[Table of Contents]
Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Volume I. (1868)
C H A P T E R X V.
Ministerial Preparation--Social Reform--Management of Washington
HE want of a fixed object in life, so often the misfortune of young men, had not fallen to the lot of Alexander Campbell. Early destined to the ministerial profession, he had afterward, as formerly related, earnestly adopted it as his proper vocation, and his thoughts and studies had accordingly been regulated and directed with constant reference to the duties he expected to discharge. His dissatisfaction with the divided and distracted condition of religious society, and with the aversion manifested by the clergy to much-needed reforms had, indeed, heretofore, created great dubiety in his mind as to his possible future relations to any existing party. Now, however, that a complete and radical reformation was proposed, and by one, too, whose judgment and piety it had become almost his nature to revere, all the difficulties of his position disappeared. A new and unexpected field of action was opened before him, precisely suited to his bold and independent spirit, and in perfect harmony with his convictions of religious duty. The paramount claims of the Bible were to be asserted and defended; the intolerant bigotry of sectarianism was to be exposed; the people of God were to be delivered from the yoke of clerical domination, and primitive Christianity, in all its original  purity and perfection, was to be restored to the world. His efforts to prepare himself for the work before him received hence a fresh and powerful impulse, and he devoted himself, with renewed assiduity, to the appropriate course of reading and investigation, suggested by his father or approved by his own judgment.
The enterprise in which he thus so earnestly engaged was, it must be confessed, a most noble one, and one differing, by the space of the whole heavens, from that which a young man preparing for the ministry in a religious party usually proposes to himself. His object, it is evident, is too often little more than to make himself popular with his party; and to this end he is careful to foster party feeling; to flatter party pride; to magnify differences, and strive, by dint of partisan jealousies and hopes, to elevate himself to a position of honor and emolument. But it is a mean ambition which seeks thus rather to reign in a sect than to serve in the kingdom of heaven; and the greatness and lofty impulses of Alexander Campbell were never more strikingly manifested than when, rejecting all the solicitations he received to become the advocate of a party, and all the ready opportunities of distinction which such a course afforded, he determined, amidst the contumely and opposition of he world, both religious and secular, to devote himself to the public advocacy of the Word of God and of the primitive and simple apostolic Gospel.
About this time, two others also, James Foster and Abraham Altars, members of the Christian Association, anxious to promote the important work in which they had engaged, commenced a course of study with a view to the ministry of the word, under the direction of Thomas Campbell; and James Foster, already  intimately acquainted with the Bible, and remarkable for the fullness and accuracy with which he could quote and apply its language, soon began to take a public part in the meetings held; his pious instructions, exhortations and prayers being always most acceptable and edifying. As much of Thomas Campbell's time, however, was occupied in visiting the scattered families connected with the Association, and in endeavoring to promote the cause of union amongst the people, he was necessarily much absent from home. He could, therefore, direct merely the general course of study, leaving the details of the practical instruction to Alexander. In addition to this charge, it devolved likewise upon the latter to teach his brothers and sisters regularly; for no one could possibly be more methodical or more economical of time than Thomas Campbell, and it was his rule to see that every member of his family was constantly and regularly employed in something useful. This disposition Alexander had, in the fullest degree, inherited, and, as has been seen at Glasgow with what earnest assiduity he devoted every moment to improvement, so he now entered at once, on his arrival at Washington, upon a no less severe course of labor and a no less careful use of every fleeting moment. This may be seen from the apportionment he made of the hours of each day, written down as follows for his guidance:
"Arrangement for studies for winter of 1810.
"One hour to read Greek--from 8 to 9 in the morning.
"One hour to read Latin--from 11 to 12 in the morning.
"One half hour to Hebrew--between 12 and 1 P. M.
"Commit ten verses of the Scriptures to memory each day, and read the same in the original languages, with Henry and Scott's notes and practical observations. For this exercise  we shall allow two hours. These exercises, being intended for every day, will not be dispensed with. Other reading and studies as occasion may serve. These studies in all require four and a half hours. Church history, and divers other studies, are intended to constitute the principal part of my other literary pursuits.
Regulations for Abraham Altars.
"1st. Read to me in the morning, from 7 to 8, in Scott's Family Bible. Say one lesson every day in Greek Grammar. One lesson also in Latin, and one in Rhetoric. Two days of the week to recite in English Grammar and parse. To prepare a theme each week, which is to be corrected and to be written clear and fair in a book.
"Abraham and the children, from ten to eleven, will read a Scripture lesson.
"These attentions will occupy three hours of my time every day.
"Dorry, Nancy and Jane say English Grammar and parse with Abraham Altars--the Mondays appointed for this purpose. Thomas is to prepare a lesson every day in Latin Grammar. One hour for writing, and half an hour to hear any particular lessons from D., N. and J.
"The whole time spent thus will be nine hours."
His own preparation for future public labor consisted at this time, mainly, in the daily study of the Scriptures--a duty to which he had again solemnly consecrated himself, as appears from his recorded resolutions on the last day of the previous year. In these he resolves, by the Divine assistance, to read for half an hour every day in the Scriptures, for the purpose of understanding them, looking for all the marginal references, and beginning at the first chapter of Genesis. Also to read a chapter in the Old and one in the New Testament, with Scott's Notes and practical observations. In addition to this, was the memorizing of portions of  Scripture daily. At the close of these resolves, he adds:
"May God in his great mercy afford me time, ability and inclination to attend to these intentions, and to his name may all the glory and honor redound through Jesus Christ. Amen. Alexander Campbell, Sunday, 31st December, 1809."
While thus engaged, and while the fall and winter months were passing away, he was not unobservant of the novel circumstances and the new conditions of society by which he was surrounded in the New World. Being himself a youth and of a lively disposition, he soon became acquainted with the young people in Washington and its vicinity, and was invited frequently to their social parties. Accustomed to the educated and refined society of the North of Ireland, where parental care enforced upon the young a strict attention to the rules of decorum, and where the deferential and delicate consideration shown to females was met, on their part, by a confiding frankness and affability which gave a peculiar charm to social intercourse, he was far from being pleased with the rudeness and unwonted freedoms tolerated in many social gatherings, and was struck with the want of education and culture manifested by the youthful portion of the community.
