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Title:[Letter] [to] Finis Ewing, Lexington, M[issouri] / J[ames] Smith : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:Smith, James

This work is the property of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243-0312. (615) 741-2764.

Date: ca. 1837
Extent: 4p
Summary:This is a letter from Rev. James Smith Rev. Finis Ewing. The date is unknown. He is writing in response to his uncle's inquiry about General Andrew Jackson joining the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Smith is unhappy about it, for he does not believe Jackson to be a true believer. He writes about having preached at the Hermitage. While there, Smith gets involved in a dispute between Mrs. Jackson and the local minister.
Collection:Finis Ewing Papers

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Br [Brother] Ewing,

I wrote you last, night in a hurry I did not then observe what you said about General Jackson , Believing that it will be interesting to you to know all about that matter I have concluded to devote this sheet to that purpose especially as in all probability hope I may have occasion to write again the affair will have passed from my mind. To be honest and candid, I do regret that General Jackson joined the Church when he did and as he did yet, I may be altogether mistaken. On this subject I have you to judge when you read what follows.

When General Jackson returned from Washington his neice [niece] the wife of General Donnelson [Donelson] brother of the Mayor and daughter of Governor Branch advised him to send for me to preach for them at the Hermitage (Mrs D [Donelson] is a Cumberland professed under my own menestry [ministry] and is by far the most intelligent Lady of the whole [unclear: convention ] ) accordingly I went. preached every two weeks [unclear: best mannered & ] full and was very intimate with the family of the General. In July 1837 Mr Edgar [unclear: saw ] me with a sacramental meeting at the Hermitage. He took the occasion to get there

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before me on my arrival I found that a deal [unclear: with ] [gap] had been made to [added: induce] the General to join the Church I went home with him and when alone he stated that owing to his wife being a Presbyterian & his mother (for whose memory he has great respect) he felt, [unclear: more octevtefied ] with that than any other Church but he did not believe the doctrine of that Church moreover that he knew a Presbyterian elder who had sworn to a lie which lie was on record and for these reasons he could not be a presbyterian the said elder I presume belongs to the church here [added: therefore he could never join that church] There communications I believe he made to me I think under the conviction that the Presbyterians were acting indelicately as I was at the time acting as minister for the neighbourhood [neighborhood]. From my intimacy in the family I am prepared to cry that General Jackson has made the Bible the man of his [unclear: counnt ] reading it every day from the time of his return from Washington. I am also prepared to say that he has been [added: much] [unclear: exercised ] on the subject of religion The last time I prayed in his family the old gentleman wept like a child and at the [unclear: len ] left the room. But from all I could get from him up to July last he knew nothing of

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regeneration. I have preached to him on that subject as plainly as I ever did to the backwoods folks in [unclear: Nusman ] Land and also conversed with him on the subject.

In July, that is sometime before the meeting at which he joined the Church, Mrs Jackson his adopted sons wife in the Generals presence complained to me that ministry in this country would not baptise the children of those who did not join the church. said the pastor under when she was raised Mr Barns of Philadelphia had baptised all her children except the last and it she could not get baptised. I contended for the propriety of baptising none but the children of believers & assigned reasons. But having some hopes the peradventure was christian & designing first good opportunity to converse freely with her on the subject & if satisfied she was a christian I determined to baptise her child. This I communicated to Mr Edgar who I found from his own showing had been wishing to get back into the church & had made her joining his church a sine qua non in relation to his baptising her child. I think he took the alarm and finding I had appointed a sacramental meeting offered his aid. when the same arrived I was quite sick on saturday morning Mr Edgar told me he thought I was about to have

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a [unclear: lillious ] attack advised me not to expose myself & set out, when [unclear: she ever ] give I look on [unclear: emmense ] store of the all [unclear: pourfull Brandroth ] pills & on Sabbath morning [unclear: wuron ] my legs. So off I went when I yet to the Hermitage found that the old business of baptising the child was brought up & nothing being satisfactory but her joining the church, she did so to get her child

[added: [unclear: captured who I suppose ] had he died so would have gone to purgatory. Mr Edgar told me the General objected on saturday evening [unclear: shenerarty ] to his sermon which was on the depravity of the human heart but on sabbath he joined It was an offertery [offertory] seem to see the old man at the Lords table but, but, but I fear Edgar has what to answer for I would not have to do for the Hermitage & all its concerns & inmates, but Judgment this however I would not have received General Jackson into our church strictly confidential][added: Edgar & I are very intimate I speak for him often say nothing of this.]

yours truly
J [James] Smith
Rev [Reverend] Finis Ewing Lexington Mo [Missouri]

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