Born: De­cem­ber 19, 1825, Edge­field Coun­ty, South Ca­ro­li­na.

Died: Jan­u­a­ry 31, 1892, Lowndes Coun­ty, Al­a­ba­ma.

Buried: Cave Hill Ce­me­te­ry, Lou­is­ville, Ken­tuc­ky.


Manly grew up in Charle­ston, South Ca­ro­li­na, where his fa­ther was pas­tor of the First Bap­tist Church. By the time he was 14, his father had be­come pre­si­dent of the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Al­a­ba­ma.

Manly ma­tri­cu­lat­ed there, gra­du­at­ing in 1844. He then brief­ly at­tend­ed the New­ton The­o­lo­gic­al In­sti­tu­tion, New­ton Centre, Mas­sa­chu­setts, then Prince­ton The­o­lo­gic­al Se­mi­na­ry, gra­du­at­ing in 1847.

He was or­dained a Bap­tist min­is­ter in 1848 in Tus­ca­loo­sa, Al­a­ba­ma, and be­gan his min­is­try as pas­tor of three coun­try church­es, two in Sum­ter Coun­ty, Al­a­ba­ma, and one in Nox­u­bee Coun­ty, Mis­sis­sip­pi. Un­der the strains of three wid­ely se­pa­rated pas­tor­ates, his health be­came im­paired, and he even­tu­al­ly withd­rew from ac­tive min­is­try un­til Sep­tem­ber 1850.

In 1850, he helped es­tab­lish the Sun­day School Board of the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion. That same year, he was called to the First Bap­tist Church in Rich­mond, Vir­gin­ia, where he pas­tored four years. He then helped found and be­came pre­si­dent of the Rich­mond Fe­male In­sti­tute.

In 1859, he wrote the Ab­stract of Prin­ci­ples (ar­ti­cles of faith) for the nas­cent South­ern Bapt­ist The­o­lo­gic­al Se­mi­na­ry, of which he was one of the four found­ing fa­cul­ty mem­bers. He brief­ly taught Old Tes­ta­ment and He­brew at the se­mi­na­ry, un­til it closed dur­ing the Am­er­i­can ci­vil war.

In 1871, he a­ccept­ed the po­si­tion of pre­si­dent of George­town Col­lege, George­town, Ken­tu­cky. In 1879, he re­turned to the fa­cul­ty of the South­ern Bap­tist The­o­lo­gic­al Se­mi­na­ry when it re­op­ened in Lou­is­ville, Ken­tuc­ky. He served there as pre­si­dent for a num­ber of years.

Manly wrote near­ly 40 hymns. Some ap­peared in The Ba­ptist Psal­mo­dy (Charles­ton, South Car­ol­ina: 1850), which he ed­it­ed with his fa­ther.


For some years it has been ap­par­ent that the rage for no­vel­ties in sing­ing…has been driv­ing out the use of the old, pre­cious, stand­ard hymns. They are not me­mo­rized as of old. They are scarce­ly sung at all. They are not con­tained in the non-de­nom­in­a­tion­al song books, which in ma­ny church­es have usurped the plac­es of our old hymn­books. We can­not af­ford to lose these old hymns…But the young peo­ple to­day are un­fa­mil­iar with them and will sel­dom hear any of them if the pre­sent ten­den­cy goes on un­touched.

Basil Man­ly, Jr., The Choice: A Se­lect­ion of Ap­proved Hymns for Bap­tist Church­es, 1899


Kind Words

Words are things of greatest worth,
Though often lightly spoken;
Thoughtless, fleeting words of mirth,
May wound the heart that’s broken;
Or words that pass forgotten by,
May prompt to deeds that cannot die.

Kind words quell the angry soul,
But bitter railings never;
Love can soothe with sweet control,
And kindle love for ever.

Watch well your words,
Both old and young,
For life and death hang on the tongue.

Basil Manly, Jr., 1866

  1. Before a Pool the Suf­fer­er Lay
  2. God of the Seas, Whose Rul­ing Voice
  3. God with Us, O Glo­ri­ous Name
  4. Holy, Ho­ly, Ho­ly, Lord God of Hosts in Hea­ven Adored
  5. In Doubt’s Dim Twi­light Here I Stray
  6. Jesus, My Lord, I Own Thee God
  7. Lord, I De­serve Thy Deep­est Wrath
  8. Our God In­vites the Wan­der­ers Home
  9. Soldiers of Christ, in Truth Ar­rayed
  10. There Is a Light Which Shines from Hea­ven