The American Sentinel 4


The American Sentinel 4


January 1889

“The Illinois Sunday Convention” The American Sentinel 4, 1, pp. 1, 2.


THE first annual meeting of the Illinois Sunday Association was held in Farwell Hall, Chicago, November 20 and 21, 1888. This Association was organized at Elgin about the same time last year. Of that meeting we gave an account at the time. This meeting was the genuine successor of that in every way. It was addressed by Doctors Mandeville, Everts, Foster, Henson, and Herrick Johnson, of Chicago; Doctor Knowles, of New Jersey, editor of the Pearl of Days and secretary of the National Sunday Association; Dr. Wilbur F. Crafts, and Dr. John Hall, of New York; Mitchell, of Sycamore, Ill.; Post, of Springfield, Ill.; Mills, of Wheaton; and Hon. J. C. Lord, of Elgin, Ill. AMS January 1889, page 1.1

The two points that were emphasized above all others throughout the Convention were: (1) Christians do not keep Sunday as they ought; and (2) other people do not go to church as they ought. AMS January 1889, page 1.2

First: In the first speech that was made, even in the opening exercises, it was said: “We remember the corporations; the great railroads which compel their men to work and so to desecrate the holy day. But we remember that back of the officers of the companies are the stockholders who belong to the churches, sit in the pews, and bow down and pray in the house of God—these are equally guilty.” AMS January 1889, page 1.3

If, then, the railroads compel their men to desecrate the day, and the owners of the railroads are church-members, then who is it but the church-members that are compelling people to desecrate the day? AMS January 1889, page 1.4

Doctor Knowles said that by the influence of William E. Dodge, even after his death, the Delaware and Lackawanna Railroad Company had resisted the temptation to run trains on Sunday until the present year. But five hundred ministers met in conference in New York and used the hands of the Sunday Observance Committee have been tied ever since. After that when the Delaware and Lackawanna directors were asked not to run Sunday trains, they replied, “How can you come to us pleading for us to run no trains on Sunday, when your preachers by the hundreds, on Sunday, use our rival lines, which do run on Sunday. If your preachers ride on Sunday trains on other roads, we cannot see why they and other people cannot ride on our trains on Sunday. And if it is all right for these other roads to run trains on Sunday, and certainly ministers of the gospel would not ride on them if it were wrong, then we cannot see how it can be such a great wrong for us to run Sunday trains.” AMS January 1889, page 1.5

That is a very proper answer. No wonder the Sunday Committee’s hands are tied by it. And yet that very conference of five hundred preachers, assembled in New York last summer, too the first decided step toward the organization of the National Sunday Association, of which Doctor Knowles himself is secretary. AMS January 1889, page 1.6

Another speaker, whose name I did not get, said that not long ago a railroad president said to him, “We get more requests for Sunday trains signed by preachers than we do from other people.” AMS January 1889, page 1.7

By these facts there is presented the following condition of things: (1) Church-members own the railroads; (2) preachers sign requests for Sunday trains; (3) the church-members grant the request of the preachers for Sunday trains, and the preachers ride on the Sunday trains, and other church-members go on Sunday excursions; (4) then the whole company—preachers and church-members—together petition Congress and the State Legislatures to make a law stopping all Sunday trains! That is to say, they want the Legislatures, State and National, to compel these railroad-owning church-members for Sunday trains. In other words, they want the civil power to compel them all—preachers and church-members—to act as they all say that Christians ought to act. And they insist upon quoting all the time the commandment of God, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” But if they will not obey the commandment of God, which they themselves acknowledge and quote, what assurance have we that they will obey the law of Congress or State Legislature when they get it, especially as it will rest entirely with themselves to see that the law is enforced? Will they compel themselves by civil law to do what they themselves will not otherwise do? AMS January 1889, page 1.8

Second: In complaint that people do not go to church, Doctor Crafts said: “The post-office is open at the very hour of church, and a man must choose between going to church and going to the post-office to get his mail.” AMS January 1889, page 1.9

