginia, where Mr. Marshall joined him; and then
to Guilford county, N. C., where they constituted a church. While in
New England, these Separates had acquired a warm, pathetic style of
preaching, and exhibited intense feelings. They had a sing-song tone,
and their manner of preaching got hold of the hearts of the people and
produced much preternatural excitement. Their hearers shed tears, cried
out under great distress, and shouted in ecstacy on a revulsion of
feelings. In a few months they had baptized about six hundred converts.
Several warm-hearted, zealous preachers were raised up; one of the most
gifted was James Read, who was very successful in Virginia.

At the first no distinctive names were attached to these parties, but
the Separates from New England kept that name, which provoked the other
party to call themselves “Regular Baptists.” This name originated
with Elder David Thomas, of Virginia, who possessed great influence,
and was regarded by his brethren as a leader. Occasionally, and
especially in seasons of revival, the ministers would coöperate, but
the parties remained distinct, with the usual amount of shyness and
non-intercourse, common in such divisions.

From the position we now occupy, it is easy to perceive that both
parties had mistaken views, and employed inappropriate language to
express gospel truth. The things for which they were the most tenacious
were their opinions, or speculations; and many points were discussed in
their discourses that were of no advantage to truth. On the disputed
topics both parties “darkened council by words without knowledge.”[33]

An extensive revival of religion in Virginia brought about a union
between the Regular and Separate Baptists in 1787; a religious platform
expressing their views in common was adopted, and the parties laid
aside their distinctive names and took that of UNITED BAPTISTS.

The emigration of Baptists from Virginia to Kentucky commenced near the
close of the revolutionary war, and the old lines of distinction were
kept up there for about sixteen years longer. South of the Kentucky
river, a majority of the churches were Separate Baptists, at the period
of the visit of Father Clark.[34]

Mr. Clark attended the appointment on Saturday and Sabbath with Mr.
Jolliff, and preached with his accustomed fervor and ability. The
people who heard him were much interested, and urged him to stay
amongst them. He found the settlements very deficient in schools; young
men and women could not read, and very few books could be found. In
many instances the teachers were incompetent, and in some instances
too immoral to be trusted with the training of youth. He saw around
him a wide field of usefulness. There were occasional revivals, but
in general a religious dearth prevailed over the State. Revivals had
existed to a greater extent in past years, but a general declension
had followed, and a low standard of morals and religion existed. The
Indian war on the north-western territory kept the country in agitation
until after Wayne’s victory in 1794, and the treaty of Greenville the
following year. The tide of immigration was now setting strong from
the Atlantic States to Kentucky, while a class of its population were
on the move to the territory north-west of the Ohio, and even to the
province of Upper Louisiana. Infidelity, combined with liberalism,
came in like a flood and threatened to sweep away every vestige of
Christianity.

Under these circumstances, and on the solicitation of many worthy
citizens, Mr. Clark believed it to be his duty to teach school.
This would not prevent him from preaching the gospel, for he would
have Saturday and Sabbath in each week for that purpose. The people
furnished him a cabin, such an one as he had occupied in Georgia, for a
school house. In one particular he was singular. He drew up no article
of agreement, made no conditions about the number of scholars, and
exacted no pay; but left the whole arrangement about the terms of the
school with the people who patronized him; only requesting them to
furnish him with board and lodging at their houses, or log cabins, and
such articles of clothing as he might need. Some thought him slightly
deranged; others, from their habit of surmising evil of all strangers
whose notions differed from theirs, fancied he had some sinister design.

The school opened, and about twenty stout lads and lasses were there
the first day. Mr. Clark received each one with a pleasant, smiling
countenance, gave them his hand in friendly greeting as they approached
him, with a cheerful “good morning,” and appeared at once to be on
friendly terms. This conduct on the part of the schoolmaster, was,
to them, a new feature in discipline. They had been accustomed to be
greeted with a wand of hickory or hazel, (the genuine _birch_ not being
a growth of that region) and a stern, commanding voice. The predecessor
of Mr. Clark was a rough looking Irishman, with a red face, and of
violent passions. He was a disciple of Father Badin, the Roman Catholic
missionary at Bardstown, and sent to Lincoln county--

    “To rear the tender thought,
      And teach the young idea
    How to shoot”

in the direction of “Holy Mother Church.” In this particular item his
services were gratuitous; but he was unsuccessful in all he undertook,
whether publicly or privately. He lacked every qualification for a
successful emissary in the charitable designs of the good father. Mr.
O’Cafferty made slow progress in retailing science and literature
during the six months he engaged to teach school on Flat Creek, and
such was the turmoil among his subjects, and so much whiskey did he
punish weekly, that he found it economical to accept the compromise
proposed by his employers and be off, on half pay for the last term.



CHAPTER IX.

  Schoolmaster Equity in 1796.--New Customs introduced.--Mr. Birch
    Discarded.--Enrolment.--Books Used.--New ones Procured.--
    Astonishing Effects.--Colloquy with Uncle Jesse.--The New
    School-House.--A Christmas Frolic.--Shocking Affair by the
    Irish Master.--A Political Convention.--Young Democracy.--
    A Stump Speech.--New Customs.--A True Missionary.--Trouble
    about Money.--Mr. Clark leaves Kentucky.


The relation of the teacher and the pupils heretofore in most instances
had been that of belligerents. It was his prerogative to rule and
compel obedience, and hence “fighting,” as the customary whippings were
called, was the order of the day. Those pupils who were from fifteen
to twenty years of age, thought themselves young men, and their proud
spirits could be easily aroused to a state of rebellion. They descended
from a hardy race, and had learned the tactics of warfare on the
frontiers, where their fathers and mothers had to contend with untamed
savages, and it would have been a dangerous business for even a brawny
Irishman to flog such spirits into submission with a full supply of
bone, sinew and muscle. Hence the boys from eight to fourteen, who had
no brothers and cousins among these stout youngsters, had to bear their
own share of flaggellation, and also the amount that in equity belonged
to their older neighbors. The school house had remained vacant for six
or eight months previous to Mr. Clark’s entrance, and the youngsters
gathered around him as we have narrated.

Instead of the expected order, in a surly voice, and corrupt dialect
that was any thing else than the English language, Mr. Clark opened
school by a friendly conversation with each scholar; beginning with
the eldest. Divers questions were asked, in a pleasant, musical tone
of voice, as “How far have you made progress in studies?” “What
branches do you wish to learn?” etc. He addressed the young men as
though they were gentlemen, and as if he was desirous of consulting
their interests, and do the best to serve them. Instead of their usual
boisterous manner of reply, their voices were subdued, and they felt
what they never before realized, sentiments of reverence and respect to
a schoolmaster.

In his examination of the older female pupils, there was some
difficulty at first, to draw from them the answers he desired. They
had heard him preach in the neighborhood, and were inspired with
awe, and could scarcely speak above their breath. The little ones,
boys and girls, he called to him, patted them on their heads, spoke
encouragingly, and soon had their confidence and affection.

The next movement was to take down their names, ages, and the number
of quarters, or terms, each had attended school. He told them frankly,
he could not endure a school where mutiny and war were the order of
the day; that his sole object in teaching, was to do them good and not
harm, and he regarded it as the right and privilege of all who desired
to learn, and improve their minds and acquire useful knowledge, not
to be interrupted by the improper conduct of others; that he compelled
no one to attend, and expected all who came to his school to conduct
themselves in such a manner, as to make the school comfortable and
creditable to all. He read a few plain, simple rules, and proposed them
to the scholars for adoption, and even gave opportunity for objections
to be made, or alterations proposed. This was another new feature in
school-discipline and called forth expressions of astonishment and
approbation from the older scholars. He was not anxious to enforce
these rules on them, but to give every pupil time to consider their
bearing, and suggested they could be postponed until next day, if
all were not prepared to decide. The code appeared so reasonable and
proper, that a large majority seemed anxious for its adoption at once,
and every one present gave a hearty assent.

The next movement was to make inquiry about books; and here no small
difficulty and inconvenience appeared. Each pupil had brought such
an article for the reading lessons as first came to hand. One had
a mutilated copy of Dilworth’s “New Guide to the English Tongue;”
another showed a volume of old sermons; a third had the “Romance
of the Forest,” an old novel, and a specimen of the “yellow covered
literature” of a former age. A fourth, fifth, and sixth, could show
Testaments or pieces of Bibles, with the binding in tatters, and
the print dim, and paper brown, such as were gotten up for sale to
merchants in that day. Some came without books or any aid to learn the
art and mystery of spelling and reading. The Psalter that had descended
from some Virginia families whose ancestors belonged to the Colonial
English Church, was presented by three or four more. The marvellous
story of “Valentine and Orson,” answered for the whole stock of
literature for a family of three children. What was now to be done? Mr.
Clark neither scolded nor ridiculed his pupils for their deficiency in
books. He knew they were not to blame, and he surmised their parents
could not readily remedy the evil. There was not a book in the three
little retail stores in Lincoln County, for sale, and it was between
fifty and sixty miles to Lexington where purchases could be made. The
world-renowned Noah Webster had commenced the great work of providing
his young countrymen with the means of learning their mother tongue,
about thirteen years previous. His “_First Part of a Grammatical
Institute of the English Language_,” more popularly known as the
“American Spelling-Book,” was published for the first time in 1783, but
it had scarcely found its way into the wilderness of Kentucky. Father
Clark had obtained a copy in Charleston; he liked every thing American,
and Webster’s Spelling Book struck his fancy, above all others, from
which he would like

    “To teach the young idea how to shoot.”

None had been seen in Lincoln County. Transylvania Seminary had been
in operation in Lexington, ten or twelve years, where some of the
higher branches of literature and science were taught, and many of the
young men who became distinguished in law, politics, and medicine, in
that commonwealth, received their education in that Seminary. After
Mr. Clark had left the State in 1798, a Grammar School was opened in
Lebanon, near the Royal Spring, in Fayette County, where the elements
of Latin, Greek, and the sciences, were taught by Messrs. Jones and
Worley.

The old books had to be used until Mr. Clark’s new method of teaching
became known, and one of the employers visited Lexington on business.
He returned with two dozen of Webster’s Spelling-Book, and more other
school-books than ever before reached Lincoln County at one time. It
was a real holiday for the boys and girls to look over these books.

The rude cuts, or coarse illustrations, as they would now be called,
over the fables in the Spelling-Book, were examined and criticised,
and the stories read, until they were “gotten by heart.” There was the
boy that stole apples, then on the tree, and the farmer throwing tufts
of grass to bring him down, and threatening “to try what virtue there
was in stones.” Then came the country girl, with the pail of milk on
her head, calculating the value when exchanged for eggs, these hatched
into chickens, and the chickens sent to market at Christmas, and the
profits invested in a new silk gown, in which she would eclipse all
her female companions during the holidays. Inflated with vanity in her
brilliant prospects, she acted out her feelings with a toss of the
head, when down came her pail of milk, and with it all her imaginary
happiness. And then there was the cat covered with meal, in the bottom
of the meal-tub, while the young rats were about to enjoy themselves
around the heap, until warned by an old and experienced rat, who “did
not like that white heap yonder.” “The bear and the two friends,”
furnished another fruitful source of mental speculation to the pupils
of Mr. Clark in the recess of school; while the fable of the Farmer
and Lawyer, and the amazing difference betwixt “your bull and my ox,”
caused bursts of laughter.

Thus the school went on, and the influence of the master in controlling
the feelings, the minds and habits of the pupils in school, or even on
the road-side, or at home, was overwhelming. This was effected by an
unusual commixture of firmness and kindness, dignity and familiarity,
never known before in a Kentucky school.

It was some weeks after the new books were introduced, that Mr. Jesse
Bush came into the settlement from Old Virginia, to see the country and
make a visit to his brother, one of the patrons of the school. Thomas
and Susan Bush were two bright eyed pupils of Father Clark, and were
discovered one evening by their uncle as he walked along the lane that
led to the house, gathering strips of loose, dry bark from the fence
rails for “lightwood.” Such combustible articles in the fire-place
were an excellent substitute for candles and lamps in new and frontier
settlements. Uncle Jesse had taken quite a fancy to his nephew and
niece. They had left the old dominion with their parents several years
before this period, and had grown so much that their affectionate uncle
would not have known them, had he met them any where else than at their
parents’ on his arrival. Susan was now eleven and Thomas thirteen years
old, and delighted to play and romp with him, no less than he did with
them.

It was in the month of October--the days had perceptibly grown shorter
and the nights longer. A fire was pleasant and comfortable, and the
lightwood threw up a cheerful blaze, while the industrious scholars
were getting their lessons until interrupted by their uncle.

“Tommy, my boy, come here. You and I have not had a frolic to-day. You
are at that new spelling-book every moment. What do you find in that
book?”

Thomas ran to his accustomed place between the knees of uncle Jesse,
and looking him in the face, and catching hold of his beard of a week’s
growth, responded:--

“I find a heap of things. Here are pretties.[35] Jest look at that ’ere
boy in the tree. He’s stealing apples, and sez he won’t come down.”

“O, pshaw, Tom, that’s all a story. You don’t b’lieve a boy would get
into an apple tree in the day time, when he know’d the old farmer would
see him?”

“Well, I don’t know, but the master said it’s jest like bad boys, and
he knows.”

“Now, Tommy, tell me honestly, how do you like the master?”

“He’s fust rate; and all the boys say so.”

“How many times has he whipped you?”

“He duz no such thing. He says ef he can’t get along without fighting,
he’ll jest quit.”

“Has Sis’ got a flogging yet?”

“No, _sir-ee_--Sis’ and the Master are great friends.”

“Does Joe Sikes come to school yet?”

“I recon he duz. Joe can’t stay away, no how he can fix it.”

“But Joe Sikes in old Virginia, was the hardest case in school. He had
Mr. Birch hold of him regularly as the day came round.”

“So he did here. Mr. O’Cafferty gave him some of the all-firedest
thrashings I ever seed, and he only got worser.”

“How in the world does Mr. Clark contrive to manage that fellow?”

“He jest talks it into him. And I he’rn Joe say he’d no heart to
insult so good a man as the master.”

“Now, Tom, tell me honestly which you’d rather do--stay at home, play
with the dogs, and hunt coons at night, or go to that school?”

“I’d go to school as long as I liv’d ef I could have such a master as
Mr. Clark.”

“Well, Tom, I must give you up. Mr. Clark’s bought you, that’s certain.
You’re a gone coon for huntin.”[36]

Calling up Susan, he said,

“Come, Sis’, and tell uncle what you think of the master?”

“He’s the best man in all Canetuck.”

“But some of those big girls down the creek don’t like him.”

“Yes, they duz,” responded Susan, whose whole soul had become enlisted
in the mysteries of the new spelling book.

“Now, Susy, let me hear you read your lesson for to-morrow.”

Susan had just commenced the table for “easy readings,” and of course
she had to proceed with great care. She took her station by her uncle,
with the new copy of Webster in one hand, and pointing the fore-finger
of the other to the word as her eyes passed along the line, she read
slowly and distinctly, without missing three words:

    “No man may put off the law of God;
    My joy is in his law all the day.
    I must not go in the way of sin.
    Let me not go in the way of ill men.”

“Well done, Susan;--you are right smart, and do your master much
credit.”

Time passed away;--the school increased, until the dirty old cabin was
more than crowded. During the warm season, those who _studied_ their
lessons (and this was one of the new fashions introduced), could retire
to the shade of the forest, and in groups of two, three and four, might
have been seen by passers by, intently conning their lessons. But cold
weather approached, the people became quite spirited in providing a new
and better house for winter; and the whole settlement turned out with
their axes and teams. Large trees were felled in the adjacent forest,
and rough hewn on two sides to a suitable thickness. Clap boards, four
feet long, were split from a straight grained oak for the roof; the
ends of the logs were securely notched together and were placed one
on top of another, as the four sides of the house were raised. In a
few days a commodious house, about twenty feet square, and covered in,
stood a few yards from the old log cabin. The spaces between the logs
were soon “chinked and daubed;” that is, filled with small flat stones
and chumps of wood, and mud plastered over the cracks both within and
without.

For windows, a log was cut out from each side at a suitable height for
the light to shine on the writing desks, which were slabs placed under
the windows. The apertures were a foot wide and extended the length
of the room, over which paper saturated with coon oil was placed as a
substitute for glass. The chimney was built in the end opposite the
door, and ran up outside of the wall. An aperture about ten feet wide
was made through the logs for the fire-place. The chimney was built of
rough stones from the neighboring quarry. And as quite an advancement
in the style of frontier school houses at that period, planks, as the
term was in Kentucky, or boards an inch and a quarter thick, cut at a
saw-mill on a branch of Crab Orchard Creek, made a tight floor. It is
doubtful if out of Lexington, and a half-dozen other towns, a school
house existed in the country settlements with any other floor than the
natural earth beaten hard, until this improvement was made both as an
accommodation and a compliment to their teacher.

Mr. Clark had two or three young men from eighteen to twenty years of
age, who had been under his tuition from the opening of the school,
and who desired to qualify themselves for teachers. They were good
tempered, affable, constant in their studies, and made good progress.
The school now promised to have a greater number and variety of pupils
than Mr. Clark could attend to and do justice to all. He proposed to
these young men to assist him in the smaller classes, and by that means
they would be qualified the sooner and the more thoroughly to teach and
govern a school.

Time sped on, and Christmas, the _real_ holiday amongst Southern
people, was approaching. We are anxious to know how the tact and
skill of Mr. Clark in governing rude, thoughtless, overgrown boys and
precocious young men availed him on Christmas week; and as happened
with other teachers in those days, whether he was “turned out” of the
new school house by his mutinous subjects.

