The attention of an intelligent public is respectfully called to an examination of the following pages, as they contain an explanation of various matters and circumstances that have been connected with a series of articles, relative to the Mt. Carroll Seminary, its Principals, Teachers, management and character. The first of these articles written by Mr. C. Gray, appeared in the Mt. Carroll Republican of May 8th, and contained assertions relative to the Seminary, that were erroneous, and also some unjust reflections upon the Baptist faith. I replied to Mr. Gray's attack upon the Seminary, and at the same time stated that being myself a Presbyterian, I did not desire to enter into any defence of the Baptist creed, feeling that some one of that persuasion could refute Mr. Gray's statements in that respect better than I could. These articles were succeeded by others (of which it is unnecessary for me to speak at length) until Mr. Gray seeing that his various arguments were unsound, and that the whole ground taken by him was untenable, withdrew from the Republican, at the same time hinting at some "painful developments" which it was in his power to produce. These were called for, and Mr. Gray has recently issued a pamphlet wherein he claims to have set forth these developments in such a manner as to effectually invalidate my testimony, and that of others, disgrace the Seminary, its Principals and defenders.
In his desperate attempts to extricate himself from his unenviable situation in the view of the public, Mr. Gray may have been able to cloud his own mind so as to believe himself successful in his endeavors, but an unprejudiced public cannot be so easily blinded. Mr. Gray claims that I have made a false representation in calling myself a Presbyterian. I was not aware that it was in the power of any individual to obtain such a knowledge of the consciousness and internal impressions of others, as would enable him thereby to determine the peculiar religious views of such persons. Really Mr. G. has reached a new era in the history of mankind, in saying that I was not a Presby- terian; I supposed that I was more familiar with my own sentiments than any other person could be; but Mr. Gray comes forward and states to the world in contradiction of my declaration, that I am not a Presbyterian, but a Baptist, and hence what I say should not be allowed to have any influence in deciding the question. Why did not this idea penetrate his cranium before this late period; and why has he hitherto been so very careful to keep this important information to himself. Can it be possible that he has thought of my yearly subscription towards his salary, and stifled the monitions of conscience by withholding such a revelation of my duplicity! But then how could he accept support from me, when "he had his doubts painful," that my subscription money was tainted with the plague of the "still worm." I should have supposed the idea would have been extremely repugnant to his sensitive conscientiousness. Now as he accepted by subscriptions in the most cordial manner, without the least expression of misgiving, is it not clearly evident according to his own arguments that he has exhibited himself as being most culpably influenced by the "dollar power?" The evidence is too conclusive to admit of doubt.
The facts in regard to my connection with the distillery are these:
I engaged in the distilling business only a short time after I joined the church of which Mr. Gray was then, and is still, the pastor, and the idea of manufacturing "High Wines," was first suggested to my friend Mr. Rinewalt and myself, by Mr. Gray, and he at the same time spoke of Mr. -----, of Buffalo Grove, a highly respectable and honorable person, and also a temperance man, who was about to engage in the business.
In order to show that my statement is corroborated by Mr. Rinewalt, the following communication from him is here inserted.
Dear Sir:--You request to me to give you as near as I can, "the conversation I had with the Rev. C. Gray of Mt. Carroll, on the subject of making High Wines." At the time of this conversation the Rev. Mr. Gray and I were very intimate, indeed I seriously contemplated uniting with his Church, and he very often called on me to converse with me on the subject. At one of these interviews, after we had talked the church matter over, I said to him, I really felt discouraged and felt at times like leaving the State. He asked me my reasons. I told him for the last few years the wheat crop had failed so much and the quality of the grain was so poor that we could make nothing by continuing the business. I told him we had thought of changing our business to the manufacture of corn meal or paper, but after informing ourselves on the subject we feared it would not pay.
He then remarked "could you not make High Wines out of the wheat? I told him I really did not know what the article was. He informed me what it was. I asked whether that was not whiskey. He said not. It was no more of a beverage than the article it was made out of. He said it was an article extensively used in the manufacturing of various things and was indispensable. He told me he had a friend in Buffalo village, then putting up an establishment of that kind, and that this friend had told him that the making of High Wines was just as honorable a business as any that could be followed.
You know we then wrote to a number of persons and called on them personally, to ascertain whether these things were as Mr. Gray had told me, and we found in our enquiries his assertions were sustained, and then concluded to go into the business, which we have since often regretted; not that we believe it an immoral business, but it does not pay.
