We were now traveling up the valley of the Platte River. It was the month of June. The weather had become rainy and there were frequent showers. One night we had corralled our train on an almost dead level bottom, and I was sure, from the appearance of the heavens, that we should have a storm. Bro. Butcher had been taken sick and had returned home, and, except myself, there were none to think or care what was coming; and yet it was plain to be seen that the air was thick and sultry, and the heavens overcast with clouds, and that everything betokened a tempest. Our canvas-covered wagons had been so crowded with merchandise that we could not get into them, and we had slept on blankets on the ground; but here on this dead level bottom, in case of a heavy rain, we would be drowned out by the flooding of the ground. I dragged under my wagon a number of ox-yokes, and with these and some strips of boards I made a platform, and on this I laid a narrow pallet, and crept under the wagon, where I would be sheltered from the rain by the wagon-bed above me. During the night there fell frequent showers, and the boys were soon drowned out from their pallets on the ground. They were tired and sleepy; they were homesick and in bad temper at their mean and unaccustomed surroundings, and were inclined to hold the Yankees responsible for it all, and they began to curse and swear in rough and bitter speech. Then there came on the most awful thunder storm I ever witnessed. Vivid flashes of lightning kept the whole heavens illuminated with a blaze of light, while a thousand electric lights would not so have turned night into day around our corral of train-wagons. Crashing peals of thunder were in the air, and the bolts seemed to descend to the earth around us. Then there came down a flood of rain that was as if a water spout had burst above our heads. I looked out from my narrow bed, and could see the boys gathered in groups, standing leaning against their wagons, soaked to the skin, and their faces white with ghastly paleness; but not a word was spoken. They had forgotten to swear. Then there was a lull in the storm, which subsided into a drizzling cold rain, and I went to sleep.
When morning came we were a sorry looking lot. The boys were soaked, and chilled, and blue, and dreadfully homesick. Words would not tell what these poor fellows would have given if they could have been where they could have been coddled and petted by their mothers and sisters. I saw that a warm cup of coffee and a substantial breakfast would do them good, and I hastened to have it provided. They came with alacrity at the call for breakfast, for they were hungry. When a good square meal had somewhat thawed them out, I said, "Boys, what made you quit swearing last night?" The one who was usually their spokesman, and who knew how to be a gentleman if he had a mind to be, said reverently, "We were afraid." From this time forward our debates over slavery and the Southern Confederacy were at an end, or if we had them it was in a friendly way. Given a fair chance, these boys were not so bad as they seemed.
In the summer of 1864 we had reached the "Cutoff," and were within eighty miles of Denver. It was late on Saturday afternoon when we got to the Bijou Ranch. We were tired and our teams were tired, and we debated for some time whether we should drive ten miles further, where we would find better feed for our oxen. We did so, though it took us till midnight; and there we rested on Sunday. This was providential; for it was on this Sunday that the Cheyenne Indians made their memorable raid and plundered the trains, burned the ranches and stole the horses for three hundred miles along the Platte River. They attacked the Bijou Station that we had left on Saturday, but they did not venture any nearer Denver; consequently we were safe. On our return we saw how the people had been murdered, the trains plundered and the ranches burned along our route; and it presented a terrible spectacle. A man named Butler was killed and scalped on the Little Blue River, and the people in Kansas got the word that it was myself. Immediately on my return home I rode up to the church at Wolf Creek, in Doniphan county, where we had a district meeting appointed. It was to them as if I had come from the dead. I went home for dinner with my old friend, Bro. John Beeler. I noticed his little boy peering attentively at me; he climbed upon a bedstead close behind me, then, jumping down, he ran to his mother, and, pulling Sister Beeler by the apron, said, "Ma! Ma! The Indians did scalp Bro. Butler; I can see it on the top of his head." The reader must know that, like "Old Uncle Ned," I have no hair on the top of my head.
But, in spite of disasters and hardships, and dark and stormy days, our churches continued to grow and prosper, and we kept up a vigorous and aggressive church organization. On Sept. 27, 1864, the churches of the State came together at their fifth annual State meeting at Tecumseh, Shawnee county. Here the brethren organized a missionary society, fashioned after the plan of our General Missionary Society, and in which life directorships, life memberships and annual memberships were obtained by the payment of a sum of money.
The writer of these Recollections will explain that the formation of this Society was not his work. He doubted whether the brethren were prepared for it. Nevertheless, he was willing to be governed by the majority. By resolution of the State meeting, the writer was requested to prepare for publication with the minutes of the meeting an address, of which the following is a copy:
ADDRESS TO THE CHRISTIAN BRETHREN OF THE STATE OF KANSAS.
Beloved Brethren: We present to you in these pages the details of the organization of the Christian Missionary Society of the State of Kansas. We hope for your approval and ask for your contributions.
The warrior may fight for his country on the battle field; the statesman may seek to develop its resources and improve its laws; the husbandman may make its fields heavy with their weight of golden grain; and those who love domestic life may seek to create in that place they call home a second paradise; but broader, deeper, more comprehensive and sweeter far, is the work of Christianity. It underlies all good, and is the only sure basis of progress.
For two thousand years China and Japan have been without the Bible, and what they were then, that they are now. For two thousand years the millions of India have been left without God and without hope in the world, and they have only progressed into infinite degradations. The aboriginal inhabitants of America, left without the Bible, have only gone down deeper and deeper into a night as black as that which brooded over old chaos.
No Herschel counts the stars, numbers the planets, measures the length of their years and computes the number of their days, unless his observatory is illuminated by the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. No Luther thunders against priestcraft, shakes the thrones of tyrants, and wakes the nations to a new life and a new progress, save that Luther that finds a Bible in his cell. No Franklin calls down electricity from the clouds to carry messages across a continent swift as the lightning flashes through the sky, save that Franklin whose fathers brought the Bible with them from their native land, and prized it more than all the gold of Ophir. No mother country has had such reason to be proud of any colony that was ever planted on the face of this green earth, as Great Britain has had reason to be proud of her colonies in North America, and no colonies ever so loved the Bible. Judson, Howard, Wilberforce, and Florence Nightingale drew the inspiration of their benevolence from a dying Saviour's cross, and learned of him who, "though he was rich, yet for our sakes become poor, that we through his poverty might be rich."
Christianity, as it was given by Jesus to the apostles, and by the apostles to mankind, was as perfect as the God who gave it. Our whole duty then is this, that we should restore primitive and apostolic Christianity again to the world. Many reformers have sought to do this; but they have only reformed in part. Though they fled from Babylon they stopped short of Jerusalem.
We can not pause in this work which we have begun. We can not allow ourselves to grow cold and our churches to die. We must go forward in that path in which the rays of our glorious sun—the Sun of Righteousness—grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.
God does not make Christians as he created Adam out of the dust of the earth. He works by means: "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" God works through the voice of the Bible scattered over the world. If any doubt this, let them reflect that among all the millions of men that inhabit the whole earth not one becomes a Christian save him who either hears or reads of a crucified Saviour.
Money is the sinews of this war. True, there is peril in money. It is not safe to be rich; and it is admitted that by wealth preachers may be corrupted. But this is not the present danger. The present peril is, that haggard want, stalking in at the preacher's door, will paralyze his tongue, make his knees feeble and his hands heavy, and turn away his heart from his proper work to the question, What shall I eat? and what shall I drink? and wherewithal shall I be clothed? The preacher is told to put his trust in the Lord. But when, after long waiting, no ravens come to feed him, he sometimes loses his heart, and says, "I go a fishing." Surely the brethren will not have a controversy with the Lord. They will not deny that he has appointed that "they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel."
It is by no weak, sickly, faint-hearted, lukewarm, languid, and spasmodic efforts that the cause is to be kept alive. God will have all or nothing. This is an age in which, if never before, both good men and bad men are truly in earnest. The devil is fearfully and terribly in earnest "Therefore rejoice you heavens, and you that dwell in them Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time."
We must give till we feel it. The widow's mite was most precious in the eyes of Jesus, because it was her all.
The objects we aim at are unquestionably scriptural. "Go disciple all nations." This was the Saviour's last command. To sustain our missionaries by the free-will offering of our brethren—this is also scriptural.
In the year 1865 the State meeting was held at Prairie City. Meantime, however, a vigorous local district organization had been maintained from the first in Northeastern Kansas. This year its annual meeting was held at Leavenworth City, continuing from the first till the 4th of June. In addition to the ordinary purposes for which this meeting was held, it undertook to perfect the Missionary Society that had been organized the preceding year at Tecumseh.
Among all the conventions held in Kansas, whether of State or District, this must be regarded as the most notable:
1. It offers devout thanksgiving to the Lord for the return of peace to the nation: "Resolved, That with hearts full of gratitude to Almighty God, we hail the return of peace to our long distracted country."
2. After seven years of labor, beginning in 1858, and ending in 1865, notwithstanding the disorders of the period, this Convention is able to give a tabulated report of seventy-nine churches organized in the State with their bishops, deacons and evangelists, and having an aggregate of 3,020.
3. It is able to report a missionary society, that in the eight months intervening between the Tecumseh State meeting and the present Convention, has collected and paid over to its four evangelists—J; H. Bauserman, Pardee Butler, S. G. Brown and J. J. Trott—the sum of $827.
