Note that some of the sermons and writings were written in historical and sociological context and are not wholly part of the present day church's mission statement.

1. The Study of Natural Science Considered as a Means of Intellectual Culture
by Prof. George D. Armstrong.
2. Evolution
by Prof. George D. Armstrong.
3. Reminiscences of the War
by Rev. George D. Armstrong.

(Continued on page 2.)
4. Politics and the Pulpit,
by Rev. George D. Armstrong.
5. Our Presbyterian Heritage in Eastern Virginia
by Rev. Edward Mack.

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The Study of Natural Science
Considered as a Means of Intellectual Culture: A Discourse
Delivered Before the Young Men's Society of Lynchburg,
By Professor Geo. D. Armstrong.
Lynchburg: Fletcher & Toler, 1841.
(Courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society.)


Lynchburg, Nov. 22d, 1840.
Dear Sir:—It devolves upon us to transmit to you the following resolutions which were unanimously adopted by the Young Men's Society, on the evening of the 21st November:

Resolved, That the Rev. George D. Armstrong be and is hereby elected an Honorary Member of this Society.

Resolved, That the thanks of this Society be presented to Mr. Armstrong, for his able and eloquent address, and that a copy for publication be requested,

We take great pleasure in performing the duty assigned us, and hope that you will comply with the wishes of the Society. We have the honor to be
With respect,
Your obedient servants,

Washington College, Dec. 9th, 1840:
Gentlemen:—Your communication of November 22d, containing a notice of my election as an honorary member of your Society, and a request that I would furnish a copy of the address I had just delivered before you, for publication, was duly received. Enclosed I send you a copy of my address, which I place at your disposal. Please return my thanks to the Society for the honor they have conferred upon me by electing me an honorary member of their body. Should it ever be in my power to attend their meetings, or in any way to promote their interest, it will afford me great pleasure to do so. Accept my thanks for your own kindness, and believe me,
With sentiments of the highest esteem, yours,

Messrs. Wm. T. Yancey, Wm. S. Reid, Jr., and R. H. Toler.

* * * * * *



Gentlemen:—In compliance with your very kind invitation, I appear before you this evening. The subject which I have selected for the present occasion, is an examination of the claims of Natural Science to a place in the course of our Collegiate Education. In making such a selection, I have been influenced, in part, by the belief that you would expect from me something connected with that department of instruction, which, in a neighboring institution, has been committed to my charge, and with which you naturally suppose me most familiar;—and in part, by the reflection, that whilst the benefits which have accrued to mankind from discoveries in Science, in the improvement of manufactures, the arts, and agriculture, and the importance of a thorough acquaintance with Science to those engaged in these pursuits, have been set before you once and again, the claims of the study, to be admitted as a means of intellectual culture, have hitherto remained unnoticed.

The object of education is not, as has sometimes been said, to store the mind of the student with useful knowledge, but to discipline the mind itself; to school the intellectual powers to the correct performance of the labor to which they must be subjected in the world. More especially is this true, in the case of those who are looking forward to a professional career, in which they will be called upon to address their fellow men, either directly, or through the medium of the press. Those of us who have taken part, even for a little time, in the business of "this everyday world of ours," know full well, that it is not the fairy-land which in early youth we have imagined it, but a scene of strife, of turmoil, of ceaseless action:—know full well, that he who would always act aright, and would induce others to do so too, needs a keen eye to discern the truth, and a strong arm to seize upon it and hold it up to public view; aye, and more than this, he needs an eloquent tongue to persuade his fellow men to receive it as [5] truth:—know full well, that honour and influence come not unsought, but are like precious pearls, which lie buried beneath the wave, and he who would have them, must dive the ocean, and with his own hands bring them thence.

To afford the student that intellectual training, which will fit him for the business of life, is the great object of Collegiate Education;—and in order that we may judge of the propriety of using the study of Natural Science for such a purpose, let us examine briefly the nature of that study.

Under the general name of Natural Science, is included all our knowledge of the nature and structure of this world in which we live, and of the phenomena which are continually occurring around us. It is impossible that man should exist, for any great length of time, in such a world as this of ours, surrounded with so much that is curious and beautiful, that is admirable in its structure, and useful in its end, and not begin to inquire, to observe, and to store up the results of his observation. Every thing invites him to such a course. The star that glitters bright in the blue heavens above him; the frail blossom which opens in beauty at his feet; the gorgeous rainbow, appearing for a few moments upon the bosom of the storm-cloud, and then vanishing away; the shining dew-drop; the crystal, more perfect in its form than the choicest work of art; the ever-changing seasons; the unvarying succession of day and night; the wondrous magnet; the lightning; the loud thunder; all call upon him for observation,—all would reproach him should he sit down with folded arms, in contented ignorance. From the earliest ages, man has been engaged in the observation of nature, and in storing up the results of his observations—and these results, are the crude material of which Science has been afterwards constructed. Such is the nature of the human mind, that so soon as a number of facts has been collected, the work of comparison commences. We notice that many of these facts are similar in their nature, and we arrange them in accordance with this observed similarity, including such as are thus arranged together, under one general statement. This is the first step in the transformation of a mass of simple observations into Science, properly so called. At the same time that we are struck with that similarity which leads us to generalize our observations, we observe also that some things bear to others the relation of cause to effect; so that when we observe the one, we un- [6] hesitatingly infer the existence of the other; and we arrange them in accordance with this observed relation. When this work has been completed, our knowledge has become Science:—for Science is not something essentially different from human knowledge in general, but simply that knowledge arranged and generalized:—or, to borrow an illustration, from that process of nature, in which the particles of a body assume each its own appropriate place, and the body itself a determinate and symmetrical form, Science is human knowledge crystallized.

Let us inquire then, in what way the mind is exercised in thus accumulating knowledge, and afterwards giving to that knowledge the form of Science—for whatever kind of exercise the mind receives in the creation of Science, in the first instance, it must receive as truly, though not to the same extent, in obtaining a thorough acquaintance with that Science afterwards.

In the collection of facts, an active, inquiring disposition, always alive to gather information, wherever and whenever it may present itself, is requisite; and if it exist, is cherished and strengthened by exercise. The circle of Natural Science embraces air, earth, and sea; and would we perfect it, all must be observed, all must he studied. There is nothing so vast, that we do not seek to comprehend it; there is nothing so insignificant, that we would willingly pass it by unnoticed. To place this necessity for universal observation in its proper light, let me mention the single fact, that many of the most inconsiderable phenomena which meet the eye, are nature's grander operations in miniature; and it is in the study of the former, and there alone, we can learn to explain the latter. It was the fall of an apple which first suggested the existence and true nature of that force which binds the universe together:—It was in the colours of a soap-bubble, as it glistened in the sun, that the mysteries of the rainbow were first fully learned. As truth is single and consistent with itself, a principle may be as fully disclosed by the most simple fact, as by the most imposing phenomenon. Hence is it, that "from the least of nature's works, man often learns the greatest lesson." In such a field as this, presenting a vast variety of objects, curious and beautiful in themselves, if any where, an active, inquiring disposition of mind, can be brought to perfection. It is related of the celebrated Naturalist, Linnaeus, that on one occasion, during a lonely journey through a portion of Siberia, he became exhausted with travel, [7] and in despair laid himself down upon a rock to sleep, even though he feared, from the nature of the climate, that his sleep would prove the sleep of death. Just as he was closing his eyes, he casually noticed a little plant, growing upon the face of the rock, which seemed to have scooped out for itself a cavity in which its roots had spread:—on looking a little further, he saw that this was not a solitary instance, but that many others, of the same kind of plant, and in similar circumstances, were scattered over the surface of the rocks around him. His interest was at once excited, and with all the ardor of a Naturalist, starting up, he commenced an examination of this curious phenomenon.— His weariness was all forgotten; and after having satisfied himself respecting the manner in which these cavities had been formed by the plants, in his own words, he "pursued his journey with almost the freshness of the morning." How strong must have been that disposition of mind, which could thus overcome a mortal drowsiness; could infuse new life into the limbs of one, who had laid himself down to die.

In the arrangement and generalization of our knowledge, the mind is disciplined to continuous attention, to careful and minute examination, and the memory is exercised in the best possible manner. The objects and phenomena, which, in consequence of their similarity, are to be classed together, do not present themselves all at once, nor are they all to be observed in any one particular spot. The arrangements of nature are as far as possible from being scientific in their character. On the Philosopher devolves the labour of bringing together from far distant lands the individuals constituting each several class. Would we become acquainted, for instance, with all the plants belonging to any one natural family, we must search for them in every country, even in the far-off islands of the sea.—Or would we study, for instance, the class of electrical phenomena; a part of them can be best studied in the alternate approach and retrocession of the feather brought near to an excited piece of sealing-wax; others in the quick-flashing lightning; others again, in the turning of the well-poised needle to the pole; and yet others, in the mysterious action of galvanic arrangements:—And all these must be closely observed, and carefully studied, before our classification can be complete, or our generalization such as may be depended upon. It is worthy of remark, that much of the classification in some departments [8] of Natural Science, is founded upon analogies, which would never have occurred to the casual observer; and which nothing but close and minute examination could ever have brought to light. Before the labours of the Chemist had detected their similarity in composition, who would have thought of placing the diamond, the hardest and most brilliant of all gems, and common charcoal, in the same class? Or the costly sapphire, and the clay which we tread beneath our feet, in immediate juxtaposition, as objects most closely resembling each other? Or, before Franklin had demonstrated their identity, who would have considered the sparkling of a cat's back when rubbed in the dark, an appearance which amused him when a child, and the lightning of heaven, before which, since a full grown man, he has sometimes trembled, as the operations of the same agent in fact, but developed to a different degree? Where a classification is to be effected of so great a variety of objects, scattered as they are over every part of our globe, and that classification is often dependent upon hidden analogies, as in the instances just mentioned, can it be accomplished without most careful study, and long continued observation? Or after it has been effected, can it be fully comprehended without similar exertion on the part of the student?

I have remarked, that in thus classifying objects, and generalizing our observations, the memory is disciplined in the best possible manner. All must have noticed the fact, that in different persons, the memory is exerted in very different ways. Some persons remember individual facts, as individual facts, without any reference whatever to their relation to other facts. The memories of such persons may be styled simply retentive memories. Their stores, though they may be extensive, embracing a vast amount of information on a great variety of subjects, yet are they always heterogeneous in their character, without order and without arrangement. Others remember facts entirely in consequence of their relation to other facts. The memories of such may be styled philosophical memories. Their stores, so soon as received, are arranged in proper order: and it matters not how extensive nor how various they may be, each individual fact has and keeps its own proper place. Place two persons, differing thus in their habits of memory, in the same circumstances, and give to each the same amount of information; and the one of philosophical habits, the one accustomed to the connection of facts in accordance [9] with observed analogies, will possess an incalculable advantage over the other. Have you never noticed the power which some persons possess, of laying all nature and all history under contribution for the illustration of a subject, or for the support of a position; and after having listened to their argument, on reviewing that which you have heard, have you never noted the fact, that nothing has been advanced with which you were not already acquainted? The secret of their power lies in this, that having connected facts in their mind, in accordance with observed analogies, all their knowledge was perfectly at command. Philosophical habits of memory are those which we should chiefly endeavor to cultivate in youth; for if we would estimate alight the value of the stores of any memory, we must estimate them, not according to the mere amount of information, but the amount of available information, which they embrace. Such are the habits of memory which the study of Natural Science is calculated to foster; in the first place, by fixing the attention upon the analogies which exist between different things; and afterwards, by accustoming us to arrange them in accordance with a system of classification, based entirely upon these analogies.