This is about the substance of the conversation you refer to, with the reasons that led to it. And I here declare with an uplifted hand that I never thought of this business until the Reverend gentleman called my attention to it and recommended it. I do positively declare that the distillery at Mt. Carroll, was built under the influence of Mr. Gray's suggestions, and under his positive assurance that the making of High Wines was as honorable and just a business as could be followed. Yours Truly.
In view of the Agricultural prospects of the community at that time, and acting upon the suggestion of Mr. Gray, letters of inquiry were sent by us in all directions in order to obtain information in regard to the business. After receiving satisfactory information, we engaged in the business without misgivings, and as we felt with honest motives, as will be seen from the following explanation. At the time of which I am speaking there were large surplus quantities of coarse grain raised in this region, for which there was no market, as the country was new, and there was no means of transporting produce to distant markets. By opening a distillery it was proposed to furnish a home demand for coarse grain, and thereby the farming community would be benefitted, as well as the Hydraulic Company; and that the same time the "High Wines" were to be converted into burning fluid and were not to be sold in such a manner as to bring reproach upon the Company, for vending them as intoxicating liquors. This was our design in starting the distillery, and our intention in regard to the use to which the "High Wines" should be applied, has been conscientiously fulfilled.
And now what was the reason of Mr. Gray's silence upon this subject previous to the time he imagines my influence and sympathies were transferred to the Baptist Church? According to his own reasoning, the Presbyterian Church must have borne an undivided share in upholding the iniquity of the distillery by permitting me to retain my membership among them. Why did Mr. Gray then hold his peace, and why did he not subsequently unite his influence openly with others, who were striving to overthrow the distillery, and why has he at all times previous to this public declaration in his pamphlet, given me to understand that he regarded the business as all right. His "doubts painful" must have been excited long before his "repudiation" of the concern, and now I ask what prevented him from adopting the course he has recommended as being the one I should have pursued in regard to himself. Before this repudiation of his appeared, he called me "brother," now why did he not go to his brother long long ago, and warn him of his error, and urge him to desist from prosecuting such business. Where is the consistency displayed by Mr. Gray in the course he has taken. It is clearly evident that he has brought up the distillery and an imaginary connection between it and the Baptist Church and the Seminary, in order to create a side issue to turn attention from his defeat in his attack upon the Seminary. He may well fear the force of testimony that annihilates every suspicion of wrong and injustice that he has attempted to fasten upon the Mt. Carroll Seminary. By various shallow artifices he has vainly tried to depreciate such evidence and cast an odium upon it, but all his efforts have proved utterly futile in accomplishing his malignant scheme. He has in his folly prepared a weapon to destroy others, that he is powerless to wield, and which will assuredly recoil upon himself; let him then not complain of being crushed, for that fatal act is one of which he alone will be the author.
And now let us look at this "dollar power" that he speaks of as having such an irresistible force. The examining committee claim that the Mt. Carroll Seminary has added much to the character of the place, and this no one will attempt to deny. Who does not know and realize that such an institution of learning of a high moral tone, exerts a powerful influence upon society for good? Yes, an influence that cannot be estimated in dollars and cents! Who will deny that a Seminary like our own, has a tendency to induce persons of integrity and worth to locate here, that their sons and daughters may receive the benefits which it confers? Is the moral influence of such persons worth nothing in our town? And must the motives of persons be impugned, (and that too by a minister of the gospel) who openly uphold and encourage our Seminary for its intrinsic worth? We may well claim it for our interest to sustain the Seminary, but it is not merely an interest grown out of the paltry sordid dollar; but Mr. G. gives no credit for being actuated by pure or unselfish motives. He asserts that a "crushing exigence" is calling out the "dollar power" for the support of the Seminary. This we deny. The prospects of the Seminary were never more favorable than at present. That it is now, or has been laboring under the influence of a pressing emergency is absolutely and unequivocally false, for notwithstanding all the influence its opponents have tried to exert to crush it, a new school year has recently opened, under the most flattering auspices. The number of pupils is unusually large, and every indication denotes unparalleled prosperity.
The large addition to the building that is now in progress, has not been the result of Baptist efforts, but is merely an effort to increase the accommodations at the Seminary to correspond with the demand that has been steadily and rapidly increasing. The cry of "crushing exigence," is a false alarm made to suit the convenience of those who desire to destroy its well earned and exalted reputation.