4. The Convention was able to adjourn, full of hope and enthusiasm, and to promise itself that it would do a still better work in the time to come.
The names of the following persons appear as the accredited messengers of the churches: Leavenworth—J. C. Stone, G. H. Field, S. A. Marshal, H. Allen, J. T. Gardiner, Calvin Reasoner. Ottumwa—J. T. Cox, Wm. Gans, J. Jenks, Peter Smith. Tecumseh—J. Driver, M. Driver, A. J. Alderman. Americus—W. C. Butler, S. S. Chapman. Le Roy—S. G. Brown, Allen Crocker. Little Stranger—J. H. Bauserman, S. A. Lacefield, J. Adams, J. P. Bauserman. Iola—S. Brown. Nine Mile—N. D. Tyler, J. T. Goode, H. Dickson. Garnett—J. Ramsey, H. Cavender. Holton—E. Cope, J. P. Nichols, T. G. Walters, A. B. Scholes. Pardee—Pardee Butler, N. Dunshee. Belmont—J. J. Trott. Monrovia—J. N. Holliday, John Graves, Caleb May. Mt. Pleasant—Joseph Potter, Thomas Miller, Joseph McBride, N. Humber. Olathe P. E. Henderson, John Elston, Martin Davenport, Addison Bowen. Lanesfield—O. S. Laws, Wm. Maxwell, H. C. Maxwell. Prairie City—H. H. Johnson. Buck Creek—C. M. Short, Thomas Finch, Martin Stoddard. Grasshopper Falls—James Ritter, S. Smith. Winchester—Cyrus Taylor, A. R. Cantwell.
But we wait for a period of seventeen years, then Eld S. T. Dodd, of Topeka, is appointed by the Kansas Christian Missionary Society to write a history of the work of the Christian Church in Kansas, which he does in a tract of thirty-eight pages; and Bro. D., writing under date of 1882, makes the following summary of the work done:
From 1856 to 1865 anything like church work was as good as thrown away, except as affording temporary privileges.
Finally a time came when the clatter of arms and the clatter of raiders were ended; railroads were built, and emigration poured in from all States and nations, among which were many Disciples of Christ, who should have been builded into existing churches, or collected into new ones; but many were permitted to drift along in carelessness and irresponsibility until their identity as members has been lost.
During the past five years there has been a general awakening among our brethren, which has resulted in very many new organizations and the possession of Atchison, Topeka, Wichita, and several other strongholds.
Bro. Dodd makes report of the following State meetings as having been held in Kansas:
In 1869, Grantville; in 1870, Le Roy; in 1871, St. George; in 1872, Emporia; in 1873, Topeka; in 1874, Olathe; in 1875, Ottawa, in 1876, Manhattan; in 1877, Emporia; in 1878, Gates Center; in 1879, Emporia; in 1880, Manhattan; in 1881, Salina; in 1832, Emporia.
To the above summary the writer will add the following list of the earlier Territorial and State meetings:
In 1860, Big Springs; in 1861, Prairie City; in 1862, Emporia; in 1863, Ottawa; in 1864, Tecumseh; in 1865, Prairie City; in 1866, Ottawa; in 1867, Olathe.
To the above statistics we will append the following reflections:
1. Among the preachers that prominently appear in the first seven years of our work, there are none remaining, save the writer of these Recollections, Some are fallen out by the way. Elders S. G. Brown, Wm. Gans, N. B. White, S. A. Marshal and Allen Crocker have died in the faith and hope of the gospel. The name of J. H. Bauserman does, indeed, appear, but he had only just begun his work; but having put the armor on, he has never laid it off. The name of J. B. McCleery does not yet appear on the minutes of our yearly meetings, still he was already an evangelist. He had been in Ohio the friend and companion of James A. Garfield, and soon came to be known as one of the first pulpit orators of the State. The government, like death, "loves a shining mark," and claimed Bro. McCleery for its service, and he is now an army chaplain. The churches will never cease to regret his choice, and yet he had a right to make it.
2. The facts do not bear out the remark of Bro. S. T. Dodd, that "from 1856 to 1865 anything like church work was as good as thrown away." With seventy-nine churches organized, and with upwards of three thousand church members in the State, work could scarcely be said to be "as good as thrown away."
3. Notwithstanding, the facts bear witness that there were grave imperfections in our work. After a heroic battle, fought under insuperable difficulties, and when there was every promise of still more brilliant triumphs, the cause went into an eclipse, from which it emerged only after many years of disaster.
From and after the year 1875, the churches spread themselves over a territory of two hundred miles in width and four hundred miles in length, and a great number of men became responsible for the good or the evil that should come on the cause of primitive and apostolic Christianity. It is probable that since the period of which we are speaking, 100,000 Disciples have located somewhere in these Western Territories. If the church should now undertake to make inquisition for these church members, and make inquiry into their present condition, temporal and spiritual, the story of their wants and woes would be full of pathetic eloquence.
Since the days of the apostles an enthusiasm never has been known greater than that which was felt by the men who, under God, are responsible for this Reformation. In the beginning of the present century the missionary spirit among Christians was dead, and their zeal was wasted in disgraceful squabbles over inoperative and metaphysical opinions, or over modes of church government of which the Bible knows nothing.
The Protestant sects were divided into two hostile camps, known as Calvinists and Arminians. The Calvinist dogma was that Jesus died only for the elect, who were chosen in a by-gone eternity; that all men are spiritually as dead and helpless as was the cold dead dust of the earth out of which Adam was created, but that God will quicken into a new life dead sinners who are of the elect, and will give them evidence of their acceptance by the joyful emotions which he will create in their hearts. And so the supreme interest of men centered in this, that they were to seek in their own hearts those raptures and ecstasies that were evidence that they had experienced this spiritual change. The Arminians gloried in a free salvation. Christ died for all. But they demanded identically the same evidence of pardon demanded by the Calvinists, and men found it just as hard to get this Arminian evidence of pardon as to get the experience that assured them that they were of the elect, according to the gospel of Calvinism; and so it game to pass that this lethargy of Christians over missionary work, and these wranglings over human opinions, had, before the Revolutionary War, covered the American colonies like a blanket with the spirit of infidelity. The corruption of Christianity by the Roman Catholic Church issued in the atheism of the French Revolution, and has created the infidelity of modern European nations; so like causes had precipitated a similar result in America. Men were groping as the blind grope in darkness, and then came, during the first half of the present century, the proclamation of primitive and apostolic Christianity. Alexander Campbell, John Smith, Jacob Creath and Samuel Rogers in Virginia and Kentucky, and Walter Scott, the Haydens and John Henry in Northeastern Ohio, made the people understand that the plan of salvation is as simple as the primer of our childhood; that it is all comprehended in this, that we must bow to the authority of Jesus, that we must believe in him and keep his commandments, and that the whole story is told in the four gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles with such simplicity that he that runs may read, that he that reads may understand, and that he that understands may act.
Alexander Campbell has said that a persecution made up of defamation, proscription and slander may be as hard to hear as that which issues in bonds and imprisonments; and this these early Disciples had to bear. But the world was ripe for reformation, and the cause spread like fire on the prairies.
Those who originally planted these churches in Kansas were, in large part, men and women who had drawn their inspiration directly from the founders and leaders of this Reformation. To some of them it had been given to sit at the feet of Alexander Campbell. Others had listened to John Smith, and had been magnetized by the inimitable wit and wisdom of that marvelous man, and their hearts had drawn heroic courage from his heart. Others still had been captivated by the boyish and unstudied drollery of Walter Scott, only to be swept away by a whirlwind of passionate appeal and terrible invective, or to be melted with the tenderness of his portrayal of the love of Jesus. And all these came to Kansas bearing a great cause in their hearts, and determined to build up here such churches as they had left behind them. But this was not all. Here were not only people among the most refined, well informed, and pious in the nation, but here were those who had been born in a storm of religious fanaticism, and could only live in a whirlwind of excitement. These were the "big-meeting" Christians. There were also those whose truthfulness was doubtful, whose business methods were questionable, who could, on occasion, indulge in coarse and vulgar jokes and smutty jests, and whose religion scarce kept them outside the grog-shop. Added to all this, there were many whose hearts were yet bleeding with wounds they had received in that terrible struggle out of which the nation had just emerged. And now, afflicted with poverty, drouth, grasshoppers and starvation, we were left an agglomeration of heterogeneous materials, to fight our own battle as best we might. We might hope for help from the Lord, but not from our brethren in the older States. They were too busy debating the divine plan of missionary operations to help us.
The reader may well believe that the writer of these Recollections did not find himself carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while this was going on, nor did he find himself reposing on a couch soft as downy pillows.
Whatever may have been thought by a certain class of men, when the writer began his work in Kansas, it is now universally admitted among the Disciples that temperance work is legitimate church work—that the saloon being an enemy to our homes and our families, and the greatest peril that confronts the church and nation, its extinction is a legitimate object of Christian endeavor.
