A Summer Tour of the Great Western Valley (1837) -- Part II
Chapter IX -- Further Views on the Mississippi
By Friday July 7th, 1837, the steamboat had passed the Des Moines River and found itself, on the Western side of the Mississippi, adjacent to the "Wisconsin Territory, or more commonly here, the Iowa country" (p.105). Clark estimated that in a time frame of four years, thirty to forty thousand new settlers had moved into this territory. Clark cites Burlington, where the stopped, that had taken two years to grow from "only a few log-cabins" (p.105) to "more than twelve hundred inhabitants" (p.105). Clark praises the Methodists for being the "first on the ground" for preaching salvation here (p.105), then laments that his own denomination has "not a clergyman in this whole region" (p.105).
When the steamboat in "all its clattering machinery swept proudly by" (p.106) "two rude bark covered wigwams that had just been put up on the very margin of the stream" (p.106), Clark comments on the natives but also wonders whether their fire "had been kindled ... to keep off the musquitos [sic!] or to cook their evening meal" (p.106).
However, Clark was not concerned by their discharge from their ancestral lands, but by their salvation:
While I continued to look at them, and saw them standing amid the solitariness of the prairie, with their eyes still fixed upon the opposite bank of the river, where rested the | bones of their ancestors—when I saw how dignified, and serious, and contemplative they seemed, I could not but regard them as the last representatives of a race fast fading away, and who will soon scarcely have a place or name this side of the RockyMountains. It seemed to me that they were standing at this twilight hour looking once more upon the shore where rested the bones of their people, before they bade a final adieu to these scenes where they used once to hunt the deer, glide over the watery surface with their bark canoes, raise the luxuriant corn, and build their wigwams. Strangers now possessed their home, and they were just bidding to the scenes of their chil[d]hood a long, long farewell! Oh, thought I, that they could have the gospel to tame their fierceness, soften their savage natures, and cheer them in their solitary wanderings through the wilderness! (pp.106-107)Saturday July 8th, 1837, found the travelers in Stevenson, where "Rock River enters the Mississippi, separating the town from Rock Island, on which stands Fort Armstrong" (p.107); the location where the Black Hawk war arose (p.108), and Clark feels unable to blame the Indians for giving "up this tract of country with reluctance"; as the "eye never looked out upon a more beautiful land" (p.108). But with the close of the day, the mighty Mississippi was left behind, and the steam boat "pushed its way up the serpentine course of Fevre River" (p.108). The boat arrived at Galena "for a number of days" of rest (p.108).
Clark resumes his diary on July 15th, 1837, a Saturday. The town is prone to flooding by the Mississippi, which actually occurred during Clark's visit for the third time that year (p.109). Clark notes that freshets occur in geographical order running southward to the north. Clark knows that this is due to the elevation of the sources, but attributes the overall pattern to the benevolence of the Creator and sees a cautionary tale for the humans.
Let the Red River, the Arkansas, and the Missouri, pour their swollen streams at the time of their annual freshets, together into the Mississippi, and the whole lower regions for hundreds of miles above and around New Orleans would be one unbroken sea. What a tremendous armament of destruction has the Almighty here! Have not the inhabitants of that city [i.e. New Orleans, RCK] which has seated herself as a queen at the mouth of this river, reason to remember that the Lord can bury them in a moment in the midst of the sea?(p.109)The pioneer town of Galena (p.110) with its muddy streets, cramped and poor housing, and general unattractiveness is unpleasant to Clark. The justification of the town is in fact its role as the port of embarkment for the lead mined in the region. Its morals are questionable.
Like many of these western towns, till recently, there has been scarcely the semblance of a Sabbath here. Drinking, duelling, and gambling, have all been common. (p.110)Clark was lucky to catch the Bishop of Illinois officiating on his first Sunday at Galena [July 9th, 1837, RCK], who castigated "duelling, Sabbath-breaking, and profane swearing" in his sermon, and Clark was optimistic about the effects:
I believe his counsel was very kindly received. There is a great deal of intelligence among the residents in this place, and they seem willing to have the truth preached to them plainly. (p.110)The main attraction of Galena is the graveyard, and enclosed spot on the prairie half a mile outside of town (p.110). Due to the lack of stone for statues (p.110), the graves are decorated by little white painted fences (p.111) and wild roses. Clark visited the grave of [his older, RCK] sister who had rested there for then fifteen years [putting their death at around 1822, RCK], an emotional moment.