The pioneers of the West had been, at first, too busy in clearing away the forests and in subduing the ruggedness of a wild, uncultivated region to devote much time to intellectual improvement or to the amenities of social life. An incessant warfare with the gigantic trees which usurped the fertile soil; fierce and frequent encounters with savage beasts and still more savage men of the native Indian tribes, and a necessary restriction to the simplest modes of life, gave, indeed, a bold  and self-reliant spirit, but tended to impart roughness as well as awkwardness to manners. The unchecked wildness of nature and the rudeness of art infected society. Incessant physical toil was demanded of every member of the farmer's household in order to secure the lately-purchased farm or to extend its limits. The men and boys labored in the roughly-cultivated fields, just won from the ancient forest; the matron and her daughters were occupied at home in domestic cares, which then included the manufacture of clothing for the entire family. All were engaged in the preparation of flax and wool, and the hum of the busy wheel and the sound of the loom could be heard in almost every dwelling. At certain seasons, the females assisted even in the labors of the field. There was little time for reading and few books to be read. In the country, school; were opened only for a brief period during the winter season; and even the poor instruction they afforded was enjoyed to but a limited extent by farmers' daughters, for, at that time, their education was almost wholly neglected. There were then no female seminaries, and views so defective were entertained with regard to the education of females that a girl who could simply read and write a little was regarded as having attained all the learning necessary in order to the accomplishment of woman's mission. Social intercourse itself was greatly restricted, except in towns and amongst the few to whom wealth gave some degree of leisure. In the country at large, it was usually excessive labor that could alone secure brief recreation; and it was hence when the young men of the neighborhood were collected by appointment at a farmer's house, for what was called a "husking frolic," or for some other pressing farm labor; or the young women had  been, in like manner, assembled during a busy day of "quilting," "apple-paring," or other work appertaining to their department, that, in the evening, in each case, a troop of guests of the opposite sex were wont to arrive, when a few hours would be stolen from the night to be devoted to rude and boisterous merriment.
That laborious industry and economy which, with the pioneers, had been a necessity, became at length a habit with them and with their children and descendants; and even the attainment of a comfortable independence at a later period failed to relieve families from the incessant drudgery of their occupations, which were now pursued mainly from the desire of amassing wealth. The social customs with which many who were foreigners had been familiar in their youth, were in a good degree lost by long disuse; families became isolated upon their farms; matrimonial alliances were sought rather from motives of gain than of affection; and, as a consequence, an unusual number of both sexes remained unmarried. Exceptions there were, indeed, both in town and country--but especially in the towns--of those who had enjoyed superior advantages and who were highly cultivated; but even in the towns, where there was a much greater degree of sociality, wealth and fashion had already begun to produce their usual effects of dividing society into castes and creating various hinderances to true social enjoyment. Young men of position were disposed to be dissipated and foppish, and young ladies of wealth or beauty aspired to be leaders of the public taste, and to establish the reign of coquetry and caprice.
Under these circumstances, while, with the great mass of the community, there was a commendable degree of plainness and simplicity and a high degree  of friendly feeling, the manners and customs prevailing, especially amongst the young, were so different from those to which Alexander had been accustomed that he felt strongly disposed to urge the need of a social as well as of a religious reformation. Having formed an agreeable acquaintance with Mr. William Sample, who had established a weekly paper in Washington called the Reporter, in August, 1808, and being requested by him to furnish some original essays, he agreed to do so, and concluded to take up and expose, in a series of articles, the social evils he had observed. Adopting the manner of the Spectator, in which the essayist personages different characters and sexes, most of the articles in the series assumed to be written by a young female who signs herself "Clarinda," and who desires to offer some friendly admonitions, both to her own and to the opposite sex, in relation to various foibles which she desires to see corrected. As it may interest the reader to have some specimens of his style of composition at this period, some extracts are here given from these essays; and as a particular interest attaches to the first one, as being the very earliest production of his pen designed for publication, it is here given entire:
"ORIGINAL ESSAYS, NO. 1.
"It is generally expected and understood that every one who writes for the public eye writes for the public good; and as the necessities, desires, imperfections and frailties of our nature are manifold and diversified, so are the means numerous and diverse by which we may contribute to the welfare and happiness of our fellow-creatures. The salutary aid of friendly admonition and the gentle voice of familiar reproof are no less useful in certain circumstances, no less duties that we owe one another, than to alleviate the sorrows of the distressed, to soothe the comfortless, to cheer the melancholy, to  succor the helpless and forlorn; to relieve the wants of the needy, or to heal the diseases of the infirm. But that the public may know what my motives are; what is the good which I intend, and who are the public for whom it is intended, I deem it necessary to make a few preliminary remarks.
"Owing to my youth and comparative inexperience, I presume not to dictate to my superiors in wisdom or years; neither do the foibles which I desire removed belong to the fathers and mothers of the present age: it is the sons and daughters, my equals and contemporaries, to whom I particularly address myself; and, therefore, I would request of you, my venerable parents, not to accuse me of presumption in attempting to point out some of the frailties and foibles of my young friends of either sex, with a design of amelioration, not for my good or yours alone, but for the sake of the individuals to whom I address myself.
"In consequence of that modesty which is the glory and dignity of my sex, I presume not to dictate to the youth of the other sex, only in so far as I may have occasion to speak of their conduct in relation to my sex. Therefore, gentlemen, be not angry though a female should, for once, attempt to ameliorate certain traits in your character in relation to us. I believe the gentlemen in general are so indulgent to us that they take in good part whatever we say respecting them, and are more inclined to draw the veil of forgetfulness over our imperfections and to extenuate our errors than to make them more conspicuous or revive their memory. I can only assure you, young gentlemen, that anything I may in future say respecting you, shall be said with the best of motives and for the most philanthropic intentions, with a design of promoting our mutual advantage and felicity.
"And as to you, my young female friends, who have not yet entered into the connubial state, for whose sake particularly I undertake this laborious, and, what some no doubt may think, censurable task, I know many of you are more able to act this part than I am; but as your long silence respecting  these things has caused me to despair of your ever contributing in this kind of way to redress those grievances of which you have been long complaining, I am moved, with the utmost deference, diffidence and timidity, to attempt what some of you have long wished to have done. Believe me, I say, it is particularly for your own sake that I dare to intrude on the public, and attempt to reform the general conduct of our and the other sex, in what particularly relates to the forming of connections for life. I beg that you will not think I am turned traitor to my sex, if I may happen to expose some of their foibles, which, perhaps, are not so generally known to the gentlemen as to ourselves. If I have to say anything of this kind, it will be done in as delicate a manner as circumstances will possibly admit, and for no other purpose than to prevail on the gentlemen to be more candid in giving up any practices which may be injurious to their or our felicity, for what makes us happy will never make them unhappy; what adds to our felicity will not diminish theirs; what is for our good is for theirs also.
