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habits of study he had formed, without a teacher to
guide him, and having few books to consult, were the
substitute for school and college discipline. He ac-


companied Taylor around the district. As that faith-
ful itinerant went preaching from one settlement to
another, the young disciple often exhorted after the
sermon by the elder, and sometimes ventured to
preach. His youthful devotion and rustic appearance
awakened great interest. There was such a striking
contrast between his awkward manners and the sub-
lime truths proclaimed ; between the incorrect pronun-
ciation, ungrammatical expression, and the vigorous
thought, that all readily appreciated the possibilities
of his unpolished talents, and predicted a future suc-
cessful career.

His apprenticeship in ministerial service could not
have been under a better master than was the schol-
arly, courteous and judicious Taylor, who felt the
greatest interest in the success of his youthful proteg6.
At the next conference, on the recommendation of the
elder, Soule was received as a preacher and appointed
with Timothy Merritt to Portland circuit. The recip-
rocal influence of these young preachers upon each
other, so far as their opportunities of mutual inter-
course would admit while they were traveling the
same extensive circuit, was of great benefit to each of
them. Both were young, ardently pious, thirsting for
knowledge and self-improvement, while serving the
cause of Christ with unabated zeal in the severe labors
and privations of the ministry. Merritt made himself
conspicuous as an able and acceptable preacher in
large appointments and as a vigorous writer in defense
of the peculiar doctrines of Methodism.

Soule, after preaching in several stations in Maine


and Massachusetts, in 1804 was appointed presiding
elder of the Maine district, having thirteen circuits
under his superintendence. He was now only twenty-
three years old ; but he had become distinguished as
an able preacher — with commanding power over vast
audiences. These assemblies were often swayed by
his majestic eloquence like the trees of a forest in the
storm. He shared fully in the toils, privations and
sufferings of the early Maine itinerants. He had to
perform long journeys on horseback over rough roads,
through vast forests, fording dangerous streams, lodg-
ing in exposed cabins and preaching almost daily. For
this service he received a pecuniary compensation,
scarce enough for traveling expenses and clothing.

At a conference of the Methodist preachers from all
parts of the United States, Soule proposed a plan for
a delegated General Conference to meet once in four
years, which should be the supreme council of the
church. He prepared the constitution for this body
which was adopted and thus became the discipline of
the church. The first delegated General Conference
met at Baltimore in 1812, and Soule was one of the
delegates chosen from New England. He was also a
delegate to the next General Conference in 1816,
when he was elected book ao-ent. The Methodist
Book Concern commenced in 1789 with a borrowed
capital of six hundred dollars, and the republication of
a few English religious books was grandly increased
under the able management of Soule. He projected
the Methodist Magazine of which he was both editor
and publisher. The appearance of this periodical was


hailed with delight bj the friends of literatare and
religion, as the harbinger of brighter days for the
church. The original articles by the editor exhibited
great strength and energy of intellect, with depth of
thought, sometimes marred by those minor defects to
which self-educated writers are liable however exten-
sive their acquisitions. And the selections were judi-
cious and exceedingly interesting. So popular was
this periodical, that ten thousand subscribers were
secured the first year of its publication. Besides the
magazine he was the general editor of all the books
published to meet the growing demands for Methodist
literature. I need not say that the Methodist Book
Concern with its two branches at New York and Cin-
cinnati, having a million doUars of capital and an able
corps of managers and editors, has grown to be the
largest publishing house in the country.

At the General Conference in 1820, Soule was
elected bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church. By
a vote previously taken, this conference had limited
the power of the bishops by making the appointment
of the presiding elders subject to their election by the
Annual Conferences ; and ordering that the concur-
rence of these elders with the nomination by the
bishop, was necessary in the appointment of the
preachers to the several charges. The new bishop
elect refused to accept the office on account of the
obnoxious limitation of Episcopal power, which he
had strenuously opposed as an unwise and an uncon-
stitutional innovation. So strong was the opposition
to this modification of Episcopal prerogative that the


conference by a subsequent vote, suspended the rule
for four years and it was finally repealed.

