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MEMOIRS



OF



MRS. JOAMA BETHUNE



BY HER SON,



THE REV. GEORGE W. 'BETHUNE, D.D.



WITH AN APPENDIX,

CONTAINITsG

EXTKACTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF MRS. BETHUNE.



NEW YORK:

HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,

FEANKLIN SQUABE.

18G3.



Entered, according to Act of Congi'ess, in the year one thousand eight hundred
and sixty-two, by

HAKPER & BROTHERS,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.



EDITOR'S NOTE.

About one year before tlie Eev. Dr. Bethune went
abroad and died, he asked me to aid him in prepar-
ing a biographical sketch of his mother. He desired
me to read her journals, meditations^ recorded pray-
ers and letters, and from them 'to select such pas-
sages as might be thought useful if published as an
Appendix to the Memoir. After I had completed
the examination, I placed the manuscripts in his
hands, with the selected passages marked ; and he
then wrote the Memoir which is now presented to
the reader. It is his last work — a beautiful living
tribute by a gifted, affectionate son to his sainted
mother. Other works of this eloquent and distin-
guished scholar, poet, preacher, and orator have been
published, but nothing from his pen will be read
with greater admiration than this simple memorial
of the mother who taught him to speak.

The extracts from the writings of Mrs. Joanna Be-
thune, which are given as an Appendix to the Me-
moir, are a rich legacy to the Church. In many
respects they are not less valuable and interesting



than the remains of her remarkable mother, Mrs. Isa-
bella Graham. They exhibit a life of extraordinary
activity, of deep spiritual feeling, and strong faith, in
the promises of God to parents for their children and
children's children.

Extending over a long series of years, tliese ex-
tracts, which might have been 'continued to fill sev-
eral volumes, complete- the biography written by her
son, and show the mother in the midst of her inces-
sant toil for the young : founding the Sunday-school
Union system, Infant Schools, the Orphan Asylum,
and abounding in every good work, humbly seeking
Divine aid in the minutest and most secular duties,
and, above all, praying without ceasing for the con-
version of her posterity to the latest generation.

Christian ladies will read these pages, and be stim-
ulated and guided in noble self-denying labors for
the world around them ; and aged women will here
find a beautiful example of holy living and dying
that will comfort and cheer them in the evening of
their days.

The life of the author of this Memoir remains to
be written. His death, so sudden and in a far-away
country, was a shock and a grief to his friends and
the Christian community from which, they have not
yet recovered ; but they will receive with mournful
satisfaction these last fruits of his pen, the yearnings



of his warm heart for her with whom he is now at i
rest in glory. ^

The hnes below, addressed some years ago by the
Eev. Dr. Bethune to his mother, will give the reader
a vivid idea of the tender feeling with which the Me-
moir is written :

TO MY MOTHER.

My mother ! Manhood's anxious broAv

And sterner cares have long been mine,
Yet turn I to thee fondly now,

As when upon thy bosom's shrine
My infant griefs were gently hush'd to rest,
And thy low- whisper 'd prayers my slumber blcss'd.

I never call that gentle name,

My mother ! but I am again
E'en as a child ; the very same

That prattled at thy knee ; and fain
Would I forget, in momentary joy,
That I no more can be thy happy boy ;

The artless boy, to whom thy smile

Was sunshine, and thy frown sad night
(Though rare that frown, and brief the while

It veil'd from me thy loving light) ;
For well-conn'd task, ambition's highest bliss,
To win from thine approving lips a kiss.

I've loved through foreign lands to roam,

And gazed o'er many a classic scene ;
Yet would the tliouglit of that dear home,

Which once was ours, oft intervene,



VI



And bid me close again my weary eye,

To think of thee and those sweet days gone by.

That pleasant home of fruits and flowers,
Where by the Hudson's verdant side

My sisters wove their jasmine bowers.
And he we loved, at eventide.

Would hastening come from distant toil to bless

Thine and his children's radiant happiness.

Alas the change ! the rattling car

On flint-paved streets profanes the spot,

Where o'er the sod we sow'd the Star
Of Bethlehem and forget-me-not.

Oil, woe to Mammon's desolating reign !

We ne'er shall find on earth a home again.

I've pored o'er many a yellow page

Of ancient wisdom, and have won,
Perchance, a scholar's name ; but sage

Or bard have never taught thy son
Lessons so dear, so fraught with holy truth,
As those his mother's faith shed on his youth.