“To the time whereunto the memory of man runneth not,”--so reads the
law phrase,--a custom had prevailed amongst the southern youngsters,
that as Christmas approached, the authority over the school house was
reversed; the young folks seized the reins of government. Judge Lynch
held his court, and pronounced the authority from ancient traditions,
that the pedagogue must resign all authority with the school house
itself, until the holiday season was over, and make up the lost time at
the close of his term.

The reversal of authority was usually effected the day before
Christmas. This singular custom of turning out the master was brought
from old England into the South by the cavalier branch of that nation
in contradistinction from the puritans who settled New England. It
can be traced back to the feudal age, and ranks among other frolics
in which the common people were permitted and encouraged to indulge
their passion for fun and riot, by both the priests and magistrates.
A mere abdication of the office for the time being did not satisfy
this ancient custom in all cases. If the mutinous party took the notion
into their heads, and lawlessness and disorder were winked at by the
parents, as in some settlements, the master must treat all the pupils
to cherry bounce,[37] whiskey sweetened with honey, peach brandy, or
some other equally pernicious liquor. The same custom often prevailed
at Easter.

The penalty of not complying with every exaction imposed by the
rebellious scholars, was a severe ducking in the river. On some
occasions serious personal injury has been inflicted. This feudal right
had been claimed heretofore, and the master compelled to abdicate, and
make up lost time in the school on Flat Creek. Mr. O’Cafferty had done
more than his pupils exacted, for he had procured a supply of cherry
bounce, whiskey and honey, and was so generous in its distribution,
and set such an impressive example in favor of its qualities, that one
half of his pupils were dreadfully sick, some had to be carried home
to their parents, and the master required a wide path, and made tracts
in a zigzag form, in reaching his lodging place. This hospitable trait
in his character was no small item in the list of complaints, which
induced his employers to get rid of him. Indeed, a large majority of
the people in this settlement regarded this ancient custom more honored
in the breach than the observance.

On the morning preceding Christmas, as Mr. Clark approached the new
academy, he saw a number of the older scholars in a group, talking very
earnestly; and he supposed mischief was brewing. He entered the house,
arranged the benches and books, and gave the customary signal for all
to come in, and take their places, preparatory to the morning’s lesson.
This consisted in reading a portion of the Old or New Testament, by
each scholar who had advanced that far in scholastic attainments. All
came to their places, when three of the company arose, and approached
the master in a respectful attitude, as a committee on behalf of the
scholars, who had that morning held a meeting on the due observation of
the Christmas holidays.

We regret that at the period of which our history pertaineth, no
newspaper was published in Lincoln county, and but one, the “_Kentucky
Gazette_,” in the State. Hence we can find no printed record of
these important proceedings, and left for the benefit of posterity.
Especially do we lament the inability to give, literally, the able and
eloquent speech made before the schoolmaster by the youthful chairman,
who spoke “without notes.” As he is reported to have made quite a noise
at the “bar” and on the “stump,” after the era of newspapers, the loss
of a verbatim copy of this maiden address is irreparable. The original
copy in manuscript (if one was ever made) cannot now be found among
the antiquarian documents of Lincoln county. Our readers would like to
peruse it, but all we can give is the mere substance which tradition
has preserved.

The speaker referred to the ancient and honorable custom of turning
out the master at Christmas. He even expressed some doubts of the
real value of such a usage, though it might be unfavorable to that
manly independence that belonged to young Americans. He alluded to
the unfortunate issue of Mr. O’Cafferty’s liberality on a previous
Christmas; indeed the last one the high minded young gentlemen of Flat
Creek had observed (himself having been a sufferer on that memorable
occasion;)--that the “old folks” at home disliked it;--that the young
gentlemen who loved a frolic, really “had no heart,” (these were the
very words) to do any unpleasant thing to their present schoolmaster.
Him they all respected and loved, and, therefore, the committee had
been instructed to present a respectful petition, that the master would
please to adjourn the school to the following Monday.

To which Mr. Clark responded to the committee in the hearing of the
whole school in the following speech.

“MY DEAR FRIENDS AND PUPILS:--I thank you for your courteous and
respectful treatment, and the address through your chairman on this
occasion. I have labored to convince you that good order, kindness
to each other, and a due regard to the wishes of your instructor are
necessary to your own happiness. When we commenced our present relation
as master and pupils, you adopted rules for your behavior, and you
have enjoyed much happiness in obeying them. One of the most useful
and important lessons for you to acquire and practice is that of
self-government; for if you are not trained to govern yourselves, you
will never be qualified to perform the duties of American citizens in
this great and growing republic.

“It affords me pleasure to accord with your wishes, and give you
a vacation during the Christmas holidays. I have been requested by
preacher Jolliff and the people to attend a meeting with him in the
settlement down Crab Orchard, and it will be quite convenient to
dismiss the school this evening, until the first Monday in January. Now
please take your books and go through the lessons of the morning.”

Eyes shone bright, hearts beat joyfully, the books were opened, and all
parties felt happy. The influence of Mr. Clark over his pupils received
additional force from the manner in which the momentous question of
observing the Christmas holidays was settled.

The religious meeting was held during four successive days and nights,
about a dozen or fifteen miles from the school house, and attended by
the people for several miles around. Amongst others, there were seen
several of the students of Father Clark, who listened to his discourses
with serious attention, and tradition testifies a number were converted.

But we must hasten forward with our story, for we have a long series
of years yet to travel over, and many new and interesting scenes to
portray.

The six months Mr. Clark at first proposed to teach the school on
Flat Creek turned out to be a twelve month. A wonderful change had
been produced in the settlement; indeed, we may say truthfully, an
entire revolution had been made in public sentiment concerning schools
and teachers. At the close of the year, he could have had one of the
largest schools in the new and growing State of Kentucky, on any terms
he had chosen to ask.

For more than two months, during the winter, his mind was solemnly
impressed with the paramount duty to preach the gospel in a more
destitute region. If ever there was a true missionary in modern
times, Father Clark was that man, for he conferred not with flesh
and blood, made no calculations of ease or a support, stopped not to
see whether the churches, or other ministers were prepared to move
forward according to the divine commission in preaching the gospel to
every creature. He had imitated Paul the apostle in denying himself
the comforts and happiness of the connubial relation, that no earthly
tie might hinder him from going wherever Providence directed. He cast
himself on that providence that so mysteriously had preserved him in
perils by land and by sea, and engaged in the work of a Christian
missionary with his whole soul.

When he left Georgia, his thoughts ran towards the Illinois country,
where, as he had learned American families had gone from the south
branch of the Potomac in Virginia, and the new settlements of Kentucky.
During his residence in Lincoln county, he had seen several men who
had visited the Illinois country, and even the “Far West,” which was
then the Spanish province of Upper Louisiana, west of the Mississippi
river. There the gospel had never been preached; and yet, allured by
the gift of uncultivated land for farms, and inspired by the daring
enterprize of backwoods and frontier people, many families had crossed
the Great River.[38] The government of Spain was very despotic, but
the commandants, who represented the crown of Spain in the province of
Louisiana, were liberal, and encouraged Americans to migrate and settle
there.

Of course with Father Clark, it was a subject of daily prayer that God
would direct him to that field of labor HE desired him to occupy. He
expected and received satisfactory impressions, or a full conviction
of mind, after much prayer, examination of the field in Illinois and
the Spanish country so far as he could obtain information, and watching
the leadings of providence. The pathway of duty became plain, and to
that country he must go, and see what the Lord would have him do there.
We never knew a man who consulted his personal convenience less, and
the entire will of God more. No man was more discriminating, looked at
secondary causes with a steadier eye, and then trusted himself entirely
to the Divine guidance.

As the last quarter of the school drew towards the close, there was
evidently dissatisfaction and regret among the scholars. They had
learned the intentions of the master, and they trembled at the prospect
of losing a teacher who had treated them like reasonable creatures, and
who led them in such pleasant paths by the strong cords of affection
and respect. They really dreaded lest some illiterate whiskey drinking,
brutal Irishman, like master O’Cafferty with his shelalah, should
be engaged to tyrannize over them, and dry up every stream of true
happiness in the school. But their fears were imaginary. Every parent
and guardian would now have protested against such an imposition on
the community.

Before the close of the last term under master Clark, it was whispered
about that Joseph Helm would take charge of the school. Joseph was one
of Mr. Clark’s assistants, and showed much interest in the employment.
He was a stout Kentuckian, six feet in his shoes, with a commanding
appearance, and seriously disposed. The little ones had learned already
to call him master Helm; and on the whole he was worthy of the mantle
of master Clark.

The parting day came, and when about to dismiss the school for the last
time, the affectionate master was so overpowered by his feelings as
to be incapable of making his farewell address. He attempted to utter
a few words, but his voice choked, tears fell like heavy raindrops,
convulsive sobs heaved his breast, and he could only grasp their hands
with nervous energy, as they passed him towards the door-way.

And now another trial came on. The women in the settlement had provided
him with more articles of clothing than he could take with him, of
their own homely making. Every house in the settlement had been open
for him both as a visitor and a boarder, but the generous hearted men
were resolved he should not depart empty handed.

Bank bills at that period were wholly unknown in Kentucky, silver coin
was very scarce, and much of the business among the people was done
by barter. The proclamation had been made for the employers to meet
at the school house, and every one knew what was wanting. No one held
back, and two or three who could not attend the meeting sent their
perquisites by their neighbors. With no small sacrifice, about fifty
dollars were collected by a sort of average, according to the number
of scholars from each family, after excusing several families on
account of inability. A committee of three gentlemen was appointed to
wait on Mr. Clark, explain why no larger amount had been raised, and
present the acknowledgments of the whole settlement for his very useful
services, and their kind wishes for his welfare, and should he ever
return, how rejoiced would they be to receive him again.

Mr. Clark had still a small sum left of his resources in Georgia,
including the gratuitous offerings on the way from that country, and
really _felt_ that he had no need of money. When he heard of the
meeting, he thought it had reference solely to the future school; but
what was his surprise, and even distress, when the committee called on
him that very evening, with their report, and the fifty dollars all
in silver coin! He desired to treat them courteously; he respected
and loved their hospitable and generous motives, but told them again
and again that the people owed him nothing--that all he asked when he
commenced the school was his board and clothing--that, in fact, he had
no use for the money, and finally, that he might be robbed and murdered
in the wilderness should he carry such an amount of wealth about him.
This last objection struck the committee as having at least some
practical sense in it, and after much parleying, he compromised the
matter by consenting with great reluctance to receive a small gratuity
as an expression of the friendship of the people.

“What a strange sort o’ man that Master Clark is,” said one
committee-man to the others, as they were returning homeward after
night-fall.

“Yes, he is sartin’ly mighty singular, not to take money for his labors
when he arn’d it, and ’tis offered him.”

“An’t he a leetle sort o’ crack’d?” asked another. “It looks like it,”
was the reply; “but, then a crack’d skull never could ’av’ managed the
youngsters as he did.”

“Well, I reckon he’ll suffer for that money yet, way in that Elenoy
country, ’fore he’d find a chance to get more. I b’lieve a man ought’r
get all the money he can honestly, ’specially when he’s arn’d it, as
Master Clark done.”

“I’m mind he’ll yet die a poor man, and it mought be he’d suffer a
heap ef he lives long in that new country, and gets no money to pay
’xpenses.”

“Well, I an’t sorry we raised it, no how; for he’d orter been paid; for
he’s done the childer a mighty heap of good.”

“And he’s a good man, that’s sartin’,” replied the first speaker; “and
ef John Clark don’t get to the ‘good country’ he talks of when he
preaches, I’m mighty fear’d nobody else will.”

And John Clark was not forgotten in Kentucky for many a year, nor his
singular ways, neither. There are a few old people still living, who
attended school under his instruction, who, as they express it, “never
seed the like on’t.” They do not believe, with all the “new fangled
ways,” and “heap o’ larnin,” and practical wisdom teachers now have,
that they can come up with preacher Clark.



CHAPTER X.

  Journey to Illinois.--Story of the Gilham family, captured by
    Indians.--Hard fare.--Mr. Gilham attempts to recover them.--
    Indian War.--Peace made.--The Family Redeemed.--Removes to
    Illinois with Mr. Clark.--Navigation of Western Rivers.--Story
    of Fort Massac.--Terrible sickness.--Settlement of New Design.
    --An ungodly race.--First Preacher in Illinois.--A Stranger
    in meeting.--First Baptisms.--Other Preachers.--First Church
    Formed.--Manners and customs of the French.--Indian War.--
    Stations or Forts Described.--PIONEER BOOKS projected.


And now we find the pioneer preacher trudging along the obscure pathway
that guided him down the country in a western direction, towards the
Green river district. He made appointments and preached in all the
principal settlements as he journeyed, and was treated kindly and
hospitably by all classes of people. It was in the Green river country
he became acquainted with James Gilham, who was then preparing to
remove his family and settle in the Illinois country, and wanted three
or four able bodied men to accompany him, and work the boat down the
Ohio and up the Mississippi. Mr. Clark had started from Lincoln County
with the intention of passing through the wilderness on foot, but he
had now a good opportunity of proceeding in a keel boat, or French
pirogue, by water. They fitted out at the Red-banks, on the Ohio.
While pursuing their journey of several hundred miles, Mr. Clark, in
accordance with a long cherished wish, had a fine opportunity to learn
much of Indian character and habits from this family. Mrs. Gilham and
three children had been redeemed from a long and distressing captivity
but two years before, and the story of her sufferings, privations, and
wonderful preservation, as told to Mr. Clark, while sitting around
their camp fire at night, deserves a place in our narrative.

Mr. James Gilham was a native of South Carolina, where he married his
wife Ann, and commenced the battle of life as a frontier farmer. He
removed his young family to Kentucky, and pitched his station in the
western frontier settlements of that district. There he purchased a
claim to a tract of land, and cleared a farm, cheered with the hopeful
anticipations of a peaceful and happy life; but, like many others, he
and his wife were doomed to disappointment. They had three sons and
one daughter living, between the ages of four and twelve.

It was in the month of June, 1790, that he was ploughing in his corn
field, some distance from his house, from which he was hidden by a
skirt of timber, while his eldest son Isaac was clearing the hills from
weeds with the hoe. At the same time several “braves” of the Kickapoo
tribe of Indians, from the Illinois country, were lurking in the woods
near the house, where Mrs. Gilliam, the two little boys, Samuel and
Clement, and the daughter, were sheltered, wholly unsuspicious of such
visitors. The Indians, finding the door open, rushed in; some seized
the woman and gagged her, to prevent her giving the alarm; others
seized the children, who could make no resistance. Mrs. Gilham was so
alarmed that she lost her senses, and could not recollect any thing
distinctly, until aroused by the voice of Samuel, “Mamma, we’re all
prisoners.” This excited her feelings, and she looked around to find
out whether the other children were all alive. Indians never walk
abreast, as white people do. One leads off on the trail, and the others
follow in single file, and are sometimes half a mile apart. One stout,
bold warrior, went forward as a guide, and another kept many yards
behind as a spy, watching cautiously to see if they were followed. They
kept in the thick forest, out of the way of all the settlements, lest
they should be discovered.

Mrs. Gilham and the children were in great distress. They were hurried
forward by their savage masters, whose fierce looks and threatening
gestures alarmed them exceedingly. The Indians had ripped open their
beds, turned out the feathers, and converted the ticking into sacks,
which they had filled with such articles of clothing as they could
conveniently carry from the cabin, but were in too much haste to be off
with their captives, to lay in provisions. They were used to periods
of starvation, and could go three or four days without food, but the
mother and her little ones suffered to an extent beyond the conception
of our readers. But human nature can endure much in extreme cases. The
feet of the children soon became sore and torn with briers; and the
poor woman tore her clothes to obtain rags to wrap around their feet.
The savages, as they thought, treated them kindly,--just as they would
have done to their own children,--and Mrs. Gilham and the children had
been familiar with the privations of frontier life, but they always
had enough of plain, coarse food to eat; now they were starving. The
Indians had with them a morsel of jerked venison, which they gave the
children, but for themselves and the suffering mother there was not a
particle of food to eat. One day they encamped in an obscure place,
and sent out two of their best hunters, who crept stealthily through
the thick brush and cane, and returned towards night with one poor
raccoon. Mrs. Gilham afterwards told her friends that the sight of that
half-starved ’coon was more gratification to her at that time than any
amount of wealth could have afforded. She was in great distress lest
her children should perish with hunger, or the Indians kill them. They
dared not hunt near the settlements, lest they should be discovered.

The coon was dressed by singeing off the hair over a blaze of fire,
and after throwing away the contents of the intestines, the animal was
chopped in pieces and boiled in a kettle with the head, bones, skin
and entrails, and made into a kind of soup. When done, and partially
cooled, the children, mother, and Indians sat around the kettle, and
with horn spoons, and sharpened sticks for forks, obtained a poor and
scanty relief from starvation.

They approached the Ohio river with caution, lest white people might
be passing in boats. They camped in the woods near the present site of
Hawesville, and made three rafts of dry logs, with slender poles lashed
across with thongs of elm bark, and placed them near the river, that
they might push them in and cross over before they became soaked in
water and heavy. The wily Indians were too cunning to cross by daylight
lest they should be discovered, and Mrs. Gilham was exceedingly
terrified at the danger of crossing by night. However they all got over
safely.

The warriors considered it a great achievement to capture a white
woman and three children in Kentucky, and elude all pursuit, and reach
their own villages on Salt Creek, in the Illinois country, without
being discovered. And they exercised all their cunning and sagacity to
accomplish this daring feat.

When they reached the wilderness south-west of the Ohio river, they
were in the Indian country, and proceeded slowly. They hunted with such
success in the country between the Ohio and White river that they had
plenty of provisions. They kept to the right of the white settlements
near Vincennes, and along the valley of White river, and crossed the
Wabash below Terre Haute, and proceeded through the present counties of
Clark, Coles and Macon to their towns in Logan county.[39]

There they held a season of feasting and frolicing with their friends
for their successful enterprize. And here we will leave Mrs. Gilham and
her children, distributed as they were among different Indian families,
and suffering all the hardships of Indian captives, until the war was
over in 1795.