The "trinity in unity" mentioned by Mr. Gray is a sheer fabrication of his own distorted imagination. Its existence is neither seen or felt in our midst, and bitter indeed must be the sectarian prejudice and jealousy that will prompt any man to assert the reality of such an existence Herein Mr. Gray stands convicted of attempting to perpetrate the very crime of which he accuses me, viz moral fraud. He wearies the patience of all parties by resorting to miserable subterfuges, and by his artful endeavors to evade the overwhelming evidence of truth. "The card of "Many Citizens," is referred to by Mr. Gray, and we are tauntingly asked how "all" are interested on a "common conceded base," except on the "dollar principle." I reply on the broad base of humanity. All are interested in the progress of science, inasmuch as it tends to the moral as well as the intellectual elevation of society; and everything that advances the cause of science, truth and virtue, should be warmly and faithfully sustained by every individual in "the pile of human kind." Here is a wide field in which "all" may labor and be "deeply interested." It seems Mr. Gray, an embassador of Christ, is making a common cause with infidels, in attacking the Seminary, and at the same time he is sneeringly demanding how "all" can be interested in common cause. Surely if ministers of Christ and scoffing unbelievers can find a common platform of action aside from the mighty dollar, they being the extremes of society, what may not be expected of the intermediate grades?
Mr. Gray thus quotes the language of one of the defendants of the Seminary. "I have talked against the Seminary, but now I am going to defend it." Why has he not given the whole truth. Why had he talked against the Seminary, but would now sustain it. I will answer. A malicious falsehood had been repeated to him respecting the Seminary, and while he considered that statement as correct, he could not lend his influence in favor of the Seminary, but when convinced of its falsity, with the candor that ever characterizes an honest mind, he was ready, not only to retract the ground he had taken while under erroneous impressions, but to defend the cause of injured truth, and the Seminary.
Mr. Gray places much emphasis on the card signed by forty citizens which was published in the Republican of June. This was an article certifying to the christian character of Mr. Gray, and at the same time it censured the Teachers of the Seminary for their letter that had appeared the week before. They were subjected to the grave charge of youth and inexperience, incompetency to judge, and that too by persons who were totally unacquainted with them. But this card was an exceeding great help to Mr. Gray, inasmuch as he was thereby enabled to resume the discussion. But his assistance will be greatly depreciated, (to use his own terms so that he may have no difficulty in understanding me) when it is known that some of those forty affirm that they were induced to sign that article under a misapprehension of its contents, and were afterwards heard to say they were thoroughly ashamed when they became fully acquainted with the document. This depreciation will be greatly increased when the names of several of those forty are seen affixed to a very different card in support of the Seminary and its unsectarian character. Indeed it is a well known fact that the great mass of our community openly condemn the course pursued by Mr. Gray, and deny his statements in regard to the Seminary, its Principals, &c.
The evidence contained in the letter written by the Teachers of the Seminary, must have been quite disagreeable to Mr. Gray, and seems to have caused him considerable uneasiness. He says he was sick criticising it, and it is thought he has given unquestionable proofs of severe illness in his spasmodic efforts to throw off such amount of disgusting misrepresentation and abuse as he has done. Really such surprising ease in crooking and dodging the question at issue, shows him to be a far greater adept in the practice of "stratagem and low cun- ning" than the ladies to whom he refers. In regard to Mr. Estee's visits at the Seminary, the ladies did not assert or convey the idea that Mr. G. represents. No one can read their latter, and receive the impression, that they designed to convey the idea that Elder E. was at the Seminary but three times. The true construction of their words, informs the public that Elder E. was at the Seminary a number of times, but his calls were not extended to the pupils, as he did not see them except at the table, and once to sing, and once at their own request. The statement of Miss S. Randall upon this point will be reviewed at another place.
As Mr. G. has attempted to impeach the veracity of Miss Wood in her replies to certain questions proposed by him to the Principals, the statement is here given of the Presbyterian lady whom he refers to as being present during the interview, and who was also fully acquainted with his first effort for a compromise.
