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public place obeyed the Apostolic injunction to be "all things to all men" is only to say that they were-candidates.
It so fell out that our candidate for Congress at the time mentioned was quietly threading his way on horseback to meet his appointment. Far out from the county seat, in a wild and sparsely populated locality, at a sudden turn in the road he found himself in the immediate presence of a worshipping congregation in God's first temple. It was what is known in mountain parlance as a "protracted meeting." The hour was noon, and the little flock had just been called from labor to refreshment. The cloth was spread in the shade of a large tree, and liberally supplied with ham, fried chicken, salt-rising bread, corn dodgers, cucumber pickles, and other wholesome edibles. When Vance appeared upon the scene, the leader of the little flock at once greeted him with cordial invitation to "light and take a bite with us." The candidate accepted the invitation, and fastening his horse to a convenient tree, approached the assembled worshippers, introducing himself as "Zeb Vance, Whig candidate for Congress." The thought uppermost in his soul as he shook hands all around and accepted the proffered hospitality was, "What denomination is this? Methodist? Baptist? What?" As soon as this inquiry could be satisfactorily answered, he was, of course, ready to join; his "letter" was ready to be handed in. But as he quickly scanned the faces about him, he could get no gleam of light upon the all-important question. Suddenly his meditations were ended, the abstract giving way to the concrete, by the aforementioned leader abruptly inquiring, "Mr. Vance, what persuasion are you of?"
The hour had struck. The dreaded inquiry must be answered satisfactorily and at once. That Vance was equal to the emergency will be seen from the sequel.
Promptly laying down the chicken leg, the chunk of saltrising bread, and cucumber pickle with which he had been abundantly supplied by one of the dear old sisters, and assuming an appropriate oratorical pose, with his eyes intent upon his interrogator, he began:
"My sainted grandfather was, during the later years of his long and useful life, a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church." The gathering brow and shaking head of the local shepherd would even to a less observing man than the candidate have been sufficient warning that he was on the wrong trail. "But," continued the speaker, "my father during long years of faithful service in the Master's cause was an equally devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church."
The sombre aspect of the shepherd, with the no less signicant shake of the head, was unmistakable intimation to our candidate that danger was in the very air. Rallying himself, however, for the last charge, with but one remaining shot in his locker, the orator earnestly resumed: "But, when I came to the years of maturity, and was able, after prayer and meditation, to read and understand that blessed book myself, I came to the conclusion that the old Baptist Church was right."
"Bless God!" exclaimed the old preacher, seizing Vance by the hand. "He is all right, brethren! Oh, you'll get all the votes in these parts, Brother Vance!"
Talking along religious lines at the time of the visit mentioned, he illustrated the difference between profession and practice. "Now, there is my brother Bob," referring to General Robert B. Vance; "he is, you know, a Methodist, and believes in falling from grace, but he never falls, while I am a Presbyterian, and don't believe in falling from grace, but I am always falling!"
The first wife of Senator Vance was a Presbyterian. Some years after her death, he was married to an excellent lady, a devoted member of the Roman Catholic Church. Soon thereafter, he was taken to task by an old Presbyterian neighbor, who expressed great surprise that he should marry a Catholic. "Well," replied the Senator with imperturbable good humor, "the fact is, Uncle John, as I had tried Rum, and tried Rebellion, I just thought I would try Romanism too!"
Many years ago, near the western border of Buncombe County, lived an old negro who had in early life been a member of the family of the father of Senator Vance. In a little
cabin at the foot of the mountain, "Uncle Ephraim," as the old negro was familiarly called, was, as he had been for two or three decades, "living on borrowed time." How old he was no man could tell. When in confidential mood, he would sometimes tell of the troubles he and his old master used to have with the Tories during the Revolutionary War.
Mr. Vance, in his first race for Congress, having finished his speech at the cross-roads near by, visited the old man, from whom, of course, he received a warm welcome. In reply to the inquiry of his visitor as to how he was getting along, the old negro slowly replied:
"Mighty po'ly, mighty po'ly, Mause Zeb, mighty po❜ly forninst the things of dis world, but it's all right over yander, over yander."