If, by the Saviour's grace made meet.
My God will own my life and love,

Methinks, when singing at His feet.
Amid the ransom'd throng above.

Thy name upon my glowing lips shall be,

And I will bless that grace for heaven and thee—

For thee and heaven ; for thou didst tread
The way that leads me heavenward, and

My often way^vard footsteps led

In the satne jiath with patient hand ;



EDITOR S NOTE. Vll

And when I wandcr'cl far, thy earnest call
Restored my soul from sin's deceitful thrall.

I have been bless'd with other ties —

Fond ties and true ; yet never deem
That I the less thy fondness prize ;

No, mother ! in my warmest dream
Of answer'd passion, through this heart of mine
One chord will vibrate to no name but thine.

Mother, thy name is widow. Well

I know no love of mine can fill ,

The waste place of thy heart, or dwell

Within one sacred recess ; still.
Lean on the faithful bosom of thy son.
My parent — thou art mine, my only one I



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

PARENTAGE.

Reasons for Writing. — Death of Contemporaries. — Memories of Isa-
bella Graham.— Entail of Grace.— Pious Parentage.— Dr. Gra-
ham, of the British Army.— Fort Niagara.— The "Doctor's Gar-
den."— Birth of Joanna Graham in the Fort Page 17

CHAPTER II.

SCENES OF CHILDHOOD.

The Mother's religious Exercises. — Converse with God. — Religious
Studies. — Removal to Antigua. — Toilsome Journey through the
Wilderness of New York. — Mrs. Major Brown. — Death of Dr.
Graham. — Mrs. Graham goes to Scotland. — Establishes a School
for Young Ladies 25

CHAPTER III.

EARLY EDUCATION AND ASSOCIATIONS.

At School. — Her Teachers. — Distinguished Ministers. — Erskine. —
Davidson. — Witherspoon. — A Playmate of Walter Scott, — i^ady
Glenorchy ; her Biography 30

CHAPTER IV.

AN UNFINISHED SKETCH BY HERSELF.

Self-examination. — A Retrospect. — Decline of Religion. — Orphan-
age. — Restraints of Childhood. — A Mother's Care. — An Aunt's
Praises. — A Minister's Influence. — Death of a Grandfather. —
Lady Glenorchy and her Household. — Their Habits and Example.
— Goes to a French School in Rotterdam. — Its effect upon her re-
ligious Character 37

A 2



X CONTENTS.

CHAPTER V.

MRS. ISABELLA GRAKAM'S COUNSELS.

Letter to a Daughter at School. — Love of Enjoyment. — Discontent.
— Great Opportunities. — Pleasures of Home. — Mother's Cares. —
Advantages of Education. — Gratitude. Page 47

CHAPTER VI.

RETURN TO AMERICA.

Dr. Graham's Views of Settling in America. — Mrs. Graham's Plans.
— Christian Friends. — Dr. Witherspoon. — Mrs. Graham and Fam-
ily arrive in New York. — Reception. — Success. — Mrs. Graham's
School and Patrons 52

CHAPTER VII.

EARLY RELIGIOUS LIFE.

Joanna Graham a Teacher. — Marries Divie Bethune, Esq. — Her
own Record of Religious Experience. — Remarkable Conflicts. —
Darkness. — Delirium. — Restoration to Health, Peace, and Hap-
piness 50

CHAPTER VIII.

PLANS OP USEFULNESS.

Mrs. Graham's Correspondence. — Origin of the Monthly Missionary
Prayer-meeting. — The Mission to the Indians. — Relief of Poor
Widows with Small Children. — New York Orphan Asylum ... 75

CHAPTER IX.

MRS. BETHUNe's ASSOCIATES.

Sketches of Mrs. Lindsay, Mrs. Chiystie, and Mrs. Mackanness.. . 79
CHAPTER X.

INTRODUCTION OF SUNDAY-SCHOOLS.

Journey to Scotland. — Sunday-school Movement there. — Mr. and
Mrs. Bethune's Labors in New York in 1802.— The Mother of
Sabbath-schools in America. — Plans of Usefulness •.. 88



CONTENTS. XI

CHAPTER XI.

THE ORPHAN ASYLUM.

Mrs. Bethune's Plans. — Life of Francke. — Mrs. Hoffman. — Mr.
Bcthune's Address. — Public Meeting. — Society formed. — The
Fundamental Principle. — Power of Faith. — The first Home. —
Larger Accommodations. — The Asylum at Bloomingdale. — Mrs.
Bethune's Agency, Service, and Resignation. — Action of tlie
Board of Managers , Page 03

CHAPTER XH.