I then felt and wept like a child. Why should I not have done so? I was standing on the grave of the sister of my childhood, whose existence and mine for many years had run along together as though our being had been woven in the same web. I remembered how when I was but a very little child, she led me to the country school---how we wandered together in playful glee on the green bank of the Housatonic, and her hand gathered for me the wild flowers that grew there. (p.111)Clark looked to his older sister (p.112) when his own mother died.
But where was she [the older sister, RCK]? She no more came, bounding along with sparkling eyes, and flowing locks, and animated features at the call of her brother. There she lay sleeping, oh how silently, how profoundly in the grave. (p.112)Clark shared this moment with his brother in law.
No mortal was present to witness or intermeddle with the feelings or overflowings of my heart, save him who recognised in this heaped hillock of earth the resting place of the loved one of his heart---the wife of his youth---the mother of his children. Together we bowed down there in silent grief! (p.112)And here Clark may let the reader in on the justification of this long voyage.
Our hearts were so full that we [i.e. Clark and his brother in law, RCK] could do nothing but mingle our tears together over that sacred spot, which I would again travel all the way from the Atlantic to the Mississippi to look upon! (p.112)The only consolation Clark could find was in the firm knowledge of his sister's resurrection
I said "My sister shall rise again." "The Lord Jesus will bring her with him." This is his promise. (p.112)A souvenir flower from her grave, now wilted, lead Clark to speculate (p.112) on the "glorious body which Christ will give to that dear mouldered form" (p.113) which "will never fade, but bloom on in immortal youth, through the unending ages of eternity." (p.113)
Chapter X --- Illinois and the Lakes
Continuing in the context of his July 15th, 1837, entry (p.114), Clark spent a day of his time visiting mining sites in Wisconsin and around Galena as well as smelting furnaces---a visitation that involved riding through the prairie a lot (p.114). The mine Clark and company descended into had been dug to a depth of 100 feet (p.114) and spent about a day under ground (p.115) at 50 feet of depth, watching the miners knock out the lead from the fissures in the rock.
Clark also reports the negotiation of an Indian treaty at St. Peters, which had the additional attraction of the St. Anthony's Falls, but he ran out of time to join another party to steam up to see "this gathering of the wild men" (p.115).
The next diary entry, Wednesday July 19th, 1837, is mislabeled as "June" in the manuscript (p.115). Clark and his companions crossed the Fevre river and hitched a ride with an open lumber wagon using their trunks for seats, and feeling quite pioneer-like doing so (p.115). The discomfort of the journey compared favorably to the discomfort (p.115) that Bishop Kemper (p.116) had told Clark about.
[Bishop Kemper] ... was overtaken by rain which continued a day or two : the streams became swollen, and the roads, often for miles, completely overflown. All this time he was obliged to ride in an open wagon, the bottom boards of which were loose, and often slipping out, rendering it necessary for him every now and then to get out, and stand in the mud and water, till the rickety wagon could be again brought into a state of temporary order. (p.116)Clark passed beautiful groves of trees---Buffalo, Inlet and Paw Paw---which were famous battle scenes from the Black Hawk war (p.116). Clark discusses both the beauty (p.117) and the rich fauna of the prairie, where acquaintances of his have found 40 or even 120 different types of flowers on a single outing. Cattle grazing (p.117) on the prairies of Illinois (p.118) was esp. "large, and fat, and noble-looking" (p.118).
Those parts of Illinois were then only sparsely settled; Clark gave the story of how a stop to change horses allowed him to sit in the only house in the place, a comfortable log-cabin. Striking up a conversation with the land lady, he learned that their material wealth had come at the price of isolation: neither school for the children for many years nor Sunday service for many months. One of the ministers that had come at least every three weeks (p.118) had died and no replacement had been found (p.119).
