A 2009 Introduction to The Effects of the Battle-Axe
In 1811, Timothy Watrous, Jr., of the Rogerene community at Quakertown (Ledyard, Connecticut), published a book entitled The Battle-Axe. Because no established printer wished to be associated with its controversial contents, Timothy had printed it himself on a press built specifically for the purpose by his younger brother Zachariah, who died before the printing was completed. In his preface, Timothy describes a series of thefts—and more particularly, the train of events that followed—that was (in his words) “the moving cause of our writing.” But from this particular cause he proceeds, in the body of the book, to what is a general and (so he claims) a Biblical argument against any linkage of social status and perceived piety (which, he says, is certain to produce hypocrisy and to corrupt the Church)—an argument of special poignancy at a time when state and church were still officially linked in Connecticut (they remained so until a new state constitution was ratified in 1818). Today, The Battle-Axe, which went on to appear in a second (1841) and a third (1927) edition, has become the book for which the Rogerenes of Quakertown are best known. Yet a second book, now generally overlooked, was printed on that same specially built press.
In January 1812, Timothy Watrous, Jr., published The Effects of the Battle-Axe, continuing the martial metaphor used in The Battle-Axe by giving it the following subtitle: War Operations Carried on by Its Authors on One Side; and the Advocates of Priest-Craft on the Other. This twenty-three-page sequel is, in fact, his reply to the critics of the first work; but it begins with the charge that those critics, rather than honorably advancing arguments of their own, have resorted to “false and slanderous reports,” taking advantage of the difficulties of one of the Rogerenes (Samuel Chapman) in an attempt to humiliate and harm the Watrous family. What follows that charge is Timothy’s rehearsal of the facts of the case, which—apart from the use to which he puts them in bolstering the arguments of The Battle-Axe—are of interest to us today for the insight they give us into the personalities and the setting that helped to produce it.
The following digital transcription of The Effects of the Battle-Axe attempts to reproduce all details of the original, including punctuation and non-standard spellings. Bracketed words represent a “best possible reading” of damaged portions of the copy of the text from which this transcription has been made. In order to aid today’s reader, any names or references about which he or she might need information are linked by superscript numbers (in hypertext) to a section of editor’s notes that follows the transcription.
In addition to the version in HTML that appears below, The Effects of the Battle-Axe can be viewed or downloaded as a Word document.
Of the Battle-Axe, or
Carried on by its authors
On one side;
And the advocates of priest-craft
On the other.
Published on the occasion,
and containing the confession of Samuel
Chapman to the world.
As figs and water cannot unite; so truth and error is at war
with each other.
By the authors of the Battle-Ax.
N.B. The above mentioned confession of Samuel Chapman
was offered to be printed July, AD 1811. But the printer being
full of his other business, could not attend to it till now.
Printed by Timothy Waterous jun’r.
By reason of certain circumstances respective to our first publication called the battle-ax, we are indebted to submit to the public a second. Particularly, respecting certain false reports and vexatious proceedings against its authors, not only to destroy the arguments therein contained, but also to destroy the propriety of its publication. It was our first request in that treatise, that any of our friends that should see our arguments not to be founded on the truth, would publicly expose them, that in all cases truth might be promoted in preference to errors: if a book can go out into the world so contrary to the present religious proceedings of mankind, as that is, and yet can’t be answered no better than to raise up false and slanderous reports against its authors in order to destroy its arguments that way, it is an object of great importance, and ought to be noticed: it is never worth while for a man to undertake to vindicate his own character in a neighborhood where he is acquainted, and in a case that concerns nobodys interest but his own; because time will make it known[.] But when the defamation of a mans character becomes a public injury, it is then time for him to take the matter up and put it where it belongs: especially in this case between
truth, and priest-craft, which is now pending before the world; because this has ever been the case with the advocates of priest-craft, when any one has undertaken to destroy their system by fair arguments, and they finding themselves not able to defend it by the like fair means, would raise up false reports against the author of such arguments, till the speech of people were turned against him, and then draw him before the civil power and condemn him to death, and say they were going to weed the world of such pestilent fellows. And this is the war that has been carried on, which has caused all the bloodshed for religion through all the dark ages of the world.
But we have to encourage the world, that this war shall be to an end: that the approaching light, is fast eclipsing their power; and that their craft is now on the declining side of the wheel of time, speedily going unto the place from whence none ever returned.
The Effects of the Battle-Axe, or
Soon after the enemy had discovered the battle-axe, they attack’t us upon surprise; in the following manner.
Samuel Chapman, (one of our soldiers,) got strayed from the camp and fell in with a party of the enemy, and after they had severely wounded him, they took him prisoner; by whom they obtained information of our positions. They then attack’t us, first, by circulating false reports of our proceedings with the said Samuel Chapman, till they had got spread though the town. Then by the assistance of their [aid] he sued his brother in law, one of the authors of the battle-ax; and summoned him to court at the distance of three, or four miles; and there, before a respectable number of the inhabitance of the town, got judgment against him, in an action of trespass, on a writ in which there was not one word of truth respecting the circumstance that caused the suit.
But the said Samuel Chapman knowing himself to be on the enemies side, and that he was fighting against his own nation, to their, and his own disadvantage, found means to extricate himself from them, and left their standard, and come back to us, who has informed us of their position, which has enabled us to attack them again, as the following statement will show: taken from his own hand.
The Confession of Samuel Chapman,
to the world.
I feel myself indebted to my fellow-creatures to publish and expose my outgoings, inasmuch as I have strayed from our profession, which, according to the Scriptures is the only way to serve Christ; that it may be a warning to all people to whom it may come, not to follow evil counsel, when they forsake the guide of their youth, and forget the covenant of their God: for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be made known.
As I am about to publish my proceedings in times back, the truth is the only instrument that I shall make use of, for it is like a plumb that hangs down which will swing till it centres where it belongs, which in this case, when the world shall see, they must needs think that I am under obligation to expose my outgoings, seeing I have strayed so far from my
profession: and been so intimate with wicked men: and have made so free with vile language.
