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No. S2T to 335 PEARL STREET. 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by 

Harper & Brothers, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York 

I ■ 


A few words respecting the circumstances which have led to the 
preparation and publication of this volume, seem appropriate by- 
way of Preface. 

In the year 1835, at the instance of several distinguished Christian 
gentlemen of his native land, the author visited the Continent of 
Europe for the prosecution of certain religious and philanthropic ob- 
jects ; and during the twenty years which have since elapsed he has 
resided much in Europe, and traveled in every country in it. In the 
course of these journeys the author's engagements introduced him 
to the acquaintance of a large number of influential persons, be- 
longing to almost all professions and stations in society. Among 
them were many who rank high in their respective countries for en- 
lightened piety, zeal, and usefulness. From such persons innumera- 
ble inquiries were addressed to him, sometimes by letter, but oftener 
in conversation, respecting his native country, and esj)ecially respect- 
ing its religious institutions. To meet the wishes of an illustrious 
individual* in France, whom God has called from the scene of her ac- 
tivity on earth to Himself, he wrote a small work on the Origin and 
Progress of Unitarianism in the United States.f 

But that little work, while it so far satisfied curiosity on one sub- 
ject, seemed but to augment it in regard to others; so that, without 
neglecting what was, by others as well as himself, deemed a manifest 
duty, the author could not but accede to the earnest request of 
highly valued friends in Germany, Sweden, France, and Switzer- 

* The late Duchess de Broglie. 

f This work was published in Paris in 1837, under the title of "L 'Union de 
TEglise avec l'Etat dans la Nouvelle ADgleterre." 


land, in writing a work as full as the subject might require, upon 
the Origin, History, Economy, Action, and Influence of Religion in 
the United States. This task he endeavored to accomplish in the 
summer of 1842, while residing in the city of Geneva, in Switzer- 
land. In the autumn of the year following, this work was published 
in Scotland, where it was introduced to the Christian public by the 
"Rev. Drs. Welsh, Cunningham, and Buchanan, in a recommendatory 
notice, which the reader will find appended to this Preface. In the 
course of two or three years the work was translated into French, 
German, Swedish, and Dutch, and obtained a wide circulation on 
the Continent, as well as in the British Isles * 

On his return to the United States in the autumn of 1843, the 
author was induced to revise the work and bring out an American 
edition— a measure which he had not originally contemplated. In 
doing this, he at first thought of abridging it, inasmuch as it con- 
tained many things with which, though they were indispensable hi a 
work prepared to make known our religious economy to the people 
of Europe, and especially of the Continent, our countrymen might 
be supposed to be sufficiently acquainted. But he yielded to the 
judgment of valued friends, and among them the esteemed publish- 
ers, who preferred to see the work brought out in the form in which 
it was written, as more likely, on the whole, to be instructive and 
useful. Accordingly, it was published in the spring of 1844, and 
gained an extensive circulation at home as well as abroad. 

At the suggestion of several friends, residing in different parts of 
the country, the author has been led to revise the work in the 
most careful manner, and bring it down, in all its details, to the 
present time, or rather to the year 1855. To do this has been no 
easy matter. Every sentence has been read, and almost every figure 
has been changed. This has been rendered inevitable by the growth 
of our country, and the progress of all our religious bodies, and of our 
religious and benevolent societies. No one who has not looked into 
the subject attentively is likely to be aware of the immense changes 
that have taken place with us during the last twelve years — the 

* The author would gratefully mention the fact, that James Douglass, Esq. (of 
Cavers), so well known for his numerous and able writings, did much to promote the 
circulation of this work in France. 


northern boundary of Oregon defined, and the North-eastern Ques- 
tion settled ; Texas, New Mexico, and California annexed ; Florida, 
Iowa, Wisconsin, Texas, and California received as States, enlarging 
the constellation of our Republic from twenty-six to thirty-one ; the 
Territories of Minnesota, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, 
Kansas, and Nebraska formed, and the " Indian Territory" marked 
out ; the boundless gold mines of California possessed, and the rapid 
peopling of the shores of the Pacific ; the increase of our population 
by at least eight millions, including the influx of at least two mil- 
lions of foreigners ; and the vast augmentation of the wealth of the 
nation, and the expansion of its commerce, until its tonnage now 
exceeds that of any other country in the world ! 

Few readers can form an idea of the modifications which it has 
been necessary to make in the statistics of this book. What prog- 
ress have our churches and religious societies made within the brief 
period of twelve years ! This progress has been fully equal to that 
of the Material Interests of the country in the same time. For this 
we can not be too grateful. It has been an eventful period. The 
war with Mexico, 1846-48, and the almost overwhelming immigra- 
tion of people from the Old World, were well calculated to try the 
strength of our political institutions and of our religious economy. 
But the crisis, so far as these questions are concerned, is over. It 


was well met by the development of such influences as the occasion 

It will be found that within the last twelve years — 1844-55, in- 
clusive — the number of churches, ministers, and communicants in 
every branch of the great evangelical body of Christians among us 
has increased, and in all, except a very few of the smallest, that in- 
crease has been great. The same is true of our religious societies ; 
the amount of their receipts, and of the number of their missionaries 
and other laborers at home and abroad, have been greatly aug- 
mented. To God be the praise. 

The reader will find that while a large amount of new matter has 
been introduced, and the statistics brought down to a date as recent 
as possible, the form of the work remains unchanged. It still has 
the aspect of a work written for those who know but little about our 
religious economy and its workings. This, perhaps, will be found no 


disadvantage in the case of those who desire to know well the relig- 
ious state and prospects of our country — a subject about which, it is 
apprehended, many of our own people are not as well informed as 
they ought to be. 

While the form of the work remains as it was, the author trusts 
that the reader will find the spirit to be the same. He has endeav- 
ored to treat the subject to which it relates at once with fidelity and 
with heartfelt charity. The obligations of Truth and Duty required 
at his hands, however, that every denomination that professes to be 
a religious one should be spoken of as it is. He could not place the 
Non-Evangelical bodies in the same category with the Evangelical 
Churches, that is, the Churches which hold the great doctrines of 
the Reformation. He has honestly endeavored to set forth the prin- 
ciples, practice, and statistics of all. 

The author has made what he deems to be, on the whole, a just 
classification of the various branches of the evangelical body of 
Churches. He is well aware that there are portions of some of these 
bodies — as he has indicated in the proper places — about which there 
has been no little solicitude ; but even among these, whose error has 
chiefly arisen from attaching an undue importance to some rite, or 
to some mode of worship, or some form of church government, he 
is happy to believe there is a gradual return to sound views and a 
safer action ; w^hile all would answer the inquiries after salvation in 
the ipsissima verba of the Saviour and His Apostles. As to the re- 
sults of our religious economy, and the working of the " Voluntary 
Principle" among us, as set forth in the Conclusion of the work, 
the author has not a doubt that they are correct — substantially so at 
all events — and certainly they are such as both to astonish and de- 
light every friend of evangelical religion in all lands. 

The reader will perceive that the work is divided into Eight Books, 
to which is added a Summary or Conclusion. 

The First Book is devoted to preliminary remarks intended to 
throw light on various points, so that readers the least conversant 
with American history and society may, without difficulty, under- 
stand what follows. Some of these preliminary remarks may be 
thought at first not very pertinent to the subject in hand, but 


reasons will probably be found for changing this opinion before the 
reader comes to the end of the volume. 

The Second Book treats of the early colonization of the country 
now forming the United States ; the religious character of the first 
European colonists — their ecclesiastical institutions — and the state 
of the Churches when the Revolution took place by which the col- 
onies became independent of the mother country. 

The Third Book treats of the changes involved in and consequent 
upon that event — the influence of those changes — /the character of 
the civil governments of the States — and the relations subsisting 
between those Governments and the Churches. 

The Fourth Book exhibits the operations of the Voluntary System 
in the United States, and the extent of its influence. 

The Fifth Book treats of the discipline of the Churches — the 
character of American preaching — and the subject of revivals. 

The Sixth Book is occupied with brief notices of the evangelical 
denominations in the United States — their ecclesiastical polity and 
discipline — the doctrines peculiar to each — their history and pros- 

The Seventh Book treats in like manner of the non-evangelical 

The Eighth Book shows what the Churches are doing in the way 
of sending the Gospel to other lands. 

The author renews the expression of his thanks to the many 
friends who aided him in many ways, in the original preparation of 
this work. Without naming them all, he may without impropriety 
express his obligations to the Rev. Drs. De Witt, Hodge, Goodrich, 
Bacon, Durbin, Anderson, Emerson, Schmucker, Berg, and to the 
Rev. Messrs. Tracy and Allen. 

For the important chapter on Revivals, the reader as well as the 
author is indebted to the Rev. Dr. Goodrich, who has long been a 
distinguished professor in Yale College, than whom no man probably 
is more capable of treating the subject in a judicious and philosoph- 
ical manner. 

To the late Hon. Henry Wheaton, who so long and so ably rep- 
resented the United States at the courts of Denmark and Prussia, 
and to Robert Walsh, Esq., who has, for twenty years and more, so 


well made known in Europe the institutions of our country and vin- 
dicated its honor, the author is under obligations for many valuable 
suggestions, and much important information. 

Deeply sensible that the work is far from perfect, he commends 
it to the keeping of Him without whose blessing nothing that is 
good can be accomplished. 

New Yoke, May, 1856. 





Having had an opportunity of perusing a considerable portion of 
the following work while it was passing through the press, we have 
no hesitation in complying with a request made to us by the publish- 
ers, to recommend it to the attention of the British public. The 
author is an esteemed minister of the American Presbyterian 
Church, and has had full access to the best and most authentic 
sources of information on the various subjects which he discusses, 
while his personal acquaintance with the state of religion and the 
condition of the Churches, both in Britain and on the Continent, has 
afforded him peculiar advantages in selecting the materials with re- 
gard to the state of religion, and the efforts made for its promotion 
in America, which it might be most interesting and useful for the 
British churches to possess and to examine. The work contains a 
very large amount of interesting and valuable information with re- 
gard to the origin and the history of the different religious bodies in 
the United States, and their doctrines, constitution, organization, and 
agency, their relations with each other, and the character and re- 
sults of the efforts they are making to promote religion in their own 
country and in other lands. It supplies a larger amount of informa- 
tion upon all these important topics than any work with which we 
are acquainted ; and there can be no reasonable doubt that the in- 
formation it contains is well fitted to encourage the efforts of all 


Churches which are similarly situated to those in America, and to 
afford some important practical lessons in the prosecution of those 
great objects which all Christian Churches, in every variety of ex- 
ternal circumstances, are bound to aim at. We do not agree in all 
the opinions which the esteemed author has expressed, but we ad- 
mire the judicious, benevolent, candid, and catholic spirit by which 
the work is pervaded. We regard the publication of this work in 
our own country as a boon conferred upon the British Churches, not 
merely because it gives a fuller view than could anywhere else be ob- 
tained of " Religion in America," but also because it is well fitted to 
promote a spirit of love and kindness among the Churches of Christ, 
and to diffuse more widely the benefits which may be derived from a 
judicious use of the experience of the American Churches, in the 
peculiar circumstances in which, in Providence, they have been 
placed, and in connection with the peculiar way in which the Head 
of the Church has been pleased to make them instrumental in ac- 
complishing His gracious purposes. Whatever diversities of opinion 
may prevail in this country on some important points connected with 
the condition and prospects of religion in America, no candid man 
will deny that religion has there been placed in circumstances, and 
has appeared in aspects, which are well worthy of serious considera- 
tion, from a judicious investigation of which, important practical 
lessons are to be learned. And on this ground we hail with much 
satisfaction the publication of a work which contains a very large 
amount of information upon this interesting and important subject, 
and cordially recommend it to the perusal of British Christians. 

David Welsh, 
William Cunnixgham, 
Robert Buchanan. 

Edinburg, September, 1843. 





Chap. I. — General Notice of North America 19 

Chap. II. — The Aborigines of North America 24 

Chap. III. — Discovery of that part of North America which is comprised in the 
Limits of the United States. — The early and unsuccessful Attempts to Colonize 

it 31 

Chap. IV. — The Position and extent of the United States ; Nature and resources 

of the Country ' 35 

Chap. V. — The Colonization of the Territories now constituting the United States 

at length accomplished 37 

Chap. VI. — Interior Colonization of the Country 43 

Chap. VII. — Peculiar Qualifications of the Anglo-Saxon Race for the work of 

Colonization 49 

Chap. VIII. — On the alleged Want of National Character in America 53 

Chap. IX.— The Royal Charters 57 

Chap. X. — How a correct Knowledge of the American People, the Nature of 

their Government, and of their National Character may best be attained 61 

Chap. XL — How to obtain a correct View of the Spirit and Character of the Re- 
ligious Institutions of the United States 66 

Chap. XII. — A brief Notice of the Form of Government in America 70 

Chap. XIII. — A brief Geographical Notice of the United States 74 

Chap. XIV. — Obstacles which the Voluntary System in supporting Religion has 
had to encounter in America : 1. From the erroneous Opinions on the Subject 

of Religious Economy which the Colonists brought with them 77 

Chap. XV. — Obstacles which the Voluntary System has had to encounter in 
America : 2. From the Newness of the Country, the Thinness of the Popula- 
tion, and the unsettled state of Society 80 

Chap. XVI. — Obstacles which the Voluntary System has had to encounter in 

America : 3. From Slavery 83 

Chap. XVII. — Obstacles which the Voluntary System has had to encounter in 
America: 4. From the vast Emigration from Foreign Countries 86 



Chap. I. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Founders of New England 90 
Chap. II.— Religious Character of the Founders of New England. — Plymouth 
Colony 96 



Chap. III. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Founders of New En- 
gland. — Colony of Massachusetts Bay 105 

Chap. IV. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Founders of New En- 
gland. — Colonies of Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine. 
— General Remarks 113 

Chap. V. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Founders of the South- 
ern States 122 

Chap. VI. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Colonists of New York 129 

Chap. VII. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Founders of New 
Jersey 135 

Chap. VIII. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Founders of Dela- 
ware, at first called New Sweden 137 

Chap. IX. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Founders of Pennsyl- 
vania 141 

Chap. X. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Emigrants from "Wales. . 144 

Chap. XI. — Religious Character of the early Colonists of America. — Emigrants 
from Scotland and Ireland 145 

Chap. XII. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Huguenots from France 152 

Chap. XIII. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Emigrants from Ger- 
many 162 

Chap. XIV. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Emigrants from Po- 
land 166 

Chap. XV. — Religious Character of the early Colonists. — Emigrants from the 
Valleys of Piedmont 167 

Chap. XVI.— Summary 168 

Chap. XVII. — Relations between the Church and the Civil Power in the Colo- 
nies of America. — 1. In New England 171 

Chap. XVIII. — Relations between the Church and the Civil Power in the Colo- 
nies. — 2. In the Southern and Middle Provinces 179 

Chap. XIX. — The Influences of the Union of Church and State, as it formerly 
existed in America. — 1. In New England 185 

Chap. XX. — The Influences of the Union of Church and State. — 2. In the South- 
ern and Middle States 195 

Chap. XXI.— State of Religion during the Colonial Era 211 



Chap. I. — Effects of the Revolution upon Religion. — Changes to which it neces- 
sarily gave rise 207 

Chap. II. — The Dissolution of the Union of Church and State not effected by 
the General Government, nor did it take place immediately 211 

Chap. III. — Dissolution of the Union of Church and State in America, when and 
how effected 213 

Chap. IV. — Effects of the Dissolution of the Union of Church and State in the 
several States in which it once subsisted 228 

Chap. V. — Whether the General Government of the United States has the 
Power to promote Religion 235 


Chap. VI. — "Whether the Government of the United States may justly he called 

Infidel or Atheistical 240 

Chap. VII. — The Government of the United States shown to be Christian by its 

Acts 243 

Chap. VIII. — The Governments of the Individual States organized on the basis 

of Christianity 247 

Chap. IX. — The Legislation of the States shown to be in favor of Christianity. . 252 
Chap. X. — The Legislation of the States often bears favorably, though incident- 
ally, on the cause of Religion 255 

Chap. XL — In what cases the action of the Civil Authority may be directed in 

reference to Religion 258 

Chap. XII. — Review of the ground which we have gone over 261 




Chap. I. — The Voluntary Principle the great Alternative. — The Nature and 

Vaatness of its Mission 262 

Chap. II. — Foundation of the Voluntary Principle to be sought for in the Char- 
ter and Habits of the People of the United States 265 

Chap. III. — How Church Edifices are built in Cities and large Towns 268 

Chap. IV. — How Church Edifices are built in New Settlements 271 

Chap. V.— The Voluntary Principle developed. — How the Salaries of the Pas- 
tors are raised 275 

Chap. VI. — How Ministers of the Gospel are brought forward, and how they 

become settled Pastors 279 

Chap. VII. — The Voluntary Principle developed in Home Missions. — American 

Home Missionary Society 282 

Chap. VIII. — Presbyterian Board of Domestic Missions, under the Direction of 

the General Assembly 287 

Chap. IX. — Home Missions of the Episcopal, Baptist, and Reformed Dutch 

Churches 291 

Chap. X. — Home Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church 293 

Chap. XL — The Voluntary Principle developed. — Influence of the Voluntary 

Principle on Education. — Of Primary Schools 296 

Chap. XII. — Grammar-schools and Academies 300 

Chap. XIII. — Colleges and Universities 303 

Chap. XIV.— Sunday-schools — American Sunday-school Union, and other Sun- 
day-school Societies 308 

Chap. XV. — Bible-classes 315 

Chap. XVI. — Maternal Societies 316 

Chap. XVII. — Education Societies 318 

Chap. XVIII. — Theological Seminaries 322 

Chap. XIX. — Efforts to diffuse the Sacred Scriptures 334 

Chap. XX. — Associations for the Circulation and Publication of Religious Tracts 

and Books 336 

Chap. XXI.-^-The Religious Literature of the United States 341 


Chap. XXII. — Efforts to promote the Religious and Temporal Interests of Sea- 
men 346 

Chap. XXIII. — Of the Influences of the Voluntary Principle in reforming exist- 
ing Evils. — Temperance Societies 348 

Chap. XXIV. — The American Prison Discipline Society 351 

Chap. XXV. — Sundry other Associations 354 

Chap. XXVI. — Influence of the Voluntary Principle on the Beneficent Institu- 
tions of the Country 356 

Chap. XXVII. — Influence of the Voluntary Principle on the Beneficent Institu- 
tions of the Country. — Asylum for the "Insane 359 

Chap. XXVIII. — Influence of the Voluntary Principle on the Beneficent Insti- 
tutions of the Country. — Asylums for the Deaf and Dumb 361 

Chap. XXIX. — Influence of the Voluntary Principle on the Beneficent Institu- 
tions of the Country. — Asylum for the Blind 363 

Chap. XXX. — Concluding Remarks on the Development of the Voluntary Prin- 
ciple 365 



Chap. I — Importance of this Part of the Subject 368 

Chap. II. — The Evangelical Churches in the United States maintain Discipline. 369 

Chap. III. — The "Way in which Membership in our Churches is obtained 372 

Chap. IV. — The Relations which unconverted Men hold to the Church 376 

Chap. V. — The Administration of Discipline 379 

Chap. VI. — Character of American Preaching 3S1 

Chap. VII.— Revivals of Religion 392 

Chap. VIII. — Supplementary Remarks on Revivals of Religion 426 

Chap. IX. — Alleged Abuses in Revivals of Religion 428 

Chap. X. — Concluding Remarks on the Church and the Pulpit in America 435 



Chap. I. — Preliminary Remarks in reference to this Subject 438 

Chap. II. — The Protestant Episcopal Church 439 

Chap. III. — The Congregational Churches 445 

Chap. IV. — The Regular Baptist Churches 457 

Chap. V. — The Presbyterian Church 464 

Chap. VI.— The Methodist Episcopal Church 488 

Chap. VII.— The Moravian Church 498 

Chap. VIII. — Smaller Baptist Denominations 499 

Chap. IX. — Smaller Presbyterian Churches. — Cumberland Presbyterians 504 

Chap. X. — Smaller Presbyterian Churches. — Reformed Dutch Church 505 

Chap. XI. — Smaller Presbyterian Churches. — The Associate Church. — The As- 
sociate Reformed Church, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church 509 

• • 


Chap. XII. — Smaller Presbyterian Churches.— The German Reformed Church. . 514 

Chap. XIII. — Smaller Presbyterian Churches. — The Lutheran Church 516 

Chap. XIV. — Smaller German Sects 521 

Chap. XV. — Smaller Methodist Denominations 524 

Chap. XVI.— The Friends or Quakers 527 

Chap. XVII.— The Summary 530 

Chap. XVIII. — Number of Evangelical Sects 533 

Chap. XIX. — Alleged "Want of Harmony among the Evangelical Christians of 

the United States 536 



Chap. I. — Introductory Remarks 540 

Chap. II. — The Roman Catholic Church 541 

Chap. III. — Unitarianism 547 

Chap. IV. — Christian Connection 562 

Chap. V. — The Universalists 565 

Chap. VI. — Swedenborgians and Tunkers 561 

Chap. VII.— The Jews 567 

Chap. VIIL— Rappists, Shakers, Mormons, etc 568 

Chap. IX. — Atheists, Deists, Socialists, Fourrierists, etc 575 

Chap. X. — General Remarks on the State of Theological Opinion in America. . 577 




Chap. I. — Introductory Remarks 588 

Chap. II. — Earlier Efforts to convert the Aborigines 589 

Chap. III. — American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions 603 

Chap. IV. — Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church 617 

Chap. V. — Missions of the Baptist Churches 621 

Chap. VI. — Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church 623 

Chap. VII. — Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church 626 

Chap. VIII. — Foreign Missions of other Denominations 627 

Chap. IX. — American Society for Ameliorating the Condition of the Jews 629 

Chap. X. — Foreign Evangelical Society of the United States 629 

Chap. XL — American Colonization Society 631 

Chap. XII. — Summary 637 

Conclusion 639 







The configuration of the Continent of North America, at first 
view, presents several remarkable features. Spreading out like a 
partially opened fan, with its apex toward the south, its coasts, in 
advancing northward, recede from each other with considerable reg- 
ularity of proportion and correspondence, until, from being separated 
by only sixty miles at the Isthmus of Darien, they diverge to the 
extent of four thousand five hundred miles ; the eastern coast pursuing 
a north-easterly, and the western a north-westerly direction. 

Parallel to these coasts, and at almost equal distances from them, 
there are two ranges of mountains. The eastern range, called the 
Allegheny, or Appalachian, runs from south-west to north-east, at an 
average distance of one hundred and fifty miles from the Atlantic. 
Its length is usually estimated at nine hundred miles.* Its greatest 
width, which is in Virginia and Pennsylvania, is about one hundred 
and twenty miles. Rather a system than a range of mountains, it 
is composed of parallel ridges, generally maintaining a north-east 
and south-west direction. But as it advances toward its northern 
extremity, and passes through the New England States, it loses 
much of its continuity, and gradually runs off into a chain of nearly 
isolated mountains. The southern extremity by degees sinks down 

* This is the length of the chain considered as a continuous range, from the 
northern parts of Georgia and Alabama to the State of New York. Taken in the 
extensive sense in ■which it is spoken of in the text, the entire range exceeds 1500 
English miles. 


into the hills of Georgia, unless, indeed, we may consider it as disap- 
pearing in the low, central line of the peninsula of Florida. The 
north-eastern end terminates in the ridges of Nova Scotia. The 
whole of this range is within the limits of the United States, except- 
ing that part of it which stretches into the British Provinces of 
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We may remark, in passing, that 
although apparently this mountain range separates the waters which 
flow into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the Missis- 
sippi and the St. Lawrence, such is not really the case. The mount- 
ains simply stand, as it were, on the plateau or elevated plain on 
which those waters have their origin. Rising in the immediate vi- 
cinity of each other, and often interlocking, these streams are not in 
the least affected in their course by the mountains, the gaps and 
valleys of which seem to have been made to accommodate them, instead 
of their accommodating themselves to the shape and position of the 
mountains. In a part of its north-eastern extension, this range of 
mountains seems to detach itself entirely from the plain where those 
streams have their source, and lies quite south of it, so that the 
streams that fall into the Atlantic, in making their way to the south, 
as it were, cut through the mountain range, in its entire width. 

When first discovered by Europeans, and for a century and more 
afterward, the long and comparatively narrow strip of country 
between the Allegheny range and the Atlantic Ocean was covered 
with an unbroken forest. The mountains, likewise, up to their very 
summits, and the valleys that lay between them, were clad with 
woods. Nothing deserving the name of a field, or a prairie, was 
anywhere to be seen. 

On the western side of the continent, as has been stated, another 
range of mountains runs parallel to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. 
This range is a part of the immense system of mountains running 
from Cape Horn throughout the entire length of the continent, and 
seems as if intended, like the backbone in large animals, to give it 
unity and strength. It is by far the longest in the world ;* and 
bearing different names in different parts of its extent, it is the 
Andes in South America, the Cordilleras in Guatimala and Mexico, 
and the Rocky Mountains} in the north. 

The long, and, in many parts, wide strip of land between the Ore- 
gon Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, is claimed, on the north, by 

* The entire length of this range is estimated to be 9000 English miles. 

f The proper name of this portion of the range is Oregon, a word of Indian origin, 
and which, whatever may be its original signification, is a much better name than 
that which this range has so long borne, and which has nothing distinctive about 
it — for all mountains are rocky. 


Russia ; on the south, by Mexico ; and in the middle, by England 
and the United States. 

Between these two ranges of mountains — the Allegheny on the 
east and the Oregon on the west — lies the immense central valley of 
North America, wider in the north than toward the south, and reach- 
ing from the Northern Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the 
most extensive valley in the world, and is composed of two vast 
sections, separated by a zigzag line of table-land. This ridge, which 
is of no great elevation, and which commences near the forty-second 
degree of north latitude on one side, while it terminates near the 
forty-ninth degree on the other, stretches across from the Allegheny 
system to the Oregon, and thus separates the waters that flow south- 
ward into the Gulf of Mexico, from those flowing in the opposite 
direction into the northern seas. Thus the one section of this great 
valley inclines to the south, the other gently, nay, almost impercept- 
ibly, descends toward the north. The former is drained mainly by 
one great river and its numerous branches, called, in the pompous 
language of the aborigines of the country, the Mississippi, or Father 
of Waters. The latter is drained by the St. Lawrence, falling into 
the Northern Atlantic ; by the Albany, and other streams, falling into 
Hudson's Bay; and by M'Kenzie's River, and others, which fall 
into the Arctic Ocean. 

These great sections of this immense valley differ much in charac- 
ter. The northern possesses a considerable extent of comparatively 
elevated and very fertile land in its southern part : while toward 
the far north it subsides to a low, monotonous, swampy plain, little 
elevated above the level of the ocean ; and, by reason of its marshes, 
bogs, and inhospitable climate, is almost as uninhabitable as it is 
incapable of cultivation. The southern section — more commonly 
called the Valley of the Mississippi — terminates on the low, marshy 
coast of the Gulf of Mexico ; but, with the exception of the part of 
it which lies on the upper streams of the Red River and La Platte, 
it everywhere abounds in fertile land, covered, for the most part, 
even yet, with noble forests, or adorned with beautiful prairies. The 
St. Lawrence is the great river of the northern section or basin, 
though not without a rival in the M'Kenzie's River; while its 
southern rival, the Mississippi, flows almost alone in its vast domain. 
There are, however, the Alabama, and a few small rivers, on its left, 
and the Sabine, the Brazos, the Rio Grande, and some others of 
lesser note, on its right. The St. Lawrence boasts a length of more 
than two thousand miles. That of the Mississippi exceeds two thou- 
sand five hundred ; and if the Missouri be considered the main upper 
branch, as it ought to be, then it may fairly claim the honor of " drag- 


ging its vast length, with many a fold," through more than four 
thousand miles. But, though exceeded by the Mississippi in length, 
the St. Lawrence clearly has the advantage in depth and noble 
expansion toward its mouth, being navigable for the largest ships 
of war as high as Quebec, three hundred and forty miles ; and for 
large merchant vessels to Montreal, one hundred and eighty miles 
further ; whereas the Mississippi does not reach the medium width 
of a mile, nor a depth in the shallow places of the central channel, 
when the stream runs low, of more than fifteen feet; so that, 
excepting when in flood, it is not navigable by ships of five hundred 
tons for more than three hundred miles. The St. Lawrence, and all 
the other considerable rivers of the northern basin, pass through a 
succession of lakes, some of vast extent, by which the floods caused 
by melting snows and heavy rains — which otherwise, by rushing 
down in the spring, and accumulating vast masses of ice in the yet 
unopened channel of its lower and northern course, would spread 
devastation and ruin over the banks — are collected in huge reservoirs, 
and permitted to flow off gradually during the summer months. 
Wonderful display of wisdom and beneficence in the arrangements 
of Divine creation and providence ! But the Mississippi, as it flows 
into the warmer regions of the south, needs no such provision ; and 
hence, with the exception of a few small lakes connected with the 
head streams of the Upper Mississippi in the west, and one or two 
connected with the Allegheny, a branch of the Ohio, in the east, no 
lake occurs in the whole of the southern basin. Owing to this dif- 
ference in these rivers, a sudden rise of three feet in the waters of 
the St. Lawrence would be more surprising than a rise of thirty feet 
in the Mississippi. But in order that the country which borders 
upon the latter may not be too much exposed to great and destruct- 
ive inundation, the Creator has, in his wisdom, given to it a peculiar 
configuration. The inclined plane which slopes down from the Ore- 
gon Mountains toward the east, is much wider than that sloping 
from the mountains on the opposite side. Hence the rivers from the 
western side of the valley have a much greater distance to traverse 
than those that drain the eastern slope, and the floods which they 
roll down in the spring are, of course, proportionally later in reach- 
ing the Lower Mississippi. In fact, just as the floods of the Ten- 
nessee, the Cumberland, and the Ohio, have subsided, those of the 
Arkansas, the Missouri, and Upper Mississippi begin to appear. If 
these all came down at once, the Lower Mississippi, as the common 
outlet, by swelling to such an extent as to overflow its banks, would 
spread destruction far and wide over the whole Delta. Such a calam- 
ity, or, rather, something approaching to it, does occasionally occur ; 


but at long intervals, to teach men their dependence on Divine Prov- 
idence, as well as to punish them for then- sins. 

Of the slope between the Oregon Mountains and the Pacific, the 
northern part, occupied by Russia, is cold, and little of it fit for cul- 
tivation; the middle, claimed by the United States* and Great 
Britain, is a fine country in many parts; while that occupied by 
Mexico has very great natural advantages. The country bordering 
on the Gulf of California is surpassed by none in North America for 
pleasantness of climate and fertility of soil. 

On both sides of the Upper Mississippi, as well as on both sides of 
the Missouri, there are extensive " prairies,"f as the French, who 
first explored that country, called them : that is, in many places, there 
are districts, some of them very extensive, including hundreds, and 
even thousands of acres of land ; others smaller, and resembling a 
field or meadow, which are covered in the summer with tall grass and 
a great variety of flowers, but on which scarcely any thing in the 
shape of a tree is to be found. Many of these prairies possess a fer- 
tile soil ; but others produce only a sort of stunted grass and short 
weeds ; and between the upper streams of the Red River and the La 
Platte, toward the Oregon Mountains, there lies an extensive tract 
which has been called the Great American Desert. The country there 
is covered with sand and detached rocks, or boulders, which have 
evidently come from the Oregon Mountains, and is thinly clothed 
with a species of vegetation called buffalo grass. The prickly pear 
may often be seen spreading its huge leaves over the ground. Not a 
tree, and scarcely a bush, is to be met with in many places for miles. 
Herds of buffalo sometimes traverse it, and a few straggling Indians 

* The portion belonging to the United States comprises the State of California and 
the Territories of Oregon and Washington. 

f Much has been said and written on the origin of the prairies of North America ; 
but, after all, no perfectly satisfactory theory has yet been invented. The Indians know 
nothing on the subject. As to the barren prairies between the upper streams of the 
Ked River and the Platte, mentioned in the text under the name of the Ch-eat Amer- 
ican Desert, the same cause produced them which produced the Great Sahara in Africa, 
the utter sterility of the soil. But as it relates to those fertile prairies which one finds 
in the States of Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Iowa, the case is very different. 
In some respects, the theory that they owe their existence to the annual burning of 
the dry, decayed grass, and other vegetable matter, in the autumnal months, seems 
plausible. It accounts well enough for the perpetuation of these prairies, but it fails 
to account for their origin. How is it that the same cause did not produce prairies 
in those parts of North America where none have ever existed ? which yet have been, 
as far as we can learn, occupied by the Aborigines as long as those in which the 
prairies are found. It is very likely that fire was one of the causes of their origin ; 
but there may have been others not less efficient, as well as various concurring cir- 
cumstances, with respect to which we are wholly in the dark. 


are occasionally seen upon its outskirt. With these exceptions, the 
whole portion of North America which is now either occupied or 
claimed by the people of the United States, was, when first visited by 
Europeans, and for more than a century afterward, one vast wilder- 
ness. The luxuriant vegetation with which it had been clothed year 
after year, for ages, was destined only to decay and enrich the soil. 
Thus did the work of preparing it to be the abode of millions of 
civilized men go silently and steadily on ; the earth gathering strength, 
during this long repose, for the sustentation of nations which were to 
be born in the distant future. One vast and almost unbroken forest 
covered the whole continent, imbosoming in its sombre shadows alike 
the meandering streamlet and the mighty river, the retired bay and 
the beautiful and tranquil lake. A profound and solemn silence 
reigned everywhere, save when interrupted by the songs of the birds 
that sported amid the trees, the natural cries of the beasts which 
roamed beneath, the articulate sounds of the savage tribes around 
their wigwams, or their shouts in the chase or in the battle. The 
work of God, in all its simplicity, and freshness, and grandeur, was 
seen everywhere; that of man almost nowhere; universal nature 
rested, and, as it were, kept Sabbath. 

Two hundred years more pass away, and how widely different is 
the scene ! Along the coasts, far and wide, tall ships pass and repass. 
The white sails of brig and sloop are seen in every bay, cove, and 
estuary. The rivers are covered with boats of every size, propelled 
by sail or oar. And in every water the steamboat, heedless alike of 
wind and tide, pursues its resistless way, vomiting forth steam and 
flame. Commerce flourishes along every stream. Cities are rising 
in all directions. The forests are giving way to cultivated fields or 
verdant meadows. Savage life, with its wigwams, its blanket cover- 
ing, its poverty, and its misery, yields on every side to the arts, the 
comforts, and even the luxuries of civilization. 



North America, when discovered by Europeans, was in the occu- 
pancy of a great number of uncivilized tribes ; some large, but most 
of them small : and, although differing in some respects from one an- 
other, yet exhibiting indubitable evidence of a common origin. Un- 
der the belief that the country was a part of the East Indies, to reach 


which, by pursuing a westerly course, had been the object of their 
voyage, the companions of Columbus gave the name of Indians to 
those nations of the Aborigines whom they first saw. Subsequent 
and more extensive exploration of the coasts of America convinced 
them of their mistake, but the name thus given to the indigenous 
tribes has adhered to them to this day. 

A striking similarity of organization pervades the tribes of North 
America.* All have the same dull vermilion, or cinnamon complex- 
ion, differing wholly from the white, the olive, and the black varieties 
of the human family ; all have the same dark, glossy hair, coarse, but 
uniformly straight. Their beards are generally of feeble growth, and 
instead of being permitted to become long, are almost universally 
eradicated. The eye is elongated, and has an orbit inclined to a 
quadrangular shape. The cheek-bones are prominent ; the nose broad ; 
the jaws projecting ; the lips large and thick, though much less so than 
those of portions of the Ethiopic race. 

Yet there are not wanting considerable varieties in the organization 
and complexion of the Aborigines of North America. Some nations 
are fairer-skinned, some taller and more slender than others; and 
even in the same tribe there are often striking contrasts. Their limbs, 
unrestrained in childhood and youth by the appliances which civiliza- 
tion has invented, are generally better formed than those of the white 
race. The persons of the males are more erect, but this is not so with 
the females ; these have become bowed down with the heavy burdens 
which, as slaves, they are habitually compelled to bear. 

Their manner of life, when first discovered, was in the highest de- 
gree barbarous. They had nothing that deserved the name of houses. 
Rude huts, mostly for temporary use, of various forms, but generally 
circular, were made by erecting a pole to support others which leaned 
upon it as a centre, and which were covered with leaves and bark, 
while the interior was lined with skins of the buffalo, the deer, the 
bear, etc. A hole at the top permitted the escape of the smoke ; a 
large opening in the side answered the purpose of a door, of a win- 
dow, and sometimes of a chimney. The skins of animals formed almost 
the whole covering of the body. Moccasins, and sometimes a sort of 
boot, made of the skins of the animals slain in the chase, were the 

* This may be said also of all the aboriginal tribes of America entire, from the 
shores of the Northern Ocean to the Island of Terra del Fuego. But there was a 
vast difference in regard to civilization. The inhabitants of Mexico and Peru, when 
those countries were visited and conquered by Cortes and Pizarro, were far more civ- 
ilized than the tribes of the portion of North America which we are considering. No 
remains of antiquity among the latter can be for a moment compared with those of 
the kingdoms of Montezuma and Central America. 


only protection to their feet and legs in the coldest weather. The 
head was adorned with feathers and the beaks and claws of birds, the 
neck with strings of shells, and that of the warrior with the scalps of 
enemies slain in battle or in ambush. 

Nothing like agriculture was known among them, save the planting 
of small patches of a species of corn which has taken its name from 
them, and which, when parched, or when pounded and made into 
paste and baked, is both palatable and nutritious. Having no herds, 
the use of milk was unknown. They depended mainly on the chase 
and on fishing for a precarious subsistence, not having the skill to 
furnish themselves with suitable instruments for the prosecution of 
either with much success ; and when successful, as they had no salt, 
they could preserve an abundant supply of game only by smoking it. 
Hence the frequent famines among them during the long, cold months 
of winter. 

Poets have sung of the happiness of the " natural," in other words, 
uncivilized life. But all who know any thing of the aboriginal tribes 
of North America, even in the present times, when those that border 
upon the abodes of civilized men live far more comfortably than did 
their ancestors three hundred years ago, are well aware that their ex- 
istence is a miserable one. During the excitements of the chase, there 
is an appearance of enjoyment ; but such seasons are not long, and 
the utter want of occupation, and the consequent tedium of other 
periods, make the men in many cases wretched. Add to this the want 
of resources for domestic happiness ; the evils resulting from polyga- 
my ; the depressions naturally caused by the sickness of friends and 
relatives without the means of alleviation ; the gloomy apprehensions 
of death : and we can not wonder that the " red man" should be 
miserable, and seek gratification in games of chance, the revelries of 
drunkenness, or the excitements of war. I have seen various tribes 
of Indians ; I have traveled among them ; I have slept in their poor 
abodes, and never have I seen them, under any circumstances, with- 
out being deeply impressed with the conviction of the misery of those 
especially who are not yet civilized. 

They are not without some notions of a Supreme Power which 
governs the world, and of an Evil Spirit who is the enemy of man- 
kind. But their theogony and their theology are alike crude and in- 
coherent. They have no notion of a future resurrection of the body. 
Like children, they can not divest themselves of the idea that the spirit 
of the deceased still keeps company with the body in the grave, or 
that it wanders in the immediate vicinity. Some, however, seem to 
have a confused impression that there is a sort of elysium for the de- 
parted "brave," where they will forever enjoy the pleasures of the 


chase and of war. Even of their own origin they have nothing but 
a confused tradition, not extending back beyond three or four genera- 
tions. As they have no calendars, and reckon their years only by the 
return of certain seasons, so they have no record of time past. 

Though hospitable and kind to strangers to a remarkable decree 
they are capable of the most diabolical cruelty to their enemies. The 
well-authenticated accounts of the manner in which they sometimes 
treat their prisoners would almost make us doubt whether they can 
belong to the human species. And yet we have only to recall to 
our minds scenes which have taken place in highly-civilized countries, 
and almost within our own day, when Christian men have been put 
to death in its most horrible forms by those who professed to be 
Christians themselves, to be convinced that, when not restrained by 
the grace and providence of God, there is nothing too devilish for 
man to do. 

Some remains of the law, written originally on the heart of man 
by his Creator, are to be found even among the Indian tribes. Cer- 
tain actions are considered criminal and deserving of punishment ; 
others are reckoned meritorious. The catalogue, it is true, of accred- 
ited virtues and vices is not extensive. Among the men, nothing 
can atone for the want of courage and fortitude. The captive war- 
rior can laugh to scorn all the tortures of his enemies, and sing in 
the very agonies of death inflicted in the most cruel manner, what 
may be termed a song of triumph, rather than of death ! The nar- 
rations which the Jesuit (French) missionaries — who knew the Indian 
character better, perhaps, than any other white men that have ever 
written of them — have left of what they themselves saw, are such as 
no civilized man can read without being perfectly appalled * Roman 
fortitude never surpassed that displayed in innumerable instances by 
captured Indian warriors. In fact, nothing can be compared with it 
except that which is said to have been exhibited by the Scandina- 
vians, in their early wars with one another and with foreign enemies ; 
and of which we have many accounts in their Elder and Younger 
Eddas, and in their Sagas. 

Very many of the tribes speak dialects, rather than languages, 
distinct from those of their neighbors. East of the Mississippi River, 

* The reader is referred to the work entitled " Relation de ce qui s'est passe en la 
ETouvelle France," in 1632, and the years following, down till 1660. Also to the 
work of Creuxius, and the Journal of Marest. Much is to be found on the same 
horrible subject in Charlevoix's " Histoire de la Nouvelle France ;" Lepage Dupratz's 
" Histoire de la Louisiane;" Jefferson's " Notes on Virginia ;" " Transactions of the 
American Philosophical Society," vol. L; and the volumes of the late excellent Heck- 
ewelder, who was for forty years a missionary among the Delaware Indians, and 
whom the author of this work had the hn^piness to know intimately. 


and within the bounds of what is now the United States, when the 
colonization of the country by Europeans commenced, there were 
eight races, or families of tribes, each comprehending those most 
alike in language and customs, and who constantly recognized each 
other as relatives. These were, 1. The Algonquins, consisting of 
many tribes, scattered over the whole of the New England States, 
the southern part of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Dela- 
ware, Maryland, Virginia, and what is now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, 
and Michigan. Being the most numerous of all the tribes, they 
occupied about half the territory east of the Mississippi and south 
of the St. Lawrence and the lakes. 2. The Sioux, or Dacotas, liv- 
ing between Lake Superior and the Mississippi. These were a small 
branch of the great tribe of the same name, to be found about the 
higher streams of that river, and between them and the Oregon 
Mountains. 3. The Huron-Iroquois nations, who occupied all the 
northern and western parts of what is now the State of New York, 
and a part of Upper Canada. The most important of these tribes 
were the Five Nations, as they were long called, viz., the Mohawks, 
Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. These were afterward 
joined by the Tuscaroras from the Carolinas, a branch of the same 
great family, and then they took the name of the Six Nations, by 
which title they are better known to history. 4. The Catawbas, 
who lived chiefly in what is now South Carolina. 5. The Chero- 
kees, who lived in the mountainous parts of the two Carolinas, 
Georgia, and Alabama. Their country lay in the southern extreme 
of the Allegheny Mountains, and abounded in ridges and valleys. 
6. The Uchees, who resided in Georgia, in the vicinity of the site 
occupied at present by the city of Augusta. 7. The Natchez, so 
famous for their tragical end, who lived on the banks of the Missis- 
sippi, in the neighborhood of the present city of Natchez. 8. The 
Mobilian tribes, or, as Mr. Gallatin calls them, the Muskhogee- 
Choctaws, who occupied the country which comprises now the States 
of Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. The tribes which composed 
this family, or nation, are well known by the names of the Creeks, 
the Chickasaws, the Choctaws, and the Seminoles ; to whom may be 
added the Yamasses, who formerly lived on the Savannah River, but 
exist no longer as a separate tribe. 

The languages of these eight families of tribes are very different, 
and yet they are marked by strong grammatical affinities. It is 
most probable that the people who first settled America, come whence 
they might, spoke different, though remotely-related languages. All 
the languages of the aborigines of America are exceedingly compli- 
cated, regular in the forms of verbs, irregular in those of nouns, and 


admitting of changes by modifications of final syllables, initial sylla- 
bles, and even, in the case of verbs, by the insertion of particles, in 
a way unknown to the languages of Western Europe. They exhibit 
demonstrative proof that they are not the invention of those who 
use them, and that they who use them have never been a highly- 
civilized people. Synthesis, or the habit of compounding words with 
words, prevails, instead of the more simple method of analysis, which 
a highly cultivated use of language always displays.* The old En- 
glish was much more clumsy than the modern. The same thing is 
true of the French and German ; indeed, of every cultivated lan- 
guage. The languages of the tribes bordering upon the frontier set- 
tlements of the United States begin to exhibit visible evidences of 
the effect of contact with civilization. The half-breeds are also intro- 
ducing modifications, which show that the civilized mind tends to 
simplify language ; and the labors of the missionaries, who have intro- 
duced letters among several tribes, are also producing great results, 
and leading to decided improvements. 

A great deal has been said and written about the gradual wasting 
away and disappearance of the tribes which once occupied the terri- 
tories of the United States. 

It is not intended to deny that several tribes which figure in the 
history of the first settlement of the country by Europeans are ex- 
tinct, and that several more are nearly so. Nor is it denied that this 
has been partly occasioned by wars waged with them by the white 
or European population ; still more by the introduction of drunken- 
ness and other vices of civilized men, and by the diseases incident to 
those vices. But while this may be all true, still the correctness of 
a good deal that has been said on this subject may well be questioned. 
Nothing can be more certain than that the tribes which once occu- 
pied the country now comprised within the United States, were, at 
the epoch of the first settlement of Europeans on its shores, grad- 
ually wasting away, and had long been so, from the destructive wars 
waged with each other ; from the frequent recurrence of famine, and 
sometimes from cold ; and from diseases and pestilences against 
which they knew not how to protect themselves. If the Europeans 
introduced some diseases, it is no less certain that they found some 
formidable ones among the natives. A year or two before the Pil- 
grim Fathers reached the coast of New England, the very territory 

* The reader who desires, may see much on the Indian languages in Humboldt's 
Voyages ; Vater's Mithridates, vol. iii. ; Baron WilL Humboldt ; Publications of tho 
Berlin Academy, vol. xliv. ; Gallatin's Analysis; Duponceau's Notes on Zeisberger; 
American Quarterly Review, vol. iii. ; Heckewelder's two works respecting Indian 
manners, customs, etc. ; and Mr. Schoolcraft's publications. 


on which they settled was swept of almost its entire population by a 
pestilence. Several of the tribes that existed when the colonists 
arrived from Europe were but the remnants, as they themselves 
asserted, of once powerful tribes, which had been almost annihilated 
by war or by disease. This, as is believed, was the case with the 
Catawbas, the Uchees, and the Natchez. Many of the branches of 
the Algonquin race, and some of the Huron-Iroquois, used to speak 
of the renowned days of their forefathers, when they were a power- 
ful people. It is not easy, indeed, to estimate what was the probable 
number of the Indians who occupied, at the time of its discovery, 
the country east of the Mississippi and south of the St. Lawrence, 
comprising what is still the most settled portion of the United 
States ; and from which the Indian race has disappeared, in conse- 
quence of emigration or other causes. But I am inclined to think, 
with Mr. Bancroft, to whose diligent research in his admirable 
work on the United States I am greatly indebted on this subject, 
as well as on many others which are treated in this work, that 
there may have been in all not far from one hundred and eighty 
thousand souls.* That a considerable number were slain in the 
numerous wars carried on between them and the French and 
English during our colonial days, and in our wars with them 
after our independence, and that ardent spirits, also, have de- 
stroyed many thousands, can not be doubted. But the most 
fruitful source of destruction to these poor " children of the 
wood" has been the occasional prevalence of contagious and epi- 
demic diseases, such as the small-pox, which some years since cut 
off, in a few months, almost the whole tribe of the Mandans, on the 

Of the Algonquin race, whose numbers, two hundred years ago, 
were estimated at ninety thousand souls, only a few small tribes, and 
remnants of tribes, remain, probably not exceeding twenty thousand 
persons. Of the Huron-Iroquois, probably not more than two or 
three thousand remain within the limits of the United States. The 
greater part who survive are to be found in Canada. The Sioux 
have not diminished. The Cherokees have increased. The Cataw- 
bas are nearly extinct as a nation. The remains of the Uchees and 
Natchez have been absorbed among the Creeks and Choctaws ; and, 
indeed, it is certain, that not only straggling individuals, but also 
large portions of tribes, have united with other tribes, and so exist 
in a commingled state with them. It has happened that an entire 
conquered tribe has been compelled to submit to absorption among 
the conquerors. And, finally, the Mobilian or Muskhogee-Choctaw 
* Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. iii. p. 253. 


tribes, taken as a whole, have decidedly increased, it is believed, 
within the last twenty-five years. They, with the Cherokees, and the 
remains of several tribes of the Algonquin race, are almost all col- 
lected together, in the district of country assigned to them by the 
General Government, west of the States of Arkansas and Missouri. 
Respecting this plan, as well as touching the general policy of the 
Government of the United States toward the Indians, I shall speak 
fully in another place. 

It is difficult to estimate, with any thing like absolute precision, the 
number of Indians that now remain as the descendants of the tribes 
that once occupied the country of which we have spoken. Without 
pretending to reckon those who have sought refuge with tribes far in 
the West, we may safely put it down at one hundred and fifteen or 
twenty thousand souls. The entire number of Indians within the 
present limits of the United States is estimated by the Commissioner 
of Indian Affairs at 400,764, of whom 123,000 are west of the Rocky 
Mountains. Of what is doing to save them from physical and moral 
ruin, I shall speak hereafter. 

The most plausible opinion respecting the origin of the Aborigines 
of America is, that they are of the Mongolian race ; and that they 
came to America from Asia, either by way of the Polynesian world,* 
or by Behring's Straits, or by the Aleutian Islands, Mednoi Island, 
and the Behring group. Facts well attested prove this to have been 
practicable. That the resemblance between the Aborigines of America 
and the Mongolian race is most striking, every one will testify who 
has seen both. " Universally and substantially," says the American 
traveler, Ledyard, respecting the Mongolians, "they resemble the 
Aborigines of America." 





As the American hemisphere had been discovered by expeditions 
sent out by Spain, that country claimed the entire continent, as well 
as the adjoining islands; and to it a pope, as the vicegerent of God, 

* Lang's View of the Polynesian Nations. Bancroft's History of the United States, 
vol. iii., p. 315-318. 


undertook to cede the whole. But other countries having caught the 
spirit of distant adventure hi quest of gold, these soon entered into 
competition with the nation whose sovereign had won the title of 
Most Catholic Majesty • and since at that day all Christendom bowed 
its neck to the spiritual dominion of the Yicar of Christ, as the Bishop 
of Rome claimed to be, they could not be refused a portion from the 
" holy father," upon showing that they were entitled to it. On the 
ground that Spain could not justly appropriate to herself any part of 
the American Continent which she had not actually discovered, by 
coasting along it, by marking its boundaries, and by landing upon it, 
they created for themselves a chance of obtaining no inconsiderable 

England was the first to follow in the career of discovery. Under 
her auspices, the continent itself was first discovered,* June 24, 1497, 
by the Cabots, John and Sebastian, father and son, the latter of whom 
was a native of that country, and the former a merchant adventurer 
from Venice, but at the time residing in England, and engaged in the 
service of Henry VII. By this event, a very large and important 
part of the coast of North America was secured to a country which, 
within less than half a century, was to begin to throw off the shackles 
of Rome, and to become, in due time, the most powerful of all Prot- 
estant kingdoms. He who " hath made of one blood all nations of 
men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined 
the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation," had 
resolved in this manner to prepare a place to which, in ages then 
drawing near, those who should be persecuted for Christ's sake, might 
flee and find protection, and thus found a great Protestant empire. 
And yet how nearly, if we may so speak, was this mighty plan de- 
feated ! Had Columbus given to the exploration of the northern 
side of Cuba as much attention as he gave to the southern, in quest of 
gold, he could hardly have failed to reach Florida, and so would 
have discovered and claimed for Spain and Rome the Continent of 
North America. And if Juan Ponce de Leon, who reached Florida 
in latitude 30° 8', thirteen years after the Cabots reached Labrador, 
and twelve after Sebastian Cabot (in 1498) had sailed along the 
northern coast of that which is now the United States, had turned his 
prow northward instead of southward, Spain would probably have 
obtained all the southern coast as far as the northern boundary of 
Virginia, instead of obtaining only the barren peninsula of Florida ! 
How different, in some momentous respects, might have been the 
state of the world at this day ! We have here another illustra- 

* Columbus had not at that epoch touched the continent, but had only discovered 
the West India Islands. 


tion of the littleness of causes with which the very greatest of human 
events are often connected, and of that superintending Providence 
which rules in all things. 

Spain, however, far from at once relinquishing her pretensions to a 
country thus discovered by England, insisted on claiming a large part 
of it, and for a long time extended the name of the comparatively 
insignificant peninsula of Florida, with which she was compelled to be 
contented at last, over the whole tract reaching as far north as the 
Chesapeake Bay, if not further. France, on the other hand, was not 
likely, under so intelligent and ambitious a monarch as Francis I., to 
remain an inactive spectator of maritime discoveries made by the na- 
tions on both sides of her. Under her auspices, Verrazzani, in 1524, 
and Cartier ten years afterward, made voyages in search of new 
lands, so that soon she, too, had claims in America to prosecute. As 
the result of the former of those two enterprises, she claimed the 
coast lying to the south of North Carolina, and extending, as was 
truly asserted, beyond the furthest point reached by the Cabots. 
Still more important were the results of Cartier's voyage. Having 
gone up the river St. Lawrence as far as the island on which Montreal 
now stands, he and Roberval made an ineffectual attempt to found a 
colony, composed of thieves, murderers, debtors, and other inmates 
of the prisons in France, on the spot now occupied by Quebec. Two 
other unsuccessful attempts at colonization in America were made by 
France, the one in 1598, under the Marquis de la Roche; the other 
in 1600, under Chauvin. At length, in 1605, a French colony was 
permanently established under De Monts, a Protestant, at the place 
now called Annapolis, in Nova Scotia, but not until after having made 
an abortive attempt within the boundaries of the present State of 
Maine. Quebec was founded hi 1608, under the conduct of Cham- 
plain, who became the father of all the French settlements in North 
America. From that point the French colonists penetrated further 
and further up the St. Lawrence, until at length parties of their hunt- 
ers and trappers, accompanied by Jesuit missionaries, reached the 
great lakes, passed beyond them, and descending the valley of the 
Mississippi, established themselves at Fort Du Quesne, Vincennes, 
Kaskaskia, and various other places. Thus the greater part of the 
immense Central Valley of North America fell, for a time, into the 
hands of the French. 

Nor was it only in the north that that nation sought to plant col- 
onies. The failure of the French Protestants in all their efforts to 
secure for themselves mere toleration from their own government, 
naturally suggested the idea of expatriation, as the sole means that 

remained to them of procuring liberty to worship God according to 



His own Word. Even the Prince of Conde, though of royal blood, 
nobly proposed to set the example of withdrawing from France, rather 
than be the occasion, by remaining in it, of perpetual civil war with 
the obstinate partisans of Rome; and in 1562, under the auspices of 
the brave and good Coligny, to whom, also, the idea of expatriation 
was familiar, two attempts were made by the Huguenots to establish 
themselves on the southern coast of North America. The first of 
these took place on the confines of South Carolina, and seems at once 
to have failed. The second, which was on the River St. John's in 
Florida, survived but a few years. In 1565, it was attacked by the 
Spaniards, under Melendez, that nation claiming the country in right 
of discovery, in consequence of the fact that Ponce de Leon had landed 
upon it in 1512 ; and as religious bigotry was added to national jealousy 
in the assailants, they put almost all the Huguenots to death in the 
most cruel manner, "not as Frenchmen," they alleged, "but as 
Lutherans." For this atrocity the Spaniards were severely punished 
three years afterward, when Dominic de Gourgues, a Gascon, having 
captured two of their forts, hanged his prisoners upon trees, not far 
from the spot where his countrymen had suffered, and placed over 
their bodies this inscription : "I do not this as unto Spaniards or 
mariners, but as unto traitors, robbers, and murderers." 

With a view to encourage the colonization of those parts of North 
America that were claimed by England, several patents were granted 
by the crown of that country before the close of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. The enterprises, however, to which these led, universally failed. 
The most famous was that made in North Carolina, under a patent to 
Sir Walter Raleigh and others; it was continued from 1584 to 1588 ; 
but even the splendid talents and energy of its chief could not save 
his colony from final ruin. Though the details of this unsuccessful 
enterprise fill many a page in the history of the United States, strange 
to say, we are in absolute ignorance of the fate of the few remaining 
colonists that were left on the banks of the Roanoke ; the most prob- 
able conjecture being that they were massacred by the natives, though 
some affirm that they were incorporated into one of the Indian tribes. 
Two monuments of that memorable expedition remain to this day : 
first, the name of Virginia, given by the courtier to the entire coast, 
in honor of his royal " virgin" mistress, though afterward restricted 
to a single province ; and, next, the use of tobacco in Europe, Sir 
Walter having successfully labored to make it an article of commerce 
between the two continents. 

Some of the voyages made from England to America in that cen- 
tury for the mere purpose of traffic, were not unprofitable to the ad- 
venturers ; but it was not until the following century that any attempt 


at colonization met with success. In this no one who loves to mark the 
Hand of God hi the affairs of men, and who has studied well the his- 
tory of those times, can fail to be struck with the display it presents 
of the Divine wisdom and goodness. For, be it observed, England 
was not yet ripe for the work of colonization, and could not then 
have planted the noble provinces of which she was to be the mother- 
country afterward. The mass of her population continued, until 
far on in the sixteenth century, attached to Rome; her glorious 
Constitution was not half formed until the century that followed. 
The Reformation, together with the persecutions, the discussions, and 
the conflicts that followed in its train, were all required, in order that 
minds and hearts might be created for the founding of a free empire, 
and that the principles and the forms of the government of England 
might in any proper sense be lit for the imitation of her colonies. 

England, when she first discovered America, thought only, as 
other nations had done, of enriching herself from mines of the 
precious metals and gems. Undeceived by time, she indulged 
for a while the passion that followed for trafficking with the 
natives. But the commercial, as well as the golden age, if we may 
so speak, had to pass away, before men could be found who should 
establish themselves on that great continent with a view to agricul- 
ture as well as commerce, and who should look to the promotion of 
Christianity no less than to their secular interests/ To this great 
and benevolent end, God was rapidly shaping events in the Old 




The United States constitute a broad zone of North America, 
stretching across the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 
extending from the Gulf of Mexico, on the south, up to the great 
lakes which separate that country from British America, on the 
north. The forty-ninth degree of north latitude forms the western 
half of the northern boundary, while the eastern part of that bound- 
ary lies, in the greatest part of its extent, to the southward of that 
degree. On the south, the peninsula of Florida projects almost down 
to latitude 24°, and the south-western part of Texas nearly as far ; 
31° 20' forms a considerable part of the southern boundary. Taking 


away the projections just referred to, the shape of the United States 
is almost a complete trapezium ; and if we were to say that the 
zone of eighteen degrees of latitude, between 31° and 49°, from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific, is equal to it in area, and almost coincident 
with it, we should not be far from the exact truth. 

The area of the United States is now but little less than three 
millions of English square miles,* which is more than one third part 
of North America, and is more than threefold greater than it was at 
the epoch of Independence. The accessions have been, of Louisiana 
(899,579 square miles) in 1803 ; of Florida (66,900 square miles) in 
1819 ; of Oregon (308,052 square miles) in 1846 ; of Texas (318,000 
square miles) in the same year; of California, New Mexico, etc. 
(522,955 square miles) in 1848 and 1854. 

No continental country in the world, of equal extent, can compare 
with the United States in regard to advantages for commerce. On 
the north, the great lakes, and their outlet, the St. Lawrence, drain 
portions of ten States and Territories, which include 112,649 square 
miles ; on the east, fifteen States touch the Atlantic, and the portion 
of the country which slopes in that direction contains 514,416 square 
miles ; the Pacific slope contains 766,000 square miles, and has already 
one State and two organized Territories ; while the four States and 
a half which border on the Gulf of Mexico, contain 325,537 square 
miles. This leaves to the great Central Basin, drained by the Missis- 
sippi and its branches, no less than 1,217,562 square miles, in which 
are already to be found many of the largest and most rapidly increas- 
ing States and Territories, and at least 10,000,000 inhabitants. 

It has been calculated at the office of the United States' Coast Sur- 
vey, that the total main shore-line of the United States (exclusive of 
bays, sounds, islands, etc.) is 12,609 statute (English) miles. If all 
these be allowed, and the rivers ascended to the head of tide-water, 
the total shore-line will be increased to 33,069 miles. 

It has also been calculated that the extent of navigable rivers is 
more than 40,000 miles. 

Of the resources of the country it is scarcely necessary to say a 
word. Its products, which are those of the temperate zones, and 
some that are intertropical, whether in the form of grains, of fruits, 
or of vegetables ; its boundless forests and prairies ; its inexhausti- 
ble mines of coal, of iron, of gold, and other minerals : combine, with 
a climate that is almost everywhere salubrious,! to fit it for the abode 

* The exact extent of the United States, since the last acquisition (that of Mesilla 
Valley) from the Republic of Mexico, is 2,963,663 English square miles. 

f The census of 1850 shows that, although there is a great variety in the salu- 
brity of the United States, estimated by the number of deaths, yet, taken as a whole, 


of many millions of the human race ; and for such a use it was, as it 
were, kept for long ages in reserve, till the arrival of that period 
when, in the wonderful plans of the Almighty, it was to be brought 
into requisition. 




The first permanent colony planted by the English in America, 
was Virginia. Even in that instance, what was projected was a fac- 
tory for trading with the natives, rather than a fixed settlement for 
persons expatriating themselves with an eye to the future advantage 
of their offspring, and looking for interests which might reconcile 
them to it as their home. It was founded in 1607, by a company of 
noblemen, gentlemen, and merchants in London, by whom it was 
regarded as an affair of business, prosecuted with a view to pecuniary 
profit, not from any regard to the welfare of the colonists. These, 
consisting of forty-eight gentlemen, twelve laborers, and a few me- 
chanics, reached the Chesapeake Bay in April, 1607, and having 
landed, on the 13th of May, on a peninsula in the James River, 
there they planted their first settlement, and called it Jamestown, 
in honor of James I., then the reigning monarch of England — an 
honor to which his claims were more than doubtful. There had been 
bestowed upon the company, by royal charter, a zone of land extend- 
ing from the thirty-fourth to the thirty-eighth degree of north lati- 
tude, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, together with 
ample powers for administering the affairs of the colony, but reserv- 
ing to the king the legislative authority, and a control over appoint- 
ments ; a species of double government, under which few political 
privileges were enjoyed by the colonists. 

What from the wilderness-state of the country, the unfriendliness 
of the Aborigines, the insalubrity of the climate, the arbitrary con- 
duct of the company, and the unfitness of most of the settlers for 
their task, the infant colony had to contend with many difficulties. 

it is quite equal to the most favored countries of the world. The number of persons 
whose age was a hundred years or more, was 2.555. A colored female in the par- 
ish of Lafayette, in Louisiana, was returned as one hundred and thirty years old. 
North Carolina stands high as regards the longevity of its inhabitants ; an Indian 
female residing in that State was reported as having reached the age of one hun- 
dred and forty years. 


Yet not only did it gain a permanent footing in the country, but, 
notwithstanding the disastrous wars with the Indians, insurrectionary 
attempts on the part of turbulent colonists, misunderstandings with 
the adjacent colony of Maryland, changes in its own charter, and 
other untoward circumstances, it had become a powerful province 
long before the establishment of American Independence. By a 
second charter, granted in 1609, all the powers that had been reserved 
by the first to the king were surrendered to the company ; but in 
1624 that second charter was recalled, the company dissolved, and 
the government of the colony assumed by the crown, which con- 
tinued thereafter to administer it in a general way, though the inter- 
nal legislation of the colony was left, for the most part, to its own 

Massachusetts was settled next in the order of time, and owed its 
rise to more than one original colony. The first planted within the 
province was that of New Plymouth, founded on the south-west 
coast of Massachusetts Bay, in 1620; but although it spread by de- 
grees into the adjacent district, yet it never acquired much extent. 
It originated in a grant of land from the Plymouth Company in 
England, an incorporation of noblemen, gentlemen, and burgesses, 
on which King James had bestowed by charter all the territories 
included within the forty-first and forty-fifth degrees of north latitude, 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. That company having un- 
dergone several modifications, much more important settlements were 
made under its auspices — in 1628 at Salem, and in 1630 at Boston, 
from which two points colonization spread extensively into the sur- 
rounding country, and the province soon became populous and pow- 
erful. A colony was planted in New Hampshire in 1631, and some 
settlements had been made in Maine a year or two earlier ; but for 
a long time the progress of these was slow. In 1636, the celebrated 
Roger Williams, having been banished from Massachusetts, retired 
to Narragansett Bay, and by founding there, in 1638, the city of 
Providence, led to the plantation of a new province, now forming the 
State of Rhode Island. In 1635, the Rev. Thomas Hooker and John 
Haynes having led a colony into Connecticut, settled at the spot 
where the city of Hartford now stands, and rescued the Valley of the 
Connecticut from the Dutch, who, having invaded it from their prov- 
ince of New Netherlands, had erected the fort called Good Hope on 
the right bank of the river. Three years thereafter, the colony of 
New Haven was planted by two Puritan Nonconformists, the Rev. 
John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, who had first retired to Hol- 
land on account of their religious principles, and then left that country 
for Boston in 1637. Thus, with the exception of Vermont, which 


originated in a settlement of much later date, made chiefly from Mas- 
sachusetts and New Hampshire, we see the foundation of all the 
New England States laid within twenty years from the arrival of the 
Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth. 

Meanwhile, Maryland, so called in honor of Henrietta Maria, 
daughter of Henry IY. of France, and wife of Charles I., had been 
colonized. The territory forming the present State of that name, 
though included in the first charter of Virginia, upon that being can- 
celed and the company dissolved, reverted to the king, and he, to 
gratify his feelings of personal regard, bestowed the absolute pro- 
prietorship of the whole upon Sir Charles Calvert, the first Lord Bal- 
timore, and his legal heirs in succession. Never was there a more 
liberal charter. The statutes of the colony were to be made with 
the concurrence of the colonists, thus securing to the people a legis- 
lative government of their own. Sir Charles was a Roman Catholic, 
but his colony was founded on principles of the fullest toleration ; 
and though he died before the charter in his favor had passed the 
great seal of the kingdom, yet all the royal engagements being made 
good to his son Cecil, who succeeded to the title and estates, the 
latter sent out a colony of about two hundred persons, most of whom 
were Roman Catholics, and many of them gentlemen, accompanied 
by his brother Leonard. Maryland, though subjected to many vicis- 
situdes, proved prosperous upon the whole. Though the Roman 
Catholics formed at first the decided majority, the Protestants be- 
came by far the more numerous body in the end, and, with shame be 
it said, enacted laws which for a thne deprived the Roman Catholics 
of all political influence in the colony, and tending to prevent their 

The first colony in the State of New York was that planted by 
the Dutch, about the year 1614, on the southern point, it is supposed, 
of the island where the city of New York now stands. The illustri- 
ous English navigator, Hudson, being in the employment of the 
Dutch at the time of his discovering the river that bears his name, 
Holland claimed the country bordering upon it, and gradually formed 
settlements there, the first of which was situated on an island imme- 
diately below the present city of Albany. Hudson being supposed 
to have been the first European that sailed up the Delaware, the 
Dutch claimed the banks of that river also. But their progress as 
colonists in America was slow. Though Holland was nominally a 
republic, yet she did not abound in the materials proper for making 
good colonists. The country presenting but a limited scope for agri- 
culture, the people were mostly engaged in trade, or in the arts. 

Pursuing in the New World the same selfish principles which made 



the Dutch mercantile aristocracy the worst enemies of their country 
in the Old, the New Netherlands colonists were allowed little or no 
share in the government, and accordingly, notwithstanding the great- 
est natural advantages, the progress of the colony was very slow. 
New Amsterdam, which, in consequence of such advantages, might 
have been expected even to outstrip the mother-city, as she has since 
done under the name of New York, remained but an inconsiderable 
village. The vicinity of New England provoked comparisons that 
could not fail to make the Dutch colonists discontented with their 
institutions. At length, in 1064, the English took possession of all 
the Dutch colonies in North America, which, by that time, in addi- 
tion to their settlements on the Hudson, extended to the eastern part 
of New Jersey, Staten Island, and the western extremity of Long 
Island (besides a detached settlement on the banks of the Delaware), 
with a population not exceeding in all ten thousand souls. New Neth- 
erlands was granted by Charles II. to his brother the Duke of York, 
from whom the colony and its capital took the name of New York. 
The voice of the people was now, for the first time, heard in its legis- 
lature ; it began thenceforth to advance rapidly in population, and, 
notwithstanding occasional seasons of trial and depression, gave early 
promise of what it was one day to become. 

New Jersey was likewise granted to the Duke of York, who, in 
1664, handed it over to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, both 
proprietors of Carolina. Difficulties, however, having arisen between 
the colonists and the lords-superior, with regard to the quit-rents pay- 
able by the former, that province was gladly surrendered by the lat- 
ter, upon certain conditions, to the crown, and was for some time 
attached to New York, within twenty years after all the other Dutch 
possessions had fallen into the hands of the English. West Jersey 
was afterward purchased by a company of Friends, or Quakers : and 
a few years later, in 1680, William Penn, previous to his undertaking 
to plant a colony on a larger scale in Pennsylvania, purchased East 
Jersey, with the view of making it an asylum for his persecuted co- 
religionists. Finally, East and West Jersey being united as one 
province under the direct control of the crown, obtained a legislature 
of its own, and enjoyed a gradual and steady prosperity down to the 
Revolution by which the colonies were severed from England. 

Pennsylvania, as indicated by its name, was founded by the distin- 
guished philanthropist we have just mentioned ; but he was not the 
first to colonize it. This was done by a mixture of Swedes, Dutch, 
and English, who had for years before occupied the right bank of the 
Delaware, both above the point where Philadelphia now stands, and 
many miles below. The charter obtained by William Penn from 


Charles II. dates from 1681. On the 27th of October in the follow- 
ing year, the father of the new colony, having landed on his vast do. 
main in America, immediately set about the framing of a constitution, 
and began to found a capital, which was destined to become one of ' 
the finest cities in the western hemisphere. The government, like 
that established by the Quakers in New Jersey, was altogether pop- 
ular. The people were to have their own Legislature, whose acts, 
however, were not to conflict with the just claims of the proprietor, 
and were to be subject to the approval of the crown alone. The col- 
ony soon became prosperous. The true principles of peace, principles 
that form so conspicuous a part of the Quaker doctrines, distinguished 
every transaction in which the Aborigines were concerned. It is the 
glory of Pennsylvania that it never did an act of injustice to the 

The territory belonging to the State of Delaware, was claimed by 
Penn and his successors, as included in the domain described hi their 
charter ; and for a time formed a part of Pennsylvania, under the title 
of the Three Lower Counties. But the mixed population of Swedes, 
Dutch, and English, by which it was occupied, were never reconciled 
to this arrangement, and having at last obtained a government of its 
own, Delaware became a separate province. 

The settlement of the two Carolinas began with straggling emi- 
grants from Virginia, who sought to better their fortunes in regions 
further south, and were afterward joined by others from New En- 
gland, and also from Europe. At length, in 1663, the entire region 
lying between the thirty-sixth degree of north latitude and the River 
St. John's in Florida, was granted to a proprietary company in En- 
gland, which was invested with most extraordinary powers. The pro- 
prietors, eight in number, were Lord Ashley Cooper, better known 
as the Earl of Shaftesbury, Clarendon, Monk, Lord Craven, Sir John 
Colleton, Lord John and Sir William Berkeley, and Sir George 
Carteret. Their grand object was gain, yet the celebrated John 
Locke, at once a philosopher and a Christian, was engaged to make 
" Constitutions," or a form of government, for an empire that was to 
stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The result of the philosoph- 
ical law-giver's labors was such as the world had never before seen 
the like of. The proprietors were to form a close corporation ; the 
territory was to be partitioned out into counties of vast extent, each 
of which was to have an Earl or Landgrave, and two Barons or 
Caciques, who, as lords of manors, were to have judicial authority 
within their respective estates. Tenants of ten acres were to be at- 
tached as serfs to the soil, to be subject to the jurisdiction of their 
lords without appeal, and their children were to continue in the same 


degradation forever ! The possession of at least fifty acres of land 
was to be required in order to the enjoyment of the elective franchise ; 
and of five hundred acres to render a man eligible as a member of the 
colonial Parliament or Legislature. These " Constitutions," into the 
further details of which we can not enter, were attempted to be in- 
troduced, but were soon rejected in North Carolina; and after a few 
years' struggle, were thrown aside also in South Carolina, which 
had been separated from the Northern province. The colonists 
adopted for themselves forms of government analogous to those of 
the other colonies ; the proprietary company was after awhile dis- 
solved ; the Carohnas fell under the direct control of the crown, but 
were governed by then own Legislatures. Their prosperity was slow, 
having been frequently interrupted by serious wars with the native 
tribes, particularly the Tuscaroras, which, as they were the most pow- 
erful, were for a long time also the most hostile. 

Last of all the original thirteen provinces, in the order of time, 
came Georgia, which was settled as late as 1*732, by the brave and 
humane Oglethorpe. The colonists were of mixed origin, but the 
English race predominated. Although it had difficulties to encounter 
almost from the first, yet, notwithstanding wars with the Spaniards in 
Florida, hostile attacks from the Indians, and internal divisions, 
Georgia acquired by degrees a considerable amount of strength. 

Such is a brief notice of the thirteen original North American 
provinces, which by the Revolution of 1775-1783, were transformed 
into as many States. They all touch more or less on the Atlantic, and 
stretch to a greater or less distance into the interior. Virginia, 
Georgia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, are the largest ; Rhode 
Island and Delaware are the smallest. 

We now proceed to notice the colonization of the territories added 
since the epoch of Independence. 

In 1803, the French colony of Louisiana, now the State of that 
name, together with the Territories since comprised in the States of 
Arkansas and Missouri, and an almost indefinite tract lying west- 
ward of these, was purchased by the United States for fifteen millions 
of dollars. In 1819, the Spanish colony of Florida, comprising the 
peninsula which used to be called East Florida, and a narrow strip of 
land on the Gulf of Mexico, called West Florida, was purchased by 
the same government for five millions of dollars. Both purchases 
now form, of course, part of the great North American Republic. 

Texas, New Mexico, and California were originally settled by the 
Spanish ; but these colonies never flourished while under the Spanish 
dominion ; nor was their progress much greater under that of the 
Republic of Mexico. The Spanish population in the first and last 


named is at present wholly inconsiderable, having become almost ab- 
sorbed by the American. Oregon (now divided into the Oregon and 
Washington Territories), and Utah have been colonized by the white 
race only since they were annexed to the United States. 

Such was the original colonization of what is now the United States 
of North America. 



After the short account which we have given of the first planting 
of the original provinces, by successive arrivals of colonists from 
Europe, on the sea-coast and the banks of the larger streams, we pro- 
ceed to say something of the progress of colonization in the interior 
of the country. 

It will be observed, that a hundred and twenty-five years elapsed 
between the foundation of the first and the last of the original thirteen 
provinces ; also, that, with the exception of New York and Delaware, 
which received their first European inhabitants from Holland and 
Sweden, they were all originally English ; but, eventually, these two 
were likewise included in English patents, and their Dutch and Swed- 
ish inhabitants merged among the English. 

All these colonies were of slow growth ; ten, even twenty years 
being required, in several instances, before they could be regarded as 
permanently established. That of Virginia, the earliest, was more 
than once on the point of being broken up. Indeed, we may well be 
surprised that, when the colonists that survived the ravages of dis- 
ease, and attacks from the Indians, were still further reduced in their 
number by the return of a part of them to England, the remainder 
did not become disheartened, and abandon the country in despair. 
The Plymouth colonists lost, upon the very spot where they settled, 
half their number within six mouths after their arrival ; and terrible, 
indeed, must have been the sorrows of the dreary winter of 1620-21, 
as endured by those desolate yet persevering exiles. But they had a 
firm faith in God's goodness ; they looked to the future ; they felt 
that they had a great and glorious task to accomplish ; and that, 
although they themselves might perish in attempting it, yet their 
children would enjoy the promised land. 

Stout hearts were required for such enterprises. Few of the col- 
onists were wealthy persons, and as those were not the days of 


steamships, or of fine packets, and large and well-appointed merchant 
vessels, the voyages had to be made in small and crowded ships. 
The inconveniences, to say nothing of the sickness that attended 
them, were but ill calculated to nerve the heart for coming trials ; 
and as the colonists approached the coast, the boundless and solemn 
forests that stretched before them, the strangeness of every object 
that filled the scene, the absence of all tillage and cultivation, and of 
a village or house to give them shelter, and the uncouth and even 
frightful aspect of the savage inhabitants, must have damped the 
boldest spirits. In the case of Plymouth and some others, the settlers 
arrived during winter, when all nature wore her gloomiest attire. 
The rudest hovels were the only abodes that could be immediately 
prepared for then* reception, and for weeks together there might only 
be a few days of such weather as would permit their proceeding with 
the operations required for their comfort. Not only conveniences 
and luxuries, such as the poorest in the mother-country enjoyed, but 
even the necessaries of life were often wanting. Years had to be 
passed before any considerable part of the forest could be cleared, 
comfortable dwellings erected, and pleasant gardens planted. Mean- 
while, disease and death would enter every family ; dear friends and 
companions in the toils and cares of the enterprise would be borne, 
one after another, to the grave. To these causes of depression there 
were often added the horrors of savage warfare, by which some of 
the colonies were repeatedly decimated, and during which the poor 
settler, for weeks and months together, could not know, on retiring 
to rest, whether he should not be awakened by the heart-quailing 
war-whoop of the savages around his house, or by finding the house 
itself in flames. Ah, what pen can describe the horror that fell upon 
many a family, hi almost all the colonies, not once, but often, when 
aroused by false or real alarms ! Who can depict the scenes in which 
a father, before he received the fatal blow himself, was compelled to 
see his wife and children fall by the tomahawk before his eyes, or be 
dragged into a captivity worse than death ! With such depressing 
circumstances to try the hearts of the colonists — circumstances that 
can be fully understood by those only who have passed through them, 
or who have heard them related with the minute fidelity of an eye- 
witness — who can wonder that the colonies advanced but slowly ? 

Still, as I have said, they gradually gained strength. At the Revolu- 
tion of 1688, in England, that is, eighty-one years after the first settle- 
ment of Virginia, and sixty-eight after that of Plymouth, the population 
of the colonies, then twelve in number, was estimated at about two 
hundred thousand, which might be distributed thus : Massachusetts, 
including Plymouth and Maine, may have had forty-four thousand ; 


New Hampshire and Rhode Island, including Providence, six thou- 
sand each ; Connecticut, from seventeen to twenty thousand ; making 
uj) seventy-five thousand for all New England : New York, not less 
than twenty thousand ; New Jersey, ten thousand ; Pennsylvania 
and Delaware, twelve thousand; Maryland, twenty-five thousand; 
Virginia, fifty thousand ; and the two Carolinas, which then included 
Georgia, probably not fewer than eight thousand souls. 

After having confined their settlements for many years within a 
short distance, comparatively speaking, from the coast, the colonists 
began to penetrate the inland forests, and to settle at different 
points in the interior of the country, in proportion as they consid- 
ered themselves strong enough to occupy them safely. Where hos- 
tility on the part of the Aborigines was dreaded, these settlers kept 
together as much as possible, and established themselves in villages. 
This was particularly the case in New England, where, the soil being 
less favorable to agriculture, colonization naturally assumed the com- 
pact form required for the pursuits of trade and the useful arts, 
as well as for mutual assistance when exposed to attack. As the 
New England colonists had all along devoted themselves much to 
the fisheries and other branches of commerce, their settlements were 
for a long time to be found chiefly on the coast, and at points afford- 
ing convenient harbors. But it was much otherwise in the South. 
In Virginia, particularly, the colonists were induced to settle along 
the banks of rivers to very considerable distances, their main occupa- 
tion being the planting of tobacco, and trading to some extent with 
the Indians. In the Carolinas, again, most hands being employed in 
the manufacture of tar, turpentine, and rosin, or in the cultivation of 
rice, indigo, and, eventually, of cotton, the colonial settlements took 
a considerable range whenever there was peace with the Indians in 
their vicinity. Where there was little or no commerce, and agricul- 
tural pursuits of different kinds were the chief occupation of the 
people, there could be few towns of much importance ; and so much 
does this hold at the present day, that there is not a city of 40,000 
inhabitants in all the five Southern Atlantic States, with the exception 
of Baltimore in Maryland, Richmond in Virginia, and Charleston in 
South Carolina. 

Even at the commencement of the war of the Revolution, in 1775, 
the colonies had scarcely penetrated to the Allegheny or Appalachian 
Mountains in any of the provinces that reached thus far, and their 
whole population was confined to the strip of land interposed between 
those mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. It is true, that immediately 
after the treaty of Paris, in 1763, by which England acquired the 
Canadas and the Valley of the Mississippi — excepting Louisiana, 


which remained with France, or, rather, was temporarily ceded to 
Spain — a few adventurers began to pass beyond the mountains, and 
this emigration westward continued during the war of the Revolu- 
tion. But when peace came, hi 1783, 1 much doubt if there were 
20,000 Anglo-Americans in western Pennsylvania, western Virginia, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee. These were but the advanced posts of the 
immense host about to follow, and, for many years after the peace, 
the colonization of the interior was slower than might be supposed. 
The population of the thirteen provinces at the commencement of 
the Revolution is not positively known, but it certainly did not ex- 
ceed 3,000,000, slaves included. No doubt the population of the sea- 
board increased thenceforth with considerable rapidity, and Vermont 
was not long in being added to the original thirteen States, making 
fourteen in all upon the Atlantic slope. They amount now to fifteen ; 
Maine, which was long a sort of province to Massachusetts, having 
become a separate State in 1820. After the establishment of Inde- 
pendence, danger from the Aborigines ceased to be apprehended, 
throughout the whole country situated between the Allegheny Mount- 
ains and the Atlantic Ocean. The remains of the numerous tribes, 
its former inhabitants, had, with some exceptions in New England, 
New York, and the Carolinas, retired to the West, and there they 
either existed apart, or had become merged in other and kindred 


But it was far otherwise in the great region to the west of the 
Appalachian range. There, many of the Indian tribes occupied the 
country in all their pristine force, and were the more to be dreaded 
by settlers from the eastern States ; inasmuch as they were supposed 
to be greatly under the influence of the British Government in Can- 
ada, and as unkindly feelings long subsisted between the Ameri- 
cans and their English neighbors: each charging the other, prob- 
ably not without justice, with exciting the Indians, by means 
of their respective agents and hunters, to commit acts of violence. 
Excepting in some parts of western Pennsylvania and eastern Ten- 
nessee, there was little security for American settlers in the West, 
from 1783 until 1795. The first emigrants to Ohio suffered greatly 
from the Indians ; two armies sent against them, in the western part 
of that State, under Generals Harmar and St. Clair, were defeated 
and shockingly cut to pieces, and not until they had received a dread- 
ful defeat from General Wayne, on the River Miami-of-the-lake,* was 
there any thing like permanent peace established. But, as a prelude 
to the war between the United States and Great Britain, which com- 

* Or the Miami which flows into Lake Erie, and so called to distinguish it from 
the Miami that falls into the Ohio. 


menced in 1812 and ended in 1815, the Indian tribes again became 
troublesome, particularly in Indiana and in the south-eastern part of 
the Valley of the Mississippi, forming now the State of Alabama. 
The Creeks, a powerful tribe of the Muskhogee race, then occupied 
that country, and it was not until defeated in many battles and skir- 
mishes, that they were reduced to peace. In pomt of fact, perfect 
security from Indian hostilities has prevailed throughout the " Valley 
of the Mississippi" only since 1815 ; since then, there have been the 
insignificant war with Black Hawk, a Sioux chief, which took place a 
few years ago, and the still more recent war with the Seminoles in 
Florida — exceptions not worth special notice, as they in nowise 
affected the country at large. 