MRS. HOFFMAN AND MRS. STARTIN.

The Associates of Mrs. Bethune. — Mrs. Hoffman and Mrs. Startin.
— Their Character and Services. — Testimonies of the Board.. 105

CHAPTER XIII.

MRS. GENERAL HAMILTON.

Mrs. Hamilton and Mrs. Bethune compared, — Their Attachment. —
Mrs. Hamilton's Parentage. — Early Life. — Married Life. — Death
of Alexander Hamilton. — Mrs. Hamilton in Social Life. — In New
York and Washington. — Her declining Years. — Death and Bur-
ial Ill

CHAPTER XIV.

THE SUM OF HER LABORS, AND HER REST.

Review. — Mr. and Mrs. Bethune's Plans. — Visit of Missionaries, —
Church Relations. — Sunday-schools. — Economical School. —
House of Industry. — Instruction of the Young. — Mrs, Bethune's
Death 118



APPENDIX.

EXTRACTS FROM MRS. BETHUNe's WRITINGS 125-250



MEMOIRS



OF



MRS. JOANNA BETHUNE.



MEMOIRS OF MRS. BETHUNE.



CHAPTER I.

PAEENTAGE.

Reasons for Writing. — Death of Contemporaries, — Memories of Isa-
bella Graham. — Entail of Grace. — Pious Parentage. — Dr. Gra-
ham, of the British Army. — Fort Niagara. — The "Doctor's Gar-
den." — Birth of Joanna Graham in the Fort.

The eminent and wide -spread usefulness which
God granted to the subject of this memoir has caused
a general desire that the history of her life should be
written, for the honor of Christ, whom she followed,
and the encouragement of His disciples, whom she
loved. The duty of complying with this wish of
many Christian friends devolves on her only son; and
he, asking God's help, gladly undertakes it, though
not without fear lest the biographer may be suspect-
ed of being biased by his affectionate veneration, and
so be less trustworthy in his portraiture of his moth-
er's character and services to God and man. But it
is true, on the other hand, that none had better op-
portunities than he of knowing her daily life in pri-
vate and public, or of hearing from her own lips the
reasons and motives from which she acted. There is
also less danger of exaggerated praise, so commonly



16 MEMOIRS OF MRS. BETHUNE.

the fault in modern religious biography, because, as
will be seen in the following pages, her life was so
full of activity that there will be little room for any
thing besides a detail of facts. The copious extracts
from her own writings, which are given in the Ap-
pendix, will show that, for herself, she depended on
the free sovereign grace of Christ alone, and gave Him
the praise of the good works He had wrought in her
to will and to do of His good pleasure. It would be
most inconsistent with the spirit of so humble and
devoted a Christian, for one who cherishes her mem-
ory, so beautiful with the graces of the Spirit, to over-
charge with personal eulogy a life which derived all
its beauty and strength from the love of Christ shed
abroad in her heart; but it would also be unjust to
that divinest principle of Christianity if the genuine
effects of evangelical faith, as manifested in the life-
long, devoted charities of Mrs. Joanna Bethune, were
allowed to be forgotten, or set forth with less than
actual truth.

The author has occasion for regret that the mate-
rial and authorities for an accurate and full history
of a life covering a period of nearly a century are
not so abundant as is desirable and was expected.
Mrs. Bethune, though not unwilling that the light of
God, shining in her experience and devotion to His
service, should be made to reflect His glory, was too
busy with her duties for any anxiety respecting her
own credit. She adopted as an axiom the counsel
she learned from the lips of the seraphic Summerfield,



PARENTAGE. 17

that " a Christian should never bring his good name
home to nurse," and left hers to the care of His prov-
idence in whom she believed, solicitous rather for her
record on high than the opinions even of Christians
here. At the time of her death, all of those with
whom she had been associated in the most active and
fruitful years of her benevolent enterprise had gone
to their rest ; and there is not a single living memo-
ry which can be found to corroborate the testimony
which has been gathered into these pages, from rec-
ords too scanty, but undoubtedly genuine. For some
years before her entrance of heaven, her long and
overtasked brain yielded to the infirmity of extreme
age, and she was not capable of answering inquiries
which would otherwise be made of her respecting
facts, incidents, and persons connected with the most
important passages of her life. Much , therefore, which
her biographer would have delighted to rescue from
oblivion is now known only in heaven ; and, desirous
of recording nothing of which he is not sure, he will
resolutely check himself in conjecture, and record
what he knows to be true.