In the arrangement of facts in accordance with their observed relations of cause and effect, the mind is exercised not only to minute observation and continuous attention, but to a weighing of probabilities, to the examination of a question in all its elements and in all its relations. Without entering into an examination of the nature of this relation of cause and effect, it will be sufficient for my present purpose to remark, that it is a relation often very difficult of determination; and in evidence of this difficulty, to refer to the fact, that of many of those effects which have been observed from year to year, and from age to age, man has never yet been able to determine the causes. The mere fact, that one event has followed closely upon another, several times in succession, is not sufficient to establish between them the relation of cause and effect. It is often the case, that so far as apparent sequence is concerned, an effect may have sprung from any one of several causes, or a cause may have given rise to any one of several different effects. In such circumstances, we are of necessity liable to error in attempting to determine this relation. In those instances in which it has been clearly established, we are presented with some of the most perfect specimens of philosophical reasoning, any where to [10] be met with in the whole circle of human knowledge. As instances in point, I may mention the deposition of dew, referred to the cooling of the earth's surface by radiation as its cause—the mercury in the barometer, standing at a height, varying at different limes and in different situations, referred to the pressure of the atmosphere as its cause. Time will not permit me to go into a particular examination of these instances; suffice it to remark, that in the settlement of such cases, the mind is of necessity exercised in the examination of a question, in all its elements and in all its relations. For affording such exercise, Natural Science possesses an advantage over the Mathematics in this, that the questions to be determined are to be determined in part by probabilities, and thus more closely resemble the questions we are called upon to determine in the common business of the world.— And at the same time, it possesses an advantage over the less exact Sciences in this, that we can never go very far astray, without having some stubborn fact start up before us, in our path, and forbid our further progress.

An active, inquiring disposition of mind, always alive to the observation of facts, wherever and whenever they may present themselves, habits of minute examination, continuous attention, and correct association, always leading us to connect facts in accordance with their relations, and the manner in which they tend to illustrate each other;—a judgment accustomed to the weighing of probabilities, to the examination of a question in all its elements and in all its relations, are, if I mistake not, among the most important characteristics of a well disciplined mind.

But to drop the argument from the nature of Natural Science, and to refer to facts. Should we search the pages of history, where will we find recorded the name of one, who has exerted a greater influence over his fellow men by his intellect alone—one who has done more for the advancement of mankind in true knowledge— one to whom we can with greater propriety apply the title of "an accomplished scholar," than the father of our modern Philosophy, Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam? Well has he won the honorable title which has been awarded him, of "the high priest of nature's mysteries." The mind of Bacon received its discipline in the study of Natural Science. It was in this study he first became acquainted with the principles of the inductive philosophy—and in [11] his Novum Organum, his great work, in which he develops the principles of that philosophy, it is from nature he draws his facts, to illustrate and enforce those principles. It was here he acquired that strength which enabled him to overthrow the false philosophy of his age, and in its stead to rear from the dust a more enduring philosophy, one which shall be his glorious monument to the latest generation. Or, to go still further back, who of the learned men of antiquity stands more prominently forth, as one possessed of a great mind, trained to the accomplishment of great things, than Aristotle? More than 1500 years after his death, the rule of "the great enchanter of Stagyra" extended over the whole civilized world. In the words of Lord Brougham, "Christians, Jews and Mohammedan united in professing assent to the great law-giver of human opinions—not Europe alone, but Asia and Africa acknowledged his dominion—and whilst his Greek originals were studied in Paris, translations were read in Persia and at Samarcand. And when the Council of Lateran, under Pope Innocent III, prohibited the use of his 'Physics and Metaphysics,' awful as were the thunders of the Vatican, they were not mighty enough to dethrone him from that despotism over men's minds, which had now rendered itself almost omnipotent." It is true, that the influence which Aristotle exerted was not, throughout, a happy influence; but in justice to him, we should remark, that this was owing not so much to defects in his philosophy, though that philosophy had many and great defects, as to the fact, that in the pursuit of knowledge, he attained a point so far in advance of his age, that men looked up to him with blind reverence, as one who had reached the ultima thule of human knowledge. The mind of Aristotle was trained in the study of Natural Science.— It was here that he acquired those habits, which enabled him to wield an influence so extensive and so lasting over the opinions of his fellow men. It surely is not necessary that I should mention other instances than these, to establish the claim of Natural Science to a place, and an important place, in every course of intellectual training.

But to the accomplished scholar, whether he purpose to address his fellow men directly, or through the medium of the press, something more is necessary than a mind well disciplined to discern the truth—he needs an eloquent tongue to persuade those whom he addresses to receive it as truth. For all practical purpo- [12] ses, he might almost as well be ignorant of the truth, as unable to give it appropriate utterance. Vivid conceptions, noble sentiments, and glowing thoughts, confined to the bosom in which they have originated, are comparatively of little worth. The scholar should be able to express himself in appropriate and well chosen language, to present the truth in its most attractive form. In the accomplishment of this work, the fancy can render him important aid—not that it can ever supply the place of the reasoning powers—not that fine imagery can ever compensate for the lack of valuable thought and correct reasoning. The proper office of the fancy, is to embellish and adorn the truth. The mind of the scholar, be he an author or a public speaker, should be kept steadily fixed upon the truth which he intends to communicate, or the impression which he desires to produce; and nothing should be suffered to turn him aside, for one moment, from these. But all this may be effected, and yet the fancy have full room for the exercise of its inmost power. The course of his mind should be like that of the rivulet, which, whilst in obedience to the great law of gravity, it quits its mountain home, and with ceaseless motion onward, seeks the broad ocean, yet marks its course with verdure and sweet flowers—or like that of the sunbeam, which, whilst it speeds it on its way to illumine the earth, nor stops in all its course, yet passing, finds time to paint the beauteous rainbow on the clouds.

In the formation of a simple and correct style of expression, the study of Natural Science can afford but little if any assistance:—but in giving to the scholar a control over much beautiful imagery, it can render him important service. And this it can effect, not directly, by supplying him imagery from its own stores; for scientific truths, such as are not familiar to all, can never be used with good effect, for purposes of illustration:—but indirectly, by cherishing within him a fondness for nature, quickening his perception of analogies, and giving to him those habits of attention, which will lead him to observe and remember a thousand things in the world around him, which, though they pass before the eyes, will yet entirely escape the notice of another. To the eye of one disciplined to careful observation, all nature appears strewed with gems of knowledge, thick and bright as the glistening drops of early dew. If you will turn to the works of our most accomplished writers, you will be surprised to see how large a portion of [13] their most beautiful imagery is drawn from the natural world.— Let me mention an instance or two.

"Therefore to be possessed with double pomp,
T' enrich a title that was rich before.
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet.
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of Heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess."—Shaks.


"But pleasures are like poppies spread.
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow-falls in the river,
A moment white, then melts forever;
Or like the Borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form,
Evanishing amid the storm."—Burns.

Again: "As the vine which has long twined its graceful foliage about the oak, and been lifted by it into the sunshine, will, when the hardy plant is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its caressing tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs; so is it beautifully ordered by Providence, that woman, who is the dependent and ornament of man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace when smitten with sudden calamity, winding herself into the rugged recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the drooping head, and binding up the broken heart."—W. Irving.

Again: "It would have been well for him could he have forgotten the past, that he might not so mournfully have lived in it, but might have enjoyed and improved the present—But this his heart refused to do; and ever, as he floated upon the great sea of life, he looked down through the transparent waters, checkered with sunshine and shade, into the chambers of the mighty deep, in which his happier days had sunk, and wherein they were lying, still visible, like golden sands, and precious stones, and pearls; and half in despair, half in hope, he grasped down after them again, and drew back his hand, filled only with sea-weed, and dripping with briny tears."—Prof. Longfellow.

Thus far, in considering the course which should be pursued in the education of youth, we have confined our attention to that which was calculated to improve the intellect alone.—We must not forget that man is possessed of a moral nature also. If by any [14] course, the intellect is improved at the expense of moral character, though that intellectual improvement be of the most perfect kind, it will be purchased at far too dear a rate. Intellectual power, in the possession of one devoid of correct moral principle, will prove to its possessor, and to his country too, a curse, and not a blessing. It will be like a sharp sword in the hands of a mad man, as likely to pierce friend as foe. In determining upon any course to be pursued in the education of youth, a preference should always be given to such studies as are calculated to give him correct and noble conceptions of the character of Deity, and to foster in his bosom feelings of reverence toward him:—For blot out from the mind all ideas of Deity, and moral principle is at an end:—or degrade man's conceptions of the character of Deity, and to the same extent, do you weaken the sanction with which obedience to moral principle is urged home upon the heart. It has been well remarked by an eminent writer, that "all the branches of learning usually pursued by youth, are but the knowledge of God's works;—philosophical and mathematical learning, the knowledge of his works of Creation; —historical and political learning, the knowledge of his works of Providence;—moral, economical and civil learning, the knowledge of those remainders of his image and law which are left in the minds of men for their direction and conviction;—grammatical, rhetorical and logical learning, the knowledge of the use of that reason which God gives us for imparting our minds and evidencing our conceptions to one another;" (Bishop Reynolds,)—and of course all of them, if pursued to their full extent, and in a truly philosophical spirit, are calculated to cherish in the bosom proper feelings of reverence toward the Deity, and to give us noble conceptions of his character. But whilst, in general, this is true of all, some are more eminently calculated to produce such an effect than others; and in the foremost rank, in this respect, stands the study of Natural Science.—It is in the contemplation of Nature, that the power and excellency of Deity are most deeply impressed upon the mind. How often have the feelings, which have thus been awakened, found utterance in such language as this:—"O Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the Heavens.—When I consider the Heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou [15] art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?"—"I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;— marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well." Such is the impression produced by the simple contemplation of nature, as it appeal's to the eye of one unacquainted with Science. But when you bring Science to the aid of human vision, and show the observer, that "the moon and the stars, which God has ordained," are not mere points of light, scattered o'er the azure vault of heaven for its garniture, but are worlds, and centres of systems of worlds, with how much deeper feeling will he exclaim, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him ?"—Or, turning to the examination of the human body, you point him to the rude and unsightly materials out of which divine wisdom has constructed this wondrous fabric, and bid him consider the curious mechanism of the eye, the ear, the tongue, the heart, the limbs, each perfect in its kind, sensible to the most delicate impressions of external objects, and even giving involuntary utterance to the passions and emotions of the immaterial thinking spirit; with how much deeper feeling will he exclaim, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made:"—Or, fixing his attention upon the contemplation of this world which we inhabit, you point him to the record of a long series of changes which it has undergone; not written upon parchment, which might be lost; nor handed down by tradition, which might be perverted; but "written as with a pen of iron, in the rock, forever;" and in imagination carry him back through unmeasured cycles of existence, and shew him, that before all this, even "in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth;" it is then that he can best conceive of the eternity of God's existence:—Or pointing him to this same earth, rent and torn by what appear to us ungovernable forces, and yet by these very means moulded to the purposes of Deity, "as clay in the hands of the potter," it is then, that he can best conceive of the infinity of God's power—It is then, that with deepest feeling he can exclaim, "O Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the Heavens." "Marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well."

Thus, gentlemen, have I endeavored to set before you the claims of Natural Science, to be regarded as a most important means of intellectual culture. If I have erred in investing the subject with unreal importance, my arguments are now before you; and with you do I leave it, to reduce my estimates to the dimensions of truth.

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EVOLUTION: The Substance of Two Lectures
By Professor George D. Armstrong.
Norfolk: J. D. Ghiselin, Publisher, 18??
(Courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society.)

The question of Evolution belongs properly to the domain of natural science, and if discussed at all fairly must be discussed as a question of science. As it is known to many of you that some of the best years of my life were devoted to studying and teaching natural science in one of the oldest institutions of learning in our Southern Country, you will not think it presumptuous in me to attempt to discuss Evolution as a question of science.

Our world—using the word in its comprehensive sense as including plants and animals, as well as inorganic nature—is a changing world, subject to variations of many kinds and in many ways. It is with these variations that Evolution concerns itself. And to an examination of their exact nature, and the laws which govern them, in so far as those laws have been ascertained, I will first ask your attention.


Our world—using the word in its narrower sense as excluding plants and animals—is all the time undergoing change in some part or other; through the agency of heat and frost, storms of wind and rain, river currents and floods, volcanoes and earthquakes, gradual elevations or depressions of large districts of country, and the operation of coral polyps in building up reefs, and stone-boring mollusks in tearing these reefs to pieces again. And judging from appearances, as well as by reasoning upon the nature of the agencies themselves, this class of changes must have been greater and far more extensive in ages past than in our day. By volcanic and earthquake agency, a little more than a year ago, mountains were thrown up and a large district of level country sunk in the ocean in the neighborhood of the Island of Sumatra. On our own coast, at Nag's Head, the winds have piled up the sand hill, from which the place takes its name, where was an inlet from the ocean to the sound less than a century ago. There are instances of this class of changes of recent occurrence. The only general truth or law respecting them demanding our attention is that from the very nature of the agencies by which they are effected these changes must be confined to inorganic nature. It is the world, in the narrower sense of the word, alone which can be directly affected by them.