It is now (1856) about seventy-two years since the tide of emigra- 
tion from the Atlantic States set fairly into the Valley of the Missis- 
sippi ; and though no great influx took place in any one year during 
the first half of that period, it has wonderfully increased during the 
last. When this emigration westward first commenced, all the neces- 
saries that the emigrants required to take with them from the East 
were to be carried on horseback, no roads for wheeled carriages hav- 
ing been opened through the mountains. On arriving at the last 
ridge overlooking the plains to the west, a boundless forest lay 
stretched out before those pioneers of civilization, like an ocean of 
living green. Into the depths of that forest they had to plunge. 
Often long years of toil and suffering rolled away before they could 
establish themselves hi comfortable abodes. The climate and the 
diseases peculiar to the different localities were unknown. Hence, 
fevers of a stubborn type cut many of them off. They were but 
partially acquainted with the mighty rivers of that vast region, be- 
yond knowing that their common outlet was in the possession of a 
foreign nation, which imposed vexatious regulations u{>on their infant 
trade. The navigation of those rivers could be carried on only in 
flat-bottomed boats, keels, and barges. To descend them was not 
unattended with danger, but to ascend by means of sweeps and oars, 
by poling, warping, bush-whacking* and so forth, was laborious and 
tedious beyond conception. 

* The word bush-ivhacJcing is of "Western origin, and signifies a peculiar mode of 
propelling a boat up the Mississippi, Ohio, or any other river in that region, when 
the water is very high. It is this : instead of keeping in the middle of the stream, 
the "boat is made to go along close to one of the banks, and the men who guide it, 
by catching hold of the boughs of the trees which overhang the water, are enabled 
to drag the boat along. It is an expedient resorted to more by way of change than 
any thing else. Sometimes it is possible, at certain stages of the rivers, to go along 
for miles in this way. Even to this day the greater portion of the banks of the riv- 
ers of the "West are covered with almost uninterrupted forests. 


Far different are the circumstances of those colonists now ! The 
mountains, at various points, are traversed by substantial highways, 
and, still further to augment the facilities for intercourse with the 
vast Western Valley, several canals and railroads have been made, 
and others are in progress. It is accessible, also, from the south, by 
vessels from the Gulf of Mexico, as well as from the north by the 
lakes, on whose waters more than a hundred steamboats now pur- 
sue their foaming way. As for the navigable streams of the valley 
itself, besides boats of all kinds of ordinary construction, many hun- 
dreds of steamboats ply upon their waters. And now, instead of 
being a boundless forest, uninhabited by civilized men, as it was 
seventy or eighty years ago, the West contains no fewer than four- 
teen regularly-constituted States, and five Territories which will soon 
be admitted as States into the Union, the population having, mean- 
while, advanced from 10,000 or 20,000 Anglo-American inhabitants, 
to above 13,000,000* 

Generally speaking, the various sections of the Valley of the Mis- 
sissippi, may be said to have been colonized from the parts' of the 
Atlantic coast which correspond with them as nearly as possible in 
point of latitude. This is easily accounted for : emigrants from the 
East to the West naturally wish to keep as much as they can within 
the climate which birth and early life have rendered familiar and 
agreeable, though a regard to their health may compel some of them 
to seek a change by passing to the south or north of their original 
latitude. The New England tide of emigration, in its westward 
course, penetrated and settled the northern and western parts of the 
State of New York, and advancing still further in the direction of 
the setting sun, entered the northern parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illi- 
nois, extended over the whole of Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, and 
is stretching into Kansas and Nebraska. That from the southern 
counties of New York, from New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania, 
first occupied western Pennsylvania, and then extended into the 
central districts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The Maryland and 
Virginia column colonized western Virginia and Kentucky, and then 
dispersed itself over the southern parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois ; 

* The names of these States and Territories are as follows: 


Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, 
Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Iowa. 


Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and New Mexico. 

This enumeration leaves out Indian Territory, because it is not organized as such, 
nor are its inhabitants under the laws of the United States. 


while that from North Carolina, after having colonized Tennessee, is 
reaching into Missouri and Iowa. The South Carolina column, min- 
gling with that of Georgia, after having covered Alabama and a 
great part of the State of Mississippi, is now extending itself into 
Arkansas and Texas. 

This account of the progress of colonization in the great central 
valley, furnishes a better key to the political, moral, and religious 
character of the West than any other that can be given. The 
West, in fact, may be regarded as the counterpart of the East, after 
allowing for the exaggeration, if I may so speak, which a life in 
the wilderness tends to communicate for a time to manners and char- 
acter, and even to religion, but which disappears as the population 
increases, and as the country acquires the stamp of an older civiliza- 
tion. Stragglers may, indeed, be found in all parts of the West from 
almost all parts of the East ; and many emigrants from Europe, too, 
Germans especially, enter by New Orleans, and from that city find 
their way by steamboats into Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, 
and Iowa. But all these form exceptions that hardly invalidate the 
general statement. 

The colonists of Oregon and Washington Territories are chiefly 
from the north-western States ; those of California are from all the 
States, together with many foreigners. The Mormons in Utah are 
mostly from the eastern States and from Europe. 




Wholly apart from considerations of a moral and religious char- 
acter, and the influence of external circumstances, we may remark, 
that the Anglo-Saxon race possesses qualities peculiarly adapted for 
successful colonization. The characteristic perseverance, the spirit 
of personal freedom and independence, that have ever distinguished 
that race, admirably fit a man for the labor and isolation necessary to 
be endured before he can be a successful colonist. Now, New En- 
gland, together with the States of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, 
and Pennsylvania, with the exception of Dutch and Swedish elements, 
which were too inconsiderable to affect the general result, were all 
colonized by people of Anglo-Saxon origin. And assuredly they have 
displayed qualities fitting them for their task, such as the world has 



never witnessed before. No sooner have the relations between the 
colonies and the Aborigines permitted it to be done with safety (nor has 
this always been waited for), than we find individuals and families ready 
to penetrate the wilderness, there to choose, each for himself or for them- 
selves, some fertile spot for a permanent settlement. If friends could 
be found to accompany him and settle near him, so much the better ; 
but if not, the bold emigrant would venture alone far into the track- 
less forest, and surmount every obstacle single-handed, like a fisher- 
man committing himself to the deep, and passing the live-long day at 
a distance from the shore. Such was the experience of many of the 
first colonists of New England ; such was that of the earliest settlers 
in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania ; such, in our 
own day, has been the case with many of the living occupants of Ohio. 
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, and 
Nebraska ; and thus is colonization advancing in all those States and 
Territories at the present moment. 

Living on the lands which they cultivate, the agricultural inhab- 
itants of the New England and Middle States are very much dis- 
persed ; the country, far and wide, is dotted over with the dwellings 
of the landholders, and those who assist them in the cultivation of the 
soil. For almost every landowner tills his property himself, assisted 
by his sons, by young men hired for that purpose, or by tenants who 
rent from him a cottage and a few acres. Field work in all those 
States is performed by men alone ; a woman is never seen handling 
the plough, the hoe, the axe, the sickle, or the scythe, unless in the case 
of foreign emigrants, who have not yet adopted American usages in 
this respect. 

Now it is in this isolated and independent mode of life that our 
men best fitted to penetrate and settle in the wilderness are trained ; 
and from this what may be emphatically called our frontier race has 
sprung, and is recruited from time to time. 

Take the folio whig case as an illustration of the process that is con- 
tinually going on in the frontier settlements. A man removes to the 
West, he purchases a piece of ground, builds a house, and devotes 
himself to the clearing and tillage of his forest acres. Before long he 
has rescued a farm from the wilderness, and has reared a family upon 
it. He then divides his land among his sons, if there be enough for 
a farm for each of them ; if not, each receives money enough to buy 
one as he comes of age. Some may settle on lands bestowed upon them 
by their father ; others, preferring a change, may dispose of their 
portion, and proceed, most commonly unmarried, to " the new coun- 
try," as it is called, that is, to those parts of the West where the 
public lands are not yet sold. There he chooses out as much as he 


can conveniently pay for, receiving a title to it from the District Land 
Office, and proceeds to make for himself a home. This is likely to be 
in the spring. 

Having selected a spot for his dwelling, generally near some foun- 
tain, or where water may be had by digging a well, he goes round 
and makes the acquaintance of his neighbors residing within the 
distance, it may be, of several miles. A time is fixed for building 
him a house, upon which those neighbors come and render him such 
efficient help, that in a single day he will find a log-house constructed, 
and perhaps covered with clap-boards, and having apertures cut out 
for the doors, windows, and chimney. He makes his" floor at once of 
rough boards riven from the abundant timber of the surrounding 
forest, constructs his doors, and erects a chimney. Occupying him- 
self, while interrupted in out-door work by rainy weather, in com- 
pleting his house, he finds it in a few weeks tolerably comfortable, and 
during fair weather he clears the underwood from some ten or fifteen 
acres, kills the large trees by notching them around so as to arrest the 
rise of the sap, and plants the ground with Indian corn, or maize, as 
it is called in Europe. He can easily make, buy, or hire a plough, a 
harrow, and a hoe or two. If he find time, he surrounds his field 
with a fence. At length, after prolonging his stay until his crop is 
beyond the risk of serious injury from squirrels and birds, or from 
the growth of weeds, he shuts up his house, commits it to the care 
of some neighbor, living perhaps one or two miles distant, and re- 
turns to his paternal home, which may be from one to three hundred 
miles distant from his new settlement. There he stays until the 
month of September, then marries, and with his young wife, a wagon 
and pair of horses to carry their effects, a few cattle or sheep, or none, 
according to circumstances, sets out to settle for life in the wilderness. 
On arriving at his farm, he sows wheat or rye among his standing 
Indian corn, then gathers in this last, and prepares for the winter. 
His wife shares all the cares incident to this humble beginning. Ac- 
customed to every kind of household work, she strives by the dili- 
gence of her fingers to avoid the necessity of going to the merchant, 
who has opened his store at some village among the trees, perhaps 
some miles off, and there laying out the little money they may have 
left. With economy and health, they gradually become prosperous. 
The primitive log-house gives place to a far better mansion, constructed 
of hewn logs, or of boards, or of brick or stone. Extensive and 
well-fenced fields spread around, ample barns stored with grain, stalls 
filled with horses and cattle, flocks of sheep, and herds of hogs, all 
attest the increasing wealth of the owners. Their children grow up, 
perhaps to pursue the same course, or, as their inclinations may lead, 


to choose some other occupation, or to enter one of the learned pro- 

This sketch will give the reader some idea of the mode in which 
colonization advances among the Anglo-Saxon race of the Middle 
and New England States of America. Less Anglo-Saxon in their 
orio-in, and with institutions and customs modified by slavery, the 
Southern States exhibit colonization advancing in a very different 
style. When an emigrant from those States removes to the " Far 
"West," he takes with Mm his wagons, his cattle, his little ones, and a 
troop of slaves, resembling Abraham when he moved from place to 
place in Canaan.' When he settles in the forest, he clears and culti- 
vates the ground with the labor of his slaves. Every thing goes on 
heavily. Slaves are too stupid and improvident to make good col- 
onists. The country, under these disadvantages, never assumes the 
garden-like appearance that it already wears in the New England and 
Middle States, and which is to be seen in the northern parts of the 
great Central Valley. 

Next to the Anglo-Saxon race from the British shores, the Scotch 
make the best settlers in the great American forests. The Irish are 
not so good ; they know not how to use the plough, or how to manage 
the horse and the ox, having had but little experience of either in 
their native land. None can handle the spade better, nor are they 
wanting in industry. But when they first arrive they are irresolute, 
dread the forest, and hang too much about the large towns, looking 
around for such work as their previous mode of life has not disqual- 
ified them for. Such of them as have been bred to mechanical trades 
might find sufficient employment if they would let ardent spirits 
alone, but good colonists for the forests they will never be. Their 
children may do better in that career. The few Welsh to be found 
in America are much better fitted than the Irish for the fife and pur- 
suits of a farmer. 

The perseverance and frugality of the German, joined to other good 
qualities which he has in common with the Anglo-Saxon race, enable 
him to succeed tolerably well even in the forest, but he finds it more 
to his advantage to settle on a farm bought at second-hand and par- 
tially cultivated. The Swiss are much the same with the Germans. 
The French and Italians, on the other hand, are totally unfit for 
planting colonies in the woods. Nothing could possibly be more 
alien to the ordinary habits of a Frenchman. The population of 
France is almost universally collected in cities, towns, villages, and 
hamlets, and thus, from early habit as well as constitutional disposi- 
tion, Frenchmen love society, and can not endure the loneliness and 
isolation of the settlements we have described. When they attempt 


to form colonies, it is by grouping together in villages, as may be seen 
along the banks of the St. Lawrence and of the Lower Mississippi. 
Hence their settlements are seldom either extensive or vigorous. 
They find themselves happier in the cities and large towns. If re- 
solved to establish themselves hi the country, they should go to com- 
paratively well-settled neighborhoods, not to the forests of the 
Far West. 



Foreigners who have written about the United States, have often 
asserted that it is a country without a national character. Were this 
the mere statement of an opinion, it might be suffered to pass unno- 
ticed, like many other things emanating from authors who undertake 
to speak about countries which they have had only very partial, and 
hence very imperfect, opportunities of knowing. But as the allega- 
tion has been made with an air of considerable pretension, it becomes 
necessary that we should submit it to the test of truth. 

If oneness of origin be essential to the formation of national char- 
acter, it is clear that the people of the United States can make no 
pretension to it. No civilized nation was ever composed of inhab- 
itants derived from such a variety of sources : for in the United 
States we find the descendants of English, Welsh, Scotch, Irish, 
Dutch, Germans, Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, Poles, French, Ital- 
ians, and Spaniards ;* and there is even a numerous and distinguished 
family in which it is admitted, with p*ide, that the blood of an Indian 
princess mingles with that of the haughty Norman or Norman-Saxon. 
Many other nations are of mixed descent, but where shall we find 
one derived from so many distinct races ? 

Neither, if national character depends upon the existence of but 
one language, can the citizens of the United States make any claim 
to it : for the colonists from whom they are descended brought with 
them the languages of the different countries whence they came, 
and these are retained in some instances to the present day. At least 
eleven of the different languages of Europe have been spoken by 
settlers in the United States. 

* Even China and the islands of the Pacific are furnishing their contingent, also, 
to California. 


But let us examine these two points somewhat more minutely, and 
we can not fail to be struck with the facts which will be presented to 

our view. 

And in the first place, never has there been witnessed so rapid a 
blending of people from different countries, and speaking different 
languages, as may be seen in the United States. "Within the last two 
hundred years, people have been arriving from some eleven or twelve 
different countries, and distinguished by as many different tongues. 
Yet so singular a fusion has taken place, that in many localities, where 
population is at all compact, it would puzzle a stranger to determine 
the national origin of the people from any peculiarity of physiognomy 
or dialect, far less of language. Who can distinguish in New York 
the mass of persons of Dutch descent from those of Anglo-Saxon 
origin, unless, perhaps, by their retaining Dutch family names? 
Where discover, by the indices of language, features or manners, the 
descendants of the Swedes, the Welsh, with a few exceptions the 
Poles, Norwegians, the Danes, or the great body of French Hugue- 
nots ? Almost the only exceptions to this universal amalgamation and 
loss of original languages are to be found in the Germans and French ; 
and even in regard to these, had it not been for comparatively recent 
arrivals of emigrants caused by the French Revolution, the St. Do- 
mingo massacres, and various events in Germany, both the French 
and German languages would have been extinct ere now in the United 
States. The former is spoken only by a few thousands in the large 
cities, and some tens of thousands in Louisiana. In the cities, English 
as well as French is spoken by most of the French ; and in Louisiana, 
the only portion of the Union which the French language has ever 
ventured to claim for itself, it is fast giving place to English. German, 
also, spoken although it be by many thousands of emigrants arriving 
yearly from Europe, is fast disappearing from the older settlements. 
The children of these Germans almost universally acquire the English 
tongue in their infancy, and where located, as generally happens, in 
the neighborhood of settlers who speak English as their mother 
tongue, learn to speak it well. Indeed, over nearly the whole vast 
extent of the United States, English is spoken among the well-educated 
with a degree of purity to which there is no parallel in the British 
realm* There, on a space not much larger than a sixth part of the 
United States territory, no fewer than three or four languages are 
spoken ; and in England alone, I know not how many dialects are to 
be found which a person unaccustomed to them can hardly at all 
comprehend, however familiar he may be with pure English. As for 

* We speak of the "British Isles"— Great Britain and Ireland— which have less 
than 110,000 square miles of surface, and about 27,500,000 inhabitants. 


France, with its Gascon, Breton, and I know not how many other 
remains of the languages sj)oken by the ancient races which were once 
scattered over its territory, the case is still worse.* Nor does either 
Germany or Italy present the uniformity of speech that distinguishes 
the millions of the United States, with the exception of the newly- 
arrived foreigners : an uniformity that extends even to pronunciation, 
and the absence of provincial accent and phraseology. A well-edu- 
cated American who has seen much of his country may, indeed, dis- 
tinguish the Southern from the Northern modes of pronouncing 
certain vowels; he may recognize by certain shades of sound, if I 
may so express myself, the Northern or Southern origin of his coun- 
trymen : but these differences are too slight to be readily perceived 
by a foreigner. 

Generally speaking, the pronunciation of well-educated Americans 
is precisely that given in the best orthoepical authorities of England ; 
and our best speakers adopt the well-established changes in pronun- 
ciation that from time to time gain ground there. A few words, 
however, are universally pronounced in a manner different from what 
prevails in England. Either and neither, for example, are pronounced 
eether and neether, not Uher and nlther, nor will our lawyers probably 
ever learn to say lien for leen. There is a very perceptible difference 
of accent between the English and Americans, particularly those of 
the Eastern or New England States. There is also a difference of 
tone ; in some of the States there is more of a nasal inflexion of the 
voice than one hears in England. 

English literature has an immense circulation in America ; a cir- 
cumstance which may be an advantage in one sense, and a disad- 
vantage in another. We are not wanting, however, in authors of 
unquestionable merit in every branch of literature, art, and science. 
Still, if a literature of our own creation be indispensable to the pos- 
session of a national character, we must abandon all claim to it. 

It may be added, that we have no fashions of our own. We follow 
the modes of Paris. But in this respect, Germans, Russians, Italians, 
and English, without any abatement of their claims to national char- 
acter, do the same. 

Amalgamation takes place, also, by intermarriages, to an extent 
elsewhere quite unexampled ; for though the Anglo-Saxon race has 
an almost undisputed possession of the soil in New England, people 
are everywhere else to be met with in whose veins flows the mino-led 
blood of English, Dutch, German, Irish, and French. 

* I have been informed that there are twelve distinct languages and patois spoken 
in France, and that interpreters are needed in courts of justice within a hundred 
miles of Paris ! 


Nor has the assimilation of races and languages been greater than 
that of manners, customs, religion, and political principles. The man- 
ners of the peoj:>le, in some places less, in others more refined, are es- 
sentially characterized by simplicity, sincerity, frankness, and kindness. 
The religion of the overwhelming majority, and which may therefore 
be called national, is, in all essential points, what was taught by the 
great Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century. With respect 
to politics, with whatever warmth we may discuss the measures of the 
government, but one feeling prevails with regard to our political in- 
stitutions themselves. We are no propagandists : we hold it to be 
our duty to avoid meddling with the governments of other countries ; 
and though we prefer our own political forms, would by no means in- 
sist on others doing so too. That government we believe to be the 
best for any people, under which they live most happily, and are best 
protected in their right of person, property, and conscience; and 
we would have every nation to judge for itself what form of govern- 
ment is best suited to secure for it these great ends. 

Assuredly there is no country that possesses a press more free, or 
where, notwithstanding, public opinion is more powerful; but on 
these points we shall have more to say in another part of this work. 

The American people, taken as a whole, are mainly characterized 
by perseverance, earnestness, kindness, hosjDitality, and self-reliance, 
that is, by a disposition to depend upon their own exertions to the 
utmost, rather than look to the government for assistance. Hence, 
there is no country where the government does less, or the people 
more. In a word, our national character is that of the Anglo-Saxon 
race, which still predominates among us in consequence of its original 
preponderancy in the colonization of the country, and of the energy 
which forms its characteristic distinction. 

Has the reader ever heard Haydn's celebrated oratorio of the 
Creation performed by a full orchestra ? If so, he can not have for- 
gotten how chaos is represented at the commencement by all the 
instruments sounded together without the least attempt at concord. 
By-and-by, however, something like order begins, and at length the 
clear notes of the clarionet are heard over all the others, controlling 
them into harmony. Something like this has been in America the 
influence of the Anglo-Saxon language, laws, institutions, and char- 

But if, when it is alleged that we have no national character, it be 
meant that we have not origmated any for ourselves, it may be asked, 
What nation has? All owe much to those from whom they have 
sprung ; this, too, has been our case, although what we have inher- 
ited from our remote ancestors has unquestionably been much mod- 


ified by the operation of political institutions which we have been led 
to adopt by new circumstances, and which, probably, were never 
contemplated by the founders of our country. 



Few points in the colonial history of the United States are more 
interesting to the curious inquirer, than the royal charters, under 
which the first settlement of the original thirteen States took place. 

These charters were granted by James I., Charles I., Charles II., 
James II., William and Mary, and George I. They were very di- 
verse, both in form and substance. Some were granted to companies, 
some to single persons, others to the colonists themselves. Most of 
them preceded the foundation of the colonies to which they referred : 
but in the cases of Rhode Island and Connecticut, the territories 
were settled first ; while Plymouth colony had no crown charter at 
all, nor had it even a grant from the Plymouth Company in En- 
gland, until the year after its foundation. 

The ordinary reader can be interested only in the charters granted 
by the crown of England ; those from proprietary companies and 
individuals, to whom whole provinces had first been granted by the 
crown, can interest those readers only who would study the innumer- 
able lawsuits to which they gave occasion. Such in those days was 
the utter disregard for the correct laying down of boundaries, that 
the same district of country was often covered with two or more 
grants, made by the same proprietors, to different individuals ; thus 
furnishing matter for litigations, which lasted in some colonies more 
than a century ; and sometimes giving rise to lawsuits even at the 
present day. 

The royal charters afford us an amusing idea of the notions with 
resj:>ect to North American geography, entertained in those days 
by the sovereigns of England, or by those who acted for them. 
The charter of Virginia included not only those vast regions now 
comprised in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan : but 
the northern and southern bounding fines, if extended according 
to the terms of the charter, would have terminated, the one in the 
Pacific Ocean, and the other in Hudson's Bay ; yet, by the same 
charter, they were both to terminate at the " South Sea," as the 
Pacific Ocean was then called. 


The North Carolina and Georgia charters conveyed to the colonists 
provinces that were to extend westward to the " South Sea." 

The Massachusetts and Connecticut charters also made these col- 
onies reach to the South Sea ; for it appears never to have entered the 
royal head that they must thus have interfered with the claims of Vir- 
ginia. New York, which they must also have traversed, seems not 
to have been thought of, though claimed and occupied at the time by 
the Dutch. Indeed, considering the descriptions contained in their 
charters, it is marvelous that the colonies should ever have ascertained 
their boundaries. Looking at the charter of Massachusetts, for ex- 
ample, and comparing it with that State as laid down on our maps, 
we are amazed to think by what possible ingenuity it should have 
obtained its existing boundaries, especially that on the north-east. 
Still more confounding does it seem that Massachusetts should have 
successfully claimed the territory of Maine, and yet have had to re- 
linquish that of New Hampshire. 

The charter granted to William Penn for Pennsylvania was the 
clearest of all, yet it was long matter of dispute whether or not it 
included Delaware. On the other hand Delaware was claimed by 
Maryland, and with justice, if the charter of the latter province were 
to be construed literally. Still, Maryland did not obtain Delaware. 

Such charters, it will be readily supposed, must have led to serious 
and protracted disputes between the colonies themselves. Many of 
these disputes were still undetermined at the commencement of the 
war of the Revolution ; several remained unadjusted long after the 
achievement of the national independence ; and it was only a few 
years ago that the last of the boundary questions was brought to a 
final issue, before the Supreme Court of the United States. 

After the Revolution, immense difficulties attended the settlement 
of the various claims preferred by the Atlantic States to those parts 
of the "West which they believed to have been conveyed to them by 
their old charters, and into which the tide of emigration was then 
beginning to flow. Had Virginia successfully asserted her claims, 
she would have had "an empire in the Valley of the Mississippi suf- 
ficient, at some future day, to counterbalance almost all the other 
States put together. North Carolina and Georgia also laid claim to 
territories of vast extent. The claims of Connecticut and Massachu- 
setts directly conflicted with those of Virginia. Hence it required a 
great deal of wisdom and patience to settle all these claims, without 
endangering the peace and safety of the confederacy. All, at length, 
were adjusted, except that of Georgia, and it, too, was arranged at a 
later date. Virginia magnanimously relinquished all her claims in 
the West ; a spontaneous act, which immediately led to the estab- 


lishment of the State of Kentucky, followed in due time by the 
foundation of the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wis- 
consin, in what was called the North-western Territory. The relin- 
quishment by North Carolina of her claims west of the Allegheny 
Mountains, led to the creation of the State of Tennessee. But Con- 
necticut refused to abandon her claim to the north-eastern part of 
Ohio, often called to this day New Connecticut, without receiving 
from the General Government a handsome equivalent in money, which 
has been safely invested, and forms the basis of a large capital, set 
apart for the support of the common schools of the State.* Georgia 
also ceded her claims in the West to the General Government, on the 
condition that it should obtain for her from the Indians a title to 
their territory lying to the east of the Chattahoochee River, now the 
western boundary of that State. Out of the cession thus made by 
Georgia, have been formed the States of Alabama, and Mississippi. 

The United States have had to struggle with still more serious dif- 
ficulties, originating in the old royal charters. Little regard was 
paid to the prior claims of the Indians, in the extensive grants made 
by those charters, directly or indirectly, to the colonists. The pope 
had set the example of giving away the Aborigines with the lands 
they occupied, or, rather, of giving away the land from under them ; 
and although, in all the colonies founded by our English ancestors in 
America, there was a sort of feeling, that the Indians had some claims 
on the ground of prior occupation, yet these, it was thought, ought 
to give place to the rights conferred by the royal charters. The col- 
onists were subject to the same blinding influence of selfishness that 
affects other men, and to this we are to ascribe the importunity with 
which they urged the removal of the Indians from the lands con- 
veyed by the royal charters, and which they had long been wont to 
consider and to call their own. In no case, indeed, did the new- 
comers seize upon the lands of the aboriginal occupants, without 
some kind of purchase ; yet unjustifiable means were often employed 
to induce the latter to cede their claims to the former, such as exces- 
sive importunity, the bribery of the chiefs, and sometimes even 
threats. Thus, although with the exception of lands obtained by 
right of conquest in war, I do not believe that any whatever was ob- 
tained without something being given in exchange for it, yet I fear 
that the golden rule was sadly neglected in many of those trans- 
actions. In Pennsylvania and New England^ unquestionably, greater 
fairness was shown than in most, if not all the other colonies ; yet even 
there, full justice, according to that rule, was not always practised. 
Indeed, in many cases, it was difficult to say what exact justice inrplied. 
* Amounting to more than two millions of dollars. 


To savages roaming over vast tracts of land which they did not cul- 
tivate, and which, even for the purposes of the chase, were often 
more extensive than necessary, — for them to part with hundreds, or 
even thousands of square miles, could not be thought a matter of 
much importance, and thus conscience was quieted. But although 
our forefathers may not have done full justice to the poor Indians, it 
is by no means certain that others in the same circumstances would 
have done better. 

The impatience of the colonists to obtain possession of lands which 
their charters, or arrangements consequent thereon, led them to re- 
gard as their own, has at times thrown the General Government 
into much embarrassment and difficulty. Thus, in the conflict be- 
tween it and the State of Georgia, a few short years ago, Congress 
had agreed to buy the claims of the Indians still remaining within 
that State, and to provide for their removal beyond its limits, in re- 
turn for the relinquishment of its claims in the West. But this 
removal of the Indians, it had been expressly stipulated, was to be 
effected peaceably, and with their own consent. Time rolled on, the 
population of Georgia increased, the settlements of the white men 
had begun to touch those of the red men, and the latter were urged 
to sell their lands and to retire further to the west. But to this they 
would not consent. Thereupon the General Government was called 
on to fulfill its engagement. It exerted itself to the utmost to per- 
suade the Indians to sell their lands ; but it would neither employ 
force itself, nor allow Georgia to do so : though much was done by 
the colonists, and something, too, by the State, indirectly, to worry 
the Indians into terms. The chiefs, however, long held back. But 
at length the lands were sold at a great price, and their occupants 
received others west of the Mississippi, and have removed to these. 
There, I doubt not, they will do better than in their former abode. 

To rid itself of such embarrassments created by the old charters, 
the General Government, at the instance of great and good men, 
adopted, some years ago, the plan of collecting all the tribes still to 
be found within the confines of any of the States, upon an extensive 
district to the west of Arkansas and Missouri, claimed by no State, 
and, therefore, considered as part of the public domam. There it 
has already collected the Cherokees, the Choctaws, the Chickasaws, 
the Creeks, and several smaller tribes. Soon the territories of all 
the States will be cleared of them, except in so far as they may 
choose to remain and become citizens. Nor can I avoid cherishing 
the hope that the great Indian community now forming, as I have 
said, west of Missouri and Arkansas, will one day become a State 
itself, and have its proper representatives in the great council of the 


nation. I may conclude these remarks by observing, that the pain- 
ful dispute between the United States and Great Britain, so happily 
terminated, a few years since, relative to the boundaries between the 
State of Maine on the one hand, and Lower Canada and New Bruns- 
wick on the other, originated in the geographical obscurity of certain 
limits, described in one of these old charters. 



He who would obtain a thorough knowledge of the people of the 
United States, their national character, the nature of their govern- 
ment, and the spirit of their laws, must go back to the earliest ages 
of the history of England, and study the character of the various 
races that from early times have settled there. He must carefully 
mark the influences they exerted on each other, and upon the civil 
and political institutions of that country. He must study the Saxon 
Conquest, followed by the introduction of Saxon institutions, and 
Saxon laws and usages ; the trial of an accused person by his peers ; 
the subdivision of the country into small districts, called townships 
or hundreds ; the political influence of that arrangement ; and the 
establishment of seven or eight petty kingdoms, in which the au- 
thority of the king was shared by the people, without whose con- 
sent no laws of importance could be made, and who often met for 
legislation in the open fields, or beneath the shade of some wide- 
spreading forest, as their Scandinavian kinsmen met, at a much 
later period, round the Mora stone.* He must next study the modi- 
fications afterward introduced during the subjugation of the Saxons 
by the Northmen or Danes, lasting through two hundred and sixty- 
one years,! and which, though both partial in its extent, and inter- 
rupted in its continuance, left not a feAv monuments of its existence, 
and gave a name to one of the orders of the English nobility. J 

* On the plains of Upsala in Sweden. The Mora stone signifies the stone on the 

f From a. d. 181 to a. d. 1048. 

X That of Earl, from the Danish and Norwegian Jarl, who was at once the ciyil 
aud military governor of a province. 


But, above all, he must study the influence of the Norman Con- 
quest, which was completed within twenty years from the battle of 
Hastings, fought a. d. 1066. Without extirpating all the Saxon in- 
stitutions, that event reduced the Anglo-Saxons of England to the 
condition of serfs ; gave their lands to sixty thousand warriors, com- 
posing the conqueror's army ; established an absolute monarchy, 
surrounded by a powerful landed aristocracy ; and thus introduced 
an order of things wholly new to the country, and foreign to its 

He must attentively mark the influence exercised by the Anglo- 
Saxon and Norman races upon each other, during the period that 
has since elapsed, of nearly eight hundred years ; and he will there 
find a clue to many transactions that appear wholly unintelligible 
in the common histories of England. The reciprocal hatred of the 
two races will explain the quarrel of Becket, the first archbishop of 
the Saxon race after the Conquest, and Henry II., the fifth of the 
Norman kings ; that national animosity leading Becket to resist the 
demands of the king, as calculated to extend the tyranny of the 
hated race of conquerors, and the king to humble the conquered by 
crushing their haughty representative. That this, and not the dim- 
inution of the power of the pope, as is commonly believed, was 
Henry's object, may be seen from the fact of his being no less earn- 
est in calling for assistance from Rome, than was Becket hi invoking 
her protection. 

He will perceive this mutual animosity manifesting itself in innu- 
merable instances and in apparently contradictory conduct. At one 
time the Anglo-Saxons sided with the nobility against the monarch, 
as in the wars between the barons and King John, and also Henry 
III., not because they loved the barons, who were of the same de- 
tested Norman race, but because they dreaded the consequences to 
themselves of another conquest, by a king who had invited over the 
Poitevins, the Aquitains, and the Provencals, to help him against his 
own subjects in England. At other times they sided with the king 
against the barons, when they saw that the triumph of the latter was 
likely to augment their burdens. 

And although, as M. Thierry remarks,* the bitter hostility which 
had lasted for four centuries seemed to become extinct in the fif- 
teenth, when the wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster 
ranged the two races promiscuously on either side : yet traces of their 
distinct existence are to be found at this day, in the language, in the 
customs, and in the institutions of England. Although the monarch 
no longer employs the ancient formula, as it occurs in royal ordi- 
* " Conquete de l'Angleterre," vol. iv., p. 366-368, Brussels edition. 


nances and proclamations for four hundred years after the Conquest 
such as " Henry V., Henry VII., of that name since the Conquest,"* 
yet to tins day a Norman phraseology is sometimes employed by the 
monarch, as, for instance, le roy le veult / le roy s^ adviser a ; le roy 
mercie ses loyaux sujets.\ To this day the nobility of England, 
though recruited from time to time from the rich, the talented, and 
the ambitious commoners of Saxon blood, remains essentially Nor- 
man in spirit and in character. The same may be said of the gen- 
try, or proprietors of landed estates ; whereas the great bulk of the 
remaining population is of Anglo-Saxon origin.]; In Wales, and in 
Ireland, the races of the conquerors and the conquered appear still 
more distinct, and in the latter, mutual antipathy is far from having 
ceased. In Scotland, there is comparatively little Norman blood, 
the Normans never having conquered that country.§ 

To the resistance of the Anglo-Saxon race in England to the dom- 
ination of the Norman aristocracy, that kingdom was ultimately in- 
debted for the free institutions it now enjoys. The oppressions of 
the nobility and of the crown were checked by the cities and 
boroughs, in which the Anglo-Saxon commons became more and 
more concentrated, with the advance of civilization and population. 
The nobles themselves, on occasions when they, too, had to contend 
for their rights and privileges against the sovereign, gave a helping 
hand to the people ; and in later times especially, after the people 
had established the power of their Commons, or third estate, on an 
immovable foundation, aided the sovereign against alleged encroach- 
ments on the part of the people. Thus the cause of liberty gained 
ground both among the nobility and the commonalty. 

With the progress of the Reformation, the strife between the two 
races became exasperated: the nobility and gentry desiring little 
more than the abatement or rejection of the papal usurpation ; the 
Saxon race, led by men whose hearts were more deeply interested 

* Henry VIII. was the last monarch who used this formula in his proclamations, 
and styled himself Henry, Eighth of the name since the Conquest. 

f "The king wills;" "the king will take counsel;" "the king thanks his loyal 

% Even in our day, the language of the Chronicle of Robert of Gloucester holds true 
in no inconsiderable degree in regard to the population of England : 

* " The folk of Normandie 
Among us woneth yet, and shalleth evermore. 
Of Normans beth these high men that beth in this land, 
And the low men of Saxons." 
§ In fact, however, there is not a little Norman blood in Scotland ; but what of it 
is to be found in the aristocracy came by intermarriages, or by Normans who recom- 
mended themselves by their talents and courage to the favor of the Scottish mon- 
archs, not by conquest. 


in the subject, desiring to see the Church rid of error and supersti- 
tion of every form. From the discussion of the rights of conscience, 
the latter went on to examine the nature and foundations of civil 
government ; and being met with violent opposition, they proceeded 
to lengths they had never dreamed of when they first set out. In 
the fearful struggle that followed, both the national Church and the 
Monarchy were for a time completely overthrown: 

It was just as this grand opposition of sentiment was drawing on 
to a direct collision, and when men's minds were engrossed with the 
important questions which it pressed upon them, that the two colo- 
nies destined to exercise a predominant influence in America left 
the British shores. The first of the two in point of date sought the 
coasts of southern, the second sailed to those of northern "Virginia, 
as the whole Atlantic slope was then called. The one settled on 
James River, in the present State of Virginia, and became, in a 
sense, the ruling colony of the South ; the other established itself 
in New England, there to become the mother of the six Northern 
States. Both, however, have long since made their influence felt far 
beyond the coasts of the Atlantic, and are continuing to extend it 
toward the Pacific, in parallel and clearly-defined lines ; and both 
retain to this day the characteristic features that marked their founders 
when they left their native land. 

If not purely Norman in blood, the Southern colony was entirely 
Norman in spirit ; whereas the Northern was Anglo-Saxon in char- 
acter, and in the institutions which it took to the New World. 
Both loved freedom and free institutions, but they differed as to 
the extent to which the people should enjoy them. The one had 
sprung from the ranks of those in England who pleaded for the 
prerogatives of the crown and the privileges of the nobility ; the 
other, from the great party that was contending for popular rights. 
The one originated with the friends of the Church as left by Queen 
Elizabeth ; the other, with those who desired to see it purified 
from what they deemed the corruptions of antiquity, and shorn of 
the exorbitant pretensions of its hierarchy. The one, composed of 
a company of gentlemen, attended by a few mechanics or laborers, 
contemplated an extensive traffic with the natives ; the other, com- 
posed, with a few exceptions, of substantial farmers of moderate 
means, and industrious artisans, contemplated the cultivation of the 
ground, and the establishment of a state of society in which they 
might serve God according to His Word. The one had no popular 
government for some years after its foundation ; the other was self- 
organized and self-governed before it disembarked upon the shores 
that were to be the scene of its future prosperity. Finally, the reli- 


gion of the one, though doubtless sincere, and, so far as it went, 
beneficial in its influence, was a religion that clung to forms, and to 
an imposing ritual; the religion of the other was at the farthest 
possible remove from the Church of Rome, both in form and spirit, 
and professed to be guided by the Scriptures alone. 

Such in its grand origin was American colonization. But widely 
different has been the subsequent history of those English colonies, 
from that of England herself. The former carried out to their legiti- 
mate extent the great principles of civil and religious liberty, which 
they had learned in England, hi the school of oppression and of long 
and fierce discussion. The latter, after rushing on for a time in the 
same career, carried those principles to such a length as to subvert 
the government, and plunge the country into all the horrors of revo- 
lution and misrule, ending, at' last, in the despotism of a military 
chief. The former went on gradually improving the forms of popu- 
lar government which they had originally adopted, in the face of all 
the efforts of the crown of England to destroy them. The latter 
provoked, by the wildest excesses, a revulsion, from which, even after 
the lapse of two centuries, she is still suffering. The former, although 
never were there subjects more loyal to a crown, or a people more 
sincerely attached to their fatherland, were compelled, as they be- 
lieved, by the unkind and almost unnatural course pursued by that 
fatherland, to sever the bonds that boimd them to it, and to establish 
an independent government of their own. The latter has had to fight 
the battles of liberty over and over again, and has not even yet ob- 
tained for the people all the rights which are considered, in America, 
their proper inheritance from the hand of their Creator. 

I speak not here of the form of government. The founders of 
the American colonies, and their descendants for several generations, 
were monarchists, as they would doubtless have been to this day, had 
they not been compelled, while struggling against injustice and op- 
pression, to dissolve their political connection with the mother-country. 
In all essential points, colonial freedom differed not from that which 
an independent existence has given them; and the people of the 
United States enjoy at present little more liberty than what the 
fathers of the Revolution maintained that they ought to have enjoyed 
under the British Constitution and Crown. 





Thus, too, if we would have a thorough knowledge of the spirit 
and character of the Religion of the United States, we- must study 
the history of religion in England first, and then in those other coun- 
tries whose religious institutions must have considerably influenced 
those of America, in consequence of the numerous emigrants from 
them that have settled there. Indeed, it is very certain that the re- 
ligious institutions of America have been hardly less affected than the 
political, by colonists from Holland, France, and other parts of the 
Continent of Europe, as well as from Scotland and Ireland. 

Men of speculative habits may indulge many plausible a priori 
reasonings, on the kind of religion likely to find favor with a people 
of democratic feelings and institutions ; but their conclusions will 
probably be found very much at variance with facts. M. de Tocque- 
ville presents a strikmg instance of this in the first few chapters of 
his second work on Democracy in America.* A purely abstract argu- 
ment, or, rather, a mere fanciful conjecture, might, in this case, inter- 
est by its ingenuity, and even in the absence of facts be believed as 
true. But when this author proceeds to establish an hypothesis by an 
appeal to facts, it is hard to say whether he is oftener right or wrong. 
Take one or two paragraphs. " In the United States," says he, " the 
majority undertakes to furnish individuals with a multitude of ready- 
made opinions, and thus to relieve them of the necessity of forming 
then own. There are many theories in philosophy, morals, and poli- 

* Both of M. de Tocqueville's works, entitled "Democracy in America," unquest- 
ionably possess great merit ; the earlier publication, however, is much superior to the 
later. But the author's great fault is, that he puts his theory uniformly before his 
facts, instead of deducing, according to the principles of the Baconian philosophy, his 
theory from his facts. The consequence of this fatal mistake is, that, having advanced 
a theory, and shown by argument its plausibility, he immediately goes to work to 
support it by facts, and, in doing so, often distorts them sadly. For the object for 
which he wrote, that of arresting the progress of Democracy in Europe, by reading 
lectures from American Democracy as from a text-book, his works certainly correspond 
to his purpose. But, however able they may be, it is absurd to say that his volumes 
give a just view of American institutions on all points. On many subjects he has 
said some excellent things; and, indeed, no other foreigner has come so near to com- 
prehending the spirit of our institutions. But no man ever will, no man ever can, 
understand them perfectly, unless he has imbibed their spirit, as it were, with his 
mother's milk. 


tics, which every one there adopts without examination upon the faith 
of public opinion ; and, upon a closer inspection, it will be found that 
religion itself reigns there much less as a doctrine of revelation than 
as a commonly-admitted opinion."* 

Now, Democratic as America may be, it would be impossible to 
find a country in which the last assertion in the above paragraph is 
less true : for nowhere do people demand reasons for every thing more 
frequently or more universally ; nowhere are the preachers of the 
Gospel more called upon to set forth, in all their variety and force, 
the arguments by which the Divine revelation of Christianity is es- 

Again, he says : "-In the United States the Christian sects are in- 
finitely various, and incessantly undergoing modifications ; but Chris- 
tianity itself is an established and irresistible fact, which no one 
undertakes either to attack or to defend." 

Again : " The Americans, having admitted without examination 
the main dogmas of the Christian religion, are obliged, in like man- 
ner, to receive a great number of truths flowing from and having 
relation to it."f 

Now hardly any assertions concerning his country could surprise a 
well-informed American more than those contained in these paragraphs, 
nor could M. de Tocqueville have made them, had he not been carried 
away by certain theories with respect to the influence of Democratic 
institutions upon religion. 

M. de Tocqueville does not forget that religion gave birth to Anglo- 
American society, but he does forget for the moment what sort of 
religion it was ; that it was not a religion that repels investigation, or 
that would have men receive any thing as Truth, where such mo- 
mentous concerns are involved, upon mere trust in public ojrinion. 
Such has never been the character of Protestantism, rightly so called, 
in any age. 

* <: Aux Etats-Unis, la majorite se charge de fournir aux individus une foule 
d'opinions toutes faites, et les soulage ainsi de l'obligation de s'en former qui leur 
soient propres. II y a un grand nombre de theories en matiere de philosophie, de 
morale, ou de politique que chacun y adopte ainsi sans examen, sur la foi du public ; 
et si Ton regarde de tres-pres, on verra que la religion elle meme y regne bien moins 
comme doctrine revelee que comme opinion commune." — Democratie en Amerique, 
Seconde Partie, tome i., chapitre ii. 

•j- " Aux Etats-Unis, les sectes Chretiennes varient a l'infini, et se modifient sans 
cesse ; mais le Christianisme lui-meme est un fait ctabli et irresistible qu'on n'entre- 
prend point d'attaquer ni de defendre," 

" Les Americains, ayant admis sans examen les principaux dogmes de la religion 
Chretienne, sont obliges de recevoir de la meme maniere un grand nombre de verites 
qui en decoulent et qui y tiennent." — Democratie en Amerique, Seconde Partie, tome i., 
chapitre i. 


Nor is this distinguished author nearer the truth when, giving way 
to the same speculative tendency, he asserts that " the human mind 
in Democratic countries must tend to Pantheism."* But enough : all 
that I have wished to show in referring to M. de Tocqueville's work, 
in many respects an admirable one, is, that the religious phenomena 
of the United States are not to be explained by reasonings a priori, 
however plausible and ingenious. 

No : we must go back to the times when, and the influences under 
which, the religious character of the first colonists from England was 
formed, and then trace their effects upon the institutions that were 
established by those colonists in the New "World. 

It is interesting to investigate the history of Christianity in England 
from the earliest ages : its propagation by missionaries from Asia 
Minor ; its reception by the Celtic races ; the resistance made by the 
British Christians, in common with those of Ireland and France, to 
the claims of Rome ; the conquest of England by the Saxons, and 
the advantage taken of that event by Rome to subdue the native 
Christians, whom it accused of heresy ; the conversion of the Anglo- 
Saxons to Christianity, and their subsequent dissatisfaction with the 
Romish hierarchy; the Norman Conquest, and the efforts of the 
popes to take advantage of that also, in seeking to establish a com- 
plete ascendancy over the British and Irish Christians ; the witnesses 
to the Truth raised up by God from the ancient Anglo-Saxon churches ; 
the influence of Wickliffe and other opponents of Rome ; and, finally, 
the dawn of the Reformation. That event, there can be no doubt, 
was connected, in the providence of God, with the long-continued and 
faithful resistance of the ancient churches of England to Error. 
Some remains of Truth had doubtless lain concealed, like unextin- 
guished embers beneath the ashes ; but the clearing away of the ac- 
cumulated rubbish of ages, and the contact of God's Word, sufficed 
to revive and make it spread anew throughout the nation. 

But the grand means employed by God in preparing a people who 
should lay the foundation of a Christian empire in the New World, 
was the Reformation. To their religion the New England colonists 
owed all their best qualities. Even their political freedom they owed 
to the contest they had waged in England for religious liberty, and 
in which, long and painful as it was, nothing but their faith could have 
sustained them. Religion led them to abandon their country, rather 
than submit to a tyranny that threatened to enslave their immortal 
minds ; and made them seek in the New World the freedom of con- 
science that was denied to them in the Old. 

They have been justly accused, indeed, of not immediately carry- 
* "Democratie en Amerique," Seconde Partie, tome i., chapitre vii. 


ing out their principles to their legitimate results, and of being 
intolerant to each other. Still, be it remembered to their honor, 
that both in theory and in practice, they were in these respects far in 
advance of all their cotemporaries ; still more, that their descendants 
have maintained this advanced position ; so that the people of the 
United States of America now enjoy liberty of conscience to an ex- 
tent unknown in any other country. Persecution led the Puritan 
colonists to examine the great subject of human rights, the nature 
and just extent of civil government, and the boundaries at which 
obedience ceases to be a duty. What Sir James Mackintosh has 
said of John Bunyan might be applied to them : " The severities to 
which he had been subjected had led Mm to revolve in his own mind 
the principles of religious freedom, until he had acquired the ability 
of baffling, in the conflict of argument, the most acute and learned 
among his persecutors." The clear convictions of then* own minds 
on this subject they transmitted to their posterity, nor was the inher- 
itance neglected or forgotten. 

The political institutions of the Puritan colonies of New England 
are to be traced to their religion, not their religion to their political 
institutions ; and this remark applies to other colonies also. Now, if 
the reader would know what the religious character of those Puritans 
was, let him peruse the following eloquent eulogy upon them, from a 
source which will not be suspected of partiality to their religion, 
whatever opinions may be attributed to it in relation to their political 

" The Puritans were men whose minds had derived a peculiar 
character from the daily contemplation of superior beings and eternal 
interests. Not content with acknowledging in general terms an over- 
ruling Providence, they habitually ascribed every event to the will of 
the Great Being for whose power nothing was too vast, for whose in- 
spection nothing was too minute. To know Him, to serve Him, to 
enjoy Him was with them the great end of existence. They rejected 
with contempt the ceremonious homage which other sects substituted 
for the pure worship of the soul. Instead of catching occasional 
glimpses of the Deity through an obscuring vail, they aspired to gaze 
full on the intolerable brightness, and to commune with Him face to 
face. Hence originated their contempt of earthly distinctions. The 
difference between the greatest and meanest of mankhid seemed to 
vanish, when compared with the boundless interval which separated 
the whole race from Him on whom their own eyes were constantly 
fixed. They recognized no title to superiority but His favor ; and, 
confident of that, they despised all the accomplishments and all the 
dignities of the world. If their names were not found in the regis- 


ters of heralds, they felt assured that they were recorded in the Book 
of Life. If their steps were not accompanied by a splendid train of 
menials, legions of ministering angels had charge over them. Their 
palaces were houses not made with hands ; their diadems, crowns of 
glory which should never fade away. On the rich and the eloquent, 
on nobles and priests, they looked down with contempt : for they 
esteemed themselves rich in a more precious treasure, and eloquent 
in a more sublime language ; nobles by the right of an earlier crea- 
tion, and priests by the imposition of a mightier hand. The very 
meanest of them was a being to whose fate a mysterious and terrible 
importance belonged ; on whose slightest action the spirits of light 
and darkness looked with anxious interest ; who had been destined, 
before the heavens and the earth were created, to enjoy a felicity 
which should continue when heaven and earth should have passed 
away. Events, which short-sighted politicians ascribed to earthly 
causes, had been ordained on his account. For Ins sake empires had 
risen, and nourished, and decayed. For his sake the Almighty had 
proclaimed his will, by the pen of the evangelist, and the harp of the 
prophet. He had been rescued by no common Deliverer from the 
grasp of no common foe. He had been ransomed by the sweat of no 
vulvar agony, by the blood of no earthly sacrifice. It was for him 
that the sun had been darkened, that the rocks had been rent, that 
the dead had arisen, that all nature had shuddered at the sufferings 
of her expiring God."* 



Some knowledge of the civil and political structure of the govern- 
ment, is almost indispensable to a correct investigation of the religious 
economy of the United States ; for although there is no longer a 
union there between Church and State, still the interests of religion 
come into contact, in many ways, with the political organizations of 
the General and State Governments. 

The government of the United States must appear extremely com- 
plicated, to a foreigner accustomed to the unity that distinguishes 
most monarchical polities — and complicated it is in fact. We shall 
endeavor to describe its leading features as briefly as possible. 

The whole country, then, is subject to what is called the National 

* Edinburgh Review, vol. xlii., p. 339. 


or General Government, composed of three branches: 1. The Ex- 
ecutive ; 2. The Legislative ; 3. The Judicial. 

The executive power is lodged in one man, the President : who is 
appointed for four years, by electors chosen for that purpose, each 
State being allowed as many as it has members of Congress. These 
are chosen differently in different States, but generally by districts, 
each district choosing one elector, and that for the sole purpose of 
electing the President and Vice-President. The latter presides over 
the Senate, but his office is almost nominal : should the President die, 
the Vice-President immediately steps into his place. This contin- 
gency has already twice occurred. 

The President appoints the secretaries of state, or ministers of the 
various departments of the administration, such as the treasury, navy, 
war-office, etc., and, directly or indirectly, he appoints to all offices 
in the National or General Government ; in the case of the more im- 
portant ones, however, only with the consent and approbation of the 

The legislation of the National Government is committed to the 
Congress : a body which has two branches — the Senate, and the House 
of Representatives. The Senate is composed of two persons from each 
State in the Union, chosen by the legislatures of the States respec- 
tively, and for the period of six years. The House of Representa- 
tives is chosen by the people of the States, generally by districts, and 
for the period of two years.* Their number is from time to time 
determined by law. The House of Representatives represents the 
People ; the Senate represents the States. No act of Congress has 
the force of law without the President's signature, unless when two 
thirds of each House have voted in favor of an act which he refuses to 
sign. All matters falling within the legislative jurisdiction of the 
Congress, are specified in the Constitution of the United States ; such 
as are not specifically mentioned there, are reserved for the legisla- 
tion of the individual States. 

The judicial power is vested in a Supreme Court, consisting, at 
present, of nine judges, appointed by the President, with the consent 
of the Senate. They can be removed only by impeachment before 
the Senate, and hold a yearly winter session at Washington, the cap- 
ital of the United States. When not thus united there, they hold 
circuit courts in different parts of the country. The whole country 
is divided also into districts, each having a judge appointed by the 
President, for the decision of causes that fall within the cognizance 
of the United States' courts, and from whose decisions an appeal lies 

* By a recent law, the members of the House of Representatives are hereafter to 
be uniformly chosen by districts. 


to the Supreme Court. That court decides how far the laws passed 
by the National Congress, or by the legislatures of the different 
States, are consistent with the Constitution ; also, all questions be- 
tween individual States, or between the United States and an indi- 
vidual State, and questions arising between a foreigner and either the 
United States or any one State. 

The government of the States, individually, closely resembles that 
of the Confederation, the jurisdiction of each being confined, of 
course, to its own territory. Each has its own governor and its own 
legislature ; the latter, in all cases, consists of a Senate and a House 
of Representatives, besides a Supreme Law Court, with subordinate 
district and county courts. The legislature of each State embraces 
a vast variety of subjects, falling within the compass of its own in- 
ternal interests. The different States vary materially on several 
points, such as the term during which the governor holds office, and 
the extent of his power ; the terms for which the senators and rep- 
resentatives are elected, and for which the judges are appointed ; the 
salaries of those functionaries, and so forth. 

With the exception of South Carolina and Louisiana, in which the 
territorial divisions are called districts, all the States are subdivided 
into counties ; having courts of justice attached to each, and officers, 
likewise, for a great many local objects, such as maintaining the roads, 
providing for the poor, etc., etc. These counties are subdivided into 
what are called townships, averaging six or eight miles square, in 
New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and most of 
the States in the Valley of the Mississippi ; in Delaware they are 
called Hundreds, and in Louisiana Parishes ; while in Maryland, Vir- 
ginia,* the two Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the 
counties form the smallest territorial divisions. In the Territories, 
the subdivision into townships has been adopted. 

These townships form important political and civil districts and 
corporations ; the inhabitants meet once a year, or oftener, for local 
purposes, and for the appointment of local officers and committees. 
At these primary assemblies the people acquire habits of transacting 
public business, which are of the greatest importance in fitting them 
for legislation and government both in national and local affairs. As 
for the larger towns, they are incorporated as cities and boroughs, 
and have municipal governments of a threefold kind — legislative, ex- 
ecutive, and judicial. 

The separation of the colonies from Great Britain, and the re-or- 

* In the eastern part of Virginia, and a great part of Maryland, the parochial sub- 
divisions that existed previous to the ^Revolution are still retained for many local 
purposes, and are even recognized by the law. 


ganization of their respective governments, produced changes less 
essential than at first view might be supposed. The King, Parlia- 
ment, and Justiciary of England were superseded by the President, 
Congress, and Supreme Court of the United States, the nature of the 
government remaining essentially the same. For a hereditary sov- 
ereign, we have a President, chosen once in four years ; for a here- 
ditary House of Peers, a Senate, the members of which are chosen 
for six years ; the powers of the President and Senate being almost 
identical in most things with those of the corresponding branches of 
the British Constitution. As for the several colonies, these the Rev- 
olution transformed into States, and the old royal charters were 
superseded by constitutions. Beyond this there was no essential 
change, and but little alteration even in forms. Instead of being 
appointed by the British crown, or by proprietary companies or in- 
dividuals, the governors are chosen by the people themselves. The 
legislative and judicial branches underwent very little modification. 

There are now in the American Union thirty-one organized States, 
seven Territories, and one District. The Territories are under the 
government of the President and Congress of the United States, but 
will become States as soon as the amount of their population entitles 
them, in the opinion of Congress, to be represented in the National 
Legislature. They have a legislature of their own, but their gov- 
ernors are appointed by the President. 

Under the impression that the National Government should be 
removed from the immediate influence of any one State, the District 
of Columbia (at first ten miles square), was taken from Virginia and 
Maryland, and set apart as the seat of the National Government ; and 
to it, that is, to the President, Congress, and Supreme Court, it is 
immediately subject. Experience has hardly approved of this meas- 
ure as either wise or necessary. No part of the country is worse 
governed, Congress being too much occupied with other matters to 
pay much attention to so insignificant a Territory.* 

The preceding outline will suffice to give the reader some idea of 
the government of the United States, and prepare him for under- 
standing many things which might otherwise be obscure hi the fur- 
ther course of this work. 

* The part of the District of Columbia taken from Virginia has been receded to 
that State, and the District is no longer ten miles square. 




In like manner, a short account of the physical character and re- 
sources of the United States will be found useful to the reader. 

Upon a survey of the United States, that country will be found to 
possess physical advantages such as few others enjoy. While, with 
the exception of Florida, all parts of it comprise a large proportion 
of excellent soil, many exhibit the most astonishing fertility. It 
abounds hi the most valuable minerals. Iron is found in several 
States hi great abundance. At various points, but particularly in 
the Middle States, there are vast deposits of coal, which is easily con- 
veyed by water carriage to other parts of the country. Even gold 
is found in considerable quantities in the western parts of North 
Carolina, and the adjacent parts of South Carolina and Georgia, and 
some in Virginia and Tennessee ; while the gold mines of California 
are world-renowned. The almost boundless forests of the interior 
furnish timber suited to all purposes. Navigable rivers everywhere 
present facilities for trade. On the Atlantic slope, beginning at 
the east and advancing southwest, we find hi succession the Penob- 
scot, the Kennebec, the Merrimac, the Connecticut, the Hudson, the 
Delaware, the Susquehanna, the Potomac, the Rappahannock, the 
James River, the Roanoke, the Neuse, the Fear, the Pedee, the San- 
tee, the Savannah, the Altamaha, and the St: John's, without reck- 
oning many smaller but important streams, navigable by common 
boats and small steamers. Many of these rivers, such as the Dela- 
ware, the Potomac, the Rappahannock, the James, and the Roanoke, 
expand into noble estuaries before they fall into the ocean ; and the 
coast is indented, also, with many bays, unrivalled in point of extent 
and beauty. Beginning at the east, we have Portland or Casco 
Bay, Portsmouth Bay, Newburyport Bay, Massachusetts Bay, Buz- 
zard's Bay, Narragansett Bay, New York Bay, Amboy Bay, Dela- 
ware Bay, Chesapeake Bay (into which twelve wide-mouthed rivers 
fall,) Wilmington Bay, Charleston Bay, etc., etc. 

With the exception of part of the eastern coast of Connecticut, a 
chain of islands, some inhabited, many not, runs parallel to the shore, 
beginning at Passamaquoddy Bay, and extending to the southern 
extremity of Florida, and thence round into the Gulf of Mexico, and 
along its coast, beyond the western limit of the United States. 
Thus are formed some of the finest channels for an extensive coast- 


ing trade, such as Long Island Sound, Albemarle Sound, Pamlico 
Sound, and many others. To increase these facilities, canals and 
railroads have been extended along the coast, from Portland in 
Maine, almost without interruption to New Orleans. 

Immediately on the seacoast of the western part of New Jersey,* 
there commences a belt of sand, which extends along the whole 
margin of the Southern States, covered with an almost uninterrupted 
forest of pines, and enlarging, as it advances southward, from twenty 
to nearly a hundred miles broad, the latter being its width in the 
State of North Carolina. Between this sandy tract and the Alle- 
gheny Mountains, the land is generally fertile, and produces various 
crops, according to the climate : such as fine wheat and the other 
cereal grains in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Vir- 
ginia ; in which last two States tobacco is also largely cultivated ; 
cotton in the Carolinas and in Georgia ; and on the rich bottom lands 
along the bays and streams of the sandy tract, rice and indigo. 

As we advance northward along this fertile tract intervening be- 
tween the sand and the mountains, we gradually leave the region of 
transition and secondary rocks, and enter on that of granite ; so that 
before reaching the State of Maine, primitive rocks abound every- 
where, even on the surface of the ground. 

But in point of fertility the Atlantic slope bears no comparison 
with the Valley of the Mississippi, embracing a territory nearly seven 
times as large as that of France, and likely, ere long, to be the abode 
of many millions of the human race. Seventy years ago it contained 
little more than a hundred thousand inhabitants ; the population of 
the settled part of it amounted, in 1840, to above six millions; and 
this, it is calculated from the data supplied in the last forty years, 
will have increased, in twenty years hence, to not much under thirty 
millions. By the end of the present century it will probably be not 
less than fifty or sixty millions. 

Let us now look for a moment to the natural resources of this 
great valley. The State of Ohio, lying between the beautiful river 
of that name and Lake Erie, comprises 40,260 square miles, and a 
population of above a million and a half. As England and Wales 
have 57,929 square miles, and 18,000,000 inhabitants, Ohio, at the 
same ratio, would have more than 15,000,000. With the exception 
of a part of it in the southeast, on the Hockhocking River, there is 
little poor land in the State. Vast forests cover the greater part of 
it to this day. Lake Erie on the north, the river Ohio on the south, 
and several navigable streams flowing from the interior, both to the 
north and south, give it great natural advantages for commerce ; in 
* Strictly speaking, it begins in the eastern end of Long Island. 


addition to which, four important artificial lines of communication, 
made at great expense, traverse it from Lake Erie to the Ohio. 
Cincinnati, its commercial capital, has a population of not much less 
than 200,000 inhabitants. 

Indiana and Illinois are scarcely, if at all, inferior to Ohio in natural 
advantages ; and considering its proportion of first-rate land, Michigan 
is, perhaps, the best State in the Union. Kentucky and Tennessee 
abound both in good land and in mineral resources. 

Missouri, one of the largest States in the Union, possesses a vast 
extent of excellent land, besides rich mines of iron and of lead. Iowa 
and Wisconsin, lying northward of Missouri and Illinois, the former 
on the west, and the latter on the east of the Upper Mississippi, are 
large and fertile States, abounding also in lead mines. Both are evi- 
dently destined to become great States. Arkansas having a great 
deal of inferior, as well as of fertile land, is considered one of the 
poorest States on the Mississippi. The large State of Alabama, with 
the exception of a small part in the south, about Mobile, and another 
part in the north, near the Tennessee River, was, in 1815, in the occu- 
pancy of the Creek, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians, chiefly the first 
of those tribes, but is now rapidly increasing in population. The 
State of Mississippi has also much land of the very best quality, and 
although its financial affairs were for a long thne in a deplorable condi- 
tion, from bad legislation, it is emerging from its embarrassments. And 
as for Louisiana, the rich alluvial soil of the banks of its rivers, and its 
advantages for commerce, derived from its position in the lowest part 
of the great Valley of the Mississippi, must eventually make it a rich 
and powerful State. But it would require the perseverance shown in 
similar circumstances by the people of Holland, to defend with dikes 
the southern portion of the Delta of the Mississippi, and to make of 
it the valuable country into which it might be converted. 

An immense tract of ahnost unexplored country lies to the north- 
west of the States of Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin, much of which 
is believed to be fertile. It includes the Territories of Kansas, Ne- 
braska, and Minnesota. 

Nearly the whole of this vast valley is drained by one great river, 
and its branches, of which no fewer than fifty-seven are navigable for 
steamboats. Indeed, the Missouri, the Arkansas, the Red River, and 
the White River, flowing from the west, and the Illinois, the Ohio, 
the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, from the north and east, are 
themselves great rivers. On the north the great lakes, and on the 
south the Gulf of Mexico, form openings into this vast region for the 
commerce of the world. But besides these two great inlets from the 
north and south, communication with the Atlantic slope has been 


opened up at various points of the Allegheny chain, by means of sub- 
stantial roads of the ordinary construction, and also by canals and 
railways. Thus a railway, above six hundred miles in length, unites 
the town of Buffalo on Lake Erie with Boston ; a canal and two rail- 
roads unite it with Albany and with New York. Buffalo communi- 
cates, again, with all the northern parts of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, 
and Illinois, and with the eastern side of Wisconsin, by steamboats 
which ply between it and the ports of those regions. To all these 
advantages we must ascribe the rapid appearance of so many large 
cities in this great Western Valley, such as New Orleans, St. Louis, 
Louisville, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, to say nothing of smaller towns 
on spots which, with the exception of New Orleans, may be said to 
have been covered by the forest only seventy years ago. 

I conclude this chapter by remarking for a moment on the kind 
and wise Providence which kept the great Valley of the Mississippi 
from the possession, and almost from the knowledge of the colonists 
of the United States, for more than one hundred and fifty years. By 
that time, they had so far occupied and reduced to cultivation the 
less fertile hills of the Atlantic slope, and there had acquired that 
hardy, industrious, and virtuous character, which better fitted them 
to carry civilization and religion into the vast plains of the West. So 
that, at this day, the New England and other Atlantic States, while 
increasing in population themselves, serve, at the same time, as nur- 
series, from which the West derives many of the best plants that are 
transferred to its noble soil. 



Some persons in Europe entertain the idea, that if the " American 
plan" of supporting religion, by relying, under God's blessing, upon 
the efforts of the people, rather than upon the help of the govern- 
ment, has succeeded in that country, it has been owing, in a great 
measure, to the fact that the country presented an open field for the 
experiment ; that every thing was new there ; that no old establish- 
ments had to be pulled down ; no deep-rooted prejudices to be eradi- 


catecl ; no time-honored institutions to be modified ; but that all was 
favorable for attempting something new under the sun. Now it is 
hardly possible to entertain an idea more remote from the truth than 

What follows will demonstrate that, so far from committing religion 
to the spontaneous support of persons cordially interested in its 
progress, the opposite course was pursued almost from the first, in all 
the colonies. In the greater number of the colonies, in fact, men 
looked to the civil government for the support of the Christian min- 
istry and worship. Now what we have here to consider is not the 
question whether they were right or wrong in doing so, but the sim- 
ple fact that they actually did so ; and, accordingly, that so far from 
what has been called the Voluntary Principle having had an open field 
in America, in those very parts of the country which now, perhaps, 
best illustrate its efficiency, it had long to struggle with establishments 
founded on the opposite system, and with strong prepossessions hi their 

In all such parts of the country, many obstacles were opposed to 
the abandonment of the old system. Good and great men made no 
secret of their fears that the cause of religion would thus be ruined ; 
that the churches would be forsaken by the people, whose unaided 
efforts would prove unequal to the expense of maintaining them, and 
that they could never be induced to attempt it. In fact, as they had 
never been accustomed to rely upon their own exertions in that mat- 
ter, and were not aware how much they could do, they were at first 
timid and discouraged. Another obstacle lay in the unwillingness of 
those who had enjoyed the influence and ascendancy conferred by the 
old system, to surrender those advantages. Such persons were prone 
to believe, and naturally sought to impress others with the conviction, 
no doubt very sincerely, that their resistance to the proposed change 
was the legitimate fruit of their zeal for the cause of God, and of 
their dread lest that cause should suffer. 

Other obstacles, and those not inconsiderable, had to be encoun- 
tered, all resulting directly or indirectly from the old system. It will 
be shown, in due time, that some of the worst heresies in the United 
States were originated and propagated by measures arising out of the 
old system. What I mean to say is, that Truth has there encountered 
powerful obstacles, which we have every reason to believe would not 
have existed but for the imion of Church and State. Other evils 
there might have been in the absence of any such union ; but, be that 
as it may, with the obstacles to which I refer, it could not be said 
that the field was entirely new, far less that it was open. 

Still more : some of the greatest obstacles which the u American 


plan" of supporting religion had to overcome, arose from the erroneous 
views of the colonists on the subject of religious liberty. The volun- 
tary system rests on the grand basis of perfect religious freedom. I 
mean a freedom of conscience for all ; for those who believe Chris- 
tianity to be true, and for those who do not ; for those who prefer 
one form of worship, and for those who prefer another. This is all 
implied, or, rather, it is fully avowed, at the first step in supporting 
religion upon this plan. 

Now it so happened — nor ought we to wonder at it, for it would 
have been a miracle had it been otherwise — that very many of the 
best colonists who settled in America had not yet attained to correct 
ideas on the subject of religious toleration and the rights of con- 
science. It required persecution, and that thorough discussion of the 
subject which persecution brought in its train, both in the colonies 
and hi England and other European countries, to make them under- 
stand it. And, in point of fact, those who first understood it had 
learned it in the school of persecution. Such was Roger Williams ; 
such were Lord Baltimore and the Catholics who settled in Mary- 
land ; such was William Penn. Accordingly, the three colonies which 
they founded, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, including 
Delaware, were the first communities, either in the New or in the 
Old World, that enjoyed religious liberty to the fullest extent. 

I am sure, indeed, that, as I have already said, the founders of the 
first American colonies, and those of- New England in particular, did 
as much for freedom of conscience as could have been expected, and 
were in that respect in advance of the age in which they lived. If 
they were intolerant, so were others. If they would not allow Roman 
Catholics to five among them, the most dreadful examples, be it re- 
membered, of Roman Catholic intolerance were forced upon their 
attention, and their policy was merciful in the extreme compared 
with that of Roman Catholic countries in those days. They merely 
refused to receive them or to allow them to remain among: them, 
whereas the poor Huguenots of France were not permitted so much 
as to retire from amid their enemies. If, in some of the colonies, 
Quakers were treated with great harshness and shocking injustice, 
what treatment did the members of that sect receive at the same 
period in England ? If the colonists burned witches, was not that 
done also in Scotland, England, and other countries ? 

I may therefore repeat, that the colonists were in advance of their 
cotemporaries, in their views of almost all questions relating to human 
rights, and that they maintained this advance is attested by the insti- 
tutions that arose among them. But the intolerance with which they 
were chargeable at first, may be traced to their opinions with regard 


to the relations which the Church ought to sustain toward the State. 
And their erroneous views on that subject created obstacles which 
were with difficulty overcome by the principle of leaving religion, not 
to the support as well as protection of the State, but to the hearts 
and hands of persons who have truly received, and are willing to sus- 
tain it. These remarks will suffice to show, that the field was not so 
open to that principle in America as some have thought. 



A second class of obstacles which the voluntary system, or, I should 
rather say, religion in general, has had to encounter hi America, 
comprehends such as are inseparable from its condition as a new 

From its very nature, the life of a colonist presents manifold temp- 
tations to neglect the interests of the soul. There is the separation 
of himself and his family, if he has one, from old associations and in- 
fluences ; and the removal, if not from abundant means of grace, at 
least from the force of that public opinion which often powerfully 
restrains from the commission of open sin. Now though many of 
the American colonists fled from persecution and from abounding 
iniquity, such was not the case with all. Then, there is the entering 
into new and untried situations ; the forming of new acquaintances, 
not always of the best kind ; and even that engrossment with the 
cares and labors attending a man's removal into a new country, espe- 
cially in the case of the many who have to earn their bread by their 
own strenuous exertions. All these things hinder the growth of piety 
in the soul, and form real obstacles to its promotion in a community. 

And if such hinderances had a baneful effect at the outset, they 
have never ceased to operate injuriously down to this day. To say 
nothing of the foreigners who come, year after year, to the American 
shores on their way to the Far West, thousands of the natives of the 
Atlantic slope annually leave their homes to settle amid the forests 
of that vast western region. In their case there is peculiar exposure 
to evil ; their removal almost always withdraws them from the pow- 
erful influence of neighborhoods where true religion more or less 
flourishes. Such of them as are not decidedly religious in heart and 


life, greatly risk losing any good impressions they may have brought 
with them, amid the engrossing cares and manifold temptations of 
their new circumstances; circumstances in which even the estab- 
lished Christian will find much need of redoubled vigilance and 

The comparative thinness, also, of the population in the United 
States, is now, and must long continue to be, a great obstacle to the 
progress of religion, at least in the newer portions of it. I have al- 
ready stated, that the area of all the territory claimed by its govern- 
ment is 2,963,663 square miles. The population is, at the time of this 
writing (January, 1856), probably all of 27,000,000. If we deduct 
250,000 as the population of the seven Territories, we have 26,750,000 
inhabitants in the thirty-one organized States, whose area is 1,464,105 
square miles ; that is, 1 8£ souls to each square mile. If this popula- 
tion were equally diffused over the entire surface of the organized 
States, even then it would be difficult enough to establish and main- 
tain churches and other religious institutions among so sparse a popu- 
lation. Still, perhaps, it could be done. A parish of thirty-six square 
miles, which would be large enough in point of extent, would contain 
657 souls. One twice as large would contain 1,314 souls. But al- 
though a country would be considered well supplied if it had a pastor 
for every 1,314 souls, still the dispersion of these over seventy-two 
square nriles would necessarily very much curtail the pastor's oppor- 
tunity for doing good, and prevent the souls under his charge from 
enjoying the full influence of the Gospel. But the population of the 
United States is far from being thus equally distributed. Some of 
the older States are pretty densely settled ; not more, however, than 
is necessary for the easy maintenance of churches, and of a regular 
and settled ministry. Massachusetts, the most densely settled of 
them all, had, in 1850, 126^- souls to the square mile; some others, 
such as Connecticut and Rhode Island, had from eighty to one hun- 
dred and twelve ; others, such as New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, 
and New York, average from sixty to seventy-five. Taking the 
whole Atlantic slope, with the exception of Florida, which is but 
little inhabited, the average was thirty-one, while in the fourteen 
States in the Valley of the Mississippi, it is less than twelve souls to 
the square mile. 

The population of California and Florida (now States), and of the 
Territories of Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, New Mexico, 
Oregon and Washington, was very inconsiderable in 1850, and the 
population of the United States entire was then not eight persons, on 
an average, to the square mile. 

It is manifest, therefore, that while the population of a large pro- 



portion of the Atlantic States, and of parts of the older ones in the 
West, is hardly dense enough to render the support of Gospel ordi- 
nances easy, the difficulty of effecting this is immensely increased in 
many quarters, but especially in the West, by the fact that the 
inhabitants are much more widely scattered. I shall show in another 
place how this difficulty is, in a good measure, at least, overcome ; 
here it is enough that I point to its existence. 

Personal experience alone can give any one a correct idea of the 
difficulties attending the planting and supporting of churches and 
pastors in that vast frontier country in the West, where the popula- 
tion, treading on the heels of the Indians, is, year after year, advanc- 
ing into the forests. A few scattered families, at wide intervals, are 
engaged in cutting down the huge trees, and clearing what at first 
are but little patches of ground. In a year or two the number is 
doubled. In five or six years the country begins to have the appear- 
ance of being inhabited by civilized men. But years more must roll 
away before the population will be dense enough to support churches 
at convenient distances from each other, and to have ministers of the 
Gospel to preach in them every Sabbath. Yet this work must be 
done, and it is doing to an extent which will surprise many into 
whose hands this book may fall. 

But if the thinness of the population be an obstacle, how great 
must be that of its rapid increase in the aggregate ? I say in the 
aggregate, for it is manifest that its increase in the thinly-settled dis- 
tricts must so far be an advantage. But with this increase diffusing 
itself into new settlements, we have a double difficulty to contend 
with — the increase itself demanding a great augmentation of churches 
and ministers, and its continued dispersion rendering it difficult to 
build the one and support the other, even were a sufficiency of pas- 
tors to be found. This difficulty would be quite appalling, if long 
contemplated apart from the vast efforts made to meet and over- 
come it. The population of the United States was, in 1790, 3,929,827 ; 
in 1800, 5,305,925; in 1810, 7,239,814; in 1820, 9,638,131; in 1830, 
12,866,920; in 1840, 17,062,566 ; and in 1850, 23,191,876. The reader 
may calculate for himself the average annual increase during each of 
the six decades which have elapsed since 1790. But it is not so easy 
to ascertain the precise yearly increase. From 1830 to 1840 the 
whole increase was 4,201,746, being at the average rate of 420,174 
souls per annum. During the decade from 1840 to 1850, it was 
6,129,310, or an average annual increase of 612,931. 

Now to provide churches and pastors for such an increase as this, 
is no very easy matter; yet it must either be done, or, sooner or later, 
the great bulk of the nation, as some have predicted, will sink into 


heathenism. How far this is likely, judging from what has been 
done and is now doing, we shall see in another place. Here I simply 
state the magnitude of the difficulty. 

Finally, the constant emigration from the old States to the new, 
and even from the older to the newer settlements in the latter, is a 
great obstacle to the progress of religion in all places from which a 
part of the population is thus withdrawn. It occasionally happens in 
one or other of the Atlantic States, that a church is almost broken 
up by the departure, for the Western States, of families on whom it 
mainly depended for support. Most commonly, however, this emi- 
gration is so gradual, that the church has time to recruit itself from 
other families, who arrive and take the place of those who have gone 
away. Thus, unless where a church loses persons of great influence, 
the loss is soon repaired. In the cities of the East, and their subur- 
ban quarters especially, the population being of so floating a character, 
this evil is felt quite as much as in the country. 

But it must not be forgotten, that what is an evil in the East, by 
withdrawing valuable support from the churches there, proves a great 
blessing to the West, by transferring thither Christian families, to 
originate and support new churches in that quarter. 




That the co-existence in one country of two such different races as 
the Caucasian and the African, standing to each other in the relation 
of masters and slaves, should retard the progress of true religion 
there, it requires but little knowledge of human nature to believe. 

Slavery has been a great evil in all past time, and by no possibility 
can it be otherwise. It naturally fosters a proud, arrogant, and un- 
feeling spirit in the master, and leads to servility and meanness, to 
deceitfulness and dishonesty, hi the slave. Either way it is injurious 
to true religion. 

But I have no intention to speak here of the nature of slavery, its 
history, condition, or prospects in the United States. My object is 
simply to show how it operates as one of the greatest obstacles to 
the promotion of religion ; and, as such, militates against the success 
of the voluntary system there. Slavery, indeed, may easily be shown 
to be peculiarly an obstacle to that system. 


I might mention that the reluctance of slaves to worship in the 
same congregation with their masters, is unfavorable to the interests 
of true piety. That there is such a reluctance, every one knows who 
has had much to do with the institution of slavery. It often shows 
itself in the hesitation of slaves to come to the family altar, even in 
families which are known to treat them with kindness. 

This fact is easily accounted for. Human nature, however de- 
graded, and whether wearing a black or a white skin, has still some 
remains of pride, or, rather, some consciousness of what is due to 
itself; and it is not wonderful that it avoids, as much as possible, 
coming into contact with persons, however worthy and kind they 
may be, to whom it feels itself placed in ignoble subjection. There- 
fore it is that the negro of our Southern States prefers going to a 
church composed of people of his own color, and where no whites 
appear. Slaves, also, sometimes prefer places of worship where greater 
latitude is allowed for noisy excitement, to whatever denomination 
of Christians they may belong, than would be tolerated in the relig- 
ious assemblies of white people. 

I am not aware that I have exaggerated, as some may think, the 
repugnance of the slaves to join in religious worship with their mas- 
ters. One thing is certain, that, whether from such repugnance, or 
some other cause, the slaves like better to meet by themselves, wher- 
ever allowed to do so. 

That the separation of the two classes thus occasioned is injurious 
to the spiritual interests of both, must be evident from a moment's 
consideration. So long as slavery exists in the world, the Gospel 
enjoins upon both masters and slaves their appropriate duties, and 
they should be made to hear of those duties in each other's presence. 
This should be done kindly, but also faithfully. And no Christian 
master can excuse himself from doing the duty which he owes to his 
slave, in relation to his spiritual and immortal interests, by saying that 
he permits him to go he hardly knows whither, and to be taught those 
things which concern his highest happiness by he knows not whom. 
Where, indeed, the master himself is wholly indifferent to the subject 
of religion, as, alas ! is too often the case, it is well that the slave is 
allowed and disposed to seek religious instruction anywhere. 

But one of the greatest evils of slavery, as respects the mainte- 
nance of Christian institutions, is, that it creates a state of society 
extremely unfavorable to the providing of a sufficient number of 
churches and pastors for the spiritual wants of all classes — rich and 
poor, slaves and free. This holds especially in the case of large landed 
estates, with many hundred slaves in the possession of a small number 
of rich proprietors. In such circumstances, a church capable of con- 


taining one or two hundred persons might, perhaps, accommodate 
all the masters and their families within the compass of a very large 
parish ; whereas an immense edifice would be required for the accom- 
modation of all their slaves. Now, where this is the state of things, 
there is danger that the. landowners, being few in number, may grudge 
the expense of maintaining a church and pastor at all, however well 
able to do so ; or that, with horses and carriages at their command, 
all the rich within one vast district will join in having public worship 
at some central point, where few, comparatively, of the slaves and 
laboring white population will find it possible to attend. Where even 
a few of the rich proprietors are religious men, there is no difficulty 
in having the Gospel brought, not only to their own doors, but also 
to those of their slaves and other dependants. But where they 
are indifferent, or opposed to religion, then not only does the Gospel 
fail to reach them, but if it reaches their slaves it must be with great 
difficulty, and often very irregularly. For, be it remembered that a 
slave population is generally too poor to contribute much for the sup- 
port of the Gospel. Blessed be God, there is a way, as I shall show 
hereafter, by which some of the evils here spoken of may be miti- 
gated ; and that is by the system of itinerant preaching, employed 
in the United States, so extensively, and so usefully, by the Meth- 

Contemplating these difficulties, we shall come to the conclusion 
that if, in any part of the United States, the support of the Gospel 
by taxation, enforced by law, is better adapted to the circumstances 
of the people than the voluntary plan, it is in the seaboard counties 
of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, 
Louisiana, and Texas. Still, it will be found that even there the vol- 
untary system has not been wholly inefficient, but that, through the 
ministry either of fixed or of itinerant preachers, it has carried the 
Gospel to the inhabitants of all classes, to an extent which, under 
such adverse circumstances, might seem impracticable. 

It must be noted that while such are the difficulties that oppose 
the maintenance of a Christian ministry in the slaveholding States, 
there is a special necessity for the preaching of the Gospel there. It 
is emphatically by the " hearing" of the Word, that the slaves can be 
expected to come to the knowledge of salvation. A most unwise and 
unjust legislation has, in ten of those States, forbidden the public teach- 
ing of the slaves to read. And although, doubtless, a considerable 
number of slaves are privately taught to read, yet it is from the voice 
of the living teacher that the great bulk of that class in the United 
States must receive instruction in divine things. Thanks be to God ! 
no legislature in any State has forbidden the preaching of the Gospel 


to those who are in the bonds of slavery ; and many thousands of 
them, it is believed, have not heard it in vain. 

I conclude by stating that slavery exists in fifteen States — those 
which form the southern half of the Union — and in the District of 
Columbia. It does not exist in the other sixteen, nor in the seven 
Territories. The States in which it exists are Delaware, Maryland, 
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Ten- 
nessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, 
and Texas. 



ameeica: 4. peom the vast immigeation" peom foeeign couisr- 


It is superfluous to say that the immigration from Europe of per- 
sons so excellent as were many of those who founded the American 
colonies, or who joined them in the days of their infancy, could not 
fail to be a blessing to the country. But the emigration to the 
United States at the present day is for the most part of a very different 
character. Whatever violent persecution for conscience' sake there 
may have been in Europe within the last seventy years, has been 
limited in extent, and of short duration : so that the emigration from 
the Old World to America, during that period, must be referred to 
worldly considerations, not to the force of religious convictions lead- 
ing men to seek for the enjoyment of religious liberty. In fact, to 
improve their temporal condition, to provide a home for their children 
in a thriving country, to rejoin friends who have gone before them, 
or to escape from what they have deemed civil oppression in Europe 
— such, generally, have been the motives that have prompted the re- 
cent emigrations to America. To these we must add a different class 
— that of men who have left their country, as has been said, " for 
their country's good ;" nor is the number of such inconsiderable. 