We now return to the father and son in Kentucky. They continued their
labor in the cornfield until dinner time, when the horse was ungeared,
and they returned to the house. There every thing was in confusion.
The feathers from the beds were scattered over the yard, the mother
and children were gone! The “signs” were too plain to leave any doubt
on the mind of the husband and father of their fate! They were Indian
captives, unless some were killed. The first natural impression was
that in attempting to flee they were butchered by these monsters of
the woods. Isaac began to cry and call loudly for his mother, until
he was peremptorily told by his father to hold his tongue and make no
noise, as some of the Indians might lie concealed, watching for him and
his son. He knew the character and habits of these cunning sons of the
forest, and stealthily examined in every direction for further signs.
He soon fell on their trail, as they left the clearing and entered the
woods, and saw in one or two places the tracks of his wife and little
ones. He now felt encouraged, for he knew that Indians more generally
kill persons on their first attack, and that when they take possession
of women and children they take them to their towns that they may adopt
them in the place of those they have lost, and train them up in Indian
ways, and thus increase the number and strength of the tribe. White
children who are trained by Indians make the smartest and often the
most ferocious savages.

The country where Mr. Gilham resided was very thinly settled, and it
was not until the next day he could raise a party strong enough to
pursue them with any prospect of success. He and his neighbors followed
the trail for some distance, but Indians when they expect pursuit are
very cunning and skillful in concealing their tracks, and turning their
pursuers in the wrong direction. When a large number are together, they
divide into small parties, and make as many separate trails as they
can. They will step with singular caution, so as to leave no marks,
and they will wander in opposite directions and make their trails
cross each other. When they come to a stream of water they will wade
a long distance in the water, and frequently in a contrary direction
to that of their journey, and unless their pursuers understand all
their tricks, they will not fail in deceiving them. Mr. Gilham and
his friends understood their strategy, but could not find their trail
after they once lost it. It is probable they struck the Ohio river some
distance from the crossing place of the Indians.

No one who has never experienced the same affliction, can fully realize
the distress of poor Mr. Gilham, when, after a long search, he was
obliged to yield to the advice of his neighbors, turn back, and leave
his wife and children in savage hands. But hope did not desert him.
He knew they must be alive, and he hoped the time was not far distant
when he might hear of them. He sold his farm in Kentucky, put Isaac
in the family and charge of a friend, fully determined to reclaim his
lost family, or perish in the effort. He visited post Vincent (now
Vincennes) and Kaskaskia, and enlisted the French traders, who held
personal intercourse with the Indian tribes of the north-west, to make
inquiries and redeem them if they could be found. He visited General
St. Clair at Fort Washington, now Cincinnati, who was governor of the
north-western territory, and who had just returned from the Illinois
country. He learned that the Indians, stimulated by British agents and
traders in the north, were meditating hostilities. Anthony Gamelin,
an intelligent French trader, had been sent out by Major Hamtramck,
with instructions from Gov. St. Clair, on an exploring mission to the
Indians along the Wabash and Maumee, to learn their designs, and he
had just returned with abundant evidence of their hostile intentions.
General Harmar had commenced his unfortunate campaign, and the prospect
was dark and discouraging. It was the intention of Mr. Gilham to
penetrate the Indian country, and go from tribe to tribe until he found
his lost family, but Governor St. Clair and all others acquainted
with the state of things in the north-west dissuaded him from such a
hopeless attempt. After a lapse of five years of doubt, trial, and
disappointment, he learned from some French traders they were alive,
and among the Kickapoos of Illinois. At the treaty of Greenville, the
chiefs of the Indian tribes promised to give up all American captives,
but a French trader had made arrangements for ransoming them; the goods
having been furnished by an Irish trader at Cahokia, by the name of
Atcheson. With two Frenchmen for interpreter and guides, Mr. Gilham
visited the Indian towns on Salt Creek, and found his wife and children
all alive, but the youngest, Clement, could not speak a word of
English, and it was some time before he knew and would own his father,
or could be persuaded to leave the Indian country, and he was left for
a time among the savages.

Mr. Gilham had become enamored of the Illinois country, and after he
had gathered his family together in Kentucky, resolved to remove them
to the delightful prairies he had visited. As an honorable testimonial
of the hardships and sufferings of her captivity, Mrs. Ann Gilham, in
1815, received from the national government, one hundred and sixty
acres of choice land in the county of Madison, where they lived. Mr.
Gilham died about 1812, like a Christian. His widow and most of the
children professed religion, and some joined the Methodists and others
the Baptists. A large number of the Gilham connection followed this
pioneer to Illinois, where their descendants are yet living.

Mr. Clark and the Gilham family met with no difficulty on their voyage.
They floated down the Ohio with the current, aided by the oars and
setting poles, but to stem the strong current of the Mississippi, they
used the cordelle and setting-poles, and occasionally crept along the
shore by “bush-whacking.”[40]

Mr. Clark made a capital hand on the boat, and cheerfully engaged in
the labor and toil of the voyage. His experience in sea-faring business
made him an acquisition to the company, and laid the foundation for
friendship in this family and with all of the name until death parted
them. Many of the Gilham connection became Methodists in Illinois, but
Father Clark was the most welcome guest who entered their houses.

When night came on, they tied their boat to a tree at the shore, made a
fire, and camped in the woods, where they provided their two meals for
the day. They moved up the strong and turbid current of the Mississippi
at the rate of twelve miles each day. Indians occasionally hailed them
from the shore, but they were friendly, and only desired to barter
venison for whiskey, tobacco, corn-meal, knives and trinkets.

When the company reached Kaskaskia, Mr. Gilham disposed of his boat to
some French _voyageurs_, and made his first location in the American
bottom, about twenty-five or thirty miles above the town. Both him and
his family were hospitably received by the settlers, for they knew
their trials and the history of their captivity. Mr. Clark soon found
religious friends, and was ready to preach the gospel on these remote
frontiers.

The Indians of the north-west had been so severely chastised by “Mad
Anthony,” (as the soldiers call General Wayne,) that they were glad to
make peace; and now, after many years of distress, and the massacre of
many families in the Illinois country, the people had opportunity to
cultivate their little farms, and provide the necessaries to enable
them to live comfortably. The people then travelled from the older
settlements to this frontier country, and even caravans of moving
families went down the Ohio in flat boats, with their horses, cattle,
provisions, and clothing, to a place called _Massac_ by the French,
from whence they followed a trail through the wilderness, with their
wagons or pack horses, to Kaskaskia, and to the settlement of New
Design, and the American bottom, thirty miles further. Massac was
a contracted form of speech for _Massacre_, in the French mode of
abbreviating proper names. It is on the Ohio river, near where the
town of Metropolis is now situated, which is the seat of justice for
Massac County. Its name is a memento of a fearful calamity in the
early part of the last century. The French established a trading post
and a missionary station on the right bank of the Ohio, then called
_Ouabache_. The southern Indians, then hostile to these Europeans,
laid a stratagem to obtain possession of the fort. A number of them
appeared in the day-time on the sand-bar of the opposite side of the
river, each covered with the skin of a bear, and walking on all fours.
They had disguised themselves so completely, and played pantomime so
successfully with each other, that the French people did not doubt they
were really wild bears from the forest who came there to drink. A party
crossed the river in pursuit of them, while the rest left the fort and
stood on the bank to see the sport. They did not discover the deception
until they found themselves cut off from returning within the fort.
They were soon massacred by the tomahawk and scalping knife of the
savages. The French built another fort on the same spot, afterwards,
and called it Massacre, or, as they taught the American pioneers to
call it, MASSAC.

Early in the same season that Mr. Clark came with the Gilham family, a
colony of one hundred and twenty-six emigrants from the south branch
of the Potomac in Virginia, set out for Illinois. At Redstone, on the
Monongahela, (now Brownsville,) they fitted out several flat boats, on
which, with their horses and wagons, they floated down the current to
Pittsburgh, and thence down the Ohio to Massac, where they landed and
went across the country to the settlement of New Design. That season,
and especially after they left the Ohio, was unusually rainy and hot.
The streams overflowed their banks, and covered the alluvial, or bottom
lands on their borders; and the low ground in the woods and prairies
were covered with water. They were twenty-one days traveling through
this wilderness, the distance of about one hundred miles, and much of
it through dreary forests. The old settlers had been so long harassed
with Indian warfare, that farming business had been neglected, their
cattle were few in number, and bread corn was scarce. Their cabins
usually contained each a single room for all domestic purposes; and
though hospitality to strangers is a universal trait in frontier
character, it was entirely beyond the ability of the inhabitants
to provide accommodations for these ‘new comers,’ who arrived in a
deplorably famishing and sickly condition. They did all they could; a
single cabin frequently contained four or five families. Their rifles
could provide venison from the woods, but the weather that followed
the severe rains in midsummer was so unusually hot and sultry, that
their fresh meat spoiled before they could pack it from the hunting
grounds; and they were destitute of salt to preserve and season it.
Medical aid could be procured only from a great distance, and that very
seldom. Under such circumstances, no one need be surprised that of the
colony, who left Virginia in the Spring, only one-half of their number
were alive in autumn. A ridge in the western part of the settlement,
adjacent to the bluffs, was covered with the newly formed graves. They
were swept off by a putrid fever, unusually malignant, and which, in
some instances, did its work in a few hours. The old settlers were as
healthy as usual. No disease like this ever appeared in the country
before or since. Mr. Clark had good health, and found work enough among
these suffering families in nursing, instructing, and praying with
the sick, and consoling the dying. The settlement of New Design had
been commenced by American families about a dozen years previous. Its
situation was on the elevated plateau, about thirty miles north of the
town of Kaskaskia, and from ten to twelve miles from the Mississippi,
and from three to six miles east of the American bottom and contiguous
bluffs. Along the wide alluvial tract, or bottom, there were American
families settled at intervals from Prairie du Rocher to the vicinity
of Cahokia. The character of the American families was various. Some
were religious people, both Baptists and Methodists; some were moral,
and respected the Sabbath; others were infidels, or at least skeptical
of all revealed truth. They paid no regard to religious meetings, and
permitted their children to grow up without any moral restraint. They
were fond of frolics, dances, horse-racing, card playing, and other
vices, in which they were joined by many of the French population from
the villages. They drank _tafia_,[41] and when fruit became plenty,
peach brandy was made, and rye whiskey obtained from the Monongahela
country.

There has been a very marked difference between these two classes of
pioneers, down to the third and fourth generation. But a very few of
the descendants of the immoral and irreligious class are to be found
amongst the present generation of the religious, moral, industrious
and enterprising class. They followed the footsteps of their fathers,
and have wasted away. Even the names of a number of these pioneer
families have been blotted out, while the children’s children, of the
virtuous class, are numerous and respected.

There were several families in the very commencement of these
settlements, before a preacher of the Gospel brought the glad tidings
here, or a single person had made a profession of religion, that held
meetings on the Sabbath, read portions of the Scriptures, or a sermon,
and sang hymns, and thus set a good example to the others. They and
their descendants have been favored of the Lord.

The first preacher who visited the Illinois country, was James Smith,
from Lincoln County, Ky. He was a “Separate Baptist,” and came on
business, in 1787, but preached to the people repeatedly, and many of
those who had kept up the meetings just noticed, professed conversion
under his preaching. Of these the Hon. Shadrach Bond, Captain Joseph
Ogle, James Lemen, Sen., his son-in-law, were conspicuous persons.
He made another visit to the country in 1790, after the Indians had
become troublesome, and preached with similar effect. While riding
to the meeting place, on a week day, in company with another man, and
a Mrs. Huff, they were fired at by a party of Kickapoos in ambuscade,
near the present site of Waterloo, in Monroe county. Mrs. Huff was
killed and scalped. The other man was wounded, but escaped with his
horse, and Mr. Smith taken prisoner. The Indians took him through the
prairies to their town on the Wabash, but he was afterwards ransomed
through the agency of a French trader. After the visits and preaching
of Mr. Smith, there were persons who could pray in these social
meetings, and when it was safe to live out of forts, they met at each
others houses, and Judge Bond, James Piggott, James Lemen, and some
others, conducted the worship.

It was in January, 1794, while Judge Bond was officiating in this
informal manner on the Sabbath, that a stranger came into the log
cabin, where the people had assembled. He was a large, portly man, with
dark hair, a florid complexion, and regular features. His dress was in
advance of the deer-skin hunting shirts and Indian moccasins of the
settlers; his countenance was grave and dignified, and his aspect so
serious, that the reader was impressed with the thought that he was a
professor of religion; perhaps a preacher, and an invitation was given
him “to close the exercises, if he was a praying man.” The stranger
kneeled, and made an impressive, fluent, and solemn prayer.

There was a man in the congregation, of small talents, and rather
narrow views, who, from his national origin, bore the _soubriquet_ of
Dutch Pete among the people; or Peter Smith, as his name appears in
the land documents. Pete was a zealous Methodist, and when his own
preachers prayed, he felt moved by the Spirit to utter _Amen_, at the
close of every sentence. While the people were on their knees, or with
their heads bowed low on their seats, Pete manifested much uneasiness
at the prayer of the stranger. He fidgetted one way and then another,
uttered a low, but audible groan, and to those near him seemed to be in
trouble. The very impressive and earnest prayer of the speaker excited
his feelings beyond suppression. He might not be a Methodist; but Pete
could hold in no longer, and bawled out, at the top of his voice,
“_Amen, at a wenture!_”

The stranger proved to be Rev. Josiah Dodge, from Nelson county,
Kentucky. He had been to St. Genevieve on a visit to his brother,
Doctor Israel Dodge, and hearing of these religious people being
entirely destitute of ministerial instruction, he had arrived
opportunely to preach to them.

Mr. Dodge spent some time in the settlement, preaching daily, and
visiting from house to house, and in February, the ice was cut in
Fountain Creek; all the people for many miles around were present,
and there he baptized James Lemen, Sen., and Catharine his wife; John
Gibbons and Isaac Enochs, who were the first persons ever baptized in
this territory.[42]

During the next two years, the people remained without preachers; but
both Baptists and Methodists, without organized societies, united in
holding prayer-meetings, in which, as formerly, the Scriptures and
sermon books were read, prayers offered and hymns sung in praise to God.

The year previous to the visit of Mr. Dodge, Rev. Joseph Lillard
made an excursion to the Illinois country. He was a Methodist, and
in 1790-’91, was in the traveling connection in Kentucky, but he
withdrew from that connection from objections to the government and
discipline, and like Mr. Clark occupied an independent position. He
preached to the people and organized a class, the first ever formed in
this country, and appointed Captain Joseph Ogle the leader. Mr. Lillard
was esteemed by all who knew him, as a pious and exemplary man; but
while in Illinois he became temporarily deranged, made his escape from
his friends and outran them, and followed the trail towards Kaskaskia.
On the route he came across the body of a man by the name of Sipp,
whom the Indians had killed and scalped. While gazing at this horrid
sight, he became calm, his reason and consciousness were restored,
and he returned to his friends at New Design, and made report of the
discovery. The people made up a party who visited the place and buried
the unfortunate man.

From time to time, Baptists came into these settlements, so that by
May, 1796, there were ten or a dozen men and women in the country who
had been members of churches in Virginia or Kentucky, from whence they
came. Among these was Joseph Chance, who was an exhorter, and also a
_lay-elder_, from Shelby county, Kentucky. This office, now unknown in
Baptist churches, was regarded in Virginia and afterwards for a time
in Kentucky, as an appendage to the pastoral office. Lay-elders had no
authority in government and discipline, as in a Presbyterian church,
but aided the pastor in conducting religious meetings by exhortation
and prayer, visiting the sick, instructing the ignorant, and confirming
the wavering. Mr. Chance afterwards became an ordained minister. He
did not possess great talents as a preacher, but was faithful in the
exercise of the gifts bestowed on him, loved religious meetings,
devoted much time to preaching and visiting destitute settlements, and
died while on a preaching tour in 1840, aged seventy-five years.

The Baptists in Illinois did not appear to know they could have formed
themselves into a church, and chose such gifts as they had amongst
them as leaders; and kept up the worship of God without the authority
of an ordained minister. In the spring of 1796, Rev. David Badgley, of
Hardy county, Va., made a visit to the Illinois country. He arrived
in the settlement of New Design on the 4th of May, and preached night
and day until the 30th, during which time he baptized fifteen persons
on a profession of faith in Christ, and with the aid of Mr. Chance
organized the first Baptist church ever formed in this country, of
twenty-eight members. He returned to Virginia the same season, and the
next spring (1797,) came back with his family and several others to
settle this new country.

At that period the white population of the Illinois country, numbered
about 2,700, of which about two-thirds were of French descent, spoke
that language, and followed the customs of the Canadians, from whence
most of their forefathers originated. They were a contented race of
people, patient under hardships, without ambition, and ignorant of
the prolific resources of the country. They never troubled themselves
with political matters, engaged in no schemes of aggrandizement, and
showed no inclination for political domination. They were a frank,
open-hearted, joyous people, and careless about the acquisition
of property. Their houses were small, built of logs set upright,
like palisades, with the spaces filled in, plastered, and neatly
white-washed inside and out. They cultivated fruits and flowers, and
in this respect showed taste and refinement beyond the Americans. In
religion they were nominally Roman Catholics; in the morning of the
Sabbath they attended mass, and in the afternoon visited, played the
violin, danced, or engaged in other recreations and ruder sports out of
doors.

