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REMINISCENCES

the other case the two sister churches would have worked together in Christian fellowship.

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1914

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I have described this threatened division in the church at greater length than the importance of the event may seem to justify, but it is not without its significance. A friend of mine tells me of an address which he once heard at an ordination service. The speaker Isaid there was one statement in the New Testament which he had always found it difficult to believe: the statement that the devil entered into a man and made him dumb. "When," he said, "the devil enters into a church, he sets the people a-talking. If he only made them dumb, there is scarcely a church quarrel of any description which would not heal itself in three months." The leading men in the Terre Haute church were dumb for three months; and three months of silence sufficed to close the threatened breach. Dr. Jewett never resumed the pastorate. I find in the history of the church the statement that "from the date of his severance of his final connection with this church he divided his time between his home here, his farms, and his sons, and died at the home of his sons in Paris, Texas, 1879, in the seventyfifth year of his age."

In the midst of this threatened division of the church came the assault on Fort Sumter and the President's call for volunteers. Before that call had come Governor Morton had sent to the President the following tele"On behalf of the State of Indiana, I gram: tender to you for the defense of the Nation, and to uphold the authority of the Government, ten thousand men." All thoughts of compromise were for the time being at an end. The slavery question was forgotten. The only issue recognized by the people was, Has the Nation a right to exist?

The pres

ervation of the country was the theme of sermons in some churches, of prayers in many churches. Guards were necessary to protect some of the extreme Democratic newspapers from mob violence. Volunteers

poured in upon the recruiting officers. The difficulty was to exclude those too old and those too young for the service. The story was told of one boy in Terre Haute, under the necessary age and under the necessary height, a little fellow but lithe and eager, who found himself about to be rejected. asked him how much he weighed; he jumped up, clapped his feet together twice before he came down, replied, "A ton and a half," and got in. Companies came forward without

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orders in the mere hope that they would be accepted. Men who could not get companies at home came alone or in squads to the rendezvous and joined in the general clamor to be taken. Within a week the quota of Indiana was filled more than twice over. A camp was organized in the outskirts of Terre Haute, where on the 27th of May I preached a sermon on the text, "In the name of our God we set up our banners." The choir sang at the opening of the service "The StarSpangled Banner." The Democratic paper advised them the next time I officiated there to conclude the service by singing "YankeeDoodle-Doodle-Do." I wrote for the "Congregational Herald" of Chicago-a paper which I believe is no longer in existence-defining the issue before the country: "We have wisdom to make our own laws; have we the power to enforce them, or is our country, which has been strong to defend itself against foreign aggression, to drop to pieces at last of its own weakness?" The Congregational Association held its annual meeting in Indianapolis about four weeks after the attack on Fort Sumter. It adopted resolutions declaring it to be the Christian duty of all men to rally to the support of the country. On my motion these resolutions were amended by adding one declaring that the object of the war against the Union was "the perpetuation and extension of a system of slavery, which is as antagonistic to the plainest principles of humanity and the simplest principles of the Gospel as it is at last confessed to be to those principles of liberty which underlie our Nation, and to which, under God, we are indebted for all its prosperity."

In reading this chapter the reader must remember that I was only in my twenty-fifth year; that this was my first parish; that I was a comparative stranger in a strange land; that I had to acquaint myself with the spiritual and intellectual temper of a people quite different from those of New England, with whom I was familiar; that the conditions both in the community and in the church were new and strange; that I was far from my old friends and advisers, and had to feel my way aided by the advice of only two counselors, Mr. Ryce, who understood Terre Haute but did not understand me; and my wife, who understood me but understood the people of Terre Haute better than I, only as a woman's intuitions are quicker and more trustworthy than a man's. Add to this that I had not learned that the minister needs one

rest day in the week as truly as the layman; I worked habitually every day. It is not, then, altogether strange that my wife's apprehensions were realized; and when the summer came on, my church perceived that I needed a respite and gave me a vacation, which I spent in the East. My father offered a railway ticket to bring my wife and the two children to Farmington, Maine, and the hospitality of the old homestead there for the summer. We did not accept the offer, partly because the long journey with two children was a serious undertaking for the mother; partly because I was engaged to preach in New York and depended on the income of the preaching for my own expenses, so that if she had come we should have been but little together; but chiefly, I suspect, because she rightly felt that a journey with the children would have added to my cares, from which she wished to relieve me. An incident insignificant in itself, but which might have been very significant, proved my need of the vacation.