The emigration of people from Europe to the United States steadily 
increased, till it reached, in 1854, the enormous figure of 460,000, 
more than one half of whom were from Germany and other countries 
of the Continent, and the rest were from the British Isles. There 
was a considerable immigration of Chinese. In 1855 the immigration 
fell off immensely. 

It must not be supposed, however, that all the foreigners who 
come to the United States are emigrants. Many come only to make 


a longer or shorter stay, as merchants and traders ; and some, hav- 
ing arrived with the intention of remaining, become dissatisfied, and 
return to their native country. 

Now, although among these emigrants there are many respectable 
people, and some who bring with them no inconsiderable amount of 
property, truth compels me to say, that very many of them are not only 
very poor, but ignorant, also, and depraved. Of the Germans, like- 
wise, a great many are poor, and some are of improvident and depraved 
habits ; although, in the mass, they are much superior to the Irish in 
point of frugality and sobriety. Many of the Germans have of late 
years brought with them considerable sums of money ; and though a 
good many are Roman Catholics, yet the majority are Protestants. 
A large proportion of them now come from the kingdoms of Wurt- 
emberg and Bavaria, and from the Duchy of Baden ; whereas, in 
former times, they came chiefly from the eastern and northern parts 
of Germany. Within the last ten years there has been a considerable 
immigration of oppressed Protestants from Sweden, Norway, and 

Although, beyond doubt, the mortality among these emigrants 
from Europe, caused by exposure, anxiety, fatigue, and diseases in- 
cident to a strange climate, is far greater than among native Ameri- 
cans, yet the yearly accession of so many people, ignorant in a degree 
of the nature of our institutions, about half of them unable to speak 
English, and nearly half of them, also, Roman Catholics, must impose 
upon the churches a heavy responsibility, and a great amount of labor, 
in order to provide them with the means of grace. Every thing 
possible must be done for the adults among them, but hope can be 
entertained chiefly for the young. These grow up speaking the lan- 
guage and breathing the spirit of their adopted country, and thus 
the process of assimilation goes steadily on. In a thousand ways the 
emigrants who are, as it were, cast upon our shores, are brought 
into contact with a better religious influence than that to which 
many of them have been accustomed in the Old World. Every year 
some of them are gathered into our churches, while, as I have said, 
their children grow up Americans in their feelings and habits. All 
this is true especially of the emigrants who, meaning to make the 
country their home, strive to identify themselves with it. There are 
others, however, and particularly those who, having come to make 
their fortunes as merchants and traders, calculate upon returning to 
Europe, that never become American in feeling and spirit. From 
such no aid is to be expected in the benevolent efforts made by 
Christians to promote good objects among us. 

I have been struck with the fact that, generally speaking, our re- 


ligious societies receive their most steady support from our Anglo- 
American citizens. The emigrants from the British realm, English, 
Welsh, Scotch, and Irish, rank second to these in the interest they 
take in our benevolent enterprises, and in readiness to contribute to 
their support. The Germans and the Swiss rank next, and the 
French last. There is most infidelity among the French, yet it pre- 
vails also, to a considerable degree, among the Swiss and Germans, 
among the better informed classes of whom it is, alas ! too often to 
be observed. There is no want of infidelity and indifference to relig- 
ion among emigrants from the British islands, but chiefly among the 
lowest class of them. 

Thus, as I remarked before, while the emigration from Europe to 
the United States brings us no inconsiderable number of worthy 
people, it introduces also a large amount of ignorance, poverty, and 
vice. Besides this, it is difficult to supply with religious institutions, 
and it takes long to Americanize, if I may use the expression, in feel- 
ing, conduct, and language, those multitudes from the Continent of 
Europe who can not understand or speak English. Many of the 
Germans, in particular, in consequence of the impossibility of finding 
a sufficient number of fit men to preach in German, were at one time 
sadly destitute of the means of grace, in their dispersion over the 
country. But within the last fifteen years a brighter prospect has 
opened upon that part of our population, as I shall show in its place. 

I have not charged upon the ordinary emigration to the shores of 
America the great amount of crime in the United States, which may 
be traced to the escape of criminals thither from Europe ; for these 
can not, with propriety, be regarded as constituting a part of that 
emigration. Nevertheless, it is the case that much of the crime 
committed in America, from that of the honorable merchant who 
scruples not to defraud the custom-house, down to the outrages 
of the man who disturbs the streets with his riots, is the work of 

It may be said, I am sure, with the strictest truth, that in no 
country is a foreigner who deserves well, treated with more respect 
and kindness than in America ; in no country will he find less differ- 
ence between the native and the adopted citizen ; in no country do 
men become more readily assimilated in principle and feeling to the 
great body of the people, or more fully realize the fact that they form 
a constituent part of the nation. 

I have now finished the notice which I intended to take of some 
of the obstacles which the voluntary system has had to encounter in 
the United States. I might mention others, were it necessary ; but 
I have said enough to show that it is a mistake to suppose that it has 


had an open field and an easy course there. I am far from saying 
that if the experiment were to be made in an old country, where the 
population is established and almost stationary — where it is homoge- 
neous and indigenous — there would not be other obstacles to en- 
counter, greater, perhaps, than those to be found among us, and 
which are in some respects peculiar to America. I only wish that 
these difficulties be kept in sight as we advance in this work, and 
that they be appreciated at their just value when we come to speak 
of subjects upon which they bear. 

Such are some of the topics which it has been thought of conse- 
quence to treat beforehand, that the reader might be prepared for 
a better comprehension of the grand subject of this work. Upon 
the immediate consideration of that subject we are now ready to 






I have already remarked, that if we would understand the civil 
and political institutions of the United States of America, we must 
trace them from their earliest origin in Anglo-Saxon times, through 
their various developments in succeeding ages, until they reached 
their present condition in our own days. 

In like manner, if we would thoroughly understand the religious 
condition and economy of the United States, we must begin with an 
attentive survey of the character of the early colonists, and of the 
causes which brought them to America. 

Besides, as has been well observed,* a striking analogy may be 
traced between natural bodies and bodies politic. Both retain in 
manhood and old age more or less of the characteristic traits of their 
infancy and youth. All nations bear some marks of their origin, the 
circumstances amid which they were born, and which favored their 
early development, and left an impression that stamps their whole 
future existence. 

We begin our inquiry, therefore, into the religious history and 
condition of the United States, by portraying, as briefly as possible, 
the religious character of the first colonists, who may be regarded as 
the founders of that commonwealth. In doing this, we shall follow 
neither the chronological nor the geographical order, but shall first 
speak of the colonists of New England ; next, of those of the South ; 
and, finally, of those of the Middle States. This gives us the advan- 
tage at once of grouping and of contrast. 

* See M. de Tocqueville, "Democratie en Amerique," Premiere Partie, tome i., 
chap i. Also Lang's " Religion and Education in America," chap, i., page 11. 


How wonderful are the events that sometimes flow from causes 
apparently the most inadequate, and even insignificant ! The con- 
quest of Constantinople by the Turks, in 1453, seemed to be only 
one of the ordinary events of war, and yet it led to the revival of 
letters among the higher classes of society throughout Europe. The 
invention of the art of printing by an obscure German, two years 
later, gave immense facilities for the diffusion of knowledge among 
all classes of people. The discovery of America by a Genoese adven- 
turer, toward the close of the same century (a. d. 1492), produced a 
revolution in the commerce of the world. A poor monk in Germany, 
preaching (a. d. 1517) against indulgences, emancipated whole na- 
tions from the domination of Rome. And the fortuitous arrival of a 
young French lawyer, who had embraced the Faith of the Reforma- 
tion, at an inconsiderable city in Switzerland, situated on the banks 
of the Rhone, followed by his settling there, and organizing its eccle- 
siastical and civil institutions, was connected, in the mysterious prov- 
idence of Him who knows the end from the begimiing, and who 
employs all events to advance His mighty purposes, with the estab- 
lishment of free institutions in England, their diffusion in America, 
and their triumph in other lands. 

The way had long been preparing for the Reformation in England, 
by the opinions avowed by Wicliffe and his followers, and by the re- 
sistance of the government to the claims and encroachments of the 
ecclesiastical authorities. The light, too, which had begun to appear 
in Germany, cast its rays across the North Sea ; and men were ere 
long to be found in Britain secretly cherishing the doctrines main- 
tained by Luther. At length an energetic, but corrupt and tyran- 
nical prince, after having been rewarded for writing against Luther, 
by receiving from the pope the title of " Defender of the Faith," 
thought fit to revenge the refusal of a divorce from his first wife 
by abolishing the papal supremacy in his kingdom, and transferring 
the headship of the Church, as well as of the State, to himself. But 
Henry VIII. desired to have no reformation either in the doctrines 
or in the worship of the Church ; and in his last years he revoked the 
general permission which he had granted for the reading of the 
Scriptures, being all that he had ever done in favor of the Reforma- 
tion among the people, and confined that privilege to the nobles and 
merchants. A tyrant at once in spiritual and in temporal matters, he 
punished every deviation from the ancient usages of the Church, and 
every failure of compliance with his own arbitrary ordinances. 

The reign of Edward VI. (1547-1553) forms a most important era 
in the history of England. Partly through the influence of the writ- 
ings of Calvin, which had been circulated to a considerable extent in 


that country ; partly through that of his public instructions, which 
had been frequented at Geneva by many young English students of 
divinity ; but still more by the lectures of those two eminent Conti- 
nental divines, Peter Martyr and Martin Bucer, who had been in- 
vited to England, and made professors of theology at Oxford and 
Cambridge : many persons had been prepared for that reformation in 
the Church which then actually took place under the auspices of 
Cranmer, and was carried to the length, in all essential points, at 
which it is now established by law. Hooper, and many other excel- 
lent men, were appointed to the most influential offices in the Church, 
and much progress was made in resuscitating true piety among both 
the clergy and the people. 

But the Protestants of England soon became divided into two 
parties. One, headed by Cranmer, then Archbishop of Canterbury, 
consisted of such as were opposed to great changes in the discipline 
and government of the Church, and wished to retain, to a certain de- 
gree, the ancient forms and ceremonies, hoping thereby to conciliate 
the people to the Protestant faith. To all the forms of the Romish 
Church the other party bore an implacable hatred, and insisted upon 
the rejection of even a ceremony or a vestment that was not clearly 
enjoined by the Word of God. Wishing to see the Church purified 
from every human invention, they were therefore called Puritans, a 
name given in reproach, but by which, in course of time, they were 
not averse to being distinguished. With them the Bible was the 
sole standard, alike for doctrines and for ceremonies, and with it 
they would allow no decision, of the Hierarchy, or ordinance of the 
king, or law of Parliament, to interfere. On that great foundation 
they planted their feet, and were encouraged in so doing by Bucer, 
Peter Martyr, and Calvin himself.* The Churchmen, as their oppo- 
nents were called, desired, on the other hand, to differ as little as pos- 
sible from the ancient forms, and readily adopted things indifferent ; 
but the Puritans could never sever themselves too widely from every 
usage of the Romish Church. For them the surplice and the square 
cap were things of importance, for they were the livery of supersti- 
tion, and tokens of the triumph of prescription over the Word of 
God — f human over divine authority ; and though then but a small 
minority, even thus early there was evidently a growing attachment 
to their doctrines in the popular mind.f 

* Strype's Memorials, vol. ii., chap, xxviii. Hallam's Constitutional History of 
England, vol. i., p. 140. 

f The Puritans have been often and severely blamed for what some have been 
pleased to call their obstinacy in regard to things comparatively indifferent. But it 
has been well remarked by President Quincy, in his Centennial Address at Boston, 


During the bloody reign of Edwards VI.'s successor, Mary — that 
is, from 1553 to 1558 — both parties of Protestants were exposed to 
danger, but especially the Puritans. Thousands fled to the Conti- 
nent, and found refuge chiefly in Frankfort-on-the-Maine, Emden, 
Wesel, Basel, Marburg, Strasburg, and Geneva. At Frankfort the dis- 
pute between the two parties was renewed with great keenness ; even 
Calvin in vain attempted to allay it. In the end, most of the Puritans 
left that city and retired to Geneva, where they found the doctrine, 
worship, and discipline of the Church to accord with their sentiments. 
While residing there, they adopted for their own use a liturgy upon 
the plan suggested by the great Genevese reformer, and there also 
they translated the Bible into English.* Persecution, meanwhile, 
prevailed in England. Cranmer, to whom the queen in her early 
years had owed her life, Hooper, Rogers, and other distinguished 
servants of Christ, suffered death. Many of the clergy again submit- 
ted to the Roman see. 

On the death of Queen Mary, many of the exiled Puritans re- 
turned, with their hatred to the ceremonies and vestments inflamed 
by associating them with the cruelties freshly committed at home, and 
by what they had seen of the simple worship of the Reformed 
Churches abroad. But they struggled in vain to effect any substan- 
tial change. Elizabeth, who succeeded her sister Mary in 1558, would 
hear of no modifications of any importance in doctrine, discipline, or 
worship, so that in all points the Church was almost identically the 
same as it had been under Edward VI. While Elizabeth desired to 
conciliate the Romanists, the Puritans denounced all concessions to 
them, even in things indifferent. Though by profession a Protestant, 
she was much attached to many of the distinguishing doctrines and 
practices of the papacy, and she bore a special hatred to the Puritans, 
not only because of their differing so much from her in their religious 
views, but also because of the sentiments they hesitated not to avow 
on the subject of civil liberty. The oppression of the government 

that "the wisdom of zeal for any object is not to be measured by the particular na- 
ture of that object, but by the nature of the principle, which the circumstances of the 
times, or of society, have identified with such object." 

* This version was first published in 1560. So highly was it esteemed, particularly 
on account of its notes, that it passed through thirty editions. To both the transla- 
tion and notes King James had a special dislike, alleging that the latter were full of 
"traitorous conceits." In the conference at Hampton Court, "he professed that he 
could never yet see a Bible well translated in English, but worst of all his majesty 
thought the Geneva to be." This version was the one chiefly used by the first emi- 
grants to New England, for that of King James, published in 1611, had not then 
passed into general use. — Strype's Annals. Barlow's Sum and Substance of the Con- 
ference at Hampton Court. 


was driving them, in fact, to scrutinize the nature and limits of civil 
and ecclesiastical authority, and to question the right of carrying it 
to the extent to which the queen and the bishops were determined 
to push it. The popular voice was becoming decidedly opposed to a 
rigorous exaction of conformity with the royal ordinances respecting 
the ceremonies. Parliament itself became imbued with the same 
spirit, and showed an evident disposition to befriend the Puritans, 
whose cause began to be associated with that of civil and religious 
liberty. The bishops, however, and most of the other dignified 
clergy, supported the views of the queen. Whitgift, in particular, 
who was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1583, vigorously en- 
forced conformity. The Court of High Commission compelled many 
of the best ministers of the Established Church to relinquish their bene- 
fices, and to hold private meetings for worship as they best could, very 
inferior and worthless men being generally put into their places. 

Still, the suppression of the Puritans was found a vain attempt. 
During Elizabeth's long reign their numbers steadily increased. The 
services they rendered to the country may be estimated by the ver- 
dict of an historian who has been justly charged with lying in wait, 
through the whole course of his history, for an opportunity of throw- 
ing discredit upon the cause of both religion and liberty, and who 
bore to the Puritans a special dislike. Mr. Hume says, "The pre- 
cious spark of liberty had been kindled and was preserved by the 
Puritans alone."* 

As a body, the Puritans studiously avoided separation from the 
Established Church. What they desired was reform, not schism. 
But toward the middle of Elizabeth's reign, a party arose among 
them that went to an extreme in their opposition to the " Church- 
men," and refused to hold communion with a Church whose ceremo- 
nies and government they condemned. These were the Independ- 
ents, or Brownists, as they were long improperly called, from the 
name of one who, for a time, was a leading person among them, but 
who afterward left them and ended his days in the Established 
Church. The congregation which Brown had gathered, after sharing 
his exile, was broken up and utterly dispersed. But the principles 
which, for a while, he had boldly advocated, were destined to survive 
his abandonment of them in England, as well as to flourish in a far- 
distant region, at that period almost unknown. 

From that time forward the Puritans became permanently divided 
into two bodies— the Nonconformists, constituting a large majority 
of the body, and the Separatists. The former saw evils in the Es- 
tablished Church, and refused to comply with them, but, at the same 
* Hume's History of England, vol. iii., p. 76. 


time, acknowledged its merits, and desired its reform ; the latter de- 
nounced it as an idolatrous institution, false to Truth and to Chris- 
tianity, and, as such, fit only to be destroyed. Eventually the two 
parties became bitterly opposed to each other : the former reproached 
the latter with precipitancy ; the latter retorted the charge of a base 
want of courage. 

The accession of King James to the throne of England, gave new 
hopes to the Puritans ; but these were soon completely disappointed. 
That monarch, though brought up in Presbyterian principles in Scot- 
land, no sooner crossed the border than he became an admirer of 
prelacy, and, although a professed Calvinist, allowed himself to be- 
come the easy tool of the latitudinarian sycophants who surrounded 
him. Having deceived the Puritans, he soon learned to hate both them 
and their doctrines. His pedantry having sought a conference with 
their leaders at Hampton Court, scenes took place there which were 
as amusing for their display of the dialectics of the monarch as they 
were unsatisfactory to the Puritans in their results. " I will have 
none of that liberty as to ceremonies; I will have one doctrine, one 
discipline, one religion in substance and in ceremony. Never speak 
more on that point, how far you are bound to obey."* And verily it 
was a point on which such a monarch as James I. did not wish to 
hear any thing said. The conference lasted three days. The king 
would bear no contradiction. He spoke much, and was greatly ap- 
plauded by his flatterers. The aged Whitgift said, " Your majesty 
speaks by the special assistance of God's Spirit." And Bishop Ban- 
croft exclaimed, on his knees, that his heart melted for joy " because 
God had given England such a king as, since Christ's time, has not 

The Parliament was becoming more and more favorable to the 
doctrines of the Puritans ; but the Hierarchy maintained its own 
views, and was subservient to the wishes of the monarch. Conform- 
ity was rigidly enforced by Whitgift's successor, Bancroft. In 1 604, 
three hundred Puritan ministers are said to have been silenced, im- 
prisoned, or exiled. But nothing could check the growth of their 
principles. The Puritan clergy and the people became arrayed 
against the Established Church and the king. The latter triumphed 
during that reign, but very different was to be the issue in the fol- 

* In the second day's conference his majesty spoke of the Puritans with little cer- 
emony. "I will make them conform, or I will harry them out of the land, or else 
worse." "Only burn them, that's alL"— Barlow's Su?n and Substance of the Confer- 
ence at Hampton Court, pp. 11, 83. 

f Barlow's Sum and Substance of the Conference at Hampton Court, pp. 93, 94. 
Lingard, ix., p. 32. Neal's History of the Puritans, hi., p. 45. 


lowing. So hateful to the court were the people called Brownists, 
Separatists, or Independents, that efforts were made with great suc- 
cess to root them out of the country. Some remains of them, however, 
outlived for years the persecutions by which they were assaulted. 

In the latter years of Elizabeth, a scattered flock of these Separat- 
ists began to be formed in some towns and villages of Nottingham- 
shire, Lincolnshire, and the adjacent borders of Yorkshire, under the 
pastoral care of John Robinson ; a man who has left behind him a 
name admitted, even by his bitterest enemies, to be without reproach. 
This little church was watched and beset day and night by the agents 
of the court, and could with difficulty find opportunities of meeting 
in safety. They met here or there, as they best could, on the Sabbath, 
and thus strove to keep alive the spirit of piety which united them. 
They had become " enlightened in the Word of God," and were led 
to see, not only that " the beggarly ceremonies were monuments of 
idolatry," but also that " the lordly power of the prelates ought not 
to be submitted to." Such being their sentiments, no efforts, of course, 
would be spared to make their lives miserable, and, if possible, to ex- 
tirpate them. 

At last, seeing no prospect of peace in their native land, they re- 
solved to pass over to Holland, a country which, after having success- 
fully struggled for its own independence and for the maintenance of 
the Protestant faith, now presented an asylum for persons of all nations 
when persecuted on account of their religion. After many difficulties 
and delays, a painfully interesting account of which may be found in 
their annals, they reached Amsterdam in 1608. There they found 
many of their brethren who had left England for the same cause with 
themselves. The oldest part of these exiled Independents was the 
church under the pastoral care of Francis Johnson. It had emigrated 
from London about the year 1592. There was also a fresh accession 
composed of a Mr. Smith's people. Risk of collision with these in- 
duced Mr. Robinson and his flock to retire to Leyden, and there 
they established themselves. 



The arrival of Mr. Robinson's flock in Holland was destined to be 
only the beginning of their wanderings. " They knew that they were 


pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their 
eyes to heaven, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits."* 
" They saw many goodly and fortified cities, strongly walled and 
guarded with troops and armed men. Also, they heard a strange and 
uncouth lano-ua^e, and beheld the different manners and customs of 
the people, with strange fashions and attires ; all so far differing from 
that of their plain country villages, wherein they were bred and born, 
and had so long lived, as it seemed they were come into a new world. 
But those were not the things they much looked on, or that long took 
up their thoughts : for they had other work in hand," and " saw be- 
fore long poverty coming on them like an armed man, with whom 
they must buckle and encounter, and from whom they could not fly. 
But they were armed with faith and patience against him and all his 
encounters ; though they were sometimes foiled, yet by God's assist- 
ance they prevailed, and got the victory." 

On their removal to Leyden, as they had no opportunity of pursu- 
ing the agricultural life they had led in England, they were compelled 
to learn such trades as they could best earn a livelihood by, for them- 
selves and their families. Brewster, a man of some distinction, who 
had been chosen their ruling elder, became a printer. Bradford, after- 
ward their governor in America, and their historian, acquired the art 
of dyeing silk. All had to learn some handicraft or other. But, not- 
withstanding these difficulties, after two or three years of embarrass- 
ment and toil, they " at length came to raise a competent and com- 
fortable living, and continued many years in a comfortable condition, 
enjoying much sweet and delightful society, and spiritual comfort 
together in the ways of God, under the able ministry and prudent 
government of Mr. John Robinson and Mr. William Brewster, who 
was an assistant unto him in the place of an elder, unto which he was 
now called and chosen by the church ; so that they grew in knowledge, 
and other gifts and graces of the Spirit of God ; and lived together 
in peace, and love, and holiness. And many came unto them from 
divers parts of England, so as they grew a great congregation."! As 
for Mr. Robinson, we are told that the people had a great affection 
for him, and that " his love was great toward them, and his care was 
always bent for their best good, both for soul and body. For, besides 
his singular abilities in divine things, wherein he excelled, he was able 
also to give direction in civil affairs, and to foresee dangers and incon- 

* See Governor Bradford's History of Plymouth Colony. 

f Governor Bradford's History of New England. It has been calculated, from data 
to be found in other histories of that colony, that so much had Mr. Robinson's church 
increased, that it had three hundred communicants before any of them embarked 
for America. 



veniences ; by which means he was every way as a common father 
unto them." Not only so : besides writing several books and preach- 
ing thrice a week to his own flock, Mr. Robinson entered warmly into 
the Arminian controversy, which was raging during his residence at 
Leyden, and disputed often with Episcopius and other champions of 
the Arminian side.* 

Although they had begun to enjoy some degree of comfort in Hol- 
land, still they did not feel themselves at home there. Accordingly, 
they began to agitate the question of removing to some part of 
America. Their reasons for thinking of such a step, as stated in the 
words of their own historian, give us new proof of the extraordinary 
character of this simple-hearted and excellent flock. 

I. " And, first, they found, and saw by experience, the hardness of 
the place and country to be such, as few in comparison would come 
to them, and fewer that would bide it out and continue with them. 
For many that came to them could not endure the great labor and 
hard fare, with other inconveniences which they underwent and were 
contented with. But though they loved their persons, and approved 
their cause, and honored their sufferings, yet they left them, as it were, 
weeping, as Orpah did her mother-in-law Naomi ; or as those Romans 
did Cato in Utica, who desired to be excused and borne with, though 
they could not all be Catos.f For many, though they desired to enjoy 
the ordinances of God in their purity, and the liberty of the Gospel 
with them, yet, alas ! they admitted of bondage with danger of con- 
science, rather than endure those hardships ; yea, some preferred and 
chose prisons in England rather than liberty in Holland, with those 
afflictions. But it was thought that if a better and easier place of 
living could be had, it would draw many, and take away these dis- 
couragements ; yea, their pastor would often say that many of those 
that both writ and preached against them, if they were in a place 
where they might have liberty and live comfortably, they would then 
practise as they did. 

II. " They saw that, although the people generally bore all their 

difficulties very cheerfully and with a resolute courage, being in the 

best of their strength, yet old age began to come on some of them ; 

and their great and continual labors, with other crosses and sorrows, 

hastened it before the time : so as it was not only probably thought, 


* Besides the testimony of TVinslow in his "Brief Narrative," which might be sus- 
pected of being partial, we have that of the celebrated Professor Hornbeck, in his 
"Summa Controversiarum Religionis," respecting Mr. Robinson, whom he calls "Yir 
ille (Johannes Robinsonus), gratus nostris, dum vixit, fuit, et theologis Leidensibus 
familiaris et honoratus." 

f See Plutarch's Life of Cato the Younger. 


but apparently seen, that within a few years more they were in dan- 
ger to scatter by necessity pressing them, or sink under their burdens, 
or both ; and, therefore, according to the divine proverb, that ' a wise 
man seeth the plague when it cometh, and hideth himself,'* so they, 
like skillful and beaten soldiers, were fearful either to be entrapped 
or surrounded by their enemies, so as they should neither be able to 
fight nor fly ; and, therefore, thought it better to dislodge betimes to 
some place of better advantage and less danger, if any could be 
found. • 

III. " As necessity was a task-master over them, so they were forced 
to be such not only to their servants, but, in a sort, to their dearest 
children ; the which, as it did a little wound the tender hearts of 
many a loving father and mother, so it produced, also, many sad and 
sorrowful effects. For many of their children, that were of best dis- 
positions and gracious inclinations, having learned to bear the yoke 
in their youth, and willing to bear part of their parents' burden, were 
oftentimes so oppressed with their heavy labors, that although their 
minds were free and willing, yet their bodies bowed under the weight 
of the same, and became decrepit in their early youth ; the vigor of 
nature being consumed in the very bud, as it were. But that which 
was more lamentable, and of all sorrows most heavy to be borne, was, 
that many of their children, by these occasions, and the great licen- 
tiousness of the youth in the country, and the manifold temptations 
of the place, were drawn away by evil examples into extravagant and 
dangerous courses, getting the reins on their necks, and departing 
from their parents. Some became soldiers, others took them upon far 
voyages by sea, and others some worse courses, tending to dissolute- 
ness and the danger of their souls, to the great grief of their parents 
and dishonor of God ; so that they saw their posterity would be in 
danger to degenerate and be corrupted. 

IV". "Lastly (and which was not the least), a great hoj:>e and in- 
ward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least 
to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the 
Gospel of the kingdom of Christ in these remote parts of the world ; 
yea, though they should be but as stepping-stones unto others for per- 
forming of so great a work." 

Besides these reasons, mentioned by Governor Bradford in his His- 
tory of Plymouth Colony, the three following are adduced by Ed- 
ward Winslow, who also was one of its founders : 1. Their desire to 
live under the protection of England, and to retain the language and 
the name of Englishmen. 2. Their inability to give their children 

* Quoted from the Geneva version. 


such an education as they had themselves received. And, 3. Their 
grief at the profanation of the Sabbath in Holland. 

Such were the considerations that induced the Pilgrims to send 
over to England a deputation, with the view of ascertaining what 
kind of reception their project might meet with from the king, and 
whether the London Company, or, as it was most commonly called, 
the Virginia Company, would sanction their settling as a colony on 
any part of its possessions in America. With all his detestation of 
the Independents, the king felt rather gratified than otherwise at the 
prospect of extending colonization, that being an object in which he 
had long felt an interest. Many years before this he had encouraged 
colonization in the Highlands and Western Islands of Scotland, and 
the north of Ireland has long been indebted for a prosperity and 
security, such as no other part of that island has enjoyed, to the 
English and Scotch plantations which he had been at great pains to 
form on lands laid waste, during the desolating warfare of his prede- 
cessor, Elizabeth, with certain Irish chieftains in those parts.* To 
extend the dominions of England he allowed to be " a good and 
honest motion." On his inquiring what trade they expected to find 
in the northern part of Virginia,! being that in which they thought 
of settling, they answered, " Fishing ;" to which the monarch replied, 
with his usual asseveration, " So God have my soul, 'tis an honest 
trade ; 'twas the apostles' own calling."]; But as the king wished to 
consult the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, 
the delegates were recommended not to press the matter, but to trust 
to his connivance rather than to look for his formal consent. This 
they resolved to do, rightly concluding that, " should there be a pur- 
pose to wrong us, though we had a seal as broad as the house-floor, 
there would be found means enough to recall it." 

The Virginia Company showed the most favorable dispositions. 
They said, " the thing was of God," and granted a large patent, 
which, however, proved of no use. One of them, to help the under- 
taking, lent the sum of £300, without interest, for three years, and 
this was afterward repaid. This advance must have been a season- 
able encouragement, for a hard bargain had to be struck with some 
London merchants, or "adventurers," as they are called by the 
colonial historians, hi order to raise what further money was required. 
At length two ships, the Speedwell of sixty, and the Mayflower of 
one hundred and eighty tons, were engaged, and every thing else ar- 

* See Robertson's History of Scotland, chap. viii. 

f The reader will remember that the whole Atlantic coast was then called Virginia 
by the English. 

\ Edward "Winslow's Brief Narrative. 


ranged for the departure of as many as the ships could accommodate. 
Those went who hrst offered themselves, and Brewster, the ruling 
elder, w r as chosen then- spiritual guide. The other leading men were 
John Carver, William Bradford, Miles Standish, and Edward Wins- 
low. Mr. Robinson stayed behind, along with the greater part of 
the flock, with the intention of joining those who first went, at some 
future time, should such be the will of God. A solemn fast was ob- 
served. Their beloved pastor afterward delivered a farewell charge, 
which must be regarded as a remarkable production for those times.* 

* This charge is related in Edward Winslow's " Brief Narrative." It is here sub- 
joined in the language in which it is given by that author, from whom alone it 
became known to the world : 

" We are now ere long to part asunder, and the Lord knoweth whether ever he 
should live to see our faces again. But whether the Lord had appointed it or not, 
he charged us before God and his blessed angels to follow him no further than he 
followed Christ ; and if God should reveal any thing to us by any other instrument 
of His, to be as ready to receive it as ever we were to receive any truth by his 
ministry ; for he was very confident the Lord had more truth and light yet to break 
forth out of His holy "Word. He took occasion, also, miserably to bewail the state 
and condition of the Reformed Churches, who were come to a period in religion, and 
would no further go than the instruments of their reformation. As, for example, the 
Lutherans, they could not be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw ; for whatever 
part of God's will He had further imparted and revealed unto Calvin, they will rather 
die than embrace it. And so also, saith he, you see the Calvinists, they stick where 
he left them, a misery much to be lamented ; for though they were precious shining 
lights in their times, yet God hath not revealed His whole will to them ; and were 
they now living, saith he, they would be as ready and willing to embrace further 
light as that they had received. Here, also, he put us in mind of our church cove- 
nant, at least that part of it whereby we promise and covenant with God and one 
another, to receive whatsoever light or truth shall be made known to us from His 
written Word ; but, withal, exhorted us to take heed what we received for truth, and 
well to examine and compare it, and weigh it with other scriptures of truth before 
we received it. For, saith he, it is not possible the Christian world should come so 
lately out of such thick antichristian darkness, and that full perfection of knowledge 
should break forth at once. 

" Another thing he commended to us was, that we should use all means to avoid 
and shake off the name of Brownist, being a mere nickname and brand to make re- 
ligion odious, and the professors of it, to the Christian world. And to that end, said 
he, I should be glad if some godly minister would go over with you before my com- 
ing ; for, said he, there will be no difference between the unconformable [noncon- 
forming, but who had not actually separated from the Church] ministers and you, 
when they come to the practice of the ordinances out of the kingdom. And so ad- 
vised us by all means to endeavor to close with the godly party of the kingdom of 
England, and rather to study union than division, viz., how near we might possibly, 
without sin, close with them, than in the least measure to effect division or separation 
from them. And be not loath to take another pastor or teacher, saith he ; for that 
flock that hath two shepherds is not endangered, but secured by it." 

Such is the remarkable farewell address, as reported by Winslow. " Words," says 


All things being now ready, the emigrants, after being " feasted 
at the pastor's house, for it was large," by those who were to remain 
behind, and having been " refreshed after their tears by the singing 
of psalms," set out for Delft-haven, where the ships then lay. There 
they were again " feasted," and prayer having been made, they were 
accompanied on board by their friends, but " were not able to speak 
to one another for the abundance of sorrow to part." The wind 
being favorable, they were soon on their way. 

They left Holland on the 22d of July, 1620, followed by the respect 
of the people among whom they had lived. Winslow tells us that 
the Dutch, on learning that they were about to leave their country, 
urged them much to settle in Zealand, or, if they preferred America, 
to seek a home for themselves on the Hudson, within the territory 
discovered by the navigator who gave his name to that river while in 
their service, and which they therefore claimed, and had resolved to 
colonize. But the liberal inducements then offered to the emigrants 
could not alter their purpose of settling in a country which should be 
under the government of their native land. 

A few days brought them safely to Southampton, in England. On 
learning that the captain of the smaller of the two vessels was unwill- 
ing to prosecute so long a voyage in her, after having put back, first 
to Dartmouth and then to Plymouth, they were compelled to send 
the Speedwell, with part of the company to London, and it was not 
until the 6th of September that the Mayflower finally sailed with a 
hundred passengers. The voyage proved long and boisterous. One 
person died, and a child was born, so that the original number 
reached the coast of America. On the 11th of November they en- 
tered the harbor of Cape Cod, and after having spent fully a month 
in looking about for a place that seemed suitable for a settlement, 
they fixed at last on the spot now bearing the name of the town 
where they had received the last hospitalities of England. There 
they landed on the 11th of December, old style, or the 22d of De- 
cember, according to the new ; and to this day the very rock on 
which they first planted their feet at landing is shown to the passing 
stranger as a cherished memorial of that interesting event. On that 
rock commenced the colonization of New England. 

Prince in his "Annals," speaking of it, "almost astonishing in that age of low and 
universal bigotry which then prevailed in the English nation ; wherein this truly 
great and learned man seemed to be the only divine who was capable of rising into 
a noble freedom of thinking and practising in religious matters, and even of urging 
such an equal liberty on his own people. He labors to take them off from their 
attachment to him, that they might be more entirely free to search and follow the 


On the day of the arrival of the Mayflower in Cape Cod harbor, 
the following document was signed by all the male heads of families, 
and unmarried men not attached to families represented by their 

respective heads : 

" In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, 
the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord, King James, by the 
grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender 
of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God, and ad- 
vancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, 
a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, 
do, by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God 
and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a 
civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and 
furtherance of the ends aforesaid, and by virtue hereof to enact, con- 
stitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitu- 
tions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet 
and convenient for the general good of the colony ; unto which we 
promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof, we 
have hereunder subscribed our names, at Cape Cod, the 11th of No- 
vember, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, 
of England, France, and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the 
fifty-fourth, Anno Domini 1620." 

Here may be said to have been the first attempt made by an Amer- 
ican colony to frame a constitution or fundamental law — the seminal 
principle, as it were, of all that wonderful series of efforts which have 
been put forth in the New World toward fixing the foundations of 
independent, voluntary self-government. John Carver was chosen 
governor of the colony, and to assist him in administering its affairs, 
a council of five, afterward increased to seven members, was ap- 

After selecting what they considered to be the best spot for a settle- 
ment, as the ship's boat could not come close to the water's 
edge, they suffered much in health by having to wade ashore. The 
few intervals of good weather they could catch, between snow and 
rain, they spent in erecting houses ; but before the first summer came 
round, nearly half their number had fallen victims to consumptions 
and fevers, the natural effects of the hardships to which they had 
been exposed. What must have been the distress they suffered 
during that long winter, passed beneath unknown skies, with a 
gloomy, unbroken forest on the one hand, and the dreary ocean on 
the other ! 

But with the return of spring came health, and hope, and courage. 
The colony took root. The ground it occupied had been cleared for 


it by the previous destruction of the tribes of Indians which had oc- 
cupied it by pestilence. Of course, the colonists could not buy land 
where there was nobody to sell. They soon made the acquaintance of 
the neighboring tribes, acquired their friendship, and entered into 
treaty with them. Their numbers were in course of time increased 
by successive arrivals of emigrants, until, hi 1630, they exceeded 
300. After the second year they raised grain not only to supply all 
their own wants, but with a surplus for exportation.* They soon 
had a number of vessels employed at the fisheries. They even planted 
a colony on the Kennebec, in Maine, and extended their trade to the 
Connecticut River, before the close of the first ten years of their set- 
tlement, and before any other English colony had been formed on the 
coast of northern Virginia, or of New England, the name given it by 
Captain Smith hi 1614, and by which it was ever after to be distin- 

The governor and council were chosen every year. At first, and 
for above eighteen years, " the people" met, as in Athens of old, for 
the discussion and adoption of laws. But as the colony extended, 
and towns and villages rose along the coasts and in the interior, the 
" Democratic" form of government gave place to the " Republican," 
two delegates being chosen from each township to form "the 
General Court," or Legislature of the commonwealth. 

For some time they had no pastor or preaching elder, but Mr. 
Brewster led their public devotions until they came to have a regular 
minister. Their affairs as a church were conducted with the same 
system and order that marked their civil economy. 

Such is a brief account of the founding of Plymouth colony, the ear- 
liest of all the colonies that were planted in New England. Placed on 
a sandy and but moderately productive part of the coast, and com- 
manding a very limited extent of inland territory from which to de- 
rive the materials of commerce and wealth, it could not be expected 

* During the first two years they suffered greatly at times for want of food. 
Sometimes they subsisted on half allowance for months. They were once saved from 
famishing by the benevolence of some fishermen off the coast. "I have seen men," 
says Winslow, " stagger by reason of faintness for want of food." "Tradition de- 
clares, that at one time the colonists were reduced to a pint of corn, which, being 
parched and distributed, gave to each individual only five kernels : but tradition falls 
far short of reality ; for three or four months together they had no corn whatever. 
When a few of their old friends arrived to join them, a lobster, or a piece of fish, 
without bread or any thing else but a cup of fair spring water, was the best dish which 
the hospitality of the whole colony could afford. Neat cattle were not introduced till 
the fourth year of the settlement. Yet, during all this season of self-denial and suf- 
fering, the cheerful confidence of the Pilgrims in the mercies of Providence remained 
unshaken."— Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. i., p. 315. 


to become a great and important colony, like others of which I have 
yet to speak. But it was excelled by none in the moral worth of its 
founders. All professing godliness, they almost without exception, as 
far as we know, did honor to that profession. True religion was with 
them the first of all possessions. They feared God, and He walked 
among them, and dwelt among them, and His blessing rested upon 
them. The anniversary of their disembarkation at Plymouth has long 
been regularly celebrated upon the yearly return of the 2 2d December, 
in prose and in verse, in oration and in poem : a patriotic and religious 
duty, to which have been consecrated the highest efforts of many of 
the noblest and purest minds ever produced by the country to whose 
colonization they led the way. 




The first English settlements in America arose, it will be remem- 
bered,* from the act of James I., when he invested two Companies, 
the one formed at London, the other at Bristol and other towns in the 
west of England, each with a belt of territory extending from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ; the one lying between the 34th and 
38th, the other between the 41st and 48th degrees of north latitude. 
Both Companies were formed in a purely commercial spirit ; each was 
to have its own council, but the royal Council was to have the super- 
intendence of their whole colonial system. The London Company was 
dissolved, we have seen, after an existence of eighteen years. The other 
accomplished nothing beyond giving encouragement to sundry trading 
voyages, to the coast of the country made over to it by its charter. 

At length, at the repeated instance of Captain Smith, the Western 
Company sought a renewal of their patent, with additional powers, 
similar to those of the London Company's second charter in 1609, 
with the view of attempting an extensive plan of colonization ; and, 
notwithstanding opposition from the Parliament and the country at 
large, they succeeded in their request. On November 3d, 1620, the 
King granted a charter to forty of his subjects, among whom were 
members of his household and government, and some of the wealthiest 
and most powerful of the English nobility, conveying to them in ab- 
solute property, to be disposed of and administered as they might 

* Book i., chap. v. 


think proper, the whole of that part of North America which stretches 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, between the 40th and 48th degrees 
of north latitude, under the title of "The Council established at 
Plymouth, in the County of Devon, for the planting, ruling, ordering, 
and governing New England, in America." Under the auspices of a 
vast trading corporation, invested with such despotic powers, the 
colonization of New England commenced. "While this charter was 
in course of being granted, the Pilgrims were fast approaching the 
American coast. No valid title had, as yet, given them any legal 
right to set then* feet upon it, but this they obtained a few years after 
from the newly-formed Plymouth Company. 

From its very commencement the new company began to lavish 
away grants of the immense .territory which had been conveyed 
to it, so that during the fifteen years of its existence it covered with 
its patents the whole country now comprising Massachusetts, New 
Hampshire, Maine, and the vast region westward of these as far as 
the Pacific Ocean. Such was the utter disregard shown in those 
grants for any thing like clear and precise boundaries, that we can not 
so much wonder at the number of law-suits that arose from them, as 
that these were ever terminated. To Mason and Gorges were granted 
the territories now forming the States of New Hampshire and Maine ; 
to Sir "William Alexander, the country between the River St. Croix 
and the mouth of the St. Lawrence, notwithstanding that it was all 
well known to be claimed by the French, who had even planted a 
colony upon it, called by them Acadie, but ultimately destined to re- 
ceive the name of Nova Scotia. 

But the most important grant made by the Plymouth Company, 
often called in history the Council for New England, was one con- 
veying the Massachusetts territory to a body organized in England 
in 1628, for the purpose at once of providing an asylum for persons 
sufiering for conscience' sake in the Old World, and of extending the 
kingdom of Christ in the New, by founding a colony on a large scale. 
With this view, six Dorchester gentlemen bought from the company 
a belt of land stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, between 
three miles south of Charles River and Massachusetts Bay, and three 
miles north of every part of the River Merrimac. Of these six, three, 
namely, Humphrey, Endicot, and Whetcomb, retained their shares ; 
while the other three sold theirs to W r inthrop, Dudley, Johnson, 
Pynchon, Eaton, Saltonstall, and Bellingham, so famous in colonial 
history, besides many others, men of fortune, and friends to colonial 
enterprise. Thus strengthened, this new company sent out two hun- 
dred colonists under Endicot, a man every way fitted for such an en- 
terprise — courageous, cheerful, and having firmness of purpose and 


warmth of temper, softened by an austere benevolence. These arrived 
in Massachusetts Bay in September, 1628, and settled at Salem, where 
several members of the Plymouth colony had already established 

The news of this event still further augmented the now growing 
interest felt in England on the subject of colonizing America. In the 
painful circumstances in which the Puritans were placed, they could 
not fail to have their attention drawn to the continued prosperity of 
the Plymouth settlement, and naturally rejoiced to hear of a land 
toward the setting sun, where they might enjoy a tranquillity to which 
they had long been strangers in the land of their fathers. Such was 
the interest felt throughout the kingdom, that not only in London, 
Bristol, and Plymouth, but at Boston, and other inland towns, influ- 
ential persons were found ready to risk their fortunes in the cause. 
Efforts were made to procure the royal sanction for the patent granted 
by the Plymouth Company to that of Massachusetts, and a royal 
charter in favor of the latter, after much trouble and expense, passed 
the seals on the 4th of March, 1629. 

This charter, bearing the signature of Charles I., was evidently 
granted under the idea that the persons whom it incorporated were 
to be rather a trading community than a civil government. They 
were constituted a body politic, by the name of " The Governor and 
Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England." The administra- 
tion of its affairs was committed to a governor, deputy-governor, and 
thirteen assistants, elected by the shareholders. The freemen were 
to meet four times a year, or oftener if necessary, and were empow- 
ered to pass laws for the regulation of their affairs, without any pro- 
vision rendering the royal assent indispensable to the validity of their 
acts. Strictly considered, the patent simply conferred the rights of 
English subjects, without any enlargement of religious liberty. It 
empowered, but did not require the governor to administer the oaths 
of supremacy and allegiance. The persons in whose favor it was 
granted w ere still members of the Church of England — not Inde- 
pendents or Separatists — and probably neither the government, nor the 
first patentees, foresaw how wide a departure from the economy of 
that Church, would result from the emigration that was about to take 
place under its provisions. 

It is surprising that a charter which conferred unlimited powers on 
the corporation, and secured no rights to the colonists, should have 
become the means of establishing the freest of all the colonies. This 
was partly owing to its empowering the corporation to fix what 
terms it pleased for the admission of new members. The corpora- 
tion could increase or change its members with its own consent, and 


not being obliged to bold its meetings in England, it was possible for 
it to emigrate, and tbus to identify itself with the colony which it 
was its main object to found. This was actually done. As the cor- 
poration was entirely composed of Puritans, it was not difficult, by 
means of resignations and new elections, to choose the governor, 
deputy-governor, and assistants, from among such as were willing to 
leave England as colonists. 

The first object of the new company, on obtaining a royal charter, 
was to re-enforce the party which had gone out with Endicot and had 
settled at Salem. The re-enforcement consisted of two hundred emi- 
grants, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Francis Higginson, an 
eminent Nonconformist minister, who was delighted to accept of 
the invitation to undertake that charge. By their arrival, which 
happened in June, the colony at Salem was increased to three hun- 
dred persons ; but diseases and the hardships incident to new settle- 
ments cut off, during the following whiter, eighty of that number, 
who died only lamenting that they were not allowed to see the 
future glories of the colony. Among these was their beloved pas- 
tor, Mr. Higginson, whose death was a great loss to the little com- 

The year following, namely, 1630, was a glorious one for the colo- 
nization of New England. Having first taken every preparatory 
measure required for self-transportation, the corporation itself em- 
barked, accompanied by a body of eight hundred to nine hun- 
dred emigrants, among whom were several persons of large property 
and high standing in society. John Winthrop, one of the purest 
characters in England, had been chosen governor. Taken as a 
whole, it is thought that no single colony could ever be compared 
with them. One may form some idea of the elevated piety that per- 
vaded the higher classes among the Puritans of that day, from the 
language of the younger Winthrop : " I shall call that my country," 
said he to his father, " where I may most glorify God, and enjoy the 
presence of my dearest friends. Therefore herein I submit myself 
to God's will and yours, and dedicate myself to God and the com- 
pany with the whole endeavors both of body and mind. The ' Con- 
clusions,' which you sent down, are unanswerable ; and it can not but 
be a prosperous action which is so well allowed by the judgments 
of God's prophets, undertaken by so religious and wise worthies in 
Israel, and indented to God's glory in so special a service."* 

Governor Winthrop had a fine estate which he sacrificed. Many 
others sacrificed what were considered good estates in England in 
those days. One of the richest of the colonists was Isaac Johnson, 

* Winthrop's Journal, i., pp. 359, 360. 


" the father of Boston." As proof that he was a man of wealth, it 
may be mentioned that, by his will, his funeral expenses were limited 
to £250. His wife, the Lady Arabella, was a daughter of the Earl 
of Lincoln. In her devotedness to the cause of Christ, " she came 
from a paradise of plenty into a wilderness of wants."* They were 
almost without exception godly people, and when they embarked for 
America were members of the Church of England, being that in 
which they had been born and brought up. Though of the party that 
were opposed to what they considered Romish superstitions and errors, 
they still cleaved in their conscientious convictions to the National 
Church ; and though they could not in all points conform to it, yet 
they had not separated from it, but sought the welfare of their souls 
in its ministrations, whenever they could possibly hope to find it 
there. They lamented what they regarded as its defects, but not in 
a spirit of bitter hostility. This very plainly appears from the fol- 
lowing letter addressed to the members of the Church of England, 
by Governor Winthrop and others, immediately after their embarka- 
tion, and when they were about to bid a long farewell to their native 
shores. It is conceived in a noble spirit : 

" The humble request of his majesty's loyal subjects, the Governor 
and the Company, late gone for New England, to the rest of then- 
brethren in the Church of England. 

" Reverend Fathers and Brethren — The general rumor of this 
solemn enterprise, wherein ourselves, with others, through the prov- 
idence of the Almighty, are engaged, as it may spare us the labor 
of imparting our occasion unto you, so it gives us the more encour- 
agement to strengthen ourselves by the procurement of the prayers 
and blessings of the Lord's faithful servants : for which end we are 
bold to have recourse unto you, as those whom God hath placed 
nearest his throne of mercy, which, as it affords you the more oppor- 
tunity, so it imposeth the greater bond upon you to intercede for his 
people in all their straits ; we beseech you, therefore, by the mercies 
of the Lord Jesus, to consider us as your brethren, standing in very 
great need of your help, and earnestly imploring it. And howsoever 
your charity may have met with some occasion of discouragement, 
through the misreport of our intentions, or through the disaffection 
or indiscretion of some of us, or, rather, among us — for we are not 
of those that dream of perfection in this world — yet we desire you 
would be pleased to take notice of the principles and body of our 
company, as those who esteem it our honor to call the Church of 
England, from whence we rise, our dear mother, and can not part 
from our native country, where she specially resideth, without much 

* Judge Story's Centennial Discourse. 


sadness of heart, and many tears in our eyes ; ever acknowledging 
that such hope and part as we have obtained in the common salva- 
tion, we have received in her bosom, and sucked it from her breasts : 
we leave it not, therefore, as loathing that milk wherewith we were 
nourished there, but, blessing God for the parentage and education, 
as members of the same body, shall always rejoice in her good, and 
unfeignedly grieve for any sorrow that shall ever betide her ; and 
while we have breath, sincerely desire and endeavor the continuance 
and abundance of her welfare, with the enlargement of her bounds in 
the kingdom of Christ Jesus. 

" Be pleased, therefore, fathers and brethren, to help forward this 
work now in hand, which, if it prosper, you shall be the more glori- 
ous ; howsoever, your judgment is with the Lord, and your reward 
with your God. It is a usual and laudable exercise of your charity 
to commend to the prayers of your congregations the necessities and 
straits of your private neighbors : do the like for a church springing 
out of your own bowels. We conceive much hope that this remem- 
brance of us, if it be frequent and fervent, will be a most prosperous 
gale in our sails, and provide such a passage and welcome for us from 
the God of the whole earth, as both we which shall find it, and your- 
selves, with the rest of our friends who shall hear of it, shall be much 
enlarged to bring in such daily returns of thanksgivings as the speci- 
alities of His providence and goodness may justly challenge at all our 
hands. You are not ignorant that the Spirit of Gad stirred up the 
Apostle Paul to make continual mention of the Church of Philippi 
(which was a colony from Rome) ; let the same Spirit, we beseech 
you, put you in mind, that are the Lord's remembrancers, to pray for 
us without ceasing (who are a weak colony from yourselves), mak- 
ing continual request for us to God in all your prayers. 

" What we entreat of you that are the ministers of God, that we 
also crave at the hands of all the rest of our brethren, that they 
would at no time forget us in their private solicitations at the throne 

of grace. 

" If any there be who, through want of clear intelligence of our 
course, or tenderness of aifection toward us, can not conceive so well 
of our way as we could desire, we would entreat such not to despise 
us; nor to desert us in their prayers and affections, but to consider 
rather that they are so much the more bound to express the bowels 
of their compassion toward us, remembering always that both nature 
and grace doth ever bind us to relieve and rescue with our utmost 
and speediest power such as are dear to us, when we conceive them 
to be running uncomfortable hazards. 

"What go # odness you shall extend to us on this, or any other 



Christian kindness, we, your brethren in Christ Jesus, shall labor to 
repay in what duty we are or shall be able to perform, promising, so 
far as God shall enable us, to give Him no rest on your behalf, wishing 
our heads and hearts may be as fountains of tears for your everlasting 
welfare, when we shall be in our poor cottages hi the wilderness, 
overshadowed with the spirit of supplication, through the manifold 
necessities and tribulations which may not altogether unexpectedly, 
nor, we hope, unprofitably befall us. And so commending you to 
the grace of God in Christ, we shall ever rest." 

The ships that bore Winthrop and his companions across the At- 
lantic, reached Massachusetts Bay in the following June and July. 
After having consoled the distresses and relieved the wants of the 
Salem colonists, the newly-arrived emigrants set about choosing a 
suitable place for a settlement ; a task which occupied the less time, 
as the bay had been well explored by preceding visitors. The first 
landing was made at the spot where Charlestown now stands. A 
party having gone from that place up the Charles River to Water- 
town, there some of them resolved to settle ; others preferred Dor- 
chester ; but the greater number resolved to occupy the peninsula up- 
on which Boston now stands, the settlement receiving that name from 
the fact that part of the colonists had come from Boston in England. 
For a while they were lodged in cloth tents and wretched huts, and 
had to endure all kinds of hardship. To complete their trials, disease 
made its attacks, and carried off two hundred of them at least before 
December. About a hundred lost heart, and went back to England. 
Many who had been accustomed in their native land to ease and 
plenty, and to all the refinements and luxuries of cultivated life, were 
now compelled to struggle with unforeseen wants and difficulties. 
Among those who sank under such hardships, and died, was the Lady 
Arabella Johnson. Her husband, too, "the greatest furtherer of the 
plantation," was carried off by disease ; but " he died willingly and 
in sweet peace," making " a most godly end."* These trials and 
afflictions were borne with a calm reliance on the goodness of 
God, nor was there a doubt felt that in the end all would go 
well. They were sustained by a profound belief that God was with 
them, and by bearing in mind the object' of their coming to that 

Amid all this gloom, light began to break in at last. Health re- 
turned, and the blanks caused by death were filled up by partial ar- 
rivals of new emigrants from England in the course of the two fol- 
lowing years. The colony becoming a little settled, measures were 
taken to introduce a more popular government, by extending the 

* Governor "Winthrop's Journal. 


privileges of the charter, which had established a sort of close corpo- 
ration. By it all fundamental laws were to be enacted by general 
meetings of the freemen, or members of the company. One of the first 
steps, accordingly, was to convene a General Court at Boston, and 
admit above a hundred of the older colonists to the privileges of the 
corporation ; and from that they gradually went on, until, instead of 
an aristocratic government conducted by a governor, deputy-gov- 
ernor, and assistants, holding office for an indefinite period, these 
functionaries were elected annually, and the powers of legislation 
were transferred from general courts of all the freemen joined with 
the assistants, to a new legislature, or " general court," consisting of 
two branches, the assistants constituting the upper, and deputies 
from all the " towns" forming the lower branch. Within five years 
from the foundation of the colony, a Constitution was drawn up, 
which was to serve as a sort of Magna Charta, embracing all the 
fundamental principles of just government ; and in fourteen years the 
colonial government was organized upon the same footing as that on 
which it rests at the present day. 

But with these colonists the claims of religion took precedence of 
all other concerns of public interest. The New England fathers be- 
gan with God, sought His blessing, and desired, first of all, to pro- 
mote His worship. Immediately after landing they appointed a day 
for solemn fasting and prayer. The worship of God was commenced 
by them not in temples built with hands, but beneath the wide- 
spreading forest. The Rev. Mr. Wilson, the Rev. Mr. Philips-, and 
other faithful ministers, had come out with them ; and for these, as 
soon as the affairs of the colony became a little settled, a suitable 
provision was made. 

In the third year of the settlement there came out, among other 
fresh emigrants, two spiritual teachers, who were afterward to exer- 
cise a most extensive and beneficial influence in the colonies. One of 
these was the eminently pious and zealous Cotton, a man profoundly 
learned in the Holy Scriptures, as well as in the writings of the 
Fathers and the Schoolmen ; in the pulpit rather persuasive than elo- 
quent, and having a wonderful command over the judgments and 
hearts of his hearers. The other was Hooker, a man of vast endow- 
ments, untiring energy, and singular benevolence ; the equal of the 
Reformers, though of less harsh a spirit than that which marked most 
of those great men. These and other devoted servants of God were 
highly appreciated, not only for their works' sake, but also for their 
great personal excellence. 

Before long the colony began to extend, in all directions, from 
Boston as a centre and capital ; and as new settlements were made, 


additional churches were also planted ; for the New England fathers 
felt that nothing could be really and permanently prosperous without 
religion.* Within five years a considerable population was to be 
found scattered over Dorchester, Roxbury, Watertown, Cambridge, 
Charlestown, Lynn, and other settlements. Trade was spreading 
wide its sails ; emigrants were arriving from Europe ; brotherly in- 
tercourse was opened up with the Plymouth colony, by the visits of 
Governor Winthrop and the Rev. Mr. Wilson. Friendly treaties 
were made not only with the neighboring Indian tribes, the Nip- 
mucks and Narragansetts, but also with the more distant Mohigans 
and the Pequods in Connecticut. God was honored by the great 
bulk of the people, and every thing bore the aspect of prosperity and 
happiness. Such was the origin of the colony of Massachusetts Bay 
— a colony destined to exercise a controlling influence over all the 
other New England Plantations. 




Plymouth! colony had been planted only three years when it be- 
gan to have off-shoots, one of which, in 1623, settled at Windsor, on 
the rich alluvial lands of the Connecticut : led thither, however, more 
by the advantages of the spot as a station for trading in fur, than by 

* Several of these new and feeble churches actually supported two ministers, one 
caUed the "Pastor," and the other the "Teacher." The distinction between these 
offices is not very easily expressed, and must have been more difficult to maintain in 
practice. Thomas Hooker, in his "Survey of the Summe of the Church Discipline," 
etc., declares the scope of the pastor's office to be " to work upon the will and the 
affections ;" that of the doctor or teacher, "to informe the judgment, and to help for- 
ward the work of illumination in the minde and understanding, and thereby to make 
way for the truth, that it may be settled and fastened on the heart." The former 
was to " wooe and win the soul to the love and practice of the doctrine which is ac- 
cording to godlinesse;" the latter, to dispense "a word of knowledge." I need hardly 
say that this duplicate of the ministerial office, though much liked by the early colo- 
nists, did not long survive their day. 

f Plymouth in America is often called New Plymouth by early writers, in speak- 
ing of New England. I prefer the name by which exclusively the town is now 
known. The context will always enable the reader to distinguish it from Plymouth 

in England. 



the nature of the soil. The report of its fertility having, at length, 
reached England, the Earl of Warwick bought from the Council for 
New England, as we have seen that the Plymouth Company was 
sometimes called, the whole Valley of the Connecticut, which pur- 
chase was, the year following, transferred to Lord Say and Seal, Lord 
Brooke, and John Hampden. Two years later, the Dutch, who, in 
rio-ht of discovery, claimed the whole of the Connecticut territory, 
sent an expedition from their settlement at Manhattan up the River 
Connecticut, and attempted to make good their claim by erecting a 
block-house, called Good Hope, at Hartford. In 1635, the younger 
Winthrop, the future benefactor of Connecticut, came from England, 
with a commission from the proprietors to build a fort at the mouth 
of the river, and this he did soon after. Yet, even before his arrival, 
settlers from the neighborhood of Boston had established themselves 
at Hartford, Windsor, and Weathersfield. Late in the fall of that 
year, a party of sixty persons, men, women, and children, set out for 
the Connecticut, and suffered much from the inclement weather of 
the whiter that followed. In the following June, another party, 
amounting to about a hundred in number, including some of the best 
of the Massachusetts Bay settlers, left Boston for the Valley of the 
Connecticut. They were under the superintendence of Hayes, who 
had been one year governor of Boston, and of Hooker, who, as a 
preacher, was rivaled in the New World by none but Cotton, and 
even Cotton he excelled hi force of character, kindliness of disposi- 
tion, and magnanimity. Settling at the spot where Hartford now 
stands, they founded the colony of Connecticut. They, too, carried 
the Ark of the Lord with them, and made religion the basis of their 
institutions. Three years sufficed for the framing of their political 
government. First, as had been done by the Plymouth colony, they 
subscribed a solemn compact, and then they drew up a Constitution on 
the most liberal principles. The magistrates and legislature were to 
be chosen every year by ballot, the " towns" were to return repre- 
sentatives in proportion to their population, and all members of the 
"towns," on taking the oath of allegiance to the commonwealth, 
were to be allowed to vote at elections. Two centuries have since 
passed away, but Connecticut still rejoices in the same principles of 

civil polity. 

But before this colony had time to complete its organization, the 
colonists had to defend themselves and all that was dear to them 
against their neighbors, the Pequods. This was the first war that 
broke out between the New England settlers and the native tribes, 
and it must be allowed to have been a just one on the part of the 
former, if war can ever be just. The Pequods brought it upon them- 


selves by the commission of repeated murders. In less than six 
weeks, hostilities were brought to a close by the annihilation of the 
tribe. Two hundred only were left alive, and these were either 
reduced to servitude by the colonists, or were incorporated among 
the Mohigans and Narragansetts. 

The colony of New Haven was founded in 1638 by a body of Puri- 
tans, who, like all the rest, were of the school of Calvin, and whose 
religious teacher was the Rev. John Davenport. The excellent The- 
ophilus Eaton was their first governor, and continued to be annually 
elected to that office for twenty years. Their first Sabbath, in the 
yet cool month of April, was spent under a branching oak, and there 
their pastor discoursed to them on the Saviour's " temptation in the 
wilderness." After spending a day in fasting and prayer, they laid 
the foundation of their civil government, by simply covenanting that 
" all of them would be ordered by the rules which the Scriptures 
held forth to them." A title to their lands was purchased from the 
Indians. The following year, these disciples of "Him who was 
cradled in a manger" held their first Constituent Assembly in a barn. 
Having solemnly come to the conclusion that the Scriptures contain 
a perfect pattern of a commonwealth, according to that they aimed 
at constructing theirs. Purity of religious doctrine and discipline, 
freedom of religious worship, and the service and glory of God, were 
proclaimed as the great ends of the enterprise. God smiled upon it, 
so that in a few years the colony could show flourishing settlements 
rising along the Sound, and on the opposite shores of Long Island. 

While the colonization of Connecticut was in progress, that of 
Rhode Island commenced. Roger Williams, a Puritan minister, had 
arrived in Boston the year immediately folio whig its settlement by 
Winthrop and his companions; but he soon advanced doctrines 
on the rights of conscience, and the nature and limits of human 
government, which were unacceptable to the civil and religious 
authorities of the colony. For two years he avoided coming into 
collision with his opponents, by residing at Plymouth ; but having 
been invited to become pastor of a church in Salem, where he had 
preached for some time after his first coming to America, he was 
ordered, at last, to return to England ; whereupon, instead of com- 
plying, he sought refuge among the Narragansett Indians, then occu- 
pying a large part of the present State of Rhode Island. Having 
ever been the steady friend of the Indians, and defender of their 
rights, he was kindly received by the aged chief, Canonicus, and 
there, in 1636, he founded the city and plantation of Providence. 
Two years afterward, the beautiful island called Rhode Island, in 
Narragansett Bay, was bought from the Indians, by John Clarke, 


William Coddington, and their friends, when obliged to leave the 
Massachusetts colony, in consequence of the part which they had taken 
m the " Antinomian controversy," as it was called, a discussion of 
which we shall have occasion to speak further. These two colonies 
of Providence and Rhode Island, both founded on the principle of 
absolute religious freedom, naturally presented an asylum to all who 
disliked the rigid laws and practices of the Massachusetts colony in 
religious matters ; but many, it must be added, fled thither only out 
of hatred to the stern morality of the other colonies. Hence Rhode 
Island, to this day, has a more mixed population, as respects religious 
opinions and practices, than any other part of New England. There 
is, however, no inconsiderable amount of sincere piety in the State, 
but the forms in which it manifests itself are numerous. 

As early as 1623, small settlements were made, under the grant to 
Mason, on the banks of the Piscataqua, in New Hampshire ; and, in 
point of date, both Portsmouth and Dover take precedence of Bos- 
ton. Most of the New Hampshire settlers came direct from England ; 
some from the Plymouth colony. Exeter owed its foundation to the 
abandonment of Massachusetts by the Reverend Mr. "Wheelwright 
and his immediate friends, on the occasion of the " Antinomian Con- 

The first permanent settlements made on " the Maine," as the con- 
tinental part of the country was called, to distinguish it from the 
islands — and hence the name of the State — date as early, it would 
appear, as 1626. The settlers were from Plymouth, and no doubt 
carried with them the religious institutions cherished in that earliest 
of all the New England colonies. 

Within twenty years from the planting of the colony at Plymouth, 
all the other chief colonies of New England were founded, their gov- 
ernments were organized, and the coast of the Atlantic, from the Ken- 
nebec River, in Maine, almost to the Hudson, in New York, was marked 
by their various settlements. Offshoots from these original stocks 
gradually appeared, both at intervening points near the ocean, and at 
such spots hi the interior as attracted settlers by superior fertility of 
soil or other physical advantages. From time to time little bands of 
adventurers left the older homesteads, and wandered forth in search 
of new abodes. Carrying their substance with them in wagons, and 
driving before them their cattle, sheep, and hogs, these simple groups 
wended through the tangled forest, crossed swamps and rivers, and 
traversed hill and dale, until some suitable resting-place appeared ; 
the silence of the wilderness, meanwhile, was broken by the lowing 
of their cattle and the bleating of their sheep, as well as by the songs 
of Zion, with which the pilgrims beguiled the fatigues of the way. 


Everywhere nature had erected " bethels" for them, and from be- 
neath the overshadowing oak, mornhig and night, their orisons 
ascended to the God of their salvation. Hope of future comfort 
sustained them amid present toils. They were cheered by the 
thought that the extension of their settlements was promoting also 
the extension of the kingdom of Christ. 

This rapid advance of the New England settlements, during the 
first twenty . years of their existence, must be ascribed, in a great 
measure, to the troubled condition and lowering prospects of the 
mother country during the same period. The despotic principles of 
Charles I. as a monarch, still more, perhaps, the religious intolerance 
of Archbishop Laud and his partisans, so fatally abetted by the king, 
drove thousands from England to the colonies, and hurried on the 
Revolution that soon followed at home. The same oppressive and 
bigoted policy, indeed, that was convulsing Great Britain, threatened 
the colonies also ; but in 1639, just as they were on the eve of an 
open collision, the government of that country found itself so beset 
with difficulties at home, that New England, happily for its own sake, 
was forgotten. 

Nor does the prosperity of the colonial settlements, during those 
twenty years, seem less remarkable than their multiplication and ex- 
tension over the country. The huts in which the emigrants first 
found shelter, gave place to well-built houses. Commerce made rapid 
advances. Large quantities of the country's natural productions, 
such as furs and lumber, were exported ; grain was shipped to the 
West Indies, and fishing employed many hands. Ship-building was 
carried to such an extent that, within twenty-five years from the first 
settlement of New England, vessels of four hundred tons were con- 
structed there. Several kinds of manufactures, even, began to take 
root in the colonies. 

It is calculated that twenty-one thousand emigrants had arrived in 
New England alone before the Long Parliament met. " One hundred 
and ninety-eight ships had borne them across the Atlantic, and the 
whole cost of the plantations had been |1,000,000 : a great expendi- 
ture and a great emigration for that age ; yet, in 1832, more than 
fifty thousand persons arrived at the single port of Quebec in one 
summer, bringing with them a capital exceeding $3,000,000."* Even 
this has been far exceeded, for more than three hundred thousand 
emigrants arrived at New York in 1854. 

A great change, in this respect, took place during the next 
twenty years, embracing the period of the civil war, and the pro- 
tectorate of Oliver Cromwell and his son. Not only were there 
* Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. i., p. 415. . 


few arrivals of emigrants during that interval, but some fiery spirits 
in the colonies returned to the mother-country, eager to take part in 
the contest waging there. This, indeed, some of the leading men in 
New England were earnestly pressed to do by letters from both 
' Houses of Parliament, but they were unwilling to abandon the duties 
of the posts they occupied in the New World. Upon the whole, 
from 1640 to 1660, the population of New England rather diminished 
than augmented. 

But while such, during the early years of their existence, was the 
temporal prosperity of these colonies, not less great was their spiritual 
advance. In 164V, New England had forty-three churches united in 
one communion ; in 1 650, the number of churches was fifty-eight, that of 
communicants seven thousand seven hundred and fifty ; and in 1674, 
there were more than eighty English churches of Christ, composed 
of known pious and faithful professors only, dispersed through the 
wilderness. Of these, twelve or thirteen were in Plymouth colony, 
forty-seven in Massachusetts and the province of New Hampshire, 
nineteen in Connecticut, three in Long Island, and one in Martha's 
Vineyard.* Well might one of her pious historians say, "It concern- 
eth New England always to remember that she is a religious planta- 
tion, and not a plantation of trade. The profession of purity of 
doctrine, worship, and discipline, is written upon her forehead."f 

The New England colonists may have been " the poorest of the 
people of God in the whole world," and they settled in a rugged 
country, the poorest, in fact, in natural resources, of all the United 
States' territories ; nevertheless, their industry and other virtues 
made them increase in wealth, and transformed their hills and valleys 
into a delightful land. Their commerce soon showed itself in all 
seas ; their manufactures gradually gained ground, notwithstanding 
the obstacles created by the jealousy of England, and, with the in- 
crease of their population, they overspread a large extent of the 
space included in their charters. 

Many, indeed, affect to sneer at the founders of New England ; but 
the sneers of ignorance and prejudice can not detract from their real 
merits. Not that we would claim the praise of absolute wisdom for 
all that was done by the " New England fathers." Some of their 
penal laws were unreasonably and unjustly severe, some were frivo- 
lous, some were even ridiculous. J Some of their usages were dictated 

* Prince's Christian History. Emerson's History of the First Church. 

f Prince, in his Christian History, p. 66. 

$ A great deal of misrepresentation and falsehood has been published by ignorant 
and prejudiced persons at the expense of the New England Puritans. For example, 
pretended specimens of what are called "the Blue Laws of Connecticut" have ap- 


by false views of propriety. Nor can it be denied that they were 
intolerant to those who differed from them in religion ; that they 
persecuted Quakers and Baptists, and abhorred Roman Catholics. 
But all this grew out of the erroneous views which they, in common 
with almost all the world at that time, entertained on the rights of 
human conscience, and the duties of civil government, in cases where 
those rights are concerned. "We shall see, likewise, that they com- 
mitted some most serious mistakes, resulting from the same erroneous 
views, in the civil establishment of religion adopted in most of the 
colonies. Notwithstanding all this, they will be found to have been 
far in advance of other nations of their day. 

With respect to their treatment of the native tribes, they were led 
into measures which appear harsh and unjust, by the fact that their laws 
were modeled upon those of the Jews. Such, for example, was their 
making slaves of those Indians whom they made prisoners in war. 
There were cases, also, of individual wrong done to the Indians. 
Yet never, I believe, since the world began, have colonies from civ- 
ilized nations been planted among barbarous tribes with so little 
injustice perpetrated upon the whole. The land, in almost all 
cases where tribes remained to dispose of it, was taken only on in- 
demnification being given, as they fully recognized the right of the 
natives to the soil. The only exceptions, and these were but few, 
were the cases in which the hazards of war put them in possession 
of some Indian territory. Nor were they indifferent to the spiritual 
interests of those poor people. We shall yet see that for these they 
did far more than was done by any other colonies on the whole 
American continent, and I shall explain why they did not do more. 

Let us now, in conclusion, contemplate for a moment the great 
features that mark the religious character of the founders of New 
England, leaving our remarks on their religious economy to be intro- 
duced at another place. 

First, then, theirs was a religion that made much of the Bible : I 
should rather say, that to them the Bible was every thing. They not 
only drew their religious principles from it, but according to it, in a 
great degree, they fashioned their civil laws. They were disposed to 
refer every thing " to the Law and to the Testimony." And although 
they did not always interpret the Scriptures aright, yet no people 
ever revered them more, or studied them more carefully. With them 

peared in the journals of certain European travelers, and have been received by 
credulous transatlantic readers as perfectly authentic. Yet the greater part of these 
so-called " laws" are the sheerest fabrications ever palmed upon the world, as is 
shown by Professor Kingsley in a note appended to his Centennial Discourse, deliv- 
ered at New Haven a few years ago. 


the famous motto of Chillingworth had a real meaning and application : 
The Bible is the religion of Pkotestants. 

Second The religion of the founders of New England was friendly 
to the diffusion of knowledge, and set a high value on learning. 
Many of their pastors, especially, were men of great attainments. 
Not a few of them had been educated at the universities of Oxford 
and Cambridge, in England, and some had brought with them a 
European reputation. John Cotton, John Wilson, Thomas Hooker, 
Dunster, and Chauncey, of whom the last two became Presidents of the 
University at Cambridge ; Thomas Thatcher, Samuel Whiting, John 
Sherman, John Eliot, and several more of the early ministers, were 
men of great learning. All were well instructed in theology, and 
thoroughly versed in Hebrew, as well as in Greek and Latin. Some, 
too, such as Sherman and Watertown, were fine mathematical schol- 
ars. They were the friends and correspondents of Baxter, and Howe, 
and Selden, and Milton, and other luminaries among the Puritans of 
England. Their regard for useful learning they amply proved, by the 
establishment of schools and academies for all the youth of the col- 
onies, as well as for their own children. Only eight years after the 
first settlement of Massachusetts colony, they founded, at a great ex- 
pense for men in their circumstances, the University of Harvard, at 
Cambridge, near Boston, an institution at which, for a period of more 
than sixty years, the most distinguished men of New England received 
their academical education. 

Third. Their religion was eminently fitted to enlarge men's views 
of the duty of living for God and promoting His kingdom hi the 
world. They felt that Christianity was the greatest boon that man- 
kind can possess ; a blessing which they were bound to do their utmost 
to secure to their posterity. In going to a new continent, they were 
influenced by a double hope, the enlargement of Christ's kingdom by 
the conversion of heathen tribes, and the founding of an empire for 
their own children, in which His religion should gloriously prevail. 
Their eyes seemed to catch some glimpses of the Messiah's universal 
reign, when "all nations shall be blessed in Him, and call Him 


Fourth. Their religion prompted to great examples of self-denial. 
Filled with the idea of an empire in which true religion might live 
and flourish, and satisfied from what they had seen of the Old World 
that the Truth was in bondage there, they sighed for a land in which 
they might serve God according to His blessed Word. To secure 
such a privilege to themselves and their children, they were willing 
to go into a wilderness, and to toil and die. This was something 
worth making sacrifices for, and much did they sacrifice to obtain it. 



Though poor in comparison wit!} many others, still they belonged to 
good families, and might have lived very comfortably in England ; 
but they preferred exile and hardship, in the hope of securing spiritual 
advantages to themselves and their posterity. 

Fifth. There was a noble patriotism in their religion. Some of 
them had long been exiled from England ; others had found their 
mother country a very unkindly home, and yet England was still dear 
to them. With them it was not "Farewell, Babylon! farewell, 
Rome !" but, " Farewell, dear England !"* Though contemptuously 
treated by James I. and Charles I., yet they spoke of being desirous 
of " enlarging his Majesty's dominions." The Plymouth settlers did 
not wish to remain in Holland, because " their posterity would in a 
few generations become Dutch, and lose their interest hi the English 
nation; they being desirous to enlarge his Majesty's dominions, and 
to live under their natural prince." And much as they had suffered 
from the prelacy of the Established Church, unnatural stepmother as 
she had been to them, nothing could extinguish the love that they felt 
for her, and for the many dear children of God whom she retained in 
her communion. 

Sixth, and last. Their religion was favorable to liberty of con- 
science. Not that they were sufficiently enlightened to bring their 
laws and institutions into perfect accordance with that principle at the 
outset ; but even then they were, in this respect, in advance of the 
age in which they lived : and the spirit of that religion which had 
made them and their fathers, in England, the defenders of the rights 
of the people, and their tribunes, as it were, against the domination 
of the Jhrone and the altar, caused them, at last, to admit the claims 
of conscience in their full extent. 

The fathers of New England were no mean men, whether we look 
to themselves or to those with whom they were associated in England 
— the. Lightfoots, the Gales, the Seldens, the Miltons, the Bunyans, 
the Baxters, the Bateses, the Howes, the Charnocks, the Flavels, and 
others of scarcely inferior standing, among the two thousand who had 
labored in the pulpits of the Established Church, but whom the 
Restoration cast out. 

Such were the men who founded the New England colonies, and 
their spirit still survives, in a good measure, in their descendants after 
six generations. With the exception of some tens of thousands of 
recently-arrived Irish and Germans in Boston, and other towns on the 
sea-board, and of the descendants of those of the Huguenots who set- 
tled in New England, that country is wholly occupied by the progeny 
of the English Puritans who first colonized it. But these are not the 

* See Mather's Magnalia, b. iii., c. i., s. 12. 


whole of their descendants in America; for besides the 2,728,116 
souls forming the population of the six New England States in 1850, it 
is supposed that an equal, if not a still greater number, have emigrated 
to New York, to the northern parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, 
and into all parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota : 
carrying with them, in a large measure, the spirit and the institutions 
of their glorious ancestors. Descendants of the Puritans are also to 
be found scattered over all parts of the United States, and many of 
them prove a great blessing to the neighborhoods in which they 

How wonderful, then, was the mission of the founders of New 
England ! How gloriously accomplished ! How rich in its results ! 




Widely different in character, I have already remarked, were the 
early colonists of the Southern from those of the Northern States. 
If New England may be regarded as colonized by the Anglo-Saxon 
race, with its simpler maimers, its more equal institutions, and its 
love of liberty, the South may be said to have been colonized by men 
very Norman in blood, aristocratic in feeling and spirit, and pretend- 
ing to superior dignity of demeanor and elegance of manners,. Nor 
has time yet effaced this original diversity. On the contrary, it has 
been increased and confirmed by the continuance of slavery in the 
South: an institution which has not prevailed much at any time in 
the North, but has immensely influenced the tone of feeling and the 
customs of the Southern States. 

If the New England colonies are chargeable with having allowed 
their feelings to become alienated from a throne from which they had 
often been contemptuously spurned, with equal truth might those of 
the South be accused of going to the opposite extreme, in their at- 
tachment to a line of monarchs alike undeserving of their love, and 
incapable of appreciating their generous loyalty. 

We might carry the contrast still further. If New England was 
the favorite asylum of the Puritan " Roundhead," the South became, 
in its turn, the retreat of the "Cavalier," upon the joint subversion 
of the altar and the throne in his native land. And if the religion of 
the one was strict, serious, in the regard of its enemies unfriendly to 


innocent amusements, and even morose, the other was the religion of 
the court, and of fashionable life, and did not require so uncompro- 
mising a resistance " to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and 
the pride of life." 

Not that from this parallelism, which is necessarily general, the 
reader is to infer that the Northern colonies had exclusive claims to 
he considered as possessing a truly religious character. All that is 
meant is to give a general idea of the different aspects that religion 
bore hi the one and the other. 

Virginia, as we have already stated, was of all the colonies the first 
in point of date. Among its neighbors in the South it was what 
Massachusetts was in the North — the mother, in some sense, of the 
rest, and the dominant colony. Not that the others were planted 
chiefly from it, but because, from the prominence of its position, the 
amount of its population, and their intelligence and wealth, it acquired 
from the first a preponderating influence, which it retains as a State 
to this day. 

The records of Virginia furnish indubitable evidence that it was 
meant to be a Christian colony. The charter enjoined that the mode 
of worship should conform to that of the Established Church of En- 
gland. In 1619, for the first time, Virginia had a Legislature chosen 
by the people ; and by an act of that body, the Episcopal Church was, 
properly speaking, established. In the following year the number of 
boroughs erected into parishes was eleven, and the number of pastors 
five, the population at the time being considerably under three thousand. 
In 1621-22, it was enacted that the clergy should receive from their 
parishioners fifteen himdred pounds of tobacco and sixteen barrels of 
corn each, as their yearly salary, estimated to be worth, in all, £200. 
Every male colonist of the age of sixteen or upward was required to 
pay ten pounds of tobacco and one bushel of corn. 

The Company under whose auspices Virginia was colonized, seems 
to have been influenced by a sincere desire to make the plantation the 
means of propagating the knowledge of the Gospel among the Indi- 
ans. A few years after the first settlement was made, in the body 
of their instructions they particularly urged upon the governor and 
Assembly "the using of all probable means of bringing over the 
natives to a love of civilization, and to the love of God and His true 
religion." They recommended the colonists to hire the natives as 
laborers, with the view of familiarizing them to civilized life, and thus 
to bring them gradually to the knowledge of Christianity, that they 
might be employed as instruments " in the general conversion of their 
countrymen, so much desired." It was likewise recommended " that 
each town, borough, and himdred should procure, by just means, a 


certain number of Indian children, to be brought up in the first ele- 
ments of literature ; that the most towardly of these should be fitted 
for the college, in buildiug of which they purposed to proceed as soon 
as any profit arose from the estate appropriated to that use ; and they 
earnestly required their earnest help and furtherance in that pious 
and important work, not doubting the particular blessing of God 
upon the colony, and being assured of the love of all good men upon 

that account."* 

Even the first charter assigns as one of the reasons for the grant, 
that the contemplated undertaking was " a work which may, by the 
providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the glory of His 
Divine Majesty, in the propagating of the Christian religion to such 
people as yet five in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true 
knowledge and worship of God."f 

The Company seem early to have felt the importance of promoting 
education in the colony. Probably at their solicitation, the king is- 
sued letters to the bishops throughout England, directing collections 
to be made for building a college in Virginia. The object was at 
first stated to be " the training up and educating infidel (heathen) 
children in the true knowledge of God." J Nearly £1,500 had already 
been collected, and Henrico had been selected as the best situation 
for the building, when, at the instance of their treasurer, Sir Edwin 
Sandys, the Company granted ten thousand acres to be laid off for the 
new " University of Henrico ;" the original design being at the 
same time extended, by a resolve that the institution should be for 
the education of the English as well as the Indians. Much interest 
was felt throughout England in the success of this undertaking. The 
Bishop of London gave £1,000 toward its accomplishment, and an 
anonymous contributor gave £500 exclusively for the education of the 
Indian youth. It had warm friends in Virginia also. The minister 
of Henrico, the Rev. Mr. Bargrave, gave his library, and the inhab- 
itants of the place subscribed £1,500 to build a hostelry for the enter- 
tainment of strangers and visitors.§ Preparatory to the college or 
university, it was proposed that a school should be established at St. 
Charles's City, to be called the East India School, from the fact that 
the first donation toward its endowment had been contributed by the 
master and crew of an East Indiaman on its return to England. 

* Burk's "History of Virginia," pp. 225, 226. 

f 1 Charter. — 1. Hazzard's State Papers, 51. This work of the late Mr. Hazzard 
contains all the charters granted by the sovereigns of England for promoting coloniza- 
tion in America. 

% Stith's "History of Virginia," pp 162, 163. 

§ Holmes's Annals, p. 113. 


But the whole project received its death-blow by the frightful 
massacre perpetrated by the Indians, on the 22d of March, 1622: 
when, in one hour, three hundred and forty-seven men, women, and 
children were slaughtered, without distinction of sex or age, and at 
a time, too, when the Indians professed perfect friendship. For four 
years, nevertheless, they had been maturing their plan, had enlisted 
thirty tribes in a plot to extirpate the English, and might have suc- 
ceeded in doing so but for the fidelity of a converted Indian named 
Chanco. The minds of the colonists were still further estranged 
from the idea of providing a college for the Indian youth, by the 
long and disastrous war that followed. At a much later date, a col- 
lege for the education of the colonial youth was established at Wil- 
liamsburg, which was for a long time the capital of the colony.* 

In proportion as the population began to spread along the large 
and beautiful streams that flow from the Allegheny Mountains into 
the Chesapeake Bay, more parishes were legally constituted, so that 
in 1722 there were fifty-four, some very large, others of mode- 
rate extent, in the twenty-nine counties of the colony. Their size 
depended much on the number of titheable inhabitants within a cer- 
tain district. Each parish had a convenient church built of stone, 
brick, or wood, and many of the larger ones had also chapels of ease, 
so that the places of public worship were no fewer than seventy in all. 
To each parish church there was attached a parsonage, and likewise, 
in almost all cases, a glebe of two hundred and fifty acres, and a small 
stock of cattle. But not more than about half, probably, of these 
established churches were provided with ministers ; in the rest the 
services were conducted by lay readers, or occasionally by neigh- 
boring clergymen. When the war of the Revolution commenced, 
there were ninety-five parishes, and at least a hundred clergymen of 
the Established Church. 