"But it maybe inquired, What do you see amiss? what do you see improper in our general conduct? what do you wish to ameliorate? I would only answer, in the mean time, that, upon a strict survey of the deportment of the youths of both sexes in relation to one another, in the forming of particular and intimate connections with one another, I perceive many things which, in my judgment, stand in need of an amelioration; and not in my judgment only, but in the judgment of many far more judicious and intelligent than I. To state what these things are, and what this reformation should be, would be to anticipate what is designed for a few subsequent essays, wherein these foibles and their improvement will be discussed to more advantage. It is universally agreed that no person is free from foibles: he or she, then, must be the best character who has the fewest failings; and as all imperfections injure our happiness, that must be the happiest individual who has the fewest imperfections. It may also be asked, Has not everything been said on these subjects that can  be said. I answer, that, as to original matter, there has been enough said to make us as happy and as perfect as our state will admit, if put in practice; but, although much has been said on these subjects in general, and almost all that can be said, yet the difference of characters, times, situations and places may require modifications of many things that may have been said in substance or in part; and another reason is, that what has been said on these subjects is not in the hands of many who may require instruction of this kind.
"As to my own character and qualifications, I have, for a few years past, been a close observer of the customs, manners, morals and fashions of the age and country in which I live, in as far as my acquaintance could extend, either by books or by intercourse with society. And although I owe a good deal of my information to books, as many of my female friends do, yet I have been still endeavoring to
'Catch the living manners as they rise,'
to consider the polite, moral and religious deportment of my contemporaries, constantly noting those traits of character and action which have been generally admired and esteemed by the judicious and well-informed part of both sexes: and also to mark with abhorrence and detestation those things which the good, the wise, and polite part of society hated. I dare not say anything particular respecting myself, lest in a village so small I might discover myself, and if my own foibles were known (which I wish to correct), it might injure my usefulness to others. I only request my friends to weigh what I say, and if their understanding approve, I am persuaded their good sense will lead them to practice what may appear most conducive to their real and lasting felicity.
"If anything I should say respecting foibles or vices might seem applicable to any individuals (at least be thought so by themselves), let me assure them that it is not my intention to hurt the feelings of any individual, or even to say anything about vices and imperfections that belong not to the character of a number of individuals. As to the manner of communication, I have chosen the Reporter, not from political motives,  as politics do not belong to ladies, but as it is a paper of the most general circulation and popularity. As no person can say I have mercenary views in thus communicating my ideas upon the subjects mentioned, I hope they will consider my intentions as good, and be fully persuaded that I design nothing but what will be conducive to the general felicity. I have only to request the better-informed part of both sexes that they will spread the veil of oblivion over any imperfections they may see in my compositions: not being accustomed to write for the public eye, and not receiving that liberal education which gentlemen receive, and which is rarely the lot of any of my sex, it may not be thought strange that I should sometimes disgust my more learned and refined readers.
The above essay appears on the 14th of May, 1810. In the next one, remarks are made upon the origin and history of convivial meetings, and a notice is taken of the different species of parties, whether of the unmarried alone, or of the married, or of both together; some observations being made also upon the specific design of each. Confining the attention finally to parties of young unmarried persons, the attempt is made to determine the peculiar purpose of such parties. After considering several of the reasons commonly given for these assemblages, as, for instance, "because it is fashionable and polite," or "that it is to promote friendship and sociality," etc., no one of which is found to be the real object, this is then asserted to be to promote love between the sexes. This is argued, first, from the prevailing topics of conversation on such occasions, and secondly, from the character of the amusements adopted:
"These," it is said, "are also calculated to inspire love, and are generally the dernier resort when sentiment, wit and conversation fail to produce the desired effect. 
"How often is recourse had to children's toys and juvenile amusements, adapted to manhood and womanhood by certain modifications of laws respecting forfeits, fines and penalties, for every transgression of the laws of the play! I say, how often is recourse had to those puerile trifles, genteel bawbles--genteel refinements--to afford pleasure and amusement!!! Sorry resources! beneath the dignity of rational immortals! pitiful return for the loss of a few precious hours which not India's wealth could purchase! Is this friendship and civility Is this honor? Is there virtue in this? It may indeed be genteel, fashionable and polite; I do not question this!!! But let me consider the forfeits and penalties of these amusive plays. The forfeits are in general of so amiable and natural a kind that he or she is the happiest individual who lies under the heaviest sentence and is doomed to the greatest punishment; and the reason is, because the punishments are so conducive to produce that gratification that is so congenial to our nature; so palatable to gross and unrefined passions; so delightful to a wanton imagination. I need not inform my readers that the common punishments inflicted on the unhappy victims who may have the good fortune to transgress, are the sweet embrace--the gentle, amorous whisper--the open confession of an inward flame--the expression of a gentle wish--and some such like, that have a tendency to opiate the understanding, but indeed to the generality of individuals produce what are called gentle--soothing--charming--killing effects--'effects whose very agonies delight.' Need we any other proof that the very end and intention of these parties is to create love--to excite amorous intentions; to captivate the youthful heart by delusive charms in the glittering snare--to bind the juvenile affections with the silver wreaths of soft persuasion--with the silken strings of affability--and to catch the imagination with the golden chain of artful address? Such is the intention of these parties, else looks and words and actions deceive--else smiles and sighs have no meaning--else the very thing itself is a mere farce--a senseless thing, a mere contingency. 
"As I pointed out the evils of the other alleged designs in my last essay, I intend here to point out the evils of this design, which I think is sufficiently proved to be the true one. The topics of conversation, and the whole conversation itself, are vain at the best, sometimes wanton, and often bordering on the unchaste; it is empty and uninteresting; every one seems to be in labor for something to say; and sometimes the imagination and invention of the whole party is so barren that there will not be a word spoken for five or ten minutes together, every one watching another's lips to see when they will move; at length, although nothing fanciful or interesting occurs, yet some person, provoked at the silence, will speak, if they should say nonsense, and that you may know, in the future, when one of those chasms occurs in conversation, when invention is on the rack for something new, you will observe that the person who speaks begins by telling you (as if you did not know) something about the weather.