In 1824, Soule was reelected bishop and the obnox-
ious restriction of the prerogatives of the office being
removed, he accepted the election and was consecrated
for the especiid and sacred duties of a superintendent
in the church. He was now in the forty-third yenr of
his life. The twenty-six years of his service in the
ministry, so faithfully performed in the different
departments of work, had prepared him to enter upon
the high and responsible duties of a Methodist bishop.
No limited diocese claimed his undivided attention.
He was to traverse the continent from Maine to Texas,
to preside in the Annual Conferences, to station the
preachers, and to perform all the other duties incum-
bent on this exalted position — and he discharged
faithfully the trust committed to him. He was gen-
erally regjirded as a judicious, acceptable and succes^-
ful superintendent, while for twenty years he served
the united church.

In the great antislavery discussion which led to the
rupture of the church in 1844, Bishop Soule having
fixed his residence in Tennessee, and being imbued
with local prejudices, took part with the Southern fac-
tion, and threw all his weighty influence with the
seceders, that formed the Methodist Episcopal church
South. This was a matter of great grief to his North-
ern friends and admirers. It hardly seemed possible
to them that one born in Maine, whose character was
formed in heroic labors in the free air of New Eng-
land, who had been such a pillar of united Methodism,


and who had been so strong a defender of its disci-
pline, could sympathize with Southern delegates in
their separation from the church.

As senior bishop of the church South he had great
influence in shaping its polity and promoting its prog-
ress. Although he had been a zealous advocate of the
plan of separation in the church he did not favor the
secession of the state from the national government,
and strongly opposed the slaveholders' lebellion. All
throug-h the civil war he remained a strono; Union
man — amidst all the partisan excitement of his
Southern associates

Bishop Soule was erect, tall and slight in person,
with a dignified movement and stately bearing. His
forehead was high, but narrow, and his voice was
strong and commanding. In his pulpit delivery he
was clear and deliberate. His sermons usually occu-
pied an hour and a half ; they w^ere elaborate in their
preparation ; and his style, though destitute of imag-
ination or figurative illustrations, was strikingly vig-
orous, as he fortified with strong arguments the main
positions of his subject. The dignity of his manner,
verging on majesty itself, gave to his discourses, when
the subject demanded such gravity, an imposing solem-
nity. But on less congruous occasions the style some-
times appeared to the fastidious hearer pompous and
repulsive. If the discourses sometimes showed more
breadth than depth, generally the themes presented
by him were those that suited his majestic temper-
ament ; and their delivery was overwhelmingly


In his early heroic ministry he did great service to
New England Methodism by his preaching and writ-
ings, and his raaturer official position strengthened the
general work. In his old age, under the adverse cir-
cumstances with which he was surrounded, by the
results of the civil war, and with increasing bodily
infirmities, he performed but little public religious

His health continued to decline, till in 1867, at his
home, near Nashville, in the eighty-sixth year of his
life, he peacefully passed away, in the full assurance
of faith.



Read before the Maine Hidorical Society, December 13, 1894-.

When Gen. Gage attempted the task of reducing
the enemies of King George the Third in America, his
plan of campaign contained two leading features, the
seizure of influential rebels and the equipment of a
strong base of operations. In pursuance of the former
he sent Smith and Pitcairn with eight hundred foot
soldiers to capture John Hancock and Samuel Adams ;
whence arose the battle of Lexington. For the fur-
therance of the other design he sent Capt. Moor in
the sloop of war Margaretta, and Ichabod Jones with
a pair of provision laden sloops to Machias, to obtain
lumber to build into barracks at Boston ; whence arose
"^ The Lexington of the Seas."


As the conflict at Lexington and Concord was not
the first affair in which the troops of Great Britain had
been withstood by colonists afoot and had fired with
fatal effect upon them, so the conflict at Machias was
not the first action on the water in the struggle for
independence. No sooner had Gage sat down in Bos-
ton than he began to send out armed boats in search
of food ; and the sea-dogs had no compunctions about
capturing when they could not buy to their liking.
One of these " tenders," the Falcon, Gapt. Linzee, soon
after the battle of Lexinscton, became a terror to the
inhabitants of the Elizabeth Islands. Early in May
two small vessels, owned in Sandwich, fell into the
enemy's hand. The owners soon heard of it and went
to Dartmouth (New Bedford), and there persuaded
Capts. Daniel Egery and Nathaniel Pope, with some
twenty-five or thirty men, to go in a sloop and re-
capture their vessels. Secreting the sailors, the Bed-
ford vessels sailed closely to the unsuspecting prizes,
and easily overpowered them, capturing thirteen or
fourteen persons belonging to the Falcon, and w^ound-
ing Capt. Linzee, who "peeped " out from the cover of
the cabin of the Falcon. Running swiftly back to
their wharf, Egery and his associates were promptly
paid the eighteen dollars they asked for their day's
work. But a company of influential citizens of Dart-
mouth and Bedford combined to detain the Sandwich
vessels and send an apology to Capt, Linzee.

