Hugh Henry Brackenridge, the founder of literary culture in Pittsburgh, describes a somewhat eccentric interpretation of the prophecy of Ezekiel by the preacher, pamphleteer, legislator, and Whiskey Insurrectionist Herman Husband.

I had visited him, in the year 1780, at his residence, in the glades of the Allegheny mountain, on my way from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. He had then just finished a commentary on a part of the prophet Ezekiel: it was the vision of the temple; the walls, the gates, the sea of glass, &c. Logger-head divines, heretofore, had interpreted it of the New Jerusalem; but he conceived it to apply to the western country; and the walls were the mountains, the gates, the gaps in them, by which the roads came, and the sea of glass, the lake on the west of us. I had no hesitation in saying, that the commentary was analogous to the vision. He was pleased; and said, I was the only person, except his wife, that he ever got to believe it. Thought I, your church is composed, like many others, of the ignorant and the dissembling.

This comes from Brackenridge’s history of the Whiskey Rebellion, a new and accurate edition of which is now in preparation.


  1. Big Brother says:

    Joseph Smith was not the first American to think Biblical prophecy was all about US and not about some weird foreigners on the other side of the ocean.

  2. von Hindenburg says:

    If anyone wants a fun and fuller account of this visit, check out “The Whiskey Rebellion” by William Hogeland. Not, perhaps the most balanced account of the events, but definitely a fun one.

    Enjoy especially the scenes where the men of Washington County threaten to sack and burn Pittsburgh, but are cajoled into merely tearing down one house after Brackenridge and other moderate leaders convinced the tavern owners of Pittsburgh to serve free beer in the streets and the ferry owners to offer free rides across the river, but not back.

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