Thomas Jefferson Papers

Beverly Waugh to Thomas Jefferson, 5 May 1818

From Beverly Waugh

Baltimore City Light Street May 5th 1818

Illustrious Fellow Citizen,

I take the liberty to inclose a short treatise on the “evidence and authority of the Christian Revelation,” by the Revd Thos Chalmers. In doing so, I trust my mind is influenced by pure motives.

I need not remark to you Sir, that truth is an important object, worthy of our most vigorous, and continued pursuit. Of this, you must be deeply sensible. Can you, then have the smallest objection, to hear every thing that can be said in regard to truth? Will you ever abandon the paths of sober investigation, and dilligent inquiry? I hope not. Therefore, notwithstanding you have read much, and thought much, yet may it not be expected, that you will give the inclosed Book, a fair & honest reading. His style cannot but please you, and I think you will find his logick, equal to his rhetorick.

Will you have the goodness Sir, when you shall have read the work to express to me, your opinion on its’ merits.

Praying for Eternal interests I remain Dear Sir Your Obedient Servant

Beverly Waugh
Minister of the Gospel in the
Methodist Episcopal Church

RC (MdHi: Vertical Files); between dateline and salutation: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 May 1818 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Thomas Chalmers, The Evidence and Authority of the Christian Revelation (Edinburgh, 1814, or a later ed.; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 9 [no. 520]).

Beverly Waugh (1789–1858), Methodist clergyman, was a native of Fairfax County. He developed his business skills as a young man managing a store in Middleburg. At the age of fifteen Waugh joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and by twenty he had been admitted as a preacher in the Baltimore Conference. He was ordained a deacon in 1811 and an elder two years later, and he was secretary of the Baltimore Conference, 1813–28. The General Conference elected Waugh in 1828 to assist Methodist Episcopal book agent John Emory. In 1831 they jointly published an edition of The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, A.M. When Emory entered the episcopacy in 1832, Waugh succeeded him as the denomination’s primary book agent. In that capacity he managed the publishing house in New York City and provided leadership following a devastating fire there in 1836. In May of that year he was elected bishop at a meeting of the General Conference in Cincinnati. As bishop, Waugh contended with rising abolitionist influence. Himself a member of the American Colonization Society, he was determined to keep the church from adopting either a proslavery or an abolitionist stance. When it formally split over the issue in 1845, Waugh remained in Baltimore but sided with the northern faction. He was the church’s senior bishop from 1852 until his death (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Theodore L. Flood and John W. Hamilton, eds., Lives of Methodist Bishops [1882], 225–62; Matthew Simpson, ed., Cyclopædia of Methodism [1878], 903–5; Baltimore Sun, 10 Feb. 1858).

Index Entries

  • Chalmers, Thomas; The Evidence and Authority of the Christian Revelation search
  • Christianity; works on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • The Evidence and Authority of the Christian Revelation (T. Chalmers) search
  • Waugh, Beverly; identified search
  • Waugh, Beverly; letter from search
  • Waugh, Beverly; sends religious treatise to TJ search