"On the eve of April 29th, the 2d question sent by Mr. Gray, to the Principals, through one of the assistant Teachers, was proposed by her to them just as she was leaving the Seminary to attend a prayer meeting held at MR. Gray's house. The first question was not stated by her for the reason that Misses W. and G. had, at the close of the examination stated publicly their determination and views so explicitly as to fully answer his first proposition, and she therefore deemed a repetition of it to them unnecessary. The second question was as follows: "Do you believe the Methodist and Presbyterian churches regular evangelical christian churches." In the hurry of the moment Miss Wood hastily replied, I have never thought them anything else. The only idea presented to her mind by the proposition, coming as it did in a verbal form, and being introduced at a moment when her attention was preoccupied with other subjects, was the evangelical christian character of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches.
This reply was given to Mr. Gray as follows, "Misses Wood and Gregory answer you in the affirmative." But, he not being satisfied sent the two questions again in a written form, accompanied by an expressed desire on his part for a compromise. This communication was presented to the Principals, the next morning, April 30th. It was first thought best to reply to Mr. Gray in writing, but in order to ascertain what the matter was to be compromised, it was finally decided to obtain a personal interview with him. Accordingly on the evening of May 8th, I accompanied Misses Wood and Gregory to the residence of Mr. Gray. During this interview, and before Miss Wood gave him any explanation of her views in relation to his question, he distinctly informed us that our call was too late, and an explanation on his part was useless as he had an article in type which would appear in the Republican the next day. Upon this point Mr. Gray's assertion is in direct opposition to the truth. His first article was sent to the press and published after he received an affirmative reply to his questions to the Principals, and before any further explanation was made by them. I had every opportunity to know the facts in this instance, and speak this from personal knowledge. And now that Miss Wood, during this interview changed the affirmative answer to a negative, I positively deny. Before we concluded to call upon him, Misses Wood and Gregory prepared a written reply to send him, with which I was made acquainted, and which I heard Miss Wood repeat in substance to Mr. G., and I am thus fortunately prepared to give s nearly as possible her precise words. The following is a copy of their answer to his two questions.
Rev. C. Gray,
Sir:—In reply to your first question, "Is it your intention to conduct the Seminary on neutral grounds, &c." we would say that this has been and still is our purpose. In respect to your second question, "Do you believe the Methodist and Presbyterian churches are regular evangelical christian churches," we would say, that according to our views of church, in order to be a "regular evangelical christian church," it must conform in faith and practice to the pattern of the primitive churches planted by Christ and his apostles. Any deviation from this must constitute an irregularity; and as there are differences in the doctrines and practice even of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, it seems to us that both cannot be strictly conformed to the original pattern, and therefore both cannot be altogether regular.
We however look upon these churches and some others as being evangelical in their character, and wish them success in the propagation of religious truth. You are evidently correct in your view with reference to the real point of difficulty in the case of the Seminary. It is sectarianism dreading sectarianism. We cannot hope to meet the wishes of all parties. It shall be our aim in the future as it has been in the past to respect the rights of others, while we claim our own, and leave it with a just God to judge between us, and those who try to injure us. Respectfully,
The public can now see upon what grounds Mr. Gray has founded his attempt to fasten contradictory answers to his questions upon Miss Wood. It may be well to state here that the sentiments contained in the above letter were given to Mr. Gray as an expression of views from both Misses Wood & Gregory, and what reasons he has for making Miss W. the special object of his attack, is a mystery.
For thus exposing facts to the broad sunlight of truth, Mr. G. has asserted that I (together with others) am no Presbyterian. "Only a pliant tool of the Baptists." This absurd assertion has neither alarmed nor intimidated me in the least; knowing as I do that Mr. G's ipse dixit cannot exert a particle of influence in determining the belief that I entertain.
The Teachers in their letter did not deny that the Principals had ever urged the importance of religious truth upon the minds of pupils, but urging pupils to give attention to religion is a very different thing from urging them to become Baptists. It seems that Mr. Gray arrogates to himself the right to set aside their testimony, founded upon personal knowledge and observation, and to decide upon mere hearsay evidence of the most suspicious character It is not remarkable that he should wince under the testimony of these ladies, which though true, must have been quite humiliating to him. Mr. Gray has made a most wretched attempt to escape from facts stated by them, and a still more wretched attempt at criticism. He could find far more scope for his limited powers of criticism, if he would but turn his attention to his own productions, for it has rarely been my fortune to meet with such absurd attempts at argument, and nonsensical exhibitions of redundency in expression as he has recently produced.
