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Rev. Mansfield French
February 10, 1810 - March 15, 1876
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Mansfield French was born in Manchester, Vt., Feb 10, 1809, and died at Pearsalls Long Island N. Y. March 14, 1876.

Youth
He was baptised on September 23, 1813 as Mansfield by Rev. Abram Bronson in the Zion Protestant Episcopal Church
in Manchester Center, Vt. His parents were Joshua and Grace (Bassett) French. His father, was a wealthy farmer, a
chief magistrate, an warden in the Protestant Episcopal Church. Mansfield's youth was spend at home on the farm in
the public schools, and in the academy at Bennington (Bennington Seminary) , where he made excellent progress in
Latin and mathematics. At this academy he became a member of the Zion Protestant Episcopal Church. Feeling himself
called to the ministry, at the age of twenty (1830-34) he moved to Ohio, and entered the divinity school of Kenyon
College. During and after his theological studies, he was for some year a successful educator in several schools, one
of which became Marietta College.

Marriage
In 1832 he was married to Miss Austa M. Winchell, who became an earnest co-laborer with him. She was born Granville,
0Ohio in 1809. They had the following children: Eliza Minerva born Gambier, Ohio Jan. 28, 1834; who married Rev.
George Lansing Taylor, a Methodist clergyman, a writer and a poet.  Sarah True born Gambier, Ohio on Feb., 1836
and  died Granville, O., September 1838. Winchell Mansfield born Gambier, Jan., 1838. Mansfield Joshua born
Circleville, Ohio September 16, 1840. Grace Ruth born Homer, Ohio in June, 1842 and died Delaware, Ohio in
February 1853.  Laura Adorna b. Amity, Ohio, May, 1844; died Mt. Vernon, Ohio, September 1845. Hamline Quigley
born Chesterville, Ohio June, 1848. Mrs. French spoke of their life as " one long sacrifice, though a joyful one, by
grace."


Ministry
Through Mr. French's position and relations in the Protestant Episcopal Church were greatly cherished, he
nevertheless found its rigidity and exclusiveness as incompatible with his evangelistic and catholic charity, that in 1845
he withdrew from that communion, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and was received into the North Ohio
Conference. Here he became a noted revival pastor, hundreds being converted on his various charges. In 1850 and
1852 he was appointed Agent of the Ohio Wesleyan University and secured the endowment fund for its initial
department. In 1854 and 1855 he was transferred to Cincinnati Conference as President of Xenia Female College  
(Pres. of Xenia from Aug. 1854 to Aug. 1856.)  

In 1856 as a founder of Wilberforce he was appointed Agent of Wilberforce University by the Cincinnati Methodist
Episcopal Conference with John Wright as president. Situated in the County of Greene, in the State of Ohio,it was fifty-
one (51) acres of land  that was bought by John Wright and wife, Mansfield French and wife, Asbury Lowry and wife,
and Mighill Dustin and wife. He saw hearts melt, pocketbooks emptied. Noble men and women came to his aid. Lee
Claflin, father of Gov. Wm. Claflin of Boston gave him in all $10,000. He found men in New York who would help when
his need was sorest. He visited Methodist Conference after Conference, all over the West, thro N.Y., Penn., New
England. Receiving subscriptions by ministers, some $100, many $25, long lists at $10., others at $5., and all those
subscriptions tell of deep sympathy, self denial and great generosity. Money was scarce in those days. Many farmers
said they could not get enough to buy a postage stamp. On September 5, 1859 the property was turned over to
Wilberforce University. In Xenia planters came from the South bringing children to leave them at the school.  One
brought a mother and two or three boys and left $3000. for their maintenance. The planter acknowledged them as his
children.

In the fall of 1859 he came to New York as editor and proprietor of a religious monthly, "The Beauty of Holiness"
devoted to antislavery agitation.