In AD’ 1808. I taking on me a great cumber of business it became an embarrassment to my spiritual travel, I not considering that a man cannot serve two masters thought to gain some property; but when I had let my mind go to gratify my desire, and set my affections on things of the world and not on Christ, the love of God was taken from me and I was wholly left to be ruled by the enemy of mankind, and carried by him into all kinds of confusion; when ere I could get in vain company I was the highest that would be there in joke, and blackguard, and frolic; and at length I began to grow cross and find fault with my family, without reason, and I took in the spirit of envy at my brethren. One day a number of my brethren come to my house to see us, and stayed a little while, and when they were gone, I thought to myself, never will I suffer them to come into my house again, and fell to cursing, and swearing, and said I would kill the first one that ever entered my house; for which I got my ax and put it behind the door, and swore that I would split the first dam’d rascals head that entered the door again. Such behavior caused them to fear what would be the consequences. They grew shy of my house. I would often threaten their lives, till they thought I had not my reason; so they come and desired me to go to my wifes fathers, which I refused; they then carried me and my family, because they knew not what else to do: after my family had been there, two, or three days, and I come to talk with them about it, and they perceiving me to be rational; said they had done wrong, and would restore my family and make all good to my satisfaction. Then it pleased God to lay before my eyes the danger that I was in, which caused me to search my heart which I did, with earnest prayer to God: my prayer was: Lord, have mercy on a poor sinner! And I can truly say, that he is a God of patience; for he took me out of the deep, and set me in a dry place, and filled my heart with rejoicing, so that I could truly say with the Psalmist, ps’. 10. 1. “Bless the Lord O my soul, all that is within me bless his holy name.”
This was in the winter of 1808.
After this, I lived in a steady and quiet way for some time. But notwithstanding I had felt the sting caused by my fall;
and seen the great mercy of God in forgiving me; yet I have to show to the world a grievous, and sore fatal fall then the one related.
My outgoings this second time (which began in the autumn of 1810,) was first caused by my own natural mother, and her aunt, that lived in the house with her, they both formerly belonging to the same church; but having strayed from the truth and fallen under the counsel of false professors, who were at this time intimately at their house; become a snare to me: for notwithstanding their outward show of righteousness, their house become a place of vain and wicked company.
Now when I was about to leave my profession again, it put me into a great consternation what would be the effect; but my great inclination to get the world, on one side; and the insnaring counsel of my mothers house on the other, caused me to yield. (The Lord lay not this sin to my charge) Prov’s 7.21 “With her much fair speech she caused him to yield with the flattering of her lips she forced him.”
Now when I had forsaken Christ, and his commands had become to me of no affect, but in stead of love to my brethren they had become my enemy’s, this brought me into a worse state then I had ever been in before; for I had not only fallen a victim to all my old sins, but I had now become companion to those enemies of the truth, who were willing to justify my wickedness to conceal their own; so that it opened before me a door to all kinds of wickedness. I strictly commanded my wife not to go to meeting: my company was men of foul and wicked language; and my conversation growing worse, till it come to dealing with my wife in acts of violence, and threatening the lives of her friends, till my wife seeing that I was going into confusion, began to think of leaving my house; her father hearing of my threats and fearing what might happen, come up to my house one day, and said he come to talk with me, at which I fell into a rapture, and told him I would show him the door dam’d soon: after he was gone, my wife and I got into a dispute, and I threatened so high that after my passion was over, one day as I was to work from home, I began to reflect on my past spent life, that such a wicked life as I was spending, would bring me to everlasting ruin; and as I thus considered, I thought I would come back of my wicked deeds; and as I
had publicly wronged my fellow-creatures, so I would publish my confession. But this was not so to be: for when I come home at evening I found my wife not at home, but had taken that opportunity in my absence to go to her friends, and had taken with her a bed; and yarn, and flax, to make a piece of cloth; and seeing my family gone, I thought to myself, what does this mean, why should I have such a feeling to come back to my wickedness: I went to bed and lay and thought upon it, and having heard that my wifes friends had assisted her in carrying away the forementioned things, and thinking they had laid themselves open to a lawsuit, but not considering my own situation and the cause of it; began to trifle with my premeditated confession, till I concluded to put the civil law in force against them that had been my dear and well beloved brethren, and whom at this time I well knew wish’t me no harm. And after I had concluded on this; Satan took every advantage to lead me deeper into sin. Then with the advice of some of my counselors, I sued my wifes parents, and made it my study who were their enemies, that I might the better accomplish my design. I went to a Lawyer in New-London, who was a Justice of the peace, and made known to him something of the case; he asked me how much there was of the flax, and yarn; I told him I could not tell, but concluded that there was between one, and six, pounds of the flax; and between twenty, and forty skeins of the yarn. The lawyer, likewise asked me who I would have to try the case? Then I thought of all the Justices in the Town, and when he nominated one, I tell’d him no. Then I remembered that I had heard what Docr’ Miner had talked about a woman of that profession, that had died some years ago; as though they would not send for a doctor in cases of necessity. And I tell’d him, I would have the case tried before Sq’r Miner. I likewise made choice of a constable that was soninlaw to the Deacon of the Church, my mothers counselor, to serve the writ.
Now after I had done this and come to go home and go to bed; that scripture kept in my mind, Heb’. 6. 4 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance: seeing they crucify to them-
selves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
I cannot make known my feelings at this time; better, then by comparing the writ with the true state of the case.
This was the contents of the writ, beginning at these words. “Whereupon the plantiff declares and says, that on the 5th day of june inst’, he had of his own proper estate, about 40 skeins of tow and linen yarn, of the value of five dollars, and was also on said 5th day of june, possessed and owned, of his own proper estate a quantity of flax, containing about six lb; of the value of, and well worth two dollars; which said articles of flax and yarn, the said Timothy Waterous, and Content Watrous, without law or right, against the mind and will of the plantiff; and with force, and arms, by the hand of the said Content, took, and carried out of the custody, and out of the dwelling house of the plantiff, &c.”