Another pioneer who was an exhorter in the Methodist connection, and
came to the country in 1796, was the late Rev. Hosea Riggs, who at
first settled in the American bottom. Mr. Riggs was born in Western
Pennsylvania in 1760, became a soldier in the revolutionary war; and
when twenty-two years of age, he enlisted in the army of Jesus Christ
and joined the Methodist Episcopal church, became an exhorter, and
proved himself a diligent and faithful soldier of the cross. When
he arrived in the Illinois country with his family he found Capt.
Joseph Ogle and family, Peter Casterline and family, and William
Murray from Ireland, the remains of the class formed by Mr. Lillard.
These he re-organized into a class at Captain Ogle’s house, and at a
subsequent period formed another class of immigrant Methodists, in
Goshen settlement. This was in Madison county, between Edwardsville and
the American bottom. Mr. Riggs, though then only a licensed exhorter,
attended these Methodist classes, and made appointments for meetings
for six years. He attended the “Western Conference” in Kentucky, 1803,
raised a Macedonian cry, and the Conference sent Rev. Benjamin Young
as a missionary, who was the first preacher of the Methodist Episcopal
church who traveled the circuit in Illinois. Mr. Riggs was tenacious
for the Methodist government and discipline, and hence did not so
readily coöperate with Father Clark. He was a good man, a faithful
preacher, lived a Christian life, and died a Christian death, in St.
Clair county, in 1841, at the age of eighty-one years.

We have now brought up the religious history of Illinois to the period
of the arrival of Mr. Clark. But to give our young readers a fuller
picture of frontier life, and of the people with whom he lived and
labored, and their deprivations, we must again look back on their
condition for a few years past.

From 1786, to 1795, the American settlements in the Illinois country,
as was the case throughout the north-western territory, were harrassed
by hostile Indians. A part of the time the families were compelled to
live in forts, or as they were called, “stations.”

A square was marked out, in proportion to the number of families. On
two sides log cabins were erected in rows, with the roof sloping
to the inner side of the enclosure. Block houses were put up at the
corners, and so constructed that in the upper part which jutted over
the lower story, the guard could watch the approach of the enemy and
attack them successfully. The spaces not occupied by cabins were filled
up with palisades. Strong doors made of thick slabs, or split timbers
protected the places of ingress and egress. These stations were a
sufficient protection against the small marauding parties, that came
stealthily into the settlements. When no signs of hostile Indians were
seen for some months, the people, tired of living in these stations,
would remove to their cabins and attempt to raise a crop, when the
first alarm would be by some family being massacred, or individual
killed, in attempting to pass from one settlement to another. We could
give many thrilling instances of savage barbarity, but our space is
limited. They shall all be told, if we are successful in getting out
our projected series of PIONEER BOOKS.

While the women and children were compelled to stay in forts, the
men cultivated a field in common within sight of the station, and
one party with their trusty rifles scouted around as a guard, while
another party plowed and planted corn. No schools nor regular religious
meetings could be held during these Indian invasions.

When they ventured out of the forts, and resided on their farms, in
the absence of the men, pious mothers barricaded the door lest Indians
might come on them suddenly, and gathered the little children around
the huge fire place, for the light that shone down the large chimneys,
and taught them the rudiments of learning. No log cabin had any glass
windows, and if apertures were cut in the logs, it was not safe to
leave them open when Indians were about.

The Americans in these early settlements in Illinois did not trespass
on Indian rights, by taking their country. The Kaskaskia Indians
and their allies sold this part of the Illinois country, and gave
possession to the French nearly a century before the period of these
depredations, and the Kickapoos, Shawanoes and other Indians, whose
country was from one hundred and fifty to five hundred miles distant,
committed all the murders and robberies. The Kaskaskias remained
peaceable during the war, lived within the range of these settlements,
in the American bottom, a few miles above the town of Kaskaskia,
cultivated corn, beans, and other vegetables, and hunted in the
vicinity of the white settlements.

Savage Indians have astonishing propensities for war and plunder.
Before the European race came to this continent, the different nations
and tribes were fighting and plundering each other, and they still keep
up the practice, unless prevented by the strong arm of our national
government. Nothing short of the influence of the gospel on their
hearts can cure these diabolical passions.

The Indians who were hostile to the Americans did not attack the French
inhabitants, for they had been accustomed to trade with them, and had
been on friendly terms for half a century.



CHAPTER XI.

  Religious families noticed.--Capt. Joseph Ogle.--James Lemen,
    Sen.--The three associates.--Upper Louisiana.--Attack on
    St. Louis.--The Governor a Traitor.--The assailants retire.
    --American immigration encouraged.--Baptists and Methodists go
    there.


With the religious families we have named, both Baptists and
Methodists, Mr. Clark found himself at home. All were hospitable,
kind and generous; no one begrudged him the comforts of life, in their
frontier mode of living. As he studiously avoided making any trouble,
and never appeared in the character of a preaching lounger, each family
made him welcome to their homely fare. As he was more frequently the
inmate of the families of Capt. Joseph Ogle, the Methodist class
leader, and James Lemen, a leading Baptist in the community, it will be
entertaining to our readers to have a sketch of these two pioneers.

CAPTAIN JOSEPH OGLE migrated with the Messrs. Zanes and other families,
from the south branch of the Potomac to the vicinity of Wheeling in
1769, where he distinguished himself in the siege of Fort Henry, in
1777. In the summer of 1785, he moved down the Ohio river to the
Illinois country, and at first settled in the American bottom, in the
present county of Monroe. Being well qualified, he was chosen for a
leader of the little band of pioneers, who had to defend themselves
from Indian assaults. Indeed he was just such a man as the people in
all exposed and frontier settlements look to as their counsellor, guide
and commander. He possessed uncommon firmness and self-possession,
had great energy, and yet was mild, peaceable, and kind-hearted in
social intercourse; always striving for the maintenance of peace, good
order and justice in the social relations. From the spring of 1784
to 1790, there was in fact no organized government in the Illinois
country. Some of the forms of law were kept up, but in a truthful sense
the people were “a law unto themselves,” and Captain Ogle, whom every
body respected, was exactly the kind of man to preserve order. Other
pioneers, who had talents and influence, occupied the same position.
And this too was the period of Indian alarms, and the people had to do
their own fighting. What the poet says of the fictitious Rolla, applied
with much pertinence to Captain Ogle--

    “In war, a tiger chafed by the hunter’s spear;
    In peace, more gentle than the unwean’d lamb.”

He was scrupulously honest, punctual and strict in the fulfillment
of all his engagements, and expected from all his neighbors the same
degree of honesty and punctuality. The following anecdote will furnish
an illustration of his true character.

A neighbor, by the name of Sullivan, who was not quite as punctual in
performing promises as he ought to have been, borrowed some house-logs
of Mr. Ogle to finish his cabin, promising to cut and return as many
on a certain day. Capt. Ogle had arranged to raise his own cabin the
day after the logs became due, but they were not returned. He went with
several men to Sullivan’s cabin, told the family to remove any articles
that might be in the house on the side he was about to pull down, and
with handspikes proceeded with great coolness and deliberation to raise
the corners and take the logs from the cabin.

The owner alarmed, came out and exclaimed, “Why, Mr. Ogle, what do you
mean? Do you intend to pull down my house over my head?” “By no means,
neighbor Sullivan, I am only getting out my own logs.” “Now, Captain
Ogle, do stop, and I will go right off to the woods and get you the
logs.” “Very well, Mr. Sullivan, if you will have the logs at my place
to-morrow morning at sunrise, which you promised to have done to-day,
I will forbear, else I shall take these logs for my cabin to-morrow.”
This was said with the most impassive coolness and deliberation, and
Mr. Sullivan was obliged to perform a most unpleasant night’s labor for
slackness in his promises.

With uncommon firmness and energy, he united kindness and gentleness,
and ruled the people by a happy blending of fear and love. He was
always a moral man, but became a devout Christian professor from the
first visit of James Smith to the time of his death, in February, 1821,
at fourscore years of age. For twenty years he had resided in St.
Clair county, about eight miles north of Belleville, and to this day
he is spoken of by the old pioneers in the vicinity with the endearing
epithet of “Grandfather Ogle.” This man’s house was one of the homes of
Father Clark for several years.

JAMES LEMEN, Sen., who married the eldest daughter of Capt. Ogle, was
another home for the pioneer preacher. There is a pleasant tradition
among their descendants, relative to their earliest acquaintance. Both
were young, moral persons, religiously educated, and at first sight
both were impressed with the idea they were destined for each other.
They were soon married, and their mutual attachment was strong, steady,
and lasted through life. Not a discordant feeling, or an unpleasant
word ever passed between them. His grandfather was an emigrant from
the north of Ireland to Virginia, and he was born in Berkeley county
in the autumn of 1760. His father belonged to the church of England (a
branch of which existed in Virginia, before the revolutionary war,)
but died when he was only a year old. His mother married again, and
he was brought up by a strict Presbyterian. James Lemen was rigidly
honest, humane, kind-hearted, and benevolent, independent in judgment,
very firm and conscientious in whatever he believed to be right, and
showed strong traits of decision. Though he served two years in the
revolutionary army, under General Washington, he was opposed to war
as an aggressive measure, never combative or cruel; yet he would
fight like a hero, when impelled by a sense of duty in defending the
settlement from Indian aggressions.

He followed his father-in-law to the Illinois country in the spring of
1786, by descending the Ohio river in a flat boat. The second night
after he left Wheeling, the river fell while they were tied to the
shore, and his boat lodged on a stump, careened and sunk, by which
accident he lost all his provisions and chattels. His eldest son
Robert, then a boy of three years, floated on the bed where he lay,
which his father caught by the corner of the ticking, and saved his
life. That boy is now a hale old man, with silvered locks, and past the
age of threescore and ten, honored and beloved by all who know him.

Though left destitute of provisions and other necessaries, James Lemen
was not the man to be discouraged. He had energy and perseverance, and
got to the mouth of the Ohio, and from thence up the Mississippi to
Kaskaskia, where he arrived on the tenth of July. His family was one of
the first to form the settlement of New Design, on the old hill trace
between Kaskaskia and St. Louis, and his house became the half-way
stopping place for many years. No travelers were turned away.

He had been the subject of religious impressions from childhood, but
was not clear in his mind to make a profession of faith in Christ,
until Rev. Mr. Dodge came to the country and preached, as already
stated, when he and his wife, with two other persons, were baptized.

He was generous and hospitable, and often divided his corn with the
destitute. He observed the Sabbath strictly, kept good order in his
family, yet was never harsh or severe with his children.

In the same settlement, and frequently for weeks in succession, at the
cabin of Mr. Lemen, there was an Irish Methodist by the name of William
Murray. His name indicates Scots descent, and he and Mr. Clark were
quite intimate. Indeed, these three men claimed national affinity, for,
as we have shown, Mr. Lemen’s ancestors were from the north of Ireland,
where colonies from Scotland had taken possession in the seventeenth
century. There was just enough diversity in their opinions, to invite
controversy, and enough Christian virtue as a controlling principle to
keep them within the bounds of moderation and fraternal intercourse.
They attended each others meetings, and Mr. Clark preached, and exerted
an influence on the young men in the settlement that has never been
lost.

We will now pass over a few months, till some time in the spring or
summer of 1798, when Mr. Clark carried out his long cherished project
of visiting the Spanish country west of the Mississippi river, and
which made him in a peculiar sense _the pioneer preacher_.

LOUISIANA was discovered, settled, and held in possession by France
until 1762, when, by a secret treaty, it was sold to Spain by that
infamous king, Louis XV, and his more infamous mistress, Madame
Pompadour, and his corrupt ministry. The first permanent settlement
in Upper Louisiana was commenced with the founding of St. Louis as a
trading post in 1764. In 1763, an enterprising trader by the name of
_Pierre Ligueste Laclede_, obtained a grant from the Director General
of Louisiana, with the “necessary powers to trade with the Indians of
the Missouri, and those west of the Mississippi, above the Missouri
river, as far north as the St. Peters,” now Minnesota. A small hamlet
had been previously established by a few French families, and called
St. Genevieve, west of the Great River, and a few miles below the
town of Kaskaskia, and some temporary stations made in the lead mine
country, west of St. Genevieve.

The Spanish authority became regularly established in Upper Louisiana,
in November, 1770. Piernas, the Spanish commandant, arrived in St.
Louis at that date, but there is no official document or record to show
that he exercised the functions of his office previous to February,
1771. Other towns or villages were settled in the vicinity from 1769,
the date of St. Charles, to the period of 1780.

On the transfer of the Illinois country from France to Great Britain
in 1765, many of the French inhabitants removed from that side of the
river to St. Louis and St. Charles, and many more went down the river
to the lower province.

After Colonel George Rogers Clark had taken possession of the Illinois
country, under Virginia, in 1778, he became personally acquainted and
held frequent interviews with French citizens of St. Louis, and the
official authorities.

While at Cahokia, in 1779, only five miles distant, holding treaties
with the Indians from confidential agents whom he sent into the Indian
country northward, he learned that British agents from Canada, with a
large force of northern Indians, were projecting an invasion of St.
Louis. Being on terms of friendly intercourse with Governor Leyba,
the Spanish commandant, he gave him intimation of these treacherous
designs, as he did to several French gentlemen, and tendered his
services with the forces he commanded, in case of an attack. St.
Louis then was enclosed with short palisades, and gates opened in the
pathways that led to the common field, and to the country without.
The sequel gave proof that the governor was a traitor, purchased,
doubtless, with British gold.

In the month of May, 1780, a large band of warriors from different
tribes of Indians from the Upper Mississippi and the northern lakes,
with a number of Canadians, amounting in all to twelve or fourteen
hundred armed men, appeared in the forest east of the Mississippi,
above St. Louis. The 25th of May was the festival of _Corpus Christi_,
a day highly venerated by the inhabitants who were Catholics. Had the
assault been made on that day it would have been fatal to the town; for
after the service in the church, nearly all the inhabitants, men, women
and children, flocked to the prairie to gather strawberries, which were
abundant, and delicious at that season. A few Indians had crossed the
river as spies, and secreted themselves in the thickets near where the
people passed.

Next day the main body crossed the river, and attacked the town. A few
persons who had gone to the field, were attacked from an ambuscade;
some were killed; others fled to the town and gave the alarm. The
soldiers under the command of the Governor, and his subalterns, either
from fear or treachery, hid themselves, and the citizens alone had to
defend the place. They found some government cannon, and fired grape
shot as the invaders approached the gates. A few days previous the
treacherous governor sold all the public ammunition to some traders,
but the people supplied themselves with eight kegs of powder they found
in a trader’s house.

The governor kept within his house, but hearing the firing, and
learning the citizens were making a manful resistance, he came out,
ordered the firing to cease, and the cannon to be spiked and filled
with sand by some of his minions. Fortunately the men at the lower
gate did not hear the peremptory order, and continued the firing.
The governor, perceiving this, ordered a cannon to be fired at them.
They threw themselves on the ground, and the murderous volley of
grape shot passed over their heads. This horrible procedure, with his
general conduct, fixed the indelible brand of traitor on his name, and
such the French citizens reported him to have been, to the immediate
representative of the crown of Spain in New Orleans.

The inhabitants of St. Louis were in a critical situation. With
evidence of treachery among the officers, who were Spanish; the place
invaded by a force nearly double to the whole population, men, women
and children; and these invaders infuriated with the spirit of war
and plunder, what could they expect but a general massacre! But after
killing and scalping twenty persons in the field and prairie, and
meeting with such determined resistance at the gates, the Indians
retired suddenly, and refused to coöperate with their Canadian allies,
who kept themselves at a safe distance.

The cause of this sudden and unexpected retreat has been a mystery. The
most probable solution is the tradition among the French inhabitants,
that the Indians were told they were going on a war party to fight the
Spaniards; but when they discovered the defenders of the town were all
Frenchmen, and recognized amongst them some of their personal friends,
who had lived and traded in their villages; and that they had been
deceived by British agents, they withdrew in ill-humor with their
employers.

Divers misstatements of this assault have been handed down by writers
and oral tradition. A popular error has been propagated, that Colonel
Clark was at Cahokia, (some say Kaskaskia) and suddenly appeared on the
bank of the Mississippi, opposite the town with a strong force. Colonel
Clark left the Illinois country with all the men whom he could persuade
to re-enlist, the preceding February, went down the Mississippi, and at
the date of the attack was establishing fort Jefferson, below the mouth
of the Ohio. From thence he traveled on foot with a single companion
through the wilderness to Harrodsburg in Kentucky.

The traditional fact of his giving information to Governor Leyba, in
1779, of the projected invasion, and the offer of aid, has caused this
error. The register of the old Catholic church in St. Louis of the
funeral obsequies of the persons massacred, furnishes incontestible
evidence that the attack was on May 26th, 1780.

Aware that a report of his treasonable conduct had been forwarded to
the Governor General at New Orleans, fearful of the consequences, and
unable to sustain the scorn and indignation heaped upon him, Governor
Leyba died shortly after the attack; having poisoned himself, as the
creditable report was. Cartabona, his deputy, performed the functions
of the office until the next year, when Don Francisco Cruzat, the
predecessor of Leyba, and who had been supplanted by him in 1778,
returned and assumed the command a second time.

In a few years after an important change was made in the government
of Upper Louisiana, by the appointment of a commandant-general, or
governor for that province, and a commandant, or lieutenant-governor
for each district. The commandant-general was Don Carlos Dehault
Delassus, and the lieut. governor of St. Louis district was an
intelligent French gentleman of liberal principles, M. Zenon Trudeau.

We have given these facts of St. Louis history to explain why so many
Americans had settled in the province before Father Clark made his
first visit.

The attack on St. Louis from Canada, the detection of the meditated
invasion by Colonel Clark, and the friendly intercourse between the
French citizens of St. Louis and those of Illinois, induced the
authorities of Louisiana to encourage the immigration of Americans from
the United States to the Upper province. To this intent a movement was
made by Don Guardoqui, Spanish minister to the government of the United
States at Philadelphia, as early as 1787, when he proposed a plan of
emigration from the western settlements to the country from Arkansas
to the settlements on the Missouri.[43] Instructions were given to
the commandants regulating the grants of land, and the conditions of
admitting this class of immigrants. Instructions were issued by Gayoso,
commandant-general, the first of January, 1798, from which we give an
extract.[44] No settler was to be admitted in the province who was not
a farmer or mechanic.