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On the Friday before I started for the East I saw a mouse in my study, went out into the yard, picked up a cat which belonged to us but was imperfectly domesticated, and attempted to bring her in to introduce her to the mouse. She objected, struggled to get free, scratched, and finally put her tooth into my finger. Then I let her go. My wife wanted me to see a doctor. I laughed at her, but so far yielded to her persuasions as to wash out the little wound, which scarcely bled at all, and then dismissed the matter from my mind. But by Saturday the finger had swollen and the hand was painful. I then went to the doctor. The germ theory of disease was unknown. infection I had never heard. The doctor explained the condition of my hand by saying that the bite of an angry animal was poisonous, "from the bite of a cat to the bite of a woman," and justified his expression by telling me that when he was a police surgeon in Baltimore a woman arrested on the street by a policeman had bitten the policeman on the shoulder, and he died from the poison. On Sunday I preached with my hand in a poultice and my arm in a sling. Monday I traveled on with friends, spent a day in considerable discomfort at Niagara Falls, and, on arriving in New York, went straight to the doctor there. I was to preach the following Sunday in the Broadway Tabernacle, and wished to be in good condition for the serv

ice. I judge that he thought I took the matter too lightly and needed a scare. He told me he thought he could save my life, and hoped he could save my arm, up which by that time the pains were shooting to the shoulder, but he doubted whether he could save my finger. Preaching on Sunday was out of the question. Whether I could preach at all that summer was doubtful. I was to go home to my brother's and go to bed. He did save my finger, but I doubt whether I have ever had, except for the scarlet fever in my childhood, an illness more serious than that caused by this little incident. The scales showed that I lost ten pounds in three weeks and I have never had any flesh to

spare. But I was kept out of the pulpit only one Sunday. Fortunately, I was able to do some literary law work for my brother Austin, which made up for the deficiency in my finances caused by not preaching the first Sunday. The experience showed that I was somewhat run down, but also that I had a constitution which possessed a considerable resisting power.

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The only other incident in this vacation of any interest to the general reader was a perplexity which illustrates an aphorism of my brother Austin's which I have found comforting in some of life's trying experiences : 'Perplexity is generally a choice of blessings.' My Uncle John had put my name before a vacant Congregational parish in Meriden, Connecticut. At their invitation I preached for them, and received a call to settle there. There was much to attract me in this call. The church was a large one, numbering about three hundred; the Sundayschool was large and flourishing; there was no debt; there was a probable salary of twelve hundred dollars and a parsonage, a very pleasant two-story house, apparently roomy and commodious." If I had accepted the call, we should have been brought back to our old friends, and to our immediate and even remote family relations. This last would have counted for much, for the Abbotts have always been a united family, and the reader will remember that my wife was an Abbott on her mother's side. We should have been in an intellectual and social atmosphere congenial to us, and in a climate certainly better for my wife's health. The summers of Terre Haute were long and hot. The nights seemed hotter than the days, for what breeze there was went down with the sun. Often my wife would put her pillow on the window