This was the contents of the writ. And now I shall give the true state of the case. My wifes mother coming to my house, and seeing the necessity of clothing my children, asked my wife if her yarn was ready to weave? and said my wifes sister would weave it for her when it was ready: my wife replyed that she could not get it all spun; her mother said, she would take some flax and spin, to make it out; so my wife gave her a pound or two of flax, and she said she would take it and if there was more then would make out the yarn for the piece of cloth, she would return it; not mistrusting that my wife was going to leave my house at this time. This was all that she or my wifes father had done towards carrying away from my house either flax, or yarn.
Now, to think, how the spirit of Satan, and my counselors without, was urging me to go forward with such a case as this; and at the same time my conscience burning within me telling me to withdraw; may give some idea of my feelings at this time: which I dare say was (in some degree,) like that of Judas, who put an end to his own life. That night when the scripture was running in my mind, before mentioned[,] I was struck with such horror, and fear, that I lay great part of the night without shutting my eyes not knowing but I should be struck dead before morning. But notwithstanding all this, being incouraged by my counselors went to the court and there met my lawyer, and took him aside and [desired him] not to suffer their evidence to be given without an oath:
knowing that it was against their conscience to swear in any case, and that they would suffer wrong, before they would do wrong: so he went in and the court was opened, and at the request of the lawyer the justice forbid their evidence to be given without an oath, and likewise brought them in guilty in these words: “It is the opinion of this court that the defendants are guilty, in manner and form as the plantiff in his declaration has alleged.” Now after the court was over and I had come home; notwithstanding my counselors come round me on every side, encouraging me, and offering me money to go on with the law, as I had now got another wait; yet I knowing (that in this way) I was speedily going to ruin; was brought to a consternation to turn back, with a small hope, that God had not finally forsaken me.
Composed on the foregoing circumstances, on that memorable day when Samuel Chapman first returned.
Alas my brother art thou slain!
Or why art thou cast down,
Did Satan sting thee; hath thy soul,
Receiv’d its fatal wound?
Would God that I had died for thee,
Had’st thou but kept the field;
And like Christs warrior manfully,
Had rather died then yield.
Should not the stars retain their course?
Nor from their circuit stray;
Left wandering from their station’s bounds,
They lose the suns bright ray.
Should not Christs warriors keep their lines?
Nor break their Admirals ranks;
Left wandering from the Son of God;
They land on Satans banks.
This is the fate, of my poor mate,
He’s lost his souls reward;
And done despite, and Judas like,
Has slain his blessed Lord:
He’s crucified his Lord afresh,
The murder being done;
Satan is loos’d, he send’s his dart’s,
To slay perdition’s son.
How can I see his dart’s thus fly,
His precious soul to slay,
Though ransom’d by the Son of God,
Thus vilely cast away?
Stay, hold, before the fatal stroke
Christ cuts the captors band,
And lo our brother dom’d to die,
Comes back with sword in hand.
Great joy our ranks are fill’d again,
Let every man prove true;
And though our army’s been repuls’t,
Fall back, and form a new.
Gird on the truth of every side,
Through centre, wing, and rear;
And storm their castle fore, and aft;
For through we meen to steer.
Though lies like pikeds guard’s their trench,
Church members leads their van;
Though truth confined she now breaks forth;
And brings them cap in hand.
How glorious must her foes appear,
When sought a captives ade.
And fix’t a sword to slay themselves;
And now must feel its blade;
[Thus] every one of Ishmaels sons,
That ventur’d in the field;
Must rue the day they pitch’t their fight,
Against truth’s unbatter’d shield:
[Because] kind heaven pleads her cause,
Who’s aid she does implore;
[But cast] out mocking Ishmaels sons;
And Isaac’s sons restore.
[If] they love cursing, let them curse;
[And] let them not be bless’t
[Draw] over them confusion’s line,
[And] clouds of emptiness.
In order to possess ourselves of all the ground from whence we have been driven, and promptly restore to the public the natural force of the arguments contained in the battle-axe, it will be needful (first to the Baptist Church, and then to the public,) to give a sketch of the foregoing transactions, and likewise a caution to the secular power.
To the first Baptist Church of Groton, directed to her oldest Deacon.
DEACON Gallup, I received your letter bearing date april 20, AD 1811. In which (by way of ridicule) you informed me, that there was to be a meeting at your Ministers house, the next Thursday, to contribute something to him; and if I could attend and take the minutes down, and put them to press; with an appendix of my proceedings with Samuel Chapman, it would oblige some of my readers &c.
It was my full determination after I had been to your contribution meeting agreeable to your request, and taken down the minutes of your proceedings, and sent you them lines: not to carry the content any further; unless, moved to it by some future provocation. And now, feeling the respects that is due from me to your gray hairs, whilst under obligation of my obedience to Christs commands, (thou shalt love they neighbour as thy self:) there is nothing that could induce me to publically take your name at this time neither for worldly interest or honour; but only for that part of your conduct by which the truth has been embarrassed to the public’s injury, I now transmit to you the following.
What induced you to appear at court, in the case of Samuel Chapman and his father in law, and there publicly show [no] disapprobation to family quarrels; when you, and some [men] of your Church, had been doing your worst in sowing discord among brethren? Or what injury has any of us, done to any of you? Or what misunderstanding ever existed between us who have lived near neighbors together all the days of our lives, till the affair of the corn, and finishing [the] house? And how often have we entreated you to come forward with these, and all other differences, if any there [be] existing between us, and settle them in a friendly way [and] you have wholly refused: but have now taken the advantage
of this our difficult case, and kept back in the dark, by sowing discord among brethren; and sending out the smoke of deception through the town, till it has entangled the civil authority so as not to be capable of executing justice: therefore may your proceedings fail to accomplish your design against the truth: and instead of weakening the argument contained in the battle-axe, may it prove a second witness to the truth of the statement therein contained, of your preceedings from first to last about the corn.