The War of Rebellion
At the outbreak of the war his antislaveryism and his previous services to African Americans, made him a providentially
prepared instrument for what was to be the crowning work of his life. In late 1861 he worked with the American
Missionary Association to present a plan to Washington for the Port Royal area. (
See letter to AMA) On January 2,
1862, under special commission from Secretary of War Cameron he proceeded to Virginia, and then to South Carolina,
investigating the conditions and wants of the multitudes of refugee blacks, and returned to New York in January, 1862,
where he secured the organization of the
National Freedmen's Relief Association. By March he returned to South
Carolina taking with him the teachers for the freedmen. (
See teacher left behind)

In May Rev French traveled to Washington, D. C. with
General Rufus Saxton where Saxton received his instructions to
become military governor of the
Department of the South. They saw both Secretary of War Stanton and Secretary of
the Treasury Chase. (See
early report in the American Missionary)

Letter to The Philadelphia Inquirer
Letter from Beaufort,
The following letter from the Rev. Mansfield French, well known in connection with the indutrial and educational
experiment now in progress at Port Royal, will be found interesting:

Beaufort, S. C., May 21, 1862
Mr. _______: Dear Sir: I received, before leaving New York, your letter addressed to Judge Edmonds. I arranged with
the American Missionary Association, New York, to purchase books and forward them to me. Miss Towne has received
your letter, which she has shown me. Concerning the distribution, your suggestions I shall be most happy to have
complied with.

The work of clothing and feeding the people, as well as instructing them, is increasing daily. Miss Towne is so situatioed
as not to see the daily arrival of the destitute as we do in Beaufort. They come to and pass our door in swarms.
Yesterday a party numbering five women, and one man passed. They had just escaped from their masters. The four
women had large bundles in their hands; two had a large child on the back; a third had one in her arms. All were
shoeless, ragged dirty, weary and hungry. I never before beheld woman in such a condition. For the liberty of
themselves and their squalid, half naked, but tenderly cherished little ones, they had braved the danger of flight,
attended with circumstances that would have clothed with immortal honor any white Philadelphia lady.

"Have you brought all your children?" we inquired.

"Oh no, massa; dis all we could get. Thankful for des; we almost die to get dese."

"Have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh no, but we so glad to find you, gat away safe."

""Were you not afraid to trust us, after all your master had told you concerning us?"

"Oh, de Lord bless you, massa! no, no, we trust you wid all."

Our forces are now beginning to move on Charleston. What we shall do for the thousands now coming and destined to
follow, I know not. My heart sickens at the prospect of want. But the people welcome any amount of suffering, so they
gain their liberty. God has evidently "taken part with those who had no helper." The people see not our soldiers, so
much as they see God. Their faith unwaveringly claims freedom despite appearance, and to all human appearance
God wills their freedom.

General Hunter has organized the "First Regiment South Carolina Volunteers." The are noble men, taken direct from
the plantations. They are loyal, and consent to free speech, a free press, that the laborer should have his wages, that
all the children should attend schools, that families should be as securely protected as in the North; in short, that all
should enjoy freedom. Now this is a decided improvement, and compensates in no small degree for the expense of the
war. I have twice address this regiment, giving free utterance to various opinions, as in the North, and saw no
movement for ? or rope. I said to myself, "Bless the Lord, we are gaining ground."

I am now putting the following improvements into one cabin, on twenty-five different plantations --- A window with four
panes of glass, a small mirror, a tin wash basin and two towels, a breakfast table, 3 1/2 by 4 feet; a bedtick, three
sheets, four pillow cases, and a white-wash brush. The cabins are first thoroughly renovated, and then these
improvements made, in order to furnish a model cabin and to introduce the custom of the family sitting at the table for
meals. I thought one such cabin, made neat, light and cheerful, would stimulate the people. I look for very happy
results. The improement cost $8 per cabin. The materials were shipped from New York. I shall suggest to M9ss Towne
to write you, hoping you will do something in this way.

I trust the people will not get weary in the work. The wants in the aggregate are increasing. Clothing for women and
children is most needed. Miss Towne is well and hard at work.

Yours, in deepest devotion to the work, as well as brotherly love,

M French


The 1st South Carolina
He was also among the first to urge upon the Government the expediency of receiving African American men into the
army. In  August 1862,  Robert Smalls, the liberator of the
Planter traveled to Washington, DC with the Reverend
Mansfield French.  French wanted to convince the government to allow black men to enter the U.S. Military in South
Carolina. Soon after Smalls and French met with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Chase and Wells, the War
Department began enlisting contraband men into the U.S. Army. Following the emergency return to Hilton Head after
the Washington D. C. meeting (See
French to Whipple) Rev. French and Robert Smalls embarked on a speaking tour
to New York. This tour also went to Philadelphia with Robert Small, Rev. French and Rev Dr. Tyng of New York.  
On
November 12, Rev French participated in the first operation of the newly formed 1st South Carolina (later 33rd USCT).