And in the Association’s address to the public it is said: “At this rate the time will come when our wage-workers will have to work seven days in a week, and the churches will be deserted. But let a law be enacted in favor of the Sabbath, and it will give back to hundreds their day of rest, and to the churches tens of thousands of attendants.” AMS January 1889, page 1.10

Dr. Herrick Johnson delivered an intense Philippic against the Sunday newspaper. He said: “It creeps into our homes on Sunday. It can be put into the pocket, and taken into the parlor and read.” Then he named the matter with which he says the Sunday papers is filled, “crime, scandal, gossip, news, and politics,” and said: “What a mélange? what a dish to be set down before a man before breakfast and after breakfast to prepare him for hearing the word of God. It makes it twice as hard to reach those who go to the sanctuary, and it keeps many away from the house of worship altogether. They read the paper, the time comes to go to church, but it is said, ‘Here is something interesting I will read it and not go to church to-day.’” He then spoke of the Inter-Ocean special Sunday news train, and how the people would flock to the station to see the train, and said: “In the Sabbath lull from politics, business, etc., the people would go to church were it not for the attraction of the Inter-Ocean special train.” And then he exclaimed, “Oh, for the breath of the Puritan! Oh, for a little of the Puritan Sabbath!” AMS January 1889, page 1.11

Dr. John Hall followed this in a five minutes’ speech, in which he emphasized one of Dr. Johnson’s statements thus: “If the family make the Sunday paper a study, it will be difficult for them to get to the house of worship, and when there it will be harder for them to get the word of God. There is nothing better to mar worship and deaden the mind to the worship of God. And it is this sensationalism that makes up the attractions of the Sunday paper.” AMS January 1889, page 2.1

All these statements and arguments plainly show that the secret and real object of the whole Sunday-law movement is to get the people to go to church. The Sunday train must be stopped, because the church-members ride on them and don’t go to church enough. The Sunday papers must be abolished, because the people read it instead of going to church, and because those who read it and go to church too are not so well prepared to receive the preaching. But is it right for the church authorities to wield the civil power in the interests of the church? Is that a legitimate exercise of the function of civil government? If it is, why should they stop with this? Will they stop with this? They will not. This is only the first step in an unlimited course of legislation in the interests of the churches and at the expense of everybody else. If these men are allowed to take the first step, they will be sure to take all the others that they want. AMS January 1889, page 2.2

And how much more will satisfy them? Doctor Post seems to have given a pretty good idea of this. His address was upon “Sabbath Recreation.” It was an effort to define what is proper recreation on Sunday. And after a good deal of discussion, and what he said was a careful study of the literature and history of the subject, he laid down as the sound principle the following:— AMS January 1889, page 2.3

“There is no kind of recreation that is proper or profitable on Sunday outside of the home or the sanctuary.” AMS January 1889, page 2.4

Only let such laws be enacted as are demanded by National Reformers, laws for bidding any recreation “to the disturbance of others” on Sunday, then anything done on Sunday outside of the home or the sanctuary, in the neighborhood of this preacher, will disturb him, and whoever does it will be prosecuted. Dr. Herrick Johnson cried for a breath of the Puritan; it seems that Doctor Post is fully disposed to give it to him. AMS January 1889, page 2.5

Doctor Everts said: “The Sabbath is the test whether a man believes in God or not. It is atheism or the Sabbath.” And the secretary in his report said: “The Sabbath is the dividing line between Christianity and heathenism.” AMS January 1889, page 2.6

According to these propositions, therefore, to compel men to observe the Sabbath is to compel them to accept Christianity and to serve God. But such service is not the service of God, and such recognition of Christianity at all. AMS January 1889, page 2.7

The influences in favor of the National Sunday law reported in this Convention are the following:— AMS January 1889, page 2.8

1. More than 50,000 blank petitions have been sent out to be signed. AMS January 1889, page 2.9

2. The Society of Friends, of Iowa, numbering 10,500 people, has indorsed the petitions and the work. AMS January 1889, page 2.10