You was the first man my brother went to, (after he had try’d to settle that affair with your brother, the same man which has now been encouraging Samuel Chapman, that he should not lack money to carry on law against his friends.) And he informed you, that one of your brethren had wronged him, and was not willing to give satisfaction; and you telled him you would see it settled, but did not; then after he had waited a week, or more, he went to your Minister and informed him; but still could get no satisfaction; and by this time it had got out round the neighborhood, so that you were telling one story to make your side good , and we were telling another to make good the other side; and this was the example that professed Christians were setting before the world. Then we knowing that this was not right, went to your conference meeting without taking any advantage of you, at a time when nobody was there as I remember but your church members, and our selves, (except Cap’ Elisha Haley, who accidentally come by, and stopped a few minutes;) and there laid before you the great impropriety of suffering such things to go unsettled, and that [we] would do any thing that was reasonable to have it settled, [but] you refused. After this, we went twice more to your meetings, making it more and more public, to provoke you [to make] settlement: then my brother drew up his complaint and presented it to your association, which was in these words:
“Whereas a noted member of a Baptist Church in Groton trespassed against me, by concealing my property in [a deceitful] manner, the amount to me unknown; and I have [put it] before the leaders of said Church, in a proper manner [; but the] Minister and Deacon of said Church have undertaken [to vindicate] the cause and have misrepresented the fact, [and then] conducted in a clandestine way, according to Psalm 50. 18. “When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with
him. v’s 19. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.” Therefore I hold it before this association, and include every member that is in fellowship with said Church, and I shall firmly stand to maintain the fact, with sufficient proof, without retraction, until I am called in question &c. ZACHARIAH WATEROUS. to the Baptist Stonington Association. Oct’ 20. ad 1807.”
This was the words of the complaint that he presented to the association, which before he had read through, yourself was one, that arose and cry’d out, and made such an uproar among the people that he could not read it through, until afterwards he read it out of doors at the request of the spectators. And after you had compelled us to take our own way, and have published through the New-England States, from Boston, to New-York; it is lamentable to think; that there is not life enough in the whole order of your profession, to stir up the inside of such a case, for fear of defiling the outside; but to add sin to hypocrisy, you have now taken sides against your neighbor, whose conduct toward you has been blameless, and even before the court could have witnessed a good conversation, where he was unjustly sentenced to pay cost, and damage; and if it had been a case of importance might by the same rule have suffered the sentence of death.
Deacon Gallup, I intreat you to look at the importance of supporting such a Church in the presence of the community; whose character will not bear the inspection of the truth; and because I brought the scriptures against the practice of sounding the trumpet at the giving of alms; that you should send me such an insulting letter as you did.
Such conduct as this, it is, that has emboldened me to publicly call for your attention. Not that I would undertake [to] admonish you as my equal, but as an aged man I now entreat you: for I feel my self inexcusable, (since you have [made me] the challenge) until I have clearly submitted the [following] supposition to the judgement of your own conscience[.] Suppose there to be in the Town of Groton a very [populous] Church? Then suppose you are appointed Deacon, or [trustee] of such an incorporated company. Then, in [pursuance] of your office and in support of your plan; suppose you [go around] to all the women in the district of such society, [and] give them an invitation to spin some yarn to make out a [contribution] to present to the Minister at a time appointed:
without partiality you call on the poor as well as the rich, because, that would not be right to slight the poor?
Then as I am your neighbour, you sends me a billet informing me of the circumstance, with a request to come and take down the minutes of your proceedings: so at the request I comes to your meeting, where I finds women of every description, each with her budget, coming from all quarters; at which sight, for a few minutes, I am struck with astonishment, to see a contrivance show the ingenuity of its authors to carry on a plan that holds in contempt the principles of religion on which said plan is said to be established!
Here is an elegant House, and a wealthy Gentleman, with a family dressed in the foremost fashion, and a number of his connexions collected together, all in high spirits: and here is a number of poor women, with a proportion of girls that works by the week as the only means of clothing themselves, are come to contribute something to him: and yet the thing is all perfectly right: the whole speech of people is in favour of it: there is no possible means of disputing the justice, or equity of such a plan; without injuring a mans character. Then when all things are performed, decently and in order; I begin to be filled with agitation of mind, what to do with myself: I have taken down the minutes of your proceeding[;] I can’t go back; and to publish the truth I shall expose your character and my own; and to vindicate such a plan is against my conscience; so that I am brought to the necessity, of two evils to choose the least. Then after mutual deliberation, notwithstanding I know such conduct to be an imposition on the rights of man, and the principles of religion, in that it not only exposes the weakness of our female sex, but without regard to either law, or testimony, the Deacon himself, the Church’s only appointed Agent to provide for the poor, is the sole instrument of robbing them of their labour and giving it to the rich: yet, upon consideration that the speech of people and self righteousness, goes together, and that they will bestow on a man more unmerited praise then the truth itself, suppose I am brought to a conclusion to wrong my own conscience and fall in with your plan. And so having fallen under the control of a deceived [heart], I am the man according to your wish, to make out the returns of your meeting, I am a suitable mouth to blow the trumpet for you, I can make it found through the world
with such applause, that it shall not only open a door for repeated contributions, but it shall be such an example that it shall convict people of their negligence toward their Priest. Then under the influence of the custom of the time, and from the study of human nature I publish’s the following.
“On Thursday the 26 ult, a number of respectable ladies of the town of Groton met at the house of Elder John G. Wightmans, and presented him with upwards of 300 run of Yarn, besides a number of other presents of note; after which he delivered them a well adapted discourse from Isa. xxxii. 8. Elder John Lamb from Long Island being present made a short and pathetic address to the youth; and Deacon Gallup closed publish worship by a well adapted prayer.* A table was then spread for tea prepared by the liberality of the company of which about 106 ladies partook besides a number of gentleman who were present. The good order and decorum which prevailed through the whole, encreased the pleasure and conferred honour on each visitant. The leisure moments were employed either in christian conversation, or in singing to God’s praise the Songs of Zion.