This took place Sunday, May 14. " Verbal infor-
mation" of this affair was made to the Provincial Con-
gress at Watertown two days later, and a committee


appointed to consider it. They reported the next day
that " the inhabitants of Dartmouth be advised to con-
duct themselves with respect to the prisoners they
have taken agreeably to the direction of the commit-
tee of inspection for that town. After a long debate
it was moved that the consideration of this matter
should subside, and the question being put it passed in
the affirmative, and the matter accordingl}' subsided."
June seventh Congress voted : —

That the four prisoners brouglit to this Congress of the second
day of June instant, said to be taken at Dartmouth, since the
nineteenth of April last, viz : Richard Luckus, mate of the ship
Falcon, John Dunkin^on, surgeon's mate, Johnatlian Lee and
Robert Caddy, be sent to Concord to the care of the selectmen
of said town, to be by them secured and provided for agreeably
to their rank, i<t the expense of this colony, until they receive
some further ordt'v from this or some other Congress or house of
repi'eseiitatives of this colony.

It is evident to a careful student that this was a
" commercial transaction," largely ; since the Sand-
wich vessels were first captured without resistance,
and then recaptured by men employed by the owners.
Probably Egery and Pope and their men felt some
patriotic thrill while snatching back the stolen vessels
and capturing their prisoners; but their town did not
indorse them, and the Congress of the Province found
no ground for a single word of thanks to them, while
the Falcon continued to annoy Buzzard's Bay.

But the Machias business was- a far weightier affair,
and involved a whole connnunity. For Machias was a
remote settlement, only thirteen years old, the princi-
pal part of whose inhabitants had gone from one sec-


tion in York county ; it had attracted additional set-
tlers from other points, several of whom had intimate
relations with prominent people about " the Bay."
The pastor of their young church was a graduate of
the college of New Jersey, and had talent and public
spirit. The very distance which separated them from
other Massachusetts communities stimulated their in-
dependent thought, while it strengthened their patri-
otism. So they met and chose a " Committee of Safety
and Correspondence " at an early date.

The Journal of Congress gives the following list of
the Machias Committee of Safety and Correspondence
at this date :

Machias — James Lyon, Chairman.
George Stillman, Clerk,
Jeremiah O'Brien.
Betijii. Foster.
Sam'l Scott.
Manwaring Beal.
Nath'l Sincleai".

They heard the report of the Concord minute-gun in
an incredibly short space of time, considering their
distance, and swiftly gave allegiance to the provisional
government. We have in the archives of Massachu-
setts a document which expresses this allegiance
strongly; and though it is a petition for aid, it asks
only a credit, promising prompt payment in that
wooden currency which was their only wealth — the
product of their lumber mills. And the very poverty
of their little colony is an important fact, as it formed
the basis of the terrible " temptation " which was soon
to come to them in their "■ Wilderness."


To the HotioraUe Congress of the 3Iassachusetts Bay : —

Gentlemen: — With the highest satisfaction Ave now con-
sider you as the guardians of this extensive and wealthy Prov-
ince ; and, relying on yonr wisdom, the wisdom of the Conti-
nental ( 'ongress, the Justice of our cause and the tender mercy
of our Father's God, we }3roinise ourselves, in due time, a happy
deliverance from the Ii-on Chains of tyranny which were forming
for us, and from servitude equal to Kgyptian Bondage.

As a part, therefore, of your charge, we, the distressed inhabi-
tants of Maehias, beg leave to approacli your presence, & to
spread our grievance at your feet. We dare not say we are the
foremost in supporting the glorious cause of American Liberty,
l)ut this we can tiuly affirm, that we have done our utmost to
incourage and strengthen the hands of all the advocates for
America with whom we have been connected : that we have not
even purchased any food of those persons whom we suppose to
be inimical to our Country, except when constrained by neces-
sity : and that none on the continent can more cheerfully risque
all that is dear to them on earth in support of the precious ))rivi-
leges which God and our venerable ancestors have handed down
to us a most valuable legacy.