[4] The series of changes of this kind which our world is believed to have undergone, whilst they constitute a development of that world, an evolution in the etymological sense of the word, and in the sense in which it was formerly used; and even now are sometimes spoken of as Cosmic Evolution, they have nothing to do with evolution, as that term is ordinarily used by scientific writers in our day, they are not embraced in the evolution I propose to discuss at the present time.


By a series of changes, variations, the acorn develops into an oak, the egg into a full-grown fowl. The mature being—the oak—is very unlike the organism from which it sprung; and yet, no one who has watched this growth-development can doubt for a moment the identity of the oak with the acorn. In some instances the variations constituting growth-development are very great and very remarkable, e. g.: The silk worm (Bombyx mori) appears at first as a small oval egg. This hatches, as we say; and instead of the egg we have a naked green caterpillar with the regular perpendicular insect mouth, and feeding upon leaves. When this caterpillar has attained its growth it fashions for itself a curious case called a cocoon, and enclosing itself therein is transformed into a chrysalis. And then, after remaining for a season in a dormant state, it comes forth a winged moth; with the structure of its mouth so changed that it can not feed upon leaves as it once did, but must have liquid food, such as honey; and furnished with perfect wings, its companionship is no longer with worms, but with birds of the air. No less remarkable are the variations in the growth-development of the frog (Rana). It is first known to us as an egg. This hatches into a tadpole, an animal destitute of limbs, propelling itself through the water and breathing through gills, as fishes do. After a season its gills disappear, its tail sloughs off, articulate limbs grow and it becomes an animal living in the air, and incapable of living in the water as it once did.

In the case of man the variation is not so great as in the cases just cited; yet, in the earlier stages of his growth-development, in his embryonic condition, he presents successively forms in which an active imagination can discover some resemblance to the fish, the reptile and the mammalian quadruped; and even after his birth, when he first essays locomotion, it is usually after the manner of a quadruped.

It has sometimes been said that at the starting point of their existence all plants and animals are alike. As a late writer puts it, "the apple which fell in Newton's garden, Newton's dog Diamond and Newton himself began life at the same point" This is true in a very limited sense only. The bodies of the apple, the dog and the man are all cellular structures; and in every aggregation of cellules there must be a first cellule around which the aggregation takes [5] place; and it may be, and in fact is true, that with our best microscopes we have not yet been able to discover any structural difference in these first cellules of the apple, dog and man. But the fact that the apple-cellule always develops into an apple, the dog cellule into a dog, and the man-cellule into a man furnishes irrefragable proof that there is a radical difference in these cellules, either in structure or in the nature of the vitality with which they are endowed, though our microscopes may not be able to discover it.

This whole class of changes takes place under the law of variation of growth-development. Co-ordinate with this law we find another law limiting the range of these variations.

In the case of the acorn, under the law of variation, it develops into the mature oak, and there the operation of this law as a law of life ceases. The oak dies, and by chemical agencies is resolved into its original elements. Its material falls back from its condition of organic matter to that of inorganic matter again. But before its death the mature oak has produced its acorns, and from these acorns other oaks grow just as the first oak did; and so this whole series of changes is repeated time after time. The life-story of the silkworm, the frog and man in this particular is the same with that of the oak.

The law of limitation in the case of growth-development may be thus stated: Variation, extreme as it way be, never extends beyond the life of the individual plant or animal in which it occurs. Growth-development runs a certain definite round and then we are brought back to the same starting point again. By growth-development an oak will never become anything but an oak to the end of time. So with the silk-worm, the frog and man.

I ask you to notice this conclusion at which we have arrived, as many writers, ignoring this law of limitation, a law as fixed and well determined as the law of variation is, appeal to these variations of growth-development in support of Evolution, a hypothesis which postulates—as we shall see—the transformation of an oak—not immediately, but by successive variations—into a silk-worm, a silk-worm into a frog and a frog into a man. Growth-development moves in a circle and has well been styled as to its variations, a system of revolution, not evolution.


There is a large class of variations in plants and animals which accompany change of climate, domestication and cultivation, which under the operation of the "law of heredity" are often perpetuated beyond the limits of a single life.

As an instance of variation through change of climate take the case of our Indian corn (Zoa Maize). In Virginia it grows to the [6] average height of ten feet and requires five or six months to mature its grain. Then acclimated in Vermont or Canada it grows to but half the height and matures its grain in half the time required in Virginia. So the sweet potato (Convolvulus Botatas), which in its native South blooms freely, producing regular seed, by which it can be propagated as well as by its tubers, has been acclimated as far north as New Jersey; but there it never blooms and has to be propagated by its tubers alone.

Domestication and cultivation have wrought such great changes in many plants that it is with difficulty we recognize the wild stock in the improved variety, e. g.: the crab-apple in the Albemarle Pippin, the dog-rose in the cloth of gold. As the result of domestication and careful breeding in the case of the horse, we have the Flemish dray horse and the Shetland pony; in the case of the dog the St. Bernard and the Sky Terrier.

Variations of this kind, as they appear in our "highly improved varieties," have usually been effected little by little. A slight improvement is wrought in one generation and perpetuated by the law of heredity, it serves as the starting point for farther improvement in the succeeding generation; and be the highly improved variety secured by continued cultivation or breeding will present an accumulation of many variations, each inconsiderable in itself, but in the aggregate constituting a great change.

The capacity for variation in this way, whilst very great in some species of plants and animals, e. g.: those which man has usually carried with him in his migrations, in others seems to be almost entirely wanting. The Kentucky blue-grass has peen carefully cultivated for many years with no appreciable change. The elephant has been domesticated in the East for many centuries, and yet, naturalists tell us, no improved variety of the elephant has been secured.

Such is the law of variation governing this class of changes; changes which by the law of heredity are perpetuated beyond the limits of a single life. Are there any laws of limitation here as in the case of variations of growth-development? I answer yes.

1. Co-ordinate with the law of heredity tending to the perpetuation of varieties once secured, is the law of degeneration through neglect or "the law of reversion to type,'' as it is more frequently called. All skillful stock raisers know that any highly improved variety can be maintained only by the greatest care and the most particular attention to certain rules of breeding, which experience has taught them.

Professor Drummond writes: "If we neglect a garden plant, then a natural principle of deterioration comes in and changes it into a worse plant. Or, if we neglect almost any of the domestic animals they will rapidly revert to wild and worthless forms again. If a man neglects himself for a few years he will deteriorate into a wild and bestial savage, like the de-humanized men who are discov- [7] ered sometimes upon desert islands. The law of reversion to type runs through all creation." (Natural law in the Spiritual Would, page 99.)

2. Co-ordinate with the law of variation we have been considering is a law of limitation confining these variations within the boundary lines of species, "the law of the permanence of species" as it is commonly called. No two flowers have varied under cultivation more widely than the rose and pelargonium; yet the rose has always continued a rose, and the pelargonium a pelargonium. No two domestic animals have undergone greater changes by careful breeding than the horse and the dog; yet the horse has always continued a horse and the dog a dog.

The question respecting the permanence of species is not now a new question in the scientific world. On the contrary, it is a question which has engaged the attention of naturalists from a very early date. And I will add, it has been more carefully examined and more thoroughly discussed than any other question in the whole range of natural science. Three times in the course of the present century has it been under discussion. In the early part of the century, in connection with the introduction of the natural system of classification in Natural History; later on, in connection with the question of the unity of the human race, as that question was involved in the slavery controversy; and still more recently in connection with the subject we are now examining, Evolution.

The most thorough and complete examination of the question I have seen is that of Dr. Bachman, Professor of Natural History in the College of Charleston, S. C, and published in his "Unity of the Human Race;" and it may be of interest to some of you to know that Dr. Bachman was engaged in his examinations at the same time that Darwin was preparing his "Origin of Species." As exhibiting the thoroughness of Dr. Bachman's examination, he tells us: "A visit to Europe afforded us an opportunity of carrying with us American specimens of plants, birds and quadrupeds of all species, either identical with or closely allied to those of the Eastern Continent. The cabinets of individuals, the public museums and the zoological collections of living animals were freely opened to us, and the best naturalists of Europe and the world united with us for many months in patient, minute and varied examinations and comparisons. These were conducted in London, Edinburgh, Berlin, Dresden and at the Association of European Naturalists that met in Germany." (Unity of the Human Race, page 11.) The result of this protracted and careful study on the mind of Dr. Bachman was a firm conviction that all natural species of plants and animals are permanent—that vary widely as they may, the variation never passes the boundary line of natural species.

I shall not attempt to give you even a brief synopsis of this discussion here—time forbids—but instead thereof I will ask your at- [8] tention to the recently expressed conclusions of three of the most eminent scientists of our day, who are entitled, if any are, to express an opinion on the subject.

Professor Huxley, of England, writes: "After much consideration, and assuredly with no bias against Mr. Darwin's views, it is our clear conviction that, as the evidence now stands, it is not absolutely proven that a group of animals having all the characters exhibited by species in nature has ever been originated by selection, whether artificial or natural." (Lay Sermons, p. 295.)

Professor DeQuarterfrages, of France writes: "I might here accumulate a mass of analogous facts and details. But over them all would appear a great general fact including them, which is the expression of a law; and here is the fact. Notwithstanding observations reaching back for thousands of years and made on hundreds of species, we do not yet know a single example of intermediate species obtained by the crossing of animals belonging to different species." (Natural History of Man, p. 25.)

Professor Agassiz, of our own country, writes: "Breeds (i.e., varieties) among animals are the work of man; species were created by God." (Methods of Study in Natural History, p. 147.)

Even Darwin virtually concedes the permanence of natural species when he writes: "I doubt whether any case of a perfectly fertile hybrid animal can be considered as thoroughly well authenticated." (Origin of Species, p. 238.)

The difficulty of settling beyond all controversy the question under consideration arises mainly from two sources, viz:

(1.) The confounding of artificial and natural species. The law concerns natural species alone. Artificial species, erected by naturalists for convenience of classification, are not always coterminous with natural species, e. g.: Some naturalists make four artificial species of the one natural species of dog; and (2) the fact that the boundary line of many comparatively unknown natural species of plants and animals has as yet been but provisionally determined, but if the judgment in matters of fact of such men as Huxley and DeQuarterfrages and Agassiz is to be trusted, and science is to embody facts and not fancies, I think it may be fairly claimed that in the present state of our knowledge we must consider the law of the permanence of natural species an established law, and in all our reasoning treat it as such.

Bearing in mind these several classes of variations, and the ascertained laws which govern them, we are prepared now to consider the question—


I answer—in its widest range and as held by a few only, it has been defined—''The transformation by successive differentiations of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous."

[9] In the words of Principal Dawson it is a hypothesis "which solves the question of human origin by assuming that human nature exists potentially in mere inorganic matter, and that a chain of spontaneous derivation connects incandescent molecules or star dust with the world and with man himself." (The Earth and Man, pp. 316-317.)

On the hypothesis in this form listen to what Professor Tyndall says: "The question concerning the origin of life is, whether it is due to a certain fiat, 'Let life be,' or to a process of evolution. Was it potentially in matter from the beginning, or was it inserted at a later period? However the conviction here or there may be influenced, the process must be slow which commends this hypothesis of natural evolution to the public mind. For what are the core and essence of this hypothesis? Strip it naked and you stand face to face with the notion that not alone the more ignoble forms of ani-malcular or animal life, not alone the nobler forms of horse and lion, not alone the wonderful and exquisite mechanism of the human body, but that the human mind itself—emotion, intellect, will and all their phenomena—were once latent in a fiery cloud. Surely, the mere statement of such a notion is more than a refutation. I do not think that any holder of this evolution hypothesis would say that I overstate it or overstrain it in any way- I merely strip it of all vagueness and bring before you unclothed and unvarnished the notion by which it must stand or fall. Surely, these notions represent an absurdity too monstrous to be entertained by any sane mind." (London Atheneum, as quoted in Hodge's Theology, vol. II., pp 8-9.)

Why is it that Professor Tyndall—and in this the great body of scientists agree with him—reject evolution in this form so emphatically? I answer, because it is irreconcilable with a settled law of biology or the science of life.