(Con. Gaz. May 2. 1810.)
Deacon Gallup, I say, look at the importance of supporting such a Church in the presence of the community whose character cannot bear the inspection of the scriptures, but as [soon as] she is brought up to be tried by the standard of truth so soon she is brought to the necessity of defending her character by private slander against public print, till she steps in all the tracks of the scribes and pharisees even to the betraying of the innocent, and will sacrifice all her virtue under the vail, before she will uncover her vice?
* Mat vii. 21. Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord: shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The day that I attended the contribution meeting Deacon Gallup was so elevated with success that he often repeated his maker’s name in his last prayer it being counted he used the words O Lord, 26 times!
T W j.
And to conclude, if you shall at any time humble your selves so as to offer to settle with your neighbours by the rules that is given in the scriptures, then may your neighbours be as humble as your selves, until all misunderstanding is [sent] to the land of forgetfulness. It was in friendship we first called on you for a settlement, and that we still insist on, and if you shall again undertake to destroy our arguments by unfair means, either by availing your selves with the civil law, or any other way, without coming out on fair ground, may you again fail in your attempt, till our arguments shall go forth in rank with all other arguments of truth, directed against the fabric of Priest-craft until there is not one stone left on another.
OBSERVATIONS TO THE PUBLIC.
By the form in which we are carrying on the war, it will be natural to conclude that both parties are to blame, and that in discovering hypocrisy in others, we show as great a proportion of it in our selves, and that it is only a house divided against it self, Priest-craft, against Priest-craft. But we have this to encourage the public, that the destruction of Priest-craft is so indispensably for the good of man-kind, that it makes but little odds to the world how her advocates are intercepted if it is between two stools if they only come to the ground. And furthermore, we are willing to offer up our share of hypocrisy on the alter of sacrifice, for the sake of discovering the rest: from which principle we claim our right to the standard that authorises every man to pass his judgement on a tree, by its fruit. mat’ 18.15. “Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”
In the first place, it may be considered that the Baptist Ston-
ington-association, is a member of the community.
Secondly, that she has been accused of walking disorderly.
Thirdly, that by her total neglect, she has refused to hear said accusation, which has been held before her, from step, to step, and from time, to time, till it is openly published.
Fourthly, in this state of negligence, we have the authority of the scriptures to pronounce her (in the presence of the community,) as an heathen man and a publican.
Fifthly, in case she shall pursue her outward form of worship in such a barefaced manner as to venture to outlook her accusation, then she shall be termed a branch of Priest-craft to stand in rank with the scribes and pharisees.
Sixthly, it shall be the duty of every repenting sinner that is under concern for their soul, to shun all her calls and invitations.
And lastly, it shall be the duty of the public in general, when any man shall get into conversation on the subject with any of her members, to face them down, and show them the inconsistency of supporting a cause by private argument against public print.
CAUTION TO THE SECULAR POWER, OR
Most excellent legislator, we have this case to hold before you, though of itself, but little importance, yet in the nature of it, a clear demonstration to show you the mischief that may be brought about by the intrigue of a false religion, in any town, state, or country, where she has the sway: that it may awaken you to see the necessity of an immediate dissolution of the union of Church and State.
To think that an innocent man may be taken from his lawful calling as the defendants were in this case, who never discovered the whole plot laid against them, till before the court, one of their sons hearing the inconsistency of the lawyers plea, drawn from a corrupt statement, arose to speak, and looking about, saw some of the church members, and likewise the decision of the case in the Judges countenance, discovered their whole plan. The defendants were taken from their respectful callings, were summoned before the author-
ity of the State, where their case was represented a family quarrel, farther against a son, and son against father, brother against brother, and sister against sister, reined up before the court, who had forbid their evidence without an oath; so that by this time their case contained in the writ was no object, but turn which way it would must operate against the defendants; and this all brought about by the intrigue of a number of certain religious professors; and no way for the defendants but to retreat and give them the ground, which was followed by exclaimes of triumph; and must have concluded with a blot on the defendants character, to have given place to their enemies at another time to carry their malignant design into effect against them; had it not been for the worthy deed of the plaintiff in turning truths evidence.
Not that we think that it was a contrived plan of the authority, to give in a wrong judgment, but on their side that it was rather done through ignorance, and so much greater caution is the example.
There is no greater caution against long existing errours, than the evils they produce. False religion is a long existing errour, and the evils she has brought about by decoying the secular power are innumerable, and which the secular power (one day) must answer for. Think of Pilate, who at the request of the chief Priests slew the saviour of the world, after he had determined to let him go: and likewise Herod, who killed James the brother of John with the sword, and because he saw it pleased the Jews, proceeded further to take Peter also. Look at the case of Paul, against whom the high Priest descended, with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against him; and notwithstanding the innocency of Pauls case, Felix, to show the Jews a pleasure left him bound, to have another trial before Festus. Think of all the innocent blood that had been shed by that united power of the Church, and State; and you may have some idea of the absurdity of that union, a plan that has been a vexation to the world, an imposition on the rights of man, and a disgrace to the legislator since the day it was first carried into execution, as is clearly shown by the foregoing instances; for what can be a greater imposition on the rights of man than to take an innocent man from his lawful calling and bring him before the authority and pronounce him a transgressor, and punish him for the breach of
the laws of God and man. Or what can be a greater disgrace to the legislator than to see her appointed ministers of Gods courts of justice, sitting condemning the innocent and clearing the guilty, whilst enrapt in the smoke of delusion, which is the very breath of a false religion.
Do you think (by your wisdom) you can defend a true religion with carnal weapons, and assist Christ the only succourer of his own Church? no such thing; it is not in your power to serve God and mammon: no man can serve two masters: no man will make a good subject to one kingdom, so long as he hangs to another. If you want to know the nature of a religion that may be defended by carnal weapons; look at an old sordid church-member that has spent his days in extracting an interest from the poor, and hear him say over his family duty by rote; and then you will have the very image of that religion which you are now supporting.