3. The Society of Friends in Indiana, numbering 20,000 members, has done the same. AMS January 1889, page 2.11

4. Ministers and churches in forty States and Territories have indorsed the petitions. AMS January 1889, page 2.12

5. May 21 Senator Blair introduced a bill into the U. S. Senate providing a National Sunday law. AMS January 1889, page 2.13

6. Petitions were sent to Canada, and Sir John Macdonald replied that they had introduced the matter into the Canadian Parliament. AMS January 1889, page 2.14

7. The Methodist General Conference, two Presbyterian General Assemblies, and one Baptist Association, have all appointed committees for the organization of a National Sunday Union. AMS January 1889, page 2.15

8. October 18 the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, “with much enthusiasm and with great applause,” indorsed the petition in favor of the Blair Sunday Bill. AMS January 1889, page 2.16

9. November 16 the Knights of Labor general Convention also indorsed it, and this action, said Doctor Crafts, carried the petitioners beyond the five million line. AMS January 1889, page 2.17

With all this array in its favor, it is no wonder that Doctor Crafts reported that there is good prospect for the passage of the bill. Dr. Crafts said: “The labor unions and the churches were never before united. If the labor unions alone can get what they want, and if the churches alone can get what they want, how much more, and more easily, can this be accomplished when all these are united together.” AMS January 1889, page 2.18

The petitions are still being circulated and signed by the thousands. If that bill shall pass, that will show that this nation is ready and willing to commit itself to an unlimited course of religious legislation, and which can end only in the destruction of that liberty, both civil and religious, which has been our heritage for a hundred years. Are our readers ready to give their influences, either by signing these petitions or otherwise, to such a work? Are our readers not rather ready to sign petitions everywhere praying the National Legislature to let religion and religious observances forever alone? AMS January 1889, page 2.19

A. T. J.

“The National Sunday Convention” The American Sentinel 4, 1, pp. 4, 5.


THE National Convention of the American Sunday Union met in the Foundry M. E. Church, Washington, D. C., December 11-13. The auditorium was draped with long strips of red cotton, on which were pasted the petitions of about fourteen millions of alleged petitioners—over six millions of Protestants, and seven million two hundred thousand Catholics—and decorated with large and handsomely-printed copies of the cost of arms of each State in the Union. AMS January 1889, page 4.1

The first meeting was presided over by Mr. Elliott F. Shepard, of the New York Mail and Express, and was addressed by Dr. J. H. Knowles, editor of the Pearl of Days, and Secretary of the National Sunday Union, Mrs. Josephine C. Bateham, of the W.C.T.U., Mr. A. S. Diven, ex-Director of the Erie Railroad, and Mr. Shepard, the presiding officer. AMS January 1889, page 4.2

Dr. Knowles’s address was a brief account of the origin of the National Sunday Union, which was this: In 1887 Dr. W. F. Crafts suggested to Dr. Knowles that such a thing ought to be, and Dr. Knowles agreed with him. In May, 1888, Dr. Crafts addressed a memorial to the General Conference of the M. E. Church assembled in New York City, asking that body to take the initiative in the organization of a National Sunday Union. That body heartily responded, appointed a committee, and laid upon Dr. Knowles the duty of bringing the matter before other bodies. He did so, and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church North, and of the Presbyterian Church South, the Baptist Union, the United Presbyterian Church, the Congregationalists, the Methodist Protestant Church, and fifteen others, all cordially entered into the plan of organization. In addition to these, the W.C.T.U., the National Reform Association, the Knights of Labor, and the Catholic Church as embodied in Cardinal Gibbons, are to be counted. AMS January 1889, page 4.3