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Terre Haute, known as Strawberry Hill. One afternoon my wife and I were invited to take tea at Strawberry Hill; accepted the invitation; rode down, but expected to walk back. Tea was hardly over before the young man of the household brought word that an omnibus was outside waiting to take us home. It had come, he said, by his order, but he was surprised that it had come so soon. We proposed that he should dismiss it and leave us to go home on foot, as we had expected to do. This proposition our hosts would not entertain, and we got into the omnibus and drove off, rather surprised that our friends were so ready to speed the parting guests. The omnibus had hardly got out into one of the parallel avenues before it stopped and the driver got down, apparently to attend to some defect in the harness. He presently repeated the operation. To my question, "What is the matter?" he replied, "It is all right now," and drove on; but when he reached the first cross street, he turned down into the parallel avenue, and when he came to the next cross street he turned back again, and so went zigzagging back and forth to our house. When we reached it, the house was dark. My wife proposed to go around to the kitchen and arouse the maid. I said, "Wait; perhaps I can arouse her with the bell." I began pulling the bell handle back and forth. Instantly the front door was flung open, our host and hostess of the evening stood in the open door to admit us to our home, the before darkened house was ablaze with light and was filled, hall, stairs, parlors, with members of the congregation. One of our friends afterwards said that my wife acted like a crazy woman and I like an idiot. When at the supper table, for in hospitable Terre Haute there was always a supper on such occasions, I tried to make a speech, I broke down completely and ended my address with the conjunction "and.”

When, the following day, I attempted to express my thanks in a note to the daily paper, I found myself almost as much at a loss as I had been in my impromptu address of thanks the night before. I finally hit upon the plan of writing a fanciful description of an invasion of my home by a body of burglars who had gained access to the house during the afternoon, had brought with them

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a great quantity of plunder, evidently taken from other houses, not only bread, cake, jellies, ham, and other like articles, under the weight of which my substantial dining-table bent

(literally bent, so that it had to be supported in the center by a dry-goods box), but also a magnificent silver water-pitcher and coffee urn." They also left behind them, I said, $225, and a great variety of other articles of every description. The local readers, knowing the facts, understood the letter, but when a prosaic reporter in the East made a paragraph out of it, treating the incident quite seriously, I received from Eastern friends some letters of condolence, and, to correct misapprehension, wrote for the New York "Independent" a description of my

ministerial experience in this mid-Western parish, where my salary was promptly paid, where I was treated justly and even generously by the tradesmen, where I preached temperance in a community cursed by drink and liberty in a community pervaded by proslavery prejudices and "nobody got up and went out of the church," where my people vied with each other in hospitality, and where I was writing this letter surrounded by Christmas fruits-" books for my library, silver both elegant and beautiful for my table, toys for my child, food for my larder."

COMMERCE

AND FINANCE

A WEEKLY ARTICLE BY THEODORE H. PRICE

AUGUST BANK CLEARINGS-THEIR ENCOURAGING SIGNIFICANCE

T

HE Business Barometer of Bank Clearings is not indicative of any widespread trade depression in the United States. Special attention should now be paid to this gauge of American business activity. Because the figures are not generally published in detail, and, when published, are rarely understood, the returns for the month of August as compiled by the "Commercial and Financial Chronicle are given in full on the following page. They include the clearings at one hundred and thirty-seven American cities, and enable one at a glance to measure the relative business activity of each important locality or section.

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There is no other country in the world that is supplied with such a sensitive and accurate record of the volume of trade as these clearing-house returns afford. Paris, for instance, has no clearing-house, and even in the countries where the "clearing-house principle" is applied checks are heavily taxed and much less generally used than in the United States. In America, everything bought at wholesale, and probably seventyfive per cent of the things bought at retail, are paid for by check.

Unless the buyer and seller use the same bank the checks so drawn pass through some clearing-house, and the aggregate of the checks thus cleared is called "bank clearings." This is elementary, but it is well just now to repeat it, in order to emphasize the

denial of business depression, which the bank clearings bespeak, and make plain the basis for optimism that they afford.

Those who have the patience to examine the figures closely will probably be surprised to learn that outside of New York the "total turnover" of business for the month of August as indicated by the checks drawn is only four and eight-tenths per cent below last year. The decrease in New York is, it is true, thirty-two per cent; but this is in a large measure due to the closing of the Stock and Cotton Exchanges and the embargo thereby put upon speculative and financial operations which involve large transfers of money but are not wealth-creating in the same sense as are industry, agriculture, and distributive trade in merchandise.

Examining the figures even more closely, we are enabled to submit the following comparison:

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