His original commission was soon changed to that of chaplain in the regular army, on the staff of General Saxton,
Military governor of South Carolina,(Superintendent of Missions and Marriage Relations) and his work was the
oversight of all the freedmen of the department with their teachers and interests. He held the chaplain's commission for
nearly six years which was constantly occupied in labors for the colored people.

Tax Sales
In the exercise of this oversight he obtained the Government order for the sale of the abandoned lands to the blacks.  
He wrote to Salmon Chase, Secretary of the Treasury about his fear of the impending tax sells: "I am greatly troubled in
view of the land sales. The sharp eyed spectators are on hand and with larger purses than those of the friends of
humanity. If the plantations fall into their hands most of the colored people will suffer greatly." He requested that
General Saxton be allowed to purchase some land for the freedmen with the cotton money. On February 6, 1863 the
efforts paid off when Congress voted to allow a certain amount of the land for educational and charitable purposes.

After the War
After the war he went, under Government orders, through South Carolina and Georgia, holding vast mass meetings for
the purpose of "instructing the planters and freedmen in their respective duties under the
Emancipation Proclamation. "
It was at one of these meetings, held at the mansion of General Robert Toombs, that a fine piece of poetic justice was
melted out. Toombs had defiantly boasted, on the floor of the United States Senate, that "he would soon call the roll of
his slaves in the shadow of Bunker Hill monument." Mr French called the roll of those same slaves at their former
master's own door and read to the crowd of blacks and whites the
Emancipation Proclamation. During his work in the
South, in 1865,  the South Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized, when Mr. French
joined it, re-entering the traveling ministry.

After the restoration of civil government in South Carolina. Mr. French, feeling that his special work among the
freedmen was accomplished, resigned his army commission and returned to the North, where, in 1872, he was received
by transfer into the New York Methodist Episcopal Conference. In 1871 and 1872 he was pastor at Newtown, Long
Island and in 1876-76 at St James M. E. Church in Pearsall.

As a Christian, Rev. French was a man of decided convictions, and of deep religious experiences. As a preacher he
was able, direct, evangelical, highly scriptural, and fearless in denouncing sin, whether in high or low places; yet his
ministry was rich in the fullness of love, and has fruitful revival labors were in great demand among his ministerial
brethren, several engagements with whom he had on hand when he died. He suffered dysentery for two weeks and was
unconscious the last six hours of his life. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, New York. Gen. Clinton B. Fisk said, at
his funeral 1876, that Pres. Lincoln told him that of all the advisors he had in the darkest days of the war, he had none
whom he valued more than Mansfield French.

Obituary
Rev. Mansfield French.

Rev. Mansfield French, popularly known as "Chaplain French," a prominent Methodist minister and a widely known
friend of the colored race, died at his pastoral charge, Pearsalls, L. I., on Wednesday morning, the 15th inst.,aged sixty-
six years. Mr. French had spent a varied, active and highly useful life. He was born at Manchester, Vt., February 21,  
1810. The youth of the deceased preacher was spent on his father's farm and at the then noted Bennington Seminary,
where he made excellent progress in classics and mathematics.

During his theological studies and after their completion he founded the Granville Female Seminary. In 1832 he married
Miss Austa M. Winchell, a cousin of Dr. Alexander Winchell, the eminent geologist. In the year 1845 he joined the
Methodist Episcopal Church and entered her itinerant ministry in the North Ohio Conference. Mr. French was a fervent
and remarkably successful pastor for several years hundreds being brought into the church through his labors. Here
also by church appointment, he served as President of Xenia Female College and as agent for the Ohio Wesleyan
University, and then for Wilberforce University. Wilberforce University was the first college opened for the colored race
in America. Soon after the capture of Hilton Head and the South Carolina coast by the Sherman naval expedition, at the
urgent solicitation of Lewis Tappan and others, he went to Washington and laid before the President his views of the
nation's duty toward the "contraband slaves" of that department. He was then given a pass and commission to visit all
forts, &c., in the South occupied by Northern forces. Soon after he came North and organized the great Cooper Institute
meeting of February 20, 1862. The result of this meeting was the organization of the National Freedman's Relief
Association, whose object was the sustaining of the work of education of the blacks, planned by Mr. French in the
South. On the 3d of March he sailed for Port Royal, with a large corps of teachers. These were the first teachers
furnished by the North to the late slaves, the forerunners of a great host to follow them. He next secured for the black
man the right to fight under the flag of his country. But the struggle for it was a hard one. Mr. French labored with the
authorities for three days to obtain it. When the order was granted it was under the most strict injunctions that its
contents should not be divulged in the North. Mr. Stanton's own words to Mr. French were: --- "For heaven's sake don't
let the
New York Herald get hold of this!"