Of course practically, this included all who came. The sixth article
provided for a limited degree of toleration to Protestants.

  “Liberty of conscience is not to be extended beyond the first
  generation; the children of the emigrants must be Catholics.”
  [This of course required their baptism in the Catholic form, but
  it was not enforced.] “Emigrants not agreeing to this, must not
  be admitted, but removed, even when they bring property with
  them. This is to be explained to settlers, who do not profess the
  Catholic religion.”

We shall see in the sequel, how the liberal minded commandants
interpreted this ordinance.

The seventh regulation, “Expressly recommended to the commandants to
watch that _no preacher of any religion_ but the Catholic, comes into
the province.”

After the attack on St. Louis of 1780, measures were adopted to
fortify the town more effectually, and in 1794 the garrison on the
hill (now Third street, or Broadway) and the Government house were
completed. In 1797, apprehensions were entertained of another invasion
from Canada, and four stone towers, at equal distances, in a circular
direction around the town, and a wooden block-house near the lower
end, were erected. But their chief dependence for protection was the
American emigrants who had been invited into the province by the
liberal policy of grants of land, and the indulgence shown by the
commandants. They were permitted to locate themselves in the country,
and make farms, whereas the French families were required to live in
villages, and cultivate their farms near by under an enclosure in
common. At the transfer of the country in 1804, more than three-fifths
of the inhabitants of Upper Louisiana were English Americans from the
United States.[45]

The Roman Catholic faith was the established religion of the province.
American immigrants were examined by the commandants as to their faith,
but by the use of a pious fiction on the part of the examiners, and the
provision in the ordinances already quoted, large toleration actually
existed.

The mode of examination gave great latitude for Protestants to come
in. A few general and rather equivocal questions were asked, which
persons of almost any Christian sect could consistently answer; such
as, “Do you believe in Almighty God?--In the Holy Trinity?--In the
true, apostolical church?--In Jesus Christ our Saviour?--In the holy
evangelists? etc. An affirmative answer being given to these and other
questions of a general character, “_Un bon Catholique_,” (a good
Catholic) closed the ceremony.

Many Baptists, Methodists, and other Protestant families, settled in
the province, and remained undisturbed in their religious principles.
Much the largest proportion of American Protestants came into the
country after 1794. They held no religious meetings publicly, and had
no minister of the gospel among them. There were about fifty persons
who had been members of Protestant churches in the United States,
in the districts of St. Louis and St. Charles, at the period of Mr.
Clark’s first visit, besides as many more in the districts of St.
Genevieve, and Cape Girardeau.

The Catholic priests of Upper Louisiana received from the Spanish
treasury a stipend rating from $350 to $400 a year, besides the
perquisites for mass, confessions, marriages, and funerals. No tithes
were levied in Louisiana, and hence Protestants and free-thinkers felt
no burdens in pecuniary demands from the priesthood. There were three
curates, one vicar, and a few missionary priests who resided in the
upper province. The rite of marriage must be performed by a Catholic
priest; and it is probable the administration of baptism, or the Lord’s
supper, by a Protestant, would have sent him to prison, but no minister
made the attempt.

The American settlers in general were peaceable, industrious, moral
and well disposed persons, who, from various motives, had crossed the
“Great River;” some from love of adventure--some from that spirit of
restlessness that animates a numerous class of Americans--but a larger
number went with the expectation of obtaining grants of land, for the
trifling expense of surveying and recording the plat. We have been
personally acquainted with many of these emigrants, conversed with
them freely, knew their character well, and have heard so many of
them declare their expectation that in due time the country would be
annexed to the United States, that we have no doubt such an impression
did exist largely. Yet they projected no _filibustering_ enterprise;
no schemes of a revolution; nor were there amongst them any sanguine
spirits at work to excite such feelings.

From the time of the definitive treaty of 1783, the government of the
United States had been negociating with Spain for the free navigation
of the Mississippi river to the ocean, secured, as was understood,
by that treaty. The inhabitants west of the Alleghany mountains were
deeply interested in such a measure. It was a topic of conversation in
all circles, and discussed freely in the newspapers. It is not strange
that the public mind in this valley should entertain the conviction
that by some form of negociation the country would be annexed to the
American Union. They did not realize that a removal to the west of the
great river would expatriate them and their posterity, nor did they
lose their attachment to the Republic by a residence in the dominions
of the crown of Spain.

Such was the character, and such were the circumstances of the people
to whom Mr. Clark was the _pioneer preacher_. Certainly, no minister
of the gospel, in the scriptural sense of that term, ever passed the
boundary before him. He visited the American families from house to
house, in a quiet and peaceable manner, conversed and prayed with
them, and was received with great cordiality. There were men and
women, disciples of Christ, who had not heard the precious gospel for
a long period. A few gathered, on the Sabbath, in some log cabin, with
fearful forebodings. They might be arrested, and, with the preacher,
sent to the _calabozo_,[46] or to the Mexican mines for their heretical
practices. A larger number came out stealthily by night. Mr. Clark
found the American families dispersed over the country, for some miles
distant, and living in log cabins of the most primitive sort. Of the
Baptists who were pioneers to this country before Mr. Clark, we can
call to recollection the names of Abraham and Sarah Musick; Abraham
Musick, Jun., as he was called, to distinguish him from his uncle, and
Terrell, his wife; Adam and Lewis Martin, who were brothers, and their
wives; Mr. Richardson and wife; Mrs. Jane Sullens; Sarah Williams, (who
lived to see her son and four grandsons ministers of the Gospel); Mrs.
Whitley, all in St. Louis district; and David Darst and wife, William
Hancock and wife, Mr. Brown and family, and several others, who settled
in the district of St. Charles, north of the Missouri river. There were
three settlements in the district (now county) of St. Louis, where,
after two or three casual visits, Mr. Clark made regular appointments,
and crossed the river monthly. These were the settlement near the
Spanish pond, north of St. Louis; the settlement between Owen’s station
(now Bridgton) and Florrissant; and the settlement called Feefe’s
creek.[47] He was threatened repeatedly with the _calabozo_, for
violating the laws of the country. M. Trudeau, the lieutenant-governor
of St. Louis district, was a liberalist in principle, who, with his
parents, had been driven out of France by the storm of the revolution,
and their estate confiscated. He obtained the appointment of deputy
commandant, through the influence of the principal French citizens, as
the means of sustaining his aged parents, who had suffered for their
loyalty. He abhorred all kinds of persecution, but, in his official
station, in accordance with the ordinances, he was compelled “to
watch that no preacher of any religion but the Catholic came into the
province.”

Abraham Musick, Jun., who had formed a friendly acquaintance with
the lieut. governor, and, in their social interviews, had given
him information of the distinctive principles of the Baptists, as
contradistinguished from the Catholic and Protestant Pædo-Baptists,
made application to M. Trudeau for liberty to hold meetings in his
house. We give the colloquy in substance as we received it from the
pious and intelligent widow of Mr. M----, twenty-five years after the
interview.

_M._ “My friend, John Clark, is in the country, on a visit to his
friends. He is a good man, peaceably disposed, and will behave as a
good citizen should. The American people desire to hear him preach at
my house occasionally. Will the commandant please give permission,
that we may not be molested? We will hold our meetings quietly, make
no disturbance, and say nothing against the king of Spain, nor the
Catholic religion.”

The commandant was inclined to favor the American settlers, but he was
obliged to reject all such petitions officially, and replied, with
seeming determination:

_C._ “No, Monsieur Musick. I can not permit no such ting; ’tis against
de law; you must all be _bon Catholique_ in dis contree. Very sorry,
Mons. Musick, I cannot oblige you, but I must follow de ‘Regulacion.’”

Discouraged at this decision, in a tone so magisterial, Mr. M. regarded
any farther effort hopeless, and arose to depart from the office, when,
with a gracious countenance, the commandant said:

“Sit down, Mons. Musick; please sit down; I soon get dis paper fix for
dese gentlehomme who wait; and den we talk. You must eat my dinner,
and drink a glass of my _bon vin_. You and I are good friend, though I
cannot let you make a church house.”

After dispatching the business on hand, M. Trudeau insisted on the
company of Mr. Musick to dinner. While discoursing with volubility in
his imperfect English, the wily commandant adverted to the petition,
so unceremoniously rejected in the office.

_C._ “You understand me, Monsieur Musick, I presume. You must not
put--what do you call him--_un colcher_,[48] on your house and call it
a _church_;--dat is all wrong,--you must make no bell ring. And now
hear me, Mons. Musick, you must let no man baptize your _enfant_ but de
parish priest. But if your friend come to see you--your neighbor come
there,--you _conversez_;--you say prayer;--you read Bible--you sing
song--dat is all right--you all _bon Catholique_.”

Mr. Clark from the time he left Georgia had been reading the
Scriptures, to find out the character of a church, such as those
congregations named in Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, etc. He
was then a Baptist so far as infant baptism was concerned, and he
doubted much whether any uninspired human authority could change the
form approved by Christ, without destroying the institution. And the
majority of the people, being Baptists, had no use for the parish
priest for that ceremony. The interdiction of spire and bell was no
inconvenience in their simple form of worship. Unlike the Catholic,
their religion had no connection with bell-ringing.

While this disposition of a perplexing question to the commandant
accommodated the American settlers, it gave no legal countenance
to the visits of a preacher from another nation, and a different
religion,--but the people came out to the meetings with less fear of
the prison. Mr. Clark continued his visits nearly every month, which
did not escape the notice of the commandant. He soon learned the
period of his visits, and some two or three days before his return
to Illinois, he never failed to send a threatening message into the
country that, “If Mons. Clark did not leave the Spanish country in
three days, he would be put in the _calabozo_.” So regularly came this
message that it became a standing jest with his friends to enquire,
“Well, brother Clark, when do you go to the _calabozo_?” “In three
days,” would be the reply, which all understood to mean crossing the
river to the Illinois side.

In the autumn of 1801, Rev. Thomas R. Musick, a relative of the Musick
families, came to the province on a visit. His residence then was in
the Green river district in Kentucky, and he had been in a revival of
religion for several months, and about one hundred converts had been
baptized. His brother was the one who petitioned the commandant for
privilege to hold meetings, and his uncle was one of the residents
in the Spanish country. Coming from the midst of an extensive and
powerful revival of religion, he was in the spirit of preaching, and
cared little for the Spanish calabozo. He visited every family, in
which professors of religion were to be found, in the districts of
St. Louis and St. Charles, and during three weeks’ sojourn, preached
fifteen times to congregations assembled in log cabins and in the
woods, on short notice to hear him. He was threatened with the calabozo
repeatedly. In a frontier settlement above St. Charles, he preached the
funeral sermon of a Baptist by name of Brown, from Kentucky, who had
died there that season.

Mr. Musick left the province with the determination to return with
his family and settle there, soon as he could be permitted to remain
and preach the gospel; and with this end in view, he removed to the
settlement of New Design in Illinois.

Soon as the news of the cession of the country to the United States
reached his ears, without waiting for its confirmation by the
government, and the actual transfer, he went across the great river
in the autumn of 1803, and made that country his home. Mr. Musick was
the first preacher of the gospel who, with his family, settled in the
country, became one of the constituents of Fefee’s Creek, and was its
pastor for more than thirty years.



CHAPTER XII.

  Forms a Methodist Class in Illinois.--Gradual change of Views.--
    Mode of Inquiry.--Circumstances of his Baptism.--Practical
    progress in Baptist Principles.--Zeal and influence in promoting
    education.--Early Schools in the Illinois country.--A
    formidable obstruction to a pupil.--Three fellows in the way.
    --Want of books.--A whiskey-loving teacher rightly served.--
    Effects of Father Clark’s teaching.--Visits Kentucky again.--
    Visits to West Florida.--Interview with a Sick man.--Efficacy
    of Prayer.--A Revolution.


We shall now confine our attention entirely to Father Clark. Soon
after he began his regular visits to the Spanish country, he gathered
into a society a small class of disciples, and held regular meetings
with them near Bellefontaine, some three or four miles north of New
Design. He still regarded himself a Methodist, though independent of
that ecclesiastical connection. He was scarcely conscious at that
period, that he was gradually diverging from the peculiarities of
Wesleyism and approaching the fundamental principles of Baptist
faith and practice. He had held his intellect and conscience open to
conviction from the time he left the conference in Georgia, by the
prayerful resolve to follow the Scriptures, and bring all his religious
practice into strict conformity to that divine rule. His habit of
praying in every perplexity, until his mind became satisfied that he
was in the pathway of duty, continued and increased with advancing
years. At the same time, as ever after, he was liberal to all other
Christians, and made no efforts to proselyte them to his own peculiar
views. He explained the Scriptures, and urged on all whom he addressed
in public, or conversed with in private, the duty of studying the Word
of God, and following wherever it led. Christ was ever held up as sole
law-giver in Zion. For several years the conviction had increased that
he was unbaptized, and that by this ordinance more than any other, the
disciples of Christ made a profession of faith in him. He had become
convinced that the ceremony performed in unconscious infancy, by virtue
of some mystical covenant relationship of his parents, and by the
pastor of the church where he was born, was to him no part of Christian
obedience.

In the little society he had gathered was a good man by the name of
Talbot, who had been a local Methodist preacher. Mr. Clark and this
man became quite intimate. Both had about the same views of Christian
ordinances and a gospel church state. Mr. Talbot regarded himself
unbaptized, and repeatedly requested baptism from the hands of his
brother. We have repeatedly shown that Father Clark was subject to very
serious impressions of mind concerning his duty, made it a subject of
fervent prayer, and was conscientious not to resist the impressions
he felt in answer to prayer. His judgment had become clear on the
scriptural form of baptism, but who should baptize him was with him
a momentous question. After another season of private prayer, the
conviction was felt that he must baptize Talbot, and Talbot administer
the same ordinance to him. And so it happened. A meeting was appointed
at Fountain Creek, a small stream that still meanders among the hills
in Monroe county, where a large congregation, compared to the present
population of the country, came out. After preaching, and a relation
of their religious experience, views of the kingdom and ordinances
of Jesus Christ, they both went down into the water, and Mr. Talbot
baptized Father Clark, and Clark baptized Talbot, and then baptized
several other persons.

If a regular and uninterrupted succession of baptisms from the days
of the apostles is indispensable to qualify the administrator, and
give validity to the ordinance, then there was certainly a broken
link in the chain here, as there was in that of Roger Williams and
Deacon Holliman. He who thinks he is in possession of such an unbroken
chain is bound to show every link. Assertions and imaginings are not
historical proofs.

At the next regular meeting, a month later, Mr. Clark again baptized
two or three others of his society, one of whom, a venerable and pious
member of the Methodist society, yet lives within the vicinity of the
writer. Both Mr. Clark and Mr. Talbot, were regular administrators
of religious ordinances according to Pædobaptist usage, for they had
been duly authorized by the Methodist Episcopal church, had left that
connection in an orderly mode, and still sustained the ministerial
office. It was ten or twelve years after this before he became
regularly connected with the Baptist denomination.

Amongst his other services that implanted him in the confidence and
affections of the people, was his ability, zeal and influence in the
cause of education. In this department of labor, as in his gospel
ministrations, he engaged from no personal or pecuniary motives.
His services were offered to all who would come under his tuition
and behave properly. For his board and clothing, he relied on the
liberality of his patrons. He was in fact _the pioneer teacher_ in this
country, for all before him were unfit for that business.

In the French villages, common school education was neglected. Some
of the priests and elderly females taught the children the elements
of their religion, and to read their native language, but a large
proportion of that class of people grew up to manhood with little
knowledge of science and literature, and less learning.

The first school ever taught among the American settlers in the
Illinois country, was by Solomon Seely, in 1783. Francis Clark,
an intemperate man, came next, and had a small school in Moore’s
settlement near Bellefontaine, in 1785. He did quite as much harm
as good. Next after him for two or three years was an insignificant
Irishman by name of Halfpenny. He possessed very little learning and
less skill in teaching. School books were scarce and more difficult
of attainment than in Kentucky. Each pupil carried such a book from
which to say his lessons, as could be found in his father’s log
cabin. One little fellow, whose memory was not in the best order and
his perceptive faculties slow of development, had the Bible for his
book for “easy readings.” Master Halfpenny had no more schoolmaster
sense than to give out his lessons from the book of Daniel, and third
chapter. Partly by spelling out the words, and partly by the aid of a
school-fellow, he had made tolerable progress in pronouncing the “hard
words” and proper names through eleven verses. In the twelfth verse he
met the formidable obstruction of the three Hebrew names, Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, which he could not surmount. The master was
petulant, surly, and uttered a series of strange sounds, in jabbering
Irish, which the poor afflicted pupil could neither understand nor
imitate. He did his very best to pronounce these names in the way the
master ordered, and was dismissed with the formidable threat of a
striped jacket the next day if he forgot them. Next day came, and the
little fellow was in his seat, toiling at his lesson, for he really
tried to learn. His turn came to “say his lesson,” and he stood beside
the master in a tremor that shook his little frame and the perspiration
streaming down his cheeks. His lesson commenced with the thirteenth
verse. Nebuchadnezzar was one of those long words that had gone round
the school on divers occasions, and little Tommy, as he was familiarly
called in the family circle, had mastered that before the stupid master
had put him into the book of Daniel. He read two lines distinctly
with a tremulous voice, for the threat of a striped jacket had not
escaped his memory, when he stopped suddenly. “Th’read on,” sounded in
his ears like the crack of the hazle;--“why don’t ye th’read on, ye
spalpeen,” came again with the expectation of the whip. The trembling
pupil, unable to recollect or repeat any thing, burst into tears and
sobs, and made an effort to explain his inability--“Why here are these
three fellows again, and I don’t know them.” Master Halfpenny for once
was disarmed. There was so much simplicity and honest effort in the
boy that the master made a kind effort to relieve his pupil. “Why,
boy, cannot ye mind th’em? They ar’ _Mister Shaderack, Mes-hack, and
Abed-ye-go_. Now ye mought go on with y’r lesson; and don’t ye miss ’em
agin.”

