To Samuel Bond

30 June 1868


[MS in Finney Papers, # 1908, Microfilm, roll 5. Copy in the handwriting of Mrs Rebecca Finney.]


After Finney's articles on Freemasonry started appearing in The Independent, Finney received the following letter, dated June 20, 1868, from E. R. Chapman of Erie:


Allow me to suggest a careful perusal of an article entitled Mr Finney &c in The National Freemason of June 20. Some explanation of the facts therein set forth which are susceptible of proof from the records is needed in order to set you right before the public in your assumed character as an honest, upright and truthful christian gentleman. The columns of the "Independent" will be closely scanned, for a refutation of these facts else you stand before the world in anything but an enviable light.

Truly yours

E. R. Chapman


The editorial entitled "Mr. Finney--His Misstatements--His Masonic History from the Records" was published in The National and Freemason (Washington), Vol X (20 June 1868), pp. 393-94. A copy of page 394 in Mrs Rebecca Finney's handwriting is in the Finney Papers (microfilm, roll 8, Addendum).


As a result, Finney wrote to Samuel Bond, who was an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Adams, New York, at the time that Finney was converted. See Finney's Memoirs, pp 24-25.



Oberlin, Ohio 30th June 1868

Samuel Bond, Esq.

My Dear Br.

You are

probably aware that the masons in this vicinity have ren-

dered it necessary for me to expose their institution & preten-

sions. My articles are published in the Independent. "The National

& Freemason" has an article by the editor in the No. of June 20th

in this month, in which he professes to quote from both

the records of the Lodge & of the church and holds himself

responsible for the correctness of his statements. Now, either

the records are false or his extracts are false. I quote


from him as follows. "Jan. 18, 1821 the minutes meeti, Charles G.

Finney duly installed secretary." "At this time Benj. Wright

was master of the Lodge & an elder of the Presbyterian Church

whom Mr Finney styles a deist." You will remember Br.

Bond that Benj. Wright was converted after I was & joined

the church either at the same time, or after I did. I

was converted the 10th Oct 1822, & Mr. Wright about a month

after. Observe, this writer asserts that Wright was an

elder of the church Jan. 18th 1821. ie a year before he

was converted. This is certainly wrong. At the time I was

converted Eliphalet Edmonds a notorious Deist

Benj. Wright

was master of the Lodge. ^ I believe, after he was converted

was master of the Lodge & after he became an elder, but

of this I am not certain. In my first article I state, to

the best of my recollection of course, that I attended the

Lodge but twice after my conversion. This quotation rep-

resents me as attending three times, Jan. 3d 1822, June 10th 1822

& Oct. 30th 1823. He says I was discharged at my own re-

[page 2]

quest May 6th 1824. Now I cannot recollect attending

Lodge but twice after my conversion, and my impression

was that they were both soon after my conversion. If my

memory is not at fault, I requested a dismission at

my second attendance. My discharge may not have

been made out & delivered to me until the 6th of May

when I was about to leave town. He does not say that

I was at the Lodge 6th of May 1824. I had said in my

1st No. that I found I was converted from masonry & asked

my dismission on my second attendance. This was, as I

remembered. I am certain that I was converted from

masonry & had a severe struggle in my mind on the

question of withdrawing. I may be mistaken in regard to the

number of times I attended Lodge, before I finally got my

discharge. This writer denies that the masons had some

kind of celebration, & asked me to deliver an oration,

as I stated. I don't know whether there is any record

of this, but I do know that a celebration was held, that

I was requested to be the speaker on the occasion; that I de-

clined & that Abner Morton delivered the oration & that

he read it to me in the room I then occupied in Mr. Morton's

old store, before he delivered it. I did not attend the meeting.

Do none of you remember this? The substance of what I said in

that first number is abundantly confirmed by this article.

To wit, that I was a member & secretary of that Lodge, & that

I was duly dismissed at my own request. These facts have

been denied by masons, & I have been accused of belonging to

a Bogus Lodge, if to any, & a minister of the Gospel who

says he has been a master of a Lodge has asserted in

writing that there is no secretary of a mason's Lodge.

[page 3]

The two points of discrepancy between my statements as

recollected by me, & his statements, professed to be

from the Records, are 1st that Benj. Wright was

master of the Lodge & elder in the Church on the 18th

Jan. 1821. In this I know he is mistaken. I recollect

but two masters while I belonged to the Lodge, Capt. Goodell, &

Judge Edmonds. Edmonds was an avowed Deist. Goodell

was no Christian. The 2nd point of discrepance relates

to the number of times I attended the Lodge after my conversion.

This is of no other consequence except as it would show that

I was mistaken as to dates. Can you not get the number

of the "National & Freemason" of June 20th, read this article

& examine the records of the Lodge, & of the church & write

me the result of your investigations? Is there any evidence in

the record that I ever solicited an office in the Lodge & was voted

or dead

down, as he states? No man livingŸcan truthfully say that I

ever sought office in church or state of Lodge. You

will observe the filthy suspicions he suggests respecting my seeking

office & money. Now, My Dear Bro. Bond, I have an impression

that you & Bro. Stone became members of the Lodge after I left.

If you are a mason you know that I truly represent ma

sonry in my articles. They never would have been written

had not masons shut me up by their misrepresentations,

to write them. If you are a mason, you are also

a christian, & you will not, I trust, countenance the

misrepresentations of masons to injure a christian

brother. Will you not tell me at what date was Edmonds master of

the Lodge - At what date did Benj. Wright become an elder

& when did he become master of the Lodge? I know he was not an

elder in 1821. But, my dear Bro. let me hear from you soon Love to all

the Brethren God bless you

C. G. Finney



During the period from April 25 to August 1, 1868, The National Freemason was entitled The National and Freemason.

The date 1822 should be 1821.

Eliphalet Edmonds was one of the earliest settlers in the area. He had taken up land in 1799, and the meeting to form the town of Adam took place in his home in 1802. He was supervisor in 1818-1820 and a later trustee of the village. See Hough, A History of Jefferson County in the State of New York, from the earliest period to the present time (Albany: Joel Munsell, 1854)

The letter from George Andrus, Secretary of the New York Rising Sun Lodge, No. 125, dated 7 May 1824, included a copy of the proceedings of the Lodge for 6 May:

On motion, voted that Br. Charles G. Finney be honorably discharged from this Lodge, pursuant to his request.

Finney's first article "Freemasonry.--1" was published in The Independent (New York), 9 April 1868, p. 1

Perley Davis Stone (1795-1882), from Marlborough, New Hampshire, had gone to Adams, New York, in 1817, and for forty-four years was in partnership with Samuel Bond, as a cabinet-maker. He was a pillar of the Presbyterian Church, becoming a deacon in 1821, and an elder in 1828. "He was a man of devout and religious Puritan type" (J. Gardner Bartlett, Gregory Stone Genealogy. Ancestry and Descendants of Dea. Gregory Stone of Cambridge, Mass., 1320-1917 [Boston: Published for the Stone Family Association, 1918], pp. 432-3; see also J. S. Root, "Deacon Stone of Adams" The New-York Evangelist [21 September 1882], p. 6).