But the problems were not restricted to spiritual welfare.
[The land lady continued: RCK] What made me more contented to reside here, was that my oldest daughter was married and lived my nearest neighbour, about two miles from this. She had three lovely and promising children, in whom all our hearts were bound up. But the grave now covers them! They were all cut down one after another about six months ago by the scarlet fever. We couldn't get any physician to see them, and they all died within ten days of each other. And then we had to carry them ourselves to the grave. We put them into the ground in silence. There was no one to lift up the voice of prayer. (p.119)Her daughter did not survive the next confinement (p.119) and was buried three days before Clark's arrival. Within thirty miles no physician had been available, and no minister could sit with the dying. No good farm and crops could console the son-in-law over the loss of his wife and children.
This incident led Clark to remonstrate with his fellow East Coasters:
How unspeakable are our religious privileges! And yet how little are they appreciated by the great mass of the people! (p.120)[RCK: Interestingly, Clark says little about the medicinal privileges.]
Clark injects some levity into the narrative by dwelling on some of the more amusing incidents of the travel (p.120).
The party was crossing a creek and approaching a log cabin, with a welcoming fire in front (p.120) whose smoke was "expel[ling] the swarms of musquitoes that for several hours had been making acquaintance with us" (p.121).We found all along at our log inns, for our refreshment, substantial food, bacon and beans, or fried pork and potatoes, and if we were too dyspeptic to eat these, we could fast, which is sometimes useful. But at night we frequently found ourselves placed under more embarrassing circumstances. (p.120)
They have here what is playfully called " The Potter's field" a place in these log taverns in which they put strangers—a room designed as a dormitory, in which all travellers, men, women and children are placed to lodge ! The house which we had reached at Somonauk Creek had a place of this sort. It was the only room in the house save the kitchen. Two stage loads had already arrived, and other travellers were coming in. (p.121)Clark and his friend B---- worried about their beds early and managed to secure "a comfortable corner with a straw bed on which to stretch ourselves" (p.121)
Fortunately, there was one bed enshrouded with curtains, which was assigned to a gentleman from Vermont and his newly married bride, whom he was bringing to reside at the west. (p.121)Eventually the land lord packed fourteen people into that room, and required running the smoke through to keep the mosquitos at bay (p.121). But Clark took it all in good stride, reflecting on how the Saviour "had not always so comfortable a spot at night to lay his head as this [strawbed]" (p.122).
Clark was impressed with Chicago, giving it the ultimate compliment:
It has quite the air of an eastern town. (p.122)Clark had little time to spend there, though; their arrival coincided with the "ringing of the bell [--- a departure signal---, RCK] of the large and beautiful steamboat, James Madison, which was on the eve of departure for Detroit and Buffalo" (p.122). The travel party was eager to be done with the overland travel, not intent on waiting another 10 days for the following steamer, and thus were "skimming over the waves of Michigan lake" (p.123) that very evening.
As Clark noted on July 20th, 1837, the party arrived at Milwaukie at 9 am in the morning; a riverbar blocked the way, so they had to disembark and walk into town (p.123). When Clark arrived, about three thousand people were living there in well-built houses.
By evening they had arrived on Mackinaw (p.123), an island of nine miles circumference (p.124). The fort in the town was vacated due to the treaty signing at St. Peter's [mentioned above (p.115), RCK]. The dissatisfaction of the Indians with the treaty conditions was then generating unease in the mind of the populace, as the Indians were suggesting that they could "bring a thousand warriors into the field" (p.124) if they would receive "goods in part for their annuities, when money had been promised" (p.124). Clark had occasion to admire the lodges and the canoes of the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes.
In this canoe, made of the outer rind of the birchen tree, they carry their family, and furniture, and all their worldly effects—children, dogs, fishing-tackle, guns, their tent, cooking utensils, and themselves. (p.124)Clark's party was permitted to enter several tents and was received kindly (p.125).