Christs church, and the secular power, are of two different natures; the one of a fierce and warlike nature, to govern the world, and punish man for his sins; the other, of that harmless nature of Christ, who died for the sins of the world that man might be redeemed from his transgressions; and go to join them together and you make a wolf in sheeps clothing, or a beast with two horns like a lamb that will speak like a dragon: and therefore they must be disconnected; and the sooner the better. We have already drawn the line between church, and state, (see, battle-ax, page 28;) and we insist on the right of that division: and if you shall only withdraw your shoulder from the support of that public whore we read of, Rev. 17. 2. “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabiters of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication,” and let her with her daughters fall to the ground and erect your constitution independent of the platform of religion; you shall no more see your appointed ministers of Gods courts of justice, (as heretofore,) made the examples of Gods wrath against the sin of pronouncing unrighteous judgement, in condemning the innocent and clearing the guilty. This mother of harlots has purchased to herself the displeasure of the almighty, and it is vain for you, much longer, to withstand the omnipotent hand of providence. The younger class of people, are (many of them) already waked up to see that, which has been hid from their eyes.
You are only holding something together which must in a short time go into the riddle of destruction, and you with it, if you do not take warning before it is to late.
Rev xix. 19. “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
A LETTER OF SAMUEL CHAPMAN TO HIS
After he come to return end see the mischief that was like to befall her, by adhearing to bad counsel: though it proved unaffectual.
Honoured Mother, I have taken your counsel into consideration and having viewed it, and Compared it with the scriptures I am fully satisfied that you have not the true spirit to teach, and that your counselors have not the wisdom of God to teach you, because such things as going to law, taking of oaths, and resisting evil, are contrary to Christs commands. For Christ saith, if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
A true member of Christ, do’s not carry the spirit of revenge together with the vain glory, friendship, honour, and fashions of this world, in one hand; and religion in the other. It requires the whole heart and mind to serve Christ.
Dear Mother, remember that you have a soul to save, and but a short time to redeem a thing of so great price. What will a man give in exchange for his soul? You have great reason to honour the God of heaven, seeing he has carried you thorough the deeps and (as it is written,) bore you on eagles wings. Call to rememberance what a mighty hand of God there has been with you in some times of trouble, when you could see nothing but death before your eyes, while there were those, that were rejoicing at your calamity, ready to make a prey of your children and goods, and when your heart was humbled, the Lord delivered you out of all your trou-
ble, and them that would have made a prey of your children and goods are some of them, dead, and their children and goods are gone among strangers. Such things you have soon in your days of trouble.
O dear mother, turn to the truth and despise the shame. Beware of evil mens counsel, that will advise contrary to the scriptures. If the Lord is on our side, why should we be in bondage to flesh and blood? True liberty of conscience is in bondage to no flesh.
You have known the true, and right way, which God himself has ordained for man to walk in: which is peace, quietness, temperance, long suffering, love, and above all things the hope of life everlasting.
POETRY composed by Samuel Chapman, and sent to his mother in the same letter
O how dear mother can I bear, to see you thus content;
A bad example to remain, till all your days are spent!
O [mother moan] both day and night, to see your fatal fall;
To think that you are cast away, and cannot be recal’d!
My heart is filled full of grief, to see you turn away;
And go to them to get relief, that took you for a prey.
In trouble I have been with you, in cries and bitter tears.
In sorrow you have spent your days, yea more then forty years:
And all this time of forty years, was harass’t up and down;
But when your trouble bro’t you low, a little rest you found.
Is this your trouble all forgot, as tho’ it never’d been;
Your time of love do you reject, to ever seek again.
O what a great and dreadful sound, it certainly must be;
To hear the Judge declare and say, here is no room for thee!
Then he will rise and cast us out, and shutting too the door,
Say go ye curs’t, where we must be, for ever lasting more.
O what a dreadful place is this, that we must now possess?
To be tormented day and night, ever to have no rest.
The devils will surround us here, and here we must remain;
O that I could go back once more, and live my life again.
I’ve written unto you these lines, as tho’ myself was clear;
[But] I do feel myself abase’t and daily live in fear.
I know I’ve been an instrument, that’s caus-ed you much woe,
A stubborn and rebellious child, that never was brought low.
But now I heartily repent, of all that I have done,
Of all the evil done to you, and every other one.
The Effects of the Battle-Axe—Editor’s Notes
1 As figs and water cannot unite… —See James 3:12. “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”
2 our first publication called the battle-ax —Timothy Watrous, Jr., (1765-1820) published The Battle-Axe in 1811. Four hundred copies were printed on a press constructed by Timothy’s brother Zachariah before his death (1809). This “treatise,” which because of its controversial contents no local printer would agree to handle, was intended not only to attack the legal union of church and state in the state of Connecticut (tax money was used to support Congregational churches in Connecticut until 1818), but also to expose the degree to which even leaders of dissenting (Baptist) churches were, in the judgment of its authors, motivated by the desire for wealth and status rather than by “the precepts of the Holy Bible.” Although The Battle-Axe might have been written primarily by Timothy Watrous, Jr., (as The Effects of the Battle-Axe almost certainly was), the title page credits authorship to Zachariah and to their father Timothy, Sr., (1740-1814) as well; and in fact, the text vividly recounts experiences from the youth of the older Timothy “from his own pen.” A second edition of The Battle-Axe was published in 1841 by Silas Watrous (1802-1852), a son of Timothy, Jr. (printed this time by E. Williams of New London); and a third edition was published by a descendant, Daniel Watrous (1891-1971), in 1927. Since 2000, the text of the third edition has been available online at http://quakertownonline.net/Battle-Axe.htm .