The first result of this authority was the expedition with the steamer Darlington down the coast of Florida, for the double
purpose of destroying extensive salt works invaluable to the rebel cause and of enlisting colored troops. This expedition
was formally in charge of the military officers, but actually commanded by Mr. French (who was under fire in the action)
and it was completely successful in both its main objects. He wrote the enlistment roll himself, and on the return of the
vessel to Port Royal he turned over to white officers the "First South Carolina Volunteers," nearly 200 strong. Thus the
black man gained one more step toward the recognition of his rights as an American citizen. Citizen. This latter work
was performed by Mr. French, under commission as a chaplain in the United States Army. He held this commission only
twenty-seven days less than six years, and upon it under various official designations, he executed all the remainder of
his work in the national service. His private papers for this period contain the original draft of the act of Congress
organizing the Freedman's Bureau, which was his original conception. After Sherman's great raid had made
emancipation operative in the interior of South Carolina and Georgia he was commissioned by General Gilmore June
27, 1865, to proceed through those States and "instruct the planters, freedmen and other inhabitants of the country
generally in their individual and relative duties under the new order of things developed by the war."

It was during this tour that Mr. French gave an example of poetical retribution upon the great rebel leader, Robert
Toombs. Toombs had boasted on the floor of the United States Senate that he "expected to call the roll of his slaves
under the shadow of Bunker Hill Monument." and on July 11, 1865, Mr. French called the roll of freedom for those same
slaves at Mr. Toombs' own house, while the owner was skulking in the neighboring swamp, hiding away from United
States soldiers. In the political canvass of 1868 a letter signed by Measrs. Harlan, Wilson, Wade, Colfax, Delano,
Thaver, Forney, Pomeroy and others was addressed to Mr. French, urgently requesting him to consent to his
nomination for the first United States Senatorship from the newly reconstructed State of South Carolina, but, being
more of a philanthropist than a politician, he withdrew from the canvass which his friends had begun in his behalf,
preferring to work in the line of duty which better suited his convictions and his training. At the close of his labors for the
freedmen, he returned to New York and resumed the regular work of the ministry in the New York East Conference,
where he spent five years of useful pastoral labor, rewarded, by numerous conversations and the love of a very wide
circle of friends. He survived the oblivion of all the aspersions malicious partisans cast upon him during the war and
passed away in the confidence and love of all his brethren.

Writings

Austa French's book Slavery in South Carolina

Have only found the table of contents for Beauty of Holiness but it should give you an idea of the magazine:

A Childs Application of Scripture
Righteous Smitings By F E
The Good Time By Rev T M EDDY D D
The Spirit of Prayer
NEED or PERFECT Love Glory Not
Entire Sanctification By Rev S L FINNEY
REBUKE nor AN ELDER Report  to be lovingly administered  
The Burden of Prayer   
The Divine Humanity  
AntiSlavery Testimony
Fed by God  
Testimony for Christ not Egotism By Rev D F Nnwron  
The Revival in Wales   
Fullness for the Empty   
Early Sanctification   
The Unexpected Summons   
Experience of a Baptist Sister   
Thank God Sinners had been Converted   
SUFFERING ACCORDING to THE WILL or God The Lord pleased    
Thomas A Kempis and John Fletcher By Rev E Tnouson D D   
WHAT THE PURE IN HEART WOULD  
Entire Sanctification By J T PECK D D   
Fine Preaching    
The Life of Trust    
CORRESPONDENCE   
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost and of Fire By Bishop Snurson   
The Blessing How Recovered By L TAYLOR    
From a Beloved Contributor  
The Young Man who did not desire Salvation   
The Soul in Union rests from Desires   
The Souls Food By Rev F G HIBBARD D D   
Gospel Fruits in Jamaica
Giving by Faith  
The Causes and Cure of Unbelief By Rev J QUIGLEY   
Rapturous Experience amidst Suffering  
Tuesday Meetings at Dr Palmers  
This is the Work of God    
EDITORIAL SKETCHES  
Wilberforce University
Subscription Ledger of
Rev. Mansfield French
Austa M. and Mansfield French
Salmon Chase
Secretary of the Treasury
General Rufus Saxton
Military Governor, Dept of the
South