Bascom, Henry B

Bascom, Henry B.

D.D., one of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, was born in Hancock, N. Y., May 27, 1796. He united with the Methodist Church in Western Pennsylvania in 1811, and was licensed to preach in 1813. His preaching soon began to attract attention, and before many years his fame as a pulpit orator was widely spread. In 1823 he was elected chaplain to Congress. In 1827 he was called to the presidency of Madison College, Pa., which he held till 1829, when he accepted the agency of the American Colonization Society. In 1832 he became Professor of Morals in Augusta College, and in 1842 President of Transylvania University. He edited the Quarterly Review of the M. E. Church South from 1846 to May, 1850, when he was elected bishop. Worn out with toil, he died Sept. 8, 1850. Bishop Bascom's course of labor thus embraced almost every extreme of human life. In his early career he is said to have preached in one year 400 times, traveled 5000 miles, and to have received as salary during that time, $12 10. At one period he was unquestionably the most popular pulpit orator in the United States. His sermons seemed invariably delivered memoriter, though usually long enough to occupy two hours; if he did not purposely commit them to memory, yet their frequent repetition fixed in his mind their language as well as their train of thought. They were evidently prepared with the utmost labor. The paragraphs often seemed to be separate but resplendent masses of thought, written at intervals, and without very close relations. His published Sermons (Nashville, 1848-50, 2 vols. 12mo) give no just idea of the grandeur of his pulpit orations; many of his brilliant passages seem to have been omitted in preparing the volumes for the press. Some of his other productions, in which his poetical propensities had no room to play, show that if his education had been such as to effectually discipline his imagination, his real ability would have been greatly enhanced. His most important writings, besides those prepared for the pulpit, are his "Bill of Rights," written on behalf of the "reform" movement of 1828; the "Protest of the Minority," in the memorable General Conference of 1844; the "Report on Organization," at the formation of the Methodist Episcopal Church South; and a subsequent elaborate volume in defense of the Southern Church, entitled "Methodism and Slavery." His Works, containing Sermons and Lectures, are collected in 4 vols. 12mo (Nashville, 1856). See Henkle, Life of Bascom (Nashville, 1854, 12mo); Meth. Quart. Rev. 1852; Sprague, Annals, 7:534.

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