3 Samuel Chapman, (one of our soldiers) —Samuel Chapman (1780-?) married Abiah Watrous, daughter of Timothy Watrous, Sr., sometime before 1806. Abiah was, in fact, his mother’s first cousin, since maternal grandmother Hope (Whipple) Whipple was the older sister of Content (Whipple) Watrous. Because the sisters’ mother was Elizabeth Rogers, the granddaughter of John Rogers (who began the Rogerene movement during the 1670s and worked to spread it until his death in 1721), it is reasonable to think that both Samuel and Abiah felt some connection to the Rogerenes from earliest childhood. Samuel’s mother, Eunice, as he tells us in his “Confession,” had “formerly” belonged to that “same church”; and he censures her in both the “Confession” and the “Letter of Samuel Chapman to his Mother” for having subsequently “strayed” from Rogerene doctrine (The Effects of the Battle-Axe 7). In The Antecedents and Descendants of Noah Whipple (Ithaca, New York: John M. Kingsbury, 1971), Clara Hammond McGuigan offers the following information about him: “Samuel Chapman was an enterprising business man. He was too liberal minded for the staid Rogerene Quakers who made his life in Quakertown unbearable. He, therefore, left his family and went South. He ran the first steamer down the Ohio and the Mississippi and was greeted with bands at every port. Finally, he wrote a touching letter to his wife, telling her of his life since he left his home. The letter is still preserved by members of his family. The letter reached his wife on her death bed. No letter was sent back and he never returned home” (56). Clara McGuigan names no source for the story of Samuel Chapman’s steamer run; nor does she attempt to explain or substantiate her suggestion that the community, rather than Samuel Chapman himself, was responsible for his departure.
4 my wifes fathers —Abiah Watrous (1782-?) was the daughter of Timothy Waterous, Sr. Clara McGuigan speaks of the position of Timothy Watrous, Sr., in the Rogerene movement and among the Rogerenes of Quakertown, stating that by age twenty-four he was already recognized as a leader and “soon became known as Elder Timothy” (18).
5 my own natural mother —Samuel Chapman’s mother was Eunice Whipple (1764-?), daughter of Noah and Hope Whipple (some information about her parents and family is provided in The Autobiography of Jonathan Whipple). According to Clara McGuigan, she married Comfort Chapman, who appears to have died while Samuel and sister Betsy were still very young. In 1793, she married Ephraim Whaley, by whom she had another son, Noah Whaley. In the poem written by Samuel Chapman that closes The Effects of the Battle-Axe, he suggests that his mother, still in her forties in 1812, had passed through a time of “trouble,” of “cries and bitter tears” (22), perhaps during the period following her first husband’s death, when Samuel was still a child. He also admits to having been a “stubborn and rebellious child” that caused his mother “much woe” (23).
6 Docr’ Miner — Dr. John O. Miner (1762-1851) of Groton, Connecticut. In Groton, Conn. 1705-1905 (Stonington, Conn.: The Palmer Press, 1922), Charles Stark writes that Dr. Miner was “a grandson of Rev. John Owen, resident at Centre Groton. He was for a time the only physician in the town, after the death of Dr. Prentice” (388). The Groton Avery Clan (written and published by E. M. Avery and C. H. Avery, 1912) provides the following sketch: “Dr. John Owen Miner, s. of Simeon and Mary (Owen) Miner. He was b. Jan. 9, 1762, at North Stonington. He was noted for his professional skill and personal qualifications, and as the father of a bevy of brilliant and merry daughters. It is said that a suitor for consent to court his daughter, on being asked ‘Which one?’ replied ‘Any one of them.’ Dr. Miner rendered aid to the wounded after the battle of Fort Griswold. His wife [Elizabeth Avery, born Oct. 28, 1768, whom he had married Jan. 21, 1785] d. Aug. 25, 1837, at Groton; he d. April 27, 1851, at Groton” (388). In his Autobiography, Jonathan Whipple writes that in 1814, Dr. Miner and Maj. Elisha Avery “had made arrangements to build a small woolen factory in Groton, about a mile west of Centre Groton.” Jonathan and his brother Noah were hired to do mason work “not only for the factory but for two dwelling houses.”
7 the first Baptist Church of Groton —The First Baptist Church of Groton, Connecticut, was the first Baptist church established in the colony, organized in 1705. From Rhode Island, it called its first minister, Valentine Wightman, who was eventually followed in the ministry of First Baptist by his son Timothy Wightman and his grandson John G. Wightman (who was minister—or “elder” —at the time The Effects of the Battle-Axe was published). In 1812, the church was meeting in a building (its second) that had been built in 1790 on top of Stark’s Hill, near what today (2009) is the junction of Cold Spring, Godfrey, and Yetter Roads. This building remained in use until 1844, when a new building was built in the village of Old Mystic (today the church is known as the Old Mystic Baptist Church). Two useful accounts of the history of this church are Simeon Gallup’s article on “Old Mystic,” contained in Historic Groton (Moosup, Conn.: Charles F. Burgess, ed. and publisher, 1909), pp. 92-101 (online at http://www.archive.org/details/historicgrotonco00burg ); and the chapter entitled “First Baptist Church,” in Charles Stark’s Groton, Conn. 1705-1905 (Stonington, Conn.: The Palmer Press, 1922), pp. 126-160 (online at http://books.google.com/books?id=SAoWAAAAYAAJ ). Simeon Gallup describes the building standing in 1812 as a “square, barn-like structure without spire or steeple or even a chimney” (98), but adds that the interior was “more highly finished, with hand wrought panels and mouldings, and the front of the lofty pulpit with much carved work” (99). Seating consisted of a mix of “long” and “square,” or box, pews. Charles Stark explains that the square pews were “owned by the families occupying them” (143), and thus seating indicated social rank. He notes that there were “two seats reserved for the colored people under the gallery stairs” (143). These arrangements alone suggest a significant difference in outlook between the members of First Baptist and the Rogerene Quakers.