The following statement is from the lady who was the bearer of the oft mentioned messages:
"Mr. Gray has contradicted my statements in two prominent points. First, he says he did not call himself the prime mover of the opposition to the Principals of the Seminary. His subsequent course proves that he could have made such an assertion, if I am not believed in saying he did do so. Second—That he made no such statement as that he would feel called upon to carry the opposition no further if he received an affirmative reply to the questions proposed. The fact that he did make this statement, was the only consideration that induced me to become the medium of such communication. His denial of the fact does not effect its truth."
The misstatements of Mr. Gray relative to the Investigating Committee require a review:
During the progress of the revival in this place last winter, the efforts of christians in their master's cause, seemed to arouse the attention of all classes, and it soon became apparent that the wrath of the evil one himself was kindled on account of these efforts. The vindictive feelings of opposers of religion were clearly exhibited on every side, in their endeavors to malign the cause of christianity. The Seminary, having participated in the work of revival, became a prominent object, against which the arch enemy through his willing servants directed the malignant efforts. Consequently many slanderous reports were fabricated, that gained a darker shade by every repetition. These reports were industriously circulated by a certain class, till even professing christians gave ready credence to these rumors, and many who had, and some who had not become interested in the revival, exhibited a reprehensible spirit of envy and jealousy. They seemed to fear that their own church would not be increased by the addition of members, and as the leaven of sectarianism commenced its work in their own hearts, they advance the charge of sectarianism and other kindred ones against the Seminary. These were thrown in with the idle rumors of the day, and became commingled with them until the whole became a confused mass of falsehood, without foundation in truth. At this tide of affairs, a party who had become disaffected towards the Seminary, called a public meeting for the purpose of carrying into effect some plan for starting a "Union School." The intent of the originators of this scheme was to crush the Seminary, although this idea was not designed to be made public. By means of petty artifice in concealing it, and exhibiting a false view of the thing, some well-meaning persons were persuaded at first to regard this movement favorably. But when the time appointed for the meeting, came, one who had shared the confidence of this designing clique (but who had not been thoroughly drilled to keep silence on the main object of their proceedings) arose and unwittingly exposed their designs. Here then the whole matter was out, and this was all that was necessary to ensure the downfall of the plot. The feelings of chagrin and disappointment felt by the originators of this "Union School" movement in having their base designs frustrated, was another fruitful source of mischief towards the Seminary.
About this time a circular card was issued in the Republican by some of our citizens, calling upon the pubic to investigate the whole matter, and at the same time the Principals stated that if the difficulty was not attended to before the close of the term by the community, measures would be taken at that time to investigate the subject. Here then the readers will perceive a call for an investigation was made nearly two months before that event transpired, thus allowing Mr. Gray and others, ample time to collect testimony, procure wit- nesses, and in short to prepare charges and bring evidence to sustain them. In the face of these facts Mr. Gray has dared to assert that only twenty-four hours notice of the investigation was given! Again the persons who constituted the Investigating Committee were men who possessed the confidence of the community, and were in no way personally interested in the Seminary, above other individuals. These considerations, together with the fact that they constituted the last Board of Trustees, induced the Principals to invite them to act as an Investigating Committee. No measures had been taken by others to ferret out the origin of the malicious reports relative to the Seminary, hence the Principals felt that the school must rest under a stigma created by false representations, or an investigation of the matter must be made. They wisely chose the latter course.
The gentlemen invited by the Principals consented to act as committee, and accordingly at the time appointed, they met at the Seminary, to listen to charges that should be preferred, and to ascertain their truth or falsity. But where now were those who inveighed so bitterly against the Seminary? Only one or two appeared. The great majority of them slunk away abashed, fearing to expose their vile slanders to the searching scrutiny that would subject them to an ordeal that must inevitably test their truth But who were those who did appear? Persons whose efforts to establish a Union School had been frustrated, and who from other causes were cherising vindictive feelings, that were made apparent at the opening of the meeting. One Mr. F., attempted to introduce confusion into the proceedings of the Committee, by throwing out a tirade of abuse against members of the committee in particular, and the Seminary in general, and also by impudently insisting upon adjournment without assigning any good reason. After some delay the Committee succeeded in reducing him to a certain degree of order, whereupon the other gentleman, Mr. David E., arose and urged that the pupils boarding in the Seminary should be called upon to give testimony. The boarders were accordingly summoned, but after they were seated, Mr. David E. remarked that one of the pupils was absent from whom he wished to elicit evidence. This pupil was immediately sent for; but when he came it appeared that Mr. E., desired his testimony to justify him (Mr. E.) in publishing an inuendo, injurious to the Seminary, that had appeared in the Republican about the time of the Union School movement. Mr. E. stated that his article was founded upon information received from this pupil during a conversation held with him. But alas for Mr .E., it was proved by the testimony of his own witness, that the conversation alluded to, did not occur till after the offensive article was published, and also that he had never given Mr. E. any information that could be construed derogatory to the character of the Seminary. Mr. E. was then forced to acknowledge in the presence of all assembled that he could have had no authority for his article, save the idle rumors floating in the community. This was a humiliating confession for the editor of a public journal to make; but as the facts were evident he could do no otherwise. Soon after this one of the committee objected to the presence of the Teachers, and they unhesitatingly withdrew.