Mrs. Bateham pointed to the festoon of petitions and said she was reminded of the scripture which says we are “compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,” and announced that there were fourteen millions of these witnesses in the petitions hanging upon the pillars of the building. She declared that these fourteen million witnesses refuse to surrender the richest boon granted of God and our fathers. She said that undoubtedly this was the largest petition ever presented to any Government, and that it was not yet complete; for since she had come into the room she had opened one letter containing nine hundred, and others from colleges, seminaries, etc., containing smaller numbers. She said the Blair Sunday Bill had been specifically indorsed by hundreds of thousands; but the majority of the fourteen millions had asked in general terms for a Sunday law. Through Dr. Crafts they had secured the indorsement of two hundred and forty thousand. She stated that all the States have Sunday laws, while the nation has none, which is much needed to throw the Government on the side of the Sunday. In favor of the Sunday law she reported:— AMS January 1889, page 4.4

“1. The leaders of thought everywhere. AMS January 1889, page 4.5

“2. All Christians except the very small sect of Seventh-day Baptists. AMS January 1889, page 4.6

“3. The Roman Catholics, because Cardinal Gibbons indorsed for all his people. AMS January 1889, page 4.7

“4. The laboring classes. AMS January 1889, page 4.8

“5. Nearly all intelligent people except those who are blinded by business interests.” AMS January 1889, page 4.9

In opposition to it she reported:— AMS January 1889, page 4.10

“1. Sunday papers. AMS January 1889, page 4.11

“2. Railroad managers—probably. AMS January 1889, page 4.12

“3. Steamboat companies and managers of Sunday resorts. AMS January 1889, page 4.13

“4. Saloonists and their abettors and allies. AMS January 1889, page 4.14

“5. Business men who make much money. AMS January 1889, page 4.15

“6. Seventh-day Baptists—not large in numbers.” AMS January 1889, page 4.16

Then she said: “In the face of this opposition, can the law be secured? Certainly it can. It would be absurd to think that fourteen millions of people could not yet get what they desire. Morality must be upheld. God is behind and in it all.” AMS January 1889, page 4.17

The object of General Diven’s address was, as a railroad expert, to show the total absence of any necessity for Sunday trains. His plan is that live-stock trains shall stop over Sunday so as to allow the stock to be let out and obtain relief from the crowding of the cars. In the case of passenger trains from ocean to ocean he would have the most attractive places fitted up at the proper points where the trains should stop over Sunday, and have the railroad companies give to each passenger a free ticket to hotel accommodations, meals, and the pleasures of the attractive resort. But the general did not explain just how a free ticket to an attractive resort will promote the observance of the Sabbath. AMS January 1889, page 4.18

As for milk trains, he said that as a rule milk supplies were not over one hundred miles from the city; that Saturday’s milk would supply on Sunday; and the whole of Sunday’s milk could start after sundown and reach the cities in good time for Monday morning’s delivery, for said he: “I am only contending for the suspension of trains during the day-time of Sunday.” But he did not explain how a train is any more sinful in the day-time than it is in the nighty-time of the Sabbath. Mr. Diven himself, however, was willing to justify Sunday trains in the day-time “for the accommodation of church goers,” but he said it had been suggested that he “had better leave out that part of his address.” At this there was such a clapping of hands that he concluded that he “had better leave it out.” AMS January 1889, page 4.19

The chairman next introduced Dr. Crafts as pastor of the First Union Church, New York City, which he explained by saying that it was the first church organized after the union of the Old School and New School Presbyterians. Mr. Craft’s gave way for a few minutes to allow Mrs. Bateham to answer a question that had been sent up. In the announcements that had been made before the meeting, it was stated that the church in which the Convention was to be held would be festooned with the names of six millions of petitioners; but at the very beginning of this, the first meeting, it was stated that there were fourteen millions of them. The question was how the number could have grown so much larger so suddenly. This was explained by the fact that Cardinal Gibbons had written a letter indorsing the Blair Bill, and solely upon the strength of his name seven million two hundred thousand Catholics were counted as petitioners. AMS January 1889, page 4.20

This was not an entire answer to the question, because the Cardinal’s letter did not authorize any such use of it as they had made, at least so much of it as was made public did not. The whole of the letter was not made public, because, Dr. Crafts said, it was for the Senate Committee. But so much of it as was read merely referred to the action of the Baltimore Council in commanding a stricter observance of Sunday, and said:— AMS January 1889, page 4.21