"What church do you belong to, Uncle Ephraim?" said Vance.
"Well, Mause Zeb, I 's a Presbyterian."
"Uncle Ephraim," said Vance with great solemnity, "do you believe in the doctrine of election?"
After a pause and with equal solemnity, the old man responded: "Mause Zeb, I don't pertend to understand fully the ins and outs of dat doctrine, but 'cordin' to my understandin', it's de doctrine of de Bible, and I bleebes it."
"Uncle Ephraim," said Vance, "do you think I have been elected ?"
"Mause Zeb," said the old man in pathetic tone, "ef it's dest de same to you, I would a leetle ruther you would wifdraw dat question. I's poorty ole and gittin' a little too near de grabe to tell a lie, but de fac am, I bin livin' round in dese parts nigh onto a hundred years and knowed a heap of de big mens dat's dead and gone, and I neber yet knowed nor hear tell of no man bein' 'lected, what wan't a candidate."
Like many other orators of his party, Senator Vance found the position of champion of the Democratic nominee for President in 1872 one of extreme embarrassment. A story he occasionally told, however, relieved the situation greatly. He said: "My fellow-citizens, I am somewhat in the position of an old-time, illiterate backwoods preacher, who was with
great difficulty able to read off, after a fashion, one favorite hymn at which his book always opened at the opportune moment. One Sunday morning, just before the beginning of the services, some mischievous boys, not having the fear of the Lord before their eyes, got hold of the book and pasted 'Old Grimes' over the favorite hymn. At the auspicious moment the book opened at the accustomed place, and the old preacher, after properly adjusting his glasses, slowly began: 'Old Grimes is dead, that good old man.' Amazed beyond description, the preacher instantly suspended the reading, carefully wiped off his glasses, looked appealingly to the congregation, and again solemnly and slowly began: 'Old Grimes is dead, that good old man.' The congregation now equally astounded with himself, the aged pastor suspended the reading, carefully removed his glasses, and laying down the book, solemnly observed: 'My beloved friends, I have been a-readin' and a-singin' outen this blessed book for nigh onto forty year, and I never seed this hymn in thar before; but it's in thar, brethren, and we 'll sing it through if it smashes up this meetin'!'
"Now," continued Vance, "my beloved brethren, I have been a-readin' and a-votin' of the Democrat ticket nigh onto forty year, and I never seed the name of old Horace Greeley on a Democrat ticket before; but it 's on thar, brethren, and we'll vote it through if it kills us-and it does come devilish near killing the most of us!"
NOT GUILTY OF PREACHING THE GOSPEL
THE DRAKE CONSTITUTION' IN MISSOURI THE CRIME OF PREACHING THE GOSPEL - A PROVISION OF THIS CONSTITUTION FOUND TO BE A VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES MINISTERS OF VARIOUS SECTS TRIED FOR PREACHING WITHOUT FIRST TAKING AN OATH TO SUPPORT THE DRAKE CONSTITUTION"- THE JUDGE FINDS THAT NOT ONE OF THEM HAS PREACHED THE GOSPEL.
HE "holding" of a nisi prius judge upon one of the western circuits of Missouri, near the close of the Civil War, is without a precedent, and it is quite probable that no occasion will ever arise for citing it as an authority. It will remain, however, a case in point of how a "horse-sense" judge can protect the innocent against unusual and unjust prosecution.
What is known in Missouri history as the "Drake Constitution" had then but recently supplanted the organic law under which the State had for a long time had its being. No counterpart of the Constitution mentioned has ever been framed in any of the American States. It could have been only the product of the evil days when "judgment had fled to brutish beasts, and men had lost their reason." Possibly at no time or place in our history has there been more emphatic verification of the axiom, "In the midst of arms, the laws are silent."
The "Drake Constitution" was formulated at a time when fierce passion was at its height, when the sad consequences of civil strife were felt at every fireside, when neighbor was arrayed against neighbor, the hand of brother uplifted against brother, and "a man's foes were they of his own household." As is well known, certain provisions of this Constitution were, at a later day upon a writ of error set aside by the Supreme Court of the United States as being