The investigation then proceeded without any restraint from the presence of teachers, although the rude and ungentlemanly behavior of one or two of these gentleman present, was not calculated to preserve order and decorum in the meeting. The evidence of the pupils was taken relative to the charges against the Seminary; by this nothing was proved contrary to the report of the Committee. And now what does Mr. Gray know of the proceedings of this Committee? Was he there? No. Although he had been particularly invited to attend the meeting, he preferred to remain away, and receive afterwards, the irregular and untruthful reports of a few prejudiced individuals. This I apprehend is the secret of the origin of the whole matter with Mr. Gray. He has been quite too ready to receive and circulate the vile rumors that may always be found in the community, as an expression of facts. This can but be evident, even to the careless observer, since very few of his assertions are confined to subjects, that have come under his own personal observation. It is certainly to be regretted that he has allowed his mind to be so warped by prejudice, that it is no longer open to conviction of truth.
With regard to the expulsion of pupils, I will merely make a concise statements [sic] of facts as I have them from undoubted authority. Of A.G. Humphrey, one of the number whose "testimony" Mr. Gray introduces, I would say, soon after he entered the institution the Principals learned in a casual conversation that he had been a Methodist exhorter; becoming disaffected he joined the Congregational Church. The impression left on their minds was that he still retained his standing in that church. He chose to join the Baptist Sabbath School, and labored there harmoniously, nothing coming to the knowledge of those with whom he co-operated, conflicting with the generally received truths of christianity. If views were then entertained and an influence then exerted thus conflicting, it was studiously kept from the knowledge of the Principals. It was supposed if he had a standing in an evangelical christian church, that he professed christianity; if professing, it was of course hoped he possessed it. The Principals did not deem it their duty or business to inquire into his peculiarities of faith; they extended to him christian charity; did all in their power to aid him in getting an education; he being dependent upon his own exertions, they gave him employment when out of school and used their influence to secure for him the office of sexton, that the remuneration therefor might enable him the more independently to prosecute his studies. In November a series of prayer meetings was commenced in the Baptist church; he attended and took an active part, engaging in prayer, exhortation, &c., with seeming harmony, till the spirit of God was felt at work; many were interested, among the number who were pupils at the Seminary, and they manifested a desire to attend the meetings Then the true nature of the spirit Humphrey possessed was made manifest. Though not a member of the institution during this time, being engaged in teaching in the country, yet he would seek every opportunity to watch their movements, throw himself in the way of those who manifested an interest for their soul's salvation, and exert himself to divert their minds. When successful he would return to his home in high glee. When failing in unholy purpose, he would retire railing at and about them and all christians in general and Elder Estee in particular. These things coming to the knowledge of the Principals, enlightened them as to the real character of the influence he was exerting. They then took measures to inform themselves more fully, and found that he had been for a long time actively engaged in instilling into the minds of his associates what he termed liberal principles; that he regarded many of them as his converts; that he would exultingly point out different ones of this class as being proof against any christian influence that might be brought to bear. But it is truly a matter or [sic] rejoicing that of the number singled out as victims to his delusion, only one proved deaf to the calls of mercy. Soon after the meetings closed, Humphrey returned to the institution. The Principals were now aware of the sentiments he entertained and the character of the influence he would exert, secretly if not openly. They did not however deem it their right to refuse him admission because he entertained such sentiments, but did feel it their duty to be watchful of the influence that he might exert by open expression of his sentiments. They found that h, with two or three others, gave free expression of their views before the society connected with the institution, and more, this community knew, that at the public exercises of this society, free expression of the sentiments of this class of individuals was given which in two or three original orations was so gratifying to the infidel portions of the audience that some of them who deny the whole system of christian religion, deny the Bible, and do not even acknowledge a God, cheared them while speaking.