“I am most happy to add my name to those of the millions of others who are laudably contending against the violation of the Christian Sabbath by unnecessary labor, and who are endeavoring to promote its decent and proper observance by judicious legislation.” AMS January 1889, page 4.22

This was all. He said, “I am happy to add my name,” etc. He did not say that he added, or that he wished to add, seven million two hundred thousand others with his name, or in his name. But the over-weening anxiety of these Christian, Protestant (?) Sunday-law workers for petitions was so great that, without a twinge, they could and did multiply one Catholic name into seven million two hundred thousand and one. Yet this was not so much to be wondered at, because the same principle had been acted upon before throughout the country, and when five hundred petitioners could be made out of one hundred, and two hundred and forty thousand out of two hundred and forty, it was perfectly easy and entirely consistent to make seven million two hundred thousand and one out of one. AMS January 1889, page 4.23

This thing was perfectly consistent also with the principle in another point. The petition read, “We, the undersigned, adult residents of the United States, 21 years of age or more, hereby petition,” etc. In counting these seven million two hundred thousand petitioners in behalf of Sunday law, they thereby certified that all these were Catholics “21 years of age or more.” But there is not a woman in the W.C.T.U., who does not know that there are not that many Catholics in the United States “21 years of age or more.” They virtually certified that all the Catholics in the United States are “21 years of age or more,” for they distinctly announced that “all the Roman Catholics” were petitioning for the Sunday law. But when they had virtually certified the same thing of the Protestant churches throughout the country, why should they not go on and swing in “all the Roman Catholics” in the same way? They could do the one just as honestly as they could do the other. When men and women professing themselves to be Protestant Christians will do such things as that to carry the Catholic Church with them, it is time they ceased to call themselves Protestants. And when they will do such things for any purpose, it is time they should cease to call themselves Christians. Christianity means honesty. AMS January 1889, page 5.1

There was a question handed in on this, as follows: “Is it consistent with either Protestant principles or American principles to recognize the propriety of one man’s absorbing into himself the personality of seven million two hundred thousand people, as you have granted to Cardinal Gibbons in this case?” The question was not even read to the audience, much less was it answered. AMS January 1889, page 5.2

Mr. Shepard, the presiding officer, was the next to speak, and he was “glad to welcome the Roman Catholics in any work in which they could be induced to join.” He said the fourth commandment is the first commandment with blessing, and, very truly, that it would be a blessing to everyone who would keep it. But, said he, many will ask, “How shall I find out whether I shall be blessed?” Answer: “Why, by keeping it, to be sure. Keep the Sabbath, and you will get the blessing, and you can’t get it in any other way.” AMS January 1889, page 5.3

All this is true enough, but Mr. Shepard did not tell how this blessing can come upon those who will not keep it without being compelled to by the civil law, which they are seeking to have enacted. Can they compel men to receive the blessing of God? AMS January 1889, page 5.4

The first speaker on Wednesday was Dr. Conrad, editor of the Lutheran Observer. His subject was, “The Reaction against the Continental Sunday.” He described the Sunday in European countries, and especially in Germany. He said in Europe the Sunday afternoon and evening were devoted to the theaters, which at those times have especially attractive programs, and to the beer gardens. AMS January 1889, page 5.5

Bishop Hurst, on the same subject, said that in Germany the finest theatricals are played on Sunday afternoons, and “the pastors are there with their flocks;” and there the people often meet their pastor, whom they in the forenoon had heard preach. AMS January 1889, page 5.6

Dr. Fernley, Secretary of the Philadelphia Sunday Association, next spoke, and heartily wished that our National Constitution “had God, and Jesus Christ, and the Bible, in it;” and complained that our foreign population demanded a Continental Sunday instead of the American Sabbath. AMS January 1889, page 5.7

The statements of these last three speakers about the Continental Sunday called out the following question:— AMS January 1889, page 5.8