There was a young evangelist prominently engaged with us in our early work whose history is so sad, and whose relations, who are of the excellent of the earth, have already had their hearts so wounded because of him, that I have not been able to bring myself to write his name. He was of Irish descent, and before he became a preacher, or even a disciple, and while learning his trade, he had formed the drinking habit. He was not a young man of brilliant gifts, but they were solid. Moreover, he was humble, patient, industrious and persevering, and, having excellent health and a good physical organization, he gave promise of enduring usefulness. In short, he belonged to that class of young men that, while the people do not spoil them with flattery, yet the church set a great store by them. I can not write the history of his fall, for it was not made known even to his friends; only this, that the time came that he seemed hesitating whether he should continue a preacher, and finally he wholly abandoned the ministry. His wife, who was a most estimable and Christian lady, was paralyzed with grief. At length the shameful truth came out—he was a drunkard! A brother undertook to admonish him of the awful fate that awaited him in the future world, but this apostate and disgraced preacher turned fiercely around and said: "don't talk to me of hell! I am in hell now!"
There was living in the neighborhood of the writer a Christian family—though not of the Disciples—who had a boy that they regarded as of great promise, and they did what they could to give him a good education. After he had been for a while a school teacher, he became a lawyer, resident in Atchison, and finally became a politician. He was talented, social, companionable and ambitious, and soon made himself a man of mark, and was petted and courted by the people, and was the idol of his father and mother. All this brought him much into company. But at that time the brewers and saloonkeepers exercised a despotism over the politicians and public men of the city as absolute as is the despotism of the Czar over the Russians. But there was this difference: instead of being slaves to a great monarch, these politicians were tools and lick-spittles to a set of coarse, brutal, low-bred liquor dealers, who were exceptionally ignorant, degraded and vile. These wretched and vicious corrupters of the public morals insisted on controlling every caucus, and that the candidates, of whatever party, should be men well pleasing in their sight. If not, then the fat was in the fire, and the candidate was forthwith slaughtered. The writer of these Recollections has been a Republican as long as there has been a Republican party, and has probably loved the party as well as it has deserved. This party, as is well known, has assumed to be "the party of moral and religious ideas." Now I have known, in cases not a few, men to be nominated for office by this party—men who were respectable and Christian men, and they have told me, and they have made the confession with shame and humiliation—that the party managers have come to them and said, "You are assessed so much for campaign expenses." The pretext was, that this was for legitimate campaign work; and yet they knew that the pretext was a lie, and that it was to constitute a corruption fund, to be put into the saloons. And these men were thus made candidates, to give respectability to the saloonkeepers' party, and, though they did not go into the saloons themselves, they must pay toll to the devil all the same.
It was under such circumstances that this boy, who had been raised in our neighborhood, but had grown to be a man, and had entered upon public life, now became a center of attraction to the hale-fellows-well-met of the saloon and the caucus. The reader need not be told that this gifted young lawyer was walking into the very jaws of death. There were soon alarming rumors that he was becoming dangerously addicted to drink, and his friends entreated him to save himself while he could, and he made promise to his mother and wife to reform. But, alas! it was too late!
I was traveling home from Topeka, and on the railroad train I met a gentleman from Atchison—an intimate friend of this young lawyer—and I was congratulating him on the reformation of our mutual friend. He shook his head, and said: "don't deceive yourself. He tells me that he can remain sober two or three months, but that then he can held out no longer, and, not wishing to make a public spectacle of himself, he buys a bottle of liquor, locks himself up in his room, and goes into a regular debauch. Then, after three or four days, he is able to appear on the streets again."
After a while the friends of this young man buried him. The doctors gave his sickness a respectable name, and reported that he had died of such a disease as decent people may die of, but his friends, with heart-breaking sorrow, knew they were burying a man who had died of a drunken debauch.
I have spoken freely of the evils wrought by our border troubles; but now we had to realize that, taking all the men murdered in our early feuds, and comparing them with the men murdered by strong drink in the city of Atchison, counting man for man, there have been more men murdered by strong drink than by all our border troubles. There have been more women that have had their hearts broken, more children turned into the streets, more fortunes squandered, in the single city of Atchison than in all the Kansas war. But there is another point of comparison. The men who wrestled with each other in that early conflict verily thought they were right. They may have been mistaken, but they thought they were in the right; they therefore maintained their own self-respect. But those who have died in this battle of the bottles and the beer glasses have lost everything—self-respect, reputation, honor, everything; and they went to the dogs and their souls went to perdition.
I have been a somewhat voluminous writer on many subjects now for forty years, but all this would scarce exceed in amount what I have written in Kansas newspapers, during a series of years, on the single subject of temperance. Besides, I spent much time in lecturing, for the welfare of the church and of the nation was at stake; and yet, what was done by myself was only a drop in the bucket compared with what went to make up, year after year, a great agitation. At length the people became so aroused that the lawmakers at Topeka came to understand that something must be done in the way of temperance legislation; and they gave us a local option law. But crafty politicians obtained that cities of the first and second class should be exempted. This was nothing but mockery. The cities were the very places where the law was most needed, for men from the country went into the city and there they encountered their old enemy, the saloon. And so we kept up the agitation, and demanded that the saloon should be prohibited throughout the State. At length the pressure became so great that the politicians understood a second time that something must be yielded to the popular demand, and they tried another dodge. They said: "We will give you the privilege to vote an amendment to the constitution incorporating prohibition into the constitution of the State." This would at least put off the evil day for two years, for it would take two years before such an amendment could go into operation. But here again was seen the usual treachery. The amendment to be voted on read as follows: "The manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors shall be forever prohibited in this State, except for medical, scientific and mechanical purposes." This was a stumbling-block laid in the way of feeble-minded Christians, for was not this an attack on their Christian liberty to use intoxicating wine at the Lord's table, and would not this be awful? Moreover, it forbade a farmer to manufacture hard cider from his own orchard, and would not this be a hard and tyrannical law? This was vexatious, for we were fighting the saloon, and were not seeking to palter with such frivolous and intermeddling legislation. Nevertheless, in spite of these crafty attempts to excite popular odium against the amendment, it was adopted by a majority of more than eight thousand, and it became the duty of the next Legislature to enact a law enforcing the amendment. Then some of us waited on these "conscript fathers" at Topeka, and entreated them, and supplicated them, and almost got down on our knees to them, beseeching- them to use a little courage and common sense. The House of Representatives was largely made up of farmers and men from the country, and was overwhelmingly in favor of an honest temperance law; but the Senate was largely made up of lawyers and men from the city, and was full of treachery and open and secret enmity. And so the Senate took the lead in making the law, and got up a bill that they purposely made as full of imperfections as a sieve is full of holes, and sent it down to the lower house. It was manifestly the duty of the House of Representatives to amend the bill, but now a great scare was got up. The cry was raised: "There is treachery! treachery! You must adopt this Senate bill without amending it, to the extent of changing the dot of an i or the crossing of a t; for if it goes back to the Senate it will certainly be killed." And yet the Senate had adopted it by an almost four-fifths majority!
The fact was, that these Senators, with all their bluster and bravado, were trembling in their boots, and dared not face their constituents at home while voting against any temperance law, however stringent, and this gave the friends of the law good warrant to make just such a law as was needed. And so the bill became a law; and then there followed such a farce in the courts as might make us lose faith in our Christian civilization and in our civilized jurisprudence. And it came to be understood that a coach-and-four could be driven through the loopholes that had been left in the law, and saloonkeepers began to remark, "Prohibition don't prohibit." But from this evil we had what must be regarded a providential deliverance. A judge was found who made up in his own integrity and courage whatever was imperfect in the provisions of the law, and his good example was followed throughout the State.
John Martin, a lawyer, resident in Topeka, is a solid, sensible and honest man. His brethren of the Democratic persuasion wanted to make him a candidate for Governor, but because they would not insert in their platform a plank affirming that the law—because it was the law—ought to be enforced, he declined to accept the nomination, and Geo. W. Glick was nominated and elected. Then Mr. Glick, to reciprocate this courtesy, appointed Martin to a vacant judgeship in the Topeka judicial district; and a whisky case came before Judge Martin. The principal witness undertook to play the usual dodge of perjury and equivocation, but Judge Martin stopped the witness and said: "Sir, you are to tell whether the liquor you bought was whisky."
The witness again began to repeat his story of equivocation: "Well, I called for cold tea, and I suppose I got what I called for."
"Stop!" said the Judge in a voice of thunder. "This witness is lying! Sheriff, take the witness and lock him up in jail."
The Sheriff had got as far as the door when the witness called out: "Judge, are you going to lock me up?"
"Yes, and I will keep you there till you rot unless you tell the truth."
"Well, I will tell."
The witness was placed again in the witness box. "Now," said the Judge, "was it whisky you bought of this saloonkeeper?"
"Yes, it was whisky."
The example of Judge Martin was imitated by all the courts, and incredible sums of money have been collected as fines from the saloonkeepers, who, with the brewers, fought the battle to the bitter end, and appealed their cases to the Supreme Court of the United States. But it has ended in their absolute defeat, and even these gentlemen do now admit that prohibition does prohibit—in Kansas. Since that time the law has been greatly amended, and the saloons have been driven out of the State.
One evil yet remains. Just across the Missouri River from Atchison is East Atchison, and here whisky and beer are as free as water. Of course, this is a great calamity to us, but we wait in expectation and hope that prohibition will yet be achieved in Missouri.
John A. Brooks lives in Missouri; we live in Kansas. This man was once a rebel; we were loyal men. Yet we pray the Father of Mercies to spare the life of this man, to prosper him and keep him, until he shall achieve this great good, not only to Missouri, but to ourselves.
