H. CAIN. From Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising.
RT. REV. RICHARD HARVEY
CAIN, D. D.
Bishop A. M. E.
Church—Congressman—Senator in the South Carolina
Legislature—President of Paul Quinn College.
ONE of the brightest
lights of the A. M. E. church was extinguished when Bishop
Cain passed away, January 18, 1887. He was born in the
"Old Dominican" in 1825, and remained there until
the period of boyhood had passed, when his parents carried
him to Ohio, first to Portsmouth, then to Cincinnati. The
greater opportunities offered to the race in that State, and
the liberal public sentiment, was an incentive to the young
man to make greater efforts in securing for himself a name
and in working for the upbuilding of his race.
He was converted in 1841,
and though feeling that he must work for souls, continued
his labors as steamboat hand until moving to Hannibal,
Missouri, where he was licensed in 1844 by Rev. William
Jackson of the M. E. church. Soon after this he returned to
Cincinnati, and, being dissatisfied with his church
relations, severed his con- nection with the M. E. and
joined the A. M. E. His first charge was at Muscatine, Iowa.
After being ordained
deacon by Bishop W. P. Quinn, in 1859, feeling a need of
greater qualifications he entered Wilberforce University the
following year and applied himself diligently to study. In
1861 he was transferred to the New York Conference and had
charge of the Brooklyn church four years. April, 1862, he
was ordained elder by Bishop Payne in Washington. In 1865 he
was sent to the South Carolina Conference. This State proved
to be the principal theatre of his action. Church after
church sprang into existence as if by magic under his
charge. Emmanuel church, having a membership of three
thousand; Morris Brown church, with a membership of two
thousand; besides churches in Summerville, Lincolnville,
Georgetown, Marion, Sumter and other small places were
organized by him. Indeed, to him is due the very large
membership of the connection in Charleston, which has been
quoted at ten thousand. Besides this, he felt that his
people had need of him in other fields, and he accordingly
interested himself in whatever touched their welfare in the
State as well as in the church. He was a member of the
Constitutional convention which revised the constitution of
South Carolina. Served two years as State Senator from the
Charleston district. In 1868 he edited a Republican
newspaper, and in 1879 he was elected Republican
Representative from South Carolina to the Forty-third
Congress. In 1881 he was elected again to the Forty-fifth
Congress, and served with distinguished and marked ability.
In 1880 he was elected to his present office in the A. M. E.
church and assigned to Louisiana and Texas district. His
administration as president of the Paul Quinn College was
acceptable to all. The title of D. D. was conferred on him
by Wilberforce University, and it was borne with honor to
himself and the denomination.
The whole career of the
bishop excites the admiration of the thoughtful. It is a
life well spent, one filled with golden deeds. At a memorial
meeting held in Bethel A. M. E. church, New York, February
17,1887, commemorating the life and services of Bishop Cain,
Rev. B. W. Derrick, D. D., in a eulogy, said:
As the ministry was of
divine appointment, he took the Bible as the book of his
council, believing and accepting it to be the true Word of
God, subordinating all other professional works to this, the
greatest of all books.
Regardless of the
difficulties which often cause the minister to lie burdened,
emanating from the pastoral work, the attendance of many
kinds of meetings, the worldly-mindedness of believers, the
false-heartedness of brethren, the care of loved ones,
besides his studies, yet none of these things moved him. His
life he counted not dear.
His relation to his
church was of the most binding character; his heart and soul
were deeply ingrafted into her moral and spiritual welfare;
as a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal church he
was able, intelligent and logical. He would often say that
he considered the African Methodist Episcopal church to be
an instrument, created for a special work in the civilizing
and evangelizing of Africa. He considered the Bible to be
the chart by which Christian mariners are guided across
time's trackless ocean. Through his labors and influence,
upwards of one hundred thousand souls were gathered into the
African Methodist Episcopal church throughout the State of
South Carolina. From among this number the church points
with pride to some of her most able and educated ministers.