Another encounter on Mackinaw was the Bishop McCoskry of Michigan (p.125). His trip was taking him to "Green Bay, Milwaukie, and other parts of Wisconsin" (p.125). The several "hours in the most delightful Christian intercourse" were quickly past:
It was only a few hours, before our steamers were again moving forward through the deep green waters, to their several places of destination. (p.125)
Chapter XI --- Michigan
Clark and his party continued their steamer trips in a southward direction (p.126). Clark compared the lakes to "great inland seas. The wind and the storm have mighty power over them ..." (p.126). The winds can push even steam vessels fifty, even ninety miles off-course (p.126). Since the harbors stop being a safe spot at that point, "the expedient adopted is to keep the boat at sea, and let her drive before the gale" (p.127). After leaving Mackinaw and passing Saginaw Bay, they lost sight of land. That evening they experienced a storm on Lake Huron.
As I stood upon the upper deck, and looked out upon that scene of darkness and wild commotion, and heard the roar of the wind, and the dashing of the waves, and the hoarse rumbling breath of steam from the escape- | ment pipe, like the suppressed growl of a lion, that told of mighty power to urge onward and to destroy, I felt, in a way I have seldom done before, my entire dependence on God. (pp.127-128)Clark slept soundly that night, assured in the testimonies of the covenant with God (p.128). By next morning, the storm had passed. They passed St. Clair and reached Detroit before the evening.
Clark was impressed with Detroit (p.128) and its surroundings, mentioning Jefferson Avenue (p.129) and two Episcopal churches (p.129). In Detroit, Clark met the Rev. Mr. R----, who had come to "supply the pulpit of St. Paul's during the first Sunday of the Bishop's absence" (p.129), since the bishop felt that each bishop should have its own parochial charge. Bishop McCoskry (p.130) was hugely popular in his parish and in his diocese. During his trip (p.131) McCoskry was planning to hold continuous service for several days in each parish, and Clark was expecting significant benefits from that strategy.
The people are not opposed to an Episcopal form of government—they are not opposed to our liturgy—they are not opposed to our doctrines—but they are opposed to a dead church. (p.131)On Tuesday, July 25th, 1837, the Rev Mr. R---- offered to take Clark to Ypsilanti, his own parish, with his own carriage and show him "several points I wished to visit in the interior of the state" (p.131). The ruts in the street and the logs preserving the road are vividly recalled:
The road for the first twenty miles towards Ypsilanti gave us a fine specimen of the toil and tardiness of travelling in a new country. At one time the formidable slough received us into its cavernous depths, and as we went down, vehicle and horses and all, seemed to threaten to swallow us up in its miry embrace. Then, as we rose from this perilous depth, our carriage went bounding from log to log which lay side by side transversely across our path, deeply embedded in mud, constituting what is expressively called a corduroy road. These were almost the only alternations in our path for the first twenty miles. (p.132)The last ten miles to Ypsilanti had better roads (p.133), and the town of two thousand next to the Huron river delighted Clark.
On July 26th, 1837, the party started from Ypsilanti toward Ann Arbour, another town on the Huron river with nearly three thousand inhabitants (p.133). Adjacent to the Episcopal Church, a wealthy donor from Monroe purchased an acre of land at $1000 for the "neat and commodious dwelling ... of the rector" (p.133), assuming that the donation of a house (p.133) would bring the support of the parish as a consequence (p.134). Clark uses this as an opportunity to provide an exhortation for the rich to be more forthcoming with their thousands of dollars for the benefits of "the least of these my ministers", as Clark put the phrase into Jesus' mouth on Judgement Day.
Would to God that many professors of religion, who have already wealth enough to ruin all their children, and are still holding back their pecuniary means and hoarding them up, refusing to consecrate any part of them to Christ, would think seriously of this, would meditate frequently on the scenes of that day. (p.134)
As it would be dark before our arrival, and the road was rough, and it was uncertain whether we could all be accommodated for the night at the place to which I was directing my course, it was decided as a matter of prudence, that Mr. and Mrs. R-----, who had kindly accompanied me in their carriage, should remain at the log inn which we had already reached, and whose quaint sign was "Call and C," while the driver, mounting one horse, and myself the other, should go on to find the house of my friend. (p.134)The procurement of a saddle took some time (p.135). They then road until the found a house at the border of a lake, but the friends house was two miles on, on the other side of the lake (p.135), and only women and children lived there (p.136), so no one could guide them. The falling darkness made it necessary to eventually find the track on their hands and knees to make progress (p.136). But even this track became questionable when it forked.