It is also well known to the readers of the Life of
Mrs. Isabella Graham, and they constitute a large ma-
jority of the Christian public, that the instrumental-
ity of Mrs. Bethune was closely connected with that
of her eminent mother and her equally devoted hus-
band, Divie Bethune, whose biography, full of praise
to God, it is the purpose of the author, by God's leave,
to prepare for publication when his* present work is



18 MEMOIRS OF MRS. BETHUNE.

completed. Much, therefore, that properly belongs to
a, life of Mrs. Bethune is now before the public in the
Life of Mrs. Graham, or will be when Mr. Bethune's
memoir is given to the press. But care will be taken
to avoid repetition, as far as is possible, consistently
with a due regard to historical truth.

The blessing of the Holy Ghost, which rested on
the mind and heart of Mrs. Joanna Bethune from her
earliest childhood, out of which sprang her ardent
desires, her indefatigable efforts and successful plans
for evangelical usefulness, are striking proofs of God's
faithfulness in His covenant to bestow His grace upon
the children of His faithful servants unto the third
and fourth generations. She received the entail of
religion through a line of pious ancestors even longer
than that specified in the promise.

The parents of her mother, Mrs. Graham, Mr. John
and Mrs. Janet Marshall, were both pious, Mrs. Mar-
shall's father having been an approved elder of the
Scottish Secession Church, which he joined with the
Erskines (Ralph and Ebenezer) ; and the traditions
of the family carry the strain of sanctified blood far-
ther back than records or memory of names enable
us to reach. The same care of God, preparatory to
the life designed for her, will be seen throughout her
early history and peculiar training, as described in
the following pages.

Joanna was the second daughter of Dr. John and
IsabelLa Graham. Dr. Graham was a widower, with
two sons, at the lime of his marriage to Isabella, both



PARENTAGE. 19

of his sons afterward becoming distinguished in the
British army ; one of them, Samuel, after a career of
honorable valor, attaining the high rank of general,
and being rewarded with the posts of Inspector Gen-
eral of the forces in Scotland and Governor of the
Eoyal Castle of Stirling, where he resided for many
years. The other brother was arrested in his milita-
ry career by receiving a shot through his body at the
siege of Charleston, S. C, although he survived his
wound, and subsequently married a lady of that state.

Dr. Graham, on thus beginning life anew, cherished
a plan of settling in America, somewhere along the
line of the Mohawk Eiver, and was glad to relinquish
his private and not unremunerative practice in Pais-
ley for an appointment as surgeon in the 60th regi-
ment (Royal Americans), British army, which was
stationed in Canada, hoping, should he still desire to
make his permanent home in the colony of Kew
York, to dispose of his commission. This somewhat
vague and not well-digested plan was the first lead-
ing of Providence toward the establishment of Mrs.
Graham and her descendants in America.

Within a twelvemonth after reaching Canada Dr.
Graham was ordered to join the second battalion of
his regiment in Fort Niagara, a strongly fortified post
on the right bank of the Niagara Eiver, just where
it enters Lake Ontario, founded as early as 1786.
The fort has been greatly enlarged, improved, and
strengthened since it passed into the hands of the
United States, presenting a grand and picturesque



20 MEMOIRS OF MES. BETHUNE.

view to the observer from the water or the opposite
shore; but the officers' quarters still remain, only
slightly altered from their original structure. Tra-
ditions of the 60th linger about the ramparts, and
until within a few years the site of " the doctor's gar-
den," where Dr. Graham amused his leisure hours,
was pointed out in a peach orchard, afterward plant-
ed. Subsequently, we are told, the land, undermined
by the storm-river waves of " wild Ontario," slid into
the lake. The reader is presented with two views ;
one of the exterior, from the Canada shore, for which
the author is grateful to the courtesy of the gentle-
manly artist, Captain John Yan Clerc, of Lewiston,
Niagara County, N. Y. ; the other, a photograph of
the interior, looking west, the discovery of which is
due to the kindness of Captain George Mead, U. S.
Engineers. In the rooms on the ground floor, north
of the entrance of the officers' quarters, Joanna, sec-
ond daughter of Mrs. Isabella Graham, subsequently
the wife of Divie Bcthune, was born, February 1st,
1770.



m-M



,,3|.!::;l..