This reformation in the rapidity of its growth is without parallel in the history of Protestant parties. Those acquainted with its history need not be told that a large number of its members were at first drawn from the Baptists. It is indeed a matter of wonder that a Presbyterian minister, but a short time identified with the Baptists, should exert such an influence over them as to induce a great multitude of churches and church members to resolve that when he was driven out of the Baptist Church they also would share his fortune, and accept loss of reputation and exclusion from their former brotherhood for the sake of the principles they had learned from him. Now, when we reflect that this embraced not only young men, but old men—men already arrived at that period of life at which it is most difficult to change our habits of thinking and acting, it becomes a question of profoundest interest; were these men able to make a change so radical as to plant themselves completely on reformation principles, and to abandon everything in their old Baptist order incompatible therewith?
When we remember that this movement embraced gray-haired Baptist ministers, who all their lifetime had been accustomed to lead and not to follow, we curiously inquire, Did they do this, or did they locate themselves on a sort of half-way ground which was a compromise between reformation principles and old Baptistism?
Let us briefly notice wherein they changed, and wherein they did not change.
1. They laid aside the name Baptist and took the name Christian.
2. They built upon the Bible alone, instead of the Philadelphia Confession of faith.
3. They taught that the church began at Pentecost, rather than with the preaching of John the Baptist.
4. They baptized men into a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, that he is the Messiah, rather than into a Christian experience, made up of voices in the air, marvelous and strange sights, trances and rapturous feelings.
5. They taught that in conversion and sanctification, the Holy Spirit operates through the truth.
Thus far the change was radical, but here a large minority paused and brought with them into the reformation their old Baptist Church usages. The Baptists in the Great West and South are known as "Missionary Baptists," and "Old Baptists," or "Hardshell Baptists." Adoniram Judson and Luther Rice, who had been sent to Burmah by a Congregational Missionary Society, made known to the Baptists that they themselves had become Baptists, and had been repudiated by their own society, and asked for help. The Missionary Baptists are by far the most enterprising in all that pertains to the spread of Christianity. They are the most numerous, most wealthy, best educated, and most liberal. In translating the Bible into all languages, in carrying it into all lands, and in sending the gospel to all nations, they have made some amends for that unrelenting bitterness which they have shown toward our brethren from the first day till now. We shall glance at what has hitherto been their order by making certain extracts from the Central Baptist, published in the year 1870. The reader must bear in mind that we are writing of those old days:
In Arkansas there are but four Missionary Baptist Churches that sustain a regular pastor, or sustain preaching more than once a month. In North Alabama, two; in the whole of Alabama, twelve; in Missouri, twenty-seven. Missouri has six hundred white churches, with a membership of fifty thousand, which have preaching once a month. Once a month preaching by secularized ministry! Is it any wonder that the cause does not go forward faster? Not more than two dozen out of seven hundred churches in Missouri have service every Sunday.
Let us pause a moment over this picture of Southern and Western Baptist Churches, drawn by themselves. In Arkansas but four churches had at this time preaching every Lord's day; in Alabama, twelve, and in Missouri twenty-four out of seven hundred! Well may the writer ask, "Is it any wonder that the cause does not go forward faster?"
But if this was the order of the Missionary Baptists in the year 1870, what must have been the order of the Old Baptists seventy years before, when "Raccoon" John Smith was groping his way out of darkness into the light of the gospel, all unconscious of his utter blindness, that the reading of the Scriptures would conduce, either directly or indirectly, to his regeneration or sanctification.
The people known as "Hardshell" Baptists do not wish to be called by that name. They wish to be known as Old Baptists, or United Baptists, for they allege that they are the lineal descendants of the United Baptists, and that the Missionary Baptists have apostatized, and gone away after strange gods. The Old Baptists had long been declaiming against college-bred preachers and a hireling ministry. They had certain pet theories concerning man's inability and God's sovereignty concerning a certain special, supernatural, immediate and efficacious work of grace on the heart of the sinners. They said, "If God wants a missionary, he can send him, and maintain him, too. He needs no human help in the conversion of sinners, whether at home or abroad. We can find no Scripture for Sunday-schools, Bible classes, prayer-meetings, weekly meetings, hireling preachers, missionaries or missionary societies." So they kept to their monthly meetings and monthly preaching.
They have no schools of learning, few educated men, no well-educated men, no missionaries, no contributions for missionary purposes, no weekly meetings, no weekly preaching, no weekly breaking of the loaf, no Sunday-schools, no Bible classes, no prayer-meetings. But they have monthly preaching, by a man who is reputed a pastor over four churches, and who, in the nature of things, can not reside in three of the four churches over which he professes to preside. He obtains but meager pecuniary reward for his preaching. He therefore provides for his own sustenance and that of his family by the labor of his own hands. For this reason he must needs go to his appointments on Saturday, and return on Monday morning, and is therefore comparatively a stranger to the greater part of his four several flocks. He can not know their daily life. A few preachers among the old Baptists preeminently godly, self-sacrificing, and devoted to the Lord's cause, have left their families to suffer poverty and want, and have spent their lives in looking after the stray lambs of the flock; but this is not the general rule. This Baptist bishop has no authority whatever in any matter of discipline, his function being that of a moderator in a Saturday business monthly meeting. The sitting in judgment on the alleged acts of disorderly members belongs to the whole church, men and women, boys and girls.
We are now prepared to take the measure of the means of spiritual culture enjoyed by this people. It is just one sermon a month; or, if they are peculiarly favored, it is three sermons a month. The children are left at home. They run wild like so many young apes, and wander along the streams or through the forests; or, if they are brought by their parents to the meeting, there is nothing especially for them.
It will be well for us to ponder well the inevitable consumption and slow decay that is surely wearing out these Old Baptist churches. Like the house of Saul, they are growing weaker and weaker. What a contrast between their condition now and seventy years ago. Then the United Baptists were the most powerful religious body in the great West. Then Jacob Creath and Jeremiah Vardeman could, if they had been so disposed, have elected the Governor of Kentucky. Then the Baptists were strong in the affections of the people, and strong in the memory of those men who had, through incredible toil, obloquy, poverty and loss of goods, planted the Baptist cause in the American wilderness. Alexander Campbell, with his eminent gifts of eloquence and learning, was welcomed among the Baptists almost as an angel from heaven. But his well-meant efforts to work a reformation in the Baptist churches were despised, and he was thrust out as a heathen man and publican.
What treasures untold reside in the Lord's house, the Lord's day, the Lord's book, and the ordinances of the Lord? It is the glory of Christianity. Now let the members of a Christian Church fail to meet at the Lord's house for Christian worship on the Lord's day, and to what snares and temptations do they not subject themselves and their children? What temptations to idleness and to wasting the Lord's day in visiting and gossiping, or in drowsy lethargy!
The sanctification of the Lord's day by meeting in honor of the resurrection of the Saviour, and especially with a reference to the celebration of the Lord's supper, is essential to the edification, spirituality, holiness, usefulness and happiness of the Christian community. It is not designed to throw into the shade any other duties of the Christian Church while contending for those above stated; but because no society save the Disciples of Christ so regard, observe and celebrate the Lord's day. We endeavor to arrest the attention of our fellow professors to the great design of it and of the coming together of the members of Christ's family on that day. When assembled for this chief purpose, the reading of the Scriptures, teaching, exhortation, prayer, praise, contributions for the poor, and discipline when called for, are all in order and necessary to the growth of the Christian Church in all the graces of the Spirit, and in all the fruits of holiness.—ALEX. CAMPBELL, in Millennial Harbinger, Vol. I., p. 534, New Series.
And what an audacious wrong and unutterable blunder would it be for God's chosen people to adopt an order that should defraud themselves, their children, their neighbors and their neighbor's children of such a glorious privilege.
If we could imagine two communities, one of which should, with their children and their children's children, diligently devote the Lord's day to purposes of moral, religious and intellectual improvement, while the other community should waste the day in idle and frivolous dissipation, what unmeasured progress would ultimately be made by one beyond that made by the other. And to which of these two classes will that favored people belong to whom will be awarded the high privilege of introducing among jarring sects and parties the true millennial church?
And do not these considerations go far to explain the contrast that is everywhere seen to exist between Protestant and Catholic countries? Among Protestants the day is a day to be sanctified to purposes of religious worship, among Catholics it is a holiday.
The peculiarity of our position creates an invincible necessity that we shall make the largest possible provision for the moral, intellectual and religious training and development of our people. This provision is largely found in keeping the ordinances of the Lord's house and the Lord's day. We have made a vow, and that vow is recorded in heaven, that we will meet together every first day of the week to break bread. To do otherwise—to show a good-natured imbecility of purpose—to drift helplessly along in the usages of the Old Baptists, conscious in our own hearts that this is not the ancient order of things, and having sternly demanded conformity to the apostolic order, at whatever sacrifice of peace, now to suffer our own brethren to travel on in the old ruts, rather than hazard the pain and trouble that will be the price of reform, would be a folly so inexcusable, a shame so unutterable, that the very stones might well cry out against us.
Professor William H. Whitsitt, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at Louisville, Ky., has written a book that has for its leading feature to make it appear that the Disciples are an "offshoot from the Sandemanians."