Spelling, reading, writing and the mere elements of simple arithmetic
were all that these and many others pretended to teach. The
difficulties encountered in obtaining a small amount of education by
children in Illinois, from the earliest American settlements to the
close of the last century were greater, and books more difficult to be
procured than when Mr. Clark taught in Kentucky. The price of a single
copy of “Dilworth’s New Guide to the English Tongue,” as the title page
read, was one dollar. And none but old copies of the coarsest paper,
the refuse of old stores and printing offices, sold at auction, were
brought to this remote frontier. No classes were organized, nor could
there be any uniformity of books. The masters ruled, not with “a rod
of iron,” but a wand of hickory, four feet long. The teachers were
turned out at Christmas, when the king of misrule took the chair, and
lawlessness prevailed. Not only were the scenes enacted, we described
in chapter ninth, in Kentucky, but even more lamentable and ludicrous
ones.

A few years later, one of the whiskey-loving sons of Erin attempted to
teach in a settlement known to the writer, who received the tale from
one of the employers. Our informant, who loved his dram, despised all
meanness and selfishness, and he regarded a man who would “suck a jug”
in secret, as about the meanest of the race. Hence he “abominated” the
schoolmaster, and gloried in the tricks some of the youngsters played
him. The master was observed by the shrewd young men under his charge,
to retire from the cabin to a thicket during the hours for lessons, and
in proportion to these occasions of retirement, his eyes grew dull, his
tongue wagged heavily, and his natural jabbering as an Irish pedagogue,
became more unintelligible.

A search warrant in a verbal form was issued and served on the thicket
by two smart young men; the whiskey bottle was found, and in quite
a private way received a full allowance of tartar-emetic, and then
carefully deposited in its accustomed hiding place. Next day the master
was seized suddenly with an alarming illness. It would have been
called cholera, but that disease was unknown on these frontiers at that
period. But, as our informant expressed it, “he was orfully skeered,
and glad enough to have us let him off from his article.”

Mr. Clark taught the youngsters about Bellefountaine, New Design, and
the “Bottom,” at various intervals for eight or ten years. Though other
teachers met with the customary Christmas frolic, and were dethroned,
Mr. Clark was an exception. Not one of the roguish young men in the
settlements would offer him such an insult. Those pupils who were kept
under proper government at home, made no trouble in the school. But
there were wild and rude young lads, who were devoid of self-respect,
and required the application of the hazel and hickory. One of our old
friends, now past the age of threescore and ten, was a student of Mr.
Clark, at times, for several years, and received ample qualifications
under his tuition for the official duties of marshall under the
territorial government, and who also has been a useful teacher. Of
him we have made special inquiry how he managed these insubordinate
youngsters, and how their rebellious habits affected his temper and
patience. His response is, that on some occasions he thought him to
be slightly irritated, that occasionally he had to use the rod, that
he would have order in his school, and that he always discriminated
between criminality and dullness.[49] The modern contrivances for
teaching arithmetic and the elements of mathematics were then unknown.
The rules were written out by the teacher, and the sums when worked
right were all copied in a book. Not long since we looked over a book
preserved by another student, with the date of 1806, then twenty-one,
now verging to seventy years of age.[50] A third, and one who for
almost half a century, has been esteemed as one of our ablest and
most successful ministers, (as has also his brother just named,)
acknowledges himself as having received special aid from this pioneer
preacher in preparing him for the ministry. This person in earlier life
performed a prominent part in the public affairs of the territorial
and state governments. In addition to minor branches, he studied
mathematics, logic, rhetoric, history and philosophy. This minister,
as several others have done, acknowledges his indebtedness to Father
Clark for his valuable aid in those branches specially relating to the
profession of the ministry.[51] Many others who shared the benefits of
his instruction have long since followed their beloved teacher to “that
bourne from whence no traveler returns.”

Mr. Clark made a visit to Kentucky before the period of his baptism,
but what year we find no one who can recollect. It was probably about
1800, or 1801, during the period of the great revivals there, for he
had large congregations wherever he preached, and unusual success
followed. He was absent several months, and his friends in Illinois
were anxious for his return, and sent William Murray as a messenger
through the wilderness to recall him. Mr. Murray came into a crowded
congregation, soon after Mr. Clark had commenced his sermon. While
his quick eyes were glancing over the deeply affected congregation,
they lit on the well known form and features of the messenger, and a
suspicion of his errand flashed on his mind.

“There’s brother Murray, from the Illinois country, and no doubt the
Lord has sent him for me to return there. I had an impression this
morning in prayer that I must go back to that destitute field. Try to
get a seat, brother Murray, and wait patiently, for I must finish my
sermon. It is probably the last time I shall ever preach in Kentucky,
and I can’t leave without warning poor sinners once more to flee to the
Saviour.”

There was nothing extravagant in this style of address. In that
congregation, it would have turned no one’s thoughts from the subject.
It is no unusual thing for ministers, while preaching, to throw out a
parenthetical sentence to individuals present, and receive responses.
It causes no interruption to persons who are not tied up by forms, and
restrained by conventionalities, as in older communities.

The meeting continued till a late hour that day. Anxious persons
desired instruction, and Father Clark was called on repeatedly to
offer prayers for sinners in distress. Then the congregation must sing
some familiar songs, give him the hand of fellowship, and beg him to
remember them in his prayers when far away. Next morning Mr. Clark and
his friend were on the trail for the Illinois country.

It was about the year 1807 or ’08, that Mr. Clark, after a long
season of prayer and impressions, went down the Mississippi river on
a mission to West Florida.[52] The tract of country, exclusive of
the Island of Orleans, now belonging to the State of Louisiana, and
called West Florida, was retained by the Spanish government, after the
cession of Louisiana, though understood by both the French and American
governments to be included in that cession. The laws of Spain and the
Catholic religion existed in that district. Baton Rouge was the site of
a Spanish fort, in which a small garrison was stationed. A large part
of the population were emigrants from the south-western States, and
claimed the right of transfer with the people of Louisiana. They made
an unsuccessful effort to throw off the Spanish yoke in 1805. In this
district, and amongst these Americans, Mr. Clark spent several months,
preaching and teaching. The towns of Baton Rouge[53] and Bayon Sara
were on the river, and the settlements in the country extended over
the district of East Feliciana. Mr. Clark made a second visit to this
country about 1810, or ’11, and we can give several incidents that
occurred, but cannot distinguish on which tour. On his first voyage he
started in a small canoe from the Merimac river in St. Louis county,
and Mr. Boly, one of his friends, aided in fitting him out. To balance
the frail craft in which he embarked, poles of light papaw wood were
lashed across the canoe. In this light vessel thus trimmed he floated
with the current, and steered with a single paddle by day, and encamped
in the dense forest that lined the shore at night. The voyage of more
than one thousand miles, down this turbid, foaming river, was made in
safety. He was alone, and yet not alone, for a deep conviction of the
all-seeing and everywhere-present God rested on his mind wherever he
traveled, by night and by day. Through the Mediator and mercy seat he
held communion, habitually, with the Father of spirits, and felt the
most childlike confidence in his gracious arm for protection.

It was while on one of his excursions to Florida, that he heard of
the illness of a Mr. Todd, with whom he had some acquaintance in the
Illinois country. Mr. Todd had gone down the river on a flat-boat
with a load of produce, which he had sold out, and with one of his
companions, was making the long and perilous journey on foot to the
upper country. This was the common mode of transportation _down_ the
great rivers of this valley to market before the period of steam
navigation. Flat-boats never return up the strong current, but are sold
and broken up for old lumber, and the men return through the Indian
country and intervening forest on foot. This was a perilous business,
and caused great destruction of human life. Many perished of whom their
friends never learned the particulars. Bands of robbers roamed through
this wilderness, and doubtless many a farmer from Tennessee, Kentucky,
and the country along the Ohio and Wabash rivers, who never returned,
was murdered for the money he attempted to transport.

Mr. Todd belonged to a family in Illinois who were infidels of the
Paine creed. That is, they believed in Almighty God, as the creator
and governor of the world, but disbelieved the supernatural birth,
divine nature and office-work of Jesus Christ as a mediator, and the
divine authority of the Scriptures. Mr. Clark found Mr. Todd very
sick with the bilious fever, nursed him, and continued with him until
he thought himself able to travel. While at the worst stage of the
disease, the sick man was given over, and thought himself he must die
in that dreary wilderness, and desired Mr. Clark to pray for him. This
was done repeatedly in his presence, and the preacher became unusually
exercised, and spent some time in secret prayer for him, that God would
spare his life, and enable him to reach his friends in the Illinois
country. As Mr. Todd was about to depart on foot, with his traveling
companion, for a long journey through the wilderness and Indian
country, under great despondency, and with faint hopes of reaching
the end of his journey, Father Clark again prayed with him, gave him
encouragement, and assured him that the GOOD ONE, as he denominated
our Heavenly Father, would not leave him to perish in the wilderness.
He felt assured of a gracious answer to his prayers on his behalf, and
that he would reach his friends, though a thousand miles lay between
them.

It was a terrible affair for a sick man to travel through the swamps,
cane-brakes and pine forests, and cross the rivers and creeks that lay
in the route. On several occasions the sick man, in despair of reaching
the end of his journey, lay down to die, when the recollection of
the prayers of Father Clark, and the assurance he gave of seeing
home, inspired him with new vigor, and urged him onward. He reached
his brother’s house in the American bottom, under the firm conviction
that his life had been spared, and preternatural strength given him in
answer to the prayers of that good man.

This man’s constitution was broken down. He lingered along in a feeble
condition, and in a year or two died of a pulmonary disease. While
on his death-bed at his brother’s house, (who, though he possessed
some fine traits of character, remained a hardened infidel,) he sent
for a minister of the gospel to visit and pray with him.[54] He had
previously told his friends how he had experienced the efficacy of the
prayers of Mr. Clark, and he again repeated the story to his visitor,
and stated with great frankness that he had serious doubts of the Bible
being a revelation from God, but he had no doubt that God did hear and
answer the prayers of good men.

The visiting minister, as was his habit in all such instances,
conferred with the infidel brother in whose house he was, and with
whom he had been personally acquainted for many years. “Mr. Todd,
your brother appears to be failing. He has not long to live with us.
I know your principles, that you do not believe in the Scriptures as
a revelation from God, nor in Jesus Christ as a Saviour. This is your
house, and I desire to do nothing that appears obtrusive. If I pray
with your brother as he requests, I must pray in the name of Jesus
Christ. This may be offensive to you.” Mr. Todd replied, “Mr. L., my
brother wishes you to pray for him. I desire you to exercise your own
privilege in my house as freely as if it were your own. In every thing
I desire my brother to be gratified while he lives, and I think with
him that the prayers of good men are heard. I know he cannot live long.”

A portion of Scripture was read, a hymn sung, and all the household
kneeled around the bed, and behaved with decorum, while the minister
made his petition to the throne of grace for the dying sinner.

No good, but much injury has resulted from the assumption of
ministerial dignity and authority, with such people as the Todd family.
Nothing is lost but much gained by courtesy and condescension. Such
were the lessons taught and the example set by the successful pioneer
whose life we are tracing.

In one instance, if not in both, Mr. Clark returned on foot from West
Florida to the Illinois country through the intervening wilderness. His
second tour was made by land, and on foot, and he preached wherever
settlements existed, and left a series of appointments, which he
filled on his return. In the Arkansas country he attempted to reach a
settlement, but got lost in the woods and cane-brakes, and wandered for
some hours without finding the signs of a human habitation. He was a
thorough woodsman, but he despaired of finding the way out by his own
skill. Believing in the constant protection of Divine providence, which
he could obtain by prayer, he knelt down by a large tree, and continued
to pray until his mind became calm, and he felt relieved of all
perturbation and anxiety. Pursuing the direction to which he was led by
the impressions of mind he received, he soon came to a path that led
him to a house on the border of the settlement he was trying to find.

West Florida became revolutionized in 1810, and if we rightly
conjecture, at the time or just before the second visit of Father
Clark. That portion of Florida that lay west of the Perdido river,
was originally a part of Louisiana, but the Spanish government held
possession, and the government of the United States, desirous of
avoiding collision with Spain, did not take forcible possession of this
district. In the summer of 1810, the people of the territory, aided
by their friends from Mississippi, effected a successful revolution,
with very little bloodshed. A party of French, headed by Captain George
Depassau, and a party of Americans, commanded by Captain H. Thomas,
made a bold and successful attack on the fort at Baton Rouge, which
surrendered at discretion, and the civil and military authorities of
Spain were permitted to retire to Pensacola. In October the district
was annexed to the United States, by the proclamation of the President,
announcing that William C. C. Clairborne, governor of the territory
of Orleans, was empowered to take possession of West Florida, in the
name of the United States, as a portion of the territory under his
jurisdiction.

While on a visit to this district in 1842, we found persons who had
heard Father Clark preach, and remembered him as a pioneer school
teacher.

On his return from his second tour, he was taken sick, and continued
in a feeble condition for some time. His friends in St. Louis county
hearing of his situation, went after him, and there being no carriage
roads, they hauled him on a sled, dragged by a single horse, through
the wilderness to the settlements near St. Louis.



CHAPTER XIII.

  Baptists, “Friends to Humanity.”--Their Anti-slavery position.--
    Mr. Clark joins them.--Manner of his reception.--His Views
    of African Slavery.--Views of African Colonization.--Made
    Life-member of a Colonization Society.--Circulars on Slavery.
    --Personal behavior.--Conversational Gifts.--Writes Family
    Records.


A class of Baptists had commenced organizing churches, first in
Illinois and then in Missouri, denominated, as a kind of distinction
from other Baptists, as “Friends to Humanity.” They were frequently
called emancipators by others. They were opposed to slavery, and being
desirous of operating in a quiet and peaceful manner against the
commerce in human beings, this class adopted rules by which they were
to be governed in the admission of slave-holders into the churches. The
organization originated in Kentucky, in 1807, and made a division in a
small association in Illinois in 1809. They would not receive persons
to membership “whose practice appeared friendly to perpetual slavery;”
that is, those who justified the holding of human beings as property,
on the same grounds of right as they claimed their horses or other
kinds of property. They did admit to membership in the churches of
Christ slave-holders under the following exceptions.

  1. Persons holding young slaves, and recording a deed of
  emancipation at such an age as the church should agree to.

  2. Persons who had purchased slaves in their ignorance, and who are
  willing the church should decide when they shall be free.

  3. Women who have no legal power to liberate slaves.

  4. Those that held slaves who from age, debility, insanity, or
  idiotcy were unfit for emancipation. And they add, “some other
  cases which we would wish the churches to judge of, agreeable to
  the principles of humanity.”

These Baptists differed widely from modern abolitionists of the
Northern States and England, at least in the following particulars.

1. They never adopted the dogma that slave-holding is a “sin _per
se_,”--a sin in itself, irrespective of all the circumstances in
which the parties might be providentially placed. Hence they could
consistently buy slaves and prepare them for freedom; or contribute
funds to enable slaves to purchase themselves, with a clear conscience.

2. They never aided fugitive slaves to escape from their masters, or
secreted them, in violation of the constitution and laws of the land.

3. They never interfered in any objectionable way, with the legal and
political rights of slave-holders. They preached the gospel in an
acceptable and successful manner among slave-holders.

4. They aimed to do good both to master and servant, in a quiet, lawful
and peaceable mode.

5. They endeavored to consult the true interests of all parties
concerned.

6. They ever upheld the constitution and laws of the country in a
peaceful way. Some of this class were chosen to official stations in
both the territory and state of Illinois, and took the oath to support
the constitution and laws of the United States without quibbling and
evasion.

Their general faith and practice corresponded with the principles of
Baptists in general Union.

Mr. Clark had gradually become a Baptist in all respects. For eight or
ten years after he had been baptized in the manner already described,
he remained in an independent position. With the exception of his
visits to the lower country, the larger portion of his time he spent
on the western side of the Mississippi, with occasional visits to his
Illinois friends. The members that remained of the society he organized
near Bellefontaine in Illinois, had attached themselves to other
churches,--some to the Baptists, and others to the Methodist Episcopal
church. Those about the Spanish pond and Coldwater settlements in St.
Louis county gradually became Baptists, and regarded him as their
pastor and spiritual guide. For some years he watched the course of
his old friends, the Lemens’ and others of that class. He felt deeply
interested in their anti-slavery position. Their quiet, unobtrusive
method of managing the perplexing question of slavery corresponded with
his own views and experience. The father, his old friend and associate,
had become an ordained minister, and two of his sons, who had studied
under Mr. Clark, were now heads of families, and joint pastors of
Cantine, (now Bethel) church, and, with their compeers in the ministry,
were performing much itinerant service in the destitute settlements.
Benjamin, the eldest son of Captain Joseph Ogle, was an ordained
minister in this connection of Baptists. Father Clark and these
brethren had always enjoyed fraternal intercourse, though no formal
church connection had been formed. His manners were so inoffensive,
his labors in the ministry were so disinterested and unremitting, his
views were so scriptural, and his daily conduct so fully exemplified
a life of faith on the Son of God, that no one thought of calling in
question his regular standing in the ministry. He might have lived and
died without reproach, and enjoyed the confidence of all good men in
the same isolated position he had occupied from 1796. But his sound
judgment guided him, and the impressions received in prayer prompted
him to unite with others in a formal association. He was fearful he
might set an example for erratic preachers to follow.