* * * * *
"You will also observe that when one has broken silence in this kind of a way, there arises a general chatter among the rest, as when one goose of a flock chatters all the rest begin, and by and by you'll have them all chattering at once. When I am a spectator at one of these gabbling matches, the Turkish maxim comes into my mind, namely, that 'women have no souls,' and although this sentiment shocks me and causes me to search my own breast, yet frequently, I must confess, if I were to judge from the frivolity of the conversation and the levity of the sentiment at these parties, I must conclude that female minds are not capacious; but if I were to form a judgment of the gentlemen from their conduct and conversation in these companies, I would find it extremely difficult to form an idea of a rational soul, allowing that women have none; for I find that they can condescend to all the frivolities and weaknesses of which we are capable. But, indeed, upon the whole, it seems as if they who attend these parties could find no pleasure at home when they come here to seek it. Is there rational enjoyment in the entertainment? Is there  pleasure in the conversation? Is there substantial good in the amusements? If there be to any soul, I must exclaim, Oh, vitiated taste! unchaste imagination! unhappy age!!! Will four hours spent in this insipid way afford you ten minutes' pleasure in reflection, in contemplation, in retrospect? Will it afford you comfort in the hour of affliction when you are grappling with the King of terrors? Will it be comfortable for you to say, when you are bidding an eternal adieu to the world, I have spent many a precious evening in a genteel party, many an hour in giddy dissipation, in thoughtless mirth, in needless festivity? At some distant, far distant point in eternity, will you remember with joy or with sorrow that you spent an evening once a week, or once a month, for, it may be, ten, twenty, or thirty years, in one of these parties which you now so much like? Ah! my female friends, did you but consider the value and dignity of your nature, you would not thus degrade it; did you but remember the seeds of immortality that are within you, that must either blossom or languish for ever, you would not thus spend one precious evening, that when you come to die, ten thousand thousand worlds could not purchase or recall. Did you but consider that your nature is of so dignified a kind that it may converse with holy spirits, angels, archangels, and with God for ever, you would not lavish your evenings in such vain conversation and thoughtless amusements. Believe me, my young female friends, that such is the nature of these pleasing amusements, that they are like poison that is sweet to the taste, but, when swallowed, brings nature to dissolution; and such, alas! is the delusive nature of folly, that the pleasure of committing is instantaneously past, but the guilt contracted is immortal and eternal.
"I have now mentioned a good many disadvantages accruing from these parties, but no advantages. Let me plainly tell you I can mention no advantages arising from them; only one, which is, that they have a tendency to civilize mankind; but I leave you to determine if this advantage is important enough to preponderate all that I have put in the other  balance. You will say now, I disapprove of social parties; no, my dear friends, far from that. I should wish to be a member of a social party an evening or two every week, but with this simple amelioration, that they should meet in a plain, decent manner, with minds replete with either important subjects for communication to instruct others, or with a desire to be instructed by others in things worthy of our nature--things conducive to our eternal interests; not respecting beauty or dress, which shall soon turn to corruption; but let our conversation be about our far better, and what should be our far dearer part, our immortal souls--
"'Which shall flourish in immortal youth;
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter and the crush of worlds.'
* * * * *
"CLARINDA. "May 24, 1810."
The next essay gives a satirical and amusing account of various sorts of beaux--as lovers of riches, of beauty, or of virtue, with appropriate comments, and is dated June 1. The succeeding one, dated June 8, presents Clarinda's opinion of old bachelors, whom she defines as "drones," and says: "An old bachelor is a forlorn mortal insulated in society, who is an object of universal ridicule, hated by his own sex, cursed by the other, and, worse than all, blamed by himself; he is like a dry tree standing in the forest, that prevents the vegetation of others, merely an encumberer of the ground which every one wishes to see hewn down, etc." She speaks also of their alleged or supposed reasons for preferring celibacy. In the sixth essay, the writer is addressed by Observator, offering some criticisms, and approving the remarks upon social parties. To this a reply is given June 16, and the subject is continued in reference to the evil practice of some, in paying addresses to  several young ladies at the same time. The next, number seven, is occupied with a letter from J. C., exposing the practice of certain fops who were in the habit of wearing dirks in their bosoms, and this visibly even in the company of ladies; and also censuring their habits of profane swearing, from which the following is an extract:
"When I am addressing you on this subject, I would also make a few observations on another more fashionable vice among our young fops (I cannot call them gentlemen), who are guilty of this horrid vice--I mean, swearing in company with ladies and persons of a moral deportment, to whom this vice is most offensive and abominable. I say, I cannot call swearers gentlemen, however else qualified; for, says a judicious writer, with whom I precisely agree in this sentiment, 'Those who addict themselves to swearing and interlard their discourse with oaths; can never be considered as gentlemen; they are generally persons of low education and are unwelcome in what is called good company. It is a vice that has no temptation to plead, but is, in every respect, as vulgar as it is wicked.' Of all the vices which have ever disgraced human nature; of all the extremes of madness and folly to which mankind has ever run; of all the irreverent, irreligious deeds which have ever blackened human character, there is none more horrid, flagrant or profane; none so presumptuous, arrogant and irreverent, as carelessly, heedlessly and impiously to invoke the sacred name of Him whom angels worship, saints adore, and before whom devils and wicked men shall tremble with horror, anguish and dismay--to invoke the sacred majesty of heaven on every light, frivolous and wicked occasion--to call God to witness every lewd, base, mean or trivial action they perform or perpetrate; and, still worse, to supplicate that pure and righteous Being to damn, curse or punish a fellow-creature, a fellow-immortal, or, it may be, some brute or inanimate thing. And what renders this vice most oppressive to them who are provoked  at it is, that our profligate, immoral beaux make it a point to swear the harder if there be any pious persons or ladies in company, thinking to mortify the former and expecting to commend their gallantry to the latter. Be assured, ye detestable wretches, that this vice is as degrading to yourselves as it is hateful to others; and there is not a lady who possesses a spark of virtue but will shun and detest your company. Besides, to call God to witness the truth of what you say, implies that you suppose the person whom you address believes you a liar, and will not, without a volley of oaths, put confidence in what you say. If you wish to be believed, your understanding is horribly misguided if you expect to induce a belief by crowning your assertion with an oath: this certainly creates a suspicion in the mind of the person whom you address that the thing is untrue. In short, I know no reason for or temptation to this vice, above all the vices prevalent in the world. Ask a man why he swears, he tells you it is a bad custom he has learned--he cannot quit it. Experience sufficiently proves that it is in the power of any person who makes the attempt to give it over, only let him be determined and watchful."