The Sandemanians, like the Baptists, had both faults and virtues. They were one of the earliest sects of the Scotch Presbyterians to protest against a union of Church and State; they practiced a weekly breaking of the loaf; held to a plurality of elders in every church, and were exceptionally helpful to the poor; and surely, even Dr. Whitsitt will not call these damnable heresies. But they were also rigid separatists. They were Calvinists of the straitest sect, and made all their opinions a bond of union. In this they were like the Baptists, but essentially dissimilar to the Disciples. They exalted feet washing and the holy kiss into church ordinances, and excluded all who did not agree with them in these opinions, just as the Baptists exclude from the Lord's table all who are not of "our faith and order," though they admit that those persons thus excluded are regenerated, accepted of the Lord, and enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Differing from the Sandemanians in the most essential element of our plea, we hold a very remote relationship to them—that of fortieth cousin, perhaps. The Disciples are just as evidently an offshoot from the Baptists, as children are an offshoot from the parental stock.
Twenty years after the writer had begun his work in Kansas, he was able to count among fifty churches which had been organized within his knowledge, twenty-five that were dead; and there were six meeting-houses that were left unoccupied or sold for debt. And the church members would say to me: "We can neither preach, nor pray, nor read the Scriptures, nor break the loaf to edification, and we are too poor to hire a preacher. What shall we do?" They had no training, save that training they had obtained in the old Baptist churches, or one similar in our own, and now that they were scattered over the great West, and were poor in this world's goods, they were indeed in a pitiably helpless condition.
I sometimes said, "Get up a Sunday-school." But the old heads would get together and begin to debate where Cain got his wife, or who was the father of Melchisedec, or what was the thorn in the flesh that afflicted Paul; or they would dispute over the mode of baptism, or the operation of the Holy Spirit, and the boys, verifying the old adage that the devil always finds work for idle hands to do, and not appreciating this sort of thing, would shoot paper balls at each other and at the old folks, and the girls would do naughty things and grieve their mothers, and the whole thing would go up in smoke.
Nothing seemed to be left to these brethren, only the protracted meeting and monthly preaching. To many of them "pastorating" was one of the sorceries which, with the mother of Babylon, had bewitched the world. These brethren seemed to have forgotten that Paul gives highest praise to that elder that not only rules well, but so addicts himself to the ministry of the Word and teaching as to require that he shall be sustained by the freewill offerings of the brethren. And when we sought an arrangement by which all should give—each man, according to his ability—we were alarmed with fearful prognostications of evil: "Beware! beware!" These brethren said, "You are making a veritable Popish bull, and he will gore you to death. Beware of missionary societies!" And when we turned to these men and besought them, "Tell us, dear brethren, how we shall obtain, without offense, the means to send help to those perishing churches?" they were silent. This was not their function. Their vocation was to warn the people against Popish bulls and human missionary societies, for which there can not be found a thus saith the Lord, in express terms or by an approved precedent.
Meantime the churches in the older States had contributed one hundred thousand Disciples—this has sometimes been the estimated number—as emigrants to the great West, and these were scattered over its wide extended Territories, and it was to be shown how far this contribution, more precious than gold or silver or costliest gems, should be as water spilled on the ground, or as treasure cast into the bottom of the sea, or how far it should be as precious seed bearing fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some one hundred fold.
When our first churches were organized in Kansas, Alexander Campbell had become old and well-stricken in years. I have already written of the missionary society that was created in 1864, and of the great convention held in Leavenworth City in 1865, in which we sought to perfect the workings of that society. Within the following year Mr. Campbell died, and the always welcome Millennial Harbinger ceased its monthly visits. The voice of Mr. C. had been a bugle blast calling men to heroic deeds, and his overshadowing influence had restrained from that tendency to division, for opinion's sake, which is our inheritance from our common Protestantism. But now a great emigration had come into Kansas from every part of the United States, and among these were many who looked with no favor on any innovation on the traditions of the fathers.
Mr. C. had said in his notable debate with the Rev. N. L. Rice, at Lexington, Ky.: "Men formerly of all persuasions, and of all denominations and prejudices, have been baptized on this good confession, and have united in one community. Among them are found those who had been Romanists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Restorationists, Quakers, Arians, Unitarians, etc., etc. We have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, but various opinions. All these persons, of so many and contradictory opinions, weekly meet around our Lord's table in hundreds of churches all over the land. Our bond of union is faith in the slain Messiah, in his death for our sins and his resurrection for our justification."
It is perfectly apparent that to harmonize these elements—often opposite and conflicting—thus brought together in one body was no easy task, but we had more than this to do; we were also to harmonize the fierce antagonisms growing out of our early contests, and then to make those brethren who had been heretofore averse to any combination whatever for religious work other than that of the single congregation—to make them feel the absolute necessity of united action and cooperation. This was indeed a task most difficult. And if the final good results have only slowly become apparent we are entitled to the judgment of charity.
It is admitted that every liberty that God has given to men may be abused, and has been abused. Marriage, religion, civil government, the rights of property, eating and drinking—in short, all liberty, of whatever kind, may be and has been abused. Still we must use our liberty, our very existence depends upon it. I have said it already, and I say again, if sixty millions of the American people can unite together to promote the public tranquillity, and all citizens enjoy more of personal liberty than they could enjoy if every county were an independent principality, then our whole brotherhood, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, may be trusted to meet together, by their messengers or in person, to promote necessary Christian work without endangering our Christian liberties. If all the churches of Macedonia could unite together to send relief to the poor saints at Jerusalem, then, surely, the brethren everywhere may combine together to send relief to people perishing for want of the word of life.
And so with much weariness and painfulness, and often with gratuitous and unrequited labor, with long rides by day and by night, and much exposure to heat and cold, to floods and storms, and to rough treatment by wicked men—in short, with that relentless and persistent toil which makes a man old before his time, and in which one man has carried on the work of two men year after year, I have labored on, never doubting, but always hoping for that good time coming, when churches will be just, and give honest pay to honest men who do honest work. My hope has been that if I can not live to profit by that better order of things, it will at least be better for the men that come after me.
The wife of a traveling evangelist will always be the proper object of pity and sympathy, if pity and sympathy are to be given. She is not cheered by the smiles of admiring crowds, nor does she feel the intoxication of flattering tongues. She dwells at home in the desolation and loneliness of a practical widowhood, and often ekes out a meager support from a stingy and starveling salary.
But somebody has to do this frontier and pioneer work; and might it not as well be me and my wife as any other man and his wife?
I have given a wide range to these "Recollections." In doing so, I have not followed the example of a cowardly, corrupted and compromising Christianity, but rather have imitated the robust and manly courage of the writers of the Old and New Testament, who tell of the deeds of good men and bad men, and who also use the same freedom in speaking of the evil deeds of wicked rulers that they use in speaking of the things that more immediately concern the spiritual and eternal interests of men.
I have made the briefest possible mention of the hapless condition our churches were in twenty years ago. The picture is neither flattering nor cheering; but right royally are the churches now redeeming themselves from the reproach they were under then. A pastor is now being settled in each church as fast as the pecuniary circumstances of the congregation will permit, and a grand enthusiasm in Sunday-school work, simplifying and illustrating all its details, has made it possible for the weakest and poorest church to keep itself alive. Wherever there are children with their young enthusiasm—and the children, like the poor, are always with us—and wherever there are parents ready to lead their children in the way in which they should go, there the permanency of a church is assured.
And now, with many misgivings as touching our immediate future, but with an abiding hope of triumph in the end, I bid the reader farewell.
BY MRS. ROSETTA B. HASTINGS.
When father went back to Illinois, after he was rafted, we visited for several weeks among the churches where he had preached. Then we returned with him to Kansas, to visit my uncle, and to stay on our claim awhile, lest some person should jump it. We left our goods at Mt. Sterling, for father had promised to preach there that winter; but he told us that he had determined to move to Kansas sooner than he had first expected. We ferried the Missouri River near Jefferson City, and crossed the Kansas River in the woods, where Kansas City, Kansas, now stands. There was little of Kansas City then, except a few warehouses where freight was landed for Independence, which was the starting point of the Santa Fe trail.
Claims were being taken so rapidly that we remained to hold ours, while father returned to Illinois to preach. Two families in one room made it rather crowded, but we had a comfortable cabin. It contained a twelve-paned window—the only one in the settlement; cabins usually had no windows, or very small ones. Mr. May's folks had oiled paper over a narrow opening, which they closed with a board shutter. I asked their little girl why they did not have a larger window, and she said the Indians might get in. But no Indians troubled us.
When father came home, April 30th, we all ran out to meet him. But mother's quick eye detected something wrong. "Why, I look all right, don't I?" he asked, smiling. When we reached the house she again questioned him, and he sat down, rolled up his sleeve, and showed us his arm, brown with tar, and fuzzy with cotton. Then he told us his story. They had not tarred his face, except a spot on his forehead, where, he said, they had stuck a bunch of cotton as large as his two fists. The road to Ocena, as our post-office was called, ran up the bluff now known to Atchison people as Sam Kingstown. On the top of that ridge he had stopped, and pulled off his coat of tar and cotton, put on his clothes and come home.