For a long time two opposite theories respecting the origin of life found currency among scientists: One, that matter can of itself generate life; the other, that life can come only from pre-existing life. This subject, often discussed before, in the last few years has been carefully re-examined by some of our most eminent scientific experimenters, in connection with the discussion of evolution in part, but more especially in connection with the more practical question of the nature and proposition of certain diseases in plants and animals, e. g.: the diseases which a few years ago attacked the vine and the silk-worm in France and for a time threatened their destruction.

The result of this careful re-examination is stated by Professor Drummond in the words: "A decided and authoritative conclusion has now taken place in science. So far as science can settle anything, this question is settled. The attempt to get the living out of the dead has failed. Spontaneous generation has to be given up. And it is now recognized on every hand that life can come only from the touch of life." [Natural Law in the Spiritual World, p. 63.] [10] And in support of this declaration he quotes :

Tyndall.—"I affirm that no shred of trustworthy experimental testimony exists to prove that life in our day has ever appeared independently of antecedent life."

Huxley.—"The present state of knowledge furnishes us with no link between the living and the non-living."

Virchow.—" Whoever recalls to mind the lamentable failure of all the attempts made very recently to discover a decided support for the generatio aequivoca in the lower forms of transition from the inorganic to the organic world, will feel it doubly serious to demand that this theory, so utterly discredited, should be in any way accepted as the basis of all our views of life."

"All really scientific experience tells us that life can be produced from a living antecedent only."

On such ground as this true science demands that if we adopt the hypothesis of evolution at all, its work must begin with the appearance of life in the world—it can never bridge over the gulf which separates the dead from the living.

Darwin expressly excludes the inorganic world from the range of evolution by the terms of his definition, which is, ''descent with modification; and descent, in the sense in which he uses the word, is "A proceeding from a progenitor, birth," (Webster), and so implies the previous existence of life.

Starting with primordial living beings, three or four at the most, possibly only one, whose origin he does not attempt to account for, he derives all other living beings, plants and animals therefrom by evolution. To state his doctrine in his own words. "Man is descended from a hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in its habits and an inhabitant of the Old World. This creature, if its whole structure had been examined by a naturalist, would have been classed amongst the quadrumana, as surely as would the common and more ancient of the New World monkeys. The quadrumana and all the higher mammals are probably derived from an ancient marsupial animal,"—the marsupial most common in Virginia is the Opossum, [Didelphis]—"and this through a long line of diversified forms, either from some reptile-like or some amphibian-like creature, and this again from some fish like animal. In the dim obscurity of the past we can see that the progenitor of all the vertebrates must have been an aquatic animal, provided with branchiae gills, "with the two sexes united in the same individual, and with the most important organs of the body, such as the brain and heart, imperfectly developed. This animal seems to have been more like the larva? of our existing Ascidians, 'sea squirts, as they are commonly called,' than any other known form." [Descent of Man, vol II, p. 373.]

As Darwin limits the range of evolution in one direction by excluding inorganic nature—all that precedes the existence of life in [11] the world; so others, of eminent attainments in science, limit its range in the opposite direction and exclude the origin of man from its phenomena.

Professor DeQuartrefages, at the close of a lengthened discussion of the subject, writes: "To sum up, the theory that man is descended from the monkey by means of successive modifications is a brilliant fancy which has no support in precise facts; in most cases it depends upon possibilities, and often upon possibilities in flagrant opposition to facts. In the name of scientific truth I affirm that we have had for ancestors neither gorilla, nor ourang-outaug, nor chimpanzee." [Nat. His. of Man, pp. 86-87.]

Principal Dawson writes—Evolution "cheats us with the semblance of a man without the reality. Shave and paint your ape as you may, clothe him and set him upon his feet, still he fails greatly of the 'human form divine'; and so it is with him morally and spiritually as well. We have seen that he wants the instinct of immortality, the love of God, the mental and spiritual power of exercising dominion over the earth.' (The Earth and Man, p. 305.) Such naturalists as Virchow of Germany. Wallace of England, and Dana of our own country unite with DeQuartrefages and Dawson, in rejecting the hypothesis of evolution as applied to man.

The possession of intellect and conscience, the capacity for distinguishing between truth and error, right and wrong, the ability to communicate thought by language, the capacity to originate the fine arts, painting, sculpture, architecture, and to start and carry forward all that is embraced in our modern civilization, to say nothing of anatomical differences, make between the ape and man, not as wide a gulf, it may be, as that which separates between dead and living matter, but one as utterly impassable.

Taking the evolution hypothesis now, with these limitations,—beginning the series with Darwin's primordial living beings, and excluding man from its range,—and it is with these limitations it is generally held where it is held at all,—may we accept it, on scientific-grounds, as probably true?

I put the question in this form, because evolution is, to use the words of Prof. Huxley,—"as yet a hypothesis, and not the theory of species: " (Lay Sermons p. 295.) And a hypothesis is merely "a provisional explanation of phenomena,'' and therefore to be held ready to be given up, whenever a more satisfactory explanation is offered; and should never be accounted an integrant part of science itself. True science is made up of statement of facts, and of conclusions reached by reasoning upon these facts:—And hence, in the history of science, whilst hypotheses innumerable have arisen, been popular for a season, and then passed away and been forgotten, true science has remained unchanged.

Huxley rests the claim of evolution to acceptance, mainly upon the gradual advance in the type of living beings, as we learn the [12] history of organic nature, from an examination of the fossiliferous rock-strata of the earth;—and the satisfactory explanation which it gives of the natural grouping of plants and animals, as set forth in the natural system of classification, now universally adopted by botanists and zoologists.

Darwin, in addition to this, urges certain facts respecting the geographical distribution of plants and animals,—the variations which animals undergo in the earlier stages of their existence, as they present themselves in our study of embryology,—and the existence of rudimentary organs in certain animals, all which he contends, are better and more fully explained by the hypothesis of evolution, than in any other way.

Before entering upon a particular examination of these several points, I would remind you, that there is another hypothesis,—we will call it a hypothesis for the present—covering the same ground with that of evolution, which was at one time universally adopted, and even now is held by men of no mean attainments in science, e. g. Agassiz and Prin. Dawson.— viz: the hypothesis of creation,—Creation by an almighty, intelligent being, working according to a plan, and with a definite end in view. And I will ask you especially to notice two particulars, in this hypothesis, as it is presented in the oldest cosmogony extant, a cosmogony which has moulded the thoughts on this subject of many generations.

(1) Creation is not a single act of the Almighty, by which our world, embracing organic as well as inorganic nature, was brought into being, but a continuous work, or succession of acts extending over a long period,—Geology alone can determine how long, but terminating with the creation of man:—and—

(2) In the creation of plants and animals, they were not brought into being as single individuals, or pairs at most, as evolution demands; but when the Creator spake he said—'Let the waters bring forth abundantly, (literally, swarm forth,) the moving creature that hath life, and fowls that may fly above the earth, in the open firmament of heaven." (Gen. 1: 20. ) The result of such a work of creation was at once to people the air, the earth and the sea with many individuals or pairs of every species intended to inhabit them,—Man, the species Homo, being the only exception to this general rule.

Turning now to the examination of the several arguments by which evolution is urged upon our acceptance by its advocates, we will consider them in order, beginning with the least important.

1. The existence of rudimentary organs in certain plants and animals. Rudimentary organs are not of very common occurrence, and so their existence cannot furnish a very important factor in the determination of such a question as that before us. I will give you the argument on this point in Darwin's own words. "I believe that disuse has been the main agency" in the production of rudi- [13] mentary organs, ''that it has led in successive generations, to the gradual reduction of various organs, until they have become rudimentary,—as in the case of the eyes of animals inhabiting dark caverns, and the wings of birds inhabiting oceanic islands, which have seldom been forced by beasts of prey to take flight", and have ultimately lost the power of flying." (Origin of Species, pp. 408, 400.)

In reply, I would say, Darwin's explanation of such facts as are cited above, may be the true one, probably is so, but (1) I do not see how, when thus explained they furnish any support to his hypothesis of evolution,—the cases as he states them are cases of degeneration, and not of evolution,—and (2) The variations here cited, are not variations, originating new species, but simply new varieties of an old species,—for surely, no naturalist would account the blind perch found in the waters within the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, anything else than a perch; differing from the perch which inhabit adjacent rivers, in nothing but the rudimentary character of its eyes. It is a variety of the species perch which has been originated by a variation in its ''environments;" and so, its existence can furnish no support for a hypothesis, intended to account for "the origin of Species."

2. The facts of embryology are cited by Darwin in support of his hypothesis. All the variations with which the study of embryology has made us acquainted, are variations of growth-development, and as we have already seen, belong to a system of revolution, and not evolution; they are parts of a series which runs a certain round, returning ever to the same starting point again; they belong to the history of an individual life, and are repeated only as that life is repeated. In the case of the silk-worm moth, it is first an egg, then a caterpillar, then a chrysalis and lastly, a winged insect; and just such as it is to-day, it was 6000 years ago in the garden of Eden; and although it has passed through this whole series of changes 6000 times, it has made no upward progress in its form and structure; there has been in its growth-variations no evolution into a creature of a higher order.

The variations in growth development, exhibit, it is true, possibilities of change in animal structure; but that is all that can be claimed for them. DeQuartrefages well says—"When we get upon the ground of possibility, I know not where we shall stop. Every thing is possible except that which implies contradiction. Consequently we are no longer on the ground of science, which demands positive, precise facts. We are living in the land of romance." (Natural History of Man, p. 82.

3. The geographical distribution of plants and animals is appealed to by evolutionists; especially the fact that certain species are to be found in certain countries only, e. g. the Kangaroo in Australia, and the Sloth in South America;—and it is said, if we sup- [14] pose them to be the product of evolution, we can readily understand how, having been evolved in the countries in which they are found, they have not yet spread to other parts of the earth.

To this, I reply,—true,—but on the hypothesis of creation, we may suppose them to have once existed in other lands, but to have died out in all except the few in which they now live. The disappearance by death of species of plants and animals from a country is an event of frequent occurrence in the history of our world. The Dodo, an immense bird, and native in the same land, in which alone the Kangaroo is found today, has died out since the discovery of Australia by Europeans, "Pictet catalogues ninety-eight species of mammals which have inhabited Europe in the Post-glacial period. Of these fifty-seven still exist unchanged, and the remaining forty-one have disappeared.'" (The Earth and Man, p. 357.)

The distribution of certain species, e.g. the oyster—and the oyster in some of its varieties is to be found on the coast of almost every country within the torrid and temperate zones—is very difficult to account for on the hypothesis of evolution; which traces all the oysters in the world back to an original oyster, evolved from some lower mollusk, at some one point, from which they must have distributed themselves. Darwin writes.—"Turning to geographical distribution, the difficulties encountered on the theory of descent, with modification, are serious enough. All the individuals of the same species, and all the species of the same genus, or even higher group, must have descended from common parents; and therefore, in however distant and isolated parts of the world they may now be found, they must in the course of successive generations have traveled from some one point to all others. We are often wholly unable even to conjecture how this could have been effected." (Origin of Species, p. 414.)

4. A fourth argument in support of evolution is founded upon the gradual advance in the type of living creatures, as we learn the history of organic nature from an examination of the fossiliferous rock-strata of the earth,—and, the satisfactory explanation which it furnishes of the natural groupings of plants and animals, as set forth in the natural system of classification now universally adopted by botanists and zoologists. On this ground, mainly, Prof. Huxley advocates the hypothesis; and in my judgment, it furnishes the strongest argument which has yet been brought forward in its favor. Evolution does afford a very simple and a very beautiful explanation of the natural grouping of plants and animals. But the theory of creation by an almighty and intelligent creator, working with a plan, affords, I think, an explanation equally simple, and equally beautiful. Of our system of natural classification Agassiz writes:—"Are our systems the inventions of naturalists, or only their reading of the Book of Nature? And can that book have more than one reading? If these classifications are not mere inventions, if [15] they are not an attempt to classify for our own convenience the objects we study, then they are the thoughts which, whether we detect them or not, are expressed in Nature,—then nature is the work of thought, the production of intelligence, carried out according to plan therefore premeditated,—and in our study of natural objects, we are approaching the thoughts of the Creator, reading his conceptions, interpreting a system that is his, and not ours." ( Methods of Study in Natural History, pp. 13, 11.) Natural deification, an expression of the thoughts of God is, to my mind, an idea I cannot willingly give up.