“The Continental countries are Roman Catholic countries. The Continental Sunday is the Roman Catholic Sunday. In the petition for this National Sunday law you have six million Protestants, and seven million two hundred thousand Catholics. Now suppose the law should be passed, would you then have a Continental Sunday or an ‘American Sabbath’? In other words, can the six million Protestants compel the seven million two hundred thousand Catholics to keep Sunday in the Protestant way?” AMS January 1889, page 5.9

This question was likewise neither read nor answered. AMS January 1889, page 5.10

Mr. George May Powell said that in this matter of Sabbath reform “there is nothing so much needed as a better observance of the Sabbath by the ministry and the laity of the churches. When the clergy and the laity come up to the scriptural observance of the Sabbath, and not till then, will the land enjoy her Sabbaths—not till there is a reform of the evangelical clergy and laity.” AMS January 1889, page 5.11

All of which is true. But if the clergy and laity will not reform without the power of civil law which they themselves must enforce, how in the world shall this much desired reform ever be accomplished. AMS January 1889, page 5.12

Senator Hawley, of Connecticut, was to have presided over the meeting Wednesday night, but being hindered by business at the Capitol, he sent a letter in which he expressed his indorsement of the work, and his general concurrence in it. AMS January 1889, page 5.13

Congressman Dingley, of Maine, was present at this meeting, and made a speech strongly indorsing the movement, and saying that “there are few more important National questions than that which had called this assembly.” AMS January 1889, page 5.14

Dr. Crafts next opened the question box, and answered such questions as he could. He said: “The greatest trouble on this question in this country is in the churches and among the preachers. They do not observe the Sabbath. There are some preachers in the pulpit who do not observe it.” AMS January 1889, page 5.15

One question was: “In view of the large number of Catholic petitioners, why was there no Catholic elected as a member of the Executive Committee of the Union?” The Doctor replied that a member of that church—a Mr. Hickey—had been that day chosen upon the Executive Committee. But Mr. Crafts did not tell the audience that he himself had done his best to prevent this. He did not tell how he in executive session had repeatedly tried to adjourn the meeting to defeat the election of a Catholic upon the Board. He was perfectly willing to use all the Catholics upon the strength of the Cardinal’s name, but he was not willing to grant them representation on the Executive Committee. Mr. Hickey was elected, though, in spite of Dr. Craft’s opposition. AMS January 1889, page 5.16

In further talk Mr. Crafts exposed the spring of the whole movement by saying that “taking religion out of the day takes the rest out.” AMS January 1889, page 5.17

Meetings were held Thursday afternoon and evening, but there was nothing of importance said more than has been already reported in this, or in the report from the Chicago Convention. Dr. Herrick Johnson repeated his Chicago speech on the “Sunday Newspaper.” AMS January 1889, page 5.18

Thursday forenoon they had a second hearing before the Senate Committee on Education and Labor, Senator Blair chairman, to present the petition of their six million Protestants and their seven-million-two-hundred-thousand-times-multiplied Cardinal. There was nothing said by them there materially in addition to what was said in Convention, except the statement of Dr. Sunderland, of Washington City—President Cleveland’s pastor—who, in explaining to the Senate Committee how the change of the Sabbath came about from the seventh day to the first day of the week, declared that “Sunday is the seventh day of the Christian week”! AMS January 1889, page 5.19

The managers of the movement were greatly encouraged by the work of the Convention, as they have good reason to be, and expressed themselves as very hopeful of getting the National Sunday Bill enacted into a law, and signed by President Cleveland before the expiration of the term of his office, on March 4. And it is certain that if fallacious arguments, deceptive statements, and dishonest practices can accomplish it, their hope is not groundless. AMS January 1889, page 5.20

The American people not only do not half realize the danger that there is in this movement if the law should be secured, but they do not half realize the chicanery that is being employed to secure it. The greatest danger of all is that the people will not realize it till it is everlastingly too late. AMS January 1889, page 5.21

A. T. J.

Washington, D. C., December 16, 1888. AMS January 1889, page 5.22