A few evenings after that, we heard that a company of South Carolinians had camped near Mr. May's house. Father said they had probably come after either himself or Caleb May. So he went up to Mr. May's, to see what to do about it. After he left, uncle nailed shakes over the window, and cleaned up his old flint-lock musket, and loaded it carefully. Aunt moulded bullets, while mother got the ax and butcher knife, and then stuffed rags in the cracks, and brought in the half-bushel to turn over the light, so that they could not see where to shoot. Then we all took turns standing out in the darkness at the corner of the house, to keep watch, and listen for the sound of guns from Mr. May's. Father came home at eleven. He said the South Carolinians had asked permission to sleep in an empty cabin. He and Mr. May had followed them, and he had crept under the cabin floor and listened, and they had seemed to be sleeping soundly. So we all went to bed, but father slept with a revolver under his head, which Mr. May had insisted on lending him. The next morning the South Carolinians went quietly on their journey. We learned afterwards that they were on their way to lay out the town of Marysville, in Marshall County, and did not know that they were in the same neighborhood with Pardee Butler and Caleb May.
Father wrote an account of the Atchison mob, and took it to Lawrence to be published in the Herald of Freedom. The Congressional Committee summoned him to give his testimony. While there, the Lawrence people gave him a pistol, and insisted that he must carry it. Father told us how the Carolinians had sworn to kill him, when they heard his testimony before the Committee; and as soon as he heard they were coming back, after the destruction of Lawrence, he knew that he was in danger. Brave as he might be, he saw no good in allowing himself to be butchered by those infuriated men, and resolved to keep out of their way. He kept his horse picketed on the grass near where he was at work, with saddle and bridle close by. One day as I was helping him drop sod corn on uncle's claim—two miles from our own—while uncle worked at his new cabin, we saw some horsemen coming over the hill.
"They are South Carolinians," said father, and saddling his horse, he rode in the opposite direction. In the afternoon he came back, saying that they had followed him all day, and he had circled here and there over the hills, and he had happened to meet two of them, one at a time, and recognized them as some of the men who had mobbed him; and they knew him too, but they had not dared to attack him single-handed. He thought they were trying to get together, to attack him the next time they saw him.-He wanted uncle to change coats and hats with him, so that, if they saw him in the distance, they would not know him. He wore a black coat and hat, and uncle wore a white palmleaf hat, and had with him, in case of rain, an old-fashioned, light gray overcoat. These father put on, and throwing a white cloth over his horse, rode away, telling us that he would not be at home that night, and that we need not look for him until we saw him. Day after day those men followed him, like hounds after a wolf. Through the day he rode here and there, spending the night with first one neighbor, then another. One day, when uncle was working at his cabin, some South Carolinians rode up, and not seeing father, they searched the woods and ravine near by, and rode away. Father spent one night with Mr. Duncan, and had just gone out of sight in the morning, when the South. Carolinians rode up.
"Does Pardee Butler ride a bay horse?" they asked.
"No, sir," replied Mr. Duncan.
"We saw a man ride into the woods just now," said they, "that looked like Pardee Butler, but he was riding a bay horse."
"Pardee Butler never rides a bay horse." And so they went the other way. Father rode a spirited young "copper-bottom" horse, named Copper, that looked either bay or gray at a distance, as the light happened to shine.
One day, father went to the post-office after his mail, and two young neighbors riding up, and seeing his horse hitched there, thought to have some fun. With loud shouts they galloped up, and hearing them, he stepped to the door, sprang on his horse, and dashed off over the hill, with them after him. But when they reached the top of the hill they found that he was standing on the ground behind his horse, with his pistol levelled at them across his saddle. They were glad to make themselves known, and own up to the joke.
Father slipped home a few minutes almost every day, to let us know that he was yet alive, and to see if we were safe. Every night we fastened up the house, expecting that before morning the Ruffians would try to burst in to search for father. Those were days of terrible anxiety for mother, for she thought every time father rode away that it was probably their last parting. Yet she was brave and quiet, and said little.
But father grew tired of being dogged, and told us that he was going to Lawrence. He was gone some time and we did not know where he was.
My little four year old brother George heard much talk of Border Ruffians, and he went around flourishing a long thorn for a dagger, and boasting in childish accent: "Bad Border 'uffians s'an't get my pa. I hit 'em in 'e eye wid my dagger." One day I was helping uncle drop corn, when George came running to us, much excited. "I foun' a Border 'uffian! I foun' a Border 'uffian! I hit 'em in 'e eye! I hit 'em in 'e eye!" We ran to see what he had found, and he ran ahead, picking up pebbles as he ran, "to fro at 'e bad Border 'uffian." What do you think he had found? A mud turtle! And that was his idea of a Border Ruffian. But he had a chance to see one. One day, while father was away, two men rode up to the house, whom we knew to be Border Ruffians by their red shirts and the revolvers in their belts. Mother told George and me to hide behind the door, while she talked to them. They asked for a drink of water, but while they waited for it, one of them rode almost into the door, and looked around the room—we had only one room—evidently looking for father. George became impatient, and kept whispering "Let me out, let me see a Border 'uffian. I will see a Border 'uffian." And he pulled loose from me and peeped around the edge of the door.
When father came home he brought some type, and some half-printed papers, blackened with powder, that he had picked up in the sand on the river bank at Lawrence, where the Border Ruffians had thrown the Herald of Freedom press and papers into the river. On the printed side of the papers was the article he had written about his last mob.,
Years afterwards I asked father what he was doing when he was gone from home in May and June, 1856. He replied: "I was organizing the Republican party in northern Kansas. I first went to Lawrence, and there the leaders insisted that I ought to visit various points in the northern part of the State, and organize the new party, and I did so."
Soon after father's return, in June, some of the neighbors announced a meeting for him at Bro. Elliott's, four miles from our house, of which he speaks in Chapter XVII. To that meeting the people came armed, for the report of the appointment had reached Atchison. They left their guns in their wagons, or set them in convenient corners, while they listened to the preaching; for they were determined to defend father in case of attack.
Mr. John Quiett, who is yet one of our neighbors, was one of three men who stood guard at the fence, watching for approaching enemies, while father preached. But no attack was made.
Uncle Milo had taken us to the meeting; and mother asked father to go home with us, and he replied, "Yes, I am going home once more."
Mother told him she would be glad to have him go with us, but she was afraid to have him stay all night.
"I am going to stay at home for one night, for I have some letters to write," was his reply.
Mother was very uneasy on the road home, for she said the Border Ruffians would be watching for us in the woods. But we reached home without molestation. Father sat up until after midnight, writing letters, and then went to bed and slept safely. The next day one of our neighbors told us that just at dark that evening she saw a band of men ride into the woods between her house and ours, but she was afraid to come over and tell us. Other neighbors saw them go out on Monday morning, and ride toward town. A few days afterwards, a neighbor, who stood "on both sides of the fence" in regard to politics, went to Atchison, and he told us that nine South Carolinians hid in our woods to take father that night, but they had seen his light burning so late that they were afraid, and went back and told that he had forty armed men, who stood guard all night, and they could not take him.
But father was not by any means the only one whom the Border Ruffians molested. They were continually riding around the country, frightening the people, and "pressing" horses—which was another name for stealing them. And the Free State man who made himself prominent was liable to be shot any time they could catch him. The Free State men kept their horses hidden in the brush, and often hid there themselves. Every time any of the neighbors saw several horsemen riding over the prairie, they thought it was the Border Ruffians.
One day Caleb May saw quite a company of men riding toward his place. He and his son and hired man stationed themselves under the bank, where both the house and the ford would be within range of their guns. Mrs. May was to talk to the horsemen as they rode past the house, and, if they were Border Ruffians, she was to shut the door, as a signal to the husband to be ready for attack. When they rode up, however, they proved to be Mr. Speck, and about twenty other neighbors from the lower neighborhood, who had brought their horses up to Mr. May's to guard them from the Ruffians, who stood in great fear of Caleb May.
When the Ruffians returned to Missouri, after one of their raids, some of them told in De Kalb, where Mr. May lived before coming to Kansas, that they had killed him. One of his old neighbors, named Jones, rode into De Kalb one day, and was accosted by on e of the returned Border Ruffians with "We've got Caleb May this time; got his head on a ten-foot pole."
"Anybody killed?" queried Mr. Jones.
"Then it's a lie!" responded Mr. Jones. "I know Caleb May well enough to know that when you get him somebody 's going to get hurt."
Mr. May had for years been a temperance man, in the midst of a drinking population of the frontiers of Arkansas and Missouri, and made the first temperance speech ever made in De Kalb. His oldest son, when fifteen, had never tasted whisky. One day, when Mr. May had gone on a journey, the boy was in town, and loafers, seeing him pass a saloon, shouted, "Cale May's gone; let's have some fun with his boy." So they dragged him into the saloon, and poured whisky down his throat, and sent him home drunk to his mother. When Mr. May returned home they told him what had happened.
At that time there was a local option temperance law in Missouri, under which a majority of the people in a township, by signing a petition to the court, could have the saloons abolished as public nuisances. De Kalb was full of saloons, and there was one on almost every road corner in the county.
Years afterwards I heard Mr. May tell the incident, and his eyes flashed, as he said with his slow, strong emphasis, "When I came home and heard what had happened, you bet I WAS wrathy! I just jumped on my horse, and I rode that township up and down, and I never stopped until I had signers enough to my petition, and I cleaned every saloon out of that township."