It now became a grave question which path we were to take. We were far away from any human habitation; it was doubtful whether we could retrace our steps, even if we attempted to return; the night was dark, sultry, and hot, the deep forest was around us, the musquitoes [sic!] were biting us most unmercifully, and we had not provided ourselves with the means of striking a light to kindle a fire. (p.136)Shouting for someone to come and help failed (p.137). So they decided to track one branch until they lost evidence of a wheel track. Eventually they came upon the "glimmering of a taper [i.e. a thing candle, RCK]" (p.137) as a sign of human habitation. Clark is reminded of a Cowper stanza upon the feeling of relief. The log cottage proved to be the very house they had been seeking (p.138), owned by the friend and his family---between ten and a dozen altogether---whom Clark had last seen "in an elegant three-story house, in East Broadway, in New York" (p.138). A better abode was in construction than the "single room below and a sort of garret above" (p.138), but it had not been completed.
The next morning they first retraced their steps to pick up the Rev R-----s, and then proceeded to the village of Pontiac, Michigan.
On Friday, July 28th, 1837, the traveling party stopped at Troy to visit the Rev. Mr. H------- (p.139).
Chapter II -- Tour from the West
By Monday, July 31st, 1837, Clark was writing from Detroit (p.140). His first order of business is to relish in the lack of an impression that the Romanists have been making on the Protestant population. Clark reports a story of a profaning of the consecrated host (p.141), that just ten years previously would have sounded believable (p.140) but now would have been hooted in Detroit (p.141).
"It would be utter ruin of their prospects," said my information, "for a bishop or a Roman Catholic priest to make such an assertion at the present time. There is too much light now, even among the papists, to listen to such a ridiculous story [of a bleeding consecrated host] for a moment." (p.141)
Clark then turns to the problem of converting the Indians, who see the vices and take them to be expressions of the Christian religion (p.141), yea, the Bible (p.142). Clark was especially concerned about the effect of the vice of intemperance upon the Indians, bemoaning their loss of "all the natural and noble traits of their character" (p.142).
What formidable barriers do the vices that still remain incorporated with Christian communities present, to hinder the progress and extension of the Redeemer's kingdom! (p.142)Clark then recounts two miscellaneous incidents, on a meeting with the "popular author of several recent novels" (p.142), a Captain M-----, who was acquainted with Clark's host from a trip to Buffalo. Inappropriately (p.143), Clark felt, Captain M----- was using the Sabbath to make his return calls, instead of attending a public worship meeting.
With a friend as his guide, and a carriage to convey him, he was proceeding from street to street, carrying with him his long list of names, and a bundle of visiting cards. All this was done, of course, to show that he appreciated the attentions and civilities he had received. (p.143)The second incident was the meeting of a former acquaintance who had grown up in comfort and a good home (p.143), which however had turned out to be "covered with mortgages" (p.144), causing the loss of all the property, including the final farm. When the young man's spirit was broken from the setbacks, a habit of moderate drink turned into a vice. Finally (p.145), he signed on as a common sailor, and it was in such a situation---dressed like a sailor and intoxicated---that Clark recognized him in the street. Asking him into his room, Clark was able to discuss his fall and his adventures with him (p.146), and took him to church that evening, for a good measure (p.147).
By August 2nd, 1837, Clark was in Cleveland, having left Detroit on board of the steamboat "United States" toward Toledo (p.147), which was a city of questionable morals in Clark's view of the world. Clark saw an analogy in a light house and the keeper's residency (p.148), setup in a desolate place yet suitable to direct the mariners towards rest.
The progress in time prevented Clark and his party from touring northern Ohio, e.g. Gambier, via either Sandusky City or Huron on their way to Cleveland, as they had originally planned (p.148). Clark was especially curious to visit Kenyon College, which he envisioned as "a most powerful auxiliary to the cause of learning and religion in the west" (p.148).