This class of Baptists held an annual meeting within the bounds of
their churches on each returning autumn, though they had not assumed
the form of a regular association. Such a meeting Mr. Clark attended,
with some of the brethren from Coldwater, and proposed union and
coöperation. Not from any necessity of knowing more of his character,
but as a precedent for subsequent cases he was examined on his
Christian experience, views of doctrine, and practice. The result
being highly satisfactory, he was received by the hand of fellowship
being given by all the brethren present, while an appropriate hymn was
sung.

His views on African slavery gradually acquired firmness and
consistency. We have traced his convictions on this subject to his
exquisite sense of human rights, his innate principles of natural
liberty, his sympathies with afflicted and oppressed humanity,
his own deprivation of liberty by the British press-gang, and his
imprisonment for nineteen months by the Spaniards in Havana. In a
personal acquaintance of fifteen years, and the examination of various
fugitive papers, we find no confusion of thought, and no lack of just
conceptions of the subject. His intercourse with slave-holders was
ever courteous and kind. He never obtruded his opinions where no good
impressions could be made, nor in any way disguised his sentiments
before any person. His frankness and candor were so well known, that
all classes had entire confidence in his motives and mode of treating
this subject.

When the subject of the colonization of free colored persons in Africa
was brought to his mind by the formation of the American Colonization
Society, he hailed it as an omen of good. He understood the strong
objections to the emancipation of slaves remaining amongst us. He
understood well the prejudices against the peculiarities of the African
race, as one of the barriers to amalgamation with white people, and
amidst the gloom that surrounded the hopeless bondage of that race,
he saw one luminous spot in the moral hemisphere. The star of hope
appeared to him to arise in Africa. The finger of providence pointed
in that direction, and he abounded in faith and prayer for success
in the enterprise. He was not so visionary as to imagine there would
be no defects in its management, or no drawbacks in the colonization
movement. He well understood it was an object not to be accomplished
in one generation, and that its influence upon emancipation must be
gradual and indirect. He desired to have an influence produced in the
minds of slave-holders towards the moral and religious interests of the
slaves.

So long known and so well understood were his anti-slavery principles,
and his interest in the colonization scheme as the means of removing
one of the most formidable obstructions to emancipation, that the
ladies of Lofton’s prairie, then in Greene, (now Jersey) county,
Illinois, one of his monthly preaching stations, paid him the
compliment of making him a life member of the county auxiliary
society.[55]

Mr. Clark wrote several circulars for the annual association of
Baptists, to which he belonged, on the subject of Slavery, which were
published in their minutes. They were dictated by a courteous and
christian-like spirit, plain, pointed, impressive and efficacious.

After he joined the Baptists, his labors were the same as before,
except in a wider range of traveling, and more extended christian
intercourse. No time was wasted in idleness or frivolous pursuits.
Always cheerful, always the same devout, praying man. There were two
or three families in Missouri, as Upper Louisiana was called from the
period of the organization of the territory in 1812, where he made
his _home_. All his earthly wants were cheerfully provided for by his
friends. Certain mothers in Israel vied with each other in providing
his annual supply of clothing; the domestic manufacture of their own
wheels and looms. The cloth was the same as was then worn by the
farmers of the country, but was kept by the wearer in a neat and tidy
manner. He did not live to enter on the era of this frontier, when
dress, equipages, furniture, and houses, as in the old states, were
used for the special benefit of other people’s eyes. Nor at that period
would rank, or social position be detected by the dress a man or woman
wore.

Mr. Clark was noted for refinement and simplicity. His personal
appearance and dress were noticed for neatness. His habits, of which
he scarcely appeared conscious, were those of the gentleman. Though he
used tobacco, he never acquired the filthy practice, still very common
in this country by rude and ill-mannered young men, of spitting about
the fire place, stove, and furniture. If he had occasion to discharge
the saliva, he invariably stepped to the door, though it might have
been in a log cabin. He used the bath frequently by resorting to some
retired spot in the creek or river. For many years, and until the close
of life, he bathed his feet in cold water at all seasons of the year.
We have known him walk a quarter of a mile, in extreme cold weather in
the winter, to a spring or creek that he might lave his feet and wade
in the cold water. Long practice made this habit a luxury.[56]

In all his personal intercourse, and manner of address, one could
perceive not only good breeding, but a nice sense of propriety. His
visits in families were no less effective in moral cultivation, than
his public preaching, though that was impressive and interesting, and
the instruction given highly scriptural and evangelical. He possessed
a gift not very common, and probably little cultivated by ministers,
in introducing the subject of personal religion, in a pleasant,
conversational way.

A stranger, on witnessing his mode, would have seen nothing
ministerial, dignified, or professional. There was no change in the
tones of his voice, and effort made to introduce a subject not relished
by the party. There was no affectation of concern for others, no
cant, nothing in style or mode that differed from his conversation
on ordinary topics. Young persons, unused to be addressed on such a
subject, soon found themselves in the presence of a familiar friend. No
man could make a more touching appeal to the mother of a young family,
and while he awakened her maternal feelings to the moral and eternal
welfare of her offspring, he scarcely failed impressing on her own
conscience concern for her personal salvation.

It was a pleasure to him, and a gratification to the families he
visited, to write out the family record in his peculiarly neat and
correct chirography, in the household Bible. And when a new Bible was
purchased, its possessors waited many weeks, and even months, until
FATHER CLARK, as every one familiarly called him, visited them and made
the record. These Bibles are preserved to this day, and may be found
among the descendants of the pioneer families, dispersed as they are
over a wide extent of territory. The first immigrants to Iowa, and
several families who went to Oregon, carried these copies as choice
memorials of a much venerated man.

For the last fifteen years of his life there was so much uniformity
in his labors, that were we to follow out this period in detail, it
would be but a repetition of the same things from year to year. Such
incidents as are necessary to spin out the thread of the narrative
and finish the portraiture of this good man, will be crowded into the
concluding chapter.



CHAPTER XIV.

  His mode of Traveling.--Excursion in Missouri, 1820.--His monthly
    circuit in Missouri and Illinois.--A night Adventure.--A
    Horseback Excursion.--Origin of Carrollton Church.--Faith and
    Prayer.--Interview with Rev. J. Going.--A “Standard” Sermon.--
    An Affectionate Embrace.--Comforts of Old Age.--Last Illness
    and Death.


One of the peculiar physical characteristics of Father Clark, even to
old age, was his habit of walking. The ordinary mode of traveling for
ministers and all other persons who journeyed, both men and women, was
on horseback. Carriage roads were infrequent, and buggies, the vehicle
of modern times for traveling, were seldom seen on these frontiers.
Females rode on horseback to Kentucky and Tennessee, to see their
friends, on journies from four to eight hundred miles. But Father
Clark had some singular scruples against using a beast of burden; and
to one of his personal friends he intimated a religious vow while on
the circuit in Georgia, that so long as man oppressed his fellow man,
he did not feel free to use a horse. He was never accustomed to the
management of a horse, as every frontier man has been from childhood,
and he felt unhappy, if not in real fear, while riding one. Hence in
nearly every tour he made, he walked.

In the summer of 1820, he made a preaching tour through the Boone’s
Lick country to the extreme frontier settlement north side of the
Missouri river, to a place called Bluffton. There was Dr. B. F.
Edwards, a Baptist, with his young family from Kentucky, who received
him cordially. No preacher of the gospel had then gone thus far in the
vast west. Only a few families had reached that remote position, then
on the border of the Indian country. There he preached the gospel in
a small log cabin, and not even crowded with all the families within
several miles.

In the Boone’s Lick country, as the central part of Missouri was then
called, he found a number of Baptist families, who claimed affinity
with the “Friends to Humanity,” and aided them in forming themselves
into a church connection. In going and returning, he preached almost
daily, as he passed from settlement to settlement.

For ten years before his death, he made a regular circuit, monthly,
extending from Fox creek on the Merrimac, twenty miles, west-south-west
from St. Louis, round by Coldwater, where was the church to which
his membership was attached, and of which he was pastor. There, and
near the Spanish pond, a settlement farther east, he held meetings for
two, and sometimes three days in succession. At one period he crossed
the Mississippi at a ferry a short distance below the mouth of the
Missouri. That ferry being stopped, he turned down the course of the
river to St. Louis, and passed over on the ferry-boat there. His route
then was through the Six-Mile prairie, where he had a regular preaching
station. From thence he occasionally diverged to Edwardsville, but
more frequently went up the American bottom to Upper Alton, thence to
Lofton’s prairie, Judge Brown’s, near the Maconpin, Carrollton, and
above Apple Creek to a settlement called Henderson’s Creek, where he
collected a small church. Returning, he would deviate from this route
to visit other settlements, on the right or left, as occasion called.
The whole distance on these routes and back to Fox creek, was about two
hundred and forty miles, and in the excursion he preached from thirty
to forty times.

Some three or four times each year he visited the churches and
his friends in St. Clair, and Monroe counties. At that period a
congregation could be gathered on any day of the week by timely notice.

The ferry-boat already noticed below the mouth of the Missouri, was
destroyed in a flood, and the ferry not again established. Without
knowing this, Mr. Clark started from the Spanish pond, intending to
cross at this upper ferry, which would have been a gain of thirty
miles. He was obliged to turn down to St. Louis. His appointment
next day was at Judge Lofton’s, sixteen miles above Alton. Resolute
on fulfilling his engagements, though threescore and ten years had
brought on him the infirmities of age, he made his way by St. Louis,
and crossed the ferry about dark. In traveling along the muddy pathway,
in thick darkness, twenty-four miles to Upper Alton, through the dense
forest of the American bottom, he became fatigued, and was repeatedly
compelled to rest, by leaning against a tree. He reached the hospitable
family of a Presbyterian friend at breakfast. He was excessively
fatigued, and on inquiry, the family were astonished to learn he had
traveled the whole night and preceding day. Regarding such an effort
as an undue sacrifice from a feeble old man, his hospitable friend
ventured an admonition that he should not expose himself. He received a
response in the mildest language and intonations of voice,--“O, my dear
brother, souls are precious, and God sometimes uses very feeble and
insignificant means for their salvation. The people expect me to fill
my appointments, and the only way was to reach here this morning. This
is nothing to what our divine Master did for us.”

Mr. L., in rehearsing this incident, stated he felt humbled and rebuked
at the patience, perseverance, and ceaseless energy of this old
minister in the service of the Lord.[57]

He had walked eight miles to his customary crossing place on the river,
thence eighteen miles to St. Louis, twenty-four miles to Upper Alton,
and by two o’clock he was sixteen miles further, preaching to the
congregation in Lofton’s prairie. This made sixty-six miles walking in
a muddy path, without sleep, so consciously strict was he to fulfill
his engagements.

The spring and early summer of 1824, were unusually wet, the rain
poured down from the clouds almost daily, the mud was deep in the
paths, and it was exceedingly difficult and unpleasant on foot. His
friends in Missouri furnished him a small, gentle horse, called a
pony, put on him a new saddle, bridle and saddle-bags, and after much
persuasion induced Mr. Clark to mount, and ride his customary circuit.
He consented, and was placed on the ambling pony, and, much to the
gratification of his friends, started on his journey. He was troubled
lest the horse should hurt himself, or hurt him. At every creek,
pond and slough, he dismounted, threw his saddle bags over his own
shoulders, took off his nether garments, as he was accustomed to do
when walking, and carefully led the horse through mud and water, often
three feet deep. The care of the animal distracted his thoughts, and,
on his return, he begged his friends to take back the horse and relieve
him from a burden that seriously interfered with his religious and
ministerial duties.

When Sunday schools, Bible societies, and missions were brought before
the people on these frontiers, he entered at once into these measures,
and threw his influence in that direction. He carried a small Bible, or
two or three Testaments, in his little wallet to supply the destitute
families he visited. He took a deep interest in the first seminary in
these frontier States, and encouraged his brethren to coöperate in the
good work.[58]

When the first periodical that advocated the interests of religion,
education, and social organizations for philanthropic purposes, was
published and circulated in his range, his influence gave it impulse.
He not only circulated periodicals and tracts among the people, but
read such publications in the families he visited, and impressed
the subjects on the minds of his listening auditors, by familiar
conversation.

In the vicinity of Carrollton, Ill., were a few Baptists from Vermont,
New York, and Ohio, who were dissatisfied with the anti-mission,
do-nothing policy of a class of Baptists that had a little church in
that vicinity. Carrollton was the seat of justice for Greene county,
and situated in the centre of a large farming population, and it was
desirable to have a Baptist church organized there, without being
impeded by the influence and prohibitions of the anti-mission party.
To this station Father Clark devoted a portion of his labors. Meetings
were held in the court-house, an unfinished wooden structure. Two
males and five females having entered into covenant relation in
church-fellowship, under the instruction and guidance of the pioneer
preacher, a call was made on three preachers in St. Clair county, to
visit the place, preach to the people, and give the hand of fellowship
to these brethren as a church in gospel order.[59]

These ministers left the north side of St. Clair county on Friday
morning, the 27th day of April, 1827. The weather was unpleasant, and
a succession of showers continued through the day. They had to ride
forty miles to reach Judge Lofton’s, where they were to pass the night.
Their breakfast place was twelve miles further on, at Judge Brown’s
residence. Another twelve miles would bring them to the place of
meeting, and the time to commence was twelve o’clock on Saturday.

At night, when the party reached Judge Lofton’s residence, the weather
was most unfavorable. A thick, dark mantle covered the sky, and sent
down a steady chilling rain. So it was at nine o’clock. The road had
been quite muddy and the traveling unpleasant. The small streams that
crossed their path began to rise, and might be in swimming order by
morning. They lay down to rest with desponding expectations of reaching
the appointment in season.

Next morning, as the first gleams of light glanced over the prairies,
the party was up and on their horses. But what a change in the
aspects of nature! The clouds were dispersed, the air was soft and
exhilarating; and as the sun rose, with healing in his beams, and
threw streams of light through the rain drops that glistened on every
shrub; gold, emeralds, rubies and diamonds reflected their mingled
hues on every side. Birds were celebrating their matins in every
spray. The path was muddy, and the streams were at fording places
past the mid sides of their horses, but these inconveniences were of
too small moment to cause uneasiness. The party dashed on with their
high-spirited horses, and arrived at the cabin of their hospitable
friend, Judge B---- just as the coffee, corn-cakes, chickens, and other
edibles, smoking hot, were ready for the table. The party, both men and
horses, were soon refreshed, and being reinforced by a dozen or more
persons on their way to the meeting, they proceeded. Just at the time
of high noon they entered the village of Carrollton, and made their way
across the open area, left for the public buildings, to the house of a
Baptist minister,[60] who lived for the time being in the village where
they knew the pioneer preacher would be found. He was standing in the
door-way, and as his eye caught a glimpse of the ministers, he stepped
out; his head was bare and his silvered locks gently agitated by the
balmy breeze. The sun shone in meridian splendor, and every thing in
nature was a type of the calm and joyous spirit that reigned within.
Seizing the hands of his three brethren in the ministry, he exclaimed
with the pious ejaculation,--“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget
not all his benefits. I knew you would come. I prayed for you all day
yesterday until I got an answer; and I felt strong in the faith the
clouds would disperse, and we should have fair weather and a good time.”

The unexpected change of the weather had been a topic of conversation
by the party during their morning’s ride, and one remarked, “I should
not be surprised to learn that Father Clark has been praying for us.”

We leave it to that class of speculatists, who fancy that the Almighty
does not concern himself with human affairs, to explain the philosophy
of this sudden and unexpected change. Doubtless they can solve the
mystery by referring to an occult female, without either intelligence,
goodness, or power, called NATURE, by whose LAWS every change is
produced. Their progenitors lived about 3,680 years ago, and in their
superabundant wisdom exclaimed, “_What is the Almighty that we should
serve him; and what profit should we have if we pray unto him._”[61]

The little church in Carrollton received the fellowship of the
brethren, and was visited by Father Clark nearly every month, while he
was able to travel, while Mr. Dodson, who lived in that county several
years, furnished occasional aid. The mystical number of seven members
remained, but the fallow ground was broken up, the seed was sown in the
congregation, and the year before his death, when he could no longer
walk the long circuit of two hundred and forty miles, the spirit of the
Lord was poured out, and large accessions were made. He labored in
faith, prayer and feebleness, and other men gathered in the harvest.

The year 1831 was signalized by the visit of the late Rev. Jonathan
Going to this valley. He spent some time in Illinois, and Father Clark
heard of him, and so arranged as to meet him at the first annual
session of the Edwardsville Association. The writer had given Mr.
Going some outline of his character, labors and peculiarities. Each
was desirous to hear the other preach. The congregation was unusually
large for that period, especially on Sabbath. It was mid-summer, the
weather hot, and the people were provided with rough seats, under the
trees, adjacent to Upper Alton, and not many yards from the present
site of Shurtleff College. Two and three discourses were then listened
to with interest and patience at one sitting. The meeting continued
without intermission for about four hours. The people gathered from
fifteen and twenty miles distant, and would return the same day.
No one was fastidious of the dining hour, or cared a straw for the
conventionalities of a higher civilization. Mr. Clark had several
peculiar sermons, not on paper, for he never used notes;--but in his
mind, one of which he would draw forth on such occasions, and preach
to large and Christian audiences. One had the text from one of the
prophets, and the imagery of the STANDARD, or military ensign, under
which the cohorts were marshalled.

Allusion was had, prophetically, to the army of Christ in the gospel
day. In his illustrations he referred to the order in the army of
Israel, as given in the first and second chapters of Numbers, and their
march, each tribe under its own banner. The application of the figure
was made to the various denominational forms of organic Christianity.
Each standard had its appropriate emblem.