Doubtless many a man signed that petition because he dared not refuse; for, although usually kind and quiet, few dared to face his anger.
When Lawrence was besieged, in May, a company of Free State men was raised around here, and they sent John Quiett to Lawrence to offer their services for the defense of the town, but were refused by Mr. Pomeroy. Soon after the return of the South Carolinians from Lawrence they found Mr. Quiett in the Atchison postoffice. They at once seized him as a Free State leader, and began to debate whether to shoot or hang him. But one of the Pro-slavery merchants of Atchison interfered, and begged them to let him go. He got out, mounted his horse, and started for home, twelve miles away. But the Carolinians, like Pharaoh of old, repented that they had let him go, and soon started in pursuit. It was a hot race, for as Mr. Quiett reached the top of each hill he could see his pursuers coming behind him. But he reached home; and when they came to the creek near his home, they were afraid to pass through the woods—probably fearing an ambush—and returned to town. But parties were sent out to take him when he was unprepared; and, finding that he was hunted, he was afraid to stay at home nights. I have heard Mrs. Quiett say, that one day, when her husband had been away several days, he came home for a little while, and she gave him something to eat. After eating he lay down to sleep on a lounge that stood along the front side of the bed. She was rocking her baby in the middle of the cabin, when the Border Ruffians rode up to the house, and one of them, riding so close that his horse's head was inside of the door, leaned forward and looked around the cabin. The door was at the foot of the bed, and it so happened that the lounge on which Mr. Quiett lay was so close to the bed, and so low, that the edge of the bed just hid his body. The Ruffian said not a word, but looked until he seemed satisfied that there was no one in the room but Mrs. Quiett, and then they both rode away. She said that she could not speak, but felt as though she was frozen to her chair, for she was sure that, if they had seen Mr. Quiett, they would have shot him before her eyes. Not until they were out of sight did she speak or stir.
Mr. Quiett and Mr. Ross went with father to Topeka, when the Free State Legislature and Convention met, July 4, 1856, of which father speaks in chapter XVI. Mr. Quiett says that the Free State men went there determined to defend the Legislature. There were several large companies of well-armed men stationed near, awaiting orders from the Convention; and one company armed with Sharp's rifles lay behind a board fence by the side of the road. Several speakers made excited speeches, urging the members of the Convention to be men, and defend their lawful rights, even at the risk of their lives. The Free State men were wrought up to the verge of desperation. The vote was about to be taken, whether or not to resist the troops. There was much suppressed excitement; and, had the vote been taken then, it would undoubtedly have been in favor of resistance. Father, in the meanwhile, was on a committee, in a back room. Mr. Quiett began calling for Pardee Butler. Others took up the call, and, hearing it in the committee room, he came out. They demanded a speech on the question in debate. He begged them to bear their wrongs patiently, and to allow no provocation to cause them to resist the United States authorities. He besought them to be loyal to their country, and never fire on the old stars and stripes. Mr. Quiett said it was a powerful speech, timely and eloquent. When he sat down the tide had turned. The vote was taken, and it was decided not to resist the troops. Mr. Quiett says that without a doubt that speech not only saved them from a bloody battle that day, but that it saved the Territory from a long, fierce war.
After they disbanded, the members of the Convention went out and sat down on the prairie grass to eat their dinner, which each took from his pocket, or his wagon. Mr. Quiett and Mr. Ross took theirs from the wagon, in which they had ridden to Topeka; but father had gone on horseback, as he usually did, and took his dinner from the capacious pocket of his preacher's saddle-bags. Mr. Quiett said that in getting out his dinner, father took a pistol out of his saddlebags. This created much merriment for them, as they thought it would have been of little use to him in case of attack. They told him that if that was where he carried it, the South Carolinians would shoot him some day before he could unbuckle his saddle-bags.
But father disliked very much to carry arms, and I think he never did in his life, except for about two months during that dreadful summer.
About two weeks afterwards we started to Illinois, in the buggy. We crossed the River at Iowa Point. About nine miles northeast of Savannah, in Gentry county, Missouri, father was taken very sick, and we were obliged to stop at the nearest house. The man at whose house we happened to stop was a Mr. Brown, from Maine; and he and his family were very kind to us. There, for four weeks, father lay sick of a fever. One day, while mother was in father's room, Mrs. Brown questioned me about living in Kansas, and whether the Border Ruffians ever troubled us. So I told her how father had been treated. Father called me into the bed-room, and said that I ought not to have told that, under the circumstances; that it would be a dreadful thing for us to be attacked, with him flat on his back, and we among strangers. I replied that I thought it would do no harm, because Mr. Brown's folks were from the North, and our friends. But he said it might bring trouble on Mr. Brown if his neighbors should learn that he had harbored Pardee Butler. When Mr. Brown came in at noon, his wife told him the news. He went right in, and told father that Butler was such a common name, that he had no idea that he had the honor of sheltering Pardee Butler. "Now," said he, "you need not be uneasy while you are here. Yonder hang four good Sharp's rifles, and I and my boys know how to use them; and nobody shall touch you unless they walk over our dead bodies."
As soon as father was able to travel we finished our journey in safety. We visited our old friends in Illinois, and father preached on Sundays. While we were at Mt. Sterling, he lectured on temperance one night, and the bad fellows made a little disturbance. The previous afternoon I had visited a little girl in the village, and we had found and thrown away a nest full of rotten eggs. The next time I saw her she said that her big brother was mad at us, for he was saving those eggs, and he and some other big boys had intended to throw them at Pardee Butler while he was making that temperance speech; but when they went to the barn, their eggs were gone. The truth was, that her big brother was one of many boys who were fast being made drunkards by the village saloons.
Mother went to Ohio on a visit, and father went to Iowa to attend to some business. On his return he met one of the State Republican Committee, who insisted on making arrangements for him to stay in Illinois until the presidential election, and speak for Fremont.
It was raw November weather when we started back to Kansas, with a one-horse wagon, drawn by Copper, and a heavily loaded mule team, driven by a boy named Henry Whitaker, who is now one of the merchants of Atchison. Mother was sick, and we had to stop a week. Then the mud became so deep that father had to buy a yoke of oxen and hitch on behind the mules. Then it froze up, rough and hard, and we stopped for a blacksmith to make shoes for the oxen, and were directed to stay with a widow who had an empty house. She had built a new house of hewed logs, with a window in it, and we were allowed to stay in the old cabin. She could not keep from talking about that window.
"I've lived all my days without ary winder, an' got along mighty well," said she. "For my part, I don't like winders; they make a house look so glarin', like. We uns never had ary one where I had my raisin'. But the childern is gettin' a heap o' stuck up notions these days, an' they jes' set up that we had to have a winder in our new house."
The weather was very cold the rest of the way, and father suffered severely from a felon on his hand. When we reached St. Joseph the Missouri River was frozen, and our teams were the first to cross on the ice. Father took the teams to the top of the icy banks, and hitched them to the ends of the wagon-tongues by means of long chains. We traveled all day over unsettled prairie, hoping to reach Mr. Wymer's house, on Independence Creek. We reached the place at nine o'clock, but no house; it had been burned. It was very dark, and bitter cold, but we traveled on. At eleven o'clock we found Mr. Snyder's cabin, where Lancaster is now built. A little later and we should have seen no light. A party of belated surveyors had found the house before the family went to bed; and they were just lying down when we drove up. In those days no one thought of refusing a traveler lodging. The cabin was about fourteen feet square. The family had crowded into one bed, part of the surveyors occupied the other, and the rest were on the floor. We had not eaten a bite since morning. The cooking stove was in a little, cold, floorless shed, and there mother baked some corn griddle-cakes for our supper. The surveyors gave their bed to mother and me, and the men all crowded down on the floor—nineteen in one room. The next morning we drove on to our own house before getting breakfast, glad to find it had not been burned.
On Sunday, May 10, 1857, a meeting was held at our house, at which it was agreed that a Sunday-school should be organized the next Sunday, in Mr. Cobb's grove, near Pardee. There we met nearly every Sunday that summer, and father usually preached.
Much of his time that summer was spent in improving forty acres of his farm, on which he raised some sod corn and vegetables, Our corn for bread was ground in Mr. Wigglesworth's treadmill, turned by-oxen. We had no fruit for many years, but a few wild sorts, and the vegetables were a welcome variation in our diet of meat and molasses.
August, 29, 1857, the Pardee church was organized, at the house of Bro. A. Elliott, with twenty-seven members. In October a frame school-house was finished at Pardee, which was thereafter used for church purposes. During father's absence the meetings were led by our elders, Dr. Moore, Bro. Elliott, and Bro. Brockman. We often rode to meeting in the ox-wagon, as did some of our neighbors.
Father again preached in Illinois from October, 1857, until New Year. He preached in Pardee the rest of the winter; but in the spring he began traveling and preaching in various parts of the Territory. It was the wettest summer I ever knew, and he was continually swimming streams. Mother often told him that a man who could not swim ought not to swim a horse. But he continued to do so until the streams were bridged, many years later. The last time he did so was in the spring of 1871. He was riding a little Indian pony, and carried some bundles. The Stranger Creek was full, and very cold, and when his heavy overcoat became water-soaked, he saw that the pony was about to be swept down the current. Sliding off from its back, he kept his arm about its neck, thinking the water would hold part of his weight. But he soon saw that he was pulling it down stream, so that it was likely to be tangled in some willows, and he reached back and caught hold of its tail, and it pulled him safely to shore. He reached home very wet, but with bundles and overcoat all safe.