We must now inform your Honours that the Inhabitants of
this place exceed one hundred families, some of which are very
numerous ; and that Divine Providence has cut off all our usual
resources. A very severe drought last fail prevented our laying
in sufficient stores ; and had no vessels visited us in the winter
we must have suffered. Nor have we, this spring, been able to
procure jjrovisions sufficient for carrying on our business. Our
laborers are dismissed, some of our mills stand still, almost all
vessels have forsaken us, our lumber lies by us in heaps, &, to
compleat our misfortune, all our Ports are to be siiut up on the
first of July next.

We must add, we have no country behind us to lean upon, nor
can we make an escape by flight ; the wilderness is impervious,
and vessels we have none.

To you, therefore, honored gentlemen, we humbly apj^ly for
relief. You are our last, our only resource. And, permit us


mainp: historical society.

again to say, you are our guardians, and we rejoice and glory in
being subjects.

Pardon our itnpoitunity ! We cannot take a denial, for, under
God, you are all our dependance, and if you neglect us we are
ruined. Save, Dr. Sirs, one of your most flourishing settlements
from famine & all its horrors. We ask not for charity. We ask
for a supply to be put into the hands of Messrs. Smith & Stillman
or any other person or persons your wisdom may point out, who
shall obligate themselves to pay the whole amount on demand in
lumber, the only staple of our country.

That God may long preserve you, & make you happily instru-
mental in his hand, in restoring all the sweets of peace & liberty
to this much injured country, & even to Great Britain herself, is
the constant and fervent prayer of, gentlemen, your most
Humble Petitioners.

Jona. Longfellow.
Abraham Clark.
James Fliun.
Amos Boynton.
Bray D. Underwood.
John Sinkler.
William Chaloner.
William Albee.
Daniel Hill.
Nathan Longfellow.
Jas. Lyon.
James Elliot.
Timothy Young.
Bradbury Merill.
Samuel Milbery.
John Watts.
Samuel Burnum.
James Colbroth.
Jonas Farusworth.
Eleazer Hatheway.
Daniel Babb.
Timothy Andrews.
Samuel Thompson.
Silvanus Seavey.
James Wheeler.

Machias, May 25th, A. D. 1775.

Ezekiel Foster.
Solomon Littlefield.
Jacob Libby.
Ladwick Holway.
Micajah How.
Benjamin Getchell.
Stephen Toung.
William BoDwin.
John Chaloner.
Benjamin Gooch, jr.
Jonathan Brown.
Joseph Cliffore.
Joseph Sevey, jr.
George Seavey.
John Chase.
Ephraim Chase.
Beriah Eice.
Israel Andrews.
Joseph Holmes.
Aaron Hanscom.
Joseph Libbee.
Ezekiel Libbee.
Morris iObrien.
Dennis Obrien.
Jeremiah Obrien.



Samuel Eich.
Benj. Foster.
Joseph Sevey.
Wooden Foster.
John Foster.
Robert Thompson.
John Wooden Foster.
Benjamin Foster, jr.
Amaziah Hammond.
Jabezs Huntly.
Jacob Claford.
Wallis Fenlson.
Wm. Cotton Warren.
Benjamin Gooch.
John Thomas.
Abrnham Lovitt.
Samuel Scott.
Simeon Scott.
Bethuel Wood.
Daniel Brooks.

Job Burniim.
Francis Miller.
Wm. Tupper.
Enoch Sanborn.
Jabcz West.
Daniel Holt.
Jonathan Knight.
David Lon{>fellow.
John Morrison.
Stephen Parker.
Benjamin Pettegrew.
John Gooch.
James Gooch.
Joseph Mnnson.
Josepli Munson, jr.
Silvanus Scott.
John Manchester.
George Thompson.
Ephiaim Andrews.