Cleveland please Clark (p.149); the high table upon which its handsome well built houses are constructed overlooks "the far-stretching and majestic waters of [Lake] Erie" (p.149). Clark estimated the population at eight thousand, and the one of the sister city of Ohio City at two thousand.
By August 3rd, 1837, Clark was writing at Niagara Falls, much impressed with the idea that the water he "had travelled more than a thousand miles" was now falling over the cataracts (p.149). The water's roar was akin to the voice of God for Clark (p.150), and the water's rainbow as the "bow of promise" (p.150) from the Flood story.
Chapter XIII --- Western New York
On August 9th, 1837, Clark was writing from Geneva. Clark had a difficult time leaving the beauty (and physico-theology) of the Niagara Falls behind (p.151) when they departed on Friday, August 4th, 1837, with the railroad (p.152) from the Falls for Lockport. That railroad traces the Niagara river, so that the Falls came into view one more time. The beauty of the scene (p.153) triggered reminiscences of the Lord as Creator.
Who can look on such a scene and not remember its Creator ? What must be the glories which God will reveal to his ransomed and sanctified people in the celestial world, when he allows to linger here amid the defilements and desolations of sin such traces of surpassing beauty and loveliness! (p.153)The party "took Rochester in our way" and took the stage to Canandaigua, reaching Geneva in the early part of the afternoon (p.153). The village was divided along the northwest corner of Lake Seneca, where the business district lies, and the western bank, where the beautiful parts of town stretched (p.153) rising up to 100 feet above the lake level (p.154). West and parallel to the lake shore was the old graveyard, where "many, many dear friends" (p.154) of Clark were buried.
Clark then recounts a reminiscence from 1820, when he and a friend walked on a summer evening along the margin of the lake. Returning into the house (p.155), they were joined by three more friends. However, Clark reports, all of them have since died [--over the last nine years, i.e. from 1828 to 1837-- RCK] and Clark is the only survivor.
That group included a child hood friend, whose father had been the parish priest and Clark's religious educator (p.155). The relationship had become frustrating for Clark (p.156) when he took up his personal salvation, but his old friend did not, even though Clark pressed him in writing. It was only one the deathbed in 1821 that his friend, referring to the letters, wished to be saved and find hope in Christ.
The group also included a friend from Clark's studies, who had surmounted great difficulties to become a minister (p.156), and in 1820 on that evening, it was only a year away from ordination (p.157). Alas, he took sick and died "on the very day he was to have been ordained" (p.157).
The group also included Clark's older brother [no, this isn't getting any more cheery anytime soon, RCK], whom Clark considered his spiritual father. He had apparently been a minister:
The cares and toils and anxieties of his spiritual flock were even then wearing away his life. A few years passed by, and my friend—my counsellor—my brother, was borne to that same burial-ground, where his voice had been so often heard, committing " Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." (p.157)The last member of that party of five in 1820 (p.157) turns out to be Clark's mother (p.158).
On that evening to which I have referred, no one appeared more cheerful or happy? and no circumstance added more enjoyment to that hour than the presence and conversation of my dear and beloved mother. (p.158)Hardly surprising that Clark felt both blessed and isolated.
Her grave is in the burying ground. Of all that company that sat and talked and looked out on that moonlight scene I only am left. Oh what reason have I to praise the Lord ! What reason to die daily ! (p.158)Clark then moves on, somewhat abruptly, to discuss Geneva College (p.158-159), whose founder did not see the promising state it had reached by 1837.
Clark ended his journey into the past with a Sunday church service, sitting in his old pew (p.159). But there were so many faces in the congregation he did not recognize that death once again came to his mind.
Where were a hundred others, whose images came up fast before me ? Ah ! the grave, the grave had swallowed them up ! And where too was the pastor whose voice used to echo through this temple ? He too was gone ! (p.159)The remainder of the service affected Clark deeply (p.160), including memories of his ordination when partaking in the communion.
