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Though led by Methodists, Dickinson welcomed students of any denomination, only requiring them to attend college chapel and Sunday meetings at the church of their choice. ”¹⁸ 10 Raising Kane FIGURE 3. John Kane with his two oldest sons, Elisha (left) and Thomas (center). ) On parting with his son, John offered Thomas a list of fatherly advice, which he encouraged him to read weekly. John instructed his son to engage in daily “devotional exercises,” to be “uniformly respectful to your teachers,” to obey the college regulations, and to inform on his classmates if necessary.

As Thomas departed, John vacillated between declaring his freedom and inundating him with advice. ” Even so, John counseled Thomas to travel “respectably rather than ex[clu]sively,” “accept invitations of hospitality from proper people,” keep a travel diary, and write home often. ¹ Thomas stopped first at New Orleans, and the city’s rough-and-tumble nature impressed him. He witnessed “one man killed & half a dozen wounded” in a fire, and in walks along the levee, he saw “one severe contusion of the head & mangled face and limbs, one escape from drowning, one case of ribs & breast bone broken, and knock downs &c.

Kane’s stay in Europe also provoked him to contemplate religious questions. He initially found much to despise in European religion, both Catholic and Protestant. While in France, he issued a stinging (though conventional) critique of Catholicism: “How Glad I shall be to be once more in a Christian land! . ” He wrote that French “infidels” had substituted the “idolatrous worship of disgusting relics and images of saints [and] Virgins . . ” Like innumerable Protestant critics, Kane claimed that Catholicism’s veneer of religiosity hid hypocrisy and evil.

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