The committee of the Provincial Congress to whom
this petition was referred, reported June 7, 1775, that
this Con Q-ress recommend to the Committee of Corres-
pondence of Salem, or to the like committee of any
other town in this province, " to supply Messrs. Gard-
ner^ & Smith of said town of Machias " one hundred
bushels of Indian corn ; ten bbls. pork and beef; one
cask of molasses ; and one cask of rice ; and take in re-
turn for the same, wood, or such other payment as
the said Gardner^ and Smith may be able to make :
and in this case they, or their constituents, the above-
said inhabitants, should not make satisfaction for the
same in a reasonable time, it shall be allowed and paid
out of the public treasury of this province, and the said
inhabitants shall refund the same as soon as may be."
They also proposed that this Congress should recom-

* Probably mistaken for Stillman.


mend to the government of Connecticut to allow the
inhabitants of the Eastern part of the colony to pur-
chase and carry home such provisions as they might
need when producing certificates from committees.
This report was adopted.

Meanwhile the British war vessels were sailing up
the Maine coast, piloted by the coast-trading captain,
Ichabod Jones. He was a man of energy. He had
early entered into the scheme of the Machias planta-
tion, and had turned many a penny through the trade
of its people. They owed him respect for obtaining
the formal deed of their township ; his nephew Stephen
was their '"squire;" another kinsman, John Coffin
Jones, was largely interested in the neighborhood.
He thought he held the borough. Now he was loyal
to his king, and aimed to deliver his cargo of provision
to the people in exchange for lumber which would
cover the soldiers who slaughtered colonists! VVere
his calculations shrewd ? No portion of the history of
the Revolution is covered by a finer description than
this chapter, which shows us how people of noble, free
soul, resisted loyalist temptations and repelled the
force which came to back up the tempter. The sloop
of war and the lumber vessels were soon in the hands
of Machias patriots.

A letter from George Stillman of Machias, to Col.
Joseph Otis, member from Barnstable, giving informa-
tion of the capture, was read in Congress June 24, and
referred to a committee, and in the afternoon the fol-
lowing letter to Congress was received, and referred
to the same committee. This document must be


The Official Report of the Machias Committee of Cor-

To the Honorable Congress of the Massachiisetts Day.

Gentlemen : — We, the faithful and distressed inhabitants of
Machias, beg leave, once more, in the most respectful manner, to
approach your presence, & spread before you a just and full rep-
resentation of our very critical situation.

On the 2nd instant Cnpt. Ichabod Jones arrived in the river
with two sloops, accompanied with one of tlte King's Tenders.
On the 3rd instant a paper was handed about for the people to
sign, as a prerequisite to their obtaining any provisions, of which
we were in great want. The contents of this paper required the
signers to indulge Capt. Jones in carrying Lumber to Boston,
and to protect him and his property at all events. But, unhappily,
for him, if not for us, it soon expired after producing effects
directly contrary in their nature to those intended. The next
effort, in order to carry those favorite points, was to call a meet-
ing, which was accordingly done. On the Gth the people gener-
ally assembled at the place appointed, and seemed so averse to
tlie measures jjroposed, that Caj^t. Jones privately went to the
Tender, & caused her to move up so near the Town that her guns
w^ould reach the houses, & put springs upon her cables. The
people, however, not knowing what was done, and considering
themselves nearly as prisoners of war, in the hands of the com-
mon enemy (which is our only plea for suffering Capt. Jones to
carry any lumber to Boston, since your Honors conceive it
improper), passed a vote that Capt. Jones might proceed in his
business as usual without molestation, tluat they would purchase
the provisions he brought into the j^lace, and pay him according
to contract.

After obtaining this vote Capt. Jones immediately ordered his
vessel to the wharf & distributed his provisions among those
only who voted in favor of his carrying lumber to Boston, This
gave such offence to the aggrieved party that they determined
to take Capt. Jones, if possible, & put a final stop to his supply-
ing the King's troops with anything. Accordingly they secretly
Vol. VI. 10


invited til e people of Mispecka & Pleasant River to join them ;
accordingly a number of them came & having joined our people,
in the woods near the settlement ; on the lltli they all agreed to
take Capt. Jones & Stephen Jones Esq. in the place of Worship,
which they attempted, but Capt. Jones made his escape into the
woods and does not yet appear. Stephen Jones Esq, only was
taken & remains as yet under guard.

The Capt. & Lieut, of the Tender were also in the Meeting
House & fled to their vessell hoisted their flag & sent a message
on shore to this effect : " That he had express orders to protect

Online LibraryMaine Historical SocietyCollections of the Maine historical society (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 34)