Additional SketchesOne year after the original journey to the Far West in the Summer of 1837, to visit his sister and his mother's grave, Clark undertook additional trips and wrote up additional sketches, which make up chapters XIV through XVI in his book (p.161).
Chapter XIV --- A Jaunt from Philadelphia to Albany
Clark commences this sketch in Fairfield, N.Y, on September 21st, 1838. He muses about the trouble that one encounters on stages, steamboats, and rail-road cars, in terms of the human condition and woe (p.161).
You cannot enter a steamboat, or walk through the streets of a large town, or mingle at all in the circles of the living, without meeting with something to remind you, and that most painfully, "that man is born to trouble." [emphasis in original, RCK]To Clark, this is proof of the correctness of the Biblical story of the Fall of Man (p.162).
Clark took his departure on a "bleak and dreary morning" from Philadelphia, when the "wind blew fiercely, and the waters of the Delaware seemed stirred to the very bottom as we entered the steamboat" (p.162).
Among the great crowd of passengers was the Bishop of Illinois, whom Clark had met on his Summer 1837 trip, near the banks of the Mississippi (p.162). This time the bishop was downtrodden with the worries of his situation.
Being entrusted with the interests of the Church in the vast and powerful state of Illinois, without funds, without a salary adequate to his own support, with only here and there a single labourer to co-operate with him, how can he carry out the designs of his office? (p.162)The bishop had a clear idea for a solution:
He [i.e. the Bishop of Illinois, RCK] wants a vast increase of missionary men, and pecuniary means to sustain them. (p.163)Clark feels that such men should be experienced, dedicated folks from the East Coast.
I believe if three or four of our eastern clergy, who have acquired character and standing in the Church, were to go into each of the western dioceses, and there co-operate together, determined to stand by the Church, to sink or swim with it, determined never to leave the ground till the whole western wild should blossom as the rose, this would do more for the cause of religion than any other measures that could be adopted. (p.163)Clark then returns to the trip proper, which has begun to lose some of its fascination for the experienced traveler.
Our sail [sic!] up the Delaware was characterized with nothing new or unusual. The [railroad, RCK] cars took us on at their usual rate. And in due time we were safely landed at the battery in New York. At five o'clock, P. M., we found ourselves again embarked on board one of the North river steamers. (p.163)When they left New York, Clark was struck by the bay of New York, "studded with islands and whitened with a hundred sails" (p.163).
Clark then expresses a nationalistic and patriotic sentiment
I was more than ever impressed with an idea which I embraced while in Europe, that, take it all in all, there is no river scenery in the world comparable with that of our own Hudson. (p.164)While standing on the deck of the steamboat, Clark met an old college acquaintance, Mr. W----- (p.164); they had last seen each other 15 years ago at their alma mater. Mr. W---- had taken his residency in "one of the remote southern states" (p.164) and thus they had lost contact with each other.
Talking through their class with Mr. W----, Clark was again taken to a negative view of the world.
I was astonished to find how many of our class were already numbered with the dead : and how many among the most gifted and talented of our old associates had fallen victims to intemperance. During the fifteen years since we last met, we ourselves had passed through a variety of scenes, and had each tasted of the cup of sorrow. (p.165)Mr. W----, "[h]imself belonging to a distinguished and wealthy family in Georgia" (p.165), had apparently married into the wealthy family of another college acquaintance, Mr. Y-----, taking his youngest sister Jane (p.165). The couple moved to Georgia (p.166), where Mr W---- was a planter, and had two children, and lacked for nothing except spiritual access.
They were strangers to the transforming power of divine grace. Living remote from any place of divine worship, they seldom visited the house of God, and were becoming each year more indifferent to divine things. (p.166)Mrs W----- came to thinking about spiritual things watching her old slave servant Peggy die (p.167), returning to the Bible and acquiring a premonition that she would not live herself much longer (p.168). The slaves' Methodist minister provided prayer and instruction (p.169); but Mrs W----- proved right and succumbed to a violent fever, begging her husband on the death bed to look to the salvation of their children.