* This was the College of "William and Mary, established in 1693, and, in the 
order of time, the second that was founded in the colonies. It owed its existence, 
under God, to the great and long-continued exertions of the Rev. Dr. Blair. It ought 
to be mentioned, that in the former part of the last century a number of Indian youths 
were educated at it. The celebrated Robert Boyle presented it with a sum of money 
to be applied to the education of the Indian tribes. At first, efforts were made to 
procure for this purpose children who had been taken in war by some victorious tribe ; 
but during the administration of Sir Alexander Spottswood, which commenced in 
IT 10, that plan was relinquished for one far better. The governor went in person to 
the tribes in the interior, to engage them to send their children to the school, and 
had the gratification of seeing some arrive from a distance of four hundred miles in 
compliance with his request. He, also, at his own expense, established and sup- 
ported a preparatory school on the frontiers, at which Indian lads might be prepared 
for the college without being too far removed from their parents. — See Beverly 's 
- " History of Virginia. " 


We shall yet have occasion to speak of the Church Establishment in 
Virginia, and of its influence upon the interests of religion, as well as 
of the character of the clergy there during the colonial period. I can 
not, however, forbear saying, that although the greater number of 
the ministers seem, at that epoch, to have been very poorly qualified 
for their great work, others were an ornament to their calling. I 
may mention, as belonging to early times, the names of the Rev. 
Robert Hunt and the Rev. Alexander Whitaker. The former of 
these accompanied the first settlers, preached the first English ser- 
mon ever heard on the American continent, and by his calm and 
judicious counsels, his exemplary conduct, and his faithful ministrar 
tions, rendered most important services to the infant colony. The 
latter was justly styled "the apostle of Virginia." At a later period 
we find, among other worthies, the Rev. James Blair, whose inde- 
fatigable exertions in the cause of religion and education rank him 
among the greatest benefactors of America. Nor were there want- 
ing laymen among those who had the cause of God at heart. Mor- 
gan Morgan, in particular, was greatly blessed in his endeavors to 
sustain the spirit of piety, by founding churches and otherwise, more 
especially in the northern part of the Great Valley. In later times 
Virginia has produced many illustrious men, not only hi the Epis- 
copal, but in almost every other denomination of Christians. 

In pohit of intolerance, the Legislature of Virginia equaled, if it 
did not exceed, that of Massachusetts. Attendance at parish worship 
was at one time required under severe penalties ; nay, even the sacra- 
mental services of the Church were rendered obligatory by law. 
Dissenters, Quakers, and Roman Catholics were prohibited from 
settling in the province. People of every name entering the colony, 
without having been Christians in the countries they came from, were 
condemned to slavery. Shocking barbarity ! the reader will justly 
exclaim ; yet these very laws prove how deep and strong, though 
turbid and dark, ran the tide of religious feeling among the people. 
As has been justly remarked, " If they were not wise Christians, they 
were at least strenuous religionists." 

I have said enough to show that, in the colonization of Virginia, 
religion was far from being considered as a matter of no importance; 
its influence, on the contrary, was deemed essential to national as 
well as individual prosperity and happiness. 

Maryland, we have seen, though originally a part of Virginia, 
was planted by Lord Baltimore, as a refuge for persecuted Roman 
Catholics. When the first of its colonists landed, in 1634, under the 
guidance of Leonard Calvert, son of that nobleman, on an island in 
the Potomac, they took possession of the province " for their Sav- 


iour," as well as for "their lord the king." They planted their 
colony on the broad basis of toleration for all Christian sects,* and 
in this noble spirit the government was conducted for fifty years. 
Think what we may of their creed, and very different as was this 
policy from what Romanism elsewhere might have led ns to expect, 
we can not refuse to Lord Baltimore's colony the praise of having 
established the first government in modern times, in which entire 
toleration was granted to all denominations of Christians ; this too, 
at a time when the New England Puritans could hardly bear with 
one another, much less with " papists ;" when the zealots of Virginia 
held both " papists" and " Dissenters" in nearly equal abhorrence ; 
and when, in fact, toleration was not considered in any part of the 
Protestant world to be due to Roman Catholics. After being thus 
avowed at the outset, toleration was renewed in 1649, when, by the 
death of Charles I., the government in England was about to pass 
into the hands of the extreme opponents of the Roman Catholics. 
"And whereas the enforcing of the conscience in matters of religion," 
such is the language of their statute, " hath frequently fallen out to 
be of dangerous consequence in those commonwealths where it has 
been practised, and for the more quiet and peaceable government of 
this province, and the better to preserve mutual love and amity 
among the inhabitants, no person within this province professing to 
believe in Jesus Christ shall be any way troubled, molested, or dis- 
countenanced for his or her religion, or hi the free exercise thereof." 
Meanwhile, Protestant sects increased so much, that the political 
power of the State passed, at length, entirely out of the hands of its 
founders, and before the war of the Revolution, many churches had 
been planted in it by Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Baptists. 

North Carolina was first colonized by stragglers from Virginia, set- 
tling on the rivers that flow into Albemarle Sound, and among these 
were a good many Quakers, driven out of Virginia by the intolerance 
of its laws. This was about the middle of the seventeenth century. 

* It is due to truth to say that much more credit has been given to Lord Baltimore 
for the "toleration" in matters of religion which characterized his colony in Maryland 
than has been merited. He was undoubtedly a man of liberal and tolerant views. 
But from whom did he obtain the charter for his projected colony ? From the gov- 
ernment of Protestant England. Who can believe that that government would have 
granted Lord Baltimore a charter that did not guarantee religious liberty, in a good 
measure, to Protestants ? Lord Baltimore could have obtained no other charter from 
the government of England than that which he did. And when Eoman Catholic 
orators wish to prove to us that their Church is a tolerant Church, let them give us 
an instance of a Roman Catholic country granting to a Protestant colony such a char- 
ter as England, Protestant England, gave to Lord Baltimore and his Roman Catholic 
colony in Maryland. 


Puritans from New England, and emigrants from Barbadoes, followed 
in succession ; but the dissenters from Virginia predominated. Re- 
ligion for a long while seems to have received but little attention. 
William Edmonson and George Fox visited their Quaker friends 
among the pine groves of Albemarle, in 1672, and found a "tender 
people." A Quarterly Meeting was established, and thenceforward 
that religious body may be said to have organized a spiritual govern- 
ment in the colony. But it was long before any other made much 
progress. No Episcopal minister was settled in it until 1703, and no 
church built until 1705. 

The Proprietaries, it is true, who obtained North as well as South 
Carolina from Charles II., professed to be actuated by a " laudable 
and pious zeal for the propagation of the Gospel ;" but they did 
nothing to vindicate their claim to such praise. In their " Constitu- 
tions" they maintained that religion and the profession of it were in- 
dispensable to the well-being of the State and privileges of citizenship; 
vain words, as long as no measures were taken to promote what they 
thus lauded. But we shall yet see that, little as true religion owed 
in North Carolina to the first settlers, or to the Proprietaries, 
that State eventually obtained a large population of a truly relig- 
ious character, partly by the emigration of Christians from France 
and Scotland, partly by the increase of Puritans from New En- 

South Carolina began to be colonized in 1670, by settlers shipped 
to the province by the Proprietaries, and from that time forward it 
received a considerable accession of emigrants almost every year. Its 
climate was represented as being the finest in the world ; under its 
almost tropical sun, flowers were said to blossom every month of the 
year ; orange groves were to supplant those of cedar ; silk-worms 
were to be fed on mulberry-trees introduced from the south of 
France ; and the choicest wines were to be produced. Ships arrived 
with Dutch settlers from New York, as well as with emigrants from 
England. The Earl of Shaftesbury, when committed to the Tower, 
in 1681, begged for leave to exile himself to Carolina. 

Nor were they Churchmen only who emigrated thither from En- 
gland. Many Dissenters, disgusted with the unfavorable state of 
things in that country, went out also, carrying with them intelligence, 
industry, and sobriety. Joseph Blake, in particular, brother of the 
gallant admiral of that name, having inherited his brother's fortune, 
devoted it to transporting his persecuted brethren to America, and 
conducted thither a company of them from Somersetshire. Thus the 
booty taken from New Spain helped to people South Carolina .* A 
* Bancrofts "History of the United States," vol. ii., pp. 172, 173. 


colony from Ireland, also went over, and were soon merged among 
the other colonists. 

Such was the character of what might be called the substratum of 
the population in South Carolina. The colonists were of various 
origin, but many of them had carried thither the love of true relig- 
ion, and the number of such soon increased. 

Georgia, of all the original thirteen colonies, ranks latest in point 
of date. The good Oglethorpe, one of the finest specimens of a 
Christian gentleman of the Cavalier school, one who loved his king 
and his Church, led over a mixed people to settle on the banks of the 
Savannah. Poor debtors, taken from the prisons of England, formed 
a strange medley with godly Moravians from Herrnhut, in Germany, 
and brave Highlanders from Scotland. To Georgia, also, were di- 
rected the youthful steps of those two wonderful men, John and 
Charles Wesley, and the still more eloquent Whitfield, who made the 
pine forests that stretch from the Savannah to the Altamaha resound 
with the tones of their fervid piety. In Georgia, too, was built the 
" Orphan House," for the erection of which so much eloquence was 
poured forth, both in England and in the Atlantic cities of her Amer- 
ican colonies, by the last-named herald of the Gospel, but which was 
not destined to fulfill the expectations of its good and great founder. 

Thus we find that religion was not the predominating motive that 
led to the colonization of the Southern States, as was the case with 
New England ; and yet that it can not be said to have been altogether 
wanting. It is remarkable that in every charter granted to the 
Southern colonies, " the propagation of the Gospel" is mentioned as 
one of the reasons for undertaking the planting of them. And we 
shall see that that essential element of a people's prosperity ulti- 
mately received a vast accession of strength, from the emigrants 
whom God was preparing to send from the Old World to those parts 
of the New. 




We now proceed to give some account of the intermediate States, 
comprising New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. 
We begin with New York, which, as we have seen, was first colo- 
nized by the Dutch. 



" The spirit of the age," says an eminent historian,* to whom we 
have often referred, " was present when the foundations of New York 
were laid. Every great European event affected the fortunes of 
America. Did a State prosper — it sought an increase of wealth by 
plantations in the West. Was a sect persecuted — it escaped to the 
New World. The Reformation, followed by collisions between En- 
glish Dissenters and the Anglican Hierarchy, colonized New England. 
The Reformation, emancipating the United Provinces, led to Euro- 
pean settlements on the Hudson. The Netherlands divide with 
England the glory of having planted the first colonies in the United 
States ; they also divide the glory of having set the example of pub- 
lic freedom. If England gave our fathers the idea of a popular 
representation, Holland originated for them the principle of federal 

It was the Dutch, we remarked, who first discovered the Rivers 
Hudson and Connecticut, and probably the Delaware also. In 1614, 
five years after Henry Hudson had sailed up the first of those streams, 
to which he gave his name, they erected a few huts upon Manhattan 
Island, where now stands the city of New York. 

The first attempts to establish trading stations, for they could 
hardly be called settlements, were made by the merchants of Amster- 
dam. But when the Dutch West India Company was formed, in 
1621, it obtained a monopoly of the trade with all parts of the At- 
lantic coast claimed by Holland in North America. Colonization on 
the Hudson River does not appear to have been the main object of 
that Company. The territory of New Netherlands was not even 
named in the charter, nor did the States General guarantee its pos- 
session and protection. Trade with the natives in skins and furs was, 
in fact, the primary and almost exclusive object. 

But in a few years, as the families of the Company's factors in- 
creased, what was at first a mere station for traders, gradually bore the 
appearance of a regular plantation ; and New Amsterdam, on Manhat- 
tan Island, began to look like some thriving town, with its little fleet 
of Dutch ships almost continually lying at its wharves. Settlements 
were also made at the west end of Long Island, on Staten Island, 
along the North River up to Albany, and even beyond that, as well 
as at Bergen, at various points on the Hackensack, and on the Rari- 
tan, in what was afterward New Jersey. 

Harmony at this time subsisted between the Dutch and their Puri- 
tan neighbors, notwithstanding the dispute about their respective 
boundaries. In 1627, we find the Governor of New Netherlands, or 
New Belgium, as the country was sometimes called, paying a visit 
c Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. ii., p. 256, 


of courtesy and friendship to the Plymouth colony, where he was 
received with " the noise of trumpets." A treaty of friendship and 
commerce was proposed. "Our children after us," said the Pilgrims, 
" shall never forget the good and courteous entreaty which we found 
in your country, and shall desire your prosperity forever." 

The colony, as it extended, gradually penetrated into the interior 
of East Jersey, and along the shores of the Delaware. Still, receiv- 
ing neither protection nor encouragement from the fatherland, and 
abandoned to the tender mercies of a low-minded commercial cor- 
poration, its progress was not what might have been expected. It 
had not always wise governors. The infamous Kieft, neglecting to 
conciliate the Indians, allowed the settlers on Staten Island to be 
destroyed by the savages of New Jersey ; and having, in a most 
wanton attack upon a tribe of the friendly Algonquins, massacred 
many of them in cold blood, the colony lay for two whole years 
(1643-1645) exposed to attack at all points, and was threatened with 
absolute ruin. From the banks of the Raritan to the borders of the 
Connecticut, not a "bowery" (farm) was safe. "Mine eyes," says an 
eye-witness, " saw the flames of their towns, and the flights and hur- 
ries of men, women, and children, the present removal of all that 
could to Holland!" In this war the celebrated* Anne Hutchinson, 
one of the most extraordinary women of her age, was murdered by 
the Indians, together with all her family, with but one exception. 

Next to this disastrous war, the colony was most retarded by the 
want of a popular form of government, and by the determination of 
the West India Company not to concede one. 

The first founders of New Netherlands were men of a bold and 
enterprising turn, whose chief motive in leaving Holland was, no 
doubt, the acquisition of wealth. But educated in the National 
Dutch Church, they brought with them a strong attachment to its 
doctrines, worship, and government ; and however deeply interested 
in their secular pursuits, they unquestionably took early measures to 
have the Gospel preached among them, and to have the religious in- 
stitutions of their fatherland planted and maintained in their adopted 
country. A church was organized at New Amsterdam, now New 
York, not later, probably, than 1619 ; and there was one at Albany 
as early, if not earlier. The first minister of the Gospel settled at 
New York, was the Reverend Everardus Bogardus. 

The Dutch language was exclusively used in the Dutch churches 
until 1764, being exactly a century after the colony had fallen into 
the hands of the English. As soon as that event took place, the new 
governor made great efforts to introduce the language of his own 
country, by opening schools in which it was taught. This, together 


with the introduction of the English Episcopal Church, and the en- 
couragement it received from Governor Fletcher, in 1693, made the 
new language come rapidly into use. The younger colonists began 
to urge that, for a part of the day at least, English should be used in 
the churches ; or that new churches should be built for those who 
commonly spoke that tongue. At length, after much opposition from 
some who dreaded lest, together with the language of their fathers, 
their good old doctrhies, liturgy, catechisms, and all should dis- 
appear, the Rev. Dr. Laidlie, a distinguished Scotch minister who 
had been settled in an English Presbyterian church at Flushing, in 
Holland, connected with the Reformed Dutch Church, was invited 
to New York, in order to commence Divine service there in English. 
Having accepted this call, he was, in 1764, transferred to that city, 
and in his new charge his labors were long and greatly blessed. 
From that time the Dutch language gradually disappeared, so that 
hardly a vestige of it now remains. 

The population of New Netherlands, when it fell into the hands of 
the English, is supposed to have been about ten thousand, or half as 
many as that of New England at the same date. There has been a 
slight emigration to it from Holland ever since ; too small, however, 
to be regarded as of any importance. But all the emigrants from 
Dutch ports to America were not Hollanders. The Reformation had 
made the Dutch an independent nation, and the long and bitter ex- 
perience they had had of oppression led them to oifer an asylum to 
the persecuted Protestants of England, Scotland, France, Italy, and 
Germany.* Among others who thus came by way of Holland to 

8 This has often been made an occasion of reproach and ridicule, by men of more 
wit than grace or sense. 

Beaumont and Fletcher, in their " Maid of the Inn," introduce one of their charac- 
ters as saying, 

"I am a schoolmaster, sir, and would fain 
Confer with you about erecting four 
New sects of religion at Amsterdam." 

And Andrew Marvell, in his " Character of Holland," writes : 

" Sure, when religion did itself embark, 
And from the East would westward steer its bark, 
It struck ; and splitting on this unknown ground, 
Each one thence pillaged the first piece he found. 
Hence Amsterdam, Turk Christian, Pagan, Jew, 
Staple of sects, and mint of schism, grew ; 
That bank of conscience, where not one so strange 
Opinion, but finds credit and exchange. 
In vain for Catholics ourselves we bear ; 
The Universal Church is only there." 


America was Robert Livingston, ancestor of the numerous and dis- 
tinguished family of that name to be found in various parts of Amer- 
ica, but particularly in the State of New York ; and son of that pious 
and celebrated minister, the Rev. John Livingston, of Scotland, who, 
after being eminently blessed in his labors in his native country, was, 
.in 1663, driven by persecution into Holland, where he spent the re- 
mainder of his life as minister of the Scotch Church at Rotterdam. 

Several causes retarded the progress of religion among the Dutch col- 
onists in America. One was the unsettled state of the country, caused 
by actual or dreaded hostilities with the Indians ; another lay in the 
continued and unnecessary dependence of the churches for their pas- 
tors on the Classis, or Presbytery, of Amsterdam ; a body which, how- 
ever well disposed, was at too remote a distance to exercise a proper 
judgment in selecting such ministers as the circumstances of the 
country and the people required ; a third is to be found in the lateness 
of the introduction of the English tongue into the public services of 
the churches, which ought to have occurred at least fifty years sooner. 

Notwithstanding these hinderances, the blessed Gospel was widely 
and successfully preached and maintained in the colony, both when 
under the government of Holland and afterward. Its beneficial in- 
fluence was seen in the strict and wholesome morals that character- 
ized the community, and in the progress of education among all 
classes, especially after the adoption of a more popular form of gov- 
ernment. Many faithful pastors were either sent over from Holland, 
or raised up at later periods in the colony, and sent over to Holland 
for instruction in theology. Among the former I may mention the 
Rev. T. J. Frelinghuysen, who came from Holland in 1720, and set- 
tled on the Raritan. As an able, evangelical, and eminently success- 
ful preacher, he proved a great blessing to the Reformed Dutch 
Church in America. He left five sons, all ministers, and two daugh- 
ters, who were married to ministers.* In confirmation of this state- 
ment, we may add the testimony of the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, who, 
in a letter to Mr. Prince, of Boston, says, " The labors of Mr. Fre- 
linghuysen, a Dutch minister, were much blessed to the people of 
New Brunswick and places adjacent, especially about the time of his 
coming among them. When I came, which was about seven years 
after, I had the pleasure of seeing much of the fruits of his ministry ; 
divers of his hearers, with whom I had opportunity of conversing, 
appeared to be converted persons, by their soundness in principle, 
Christian experience, and pious practice ; and these persons declared 
that his ministrations were the means thereof."f Among the latter 

* "Christian Magazine," quoted in Dr. Gunn's "Memoirs of Dr. Livingston," p. 8"7. 
\ Prince's " Christian History." I may add, that the Mr. Frelinghuysen spoken of in 


was the late J. H. Livingston, D.D., who died in 1825, after being 
for a long time one of the most distinguished ministers in the United 
States. On his return from Holland, he was for many years a pastor 
in New York, and thereafter divinity professor in the Theological 
Seminary of the Reformed Dutch Church at New Brunswick, in the 
State of New Jersey. He was one of those who, though born to fill, 
a large space in the history of the Church, yet spend their lives in 
the calm and unostentatious discharge of the duties of their calling. 
The impress of his labors and character will long be felt in the 
Church of which he was so distinguished an ornament. 

The descendants of the Dutch are numerous, and widely dispersed 
in America. They constitute a large proportion of the inhabitants 
of the southern part of the State of New York and the eastern part 
of New Jersey, besides forming a very considerable body in the 
north and west of the former of these States. But they are to be 
found also in larger or smaller numbers in all parts of the confeder- 
acy. Though often made the butts of ridicule for their simplicity,* 
slowness of movement, and dislike to innovation of every kind, yet 
taken as a whole, 'they have been uniformly a religious and virtuous 
people, and constitute a most valuable part of the American nation. 
Some of them have found place among our most illustrious states- 
men. Emigrants from the country of Grotius and John De Witt 
have furnished one President and three Vice-presidents to the Re- 
public which they have done so much to establish and maintain. 
They have preserved to this day the Church planted by their fore- 
fathers in America ; but although a very respectable part of them still 
adhere to it, a greater number have joined the Episcopal Church, 
and many belong to other denominations. 

the text was the ancestor of three brothers of the same name, who have adorned the 
profession of the law in the present generation, one of whom, the Hon. Theodore 
Frehnghuysen, was for several years a distinguished member of the Senate of the 
United States, and is now President of Rutgers' College at New Brunswick, New 

* Their Yankee neighbors tell a thousand stories showing the simplicity of the 
Dutch. One of the best that I have heard is that respecting a wealthy Dutch 
farmer, in the State of New York, who had erected a church in his neighborhood at 
his own expense, and was advised (probably by some very sensible Yankee) to attach 
a lightning-rod to it. But he received the suggestion with displeasure, as if G-od 
would set fire to His own house ! Another is as follows : Shortly after the arrival 
of the Rev. Dr. Laidlie, and the commencement of his labors, he was thus accosted 
by some excellent old people, at the close of a prayer-meeting one evening, in which 
he had most fervently addressed the throne of grace : " Ah, Domine ! (the title which 
the Dutch, in their affection, give to their pastors) we offered up many an earnest 
prayer in Dutch for your coming among us ; and truly the Lord has heard us in 
English, and sent you to us." 





Hollanders from New Amsterdam were the first European in- 
habitants of New Jersey, and, during the continuance of the Dutch 
dominion in America, it formed part of New Netherlands. The first 
settlement was at Bergen, but the plantation extended afterward to 
the Hackensack, the Passaic, and the Raritan. It is probable that a 
few families had settled even on the Delaware, opposite Newcastle, 
before the cession of the country to the English in 1664. 

But the Dutch were not the only colonists of New Jersey. A 
company of the same race of English Puritans that had colonized 
New England, left the eastern end of Long Island in 1664, and estab- 
lished themselves at Elizabethtown. They must have been few in 
number, for four houses only were found there the following year, on 
the arrival of Philip Carteret, as governor of the province. Wood- 
bridge, Middletown, and Shrewsbury were founded about the same 
time by settlers from Long Island and Connecticut. Newark was 
founded in 1667 or 1668, by a colony of about thirty families, chiefly 
from Brandon in Connecticut. 

Colonists from New Haven bought land on both sides of the Dela- 
ware, and fifty families were sent to occupy it, but their trading 
establishments were broken up, and the colony dispersed, in conse- 
quence of the Dutch claiming the country. There are extant memo- 
rials, however, in the records of Cumberland and Cape May comities, 
that colonies from New England established themselves in these, not 
very long after the province changed its masters. The middle parts 
were gradually occupied by Dutch and New England settlers in their 
progress westward, and also by a considerable number of Scotch and 
Irish emigrants— all Protestants, and most of them Presbyterians. 

It will be remembered that, by the gift of his brother, Charles H., 
the Duke of York became "Proprietary" of all that part of America 
ceded by the Dutch to the English in 1 664. The same year the duke 
sold New Jersey to Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley, in honor 
of the former of whom it took the name that it bears to this day. 
They immediately appointed a governor, and gave the colonists a 
popular form of government. The Legislature, however, soon be- 
came the organ, of popular disaffection; few were willing to purchase 
a title to the soil from the Indians, and to pay quit-rents to the pro- 
prietaries besides. After some years of severe struggles between the 


colonists and their governors, Lord Berkeley became tired of the 
strife, and in 1674 sold the moiety of New Jersey to Quakers for 
£1,000, John Fenwick acting as agent in the transaction for Edward 
Byllinge and his assigns. Fenwick left England the following year, 
accompanied by a great many families of that persecuted sect, and 
formed the settlement of Salem, on the Delaware. Lands in West 
Jersey were now offered for sale by the Quaker company, and hun- 
dreds of colonists soon settled upon them. In 1676 they obtained 
from Carteret the right, so far as he was concerned, to institute a 
government of their own in West Jersey, and proceeded, the year 
following, to lay the ground-work in the " Concessions," as their fun- 
damental deed was called. Its main feature was, that " it put the 
power in the people." Forthwith great numbers of English Quakers 
nocked to West Jersey, with the view of permanently settling there. 
A title to the lands was purchased from the Indians, at a council held 
under the shade of the forest,, at the spot where the town of Burling- 
ton now stands ; there the tawny " children of the wood" conveyed 
to the " men of peace" the domain which they desired. " You are 
our brothers," said the sachems, " and we will live like brothers with 
you. We will make a broad path for you and us to walk in. If an 
Englishman falls asleep in this path, the Indian shall pass him by and 
say, He is an Englishman ; he is asleep ; let him alone. The path shall 
be plain ; there shall not be in it a stump to hurt the feet."* And 
they kept their word. 

In November, 1681, Jennings, who acted as governor for the Pro- 
prietaries, convened the first Quaker Legislature ever known to have 
met. The year following, by obtaining the choice of their own chief 
ruler, the colonists completed the measure of their self-government. 
In the year following that, again, William Penn and eleven others 
bought East New Jersey from Carteret's heirs, and from that time a 
Quaker emigration set into that division of the province, but never to 
such a degree as to change the general character of the inhabitants. The 
population, upon the whole, remained decidedly Puritan, though com- 
bining the elements of a Scotch, Dutch, and New England Presby- 
terianism. It was much otherwise with West New Jersey. With 
the exception of a few churches planted here and there by other de- 
nominations, and standmg like islands in this sea of the religion of 
George Fox, the counties of Salem, Gloucester, and Burlington were 
peopled almost entirely with Quakers, and their religion flourishes 
there to this day. 

After about twelve years of embarrassment, commencing with the 
Revolution of 1688 in England, the Proprietaries of both East and 

* Smith's "History of New Jersey." 


West New Jersey surrendered "their pretended right of government" 
to the British crown, and in 1702, both provinces, united hito one, 
were placed for a time under the Governor of New York, retaining, 
however, their own Legislature. The population, notwithstanding the 
difficulties and irritation caused by political disputes mtimately affect- 
ing their interests, steadily increased. Taken as a whole, few parts 
of America have been colonized by a people more decidedly religious 
in principle, or more intelligent and virtuous ; and such, in the main, 
are their descendants at the present clay. Nowhere hi the United 
States have the churches been supplied with a more faithful or an 
abler ministry. New Jersey was the scene of the excellent David 
Brainerd's labors among the Indians, during the latter years of his 
short but useful life. There, too, labored the celebrated William Ten- 
nent, and those other faithful servants of God in whose society the 
eloquent Whitfield found so much enjoyment, and whose ministra- 
tions were so much blessed. There, and particularly in the eastern 
section of the province, many have been witnesses of those outpour- 
ings of the Holy Spirit, which we shall have occasion hi another place 
to speak of. And, lastly, in New Jersey was planted the fourth, in 
point of date, of the American colleges, commonly called Nassau Hall, 
but more properly the College of New Jersey. That college has had 
for its presidents some of the greatest divines that have ever lived in 
America : Dickinson, Burr, the elder Edwards, Finley, Witherspoon, 
Smith, Green, etc. ; and it is still as flourishing as ever, although a 
sister institution has arisen at New Brunswick, to co-operate hi dif- 
fusing blessings throughout the State. I may add, that no State in 
the American Union has more decidedly proved the importance of 
having a good original population, nor has any State done more, in 
proportion to its population and resources, to sustain the honor and 
promote the best interests of the American nation. 



Though of all the States Delaware has the smallest population, and 
is the least but one in territorial extent, yet its history is far from un- 
interesting. Fairly included within the limits of Maryland, it never 
submitted to the rule of Lord Baltimore's colony ; subjected for a 
time to the dominion of the Quaker province of William Penn, from 


that it emancipated itself in time to be justly ranked among the 
original Thirteen States, which so nobly achieved their independ- 

This small province was claimed by the Dutch in right of discovery, 
as well as the country on the other side of Delaware River and Bay ; 
and in 1631, a colony under De Vries actually left the Texel for the 
south shore of that bay, and settled near the present site of Lewes- 
town, on lands acquired the year before by Godyn and his associates, 
Van Rennsellaer, Bloemart, and De Lact. That colony, consisting of 
above thirty souls, was, hi the absence of De Vries, utterly destroyed 
by the Indians toward the close of the following year ; yet its priority 
in point of date saved it from being included in Lord Baltimore's 
charter, and secured for subsequent settlers the benefits of a separate 
colony and an independent State. Before, it could be rescued from 
the Indians, however, and colonized a second time by the Dutch, it 
fell to the possession of a Scandinavian prince. 

Gustavus Adolphus, justly pronounced the most accomplished 
prince of modern times, and the greatest benefactor of humanity 
in the line of Swedish kings, had early comprehended the ad- 
vantages of foreign commerce and distant colonization. Accord- 
ingly, in 1626, he instituted a commercial company, with exclusive 
privileges to trade beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, and with the 
right of planting colonies. The stock was open to all Europe. The 
king himself pledged four hundred thousand dollars from the royal 
treasury ; the chief seat of business was Gottenburg, the second city 
in the kingdom, and the best situated for commerce in the open seas. 
The government of the future colonies was committed to a royal 
council, and emigrants were to be invited from all Europe. TJie New 
"World was described as a paradise, and the hope of better fortunes 
on its distant shores was strongly excited in the Scandinavian mind. 
The colony proposed to be planted there was to be a place where 
" the honor of the wives and daughters" of those whom wars and 
bigotry had made fugitives might be safe ; a blessing to the " common 
man," as well as to the " whole Protestant world."* As opening an 
asylum for persecuted Protestants of all nations, the project was well 
worthy of the great champion of Protestant rights. 

But Gustavus Adolphus did not live to carry his favorite scheme 
into effect. When the Protestant princes of Germany were compelled 
to defend their violated religious privileges by taking up arms against 
the emperor, they made the first offer of the command of their armies 
to Christian IV., of Denmark ; but that prince proving unequal to the 
task, they turned their eyes to the youthful king of Sweden, who 

* Argonautica Gustaviana, pp. 11, 16. 


hesitated not to accept their summons. Crossing the Baltic with his 
small army of fifteen thousand faithful Swedes, Finns, and Scotch, he 
put himself at the head of the confederate troops, and within eighteen 
months gained the series of splendid victories that have placed him 
in the highest rank of warrior-princes. Having driven the imperial 
troops from the walls of Leipsic to the southern extremity of Ger- 
many, he fell at last on the plains of Liitzen, on the 16th of October, 
1632, victory even there crowning his efforts, while his body, covered 
with wounds, lay undistinguished among the slain. Yet even the 
toils and horrors of that war could not make the brave young mon- 
arch forget his favorite project. A few days before that last fatal 
battle, where, it has been well said, " humanity won one of her 
most glorious victories, and lost of one her ablest defenders," he 
recommended to the people of Germany the colonial project, which 
he still continued to regard as " the jewel of his kingdom."* 

The enterprise, however, which his premature death prevented 
Gustavus Adolphus from carrying into effect, fell into the hands of 
his minister Oxenstiern, the ablest statesman of that age. Emigrants 
for Delaware Bay, furnished with provisions for themselves, and with 
merchandise for traffic with the Indians, accompanied also by a re- 
ligious teacher, left Sweden in 1638, in two ships, the Key of Calmar 
and the Griffin. Upon their arrival, they bought the lands on the 
Delaware from its mouth up to the falls where Trenton now stands ; 
and near the mouth of Christiana Creek they built a fort, to which 
they gave that name, in honor of their youthful queen. Tidings of 
their safe arrival, and encouraging accounts of the country, were soon 
carried back to Scandinavia, and naturally inspired many of the peas- 
antry of Sweden and Finland with a wish to exchange their rocky, 
unproductive soil for the banks of the Delaware. More bands of 
emigrants soon went thither, and many who would fain have gone 
were prevented only by the difficulty of finding a passage. The 
plantations gradually extended along the Delaware, from the site of 
"Wilmington to that of Philadelphia. A fort constructed of huge 
hemlock logs, on an island a few miles below Philadelphia, defended 
the Swedish settlements, and became the head-quarters of Printz, 
their governor. The whole coimtry, as above described, was called 
New Sweden, and the few families of emigrants from Few England 
that happened to be within its boundaries, either submitted to the 
Swedish government, or else withdrew and established themselves 


Meanwhile the Dutch reasserted their old claims to the country, 
planted a fort at Newcastle, and ultimately reduced New Sweden 
* Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. u\, p. 285. 


under their dominion, by means of an expedition of six hundred men, 
under the famous Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Netherlands. 
Thus, in 1655, terminated the power of Sweden on the American 
continent, after it had lasted above seventeen years. The Swedish 
colonists, probably, did not much exceed seven hundred, and as their 
descendants, in the course of some generations, became widely scat- 
tered, and blended with emigrants of a different lineage, they are 
supposed to constitute one part in two hundred of the present popu- 
lation of the United States.* 

Interesting as this colony is from its early history, it becomes still 
more so because of its practical worth. The colonists were amiable 
and peaceable in their deportment ; they maintained the best terms 
with the Indians; they were frugal and industrious; they were 
attentive to the education of their children, notwithstanding the 
want of schools and the difficulty of procuring books in their mother 
tongue ; and, above all, they were careful in upholding religious insti- 
tutions and ordinances. Lutherans, as their kindred in Sweden are to 
this day, they long preserved their national liturgy and discij^line, 
besides keephig up an affectionate intercourse with the churches in 
their mother-country; and from these they often received aid in 
Bibles and other religious books, as well as in money. Having estab- 
lished themselves in the southern suburbs of Philadelphia, previous 
to the colonization of Pennsylvania by William Penn, they have al- 
ways had a church there, known to this day as the " Swedes' Church," 
and which, with two or three more in Delaware and Pennsylvania, 
now belongs to the Protestant Episcopal communion. The late 
Doctor Colin was the last of the long line of Swedish pastors. 

Taken in possession by the Dutch, in 1655, New Sweden was, 
nine years after that, ceded by them to the English. It was then 
placed for some time under the administration of the Governor of 
New York ; was afterward attached to Pennsylvania, but ultimately 
became first a separate colony, and then an independent State. Mean- 
while, its population, composed of the descendants of Swedes, of 
Quakers who accompanied William Penn, of settlers from. New En- 
gland, and of Scotch, Irish, and a few emigrants from other parts of 
Europe, steadily increased. Religion has ever had a hap])y and not 
inconsiderable influence hi this little commonwealth. It would, 
no doubt, have been greater still, had slavery never existed in it. 
But though Delaware is a slaveholding State, it scarcely deserves the 
name, the number of slaves there being so small. 

* Bancroft's " History of the United States." 




The history of William Perm, the Quaker philosopher and law- 
giver, is very generally known. The son of a distinguished English 
admiral, heir to a fortune considered large in those days, accustomed 
from his youth to mingle in the highest circles, educated at the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, rich in the experience and observation of mankind 
acquired by much travel, and versed in his country's laws, he seemed 
fitted for a course very different from that which he considered to be 
marked out for him in after life. He inherited from his parents a 
rooted aversion to the despotism of a hierarchy, and having, when a 
student at Oxford, ventured to attend the preaching of George Fox, 
he was for this offence expelled from the university. After his ex- 
pulsion, from a desire to make himself acquainted with the doctrines 
and spirit of the French Reformed churches, he spent some time at 
Saumur, one of their chief seats of learning, and there he attended 
the prelections of the gifted and benevolent Amyrault. From that 
time he returned to England, and in 1666 visited Ireland, where he 
heard Thomas Loe preach on " the faith that overcomes the world :" 
whereupon he was immediately filled with peace, and decided upon 
folio whig out his future plans of benevolence. In the autumn of that 
year he was imprisoned for conscience' sake. " Religion," said he to 
the Irish viceroy, " is my crime and my innocence ; it makes me a 
prisoner to malice, but my own free man." On returning to England 
he became the butt of unmeasured ridicule, from the witlings of the 
court, which was that of one of the most dissolute monarchs that 
ever lived. Driven penniless from his father's house, he found com- 
passion where it takes up its last abode, if ever it leaves this world, 
in a mother's heart. Her bounty kept him above want, while he was 
preparing, in God's providence, to become an author, and a preacher 
of the doctrines of peace to princes, priests, and people. Expe- 
rience of persecution had prepared him for the great mission of 
succoring those who suffer from the same cause. He could truly say, 
with the Carthaginian queen, 

" Haud ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." 

He had become a member of the ever "suffering kingdom" of right- 
William Penn's personal interests, in the course of Providence, 


coincided with his benevolent views, in leading him to think of found- 
ing the colony to which he at length so assiduously devoted himself. 
His father having a large sum due to him from the crown, left this 
not very hopeful debt as a legacy to his son. But the son pro- 
posed to his royal debtor an easy mode of paying it : the king had 
only to make him a grant of waste land in the New World ; and the 
suggestion was favorably received, for the profuse and profligate 
Charles II. had been his father's friend. On the 5th of March, 1681, 
he received a title to a territory which was to extend from the Dela- 
ware River five degrees of longitude westward, and from the thirty- 
ninth to the forty-second degree of north latitude. The whole of 
this, with the exception of a few previous grants, of no great extent, 
made by the Duke of York, was to be his ; and thus all that remained 
of the territory claimed by the Dutch, but which they had been com- 
pelled to cede to the English, became not a place of refuge merely, 
but the absolute property and sure abode of a sect which had prob- 
ably been loaded with as much contempt and ridicule as had ever 
fallen to the lot of any portion of the human race. Their peculiar 
dress and modes of speech, no doubt, so far invited this treatment, 
while their principles secured impunity to such as meanly chose to 
attack with such weapons what they deemed absurdity and fanaticism. 

Nor was it only for the persecuted " Friends" in England that 
William Penn founded his colony : it was to be open, also, to mem- 
bers of the same society in America. Incredible as it may appear, 
they were persecuted in New England by the very men who them- 
selves had been driven thither by persecution. Twelve Quakers were 
banished from Massachusetts by order of the General Court, in 1656, 
and four of these, who had returned, were actually executed, in 1669. 
That same year an act was passed by the Legislature of Virginia, to 
the effect " that any commander of any shipp, or vessell, bringing 
into the collonie any person or persons called Quakers, is to be fined 
£100 ; and all Quakers apprehended in the collonie are to be impris- 
oned till they abjure this countrie, or give securitie to depart from it 
forthwith. If they return a third time, they are to be punished as 
felons.?' * 

After making all necessary arrangements, Penn left England for 
his ample domain in America, and arrived there on the 27th of Oc- 
tober, 1682. Having landed at Newcastle, he went from that to 
Chester, and thence, by boat, up the Delaware, to the spot where 
now stands the city of Philadelphia. His first care was to acquire, 
by fair purchase, a title from the Indians to so much land, at least, as 
might be required for his projected colony, and this transaction took 
* Hening's " Collection of the Laws of Virginia." 


place at a famous council, held under a large elm-tree at Shakamaxon, 
on the northern edge of Philadelphia. There the hearts of the con- 
gregated chiefs of the Algonquin race were captivated by the sim- 
plicity and sincerity of Penn's manners, and by the language of 
Christian affection in which he addressed them. " We will live," said 
they, in reply to his proposals, " in love with William Penn and his 
children, and with his children's children, as long as the moon and 
sun endure." 

The year following was devoted by the philosopher to the founding 
of a city, to be called Philadelphia, between the Delaware and the 
Schuylkill Rivers, and to the establishing of a government for his 
people. Hardly could a pleasanter situation have any where been 
found than that which he selected for his capital, which was destined 
to become one of the largest and finest cities in America, and to be 
the birth-place of national independence, and where union among 
the liberated colonies was to be secured by the framing of a Federal 
Constitution for the whole. Nothing could have been more popular 
than the constitution laid down for his own colony, with the exception 
of his veto as Proprietary — which he could hardly have abandoned — 
and an acknowledgment of the supremacy of the English crown and 
government. Council, assembly, judges, and petty magistrates — all 
were to be appointed by the colonists themselves. 

The first emigrants to Pennsylvania were, for the most part, Qua- 
kers ; but the principle of unlimited toleration, upon which it was 
established, made it a resort for people of all creeds and of none. 
Swedes, Dutch, and New Englanders had previously established 
themselves within its limits, and not many years had elapsed when 
the Quakers, whom Penn had specially contemplated as the future 
citizens of his colony, were found to be a minority among the inhab- 
itants. This, however, has not marred the harmony and tranquillity 
of the province. No act of persecution or intolerance has ever dis- 
graced its statute-book. The rights of the Indians were always 
respected ; their friendship was hardly ever interrupted. 

Friends' " meeting-houses," and churches of other denominations, 
soon increased with the population, which spread by degrees into the 
interior, and reached the most western limits of the colony within a 
century from its commencement. 

It were superfluous in me to pronounce any eulogium on the mo- 
rality of the Quakers. The foundations of the colony of William Penn 
were laid in the religion of the Bible, and to the blessed influence of 
that religion it is unquestionably hidebted for much of the remark- 
able prosperity which it has enjoyed. But the Quaker population 
now forms only a small minority in the State of Pennsylvania, espe- 


cially in its central and western parts. I shall yet have occasion to 
show what was the religious character of the emigrants who consti- 
tuted the early population of those parts. 

Thus have I completed the notice of the religious character of all 
the original colonies, which, in settling on the Atlantic slope, may 
be said to have founded the nation, by founding its civil and religious 
institutions : or rather I should say, I have spoken of the colonies 
that had territorial limits as such, and were established under charters 
from the crown of England. I have spoken of the bases — the lowest 
strata, so to speak — of the colonization of the United States. I have 
yet to speak of the superadded colonies, which dispersed themselves 
over the others, without having any territorial limits marked out to 
them by charters, but which settled here or there, as individuals or 
groups might prefer. It will be seen that this secondary, but still 
early colonization, exerted an immense influence upon the religious 
character of the country, and in many cases, through the wonderful 
providence of God, supplied what was wanting in the religious con- 
dition of the primary or territorial colonization. 




Presbyterianism is said to have had many zealous adherents in 
Wales in the time of the Commonwealth, or from 1648 to 1660; and 
when the Restoration came, many Welsh Presbyterians, including 
both pastors and people, sought a refuge from the persecution that 
ensued, by emigrating to America. On reaching the New World, 
many of these wandered over the country, and were glad to avail 
themselves of a resting-place wherever it could be found. But a 
natural predilection for their own people, language, and customs, led 
others to keep together and settle on the same spots : a course almost 
indispensable in the case of those who could neither understand nor 
speak English. Hence we find that toward the close of the seven- 
teenth century, no fewer than six townships on the left bank of the 
Schuylkill were in the occupation of Welsh colonists* 

The success of those earlier emigrations led to a steady and even 
copious transference of the inhabitants of the Principality to America, 
* Proud's "History of Pennsylvania," vol. L, p. 221. 


long after open persecution had ceased to drive them from then- 
native hills and valleys. About the beginning of the present century 
a colony from Wales settled in the mountains of Pennsylvania, on a 
large tract of land which they had bought before they left home, and 
gave the name Cambria, the ancient appellation of Wales, to a whole 
county. A large part of their settlement lies on a sort of table-land, 
in the centre of the Allegheny Mountains, and the chief villages are 
Armagh and Ebensburg, the latter of which is the seat of justice for 
the county. Two or three faithful pastors accompanied them from 
Wales, and to this day, I believe, they conduct then* religious services 
in Welsh. There are, likewise, several congregations of Welsh Bap- 
tists in the State of New York, and throughout the United States 
not fewer perhaps than thirty or forty churches of Calvinistic Welsh 

I have no means of knowing how extensive the emigrations from 
Wales, from first to last, have been ; doubtless they have been far 
from unimportant in point of numbers. What, however,, is of most 
consequence is, that they have been good in point of character, and 
have already given to America many distinguished men. The Rev. 
Mr. Davies, of whom I shall have some notice to give hereafter, prob- 
ably the most eloquent preacher in America in his day, and, at his ' 
death, president of the College of New Jersey, was, if I mistake not, 
of Welsh ancestry. The Morris family, so numerous, and in many 
of its members so distinguished, is of Welsh origin. So, also, are the 
Morgans. Besides these, we find many persons of the name of Jones, 
Owen, Griffiths, Evans, etc., all of Welsh descent, several of whom 
have risen to eminence in the Church and State. I may add that 
Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, whom I have had oc- 
casion already to notice, was a native of Wales. 




Next to the Puritans of England we must unquestionably rank 
the Scotch, as having largely contributed to form the religious char- 
acter of the United States. A few words, then, as to the causes that 
have, at different times, led so many of the natives of Scotland to 
pass over to America, will not be out of place, and will prepare the 



reader for the remarks to be made on the religious character of emi- 
grants from that part of the United Kingdom. 

James I., before he left Scotland, when called to the throne of En- 
gland in 1603, assured his countrymen of his love to their Church, 
and of his determination to support it ; but no sooner had he crossed 
the Tweed than he manifested a predilection for Prelacy, and a de- 
cided aversion to Presbytery, as being of an essentially republican 
tendency. Flattered and caressed by the aged Whitgift, by Ban- 
croft, and other bishops, he soon learned to hate the Presbyterians 
of Scotland, as well as to despise the Puritans of England ; nor 
was it long before he showed a fixed purpose to change, if possible, 
the ecclesiastical government of his northern kingdom, notwithstand- 
ing that prudence and natural timidity deterred him from abrupt 

It was otherwise with his unfortunate son. Charles I. resolved to 
snatch at results to which caution and cunning might, in time, have 
conducted his arbitrary, but timid father. He began with ordering 
the publication of a Book of danons, essentially altering the constitu- 
tion of the Church of Scotland, and these he tried to enforce by his 
own authority. He next caused a liturgy to be drawn up and pub- 
' lished, copied, in a great measure, from that of the Church of En- 
gland, but brought by Laud into a closer agreement with the Rom- 
ish Missal ; and this he commanded all the Scotch ministers to use 
on pain of suspension. These proceedings led, at last, to open resist- 
ance on political as well as religious grounds ; for they involved an 
assumption of powers denied to the king by the Scottish Constitu- 
tion, and it was seen and felt that if he could introduce the English 
Liturgy, he might, at some future time, force upon them the Romish 
Mass. The wrong attempted in Scotland roused the sympathy of 
England, and the upshot, as Mr. Hallam remarks, " was that the liber- 
ties of England were preserved, but her monarchy was overthrown." 

But the course of Charles II. was even worse than that of his 
father. When that father was beheaded, the son was a friendless fu- 
gitive. The Scotch offered to receive him as their king, and to assist 
him in recovering the throne of England, on his pledging himself, by 
oath, to maintain their Presbyterian form of Church government. 
This he engaged to do, and, on his arriving among them, he sub- 
scribed the Covenant. The Scotch, thereupon, took up arms in his 
cause, but were defeated by Cromwell, so that Charles was driven 
a second time to the Continent. When restored, in 1660, to the 
throne of England, he voluntarily renewed his former promise to the 
Scotch, to whom he was greatly indebted for his restoration ; but no 
sooner was he well seated on that throne than his oaths and j:>romises 


were all forgotten. Presbyterianism was almost immediately abol- 
ished, and Episcopacy established in Scotland ; and that, too, in the 
most repulsive form*. The bishops were invested by royal mandate 
with the utmost plenitude of prelatical power, and a new law for- 
bade speaking against the king's ecclesiastical supremacy, or the gov- 
ernment of the Church by bishops and archbishops. A court of 
High Commission, partly composed of prelates, and armed with in- 
quisitorial powers, was set up, and was followed by scenes of persecu- 
tion and oppression, unparalleled except by the worst doings of 
Rome. Numbers of learned and pious ministers were ejected, and 
though their places were filled, for the most part, by ignorant and 
ungodly men,* the people were compelled, under severe penalties, to 

* The author would not be understood, for a moment, to place in the same cate- 
gory all the prelates, and all the parish clergy, introduced into the Scottish Estab- 
lished Church by the measures mentioned in the text. He is well aware that among 
the former there was a Robert Leighton, who was forced, however, by the atrocities 
of his associates, to relinquish an office which his gentle spirit would no longer suffer 
him to hold, and a Henry Scougal among the latter. Such beautiful characters were 
enough to redeem, if that were possible, the worthlessness of a whole generation, 
composed of such men as the greater number of the intruded clergy are known to 
have been. The author could not avoid referring to the arbitrary principles and hor- 
rible cruelties of the Scottish prelates, and of the statesmen who patronised them, 
and he has not done so with the intention of casting odium on Episcopacy in general; 
the odium being due to the men and their principles, not to their office. Should it be 
supposed that stronger terms than the truth of history will warrant have been em- 
ployed in speaking of those men and their doings, let the reader consult Burnet's 
"History of his own Times;" Dr. Cook's "History of the Church of Scotland;" or Mr. 
Hallam's " Constitutional History of England." Let two short extracts from the last 
of these authorities suffice : 

"The enormities of this detestable government are far too numerous, even in 
species, to be enumerated in this slight sketch, and, of course, most instances of 
cruelty have not been recorded. The privy council was accustomed to extort con- 
fessions by torture ; that grim divan of bishops, lawyers, and peers, sucking the groans 
of each undaunted enthusiast, in the hope that some imperfect avowal might lead to 
the sacrifice of other victims, or at least warrant the execution of the present." And 
again: "It was very possible that Episcopacy might be of apostolical institution; but 
for this institution houses had been burned and fields laid waste, and the Gospel had 
been preached in the wilderness, and its ministers had been shot in their prayers, 
and husbands had been murdered before their wives, and virgins had been defiled, 
and many had died by the executioner, and by massacre, and in imprisonment, and 
in exile, and slavery ; and women had been tied to stakes on the sea-shore till the tide 
rose to overflow them, and some had been tortured and mutilated ; it was a religion 
of the boots and the thumb-screw, which a good man must be very cold-blooded in- 
deed if he did not hate, and reject from the hands which offered it. For, after all, it 
is much more certain that the Supreme Being abhors cruelty and persecution, than 
that he has set up bishops to have superiority over presbyters." — Const Hist, vol. hi., 
pp. 435, 442. 


attend their worthless ministrations. The ejected ministers were not 
allowed to preach, even in the fields, under pain of death. They 
might pray in their own houses, but none of their neighbors were 
allowed to attend. Even the nearest relations were forbidden to 
afford shelter to the denounced, or in any way to succor them. 
All land-owners were required to give bonds that neither they nor 
their dependants should attend "conventicles," as the forbidden 
meetings were called. The laws were enforced by mutilation, tor- 
ture, fines, imprisonment, banishment, and death. Soldiers were 
quartered upon defenceless families, and allowed to harass them as 
they pleased ; men were hunted down like wild beasts, and shot or 
gibbeted upon the highways ; and this dreadful state of things lasted 
nearly thirty years, for the sole object of forcing upon the Scotch a 
form of Church government which they conscientiously disliked. 
Can we wonder that the Scotch Presbyterians of that day detested 
Prelacy, as not the occasion only, but the cause of their sufferings ? 
In their experience it was identified with despotism, superstition, and 
irreligion ; whereas Presbyterianism was associated with the love of 
Liberty and Truth. The Scottish Parliament being then so consti- 
tuted and regulated as to be a very imperfect exponent of the will, 
and a very feeble advocate of the rights, of the nation, it was the 
General Assembly of the Church, therefore, which the people re- 
garded as the best guardian of their dearest interests and privileges. 
In the suppression of free Assemblies, the body of the nation prob- 
ably felt themselves more grievously wronged than had Parliament 
itself been suppressed ; and such, upon the whole, was the state of 
the law, and the oppressive manner in which it was administered, 
that none can reasonably wonder that the most loyal people to be 
found anywhere should have attempted to rid themselves of their 
oppressors by rising against them. The attempts of this kind, how- 
ever, whether made in England or in Scotland, led only to the sacrifice 
of some valuable lives ; nor was it until, by the Revolution of 1688, 
so bloodless, yet so complete, the Stuarts were again removed from 
the throne, that a better era dawned upon both kingdoms. 

Such, however, was the severity of the nation's griefs while they 
lasted, that it seems strange that the Scotch Presbyterians did not 
abandon their country en masse. But they were withheld by the 
hope of better times — a hope that even sometimes arrested plans of 
extensive emigration. Thus, after a company of thirty-six noblemen 
and gentlemen had contracted for a large tract of land in the Caro- 
linas, as an asylum for their persecuted countrymen, the project was 
relinquished, in hopes of the success of the abortive attempt for which 
Russel and Sidney suffered in England. Many, nevertheless, went 


over from Scotland into Ireland — many emigrated to America ; and 
a large proportion of the former, or of their descendants, ultimately 
sought a resting-place in the New World. This emigration from 
Scotland and Ireland, after it had thus commenced in the reisrns of 
Charles II. and James II., was continued, from other causes, down 
to the American Revolution, and consisted, almost exclusively, of 
Presbyterians. It was not until a later epoch that the emigration of 
Roman Catholics from Ireland to America properly commenced ; at 
least, until then it was too inconsiderable to merit notice. 

Let us now see to what parts of America this emigration was 
directed, and which have enjoyed most of the happy effects of its 
moral influence. 

New England did not, on many accounts, present the greatest at- 
traction to Scotch emigrants. Not only were its best districts already 
occupied, but in almost all its colonies a Church was established, be- 
tween which and the Presbyterian there might not be all the harmony 
that was to be desired. Some, nevertheless, did go to New England, 
and received a kind welcome there. According to Cotton Mather, 
even previous to 1640, four thousand Presbyterians had arrived in 
that province, but what proportion of these came from Scotland and 
Ireland we have no means of ascertaining. At a later period, Lon- 
donderry, in New Hampshire, was founded by a hundred families of 
Irish Presbyterians, who, having brought their pastor with them, or- 
ganized a Presbyterian church there. Another church of that denom- 
ination was formed at Boston in 1729, and such it remained until 
1786, when it became Congregational. Other Presbyterians settled 
at Pelham and Palmer. 

Neither was New York, for some time at least, an inviting quarter 
to Presbyterian emigrants ; the establishment of the Episcopal Church 
in that colony toward the close of the seventeenth century, and the 
intolerance to which it led, would naturally deter them from making 
it their choice. Some, indeed, had arrived previously to that epoch, 
and many Scotch and Irish settled in the province in the following 
century, particularly as the American Revolution was drawing on. 
Between four hundred and five hundred emigrants from Scotland 
alone arrived at New York in 1737, and twenty years later, Scotch 
and Irish colonists established themselves in Ulster county, and also 
at Orange and Albany. 

In 1682, William Penn, and eleven other Quakers, having bought 
the claims of Lord Carteret's heirs, associated with themselves twelve 
other persons, a large proportion of whom were Scotch, with the 
view of securing as extensive an emigration as possible from Scot- 
land, as well as other places. Nor were they disappointed ; many 


were induced to leave that country and the north of Ireland, and 
settle in East New Jersey, from the favorable accounts they heard of 
that colony. " It is judged the interest of the government," said 
George Scott, of Pitlochie, a Scotchman of rank and influence, " to 
suppress Presbyterian principles altogether ; the whole force of the 
law of this kingdom is leveled at the effectual bearing of them down. 
The rigorous putting of these laws in execution has, in a great part, 
ruined many of those who, notwithstanding hereof, find themselves 
in conscience obliged to retain their principles. A retreat, where by 
law a toleration is allowed, doth at present offer itself in America, 
and is nowhere else to be found in his majesty's dominions."* "This 
is the era," says Mr. Bancroft, " at which East New Jersey, till now 
chiefly colonized from New England, became the asylum of Scottish 
Presbyterians." " Is it strange," asks that author, " that many Scot- 
tish Presbyterians, of virtue, education, and courage, blending a love 
of popular liberty with religious enthusiasm, came to East New Jersey 
in such numbers as to give to the rising commonwealth a character 
which a century and a half has not effaced ?"f Many of the more 
wealthy of these emigrants brought with them a great number of 
servants, and, in some instances transported whole families of poor 
laborers, whom they placed on their lands. \ And in speaking of the 
town of Freehold, in Monmouth county, one of the earliest settle- 
ments in New Jersey, the Rev. William Tennent, long pastor of the 
Presbyterian church in that place, observes, "The settling of that 
place with a Gospel ministry was owing, under God, to the agency 
of some Scotch people that came to it ; among whom there were 
none so painstaking in this blessed work as one Walter Ker, who in 
1685, for his faithful and conscientious adherence to God and His 
Truth, as professed by the Church of Scotland, was there apprehend- 
ed and sent to this country under a sentence of perpetual banish- 
ment. By which it appears that the devil and his instruments lost 
their aim in sending him from home, where it is unlikely he could 
ever have been so serviceable to Christ's kingdom as he has been 
here. He is yet (1744) alive ; and blessed be God, flourishing in his 
old age, being in his 88th year."§ 

But it was to Pennsylvania that the largest emigrations of Scotch 
and Irish, particularly of the latter, though at a later period, took place. 
About the commencement of the last century, they began to arrive in 
large numbers. It is said that nearly six thousand Irish arrived in 

* Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. ii., p. 411. 
f Ibid., vol. ii., p. 414. X Gordon's "History of New Jersey," p. 51. 

§ The Rev. William Tennent, quoted by Dr. Hodge in his "Constitutional History 
of the Presbyterian Church in the United States." 


1729 ; and that up to the middle of the century as many as twelve 
thousand came over every year. Speaking of that period, Proud, in his 
History of Pennsylvania, says, " They have flowed in of late years 
from the north of Ireland in very large numbers." They settled in 
the eastern and middle parts of the State, the only parts then inhab- 
ited by white men. Cumberland county was filled with them. 

From Pennsylvania they emigrated in great numbers into the 
western parts of Maryland, the central portions of Virginia, and the 
western counties of North Carolina. A thousand families are said 
to have left the northern colonies for the last of these provinces 
in the single year of 1764. There their descendants now constitute 
a dense homogeneous population, occupying the whole western sec- 
tion of the State, and distinguished by the strict morality and un- 
bending principles of their forefathers. Five or six hundred Scotch 
settled near Fayetteville, 1ST. C, in 1749, and there was a second ar- 
rival from the same country in 1754, after which a steady yearly im- 
migration of the same hardy and industrious people was kept up for 
a long period.* 

But, besides the emigration of Scotch and Irish colonists from 
Pennsylvania into Maryland, the latter province received emigrants 
direct from Scotland and Ireland. Colonel Ninian Beall, a native of 
Fifeshire, who had been implicated in some of the disturbances in his 
native country, fled first to Barbadoes, and removed thence to Mary- 
land, where he bought an immense estate, including much of the 
ground now occupied by Washington and Georgetown. About two 
hundred of his friends and neighbors joined him at his request about 
the year 1690, and brought along with them the Rev. Nathaniel 
Taylor, their pastor. 

In 1684, a small colony of persecuted Scotch settled under Lord 
Cardross, in South Carolina.f In 1737, multitudes of husbandmen 
and laborers from Ireland embarked for that province,]; and within 
three years before 1773 no fewer than sixteen hundred emigrants from 
the north of Ireland settled there. Indeed, of all European countries, 
Ireland furnished South Carolina with the greatest number of inhab- 
itants ;§ they not only settled in the interior, but also on Edisto and 
the other islands on the coast. 

* The Scotch settlers near Fayetteville, in North Carolina, are said to have been, 
almost without exception, from the Highlands. Gaelic is still spoken by some of the 
old colonists, and I understand that it is used in some of the churches in that quarter 
for public worship, which, I may add, is in every respect conducted as in Scotland. — 
See Dr. Hodge's " Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church" vol. i., p. 66. 

\ Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. ii., p. 173. 

\ Holmes's Annals, vol. ii., p. 145. 

§ Ramsay's " History of South Carolina," vol. i., p. 20 ; vol. ii., pp. 23, 548. 


Georgia, too, was partly colonized by Scotch and Irish, who emi- 
grated south-westward from Pennsylvania, across Maryland, Virginia, 
and North Carolina, besides receiving no small proportion of its first 
settlers directly from the Highlands of Scotland. 

Thus it is manifest that the Presbyterians from Scotland and the 
north of Ireland have largely contributed to form the religious char- 
acter of the United States ; particularly in the middle and southern 
parts of the country, and, by consequence, the corresponding parts 
of the Valley of the Mississippi, which have been colonized from them. 
As the early emigrants from Scotland and Ireland were not only 
Protestants, but decidedly religious people, they did much to give a 
religious tone to the districts in which they established themselves, 
being precisely those that most stood in need of such an influence. 
So that in this we have another instance of the Divine interposition 
in behalf of a country, whose whole history is a continued illustration 
of the mercy and the goodness of God. 

I may add, in concluding this chapter, that America owes to the 
early emigrations from Scotland and Ireland not a few of the men 
who have risen to the highest eminence both in Church and in State. 
The Tennents, the Blairs, the Allisons Avere of Scotch-Irish origin ; 
Dr. Witherspoon, one of the most valuable men in America of his 
day, both as a divine and as a statesman, Dr. Nisbet, and many others, 
were from Scotland. 

The son of a poor Irish emigrant, who had settled in North Carolina, 
has been President of the United States.* The son of a Scotch-Irish 
emigrant, who had settled first in Pennsylvania,* and removed after- 
ward to South Carolina, has been Vice President.f 




Next to the English Puritans and Scotch Presbyterians we must 
rank the exiled Huguenots, or French Reformed, as having done most 
to form the religious character of the United States. 

The Reformation found its way into France in the reign of Francis 
I., but was hated by that monarch on a two-fold account. First, it 
placed man before his Creator and his Judge, without the interven- 
tion of human proxies, or the possibility of standing there on the 

* General Andrew Jackson. f John C. Calhoun. 


ground of human merit. It placed the sinner at once in presence of 
the God against whom he had sinned. Second, because, in Calvin's 
hands, the natural development of his principles threatened the ques- 
tioning of the rights of despotic power. Hence, although the king's 
love of literature, and his patronage of learned men, led him for a 
time to defend the chiefs of the Reformation in France, on account 
of the interest they showed in the revival of letters, and his hatred 
of the scholastic and fanatical theologians of the Sorbonne, Francis 
distinguished himself by being almost the first ruler that put a Prot- 
estant to death. His successors but too closely followed his example. 
Persecution, though intermitted at times, owing to the pressure of 
circumstances, was resumed when that pressure ceased, until 1598, 
when Henry IV. granted the Edict of Nantes — a measure which was 
far from according to the Protestants the full measure of their rights, 
but which was sacredly observed during the remainder of that mon- 
arch's reign. During that of his successor, Louis XIH., and the early 
years of Louis XIV., that famous ordinance was no better than an 
ill-observed truce. 

Louis XIV., after having come to the crown in his minority, was 
now approaching his fiftieth year, and had begun to feel the decline 
of passions which he had long indulged without a regard for the re- 
straints of religion and morality, other than a habitual compliance 
with the outward forms of the Romish Church, and occasional fits 
of remorse, that were soon forgotten amid the excitement of new 
pleasures. In proportion as his relish for a voluptuous life became 
blunted by increasing age and satiety, he grew more and more anx- 
ious to atone in some way for long years of sinful indulgence, by 
acts of extraordinary devotion, without altogether sacrificing, how- 
ever, either his love of pleasure or the pursuit of glory. He was thus 
in a state of mind admirably calculated to make him the tool of an 
order of men who have acquired the highest celebrity for their pro- 
found knowledge of the human heart, and their consummate skill in 
making alike its strength and its weakness subserve the advancement 
of their power, more especially in the case of persons placed in stations 
of authority and influence. A Jesuit skilled in casuistry, and a fas- 
cinating and ambitious woman, were bent, the one on making the 
king, who had been brought up in moderate sentiments toward the 
Reformed, and had long provoked their enemies by his respect for the 
Edict of Nantes, become the instrument of Rome in utterly suppress- 
ing the Reformation in France, and, if possible, throughout Europe ; 
the other, on making herself the monarch's wife. To attain these 
ends, they played into each other's hands, with an unrivaled mastery 
of all the arts usually employed on such occasions. The confessor 


used his influence in confirming the favorite's ascendancy in the king's 
affections— the favorite, though educated a Protestant, and under 
early and deep obligations to a Protestant relation, sacrificed her 
friends, and perhaps her convictions, by professing an extravagant 
zeal for the universal reign of the Roman Catholic religion, and by 
suggesting that in no way could the king better atone for his past 
irregularities, or promote his own glory, than by laboring " for the 
conversion of heretics." Both succeeded, but not to the full measure 
of their desires. Madame de Maintenon was privately married to 
Louis XIV., but never became the acknowledged queen of France. 
The Edict of Nantes was revoked, but the Reformation survives in 
the French dominions to this day * 

The king had come under too many solemn obligations to observe 
that Edict, and had a conscience too little sophisticated by Jesuit 
morality in early life, to be brought into a direct revocation of Prot- 
estant privileges. The mode by which his scruples were overcome 
was exceedingly ingenious. His consent was first obtained to a mul- 
titude of indirect methods of diminishing the numbers of the Re- 
formed ; much violence and fraud unknown to him were mingled with 
the execution of those measures, and he was then persuaded that the 
Edict of Nantes was unnecessary, since those in whose favor it had 
been granted had ceased to exist in his dominions. Favors of every 
kind were promised to those who would recant the alleged errors 
transmitted to them from their ancestors, or embraced by themselves ; 
offices were held out as the reward of such meritorious recantations, 
while, on the other hand, all hope of public employment, and even 
of public favor in any form, was denied to such as refused to be con- 
verted. Not only were they excluded from every post of honor or 
place of trust, but even the guilds and trades' corporations were closed 
against them. No Protestant was to be allowed to marry a Roman 
Catholic, Bribery was also employed, and converts were purchased 

for gold. 

Proselytism, nevertheless, went on slowly, and death threatened to 
overtake the illustrious apostle before he could see his subjects united 
again under the crosier of the successor of Peter the fisherman. The 
enterprise must needs be hastened forward. The sacredness of the 
family sanctuary is next invaded. Children of seven years of age are 
invited to abjure the faith of their parents. Protestant ministers be- 
gin to be tormented in every way : Protestant chapels are pulled 
down, or confiscated to other uses ; Protestant schools are shut up ; 

* Madame de Maintenon was probably not at heart in favor of persecuting Prot- 
estants ; but she had neither the principle nor the firmness to oppose it as she ought 
to have done. 


Protestant funds are seized and diverted from their legitimate ends ; 
those that attempt to fly are forbidden to leave France, under pain 
of being sent to the galleys. Vain attempt ! The conversions still 
proceed very slowly. 

Next come scenes of violence. Instead of Jesuit missionaries, 
or, rather, along with those missionaries, dragoons are sent into the 
Protestant districts, to be quartered on the inhabitants, and to worry 
them into conversion. Ferocity and lust are let loose under every 
roof, and escape is hopeless. 

At length the Edict of Nantes was formally revoked. All public 
worship among the Protestants was suppressed ; their places of pub- 
He worship existed no more, for them at least. The old Chancellor Le 
Tellier. could exclaim, "Now, Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in 
peace," and the royal dupe believed that he had united all dissenters 
with the Roman Church. 

But what pen can describe the results of this pretended union ? 
Property plundered, books destroyed, children torn from their parents, 
faithful pastors who would not abandon their flocks broken on the 
wheel, the bodies of all who died unreconciled to the Church thrown 
to the beasts, estates given up to relations who conformed to the 
Romish Church, and protracted tortures employed to extort recanta- 
tions of Protestantism ! Men were even roasted at slow fires, plunged 
into wells, and wounded with knives, and red-hot pincers. The loss of 
life can not now be computed, but it has been asserted that ten 
thousand persons perished at the stake alone; or on the gibbet and the 

In consequence of these proceedings, it is believed that no fewer 
than half a million of Protestants left France. It was in vain that 
the frontiers were guarded. Despair was more ingenious in devising 
means of evasion than was bigotry in its endeavors to prevent it. 
Another half million, unable to escape, remained in France, yet could 
not be reduced to absolute conformity with the established creed and 
worship. Fanaticism grew weary in hunting down its victims, and 
found nothing harder to subdue than the human mind, when once 
disenthralled by Truth. 

Those Huguenots that escaped sought refuge in all the Protestant 
countries of Europe, at the Cape of Good Hope, and in America, car- 
rying with them the useful arts wherever they went, and founding 
many new manufactures in Germany, Holland, and the British Islands. 
An entire suburb of London came to be inhabited by French mechan- 
ics, and they had six churches at one time in that city. The Prince 
of Orange took whole regiments of brave refugees into his service, 

* De Kulkiere, (Euvres, v., p. 221. 


and retained them after he became William III. of England. Most 
affecting narratives have come down to our times from the actors in 
those scenes, and yet filial piety has not been so diligent as it ought 
to have been in collecting and preserving them. 

" In our American colonies," says the eloquent historian to whom 
I have been so often indebted, "they were welcome everywhere. 
The religious sympathies of New England were awakened. Did any 
arrive in poverty, having barely escaped with life — the towns of Mas- 
sachusetts contributed liberally to their support, and provided them 
with lands ; others repaired to New York ; but a warmer climate 
was more inviting to the exiles of Languedoc, and South Carolina 
became the chief resort of the Huguenots. What though the attempt 
to emigrate was, by the law of France, a felony ? in spite of every 
precaution of the police, five hundred thousand souls escaped from 
the country. The unfortunate were more wakeful to fly than the 
ministers of tyranny to restrain. 

" ' We quitted home by night, leaving the soldiers in their beds, 
and abandoning the house with its furniture,' said Judith, the young 
wife of Pierre Manigault ; ' we contrived to hide ourselves for ten 
days at Romans, in Dauphiny, while a search was made for us ; but 
our faithful hostess would not betray us.' Nor could they escape to 
the sea-board except by a circuitous journey through Germany and 
Holland, and thence to England, in the depths of winter. * Having 
embarked at London, we were sadly off. The spotted fever appeared 
on board, and many died of the disease ; among these, our aged 
mother. We touched at Bermuda, where the vessel was seized. 
Our money was all spent ; with great difficulty we procured a passage 
in another vessel. After our arrival in Carolina, we suffered every 
kind of evil. In eighteen months, our eldest brother, unaccustomed 
to the hard labor which we were obliged to undergo, died of a fever. 
Since our leaving France we had experienced every sort of affliction 
— disease, pestilence, famine, poverty, hard labor. I have been six 
months without tasting bread, working like a slave; and I have 
passed three or four years without having it when I wanted it. And 
yet,' adds the excellent woman, in the spirit of grateful resignation, 
' God has done great things for us in enabling us to bear up under so 

many trials.' 

" This family was but one of many that found a shelter in Carolina, 
the general asylum of the Calvinist refugees. Escaping from a land 
where the profession of their religion was a felony, where their es- 
tates were liable to become confiscated in favor of the apostate, 
where the preaching of their faith was a crime to be expiated on the 
wheel, where their children might be torn from them to be subjected 


to their nearest Catholic relation— the fugitives from Languedoc, on 
the Mediterranean, from Rochelle, and Saintonge, and Bordeaux, the 
Provinces on the Bay of Biscay, from St. Quentin, Poictiers, and the 
beautiful valley of Tours, from St. Lo, and Dieppe, men who had the 
virtues of the English Puritans without their bigotry came to the 
land to which the tolerant benevolence of Shaftesbury* had invited 
the believer of every creed. From a land that had suffered its king 
in wanton bigotry to drive half a million of its best citizens into 
exile, they came to the land which was the hospitable refuge of the 
oppressed ; where superstition and fanaticism, infidelity and faith, 
cold speculation and animated zeal, were alike admitted without ques- 
tion, and where the fires of religious persecution were never to be 
kindled. There they obtained an assignment of lands, and soon had 
tenements ; there they might safely make the woods the scene of 
their devotions, and join the simple incense of their psalms to the 
melodies of the winds among the ancient groves. Their church was 
in Charleston, and thither on every Lord's day, gathering from the 
plantations on the banks of the Cooper, and taking advantage of the 
ebb and flow of the tide, they might all regularly be seen, the pa- 
rents with their children, whom no bigot could wrest from them, 
making their way in light skiffs, through scenes so tranquil that 
silence was broken only by the rippling of the oars and the hum of the 
flourishing village at the confluence of the rivers. 

" Other Huguenot emigrants established themselves on the south 
bank of the Santee, in a region which has since been celebrated for 
affluence and refined hospitality. 

" The United States are full of monuments of the emigrations from 
France. When the struggle for independence arrived, the son of 
Judith Manigault intrusted the vast fortune he had acquired to the 
service of the country that had adopted his mother ; the hall in Bos- 
ton, where the eloquence of New England rocked the infant Spirit 
of Independence, was the gift of the son of a Huguenot ; when the 
treaty of Paris, for the independence of our country was framing, 
the grandson of a Huguenot, acquainted from childhood with the 
wrongs of his ancestors, would not allow his jealousies of France to 
be lulled, and exerted a powerful influence in stretching the boundary 
of the States to the Mississippi. In our north-eastern frontier State, 
the name of the oldest college bears witness to the wise liberality of 

* The " Constitutions" which Mr. Locke prepared for Carolina, and to which Mr. 
Bancroft alludes, promised, not equal rights, but " toleration" to "Jews, heathens, and 
other dissenters," to "men of any religion." The Episcopal Church was to be estab- 
lished by law. 


a descendant of the Huguenots. The children of the Calvinists of 
France have reason to respect the memory of their ancestors."* 

The emigration of the Huguenots to America is an exceedingly 
interesting event in the history of that country. It commenced 
earlier, and was more extensive than is generally supposed. Even 
previously to the massacre of St. Bartholomew's day, some of the 
Protestant leaders, as we have seen, whether from feeling their posi- 
tion to be even then intolerable, or from their anticipations of a still 
darker future, proposed to establish a colony and a mission in Brazil 
— the mission being the first ever projected by Protestants. An ad- 
miral of France, the brave Coligny, who was afterward a victim in 
the above massacre, entered warmly into the undertaking, and Cal- 
vin urged it on with all his might, and selected three excellent 
ministers, who had been trained under his own eye at Geneva, to 
accompany the emigrants. The expedition set out in 1556, but 
proved peculiarly disastrous. The commander relapsed to the Roman 
Catholic faith, and having put the three ministers to death, returned 
to France, leaving the remains of the colony to be massacred by the 
Portuguese ! Nor did better success attend two attempts made by 
the good admiral to plant colonies in North America, the one in 
South Carolina, the other in Florida. It seemed as if the time had 
not yet come for the planting of good colonies, and that neither re- 
ligion nor persecution had as yet sufiiciently ripened the Protestants 
for the enterprise. 

From the time of the siege of Rochelle to that of the Revocation 
of the Edict of Nantes, there had been a continual emigration of 
French Protestants to the English colonies in America, which, after 
the latter of these two events, was greatly augmented, as is abund- 
antly proved by the public acts of those colonies. The first notice 
of the kind to be found is an act of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, 
in 1662, to this effect, " that John Touton, a French doctor and in- 
habitant of Rochelle, made application to the General Court of Mas- 
sachusetts, in behalf of himself and other Protestants, expelled from 
their habitations on account of their religion, that they might have 
liberty to live there, which was readily granted to them."f In 1686, 
a grant of eleven thousand acres was made to -another company of 
French Protestants who had settled at Oxford, in the same colony.J 
In that year, too, a French Protestant Church was erected at Boston, 
which, ten years after, had the Reverend Mr. Daille for its pastor. 
A century later, when the French Protestants had ceased to use the 
French language, and had become merged in other churches, their 

* Bancroa's "History of the United States," vol. it, p. 180-183. 

f Holmes's " American Annals" for that year. % Ibid. 


place of worship fell into the hands of some Roman Catholic refugees 
from France. 

In 1666, an act for the naturalization of French Protestants was 
passed by the Legislature of Maryland ; acts to the like effect were 
passed in Virginia, in 1671 ; hi the Carolinas, in 1696 ; and in New 
York, in 1703* 

New York became an asylum for the Huguenots at a very early 
date ; for even before it was surrendered to England, namely, about 
1656, they were so numerous there that the public documents of the 
colony had to be published in French as well as in Dutch ;f and in 
1708, Smith, the historian of that colony, says that, next to the 
Dutch, they were the most numerous and wealthiest class of the pop- 
ulation. From an early period they had in that city a church, which 
exists at the present day. It has long been attached to the Protest- 
ant Episcopal Church, and has a Frenchman for its rector. 

New Rochelle, about twenty miles above the city of New York, 
on the East River, or Sound, as it is more commonly called, was set- 
tled solely by Huguenots from Rochelle in France, and the French 
tongue, both in public worship and common parlance, was in use even 
until after the American Revolution. There are many of the descend- 
ants of French Huguenots in Ulster and Dutchess counties in the 
State of New York. 

The late Reverend Dr. Miller, so long a distinguished professor 
of Church History in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, New 
Jersey, had the following interesting facts, respecting the early in- 
habitants of New Rochelle, communicated to him : " When the Hu- 
guenots first settled in that neighborhood, their only place of worship 
was in the city of New York. They had taken lands on terms that 
required the utmost exertions of men, women, and children among 
them to render tillable. They were, therefore, in the habit of work- 
ing hard till Saturday night, spending the night in trudging down on 
foot to the city, attending worship twice the next day, and walking 
home the same night to be ready for work hi the morning. Amid all 
these hardships, they wrote to France to tell what great privileges 
they enjoyed.''^ 

In 1679, Charles II. sent, at his own expense, in two ships, a com- 
pany of Huguenots to South Carolina, in order that they might there 
cultivate the vine, the olive, etc. ; and from that time there was an 

* Huguenots had long been settled in both the Carolinas and New York before 
they were naturalized. This arose solely from internal difficulties, which rendered 
their naturalization, for the moment, impossible, not from any unwillingness to re- 
ceive them. 

•j- Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. h\, p. 302. 

% " History of the Evangelical Churches of New York." 


extensive emigration of French Protestants to the colonies. Collec- 
tions were made for them in England in the reign of James II., and 
the English Parliament at one time aided them with a grant of 
£15,000.* In 1690, William III. sent a large colony of them to Vir- 
ginia ; in addition to which, that colony received three hundred fami- 
lies in 1699, followed successively by two hundred, and afterward by 
one hundred families more. In 1752, no fewer than one thousand 
six hundred foreign Protestants, chiefly French, settled in South Car- 
olina, and above two hundred more in 1764. 

In 1733, three hundred and seventy Swiss Protestant families set- 
tled in South Carolina, under the conduct of Jean Pierre Pury, of 
Neuchatel; the British government granting them forty thousand 
acres of land, and £400 sterling for every hundred adult emigrants 
landed in the colony. f 

In some of the colonies where an Established Church was supported 
by a tax, special acts were passed for relieving French Protestants of 
that burden, and for granting them liberty of worship. Thus, in 
1700, the colony of Virginia enacted as follows: "Whereas a con- 
siderable number of French Protestant refugees have been lately im- 
ported into his majesty's colony and dominion, and several of which 
refugees have seated themselves above the fall of James's River, at or 
near the place commonly called and known by the name of the Mon- 
acan towns, etc., the said settlement be erected into a parish, not 
liable to other parochial assessments." This exemption was to last 
for seven years, and was afterward renewed for seven more.! 

These Huguenots, wherever sufficiently numerous, at first used 
their own language in public worship, and had churches of their own, 
until, with one or two exceptions, and those only for a time, they fell 
into either the Presbyterian or the Episcopal denomination. This must 
be taken as a general statement, for their descendants may now be 
found in almost all communions, as well as in all parts of the United 
States. Many members, too, of the Reformed Dutch churohes are 
descended from Huguenots, who had first taken refuge in Holland, and 
afterward emigrated to America. ISTor must we forget the descend- 
ants of Huguenots who found their first asylum in England and Scot- 
land. Among these was the late excellent Divie Bethune, whose an- 
cestors came originally from the town of Bethune, not far from Calais. 

On looking over the roll of the Presbyterian churches of Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, there may be found the Huguenot names of 
Dupre, Du Bosse, Quillin, Lanneau, Legare, Rosamond, Dana, Cou- 

* Holmes's " American Annals." f Ibid. 

% Ibid., pp. 432, 4*72, 492. Hening's "Statutes," p. 201. Dr. Hawks's "Episco- 
pal Church in Virginia," p. 19. 


sac, Lequeux, Bores, Hamet, Rechon, Bize, Benoist, Berbant, Mar- 
chant, Mallard, Belville, Molyneux, Chevalier, Bayard, Sayre, De 
Saint Croix, Boudinot, Le Roy, Ogier, Janvier, Gillet, Purviance, 
Guiteau, Boyer, Simon, etc., etc.* 

As the entire population of the American colonies amounted only 
to about two hundred thousand souls in I701,f more than forty years 
after the commencement of the Huguenot emigration, a large propor- 
tion of that number must have been French Protestants, and Hugue- 
not blood accordingly must be extensively diffused among the citi- 
zens of the United States at the present day.J It is very obvious 
that so large an accession of people, whose very presence in America 
proved the consistency of their religious character, and who were 
generally distinguished by simple and sincere piety, must have been 
a great blessing to the land of their adoption, especially to the South- 
ern States, where it was most required. Their coming to America, 
on the other hand, has been blest, under God, to them and to their 
descendants. Many of the first families in New York, Maryland, Vir- 
ginia, and the Carolinas, as well as in other States, are to be found 
among them, as may be seen in many cases from their names, 
although these have often been lost through intermarriages, or can 
with difficulty be recognized, owing to their being spelled as they are 
pronounced by Anglo-Americans. Some of the most eminent persons 
that have ever adorned the United States were of Huguenot descent. 
Such were no fewer than three out of the seven presidents of Con- 
gress, and, hi a sense, of the whole nation, during the war of the 
Revolution, namely, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and Elias Boudinot — 
all excellent men. 

I conclude this chapter in the words of a distinguished clergyman 
of the Episcopal Church in America.§ " And never, probably, did 
any people better repay the hospitable kindness of the land which af- 
forded them a refuge. Many of their descendants are still left in 
New York, Virginia, the Carolinas, and other parts of our country ; 
and among the brightest ornaments of the State, in the halls of legis- 
lation and of justice, as well as in the sacred office, may be found the 
names of some of the French refugees. No man in America need 
ever blush to own himself one of their descendants ; for the observa- 
tion has more than once been made, and it is believed to be true, 
that among their descendants the instances have been rare indeed of 
individuals who have been arraigned for crime before the courts of 
the country." 

* Lang's " Eeligion and Education in America)" p. 24. f Holmes's "Annals." 
X Lang, pp. 22, 23. 

§ Eev. Dr. Hawks's u History of the Episcopal Church in "Virginia." 






Germans began to emigrate to America in the latter part of the 
seventeenth century, and the first comers were probably sufferers in 
the devastations committed by the French under Turenne in the Up- 
per Palatinate : a country lying on both sides of the Rhine, having 
Manheim for its capital, and including a portion of the territory 
which has since been transferred from the German Empire to France. 
In 1674 the whole of it was rendered almost utterly desolate by the 
troops of Louis XIV., who had no better motive for perpetrating 
such atrocities than that the invaded province was part of the empire 
with which he was then at war, and, next, that its inhabitants were 
almost all Protestants. So effectually did these troops do their mas- 
ter's bidding, that the Elector Palatine could at one time see, from 
his palace at Manheim, two cities and twenty-five villages in flames ! 
In this work of horror Turenne, no doubt, proved to his royal mas- 
ter's satisfaction the sincerity of his conversion from Protestantism to 
Romanism, but he forever tarnished by it his own great name. 

As persecution continued what war and rapine had begun, when 
the Palatinate fell under the government of a bigot, many German 
Protestants emigrated to the English colonies in America ; and it 
may be remarked, that previously to the American Revolution, the 
German emigration, though not always confined to the Palatinate, 
and though many of the emigrants came from the southern part of 
Germany, continued to be almost purely Protestant. 