He then determined to have a bridge on the road along his boundary line. But every man, up and down the creek, wanted a bridge on his own line, and so there was much opposition. But he at length succeeded in obtaining a bridge. This was the only one of father's many contests in which he contended for a personal benefit: his other contests were all for the good of the public.
From this deviation I will now return to the year 1858. Father was so busy preaching in other places, that he only preached occasionally in Pardee.
He has sometimes been accused of preaching politics. A good brother who formerly lived in Missouri, said, not long before father's death: "They used to tell me before I came to Kansas that Pardee Butler preached politics, and I said that if ever I heard him begin to preach politics, I was going to get right up in meeting, and ask him to show his Scripture for preaching politics. Now I've been hearing him preach, off and on, for twenty years, and I've never got up in meeting yet, for I've never heard him preach any politics."
The only sermon that I can remember as containing any allusion to politics, was one that he preached at Pardee that summer of 1858. It was from the text, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." After speaking in a general manner of Christian duties that are left undone by those who are precise about certain theological points, he spoke plainly of the injustice and unmercifulness of slavery, and besought Christians to be careful how they upheld it in any manner, lest they be condemned by the words of the text.
Another sermon that he preached at Pardee, August 1, 1858, was from I. Kings xviii. 21: "If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." After delineating very graphically the terrible drouth, and the long contest of Elijah with Ahab and Jezebel, he told of the final triumph of religion, and the merited defeat and punishment of wickedness. He finished with an eloquent appeal from the text, "If the Lord be God, then serve him." At the close two boys confessed their Savior. One of them was an orphan boy, then making his home at my father's house, and since known as Judge J. J. Locker, of Atchison, who died last September.
But winter came, and the co-operation that had engaged father that summer felt that they had paid all they could raise. It had not been enough to pay a hired man, and meet our frugal expenses. Yet that was the first money he had made for three and a half years, except by his two trips to Illinois. He had appealed to the General Missionary Society, and they had declined to support him, unless he would promise not to say a word about slavery. But the people were calling to him from every direction to come and organize churches. He decided to appeal personally to the churches in the older States. From December, 1858, until May, 1859, he preached constantly in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, collecting what money he could. He reported $365 as the amount received, expenses $110, leaving a balance of $255. He received enough more during the summer to make his salary #297.42.
The next summer he preached in Kansas; but was not gone all the time, as when in other States. When preaching in distant counties he was sometimes gone four or five weeks, but he was sometimes at home a part of every week. When at home he worked very hard on the farm, to accomplish what he saw must be done, that he might go back to his preaching as soon as possible. Mother looked after the work in his absence, and was a good manager, but there was much to which she could not attend. Father was nervously energetic, always working and walking rapidly. Even after he was sixty years old, although he was a slender man, only five feet nine inches in height, with his right arm trembling with palsy, I have known robust young men to complain that they did not like to work for Pardee Butler, because he would work with them, and they were ashamed to have such an old man do more than they did, and he worked so hard that he wore them out. He scarcely spent an idle moment. Other men could be content to pass their time in careless conversation, but he never could. Unless he had some subject that he thought especially worthy of conversation, he said little. He seldom spoke of what he had done, and scarcely ever related any of the many experiences of his trips away from home. In his backwoods boyhood experiences he had learned to make or mend almost every article used by a farmer. He was full of projects, always improving something on the place. Every spare moment was used, either in fixing something about the farm, or in reading or writing. He sometimes complained that the days were not half long enough to suit him. He once told his sister that the Border Ruffians never knew what a service they did him when they rafted him, for he had leisure to think while he was going down the river. My brother Charley once said that father was so greedy of time he was afraid he might lose a minute. Often in the evening we had to make room by the cooking stove for his shaving-horse, or his leather and harness tools, while he worked until ten or eleven o'clock making or mending some implement or harness. And often, after laboring all day, he read or wrote until eleven or twelve o'clock at night. He read a great variety of books and newspapers, but was particularly fond of church history and religious books of a doctrinal nature.
He wrote much for various papers, and was a painstaking writer. He usually wrote his articles two or three times, and the account of his second mob that was written for the Herald of Freedom he re-wrote seven times. He could write best in the morning, and frequently read and wrote half of the forenoon; and then worked and chored until nine or ten at night, to make up lost time.
Few ever knew the strong desire that he constantly felt for a life devoted wholly to study and preaching. Living, as we did in those days, in a log house with only one room, he had no private place for study, but read or wrote in the midst of the family. Yet neither crying babies nor the noisy play of older children distracted him. Often he sat, with a look of abstraction, in the midst of our conversation; and we frequently had to speak to him several times before we could attract his attention.
We have several hundred of his newspaper articles saved in scrap-books. He preached altogether without notes, and never seemed to make any especial preparation for preaching a sermon. I once asked him how long it took him to prepare a sermon, and he replied, "Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, generally two or three years. Of course I do not think of it all that time, but I seldom preach on a subject when it first enters my mind, but let it mature. I always have several subjects on hand at once, and when I am reading I retain whatever strikes me as pertaining to anyone of my subjects." "When do you do most of your thinking?" I asked. "Whenever I can; mostly on horseback."
His education was never finished; he was a student to the day of his death. Even during his last sickness he asked me to return a volume of Macaulay's "History of England" that I had borrowed, so that some one could read to him from it.
In July, 1859, he was sick for some time; but in September reports thus: "Since I recovered from my sickness I have held a series of meetings,—one near Atchison, which resulted in eight additions; one at Big Springs, at which four were added by baptism; and one at Pardee, where there was one baptized."
November 1, 1859, the Northwestern Christian Missionary Society was organized at Indianapolis. Father attended it, and remained preaching and collecting money until February. He collected about the same amount as the previous year.
In March, 1860, father and Bro. Hutchinson held the meeting at Pardee, of which he speaks in Chapter XXIX., at which there were forty-five additions. Father preached on Sunday night. The school-house was closely seated with planks, and crowded almost to suffocation, while a crowd stood outside at doors and windows. Father preached on the life of Paul, although he did not mention Paul's name until near the close of the sermon. He spoke of him as a talented young nobleman, brought up in ease and luxury in a great city, to whom were open the highest positions in his nation. There were but few Christians in the land, and they were poor and despised. But at length he felt the power of God, and learned to love the Savior. He told how he gave up wealth and position, and became poor and despised, and went everywhere preaching Christ and his mighty power to save. He told of his wonderful zeal and energy, as he traveled from country to country, preaching Christ to eager thousands. He vividly depicted the courage with which he endured trials, hardships, and persecutions. Then he told of his last days—a feeble, gray-haired old man, ending his days in a prison, his few faithful friends far away, enemies on every hand, and a painful, violent death in store for him. Did he see the folly of his course? And then he quoted Paul's triumphant words: "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things.... For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth' there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." After speaking of the powerful effect of Paul's life and teachings, in helping to transform the world, he eloquently appealed to the young men and women to turn their ambition to life's highest object, to follow the example of that grand old hero, and live a life of true heroism in this world, and win honor and immortality in the world to come.
The house rang with that rousing old hymn, "Come, you sinners, poor and needy," and eleven young men and women rose to their feet and confessed their Savior.
No sermon to which I have ever listened has impressed itself so deeply on my memory as that sermon twenty-nine years ago.
In the spring of 1860 father rented his farm, so that he could devote his whole time to preaching. He built a house in Pardee, that we might live near school and meeting until George should be old enough to do the work on the farm. There was plenty of open prairie to pasture the cows, and George and I tended them, while mother made cheese to help support the family.
Father traveled and preached almost constantly that summer, sometimes alone, sometimes in company with Bro. Hutchinson.
At many of the points at which he organized churches, the old members are now either dead or scattered. But Bro. John A. Campbell, of Big Springs, where he built up a strong church, writes as follows of his work there:
He told me that his first visit to Big Springs was in May, 1858. My first recollection of him was that he preached there on the 4th day of July, of that year, when he organized the church with twenty-eight members, my father (L. R. Campbell) and C. M. Mock being appointed elders. His subject on that occasion was the "Unity of all Christians," and he spoke with great power. He again preached there on the 29th day of August, 1858, and his subject was "Faith." On that day the first addition to the church was made by baptism. He continued to preach for the church about once each month through 1858-9, and a part of 1860. During that time very many were added, but I have no means of knowing the number. In the fall of 1859 he held a successful protracted meeting, and another in the winter with Bro. G. W. Hutchinson. In 1860, he was at the State meeting at Big Springs, at which the ground plan of our present co-operative plan of missionary work was laid. There was also raised at that meeting money to buy a large tent, with which Bro. Butler was to travel and preach as State evangelist. Again, in the year 1877 or 1878 he preached once per month at Big Springs and some adjacent points—once on the Waukarusa, oft the subject of the Seventh-day Sabbath, out of which grew a correspondence for a debate, but it was not; held, owing to a failure to get a suitable house.