Let us consider an analogous case to that we are studying, in so far as our present condition will furnish us one. Man, an intelligent being, in every age, has constructed for himself some sort of habitation. In the change in his environments which marks his progress in civilization, his habitation has assumed, successfully, the different forms of,—the bark hut, the log cabin, the substantial farm house, the brown-stone city residence, and the marble palace. These all form what may be called a natural group, and beginning with the rudest, constructed in the earliest stage of civilization, they gradually assume a more and more perfect form in harmony with their improved environments;—and, as they are all intended for substantially the same purpose, i e., to furnish man shelter from the sun and storms, they all possess common features,—they all have roof, and sides, and floor, and doors. To a visitant from some other sphere, who knew nothing of man's habits and history, this group of human habitations would present a subject of study not unlike that which a family of fossil mollusks in the rock-strata of the earth presents to us. Will the fact that they present a natural group, and that their advance in structure correspond to their advance in environment, justify this visitant from a distance, in deciding that they must be the product of some kind of evolution?— that the bark hut evolved the log-cabin, and the log cabin the farm house, and so on. The truth in this case, as known to all denizens of earth, explains all the phenomena equally well. They are all the work of intelligent man, working with a plan, and for a definite purpose; and the very points upon which the evolution theory must rest, are as we know in this case, simply the evidences of purpose and plan on the part of the intelligent builder.

I have now given you a brief,—but, I think, a fair statement of the arguments, by which Darwin and other Evolutionists support their hypothesis, with my answers thereto. Turn we now to the arguments on the other side,—the objections to this hypothesis.

The objections are such as these, viz:—As we learn the history of our worlds progress from the study of its fossiliferous rock-strata,—

1. Many allied species of plants and animals have come into being cotemporaneously, and not in succession, as must have been the case if originated by evolution.

[16] 2. In the case of certain natural groups, e.g., the group of mollusks inhabiting chambered shells, such us the Nautilus Pompilius of our day,—and this group of mollusks stands at the head of the class of mollusks,—the higher species appear first, and not the lowest, as evolution would require. Their history is one of degradation and not advance in the scale of being.

3. The great number of transition forms, required to connect species with species according to the evolution hypothesis cannot bo found. Darwin accounts for their absence from the kingdom of living organic nature as it surrounds us to-day, by supposing that there has been all along "a straggle for existence, with survival of the fittest." This explanation may be admitted,—but it does not meet the case put; Our question concerns especially the past. If in the struggle for existence innumerable species have perished all along the line from the beginning, and Darwin expressly admits that this must have been true, how comes it that in the fossiliferous rocks,—that vast burying-ground of the ages,—none of their graves are to be found? Evolution demands a continuous chain, connecting the latest with the earliest forms; whilst the fossiliferous rocks disclose only detached portions of a chain,—if it be a chain,—with innumerable missing links all along the line.

Time will not permit me to go into a more particular statement of these objections,— and I care the less for this, as in addition to these, there are two capital objections to the evolution hypothesis in any and all its forms, either of which should, I think, settle the question, as a question between it and the theory of creation.

I. In nature—outside the disturbing agency of intelligent man— there is no tendency to permanent change manifested by plants and animals, no tendency to advance in structure; but on the contrary, a manifest tendency to preserve the status quo of their beginning. Variations, undoubtedly, do sometimes occur in plants and animals in a wild state, or state of nature; but when they do occur, the law of "reversion to type" comes in, and soon wipes them out again. In proof of this I refer you to the well known facts, that—

1. The highly improved varieties of animals,—and the same is true of plants,—can be maintained only by the greatest care, on the part of the stock-breeder. Let him turn out the finest Jersey cow in all his herd, to run wild on the prairies, and mingle with the wild stock there, and she will either die without issue, or her descendants will degenerate from generation to generation, until they become undistinguishable from the wild stock around them.

2. In the ancient paintings and sculptures of Egypt, and Assyria, we have depicted many plants and animals, as they existed three or four thousand years ago; and by comparing there [their] representations with the same plants and animals as they exist to-day, we learn that there has been no change in all this time. This Darwin himself acknowledges. [See Origin of Species, p. 125.] Agassiz, a few years [17] ago, made an examination of the Florida reefs, and from data satisfactory to himself, determined the age of the inner reef to be 70,000 years. After carefully comparing the form and structure of the coral polyps at work there today with those that must have built the oldest reef, he writes,—"In these 70,000 years has there been any change in the corals living in the Gulf of Mexico? I answer most emphatically, No. Astreans, Porites, Meandrinas, and Madrepores were represented by exactly the same species 70,000 years ago, as they are now." (Method of Study in Natural History, p. 190.] Prin. Dawson gives us the results of his observations on this point, in the case of certain mollusks in these words,—"I have for many years occupied a little of my leisure, in collecting the numerous species of mollusks, and other marine animals existing in a sub-fossil state in the post-pliocene days of Canada, and comparing them with their modern successors. I do not know how long these animals have lived. Some of them, certainly, go far back into the Tertiary; and recent computation would place even the Glacial age, at a distance from us of more than a thousand centuries. Yet, after careful studying about two hundred species, and, of some of them, many hundreds of specimens, I have arrived at the conclusion, that they are absolutely unchanged." [The Earth and Man, pp. 358, 359.]

By "Natural Selection with survival of the fittest" Darwin must mean, a natural agency, which in the wild condition of plants and animals, and without any guidance of intelligence, shall accomplish the same results, which are accomplished by what he calls "Artificial Selection," under the guidance of man,—the agency, whatever may be its nature, by which man has secured our improved varieties of plants and animals. His hypothesis of evolution demands this. Now,—in view of the facts stated above, we say, Natural Selection has no existence. It is a creature of Darwin's imagination.

Prof. Huxley virtually admits this. "There is no fault"—writes he—"to be found with Mr. Darwin's method, then; but it is another question, whether he has fulfilled all the conditions imposed by that method, Is it satisfactorily proved, in fact, that species may be originated by selection? that there is such a thing as natural selection? that none of the phenomena are inconsistent with the origin of species in this way? If these questions can be answered in the affirmative, Mr. Darwin's views step out of the rank of hypothesis, into those of proved theories; but, so long as the evidence at present adduced falls short of enforcing that affirmation, so long to our mind, must the new doctrine be content to remain among the former—an extremely valuable, and in the highest degree probable, doctrine, indeed the only extant hypothesis which is worth anything in a scientific point of view; but still a hypothesis, and not yet the theory of species." [Lay Sermons, p.p. 294, 295]

In explanation of Huxley's remark quoted above, that evolution [18] is—"the only extant hypothesis which is worth anything in a scientific point of view,"—I must tell you that, he has already rejected the theory of creation as unscientific, because incapable of verification by direct observation in our day;—a position, involving a very false view of the nature of science, as I think; and certainly untenable by one who confesses himself compelled to admit of creation, or something equivalent thereto, at two points in the history of our world, viz: the origin of matter, and the origin of life.

II. The law of the permanence of species:—that however great the variations wrought, under the operation of natural or artificial agencies may be, it never passes the boundary line of species, is irreconcilable with the evolution hypothesis. That hypothesis is, that, each higher type of plant and animal has been evolved from the next below it, and so, demands the passage of the boundary lines, not of one species only, but of all;—and so, the boundary lines of genera, orders, and classes as well,—all that intervene between primordial living things and man.

The proof of the permanence of species, I have already given you; and if we are to proceed upon principles of true science, we must consider that question settled, at least for the present, and treat it as a settled question:—and so treating it, we cannot accept the hypothesis of evolution.

You will naturally ask me—How do Evolutionists reconcile that hypothesis with this law? Darwin attempts a reconciliation, by supposing that this law has not always obtained,—that far back in ages past, it is possible that a different order of things may have prevailed. On this point, listen to DeQuartrefages,—"In many cases these possibilities are opposed to the facts that transpire in our day, so that the reasoning comes to this: But is it not possible that events took place in former times differently from those which happen to-day? Serious Science, Gentlemen, cannot accept this mode of reasoning. It does not admit changes in the laws which rule this world—in those which touch organic beings any more than in those which concern inorganic bodies." (Natural History of Man, p. 82.") And Prin. Dawson writes—"Let the reader take up either of Darwin's great books, or Spencer's Biology, and merely ask himself as he reads each paragraph, what is assumed here, and what is proved? and he will find the whole fabric melt away like a vision." [The Earth and Man, p. 330.]

Prof. Huxley, in his article on the Origin of Species, has a beautiful passage to which I will ask your attention. Speaking of growth development in its earlier stages, he writes—"Examine the recently laid egg of some common animal, such as a salamander or a newt. It is a minute spheroid, in which the best microscope will reveal nothing but a structureless sack, enclosing a glairy fluid, holding granules in suspension. But strange possibilities lie dormant in that semi-fluid globule. Let a moderate supply of warmth [19] reach its watery cradle, and the plastic matter undergoes changes so rapid, and yet so steady and purposelike in their succession, that one can only compare them to those operated by a skilled modeler upon a formless lump of clay. As with an invisible trowel, the mass is divided and sub-divided into smaller and smaller portions, until it is reduced to an aggregation of granules, not too large to build withal the finest fabrics of the nascent organism. And, then, it is as if a delicate finger traced out the line to be occupied by the spinal column, and moulded the contour of the body; pinching up the head at one end, the tail at the other, and fashioning flank and limb into due salamandrine proportions, in so artistic a way, that, after watching the process hour by hour, one is almost involuntarily possessed by the notion, that some more subtle aid to vision than an achromatic, would show the hidden artist, with his plan before him, striving with skillful manipulation to perfect his work.'" [Lay Sermons, pp. 260, 261.] This "hidden artist, with his plan before him" is just what the theory of creation brings to our knowledge, working, not only in these variations of growth-development, but in all the variations of nature as well,—a living Creator, and not a dead, insensate Law.

You have now the whole case before you:—the arguments for and against the two hypotheses of evolution and creation; briefly, but I think, fairly stated. Judging the matter, simply as a question of science, which will you accept,—the old, or the new? For myself I say—having "drunk the old wine, I do not desire the new,—the old is better."

Turning now, very briefly, to the relations of evolution to the Bible and our Christian faith—I remark:—

1. The Evolution hypothesis when taken in its widest range:—"which solves the question of human origin by assuming that human nature exists potentially in mere inorganic matter, and that a chain of spontaneous derivation connects incandescent molecules or star-dust with the world, and with man himself;" is beyond all question, atheistic, and it is adopted and defended by its advocates as an atheistic hypothesis. In this form, evolution is confessedly irreconcilable with the Bible and with our Christian Faith.

2. Evolution, as held and taught by C. Darwin, beginning with certain primordial living forms, and including man in its range, by some of its advocates, has been presented as an atheistic hypothesis. Others, including C. Darwin himself, regard evolution simply, as "a mode of creation," and it cannot then be regarded as atheistic. But, in its account of the origin of man, it is irreconcilable with the Bible declarations,... "And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them." [Gen. 1: 27.] and "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul." [Gen. 2: 7.] and, "The Lord God [20] caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man he made a woman, and brought her unto the man." [Gen. 2 : 21, 22,] Any system of interpretation which will make these statements agree with the evolution of man from an anthopoid ape, must be so exceeding allegorical, as to take away all reality from the accompanying story of the temptation and the fall; and, so, would strikeout, the doctrine of the federal headship of Adam, and along with this the covenant headship of Christ, cardinal doctrines in our Calvinistic System, from our Christian Faith.

I cannot agree with Darwin as be writes—"When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendents of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled. [Origin of Species, p. 436.] It is not the length of our ancestry alone, but the character as well, which ennobles;—and of such a genealogy as that which Darwin has made out for himself, a genealogy which reads—man which was the son of a long-tailed, sharp-eared monkey, which was the son of an Opossum, which was the son of a Lizard, which was the son of a Fish, which was the son of a Sea-Squirt—I cannot but think, that, in so far as nobility is concerned, the more a man has of it, the worse off will he be. My sympathies are altogether with Agassiz—"I confess that there seems to me a repulsive poverty in this material explanation, that is contradicted in the intellectual grandeur of the universe; the resources of Deity cannot be so meagre, that in order to create a human being endowed with reason, he must change a monkey into a man," [Methods of Study in Nat. Hist. Preface, p. 4.]