About two thousand seven hundred "Palatines," as they were 
called, who had sought refuge in England, were sent out by the 
British government under Colonel Hunter in 1710, when that officer 
was transferred from the Governorship of Virginia to that of New 
York ; and German settlements were formed about that time, and 
some years following, on the " German Flats," and in other parts 
of the latter province. 

It is probable that the first individuals who came from Germany 
to the United States arrived with the Swedes in 1638, and settled on 
the Delaware and Hudson. 

In 1681-84, some Germans, followers of Simon Menno, settled near 
Philadelphia and founded Germantown. The " awfully cold winter 
of 1709," led to the emigration of thirty thousand Germans from the 
Rhine to England, of whom it is said that five thousand came with 


Governor Hunter in 1710 to New York, and settled on the Hudson 
and the Mohawk. They were mainly from the " Palatinate." In 1707, 
Mennonites from Switzerland and South Germany settled in great 
numbers in what is now Lancaster county, Pennsylvania ; and in 
subsequent years, such was the influx of those emigrants, that they 
and their descendants were estimated, in 1772, at a third of the 
whole population of that province, then amounting to between 
two and three hundred thousand.* In a letter dated October 
14, 1730, Mr. Andrews says: "There is besides in this province a 
vast number of Palatines, and they come in still every year. Those 
that have come of late are mostly Presbyterians, or, as they call 
themselves, Reformed ; the Palatinate being about three fifths of that 
sort of people." There were, however, many Lutherans mixed with 
them, as Mr. A. afterward remarks, while he adds : "In other parts 
of the country they are chiefly Reformed, so that, I suppose, the 
Presbyterian party are as numerous as the Quakers, or near it."f In 
the year 1749, twelve thousand Germans arrived in that colony, and 
for several years thereafter nearly the same number came.J 

In 1732, a few Moravians settled in the same district of country, 
and a few years later those who came over with Oglethorpe to Geor- 
gia emigrated from that colony to Pennsylvania, and founded the 
settlements of Bethlehem and Nazareth, near Easton, in that State. 
Before the Revolution, Germans were to be found in New York, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, the Caro- 
linas, Georgia, and also in Maine. Not long after the Revolution, the 
emigration from Germany began again. Indeed, hundreds of the 
" Hessians" of the English armies remained in America. It has, how- 
ever, been mainly within the last twenty-five years that the German 
immigration has become very great. From 1842 to 1846, it is be- 
lieved that more than two hundred thousand Germans reached this 
country by way of Bremen alone. And during the last ten years 
it is estimated that not much less than a million of people from the 
land of Luther and Hermann have come to us. 

The earlier emigrations from Germany spread from Pennsylvania 
into Maryland and Virginia. "The year 1713 was rendered memor- 
able by an act of kindness shown to certain emigrants, similar to that 
which had been manifested toward the French refugees. It seems 
that a small body of Germans had settled above the falls of the Rap- 
pahannock, on the southern branch of the river, in the coimty of 
Essex. This was at that period the frontier of civilization; and, 
therefore, it was alike the suggestion of interest and humanity to 

* Proud's " History of Pennsylvania," vol. ii., p. 273. 

f Dr. Hodge's "Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church," vol. i., p. 50, 

% Proud's "History of Pennsylvania," vol. ii., pp. 273, 274. 


afford protection and encouragement to these foreigners. Accord- 
ingly, they were exempted, as the French had been, from all ordi- 
nary taxes for the term of seven years, and were formed into the 
a Parish of St. George," with power to employ their own minister 
and upon their own terms."* 

Many Germans emigrated to the Carolinas also. In 1709 above 
six hundred arrived, and from the name of their settlement, New- 
bern, they are supposed to have been Swiss-Germans from the canton 
of Berne.f From 1730 to 1750, South Carolina recived large. acces- 
sions from Switzerland, Holland, and Germany, and a great many 
"Palatines" arrived every year.J In 1764, five or six hundred sent 
over from London, and had a township set apart for them.§ Some 
years later a considerable number of German families, after having 
settled in Maine, left that province to join their countrymen at Lon- 
donderry in South Carolina, but most of these repented having taken 
that step, and returned to Maine, where their descendants are to be 
found at this day.|| 

Georgia had Germans among its very first colonists. A band of 
these were led thither by Colonel Oglethorpe, and re-enforcements 
from time to time arrived from Europe. 

The Germans who emigrated to America during the colonial era, 
being almost all Protestants, organized upon their arrival two Com- 
munions or Churches, upon the great doctrinal principles which had 
divided them into two denominations in Germany — the Reformed, 
or the Calvinists, and the Church of the Augsburg Confession, or 
Lutherans. The history of these churches down to the present day 
will fall under our notice elsewhere. But although difference of 
language compelled them in the first instance to have churches of 
their own, many of their descendants, partly from having adopted 
the English tongue, partly from their wide dispersion over the coun- 
try, are now members of the Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist, and 
Baptist Churches. 

Among the Germans who settled in America were two small, but 
interesting portions of the ancient Sclavonic churches of Bohemia, as 

* Dr. Hawks's "History of the Episcopal Church in Virginia," p. 81. 

f Williamson's " History of North Carolina," vol. i., p. 184. 

\ Ramsay's "History of South Carolina," vol. i., p. 11. 

§ Holmes's "American Annals," vol. ii., p. 268. 

| There is an interesting account of this colony in the American Quarterly Regis- 
ter for November, 1840. It was commenced, it would seem, in 1139, and received 
several accessions from Germany, but never became very strong. It suffered much 
in its early days from the Indians, and also from lawsuits about the titles to the 
lands occupied by the emigrants. The chief place in the colony is called Waldobo- 
rough, where there is a church and a pastor, but the German language is now 


if to show that even the great Eastern branch of the Christian Church 
was to have its representatives also in the New World, and to con- 
tribute to lay the foundations of a Christian empire there. These 
were the United Brethren, or Moravians, as they are more commonly 
called, and some members of the churches of Bohemia. The Mora- 
vians came directly from Herrnhut, the mother city of the whole fra- 
ternity that adopt the renovated system, received by some of the 
remains of the ancient race from Count Zinzendorf, in the early part 
of the last century. The Bohemians came in a dispersed state by 
way of Holland, but not having organized themselves as a distinct 
communion, these children of John Huss and Jerome of Prague were 
soon merged in the Protestant clmrches of the land of their adoption. 
Not so with the United Brethren, who preserve their own organiza- 
tion and peculiar institutions to this day. Besides a few churches in 
such large cities as Philadelphia and New York, and some scattered 
throughout the interior, they are chiefly to be found in the three 
settlements of Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz in Pennsylvania, and 
Salem in North Carolina. But I shall speak of their history and pres- 
ent number in another part of this work. 

Previous to the Revolution, the German emigration was not only 
extensive, but also, to a considerable degree at least, pure. The 
emigrants had left Europe on account of their religion, and brought 
with them into America the simple and tranquil habits, and the 
frugal industry that characterize the nation from which they came. 
Not only was their general standard of morality high, but there were 
not wanting among them a goodly number of sincere Christians, dis- 
tinguished for the cultivation of all the Christian virtues. But ever 
since the Revolution, and especially during the last thirty years, a 
very numerous emigration from Germany to the United States has 
taken place, consisting both of Protestants and of Roman Catholics, in- 
fluenced in expatriating themselves chiefly by worldly considerations, 
and much inferior in point of religious character to those godly emi- 
grants of the same race who had been driven to our shores by perse- 
cution and oppression at home. 

The descendants of German settlers are very numerous in Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland, Virginia, and the other Southern States, as well as 
in New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin 
and Iowa.* Indeed, they are by far the most numerous of all the 
emigrants to America that are not of the British stock. But their 
influence on the religious character of the nation has not been equa] 
to that of the Puritans, the Scotch, or the Huguenots. 

The first Bible printed in America was Luther's version. 
* There are many Germans also in Texas. 





Even Poland was called upon to furnish her contingent toward 
the colonization of America, and sent over some excellent people, 
whose descendants are now dispersed over the country. 

I know not whether the fact I am about to mention stands re- 
corded in any history, but it may, without hesitation, be received as 
true in all material points. I received it myself from some excellent 
ministers of the Reformed Dutch Church, who are personally ac- 
quainted with a considerable number of the descendants of the colo- 
nists to whom it relates. They state that in the early part of the 
eighteenth century, a Count Sobieski, a lineal descendant of the 
famous John Sobieski III., who routed the Turks at the battle of 
Choczin in 1673, and chased them from the walls of Vienna in 1683, 
led a colony of about two hundred Protestants from Poland to the 
shores of America, there to enjoy a religious freedom which was not 
to be fomid in their native country. 

In this tradition there is nothing strange. The doctrines of the 
Reformation made a considerable progress for a time in Poland, and 
one or two of the kings of that country were well disposed toward 
it. Nearly half the nobles embraced it. Stipulations somewhat like 
the Edict of Nantes were even made, for securing liberty of con- 
science and of worship to the Protestants. But these were afterward 
disregarded, the Protestants persecuted, and their doctrines so ef- 
fectually suppressed, that a Protestant Pole is hardly to be found 
now in the whole kingdom ; for the greater part of those Protestants 
whom one meets with there, are of the German, not of the Polish race. 
Thus there is nothing incredible in the representation of Poland, too, 
in a country where the persecuted of every land have found a home. 

This Polish colony settled in the valleys of the Passaic and Raritan 
Rivers in New Jersey, where there are some of their descendants at 
the present day, while others are dispersed over various parts of the 
country. The name of Sobieski, corrupted into that of Zabriskie, is 
retained by a highly respectable family, some members of which are 
to be found in one district of New Jersey, and others in the city of 
New York. 

How wonderful are the ways of God ! Poland chose to cleave to 
Romanism and rejected the Protestant Reformation, and how has 
Romanism served her in her dreadful struggle for national independ- 


ence in 1830-31? This question is best answered by the pope's 
bull,* addressed to the bishops of the kingdom in relation to that 
war, a bull which was fatal to the Revolution. 




While even Bohemia, Moravia, and Poland thus sent forth their 
little bands of faithful men to America, it is not surprising that we 
should find some witnesses to the Truth proceeding from the Valleys 
of Piedmont, to place themselves in the ranks of those whom God 
was thus calling, from so many nations, to take part in peopling the 
New World with professors of the pure Gospel. It was most fitting 
that among those there should be some, at least, to represent that 
martyr-people, veritable living relics of those churches in the north 
of Italy and south-east of France, which had remained faithful to the 
Truth during long ages of apostacy, and whose preservation was so 
appropriately symbolized by " the bush unconsumed in the midst of 
the flames." 

These had heard, in the recesses of their valleys, of the wonderful 
movement of the Reformation in Germany and France. They sent 
a deputation to Berne and Basel to learn from Bucer and (Ecolam- 
padius what were the sentiments of the Reformers, and what those 
doctrines which were turning the world upside down. They heard 
with joy that the faith of the Reformers was the same as their own, 
and hastened, accordingly, to unite themselves to the general body 
of faithful men, who, through much tribulation, were casting off the 
yoke of that spiritual Babylon, drunk with the blood of saints, which 
had been endeavoring for so many ages to crush their forefathers. 

But before long the persecution, which was to fall upon the whole 
Protestant body, reached them also, and with fresh violence. Neither 
the seclusion of their valleys, nor the insignificance of their numbers, 
could save them from this stroke. Then it was that the voice o^f 
Cromwell spoke for them with a power which even the Emperor of 
Germany dared not disregard. And then the pen of England's great- 
est poet was no less ready to teach a persecuting prince the duty 
that he owed to suffering humanity, than it was " to assert eternal 

* This bull is given at length in the work of the Abbe de la Mennais entitled 
*' Rome." 


providence, and justify the ways of God to man." Those valleys 
contain enduring monuments of British benevolence ; the fund con- 
tributed at that time by the Christians of England has aided the 
preaching of the Gospel to their poor inhabitants ever since. But 
such as had fled from persecution before the voice of Britain was 
thus lifted up, were to be provided with an asylum, and for this they 
were indebted to the city of Amsterdam, which offered them a free 
passage to America. There the few hundreds that embraced the offer 
found a welcome reception awaiting them.* 



Such, as respects the religious character of the colonists, was the 
early colonization of the United States ; and well may it excite our 
wonder as altogether without a parallel in the history of the world. 
What were the colonies of Egypt, of Phoenicia, of Greece, and Rome ? 
what the colonies of France, Spam, and Portugal, when compared 
with those we have been considering? Before leaving the subject, 
let us take a general survey of their character. 

1. They were not composed of the rich, the voluptuous, the idle, 
the effeminate, and the profligate, neither were they, generally speak- 
ing, composed of poor, spiritless, dependent, and helpless persons. 
They rather came from that middle class of society, which is placed in 
the happy medium between sordid poverty and overgrown wealth. 
They knew that whatever comfort or enjoyment they could look for 
in the New World, was only to be attained by the blessing of God 
upon their industry, frugality and temperance. 

2. They were not an ignorant rabble, such as many ancient and 
some modern States have been obliged to expel from their borders. 
Taken in the mass, they were well-informed — many of them remark- 
ably so for the age in which they lived — and which in the case of none 
of them was an age of darkness. Letters had revived ; the art of 
printing had diffused a great amount of valuable knowledge among 
the middle ranks of society, and was fast carrying it down to the 
lowest. With few exceptions, they had acquired the elements of a 

* " Albany Records," vol. iv., p. 223. Lambrechtsten, p. 65, without quoting his 
authority, says six hundred came over. Mr. Bancroft, vol. ii., p. 322, thinks this an 
over-statement. A second emigration was proposed in 1663, but the project failed. 
Those who came settled at various places in the vicinity of New York, and collections 
were often made for them in the Reformed Dutch churches. 


good education. There were few persons in any of the colonies that 
could not read. They were, moreover, a thinking people, and very 
unfit to be the slaves of despotic power. 

3. They were a virtuous people ; not a vicious herd, such as used 
to be sent out by ancient States, and such as chiefly colonized South 
America and Mexico, men of unbridled passions and slaves to the 
basest lusts. The morality of the early colonists of the United States 
was unrivaled in any community of equal extent, and has been lauded 
by almost all who have written about them, as well as by those who 
have governed them. 

4. They were religious men. They believed and felt that Chris- 
tianity is no vain fancy — a fact that holds true even as respects those 
of them with whom religious motives were not the chief inducement 
for expatriating themselves. The overwhelming majority stood ac- 
quitted of the slightest approach to infidelity. Neither were they 
what are called " philosophers," attempting to propagate certain new 
theories respecting human society, and suggesting new methods for 
rendering it perfect. By far the greater number of them were simple 
Christians, who knew of no way by which men can be good or happy 
but that pointed out by God in His Word. There was not a single 
St. Simon or Robert Owen to be found among them. Some of them, 
indeed, were irreligious men ; some were even openly wicked, and op- 
posed to all that is good. But these, in most of the colonies, formed 
a very small minority. 

Nor was their religion inoperative. It produced the fruits of 
righteousness. They have been blamed for their conduct to the In- 
dians, but not with so much justice as has been supposed. No doubt 
there were instances of individual wrong, but they can not be charged 
with any general want of justice or kindness to the Aborigines. In 
almost every case they bought from those prior occupants the lands 
on which they settled. But on this, and on some other points of a 
general nature, I shall have more to say in another place. 

5. With few exceptions, the first colonists were Protestants ; in- 
deed, Lord Baltimore's was the only Roman Catholic colony, and even 
in it the Romanists formed but a small minority long before the Rev- 
olution of 1775. The great mass had sacrificed much, some their all, 
for the Protestant faith. They were Protestants in the sense of men 
who took the Bible for their guide, who believed what it taught, not 
what human authority put in its place. " What saith the Lord ?" 
this was what they desired first of all, and above all, to know. And 
it was the study of the Bible that opened their eyes to truths which 
bore upon every possible relation of life, and upon every duty. There 
they learned to look upon all men as children of the same heavenly 


Father, as redeemed by the same Saviour, as going to the same bar 
of judgment, before which all must stand stripped of the factitious 
distinctions of this world. They saw no reason, therefore, why one 
man should lord it over another, since all " are of one flesh," and if 
Christians, brethren in Christ. And they learned from the Bible that 
obedience is due to rulers, not because they are different in blood or 
rank from other men, but because government is " an ordinance of 
God." Obedience to God secured their obedience to civil rulers. As 
God can not command what is wrong, no ruler can be justified in 
doing so, nor can he expect obedience if he does. And while they 
learned from the Bible what were their duties, so they learned there 
also what were their rights. This led them at once to practise the 
former, and to demand the latter. 

6. The great majority of them had suffered much oppression and 
persecution, and in that severe but effectual school had learned lessons 
not to be acquired in any other. It led them to question many things 
to which otherwise their thoughts might never have been directed, 
and it gave them irresistible power of argument in favor of the right 
of the human mind to freedom of thought. Indeed, it is remarkable 
how large a proportion of the early colonists of the United States 
were driven from Europe by oppression. Although Virginia and the 
Carolinas were not expressly established as asylums for the wronged, 
yet during the Commonwealth in England they afforded a refuge to 
the " Cavalier" and the " Churchman," as they did afterward to the 
Huguenot and German Protestant. Georgia was colonized as an 
asylum for the imprisoned and " persecuted Protestants ;" Maryland, 
as the home of persecuted Roman Catholics ; and the colony of Gus- 
tavus Adolphus was to be a general blessing to the " whole Protestant 
world," by offering a shelter to all who stood in need of one. Even 
ISTew York, though founded by Dutch merchants, with an eye to trade 
alone, opened its arms to the persecuted Bohemian, and to the inhab- 
itant of the Italian Valleys. So that, in fact, all these colonies were 
originally peopled more or less, and some of them exclusively, by the 
victims of oppression and persecution ; hence the remark of one of 
our historians is no less just than eloquent, that " tyranny and injustice 
peopled America with men nurtured in suffering and adversity. The 
history of our colonization is the history of the crimes of Eu- 

V. Though incapable as yet of emancipating themselves from all the 
prejudices and errors of past ages, with respect to the rights of con- 
science, they were at least in advance of the rest of the world on these 
points, and founded an empire in which religious liberty is at this day 
* Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. ii., p. 251. 


more fully enjoyed than anywhere else — in short, is in every respect 

8. Lastly, of the greater number of the early colonists it may be 
said, that they expatriated themselves from the Old World, not merely 
to find liberty of conscience in the forests of the New, but that they 
might extend the kingdom of Christ, by founding States where the 
Truth should not be impeded by the hindrances that opposed its 
progress elsewhere. This was remarkably the case with the Puritans 
of New England ; but a like spirit animated the pious men who set- 
tled in other parts of the country. They looked to futurity, and 
caught glimpses of the glorious progress which the Gospel was to 
make among their children and children's children. This comforted 
them in sorrow, and sustained them under trials. They lived by faith, 
and their hope was not disappointed. 



In treating of the religious character of the early Anglo-American 
colonies, I have spoken but incidentally of their forms of Church 
government, and even now proceed to consider these only in so far 
as may be required for a right understanding of the established rela- 
tions between their Churches and the civil government. I shall else- 
where treat of the various religious communions in the United States, 
or, rather, of the diverse forms in which the Church presents itself to 
the world ; and the doctrines peculiar to each. We have here to do 
only with the relations which the State bore in the different colonies 
to the Church ; and where these two bodies were united, we shall see 
what were the nature and extent of that union. 

Many persons whom I have met with in Europe seem to have 
been altogether unaware of the existence of any such union in any 
part of the United States, and, still more, have had no correct idea 
of the nature of that union in the different parts of the country where 
it was to be found. 

If we consider for a moment what was the state of the Christian 
world when these colonies were planted, in the early part of the sev- 
enteenth century, we must see that the mass of the colonists would 
be very little disposed to have the Church completely separated from 


the State in their infant settlements, and the former deriving no support 
from the latter. The Church and the State were at that time inti- 
mately united in all the countries of Europe ; and the opinion was 
almost universally entertained that the one could not safely exist with- 
out the direct countenance of the other. It is not even certain that 
England, or any other country, would have granted charters for the 
founding of permanent colonies, unless upon the condition expressed, 
or well understood, that religion was received with public sanction 
and support. Assuredly, James I., at least, was not likely to - consent 
to any thing else. 

Be that as it may, the first colonists themselves had no idea of 
abolishing the connection which they saw everywhere established be- 
tween the civil powers and the Church of Christ. To begin with 
New England, nothing can be more certain than that its Puritan col- 
onists, whether we look to their declarations or to their acts, never con- 
templated the founding of communities in which the Church should 
have no alliance with the State. Their object — and it was one that 
was dearer to them than life itself — was to found such civil communi- 
ties as should be most favorable to the cause of pure religion. They 
had left England in order to escape from a government which, in 
their view, hindered the progress of Divine truth, oppressed the con- 
science, and was inexpressibly injurious to the immortal interests of 
men's souls. " They had seen in their native country the entire sub- 
jection of the Church to the supreme civil power ; reformation begin- 
ning and ending according to the caprices of the hereditary sovereign ; 
the Church neither purified from superstition, ignorance, and scandal, 
nor permitted to purify itself; ambitious, time-serving, tyrannical 
men, the minions of the court, appointed to the high places of prel- 
acy ; and faithful, skillful, and laborious preachers of the Word of 
God silenced, imprisoned, and deprived of all means of subsistence, 
according to the interests and aims of him or her who, by the law of 
inheritance, happened to be at the head of the kingdom. All this 
seemed to them not only preposterous, but intolerable ; and, there- 
fore, to escape from such a state of things, and to be where they 
could freely practice ' Church Reformation,' they emigrated."* 

In the formation, likewise, of their civil institutions in the New 
World, they determined that, whatever else might be sacrificed, the 
purity and liberty of their churches should be inviolate. Bearing 
this in mind, they founded commonwealths in which the churches were 
not to be subordinate to the State. Not that they were "Fifth mon- 
archy men :" they had no wish that the Church should engross to 

* Reverend Dr. Bacon's " Historical Discourses on the Completion of Two Hundred 
Tears from the beginning of the first Church in New Haven," pp. 11, 18. 


itself the powers of the State, and so rule in civil as well as in eccle- 
siastical matters. But they thought it better that the State should be 
accommodated to the Church, than the Church to the State. " It is 
better," said Mr. Cotton, " that the commonwealth be fashioned to 
the setting forth of God's House, which is His Church, than to accom- 
modate the Church frame to the civil State."* 

With this in view, they sought to avail themselves of all the lights 
furnished by the experience of ancient as well as modern States, and 
looking especially to the Constitution of England as it then stood, 
they framed civil governments in which, as they hoped, not only the 
temporal, but, still more, the spiritual interests of mankind might best 
be promoted. They considered that they had a right to do so, and 
held opinions on this«point directly at variance with those of the age 
in which they lived. The fashion then was to deduce all authority 
from the Divine right of kings, and the theory of civil power was 
that of uninterrupted hereditary succession. But the Puritan found- 
ers of New England thought that " they were free to cast themselves 
into that mould and form of commonwealth which appeared best for 
them," in reference to their grand purpose : nor did they doubt that 
a government thus originating in voluntary compact, would have 
equal right to the exercise of civil authority with that of any earthly 

But whatever were the details of their policy, and whatever the 
results of some parts of it, it is most certain that they intended that 
the Church should in no sense be subject to the State. They held 
the great and glorious doctrine that Christ is the only Head and 
Ruler op the Church, and that no human legislation has a right to 
interfere with His. It has been said that they took the Hebrew com- 
monwealth for their model in civil politics, and this is so far true. 
But it holds as to their penal code more than with respect to the 
forms of their civil governments. With the exception of the first 
few years of the Massachusetts Bay and New Haven colonies, there 
was no such blending of civil and religious authority as existed in 
the Jewish Republic. There was much, however, in the Hebrew 
commonwealth and laws that seemed adapted to the circumstances 
of men, who had just exchanged what they considered a worse than 
Egyptian bondage for a Canaan inhabited by the " heathen," whom 
they were soon to be compelled to " drive out." The two cases were 
more alike than at first strikes a superficial observer, f There were 

* Cotton's "Letter to Lord Say and Seal," in " Hutchinson's History of New En- 
gland," vol. i., p. 49?. 

f " The Laws of Moses were given to a community emigrating from their native 
country to a land which they were to acquire and occupy for the great purpose of 


parts of the Mosaic law, excluding, of course, all that was typical, 
ceremonial, and local, which the colonists thought they might do well 
to adopt, until, in the course of time, they should find reasons for 
changing to something better. Had it been the laws of Solon, Ly- 
curgus, Nnma, or Alfred, which they adopted, some who now ridi- 
cule would perhaps have applauded them, as if Moses were inferior to 
any of those lawgivers. There are men who know more of the laws 
of Solon, and even of Minos, than about Moses, and who, in their 
ignorance talk of the Jews of the days of Moses as if almost, if not 
altogether, savages : not knowing that they were quite as much civ- 
ilized as any of their cotemporaries, and had institutions prescribed 
to them by the Supreme Ruler and Lawgiver. 

It is remarkable that, with the exception of the Plymouth settlers, 
all the first New England colonists — all who founded Massachusetts 
Bay, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, New Haven, Providence, 
and Rhode Island — up to their leaving England, were members of 
the Established Church. The Plymouth people alone were Inde- 
pendents,* had had their church organized on that principle for years, 

maintaining in simplicity and purity the worship of the one true God. The founders 
of this colony came hither for the self-same purpose. Their emigration from their na- 
tive country was a rehgious emigration. Every other interest of their community 
was held subordinate to the purity of their religious faith and practice. So far, then, 
as this point of comparison is concerned, the laws which were given to Israel in the 
wilderness may have been suited to the wants of a religious colony planting itself in 

" The laws of Moses were given to a people who were to live not only surrounded 
by heathen tribes on every frontier save the sea-board, but also with the heathen 
inhabitants, worshippers of the devil, intermixed among them, not fellow-citizens, 
but men of another and barbarous race ; and the laws were therefore framed with a 
special reference to the corrupting influence of such neighborhood and intercourse. 
Similar to this was the condition of our fathers. The Canaanite was in the land, with 
his barbarous vices, with his heathenish and hideous superstitions ; and their servants 
and children were to be guarded against the contamination of intercourse with beings 
so degraded. 

" The laws of the Hebrews were designed for a free people. Under those laws, 
so unlike all the institutions of Oriental despotism, there was no absolute power, and, 
with the exception of the hereditary priesthood, whose privileges, as a class, were 
well balanced by their labors and disabilities, no privileged classes. The aim of 
those laws was 'equal and exact justice;' and equal and exact justice is the only 
freedom. Equal and exact justice, in the laws and in the administration of the laws, 
infuses freedom into the being of a people, secures the widest and most useful distri- 
bution of the means of enjoyment, and affords scope for the activity and healthful 
stimulus to the affections of every individual. The people whose habits and senti- 
ments are formed under such an administration of justice, will be a free people." — 
Bacon's "Historical Discourses,'" pp. 30, 31. 

* They were not, properly speaking, Separatists, in the distinctive sense in which 
that word was used at that epoch, viz., those who not only refused to have any sort 


and were such even before they went to Holland. If any of the 
other original colonists of New England had been thrust out from 
the Established Church of the mother country, they had not organ- 
ized themselves on any other principle ; and, however opposed to the 
spirit of its rulers and to some of its ceremonies and usages, their 
attachment to the Church itself, as well as to many of those whom 
they had left within its pale, is manifest from the letter of Governor 
Winthrop and his associates, just after embarking for America. 

But on arriving there they immediately proceeded to the founding 
of an ecclesiastical economy upon the Independent plan, having for 
its essential principles, "That, according to the Scriptures, every 
Church ought to be confined within the limits of a single congrega- 
tion, and that the government should be democratical ; that Churches 
should be constituted by such as desired to be members, making a 
confession of their faith in the presence of each other, and signing a 
covenant ; that the whole power of admitting and excluding mem- 
bers, with the deciding of all controversies, was in the brotherhood ; 
that church-officers, for preaching the Word and taking care of the 
poor, were to be chosen by the free suffrages of the brethren ; that 
in Church censures, there should be an entire separation of the eccle- 
siastical from the civil sword; that Christ is the Head of the Church; 
that a liturgy is not necessary; and that all ceremonies not prescribed 
by the Scriptures are to be rejected." 

But how are we to account for a change in their views so sudden 
and so great ? Even when Winthrop left England, in 1630, neither 
the Presbyterian nor the Independent doctrines, as to Church gov- 
ernment, had made that progress in public opinion which they had 
made when the Long Parliament, and Cromwell and his army, began 
to play their parts. It is quite possible, or, rather, all but certain, 
that several of the ministers in the Massachusetts Bay colony were 
low Episcopalians, and friends of Archbishop Usher's scheme ; but 
if all the leading colonists were as much inclined to Presbyterian- 
ism as some have thought, it is hard to imagine why they did 
not establish that form of government. It is difficult to make out, 
on the other hand, why they diverged so widely, and at once, from 
the Episcopal economy, as to adopt Independency, which is almost 

This, it appears to me, may be referred to two or three causes. 

of communion with the Established Church, but denounced all who did. The Sep- 
aratists were exceedingly bitter in their hostility to every thing which bore the name 
of the Established Church of England. The farewell address of John Robinson to 
the Pilgrims who left Leyden to plant the colony at Plymouth, breathed a very dif- 
ferent spirit. 


First, it is natural that, on quitting England, where they had suffered 
so much from Prelacy, they should renounce an ecclesiastical system 
that conferred upon any men powers so capable of being abused; nor 
can it be thought surprising that in such circumstances they should 
go to the opposite extreme, and prefer an ecclesiastical government 
of the most democratical sort. Another, and much more powerful 
reason for their rejecting Episcopacy, would be that they might es- 
cape the jurisdiction of the bishops, which would otherwise unques- 
tionably have followed them. And, lastly, there can be no doubt 
that they were much influenced by what they saw and heard of the 
Plymouth colony. It will be remembered that the first division of 
the Massachusetts Bay settlers, under Endicott, reached Salem in 
1628, and that the main body, under Winthrop, followed in 1630, 
and founded Boston. It would seem that the Reverend Mr. Higgin- 
son, the distinguished minister in Endicott's colony, led the way in 
effecting the change, he having, upon his arrival at Salem, or soon 
afterward, introduced the Independent plan among his people, though 
not without much difficulty, being opposed by the two Brownes, 
John and Samuel, who, in consequence of this opposition, had to re- 
turn to England. Mr. Higginson was disposed to receive very favor- 
ably the accounts transmitted from the Plymouth colony on the other 
side of the Bay. It is true that Edward Winslow, in his " Brief 
Narrative," as well as Cotton, in his " Way," etc., undertakes to prove 
that Plymouth did not exert the influence that has been ascribed to 
it, and which even by Gorton and his accomplices has been charged 
against it as a crime. But I think it clear that they admit the sub- 
stance of the charge.* 

* "Winslow says, " It is true, I confess, that some of the chief of them," referring 
to the colony of Massachusetts Bay, "advised with us how they should do to fall 
upon a right platform of worship, and desired to that end, since God had honored us 
to lay the foundation of a commonwealth and to settle a Church in it, to show them 
whereupon our practice was grounded ; and if they found, upon due search, it was 
built upon the "Word of God, they would be willing to take up what was from God." 
He then goes on to say that they of Plymouth showed them the warrant for their 
government in the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the Gospels ; and that their 
friends, the other colonists, were well pleased therewith, and also agreed to walk in 
the same way, so far as God should reveal His will to them, from time to time, in His 
Word. As for Cotton, he says, "The dissuader is much mistaken when he saith, 
' The congregation of Plymouth did incontinently leaven all the vicinity,' seeing for 
many years there was no vicinity to be leavened. And Salem itself, that was gath- 
ered into church order seven or eight years after them, was above forty miles distant 
from them. And though it be very likely that some of the first-comers (meaning En- 
dicott and Higginson) might help their theory by hearing and discerning their prac- 
tice at Plymouth, yet therein is the Scripture fulfilled, ' The Kingdom of heaven is 
like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till all was 
leavened.' " 


The Church, then, that was established in all the New England 
colonies, with the exception of Providence and Rhode Island,* was 
what is termed in the United States, Congregational, and in England, 
Independent : though there is some difference between the Congrega- 
tional churches in the former of these countries, and the Independent 
in the latter, as I shall show in another part of this work. I speak 
here of the form of government. As for doctrines, they were essen- 
tially those of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England; in 
• other words, Calvinistic. 

Let us now see what were the relations between the Church and 
the State or " Commonwealth," in New England. In every colony 
there, except the two above mentioned, the object of one of the first 
acts of civil legislation was to provide for the support of public wor- 
ship ; and other laws followed from time to time to the same effect, 
as circumstances required. Without going into unnecessary details, 
suffice it to say, that parishes or " towns" of a convenient size were 
ordered to be laid out, and the people were directed by the proper au- 
thorities of their respective towns to levy taxes for erecting and keep- 
ing in due repair a suitable " meeting-house," for the maintenance of 
a pastor or minister, and for all other necessary expenses connected 
with public worship. I am not aware that any exemption from this law 
was allowed for a long time after the colonies were founded. Such 
was the fundamental union of Church and State in the colonies that 
now form the States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, 
and Maine. 

The next law adopted in the Massachusetts Bay colony dates from 
1631, the year after the arrival of Winthrop and his company, and, 
as we shall hereafter see, it was pregnant at once with evil and with 
good. It ran thus : " To the end that the body of the commons may 
be preserved of honest and good men, it is ordered and agreed, that 
for the time to come, no man shall be admitted to the freedom of this 
body politic but such as are members of some of the churches within 
the limits of the same."f In other words, no one was to vote at elec- 
tions, or could be chosen to any office in the commonwealth, without 
being a member of one of the churches. This law was long in force in 
Massachusetts and in Maine, which, until 1820, was a part of that State; 
but it never prevailed, I believe, in New Hampshire, and was un- 
known, of course, in Rhode Island. But a like law existed from the 
first in New Haven, and when that colony was united, in 1662, with 

° And it too may be called Congregational, for it was founded by Baptists, whose 
churches are essentially Independent in form of government. 
f Bancroft's " History of the United States," vol. i., p. 360. 



Connecticut, where this had not been the case, it became, I believe, 
part of the legislation of the united colony. 

Thus we find two fundamental laws on this subject prevailing in 
New England — the one universal, with the exception of Rhode Island ; 
the other confined to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine. In 
restricting the exercise of political power to men who, as members 
of the Church, were presumed to be loyal to the grand principle of 
the colony to which they belonged, namely, the maintenance of purity 
of doctrine and liberty of worship, as the first consideration, and of 
free political government as necessary to it, the authors of that law 
doubtless contemplated rather the protection of their colonists from 
apprehended dangers than the direct promotion of piety. 

The principle, in fact, down to the foimding of these colonies, seems 
to have been adopted substantially by all nations, Popish and Protest- 
ant, Mohammedan and Heathen : so much so that Davenport said, 
" These very Indians, that worship the devil," acted on the same prin- 
ciple ; so that, in his judgment, "it seemed to be a principle imprinted 
in the minds and hearts of all men, the equity of it."* We need 
hardly remind the reader that this allegiance to the Christian Faith 
was, until very lately, indispensable to the holding of any office under 
the crown in England, and that receiving the sacrament in the Estab- 
lished Church was the legal test of a man's possessing it. 

In conclusion, I ought to state, that in the New England colonies 
the ministers of the Gospel had no part, as such, in the civil govern- 
ment. They were confined to their proper office and work. Yet no 
men had more influence, even in affairs of state. As a body of en- 
lightened patriots, whose opinion it was important to obtain, they 
were consulted by the political authorities in every hour of difficulty ; 
and although cases might be found in which the leading men among 
them, at least, did not advise their fellow-citizens wisely, it was much 
otherwise in the great majority of instances. Such was the state of 
things throughout the whole colonial age ; and to this day, in no other 
country is the legitimate influence of the clergy in public affairs — 
an influence^derived from their intelligence, united with religion, vir- 
tue, and public spirit — more manifest, or more salutary, than in New 
England. If these colonies might be compared, in their earlier 
periods, to the Hebrew commonwealth, it is certain that, wherever 
there was a Moses, there was also an Aaron ; and the influence of 
Winthrop, and Haynes, and Bradford, and Eaton, was not greater or 
happier than that of their compeers and coadjutors, the Rev. Messrs. 
Cotton, and Hooker, and Brewster, and Davenport. 

* "Discourse about Civil Government," p. 24, as quoted in Dr. Bacon's "Historical 




Virginia, too, like New England, was first colonized by members 
of the Church of England ; but there was a vast difference between 
the views of the admirers of the English Prelacy of that time, and 
those of the Puritans. The Established Church was then composed, 
in fact, of two great divisions, which in spirit, at least, have more or 
less existed ever since, and were represented in the colonization of 
America by the High Churchmen and Cavaliers of the South, on the 
one hand, and the Puritans of the North on the other. While the 
latter left England in order to escape from the oppression inflicted on 
them by the Prelacy, abetted by the Crown, the former had no com- 
plaint against either, but carried with them a cordial attachment to 

In the original charter of James I. to Virginia, it was especially 
enjoined that religion should be established according to the doctrines 
and rites of the Church of England ; every emigrant was bound to 
allegiance to the king, and to conformity with the royal creed.* Still, 
it does not appear that any provision was made for the clergy until 
1619, that is, twelve years after the commencement of the colony. A 
Legislative Assembly, elected by the colonists, met that year for the 
first time, and passed laws for the formation of parishes and the regu- 
lar maintenance of the clergy ; accordingly, the establishment of the 
Episcopal Church dates formally, if not really, from that year. 

Previously to this, however, and during the governorship of Sir 
Thomas Dale, the London Company sent over to Virginia a set of 
" laws, divine, moral, and martial," being, apparently, the first-fruits 
of Sir Thomas Smith's legislation ; and from their Draconian charac- 
ter, they give us some idea of the notions entertained in those times 
of the ways whereby religion might be promoted by the civil power. 
They were so bad, it is true, as to be little, if at all enforced. In 
short, they soon fell into complete desuetude, and were disclaimed, at 
length, by the company, without whose sanction they seem to have 
been prepared and sent. Yet there is ample evidence to prove that 
they breathed very much the spirit of the times that produced them, 
and of the party in the Church of England to which their author 
belonged— a spirit which, thank God ! has long since ceased to exist 
in any portion of the Church of Christ in that country. 

* Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. L, p. 123. 


The first of those laws bearing upon religion enjoins on the offi- 
cers of the colony, of every description, to have a care that " the 
Alinightie God bee duly and daily served," that the people " heare 
sermons," that they themselves set a good example therein, and that 
they punish such as shall be often and willfully absent, " according to 
martial law in the case provided." 

The second law forbids, upon pain of death, speaking against the 
sacred Trinity, or any Person of the same, or against the known arti- 
cles of the Christian Faith. 

The third law forbids blasphemy of God's holy name, upon pain 
of death ; and the use of all unlawful oaths, upon severe punishment 
for the first offence, the boring of the tongue with a bodkin for the 
second, and death for the third. 

The fourth law forbids, upon pain of death, speaking disrespect- 
fully of the Word of God, as well as the treating of ministers of the 
Gospel with disrespect ; and enjoins the " holding of them in all rever- 
ent regard and dutiful entreatie," under penalty of being whipped 
three times, and of " asking forgiveness in the assembly of the con- 
gregation three severall Saboth daies." 

The fifth law enjoins upon all to attend, morning and evening, every 
week-day, in the church for service, at the tolling of the bell, upon 
pain of losing their daily allowances* for the first omission, to be 
whipped for the second, and sent to the galleys for six months for the 
third. It also forbids all violation of the Sabbath by gaming, and 
commands the people to prepare themselves by private prayer for the 
proper attendance upon the public worshij), forenoon and afternoon, 
upon pain of losing their week's allowance for the first omission, the 
same and a whipping for the second, and death for the third. 

The sixth enjoins upon every minister within the colony to preach 
every Sabbath morning, and catechize in the afternoon ; to have a 
service morning and evening every day, and preach on Wednesday; 
"to chuse unto him foure of the most religious and better disposed" 
to maintain a sort of spiritual police, and to see that the church be 
kept in a good and decent state, and that he keep a register of births, 
deaths, baptisms, etc., " upon the burthen of a neglectfull conscience, 
and upon paine of losing their entertainment." 

The seventh law commands " all who were then in the colony, or 
who shall thenceforth arrive, to repair to the minister, that he may 
know, by conference had, their religious knowledge ; and if any be 

* For some time after the colony of Virginia was planted, all provisions were 
served out from the common storehouse. It was not long, however, before this plan 
of having all things in common gave place to the "individual principle" of each hav- 
ing what he could gain by his personal exertions. 


deficient, they are enjoined to go to him, at times which he shall ap- 
point, to receive further instructions, which, if they refuse to do, the 
governor, upon representation of the fact, shall order the delinquent 
to be whipped once for the first omission, twice for the second, and 
every day till acknowledgment be made and forgiveness asked for 
the third ; and also commands every man to answer, when catechized 
respecting his faith and knowledge upon the Sabbath, upon pain of 
the same peril."* 

Such was Sir Thomas Smith's code, and a wonderful specimen of 
legislation it is. To the credit of the governor and council, it seems 
never to have been enforced. 

Previously to the dissolution of the company, in 1624, the colonial 
Legislature passed a number of laws relating to the Church ; three of 
the most important were as follows : 

1. That in every plantation where the people were wont to meet 
for the worship of God, there should be a house or room set apart for 
that purpose, and not converted to any temporal use whatsoever ; 
and that a place should be impaled and sequestered only for the 
burial of the dead. 

2. That whosoever should absent himself from Divine service any 
Sunday, without an allowable excuse, should forfeit a pound of to- 
bacco ; and that he who absented himself a month should forfeit fifty 
pounds of tobacco. f 

3. That there should be a conformity in the Church as near as 
might be, both in substance and circumstance, to the canons of the 
Church of England ; and that all persons should yield a ready obedi- 
ence to them upon pain of censure.]; 

Upon the company being dissolved, the colony fell under the imme- 
diate government of the crown, which thenceforth appointed the 
.governors, as well as decided, in the last instance, upon all laws 
passed by the Assembly, the Council, and the governor. And from 
about the year 1629, the laws requiring conformity to the Established 
Church were strictly enforced, and infractions of them visited with 
severe penalties. 

* These laws must be considered far more intolerant and abhorrent to the spirit of 
Christianity than any of the statutes taken by the New England Puritans from those 
of the Hebrew Commonwealth. 

f Tobacco was the chief article of traffic which the country produced at that time, 
and was often used as a substitute for a monetary circulating medium. 

\ It will be seen, from these laws, that the actual legislation of the more liberal 
" Cavaliers" of the South was not a whit more tolerant than that of the bigoted 
"Roundheads" of New England. So it ever is; the religion of the world, with all its 
vaunted liberality, is found to be more intolerant, wherever it has a chance, than 
serious, earnest, evangelical piety. 


During the period of the " Grand Rebellion" in England, ai 
the Commonwealth lasted, Virginia sympathized strongly t 
cause of the tottering, and, eventually, fallen throne and al 
many of the friends of both found refuge there during Cr( 
Protectorate. It may be remarked, however, that the co] 
not meet with such a recompense from the restored royal hou 
loyalty justly merited. 

In 1662, in obedience to instructions from the crown, the " 
Legislature enacted several laws for the more effectual suppoi 
Established Church, the promotion of the education of youtl 
ally, and of candidates for the ministry in particular. Bu 
long before the " college" contemplated by these laws was 

Early in the eighteenth century, if not even sooner, the 
Virginia, requiring strict conformity to the Established Chur 
either have been modified, or have begun to fall into negle< 
being positive evidence that Presbyterian meetings were '. 
public worship in 1722. From that period until the Re^ 
avowed dissenters increased steadily and rapidly, and previ 
1775 there were many Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and 
churches within the colony. Still, the Episcopal Church pr 
ated, and it alone was supported by law. 

Maryland, founded by Roman Catholics, had no union of 
and State, no legal provision for any religious sect, and tolei 
until 1692,* when Protestant Episcopacy was established by 
country divided into parishes, and the clergy, as in Virgii 
ported by a tax upon the inhabitants. This was one of the r 
the Revolution of 1688 in England, and of the wide-spreac 
rence of popery which prevailed at that time, and long aft 
both in the mother-country and her colonies. Gradually, 
without encountering many obstacles, the Episcopal Chu 
vanced in the number of its parishes and clergy until the A 
Revolution, and though all other sects had ever been toleral 
the only one supported by the State. Of the good and bai 
of that establishment we shall speak hereafter. 

In South Carolina, all sects were at first protected by the '. 

* Strictly speaking, it might be said that this statement is not quite ex 
when Cromwell's commissioners came into possession of the colony, in 165^ 
islature, which was wholly subservient to Clay borne, a tool of the Protector 
law suppressing public worship among Roman Catholics and Episcopalia 
four years afterward, Fendall, acting as governor, at first in the name of th< 
taries, and afterward by his own usurpation, undertook to persecute the 
But both these exceptions were of short duration. 


taries. In 1704, however, the friends of the Episcopal Church having, 
by the arts of Nathaniel Moore, obtained a majority of one in the 
Representative Assembly of a colony two thirds of whose inhabitants 
were not Episcopalians, abruptly disfranchised all but themselves, 
and gave the Church of England a monopoly of political power. But 
the dissenters having appealed to the House of Lords in England, 
the acts complained of were annulled by the crown, and, conse- 
quently, repealed by the Colonial Assembly, two years afterward. 
Nevertheless, although the dissenters were tolerated, and admitted 
to a share in the civil government, the Church of England remained 
the Established Church of the province until the Revolution.* 

In the same year, 1*704, influenced by zeal or bigotry, the Pro- 
prietaries forced a Church Establishment upon the people of North 
Carolina, though presenting at that time an assemblage of ahnost all 
religious denominations — Quakers, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Inde- 
pendents, etc. But, according to the royalists, the majority were 
" Quakers, Atheists, Deists, and other evil-disposed persons." From 
that time glebes and a clergy began to be spoken of, and churches 
were ordered to be erected at the public cost. But we shall see that 
the Established Church made slow progress in North Carolina. 

As long as New York was under the Dutch government, the 
churches of that colony supported their pastors by voluntary contri- 
butions, and there was no union of Church and State.f But on its 
falling into the hands of the English, as the royal governors and other 
officers sent over to administer public affairs were all admirers of the 
Established Church of England, they very naturally wished to see it 
supersede the Dutch Church, while, at the same time, the English 
tongue supplanted the Dutch as the language of the colony. Gov- 
ernor Fletcher, accordingly, in 1693, prevailed on the legislature to 
pass an act for the establishment of certain churches and ministers, 
reserving the right of presentation to the vestrymen and church- 
wardens. This act was so construed, two years after, that Episcopal 
ministers alone received the benefit of it, although this does not ap- 
pear to have been the expectation or the intention of the legislature. 
From that period till the Revolution, the Episcopal was the Estab- 

* Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. iii., pp. 18, 19. 

f It can not be said, I fear, that the early Dutch colonists, or, rather, their colonial 
governors, were very tolerant. Though there was no union of the Church and State, 
they were very jealous of allowing any other than the Reformed Dutch Church to 
exist among them. A little band of Lutherans, who joined the colony almost at its 
commencement, were not allowed to hold their worship publicly until the country 
passed into the hands of the English.— Professor Schmucker's "Retrospect of Luther- 
anism in the United States" p. 6. 


lished Church, although, at the time of its becoming so, it was reckoned 
that nine tenths of the population belonged to other communions. 

East and West New Jersey, united into one province, and placed 
under the administration of the crown in 1702, had its future govern- 
ment laid down in the commission and instructions to Lord Corn- 
bury. Toleration being allowed by these to all but papists, and 
special " favor" invoked for the Church of England, that Church was 
so far established there, seventy-three years before the American 
Revolution. In Pennsylvania there never was any union of Church 
and State, nor, so far as I know, any attempt to bring it about. Del- 
aware was separated from Pennsylvania in 1691, and from that time 
had its own governors, under the immediate control of the crown. 
But in Delaware, as well as in New Jersey and in Georgia, the col- 
ony of the good cavalier, James Oglethorpe, who loved " the King 
and the Church," there can hardly be said to have been an establish- 
ment : as the " favor" shown to the Episcopal Church secured a main- 
tenance for a very small number of ministers only, and that more for 
the benefit and gratification of the officers connected with the govern- 
ment, and their families, than with the view of reaching the bulk of 
the people, who preferred other modes of worship. 

In fine, as the colonial period drew to a close, there were only two 
colonies in which the civil power did not employ its influence in sup- 
porting one or other of two Communions or Churches. In New 
England it gave its support to Congregationalism, or, as it is called 
in Britain, Independency, that being established in all the colonies 
of that province, with the single but small exception of Rhode Island. 
In the colonies to the south of these, from New York to Georgia, 
with the exception of Pennsylvania, Episcopacy was the favored 
form. Even in these last, however, there were material differences 
in the extent to which the principle of a Church establishment was 
carried out. In New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, and Geor- 
gia, that establishment was quite inconsiderable ; whereas in Virginia, 
Maryland, New York, and South Carolina, it may be regarded as 
having been widely and powerfully influential. 

Were we to select two colonies from each of these divisions as 
examples of the two favored types of Church government, so diverse, 
yet about equally favored by legal enactments and a public provision, 
we should take Massachusetts and Connecticut in the North, and 
Virginia and Maryland in the South. In these we may compare and 
contrast the nature and influence of Independency, or the most pop- 
ular form of Church organization, with Episcopacy ; or Puritanism 
with High-churchism, among the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons 
and the Normans of the New World. 




In entering upon this part of my subject, I wish simply to state 
the results, good or evil, of the union of Church and State in America, 
in so far as these were the proper fruits of the particular sort of union 
existing in one or other, respectively, of the two important sections 
of the country just mentioned ; and I have no intention of discussing 
the advantages or disadvantages of such a relation of the Church 
and the State in the abstract. We have, therefore, to look for the 
actual results in America, not for what they might have been in 
other circumstances. And as the union between Church and State 
in the North differed in some important respects from that which 
.prevailed in the South, I shall give a separate consideration to each, 
and begin with New England. 

Let us first consider what were the advantages resulting from this 

1. It is not to be denied that it proved beneficial, by securing the 
ministrations of the Gospel to the colonial settlements, as fast as these 
were formed. The law provided that the country occupied should 
be divided into " towns," or parishes, with well-defined boundaries, 
and that as soon as a certain number of families should be found re- 
siding within these boundaries, a meeting should be called by the 
proper local officers, and steps taken for the establishment of public 
worship. The expense of building such a church as the majority of 
the inhabitants, or legal voters, might choose to erect, was, like other 
taxes, to be levied on the people of the township, according to their 
properties and polls, and the pastor's stipend was, in like manner, to 
be fixed by the decision of the majority at a meeting of legal voters, 
■ and raised by a general yearly tax. 

Thus it will be seen that the township was left to decide what sort 
of building should be erected, how much should be expended upon 
it, and the amount of the pastor's stipend. As the pastor was chosen 
by the people, without any interference on the part of the civil au- 
thorities, or any other person, individual or corporate, the evils of 
patronage were unknown. In the choice of a pastor, however, be it 
observed, that it was the invariable rule from the first, that he should 
be called by the " church," that is, by the body of believers or actual 
members of the church — the communicants — and afterward by the 


" town," that is, by the legal voters, the vote of a majority of them 
being requisite to the validity of a call. This plan, so eminently 
democratical, seemed calculated to give all parties their rights. In 
case of the " church" and the " town" disagreeing as to the choice 
of a pastor, some means were almost always found for bringing about 
unanimity. Such, in brief, was the plan pursued for more than one 
hundred and fifty years in Massachusetts, and, if I am not mistaken, 
in all the other New England States, where the civil power was in 
union with the Church. 

It will be admitted that such a law as this, if enforced, must have 
made the establishment of public worship keep pace with the increase 
of the population, wherever that became numerous enough, in any 
given direction, for the building of churches ; and also must have se- 
cured to ministers of the Gospel a steadier, and possibly, too, an 
ampler support than otherwise. But it may be questioned whether 
the New England Puritans, with the dispositions and the objects they 
had in view in coming to the New World, would not have accom- 
plished of their own accord, and on what is called the voluntary plan, 
very nearly the same results, as we see is now done in Maine and 
elsewhere, since the union between Church and State has ceased. I 
am willing, however, to allow that the system I have described was 
in this respect decidedly beneficial. The mere support of public wor- 
ship was certainly never provided for in a more popular or less ex- 
ceptionable manner. I speak of the law as it stood at the outset, and 
for a long while thereafter. We shall see presently what evils flowed 
from it. 

2. I have already stated that in Massachusetts, and if not in the 
Connecticut colony, at least in that of New Haven, political trust 
and power were confined to members of the churches. It were ab- 
surd to suppose that this law was adopted as a means of promoting 
religion ; its authors were too well acquainted with human nature to 
have any such expectation. Their grand object was to confine the 
exercise of political power to persons in whom they could confide. 
As they have been severely censured for their intolerance in this 
respect — very much, I conceive, from ignorance of their peculiar posi- 
tion — I maybe allowed to dwell for a moment on the subject. They 
had made a long voyage to establish a colony in the wilderness, 
where they and their children might enjoy liberty of conscience, and 
worship God in purity. Being all of one mind on the subject of re- 
ligion, as well as other great points, they thought that they were 
fully authorized to establish such a colony, and certainly it would be 
hard to prove that they were not. In these circumstances, what 
more natural than their endeavoring to prevent persons from coming 


in among them to defeat their object ? Desiring, above all things, that 
their institutions might continue to be pervaded in all time coming 
with the spirit in which they had been commenced, they determined, 
in order to secure this, that none but the members of their churches 
should enjoy the rights and privileges of citizens, and by this they 
hoped to guard against both internal and external enemies. Dread- 
ing interference on the part of England, alarmed lest the partisans of 
the Prelacy, from which they had just escaped, should come among 
them and overthrow their institutions, both civil and religious, their 
object was to put an impassable gulf between themselves and persons 
who had no sympathy with their views and feelings. And this ob- 
ject they certainly accomplished. They rescued their institutions 
from the clutches of Charles I. and Archbishop Laud.* But in 
doing so they exposed themselves to the greatest of evils — evils 
whose disastrous influence on Truth have not ceased to be felt down 
to this day. 

3. While the above law, no doubt, had the effect of keeping out 
of the government of the colony all influences wmich in those trying 
times might militate against its best interests, it is no less certain 
that it kept away men of a troublesome character. Many, in fact, 
who made the experiment, speedily became weary of a colony 
where their restless spirits found little or no scope for interference, 
and accordingly soon left, either for some other colony, or for En- 

* It is well known that "Winthrop and his company were scarcely settled three 
years in Massachusetts, before King Charles began to repent that he had consented 
to the charter. The success of the Puritans in America awakened the jealousy of 
Laud and all the High Church party among the clergy. Proof was produced of mar- 
riages having been performed in the colony by civil magistrates ; and it was discov- 
ered that the whole colonial system of Church government was at variance with the 
laws of England. A most formidable conspiracy was formed against New England, 
and never were colonies in greater danger. Even the letters patent were ordered, 
by the royal council, to be produced in England; and nothing but the greatest adroit- 
ness on the part of the colonists postponed a compliance with the measure ; for 
the primate,- Archbishop Laud, and his associates actually received full power over 
the American plantations, to establish the government, dictate laws, govern the 
Church, etc., etc. Every thing seemed to threaten ruin. In the mean while the 
colonists remonstrated, defended themselves in their letters as well as they could, 
and raised money to fortify Boston. They had great need, truly, to be vigilant in 
respect to the admission of persons to authority among them. As it was, nothing 
saved them, probably, but the breaking out of the civil war in Great Britain, which 
gave Charles I. enough to do at home. Por the details of these matters the reader is 


referred to the writings of Winthrop, Savage, Hubbard, Hutchinson, Hazzard, and 
the excellent statement in Bancroft's "History of the United^States," vol. i., p. 


Such, I consider, were the most important advantages resulting 
from the union of Church and State in Massachusetts, and some other 
of the New England colonies ; and I am not disposed to deny that 
these advantages were of no small moment in the circumstances in 
which the colonists were placed. I have next to point out some of 
the evils resulting from it. 

1. It gave rise to internal difficulties of the gravest nature with 
such of the colonists as were not disposed to agree to all the meas- 
ures by which it was carried out, and led to the adoption of the 
harshest proceedings against those persons. One of the first cases 
of this kind was that of Roger Williams, in 1633-35, and it shook 
the colony to its centre. That remarkable man had been educated 
for the English bar under the patronage of Sir Edward Coke ; but 
influenced by the conviction that he was called to the ministry, he 
took orders in the Established Church. Expelled from that Church 
by the bishops, on account of his Puritanical principles, he came to 
Boston in 1631. 

Taught by persecution to examine how far human governments 
are authorized to legislate for the human mind, and to bind its facul- 
ties by their decisions, Williams soon perceived that a course was 
pursued in America which he could not but condemn as repugnant 
to the rights of conscience. Regarding all intolerance as sinful, 
he maintained that " the doctrine of persecution for cause of con- 
science is most evidently and lamentably contrary to the doctrine of 
Jesus Christ." The law required the attendance of every man at 
public worship ; Williams pronounced this to be wrong, for to drag 
the unwilling to public worship looked like requiring hypocrisy. Not 
less did he oppose the law that taxed all men for the support of a 
system of religious worship which some might dislike and conscien- 
tiously disapprove. "What!" exclaimed his antagonists, "is not the 
laborer worthy of his hire ?" " Yes," he replied, " from them that 
hire him." Public functionaries were to be taken only from among 
members of the Church ; Williams argued that, with like propriety, 
" a doctor of physic, or a pilot," might be selected according to his 
skill in theology and his standing in the Church.* In the end, Roger 
Williams was banished from the colony, and having retired to Narra- 
gansett Bay, there he became a Baptist, and foimded what is now 
the State called Rhode Island. Absolute religious liberty was estab- 
lished there from the first. 

The next case occurred in 1637, and ended in the expulsion of 
Wheelwright, Anne Hutchinson, and Aspinwall, who, although they 
held some very extravagant notions on certain points, would have 
* Bancroft's " History of the United States," vol. i., p. 3V0. 


been harmless persons had the only weapon employed against them 
been Truth. 

Testimony to the like effect is borne by the history of the colony 
in subsequent years. " Since a particular form of worship had become 
a part of the civil establishment, irreligion was now to be punished 
as a civil offence. The state was a model of Christ's kingdom on 
earth ; treason against the civil government was treason against 
Christ ; and reciprocally, as the Gospel had the right paramount, 
blasphemy, or whatever a jury might call blasphemy, was the high- 
est offence in the catalogue of crimes. To deny any book of the Old 
or New Testament to be the written and infallible Word of God, was 
punished by fine or by stripes, and in case of obstinacy, by exile or 
death. Absence from the ministry of the Word was punished by 
fine."* Every thing indicated that this union between Church and 
State was operating in such a manner as rapidly to undermine the 
rights and principles of both. The Anabaptists were treated in some 
cases with great harshness, and when, in 1651, the Quakers made an 
attempt to establish themselves in the colony, they were expelled and 
prohibited from returning upon pain of death: a penalty actually 
inflicted on four of them who returned in contravention of this 

These Quakers, it is true, behaved in the most fanatical and out- 
rageous manner. They attacked the magistrates with the grossest 
insults, and interrupted public worship with their riotous proceedings. 
Even women among them, forgetting the proprieties and decencies 
of their sex, and claiming Divine direction for their absurd and 
abominable caprices, smeared their faces, and ran naked through the 
streets ! It were absurd to compare them with the peaceable and 
excellent people who bear that name in our day. They gave no evi- 
dence whatever of knowing what true religion means. Still, their 
punishment ought not to have been so extreme, and should have 
been inflicted for violating the decorum of society, not for their sup- 
posed heretical opinions.f ISTow, measures so disgraceful and injurious 

* Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. i., p. 370. 

f Penalties involving mutilation, such as boring the tongue with a hot iron, and 
cutting off the ears, were enacted against the Quakers in 1657, and thus found a 
place in the statute-book of Massachusetts, but were soon repealed, the colony being 
ashamed of them. The fact was, as Mr. Bancroft says, vol. i., p. 451, "the creation 
of a national and uncompromising Church led the Congregationalists of Massachu- 
setts to the indulgence of the passions which disgraced their English persecutors, and 
Laud was justified by the men whom he wronged." 

But before the reader pronounces sentence, without mitigation, upon the Puritans 
of Massachusetts, he should refresh his remembrance of what was going on in En- 
gland about the year 1633. There was William Prynne, Esq., barrister-at-law, who 


to the colony, and so contrary to what one would expect from men 
of such excellence in other respects, would never have been adopted 
had it not been for laws unhappily dictated by the colonial union 
between Church and State. 

Forty years later, twenty persons were put to death for witch- 
craft ! Now it is obvious that so absurd a spectacle would never 
have taken place among so enlightened a people as the colonists of 
Massachusetts, within the bounds of which all these executions took 
place, had not the union of the Church and the State led the govern- 
ment so often to act on grounds purely religious, and to take cogni- 
zance of subjects which no political government is capable of decid- 
ing upon.* At all events, the embarrassment created by Roger 
Williams, the " Antinomian controversy," as the contest with Wheel- 
right, Anne Hutchinson, and Aspinwall was called, and the persecu- 
tion of the Anabaptists and Quakers, unquestionably arose from the 
enforcement of the laws passed in favor of the theocratic institutions 
of the colony, and were the legitimate results of the established union 

was condemned for writing a constructive libel on the queen, by attacking the 
theatre, to be excluded from his profession, to lose both his ears, to stand in the pillory 
and pay a fine of £5,000, and to suffer imprisonment for the rest of his life! Dr. 
Bast wick, a physician, about the same time, was condemned by the High Commis- 
sion to be excluded from his profession, excommunicated, fined £1,000, and impris- 
oned till he should recant, for having published a book in which he denied that 
bishops are superior to presbyters ! And then there was Dr. Alexander Leighton, a 
Scotch divine, the father of the celebrated Archbishop Leighton, who was condemned 
in 1630, if I mistake not, to pay a fine of £10,000, to be whipped at the pillory at 
Westminster, to have one of his ears cut off, and one side of his nose slit ; then to 
be taken to the prison for a few days ; then brought to the pillory at Cheapside to 
be whipped, have the other ear cut off, and the other side of his nose slit, and be 
shut up in prison the rest of his days ! These are unquestionable facts. And what 
shall we say of the wholesale massacre of the Protestants in France, in Belgium, in 
Bohemia, and in Moravia ? To say nothing of scenes in Scotland in the days of the 
last two Stuarts ? Verily, religious liberty was but ill understood in those days ! 
And is it well understood, even now, in most countries of Europe ? 

* The putting of witches to death in Massachusetts was a legitimate result of the 
attempt to build up a sort of theocracy, having for its basis the civil institutions of 
the Jewish commonwealth. But were witches nowhere put to death in those days 
save in New England ? Let the reader search and see. 

I ought to add, that the rules of Massachusetts put the Quakers to death, and 
banished the " Antinomians" and "Anabaptists," not because of their religious tenets, 
but because of their violations of the civil laws. This is the justification which they 
pleaded, and it was the best they could make. Miserable excuse ! But just so it 
is : wherever there is such a union of Church and State, heresy and heretical prac- 
tices are apt to become violations of the civil code, and are punished no longer as 
errors in religion, but as infractions of the laws of the land. So the defenders of the 
Inquisition have always spoken and written in justification of that awful and most 
iniquitous tribunal. 


between Church and State. They had a special reference to the law 
compelling every man to attend the public worship of the colony. 

2. Much more disastrous were the consequences flowing from an- 
other and still more fundamental law, passed by the Conscript Fathers 
of Massachusetts and Connecticut — that of making church member- 
ship requisite to the enjoyment of the rights and privileges of citizen- 
ship. Nor was it long before these consequences appeared. Not 
only did many persons find admission into the colonies as settlers 
who were not members of any church, in the sense almost invariably 
attached to the term in America — that is, communicants, or, as they 
are sometimes called, " full members" — but, what the worthy found- 
ers seem not to have anticipated, some of their own children grew 
up manifestly " unconverted," and, consequently, did not become 
communicants ; the. churches planted by the New England Fathers 
having maintained at first the strictest discipline, and allowed none 
to become communicants until they had satisfied the proper church 
authorities that they were converted persons, and had the religious 
knowledge without which they could not fitly come to the Lord's 
Supper. Persons who had not these requisites, as might be expected, 
thought it very hard to be excluded from the privilege of citizenship, 
although, as was generally the case, their lives were perfectly regular 
and moral. They therefore complained, and their complaints were 
felt to be reasonable, and such as parental love, even in the breast of 
a Brutus, could not long resist. 

In these circumstances, what was the course pursued by the co- 
lonial legislators, after taking council of their spiritual guides ? In- 
stead of abolishing the law, they decided that all baptized persons 
might be regarded as members of the Church, thus directly interfer- 
ing with matters wholly beyond the sphere of civil legislation, and 
contravening, likewise, a former decision of the Church : for although 
there is a sense in which all persons baptized in infancy are in their 
youth members of the Church, it is only as pupils or wards, and must 
not be confounded with the membership of persons who have made 
a profession of their faith after conversion, and at an age that qualifies 
them for taking such a step. Such, at least, is, I apprehend, the 
opinion of all churches that maintain a strict discipline. The New 
England fathers felt this difficulty, and accordingly it was not to all 
baptized persons that they gave the rights of citizens, but to baptized 
persons of good moral deportment, who came publicly forward and 
owned in the church the covenant made for them by their parents at 
baptism. I give the substance, if not the exact words of the law. 
This compromise settled the matter for a time, by providing for the 
case of their own young men. 


This law was not so hurtful in its consequences to the State as it 
was to religion. The churches were filled with baptized persons who 
" owned the covenant," and with the lapse of time the number of 
" full members," or communicants, diminished. Many now enjoyed 
civil privileges in virtue of a less intimate connection with the Church ; 
this was all that they desired, and with this they were too apt to be 
content. But the evil went far beyond this. To escape from a state 
of things in which the churches, though filled with baptized people, 
had comparatively few " communicants," many of the pastors were 
led into the dangerous, I may say the fatal error, of considering the 
Lord's Supper to be a means of grace, in the same sense that the 
preaching of the Word is such, and that all well-disposed persons 
may be admitted to it as a means of conversion to the unconverted, 
as well as of edification to " believers," or converted persons. 

Not that this was enjoined on the churches as a law of the State. 
But it was the natural and almost inevitable, though indirect, conse- 
quence of the law adjudging all baptized persons who " renewed the 
covenant" to be considered members of the church, and entitled to 
the civil privileges attached to that relation. It is easy to see what 
would follow. The former measure filled the churches with baptized 
people who owned the covenant ; the latter practice filled the churches 
with unconverted communicants. In the course of a few generations 
the standard of religious truth and practice fell lower and lower. 
This decline necessarily bore upon the character of the pastors, for 
upon the occurrence of a vacancy, the choice, in too many cases, was 
sure to fall upon a pastor equally low in point of religious character 
with the parties by whom he was chosen. Such a state of things 
opened the way effectually for the admission . of false doctrine, and 
the more so, inasmuch as there was no effectual control beyond and 
above what was to be found in each individual church. But this sub- 
ject I may dismiss for the present, as I shall have occasion to recur 
to it when we come to consider the rise and progress of Unitarianism 
in the United States. 

So much for the evil consequences flowing from two of the meas- 
ures by which the New England fathers endeavored to carry into 
operation their ideas on the subject of the union that should subsist 
between the Church and the State. Let us now look at the mischief 
produced by a third measure — that, namely, requiring each " town" 
to maintain public worship by levying a tax upon all the inhabitants. 

3. As the people were invested by law with an absolute control 
over the application of the money so raised, no great evil seemed, at 
first sight, likely to arise from such a mode of supporting the churches : 
and it may readily be supposed that at the outset, when the colonists 


formed a homogeneous society, and were all either members of the 
established churches, or cordial friends and admirers of their system 
of doctrine and church polity, this assessment for their support would 
be submitted to without reluctance. But in process of time, when, 
whether from the accession of fresh emigrants, or from the growing 
up of the children of the original colonists into manhood, there hap- 
pened to be found in any particular town a considerable number of 
inhabitants who either disliked the services of the parish church, or 
were indifferent to religion altogether, it is clear that such a law 
would be considered both burdensome and unjust. Men can never 
be made to feel that they may with equity be required to pay taxes in 
any shape, to support a church which they dislike, and to which they 
may have conscientious objections. Hence arose serious difficulties, 
aggravated afterward when the Legislature was compelled, by the 
progress of true principles of legislation, to extend the rights of citi- 
zenship, and permission to have a worship of their own, to persons of 
all sects. It seemed unjust that these, while supporting their own 
churches, should be compelled, in addition, to contribute toward the 
maintenance of the parish, or " town" churches, which for a long- 
time they were called upon to do. 

A law, however, was passed at length, not exempting those who 
did not attend the parish church from all taxation, but allowing them 
to appropriate their proportion to the support of public worship ac- 
cording to their own wishes. Fair as this seemed, it proved most 
disastrous in its consequences to the interests of true religion. The 
haters of Evangelical Christianity could now say, " Well, since we 
must be taxed in support of religion, we will have what suits us ;" 
and in many places societies, for it would be improper to call them 
churches, of Universalists* and Unitarians began to be formed, and 
false preachers found support where, but for this law, no such societies 
or preachers would ever have existed. It is impossible to describe the 
mischiefs that have flowed from this unfortunate measure, not only and 
particularly in Massachusetts, but likewise in Connecticut, Maine, 
and, I believe, in New Hampshire also. With the aid of such a law 
thousands, who are now indifferent to truth or error, might easily be 
driven into Universalism, or some other dangerous heresy, in any 
part of the United States, or, rather, in any part of the world where 
religious opinion is unrestrained. 

4. Only one further measure was required in order to make this 
law for the support of public worship as fatal as possible to the in- 

* By Universalists I mean those professed Christians in America who, with many 
shades of difference on the subject, agree in holding that eventually all men will be 
saved. I shall have to speak of them more at large in another place. 



terests of true religion in Massachusetts. This was a decision of the 
Supreme Court of that State, pronounced some thirty or thirty-five 
years ago, by which the distinction which had previously existed "be- 
tween the " church" and the " town" or " parish," was destroyed in 
the view of the law ; and the "town," that is, the body of the people 
who were taxed for the support of the parish church, was allowed to 
exercise a control in the calling of a pastor and in every thing else. 
There then ensued great distress in not a few parishes. In every in- 
stance in which the majority of the " town" were opposed to evan- 
gelical religion, they had it in their power, by stopping his salary, to 
turn away a faithful pastor, and to choose a Universalist or Unitarian 
in his place.* This actually took place in numerous instances, and 
the church, or at least the faithful part of it, which was often the 
majority, was compelled to abandon the edifice in which their fathers 
had worshipped, with whatever endowments it might have, and to 
build for themselves a new place of worship, call a pastor, and sup- 
port him on the voluntary plan. The evil, however, which might 
have gone to still greater lengths, was arrested in Massachusetts in 
1833, by the final dissolution of the union between Church and State, 
in a way to be hereafter briefly described. 

Such is a simple, brief, and, I trust, comprehensible view of the 
chief consequences resulting in New England from the union of 
Church and State, long maintained in that part of America. The 
reader will draw his own conclusions from this exhibition of facts, in 
all essential points unquestionably correct. That some of these con- 
sequences were beneficial, none will deny ; but that these were more 
than counterbalanced by others of an opposite tendency, is, I think, 
no less manifest.! 

* In many cases there was no great difficulty in getting such a majority, by per- 
suading the Universalists and others, who might have ceased for years to allow 
themselves to be considered as belonging to the parish, or congregation, or society, 
worshiping at the parish church, to return at least for a year or so, since by so doing, 
and paying again the assessment for the parish church, they could vote at its meet- 

f The reader will find in the " Spirit of the Pilgrims," vol. i. (a work published in 
Boston in 1826-1833), the fullest details on this subject that have appeared as yet in 
any one publication. 





Having seen what a Church Establishment did for Congregation- 
alism in New England, we have now to see what it did for Episcopacy 
in other provinces, and particularly in the South. In the case of the 
latter, as in the former, the nature of the connection between Church 
and State, and the kind of Church establishment, were very different 
in different colonies. That connection was closest, and the support 
given to religion most effective, in Virginia ; next to it in these re- 
spects comes Maryland, and New York occupies the third place. 

In Virginia, we find that the three main laws connecting the 
Church and the State were substantially the same as those of Massa- 
chusetts at a later date. 1. The country was divided into parishes, 
the inhabitants of which were required to build, furnish, and uphold 
churches, or places of worship, and maintain a pastor, by an assess- 
ment proportioned to their respective means, these being estimated 
by the quantity of tobacco that they raised, as that was the chief ar- 
ticle of their commerce and of their wealth. 2. The people were 
required to attend the established churches, which were for a long 
time the only ones that existed, or that were permitted to exist in 
the colony. 3. The rights of citizenship were confined to members 
of the Episcopal Church. 

Now, it is beyond dispute that the division of the country into 
parishes, the erection of churches, and the providing of glebes for the 
rectors and ministers, was useful both in Virginia and in Maryland. 
The picture presented by Dr. Hawks, in his interesting and valuable 
sketches of the Episcopal Church in those colonies, is delightful as 
far as relates to these outward and material matters. Besides, there 
was a special necessity for some such legislation in Episcopalian colo- 
nies of the High Church party, if I may so designate them, as was 
the case with Virginia : for, although it might be unfair to tax them 
with a total, or almost total, want of true living piety, they certainly 
had not the fervent zeal, the devoted enthusiasm in the cause of 
religion, which mingled with all the proceedings of the Puritans. If, 
in fact, in any part of America, the union of Church and State was 
beneficial, not to say indispensable, in securing the formation of par- 
ishes and the building of churches, it was in the Southern colonies : 
planted as they were by the friends of Prelacy par excellence, men 
afraid of fanaticism in religion, whatever they might think of it in 


some other things. These advantages were, in process of time, se- 
cured at intervals along the banks of the noble rivers of Virginia, 
until, at the commencement of the Revolution, that colony could 
boast of ninety-seven parishes, more than that number of churches, 
if we include chapels-of-ease, and above a hundred ministers. 

This is the chief, or, rather, the only benefit conferred on Virginia 
by the connection of the Church with the State ; for the maintenance 
of the clergy, as Dr. Hawks remarks, can hardly be reckoned one, 
inasmuch as that was nearly, if not altogether voluntary on the part 
of the parishioners, and was by no means enforced as the law con- 
templated. During a large part of the colonial period, too, the want 
of ministers greatly diminished the advantages that might have ac- 
crued from having parishes marked out and churches built in them. 
Thus, in 1619, there were eleven parishes and only five ministers; 
and in 1661, the parishes in Virginia were about fifty, and the minis- 
ters only about a fifth part of that number.* 

But granting that the support secured by law to Episcopacy was 
ample, which in Virginia it was not, let us notice some of the evils 
attending this union of Church and State, and see whether they did 
not counterbalance all the admitted good. The first of these, and it 
was no trifling one, was the antipathy which such compulsory meas- 
ures created toward the favored Church. Men were displeased, and 
felt aggrieved at being taxed for the support of a church whose serv- 
ices they did not frequent, but to which they might otherwise have 
felt no hostility, nay, to which they might by a different course have 
been won. This was particularly the case in those colonies where the 
favor shown to the Episcopal Church did not exclude the toleration 
of other religious bodies ; that is, in all of those where Episcopacy was 
established except Virginia. Episcopacy, in fact, became influential 
and powerful, in most cases, long after the colonies were founded, 
and owed its pre-eminence purely to the favor of the State, as we have 
seen in the colonies of Maryland, the Carolinas, New York, New 
Jersey, etc. In all these, taxes for the support of a dominant church, 
representing in some instances but a mere fraction of the population, 
were extremely offensive to those who were members of other churches 
or of none, and proved hurtful, hi the end, to the Episcopal Church 
itself. It attached a stigma to it which it took a long time to efface ; 
the more so as, when the Revolution was drawing on, it began to be 
viewed as the Church favored of the mother-country, with which the 
colonists were about to enter mto a war for what they deemed to be 
then* rights. Thus the cause of that Church became identified so far 
with that of the "enemies of the country," as they were called. This 
* Dr. Hawks's " History of the Episcopal Church in Virginia," p. 64. 


twofold animosity long prevailed in the very States where the 
Episcopal Church was once predominant, and no doubt contributed 
to retard its progress in later times, so that any former favors 
received from the State may be regarded as having been very dearly 

2. As respects Virginia, at least, the interests of true religion and 
of the Episcopal Church were seriously injured by the compulsory 
attendance upon the services of the churches, etc., noticed hi a former 
chapter. In the justness of the following remarks every well-informed 
man must heartily concur : " To coerce men into the outward exercise 
of religious acts by penal laws is indeed possible ; but to make them 
love either the religion which is thus enforced, or those who enforce 
it, is beyond the reach of human power. There is an inherent prin- 
ciple of resistance to oppression seated in the very constitution of 
most men, which disposes them to rebel against the arbitrary exercise 
of violence seeking to give direction to opinions ; and it is not, there- 
fore to be wondered at, that one sanguinary law to compel men to live 
piously, should beget the necessity for more."f 

3. Another evil resulting from the imion between Church and State 
in the Southern colonies, and particularly in Virginia and Maryland, 
is to be found in the almost incessant disputes that long prevailed be- 
tween the colonial governors and the parish vestries respecting the 
right of presentation, which was claimed by both parties. In this 
contest, the Virginia vestries were, upon the whole, successful ; still, 
as the governor claimed the right of inducting, there were often seri- 
ous collisions. In order to evade the force of that principle in English 
law, which gives a minister, when once installed as pastor, a sort of 
freehold interest in the parish, and renders his ejectment almost im- 
possible, unless by deposition from the sacred office altogether, in 
consequence of some flagrant enormity : the vestries, instead of pre- 
senting a minister, often preferred employing him from year to year, 
so as to have it in their power to dismiss him when they thought fit ; 
and this refusal to present involved, of course, an inability on the gov- 
ernor's part to induct. In Maryland, the governors long insisted on 
exercising the right of presentation, a right that put it into their 
power to thrust very unworthy pastors into the Church. But the 
case was not much better when left to the vestries, these being often 
composed of men by no means fit to decide upon the qualifications 
of a pastor. In no case does it appear that the Church itself, that 

* It is a remarkable fact, that the Baptists, whose admission into the colony of Vir- 
ginia did not occur till so late, are now the most numerous body of Christians in that 
State ; the Methodists are next, and the Episcopalians are not more than the third. 

f Dr. Hawks's "History of the Episcopal Church in Virginia," p. 49. 


is, the body of the communicants, possessed the privilege of choosing 
a pastor for themselves. 

4. A fourth evil resulting from the union of Church and Stafre in 
the colonies where the Episcopal Church was established, lay in this, 
that the ministers required from time to time by the churches be- 
hooved to come from England, or, if Americans by birth, to receive 
ordination from some bishop in England, generally the Bishop of 
London, to whose superintendence and government the Episcopal 
Church in America seems to have been intrusted. As there was no 
bishop in America during the whole colonial period, this disadvantage 
continued down to the Revolution. 

No doubt, many worthy men, endued with the true spirit of their 
calling and office, were sent over by the bishops who successively oc- 
cupied the See of London, some of whom took a deep interest in the 
Colonial Church. Still, it is no less true that many of a very different 
character were sent over, or came of their own accord, and these, 
after their induction into a parish, it was found almost impossible to 
remove. At a distance from England, and beyond the immediate in- 
spection of the only bishop that seemed to have any authority over 
them, they generally contrived to secure impunity, not only for the 
neglect of their duties, but even for flagrant crimes. Some cases of 
the most shocking delinquency and open sin occurred both in Virginia 
and Maryland, without the possibility, it would seem, of their being 
reached and punished. All that could be done by persons com- 
missioned by the Bishop of London to act for him, under the name 
of " commissaries," was done by such men as Drs. Blair and Bray, 
and their successors, but the evil was too deep to be effectually ex- 
tirpated by any thing short of the exercise of full Episcopal authority 
on the spot. Besides traditional evidence of the immoralities of some 
of the established clergy in Virginia and Maryland, we learn their 
existence and nature from indubitable histories written by Episco- 
palians themselves, and they were such as even to call for the inter- 
ference of the colonial legislatures. The General Assembly of Vir- 
ginia, in 1631, enacted that "Mynisters shall not give themselves to 
excess in drinkinge or riott, spendinge theire tynie idellye by day or 
night," etc.* The fact is, that worthless and incapable men in every 
profession were wont to leave the mother country for the colonies, 

* Herring's "Laws of Virginia," 7 th Car. L At a much later period, Sir "William 
Berkeley, governor of Virginia, in reply to this inquiry from the Lords of Plant- 
ations, "What provision is there made for the paying of your ministers?" stated, 
i; We have forty-eight parishes, and our ministers are well paid. But as of all other 
commodities, so of this, the worst are sent to us." — See " Appendix to Eening's Collec- 


where they thought they might succeed better than in England ; and 
such of them as belonged to the clerical profession very naturally sup- 
posed that they might find comfortable " livings" in those colonies, 
where their own Church was established, and where they heard that 
there was so great a deficiency of clergymen.* 

5. And, lastly, one of the greatest evils of the Establishment we 
are speaking of, is to be found in the shameful acts of intolerance and 
oppression to which it led. Although the Quakers were in no instance 
put to death in Virginia, yet they were subjected to much persecu- 
tion and annoyance, and were glad in many cases to escape into North 
Carolina. The Puritans, too, were much disliked, and severe laws 
were passed " to prevent the infection from reaching the country."! 
Archbishop Laud's authority stood as high in Virginia as in England. 
An offender against that authority, of the name of Reek, was, in 1642, 
pilloried for two hours, with a label on his back setting forth his 
offence, then fined £50, and imprisoned during the pleasure of the 

It would appear, however, either that all this vigilance could not 
keep out the Puritans, or else that some of the Virginians themselves 
had become so disgusted with their own as to wish for Puritan preach- 
ers. Be that as it may, certain it is that in 1642 there was transmitted 
to Boston from certain persons in Virginia an application for preach- 
ers, and that two actually went from Massachusetts and one from 
Connecticut, but were dismissed by the governor. Governor Win- 
throp, speaking of this affair in his Journal, says that, though the 
State did silence the ministers, because they would not conform to 
the order of England, yet the people resorted to them in private 
houses to hear them.§ 

In fact, it was not until the lapse of a century after those times that 
toleration was established in Virginia, through the persevering efforts 
of the Presbyterians and other non-established denominations, whose 
friends and partisans had by that time greatly increased, partly in 
consequence of this very intolerance on the part of the government, 
but chiefly by immigration, so far as to outnumber the Episcopalians 
of the province when the war of the Revolution commenced. 

As for Maryland, although the Quakers were greatly harassed in that 

6 Even so late as 1751, the Bishop of London, in a letter to the well-known Dr. 
Doddridge, says upon this subject, " Of those that are sent from hence, a great part 
are of the Scotch-Irish, who can get no employment at home, and enter into the 
service more out of necessity than choice. Some others are willing to go abroad to 
retrieve either lost fortunes or lost character." — See Biblical Repertory and Princeton Re- 
view for April, 1840. 

f Hening's "Virginia Statutes," 223. % Ibid., 552. 

§ Savage's Winthrop, p. 92. Hubbard's "History of New England," p. 141. 


colony for some time, and Roman Catholics were treated with griev- 
ous injustice, yet there never was the same intolerance manifested 
toward those who were called Dissenters, as had been shown in Vir- 
ginia. The Protestant Episcopal Church was established there by 
law in 1692, but not in fact until 1702. 