It has been said that the Principals permitted these declamations to be made public from policy. I believe I was pretty well acquainted with their feelings upon the subject at the time and will explain this point. During the time of the revival, they were censured in no measured terms for giving permission to students to attend. Censured not only by opposers of all religion, but joined in by some rabid sectarians. This caused an excitement which led to misrepresentations calculated to prejudice the minds of the more candid and charitable. They felt that they were misunderstood; that were those christians to be made acquainted with the fearful influence that was creeping into the institution, they would pause before passing judgment upon their course. After the exercises of the examination were closed, the Principals made equally public their views regarding such expression and supposed it distinctly understood that in future this influence should not be brought to bear upon pupils entrusted to their care by the expression of those sentiments in Compositions, Declamations, &c. It seems however that they were not sufficiently explicitly for this class of pupils to understand, since this course was continued by them in the private influence exerted; in the exercise of the Society and in their compositions which at last led to a misunderstanding resulting in quite a public expression of what could but be regarded as disrespectful feelings towards the Principals and teachers. These pupils were called to an account; confessions were made by them and they were reinstated that no more productions of the kind would be tolerated before the school. Two or three days after, these pupils sought an interview with the Principals during which they claimed it as their privilege and demanded it as their right to continue the expression before the school of the same and similar sentiments as contained in the compositions alluded to (in one of which the Bible was denied, in another the existence of a God denied, &c.) and further, that they should regard their teachers as pursuing a course of injustice if they were to restrict them in this expression. Now how does this matter stand? Here are pupils telling their teachers that they have made an unjust restriction, that here is regulation of their school (which they as christians, &c., as they would guard the soul's interest , of their pupils, saw it necessary to make,) which they cannot comply with, without feeling that they are unjustly dealt by. Now what is to be done? Is the school room to be given up to become the rostrum from which shall be proclaimed from week to week, "There is no truth in the christian religion," There is no Divine inspiration about the Bible," "There is no God," &c.,&c., with no small share of bombast which with the youthful and unsuspecting students might pass for argument, perhaps proof? Are those Principals and teachers to yield their duty to make such regulations and rules for the government of their school as shall secure to their pupils the safety that the christian parent has a right to expect of christian teachers? They chose to assert their right to require of pupils obedience to wholesome and just regulations. If that obedience was not cheerfully rendered, and if a course of discipline failed to secure such obedience what alternative was there, but to break the connection of teacher and pupil? This was done at the request of the Principals. I doubt not the same thing would have been done as promptly under the same circumstances, the first term the school was organized under the Charter, as now, (notwithstanding Mr. Gray's profound research (?) of Blackstone, which he must have made to enable him to expound the law with so much artifice). I have yet to learn that there is anything in the charter under which they organized either expressed or implied that is now or would have been then violated.
As regards the basis of which Mr. Gray brags so loudly, I will merely say, judging from the whole course of Misses Wood & Gregory since they have been among us, I firmly believe that had they for a moment supposed they were organizing under a charter which could be thus construed or which was thus understood and acted upon by the Board, they would have sooner sacrificed situation, reputation as teachers, anything and every thing the natural heart holds dear, then[sic] thus to have sacrificed principle. Further, I have the assurance of the originator of the said charter and of the "Liberalist Editor" whose acts are introduced as testimony of so much moment, that no such view was taken of the subject by them, and no such thing expressed or implied in their advocacy of the institution and its Principals. Here I would indulge in a few reflections. If Mr. Gray saw that the school as then organized under said charter, was not on a Bible basis (as every christian will concede such an institution should be) why did he wink at the iniquity? Why did he use every artifice he was master of to secure a controlling influence in the school? Why did he from time to time make propositions to the Board and to the Principals for arrangements which would secure a Presbyterian basis? For example when the school became known abroad so that there was a demand for boarding accommodations, why did Mr. Gray propose that the boarding department should be given to him with power to control the students, and teachers in all matters out side of the school room? Why name certain regulations to which they should subscribe, such as "keeping of Saturday nights," having their Sabbath to commence with the setting sun on Saturday night? Was Mr. G. then willing to enter into the "Shylock bond" and "consummate the fraud," he charges upon the Principals in "their introduction of a 'Bible basis',&c.?" How could he so calmly contemplate such an "unholy wedlock," when he was to be one of the parties. I see no way in which this inconsistency can be reconciled, except we admit as true, an assertion Mr. G. has made, "that he as a Presbyterian could conduct an institution without its being sectarian, while a Baptist could not, because of the nature of their faith. Though not a word or act might come to the knowledge of pupils, yet the exclusive nature of the Baptist creed would render the school sectarian in the highest degree." Then Mr. Gray must have thought to secure a controlling influence in the school—make all to subscribe to Presbyterian regulations, &c., without any "violation of charter;" without any "moral fraud;" without any "unholy wedlock with infidels;" without any "change of basis;" without any "Bible basis." Surely here is a mystery I will not attempt to unravel. I will only add; what a pity it is, since the ladies in their choice of a home in a christian church, were actuated by motives of policy as Mr. Gray has insinuated, that they were not far sighted enough to join his church and thus have avoided all this criminality which now (in his eyes) necessarily attaches itself to their every act as Baptists! Really, I believe had they been willing to receive a few gratuitous lessons from him and put them in practice, they would have done so. How ungrateful he must think them for all his earnest advice and deep solicitude for them about the time they were deciding this momentous question.