3. A modified hypothesis of evolution, as it applies to man, has recently been advanced, which attributes the origin of man's body to evolution, but that of his soul to immediate creation. On the hypothesis in this form, I remark:—

(1.) It is thoroughly unscientific in that it attributes the origin of the body of woman, according to its author's statement of it to immediate creation. In the view of every naturalist, woman is half the species Homo, is half the man:—and to state the hypothesis in the language of science, it should read—One half the body of man is the product of evolution, the other half, along with his soul, the product of immediate creation. Such a mongrel origin for a living body is without precedent in even the wildest speculations of scientists.

(2.) It is, I think, irreconcilable with the account of man's creation given us in Gen. 2: 7, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The phrase here rendered "a living soul" literally rendered is "an animal of life." Jamieson, in [21] his comments on this verse, writes—"At its first formation, the body of man, so exquisitely organized, was no more than a mass of inert matter, till the Lord God endowed it with vitality, 'and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life'—lit. lives: but though in the plural form, it is commonly rendered, life, the natural or organic life, as the phrase usually denotes—'and man became a living soul'— lit, an animal of life [ch. V. 19. Ch. I 20, 24, 30; X, 12, 15, 16, where the words are used in this sense]; and hence Bishop Warburton paraphrases the passage before us in the following manner: 'He breathed into this statue the breath of life, and the lump of clay became a living creature." [Jamieson''s Commentary in loc.]. Dr. McCosh writes— "There are two accounts of the creation of man, One is in Gen. 1:26. There is council and decision: 'Let us make man in our image.' This applies to his soul or higher nature. The other account is in Gen. 2:7. 'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.' This is man's organic body." (Development p. 35.)

What is affirmed in Gen. 2:7, is, [1] That God made the inanimate body of man of the dust of the ground, and then [2] by a special act imparted animal life to that inanimate body. The product of evolution from the very nature of the process,—"descent with modification"—is a living thing; possessed at the least of animal life. It may die very early, but at its beginning it must be a living thing. With this passage before us, we have the alternative:—either—[1] The body God formed was an inanimate body, and to this he imparted life,-which accords well with scripture, but not with the doctrine of evolution,—or, [2] The body God formed was possessed of animal life, to which he afterwards imparted an immortal soul,—which accords with the doctrine of evolution, but is irreconcilable with Scripture.

3. As to the relation of the evolution hypothesis in this form to our Christian Faith, I would say, speaking for myself alone, if I adopted it, the story of the temptation and the fall, as given us in the book of Genesis, would become to me a myth, and as the consequence thereof, I should lose my hold upon some of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, The hypothesis of Evolution, taking it in its limited range, as excluding inorganic nature on the one hand, and man on the other; and understanding it simply as a mode of creation, cannot be considered atheistic; nor is it utterly irreconcilable with the Bible account of the origin of plants and animals in the world;—though, as I think, it is not as thoroughly in harmony with the Bible account of God's relation to nature as the old theory of creation is, as that relation is set forth in such passages as the following, viz: "In him we live, and move, and have our being." Acts 17:28. "Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather [22] into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them." Matt. 6:26. "He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry." Ps. 147:9. The unfavorable reception which it has met at the hands of Christian men generally, is owing, if I mistake not, like that of poor Tray in the old fable, not so much to what it is in itself, as to the company in which they found it.

In this last mentioned form it is, that the hypothesis of evolution is held by most of those styled Evolutionists in our day. By some few specialists, whose scientific training has imparted to them no peculiar fitness for deciding upon such a question as this, it is spoken of as an established truth, and as an integrant part of science itself. Not so with Scientists of broader culture. Huxley speaks of it as "still a hypothesis, and not yet the theory of species," and Virchow styles it "an unproved hypothesis." Its popularity is evidently on the wane. But a few weeks ago, it was stated in the public prints, that, the school authorities in Prussia, had prohibited the teaching of it in the public schools. The earlier chapters of its history in our day were bright—but bright with a delusive promise;—and I will venture the prediction, that the last chapter,—and some of you will live to read it,—will be a record of what Huxley calls,—the oft-repeated tragedy of science, the slaughter of a beautiful theory by ugly facts.

* * * * * *

Reminiscences of the War
By Rev. George D. Armstrong, D. D.
Given to Wm. Wooldridge by Lou Martin, Dr. Armstrong's great granddaughter.

In answer to your kind invitation, I appear before you tonight to give you some account of my personal observations and experiences during the memorable years of the late "War between the States." Before the account I must ask you to pardon the apparent egotism of what I am about to say - remembering that egotism must of necessity characterize any account of personal observation and experience.

Of the first year of the war I shall say nothing. During that year we were all here together and you know fully as much of it's history as I do. In May, 1862, Norfolk was evacuated by the Confederate troops. At the time there was a military necessity, that all the forces under Gen. Lee's command should be concentrated on the peninsula to resist Gen. McClelland's advance upon Richmond from that quarter. When this necessity became known to us, I was strong advised to leave Norfolk in company with the troops, but subsequently changed my purpose at the solicitation of many of the officers and soldiers of the army, members of church and congregation, who were compelled to go and leave their families behind them. And I did this the more readily, as, at that time, we all hoped - perhaps I ought rather to say, confidently expected - that the war would soon be over, and the absent ones return to their homes again.

[2] From the evacuation of Norfolk in May 1862 to the surrender of Gen. Lee in April 1866, my personal war recollections naturally arrange themselves into three groups; (1) The first covering the period from May '62 to March '64, which may be styled — "Recollections of Life In a Captured City". (2) On the fourth of March 1864 I was brought before Gen. Benj. F. Butler (Beast Butler, as he was popularly known among us at the time) and imprisoned first at Ft. Hatteras, and then at what was called "The Bullpen of the Beast", two miles back of Bermuda Hundreds. This period covers 6-1/2 months; and what I have to say of it may well bear the title of "Reminiscences of the Beauty of the Beast". (3) A period of 6-1/2 months which I spent with the Army of northern Virginia, as a missionary in that army, under commission from the Southern Presbyterian Church. This period closed in the surrender of Gen. Lee at Appomattox C. H. April 9, 1865. This third group I would style, "Recollections of Ministerial Labor in the Army of Northern Virginia".


Norfolk was evacuated by the Confederate troops on a Saturday, the evacuation winding up with a terrible explosion, about midnight, caused by the blowing up of the huge Iron-Clad "Virginia"— once the Merrimac"- then at anchor just below Craney Island. The evacuation was very quietly effected by the Confederate troops; and the city was as quietly taken possession of by the Federal troops, on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Although living on the eastern side of the city, the side from which this entrance into the city must have been made, I did not know the exact time at which the Federal troops took possession of Norfolk. We did not then know just what to expect at the hands of the enemy; or what life in a captured city in our country and our day [3] would be, and hence it was with no little apprehension we anticipated the incoming of the federal troops. On that sabbath our people generally remained quietly at home. None of the churches were opened for the usual public service. In my own case I sent notice to my neighbors, and a congregation large enough to fill the parlor, gathered there, and together we worshipped God.

Early in the week Gen. Velie, who was in command of the federal troops that took possession of the city, issued orders that business should go on as heretofore; and called upon the Bank officers to open their Banks, and the merchants to open their stores; and all others to go forward with their legitimate business as usual; and by the week's end matters were proceeding so quietly that a stranger would hardly have noticed any change from the week before. True, there was very little business for the Banks or the merchants to do. The merchants' stocks of goods were pretty well exhausted before the evacuation took place and the people had very little money wherewith to buy, even had the goods been offered them. And this leads me to remark upon one of the characteristics of life in a captured city.

The people studied the strictest economy in their expenditures. They were very temperate in eating and drinking; eschewing luxuries of every kind, and cheerfully wearing their old clothes as long as they could be made to hold together. Taking my own case as an example, the same white stove pipe hat I was wearing when the evacuation took place, I contrived to wear until a friend replaced it with a soft black hat, one the eve of my being sent through the lines to Richmond, and the over-coat I had supplied myself with when the war began, continued to serve me until the same friend, accompanied the gift of a new hat [4] with that of a new over-coat also. Our people generally, especially the ladies, seemed to pride themselves, not in new dresses and spring bonnets, as at ordinary times, but in old dresses made over, and in bonnets re-trimmed by their own hands. Had the Prophet Isaiah come into one of our sabbath congregations in '62 he would not have reproached them, as he did the daughters of Jerusalem in his day, with their 'bonnets and head-bands, and changeable suite of apparel, and their mantles and wimples, their hoods and their veils." The plainness of their attire would have satisfied the taste of an anchorite.

We sometimes felt the restraint laid upon us by Military rule somewhat irksome: e. g., we could not leave the city limits without a written permit from the provost-marshall To be watched as well as guarded was something we had not been accustomed to. As illustrating the way things worked, I will mention an incident which occurred on my own premises. On the last day of May '62, my children had been allowed to ask a number of their young friends from the neighborhood to a May party. In the midst of their merriment a squad of Federal soldiers appeared and charged me with a disloyal exhibition of a Confederate flag in my backyard where the children were at play. The charge surprised me, and I at once invited the leader of the squad into my yard, to see for himself that the charge was groundless. The truth of the matter then appeared —which was that the children in preparing the throne for their may-queen, had draped it with an old couch cover made of turkey red cotton, lined with white, and this seen from across the creek where the guard was stationed, had bean mistaken for the red and white of a Confederate flag. When the Corporal of the guard saw this he immediately withdrew; declining to stay even for some of the refreshments to which one of the girls with ___ [5] invited him.

Surveillance was unpleasant, but it furnished no just cause of complaint. Our captors knew that all the sympathies of our people were with their fathers, husbands, brothers and lovers in the Confederate army; and that constant communication was kept up with them, in spite of all they could do to prevent it. And farther, that our boys, rejected from the ranks on account of their age, at the time of the evacuation, as soon as they reached the minimum age for enlistment, "ran the blockade", as it was called, and entered the Confederate Army, that in every way our people stood ready to furnish "aid and comfort" to their enemy. In such circumstances, while we sometimes fretted under the rigid guard kept over us, we never complained.

As I am giving my personal reminiscences of those times, I will relate two occurrences which will illustrate the spirit in which our ladies met the trials of their situation. In the summer of '62, a Confederate soldier who had been left behind sick, at the evacuation, died; and was buried in St. Paul's church yard; Dr. Okeson officiating on the occasion. As the sexton of the church for some reason could not be found, one of the young ladies of the congregation, determined that he should not be buried without all the honor usual on such an occasion, climbed up into the old square tower, which then occupied the place filled by the present vestry room, and with her own hand tolled the bell, while his body was being laid in the grave. And no sooner was the grave filled up, than it was at once covered by such a mound of beautiful flowers, brought by many hands as I never saw on any other occasion.

In the spring of '63 a census was taken by the military authorities [6] in Norfolk and Portsmouth, in which the names of all parents and their grown children were taken down, together with their occupations, if they had any. When the census taker called on a certain family, of which the father and a grown brother were in the Confederate Army, and the mother sick, the eldest daughter presented herself and after giving the names of the family at home, seeing that their occupation was called for said - put me down "wood-sawyer". And there was a touch of pathetic humour in this reply; as in their necessity, she, a refined young lady, had been engaged in sawing wood in the cellar, at the time the census taker called.

Such was the state of things under Gen. Velie, and the military commanders who immediately succeeded him—up to the time that Gen. Butler was put in command of this department. Then the military rule became rigid and offensive. One general order after another was issued from Head Quarters, curtailing our liberties, until by the beginning of '64 no one was permitted to engage in any business whatever, or even to retain certain possessions of the house in which he lived, without taking an oath from which we all shrank.

As this is a matter which, both at the time and subsequently has been by many misunderstood, I will ask your attention to the exact facts of the case. The oath proposed to as, was not an oath of allegiance to the United States government, which would have implied a renunciation of fealty to the Confederacy. Such an oath very few of us would have taken under any circumstances. Butler's uncalled for severity had only made our hearts cling more closely to our own people. The oath proposed was styled an "oath of amnesty", and was contained in a Proclamation by President Lincoln, a copy of which can be found in any of the newspapers of the day.