But in no colony in which Episcopacy became established by law 
was there more intolerance displayed than in New York. That estab- 
lishment was effected in 1693 by Governor Fletcher, who soundly 
rated the Legislature because not disposed to comply with all his 
wishes. But in zeal for Episcopacy he was outdone by one of his suc- 
cessors, Lord Cornbury, a descendant of Lord Clarendon, who would 
fain have deprived the Dutch of their privileges, and forced them into 
the Episcopal Church. He had orders from the government at home 
" to give all countenance and encouragement to the exercise of the 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, as far as con- 
veniently might be in the province ; that no schoolmaster be hence- 
forward permitted to come from this kingdom, and keep a school in 
that our said province, without the license of our said Lord Bishop 
of London."* 

In what has been said of the intolerance manifested in several of 
the colonies in which the Protestant Episcopal Church was estab- 
lished, I would not be understood as charging such intolerance upon 
that Church. No doubt men of an intolerant spirit were to be found 
in it, for, alas ! true religious liberty, and an enlarged spirit of tolera- 
tion, were far from being general in those days ; but it had members 
also of a most catholic spirit, who neither did nor could approve of 
such acts as the above. The intolerance was rather that of the colo- 
nial governments, and to them properly belongs the credit or dis- 
credit attached to it. 

In conclusion, I can not but think that the union of the Episcopal 
Church with the State in some colonies, and of the Congregational 
Church with the civil power in others, was, upon the whole, far more 
mischievous than beneficial; an opinion in which I feel persuaded 
that the great body alike of the Episcopal and Congregational min- 
isters with us concur. Had the founders of the Episcopal Church in 
Virginia and Maryland, excellent men as I believe they were, gone 
to work in reliance on the blessing of God upon their efforts, and en- 
deavored to raise up a faithful native ministry, trusting to the will- 
ingness of the people to provide for their support, I doubt not that 
they would have succeeded far better in building up the Episcopal 
Church than they did with all the advantages of the State alliance 
which they enjoyed. They would doubtless have had to encounter 
* " History of the Evangelical Churches of New York." 


many difficulties, but they would have laid a surer foundation also 
for ultimate success. Dr. Hawks gives a painfully interesting narra- 
tive of the struggles which the established clergy of Virginia and 
Maryland had to sustain with their parishioners about their salaries : 
the one party striving to obtain what the law assigned to them ; the 
other, aided even at times by legislative enactments, availing them- 
selves of every stratagem in order to evade the legal claims of the 
clergy. The time and anxiety, the wearing out of mind and body, 
which these disputes cost faithful ministers, not to mention the sacri- 
fice of influence, would have been laid out better and more pleasantly 
in the unembarrassed work of their calling ; nor were they likely to 
have been worse off in respect of this world's blessings than the faith- 
ful among them really were. 

Assuredly the Episcopal Church in the United States at the pres- 
ent day furnishes decisive proof that Episcopacy can exist and flourish 
without aid from the civil government. Dr. Hawks thinks that it 
has even peculiar advantages for self-sustentation, proved, as he con- 
ceives, by the experience of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, and 
that of the Syrian Churches in India, as well as the history of that 
Church in the United States. Without expressing an opinion on 
that point, I hesitate not to say that the Episcopal Church, with all 
the advantage of having the people enlisted on her side in several of 
the colonies at the outset, and sustained as she was by the prestige 
of the National Church of the mother country, would have done far 
better had she relied on her own resources under God, in the faith- 
ful ministration of His Word, and of the ordinances of His House, 
than in trusting to the arm of the State in the colonies in which she 
endeavored to plant herself. 



Before quitting the Colonial Era in the history of the United 
States, let us take a general view of the state of religion throughout 
all the colonies during that period of one hundred and sixty-eight 
years, from 1607 to the commencement of the war of the Revolution 
in 1775. 

As communities, the Anglo-American colonies, from their earliest 
days, were pervaded by religious influence, not equally powerful, yet 
real and salutary in all. This was especially true of New England, 


whose first settlers openly declared to the world that they left their 
native land not so much to promote individual religion as to form 
Christian societies. They could have maintained silent, personal, in- 
dividual communion with their heavenly Father in Lincolnshire and 
Yorkshire, or in Holland, as did some recluses in the monastic insti- 
tutions of the earlier and middle ages. But they had no such pur- 
pose. Their Christianity was of a diffusive kind ; their hearts yearned 
for opportunities of extending it. Religion with them was not only 
a concern between man and God, but one in which society at large 
had a deep interest. Hence some fruits of this high and holy prin- 
ciple might be expected in the communities which they founded, and 
we not unreasonably desire to know how far the result corresponded 
with such excellent intentions. It were unfair, however, to expect 
much in this way, considering the circumstances of the colonists, set- 
tling hi a remote wilderness, amid fierce and cruel savages, and ex- 
posed to all the fatigues and sicknesses incident to such a settlement, 
and to the anxieties and difficulties attending the organization of 
their governments, collisions with the mother-coimtry, and participa- 
tion in all that country's wars. 

The Colonial Era may, for the sake of convenience, be divided into 
four periods. The first of these, extending from the earliest settle- 
ment of Virginia in 1607 to 1660, was one in which religion greatly 
flourished, notwithstanding the trials incident to settlements amid 
the forests, and the troubles attending the establishment of the colo- 
nial governments. Peace with the Aborigines suffered few interrup- 
tions, the only wars worth mentioning being that with the Pequods 
in Connecticut, in 1637 ; that between the Dutch and the Algonquins, 
in 1643; and those that broke out in Virginia in 1622 and 1644, 
which were at once the first and the last, and by far the most dis- 
astrous of that period. But these wars were soon over, and a few 
years sufficed to repair whatever loss they occasioned to the colonists. 

This was the period in which those excellent men who either came 
over with the first colonists, or soon afterward joined them, labored 
long, and very successfully, for the salvation of souls. Among these 
were Wilson, and Cotton, and Shepard, and Mather (Richard), and 
Philips, and Higginson, and Skelton, in the colony of Massachusetts 
Bay ; Brewster, in Plymouth ; Hooker, in Connecticut ; Davenport, 
in New Haven ; and Hunt and Whitaker, in Virginia. Several of the 
cotemporary magistrates, also, were distinguished for their piety and 
zeal ; such as the governors Winthrop of Massachusetts, Bradford and 
"Winslow of Plymouth, Haynes of Connecticut, and Eaton of New 
Haven. To these we must add Roger Williams, who was pastor, 
and, for a time, governor in Providence. 


This was the golden age of the colonial cycle. God poured out 
His Spirit in many places. Precious seasons were enjoyed by the 
churches in Boston, in Salem, in Plymouth, in Hartford, and in New 
Haven. Nor were the labors of faithful men in Virginia without a 
rich blessing. Days of fasting and prayer were frequently and faith- 
fully observed. The Saviour was entreated to dwell among the peo- 
ple. Religion was felt to be the most important of blessings, both 
for the individual man and for the State. Revivals were highly 
prized, and earnestly sought ; nor were they sought in vain. The 
journals of Governor Winthrop, and other good men of that day, 
present most interesting details in proof of this. America has seen 
more extensive, but never more unequivocal, works of grace, or more 
indubitable operations of the Spirit. 

Nor were the aboriginal heathen around the colonies forgotten in 
those days. Eliot and others labored with great success among the 
Indians in the vicinity of Boston. Several thousand souls were con- 
verted. The Bible was translated into their tongue. Nor was it in 
Massachusetts alone that men cared for the souls of the " Salvages," 
as they were called. In Virginia, an Indian princess, Pocahontas, 
received the Gospel, was baptized, and became a consistent member 
of a Christian Church. Another convert, Chanco, was the instru- 
ment, under God, of saving the colony from entire extirpation. 

The commencement of the colonization of America was certainly 
auspicious for the cause of true religion. 

The second period is one of sixty years, from 1660 to to 1720. 

This might be called the brazen age of the colonies. Almost all 
of them experienced times of trouble. Massachusetts suffered in 1675 
from a most disastrous war with " King Philip," the chief of the 
Pokanokets, and with other tribes which afterward joined in a gene- 
ral endeavor to expel or exterminate the colonists. Violent disputes 
arose with the government of England respecting the rights of the 
colony, and to these were added internal dissensions about witch- 
craft, and other exciting subjects, chiefly of a local nature. In 
Virginia, in 1675-76, there were a serious Indian war and a 
" Grand Rebellion," which threatened ruin to the colony. And in 
the Carolinas a desolating war with the Tuscaroras broke out 
in 1711-12. 

Besides these greater causes of trouble and excitement, there were 
others which it is not necessary to indicate. The influence of grow- 
ing prosperity may, however, be mentioned. The colonies had now 
taken permanent root. They might be shaken, but could not be 
eradicated or overthrown by the rude blasts of misfortune. Their 
wealth was increasing ; their commerce was already considerable, and 


attracted many youth to the seas. Every war which England had 
with France or Spain agitated her colonies also. 

These causes concurring with the disastrous consequences of the 
union of Church and State already described, led to a great decline 
of vital Christianity, and although partial revivals took place, the all- 
pervading piety that characterized the first generation suffered a 
great diminution. The light of holiness grew faint and dim, and 
morality, in general, degenerated in a like degree. The Fathers had 
gone to the tomb, and were succeeded, upon the whole, by inferior 
men. The second Governor Winthrop, it is true, showed himself, in 
the administration of the united colonies of Connecticut, to be a 
great and good man, and a father alike to the Church and the State. 
Among the ministers, too, there was a considerable number of dis- 
tinguished men ; but their labors were not equally blessed with those 
of the fathers. Among the best known were the Mathers, Increase 
and Cotton, father and son, the latter more distinguished for the ex- 
tent and variety of his acquirements than for soimdness of judgment ;* 
Norton and others, in Massachusetts ; Pierpont, in Connecticut ; Dr. 
Blair, who for a long time was the Bishop of London's commissary, in 
Virginia ; Dr. Bray, who held the same office, in Maryland ; two per- 
sons to whom the Episcopal Church in those colonies was much in- 
debted for its prosperity. 

The faithful pastors in New England received an accession to their 
number, in the early part of this period, by the arrival from England 
of some of the two thousand ministers who were ejected there for 
non-conformity, soon after the accession of Charles II. 

The third period, comprehending the thirty years from 1720 to 
1750, was distinguished by extensive revivals of religion, and this, 
notwithstanding the agitation produced in the colonies, by the share 
they had in the war between France and England toward the close 
of that period, and other unfavorable circumstances besides. The 
Great Awakening, f as it has been called, infused a new life into the 

* Cotton Mather's acquirements were really prodigious, considering the age and 
the circumstances in which he lived. His publications amounted to no fewer than 
three hundred and eighty-two, several of which, such as his "Magnalia, or the Eccle- 
siastical History of New England," were large works. He displayed, however, such 
a mixture of credulity, pedantry, and bad taste, that he was not appreciated as he 
deserved. The part which he took in the affair of the witches, though greatly mis- 
represented by some writers, did him vast injury. He was singularly given to believe 
all sorts of marvelous stories. 

f For a full and able account of this great work of grace, as well as of other re- 
vivals of religion, of unusual power and extent in America, see a work published at 
Boston in 1842, entitled the "Great Awakening," by the Rev. Joseph Tracy. It is 
by far the fullest account of the early revivals in America that has yet appeared, and 
being derived from authentic sources, is worthy of entire credence. 


churches, more especially in New England, in certain parts of New 
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and some other colonies, and its 
effects were visible long afterward in many places. It is true that 
fanatical teachers did much mischief hi several quarters by associating 
themselves with the work of God, and introducing their own unwar- 
rantable measures, so as to rob it, in the end, of much of the glorious 
character that distinguished, it at first. Yet it can not be denied that 
it was a great blessing to the churches. Some important, though 
painful lessons, were learned, in regard to the economy of the Spirit, 
which have not been wholly forgotten to this day. 

This was the period in which Edwards and Prince, Frelinghuysen, 
Dickinson, Finley, and the Tennents, labored in the Northern and 
the Middle States ; Davies, and others of kindred spirit, in Virginia ; 
the Wesleys for a while in Georgia ; while Whitfield, like the angel 
symbolized in the Apocalypse as flying through the heavens, having 
the everlasting Gospel to preach to the nations, traversed colony 
after colony in his repeated visits to the New World, and was made 
an instrument of blessing to multitudes. 

The fourth and concluding period of the Colonial Era comprehends 
the twenty-five years from 1750 to 1775, and was one of great public 
agitation. In the early part of it, the colonies aided England with all 
their might hi another war with France, ending hi the conquest of 
the Canadas, which were secured to the conquerors by the treaty of 
Paris in 1763. In the latter part of it, men's minds became univers- 
ally engrossed with the disputes between the colonies and the 
mother country, and when all prospect of having these brought to an 
amicable settlement seemed desperate, preparation began to be made 
for that dreadful alternative — war. Such a state of things could not 
fail to have an untoward influence on religion. Yet most of those 
distinguished men whom I have spoken of as laboring in the latter 
part of the immediately preceding period, were spared to continue 
their work in the beginning of this. Whitfield renewed from time 
to time his visits, and the Spirit was not grieved quite away from 
the churches by the commotions of the people. Still, no such glorious 
scenes were beheld during this period as had been witnessed in the 
last ; on the contrary, that declension in spiritual life, and spiritual 
effort, which war ever occasions, was now everywhere visible, even 
before hostilities had actually commenced. 

Such is the very cursory and imperfect review which the limits of 
this work permit us to take of the religious vicissitudes of the United 
States during their colonial days. That period of one hundred and 
sixty-eight years was, comparatively speaking, one of decline, and 
even deadness, in the greater part of Protestant Europe; indeed, the 


latter part may be regarded as having been so universally. Yet, 
during the same period, I feel very certain that a minute examination 
of the history of the American Protestant churches would show, that 
in no other part of Christendom, in proportion to the population, was 
there a greater amount of true knowledge of the Gospel, and of 
practical godliness, among both ministers and their flocks. No doubt 
there were long intervals of coldness, or, rather, of deadness, as 
to spiritual things, during which both pastors and people became 
too much engrossed with the " cares of life." But, blessed be God, 
He did not abandon us forever. Though He visited our transgres- 
sions with a rod, and chastised us for our sins, yet He remembered 
the covenant which He made with our fathers, and the Word of His 
promise wherein He had caused them to trust. And though our un- 
worthiness and our unprofitableness had been great, He did not cast 
us away from His sight, but deigned to hear us when we called upon 
Him in the dark and gloomy hour, and saved us with a great salva- 
tion. And this He did because " His mercy endureth forever." 






From the Colonial we now proceed to the National period in the 
history of the United States. 

The first twenty-five years of the national existence of the States 
were fraught with evil to the cause of religion. First came the war 
of the Revolution, which literally engrossed all men's minds. The 
population of the country at its commencement scarcely, if at all, ex- 
ceeded three millions ; and for a people so few and so scattered, di- 
vided into thirteen colonies, quite independent, at the outset, of each 
other, having no national treasury, no central government or power, 
nothing, in short, to unite them but one common feeling of patriotism, 
it was a gigantic undertaking. The war was followed by a long period 
of prostration. Connection with England having been dissolved, the 
Colonies had to assume the form of States, their governments had to 
be re-organized, and a general, or federal government, instituted. The 
infant nation, now severed from the mother country, had to begin an 
existence of its own, at the cost of years of anxiety and agitation. 
Dangers threatened it on every side, and scarcely had the General 
Government been organized, and the States learned to know their 
places a little in the federal economy, when the French Revolution 
burst forth like a volcano, and threatened to sweep the United States 
into its fiery stream. In the end it led them to declare war against 
France for their national honor, or, rather, for their national exist- 
ence. That war was happily brought to an end by Napoleon, on his 
becoming First Consul, and thus was the infant country allowed to 
enjoy a little longer repose, as far as depended on foreign nations. 

Unfavorable to the promotion of religion as were the whole twenty- 


five years from 1775 to 1800, the first eight spent in hostilities with 
England were pre-eminently so. The effects of war on the churches 
of all communions were extensively and variously disastrous. To 
say nothing of the distraction of the mind from the subject of salva- 
tion, its more palpable influences were seen and felt everywhere. 
Young men were called away from the seclusion and protection of 
the parental roof, and from the vicinity of the oracle of God, to the 
demoralizing atmosphere of a camp ; congregations were sometimes 
entirely broken up ; churches were burned, or converted into bar- 
racks or hospitals, by one or other of the belligerent armies, often by 
both successively ; in more than one instance pastors were murdered ; 
the usual ministerial intercourse was interrupted ; efforts for the dis- 
semination of the Gospel were, in a great measure, suspended ; col- 
leges and other seminaries of learning were closed for want of 
students and professors ; and the public morals in various respects, 
and in almost all possible ways, deteriorated. Christianity is a religion 
of peace, and the tempest of war never fails to blast and scatter the 
leaves of the Tree which was planted for the healing of the nations. 

A single passage from a letter, written by a distinguished and most 
excellent German clergyman,* will give the reader some idea of the 
state of things during that war. It was written not long after its 
commencement. The perusal of it can not fail to impress the mind 
of every Christian with the duty of praying that the peace which 
now so happily exists between the United States and other nations 
may evermore continue : 

"Throughout the whole country great preparations are making 
for the war, and almost every person is under arms. The ardor man- 
ifested in these melancholy circumstances is indescribable. If a 
hundred men are required, many more immediately offer, and are 
dissatisfied when they are not accepted. I know of no similar case 
in history. Neighborhoods, concerning which it would have been 
expected that years would be requisite to induce them voluntarily to 
take up arms, became strongly inclined for war as soon as the battle 
of Lexington was known. Quakers and Mennonists take part in the 
military exercises, and in great numbers renounce their former relig- 
ious principles. The hoarse din of war is hourly heard in our 
streets. The present disturbances inflict no small injury on religion. 
Every body is constantly on the alert, anxious, like the ancient Athe- 
nians, to hear the news, and, amid the mass of news, the hearts of 

* The Rev. Dr. Helmuth, formerly pastor in Philadelphia. The letter from which 
the extract given in the text is taken, is found in the "Hallische Nachrichten," p. 
1367-68, and quoted by Professor Schmucker in his u Retrospect of Lutheranism in 
the United States." 


men are, alas ! closed against the good Word of God. The Lord is 
chastising the people, but they do not feel it. Those who appear to 
be distant from danger are unconcerned ; and those whom calamity 
has overtaken are enraged, and meditating vengeance. In the Amer- 
ican army there are many clergymen, who serve both as chaplains 
and as officers. I myself know two, one of whom is a colonel, and 
the other a captain. The whole country is in perfect enthusiasm for 
liberty. The whole population, from New England to Georgia, is of 
one mind, and determined to risk life and all things in defence of 
liberty. The few who think differently are not permitted to utter 
their sentiments. In Philadelphia the English and German students 
are formed into military companies, wear uniforms, and are exercised 
like regular troops. Would to God that men would become as zeal- 
ous and unanimous in asserting their spiritual liberty, as they are in 
vindicating their political freedom." \^ 

It required some time for the churches to recover from the demor- 
alizing effects of a war which had drawn the whole nation into its cir- 
cle, and lasted eight long years. But the times immediately following 
the Revolution were, as I have remarked, far from being favorable to 
the resuscitation of true religion, and to the restoration of the churches, 
even to the condition, unsatisfactory as it was, in which they had stood 
previously to the contest. Through God's blessing, however, they not 
only shared in the returning tranquillity of the country, but from 
that time to this, with some short periods of interruption, they have 
steadily grown with its growth and strengthened with its strength. 

It is not easy to ascertain what was the exact number of ministers 
and churches in the United States when these became severed from 
England, but the following estimate can not be very wide of the 
truth. The Episcopal clergymen may be reckoned at about two hun- 
dred and fifty at most ; the churches at about three hundred.* In 
1788, the Presbyterians had exactly one hundred and seventy-seven 
ministers, and four hundred and seventeen congregations. f As the 
Lutherans had eleven ministers in 1748, and forty churches three 
years after, the former could hardly have exceeded twenty-five, and 
the latter sixty, at the commencement of the Revolution — -judging by 
the statistics of the directory for worship (Kirchenagende), published 
in 1786. J The German Reformed churches were not more numerous. 
The Reformed Dutch churches had thirty ministers and eighty-two 

* The number of the clergy and churches in the Episcopal Church, given in the 
text, has been estimated from various historical sketches and documents. 

f " History of the Presbyterian Church in the United States," by Dr. Hodge, part 
ii., p. 504. 

\ Dr. Schmucker's " Retrospect of Lutheranism in the United States." 





congregations in 1784.* In 1776, the Associate Church had thirteen 
ministers, and perhaps twenty churches. The Moravians had proba- 
bly twelve ministers and six or eight churches. The New England 
Congregationalists could not, at the commencement of the Revolu- 
tion, have had above seven hundred churches and five hundred and 
seventy-five pastors. The Baptists, in 1784, had four hundred and 
twenty-four ministers, and four hundred and seventy-one churches 
or congregations. f The Methodists, at the time of the Revolution, 
did not exist as a body distinct from the Established Episcopal 
Church, and had no ordained ministers. As for the Roman Catholics, 
according to Bishop England's estimate, their priests did not exceed 
twenty-six in number when the war of the Revolution commenced, 
but their congregations were at least twice as numerous.J 

These statements, though far from precise, are from the best 
sources, and suffice to give a tolerably correct view of the numbers 
of the clergy and churches at the commencement of the national 
existence of the country, and for the first ten years after the breaking 
out of hostilities with England. 

From the best estimate I can make, it seems very certain that in 
1775 the total number of ministers of the Gospel in the United States 
did not exceed fourteen hundred and forty-one, nor the congregations 
nineteen hundred and forty. Indeed, I am convinced that this is 
rather too large an estimate.§ The population of the thirteen col- 

* See the Historical Sketch of the Reformed Dutch Church in another part of this 

f View of the Baptist churches in America, given in the "American Quarterly 
Register," vols. xiii. and xiv. 

\ Letter from Bishop England, of Charleston, to the Central Council of the Society 

for the Propagation of the Faith, at Lyons, published in the " '•Annates de la Pronator 

tion de la Foi" for the month of May, 1838, vol. x. 

§ The most exact approximation which I make is as follows : 

Ministers. Churches. 
Episcopalians . 

Baptists . 




German Reformed 

Reformed Dutch 



• Roman Catholics 


* The number of Congregational ministers in New England (and there were few or none in other 
parts of the country) was estimated by Dr. Stiles to be, in 1760, five hundred and thirty ; in the 
fifteen years which followed they probably increased to five hundred and seventy-five, as given in 
the text. 
























onies at that epoch did not exceed three millions, of whom about 
five hundred thousand were slaves. 

If we assume the number of ministers to have been fourteen hun- 
dred and forty-one, and the population three millions, in 1775, then 
we have one minister of the Gospel, on an average, for nearly two 
thousand and eighty-two souls, which, I apprehend, is not far from 
the exact truth. 

At that epoch there was no bishop in either the Protestant Episco- 
pal or the Roman Catholic Church. There were nine colleges and 
two medical schools, but no schools of law or theology. 

The changes that took place in the general and local government 
of the thirteen original colonies, on their achieving their independ- 
ence, have been already noticed. Religion, as well as every other 
interest, shared in the change of relations that ensued. Henceforth 
it was with Congress and the State Legislatures, or, rather, with the 
National and State Governments, that the churches had to do, so far 
as they had any political relations to sustain at all. 

It will be my object in this book to point out the changes that 
took place in the relations of the churches to the civil power, and to 
show their actual position with regard to it at the present moment. 
This I will try to do with all the brevity consistent with a lucid treat- 
ment of the subject. We have now to see by what means that union 
of Church and State, which connected the Congregational churches 
in the North and the Episcopal Church in the Middle and South, 
with the civil government, was dissolved ; what were the results of 
that dissolution ; and what the position in which the churches now 
stand to the civil power, whether as represented by the General 
Government or by the individual States. 



More than one erroneous idea prevails, I apprehend, in Europe, 
with respect to the dissolution of the union of Church and State in 
the United States. First, many seem to think that it was a natural 
and inevitable result of the separation of the colonies from the mother 
country, and of the independent position which they had assumed. 
But that union connected the established churches of America, not 


with the mother country, but with the colonial governments ; so that, 
when the colonies became States, the alliance that had subsisted be- 
tween them and certain churches was not necessarily affected. These 
churches, in fact, remained, as before, part and parcel of the States, 
and upon these they continued to be as dependent as ever. They 
never had any ties with England, beyond falling incidentally, as did 
the colonies themselves, under the operation of English laws. 

Again, many imagine that the union of Church and State in Amer- 
ic awas dissolved by an act of Congress ; that is, by an act of the Gen- 
eral Government. But this was not the case. An article of the 
Constitution, it is true, restrains Congress from establishing any par- 
ticular religion : but this restriction is not in the original draught of 
the Constitution ; it forms one of certain amendments adopted soon 
after, and runs as follows : " Congress shall make no laws respecting 
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." 
That is to say, the General Government shall not make any law for 
the support of any particular church, or of all the churches. But 
neither this, nor any other article in the Constitution of the United 
States, prohibits individual States from making such laws. The Con- 
stitution simply declares what shall be the powers of the General 
Government, leaving to the State governments such powers as it 
does not give to the General Government. This, in reference to the 
subject in hand, is manifest from the fact that "the establishment of 
religion," as we shall presently see, survived for many years, in some 
States, their acceptance of the Constitution of the United States. 

Lastly, many persons in Europe seem to be under the impression 
that the union of Church and State was annihilated at the Revolu- 
tion, or, at all events, ceased upon the organization of the State gov- 
ernments being completed. This, however, was not so in all cases. 
The connection between the civil power in all the States in which 
Episcopacy had been established in the colonial period was dissolved, 
very soon after the Revolution, by acts of their respective Legis- 
latures. But the Congregational Church in New England continued 
to be united with the State, and to be supported by it, long after the 
Revolution. Indeed, it was not until 1833 that the last tie that bound 
the Church to the State in Massachusetts was severed. 





The first State that dissolved its connection with the Church was 
Virginia, a circumstance that seems surprising at first sight, inasmuch 
as its early colonists were all sincere friends of its Established Epis- 
copal Church, and for a long period were joined by few persons of 
different sentiments. Indeed, for more than a century, dissent was 
scarcely, if at all, allowed to exist within the commonwealth, even in 
the most secret manner. 

Two causes, however, concurred in producing an alteration of these 
feelings toward the Established Church. First, many whose attach- 
ment to it had been owing to their birth, education, and early pre- 
possessions, became disgusted with the irreligious lives of many of the 
clergy, and the greediness with which, notwithstanding that most of 
their time was spent in fox-hunting and other sports, in company 
with the most dissolute of their parishioners, they were ready to con- 
tend for the last pound of tobacco allowed them as their legal salary. 
Such, indeed, was the character of those clergymen, that any one who 
makes himself minutely acquainted with their doings, must feel 
amazed that the Church which they dishonored should have retained 
its hold upon the respect of the Virginian colonists as long as it did. 
What attachment to it remained, must be ascribed to its having at all 
times had some faithful and excellent ministers who mourned over 
these scandals, and by their personal worth redeemed in some meas- 
ure the body to which they belonged from the infamy brought upon 
it by their reprobate fellow-clergymen, or " parsons," as they were 
oftener called. These exceptions, however, did not prevent multi- 
tudes from abandoning the Church of their fathers, around which 
their earliest and tenderest associations still clustered. " Had the 
doctrines of the Gospel," says one who became an honored instrument 
of much good in Virginia, and who was probably the most eloquent 
preacher of his day in America, " been solemnly and faithfully 
preached of the Established Church, I am persuaded there would 
have been but few Dissenters in these parts of Virginia ; for their 
first objections were not against the peculiar rites and ceremonies of 
that Church, much less against her excellent articles, but against the 
general strain of the doctrines delivered from the pulpit, in which 
those articles were opposed, or (which was more common) not men- 
tioned at all; so that, at first, they were not properly dissenters 


from the original constitution of the Church of England, but the 
most strict adherents of it, and only dissented from those who had 
forsaken it."* 

Prior to 1740, there was only one Presbyterian congregation, it is 
believed, in eastern Virginia, though the Scotch and Irish emigrants 
from Pennsylvania must have introduced several into the Valley.f 
There were also a few Quaker societies, some small German congre- 
gations, and a considerable number of Baptist churches, which, 
though small and scattered, embraced, perhaps, a larger number of 
persons upon the whole, than all the other dissenting bodies put to- 

It was about this time that a Mr. Samuel Morris, a layman, who 
had been brought to the knowledge of salvation by the reading of the 
Scriptures, and by the perusal of Flavel's works, and Luther on the 
Galatians, began to invite his neighbors, who, like himself, had been 
living in great ignorance of the Gospel, to come to his house on the 
Sabbath, and hear him read his favorite authors. Such were the 
crowds that attended, that a house had soon to be built of size suf- 
ficient to contain them. To Flavel and Luther there was added a 
volume of Whitfield's sermons, as furnishing spiritual food for these 
hungry souls. They were visited in 1743 by the Rev. Mr. Rob- 
inson, a Presbyterian sent from New Jersey on a missionary tour to 
the South. His preaching was greatly blessed to " the Readers."! 
He taught them to conduct their worship in the Presbyterian way, 
and was followed by other ministers of the same denomination. 
Though they were often fined for not attending the services of the 
Established Church, these simple-hearted and excellent people con- 
tinued their meetings. In 1747, the Rev. Mr. Davies, mentioned 
above, was sent to them by the Presbytery of Newcastle, in Dela- 
ware ; and, with the exception of some months spent on a visit to 
England, he labored among them until 1759, when he was chosen 
President of the College of New Jersey. He succeeded in building 

* The Key. Samuel Davies, in his " Narrative on the State of Religion among Dis- 
senters in Virginia." 

f The "Valley of Virginia" is a fine district of country which lies west of the first 
ridge of the Allegheny Mountains, and between that ridge and others which lie still 
further to the west. It reaches quite across the State, from north-east to south-west, 
and is considered the best part of it for fertility of soil. It is a part of the same val- 
ley which extends across Maryland into Pennsylvania. In the latter State it is called 
Cumberland Valley. 

X A counterpart to these worthy inquirers after Divine knowledge is found at the 
present day in the northern parts of Sweden and in Norway, where groups of persons 
meet on the Sabbath after church service, which in too many cases furnishes but 
poor spiritual nourishment, to read the Bible and other good books. 


up seven churches, and from that time Presbyterianism made very 
considerable progress in eastern Virginia ; so that when the war of 
the Revolution began, the Presbytery of Hanover in that colony was 
a numerous body, and comprehended some very able and eloquent 
ministers. The Scotch and Irish Presbyterians were at the same time 
increasing in the western part of the province. The Baptist congre- 
gations increased even more rapidly. Still, it was not always easy to 
avoid suffering from the interference of the civil authorities. The 
Act of Toleration, passed in England on the 28th of June, 1687, ex- 
tended unquestionably to the colonies, yet not a few obstacles con- 
tinued to be thrown in the way of " dissenters," almost down to the 
opening scene of the Revolutionary drama. 

When the Revolution came at last, the Baptists and Presbyterians 
were, almost to a man, in its favor ; and many of these, but es- 
pecially of the former, whose preachers had suffered by far the most 
from the civil authorities in the earlier part of the century, at the 
instigation, as they believed, whether justly or unjustly, of the clergy 
of the Established Church, were not a little influenced in the course 
they then adopted by the hope of seeing the success of the Revolu- 
tion lead to the overthrow of an establishment which they regarded 
with feelings of repugnance, and even of hostility. In these circum- 
stances, it was to be expected that before the Revolution had made 
much progress, an assault would be made on the Established Church ; 
such an assault was made, and not without success. 

As the history of this matter is not a little interesting, and almost 
quite unknown in Europe, I may enter upon it at some length. 

A very general impression prevails in England, and perhaps else- 
where, that the entire separation of .Church and State in America 
was the work of Mr. Jefferson, the third President of the United 
States, who took a distinguished part in the struggle, and who, upon 
being charged with drawing up the Declaration of Independence, 
executed the task so much to the satisfaction of his fellow-citizens. 
Now none of Mr. Jefferson's admirers will consider it slanderous to 
assert that he was a very bitter enemy to Christianity, and we may 
even assume that he wished to see not only the Episcopal Church 
separated from the State in Virginia, but the utter overthrow of 
every thing in the shape of a church throughout the country. Still, 
it was not Jefferson that induced the State of Virginia to pass the 
Act of Separation. That must be ascribed to the petitions and other 
efforts of the Presbyterians and Baptists. 

No sooner was war declared, than the Synod of New York and 
Philadelphia, the highest ecclesiastical body among the Presbyterians 
of America at that time, addressed to their churches a very judicious 


and patriotic letter, which, while it displayed a firm spirit of loyalty 
toward the government of England, evidently and naturally sympa- 
thized with the contest then begun — a contest which it was thought 
could not be abandoned without the sacrifice of their dearest rights. 
Few persons sivpposed at that time that the struggle was to end in a 
separation from the mother country. But when, in the following 
year, the Congress issued its Declaration of Independence, the whole 
face of matters was changed, and ministers of the Gospel had to 
make their election — whether they would recognize and obey the act 
of the Congress, or still adhere to the sovereignty of England. Then 
it was that the first body of clergy of any denomination in America 
that openly recognized that act, and thereby identified themselves 
with the cause of freedom and independence, was the comparatively 
numerous and very influential Presbytery of Hanover in Virginia. 
At its first meeting after the appearance of the Declaration, that 
body addressed the Virginia House of Assembly in a memorial, re- 
commending the separation of Church and State, and the leaving of 
the support of the Gospel to the voluntary efforts of its friends. The 
memorial runs as follows : 

"To the Honorable the General Assembly of Virginia. The 
memorial of the Presbytery of Hanover humbly represents : That 
your memorialists are governed by the same sentiments which have 
inspired the United States of America, and are determined that noth- 
ing in our power and influence shall be wanting to give success to 
their common cause. We would also represent that dissenters from 
the Church of England in this country have ever been desirous to 
conduct themselves as peaceable members of the civil government, 
for which reason they have hitherto submitted to various ecclesiasti- 
cal burdens and restrictions that are inconsistent with equal liberty. 
But now, when the many and grievous oppressions of our mother 
country have laid this Continent under the necessity of casting off 
the yoke of tyranny, and of forming independent governments upon 
equitable and liberal foundations, we flatter ourselves that we shall 
be freed from all the incumbrances which a spirit of domination, 
prejudice, or bigotry has interwoven with most other political sys- 
tems. This we are the more strongly encouraged to expect by the 
Declaration of Rights, so universally applauded for that dignity, 
firmness, and precision with which it delineates and asserts the priv- 
ileges of society, and the prerogatives of human nature ; and which 
we embrace as the Magna Charta of our commonwealth, that can 
never be violated without endangering the grand superstructure it 
was designed to sustain. Therefore, we rely upon this Declaration, 
as well as the justice of our honorable Legislature, to secure us the 


free exercise of religion according to the dictates of our consciences; 
and we should fall short in our duty to ourselves, and the many and 
numerous congregations under our care, were we, upon this occasion, 
to neglect laying before you a statement of the religious grievances 
under which we have hitherto labored, that they may no longer be 
continued in our present form of government. 

"It is well known that in the frontier counties, which are justly 
supposed to contain a fifth part of the inhabitants of Virginia, the 
Dissenters have borne the heavy burdens of purchasing glebes, build- 
ing churches, and supporting the established clergy, where there are 
very few Episcopalians, either to assist in bearing the expense, or to 
reap the advantage ; and that throughout the other parts of the coun- 
try there are also many thousands of zealous friends and defenders of 
our State, who, besides the invidious and disadvantageous restrictions 
to which they have been subjected, annually pay large taxes to sup- 
port an Establishment from which their consciences and principles 
oblige them to dissent ; all which are confessedly so many violations 
of their natural rights, and, in their consequences, a restraint upon 
freedom of inquiry and private judgment. 

" In this enlightened age, and in a land where all of every denom- 
ination are united in the most strenuous efforts to be free, we hope 
and expect that our representatives will cheerfully concur in removing 
every species of religious as well as civil bondage. Certain it is, that 
every argument for civil liberty gains additional strength when applied 
to liberty in the concerns of religion ; and there is no argument in 
favor of establishing the Christian religion but may be pleaded, with 
equal propriety, for establishing the tenets of Mohammed by those 
who believe the Koran ; or, if this be not true, it is at least impossible 
for the magistrate to adjudge the right of preference among the vari- 
ous sects that profess the Christian faith, without erecting a claim to 
infallibility, which would lead us back to the Church of Rome. 

" We beg leave further to represent, that religious establishments 
are highly injurious to the temporal interests of any community. 
Without insisting upon the ambition and the arbitrary practices of those 
who are favored by government, or the intriguing, seditious spirit 
which is commonly excited by this, as well as by every other kind of 
oppression, such establishments greatly retard population, and, con- 
sequently, the progress of arts, sciences, and manufactures. Witness 
the rapid growth and improvement of the Northern provinces com- 
pared with this. No one can deny that the more early settlement, 
and the many superior advantages of our country, would have invited 
multitudes of artificers, mechanics, and other useful members of 
society, to fix their habitation among us, who have either remained 


in their place of nativity, or preferred worse civil governments, and a 
more barren soil, where they might enjoy the rights of conscience 
more fully than they had a prospect of doing in this. From which 
we infer that Virginia might have now been the capital of America, 
and a match for the British arms, without depending on others for the 
necessaries of war, had it not been prevented by her religious estab- 

" Neither can it be made to appear that the Gospel needs any such 
civil aid. "We rather conceive that, when our blessed Saviour de- 
clares His kingdom is not of this world, He renounces all dependence 
upon State power, and as His weapons are spiritual, and were only 
designed to have influence on the judgment and heart of man, we are 
persuaded that if mankind were left in the quiet possession of their 
inalienable religious privileges, Christianity, as in .the days of the 
Apostles, would continue to prevail and flourish in the greatest purity 
by its own native excellence, and under the all-disposing Providence 
of God. 

" We would also humbly represent, that the only proper objects 
of civil government are the happiness and protection of men in the 
present state of existence ; the security of the life, liberty, and prop- 
erty of the citizen, and to restrain the vicious and encourage the 
virtuous by wholesome laws, equally extending to every individual ; 
but that the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of 
discharging it, can only be directed by reason and conviction, and is 
nowhere cognizable but at the tribunal of the universal Judge. 

" Therefore, we ask no ecclesiastical establishments for ourselves ; 
neither can we approve of them when granted to others. This, in- 
deed, would be giving exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges 
to one set of men, without any special public services, to the common 
reproach and injury of every other denomination. And, for the reasons 
recited, we are induced earnestly to entreat that all laws now in force 
in this commonwealth, which countenance religious domination, may 
be speedily repealed ; that all, of every religious sect, may be pro- 
tected in the full exercise of their several modes of worship ; exempted 
from all taxes for the support of any Church whatsoever, further than 
what may be agreeable to their own private choice or voluntary ob- 
ligation. This being done, all partial and invidious distinctions will 
be abolished, to the great honor and interest of the State, and every 
one be left to stand or fall according to his merit, which can never be 
the case so long as any one denomination is established in preference 
to others. 

" That the great Sovereign of the universe may inspire you with 
unanimity, wisdom, and resolution, and bring you to a just determina- 


tion on all the important concerns before yon, is the fervent prayer 
of your memorialists." 

Besides this petition from the Presbytery of Hanover, there were 
others from the Baptists and Quakers. The Baptists had suffered 
more than any other class of dissenters, and the remembrance of their 
wrongs, now that their day of power had come, stimulated them to 
an uninterrupted opposition of seven-and-twenty years to the Estab- 
lished Church. Indeed, they now took the lead in opposing its claims. 
In 1775 they presented to the General Assembly an address, composed 
by members who had spontaneously convened, in which they peti- 
tioned, " that they might be allowed to worship God in their own 
way, without interruption ; to maintain their own ministers, separate 
from others ; and to be married, buried, etc., without paying the 
clergy of other denominations."* To this the Assembly returned a 
complimentary answer, and an order was made that the sectarian 
clergy should have the privilege of performing Divine service to their 
respective adherents in the army, equally with the regular chaplains 
of the Established Church.f 

The above memorial from the Presbyterians, and petitions from the 
Baptists, Quakers, and others opposed to the Established Church, were 
met by counter-memorials from the Episcopalians and Methodists, ap- 
pealing on behalf of the Establishment to the principles of justice, 
wisdom, and policy. Public faith, it was said, required that the State 
should abide by its engagements ; and that a system of such old stand- 
ing, and which involved so many interests on the part of persons who 
had staked their all upon its continued existence, possessed the nature 
of a vested right, and ought to be maintained inviolate. The wisdom 
of this course was argued from the past experience of all Christian 
lands,! and from the influence of religious establishments in giving 
stability to virtue and the public happiness. Policy required it, for it 
was insisted that, were there to be no establishment, the peace of the 
community would be destroyed by the jealousies and contentions of 
rival sects. And, finally, the memorials prayed that the matter might 
be referred, in the last resort, to the people at large, as they had the 
best of reasons for believing that a majority of the citizens would be 
in favor of continuing the Establishment. 

From this it would seem that, in the conviction of these memorial- 
ists, a majority of the population of Virginia were Episcopalians; yet 
it was confidently maintained in other quarters that two thirds of the 

* Semple's ''History of the Baptists in Virginia," pp. 25-2*7, 62. 
f Burke's "History of Virginia, "p. 59. 

\ This was not difficult, for Church establishments had existed throughout Christen- 
dom since the days of Constantine. 


people were at that time Dissenters. I am inclined to think that the 
greater part professed, or favored Episcopacy, but that a decided major- 
ity were opposed to its civil establishment. The memorials led to a long 
and earnest discussion. The Episcopal Church had for her champions 
Messrs. Pendleton and R. C. Nicolas, and for her great opponent Mr. 
Jefferson, who speaks of the contest as the severest in which he was 
ever engaged.* After discussing the subject for nearly two months, 
the Assembly repealed all the colonial laws attaching criminality to 
the profession of any particular religious opinions, requiring attend- 
ance at the parish churches, and forbidding attendance elsewhere, 
with the penalties attached thereto. Dissenters were to be exempted 
in future from compulsory contributions in support of the Episcopal 
Church. The clergy, however, were to have their stipends continued 
until the first day in the ensuing year, and had all arrears secured to 
them. The churches, chapels, glebes, books, plate, etc., belonging to 
the Episcopal Church, were to remain in her possession.! This law 
was passed on the 5th of December, 1776. The question of having a 
general assessment for the support of religion was at the same time 
discussed, but the determination of it was put off to a future day. 

In the course of 1777 and 1778, petitions and counter-petitions con- 
tinued to be addressed to the Legislature on the subject of religion. 
Some of the petitions prayed for the preservation of all that remained 
of the Establishment ; others advocated a general assessment for the 
support of all denominations ; others opposed that suggestion. Some, 
again, called for the suppression by law of the irregularities of the 
" sectaries," such as their holding meetings by night, and craved that 
none but " licensed preachers" should be allowed to conduct the public 
worship of God. Among the memorials was one from the Presbytery of 
Hanover, opposing the plan of a general assessment. After reverting 
to the principles laid down in their first petition, and insisting that 
the only proper objects of civil governments are the happiness and 
protection of men in their present state of existence ; the security of 
the life, liberty, and property of the citizens ; the restraint of the 
vicious, and the encouragement of the virtuous, by wholesome laws, 
equally extending to every individual ; and that the duty which men 
owe to their Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can only be 
directed by reason and conviction, and is nowhere cognizable but at 
the tribunal of the universal Judge, the Presbytery express themselves 

as follows : 

" To illustrate and confirm these assertions, we beg leave to observe, 
that to judge for ourselves, and to engage in the exercise of religion 

* Jefferson's Works, vol. i., p. 32. 

f Herring's " Statutes of Virginia," p. 34. 


agreeably to the dictates of our own consciences, is an inalienable 
right, which, upon the principles on which the Gospel was first propa- 
gated, and the Reformation from Popery carried on, can never be 
transferred to another. Neither does the Church of Christ stand in 
need of a general assessment for its support ; and most certain we are 
that it would be of no advantage, but an injury to the Society to 
which we belong ; and as every good Christian believes that Christ 
has ordained a complete system of laws for the government of His 
kingdom, so we are persuaded that by His providence He will sup- 
port it to its final consummation. In the fixed belief of this principle, 
that the kingdom of Christ and the concerns of religion are beyond 
the limits of civil control, we should act a dishonest, inconsistent part, 
were we to receive any emoluments from human establishments for 
the support of the Gospel. 

" These things being considered, we hope we shall be excused for 
remonstrating against a general assessment for any religious purpose. 
As the maxims have long been approved, that every servant is to obey 
his master, and that the hireling is accountable for his conduct to him 
from whom he receives his wages ; in like manner, if the Legislature 
has any rightful authority over the ministers of the Gospel in the ex- 
ercise of their sacred office, and if it is their duty to levy a main- 
tenance for them as such, then it will follow that they may revive the 
old Establishment in its former extent, or ordain a new one for any 
sect that they may think- proper ; they are invested with a power not 
only to determine, but it is incumbent on them to declare, who shall 
preach, what they shall preach, to whom, when, and in what places 
they shall preach ; or to impose any regulations and restrictions upon 
religious societies that they may judge expedient. These conse- 
quences are so plain as not to be denied, and they are so entirely sub- 
versive of religious liberty, that if they should take place in Virginia, 
we should be reduced to the melancholy necessity of saying with the 
Apostles, in like cases, ' Judge ye whether it is best to obey God or 
men,' and also of acting as they acted. 

" Therefore, as it is contrary to our principles and interest, and, as 
we think, subversive of religious liberty, we do again most earnestly 
entreat that our Legislature would never extend any assessment for 
religious purposes to us, or to the congregations under our care." 

This memorial, and probably still more, the strenuous efforts of the 
Baptists, led, in 1779, to the abandonment of the proposed "general 
assessment," after a bill to that effect had been ordered to a third 


With the return of peace, the Legislature of Virginia resumed the 
subject of legislating in behalf of religion ; and in the sessions of 


1784 two important matters were much debated. One was to provide 
by law for the incorporation of " all societies of the Christian religion 
which may apply for the same;" the other was the old project of a 
general assessment for the support of religion. The celebrated Patrick 
Henry* was the great advocate of both measures. The Hanover 
Presbytery soon reappeared upon the field, and opposed the latter of 
these proposals, although it would have proved as favorable to the 
Presbyterian Church as any other. But on this occasion there was 
an evident wavering on the part of the Presbytery, probably owing 
to an expectation that the measure would be sure to be adopted, and 
from their desire to secure the least injurious plan of giving it effect. 
It has also been alleged as one cause of the temporary abatement of 
their zeal, that Mr. Henry had won over to his opinions the Rev. Dr. 
John B. Smith, one of the ablest members of the Presbytery. Cer- 
tain it is, that an act to incorporate the churches passed by a large vote, 
and a bill in favor of a general assessment passed two readings, was 
ordered to be read a third time, and was then sent forth to be sub- 

* This gentlemen, one of the most eloquent men that America has ever produced, 
was for many years a member of the Legislature of Virginia, and Governor, also, for 
several terms. He distinguished himself in opposing the taxation of the colonies by 
England without their consent, and in the course of a very animated speech on that 
subject in the Legislature of Virginia, said, in his emphatic manner, " Caesar had a 
Brutus, Charles I. had a Cromwell, and George III." — here he was interrupted by 
cries of " Treason 1 treason !" — " and George III.," he repeated, "should profit by their 
example ; if this be treason, gentlemen, you may make the most of it." 

It has been said that in his younger days Mr. Henry was inclined to infidelity. But 
this is not true; he was a firm believer in Christianity, and for many years before his 
death a devout Christian. " He ever had a great abhorrence of infidelity," says a 
private letter from a member of Mr. Henry's family, given in Dr. Hawks's " Ecclesi- 
astical History of the Episcopal Church in Virginia," pp. 160, 161, " and actually wrote 
an answer to Paine's 'Age of Eeason,' but destroyed it before his death. He received 
the communion as often as an opportunity offered ; and on such occasions always 
fasted until after he had received the sacrament, and spent the day in the greatest 
retirement. This he did both while he was Governor and afterward." 

The following touching anecdote is related of him. "When very old, he was induced 
to be a candidate for the House of Delegates, in a time of great political excite- 
ment. "On the day of the election," says Mr. "Wirt, in his Life of Patrick Henry, p. 
408, "as soon as he appeared on the ground, he was surrounded by the admiring and 
adoring crowd, and whithersoever he moved the concourse followed him. A preacher 
of the Baptist Church, whose piety was wounded by this homage paid to a mortal, 
asked the people aloud, why they thus followed Mr. Henry. 'Mr. Henry,' said he, 
'is not a god.' 'No,' said Mr. Henry, deeply affected, both by the scene and the re- 
mark : ' no, indeed, my friend ; I am a poor worm of the dust, as fleeting and as unsub- 
stantial as the shadow of the cloud that flies over your fields, and is remembered no 
more.' The tone with which this was uttered, and the look which accompanied, 
affected every heart and silenced every voice." 


mittecl to the people for their opinion before being passed into a law. 
On the same day, likewise, on which an act was passed for the incor- 
poration of such churches as might apply for the same, leave was 
granted to introduce a bill for the incorporation of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church. Mr. Henry introduced the bill. It had for its 
object the securing to that Church all the property that it ever had, 
both in those parishes which had churches in use, and in the still 
greater number which had no ministers, and not even vestries, and 
where the church edifices had become dilapidated during the war of 
the Revolution. This bill was approved by the Legislature, and prom- 
ised permanent peace and protection to the Episcopal Church. But 
the prospect was not of long continuance. The incorporation of the 
Episcopal clergy was strongly opposed in a memorial from the Pres- 
bytery of Hanover, under the influence of which the Legislature de- 
layed further proceedings, in order that public opinion might have 
time to express itself. Meanwhile, petitions against the measure were 
sent in from all parts of Virginia, signed by no fewer than ten thousand 
persons. Still, as the Legislature seemed disposed to pass the bill in 
question, the Presbyterian churches held a convention, at which an- 
other memorial was drawn up, and the Rev. Dr. John B. Smith, who 
had now become more confirmed in his opposition to the contemplated 
measure, was appointed to accompany the presentation of the memo- 
rial with his personal advocacy at the bar of the Assembly, and was 
heard there for three successive days. This decided the matter : the 
whole scheme was abandoned. 

Thus, it was mainly owing to the exertions of the Presbyterians, 
Baptists, and Quakers, that the union of Church and State in Vir- 
ginia was dissolved, and the scheme of a general assessment for the 
support of all Protestant denominations defeated.* Mr. Jefferson, it 
is true, when a member of the Assembly hi 1776, rendered all the aid 
in his power, and would have been very well pleased to have had such 
parties to co-operate with him in some other schemes, if he could. 
But they, not he, began the movement in this case, and they perse- 
vered in their endeavors to render the churches altogether independ- 
ent of the civil power, and to have all placed precisely on the same 
footing, as respected the civil government. 

Mr. Jefferson's grand achievement, in the line of legislating on the 
subject of religious rights, was the famous act "for establishing re- 
ligious freedom," drawn up by him, and adopted by the Legislature 

* A general assessment bill would have done infinite mischief. It never could havo 
been confined to the Evangelical Churches, and would have ended in building up 
TJnitarianism, Universalism, etc., in Virginia, just as a similar measure did in New 



of Yirginia in 1785.* That act in itself, however, contains nothing to 
which a friend of full and equal liberty of conscience would perhaps 
object; but it gave its author great satisfaction, not because it em- 
bodied the principles of eternal justice, but because, by putting all 

* As the reader may wish to see the famous ordinance, for having written and ad- 
vocated which Mr. Jefferson challenged so much credit to himself, we give it in this 
note : " "Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free ; that all attempts to in- 
fluence it by temporal punishments, or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only 
to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of 
the holy Author of our religion, who, being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose 
not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was His almighty power to do ; that the 
impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being 
themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of 
others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and in- 
fallible, and as such, endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established or main- 
tained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that 
to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions 
which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical ; that even the forcing him to support 
this or that preacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfort- 
able liberty of giving Ins contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would 
make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and 
is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which, proceeding from an 
approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and 
unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind ; that our civil rights have no de- 
pendence on our religious opinions, any more than on our opinions in physic and 
geometry ; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy of the public con- 
fidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and 
emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving 
him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his 
fellow-citizens, he has a natural right ; that it tends only to corrupt the principles of 
that religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honors 
and emoluments those who will externally profess or conform to it ; that though, in- 
deed, they are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those 
innocent who lay the bait in their way ; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude 
his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of 
principles on suspicion of their ill-tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once de- 
stroys all religious liberty ; because, he being, of course, judge of that tendency, will 
make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of 
others only as they shall square with or differ from his own ; that it is time enough, 
for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when princi- 
ples break out into overt acts against peace and good order ; and, finally, that Truth 
is great, and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient an- 
tagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human inter- 
position disarmed of her natural weapons — free argument and debate — errors ceasing 
to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them : — 

" Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, that no man shall be compelled 
to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever ; nor 
shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall 
otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall 


religious sects on an equality, it seemed to degrade Christianity, and 
" to comprehend," to use his own words, " within the mantle of pro- 
tection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, 
the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination." It was this that 
made the arch-infidel chuckle with satisfaction — not, we repeat, that 
the great principles embodied in the measure were right. 

I have now gone through the history of the dissolution of the union 
of Church and State in Virginia* — a dissolution effected, in reality, 
by the act of the 6th of December, 1776, which repealed all former 
acts relating to that union. What followed had no necessary con- 
nection with that act, but bore only upon certain measures, designed 
to guard against what was deemed by the majority an injurious legis- 
lation professedly for the promotion of the interests of religion. 

This early discussion of the propriety of dissolving the union of 
Church and State in Virginia, after the war of the Revolution had 
broken out, had some effect, probably, on other States placed in sim- 
ilar circumstances. Such, at least, is the prevailing impression in the 
absence of authentic documentary proof After the Declaration of 
Independence, measures to the same effect were very promptly taken 
in Maryland. On the 3d of November, 1776, the Legislature of that 
State put forth a Declaration of Rights similar to that made by Vir- 
ginia in the early part of the same year, and embodying principles 
directly subversive of the union of Church and State. The Episco- 
pal Church, nevertheless, was secured in the possession of the glebes 
and all other church property, and it was decided that the stipends 
of all the incumbents who should remain at their posts should be paid 
up to the first day of the month in which said Declaration was made. 
This righteous decision was not departed from, and Maryland, ac- 

be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, 
and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. 

" And though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people for the or- 
dinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding 
Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that, therefore, to declare 
this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law : yet we are free to declare, and do 
declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural right of mankind, and that 
if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or narrow its operation, 
such act will be an infringement of natural right." 

* I might have gone into an ampler detail of the measures pursued by the oppo- 
nents of the Episcopal Church in Virginia to annul the law incorporating the clergy 
of that Church, and of those, also, which were followed up, in 1802, by the sale of 
the glebes ; but such details have no proper connection with the subject in hand. 
The law ordaining the sale of the glebes was, I think, unconstitutional, and would 
have been pronounced to be so had it been brought to a fair and full decision before 
the proper tribunal. The opposition to the Episcopal Church toward the end was 
marked by a cruelty which admits of no apology. 



cordingly, was spared those tedious and wretched disputes about the 
property of the Church that had once been established — disputes 
that did much harm to religion in Virginia, and were little reputable 
to the authors of them. 

In the Maryland " Declaration of Rights," it was set forth " that 
as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such a manner as 
he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons professing the Christian 
religion are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty ; 
wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested in his person 
or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for 
his religious practice, unless, under color of religion, any man shall 
disturb the good order, peace, or safety of the State, or shall infringe 
the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil, or relig- 
ious rights." It was further declared that no one ought to be com- 
pelled to frequent or maintain the religious worship of any denomi- 
nation ; but, at the same time, it was affirmed that the Legislature 
might, in its discretion, impose a common and equal tax for the 
support of the Christian religion in general ; in such case, however, 
every individual paying the tax was held to possess the right of des- 
ignating the religious denomination to the support of which it was to 
be applied; or he might resolve this legislative support of Christianity 
in general into mere almsgiving, and direct his tax to be applied to 
the maintenance of the poor.* 

The union of Church and State was dissolved in like manner, by 
acts of their respective Legislatures, in New York, South Carolina, 
and all the other colonies in which the Protestant Episcopal Church 
was predominant. But it is unnecessary to trace the steps by which 
this dissolution was accomplished in all cases. There was nothing 
particularly important, in so far as I am aware, in these details. 
Enough to know that the dissolution did take place at no distant 
period after the Revolution. 

Let us now return to New England, where the principle of relig- 
ious establishments was most firmly rooted, and most difficult to be 

It was not until about forty years subsequent to the separation of 
Church and State in Virginia that the example was followed by Con- 
necticut. It will be recollected that in the latter State the Established 
Church was the Congregational. In 1816, shortly after the close of 
the last war between the United States and Great Britain, all parties 
that differed from it — Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, Universal- 
ists, etc. — combined to effect its overthrow. These various parties 
having succeeded in gaining a majority in the Legislature, proceeded 

* See Dr. Hawks's " History of the Episcopal Church of Maryland," p. 288. 


to abolish the legal assessment for the parish churches, and by a new 
law left it optional to the rate-payers to support either the parish 
church, or any other, as each thought fit. The same system was 
adopted by New Hampshire and Maine. Vermont, I believe, has 
at all times had essentially the voluntary scheme; that is, the 
people of each township have supported such churches within their 
respective boundaries, and in such a measure, as they have thought 

Of all the States in which there had ever been any connection be- 
tween the Church and the civil power, Massachusetts was the last to 
come under the operation of the voluntary principle. The fathers of 
that colony, in the indulgence of their theocratic principles and ideas, 
had ever prided themselves on the union made by the vine of the 
Lord's planting and the State. They had with great satisfaction re- 
posed under the shadow of both, and discoursed of the happy fruits 
of such a union. Cotton Mather, for example, in a style peculiarly 
his own, talks not only of the advantage, but of the honor, likewise, 
of a religious establishment. " Ministers of the Gospel," says he, 
"would have a poor time of it, if they must rely on a free contribu- 
tion of 'the people for then maintenance." And again: "The laws 
of the province (of Massachusetts) having had the royal approbation 
to ratify them, they are the king's laws. By these laws it is enacted 
that there shall be a public worship of God in every plantation ; that 
the person elected by the majority of the inhabitants to be so, shall 
be looked upon as the minister of the place ; and that the salary for 
him, which they shall agree upon, shall be levied by a rate upon all 
the inhabitants. In consequence of this, the minister thus chosen by 
the people is (not only Christ's, but also), in reality, the hinges minis- 
ter; and the salary raised for him is raised in the Icing's name, and 
is the king's allowance unto him."* 

Before the Revolution took place, the Episcopalians had been re- 
lieved by a special act of the Legislature, from contributing to the 
support of the parish churches, and their congregations had been 
erected into incorporated societies, or poll-parishes ; that is, parishes 
comprising only individuals, and not marked by geographical limits. 
But though the Constitution of 1780, which maintained the old 
assessment for religious worship, allowed every person to appropriate 
his taxes to whatever society he pleased, it was still held by the 
courts of that State, until the year 1811, that a member of a terri- 
torial parish (which is a corporation) could not divert the taxes im- 
posed on him for the support of religious worship to the maintenance 

* " Ratio Discipline ; or, Faithful Account of the Discipline professed and prac- 
tised in the Churches of New England," p. 20. 


of a teacher of an unincorporated society.* By the statute of 1811, 
amended in 1823, a duly-attested certificate of membership in any 
other religious society, whether incorporated or not, sufficed to re- 
lieve the holder of it from all taxes for the support of the parish 
church ; but it was still the law and practice of Massachusetts to re- 
gard all persons, in any town or parish, who belonged to no religious 
society whatever, as regular members of the parish or Congregational 
church, and taxable for the support of its clergy. 

I have elsewhere spoken of the accumulated evils which grew out 
of the connection between the Church and the State in Massachu- 
setts. Those evils became so great that the friends of evangelical 
religion, in other words, of the orthodox faith of every name, re- 
solved to unite in urging an amendment of the Constitution of 
the State, by which some better results might be obtained. Their 
efforts were crowned with success. The amendment having been 
voted by the Legislature in three successive sessions, 1831-33, became 
part of the organic law of the State, and the union of Church and 
State was brought to a close. 



It will be readily believed that the union of Church and State, in 
any country where it has once existed, can not be dissolved with- 
out some attendant inconvenience. If such has been the nature of 
the connection, that the Church has been wholly dependent on the 
State for its support, for the keeping of its places of worship in re- 
pair, the maintenance of its pastors, and the incidental expenses of 
public worship, very serious embarrassments must inevitably attend 
a sudden dissolution of such a union. Such was unquestionably the 
case in some of the States of America. In others, again, in which 
the connection had been one of no long duration, had never been 
very close, and had not been carried out to a great extent, that re- 
sult was attended with but little evil, and that not very lasting. 

Nowhere were the ill consequences of the dis-establishment of the 
Church felt more seriously than in Virginia, and this may be ascribed 

* For a brief and clear view of the laws of Massachusetts on this subject, the 
reader is referred to a sermon of the late Rev. William Cogswell, D.D., on Eeligious 
Liberty, preached on the day of the annual Fast in Massachusetts; April 3d, 1828, 
and published in Boston. 


to several causes. The worthless character of many of the clergy- 
men sent over from England, had bred in many places, from the very 
first, great indifference to the Church and its services. The people 
had become tired of compulsory payments, for the support of a form 
of worship which they had ceased to love or respect. Thus many 
became indifferent to religious worship of every sort, and others went 
off to the " dissenters" — the Presbyterians, Baptists, etc., when there 
were churches of these denominations hi their neighborhoods. How- 
ever deplorable it might be that the venerable edifices in which their 
fathers had worshipped should be almost deserted from such a cause, 
it was nevertheless inevitable. Not that this representation applies 
to every parish : in many cases, the faithful and consistent fives of the 
pastors kept their flocks, under God, in a state of prosperity. 

In the second place, a large majority, some say rather more than 
two thirds of the Episcopal clergy* in Virginia, were opposed to the 
Revolution, and most of these returned to England. Nor are they to, 
be blamed without mercy for so doing. Many of them, it must be 
remembered, were Englishmen by birth, and England was the land 
of all their early associations. They had never suffered oppression, 
but had ever been of the party in favor with the monarch. Thus 
nothing could be more natural than that even good men among them 
should be Tories. Others there were, doubtless, who saw that the 
independence of the country would be likely so to alter the state of 
things as to make it impossible for them to continue their delinquen- 
cies with impunity, which they had enjoyed when responsible only 
to a bishop three thousand miles off. But this loyalty to the British 
crown was not likely to find much forbearance among a people, so 
many of whom were republican in sentiment, and hostile for the time 
to the mother country ; and the Episcopal Church could not fail to 
suffer from the sympathy shown by many of its clergy for those who 
were considered the country's enemies. This was, no doubt, coun- 
teracted so far by there being in the minority of the clergy such 
staunch republicans and avowed partisans of the colonies as the 
Rev. Dr. Madison, afterward bishop of the State, Drs. Griffith and 
Bracken, Messrs. Buchanan, Jarret, and others ;f while as regards 

* Dr. Hawks's "History of the Episcopal Church in Virginia," p. 136. 

\ In one instance, an Episcopal clergyman of Virginia, the Rev. Mr. Muhlenburg, 
relinquished his charge, accepted a commission as colonel in the American army, 
raised a regiment among his own parishioners, served through the whole war, and 
retired from the service at its close with the rank of a brigadier-general. The last 
sermon that he ever preached to his people before he left for the camp, was delivered 
in military dress.— Thatcher's "Military Journal," p. 152. The Rev. Mr. Thurston, 
of Frederic county, in the same State, also bore arms as a colonel in the service of 
the country. 


the laity, no men in all the colonies entered more warmly into the 
Revolution than did the Episcopalians of Virginia.* 

In the third place, Virginia was the immediate theatre of no small 
part of the war, and was repeatedly overrun by the armies of both 
sides. Now, without attributing too much to wantonness, though 
much, no doubt, was owing to that, it may readily be supposed that 
the Episcopal churches, the best in the colony, would be sure to be 
used as barracks, store-houses, hospitals, etc., thus losing at once 
their sacred character, and suffering much in their furniture. 
Partly, indeed, from accident, partly, it is believed, from design, 
many were destroyed by fire and other causes. 

In the fourth place, so engrossed were all men's minds with the 
war, that the time was very unfavorable for doing good. Many of 
the ministers who remained in the province found great difficulty in 
collecting the people together, or obtaining for themselves the means 
>of subsistence. Some betook themselves to teaching schools, but 
even to that the times were unfavorable. Many who were mere 
boys shouldered the musket and went to the war, returning no more 
to their homes until hostilities had ceased, if death did not prevent 
them from returning at all. 

Bearing these things in mind, it may be supposed that the state 
of the Episcopal churchesf in Virginia was deplorable enough on the 
return of peace, and that they little needed the aggravation of being 
thrown for their support entirely upon their own members, when 
these were impoverished by the length of the war, and rendered by 
it incapable of doing much for the Church, however well disposed to 
make sacrifices in her cause. But an extract from the distinguished 
author to whom I have so often had occasion to refer, will give a 
clearer idea of the state of things than I can otherwise present : 

"On the 19th of April, 1783, precisely eight years after the first 
effusion of blood at Lexington, peace was proclaimed to the Ameri- 
can army by order of the commander-in-chief. Time was now 
afforded to men to direct their attention to the permanent establish- 
ment of such institutions, civil and religious, as might comport with 

* Such as General "Washington, Patrick Henry (of whom we have spoken in the 
last chapter), Eichard Henry Lee, the mover of the Declaration of Independence, his 
brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee, one of the signers, George Mason, Edmund Pendle- 
ton, Peter Lyons, Paul Carrington, "William Fleming, "William Grayson, with the 
families of the Nelsons, Meades, Mercers, Harrisons, Randolphs, and hundreds of 
other names deservedly dear to Virginia. — Dr. Hawks's "History of the Episcopal 
Church in Virginia" p. 137. 

f Not that the damage done by the war to other denominations was inconsidera- 
ble. The Presbyterians probably suffered more in their church edifices, from being 
far more obnoxious to the resentment of the enemy. 


their desires or views of duty. Much was to be done ; and rejoicing 
with thankfulness, as now we may, in the present prosperity of the 
Church in Virginia, it is well to look back on its condition as it 
emerged from the Revolution, and by a contemplation of the diffi- 
culties which stood in the way of its resuscitation, be moved to the 
exercise of gratitude. When the colonies first resorted to arms, Vir- 
ginia, in her sixty-one counties, contained ninety-five parishes, one 
hundred and four churches and chapels, and ninety-one clergymen. 
When the contest was over, she came out of the war with a large 
number of her churches destroyed or injured irreparably, with twenty- 
three of her ninety-five parishes extinct or forsaken, and of the re- 
maining seventy-two, thirty-four were destitute of ministerial serv- 
ices; while of her ninety-one clergymen, twenty-eight only remained, 
who had lived through the storm, and these, with eight others who 
came into the State soon after the struggle terminated, supplied 
thirty-six of the parishes. Of these twenty-eight, fifteen only had 
been enabled to continue in the churches which they supplied prior 
to the commencement of hostilities ; and thirteen had been driven 
from their cures by violence or want, to seek safety or comfort 
in some one of the many vacant parishes, where they might hope 
to find, for a time at least, exemption from the extremity of suf- 

This is a picture dark enough, yet it must be borne in mind that 
the evils it represents were almost wholly owing to the Revolution- 
ary war and its consequences, and could not have been much allevi- 
ated had the Church Establishment, instead of being arrested in 17 76, 
been continued until 17 83. But in the gloomy years that followed 
the Revolution, the Episcopal Church continued prostrate, and felt 
the loss of her establishment most severely. Then did it seem as if 
nothing short of her utter ruin would satisfy the resentment of her 
enemies. She had, indeed, in the day of her power, been exclusive, 
domineering, and persecuting ; her own sins had brought upon her 
this severe visitation. From her case, as well as from all past expe- 
rience, persecuting Churches should learn that a Church that op- 
presses, will one day be herself oppressed, and most likely by those 
on whose neck she had placed her foot. 

But let us turn to a brighter page. " The Lord, after he hath 
afflicted, delighteth to heal." So it was with the Episcopal Church 
in Virginia. He had some good thing in reserve for her, and had 
been preparing her for it by the discipline of His rod. She gradually 
emerged from her difficulties. Her people learned by degrees to 

* Dr. Hawks's "History of the Episcopal Church in Virginia," pp. 153, 154. 


trust in themselves, or, rather, in God, and began to look to their 
own exertions rather than to a tobacco-tax for the support of their 
churches and pastors. Faithful ministers multiplied; an excellent 
bishop was elected and consecrated ; benevolent societies began to 
spring up ; a theological school was planted within her borders, where 
many youths of talent and piety have been trained under excellent 
professors to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. And although 
the ministers and parishes are not now much more numerous than 
they were at the commencement of the war of the Revolution, yet 
their number is considerable, and constantly increasing. There are 
more than one hundred and ten ministers and churches. But, above 
all, I do not think it possible to find a body of ministers of equal 
number, in any denomination, who, in point of theological education, 
prudent zeal, simple and effective eloquence, general usefulness, 
and the esteem in which they are held by the people, can be re- 
garded as superior to the Episcopal clergy of the present day in Vir- 
ginia.* What a change ! How wonderfully has all been overruled 
by God for good ! Instead of perpetual wrangling with their parish- 
ioners and the law officers about the taxes on tobacco levied for their 
support, as was formerly the case: they are supported, in a way 
hereafter to be detailed, I do not say extravagantly or abundantly, 
but in general comfortably, by the contributions of their congrega- 
tions. And instead of being disliked, to use no harsher term, I have 
reason to believe that they are universally respected, and greatly 
beloved, by the members of other churches. 

In Maryland as well as Virginia, though in a much less degree, the 
dissolution of the union of Church and State produced serious embar- 
rassments and long-continued difficulty. In none of the colonies had 
the established clergy received such an ample maintenance as in 
Maryland. Their stipends were in many cases most liberal and even 
large for those days, so that to throw them at once on the voluntary 
support of their parishioners was a hazardous step, and for the time 
led to many cases of hardship. When the Revolution broke out, 
there were twenty parishes on the eastern shore of the province, and 
twenty-four on the western ; in all, forty-four. Each of these had an 

* This eulogy will not be thought extravagant by any one that has had opportuni- 
ties of knowing them. I have had the privilege, as well as the happiness, of making 
the acquaintance of many of them, and have known many more by character through 
sources worthy of entire confidence. The late excellent Bishop Moore was beloved 
by all who knew him. The present bishop, Dr. Meade, enjoys the confidence and 
esteem both of Christians and of the world, in a higher degree than perhaps any other 
minister of the Gospel in America. The assistant bishop, Dr. Johns, is a distinguished 
and excellent man. The Professors in the diocesan Theological Seminary, near Alex- 
andria, are widely known and highly esteemed. 


incumbent, "though not always of the purest character,"* and at the 
close of the war in 1783, there were about eighteen or twenty re- 
maining.! But if this diminution were owing at all to the dissolution 
of the union of Church and State, it was so in but a small degree. 
The fact is, that abou.t two thirds of the established clergy were op- 
posed to the war from its commencement, and refused to take the 
oath of allegiance to the new government, so that the greater part 
of them left the country. On the return of peace, the Episcopal 
Church gradually recovered from its depression, and ever since it has 
made pretty steady progress, and been decidedly prosperous. Dr. 
Clagget was appointed its first bishop in If 92, its Convention was 
organized, and canons established, by which proper discipline was 
secured. The clergy were for a long time less numerous than before 
the Revolution ; not so much, however, for lack of the means of sup- 
porting them, as for lack of suitable men. Some ministers did, in- 
deed, leave their parishes, and the State itself, just after the war of 
the Revolution, and even so late as 1822, for want of support; but 
this was either before the churches had been sufficiently trained to 
the work of raising a maintenance for their ministers, or it arose from 
the churches being really too weak for the burden. Maryland had 
fifty Episcopal clergymen in 182f ; this number had risen to seventy- 
two in 1838, and a considerable proportion of the churches were still 
without ministers. There are at present not far from one hundred 
churches, and nearly as many ministers. At no period of its estab- 
lishment by the State was the Episcopal Church of Maryland so pros- 
perous as it has been during some years back. Not that in all cases 
the clergy are supported as they ought to be, or as they were during 
the union of Church and State ; but in point of talents and sound 
learning, combined with piety and other ministerial gifts, they are 
immeasurably superior to their predecessors before the Revolution. 

In North and South Carolina, and in New York, though the dis- 
establishment of the Episcopal Church produced, as in other cases, a 
kind of syncope for a time, from this it ere long recovered, and its 
prosperity is now incomparably greater than it ever was when it was 
supported by the State. In the State of New York it may be said to 
have entered on its present career of extraordinary prosperity with 
the election and consecration of the late Rev. John Henry Hobart, 
D.D., as bishop of the diocese, previous to which its churches and 
ministers were few compared with their present numbers. Seldom 
has a Church owed more to the energy and perseverance of one 

But hi no part of the United States was the proposal to dis-estab- 
* Dr. Hawks's " History of the Episcopal Church in Maryland." \ Ibid., p. 301. 


lish the Church received with more serious apprehension than in New 
England. The language in which the celebrated Dr. Dwight, presi- 
dent of Yale College, and author of a very valuable system of theol- 
ogy, as well as other distinguished men of that State, deprecated the 
measure, is still extant in pamphlets and in journals, and these have 
often been quoted in England by the friends of the Church Estab- 
lishment there in opposition to its opponents. But it ought to be 
known that not a single survivor at this day, of all who once wrote 
against the separation of Church and State in Connecticut, has not 
long since seen that he was mistaken, and has not found that to be a 
blessing which he once regarded as a calamity. And had not Dr. 
Dwight died just as the change came into operation, no doubt he, 
too, would have changed his opinion.* Forty years have elapsed 
since that time, and although I have been much in Connecticut dur- 
ing the last twenty-five years, know many of the clergy, and have 
conversed much with them on the subject, out of the three or four 
hundred ministers of that State, I am not aware of there being one 
Congregational minister who would like to see the union of Church 
and State restored in it. On no point, I am confident, are the 
evangelical clergy of the United States, of all Churches, more fully 
agreed than in holding that a union of Church and State would 
prove one of the greatest calamities that could be inflicted on us, 
whatever it may prove in other countries. This is the very language 
I have heard a thousand times from our best and ablest men when 
speaking on the subject. 

In Massachusetts, which was the last of the States to abolish the 
union of the Church and the civil power, the change was adopted 
from a conviction of the evils, on the one side, resulting from the 
union in that State, and of the advantages, on the other side, that 
would accrue from its dissolution : a conviction that led all the evan- 
gelical denominations to combine for its overthrow. In fine, after 
nearly a quarter of a century's experience of the change, I appre- 
hend not one person of influence in all their ranks will be found to 
regret it. 

And now, throughout the whole of the United States, Truth stands 
on its own immovable vantage-ground. So far as the civil power is 

* The author has often conversed on this subject with the Rev. Lyman Beecher, 
D.D., who, when the change took place, was pastor of a church in Connecticut, but 
has since been a pastor of a church in Boston, and lately a Professor in a theological 
seminary at Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Beecher was as much opposed to the dissolution 
as Dr. Dwight was, and both preached and wrote against it. But with characteristic 
candor, he hesitates not now to confess that his apprehensions were quite unfounded. 
Few men have occupied a higher place in the United States than Dr. Beecher, 
whether as a preacher or as a writer. 


concerned, there is not the slightest interference with the rights of 
conscience or with the religious worship of any one. Religious lib- 
erty, fettered by no State enactment, is as perfect as it can be. Nor 
is any sect or denomination of Christians favored more than another. 
All depend, under God, for their support on the willing hearts and 
active hands of their friends, while the civil government, relieved 
from the ten thousand difficulties and embarrassments which a union 
of Church and State would involve, has only to mete out justice with 
even scales to all the citizens, whatever may be their religious opin- 
ions and preferences. 




It seems to be inferred by some that because the Constitution de- 
clares that " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment 
of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,"* the General 
Government can do nothing whatever to promote religion. This is 
certainly a mistake. 

A great variety of opinions has been expressed by writers on pub- 
lic and political law on the question, How far any government has a 
right to interfere in religious matters ; but that such a right exists to 
a certain extent, is admitted by all of them. Nor can it be otherwise 
so long as religion shall be thought necessary to the well-being of 
society, and to the stability of government itself. It is essential to 
the interests of men, even in this world, that they should be neither 
ignorant of, nor indifferent to, the existence, attributes, and provi- 
dence of one Almighty God, the Ruler of the universe ; and, above 
all, a people that believe in Christianity can never consent that the 
government they live under should be indifferent to its promotion, 
since public as well as private virtue is connected indissolubly with a 
proper knowledge of its nature and its claims, and as the everlasting 
happiness of men depends upon its cordial reception. 

On this subject it may be interesting to know the opinions of one 
of the most distinguished jurists the United States have ever pos- 
sessed, the late Mr. Justice Story, for a long time one of the judges 
of the Supreme Court : 

" The real difficulty lies in ascertaining the limits to which govern- 

* First of the Amendments to the Constitution. 


ment may rightfully go in fostering and encouraging religion. Three 
cases may easily be supposed. One, where a government affords aid 
to a particular religion, leaving all persons free to adopt any other ; 
another, where it creates an ecclesiastical establishment for the prop- 
agation of the doctrines of a particular sect of that religion, leaving a 
like freedom to all others ; and a third, where it creates such an es- 
tablishment, and excludes all persons not belonging to it, either 
wholly or in part, from any participation in the public honors, trusts, 
emoluments, privileges, and immunities of the State. For instance, a 
government may simply declare that the Christian religion shall be 
the religion of the State, and shall be aided and encouraged in all the 
varieties of sects belonging to it ; or it may declare that the Catholic 
or Protestant religion shall be the religion of the State, leaving every 
man to the free enjoyment of his own religious opinions ; or it may 
establish the doctrines of a particular sect, as of Episcopalians, as the 
religion of the State, with a like freedom ; or it may establish the 
doctrines of a particular sect, as exclusively the religion of the State, 
tolerating others to a limited extent, or excluding all not belonging 
to it from all public honors, trusts, emoluments, privileges, and im- 

" Now there will probably be found few persons in this, or any 
other Christian country, who would deliberately contend that it was 
unreasonable or unjust to foster and encourage the Christian religion 
generally as a matter of sound policy, as well as of revealed truth. 
In fact, every American colony, from its foundation down to the 
Revolution, with the exception of Rhode Island (if, indeed, that State 
be an exception), did openly, by the whole course of its laws and 
institutions, support and sustain, in some form, the Christian religion, 
and almost invariably gave a peculiar sanction to some of its funda- 
mental doctrines. And this has continued to be the case in some 
States down to the present period, without the slightest suspicion that 
it was against the principles of public law or of republican liberty.* 
Indeed, in a republic, there would seem to be a peculiar propriety in 
viewing the Christian religion as the great basis on which it must 
rest for its support and permanence, if it be, what it has ever been 
deemed by its truest friends to be, the religion of liberty. Montes- 
quieu has remarked, that the Christian religion is a stranger to mere 
despotic power. The mildness so frequently recommended in the 
Gospel is incompatible with the despotic rage with which a prince 
punishes his subjects, and exercises himself in cruelty.f He has gone 

* Kent's " Commentaries," sect, xxxiv., p. SS-SY. Rawle " On the Constitution," 
chap, x., pp. 121, 122. 

f Montesquieu, "Spirit of Laws," b. xxiv., c. hi. 


even further, and affirmed, that the Protestant religion is far more 
congenial with the spirit of political freedom than the Catholic. 
1 When,' says he, ' the Christian religion, two centuries ago, became 
unhappily divided into Catholic and Protestant, the people of the 
North [of Europe] embraced the Protestant, and those of the South 
still adhered to the Catholic. The reason is plain. The people of 
the North have, and ever will have, a spirit of liberty and independ- 
ence which the people of the South have not ; and, therefore, a religion 
which has no visible head is more agreeable to the independency of 
climate than that which has one.'* "Without stopping to inquire 
whether this remark be well founded, it is certainly true that the 
parent country has acted upon it with a severe and vigilant zeal ; and 
in most of the colonies the same rigid jealousy has been maintained 
almost down to our own times. Massachusetts, while she promul- 
gated, in her Bill of Rights, the importance and necessity of the 
public support of religion, and the worship of God, authorized the 
Legislature to require it only for Protestantism. The language of 
that Bill of Rights is remarkable for its pointed affirmation of the 
duty of government to support Christianity, and the reasons for it. 
' As,' says the third article, ' the happiness of a people, and the good 
order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon 
piety, religion, and morality, and as these can not be generally dif- 
fused through the community but by the institution of the public wor- 
ship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion, and morality, 
therefore, to promote their happiness, and to secure the good order 
and preservation of their government, the people of this common- 
wealth have a right to invest their Legislature with power to author- 
ize and require, and the Legislature shall from time to time author- 
ize and require the several towns, parishes, etc., etc., to make suitable 
provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public wor- 
ship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant 
teachers of piety, religion, and morality, in all cases where such pro- 
vision shall not be made voluntarily.' Afterward there follow pro- 
visions prohibiting any superiority of one sect over another, and 
securing to all citizens the free exercise of religion. 

" Probably, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution [of the 
United States], and of the amendment to it now under consideration, 
the general, if not universal, sentiment in America was, that Chris- 
tianity ought to receive encouragement from the State, so far as was 
not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the free- 
dom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to 
make it a matter of State policy to hold all in utter indifference, 
* Montesquieu, "Spirit of Laws," b. xxiv., chap. v. 


would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indig- 

" It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether 
any free government can be permanent where the public worship of 
God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or 
duty of the State in any assignable shape. The future experience of 
Christendom, and chiefly of the American States, must settle this 
problem, as yet new in the history of the world, abundant as it has 
been in experiments in the theory of government. 

" But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian 
religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of 
other men, or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner 
which they believe their accountability to Him requires. It has 
been truly said, that ' religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, 
and the manner of discharging it, can be dictated only by reason and 
conviction, not by force or violence.'* Mr. Locke himself, who did 
not doubt the right of government to interfere in matters of religion, 
and especially to encourage Christianity, at the same time has ex- 
pressed his opinion of the right of private judgment, and liberty of 
conscience, in a manner becoming his character as a sincere friend of 
civil and religious liberty. ' No man, or society of men,' says he, 
1 have any authority to impose then opinions or interpretations on 
any other, the meanest Christian ; since, in matters of religion, every 
man must know, and believe, and give an account of himself.'f The 
rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the reach of any human 
power. They are given by God, and can not be encroached upon by 
human authority without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of 
natural as well as of revealed religion. 

"The real object of this amendment was not to countenance, much 
less to advance, Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or Infidelity, by pros- 
trating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, 
and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should 
give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national govern- 
ment. It thus cuts off the means of religious persecution (the vice 
and pest of former ages), and of the subversion of the rights of con- 
science in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost 
from the days of the apostles to the present age. J The history of the 
parent country had afforded the most solemn warnings and melan- 
choly instructions on this head ;§ and even New England, the land 

* Virginia Bill of Rights. 1 Tucker's Blackstone's Commentaries, Appendix, 

p. 296. 

f Lord King's Life of John Locke, p. 313. J 2 Lloyd's Debates, p. 195. 

§ Blackstone's Commentaries, p. 41-59. 


of the persecuted Puritans, as well as other colonies where the Church 
of England had maintained its superiority, would furnish out a chap- 
ter as full of the darkest bigotry and intolerance as any which could 
be found to disgrace the pages of foreign annals. Apostacy, heresy, 
and nonconformity had been standard crimes for public appeals to 
kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious 
triumphs over innocence and virtue. 

" It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesi- 
astical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance 
of sects, thus exemplified in our domestic as well as foreign annals, 
that it was deemed advisable to exclude from the national govern- 
ment all power to act upon the subject.* The situation, too, of 
different States equally proclaimed the policy, as well as the neces- 
sity, of such an exclusion. In some of the States, Episcopalians con- 
stituted the predominant sect ; in others, Presbyterians ; in others, 
Congregationalists ; in others, Quakers ; and in others, again, there 
was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was im- 
possible that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual 
jealousies on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the National 
Government were left free to create a religious establishment. The 
only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would 
have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a 
declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohi- 
bition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus the whole power 
over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the State govern- 
ments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and 
the State Constitutions ; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the 
Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down 
at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition 
into their faith or mode of w r orship."t 

The preceding extracts from the learned commentator on the Con- 
stitution of the United States, are sufficient to show that the General 
Government is not restrained from promoting religion, though not 
allowed to make any religious establishment, or to do any thing for 
the purpose of aggrandizing one denomination of Christians more 
than another. 