The Protestant Episcopal cohort had inscribed on their liturgical
standard, “_Let all things be done decently and in order._”

The Presbyterians inscribed, “_And ye, fathers, provoke not your
children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of
the Lord._”

The Methodists hoisted their banner, with letters of fire,--“_Work out
your own salvation with fear and trembling._”

The Baptists had on their flag, which they held with great
tenacity,--“_To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not
according to this word, it is because there is no light in them._”

Under each head he touched on the peculiarities of each sect, and
showed that each held a portion of divine truth, and did valiant
service in the army of Prince Emanuel.

There was just enough of quaintness and eccentricity in this mode of
preaching the gospel to keep every one wide awake, and cause every
hearer to remember and “inwardly digest” what he heard. Few men would
crowd into a sermon more evangelical thoughts, or make more vivid and
happy illustrations.

The old pioneer was not less interested in the impressive sermon of
Mr. Going on missions, and the wonderful progress made in the work of
translating and publishing the Scriptures, and preaching the gospel to
the heathen.

At the close of such exhilarating meetings, a lively hymn is sung, and
the friendly grasp of the hand of christian fellowship extended through
the highly excited congregation.

Brethren crowded towards the stand to reach the hand of the “strange
brother,” who had so opportunely appeared in the “Far-West.” Some one
called on him to come down from the platform, where all the people
could approach him.

Father Clark, whose day of discharge every one knew could not be far
distant, approached with light in his eyes and joy in his countenance.
He first seized one hand with a nervous grasp, then the other;
then struck both palms on his shoulders, and before there was time
to reflect, threw both arms around his body with an affectionate
embrace, and gave him the ancient salutation on both cheeks. The vast
congregation were melted, and many voices became so tremulous that the
singing almost ceased.

But “the end of all things is at hand.” The friends of Father Clark saw
the infirmities of age pressing on him. His walks were limited, his
preaching less frequent, and his visits to families were fewer and at
longer intervals.

He had gained a home in every family he visited, and a place in
every Christian heart. There was no murmuring; nor fretfulness; no
complaining of the degeneracy of the age, which is the common failing
of old men.

His friends gave him money whenever he needed it. He was seldom known
to have a larger sum than fifty cents at one time, and then he felt
uneasy until he found some deserving object of charity to relieve him.
He desired nothing, sought nothing, and needed nothing of this world’s
wealth. His wants were few and promptly supplied by his friends. He had
every comfort he desired. He lived among a people where hospitality
is a cardinal virtue, and the kind feelings of his friends were
exhaustless.

Knowing his increasing infirmities, the author made an effort to visit
him at William Patterson’s house on Coldwater, but found he had gone
to another home on Fox Creek, and pressing engagements prevented going
there. The pen was substituted for a personal interview, and a sketch
of his eventful life was commenced, but failing strength prevented its
completion.[62]

He lingered along, growing more and more feeble until the autumn of
1833. A letter from one of his brethren, with whom he always found a
hospitable and comfortable home,[63] written to his friends in Illinois
after his decease, tells the story of his decline in a few words.

“For two years before his death, he had been in a bad state of health,
but still traveled through the settlements (St. Louis county) and
preached till the 22d of September, when he preached his last sermon at
the house of Mr. Quick. He was seized with a severe bowel complaint,
which lasted several days, but from which he partially recovered.

“As in health so in his sickness, he must be traveling. We moved him
four times in his sickness. On Friday morning, he breathed his last at
the house of Elisha Patterson.”

This we suppose to be the 11th of October, 1833. Had he lived to the
29th of November, he would have attained seventy-five years.

His funeral was attended the next day by a large concourse of people.
It is not known that he had a relative on earth living, but the
Christian people over the whole country where he preached were his
sincere mourners.

His mortal remains were deposited in a burying ground, on which the
church, with which he lived and died, had erected a house of worship of
hewn logs, and his friends placed at the head and foot of his grave a
pair of neat marble tombstones, with a suitable inscription.

The place is now an obscure one, out of sight from all public roads.
A lot has been provided by a liberal and philanthropic gentleman of
St. Louis for the special purpose of a resting place for the Pioneer
Preachers of Missouri. Thither it is proposed to convey the remains of
FATHER CLARK, THE PIONEER PREACHER.



APPENDIX.


In the “Western Christian Advocate,” Cincinnati, of October, 1834, we
found a communication from Rev. John Glanville, the circuit preacher of
the Methodist Episcopal Church, in St. Louis county, dated Sept. 25th,
from which we give the following extract, relating to Mr. Clark.

“The first preacher that brought the gospel, as understood and taught
by the Methodists, across the mighty Mississippi, was the Rev. John
Clark. While this country was under the Spanish Government, it was an
_illegal_ act;--but not in reference to that _law_ which makes the
minister of God a debtor to the Jew and to the Greek; to the wise and
the unwise. Having received a commission to preach the gospel to every
creature, God sent him not on a warfare at his own cost. Seals to his
ministry yet remain in this circuit.

“I saw him on his death-bed. He insisted on being taken to the meeting
place. It was done. He enjoyed himself under preaching. Class meeting
followed. The old man seemed like a person returned to his home and his
friends like a long absence, exulting, rejoicing, and declaring that
for many years he had been subject to doubts about his acceptance with
God; but that for fours years past, he had not a doubt, and was calmly
waiting for his departure. The next time I came to the place, I laid
him in the tomb. He had returned to the same house to be at meeting,
but on the preceding day was called to the great assembly above.”


FUNERAL DISCOURSES.

It has been customary throughout the south and west to preach funeral
discourses, after interment, at such time as may accommodate the
largest number of friends or relatives. Rev. Messrs. James and Joseph
Lemen had been selected by Mr. Clark for this purpose. After conferring
with those more directly concerned, the following places were selected,
and due notice given in the papers.

Bethel meeting-house in St. Clair county, the first Sabbath in
February;--New Design, in Monroe county, second Sabbath;--Judge Brown,
in Greene county, on the third Sabbath;--and Coldwater in Missouri, at
William Patterson’s, the fourth Sabbath in February. It was stated in
the notice,--“The object in preaching at these several places, is to
afford opportunity to the friends of our deceased Father to join in
paying this last tribute of respect to his worthy memory. These places
furnish central localities in the great moral vineyard, where his
labors were ordinarily bestowed.” Immense congregations attended these
appointments.



FOOTNOTES


[1] The true aboriginal name of the MISSISSIPPI.

[2] Prov. xxiii: 5.

[3] Transport ships are engaged in carrying soldiers and munitions of
war from one country to another.

[4] 1 Cor. xv: 33.

[5] Eccl. vii: 14.

[6] A convoy is one or more ships of war sent to protect merchant
vessels and transports.

[7] Technically “burst.”

[8] A Letter of Marque is a merchant vessel, licensed to go armed, and
fight in defense in time of war.

[9] A cartel is an agreement between nations at war, for exchange of
prisoners. It is also used for the vessel that brings them home.

[10] They proved to be the captain and two mates of the vessel.

[11] Jer. x: 23.

[12] Job xxviii: 28.--Ps. cxi: 10.--Prov. i: 7; ix: 10; xv: 33.--Luke
xii: 5.

[13] Job xvi: 2.

[14] Ezek. xviii: 20.

[15] Luke xviii: 13.

[16] Acts ix: 6.

[17] Psalmist, H. 472.

[18] Rom. viii: 14-17.

[19] 1 Cor. xii: 3.

[20] 2 Peter iii: 18.

[21] Looking into the History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, by
Rev. Dr. Bangs, Vol. 1, p. 253, we find the following under 1786.

“At the Conference in Virginia, a proposal was made for some preachers
to volunteer their services for the State of Georgia, and several
offered themselves for this new field of labor. Two of those who
offered themselves, namely, Thomas Humphries and John Major, were
accepted, and they went to work in the name of the Lord, and were
made a blessing to many. They formed a circuit along settlements on
the banks of the Savannah river, round by Little river, including the
town of Washington. During the year they formed several societies,
containing upwards of four hundred members--so greatly did God bless
their labors.”

The preceding year (1785) Thomas Humphries was on Tar river circuit,
N. C., and John Major on Mecklenburg circuit in Virginia. Very probably
the emigration of Methodists from his circuit to Broad river in
Georgia, drew him there.

[22] Conference Minutes, vol. 1, pp. 39 and 41.

[23] Many of our readers require telling that _Episcopal hierarchies_
have what they call three “_Orders_” in the ministry, in ascending
grades; as, _deacons_, _presbyters_ or _priests_, and _bishops_. The
last named communicates the official gift to those below him, by
“laying on of hands.” The Methodist Episcopal Church has the same
orders, though in a modified form. With them the term Elder is used to
express the second grade.

[24] Minutes, Vol. 1, p. 20.

[25] Psalmist--Hymn 1068.

[26] We give old English names for these garments, purposely; such as
they were called before finical and apish people changed them for the
unintelligible ones now used.

[27] Bib. Antiq., vol. I., Chap. V., pp. 115-129. Amer. S. S. Union.

[28] 1 Cor. ix: 19-23.

[29] 1 Cor. i: 30.

[30] 37 1-2 cents.

[31] Butternut--_Juglans alba oblonga_.

[32] The edition before us is the seventh, and “printed by John
Dunlap, at the newest printing office in Market street, Philadelphia,
MDCCLXXIII.” [1773.] The title page reads, “A Confession of Faith, put
forth by the Elders and Brethren of many Congregations of Christians,
(Baptized upon Profession of their Faith,) in London and the Country.”

Adopted by the Baptist Association, met in Philadelphia, Sept.
25, 1742. This “Confession” had its origin in fact from “seven
congregations gathered in London, 1643,” and revised and adopted
by “Ministers and Messengers of upwards of one hundred baptized
congregations in England and Wales,” in 1689. The “Confession” of that
year is signed by thirty-eight persons, as a committee, “in the name
and behalf of the whole assembly.” The name of the renowned Hanserd
Knollys stands at the head of the committee. The object of this
Confession, was not to have a “standard,” or rule of faith, separate
from or in addition to the Scriptures, in the churches, but “for the
satisfaction of all other Christians that differ from us in the point
of baptism.”

[33] Job xxxviii: 2.

[34] At that period (1796,) the Methodists had five circuits in
Kentucky, ten preachers in the traveling connection, and 1880 whites
and 64 blacks in their societies. Their preachers, learning that
Mr. Clark had left the Methodist connection, gave him no direct
encouragement as a preacher. Mr. Jolliff, Rev. J. Lillard, and two or
three other preachers were Independent Methodists, and affiliated with
Clark.

According to Asplund’s Register, there were 57 Baptist churches, 50
ordained ministers, 16 licentiates, and 3,453 members, in 1792. Twenty
per cent. increase at least should be added for their number in 1796.
This would give 4,150 communicants.

[35] Pictures.

[36] It will not be thought strange that such a boy as Thomas Bush
(which is a fictitious name for a real personage) became a graduate
of Transylvania University, studied law in Lexington, was elected to
Congress, and became a Judge of the Court. In all these stations he
was an honor to himself, and to those who trained him for usefulness
and respectability. He also became a Christian professor, lived a
life of faith in Jesus Christ, and died in the full hope of a blessed
immortality.

[37] Whiskey in which cherries have been steeped.

[38] This is the aboriginal meaning of Mississippi.

[39] Their towns were situated about twenty miles a little east of
north from Springfield, and not far from where now the Chicago and
Mississippi railroad crosses Salt Creek, in Logan county. Kickapoo, a
branch of Salt Creek, may be seen on the sectional map of Illinois.

[40] The cordelle is a long rope attached to the bow of the boat, and
drawn over the shoulders of the men, who walk along the bank. The
setting-pole is about ten or twelve feet long, with the lower end shod
with iron, and the upper end terminating in a knob, which is pressed
against the shoulder, and the men who use them walk forwards on the
narrow gunwale, in a very stooping posture, with their faces towards
the stern. This shoves the boat against a strong current. When the
hands on the gunwale next the shore drop their poles and catch hold of
limbs and bushes that overhang the river and pull the boat forward, it
is called “bush-whacking.” Oars are used in crossing the river from
one shore to the other. A long heavy oar with a wide blade is attached
to the stern so as to move on a pivot, and the steersman, who is
commandant for the occasion, directs the boatmen. This was the mode of
ascending western rivers before the “Age of Steam.”

[41] A species of New England rum, brought from New Orleans.

[42] James Lemen, Sen., became a Baptist preacher, and died January
8th, 1823. He left four sons in the ministry, all of whom, venerable
men, are still living in 1854.

[43] Judge Martin’s History of Louisiana, vol. ii, p. 90.

[44] Ibid, p. 153.

[45] Stoddard’s Sketches of Louisiana, pp. 211-224. Annals of the
West; St. Louis Edition, 1850, p. 543. The aggregate population of
Upper Louisiana at the period of the cession, was about 10,120, of
which 3,760 were French, including a few Spanish families; 5,090 were
Anglo-Americans, who had come into the country after 1790;--and 1,270
black people, who were slaves, with a few exceptions. Indians were not
counted, although several bands had their villages within the bounds of
the settlements.

[46] The Spanish prison. Jail.

[47] This is _Fife_ in French orthography, and the name of a Frenchman
who first settled on it.

[48] _Clo-shai_--a steeple.

[49] Robert Lemen, Esq., of St. Clair county, Illinois.

[50] Rev. Joseph Lemen, _ibid._

[51] Rev. James Lemen, then junior, now senior.

[52] For about twenty years, we depend wholly on the recollections of
his surviving friends, for the incidents of his life and labors. The
facts have been obtained, but after protracted and diligent search, we
cannot in all cases accurately fix the dates. In no instance do we vary
from the exact period more than four or five years.

[53] Red Staff, from the color of the flag-staff.

[54] Rev. James Lemen, who narrated the incident to the author.

[55] We extract the following correspondence from the WESTERN PIONEER,
of which the author was editor, of February 16, 1831.

“The following letter from Judge Brown to the editor will be read
with pleasure by many of our subscribers. The venerable Father Clark
has long been known in Illinois and Missouri as a prudent, but
uncompromising advocate of human freedom and the rights of man. The
ladies could not have paid the worthy father in the ministry a happier
compliment than making him a member of the Colonization Society.

                    CARROLLTON, Ill., December 25, 1830.

DEAR SIR:--The cause of Colonization is gaining ground in our county,
and many, both male and female, take a deep interest therein. The Rev.
John Clark was constituted a life member of the auxiliary society of
Greene County, on the 12th inst., by the patriotic ladies of Lofton’s
prairie and its vicinity, who is the first person, so far as I know,
who has been constituted by the ladies a member of that most benevolent
institution. I hope for the honor of those ladies, and to stimulate
others to follow the example they have set, you will publish the
following resolution, with such remarks as you may deem proper to
promote the cause of colonization, which I consider a most efficient
means that ever have been adopted to civilize and Christianize the
uncultivated and barbarous tribes of Africa, as well as to wipe away a
foul stain from our national character.

          Respectfully your obedient servant,      JEHU BROWN.

                    CARROLLTON, Ill., Dec. 25, 1830.

At a called meeting of the Auxiliary Colonization Society of Greene
county, it was

_Resolved_, That the thanks of this society be presented to the ladies
of Lofton’s prairie and vicinity, for their generosity and benevolent
feelings in constituting Rev. John Clark a life member of this society.

          By order of the President.      MOSES O. BLEDSOE, Secretary.

[56] The author tried the practice of bathing the feet in cold water
in the morning, while traveling on these frontiers, and found it
invariably injurious to _him_. The application of cold water to the
feet and body of more than one-fourth is positively injurious. To
others it is highly beneficial. This depends on the _temperament_. Mr.
Clark had a sanguine-nervous temperament, and received benefit. The
writer has a bilious-nervous temperament, and the circulation sluggish.
To such, the experience and observation of fifty years have taught that
the cold bath is injurious, while the hot bath is exhilarating. Careful
observation and experience are the only safe guides. It is sheer
quackery to prescribe the same treatment to all persons.

[57] This was Enoch Long, Esq., now of Galena, Ill.

[58] This was the seminary at Rock Spring, which proved the embryo of
Shurtleff College.

[59] This is the usage amongst Baptists. No ecclesiastical authority is
required to constitute a church. Any number of the disciples of Christ,
when baptized on a profession of faith, can unite in church fellowship.
Ministers and other brethren, on invitation, meet with them, and give
them public recognition as being in union.

[60] Rev. Elijah Dodson.

[61] Job xxi: 15.

[62]

            COPY.--Coldwater, Mo., Sept. 20th, 1832.

DEAR FATHER IN THE GOSPEL:

I have come this way on my tour to the Missouri Association, with the
hope of seeing you, and having one more interview on the shore of time.
I imagine you have gotten to the banks of Jordan, and are waiting for
the boat to carry you safely across.

I have some special business with you, on behalf of your friends, which
I meant to have done by word of mouth, but now must do it with the pen.
During your long pilgrimage, you have been _trying to do good_, and no
doubt wish to keep _trying_ the inch of time you may remain with us.
Some of your Christian friends are anxious you should do some _good on
earth_, after you have joined the ranks above.

Your friends think a memoir of your life, including your conversion,
experience, travels, and labors would be interesting and useful to the
living; and they are not willing to part with you without having the
materials left.

Your labors in this country are intimately connected with the religious
history of the country, and to have an accurate account of the one, we
must have a sketch of the other. We wish you to commence writing, the
mere facts and dates, without regard to style, soon, and continue as
your strength permits. Yours with due respect,

[63] Mr. William Patterson.



Transcriber’s Notes


Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not
changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Multiple paragraphs within quoted text inconsistently begin with
quotation marks. These inconsistencies have been retained here.

Page 9: “_Frith of Murray_” probably should be “Firth”.

Page 13: “all his studies” was misprinted as “stndies”; changed here.

Page 26: “a monument” was misprinted as “monment”; changed here.

Page 47: “Sweedish” was printed that way.

Page 113: “Pittssylvania” was printed that way, but looks like a
printer’s typesetting error.





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