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Benjamin Franklin’s “The Contrast Fairly Stated,” a reply to N. L. Rice’s “Campbellism: its Rise, Progress, Character and Influence.” The DCHS collection includes two editions of a tract by Benjamin Franklin, “The Contrast Fairly Stated.” The earlier edition, containing sixty-two pages, was published in 1856. Alexander Campbell commended the tract, stating: "Should anyone desire to have a full exposition of the sophistries, misrepresentations, and perversions of a certain tract by Rev. N. L. Rice, on some creations of his own, called “Campbellism—its rise, character and influence,” endorsed, too, and circulated by the Presbyterian Board of Publication in Philadelphia, he will find it lucidly, forcibly, and unanswerably done in a tract called, “The Contrast Fairly Stated,” a copy of which I received from Cincinnati. We are very confident no Presbyterian D. D. in the country will ever answer it, or meet its true and real issues." (Millennial Harbinger September 1856 page 534) The DCHS copy of the earlier edition lacks the title page but it is clear that the tract was published in 1856; Franklin had published it in two parts in the June and July issues of his monthly, the American Christian Review and Alexander Campbell, as noted above, had received a copy of the tract in time to review it in September 1856. The later edition in the DCHS collection has its title page, for which see the image included with this post. Our research in the weekly editions of the American Christian Review shows that Franklin first included advertisements for the tract in his column “Tracts for the People” in the January 27, 1863, issue of the ACR on page fifteen. This edition is 101 pages. Since the pages of the two editions are the same size, but the type font is smaller in the 1863 edition, we are assured that Franklin added more content. The 1863 edition, for example, includes fifteen chapters, while the 1856 edition had no chapter divisions. DCHS is happy to post this item from our collection. According to WorldCat, we are the only institution holding a copy of the 1863 tract. The 1856 edition is not entered in WorldCat and is probably rarer than the 1863 edition. A penciled note in the gutter of page three of the 1863 edition indicates DCHS received the tract as part of the “Edgar DeWitt Jones library.”

Publication Date



Benjamin Franklin


Cincinnati, Ohio


Campbellism, Alexander Campbell, Nathan Lewis Rice, Controverial Religious Literature, Stone-Campbell Movement Tracts or Pamphlets, Benjamin Franklin

“The Contrast Fairly Stated,” a reply to N. L. Rice’s “Campbellism: its Rise, Progress, Character and Influence.”