[7] When the order was issued requiring all of us to take this oath, a private consultation of some of our leading citizens was held. I recollect distinctly that the late Tazewall Taylor and Wm. Sharp, Sr., were present at that meeting and after carefully examining the somewhat equivocal terms of the oath, the conclusion was reached that, when fairly interpreted, it did not imply allegiance to the United States government; but only that we would render obedience to all lawful orders issued by the military government which was over as, so long as we claimed its protection. In this view of the case, I took this oath of amnesty, and as a matter of conscience, observed it, up to the time of my imprisonment; and to this course I advised all who sought my advice.

The enforcement of the order to take this oath, and especially the manner in which it was enforced, awakened no little bitterness of feeling among our people. As illustrating this remark, I may mention an occurrence which, subsequently was not little talked about. One of our oldest and most honored merchants had gone in company with me to the Military HQ, and taken this oath. As we descended the steps of the Custom-House, in which the HQ had been established, he said to me: "I feel as if I would like to spit in the face of every Yankee I see". Through one of his spies, Butler heard of this speech, and caused both the speaker and myself some trouble.

Another incident, of an entirely different character, will illustrate this same fact, the bitterness of feeling awakened by Butler's course. On a sabbath in February '64 at the close of the opening services in the public worship in the church, a child was brought forward and presented for baptism. In answer to my question," What is the name of the child?" the mother handed me a card, with the name written in full [8] Virginia, Chicora, Rebellis Davis". As there was no time for remonstrance or conference, I baptized the child accordingly. In explanation of this name, I would say, the child's father had served on board the Ironclad Virginia, until she was blown up at the evacuation of Norfolk, and had then been transferred to the Ironclad Chicora, at the time defending the harbor of Charleston, and the mother had been imprisoned and very badly treated for running the blockade, a short time before the child was born. The baptized name was after two Confederate Ironclads, the Rebellion, and Jefferson Davis —for the family name was not Davis.

The mother of this child had been imprisoned and harshly treated as I have said, for running the blockade; and yet at this very time, as we all know a brisk trade with the Confederates in the region of North Carolina adjacent to Norfolk, was being carried on with Butler's sanction; shoes, hats and similar supplies being exchanged for cotton, then bearing a high price at the North, in consequence of the shortness of the supply; Butler himself participating in the profits of the trade, as was universally believed.

In addition to this, Butler established a system of espionage by means of paid spies, making use for this purpose of many of the colored servants employed in our families. When in Feb. '64 I was summoned before his deputy Provost-Marshall for examination, I was questioned about things said in private to members of my church which I am certain they never divulged, and which could have been learned in no other way than through some one listening at the key-hole. In those days I never preached without having among my hearers those whom I knew to be spies, watching
my words, if possible in this way to make me an offender.

[9] Used as I had always been, to liberty of speech, I confess I felt this espionage more galling than any other of the hardships I was called upon to endure. I recollect well, in a journey I made many years ago to the far North West, the first time I found myself out on one of the boundless prairies of that region, I felt like shouting. So, when at the end of my imprisonment, I was sent to Richmond, on landing there, I was conscious of a similar exhilaration of spirits, and was ready to shout— At last I was free. So military necessity can be pleaded in defense of such a course as this. No officer of the regular army in so far as I know, and I was brought in contact with a good many of them during the war, was ever guilty of anything of the kind. It is to this course in connection with the brutality with which he treated defenseless ladies, first at New Orleans and afterwards at Norfolk, that Gen. Butler owes the title by which he was generally spoken of among us then, and by which he is still remembered— Butler the Beast; a title which infers not dislike alone, but contempt as well. This much for my reminiscences of "Life in a captured city".


On Feb. 24, 1864, I was summoned before Deputy Provost-Marshall Capt. Geo. P. Edgar and examined by him. Strangely enough, the original record of this examination came into my possession after the war, and I copy from it. Of the character of this examination the following questions and answers will serve as a specimen.

Q. Do you think that people of these two cities took the oath willingly, or because they were forced to it?

A. I think there was a certain amount of constraint upon them, but not enough to destroy the binding obligation of the oath.

Q. Have you determined not to pray for or allude to the President of the United States, the authorities, or the armies and navies thereof, that they may be successful in their efforts to put down this wicked rebellion?

A. I have.

Q. Would you willingly open your church to any recognized "minister of the gospel" from such denomination as before the war you would have exchanged with, did you know that he would pray for the Union and against the Rebellion"

A. I do not think I would.

I quote these questions and answers to show in what sense the phrase "praying for the President of the United States" was understood in those days.

Q. Did you rebuke the man who spoke of spitting in the face of the Yankees?

A. I did not.

Q. Would you be willing to state on oath, that you have had no communication, directly or indirectly with the rebels, since you have taken the oath, except by permission from proper authority, by Flag-of-Truce Boat?

A. I am willing.

Q. Should you know of any blockade runner, or secret mail runner, to or from the rebels, would you give immediate information thereof to our authorities, that they might be punished as traitors deserve?

A. I would have nothing to do with it. (This is the answer recorded) I suppose Capt. Edgar did not like to record the answer I really gave him, which was "I will not. I will be no man's spy."

In transmitting this examination to his superior, Capt. Edgar accompanied it with a letter, in which he says, "He declined answering some very important questions, which would doubtless involve Rebels as arrogant as himself. I therefore suggest that he be ordered before the Commanding General, that he may find the benefit of bread and water, if he declines answering him, and receive such other sentence as in his judgment he deserves.

"Accompanying please find a copy of a Thanksgiving Sermon preached by him on the "Victory at Manassas", upon recommendation of the Confederate Congress."

On the fourth of March, I was summoned to Old Point and examined by Gen. Butler in person. What purports to be the record of this examination, of course furnished by his authority, was published in The New Regime" of March 29. From this, garbled and unfair to me as it is, I will make two brief extracts.

Gen. While you did preach a very virulent sermon upon the Victory of Manassas at the recommendation of the Confederate Congress, have you ever since preached in your pulpit a sermon favorable to the Union Cause, or one that would be likely to please the loyal, and displease the disloyal?"

A. "No sir, I never have."

Gen. "Stop, Sir, I do not like to be insulted. You said, Sir, that that infernal secessionist who wanted to spit in the face of loyal men of the Union, and that you took the oath with the same view that he did, or rather, that he took the oath with the same view that you did, it makes no difference which. I agree, Sir, that you did. I have treated you, Sir, during this interview with propriety and courtesy up to this moment, and yet you, Sir, tell me in order to clear this vile wretch who shall be punished [12] as he deserves, that you took the oath with the same view that he did."

This account of my examination published in The New Regime closes with the General saying to an Aide: "Make an order that this man be committed to the Guard House in close confinement, there to remain until he can be consigned to Fort Hatteras, there to be kept in solitary confinement until further orders, and send a copy of this examination to the officer in command there."

Such is Gen. Butler's account of my sentence—my own distinct recollection is a little different. According to my recollection, his exact words were, addressing an orderly: "Take this fellow to the Guard House until I give you further orders." Certain I am that when I entered the casement of the Fort, used as a Guard House, I had not heard Hatteras mentioned, nor had I the faintest idea whether I was to be sent until the next Monday evening I was put on board the steamer which was t convey me thither. He may have meant to sentence me to decent form; but an an earlier stage of our interview he had said: "I have treated you, Sir, during this interview with propriety and courtesy up to his moment," clearly implying, that from that moment he would treat me with neither "propriety or courtesy". In fact he had become so excited, that as he gave his order, the foam sputtered out of his mouth.

On March 9, the following order was issued—I quote from The New Regime of March 29, 1864.

Norfolk, Virginia
March 29, 1864

"Owing to the vacancy of the pulpit of the Presbyterian Church in this city, caused by the deposition of the late Pastor, the Rev. George Dodd Armstrong, D. D., by action of the Commanding General, the Rev. C. L. Woodsworth, chaplin of the 27th Regiment of Mass. Volunteers, will officiate as Pastor until further orders. It is not doubted that the loyalties of the congregation will approve the change and will cheerfully cooperate in the services of the church. The church officers [13] will continue on duty as usual in their respective duties."

Charles M. Wheldon
Provost Marshall.

To the credit of the Rev. C. L. Woodsworth, I will add, that finding his services were not acceptable to the great majority of the congregation after officiating for a few sabbaths, he was, at his own request, returned to his regiment again; and the church building was left in the hands of the proper church officers.

Another curious document bearing upon the question refreshing the cause of my hard treatment of Gen. Butler, I must give you. After I had been imprisoned for several months, and fruitless efforts had been made by friends to secure my release, Mrs. Mallory, an excellent Christian lady, but not a member of my church, thinking for certain reasons that there was some prospect of success in such an effort, headed a petition for my release with her own name, and presented it in person to Gen. Butler. After retaining it for a few days, he returned it to her with the following endorsement:

1. Dr. Armstrong is the author of a book advocating the divine right of slavery.
2. He preached and published a sermon on occasion of the Rebel Victory of Manassas which contains false and disloyal statements.
3. He has confessed most disloyal sentiments to my Aid-de-Camp and to me. I therefore say, as I believe the Judge will say at the last day: "Let him go to his own place—Let him go to the devil."

Benj. F. Butler
Major Gen. U. S. A.

This document was given to me by Mrs. Mallory, after the war, and is now in my possession.

What was the ground of Butler's special spite against me? I had taken the oath of amnesty and had honestly observed the obligations of the oath, as I understood it; and as I believed any dispassionate [14] person would interpret it today. He does not even allege any transgression of it, in word or deed of which I had been guilty. He was no fool—and he could not but know that the disloyalty with which he charged me, i. e., sympathy with the Confederate cause, was as thorough in the case of nine out of ten of our citizens, as it was in mine. Even the "infernal secessionists" as he called him, who by the way, never was a secessionist, but on of the staunchest of our Union men up to the time that Virginia, by act of her convention, withdrew from the Union, that took the oath with the same understanding of it that I did, and how said, as he came down the Custom House steps, after taking the oath "I feel as if I could spit in the face of every Yankee I meet", and whom Butler declared he would punish as he deserved, although summoned before him, never had imprisonment of banishment or any other punishment inflicted on him. What was it that raised the wrath of Butler against me?

I will give you what a lawyer would call "my theory of the case". July 21, 1861, was set apart by the Confederate Congress, then operated in Richmond, as a day of thanksgiving for the victory at Manassas, and was generally observed throughout the Southern States. All the churches in Norfolk were opened, and services held appropriate to the occasion. My sermon preached on that day was subsequently published by the request of the congregation. In that sermon, and as illustrating what seemed to be the good providence of God toward us, and this was a topic which was in everybody's mouth—I said "From the battlefield of Bethel Brig. Gen. Hill wrote, 'Our heavenly Father has wonderfully interposed to shield our heads in the day of battle'. In all that battle, we lost not one killed, but one mortally wounded (Wyatt died after the battle was over) and seven or eight slightly wounded; whilst the enemy lost so many [15] that they have never been willing to publish the official account of their loss; but judging from what I have heard and read from persons in the battle, I should say, not less than five hundred killed and wounded, probably more." Since the war has been over, a Federal officer who commanded one of Butler's regiments in that battle, and who was himself wounded there, has told me that my estimate of the killed and wounded was under rather than over the mark, and he added that the whole movement was so miserably mismanaged, that before the troops were out of sight of Old Point, Butler had two of his own regiments firing into each other. This I knew at the time I preached the sermon.

The connection with this statement about the battle of Bethel, I said in my sermon "In all the attacks which have been made upon our batteries about Norfolk and the firing of the great rifle cannon of Fortress Calhoun, not one of our men, thus far, has been killed or seriously wounded." As Gen. Butler was in command at Fortress Monroe, and the battle at Bethel was fought under his direction; and the attack upon our batteries around Norfolk must have been of his ordering, these statements of mine if believed were very damaging to his military reputation, and flatly contradicted the statements respecting the execution done by his gun-boats in their attacks upon our batteries, which were sent North from time to time, from Fortress Monroe, and published in the New York Herald." These statements of mine he knew were true; that they were in print, and scattered throughout the Southern States, and could not be recalled; and further that the time would come when I would be believed and he would not—for to say nothing of character, any man of sense would [16] say: "This man would not have dared to stand up in the midst of a people who must know what the facts in the case were, and make such statements unless they were true."