■'-.»: iVi,ii,




j,1«l|Bftfl. , I




SCENES OF CHILDHOOD. 25



CHAPTER 11.

SCENES OF CHILDHOOD.

The Mother's religious Exercises. — Converse with God. — Religious
Studies. — Removal to Antigua. — Toilsome Journey through the
Wilderness of New York. — Mrs. Major Brown. — Death of Dr.
Graham. — Mrs. Graham goes to Scotland. — Establishes a School
for Young Ladies.

The religious exercises of Mrs. Graham at this pe-
riod, both before and after the birth of Joanna, were
peculiarly deep and decisive. The wild and beauti-
ful scenery about her, combining the flowing river
and ocean-like lake with the unbroken virgin forest,
through which the roar of the great cataract could be
heard, strongly impressed her poetical mind with a
sense of the Divine majesty and love. The responsi-
bilities of the young wife and mother, cast upon the
care of Providence, far from her native land, her faith-
ful parents, and the pious friends of her youth, and,
not least, the difficulty of maintaining her Christian
character amid such novel circumstances, and with-
out her accustomed religious privileges, brought her
into closer communion with God, making her strong-
er from consciousness of her entire dependence upon
her sj^mpathizing, ever-present Savior. It is true
that, in her humility, she condemned herself as low
in her religion ; but, from her conscientious regard

B



26 MEMOIRS OF MRS. BETHUNE.

for the Sabbath, her devotional solitudes, her cheer-
fulness in the discharge of her many domestic cares
amid the trying hinderances of garrison life, her anx-
ious, affectionate desires for her husband's sanctifica-
tion, her thankful study with him of Doddridge's Kise
and Progress, and her frequent reminiscences in after
life of her days at Niagara, all tend to the conviction
that He who leads his children by ways that they
know not was then educating her for a higher Chris-
tian strength and decision of character ; nor can we
doubt that her then infant child, imconscious in the
arms of her young Indian nurse, borne among the
flowers of her father's garden, or sleeping under the
blessing of her mother's guardian, prayerful love, re-
ceived a baptism from the Comforter, invoked by
maternal faith and trust. He who sanctifies from the
womb can give a blessing in the womb, and sanctify
a mother's travail and nursing at the breast. The
mystery of the new birth will not -allow us to under-
stand the ways of blessing God has for the early child-
hood of the little ones whom believing parents put
into the Master's arms^ craving for them the covenant
blessing.

In 1772, the hostihties preceding the war of our Kev-
olution becoming more serious, and it being thought
by the British government to remove the Eoyal Amer-
icans from the danger of sympathy with the Whig
spirit, then rapidly spreading. Dr. Graham's regiment
was ordered to the island of Antigua. The doctor
having gone to New York on an unsuccessful attempt



SCENES OF CHILDHOOD. 27

to sell his commission, that he might carry out his
plan of purchasing a home in Western or Middle New
York, Mrs. Graham was obliged to follow him to New
York, with her children, assisted bj two Indian cap-
tive girls which she had, out of kindly motives, re-
ceived from their savage masters into her family, and
who returned her care by a grateful attachment to
her and her little ones. The route which the ten-
der family pursued was by bateau to Oswego, thence
over a portage to the Mohawk, somewhere near Oris-
kany, thence, by alternate canoe voyage and portage
(over which the children were carried on the backs
of Indians), to Schenectady, and by portage again to
the Hudson at Albany. We have no particular rec-
ord or memoranda of this journey, but how different
must it have been through the almost unbroken wil-
derness, with only canoes to relieve the foot travel,
from the means of passage now through the very gar-
den of. our beautiful, fertile, and prosperous state.
Surely God, who watched over his predestined proph-
et in the bulrushes of the Nile, guarded and guided
that little band through the wilderness and on the
stream until they reached New York, the great city
which was afterward to be so eminently blessed by
the prayers and ministries of Isabella Graham and
Joanna Bethune. While waiting at the sea-port for
the sailing of the transport, Mrs. Graham and her
young family were treated with most hospitable kind-
ness by many Christian friends, to whom they were
introduced by Mrs. Major Brown of the 60th, a daugh-



28 MEMOIRS OF MES. BETHUNE.

ter of Mr. Yanbrugli Livingston ; and made tlie val-
uable acquaintance of the Kev. Dr. John Kodgers, of


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