There is also a manifest difference between legislating directly for 
religion as an end of jurisdiction, and keeping it respectfully in view 
while legislating for other ends, the legitimacy of which is not ques- 

* 2 Lloyd's Debates, p. 195-197. " The sectarian spirit," said the late Dr. Corrie, 
"is uniformly selfish, proud, and unfeeling."— Edinburg Review, April, 1832, p. 135. 

\ See Kent's Commentaries, Lecture xxiv. Rawle on the Constitution, chap, x., 
pp. 121, 122. 2 Lloyd's Debates, p. 195. 


tioned ; so that if we admit that the States alone could do the former, 
the General Government might, at least, be competent to the latter, 
and in this way the harmony of the whole might be preserved. 

But this restricted view of the case is not necessary. All that the 
Constitution does is to restrain Congress from making any law " re- 
specting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise 
of the same." Every thing that has no tendency to bring about an 
establishment of religion, or to interfere with the free exercise of 
religion, Congress may do. And we shall see, hereafter, that this is 
the view of the subject taken-by the proper authorities of the country. 




Because no mention of the Supreme Being, or of the Christian 
religion, is to be found in the Constitution of the United States, some 
have pronounced it infidel, others atheistical. But that neither opin- 
ion is correct, will appear from a moment's consideration of the case. 

Most certainly, the Convention which framed the Constitution in 
1787, under the presidency of the immortal Washington, was neither 
infidel nor atheistical in its character. All the leading men in it were 
believers in Christianity, and Washington, as all the world knows, 
was a Christian. Several of the more prominent members were well 
known to be members of churches, and to live in a manner consistent 
with their profession. Even Franklin, who never avowed his relig- 
ious sentiments, and can not be said with certainty to have been an 
infidel, proposed, at a time of great difficulty in the course of their 
proceedings, that a minister of the Gospel should be invited to open 
their proceedings with prayer. Many members of the Convention 
had been members also of the Continental Congress, which carried on 
the national government from the commencement of the Revolution 
until the Constitution went into effect. Now the religious views of 
that Congress we shall presently see from their acts. 

The framers of that Constitution seem, in fact, to have felt the 
necessity of leaving the subject of religion, as they left many things 
besides, to the governments of the several States composing the 
Union. It was a subject on which these States had legislated from 
the very first. In many of them the Christian religion had been, and 
in some it still continued to be, supported by law ; in all, it had been 


the acknowledged basis of their liberty and well-being, and its insti- 
tutions had been protected by legal enactments. Nothing, accord- 
ingly, could be more natural in the Convention than to deem the 
introduction of the subject unnecessary. There is yet another view 
of the subject. 

" On this head," says an able writer, " as on others, the Federal 
Constitution was a compromise. Religion could not well be intro- 
duced into it for any purpose of positive regulation. There was no 
choice but to tolerate all Christian denominations, and to forbear 
entering into the particular views of any. Religion was likely to fare 
best hi this way. Men who loved it better than we do nowadays, 
felt bound in prudence to leave it at once unaided and unencumbered 
by constitutional provisions, save one or two of a negative character. 
And they acted thus, not that it might be trodden under foot, the 
pearl among swine, but to the very end of its greater ultimate prev- 
alence, its more lasting sway among the people."* 

There is truth, unquestionably, in these remarks ; still I am of opin- 
ion that the Convention, while sensible that it was unwise to make 
religion a subject of legislation for the General Government, thought 
that this, or even any mention of the thing at all, was unnecessary. 
The Constitution was not intended for a people that had no religion, 
or that needed any legislation on the subject from the proposed Gen- 
eral or National Government ; it was to be for a people already 
Christian, and whose existing laws, emanating from the most appro- 
priate, or to say the least, the most convenient sources, gave ample 
evidence of their being favorable to religion. Their doing nothing 
positive on the subject seems, accordingly, to speak more loudly than 
if they had expressed themselves in the most solemn formulas on the 
existence of the Deity and the truth of Christianity. These were 
clearly assumed, being, as it were, so well known and fully acknowl- 
edged as to need no specification in an instrument of a general nature, 
and designed for general objects. The Bible does not begin with an 
argument to prove the existence of God, but assumes the fact, as one 
the truth of which it needs no attempt to establish. 

This view is confirmed by what is to be found in the Constitution 
itself. From the reference to the Sabbath, in Article I., section vii., 
it is manifest that the framers of it believed that they were drawing 
up a Constitution for a Christian people — a people who valued and 
cherished a day associated, if I may so speak, with so large a part of 
Christianity. Regarding the subject in connection with the circum- 
stances that belong to it, I do not think that the government of the 

* " An Inquiry into the Moral and Religious Character of the American Govern- 
ment," p. 72. 



United States can justly be called either infidel or atheistical, on ac- 
count of its Federal Constitution. The authors of that Constitution 
never dreamed- that they were to be regarded as treating Christianity 
with contempt, because they did not formally mention it as the law 
of the land, which it was already, much less that it should be ex- 
cluded from the government. If the latter was intended, we shall 
presently see that their acts, from the very organization of the gov- 
ernment, belied any such intention. 

Should any one, after all, regret that the Constitution does not 
contain something more explicit on the subject, I can not but say 
that I participate in that regret. Sure I am that, had the excellent 
men who framed the Constitution foreseen the inferences 'that have 
been drawn from the omission, they would have recognized, in a 
proper formula, the existence of God, and the truth and the import- 
ance of the Christian religion. 

I conclude this chapter in the language of one who has ably treated 
this question. " Consistent with themselves, the people of 1787 
meant by the federal arrangement nothing but a new and larger or- 
ganization of government on principles already familiar to the country. 
The State governments were not broad enough for national purposes, 
and the old Confederation was deficient in central power. It was 
only to remedy these two defects, not of principle, but of distributive 
adjustment, that the public mind addressed itself: innovation, to any 
other end, was never thought of; least of all in reference to religion, 
a thing utterly apart from the whole design. So that, admitting 
that the Constitution framed on that occasion does not in terms pro- 
claim itself a Christian document, what then ? Does it proclaim itself 
imchristian ? For if it is merely silent in the matter, law and reason 
both tell us that its religious character is to be looked for by inter- 
pretation among the people who fashioned it ; a people, Christian by 
profession and by genealogy ; what is more, by deeds of fundamental 
legislation that can not deceive."* 

* "An Inquiry into the Moral and Religious Character of the American Govern- 
ment," pp. 84, 85. 





Ant doubts which the Constitution of the United States may sug- 
gest as to the Christian character* of the National Government, will 
be dissipated by a statement of facts. 

In the first place, in transacting the affairs of the government, the 
Sabbath is recognized, and respect for it enjoined ; not only so, but 
it is observed to a degree rarely witnessed in other countries. All 
public business is suspended, unless in cases of extreme necessity. 
Congress adjourns over the Sabbath ;f the courts do not sit ; the 
custom-houses, and all other public offices, are shut, not only for a 
few hours, or part of it, but during the whole day. 

In the second place, the Christian character of the government is 
seen in the proclamations that have been made from time to time, 
calling on the people to observe days of fasting and prayer in times 
of national distress, and of thanksgiving for national or general mer- 
cies. Not a year passed during the war of the Revolution without 
the observance of such days. At the commencement of that war the 
Congress, in one of these proclamations, expressed its desire " to 
have the people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a sol- 
emn sense of God's superintending providence, and of their duty to 
rely in all their lawful enterprises on His aid and direction." The 
objects of a general fast are set forth : " That they may with united 
hearts confess and bewail their manifold sins and transgressions, and 
by a sincere repentance and amendment of life appease His righteous 
displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ 
obtain His pardon and forgiveness." A few months later we find the 
following language : " The Congress do also, in the most earnest 
manner, recommend to all the members of the United States, and par- 

* When I speak of the Christian character of the government of the United States, 
I mean that it is so far regulated by the Christian religion as to partake of its spirit, 
and that it is not infidel or opposed to Christianity — Christian as those of England 
and other parts of Christendom are Christian— not that every act of the government 
is truly conformable to the requirements of Christianity. Alas ! where shall we find 
a government whose acts are fully conformed to these ? 

f When the day for the adjournment of Congress falls on Saturday, it sometimes 
happens that, on account of the accumulation of business, the session is protracted 
through the night into the early morning of the Sabbath ; for doing which that body 
fails not to be severely censured, as it deserves, by the religious, and even by some 
of the secular journals. 


ticularly the officers, civil and military, under them, the exercise of 
repentance and reformation ; and further require of them the strict 
observance of the articles which forbid profane swearing and all im- 
moralities." And in 1777, Congress called upon the nation "That 
with one heart and voice the good people may express the grateful 
feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of 
their Divine Benefactor ; and that, together with their sincere ac- 
knowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession 
of their manifold sins, whereby they have forfeited every favor, and 
their earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits 
of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remem- 
brance ; that it may please Him graciously to afford His blessing on 
the governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public 
council of the whole ; to inspire our commanders both by land and 
by sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which 
may render them fit instruments, under the government of Almighty 
God, to secure to these United States the greatest of all blessings- 
independence and peace ; that it may please Hun to prosper the trade 
and manufactures of the people, and the labor of the husbandman, 
that our land may yield its increase ; to take schools and seminaries 
of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true lib- 
erty, virtue, and piety, under His nurturing hand ; and to prosper 
the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that 
kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost." In 1779, among other objects for which they call on 
the people to pray, we find the following : " That God would grant 
to His Church the plentiful effusions of Divine grace, and pour out 
His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel ; that He would bless 
and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of Chris- 
tian knowledge throughout the remotest corners of the earth." 

Similar language is found in the proclamations of 1780, 1781, and 
1782. Such was the spirit which actuated the councils of the nation 
in the Revolution. And after the Constitution had gone into effect, 
we find, in the earlier period of its reign, that days of fasting and 
prayer for similar blessings were observed upon the invitation of Con- 
gress. In 1812, when the last war with England broke out, we find 
Congress using the following language : " It being a duty peculiarly 
incumbent in a time of public calamity and war, humbly and devoutly 
to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God, and to implore 
His aid and protection, therefore resolved, that a joint committee of 
both Houses wait on the President, and request him to recommend a 
day of public humiliation and prayer, to be observed by the people 
of the United States with religious solemnity, and the offering of 


fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety of these States, 
and the speedy restoration of peace." And when the peace arrived, 
the same branch of the government called, in like manner, for a day 
of thanksoivino-, which President Madison did not hesitate to recom- 
mend. And though President Jackson, I regret to say, had, as Mr. 
Jefferson had, scruples as to how far he was empowered by the Con- 
stitution to appoint, or, rather, to recommend such days of fasting 
and prayer, and refused, accordingly, to do so at a time when it was 
loudly called for by the circumstances of the nation, Mr. Tyler did 
not for a moment hesitate to call upon the people to observe such a 
day upon the death of the lamented President Harrison. And sel- 
dom has such a day been so remarkably observed in any country, the 
people nocking to their respective churches, and listening with pro- 
found attention to discourses suited to the affecting occasion. It was 
marked, in short, with the solemnity of a Sabbath. The nation felt 
that God, who had stricken down the man whom they had elevated 
so lately, and with such enthusiasm, to the presidency, was loudly 
calling upon them not to trust in " man, whose breath is in his nos- 
trils." The appointment of that fast was manifestly acceptable to the 
nation at large. President Taylor appointed a day of fasting on ac- 
count of the cholera. 

In the third place, the General Government has at various times 
authorized the employment of chaplains in the army and navy, and at 
this moment there are such in all the larger vessels of war, and at 
twenty of the chief fortresses and military stations* There is also a 

* I can not avoid remarking, however, that the appointment of some twenty -four 
or five chaplains in the navy very strikingly illustrates the incompetency of the civil 
power to manage spiritual matters. Most of the chaplains in the United States' navy, 
with the exception of a few comparatively recent appointments, have been little 
qualified for laboring for the salvation of from four to twelve hundred men on board 
a ship of war. A secretary of the navy is seldom fitted to make the best selection for 
such a post. It would be better done if committed to some of the missionary socie- 
ties, or to them in conjunction with the secretary. For more than twenty years after 
the last war with England we had no chaplains in our little army ; but since, for twenty 
years and more, the government, at the instance of many of the officers, has ap- 
pointed twenty chaplains for as many of the chief posts. The chaplains are chosen 
by the senior officers of each post — as good an arrangement, probably, as could be 
devised. When there were no chaplains employed by the government, the ministers 
in the vicinity of our forts and garrisons, and the missionary societies, attended to the 
spiritual interests of the officers and men. The officers and men of a regiment, in 
some cases, raised a sufficient sum among themselves for the employment of a mis- 
sionary, for the greater part, or the whole of his time, to preach the Gospel to them. 
Almost all our forts and garrisons are often visited by ministers who volunteer to 
preach at certain stated times to the military stationed in them. Thus is the Word 
of Life made known to men who have devoted themselves to their country's service. 
It must be borne in mind that the national army, in times of peace, for a long period, 


chaplain at the government military school at West Point, for the 
training of young officers. Moreover, the Congress testifies to its 
interest in the Christian religion, and to its sense of its importance, 
by employing two chaplains, one for the Senate and the other for the 
House of Representatives, to open the sittings of these bodies every 
day with prayer, and to preach every Sabbath to the two Houses, 
convened in the Hall of the Representatives, at twelve o'clock. 

In the fourth place, the policy of the General Government may be 
considered as Christian, inasmuch as it is directed, in a large meas- 
ure, by a Christian spirit. As a people, we have preferred peace to 
war ; we have endeavored to act with simple integrity and good faith 
to foreign nations. With few exceptions, the General Government 
has acted fairly to the Indians on our borders ; and in the instances 
in w T hich it has been blamed, it is not easy to see how it could have 
acted otherwise. To avoid a civil war, it has once or twice, perhaps, 
failed to act with sufficient promptitude in protecting them from their 
ruthless white invaders. But, generally speaking, its conduct toward 
the Indians has been mild and benevolent. From the times of Wash- 
ington it has ever willingly lent its aid in promoting the introduction 
of the arts of civilized life among them ; it has expended much money 
in doing so ; and at this moment it is co-operating with our mission- 
ary societies, by giving them indirect but effectual aid in that quarter. 
But- 1 shall have occasion to speak elsewhere of the conduct of the 
General Government with respect to this subject. 

In the fifth place, the same spirit appears in what takes place in 
judicial affairs. As, first, the rejection of the oath of an atheist; sec- 
ond, the requiring of a belief in a future state of rewards and pun- 
ishments, in order to the validity of a man's testimony ; and, lastly, 
the administering of oaths on the Bible. 

In the sixth place, this appears from the readiness shown by Con- 
gress in making large grants of valuable public lands for the support 
of seminaries of learning, asylums for the deaf and dumb, and for hos- 
pitals, although aware that the institutions thus endowed were often 
to be under the direction of decided Christians, who would give a 
prominent place in them to their religious views. This I could show 
by many facts, were it necessary. 

But I have said enough, I trust, to prove that though the encour- 

seldom numbered more than six or eight thousand men. It would now, if complete, 
embrace seventeen thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven officers and men. Last 
year (November, 1855), it had fifteen thousand seven hundred and fifty-two officers 
and men. It is an interesting fact, that a very considerable proportion of the officers 
are pious men, and do much good by holding religious meetings in their respective 
regiments and companies. 


agement or promotion of religion does not directly belong to the 
General Government, but to the States, the former is neither hostile 
nor indifferent to the religious interests of the country. This, indeed, 
is not likely to be the case, so long, at least, as a large proportion of 
our public men entertain the respect they now show for religion. 
Such respect is the more interesting, as it can only flow from the 
spontaneous feelings of the heart. They are not tempted by any re- 
ligious establishment to become the partisans of religion. Religion 
stands on its own basis, and seeks, not ineffectually, to win the re- 
spect and affections of all men by its own simple merits. Many of 
the national legislators are either members of the churches, or their 
warm supporters ; while few among them are not believers in Chris- 
tianity, or do not attend some sanctuary of the Most High on the 




After considering the claims of the General Government to be 
regarded as Christian in character, let us inquire how far the indi- 
vidual States, and particularly the original Thirteen, are entitled to 
the same distinction : confining ourselves in this chapter to the evi- 
dence supplied by their earliest constitutions or fundamental laws, 
which were mostly made during, or shortly after, the Revolution. 

Virginia was unquestionably a Christian State, but her Constitution 
is silent on the subject. It was drawn up under the eye of one of 
the greatest enemies that Christianity has ever had to contend with 
in America ; but although he had influence enough to prevent the 
religion which he hated from being mentioned in the Constitution of 
Virginia, he could not obliterate all traces of it from her laws. 

Connecticut and Rhode Island had adopted no Constitutions of 
their own when that of the United States was framed. The latter 
of these two States has been governed almost to this day by the 
charter granted by Charles II. Both States were of Puritan origin, 
and the charters of both were based on Christian principles, as are 
their present Constitutions. 

The first Constitution of New York dated from 1777. It strongly 
guarded the rights of conscience and religious worship. It excluded 
the clergy from public offices of a secular nature, on the express 


ground that " by their profession they were dedicated to the service 
of God and to the cure of souls," and " ought not to be diverted from 
the great duties of their functions." 

The Constitution of New Jersey, as originally framed in 1776, be- 
sides guaranteeing to every one the " inestimable privilege of wor- 
shipping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his 
own conscience," declared that " all persons professing a belief in the 
faith of any Protestant sect, and who should demean themselves peace- 
ably under the government, should be capable of being members of 
either branch of the Legislature, and should fully and freely enjoy 
every privilege and immunity enjoyed by others, their fellow-citizens." 
Whatever may be thought of the style of this instrument, it can not 
be denied that it favored the professors of Protestant Christianity. 

The Constitution of New Hampshire, after laying it down that 
" every individual has a natural and inalienable right to worship God 
according to the dictates of his conscience and his reason," says, 
" that morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, 
would give the best and greatest security to government, and would 
lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to due subjection;" 
and again, " that the knowledge of these was most likely to be prop- 
agated by the institution of the public worship of the Deity, and 
public instruction in morality and religion ;" therefore, to promote 
these important purposes, "the towns" are empowered to adopt 
measures for the support and maintenance of "public Protestant 
teachers of piety, religion, and morality." Although the towns are 
still authorized to take measures for the support of public worship, 
this is no longer accomplished by a general assessment. 

The first Constitution of Massachusetts was framed in 1780. In it 
we find the following language : " That as the happiness of a people, 
and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially 
depend upon piety, religion, and morality ; and as these can not be 
generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the 
public worship of God, and of public instruction in piety, religion, and 
morality : therefore, to promote their happiness, and to secure the 
good order and preservation of their government, the people of this 
commonwealth have a right to invest their Legislature with power to 
authorize and require, and the Legislature shall from time to time 
authorize and require the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other 
bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at 
their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, 
and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of 
piety, religion, and morality, in all cases where such provision shall 
not be made voluntarily ; and the people of this commonwealth have 


also a right to, and do, invest their Legislature with authority to en- 
join upon all the subjects an attendance upon the instructions of the 
public teachers as aforesaid, at stated times and seasons, if there be 
any one whose instructions they can conscientiously attend." It was 
also ordained, that "because a frequent recurrence to the funda- 
mental principles of the Constitution, and a constant adherence to 
those of piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugal- 
ity, are absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of liberty 
and to maintain a tree government, the people ought consequently to 
have a particular regard to all those principles in the choice of their 
officers and representatives ; and they have a right to require of their 
lawgivers and magistrates an exact and constant observance of them 
in the formation and execution of all laws necessary for the good ad- 
ministration of the commonwealth." And, lastly, it was prescribed 
that every person "chosen governor, lieutenant-governor, senator, 
or representative, and accepting the trust," shall subscribe a solemn 
profession " that he believes the Christian religion, and has a firm 
persuasion of its truth." 

.The Constitution of Maryland, made in 1776, empowers the Legis- 
lature " to lay a general tax for the support of the Christian religion," 
and declares that " all persons professing the Christian religion are 
equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty." All tests are 
disallowed, excepting these : an oath of office ; an oath of allegiance ; 
" and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion." 

The first Constitution of Pennsylvania, made in the same year, re- 
quired that every member of the Legislature should make this solemn 
declaration : " I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of 
the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the 
wicked ; and I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New 
Testament to be given by Divine inspiration." 

The Constitution of Delaware, made at the same period, premises, 
" That all men have a natural and inalienable right to worship God 
according to the dictates of their own consciences and understand- 
ings ;" and declares, " that all persons professing the Christian religion 
ought forever to enjoy equal rights and privileges." In relation to 
the members of the Legislature, it enjoins, that every citizen who 
shall be chosen a member of either house of the Legislature, or ap- 
pointed to any other public office, shall be required to subscribe the 
following declaration : " I do profess faith in God the Father, and in 
Jesus Christ His only Son, and the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for- 
evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and 
New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration." 

The Constitution of North Carolina, made about the same period, 


declares expressly, " That no person who should deny the being of 
God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the Divine authority 
of either the Old or New Testament, or who should hold religious 
principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, 
should be capable of holding any office or place of trust in the civil 
government of the State." 

But the Constitution of South Carolina, made in 1V78, was the 
most remarkable of all. It directs the Legislature, at its regular 
meeting, to " choose by ballot from among themselves, or from the 
people at large, a governor and commander-in-chief, a lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, and privy council, all of the Protestant religion." It prescribes 
that no man shall be eligible to either the Senate or House of Repre- 
sentatives, "unless he be of the Protestant Religion." And, in a 
word, it ordains " that the Christian religion be deemed, and is hereby 
constituted and declared to be, the established religion of the land." 

Provision was also made for the incorporation, maintenance, and 
government of such " societies of Christian Protestants" as chose to 
avail themselves of laws for the purpose, and required that every such 
society should first agree to, and subscribe in a book the five articles 
following : 

" First, That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards 
and punishments. 

" Second, That God is publicly to be worshipped. 

" Third, That the Christian religion is the true religion. 

" Fourth, That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament 
are of Divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice. 

" Fifth, That it is lawful, and the duty of every man, being there- 
unto called by those who govern, to bear witness to the truth." 

Even more than this : the Conscript Fathers who made the Consti- 
tution of South Carolina went on to declare, " That to give the State 
sufficient security for the discharge of the pastoral office, no person 
shall officiate as a minister of any established church who shall not 
have been chosen by a majority of the society to which he shall 
minister, nor until he shall have made and subscribed the following 
declaration, over and above the aforesaid five articles ; viz., ' That he 
is determined, by God's grace, out of the Holy Scriptures to instruct 
the people committed to his charge, and to teach nothing as required 
of necessity to eternal salvation but that which he shall be persuaded 
may be concluded and proved from the Scriptures ; that he will use 
both public and private admonitions, as well to the sick as to the 
whole within his cure, as need shall require and occasion be given ; 
that he will be diligent in prayers and in reading of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same ; 


that he will be diligent to frame and fashion his own self and his family- 
according to the doctrine of Christ, and to make both himself and 
them, as much as in him lies, wholesome examples and patterns of 
the flock of Christ ; that he will maintain and set forward, as much 
as he can, quietness, peace, and love, among all people, and especially 
among those committed to his charge." 

Who does not recognize in this Constitution the spirit of the old 
Huguenot Confession of Faith, and of the Synods of France, which 
those who had been persecuted in the Gallican kingdom had carried 
with them to the New World ? 

The Constitution of Georgia, made in 1777, says: "Every officer 
of the State shall be liable to be called to account by the House of 
Assembly," and that all the members of that House " shall be of the 
Protestant religion." 

Such was the character of the State Constitutions in the opening 
scenes of our national existence. Of the thirteen original States, 
the organic laws of all but one expressly enjoined the Christian 
religion, and almost without exception, the Protestant form of Chris- 
tianity. But even Virginia was, in fact, as much Christian as any of 

From all this, the reader will see how the nation set out on its 
career. It was, in every proper sense of the word, a Christian nation. 
And though the Constitutions of the old States have since been de- 
prived of what was exclusive in regard to religion, and the political 
privileges of the Protestants are now extended to the Roman Cath- 
olics, without any exception that I am aware of, yet the legislative 
action of those States, as well as that of the new, is still founded on 
Christianity, and is as favorable as ever to the promotion of the Chris- 
tian religion. I am not sure that there is now even one State in which 
the Jew has not equal privileges with the professor of Christianity. 
He has everywhere the right to worship God publicly, according to 
the rites of his religion. In some States he holds offices of trust and 
influence, the law opening to him as well as to others access to such 
offices. Thus, in the city of New York, a few years ago, a descendant 
of Abraham was a judge of one of the courts, and discharged its 
duties faithfully and acceptably. It is seldom that there is not a Jew 
in one or the other House of Congress. Jews form but a small body 
in America, and as they hold what may be called the basis of the 
Christian religion, worship God according to the Old Testament, and 
believe in a future state of rewards and punishments, such a modifi- 
cation of the laws as should place them on the same footing with 
Christians, as respects political privileges, was not deemed too lati- 
tudinarian or unsafe. They surely have as good a claim to be con- 


sidered fit to become members of a government founded on the re- 
ligion of the Bible, as Unitarians can pretend to, and hold safer 
principles than the Universalists. 

I repeat, in few words, that the State governments were founded 
on Christianity, and almost without exception, on Protestant Chris- 
tianity. In the progress of opinion on the subject of religious lib- 
erty, every thing that looked like an interference with the rights 
of conscience in any sect was laid aside, and all men whose relig- 
ious principles were not thought subversive of the great moral prin- 
ciples of Christianity, were admitted to a full participation in civil 
privileges and immunities. This is the present position of the gov- 
ernments of the several States in the American Union. Their legis- 
lation, while it avoids oppressing the conscience of any sect of relig- 
ionists, is still decidedly favorable, in general, to the interests of 
Christianity ; the unchristian element, if I may so term it, is too in- 
significant, taking the country as a whole, to exert an influence of 
any importance on the national legislation. 




We have said that the organic laws of the State governments have 
been so far modified as to extend political rights to citizens of all 
shades of religious opinions ; that in every State the rights of con- 
science are guaranteed to all men ; and that in these respects, the 
whole thirty-one States and seven Territories composing the Amer- 
ican Union are as one. But we must not be understood as meaning 
thereby, that irreligion and licentiousness are also guaranteed by the 
organic laws, or by any laws whatever. This would be absurd. 
Rights of conscience are religious rights, that is, rights to entertain 
and utter religious opinions, and to enjoy public religious worship. 
Now this expression, even in its widest acceptation, can not include 
irreligion — opinions contrary to the nature of religion, subversive of 
the reverence, love, and. service due to God, of virtue, morality, and 
good manners. What rights of conscience can atheism, irreligion, or 
licentiousness pretend to ? It may not be prudent to disturb them in 
their private haunts and secret retirements. There let them remain 
and hold their peace. But they have no right, by any law in the United 
States that I am aware of, to come forward and propagate opinions and 


proselytize. Such attempts, on the contrary, are everywhere opposed 
by the laws, and if, at times, these laws are evaded, or their enforce- 
ment intentionally intermitted, this does not proceed from any ques- 
tion of their being just, but from a conviction that, in some circum- 
stances, it is the less of two evils not to enforce them. It is sometimes 
the best way to silence a noisy, brainless lecturer on atheism, to let 
him alone, and the immoral conduct of some preachers of unright- 
eousness is the best refutation of their impious doctrines. At times, 
however, another course must be pursued. Profane swearing, blas- 
phemy, obscenity, the publication of licentious books and pictures, 
the interruption of public worship, and offences of a like nature, are 
punishable by the laws of every State in the American Union. Now, 
whence had these laws their origin, or where do we find their sanc- 
tion ? Take the laws against profane swearing. Where did men learn 
that that is an offence against which the law should level its denuncia- 
tions ? Surely from the Bible, and from no other source. 

I am not aware that there is one State that has no laws for the due 
observance of the Sabbath. But whence came such regulations? 
From the light of Nature ? From the conclusions of human wisdom ? 
Has philosophy ever discovered that one day in seven should be con- 
secrated to God ? I know that experience and a right knowledge 
of the animal economy show that the law setting apart one day in 
seven is good, favorable to human happiness, and merciful to the 
beasts of burden. But the Sabbath is of God ; and putting aside 
some dim traditions and customs among nations near the spot where 
the Divine command respecting it was first given to Moses, or the 
people in whose code it afterward held a permanent place, we find 
it only in the Bible. 

But it is not only by the statute law of the United States that such 
offences are forbidden, they are punishable likewise under the com- 
mon law, which has force in that country, as well as in England. Of 
this admirable part of the civil economy, Christianity is not merely 
an inherent, it is a constituent part. This, though denied by Mr. 
Jefferson, Dr. Cooper, and others, has been so decided by many of 
the ablest judges in the land. For it has been held, that while the 
abolition of religious establishments in the United States necessarily 
abolishes that part of the common law which attaches to them in 
England, it does nothing more, and thus many offences still remain 
obnoxious to it, on the ground of their being contrary to the Chris- 
tian religion. 

A person was indicted at New York, in 1811, for aspersing the 
character of Jesus Christ, and denying the legitimacy of his birth. 
He was tried, condemned, fined, and imprisoned. On that trial, the 


late Chancellor Kent, an authority believed to be second to none in 
the country, expressed himself as follows : 

" The people of this State, in common with the people of this coun- 
try, profess the general doctrines of Christianity as the rule of their 
faith and practice ; and to scandalize the Author of these doctrines is 
not only, in a religious point of view, extremely hnpious, but, even 
in respect to the obligations due to society, is a gross violation of 
decency aud good order. Nothing could be more offensive to the 
virtuous part of the community, or more injurious to the tender 
morals of the young, than to declare such profanity lawful. It would 
go to confound all distinction between things sacred and profane." 
" No government," he maintained, " among any of the polished na- 
tions of antiquity, and none of the institutions of modern Europe (a 
single monitory case excepted), ever hazarded such a bold experi- 
ment upon the solidity of the public morals, as to permit with im- 
punity, and under the sanction of their tribunals, the general religion 
of the community to be openly insulted and defamed." " True," he 
adds, "the Constitution has discarded religious establishments. It 
does not forbid judicial cognizance of those offences against religion 
and morality which have no reference to any such establishment, or 
to any particular form of government, but are punishable because 
they strike at the root of moral obligation, and weaken the security 
of the social ties. To construe it as breaking down the common law 
barriers against licentious, wanton, and impious attacks upon Chris- 
tianity itself, would be an enormous perversion of its meaning."* 

These just opinions were fully sustained by the decision pronounced 
in Pennsylvania, at the trial of a man indicted for blasphemy, not 
against God directly, but against the Bible ; the design charged upon 
him being that of " contriving and intending to scandalize and bring 
into disrepute and vilify the Christian religion and the Scriptures of 
truth." On that occasion, the late Judge Duncan said, that " even 
if Christianity were not a part of the law of the land, it is the popu- 
lar religion of the country ; an insult to which would be indictable, 
as tending to disturb the public peace ;" and added, " that no 
society can tolerate a willful and despiteful attempt to subvert its 

The application of the common law, by the courts of Pennsylvania, 
to the protection of clergymen living in the discharge of their official 
duties, confirms all that has been said respecting the light in which 
Christianity is regarded by the State governments. 

Further, every State has laws for the protection of all religious 

* Johnson's "Reports," p. 290. 

\ 11 Sergeant and Rawle's Reports, p. 394. 


meetings from disturbance, and these are enforced when occasion re- 
quires. Indeed, I am not aware of any offence that is more promptly 
punished by the police than interference with religious worship, 
whether held in a church, in a private house, or even in the forest. 

All the States have laws for the regulation of church property, and 
of that devoted to religious uses. In some States, every religious 
body, immediately on being organized, is pronounced de facto incor- 
porated ; and in none, generally, is there any difficulty in procuring 
an act of incorporation, either for churches or for benevolent societies. 

No State allows the oath of an atheist to be received in a court of 
justice, and in one only, in so far as I am aware, is that of a disbe- 
liever in a, future state of rewards and punishments received as evi- 
dence. That State is New York, where the law requires simply the 
belief in a state of rewards and punishments ; in other words, if a 
man believes that there is a God who punishes men for evil actions, 
and rewards them for their good ones, whether in this world or in 
that which is to come, his oath will be received in a court of justice. 
Of course, the man who believes neither in the existence of God, nor 
in any sort of divine punishment, can not be sworn, nor can his testi- 
mony be allowed, in a court in that State. 



If there be no Established Church in any of the States at the 
present time, it is not, as we have shown, from any want of power in 
the States to create such an establishment, but because it has been 
found inexpedient to attempt promoting religion in that way. Ex- 
perience has shown that with us all such establishments have been, 
upon the whole, more injurious than beneficial. They have been re- 
nounced because, from the nature of the case, they could never be 
made to operate in such a way as not to do some injustice to one 
portion or other of the citizens. 

To this general conviction we must ascribe what appears at first sight 
to be an anomaly : the fact that power to aid religion by legal enactment 
is expressly conferred in the Constitution of some of the States,* and 
yet that power is suffered to lie dormant, nor is there the least prospect 

* Maryland, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. 


of its ever being exercised again. But although the States have 
thought it best for the interests of religion itself, as well as most 
equitable to all classes of the inhabitants, to relinquish all attempts to 
promote religion by what is called an establishment, yet they have 
deemed it neither unwise nor unjust to pursue the same end indi- 
rectly. Several instances of this kind have been stated already ; we 
may notice a few more. 

The States do much to promote education in all its stages, though 
in doing so they often assist the cause of religion, in what might be 
considered nearly the most direct manner possible. For instance, 
they aid colleges directed by religious men, and that, too, without 
stipulating for the slightest control over these institutions. On this 
we shall yet have occasion to speak more at large, and we introduce 
it here merely to indicate what the States are thus doing for Chris- 
tianity in the way of concurrence with other bodies. Some States 
have given considerable sums to endow colleges at the outset. 
Others contribute annually to their support, and this while well 
aware that the colleges aided by such grants are under a decided re- 
ligious influence. So is it also with the academies, of which there are 
several even in the smallest States, and many in the largest. Young 
men are instructed in the classics and mathematics at these, prepara- 
tory to being sent to college, and as many of them are conducted by 
ministers of the Gospel and other religious men, they are nurseries of 
vast importance both for the Church and for the State. 

Again, by promoting primary schools, the States co-operate in pro- 
moting religion ; for mere intellectual knowledge, although not a part 
of religion, greatly facilitates its diffusion by means of books. In the 
six New England States, it is long since provision was first made by 
law for the good education of every child whose parents choose to avail 
themselves of it ; and, accordingly, hardly is there to be found an 
adult native of those States who can not read. Some uneducated 
persons there are, especially in Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode 
Island, but they are few compared with what may be found in other 
lands. In all the six States, except Connecticut, each " town" is re- 
quired to assess itself for as many schools as it may need. Connec- 
ticut has a school fund of above $2,000,000, yielding an annual rev- 
enue of above $112,000, and this maintains schools, a part of the year 
at least, in every school district of the State. In New York, Penn- 
sylvania, and Ohio, there are efficient primary school systems in ope- 
ration, supported by law, and capable of supplying all the youth with 
education. The State support consists partly of the interest of per- 
manent State funds set apart for the purpose, partly of money raised 
in each of the townships by assessment. The systems pursued in 


New Jersey and Delaware, though less efficient, are highly useful. 
Efforts are making in several of the Western States to introduce a 
like provision, and a good deal is done in the Southern States to 
educate the children of the poor, by means of funds set apart for that 

The instruction given in the primary schools of the United States 
depends greatly for its character upon the teachers. "Where these 
are pious, they find no difficulty in giving a great deal of religious, 
instruction ; where they are not so, but little instruction is given that 
can be called religious. The Bible is read in most of the schools. 

Several of the States have liberally contributed to the establishment 
of asylums for the deaf and dumb, and for the blind, almost all of 
which institutions are under a decidedly religious influence. The 
governments of several States containing large cities, have done much 
in aid of the efforts of philanthropic individuals and associations for 
establishing Retreats or Houses of Refuge, where young offenders 
who have not gone hopelessly astray may be placed for reformation. 
These institutions have been greatly blessed. 

Before concluding my remarks on the indirect bearing of the State 
legislation in America upon religion, I have a few words to say on 
one or two subjects connected with religion, but different from those 
already mentioned. One is marriage, which with us, is in a great 
degree a civil institution, regulated by the laws of each State, pre- 
scribing how it should be performed. In so far as it is a contract 
between the parties, under proper circumstances of age, consent of 
friends, sufficient number of witnesses, etc., it has, with us, no neces- 
sary connection with religion. In all the States it may take place 
if the parties choose, before a regularly ordained minister of the Gos- 
pel, and be accompanied with religious services. The civil power 
decides within what degrees of consanguinity and affinity it may take 
place. On this point, and this mainly, can any collision take place 
between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities. For instance, some 
churches pronounce marriage with a deceased wife's sister to be 
incestuous and unlawful. Such marriages, on the other hand, are 
expressly allowed by the laws of Connecticut, and are not forbidden 
by those of any other State excepting Virginia. In all cases of this 
kind, a man must make his election as to which he will obey — the 
Church or the State. As condemnation by the former subjects a 
man to no civil penalties, all that he can suffer is excommunication. 

As for divorces, they are wholly regulated by the civil government, 
and fall within the jurisdiction of the States. In some they are 
allowed for very few causes ; much more looseness of practice 
prevails in others. In South Carolina, I understand that no divorce 



has been granted since it became a State. In some States it be 
longs to the legislature to grant divorces, and in others to the courts 

of law. 

What are called mixed marriages, or marriages between Protest- 
ants and Roman Catholics, which have given rise to so much trouble 
of late in some countries of Europe, occasion no difficulty with us. 
Marriage, by our laws, being a civil contract, is held valid at common 
law whenever the consent of the parties, supposing there is no legal 
impediment, is expressed in a way that admits of proof. The refusal 
of a priest to grant the nuptial benediction, or the " sacrament of mar- 
riage," except upon conditions to which the parties might not be will- 
ing to agree, would be of little consequence. They have only to go 
to the civil magistrate, and they will be married without the slightest 
difficulty. No Roman Catholic priest, or Protestant minister in the 
United States, would dare to refuse to perform the ceremony of mar- 
riage, unless for most justifiable reasons ; for if he did, he would soon 
hear of it through the press, which is with us an instrument of cor- 
recting any little instances of tyranny or injustice. 




Besides the incidental bearing which the legislation of the indi- 
vidual States has upon religion, and which sometimes comes not a 
little to its help, there are cases in which the civil authority intervenes 
more directly, not in settling points of doctrine, but in determining 
questions of property ; and these are by no means of rare occurrence 
where there are conflicting claims in individual churches. This, in- 
deed, has happened several times, in reference to property held by 
large religious denominations. The first of these cases occurred in 
New Jersey, and on that occasion the courts decided upon the claims 
to certain property, urged by the Orthodox and the Hicksites, two 
bodies into which the Society of Friends, or Quakers, has been divided 
throughout the United States. And although the trial took place 
on a local cause, or, rather, for a local claim, yet the principle upon 
which it was decided affected all the property held by Quaker socie- 
ties in the State. 

The second case occurred in 1839, in Pennsylvania, where the Su- 


preme Court had to decide upon the claims of the Old and New School, 
to certain property belonging to the General Assembly of the Presby- 
terian Church, on its being divided into two separate bodies, each of 
which assumed the name of the Presbyterian Church. Here the 
court had of necessity to decide which of the two ought by law to be 
considered the true representative and successor of the Presbyterian 
Church before its division. The decision, however, did not rest on 
doctrinal grounds, but wholly on the acts of the bodies themselves, 
the court refusing to take up the question of doctrines at all, as not 
being within their province. Not so in the case of the Quakers just 
referred to. There the court considered the question of doctrine, 
in order to determine which body was the true Society of Friends. 

A few years ago a similar intervention of a law court occurred in 
the case of the Methodist Episcopal Church, North and South. 

I apprehend that I have now said enough to place the nature of 
the mutual relations between Church and State in America fairly be- 
fore the reader, and will dismiss the subject by giving some extracts 
from a communication which the late Hon. Henry Wheaton had the 
goodness to address to me, and which presents, in some respects, a 
resume, or summary of what may be said on this subject : 

" In answer to your first query, I should say that the State does 
not view the Christian Church as a rival or an enemy, but rather as 
an assistant or co-worker in the religious and moral instruction of the 
people, which is one of the most important duties of civil govern- 

"It is not true that the Church is treated as a stranger by the 


" There are ample laws in all the States of the American Union for 
the observance of the Sabbath, the securing of Church property, and 
the undisturbed tranquillity of public worship by every variety of 
Christian sects. The law makes no distinction among these sects, and 
gives to no one the predominance over the others. It protects all 
equally, and gives no political privileges to the adherent of one over 
those of another sect. 

"The laws of the several States authorize the acquisition and hold- 
ing of Church property, under certain limitations as to value, either by 
making a special corporation for that purpose, or through the agency 
of trustees empowered under general regulations for that purpose. 
Without going into detail on this subject, it is enough to say that 
they proceed upon the principle of allowing the church to hold a suf- 
ficient amount of real and personal property to enable it to perform 
its appropriate functions, and, at the same time, to guard against 
abuse, by allowing too great an amount of wealth to be perpetually 


locked up in mortmain by grants and testamentary dispositions ad 
pios usus. In some of the States of the Union, the English statute 
of mortmain has been introduced, by which religious corporations are 
disabled from acquiring real property unless by special license of the 
government. In others, the capacity to acquire it is regulated and 
limited by the special acts of legislation incorporating religious socie- 
ties. The ecclesiastical corporations existing before the Revolution, 
which separated the United States from the parent country, continue 
to enjoy the rights and property which they had previously held un- 
der acts of Parliament, or of the provincial legislatures. 

" Blasphemy is punished as a criminal offence by the laws of the 
several States. 

" Perjury is, in like maimer, punished as a crime ; the form of 
administering the oath being according to the conscientious views of 
different religious sects. The Quakers are allowed to affirm solemnly ; 
the Jews swear upon the Scriptures of the Old Testament only ; and 
certain Christian sects with the uplifted hand. 

"There has been much discussion among our jurists as to how the 
oaths of infidels ought to be considered in courts of justice. But, so 
far as I recollect, the general result is to reject the oath of such per- 
sons only as deny the being of God, or a future state of rewards 
and punishments, without absolutely requiring a belief in revealed 

" The laws regulating marriage, with us, are founded on precepts of 
Christianity ; hence polygamy is absolutely forbidden, and punished 
as a crime under the denomination of bigamy. Marriages between 
relations by blood in the ascending or descending lines, and between 
collaterals in the first degree, are absolutely forbidden in all the 
States ; and in some, all marriages within the Levitical degrees are 
also forbidden. 

" The common law of England, which requires consent merely, 
without any particular form of solemnization, to render a marriage 
legally valid, is adopted in those States of the American Union which 
have not enacted special legislative statutes on the subject. In some 
of the States marriage is required to be solemnized in the presence of 
a clergyman or magistrate. 

" All our distinguished men, so far as I know, are Christians of one 
denomination or other. A great reaction has taken place within the 
last thirty years against the torrent of infidelity let in by the super- 
fical philosophy of the eighteenth century. 

" I believe the separation of Church and State is, with us, consid- 
ered almost, if not universally, as a blessing." 

With these extracts, which give the views of one of the most dis- 


tinguished statesmen and diplomatists in America, and which confirm 
the opinions we have advanced on all the points to which they refer, 
we close our remarks on the existing relations between Church and 
State in that country. 



We have now traced the religious character of the early colonists who 
settled in America ; the religious establishments which they planted ; 
the happy and the unhappy influences of those establishments ; their 
overthrow and its consequences; and, finally, the relations which 
have subsisted between the churches and the civil governments since 
the Revolution. We are now about to enter upon the consideration 
of the resources which the churches have developed since they have 
been compelled to look, in dependence upon God's blessing, to their 
own exertions, instead of relying on the arm of the State. 

A review of the ground which we have gone over may be given 
almost in the very words of an able author, to whom we have been 
repeatedly indebted. 

1. "The first settlers of the United States went to it as Christians, 
and with strong intent to occupy the country in that character. 

2. " The lives they lived there, and the institutions they set up, were 
signalized by the spirit and doctrine of the religion they professed. 

3. " The same doctrine and spirit, descending upon the patriots of 
the federal era, entered largely into the primary State Constitutions 
of the Republic, and, if analogy can be trusted, into the constructive 
meaning of the Federal Charter itself. 

4. " Christianity is still the popular religion of the country. 

5. " And, finally, notwithstanding some untoward acts of individual 
rulers, it is to this day, though without establishments, and with equal 
liberty to men's consciences, the religion of the laws and of the gov- 
ernment. If records tell the truth — if annals and documents can out- 
weigh the flippant rhetoric of licentious debate, our public institutions 
carry still the stamp of their origin : the memory of better times is 
come down to us in solid remains ; the monuments of the fathers are 
yet standing ; and, blessed be God, the national edifice continues 
visibly to rest upon them."* 

* " An Inquiry into the Moral and Religious Character of the American Govern- 
ment," pp. 139, 140. 







The reader has remarked the progress of Religious Liberty in the 
United States from the first colonization of the country until the pres- 
ent time, and traced the effects of its successive developments in 
modifying the relations between the Churches and the State. 

He has seen that when that country began to be settled by European 
emigrants, in the beginning of the seventeenth century, freedom of 
conscience and the rights of the immortal mind were but little under- 
stood in the Old World. Those even who fled to the New, to enjoy 
this greatest of all earthly blessings, had but an imperfect apprehen- 
sion of the subject and its bearings. That which they so highly 
prized for themselves, and for the attainment of which they had made 
such sacrifices, they were unwilling to accord to others. 

Not that men were not allowed, in every colony, to entertain what- 
ever opinions they chose on the subject of religion, if they did not 
endeavor to propagate them when contrary to those of the Established 
Church, where such a church existed. In the colonies where the great- 
est intolerance prevailed, men were compelled to attend the National 
Church, but they were not required, in order to be allowed a resi- 
dence, to make a profession of the established faith. This was the 
lowest possible amount of religious liberty. Low as it is, however, 
it is not yet enjoyed by the native inhabitants of the greatest part of 
Italy, and some other Roman Catholic countries. 

But it was not long before a step in advance was made by Virginia 


and Massachusetts, of all the colonies the most rigid in their views 
of the requirements of a Church Establishment. Private meetings 
of dissenters for the enjoyment of their own modes of worship began 
to be tolerated. 

A second step was to grant to such dissenters express permission 
to hold public meetings for worship, without releasing them, how- 
ever, from their share of the taxes to support the Established Church. 

The third step which religious freedom made, consisted in relieving 
dissenters from the burden of contributing in any way to the support 
of the Established Church. 

And, finally, the fourth and great step was to abolish altogether 
the support of any Church by the State, and place all, of every name, 
on the same footing before the law, leaving each Church to support 
itself by its own proper exertions. 

Such is the state of things at present, and such it will remain. In 
every State, liberty of conscience and liberty of worship are complete. 
The government extends protection to all. Any set of men who wish 
to have a church or place of worship of their own, can have it, if they 
choose to erect or hire a building at their own charges. Nothing is 
required but to comply with the terms which the law prescribes in 
relation to holding property for public uses. The proper civil author- 
ities have nothing to do with the creed of those who open such a 
place of worship* They can not offer the smallest obstruction to 
the opening of a place of worship anywhere, if those who choose to 
undertake it comply with the simple terms of the law in relation to 
such property. 

Nor can the police authorities interfere to break up a meeting, 
unless it can be proved to be a nuisance to the neighborhood by the 
disturbance which it occasions, or on account of the immoral practices 
which may be committed in it — not on account of the particular 
religious faith which may be there taught. All improper meddling 
with a religious meeting, no matter whether it be held in a church or 
in a private house, would not be tolerated. 

On the other hand, as we have shown, neither the General Govern- 
ment nor that of the States does any thing directly for the mainte- 
nance of public worship. Religion is protected, and indirectly aided, 
as has been proved, by both ; but nowhere does the civil power de- 
fray the expenses of the churches, or pay the salaries of ministers of 
the Gospel, excepting in the case of the chaplains connected with the 
public service. 

Upon what, then, must Religion rely ? Only, under God, upon the 

* In California, the Chinese have opened temples for their heathenish worship 
without molestation. 


efforts of its friends, acting from their own free will, influenced by 
that variety of considerations which is ordinarily comprehended under 
the title of a desire to do good. This, in America, is the grand and 
only alternative. To this principle must the country look for all 
those efforts which must be made for its religious instruction. To 
the consideration of its action, and the development of its resources, 
the book upon which we now enter is devoted. 

Let us look for a moment at the work which, under God's blessing, 
must be accomplished by this instrumentality. 

The population of the United States in 1850 was, by the census, 
ascertained to be twenty-three millions one hundred and ninety- 
one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six souls. At present 
(January, 1856) it surpasses twenty-seven millions. Upon the vol- 
untary principle alone depends the religious instruction of this entire 
population, embracing the thousands of churches and ministers of 
the Gospel, colleges, theological seminaries, Sunday-schools, mission- 
ary societies, and all the other instrumentalities that are employed 
to promote the knowledge of the Gospel from one end of the country 
to the other. Upon the mere unconstrained good-will of the people, 
especially of those among them who love the Saviour and profess 
His name, does this vast superstructure rest. Those may tremble for 
the result who do not know what the human heart is capable of doing 
when left to its own energies, moved and sustained by the grace and 
the love of God. 

Still more : not only must all the good that is now doing in that 
vast country, and amid more than twenty-seven millions of souls, be 
continued by the voluntary principle, but the increasing demands of 
a population augmenting in a ratio to which the history of the world 
furnishes no parallel, must be met and supplied. And what this will 
require may be conceived, when we state the fact that the annual in- 
crease of the population during the decade from 1840 to 1850 was 
six hundred and twelve thousand nine hundred and thirty-one, upon 
an average ! From 1790 to 1800 the average annual increase of the 
inhabitants of the country was one hundred and thirty-seven thousand 
six hundred and nine; from 1800 to 1810 it was one hundred and 
ninety-three thousand three hundred and eighty-eight ; from 1810 to 
1820 it was two hundred and thirty-nine thousand eight hundred and 
thirty-one; from 1820 to 1830 it was three hundred and twenty-two 
thousand, eight hundred and seventy-eight; from 1830 to 1840 it was 
four hundred and twenty thousand one hundred and seventy-four ; 
from 1840 to 1850 it was, as has just been said, six hundred and 
twelve thousand nine and thirty-one; from 1850 to 1860 it will prob- 
ably be, at least, eight hundred thousand. To augment the number 


of ministers of the Gospel, churches, etc., so as adequately to meet 
this annual demand, will require great exertion. 

At the first sight of this statistical view of the case, some of my 
readers will be ready to exclaim that the prospect is hopeless. 
Others will say, Woe to the cause of religion if the government does 
not put its shoulder to the wheel ! But I answer, not only in my 
own name, but dare to do it in that of every well-informed American 
Christian, " ]STo ! we want no more aid from the government than we 
receive, and what it so cheerfully gives. The prospect is not des- 
perate so long as Christians do their duty in humble and heartfelt re- 
liance upon God." If we allow that church accommodation must be 
annually made for one half of this annual increase of population, 
which is more than Dr. Chalmers demanded, we have four hundred 
thousand persons to provide for. This would require annually the 
building or opening of four hundred churches, holding one thousand 
persons each, and an increase of four hundred ministers of the Gos- 
pel ; or, what would be much more probable, eight hundred churches, 
each holding on an average five hundred persons ; and a sufficient 
number of preachers to occupy them. That that number should be 
eight hundred would certainly be desirable ; and yet a smaller num- 
ber could suffice ; for in many cases one minister must, in order to 
find his support, preach to two or more congregations. So, if eight 
hundred churches be not built every year, something equal to this 
in point of accommodation must be either built or found in some 
way or other. Sometimes school-houses answer the purpose in the 
new settlements ; sometimes private houses, or some public building, 
can make up for the want of a church. 

Now we shall see in the sequel to what extent facts show that pro- 
vision is actually made to meet this vast demand, and even more. 
For the present, all that I contemplate in giving this statistical view 
of the subject is, to enable the reader to form some idea of the work 
to be accomplished on the voluntary principle in America, if religion 
is to keep pace with the increase of the population. 



Some minuteness of detail will be found necessary, in order to give 
the reader a proper idea of the manifestations of what has been called 


the Voluntary Principle in the United States, and to trace it through- 
out all its many ramifications there. But, before entering upon this, 
I would fain give him a right conception of the character of the peo- 
ple, as being that to which the principle referred to mainly owes its 

Enough has been said in former parts of this work to show, that 
whether we look to the earlier or later emigration to America, no 
small energy of character must have been required in the emigrants 
before venturing on such a step ; and with regard to the first settlers 
in particular, that nothing but the force of religious principle could 
have nerved them to encounter the difficulties of all kinds that beset 
them. But if great energy, self-reliance, and enterprise, be the nat- 
ural attributes of the original emigrant, as he quits all the endear- 
ments of home, and the comforts and luxuries of States far advanced 
in civilization, for a life in the woods, amid wild beasts, and some- 
times wilder men, pestilential marshes, and privations innumerable, 
the same qualities are very much called forth by colonial life, after 
the first obstacles have been overcome. It accustoms men to disre- 
gard trifling difficulties, to surmount by their own efforts obstacles 
which, in other states of society, would repel all such attempts, and 
prompts them to do many things which, in different circumstances, 
they would expect others to do for them. 

Moreover, the colonies were thrown very much on their own re- 
sources from the first. England expended very little upon them. 
Beyond maintaining a few regiments, from time to time, in scattered 
companies, at widely-separated points, and supplying some cannon 
and small fire-arms, she did scarcely any thing even for the defence 
of the country. In almost every war with the Indians, the colonial 
troops alone carried on the contest. Instead of England helping 
them, they actually helped her incomparably more in her wars 
against the French, in the Canadas, and in the provinces of Nova 
Scotia and Cape Breton, when they not only furnished men, but 
bore almost the whole charge of maintaining them. Then came the 
war of the Revolution, which, in calling forth all the nation's ener- 
gies during eight long years, went far to cherish that vigor and inde- 
pendence of character which had so remarkably distinguished the 
first colonists. 

And although in some of the colonies the Church and State were 
united from the first, the law did little more than prescribe how the 
churches were to be maintained. It made some men give grudgingly, 
who would otherwise have given little or nothing ; while, at the same 
time, it limited others to a certain fixed amount, who, if left to them- 
selves, would perhaps have given more. 


"With the exception of a few thousand pounds for building some of 
the earliest colleges, and a few more, chiefly from Scotland, for the 
support of missionaries, most of whom labored among the Indians, I 
am not aware of any aid received from the mother country, or from 
any other part of Europe, for religious purposes in our colonial days. 
I do not state this by way of reproach, but as a simple fact. The 
Christians, not only of Great Britain, but of Holland and Germany 
also, were ever willing to aid the cause of religion in the colonies ; 
they did what they could, or, rather, what the case seemed to re- 
quire, and the monuments of their piety and liberality remain to this 
day. Still, the colonists, as was their duty, depended mainly on their 
own efforts. In several of the colonies there was from the first no 
Church Establishment ; in two of those which professed to have one, 
the State never did any thing worth mention for the support of the 
churches ; and in all cases the dissenters had to rely on their own ex- 
ertions. In process of time, as we have seen, the union of Church 
and State came gradually to an end throughout the whole coimtry, 
and all religious bodies were left to their own resources. 

Thus have the Americans been trained to exercise the same en- 
ergy, self-reliance, and enterprise in the cause of religion which they 
exhibit in other affairs. Thus, as we shall see, when a new church is 
called for, the people first inquire whether they can not build it at 
their own cost, and ask help from others only after having done all 
they think practicable among themselves — a course which often leads 
them to find that they can accomplish by their own efforts what, at 
first, they hardly dared to hope for. 

Besides, there has grown up among the truly American part of the 
population a feeling that religion is necessary even to the temporal 
well-being of society, so that many contribute to its promotion, 
though not themselves members of any of the churches. This senti- 
ment may be found in all parts of the United States, and especially 
among the descendants of the first Puritan colonists of New England. 
I shall have occasion hereafter to give an illustration of it. 

These remarks point the reader to the true secret of the success of 
the voluntary plan in America. The people feel that they can help 
themselves, and that it is at once a duty and a privilege to do so. 
Should a church steeple fall to the ground, or the roof be blown 
away, or any other such accident happen, instead of looking to some 
government official for the means of needful repair, a few of them put 
their hands into their pockets, and supply these means themselves, with- 
out delay or the risk of vexatious refusals from public functionaries. 




The question was often proposed to me during my residence in 
Europe, " How do you build your churches in America, since the 
government gives no aid ?" 

Different measures are pursued in different places. I shall speak 
first of those commonly adopted in the cities and large towns. 
There a new church is built by what is called " colonizing ;" that is, 
the pastor and other officers of a large church, which can not accom- 
modate all its members, after much conference, on being satisfied 
that a new church is called for, propose that a commencement be 
made by certain families going out as a colony, to carry the enter- 
prise into effect, and engage to assist them with their prayers and 
counsels, and, if need be, also with their purses. Upon this, such as 
are willing to engage in the undertaking go to work. Sometimes in- 
dividuals or families from two or more churches of the same denomi- 
nation coalesce in the design. 

Or a few gentlemen, interested in religion, whether all or any of 
them are members of a church or not, after conferring on the im- 
portance of having another church in some part of the city where an 
increase of the population seems to require it, resolve that one shall 
be built. Each then subscribes what he thinks he can afford, and 
subscriptions may afterward be solicited from other gentlemen of 
property and liberality in the place, likely to aid such an undertaking. 
Enough may thus be obtained to justify a commencement ; a com- 
mittee is appointed to purchase a site for a building, and to superin- 
tend its erection. When finished, it is opened for public worship, a 
pastor is called, and then the pews, whieh are generally large enough 
to accommodate a family each, are disposed of at a sort of auction to 
the highest bidder. In this way, the sum which may be required, in 
addition to the original subscriptions, is at once made up. The total 
cost, indeed, is sometimes met by the sums received for the pews, 
but much depends upon the situation and comfort of the building, 
and the popularity of the preacher. 

The pews are always sold under the condition of punctual payment 
of the sums to be levied upon them annually, for the pastor's support 
and other expenses ; failing which, after allowing a reasonable time, 
they are re-sold to other persons. But if all the required conditions 
be fulfilled, they become absolutely the purchaser's, and may be be- 
queathed or sold like any other property. 


Instead of being sold in fee-simple, the pews are sometimes merely- 
rented from year to year. This prevails more in large towns and 
villages than in cities, and in such cases the churches must be built 
solely by " subscription," as it is called, that is, by sums contributed 
for that special object. Should these prove, in the first instance, in- 
sufficient, a second, and perhaps a third subscription follows, after a 
longer or shorter interval. 

The seats in some churches, even of our largest cities, are free to 
all. Such is the case with all the Quaker, and some of the Metho- 
dist meeting-houses ; these are occupied on what is called the " free- 
seat" plan, and have the advantage of being attended with less 
restraint, especially by strangers or persons who may not have the 
means to pay for seats. But there are disadvantages also in this plan. 
Families which regularly attend, and which may bear the expense of 
the church, have no certain place where all may sit together, and in 
case of being delayed a little longer than usual, may find it difficult 
to get seats at all. The Methodist churches, accordingly, are coming 
more and more into the other plan in our large cities. Where they 
have not done so, and also in the Quaker meeting-houses, the males 
occupy one half of the house, the females the other ; a rule, however, 
observed more constantly in the latter than in the former body. 
Church edifices, or meeting-houses, on the free-seat plan, must, of 
course, be built by subscription alone. 

A more common practice in forming new congregations, and erect- 
ing church edifices, is this : The families which engage in the under- 
taking first obtain some place for temporary service — the lecture- 
room attached to some other church, a court-house, a school-room, 
or some other building* — and there they commence their regular 
Sabbath services at the usual hours. After announcing their intention 
by public advertisement, they proceed to organize a church, that is, 
a body of believers, according to the rules of the communion to 

* In Philadelphia there is a building called the Academy, built for Mr. "Whitfield's 
meetings, the upper part of which is now divided into two rooms, each capable of con- 
taining four hundred or five hundred people, and both constantly used as places of 
worship, one permanently by the Methodists. The other has been occupied tempo- 
rarily by colonies, which have grown into churches, and then gone off to houses which 
they have built for themselves. In this way that one room, as I have often been told, 
has been the birth-place, as it were, of more than twenty different chu/ches. It is 
rented to those who wish to occupy it by the corporation to which it belongs. In 
the lower story there are schools held throughout the week. 

The chapel of the University of New York is used for the same purpose; and the 
Court-houses throughout all the land, and even some of the State-houses — that is, 
the buildings in which the Legislatures of the several States assemble — are allowed 
to be used as places of worship on the Sabboth in a case of exigency. 


which they belong. If Presbyterians, the Presbytery appoints a 
committee to organize the church according to the Book of Disci- 
pline, by the appointment and consecration to office of ruling elders, 
after which it falls under the care of the Presbytery. A pastor is 
next called, and regularly inducted. Meanwhile, the congregation 
may be supposed to be increasing, until strong enough to exchange 
their temporary for a permanent place of worship. In this way new 
swarms are every year, in our large cities, leaving the old hives, if I 
may so speak, and new church edifices are rising in various localities 
where the population is extending. 

The church edifices in the chief towns and cities are, generally 
speaking, large and substantial buildings, especially in the more 
densely-settled districts. Those in the suburbs are often smaller, and 
not expected to be more than temporary, as they give place to larger 
and better structures in a few years. In the cities and larger towns, 
whether on the Atlantic or Pacific slopes, or in the Valley of the Mis- 
sissippi, they are, in nine cases out of ten, built of brick ; a few are of 
stone ; and in the New England cities and towns of second and third 
rate size, they are often built of wood. 

As for the cost of church edifices, it is difficult to speak precisely 
where the country is so extensive. In the suburbs of our large cities 
on the Atlantic sea-board, from Portland, in Maine, to New Orleans, 
as well as California, some may not have cost more than $5,000 or 
$10,000 ; but in the older and more densely-peopled parts of those 
cities, they generally cost $20,000 and upward. Some have cost 
$60,000 or $80,000, and yet are comparatively plain, though very 
chaste and substantial buildings. Not a few have cost above 
$100,000,* without including such as Trinity Church at New York, 
belonging to the Episcopalians, or the Roman Catholic Cathedral at 
Baltimore, for these very elegant and expensive buildings have cost 
at least $300,000, if not more. There may have been, in some cases, 
a useless expenditure of money on interior decorations, but in gen- 
eral, the churches, even in our largest cities, are neat and rather plain 
buildings externally, but exceedingly comfortable within. 

The village churches of New England are, for the most part, con- 
structed of wood ; that is, of beams framed together and covered 

* The church in which the late eloquent Dr. Mason was last settled as a minister 
in New York, cost, I believe, rather more than $100,000. It was an excellent, large, 
tasteful, substantial, brick building. Yet this, and some others in the lower parts of 
the city, whence business is driving the people to the upper part, have been torn 
down, and their sites are covered with shops and counting-rooms. The congregations 
have mainly migrated to about a mile and a half or two miles northward. So matters 
go in our London. 


with boards ; and being almost universally painted white and sur- 
mounted with steeples, they have a beautiful appearance. The 
church-going bell every Sabbath sends forth its notes far and wide 
amid the hills and dales of that interesting country. In other parts 
of the Atlantic States, the churches, though often of wood, like those 
of New England, are still oflener of brick or stone, or of unpainted 
frames and boards, which is especially the case in the South. 

Any one may be satisfied, by careful inquiry, that even our cities 
and large towns, as respects churches, may well bear a comparison 
with the best supplied in any part of Europe. Boston, for instance, 
in 1850, had more than eighty churches, many of which could accom- 
modate from one thousand to fifteen hundred persons, and that for a 
population of about one hundred and thirty-six thousand souls. New 
York had that year more than two hundred and twenty churches for 
five hundred and fifteen thousand inhabitants. 

Philadelphia is better supplied with churches than New York. 
Those of all the leading denominations there have greatly increased 
during the last few years. The Methodists have, in the course of 
the last fifteen or twenty years, built in the city and suburbs above 
twenty-five churches, most of which are capacious buildings ; and the 
Episcopalians and Presbyterians have increased greatly the number 
of theirs, but not in the same proportion. The second and third rate 
cities and large towns are far better supplied than the large cities, 
Salem, in Massachusetts, New Haven, Poughkeepsie, Troy, Newark, 
in New Jersey, and Rochester, are well supplied with churches, hav- 
ing, in fact, accommodation for more than half the population. 



But it is in the building of places of worship in the new settle- 
ments of the Western States, and on the Pacific slopes, and in the 
villages that are springing up in the more recently peopled parts 
bordering on the Atlantic, that we see the most remarkable develop- 
ment of the voluntary principle. Let me illustrate, by a particular 
case, what is daily occurring in all these divisions of the country. 

Let us suppose a settlement commenced in the forest, in the north- 
ern part of Indiana, and that in the course of three or four years a 
considerable number of emigrants have established themselves within 
a mile or two of each other, in the woods. Each clears away by de- 


orees a part of the surrounding forest, and fences in his new fields, in 
the midst of which the deadened trees still stand very thickly. By 
little and little the country shows signs of occupation by civilized men. 
In the centre of the settlement a little village begins to form 
around a tavern and a blacksmith's shop. A carpenter places himself 
there as at a convenient station. So do the tailor, the shoemaker, 
the wagon-maker, and the hatter. Nor is the son of ^sculapius 
wanting ; perhaps he is most of all needed ; and it will be well if two 
or three of his brethren do not soon join him. The merchant, of 
course, opens his magazine there. And if there be any prospect that 
the rising village, though the deadened trees stand quite in the vicin- 
ity of the streets, may become the "seat of justice" for a new county, 
there will soon be half a dozen young expounders of the law to in- 
crease the population, and offer their services to those who have 
suffered or committed injustice. 

Things will hardly have reached this point before some one amid 
this heterogeneous population, who have come from different points of 
the older States, intermixed with wanderers from Europe — Irish, Scotch, 
or German — proposes that they should think of having a church, or, 
at least, some place of worship. It is ten chances to one if there be 
not some pious woman, or some pious man with his family, who 
sigh for the privileges of the sanctuary, as once enjoyed by them in 
the distant East. What is to be done ? Some one proposes that 
they should build a good large school-house, which may serve also for 
holding religious meetings, and this is scarcely sooner proposed than 
accomplished. Though possibly made of mere logs and very plain, it 
will answer the purpose for a few years. Being intended for the meet- 
ings of all denominations of Christians, and open to all preachers who 
may be passing, word is sent to the nearest in the neighborhood. 
Ere long some Baptist minister, in passing, preaches hi the evening, 
and is followed by a Presbyterian and a Methodist. By-and-by the 
last of these arranges his circuit labors so as to preach there once in 
a fortnight, and the minister of some Presbyterian congregation, ten 
or fifteen miles off, agrees to come and preach once a month. 

Meanwhile from the increase of the inhabitants, the congregations, 
on the Sabbath particularly, become too large for the school-house. 
A church is then built of framed beams and boards, forming no mean 
ornament to the village, and capable of accommodating some two or 
three hundred people. Erected for the public good, it is used by all 
the sects in the place, and by others besides. For were a Sweden- 
borgian minister to come and have notice given that he would preach, 
he might be sure of finding a congregation, though as the sect is 
small in America, and by many hardly so much as heard of, he might 


not have a single hearer that assents to his views. But it will not be 
long before the Presbyterians, Methodists, or Baptists, feel that they 
must have a minister on whose services they can count with more 
certainty, and hence a church, also, for themselves. And at last the 
house, which was a joint-stock affair at first, falls into the hands of 
some one of the denominations, and is abandoned by the others, who 
have mostly provided each one for itself. Or it may remain for the 
occasional service of some passing Roman Catholic priest, or Univer- 
salist preacher.* 

Such is the process continually going on in the West, and, indeed, 
something of the kind is taking place every year, in hundreds of 
instances, throughout all the States. Settlers of one denomination 
are sometimes sufficiently numerous in one place to build a church for 
themselves at the outset, but in most cases they hold their first meet- 
ings for worship in school-rooms or private houses. 

The rapid increase of the population in some of the new villages 
and towns of the West, when favorably situated for trade, is aston- 
ishing, and strikes one particularly in its early stages. Thus, when 
in the State of Alabama, in February, 1831,1 visited the town of 
Montgomery in company with a worthy Baptist minister, in the course 
of an extensive tour through the Western States in behalf of one of 
our benevolent societies, it was then hardly more than a large vil- 
lage. On the night of the second of the two days we spent in it, we 
preached in a large school-house, which, if I remember rightly, was 
the only place for holding religious meetings existing there at the 
time. We had a good congregation, though a circus was held hard 
by. Just three years after, when repeating the same tour, I spent 
a Sabbath and one or two days more at the same spot, but under 
very different circumstances. In the morning I preached to at least 
six hundred persons, in a Presbyterian church, built of frames and 
covered with boards, and every way comfortable. The church, 
which reckoned one hundred members, had a young man as pastor, 
to whom they gave a yearly stipend of $1,000. At night I preached in 
a Baptist church, built of brick, but not quite finished, which could hold 
three hundred persons at least. Besides these, there were one Meth- 
odist Episcopal, and one Protestant Methodist church, each, so far 
as I can recollect, as large as the Baptist church. Then there was an 
Episcopal church, not less in size, though probably with a smaller 

* In some places in the South-western States, the primitive and temporary churches 
built for all denominations, in the new villages or settlements, are called " republican 
churches ;" that is, churches for the accommodation of the public rather than for any 
one sect. Large school-houses, also, erected for the double purpose of teaching and 
preaching, are called "republican meeting-houses." 



congregation. And, withal, there was a Roman Catholic church, 
though not a large one, I believe. All this after an interval of only 
three years ! Eventful years they had been. A revival of religion, 
which took place during one of them, had brought many souls to the 
knowledge of salvation. 

This was, it is true, an extraordinary case, yet something very sim- 
ilar in kind, although not in degree, is going on at a great many 
points in the West. 

On the Genesee River, a fewmiles above its entrance into Lake 
Ontario, in the State of New York, stands a town, incorporated as a 
city, called Rochester. The place is famous for the vast quantity of 
flour made at its mills. Thirty-five years ago, it could show but a 
few houses scattered here and there, where now there is a well-built 
and flourishing city, containing at least forty thousand inhabitants, 
and nearly forty churches, many of which are large and fine buildings, 
capable of accommodating congregations of from eight to twelve 
hundred persons each. Among these churches there are five or sh 
for Germans, French, and Swiss. 

Churches and church property of every description are held, in the 
United States, by trustees chosen by the congregation to which they 
belong. The laws of almost every State provide for this. These 
trustees, who may be two, three, or more in number, are authorized 
to act for the congregation, to whom they report, from time to time, 
the state of the common funds. They are charged, in most cases, 
with the collection of the pastor's salary, as well as with the general 
collection and outlay of money for the congregation. Without their 
consent the church edifice can not be given to any other than the 
ordinary religious services of the sanctuary. 

In some cases, several, if not all of the churches in a city, belong- 
ing to a particular communion, are held by a common board of trus- 
tees. All the Methodist Episcopal churches of New York are so 
held. One corporation has the proprietorship of four of the Reformed 
Dutch churches in that city, and another holds Trinity Church, and 
perhaps some others belonging to the Protestant Episcopal denomina- 
tion. In all denominations, according to general practice, each par- 
ticular church and congregation has its own trustees, and manages its 
own " temporal" affairs, being such as relate to the church edifice, the 
ground on which it stands, and any other property or stocks belong- 
ing to it, ; and it is only on questions of right to property that the 
civil courts, or even the State Legislatures, or Congress itself, can 
ever meddle with the affairs of the churches. 





Under this head we find different measures adopted by different 
churches, and in different parts of the country. 

Universally where the seats and pews are the property of individ- 
uals or families, and generally where they are rented by the year, the 
salaries of the pastors, and sometimes all the incidental expenses, are 
raised by a certain yearly, half-yearly, or quarterly rate upon each 
pew. The proportion for each pew is fixed by the trustees, or by the 
elders, or by a committee appointed for that special purpose, but in 
most cases by the trustees, where there are such. "Where the seats 
are free, as is the case with very many churches of all denominations 
in the interior of the country, the minister's salary is raised by yearly 
subscription. In the Methodist Episcopal Churches, with few excep- 
tions, the ministers are supported by collections among the members, 
quarterly public collections, etc. Sometimes, also, recourse is par- 
tially had to subscriptions, especially where there are " stationed" or 
non-itinerating ministers. 

Among the Protestant denominations, the amount of the pastor's 
salary is determined, in most cases, by the churches themselves. In 
the Methodist Churches, the amount is fixed by the General Con- 
ference. In that church, the minister, in ordinary cases, receives so 
much himself, a like sum for his wife, and so much for each of his 
children, according to their ages, with certain perquisites besides, 
such as a family dwelling-house, a horse, etc., making up altogether a 
comfortable maintenance for himself and his household. The collec- 
tions of each " circuit" are expected, generally speaking, to suffice for 
the salaries of the ministers who occupy them, any deficiency being 
made up from funds which the Conference may have in hand for 
meeting such contingencies. The clergy of all evangelical denomina- 
tions, with two exceptions, receive fixed salaries from their people, 
and are expected to devote themselves to their proper vocation, and 
to " live by the altar." The exceptions are a part of the ministers 
of the Baptist Church, and all the Quaker preachers. These support 
themselves by their labor, or from other sources, and preach on the 

The Baptists agree with the Methodists in not considering a college 
education, or an acquaintance with the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew 
tongues, or the natural and moral sciences, indispensable for a preacher 


of the Gospel : hence by far the greater number of them have had 
only an English education, together with such theological knowledge, 
derived from English sources, as has qualified them, in the opinion 
of the authorities in their churches, for undertaking to preach the 
Gospel. In both these denominations, however, there are not a few 
truly learned men, who have passed through the curriculum of some 
college, and have diligently added to the acquirements of their pre- 
paratory course. The regular itinerating ministers of the Methodist 
churches receive salaries, and devote themselves wholly to their min- 
isterial calling ; whereas, too many of the Baptist ministers, as we 
have already stated, especially in the Southern and Western, and to 
a certain extent in the Middle States, receive either no salaries at all, 
or none of any consequence, so that they must support themselves in 
some other way. 

The preachers among the Friends, who, as the reader is probably 
aware, may be women as well as men, receive no regular salaries ; 
but those of them who, under the belief that they have a call from 
the Spirit to give themselves wholly to the work, travel through the 
country, visiting the Friends' "meetings," and preaching in other 
places, generally, nay, always, if their own means are not abundant, 
receive considerable presents. 

It is not easy to give any very satisfactory answer to the question, 
whether the ministers of the Gospel are well supported in the United 
States. In giving a general reply to the question, I should say that 
they are not. That is to say, few, if any, of them, receive salaries that 
would enable them to live in the style in which the wealthiest of their 
parishioners live. Their incomes are not equal to those of the greater 
number of lawyers and physicians, though these are men of no better 
education or higher talents than great numbers of the clergy. None 
of the ministers of the Gospel in the United States derive such reve- 
nues from their official stations as are enjoyed by many of the pa- 
rochial clergy of England, to say nothing of the higher dignitaries of 
the Church in that country. There are few, if any, of them who, with 
economy, can do more than live upon their salaries; to grow rich 
upon them is out of the question.* 

* The statements made by foreigners, in -writing about the United States, are 
sometimes sufficiently ludicrous. For instance, M. Beaumont, in his "Marie, ou 
l'Esclavage aux Etats-TJnis," accounts for the great number of churches there by the 
great number of ministers of the Gospel. He says that the ministry is not only very 
honorable, but very lucrative also ; that most of the preachers make a fortune in a 
few years, and then retire from the ministry, which is the cause of there being so few- 
old men in the pulpits of that country. Any thing more absurd on such a subject I 
can not imagine. But I will do M. Beaumont the justice to say, that I do not blame 


Yet, on the other hand, the greater number of the salaried minis- 
ters in the United States are able, with economy, to live comfortably 
and respectably. This holds true especially of the pastors of the 
Atlantic, and even of the older parts of the Western States. In 
New England, if we except Boston, the salaries of the Congrega- 
tional, Episcopal, and Baptist pastors are, in the largest towns, such 
as Providence, Portland, Salem, Hartford, New Haven, etc., from 
$800 to $1,500 ; in the villages and country churches they vary from 
$400 to $700 or $800, besides which the minister sometimes has a 
" parsonage" and " glebe," that is, a house and a few acres of land ; 
and, hi addition to all, he receives many presents. His marriage-fees 
are a source of some profit. In other parts of the country, and 
especially hi the West, the clergy are not so well provided for. The 
practice in New England of giving presents, whether casually or reg- 
ularly, and at some set time, does not prevail elsewhere to the same 

The salaries of the clergy in the largest and wealthiest churches of 
the principal cities are often liberal, though generally no more than 
adequate* Fifteen or eighteen hundred, two thousand, twenty-five 
hundred dollars, are the sums commonly given, and, in a few cases, 
three and even four thousand dollars. A Presbyterian church in 
New Orleans, I believe, gives its pastor five thousand, and the high- 
est of all is that of one of the bishops in the Episcopal Church, 
which, I have been told, is six thousand dollars.f 

Some churches have permanent funds, which go far toward the 
pastor's support. The corporation of the collegiate churches of the 
Reformed Dutch Church in New York, four in number at present, 

him so much as the stupid creatures who gave him such information. The gay 
Frenchman probably did not set his foot in more than half-a-dozen churches when in 
America, and of these not one, it is likely, was Protestant. 

* The clergy are expected to be examples of hospitality and benevolence. Many 
of them entertain a great deal of company at their houses. Nothing is more common 
than for ministers of the Gospel, when visiting any place, whether in town or country, 
to stay with their brethren ; and no men among us give so much, in proportion to 
their means, to all the religious and philanthropic enterprises, as our pastors of every 
denomination. • 

f I refer to the Bishop of New York, who, if he has to pay for a suffragan to take 
his place as pastor of a church, or co-pastor with others in two or three churches, as 
well as bear his traveling expenses when visiting his diocese — as I doubt not is the 
case — w iH not have more than is necessary to support a large family in so expensive 
a city as New York. 

As for New Orleans, it is the most expensive city for supporting a family in the 
whole Union, and $5,000 there would in that respect be not more than half the sum 
in Philadelphia, The church in that city referred to in the text, has recently in- 
creased the salary of its pastor to $6,000, if not $7,000, as is reported. 


lias enough from this source to pay the salaries of the four pastors. 
The corporation of Trinity Church (Episcopal) possesses vast funds, 
the income from which has enabled the trustees to contribute largely 
toward the building of churches in the State of New York. Three 
of the Presbyterian churches in Newark, New Jersey, have perma- 
nent funds sufficient for the support of their public services. 

But, generally speaking, a permanent fund is found to be rather 
injurious than beneficial to the churches in the United States. If out 
of debt, that is, if they owe nothing for their church-edifices, lecture- 
rooms, vestry-rooms, etc., they need no endowment ; the hearts of 
the people will lead them to do the rest. I speak of the churches in 
the older parts of the country. The measures we take for the support 
of churches in the new settlements, and which are weak as yet, I 
shall show hereafter. 

It often happens that ministers, through their own fault, and that 
of the ecclesiastical body to which they belong, are not so amply or 
punctually provided for as they ought to be. Were the duty of sup- 
porting well the ministry, preached as often and as plainly as it should 
be, they would be better provided for. As it is, they are enabled to 
live, (with economy,) in comfort, and a faithful pastor will nowhere 
be allowed to starve. It is a great matter, too, that in no country in 
the world are ministers of the Gospel more respected by the people. 
A great many of them are well-educated men, and, with few excep- 
tions, possess agreeable manners. Many of them belong to families 
of the first rank in the country :* and as they can at least give their 
children a good education, with the advantages of which, as well as 
of a good character, and the good name of their fathers, they are 
almost invariably prosperous, and often form alliances with the wealth- 
iest and most distinguished families.f 

* I could mention, were it proper, many instances of this. One or two I may state 
without violating the rules of propriety. No man stood higher in American society 
than the late General Yan Eensselaer, of Albany. One of his sons is a faithful and 
distinguished minister of the Gospel. The late Hon. Samuel L. Southard, of New 
Jersey, was a man of distinguished talents, who had raised himself to the highest 
offices in the government of his native State, as well as in that of the Union, and 
died Vice-President of the same. One of his sons is a minister in* the Episcopal 
Church. Mr. Southard, I judge from the name, which is common in France, was of 
Huguenot origin. 

f Of late years, much has been said and done to increase the salaries of ministers, 
on account of the greatly augmented expenses of living. 





All denominations of evangelical Christians in the United States 
hold it to be of the highest and most solemn importance, that no man 
should enter the holy ministry without well-founded scriptural evi- 
dence to his own mind and conscience, that he is " called of the Holy 
Ghost" to take that office upon him : nor is he admitted to it until he 
has satisfied the proper authorities of the Church to which he belongs 
of the manifestation of that " call," and of his possessing, in addition 
to an unblemished character, the talents and acquirements necessary 
to his being a competent expounder of God's Word. 

For a man to take upon him this sacred and responsible office 
merely that he may obtain an honorable place in society, or gain a 
decent livelihood, would be held in the highest degree wrong, dan- 
gerous to his own soul, and ruinous to the spiritual interests of all 
who might be committed to his charge. Evangelical Christians may 
differ somewhat as to the nature and amount of the required evi- 
dence of conversion, but all agree as to the necessity of having a 
truly regenerated ministry ; it being obvious, that none should preach 
the Gospel who have not tasted its power, and submitted their hearts 
and lives to its transforming influence. How shall a man who does 
not possess "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord 
Jesus Christ," explain the nature of these to his fellow-men ? And 
how can he who has not been made to exclaim, " Woe unto me if I 
preach not the Gospel !" discharge the office of a preacher with that 
earnest desire for the glory of God his Saviour, and for the eternal 
welfare of men, which alone can be approved in heaven, or be suc- 
cessful on earth ? A regenerated and devoted ministry must be the 
first of all earthly blessings to a Church, and it is the only instrument 
that can effectually secure the morals of a community, and the sta- 
bility of a government. In these sentiments I feel assured all evan- 
gelical Christians in the United States will concur. No greater 
curse could, in their opinion, befall a Church, next to the abandon- 
ment of the true Gospel, than to have an unconverted ministry 
thrust upon it ; and, indeed, the latter evil would soon be followed 
by the former. 

Pious youths are brought forward to the ministry in various ways. 
Such persons are sometimes found in the situation of apprentices to 
mechanical trades, or of clerks, or shopmen, or following the plough on 


their father's farm. The pastor, or some member of the church to 
which they belong, having discovered their talents, may think these 
might be employed to advantage in the ministry, instead of being 
buried in such engagements. But their own desires should first be 
ascertained, and should they be found longing to proclaim a crucified 
Saviour to the world, they ought to be encouraged, while cherishing 
this feeling, to put themselves into a position for finding and follow- 
ing the will of God. 

It is probably at the prayer-meeting, the Sabbath-school, or the 
Bible-class, that the character and abilities of such young persons 
most often show themselves ; and from these nurseries of the Church 
have come forth great numbers of men who are now engaged in the 
ministry throughout the United States. Many young men, also, who 
having entered our colleges with other views, become converted 
there, and are called to preach the Gospel. 

When a pious youth of promising talents, and with a strong bent 
to the ministry, is found without the requisite education, or the 
means of obtaining it, he is recommended to the Education Societies, 
which have proved a great blessing to our Churches ; and when ap- 
proved of, he is carried through the course of instruction which the 
Church to which he belongs requires in all who would enter the ranks 
of its ministers. 