This sermon was in Butler's hands at the time I was summoned before him; for Capt. Edgar had not only questioned me about it, but as his own record shows, had forwarded a copy of it for Butler's examination. Butler himself examined me concerning it; and months afterwards, in his endorsement on the back of Mrs. Mallory's petition, he makes my "preaching and publishing a sermon on occasion of the Rebel victory at Manassas, contain false and disloyal statements", one of the grounds of sending me to the devil. The other two are:

1. I was the author of a book advocating the divine right of slavery. The truth respecting this matter is that in 1858 I published through Scribner's House, N. Y., a small volume bearing the title of "THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF SLAVERY", in which I discussed the question of slavery as it was then agitating the church; and in which I attempted to show that as Christ and his Apostles treated slavery in their day, not as something necessarily to be abolished, but to be regulated by the church, so we were to treat it in our day. That the question of its retention or abolishment was one for the State to decide, and not the Church. This book proved very distasteful to some of the fanatical Abolitionists of New England at the time. But surely no one can regard Butler as an honest abolitionist who remembers that at the Democratic Convention at Charleston in 1860, he voted time after time for the nomination of Jefferson Davis to be President of the United States.

2. "I had confessed disloyal sentiments". This will not account even partially for the animus he exhibited in my case; since "the infernal secessionist" as he called him when summoned before him shortly after I was, was not only not punished for disloyalty, but— as he afterwards told me was treated courteously.

The truth is, Gen. Butler's military reputation was a poor thing from its birth; and when in the summer of 1864, with a large force under his command, he failed to take Petersburg, at the time defended by a few hundred home guards only, made up of old men and boys and [17] falling back suffered himself in the words of Gen. Grant "to be bottled up" at Bermuda Hundred, it fairly gave up the ghost. My sermon, in stating the facts it did, was hard on Butler's military reputation, and hence the virulence of his wrath against me—and the fact that my statements were all true, and he knew they were, only made it worse for me.

Such is my "theory of the case", but the facts are before you and you must judge for yourselves. The truth is, Gen. Benj. F. Butler was as great a failure as a military commander as he was as a military governor—his incapacity as a general securing for him, from his superior officers the title of "the bottle up;" and his incapacity as a military governor, securing for him in the cities over which he ruled, New Orleans and Norfolk, the title of "the Beast", not complimentary titles, either of them.

I have dwelt thus particularly upon what I believe to be the true theory of my case for two reasons: (1) Because an unusually severe sentence is naturally associated with preeminent crime; whereas neither then nor now does my conscience accuse me of crime in this matter: certainly I committed no crime I have ever repented of, and (2) I wish to exonerate President Lincoln and the officers of the United States Army from any willing participation in the injustice done me. When my case was brought before President Lincoln, by personal friends at the North, he promptly ordered my release; and by the officers of the Army with the exception of Butler, I was already fairly treated. If I suffered hardships at their hands, it was only such hardship as was necessary incident to a condition of war. That I was thoroughly disloyal, in the sense then put upon that word, I openly acknowledged [18] then as I do now. That I refused in the public services of the church to pray for the President of the United States, in the sense of "praying that the army and navy of the United States might be successful in putting down the wicked rebellion", I do not deny—indeed, I thank God I was never guilty of such hypocrisy as would have been implied by such an act; and had my church been taken from me, and I sent within the Confederate lines, as a military necessity as was done in some other cases, I should have had nothing of which I could fairly complain. But the hardships I suffered were already terminated, the result of personal spite on the part of the petty tyrant who inflicted them. As a Christian man I have forgiven Butler the wrong he did me—but if I should say that I regarded him as an honest man, a gallant soldier, or as a competent military governor, I should say more than I believe. This much concerning "the beauties", in spirit and conduct "of the Beast". A few words now respecting prison life as it fell to my lot.

When first arrested, I was confined for a few days in one of the casements of Fort Monroe. I was then sent to Fort Hatteras at the south end of Hatteras Island, where I remained something over five months, and then was transferred to "The Bull-Pen", back of Bermuda Hundred, where I remained from the middle of August to the middle of September; and was from there sent through the lines to Richmond.

My prison house at Hatteras was a structure of rough board, built upon piles to place it beyond the reach of high tides; and though pleasant enough in warm dry weather, I cannot say so much for it in cold weather and when it rained. I was sent there early in March 1864. That year we had a heavy snowstorm about the middle of that month, followed by several cold days; cold enough for ice to form an inch thick. There was no stove, nor any other means provided for warming the building, and we prisoners would have frozen, had we not by jumping and dancing warmed ourselves up and kept our blood in circulation. At the Bull-Pen our shelter was furnished by common army tents, ten or twelve prisoners being assigned to each tent. In both places the prisoners had to make the best provision they could for sleeping. At the Bull-Pen I should have been compelled to sleep upon the bare ground, had I not procured an old flour barrel, and breaking it up, placed the spring staves underneath me. There too, most of the prisoners being what were called "bounty-jumpers" from Butler's own troops, I had to sleep with my shoes and hat on, to prevent their being stolen. As for food, I was given enough of it, such as it was, and much of the time it was such as the soldiers received. I never was very particular about the kind of food set before me, but, if hungry could always make a meal on anything eatable. After my return to Norfolk, after the war was over, I recollect saying to my wife—"You have often heard me say, I can eat anything if it is clean; I will now say, I can eat anything, clean or dirty."

The sorest trial of my prison life, one from which it was impossible to escape did not concern matters of bed or board, immediately. Moses in the account of the creation he gives us, in the first chapter of Genesis, divides the animal kingdom into four great classes: the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, cattle and creeping things. Well the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle did not trouble me. Would that I could say as much of the remaining class. Until the experience of my prison life enlightened me, I never understood why the third in order of the plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians in Moses' day produced so profound an impression upon the cleanly Egyptian priest and magicians as to cause them to exclaim, "This is the finger of God." I think I understand it, in part at least, now. But enough of prison life and its trials. The little time that remains to me, I will employ in giving briefly some —


I went to the Army early in October 1864; my special field of labor being the Third Corps of the Army, then in winter quarters before Petersburg. The encampment of this Corps, stretched from about two miles north of the Appomattox to Hatcher's Run, a distance of some twelve miles. It was on this part of Gen. Lee's line, most of the fighting done that winter occurred; and it was here that his line was finally broken, on the fatal first of April 1865. Of the military transactions of that last winter of the war, I shall say nothing. They have been recorded by other and abler pens than mine.

During the first year of the war I had seen a good deal of the army stationed around Norfolk; having in common with the Pastors of other churches in our city, devoted the afternoon every sabbath to preaching to the soldiers, at the various points at which they were encamped. When I first saw the army in front of Petersburg, made up, in fact, of the same troops, I was forcibly struck with the change in their appearance. The gloss and trim of the early days of the war had disappeared, and the men themselves hardly seemed the same. Bronzed by exposure to the weather, very plainly clad, but with their arms well kept, and handled like everyday things they were familiar with, they stood before me an army of veterans. Familiarity with danger seemed to have rendered them insensible to it. As illustrating this let me mention a fact or two. In front of Petersburg the lines of the two armies were near together. For the protection of our men, "cover ways", as they were called, had been constructed for communication between the lines and Petersburg; and a person walking on one of these covered ways was tolerably safe from the fire of the enemy. And yet, throughout the winter, I never saw one of the soldiers make use of these covered ways, wet and muddy as they necessarily became after the fall rains; but all walked straight over the hill exposed to the fire of the enemy all the way. On a bright sabbath in February, I had gone to a log chapel north of the Appomattox, to preach to a Georgia Brigade stationed there. At the appointed hour the soldiers came in and filled the chapel. After the service had begun, and just as I commenced preaching, the enemy began shelling that part of the lines, and the first shell thrown struck and shattered a tree not fifty yards from the open door of the chapel. Some of the men who sat near the door, and could see the shattered tree, turned and looked at it for a minute, but not a man left his seat. And during the sermon which followed, though several other shells struck and burst near the chapel, I never preached to a more attentive congregation than the one I preached to that sabbath morning.

A profound respect for religion and a desire to hear the gospel, seemed to be general throughout the army. I never heard an oath uttered by one of the soldiers in camp during the six and one half months I was with them. I preached to them often, sometimes on the hill-side, under the open canopy of heaven; oftener in the rough log chapels the soldiers had built with their own hands, at various points along the lines; sometimes night after night for weeks together; and in all my ministry I never preached to more attentive congregations. Some of the most cherished recollections of all my public ministry, are recollections of preaching in the army during the winter of 1864 and 1865.

Yet there was nothing gloomy in the minds and temper of the soldiers, even in this time of sorest trial. They bore their hardships cheerfully, and were ready for any fun that was giving, as at other and happier times.

This respect for religion and decided tone of religious feeling which characterized the Army of Northern Virginia was owing, I think in part at least, to the influence and conduct of their two leading and idolized generals, Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas J. Jackson, "Stonewall Jackson", as he was commonly called. Gen. Jackson had fallen before I went to the army, and so I have no personal recollections concerning him. Gen. Lee had his H. Q. near Petersburg during the last winter of the war. As illustrating his religious spirit, let me mention an incident which came under my own observation. A small chapel in the outskirts of Petersburg had been set apart for the special use of the soldiers, and there was preaching there every sabbath afternoon, and this service was generally well attended. One stormy sabbath afternoon, I happened to be in Petersburg, and went to this chapel, hardly expecting to find any congregation there—in fact, but a very small congregation did appear. But Gen. Lee was one of that small congregation, though he must have ridden some two miles through the driving storm in order to be present on the occasion, and to all appearances he was one of the most devout worshippers there.

During the retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox Court House, I was with the army, and made the march on foot, most of the time with the baggage train. It was a long, weary march. After the first night and day, for the retreat of the part of the army I was with began after the night had set in, fighting was going on much of the time; and our progress was slow on that account, as well as because of the wretched condition of the roads. Although it was tramp, tramp, tramp, from early in the morning—sometimes before daylight—until late at night, we did not make more than 12 or 13 miles in 24 hours. I have heard it said that in time of peace nobody ever saw a dead mule. Those of us who were with the Army of Northern Virginia during that retreat saw not one, but many dead mules; proving that animal, though very hardy, yet mortal, as other animals are. Xenophon tells us in his Cyropaedia, that under the training of the Persian King, his father, the boy Cyrus had very plain fare, with hunger as a sauce to make it palatable. Well, our soldiers had a plenty of this royal Persian sauce during the retreat, and I can testify, that when a man can get anything to eat with it, it deserves all the commendation Xenophon gives. Even raw pork and parched corn taste good when thus treated. But our soldiers bore their troubles, not only without murmuring but cheerfully.

On Sabbath morning, April 9, 1865, the part of the baggage train in which I was started early, but it was soon found necessary to seek shelter from the hot fire of the enemy under the protection of a steep hill. In a very little time it became evident to all, that a large body of Gen. Grant's troops were just before us, barring our way. Whilst the baggage train was waiting under the shelter of the hill, I made my way off to the top of another hill about a mile off that I might see how matters were progressing. Whilst sitting there, under a large oak I noticed that the firing suddenly ceased, and at once made my way back to the baggage train again; there to learn, after a short time, that the firing had ceased because of Gen. Lee's surrender. As I sat under the oak, I saw, I suppose, the last shot fired by the Army of Northern Virginia.

At first, I could hardly believe that the surrender had taken place; for though I knew that our army at the time the retreat commenced was much smaller than the army opposed to it, and that during the retreat our numbers had been constantly diminishing through the capture of one small body of troops after another; yet, in common with most of the soldiers, I had hoped against hope. I knew enough of the condition of things throughout the South to know that the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia virtually closed the war; and so that Sabbath, though the sky was bright and clear overhead, was to me, one of the saddest days of my life. Yet, as I now see, God can bring good even out of sorrow, that there may be a sun shining behind the darkest cloud that ever cast it shadow upon our life.

The poet, Ryan, in his "Conquered Banner" has given true expression to the feeling universal in what remained of the Army of Northern Virginia when compelled to surrender, and furl the banner they had fought under so long and well.

"Oh, 'tis hard for us to fold it,
Hard to think there's none to hold it;
Hard that those who once unrolled it
Now must furl it, with a sigh.
Furl that Banner, true 'tis gory,
Yet 'tis wreathed around with glory,.
And 'twill live in song and story,
Though its folds are in the dust;
For its fame on brightest pages
Penned by poets and by sages,
Shall go sounding down the ages,
Furl its folds though now we must."


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