The Journals & Notebook of
 Nathan Bangs 1805-1806, 1817


Contents    Introduction    Maps    Images    Chronology    Bibliography    Archival Resources

Editorial Annotations

Several portions of Bangs's journals that deal with the Hay Bay camp meeting have been transcribed by George Rawlyk and published in The Canada Fire: Radical Evangelicalism in British North American, 1775-1812 (1994). I indicate with footnotes where my readings differ from Rawlyk's. Rawlyk appears to have examined only the photocopies of these journals held at the United Church Archives in Toronto (Rawlyk 232). It should be noted that an anonymous researcher has placed incorrect dates in the margins of the manuscript that carry with them a suggestion that the camp-meeting took place in early October 1805. Published primary sources (see Stevens 151ff.) and modern scholars agree, however, that this revival took place over the last weekend in September 1805. The early-October dates seem to have arisen from the earlier researcher's failure to notice that Bangs was recording events retrospectively on October 5th. Although all these entries appear to have been written at one sitting, they have been broken up here for purposes of clarity and annotation.

Fryday Oct 5 1805 [Friday 4 October] 

I have been to attend a Camp-Meeting at the bay of Quintie and it was a glorious time to my own Soul and the Souls of many others. On Sunday evening [29 September] I had such a opperation [sic] upon me as I never before felt. I felt a Shock[*] of Divine power come upon me and I immediately lifted up my voice in Exhortation, but was soon so filled that I was held by some of my friends whilst I shouted forth the praises of my dear redeemer. I was carried out of the Camp and it seemed that my body was benumbed with the power[] of God. I tried to speak but my lips and tongue was stiff. I was then laid in the tent where the blessing of the Lord seemed to circulate all through my body as well as soul. I lay thus overwhelmed for some time while[] the Glory of God filled the tent and many shouted aloud the praises of Immanuel. O what love did I feel for soul[s]. I wanted to take them in my arms. The dear children of God seemed as my heartstrings and I am sure I would have laid down my life for them if it would have done them any good. I have felt the divine flame ever since running through my soul which makes all within me rejoice. I feel less than nothing in my own sight and Christ is my all and in all [cf. Col 3.11]. O that I may never be disobedient to his blessed spirit. I am certain that Camp Meeting is an institution of God for he honors them with his living presence as may be seen by the following account of the above mentioned one. The minutes I took down myself and they are here corrected and enlarged upon.

    [Friday 27 September 1805]
    [Saturday 28 September 1805]
    [Sunday 29 September 1805]
    [Monday 30 September 1805]

* Rawlyk has "spark" (153)
Rawlyk has "praises" (153)
Rawlyk has "until" (153)

14 September 1805


9 October 1805


Primary Sources

G.F. Playter History of Methodism in Canada Playter on the Hay Bay camp meeting

Nathan Bangs History of the Methodist Episcopal Church Bangs on the Hay Bay camp meeting

Abel Stevens Life and Times of Nathan Bangs Stevens on the first Canada camp meeting

John Carroll Case and His Cotemporaries Carroll's introduction to Bangs's published account reprinted in his volume

David Smyth "Map of the Province of Upper Canada 1813" Detail showing Bay of Quinte region



Exhortation: A short oration not based on a biblical text that usually followed a more traditional sermon. Among the earliest Methodists women were as likely to function as "exhorters" as men.


Edited by Scott McLaren
Book History Practicum
University of Toronto