In this change, he but followed that impulse which led the men of England, centuries ago, to enact, that “marriage annuls all previous contracts between the parties,” and which now leads men in all civilized countries to preserve such statutes. It is an old adage, “All is fair in love as in war,” but I thought not of general laws, and only felt a private grievance.
By a further change of plan, I was to get religion and preach. Wesley made the great innovation of calling women to the pulpit, and although it had afterwards been closed to them generally, there were still women who did preach, while all were urged to take part in public worship. My husband had been converted after our engagement and shortly before our marriage, and was quite zealous. He thought me wonderfully wise, and that I might bring souls to Christ if I only would. I quoted Paul: “Let women keep silence in churches, and learn of their husbands at home.” He replied, “Wives, obey your husbands.” He laughed at the thought of my learning from him and said: “What shall I teach you? Will you come to the mill and let me show you how to put a log on the carriage?”
It was a very earnest discussion, and the Bible was on both sides; but I followed the lead of my church, which taught me to be silent. He quoted his preachers, who were in league with him, to get me to give myself to the Lord, help them save souls, by calling on men everywhere to repent; but I was obstinate. I would not get religion, would not preach, would not live in the house with his mother, and stayed with my own. His younger brothers came regularly to me for lessons with my sister, and I added two idiotic children bound to his sister’s husband, to whose darkened minds I found the key hidden from other teachers. His brothers I adopted from the first, in place of the one I had lost, and they repaid my love in kind; but books soon appeared as an entering wedge between their souls and religion, which formed the entire mental pabulum of the family.
I believe there was not at that time a member of the Pittsburg Conference who was a college graduate, few who had even a good, common school education, while two of those who preached in our meetinghouse and were frequent guests in the family, were unable to read.
My husband’s father was old and feeble, and had devised his property to his wife, to be divided at her death between her sons. My husband, as her agent, would come into possession of the whole, and they thought I might object to the “prophet’s chamber;” but it required no worldly motive to stimulate these fiery zealots to save a sinner from the toils of Calvinism. It is probable many of them would have laid down his life for his religion, and when they got on the track of a sinner, they pursued him as eagerly as ever an English parson did a fox, but it was to save, not to kill. In these hot pursuits, they did not stand on ceremony, and in my case, found a subject that would not run. My kith