Essay number eight, contains a letter from "Eusebia Anxious," addressed to "Clarinda Philogamia," approving the censure inflicted on the bachelors, and giving a reason for their increase which she received from her grandfather, viz.: that it was owing to the government allowing speculators to buy up large tracts of land, thus depriving young farmers of the opportunity of obtaining farms at reasonable rates, and preventing them from venturing into matrimony. To this a reply is given, offering condolence and complimenting Eusebia for her courage in daring to appear in print for the benefit of society, and passing into a meditation on the evil effects produced by the fear of being singular; after which occurs the following apostrophe to Fashion: 
"O Fashion, thou deity whom fops, empty fops and gaudy belles adore! Thou first-born of Volatility, and full-descended child of vanity; thou parent of ills, of woes unheard, untold, unsung; thou scourge of pride and lash of fools; O grim-visaged tyrant! thou swayest thy oppressive sceptre over slaves incalculable; thou taxest thy oppressed subjects with burdens insupportable; thine iron fangs oppress the poor and crush the needy. Thou grand foe to liberty, inappeasable enemy to independence; thy despotic countenance thunders terrors through the souls of thy victims, and fills the minds of thy dupes with pride, envy, malice, and a thousand evil passions that distract and perplex their aching hearts. In thy domain and uncircumscribed territories are heard naught but sighs and groans, but frowns and curses echoing through thy hills and resounding through thy dales. O Fashion! thou hast slain thy thousands and murdered thy tens of thousands. Thou hast led mankind away from itself, and, ignis-fatuus-like, deceived them. Thou hast taught the female, the tender, inexperienced female, who unhappily was born thy slave and nursed in thy empire, to borrow all her dignity, all her importance from the veering figure of thy countenance; to look for all her honor, all her consequence, all her happiness from thy extrinsic airs. In thy school, she learned to value herself from the patches and daubs of art, that in vain strive to add beauty to the master-piece of Nature: as well mightst thou burnish the sun, paint the lily, or perfume the rose, as attempt to add beauty to the strokes of Nature. O Fashion! thou hast taught thy daughters to value a companion from the plumage of her garb, from the perfume of her locks, her well-set hair, her sparkling comb, her glittering ring, her rosy cheek that owns the borrowed blushes of an artful dye; from the thousand gew-gaws and trifles that are the niggardly refinements of thy modern hue. Thy maxim is, Value the casket, and despise the jewels it contains; admire the shadow and neglect the substance; appreciate the glare and tinsel, and depreciate the pearls of great value; adorn the outside, leave the mind a barren wild,  an uncultivated desert, where weeds poisonous luxuriantly grow. These, O inexorable Fashion! are but the species of ills that complete thy train and compose thy retinue."
This series of essays closed with the tenth number, of July 23d. The subjects treated, to many may appear trivial; but at the time, and under the circumstances, these articles excited no small degree of interest. To treat such subjects with so much freedom in the newspaper of a small town, where the author could scarcely expect to remain unknown, required, at least, considerable intrepidity; and it is believed that the essays of " Clarinda" contributed to produce, in the manners of those who were thus exposed to public censure, some degree of what the writer terms "amelioration." Sundry poetical pieces also, and other articles on various topics, were contributed by him to the Reporter, under anonymous signatures, during this period.
While throwing off these light productions, however, he was not inattentive to the more serious interests of the community in which he had, for the present, found a home. Much concerned for the cause of education his attention was particularly engaged with the literary institution which, four years previously (in 1806), had been organized in the town under the title of "Washington College." Although a similar institution, "Jefferson College," under the direction of the same Presbyterian party, had been established some four years earlier at Canonsburg, only seven miles distant, in the same county, the one at Washington had received considerable patronage, so that, at the third session, it had as many as fifty students--quite a large number at that period, even when taking into view the small tuition-fee required, and the low price of boarding, which was only a dollar and a half per  week in the town, and much lower in the country. Much, however, was due to the personal influence and energy of Rev. Matthew Brown, the principal of the college, and pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in the town, with whom Alexander had formed some acquaintance, but with whose management of the college he was not very well pleased. Being thrown into constant communication with the students, and having ample opportunity for observation, he noticed many defects in the system of education adopted, and in the order and discipline of the institution. It was to be expected, indeed, that, coming from an old and extensive university like that of Glasgow, he would find many things apparently strange and rude in an infant college of the Western World. He seems to have been a silent spectator of the commencement exercises of the winter session, which took place on Friday, 27th of April. At the close of the summer session, however, Thursday, 27th of September, 1810, the character of the exercises was such that he could no longer forbear offering some animadversions through the newspaper. It appears that a very great degree of license was allowed the students in regard to the performances. Pieces were spoken caricaturing certain peculiarities of the Scotch and Irish. A mock trial at the bar was presented. There was also an exhibition of fencing and of boxing for the amusement of the audience; and certain profane expressions were allowed in some of the dialogues. Some verses composed by an Irishman upon his wife were recited; some tunes upon a fiddle were given by one of the students; and some scenes from Smollet's comedy of the "Reprisals" were enacted by the students.
In the next number of the Reporter, published 1st  October, 1810, there appeared the following notice of these exercises, which was probably written by a member of the Faculty.
"The summer session of this Seminary was closed on Thursday 27th inst., with the usual public exercises. The students repaired, at the appointed hour, to the college. A very numerous assembly of the most respectable citizens, from town and country convened in the college yard, where seats were prepared for their accommodation. A rich variety of entertainments, suited to the various tastes of the audience, was then presented. The gay and the grave, the young and the old, wise men and fools, had each a portion meted out unto them, in well-composed pieces, original and selected; the vices and follies of the times were gently exposed in many ways. The drunkard, the duelist, the gambler, the swearer, the fop, and the fool respectively groaned under the lash of satire. To amuse themselves as well as entertain the audience, the young gentlemen availed themselves of the liberties of speech sanctioned by universal and immemorial custom. The different callings and professions were truly noticed in their turns; but the lawyers received a Benjamin's portion; also in touching the peculiar language or manners of nations some freedom was indulged. But it was evident from the whole of the exercises, the object was to please, not to offend."