Death has robbed this
denomination of its richest gem in the person of our
deceased brother, whose influence is felt like a mantle of
love from rice swamps of the south to the bleak coasts of
New England. In the days when men suffered for even
advocating mission work among the lowly cabins of the Negro,
this brother with fearless love visited his oppressed
brethren in their degradation and poverty, and filled their
scanty houses with the soul-reviving truths of the Gospel,
for he believed that the true mission of a minister was to
better humanity and uplift the down-fallen.
The mortal remains of R.
H. Cain have been consigned to an honorable and
long-remembered tomb ; but the memory of his Christian
statesmanship, translucent in the highest degree, rises
above the average, and open and faithful more than almost
any of his compeers. He surely could be considered a captain
of the hosts, one of the kindliest and pleasantest of
Christian statesmen, a man of clear, good judgment, blended
with a strong resolution and firmness which made him a
master of many difficult situations in the active political
career which marked with brilliant success his
While in Congress, with
valiant loyalty to his race, he fought for the civil rights
of the Negro, and in defense of the brother whom many
defamers attempted to falsify, Bishop Cain made one of the
most eloquent and weighty, speeches of his life. To Carolina
and Texas he was a brilliant star, and the Paul Quinn
College, Waco, Texas, will always remember with pride her
honored president. No denominational line marked the
admiration and love for this brother. He was universally
esteemed as one of the brightest lights of his race.
Said The American
Baptist, February 5, 1887:
"Death loves a
shining mark" has been exemplified in the taking away
of so many noble men, during the last year, of the race.
Amid all the disadvantages of slavery and by hard pushes,
Bishop Cain elbowed himself to the front rank. Twice a
Congressman ; twice a State Senator; what a testimony of
duty well performed! To the young men of our race and
especially to the young men of the church whose Bishop he
was, be has left a priceless legacy. Though gone to his
eternal reward, yet the life which he lived here shows ever
to them that from the humblest position in the scale of
existence, they may rise to the very acme of the noblest
calling known to men. Industry, truth, courage and faith,
and the example he has left us, are the essentials that mark
every prosperous and elevated career.
At the memorial meeting
held at Quinn chapel, Louisville, Kentucky, Sunday January
30, 1887, there were delivered by two Baptists, Rev. W. J.
Simmons, D. D., and W. H. Steward, Esq., and one Methodist,
Rev. W. R. Harper, presiding elder, the following
resolutions, which were adopted.
WHEREAS, it hath pleased
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, in the fulfillment of his
Divine purposes, to remove from us our beloved Bishop,
Richard Harvey Cain, D. D., we the members and congregation
of Quinn chapel in memorial service assembled, do join in
weeping "with those who weep" in consequence of
the sad bereavement which hath befallen the whole A. M. E.
church. While with profound grief we learn of the death of
this distinguished man of God and deeply mourn our
irreparable loss, yet realizing that this dispensation has
been for the best, we bow with humble submission to the
By the death of Bishop
Cain, the Board of Bishops have lost a wise and honored
colleague, the clergy a minister of vast erudition and
acknowledged ability, the A. M. E. church an earnest,
faithful pastor, the cause of education a teacher who
delighted in progress and freely gave his time and means for
the instruction of the young, and the country a just and
Full of mercy and good
fruits he gave himself, and wherever he could accomplish
most for the Master whom he rejoiced to serve, he was always
proud. He was chaste in thought and word, and was a living
epistle seen and read of all men ; but he is no longer with
us. He died in the Lord; " he rests from his labors;
his works do follow him." For these reasons, therefore
Resolved, That in the
death of Richard Harvey Cain, D. D., late Bishop of the A.
M. E. church, Christianity has lost a friend and earnest
advocate, the race one of its noblest, and most highly
esteemed representatives, the country, a citizen of
unsullied character, of matchless worth. and the youth of
the church a father whose example is worthy of imitation.
And be it further
Resolved, That a copy of
these resolution be sent to the members of the family of the
deceased as a testimony of our sympathy in this hour of loss
and bereavement, and that a copy be sent to the Christian
Recorder, N. Y. Freeman, and the American Baptist.
J. M. MAXWELL,
J. E. SIMPSON,
MRS. M. A. JOHNSON, Committee.