The Great Second Advent Movement: Its Rise and Progress


A Ludicrous Situation

The other case was that of Stockbridge Howland, of Topsham, Me. He was one of the best mechanics in all that section of country, a master workman in the construction of mills and bridges. In this “midnight cry” movement, Mr. Howland went on horseback over several townships, scattering advent papers and tracts from house to house, greatly to the annoyance of opponents and scoffers, who complained that in this tract distribution he neglected his business. So they at once secured the appointment of a guardian, who found more to do than he anticipated, as Mr. Howland sent to him all tax collectors, and in fact every one who came with accounts to be paid; “for,” said he, “I am not considered competent to do any business.” Soon afterward the county wished to construct a bridge over the Kennebec River,—a bridge that would stand the torrent of raging waters and floating ice in the time of spring freshets. The county commissioners and selectmen of the town decided that Stockbridge Howland was the man for the work. When they came with specifications and a contract for him to build the bridge, he said, ironically, “Gentlemen, you will have to go to my guardian. You know I am not considered competent to care for my own business, and do you come to me to build a bridge!” The situation was a little too ludicrous for sensible men, and the guardianship suddenly ended. Suffice it to say that his persecutors afterward made the most humble acknowledgments for the unjust and uncalled-for course they had taken. GSAM 170.1