It seems, however, that the exhibition, though designed to please everybody, created a considerable amount of dissatisfaction. In the same paper, appears a note from the faculty of the college, denying that there was any intention of casting any reflections upon the Irish people in one of the addresses delivered; and giving to the public, by way of a per contra, another of the addresses highly commending the Irish character. Immediately after this, comes what purports to  be a "Correct Compendious Account of the late Exhibition of Washington College," in a letter to a friend, dated at Washington, September 28, 1810. The writer, in an ironical vein, refers to a sentiment which he had formerly expressed to his friend, that the real nature and benevolent intention of the Christian religion, when correctly understood, was to render mankind happy here, and thus, of course, to give them a taste and relish for happiness hereafter.
"Upon this topic," he continues, "my friend will remember, we used to differ, though with our usual good nature and reciprocal esteem. I always told you that your views on this important subject were by far too precise and severe. You used to boast of the evidence in your favor on this side of the mountains, where you used to tell me that the genuine effects were experienced to a degree somewhat adequate to the nature of the subject, especially in the late revivals which had taken place. To these effects you used to appeal to strengthen your arguments, wishing that I were here to see the effects produced in consequence upon the inhabitants of this side of the Alleghany, and therefore congratulated me on my intended purpose of becoming a resider in the Western country."
Appealing then to the exhibition of the day before as a convincing evidence of the correctness of his more liberal view, he thus proceeds:
"The unexpected occurrence of yesterday has contributed more to my satisfaction, upon the whole result, than the simple residence of years would otherwise have done. It afforded me an opportunity of contemplating the effects of the combined influence of all means and privileges, civil and religious, literary and moral; not upon a solitary individual or a few, but upon a large aggregate of individuals of all ranks and orders in the community. The day was fine, the  assembly numerous and respectable; composed of reverend clergymen, lawyers, merchants, farmers, and a great variety of elegant ladies, young and old, married and single. The thing intended and to be exhibited for the entertainment of this elegant assembly, was an exhibition of the attainments of the students of Washington College in their various departments; and all this under the superintendence and direction of some of the most sacred characters of which enlightened society can boast. The names of some of them were, as I was informed, the Rev. Mr. Brown, president of the college, Rev. Mr. Russel, and Mr. Reed, professor of mathematics; teachers in the academy, Rev. Messrs. Guinn and Dodd, besides many other venerable characters on the board."
He then proceeds to give an account of the various parts of the entertainment, among them enumerating as follows:
"4. Fencing. This, I think, is well taught here. I saw two young men, in the characters of officers, handle the broad-sword most dexterously. You and I differed formerly upon this part of education; you said it was inconsistent with the pure and benevolent disposition of the Christian religion; I thought it was requisite to complete a gentleman, and you see my opinion is confirmed by the practice of this truly reformed and Christian neighborhood.
"5. Boxing with the fist, or, as they call it in their technical college terms, pugilism, or, in the terms of the learned gentlemen, argumentum bacculinum. You said this was a diabolical practice, but I never could see it so; it is necessary for the preservation of one's life, as well as the use of the sword, to maintain one's honor. I saw one or two rounds well fought.
"6. Polite swearing, such as by J------, and O God! and other decent oaths, which you used to say were incompatible with a Christian, for they were breaches of the third commandment; I am sure they were not: the clergymen must  have approved of them, for they were giving smiles of approbation at the scenes in which they were uttered. Some kind of oaths would no doubt be offensive where malice and anger are the cause, but innocent, harmless oaths are, by no means, inconsistent with true morality.
"7. Music, vocal and instrumental. I heard some handsome Scotch airs well sung, with a good bass voice; also at every interlude a brisk tune upon the fiddle, with an occasional brattle of the drum and fife. Indeed, I think the proficiency of the youth in the science of music is very extensive, and bespeaks the credit of their instructors. Now you may remember when you and I were talking about playing the fiddle, you told me that on the western side of the mountains, since the late revivals in religion among the Presbyterians, a fiddle was scarcely to be heard in any assembly--that it was not admitted even at a wedding. One instance you gave me of the minister actually interfering, and was about leaving the house when the young people struck up a tune upon the fiddle; so you see that in many things you have been misinformed, and have imbibed quite wrong ideas respecting the Christian religion.
"8. Stage-playing. I saw a scene or two acted which gave general satisfaction to everybody; and I am more favorable to stage-playing than ever before. I see the absurdity of your quotation from the Westminster Divines, when you were arguing with me upon the impropriety of stage-playing; you said that it was expressly prohibited in the Confession of Faith, page 288, quest. 139. 'Dancing, stage-plays are forbidden by this command.' This is only to be understood of the stage-plays in large cities."
Having noticed one or two other points, the article thus concludes:
"Having spent the day thus happily among a liberal and enlightened people, who all seemed as pleased and happy as myself at the truly delightful and entertaining specimens of the very flattering progress of their youth in the various  branches--composition, elocution, pleading at the bar, fencing, boxing, polite swearing, music, both vocal and instrumental, stage-playing, polite blackguarding, and many other less important though elegant; accomplishments--I left the sacred spot amidst the approving group, with the following reflections: Happy people! at once the wonder and envy of the world! May I long enjoy the happiness of your pleasant society! May I imbibe your liberal principles, improve by your virtuous example in all the various departments of a truly polite and refined education; free from the vicious extremes of a morose philosophy, of a too rigid morality, and of an austere and squeamish scrupulosity, so unbecoming the benevolent genius of the Christian religion--all which have a native tendency to freeze the genial current of the soul and spoil the social vivacity and mirth of mankind! Auspicious omen for the progressive amelioration of society, far and near, by the diffusive influence of the salutiferous example of many well-taught youths returning to intermingle with the various circles of private life; and, by-and-by, as chance or choice may direct, to fill all the important offices in Church and State. But time would fail me to enumerate all the pleasing and happifying prospects which such an extensive and liberal education is calculated to produce upon society; wishing you to come and live with us in this truly happy and agreeable part of the country. I am, etc.,
As some persons not connected with the college had previously proposed to establish a race-course in the vicinity, the following postscript is added to the above letter:
"P. S. I was at a loss to inform you whether or not your information was true about the horse-races: I was in town in the evening and inquired after them. I heard that previous to that day it was thought they would not succeed; they were strenuously opposed; but the happy effects of the exhibition upon the minds of the citizens that day turned the  public opinion, and I heard one gentleman say (who was till then vehemently opposed to horse-racing) that he would now give five dollars to support the races. Such, you see, is the genuine effect of true religion."