As regards the visits of Rev. Estee at the Seminary I would premise this point with the remark that I do not consider it Mr. Gray's or any other individual’s business, who or how frequently visitors are received by the Principals at their own house, providing such visits do not in any way interfere with the rights and privileges of pupils or prove detrimental to the interests of the school, hence those Principals should not condescend to make a public expose of their register of visitors. I will simply say that the ladies whom Mr. Gray anathematises so vehemently, hold themselves in readiness to give their oaths if required, regarding the statements made on this point in the letter of June 2d. Now for a moment glance at the comparative weight of testimony. Here are six teachers of undoubted veracity, professing and I doubt not, truly possessing christianity, the majority of whom were in the Seminary during the whole time of Rev. E.'s stay in Mt. Carroll. These teachers at all times at liberty to occupy the same parlor with the Principals, and visitors enjoying their confidence to an unlimited degree, observers of their every act and cognizant of almost their every thought pertaining to the interests of the school. They voluntarily gave their testimony, which testimony would be most fully and cheerfully endorsed by scores of most reliable students who were also resident in the same family at the same time. Mr. Gray's testimony regarding the same matter, "viz" the visits of Rev. E., at the Seminary, is the say so and think so of Miss S. Randall a disaffected pupil, one of the liberalists whom Mr. G., includes I presume as an "impliedly expelled pupil." This young lady did not board in the Seminary, was not at all in the family of the Principals, was not even in the school or school building the whole of school hours, coming in only to recite two lessons during each day, remaining perhaps during the time which might intervene between the two recitations. This young lady's "think so" is Mr. Gray's testimony as he terms it, by which he expects to set aside the testimony of the teachers and students almost en masse. The absurdity of Mr. Gray's position is sufficient refutation of itself. Let a decision not prompted by sectarian bitterness, jealousy and envy be given on this point and I have not a shadow of apprehension but the Principals will stand acquitted. Miss R's., statements with regard to fancied slights shows too plainly the jealousy of her nature. The fact of Miss Randall being in school only to recite and not being in classes reciting to either Misses Wood or Gregory, it might have happened that days or even weeks elapsed without Miss W., meeting Miss R, at a suitable time and place to recognise her. As to those ladies intentionally avoiding and slighting any pupil, I think they have too much self respect to condescend to such a course and none but a jealous or uncultivated mind would conceive such things. Further comment is unnecessary. I will in concluding this point repeat what is conceded by every candid reader of Mr. Gray’s articles, that to go into refutation of his statements is altogether useless—the absurdities which characterize them all, are so palpable that they carry their own refutation on the face of them. I would willingly devote more time to alleviating the Reverend gentleman's sufferings, as he complains so bitterly of his pains, &c., but more important duties claim my attention and I will close with expressing my regret that Mr. Gray has felt himself so "pushed," as to involve the necessity of his making as public and humiliating expose of his literary attainments as he has done in the publication of his pamphlet. He has done for himself a work in lowering his own standing in the community that he was then a member of, that themost bitter opponent might not have been able to do. I can but regard him as scores and hundreds in this community and surrounding country feel and express themselves, that he is a fallen foe and slain by his own hand.