8 DEACON Gallup —Benadam Gallup IV (1741-1818), of Groton, Connecticut. According to The Groton Avery Clan (178), Benadam Gallup was the son of Benadam Gallup III and Hannah Avery, and served in the militia during the American Revolutionary War. He was married to Bridget Palmer. According to Charles Stark, he was elected in May 1795 as a representative to the Connecticut General Assembly (87), and at some point “settled on the Northrup Niles place, east of Candlewood Hill” (89). Stark includes in his history of the First Baptist Church of Groton the minutes of the council meeting (August 1800) that ordained John G. Wightman as minister, which indicate that “Bro. Benadam Gallup” was set “apart to the office work of a deacon” at the same time (140). During communion services, Stark says, “Deacon [Peter] Avery passed around the bread, and Deacon Benadam Gallup the wine” (142-3). He is buried in the Gallup Cemetery, located on Gallup Hill Road in Ledyard, Connecticut, where his gravestone is engraved with the following verse: “The Lord takes pleasure in the just, / Whom sinners treat with scorn: / The meek that lie dispis’d [sic] in dust, / Salvation shall adorn.”
9 the affair of the corn, and finishing [the] house —These two incidents are narrated in the preface to The Battle-Axe. In the “affair” of “finishing [the] house,” an unnamed man (likely a Rogerene Quaker) was hired by a “Priest under the Baptist profession” to provide his services as a carpenter in doing finish work on a house. When he realized that his expenses had exceeded his estimate and that he was likely to lose a “great sum,” he approached his employer about being paid the difference, only to be met with the question: “Why should you not give something to support the Gospel as well as the others?” Not only was he not paid the difference, but also when the story of what had happened began to spread through “the neighborhood,” “the priest went about slandering the man, to justify himself.” The “affair of the corn” is credited with being “the moving cause” of the writing of The Battle-Axe. A “poor man” (we learn in The Effects of the Battle-Axe that it was Zachariah Watrous) leased a mill from a “man of property and highly esteemed for his religion” who owned “sundry mills” (and who, according to The Effects of the Battle-Axe, was a member of First Baptist Church of Groton). The poor man noticed grain missing from the mill from time to time, and eventually discovered that the mill owner, from whom he had taken the lease, was stealing the grain at night. The mill owner refused both to acknowledge publicly what he had done and to pay in full for all that he had taken; and efforts by the poor man to seek the intervention of the mill owner’s church were repeatedly stymied, leading to the poor man’s appearance at a meeting of the church’s “association,” which ended in an “uproar” caused by “the priest and deacon” (we learn in The Effects of the Battle-Axe that the deacon was Benadam Gallup) that forced the poor man out of the meeting.
10 my brother —Zachariah Watrous (1767-1809). According to Clara McGuigan, he was “a school teacher, a smelter of native copper ore, [and] a tin and coppersmith” (50). The preface to The Battle-Axe describes him in 1807 as being “in low circumstances by reason of infirmity of body,” and adds that his children (he had four) were “in a helpless condition; two of whom being seven or eight years old [had] never walked on their feet.” He appeared at the annual meeting (held in Groton that year) of the Stonington Baptist Association, October 20, 1807, and he died less than a year and a half later, February 17, 1809, and was buried in the Old Rogerene Cemetery. He appears to have constructed the press on which The Battle-Axe was printed during this interval. The “Advertisement” to the second edition of The Battle-Axe (1841) says that he died “two years before the publication of the first edition.” At the time of his death, the “Advertisement” continues, “he signified his desire to have it printed, being several times heard to say, ‘It is no time to turn back in the day of battle, at the loss of one man.’”
11 your Minister —John Gano Wightman (1766-1841), of Groton, Connecticut, was called as minister of the First Baptist Church of Groton, August 1800, and served in that capacity until the end of his life. Charles Stark writes that “during his ministry revivals were frequent, not less than ten being recorded, the most notable one occurring in 1814, when fifty-six were added to the membership” (141). Simeon Gallup writes that he was a man of “more than ordinary ability” who, although he lacked a college degree, had received a “classical education” at Plainfield Academy. As minister, he proved to be “a logical and fluent speaker, well versed in scripture.” But interestingly, Gallup also says that he was “converted and baptized” only in 1798, well past his thirtieth birthday and only two years before his ordination as minister of First Baptist (97).
12 except Cap’ Elisha Haley —Elisha Haley (1776-1860) of Groton, Connecticut. The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress provides the following profile: “HALEY, Elisha, a Representative from Connecticut; born in Groton, New London County, Conn., January 21, 1776; attended the common schools; engaged in agricultural pursuits; served in the State house of representatives in 1820, 1824, 1826, 1829, 1833, and 1834; member of the State senate in 1830; captain in the State militia; elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-fourth Congress and reelected as a Democrat to the Twenty-fifth Congress (March 4, 1835-March 3, 1839); chairman, Committee on Public Expenditures (Twenty-fifth Congress); engaged in civil engineering; died in Groton, Conn., January 22, 1860; interment in Crary Cemetery” (http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H000040).). In fact, Elisha Haley is buried in Wightman Cemetery, his grave and his wife’s located in the southwest corner of the cemetery, marked by a limestone obelisk.
13 presented it to your association —The Stonington Baptist Association (to which the First Baptist Church of Groton belonged) was formed in 1772 as an association of local Baptist churches. By 1813, according to David Benedict (A General History of the Baptists. London: Lincoln & Edmands, 1813), it comprised twenty-two churches, five in Rhode Island and the rest in Connecticut. Its annual meeting in 1807 was held in Groton, October 20-21.
14 Con. Gaz. May 2. 1810. —The newspaper referred to here as The Connecticut Gazette was, according to the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (“Newspapers”), founded in New London, Connecticut, in 1763 as The New London Gazette, changing its name in 1773. It ceased publication in 1844.
15 Most excellent legislator —Only with the ratification of a new Connecticut state constitution in 1818 did tax money cease being used to support the Congregational church; thus the poignancy of directing the attention of state legislators to any lessons to be drawn (regarding civil courts used in furthering denominational ends) from the incident described in The Effects of the Battle-Axe.
16 Think of Pilate —See Matt. 27:1-31; Mark 15:1-20; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-19-16.
17 and likewise Herod —See Acts 12:1-5.
18 Look at the case of Paul —See Acts 24.
19 Honored Mother —See note 5, above.
(—Duane I. Schultz, February 17, 2009)