This exposure created, as might be expected, great indignation on the part of the faculty and some of the friends of the college. Various anonymous articles immediately appeared in defence of the exhibition, and against the aspersions of Bonus Homo. The first of these is from Sarah Hastings, disavowing the authorship of Bonus Homo, which she says had been imputed to her on account of her being a stranger lately arrived in Washington, and denouncing the article as an "indirect attempt to crush the rising honor of the infant college, destroy the influence of the respectable faculty--subvert the interests of vital piety--pour contempt on the late revivals of religion, and cast the odium due to this contumacious conduct upon an inoffensive, unprotected and unassuming stranger!!!"
In the same paper a long article from "A Friend to Truth" endeavors to defend the exhibition on the ground "that it is usual in Western seminaries of learning thus to indulge the students and amuse their audience; that the pieces delivered on these occasions are generally the selections of the young men themselves, and that at such times the students, 'freed from college rules and commonplace-book reason,' feel an elasticity of spirit that laughs at the gravity of discipline, and frequently introduce in the arrangements of those days things which serious propriety would perhaps have omitted." The writer then makes several efforts to repel the ironical compliments of Bonus Homo, admitting that he was himself offended at the speech in ridicule of the Irish, and concludes by threatening to  "intrude" more of his remarks upon the public if Bonus Homo should still persist in his attempts to injure the institution at Washington by his misstatements and false colorings.
In the next paper, 15th October, Bonus Homo replies to Mrs. Hastings, releasing her from the charge of authorship, insisting upon the correctness of his report, and exposing the futility of her attempt to defend the exhibition. In the Reporter of the 22d, Bonus Homo replies to "A Friend to Truth," showing that the latter really admits the facts stated, and differs from Bonus Homo only in thinking them justifiable. He denies that he is an enemy to literary institutions or to a liberal education, and declares himself an advocate for a reform in the present mode of academic education. With regard to the excuse offered by "A Friend to Truth," that "the pieces, dialogues, etc., on these occasions are generally the selections of the young men themselves, and meet with merely a hasty, cursory examination by the faculty," he thus speaks:
"What a stab this, at the institution!!! To declare that the boys are left to do as they please; to follow the dictates of juvenile fancy--of puerile folly, unrestrained, unchecked by the salutiferous admonition of prudent, experienced age--that they are permitted to expose themselves and the faculty, through the indolence of the faculty!!! Name it not! I am persuaded the faculty do not act so indiscreetly. They must examine, approve and regulate both the matter and the manner of the exhibition, else it would be a scene of confusion, an exhibition of all the possible irregularities and eccentricities of human nature."
In the conclusion he offers to enter into discussion with "A Friend to Truth" on certain conditions, and engages to show "the impropriety, inconsistency and  pernicious tendency of the major part of the matter and manner of such exhibitions, and the great default in the present mode of education. He also proposes to point out what, in his judgment, and in the judgment of the greatest, wisest ad best of men, would be more desirable, more useful and more beneficial to individuals and the community at large." To this article he appends a long descriptive poem, setting forth, satirically, the distinguishing features of the exhibition.
In the next paper, 29th October, the discussion is continued with a weak rejoinder from Sarah Hastings, consisting of mere invective, and with a puerile squib from a new correspondent, who signs himself Bonus Puer. In the issue of the 5th of November, we have a badly-spelled article by a student, dated at Canonsburg, in favor of the exhibition, and also the reply of Bonus Homo to Mrs. Hastings. On the 12th November, "A Friend to Truth" appears again upon the stage in an article of two columns, full of abuse and feeble attempts at sarcasm, and declining the discussion offered by Bonus Homo. In the next week's issue, Bonus Homo renews his onslaught. Quoting the announcement of the exercises given in the beginning, he adopts it as his text, and shows that proceeding, as it doubtless did, from the faculty or some friend of the college, it really admitted everything that he had charged upon the exhibition. Referring to what is said in this notice that "a rich variety of entertainment, suited to the varied tastes of the audience, was presented--the gay and the grave, the young and the old, wise men and fools had each a portion meted out to them"--he thus comments:
"What a comprehensive ingenuity, What a prudent foresight, what a large assortment of materials does it require to  suit an exhibition to the 'varied tastes' of such a motley audience! What a wonderful exhibition was it, when the old, the young, the gay, the grave, the wise man, the fool, the drunkard, the duelist, the gambler, the swearer and the fop, all found something suited to their respective tastes! The gay had a pleasant tune and a merry tale suited to their gay taste; the wise men had but a small portion suited to their taste. I don't remember what it was, except to gather experimental knowledge from the exhibition of folly. The fool had a vast portion suited to his taste. The drunkard had the flowing bowl set before him to tantalize his taste, and a jovial drunken song suited to his bacchanalian taste. A duel was fought to gratify the dueler's taste. The gambler groaned under the lash of satire; and the swearer had some good round oaths suited to his taste. But, in one word, the faculty assures us there was something 'suited to their varied tastes.' * * * * It only remains for me to prove that these things are actually taught at the academy, as there is no person who will dare to contradict the honorable faculty, and say these things were not exhibited.
"And here let it be carefully noted that Bonus Homo did not say that these were the only things taught in the academy, but that these things were taught; and it is as certain that they were the only specimens of education which were exhibited that day. On this head, the faculty say that 'the various portions meted out consisted of well-composed pieces, original and selected.' Which of the pieces presented were original or selected, is not my business to determine. It is certain, however, that the pieces were composed and selected either at the direction and discretion of the faculty, or else the young men were left entirely to follow the dictates of juvenile fancy; but is it possible to imagine that the learned faculty would invite the public to witness an exhibition of the performance of the youths under their care, which would consist in specimens in the selection and preparation of which they would be understood to have had no hand, or which did not meet with their previous approbation? It is also as certain  that sufficient time must have been allowed for the purpose of committing the pieces to memory and for preparatory rehearsals, which could not be done without the tuition of the faculty. Who will then venture to assert, in manifest opposition to the indispensable duties and just claims of the faculty and to the dictates of common sense, that these things were not taught in the college which furnished the matter of a collegiate exhibition? Having thus plainly, fully and incontrovertibly established my compendious account of the far-famed exhibition from the public declaration of the faculty themselves, it therefore follows that whosoever shall hereafter endeavor to subvert my statements in one single item, must also subvert the faculty's publication, as we both substantially declare the same things."