Though I love you and these dear children above all earthly things, I am willing to leave you all in the hands of God and to depart and be with Christ which is far better. But, dear husband, will you not join me in yonder heaven? Will you not bring these dear, precious ones with you there? (p.169)[page 170 illegible in scan, RCK]
Clark begins his September 22nd, 1839 entry (p.171), from Fairfield N.Y., with a description of their inn in Albany near Congress Hall. Clark's traveling companion noted a poor homeless mother and child (p.171) walking past their window (p.172).
The travelers had breakfast and then hurried to the grand railroad depot, hasting past the homeless woman, who appeared to be of Irish extraction and reminded Clark of his visit "to that Emerald Isle, over whose green fields I had so recently roamed" (p.172). Imagining a narrative of how she came to be this way (p.173), Clark first discusses attitudes toward the Irish and then alms giving in the broader context (p.173), leading him to an anecdote about an Irish distressed couple visiting his door (p.174).
While residing in New England, on a dull, cold, rainy Saturday afternoon, some five years ago, 1 heard a ring at my door. As the servant did not immediately appear to answer the call, I myself went to the door, where I found two persons in shabby and tattered dress, standing on the steps, with their clothes dripping with rain. (p.174)Convinced by their turn of phrase that "they had indeed seen better days" (p.174), Clark asked them inside and learned the story of Mr and Mrs S------, who had come to the Americas only four years ago. Mrs S----- was the "daughter of a clergyman of the Established Church, who was vicar of a parish in Ireland" (p.174) and had been "brought up in great tenderness and highly educated" (p.174). Mrs S----- fell in love with a bricklayer (p.174) and got married in secret (p.175), which disrupted her relationship with her parents and forced them "to embark at once for America" (p.175), arriving at Montreal. After a year, which brought a daughter, they moved to Troy hearing that one of her uncles was supposedly there. Mr S----- worked for a builder that failed, absconding with the outstanding wages. Soon their baby died, and they moved to Boston trying to find relative (p.175). There they were redirected to Philadelphia (p.176) and were now on there way there, to find her uncle. Clark let them stay for a week, while he and his friends "fitted them both out with new apparel, and procured for them the means of travelling [sic!] with comfort to Philadelphia" (p.176). Clark drafted a letter of introduction for the uncle, but when he met the Reverend a few months later, he denied all Irish relatives and them ever coming to visit him (p.176).
Clark then returns to the railroad trip (p.177).
Very little of interests to be seen on the way between Albany and Schenectady across those sandy plains, save the distant tops of the Cattskill [sic!] to the south, and the misty summits of the Green mountains to the north (p.177).Clark experienced this area as a place of solace.
Here then, I am, far away from the strife of tongues, the agitations of business, and the dust and din of the city. (p.177)Not only was there nature there, but cottage meetings allowed Clark to "study one's own heart and try to get nearer to heaven" (p.177).
Chapter XVI --- Western New YorkClark's entry from October 1st of 1839 (p.179), written again at Fairfield, New York, recounts an excursion into the "central part of Western New York" he had made the week prior to the entry. Clark considers that region the "Garden of America" (p.179).
I am sure the traveller [sic!] who passes along the old post-road from Utica to Buffalo, and sees the hundred beautiful villages, the noble forests, ... | ... will exclaim, The Garden of America! And then when he sees all this beautiful region intersected by canals and bound together by turnpikes, railroads, and lake and steam navigation, he will feel that Western New York possesses advantages of a most singular and superior character! (pp.179-180)Again (p.180) Clark returned to Geneva on Lake Seneca, the place where his mother is buried (p.158), which he regarded "as the gem of Western New York" (p.180). Clark reached Geneva in the evening, spending the night with friends a few miles outside the village proper (p.180).
End of Part II
The next summer tour of Clark's took place in 1840. However, this set of sketches, narrated mostly in letter (p.181), has crossed the time horizon of my current interests. I therefore delay reading this trip, leaving chapters XVII to XXI unanalyzed.
I am more likely to consider Chapters XXII to XXX|||, which concern themselves with early mormonism, at this time.
- Rev. John A. Clark, D.D., Gleanings by the Way, Philadelphia (Simon) -- New York (Carter), 1842.