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


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Editorial Annotations

It is clear from this text that Bangs relied heavily on these notes, copying large passages verbatim,  when composing his auto-biography sometime in the 1850s. Stevens in his turn excerpts a large portion of this account (probably from the auto-biography rather than the original notebook of c.1816) for the narrative of his biography as well. See links in right-hand pane.


[Retrospective entry:] May 1812

To exhibit in active life a zeal proportionate to the knowledge we acquire by ardent application of the mind to useful studies in private is the way, not only to treasure up sound wisdom, but also, to make a practical, and useful application of it. These observations are not made, because the writer is possessed of all those qualifications, which are here recommended, nor because he has applied himself with the assiduity which ought to mark the conduct of every true minister; but because he feels the want, and sees the necessity of active diligence in every department of ministerial duty, in order [to be] useful here, and happy here after.

[Section of ms. torn.]

We who were stationed together in this City had the happiness of labouring in the vineyard of our gracious Lord, with great harmony, and with considerable success. Many souls were, it is believed, converted to God, and several hundred were added to the Church. My heart was cordially united to the people; and although I met, in the commencement of my work, with some spirited opposition in the exercise of the discipline, from some individuals, I was much encouraged by the united aid and support of the Preachers, and majority of the members.

This year, 1812, May 1st our General Conference was held in the city of New York. June 5th following our annual Conference convened in the city of Albany.

[Section of ms. torn detailing Bangs's volunteering for service in Lower Canada. See link to autobiography in right pane.]

Consulting with them [Bishops Asbury and M'Kendree], it was finally concluded not prudential or expedient for me to proceed on to Montreal. Accordingly I hired a room with Br Sandford in Troy. My mind was considerably embarrassed, in consequence of this unexpected disappointment; but I endeavoured to improve my time in the best way I could. There were calls enough for Preaching, but no opening for a competent support; however, the Lord was mindful of us, and sent us supplies.

Having considerable leisure time, I commenced writing an Essay on the reasonableness of Christianity. This subject had rested on my mind with weight for several years; but a belief of my insufficiency to do it justice hitherto prevented its execution And, although I have since completed the essay, according to my first intention, I have not yet felt a freedom to expose it to public view. I wish the advice of some judicious friends, which, I dare not ask. It is possible that, at some future period, it may see the light, which I hope, it may not darken. If it never have any other use, it had a tendency to enlarge, and quicken my own soul.

While in Troy I had various solicitations from my friends in New York, and particularly from Mr. Garettson [sic] presiding elder of New York District to come south. Accordingly about the middle of September, I set off[,] took a sloop at Albany, and sailed to Tarry Town, I was arrested with the Dysentery, very violently. Although we had no home, we were received by a friend, and treated in a very affectionate manner. I was confined about 4 or 5 weeks, a part of which time, I suffered the most excruciating pain. Being so far recovered, as to be able, we removed to Bedford; and in a short time I was strengthened to take the circuit. I found myself in the midst of a very kind and affectionate people, who strove to make me, and my family as comfortable as possible. People do not generally consider how much their tokens of friendship, has a tendency to bind the heart of a preacher to them. These people did not merely say go, and be there warmed, and be there clothed, but they gave me the things I stood in need of [cf. Jas 2.16].

We had not been long settled in this place, before my wife was taken sick, with every symptom of the consumption. She was under the Doctor's care about four months. On the whole this was a year of great affliction, and severe trial. We moved no less than three times, and that a considerable distance, besides all our sickness. God, however was gracious unto us, and sent us help and comfort.


May 1813

Primary Sources

Nathan Bangs "Auto-biography" Bangs on the outbreak of the War of 1812

Abel Stevens Life and Times of Nathan Bangs Stevens on Bangs's decision not to return to Lower Canada in 1812





Edited by Scott McLaren
Book History Practicum
University of Toronto