The end to this amusing discussion is found in the Reporter of 3d of December, 1810, where Bonus Homo gives the finishing stroke to the champion of the faculty, "A Friend to Truth," exposing his personal scurrilities and lampoons, and his misrepresentations of facts and want of critical acumen. Among other things, he notices an imputation of ingratitude by this writer, who had said:
"I must add abhorrence to that wretched ingratitude which would raise his hand to destroy his benefactor." To this Bonus Homo replies, "I imagine he here means the president. There is to me something mysterious in this allegation, for, in the next sentence, he considers me a person scarcely an inhabitant of the country. Now, I can assure you, sir, and the public, that, till my arrival at Washington, I did not know that such a person existed, so narrow were the bounds of his fame, or so weak was the voice of the hundred-tongued damsel (or perhaps she had been asleep), that his name did never greet my ears. And I can certainly avow that, since my arrival here, I am not conscious of receiving the smallest favor from that gentleman. How then recognize him as my  benefactor? for surely if he be such to me, it must have been previous to my arrival here, and of course without my knowledge; and if so, unless he has entirely forfeited my gratitude, I hold myself still his grateful beneficiary. But I again aver I never recognized him then, nor, although better acquainted with him now, do I consider him in the light of a benefactor. But even if I had considered him as such, still I hold myself entirely innocent of having acted toward him in any respect that should render me justly liable to the charge of ingratitude. For certainly gratitude itself does not oblige one to acquiesce in the faults and errors of a benefactor, nor tie up the hands from opposing him in a public station when he acts improperly. I should here distinguish with the famous Roman of old, and say with him, 'As he was my friend, I loved him; as he was honorable, I revered him; but as he acted improperly, I blamed him!' Here, then, was gratitude for his benefaction, respect for his dignity, and reproof for his misconduct."
He finally closed by renewing his challenge to discuss the subject with any gentleman who would come forward in the proper manner. To this no reply was made, and Bonus Homo remained the undisputed master of the field.
It is said of Samson that, when a lad, the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times to exercise his gift of physical prowess, "in the camp of Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol." Thus, by a natural impulse, was Alexander Campbell in his youth, led to exercise those remarkable powers of mind for which he became afterward so distinguished, and in this victory over the faculty of the college he enjoyed a foretaste of his future triumphs. For it was not possible in a small town like Washington, that the authorship of Bonus Homo could remain long in doubt, and the pieces, by common consent, were attributed to the young Irishman  who had arrived, some months before, from Glasgow University. One morning, he happened to be standing in one of the stores, when Mr. Brown, the principal of the college, came in. "Well, Mr. Bonus Homo," said he, "I hope you are well this morning." At this abrupt greeting, Alexander blushed deeply, for he was at this time of a very fair complexion, but he managed, in respectfully returning the salutation, to evade the matter without acknowledging himself the author; which, indeed, was quite unnecessary.
As to the effect of the exposure made, it was undoubtedly beneficial to the cause of good order and correct education; and remained long in remembrance through that region of country as a warning against similar improprieties. Even conceding that the matters involved were of minor importance, the incidents related in this chapter show that Alexander had, as has been well said of Luther, "an inflexible reliance on the conclusions of his own understanding and on the energy of his own will," which striking traits in his character, already thus developed, will be found constantly to display themselves in his future history.
In closing this episode in his life, it is pleasing to relate, in connection with it, the following incident: More than thirty years after these occurrences, when Mr. Campbell had attained a high distinction as a writer and a public speaker, he was invited by one of the literary societies of Washington College, to deliver an address. Soon after his arrival at Washington for the purpose, Rev. Mr. Brown, now quite advanced in years, called upon him at his hotel, and after a very cordial greeting and some pleasant conversation, said to him with a smile, and laying his hand upon his knee in his pleasant familiar way, "Mr. Campbell, do you  remember Bonus Homo?" "Yes," replied Mr. Campbell, laughing, "I remember him." "Well," continued Mr. Brown, "Mr. Campbell, you were entirely right in your strictures. There is no doubt that you were perfectly right. I must admit that we were wrong, and the only excuse I have to offer is, that the circumstances and manners of the time seemed then to us to authorize a degree of license which would not at present be tolerated. There were then many defects in our system; but it seemed impossible to do otherwise. The country was new, and the people unprepared for strict scholastic discipline, so that many things had to be left imperfect, and you were well justified in all your criticisms." This was a very pleasant interview to Mr. Campbell, who always cherished a high esteem for Mr. Brown, on account of his many excellent personal qualities and his remarkable zeal in behalf of the interests of education, to which he was incessantly devoted. He was a warm friend to young men, ever solicitous for their advancement, and an ever-active guardian of their interests; so that the memory of President Brown is held in affectionate regard by many in the West, who enjoyed the benefit of his labors, both at Washington and at Canonsburg, where he was subsequently for a long time president of Jefferson College.
While the matters above recorded were transpiring, various overtures were made both to Thomas Campbell and to Alexander to induce them to unite with the religious bodies around them. Flattering inducements were held out to Alexander particularly, to enter the ministry among them, and devote his talents to denominational interests. Various proposals were also made to them in regard to the establishment of seminaries. All these offers and earnest solicitations were, however,  at once declined. Both father and son were unalterably devoted to the great work they had undertaken--to break down the barriers of religious partyism, and to restore the Church to its pristine unity--and could not think of abandoning these cherished objects. Alexander had said in one of his replies to "A Friend to Truth," when charged by him with seeking, by attacking the college, to prepare the way for establishing an academy at Washington: "However honorable and important, in my estimation, a collegiate department may be, I have not the least inclination of devoting myself to that business. I conceive one calling to be enough for one man: I have made my choice, and mean to abide by it. I therefore envy no man's situation, nor covet his employ merit." He had already consecrated his life and his abilities to the noblest of human pursuits, and in whatever he might occasionally engage as collateral or subsidiary, nothing could be permitted to interrupt the labors of his appropriate calling. 
[Table of Contents]
Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Volume I. (1868)
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