The process is much shorter in those Churches which, without ex- 
acting a course of classical and scientific education at college, or the 
regular divinity course of a theological school, require only a well- 
grounded knowledge of the Scriptures in the English tongue, and of 
the doctrines which they contain. After a suitable examination on 
the part of the j^roper church authorities, the candidate is permitted 
to exercise his gifts for a season, in order to ascertain whether he is 
likely to prove an acceptable and useful preacher ; and if the result 
be favorable he receives full ordination from the proper quarter. 

Among the Methodists, the preachers spring from the Classes^ as 
they are called. At the meetings of these companies of professed 
believers and inquirers, the graces and gifts of pious young men are 
most commonly discovered. In due time they are brought forward 
to the quarterly meeting of all the classes of the district. They are 
there recommended to the notice of the presiding elder, and by him 
are authorized to teach and preach for a time, but not to administer 
the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Afterward they 
receive ordination from the hands of the bishop, first as deacons, and 
subsequently as presbyters or priests, and are employed to preach the 
Gospel, either as traveling or stationed ministers. In the Congrega- 
tional Churches, young men are consecrated to the ministry by a 


" council of ministers ;" among the Presbyterians, by a presbytery ; 
among the Episcopalians, by a bishop. 

In all the Churches of the United States, except the Methodists 
and Roman Catholics, the pastors are chosen by the people to whom 
they preach. Among the Methodists they are appointed by the An- 
nual Conference, at which a bishop presides, regard being had to the 
wishes which may be expressed by the people in favor of certain 
ministers, as peculiarly fitted, in point of character and talents, for 
specific localities. The appointment of the priests to their respective 
churches among the Roman Catholics rests wholly with the bishops. 

When a church belonging to any of the other denominations loses 
its pastor, by his death or removal to some other place, inquiry is 
first made for some one not yet settled, or who, if settled, would not 
object to change his place, and who, it is thought, would prove ac- 
ceptable to the flock. The person fixed upon is invited to preach a 
few times, and should he give satisfaction, the congregation agree to 
call him to be their pastor, in doing which they must proceed accord- 
ing to the established rules of the religious body to which they belong. 
Thus, in the Presbyterian Church, no call to become a pastor of a 
vacant church can be presented to any one without the consent of the 
Presbytery within whose bounds the vacancy has taken place ; nor 
can it be accepted without the consent of the Presbytery to which 
the minister who has received it belongs. 

In the Congregational Churches of New England, the practice in 
calling a pastor has been for the church or body of the communicants 
to make out a call, and this to be followed by another from the 
whole congregation, or, rather, from the males who contribute toward 
the support of public worship, the amount of the proffered salary 
being stated in the latter call. In the Presbyterian, and most other 
churches, each pewholder, or each head of a family who subscribes 
toward the pastor's salary for himself and household, and others who 
subscribe only for themselves, are allowed a voice in the call. Such 
is the more common practice, and yet there are Presbyterian churches 
in which none but members who are communicants can vote in call- 
ing a pastor. If the people are to be allowed a voice in calling their 
pastors, it would be found difficult to withhold that right from those 
who, though not communicants, contribute as much, and perhaps 
more, than those who are. Nor in a church and congregation in 
which the people have been well instructed in the truth, and w^here 
religion prospers, does any evil of much consequence commonly result 
from such an extension of the right of voting on such occasions. For 
when men have been faithfully instructed in the Gospel, it is found 
that even the unconverted will readily join in calling an efficient min- 



ister, even although he be not only orthodox, but very zealous and 
faithful. Such men have sufficient discrimination to know, and often 
they will say it, that if ever they are to become the religious men 
they hope one day to be, they need a faithful pastor to secure* that 
great blessing. Such men have sense enough to know that a light- 
minded, worldly, cold preacher of the Gospel is not likely to prove a 
blessing to them or their families. But when church and congrega- 
tion have long been hearing " another Gospel," have become hardened 
in error, and strongly attached to damnable heresies, it were absurd 
to expect the unconverted to prefer and seek for a faithful minister. 
Such a state of things should not be allowed to occur. And then, 
with respect to all denominations that have a government encompass- 
ing and controlling the churches connected with them, there is, in the 
last resort, a power to prevent the settlement of unworthy ministers 
in the churches under their care. 




Thus much has the voluntary principle done for the parts of the 
country longest-settled and most densely-peopled. Let us now see what 
it does for new and thinly-peopled regions, where hundreds of new 
congregations are rising annually, without the means of maintaining 
the institutions of the Gospel by their own efforts. Such churches 
are to be found not only in the new settlements of the Far West, but 
also in the growing villages of the East. 

This inability to support the public preaching of the Gospel often 
arises from the number of sects to be found in new settlements, and 
even in some districts of the older States. In this respect diversity 
of sects sometimes causes a serious though temporary evil, not to be 
compared with the advantages resulting from it in the long run. It 
is an evil, too, which generally becomes less and less every year in 
any given place: the little churches, however weak at first, gradually 
becoming, through the increase of population, strong and independ- 
ent, and what is now an evil disappearing, or, rather, as I hope to 
prove, being converted into a blessing. 

The most obvious way of aiding such feeble churches is, to form 
societies for this express object among the older and more flomTshing 


churches. This has been done, and in this the voluntary principle has 
beautifully developed itself, particularly during the last thirty years. 
It began with some denominations not long after the Revolution ; and 
early in this century we find missionary societies formed among the 
Congregational Churches of Massachusetts and Connecticut, for the 
purpose of sending ministers to " the West," that is, the western part 
of the State of New York.* The " Far West" to them was the 
northern part of Ohio, which was then beginning to be the resort of 
emigrants. The faithful men sent by these societies into the wilder- 
ness were greatly blessed in their labors, and to them, under God, 
many of the now flourishing churches of those regions owe their ex- 
istence. Missionary societies were subsequently formed in the other 
New England States, for supplying destitute places within their own 
bounds with the preaching of the Gospel, as well as to help in sending 
it to the other parts of the country. 

Two societies were formed, likewise, about the year 1819, for the 
same object, among the Presbyterians and Reformed Dutch in the 
city of New York, and these supported a goodly number of mission- 
aries, chiefly in the new and feeble churches in the State of that name. 
In 1826 they were united into one body, and now form the American 
Home Missionary Society.f 

This society, from its very outset, has advanced with great vigor, 
and has been directed with singular zeal and energy. At its first meet- 
ing in 1827, it reported that in the course of the year just closed it 
had employed one hundred and sixty-nine ministers, who had labored 
in One hundred and ninety-six congregations and missionary dis- 
tricts. Its receipts for the same period amounted to $20,031. This 
auspicious commencement must be ascribed to its having assumed all 
the engagements of the Domestic Missionary Societies, out of which 

* I have seen the maps which some of those pioneer missionaries made of the por- 
tions of the State of New York which lie west of Albany, in the years 1196-97. What 
is now a densely-settled country was then almost terra incognita. At present, the 
"West, or frontier country, lies far more than a thousand miles west of Albany, instead 
of just beyond it. In fact, the Pacific coast is now the "Far West," our "ultima 
thule" in that direction. 

f The epithet American, employed by this society and others, which do not com- 
prise all the religious denominations, has been greatly objected to as savoring of 
arrogance, and as if intimating that the whole of America belonged to them exclu- 
sively as a field of labor. Such an idea probably was never entertained by those 
who use the word in the nomenclature of their societies. All that they mean in em- 
ploying it is, to signify that the field to which their attention is directed is not a 
single State, or a few States, but the whole country. The American Home Mission- 
ary Society embraces the orthodox Congregational churches in New England and 
out of it, and the New School Presbyterians, and, to some extent, the Keformed 
Dutch, Lutheran, and German Reformed Churches. 


it sprang. The Society soon drew into affiliation with it all the State 
Domestic Missionary Societies of New England, some of which, such 
as those of Massachusetts and Connecticut, had been of long standing 
were well established.* 

It would be interesting to trace the history of an institution which 
has been so much blessed to a vast number of new and poor churches 
throughout all the States and Territories of the American Confede- 
racy. But we can only present a summary of its operations at two 
epochs, during the thirty years that it has been distributing blessings 
with a liberal hand. 

In the year ending May 1st, 1835, the society employed seven hun- 
dred and nineteen agents and missionaries. Of these, four hundred 
and eighty-one were settled as pastors, or employed as " stated sup- 
plies" in single congregations ; one hundred and eighty-five extended 
their labors to two or three congregations each, and fifty were em- 
ployed on larger districts. In all, one thousand and fifty congrega- 
tions, missionary districts, and fields of agency, were thus supplied in 
whole or in part. The persons added to the churches that year under 
the care of the society's missionaries, were estimated at five thousand; 
namely, one thousand seven hundred by letters of recommendation 
from other churches, and three thousand three hundred by examina- 
tion on profession of their faith. Several of the churches were re- 
ported to have been blessed with seasons of more than ordinary inter- 
est in religion ; in the Sunday-schools attached to them there were 
about forty thousand scholars, and about twelve thousand persons 
attended the Bible-classes. The number of those who had joined 
the temperance associations had reached seventy thousand. The ex- 
penditure amounted to $83,394 ; the receipts to $88,863. 

Let us now turn to what was done by the society within the year 
ending 1st May, 1855. The number of ministers of the Gospel in the 
service of the Society, in twenty-seven different States and Terri- 
tories, during the year, was one thousand and thirty-two. Of 
the whole number, five hundred and twenty-eight were the pas- 
tors or stated supplies of single congregations ; three hundred and 
twenty-eight ministered to two or three congregations each ; and 
one hundred and seventy-six extended their labors over still wider 
fields. Ten missionaries preached to congregations of colored 
people ; and sixty in foreign languages : — nineteen to Welsh, and 
thirty-four to German congregations, and seven to congregations of 

* These societies manage, in a great degree, their own affairs, appoint and support 
the missionaries who labor within their bounds, and pay over the surplus of their col- 
lections, if they have any, to the American Home Missionary Society. If they need 
help at any time from that society, they receive it. 


Norwegians, Swedes, Swiss, Frenchmen, and Hollanders. The num- 
ber of congregations and missionary stations supplied, in whole or in 
part, was two thousand one hundred and twenty-four. The aggregate 
of ministerial labor performed was equal to eight hundred and fifteen 
years. The number of pupils in Sabbath schools was sixty-four thou- 
sand eight hundred. There were added to the churches five thou- 
sand six hundred and thirty-four persons, viz. : two thousand nine 
hundred and forty-eight on profession, and two thousand six hundred 
and eighty-six by letter. Forty-eight missionaries made mention in 
their reports of revivals of religion in their congregations ; and three 
hundred and sixty-six missionaries reported two thousand four hun- 
dred and thirty-four hopeful conversions. Sixty-six churches were 
organized by missionaries during the year ; and forty, that had been 
dependent, assumed the support of their own ministry. Sixty-one 
houses of worship were completed, thirty-eight repaired, and fifty- 
two others in process of erection. Eighty-nine young men, in con- 
nection with the missionary churches, were in preparation for the 
Gospel ministry. The disbursements of the society were $177,717 ; 
the receipts, 1180,136. 

The plan pursued by this society, and by all the other societies and 
boards established for the promotion of home missions, is never to 
support a missionary at its sole charges, if it can be avoided ; but to 
give $100, or $150, or $200, rarely more than $100 or $120 to a 
young and feeble church, or two congregations near to each other, 
on condition of their making up the deficiency in the missionary's 
salary. Thus they are stimulated and encouraged to help them- 
selves, and as soon as they can walk alone, the society leaves them 
for others which have been just organized, and which need assist- 
ance. In this way hundreds of congregations have been built up, 
and hundreds are at this moment emerging from the weakness of 
childhood into the vigor of youth and manhood. In no case, how- 
ever, does the society do any thing toward the erection of church 
edifices. The people must find these for themselves, or get help 
from societies which have been formed for that object. The cheap- 
ness of materials in the new settlements and in the villages of the 
interior, renders it easv to erect such houses as will suffice until the 
flock gathers strength, and can do something more. 

The society engages, in some cases, men of talent and experience 
to travel over a given district, and to ascertain at what points the 
people attached to one or other of the denominations which it repre- 
sents might, with proper efforts, be formed into congregations. The 
labors of such agents are of the utmost importance, and they neces- 
sarily receive their whole salaries from the society. 


It is a beautiful feature in our institutions for domestic missions, 
that while encouraging and stimulating new and feeble congregations 
to do their utmost to secure for themselves the regular enjoyment of 
Gospel ordinances,* they cultivate the kindly feelings of churches 
more favorably situated in the older parts of the country. Many 
of the latter support one missionary, and some of them several each, 
in the new and destitute settlements, through the agency of the 
American Home Missionary Society. Nay, there are juvenile societies 
in the Sunday-schools that support each of them one, and some even 
two or three missionaries, if not more. Individuals are to be found 
in the Atlantic States who support a missionary each, and thus preach 
the Gospel, as they say, " by proxy." Still more, there are persons 
in New York and other cities, who have each paid the entire salary 
and traveling expenses of an agent laboring in a large district. One 
of these, with whom I was long acquainted, a hatter, by no means 
wealthy, who worked with his hands at the trade, gave $600 for 
years, to support one such laborer in Ohio. He is now dead. Beau- 
tiful as this is, it is perhaps a finer sight still to see churches and con- 
gregations which were aided by the society in their day, now in their 
turn bearing a part, if not the whole expense of the labors of a mis- 
sionary hi a congregation not yet emerged from the feeble state which 
they once were in themselves. And there are now many such 
throughout the United States. 

In 1805 there was scarcely a Presbyterian or Congregational church 
in the district now covered by the seventeen most westerly counties 
of New York. A few missionaries were sent thither at different 
times, but the increase was small until the Agency for Home Mis- 
sions, now in connection with the American Home Missionary Society, 
was established there in 1826. Now there are on this field more than 
four hundred and fifty Presbyterian and Congregational churches, 
containing, it is supposed, fifty thousand communicants. During the 
thirty years of its operations, the American Home Missionary Society 
has aided more than three hundred of those churches, and nearly 
half of them are now able to sustain the Gospel without assistance. 
The churches have nearly doubled since 1826, and the communicants 
have probably trebled. Such is the wonderful work that God has 
wrought in this section of the State. Such has been the triumph of the 
Gospel. It is indeed the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 

Passing by other facts showing the lateral good accomplished by 
this effort to plant the Gospel in Western New York, we mention 
that many of the foreign missionaries are the sons of those churches. 

* It is believed that the churches aided by the society raise, in one way or an- 
other, nearly three times as much as they receive ! 


One of them is now pastor of a church of seven thousand members 
at the Sandwich Islands, principally gathered through the blessing 
of God on his labors. Besides repaying the parent society more than 
$100,000 expended on this field, those churches have given $60,000 
to send the Gospel to the more destitute beyond them. Nor is this 
all ; they have been most generous helpers of every good cause. 

We conclude our notice of this society by giving the following ex- 
tract from one of its Annual Reports : 

" The results, indeed, of that mysterious and wonder-working in- 
fluence which a God of grace exerts through the ministry of recon- 
ciliation, and which He connects with the missionary enterprise, all 
surpass finite comprehension. While the missionaries are preaching 
Christ and Him crucified to the living, they are laying broad and 
deep the foundations of many generations ; they are setting in motion 
trains of moral influences, which will not cease when they are dead ; 
they are kindling up lights in Zion, which will shine brighter and 
brighter unto the perfect day. Churches, that were near unto death, 
are quickened, and become able of themselves to sustain the Gospel, 
and to hand down its blessings to those who shall come after them. 
New churches are organized, to throw open their portals to the 
fathers, and the children, and the children's children, through many 
generations, and to send out their influences to the ends of the world. 
The organization, or resuscitation of a church — heaven's own institu- 
tion — that may stand through all coming time, and bring its multi- 
tudes of redeemed ones to glory, is a great event. And to plant such 
churches, wherever there are souls to be gathered into them, our 
country over, and nurture them till they no longer need our aid, but 
become our most efficient fellow-laborers, in hastening forward the 
universal reign of the Son of God, is surely a great work ! And 
yet, this is the work in which infinite condescension and mercy per- 
mits us, as friends of home missions, to engage, and some of which it 
is our privilege here to record." 




Presbyterianism owes its foundation in the United States chiefly 
to persons who had been exiled from Scotland on account of their re- 
ligious principles, and to Presbyterian emigrants from the north of 


Ireland. These were joined in many places by settlers from New 
England, who had no objections to unite with them in forming con- 
gregations on Presbyterian principles. Presbyterians of Scottish and 
Irish origin coalesced in other places with Huguenots from France, 
and with colonists originally of the Dutch or German Reformed 
Churches. Thus did Presbyterian congregations begin to be formed 
toward the close of the seventeenth century. The first preachers 
were from Scotland, Ireland, and New England. They were few in 
number at first, and were often invited to preach in neighborhoods 
where some resident Presbyterians might desire to hear the Gospel, 
preached by men of the same religious principles with themselves. 

The first presbytery was constituted in 1705, and the first synod 
(that of Philadelphia) in 1716. After that the work of home missions 
began to acquire greater consistency. Ministers were sent out on 
preaching tours among the small Presbyterian flocks, or, rather, scat- 
tered groups of Presbyterian families, particularly in the middle and 
southern provinces. In 1741, the synod was divided into two bodies, 
one retaining the old name of Synod of Philadelphia, the other 
calling itself the Synod of New York. The former, soon after being 
constituted, had its attention drawn, " not only to the wants of the 
people within their immediate bounds, but to those also of the emi- 
grants who were rapidly extending themselves through Virginia and 
North Carolina." They wrote, accordingly, to the General Assembly 
of the Church of Scotland, asking for ministers to preach in these 
colonies, and for assistance in establishing a seminary for the educa- 
tion of suitable young men for the ministry. A letter was also ad- 
dressed to the deputies of the Synods of North and South Holland, 
in which they expressed their willingness to unite with the Calvinistic 
Dutch Churches in promoting the common interests of religion. 

At the first meeting of the synod of New York, in 1745, the cir- 
cumstances of the people of Virginia were brought before them, and 
the opinion unanimously expressed that Mr. Robinson* was the proper 
person to visit that colony. He visited it accordingly, and on that, as 
well as on a former visit, was the instrument of doing much good. 
He was followed by the Rev. Samuel Davies, formerly mentioned. 

In 1758, the two synods were merged in the one Synod of New 
York and Philadelphia, and from that time domestic missions began 

* This Mr. Eobinson was a remarkable man. His manners were plain, his eloquence 
simple, animated, and attractive. He had but one eye, and was from that circum- 
stance called "one-eyed Eobinson." Dr. Archibald Alexander, late professor in the 
Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey, says that it was no uncommon thing 
for people to go twenty, thirty, and even forty miles, to hear him preach a single 


to receive considerable attention, and collections for that object were 
ordered to be made in the churches. In 1767, or 1768, the Synod 
received an overture, or proposal, from the Presbytery of New 
York, " that there should be an annual collection in every congrega- 
tion ; that every presbytery should appoint a treasurer to receive and 
transmit the funds thus obtained ; that the Synod should appoint a 
general treasurer, to whom all these presbyterial collections should be 
sent ; and that every year a full account of the receipts and disburse- 
ments should be printed and sent down to the churches." This was 
the germ of the present Board of Missions. In the same year peti- 
tions for " supplies" were received from twenty-one places in Virginia, 
North Carolina, and Georgia. 

Collections were thenceforward made in the churches. In 1772, it 
was ordered that a part of these moneys should be appropriated to 
the purchase and distribution of useful religious books, and to the 
promotion of the Gospel among the Indians. Two years afterward 
it was seriously contemplated to send missionaries to Africa ; but the 
war of the Revolution breaking out the following year, the project 
fell to the ground. Even during the war there was a considerable 
demand for ministers from destitute congregations, and to meet this 
many faithful ministers made missionary tours, at no small personal 
hazard from the dangers of war. Measures were taken in 1788 for 
forming the General Assembly, which was organized in 1789, and at 
its very first meeting much attention was paid to the subject of 

" It is believed," says a distinguished divine of the Presbyterian 
Church, "that at this time (1789) there was not in the United 
States another religious denomination, besides the Presbyterian, that 
prosecuted any domestic missionary enterprise; except that then, 
as since, the Methodists sent forth their circuit preachers in all di- 

In the year 1800, the Rev. Mr. Chapman was appointed a mission- 
ary in the western part of the State of New York, and to his labors 
we must so far ascribe the great difiusion of Presbyterianism in that 
important section of the country. In 1802, the General Assembly 
appointed a " standing committee," to attend to the greatly-increased 
interests in the missionary cause — a measure which led to a further 
extension of the work. A correspondence was commenced with all 
the known missionary societies of Europe. The committee gave 
much of its attention to the colored population, a class among whom 
the late John Holt Rice, D.D., one of the most able ministers that 

* "History of the Missions of the Presbyterian Church," by the late Ashbol 
Green, D.D. 



the Presbyterian Church in the United States has ever possessed, 
labored as a missionary during seven years. 

In 1816, the General Assembly enlarged the powers of the stand- 
ing committee, and gave it the title of " the Board of Missions, act- 
ing under the authority of the General Assembly." Many mission- 
aries went forth under its auspices, to labor among the destitute 
Presbyterian congregations that were continually forming in the 
Southern and Western States. Meanwhile, many local societies, under 
the direction of synods, presbyteries, and other bodies, had sprung 
up, and were separately prosecuting the same objects to a considera- 
ble extent. 

The General Assembly again took up the subject of missions in 
1828, and further enlarged the powers of the Board, fully authorizing 
it to establish missions, not only in destitute parts of the United 
States, but among the heathen abroad. Such, however, was the de- 
mand for laborers at home, especially in the Western States and Ter- 
ritories, that nothing of importance could be done for foreign lands. 
It was found, besides, that home and foreign missions could not well 
be united under one board, so that in the course of a few years the 
latter were committed to the charge of another board, appointed for 
that purpose by the Assembly. Of its operations we shall have occa- 
sion to. speak elsewhere. 

The cause of domestic missions in the Presbyterian Church now 
went on with fresh vigor, and the synodical and presbyterial societies 
becoming either merged in the Assembly's Board, or affiliated with it, 
the whole assumed a more consolidated form and greater consistency. 
From 1828 to 1855, the missionaries increased from thirty-one to 
five hundred and twenty-five. The Report for the latter year presents 
a summary of five hundred and twenty-five missionaries employed ; 
three hundred and five Sunday-schools, attended by fourteen thousand 
five hundred and forty- eight scholars, connected with the churches under 
their care ; three thousand three hundred and forty-six members added 
to the churches, of whom one thousand seven hundred and seventy- 
eight were received upon examination of then- faith, and one thousand 
five hundred and sixty-eight upon letters of recommendation from 
other churches; the receipts were $71,834, and the expenditures 
$78,944. The average expense of each missionary is about $150. 
The Board pursues the wise course of simply helping congregations 
that as yet are unable to maintain pastors, by granting them so much 
on their undertaking to make up the deficiency.* 

* Since 1844 this Board has been charged with the work of "Church Extension," 
or assisting in building of church edifices, where help is needed. This branch of 
their labors is wholly distinct from that which is missionary, and of which we have 


Such is a brief notice of the operations of the Home Missions of 
the General Assembly of that branch of the Presbyterian Church 
commonly called the Old School, to distinguish it from another branch 
called the New School. The Board has been instrumental, under 
God, in giving a permanent existence to hundreds of churches. The 
Divine blessing has been remarkably vouchsafed to its efforts. Its 
affairs are managed with great wisdom and energy, and the Church is 
much indebted to the late Ashbel Green, D.D., for the deep interest 
which, during a long life, he felt in this cause, and for the devotedness 
with which he labored to promote it. Nor could it fail to be a great 
consolation to him, in his declining days, to see his love and zeal for 
this enterprise crowned with abundant success. 

In this connection, we may say that the Associate Presbyterian 
Church had, in 1855, forty-one missionaries in the home fields, and 
the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church sixty-five. 



A society was formed in the year 1822, in the Protestant Episco- 
pal Church of the United States, for the promotion of Home and For- 
eign Missions. During the first thirteen years of its existence, that 
is, up to 1835, it had employed fifty-nine laborers in its home missions, 
occupying stations in various parts of the Union, but chiefly in the 
West. This society was re-organized in 1835, and, as now consti- 
tuted, is under the direction of a Board of thirty members, appointed 
by the General Convention of that Church. The bishops, together 
with such persons as had become patrons of the society previously to 
the meeting of the Convention in 1829, are members of the Board, 
and to it is committed the whole subject of missions. But the better 
to expedite the business intrusted to it, the Home an4 Foreign de- 
partments are directed, respectively, by two committees, each con- 
sisting of four clergymen and four laymen, under the presidency of 
the bishop of the diocese in which the committee resides, and the 
members of both committees are ex officio members of the Board. 

spoken of above. The receipts for the " Church Extension" Fund from 1844 to 1855 
were $68,544; from which fund aid was extended, during that period, to three hun- 
dred and eighty-two churches. In the year ending April 1, 1855. forty-nine church 
edifices were completed, to whose construction aid was given. 


It is only since 1835 that the home missions of the society have 
been prosecuted with much vigor, but every year now bears witness 
to the increasing interest felt by the Episcopal churches of the United 
States in the work of building up churches in the new settlements, 
and other places where no congregation of that communion had 
before existed. 

During the year ending June, 1855, the Board had employed 
ninety-eight missionaries ; and that they did not labor without effect- 
ing much good, is apparent even from the imperfect statements of the 
Report. The income for the home missions was $42,107. From 1822 
to 1841, one hundred and eighty-six stations were adopted as fields 
of special, permanent, and, as far as practicable, regular labor. During 
the same period eighty church edifices had been erected in those sta- 
tions, and the number of these once aided, but no longer requiring 
assistance, was forty-four. 

From this it will be seen that this society, like those already men- 
tioned, is an instrument by which churches that have long been 
favored with the Gospel, and that highly prize it, are enabled to assist 
others, until they, too, have grown up into a vigorous independence 
of foreign aid. "Freely ye have received; freely give;" this ad- 
monition and command should never be forgotten. It is the true 
basis of the whole Voluntary System. 

We shall only add, that the missionaries employed by the Board 
of the Episcopal Church are chiefly stationed in the Western States 
and Territories, California, and Oregon. 

The American Baptist Home Missionary Society was instituted in 
1832, and has been eminently useful in building up churches of 
that denomination, both in the West and in many of the Atlantic 
States, where the assistance of such an institution was required ; as 
well as in establishing Sunday-schools and Bible-classes. Its great 
field of labor, however, like that of all the other Societies and Boards 
for domestic missions, has been in the Valley of the Mississippi. 
Within a few years, it has extended its operations to California and 
Oregon, in which countries it has several missionaries. It has nume- 
rous branches and auxiliaries in all parts of the United States. During 
the year ending in May, 1855, it had one hundred and seventy-nine 
agents and missionaries in its own immediate service, while its aux- 
iliaries employed many more, all of whom were ministers of the Gos- 
pel, and believed to be faithful and capable laborers. The receipts of 
the society amounted to $60,043. The Southern Baptist Convention 
had eighty-eight missionaries. 

In addition to what the regular Baptists are doing for home mis- 
sions, it ought to be stated that the Free- Will Baptists have a 


Home Missionary Society, which employs some fifteen or twenty 

The General Synod of the Reformed Dutch Church has a Board of 
Domestic Missions, which is now prosecuting, with zeal and wisdom, 
the work of gathering together new congregations, and fostering 
them during their infancy, wherever it can find openings for so doing. 
For several years past it has been extending its operations, and dur- 
ing the year ending in June, 1855, it had fifty missionaries. 

The American and Foreign Christian Union, composed of good 
men of nearly all the Evangelical churches, had, in 1855, sixty-two 
missionaries in the home field. 

If the truth is to be carried into every hamlet and neighborhood 
of the United States, it can only be by the energetic efforts of all de- 
nominations of evangelical Christians ; and it is delightful to trace 
the proofs that this conviction is wide and deep. All those denom- 
inations are actually engaged in the good work, and send forth and 
support missionaries in some portion or other of the country. 



It has been said, with truth, that the Methodist Church is in its very 
structure emphatically a missionary Church ; and how inestimable its 
office in this respect, the religious history of the United States will 
strikingly prove. The General Conferences are divided into Annual 
Conferences, each including a large extent of country, and divided 
into districts. Each district comprehends several circuits, and within 
each circuit there are from five to twenty preaching places or more. 

Ordinarily as often as once in the fortnight a circuit-preacher conducts 
a regular service at each of these preaching places, whether it be a 
church, school-room, or a dwelling-house. In the largest towns and 
villages such services are held on the Sabbath, and on a week-day or 
evening in other places, and thus the Gospel is carried into thousands 
of remote spots in which it never would be preached upon the plan of 
having a permanent clergy, planted in particular districts and parishes. 

It was a remark, I believe, of the celebrated Dr. Witherspoon, that 
" he needed no other evidence that the Rev. John Weslev was a 
great man, than the system of itinerating preaching of which that 
wonderful man was the author." The observation was a just one. 


It is a system of vast importance in every point of view ; but that 
from which we are at present to contemplate it is its filling up a void 
which must else remain empty. Of its other advantages we shall 
have to speak hereafaer. 

Yet, capable as the system is of being made to send its ramifica- 
tions into almost every corner of the country, and to carry the glad 
tidings of salvation into the most remote and secluded settlements, as 
well as to the more accessible and populous towns and neighbor- 
hoods, many places were found, particularly in the South and West, 
so situated as to be beyond the reach of adequate supply from itin- 
erant laborers : a fact which led to the formation of the Missionary 
Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816. 

This society, like that of the Protestant Episcopal Church, was 
formed for the double object of promoting missions at home and 
abroad. In 1843, twenty-four years after its formation, this society 
employed two hundred and ten missionaries within the limits of the 
United States, exclusive of those laboring among the Indians, whether 
within or immediately beyond those limits. The churches enjoying 
the services of these missionaries comprised above thirty thousand 
members, and many of them had flourishing Bible-classes and Sun- 
day-schools. The report also stated, that among the members of the 
Society's missionary churches, there were not fewer than thirteen 
thousand three hundred and twenty colored people. 

In the year 1 855 the various branches of the Methodist family of 
churches employed nearly twelve hundred missionaries in the home 

Perhaps of all the fields cultivated by this society, the two most in- 
teresting, and, in some respects, most important, are those presented 
by the slaves in the extreme Southern States, and by the German 
emigrants found in great numbers in our chief cities. The missions 
among the former were commenced in 1828,* and originated in a 
proposal made by the Hon. Charles C. Pinckney, a distinguished 
Christian layman of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, and 
which has been carried into effect with much success : the slaveholders 
themselves, in many places, if not in all, being pleased to have the 
missionaries preach the Gospel to their people. 

The following paragraph from a report, will give the reader some 
idea of the hazardous nature of this work. " In the Southern and 

* I speak here of missions technically so called, for, in their ordinary labors, the 
Methodists, from the first, have had much to do with the slaves in the South, as well 
as with the free negroes of the North. In fact, no other body of Christians, perhaps, 
has done so much good to the unfortunate children of Africa in the United States as 
the followers of John Wesley. 


South-western Conferences, it will be seen, under the head of domes- 
tic missions, that, with commendable zeal and devotion, our missiona- 
ries are still laboring in the service of the slaves upon the rice-fields, 
sugar and cotton plantations, multitudes of whom, though destined 
to toil and bondage during their earthly pilgrimage, have by their 
instrumentality been brought to enjoy the liberty of the Gospel, and 
are happily rejoicing in the blessings of God's salvation. In no por- 
tion of our work are our missionaries called to endure greater priva- 
tions, or make greater sacrifices of health and life, than in these 
missions among the slaves, many of which are located in sections of 
the Southern country which are proverbially sickly, and under the 
fatal influence of , a climate which few white men are capable of en- 
during, even for a single year. And yet, notwithstanding so many 
valuable missionaries have fallen martyrs to their toils in these mis- 
sions, year after year there are found others to take their places, who 
fall likewise in their work, ' ceasing at once to work and to live.' 
Nor have our superintendents any difficulty in finding missionaries 
ready to fill up the ranks which death has thinned in these sections 
of the work : for the love of Christ, and the love of the souls of these 
poor Africans in bonds, constrain our brethren in the itinerant work 
of the Southern conferences to exclaim, 'Here are we, send us !' The 
Lord be praised for the zeal and success of our brethren in this self- 
denying and self-sacrificing work." 

Not less interesting are the missions among the Germans resident 
in the chief towns and cities of the Valley of the Mississippi. Begin- 
ning at Pittsburg and Alleghany city, this Society has missionaries 
among these foreigners in many of the chief towns on the Ohio, such 
as Wheeling, Marietta, Portsmouth, Maysville, Cincinnati, Lawrence- 
burg, New Albany, etc., as well as in towns remote from the river, 
such as Dayton and Chillicothe. It has missions also, at St. Louis, 
and other points on the Upper Mississippi. Nor are they confined 
to the Valley of the Mississippi ; they exist also in the principal towns 
in the East. 

These brief notices of the home missions of the chief Evangelical 
Churches in the United States, will give the reader some idea of 
the mode in which new and feeble congregations are aided by the 
older and stronger, until able to maintain the institutions of religion 
themselves. The societies* which we have passed under review in 

* Namely, the American Home Missionary Society, which aided 1,032 missionaries; 
the Board of Missions of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian (Old School) 
Church, 525; Board of Missions of the Associate Presbyterian Church, 41; Board 
of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 98 ; Baptist Home Mission So- 
ciety (North), 179 ; Southern Baptist Convention, 88 ; American and Foreign Chris- 


these four chapters, supported, in all, in the year 1855, three thou- 
sand three hundred and thirty-seven ministers of the Gospel, and 
at an expense of $728,539, in new, and, as yet, feeble churches 
and flocks. Year after year many of these cease to require assist- 
ance, and then others are taken up in their turn. Be it remem- 
bered, that the work has been systematically prosecuted for no long 
course of time. Thirty-five years ago, in fact, the most powerful of 
these societies did not exist ; others were but commencing their ope- 
rations. It is an enterprise with respect to which the Churches have 
as yet but partially developed their energies and resources ; still, they 
have accomplished enough to demonstrate how much may be done by 
"the voluntary principle, toward calling into existence churches and 
congregations in the settlements rapidly forming, whether in the new 
or the old States. 



We have seen how the voluntary principle operates in America in 
relation to the building of churches, and the support of ministers 
of the Gospel in the new settlements that are forming every year. 
We now come to consider its influence on education. Hundreds 
of ministers, it will be perceived, are required, to meet the de- 
mands of the rapidly-augmenting population. Where are these to 
come from? Besides, in a country where the right of suffrage 
is almost universal, and where so much of the order, peace, and 
happiness, that are the true objects of all good government, depend 
on officers chosen in the most direct manner from among themselves, 
these must be instructed before they can become intelligent, virtuous, 
and capable citizens. , Ignorance is incompatible with the acquisition 
or preservation of any freedom worth possessing ; and, above all, such 
a republic as that of the United States must depend for its very ex- 
istence on the wide diffusion of sound knowledge and religious prin- 
ciples among all classes of the people. Let us, therefore, trace the 
bearings of the voluntary principle upon education, hi all its forms, 

tian Union, 62 ; Board of Missions of the Reformed Dutch Church, 50 ; Board of 
Missions of the several branches of the Methodist Church, 1,197 ; the Associate Re- 
formed Presbyterian Chunch, (about) 65. This list, though not complete, is very 
nearly so. 


among the various ranks of society in the United States. We shall 
begin with primary schools. 

It may well be imagined that emigrants to the New World, who 
fled from the Old with the hope of enjoying that religious freedom 
which they so much desired, would not be indifferent to the educa- 
tion of their children. Especially might we expect to find that the 
Protestant colonists, who had forsaken all for this boon, would not 
fail to make early provision for the instruction of their children, in 
order that they might be able to read that Book which is the " Re- 
ligion of Protestants." And such we find to have been the fact. 
Scarcely had the Puritans been settled half-a-dozen years in the col- 
ony of Massachusetts, before they began to make provision for public 
primary schools, to be supported by a tax assessed upon all the in- 
habitants* And such provision was actually made, not only in Mas- 
sachusetts, but in every New England colony. And such provision 
exists to this day in all the six New England States. Schools are 
by law maintained in every school district, during the whole or a part 
of every year. 

With the exception of the State of Connecticut, where all the pub- 
lic schools are maintained upon the interest of a large school fund, 
primary instruction is provided for by an annual assessment — a school 
being taught, in every school district, by a master for the older youth 
during winter, and often by a mistress for the little children during 
summer. Wherever we find the descendants of the Puritans in 
America, we find a people who value education as the first of all 
earthly blessings ; and when a colony from New England plants itself, 
whether amid the forests of Ohio, or on the prairies of Illinois, or on 
the plains of California, two things are ever considered indispensable 
alike to their temporal and to their spiritual and their eternal wel- 
fare — a church and a school-house. 

Nor was this thirst for education confined to the New England 
Puritans : it prevailed to no small degree among the Scotch and Irish 
Presbyterians, the Huguenots, the early German emigrants ; among 

* The small colony of Plymouth, as soon as it was in some measure settled, set 
about providing schools for the children, and this was several years before the colony 
of Massachusetts Bay was planted. 

But if the New England Puritans were zealous in the cause of education and learn- 
ing, the Virginia colonists seem not to have had any such spirit, for one of their gov- 
ernors, Sir "William Berkeley, in 1670, in replying to the inquiries addressed to him 
by the Lords of Plantations, says, "I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing, 
and I hope we shall not have them these hundred years ; for learning has brought 
disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and 
libels against the best government. God keep us from both I" — Hening's Laws of 
Virginia, Appendix. 


all, in fact, who had fled from Europe for the sake of their religion. 
It is owing to this that primary education has been diffused so widely 
throughout the United States, and that no less effective legal provi- 
sion has been made at length for the support of common schools in 
New York, in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, than in the 
New England States, and to a considerable extent, also, in New 
Jersey, Delaware, Kentucky : while in all the others it has led to the 
adoption of measures for the education of the children of the poor, 
and to the creation of school funds, which, taken together with other 
means, promise one day to be available for the education of all 

The white and free colored population of the United States 
amounted, in 1850, to nearly twenty millions, of which number it was 
ascertained that one million fifty-three thousand four hundred and 
twenty persons, above twenty years of age, could neither read nor 
write. A large proportion of these, in fact one hundred and ninety- 
five thousand one hundred and fourteen, were foreigners — Irish, Ger- 
mans, Swiss, and French. 

By the census of 1850, it appears that the number of schools, in- 
cluding public and private academies, amounted to eighty-seven thou- 
sand and sixty-seven, attended by four million eighty-nine thousand 
five hundred and seven scholars ; of whom three million three hun- 
dred and fifty-four thousand and eleven were taught at the public 
charge in whole or in part, and the remainder at that of their parents 
and friends. From this it will be seen that education in America de- 
pends very much on the aid of the State. So that although primary 
schools were in all parts of the country originated and sustained at 
first, as in most of the States they continue to be, by the people 
themselves, or, rather, by the friends of education, State after State 
is beginning to be induced by the efforts of these to make a legal pro- 
vision, to a certain extent at least, for the instruction of all who may 
choose to avail themselves of it ; for in this they do not see that they 
violate any rights of conscience. 

The right of giving instruction is, in the United States, universal. 
Even where there is an all-pervading system of public schools, any 
number of families may join together, and employ any teacher for 
their children whom they may prefer. Nor has that teacher to pro- 
cure any license or " brevet of instruction" before entering on the 
duties of his office. His employers are the sole judges of his capacity, 
and should he prove incapable or inefficient, the remedy is in their 
own hands. The teachers employed by the State pass an examina- 
tion before a proper committee. In all the States where there is a 
legal provision for primary schools, there is a yearly report from each 


to a committee of the township, from which, again, there is a report 
to a county committee, and that, in its turn, sends a report to the 
Secretary or School Commissioner of the State. 

In most cases, a pious and judicious teacher, if he will only confine 
himself to the great doctrines and precepts of the Gospel, in which 
all who hold the fundamental truths of the Bible are agreed, can 
easily give as much religious instruction as he chooses. "Where the 
teacher himself is not decidedly religious, much religious instruction 
can not be expected ; nor indeed should any but religious teachers 
attempt to give more than general moral instruction, and make the 
scholars read portions of the Scriptures, and of other good books. 

The Bible is very generally used as a reading-book in our primary 
schools, though in some places the Roman Catholics have succeeded 
in excluding it, and they have been striving to do the same in the 
city of New York. In so far as relates to public schools, I see no 
other course but that of leaving the question to the people them- 
selves ; the majority deciding, and leaving the minority the alterna- 
tive of supporting a school of their own. This will generally be done 
by Protestants rather than give up the Bible. 

In most parts of the United States, it has been found extremely 
difficult to procure good teachers, few men being willing to devote 
their lives to that occupation in a country so full of openings in more 
lucrative and inviting professions and employments. Hence very 
incompetent teachers — not a few from Ireland and other parts of the 
British dominions— are all that can be found. This is particularly the 
case in the Middle, Southern, and Western States. But it is an evil 
which diminishes with the increase of population. Much attention 
has of late been paid to the training of teachers, and many Normal 
Schools have been established. A very laudable effort is making 
in New England, in New York, and in some other States, to attach 
a library of suitable books to each school. The plan is excellent, 
and promises much good. 

Primary instruction in the United States owes almost every thing 
to religion, as the most efiicient of all the principles that prompt to 
its promotion. Not that the Protestants of that country interest 
themselves in the primary schools for the purpose of proselytizing 
children to their views, but rather that at these schools the youth of 
the nation may be qualified for receiving religious instruction effect- 
ually elsewhere, and for the due discharge of their future duties as 
citizens. And, however much they may wish to see religious instruc- 
tion given at the common schools, they will not for a moment give 
in to the opinion that all is lost where this can not be accomplished. 
Primary instruction, even when not accompanied with any religious 


instruction, is better than none ; and in such cases, they that love the 
Gospel have other resources — in the pulpit, the family altar, the 
Bible-class, and the Sabbath-school. 



But if primary schools in the United States owe much to religion, 
Grammar-schools and Academies, which may be called secondary 
institutions, owe still more. 

In 1647, only twenty-seven years after the settlement of the Puri- 
tans in New England, we find the colony of Massachusetts Bay 
making a legal provision, not only for primary, but for secondary 
schools also. " It being one chief project of Satan," says the statute, 
" to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures by dissuading 
from the use of tongues ; and to the end that learning may not be 
buried in the graves of our forefathers in Church and commonwealth, 
the Lord assisting our endeavors : therefore be it enacted, that every 
township, after the Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty 
householders, shall appoint one to teach all children to write and 
read ; and where any town shall increase to the number of one hun- 
dred families, they shall set up a grammar-school, the masters thereof 
being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for the uni- 
versity." Such was the origin of the grammar-schools of New En- 
gland, and now they are-so numerous that not only has almost every 
county one, but many of the more populous and wealthy possess 

Not only so : all the other States have incorporated academies and 
grammar-schools in very considerable numbers. Some, by a single 
act, have made an appropriation for the establishment of one such 
institution in every county within their jurisdiction. Thus, in Penn- 
sylvania, many years ago, $2,000 were granted for the erection of a 
building for a grammar-school at the seat of justice for each county, 
and a board of trustees, with power to fill up vacancies as they might 
occur in their numbers, was appointed for each. These buildings are 
now occupied by masters who teach the higher branches of an En- 
glish education, and, in most cases, also, the Latin and Greek lan- 
guages, besides such instruction in the mathematics and other studies 
as may qualify the pupils for entering college. Like provisions have 
been made by other States, and even the newest of them in the West 
are continually encouraging learning by passing such acts. In no 


case, however, does a State endow such an institution. A grant is 
made at the outset for the' edifice that may be required ; in most 
cases that is all that is done by the State, after which the institution 
has to depend upon the fees paid by the scholars for the support of 
the master or masters employed. In some instances, as in the State 
of New York, the grammar-school has a yearly subsidy from the 
State ; in which case, there is usually some condition attached to the 
grant, such as the giving of instruction gratis to a certain number of 
poor lads, or of youths intended to become teachers of primary 
schools. But in most, even of the cases in which they have been 
aided by the State, these institutions have not only been privately 
commenced and carried to a certain point previously to such assist- 
ance, but owe much more afterward to the spontaneous support of 
their friends. Indeed, in all parts of the country may be found gram- 
mar-schools, and some of these the very best, which owe their ex- 
istence purely to individual or associated efforts. Such is the " Burr 
Seminary," in the town of Manchester, in the State of Vermont, 
which originated in a legacy of $10,000, left by a gentleman of the 
name of Joseph Burr,* for the education of poor and pious young 
men for the ministry. By the terms of his will, in case that an equal 
sum should be raised by the citizens of the place for the erection of a 
suitable building, the purchase of apparatus, library, etc., then his 
legacy of $10,000 might be invested as a permanent fund, the interest 
of which was to be applied to paying for the education of such young 
men as he should designate. This was done even beyond the extent 
required by the testator. A large and commodious edifice was 
erected, contaiDing rooms for the recitation of lessons, lectures, li- 
brary, philosophical apparatus, etc. The school was opened on the 
15th of May, 1833, and the number of scholars for the first term was 
one hundred and forty-six ; many of whom were pious youths, devot- 
ing themselves to study with a view to the ministry. The institution 
still flourishes under the instructions of excellent men ; and being 
situated in a secluded and moral village in the midst of the Green 
Mountains, where living is cheap, it is attended by choice youths, 
some thirty or forty of whom are educated gratuitously. Such, 

* Mr. Burr had been for many years a resident at Manchester, in Vermont. By 
patient industry and upright dealings, he acquired a fortune estimated at $150,000 
at the time of his death. A large part of this sum he bequeathed to the American 
Bible Society, American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, American 
Home Missionary Society, and American Education Society, besides endowing a pro- 
fessorship in one college, and contributing largely to the same object in another. 
And in addition to all this, by the above bequest of $10,000 he founded the seminary 
that bears his name. 


again, is " Philips's Academy," at Andover, in Massachusetts, about 
twenty miles north of Boston. Founded in IV 78, by the joint liber- 
ality of two brothers, the Hon. Samuel Philips, of Andover, and the 
Hon. John Philips, of Exeter, New Hampshire, it received, two years 
afterward, a charter of incorporation from the State. The fund 
supplied by these two brothers was afterward augmented by the be- 
quest of a third, the Hon. William Philips, of Boston. 

This Academy, which is one of the best endowed in the United 
States, has been truly a blessing to the cause of religion and learning. 
By the terms prescribed by its pious founders, it is open to all youth 
of good character, but they have placed it under the control of Prot- 
estants, and the religious instruction given must be orthodox in the 
true sense of the word. Instruction is required to be given in the 
English, Latin, and Greek languages; in writing, arithmetic, and 
music ; in the art of speaking ; also in practical geometry, logic, and 
any other of the liberal arts, sciences, or languages, as opportunity 
and ability may from time to time admit, and the trustees shall direct. 
As the education of suitable young men for the ministry was a lead- 
ing consideration with the founders, so has the institution been, in 
this respect, abundantly blessed. Many such youths have here pur- 
sued their preparatory studies ; and in 1808, availing themselves of a 
provision contained in the plan marked out by the founder, the trus- 
tees ingrafted on the institution, or, rather, established in the same 
village, and under the same direction, a Theological Seminary, which 
has become one of the most distinguished of the kind in the United 
States, and will call for more ample notice hereafter. 

A large proportion of the grammar-schools and academies in the 
United States, whether incorporated or not, are under the direction 
and instruction of ministers of the Gospel of different evangelical 
denominations. These ministers, in some cases, devote their whole 
time to the work of academical instruction ; in other cases, they 
have also the charge of a church or congregation, and as they per- 
form the double duties of pastor and head of a grammar-school, they 
have usually an assistant teacher in the latter. The teachers in these 
academies are often pious young men, of small pecuniary resources, 
who, after completing their studies at college, betake themselves to 
this employment for a few years, in order to find the means of 
supporting themselves while attending a theological school. But 
whether ministers of the Gospel, or graduates fresh from college, 
such teachers generally communicate instruction of a character de- 
cidedly religious. The Scriptures are daily read ; the school is usually 
opened and closed with prayer ; and in many cases, a Bible-class, 
comprising all the pupils, meets on the Sabbath afternoon, or morn- 


ing, for the study of the Sacred Volume. Thus, by the favor of God 
resting on these institutions, and making them effectual to the con- 
verting of many of the youths that attend them, they prove blessings 
to the Church of Christ, as well as to the State. 

I may add that, within the last ten or twenty years, a great many 
excellent institutions for the education of young ladies have sprung 
up in different parts of the United States, through associated or indi- 
vidual efforts. The course of instruction at these is excellent and 
extensive, embracing all branches of valuable knowledge proper for 
the sex. Upon many of them, also, God has caused His blessing to 
descend, and has brought not a few of the young persons attending 
them to the knowledge of Himself. They are generally conducted 
by ladies ; but the teachers, in some cases, are gentlemen, clergymen 
especially, assisted by pious ladies. In no other country, probably, 
has the higher education of females made greater progress than in 
the United States, during the last few years. The Christian commu- 
nity begins to feel that mothers have, in a great measure, the forma- 
tion of the national character in their hands. 



In the census of the United States for 1850, the number of univer- 
sities and colleges is put down at two hundred and thirty-nine, and 
that of students at twenty-seven thousand eight hundred and twenty- 
one. This, however, includes not only the Theological, Medical, and 
Law schools, but several other institutions improperly called col- 
leges. A more accurate list makes the colleges amount to one hun- 
dred and nineteen, and the students to eleven thousand nine hun- 
dred and three. But even tins estimate includes several institutions 
which, though incorporated as colleges, are scarcely so far organized 
as to be entitled to the name. In some cases, too, the students in 
the preparatory departments are counted, as well as the under- 
graduates, properly so called, that is, the students in the four regular 
classes of seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, into which the 
students of our colleges are divided. 

It would be absurd to compare the colleges of America with the 
great universities of Europe. The course of studies is widely differ- 
ent. For while sufficiently comprehensive in almost all the colleges 
that deserve that name, it is not to be compared, in general, as re- 


spects depth and extent of investigation in particular branches, with 
that of the older universities of Europe. But, upon the whole, if 
one may be allowed to judge from experience, the education to be 
had at one of our colleges better capacitates a man for the work that 
is likely to await him in America, than would that which the univer- 
sities of Europe could give him. 

In almost all instances, the colleges in the United States have been 
founded by religious men. The common course in establishing them 
is as follows : A company is organized, a subscription list opened, and 
certain men of influence in the neighborhood consent to act as trus- 
tees. A charter is then asked from the Legislature of the State 
within which the projected institution is to be placed, and a grant in 
aid of the funds at the same time solicited. The charter is obtained, 
and with it a few thousand dollars, perhaps, by way of assistance. 
"What else is required for the purchase of a site, erecting buildings, 
providing a library, apparatus, etc., etc., must be made up by those 
interested in the project. Thus have vast sums been raised, particu- 
larly during the last twenty years, for founding colleges in all parts 
of the country, especially in the West. A great portion of these 
sums have been subscribed by persons in the neighborhood, and more 
directly interested in the success of the undertakings subscribed for; 
but in many cases, money to a large amount has been obtained from 
the churches along the Atlantic coast. 

More than one half of the one hundred and nineteen colleges in 
the United States have been opened within the last thirty or forty 
years. Many of these are, of course, in their infancy, and not very 
well organized. Without reckoning grants made by the States, 
it would be difficult to find one that has not cost its founders 
above $10,000, and many twice that sum. Several* have cost even 
$50,000, if not more, while, at the same time, several of the 
older colleges, such as Yale, New Jersey, Rutgers, Williams, Hamil- 
ton, etc., have raised large sums by voluntary effort among their 
respective friends, for the purpose of augmenting the advantages 
they offer to the students that attend them. Upon the whole, I con- 
sider that it were not too much to say that from three to four mil- 
lion dollars have been raised by voluntary subscriptions and dona- 
tions, for the erection and endowment of colleges, since the year 1816. 


* For instance, Pennsylvania College, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania ; Centre Col- 
lege, at Danville, Kentucky ; Illinois College, at Jacksonville, Illinois ; "Western 
Reserve College, Ohio ; to say nothing of some of the Roman Catholic colleges, which 
have not cost much less, from first to last, than $50,000 ; Amherst College, in Mas- 
sachusetts, has cost more than that sum, probably ; while the University of New 
York has cost three or four times that amount. 


I have said that the State gives some aid to many such enterprises. 
But, excepting the Universities of Virginia, Alabama, Michigan, and 
those of Ohio and Miami, both in the State of Ohio, and Jefferson 
College in Louisiana, I am not aware of any in the country that can 
be said to have been wholly endowed by the government of any State. 
The Universities of North Carolina and Georgia, and Columbia Col- 
lege in South Carolina, may possibly be so far aided by the States in 
which they are respectively situated, as to have something like an 
endowment, but the aid so rendered, I apprehend, is far from suffi- 
cient. So, also, Congress has aided from time to time " Columbian 
College," situated near Washington City, and within the District of 
Columbia,* but the aid so received has never been at all adequate to 
the purposes for which it was required. 

There are not above six or seven colleges or universities in the United 
States over which the civil or political governments can exercise any 
direct control. It is well that it should be so. A State Legislature, 
or Congress itself, would be found very unfit to direct the affairs of a 
college or university. Wherever, in fact, they have reserved such 
power to themselves in the charters they have granted, they have 
sooner or later nearly, if not altogether, ruined the institutions on 
which they have laid their unhallowed hands. A college or univer- 
sity is no place for party politics : and so well is this understood, that 
the Legislatures of the several States hesitate not to grant a college 
charter to a body of respectable citizens, and to appoint at once the 
persons recommended as trustees or directors, with power to fill up 
the vacancies that may occur ; after which, these office-bearers, having 
sworn to do nothing in that capacity contrary to the laws and Con- 
stitution of the country, are empowered to manage and govern the 
proposed college according to their own best judgment, and the reg- 
ulations they may lay down to that effect. While acting within the 
limits prescribed by the charter and their oath, that charter must re- 
main inviolate. So it has been determined by the Supreme Court of 
the United States. 

I have said that almost every college existing in the country may 
be traced to religious motives ; and how true this is, will appear from 
the fact, that of the one hundred and nineteen colleges now in opera- 
tion, eight are under the influence of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 
twenty-four under that of the Methodists, twenty-five under that of 
the Baptists, forty-five under that of the Presbyterians and Congre- 
gationalists ; two are Lutheran, twelve are Roman Catholic, one Uni- 

* This college comes properly within the sphere of the legislation of Congress, and 
is the only one that does so. All the others come under the jurisdiction of the sev- 
eral States within whose territories they stand. 



versalist, two Unitarian. In this calculation, I place each institution 
under the Church to which its president belongs. This rule is the 
best that I know, and although it does not hold in every case, the 
exceptions are few ; and, without any exception, it indicates the gen- 
eral faith by which the institution is influenced.* 

Thus we see that of these one hundred and nineteen universities 
and colleges, one hundred and four are under decided evangelical and 
orthodox influence. Their presidents, and, I may add, many of their 
professors, are known to be religious men, and sound in the faith ; all 
of the former, with three or four exceptions, are ministers of the Gos- 
pel, and many of them men of great eminence in the Church. I need 
not say how much cause for gratitude to God we have, that so many 
young men of the first families, and possessing fine talents, should be 
educated in colleges that are under the influence of evangelical prin- 
ciples. In many of them the Bible is studied by the students every 
Sabbath, under the guidance of their teachers. In all they receive a 
great deal of religious instruction, and are daily assembled for prayers. 
God has often visited some of them with the outpourings of His 
Spirit. Not that this religious instruction is intended to proselytize 
from one Protestant and evangelical church to another. In that re- 
spect, a Presbyterian father might with all safety commit his son to 
an Episcopalian, Methodist, or Lutheran college. Here I speak from 
facts that I myself have known. Several of the most distinguished 
dignitaries of the Episcopal Church were educated at Princeton Col- 
lege, New Jersey : a Presbyterian institution, and founded by Presby- 
terians. Some of them received their first religious convictions there, 
and yet, I believe, they can testify that no office-bearer of that college 
ever attempted to bring them over to the Presbyterian Church. Any 
advice given, on the contrary, would have been that they should join 
the church of then- parentage and birth.f 

As none of the universities but that of Harvard, situated in the 
town of Cambridge, not far from Boston, have all the four faculties 
of literature, law, medicine, and theology, with that exception they 
ought rather to be called colleges. The theology at Harvard is Uni- 
tarian. Several of the other universities have faculties of medicine 
attached to them. On the other hand, Yale College, at New Haven, 

* The reader will remember that the statements given above refer to the year 
1850. At present, the number of colleges and universities in the United States is 
not far from one hundred and thirty-five. The Roman Catholics claim to have twenty- 
four, many of which are little better than academies or grammar-schools. 

f The Rev. Dr. M'llvaine, the distinguished Bishop of Ohio, and the no less excel- 
lent Assistant Bishop of Virginia, the Rev. Dr. Johns, were both educated and con- 
verted at Princeton College. The late Bishop Hobart, of New York, was educated in 
that institution, and was for some time a tutor there. 


in Connecticut, ought rather to be called a university, for it has all the 
four faculties, and is attended by far more students than Harvard. 

I may add, that Harvard University was the first literary institution 
established in the United States. It was founded in 1638, eight years 
after Massachusetts Bay, and eighteen after Plymouth was first col- 
onized ; when there were not many more than five thousand settlers 
at the time in all New England. Hardly had the forest been cleared 
away for the streets of their settlements, when they began to project 
a college or university. And yet these were the Puritans now so 
much vilified and slandered ! Great were the efforts made by those 
exiles to attain their object. The General Court granted for the 
erection of a proper edifice a sum equal to a year's rate of the whole 
colony. John Harvard, who had come to the New World only to 
die, bequeathed to the college half his estate, and all his library. 
Plymouth and Connecticut often sent their little offerings, as 
did the eastern towns within the boundaries of the present State 
of Maine. The rent of a ferry was made over to it. All the 
families in the Puritan settlements once gave, each, a donation of at 
least twelve pence, or a peck of corn, while larger gifts were made 
by the magistrates and wealthier citizens. It was for a long time the 
only college in New England, and in its halls the great men of the 
country were educated. For a century and a half it was a precious 
fountain of living waters for the Church of God. But, alas! for the 
last half century, or nearly so, it has been in the hands of men who 
hold " another gospel" than that held by its pious founders.* 

The second college founded in the United States was that of 
William and Mary, at Williamsburg, in Virginia, in 1693. The third 
was Yale College, above mentioned, founded in 1700. The fourth was 
Princeton College, New Jersey, founded in 1746. The University of 
Pennsylvania dates from 1755; Columbia College, in New York, 
from 1754; Brown University, from 1764; Rutgers and Dartmouth 
Colleges, from 1770. These were all that were founded previously 
to the Revolution. 

* A voluminous and interesting history of this University, by its late president, 
Josiah Quincy, LL.D., has recently been published. 





One of the most efficient, as well as the simplest instruments of 
doing good, is the Sunday-school ; an institution, the history of which 
is too well known to require any detail in this work. Mr. Robert 
Raikes, of Gloucester, in England, toward the close of the last cen- 
tury, established the first that was ever conducted upon anything like 
the plan now generally pursued, and its excellence has been proved 
by long experience. 

The first attempt to introduce Sabbath-schools into the United 
States was made by the Methodists in 1790, but from some cause or 
other it failed. A society was soon after formed at Philadelphia, with 
the late Bishop White at its head, and a few schools were established 
for the benefit of the poor, taught by persons who received a certain 
compensation for their trouble. Early in the present century, schools 
began to be established in various places under voluntary and gra- 
tuitous teaching, and gradually becoming better known and appreci- 
ated, the number was found very considerable in 1816. Associations 
for promoting them more extensively began then to be formed in 
Philadelphia, New York, and other cities, and the publication of 
spelling and hymn books, scriptural catechisms, etc., for the children 
was commenced. Some persons also did much to advance this good 
work by their individual efforts.* 

Measures were taken in 1823 for the forming of a national society 
which should extend the benefit of Sunday-schools to all parts of the 
country ; and, accordingly, the American Sunday-school Union was 
instituted : an association composed of excellent men of all evangeli- 
cal denominations, but in which no particular denomination is repre- 
sented as such. It has now been diffusing its blessings for more than 
thirty-one years. The board of managers is composed of intelligent 
and zealous laymen of the various evangelical denominations, the 
greater part residing in Philadelphia and its vicinity, as that is the 
centre of the society's operations. 

Its grand object is twofold: to promote the establishment of Sun- 
day-schools where required, and to prepare and publish suitable 
books, some to be employed as manuals in the schools, and others for 

* Among -whom may be mentioned the late Divie Bethune, Esq., who published at 
his own expense a number of little books for the instruction of youth in Sunday- 


libraries, intended to furnish the children with suitable reading at 
home. In both departments much good has been done. In the 
former, Sunday-school missionaries, commonly ministers of the Gos- 
pel, and sometimes capable laymen, have been employed in visiting 
almost all parts of the country. They hold public meetings in every 
district or neighborhood where they have any prospect of success, 
and endeavor to interest the people in the subject, and to establish a 
school. Time and care are required for such a work. The nature 
of a Sunday-school must be well explained ; fit persons must be en- 
gaged as teachers ; these must have their duties pointed out to them, 
and the motives that ought to prompt them to undertake the office 
presented and enforced ; and money must be collected for the pur- 
chase of books. 

In 1830, the society resolved to establish a Sunday-school in every 
neighborhood that was without one, throughout the Western States 
or Valley of the Mississippi, wherever practicable. Three years 
after it adopted a like resolution with respect to the Southern 
States. Both, but particularly the former of these resolutions, called 
forth much effort. Large sums were collected, and a great many 
schools were established. Every year, since its commencement, the 
society has employed a number of agents and missionaries ; in some 
years as many as thirty, forty, and even sixty or seventy* These 
traverse the country throughout its vast extent, resuscitate decaying 
schools, establish new ones, and encourage all. 

In its other department the society has rendered great service to 
the cause of religion, and, I may add, to that of literature also. Ex- 
clusive of the Scriptures, spelling-books, primers, catechisms, maps, 
cards for infant-schools, etc., it has published eight hundred and 
thirteen volumes of books for libraries, a complete set of which, well 
bound, costs $145. It has published, likewise, selections from these 
as libraries for families and common schools. Among its publications 
may be mentioned its admirable manuals or aids for studying the 
Bible : namely, a Geography of the Bible, Natural History of the 
Bible, Dictionary of the Bible, Antiquities of the Bible, Scriptural 
Biographies, Maps of the Holy Land, and Books of Questions; in 
several volumes, on almost all parts of the Bible, for the use of chil- 
dren and teachers. While all these publications are thoroughly Pro- 
testant in their character, they contain nothing repugnant to the 
doctrines of any of the evangelical denominations, so that there is 

* Including the students of the theological seminaries and colleges whom it often 
employs, the number of the society's missionaries frequently far exceeds the highest 
figure above given. Last year (1855), it was three hundred and twenty-four, of whom 
two hundred and fifty-six were students. 


nothing to forbid their being used in the Sunday-schools of any of the 
Protestant churches. This is a great advantage, and enables the so- 
ciety to establish hundreds of schools in places where various reli- 
gious bodies intermingle, and where none of them is strong enough 
to support a school by itself. The society publishes also a very valu- 
able journal, which appears once in a fortnight. It is replete with 
interesting and instructive matter, and adapted alike to scholars, 
teachers, and parents. It also publishes small monthly magazines and 
gazettes for children.* 

But besides this great society, which stands ready to promote the 
cause any where, and on the most catholic principles, there are other 
Sunday-school societies, not less efficient in their respective spheres. 
The Episcopalians have theirs, the Baptists theirs, the Episcopal 
Methodists theirs, the Lutherans theirs, and so forth. The Presby- 
terians, strictly speaking, have no Sunday-school society of their own, 
but by their Publication Board they publish books for Sunday-school 
libraries. Indeed, all the denominational Sunday-school societies pub- 
lish books for their own schools, and in these they set forth and de- 
fend the peculiar views they hold respectively, on points of doctrine 
or discipline, to such an extent as they deem proper. This is not 
unnatural, for each school is mainly attended by the children of pa- 
rents attached to churches of the same denomination with that of the 
society that supports the school. Not that all the publications of a 
denominational Sunday-school society are of what may be termed a 
sectarian character. This is by no means the case, and, besides, these 
more limited societies buy from the American Sunday-school Union 
whatever books upon its list they may think proper to add to their 

It is impossible to calculate the extent to which the Sunday-school 
libraries, composed as they are of most interesting books on almost 
all subjects of a moral and religious character, are fostering a taste 
for reading among the rising youth, and the adult population, also, 
of the country. The scholars receive from them one or two volumes 
each, according to the size, every Sabbath, to read in the course of 
the week, and return on the Sabbath following, and these volumes 
thus pass into the hands of older brothers and sisters, parents, and 
other members of the household. The proceeds of the sales of books 
by the American Sunday-school Union amounted last year (1855) to 
$184,227. If we add to this the value of those sold by the denomi- 
national Sunday-school societies, we shall find it rise to at least 
8350,000. And if we further add the cost of Sunday-school books 

* The receipts of the society in 1855, from donations and sales, were $241,664, 
and its expenditure $251,699. 


purchased from the booksellers, we shall have a total far exceeding 
the last amount, as the value of books bought in one year for the use 
of Sunday-schools, and mainly for the libraries attached to them. 

Besides the series of eight hundred and thirteen volumes published 
by the American Sunday-school Union, a far greater number have 
been published by the denominational societies.* Neither pains nor 
money have been spared in the preparation, improvement, and pub- 
lication of these volumes, and in this respect, I am inclined to think 
that the American Sunday-school Union has outstripped every similar 
institution in other countries. Much, notwithstanding, remains to be 
done in order to render these Sunday-school books all that they ought 
to be. It is no easy task to write books for children well. Much talent 
has been bestowed upon this work of late years in the United States, 
and such has been the demand for children's books, created by the 
Sunday-schools, that the booksellers have found it for their advantage 
to publish such books for those schools. Many of these are good, but 
many, too, are worthless enough, as may readily be supposed where 
there is no intelligent committee rigorously to examine them previous 
to publication, and to determine what should go forth to the public 
and what should not. 

Sunday-schools are held in various places : sometimes in churches, 
or in the lecture-rooms attached to many of our large churches, or in 
rooms fitted up expressly for the purpose in the basement story of 
many of them ; sometimes in the school-houses, which are very nume- 
rous ; and, especially in the new settlements, in private houses. In 
summer they sometimes meet in barns; and I once superintended 
a Sunday-school which met for many months in a large kitchen at- 
tached to a farm-house in the State of New Jersey. 

The hours of meeting are very various. In the cities and large 
towns they commonly meet twice in the day ; at eight or nine o'clock 
in the morning, according to the season, and at two o'clock in the 
afternoon, for about an hour and a half each time. In the villages 
and country churches they usually meet for two hours, once a day, 
immediately before, or immediately after, the public services. In 
some cases I have known a pastor, with a parish extending many 
miles in all directions from the church, meet, during an hour before 
his public service, with nearly all the adult part of his flock in a Bible- 
class, and go over with them the portion of Scripture given out to 

* The series published by the Methodist "Book Concern" nearly equals that of the 
American Sunday-school Union ; the American Baptist Publication and Sunday-school 
Society has issued a large number ; so has the Massachusetts Sunday-school Society ; 
while the publications of the Protestant Episcopal, the Protestant Methodist, the Lu- 
theran, the Free-Will Baptist, and several local societies, are considerable. 


his Sunday-schools for that day ; and then, instead of having service 
in the afternoon, he would in the latter part of the day visit one or 
other, in their order, of the ten or twelve schools held by his people 
in as many different neighborhoods. On these occasions he would 
address, not only the children and teachers, but also the parents and 
others who crowded to hear him. And how could a pastor instruct 
his people more effectually ?* 

A word or two may not be amiss on the manner of conducting our 
Sunday-schools. Each is under a superintendent — a gentleman where 
there are scholars of both sexes, but usually a lady where there are 
only girls. The scholars are divided into classes, according to their 
age and capacity. All the reading classes learn the same part of 
Scripture, going through a certain book in order. Suppose, for in- 
stance, the fifteenth chapter of Luke, from the eleventh verse to the 
end. It is the parable of the prodigal son. As soon as the school is 
opened the scholars take their places. The service begins with prayer 
by the superintendent or some other person. Each class — composed 
usually of six or eight persons — has its teacher, to whom the scholars 
repeat the lesson in the Scriptures for the day. When that is done 
the teacher takes the book of Bible Questions (a copy of which each 
scholar should have), and asks the questions in it relating to the pas- 
sage which the class, in common with the others, have learned. The 
answers to these questions the pupils must find out through their own 
efforts, or with help from their parents, during the week. The 
teacher asks, also, such other questions as he may think useful, and 
calculated to lead to a more perfect understanding of the subject. 
An hour, perhaps, is spent in this exercise. After that the scholars 
return the books which they had received from the librarian on the 
preceding Sabbath, and obtain others. Then the superintendent, or 
pastor, if he be present, addresses a few words to the whole school 
on the passage which they have learned, and endeavors to impress 
upon their minds the importance of the truths which it teaches. A 
hymn is sung, and a prayer offered up, and the school closes. 

If there be any children that can not read, they are arrranged in 
classes by themselves, and taught that important acquirement. In 
many of the schools there is a considerable number of such ; and 
sometimes persons beyond the years of childhood, who have had no 
opportunities of learning to read before, make the attainment in the 
course of a few months at a Sunday-school. 

In all the free States, and in such of the slaveholding ones as per- 
mit the slaves to be publicly taught, there are Sunday-schools for the 

* In some of the large cities Sunday-schools are held at night, especially for the 
benefit of the colored people. 


colored people.* In these schools thousands and tens of thousands 
of them have learned to read the sacred Scriptures, and have made 
much progress hi Divine knowledge. 

The superintendents of the Sunday-schools are sometimes elders 
and deacons of the churches ; sometimes they are pious lawyers, and 
other intelligent gentlemen ; and in the vicinity of our colleges and 
theological seminaries they are often students of religious character, 
who may be prosecuting their studies with a view to the ministry. 
The teachers are, for the most part, young people of both sexes be- 
longing to the churches and congregations. Wherever truly pious 
persons can be found willing to be thus employed, they are preferred ; 
but where this is not the case, seriously-disposed and moral persons, 
who desire to be engaged in this benevolent work, are taken, and al- 
most invariably it happens that, in teaching others, they themselves 
become instructed out of the " law of God." It is to be regretted 
that most of the ladies, after they become wives and mothers, have 
too many domestic cares and duties to allow them to continue as 
teachers in the Sabbath-school. Some, however, there are who per- 
severe in this blessed employment, their zeal triumphing over every 

As to gentlemen, many more of them may continue in the work 
after they have become heads of families. Hence we often find men 
of age and experience among Sunday-school teachers, encouraging 
and aiding them in their toils. And it is not uncommon to find some 
of those who hold the very highest offices in the State or General 
Government, spending a portion of their Sabbaths in giving instruc- 
tion to a class of young persons hi a Sunday-school. I have known 
several governors and their wives, members of Congress, and of the 
Legislatures of the States, judges, eminent lawyers, mayors of cities, 
etc., who were, and who are at the present time^ Sabbath-school 
teachers, and who have felt it no degradation to be thus employed. 
The present distinguished President of Rutgers College, in !New 
Jersey, was the superintendent of a Sunday-school, even when he 
held the office of attorney-general of his native State, and afterward, 
when he was a senator in the Congress of the United States ; he is a 
Sabbath-school teacher still, and delights to associate himself with the 
youngest teachers engaged in that heavenly employment. 

* There are Sunday-schools held by some pious slaveholders in Georgia, South 
Carolina, and perhaps some other States, in which portions of Scripture are often re- 
peated to the assembled slaves, and remarked upon until they have committed much 
of them to memory. Prayer and singing are added to these exercises. Such schools 
no laws can well hinder, any more than they can the preaching of the Gospel to the 
slaves. These schools have only been commenced within a few years, and are 
spreading in several places. 


The Hon. Benjamin F. Butler was a Sabbath-school teacher, even 
while holding the prominent office of attorney-general of the 
United States. The late Chief Justice Marshall, and the late Judge 
"Washington, both of the Supreme Court of the United States, and 
the former of whom, it is admitted, was the most distinguished jurist 
the country has ever produced, were warm friends and patrons of 
Sunday-schools. Both were, in their day, vice-presidents of the 
American Sunday-school Union. Within five years of his death, I 
saw Chief Justice Marshall walk through the city of Richmond, in 
Virginia, where he resided, at the head of the Sunday-schools on the 
occasion of a celebration. And, finally, the late President Harrison, 
who in his youth had been a rough and far-from-religious soldier, but 
toward the close of his life became interested in the things that con- 
cerned his everlasting peace, taught for several years a class of young 
persons in an humble Sunday-school on the banks of the Ohio ; and 
the Sabbath before he left his home for Washington, there to become 
his country's Chief Magistrate — and, alas ! within a month thereafter 
to die — he met, as usual, his Bible-class. 

I have dwelt the longer on this subject because of its great im- 
portance. A Sabbath-school is so simple an enterprise that it may be 
begun wherever two or three persons are found disposed to under- 
take it. I have known even a single individual keep one himself, and 
spend several hours every Sabbath in instructing some dozen or 
twenty poor youth, who came around him to learn to read and un- 
derstand the Word of God. I have known a lady who, as her health 
did not permit her to go to a Sunday-school, received a class of young 
ladies in her parlor every Sabbath for years. Why, then, should not 
Sabbath-schools be established in every city, town, hamlet, and neigh- 
borhood, where there are only two or three persons with hearts to 
love the kingdom of God, and hands to promote it ? Were such a 
spirit to prevail in all lands professedly Christian, how soon would 
they show a very different aspect from the present ? 

It is impossible to state with accuracy the present number of Sun- 
day-schools in the United States. They were reckoned, in 1835, at 
sixteen thousand ; the teachers at one hundred and thirty or one 
hundred and forty thousand ; and the scholars, comprising, it 
was supposed, one hundred thousand adults, at one million ! These 
numbers must be far greater now. It is probable that there are two 
million or two million five hundred thousand pupils in the Sunday- 
schools in the United States at present. Who can estimate the 
amount of good resulting from two millions of minds being brought 
into contact every Sabbath with the Word of Him who hath said 
that it " shall not return unto Him void ?" Thousands and tens 


of thousands, both teachers and scholars, are known to have be- 
come enlightened and saved, by means of the lessons given and 
received at Sunday-schools. But a whole volume would not suffice 
to unfold all the benefits conferred by this blessed institution, to 
which may be emphatically applied the words of the celebrated Adam 
Smith, in speaking of popular education in general, that it is " the 
cheap defence of nations." 



Akin to Sunday-schools are Bible-classes. Indeed, the former, 
conducted as at present in America, are little more than an assem- 
blage of the latter. 

What are commonly called Bible-classes are composed of a com- 
paratively large number of persons, all taught by the pastor of the 
church, or some other individual whom he engages to act for him. 
To preside over a Bible-class of twenty to some hundreds of per- 
sons, the greater number, if not all, of whom are adults, and some 
of them, perhaps, remarkably intelligent and well-informed, requires 
far higher qualifications than simply to teach a small class in a Sun- 

These Bible-classes are generally conducted by the pastors, and so 
highly are they valued as a means and occasion of good, that few 
settled ministers have not one or more among their flocks. In some 
cases, one for each sex is held once in the week — that for gentlemen 
in the evening, that for ladies during the day. They meet, according 
to circumstances, in the church, lecture-room, vestry-room, school- 
room, or in some private house. The pastor sometimes devotes his 
Sabbath nights to a Biblical service, for the benefit of all who can 
attend ; a practice feasible only where the population is compact, and 
the flock within an easy distance of the place of meeting. In country 
churches, these classes often hold their meetings in church before the 
regular service commences, or in the interval between the morning 
and afternoon services. This is convenient, but is apt to produce 

I have known pastors in country churches who had no fewer than 
five hundred persons in one Bible-class, if I can call it so, which met 
in the afternoon instead of the regular service ; and others, whose 
Bible-classes included the whole adult part of their flocks, and met 


previous to the forenoon service, or in the interval between that and 
the afternoon service. 

In conducting these classes, the common method is to go through 
some particular book of the sacred volume in course, and some sys- 
tem of Bible questions is generally pursued. Upon this plan, all who 
have time and inclination for the task, prepare themselves, by reading 
and study, for answering the questions to be found in the book of 
questions that is used.* But it is not the practice of any well- 
informed pastor to confine himself to the questions contained in the 
book. These he employs as he sees fit ; by the questions he puts he 
assists in sustaining the attention of the people ; and he takes occa- 
sion to give a great amount of scriptural instruction. 

To conduct a Bible-class in a manner at once interesting and profit- 
able requires no little preparation ; and, when well done, few methods 
of instruction are more edifying, either to the people or to the minis- 
ter himself. The Divine blessing has rested most remarkably upon 
it. ISTor could we expect that it should be otherwise. What more 
likely to secure the Divine benediction than to bring the mind to the 
study of that which God himself hath spoken ? " The entrance of 
Thy words giveth light ; it giveth understanding to the simple." 
" Sanctify them by Thy truth ; Thy word is truth." 



I must not omit, among the means which there is reason to believe 
that God has greatly blessed to the, advancing of His kingdom in the 
United States, the Maternal Societies — institutions that have not 
been of very many years' standing among us, but which have existed 
long enough to produce much good. 

These societies are composed of pious mothers, who meet in par- 
ties, not inconveniently numerous, once in the week, fortnight, or 
month, for the purpose of conversing on the subject of bringing up 
their children for the Lord, listening to the reading of valuable re- 
marks and hints on the best means of discharging this great duty, 

* Several excellent clergymen of the United States have written systems of Bible 
Question, among whom may be mentioned the Rev. Drs. M'Dowell, Tyng, Barnes, 
Jacobus, Professor Holdich, and the Rev. Messrs. Covel, J. Lonking, and Newcomb. 
The Bible Questions published by the American Sunday-school Union are good, as 
are, also, several of these printed by the denominational Sunday-school societies. 


and mingling their prayers before the throne of grace in behalf of 
themselves and their beloved offspring. These little meetings prove 
very precious seasons to many an anxious, perplexed, and disheartened 
mother, by communicating grace, and strength, and support, and 
light, for enabling her to fulfill her fearfully responsible part. God 
has greatly blessed them. For the benefit of mothers, some excellent 
periodicals have been published in the United States during several 
years past. Among these let me mention " The Mother's Magazine," 
issued in New York, and re-published in London. It appears once a 
month, is neatly printed, and costs only a dollar a year. It has a very 
extensive circulation, and furnishes much admirable matter for read- 
ing at the Maternal Societies' meetings, as well as in the family circle. 
Another valuable periodical is published at Utica, in the central part 
of the State of ISTew York, and is read in several thousands of fam- 
ilies. It is conducted by a talented lady of the Baptist Church. A 
similar journal has been commenced at Boston ; while all our religious 
newspapers contain many articles on the same subject. . 

On the other hand, several publications have for a time appeared 
for the benefit of fathers and of entire families. One such was pub- 
lished in the city of New York, and was entitled " The Christian 
Family Magazine, or Parents' and Children's Journal." It is said to 
have had an extensive circulation. Other journals of like character, 
and having the same object, have been published in other parts of the 
country. Moreover, almost all the religious newspapers, now very 
numerous, and some one or more of which are read in almost every 
Christian family, contain much that bears upon the religious educa- 
tion of children, and the whole economy of a Christian household. 

The subject is one of vast moment. The world has never yet seen 
the full results of the Christian education of children. Parents have 
much to learn in this respect, and need all the helps and appliances 
possible to enable them rightly to discharge their important duties. 
Were all fathers and mothers in a nation such as they ought to be, 
how mighty would be the influence of the Gospel upon it ! Were 
the fathers and mothers in the Church of Christ such as they ought 
to be, how different would it soon become from what we see it now ! 
A praying, devoted, holy mother ! What an interesting being ! Such 
was the mother of Samuel, of Timothy, and of thousands besides, who 
have been eminently useful in the world. 

I have known Christian fathers who met once a week for years to 
pray together for their children, and their meetings have been emi- 
nently useful and happy. I have seen another kind of meeting which 
I wish were more common — a quarterly prayer-meeting specially for 
parents and children. It was affecting to see parents, the unconverted 


as well as the converted, bringing with them their children, dear to 
them as life itself, into the sanctuary on such occasions, that they 
might share in the earnestly-sought blessing. 



One of the most interesting developments of the voluntary prin- 
ciple in promoting religion in the United States, is seen in the Educa- 
tion Societies : institutions of comparatively recent date, and having 
for their object the granting of assistance to pious youths of promis- 
ing talents, but small means, in preparing for the ministry. 

One of the first of these was the American Education Society, 
formed at Boston in 1816. Hence it has been in existence for 
forty years, and rarely has any society been the instrument of more 

In all denominations of evangelical Christians in the United States, 
there are to be found among those classes of society whose means are 
too limited to give their sons a college education, young men of 
talent, to whom God has been pleased to impart the knowledge of 
His grace, and in whose hearts he implants a strong desire to preach 
the Gospel. Now, before the Education Societies appeared upon the 
field, such youths used to find it very difficult, and sometimes even 
impossible, to obtain such an education as was required by the rules 
of the church in whose ministry they wished to place themselves. 
Some, indeed, might succeed by their own exertions ; by dint of in- 
dustry and economy they might lay up enough to enable them to 
commence a course of study at college. By interrupting their college 
studies occasionally, in order to recruit their finances by teaching a 
school, they might, after long delays, be able to complete the requisite 
course at last ; and then, by similar efforts, carry themselves through 
the required theological course at a seminary. Others, more fortunate, 
might be so far assisted by a church or some wealthy and benevolent 

* This Society published from the year 1827 to 1843 a valuable periodical, entitled 
" The American Quarterly Register." It was originated by the late Rev. Dr. Cor- 
nelius and the late Rev. B. B. Edwards, the Secretaries of the Society at the first- 
named epoch, and continued by the latter gentleman to 1843, aided for several years 
by the Rev. Dr. Cogswell, successor of Dr. Cornelius ; and afterward by the Rev. 
Mr. Riddel, who took the place of Dr. Cogswell. 


patron or friend.* But the greater number, in despair of success, 
were likely to renounce all expectation of being able to preach the 
Gospel, and to resign themselves to the necessity of spending their 
lives in the ordinary pursuits of business, not in making known the 
" unsearchable riches" of Christ to their fellow-men. 

These remarks, it will be perceived, apply to such youths as con- 
scientiously cleave to those churches which require a college educa- 
tion, as preliminary to a theological one, in all aspirants to the sacred 
ministry. This is the rule, except in very extraordinary cases, with 
the whole of the Presbyterian churches, excepting the " Cumberland 
Presbyterians ;" with the Episcopalians, and with the Congregational- 
ists. The Baptists and the Methodists, as we have seen, are less 
strict, and are satisfied with a common English education, and a com- 
petent knowledge of theology. But even among these, great and 
laudable efforts are now put forth in order to give a higher education 
to as many of their candidates for the ministry as possible ; and it is 
on this account, as well as for more general objects, that they have 
established so many colleges within the last few years. God is grant- 
ing His rich blessing to their efforts in this great cause ; of this every 
year furnishes cheering evidence. 

To meet the demands of the churches for a vastly-augmented num- 
ber of ministers of the Gospel, and to help those young men who 
desire to respond to this demand, the American Education Society was 
formed on the broad basis of rendering its aid to all pious young men, 
of suitable talents, who appear to be called to preach Christ, and who 
belong to any of the evangelical denominations. The only conditions 
imposed upon the recipients of its bounty are an engagement, 1. To 
go through a full course of collegiate and theological education in 
some approved college or seminary ; and 2. To refund the sums ad- 
vanced to aid them, should the providence of God, in after life, give 
them the means of doing so. 

Such are, in few words, its principles. A rigid supervision is main- 
tained over those who accept its patronage. And setting out in its 
admirable career with a few young men, it has gone on, under the 

* Several of the colleges possess funds bequeathed to them for the express purpose 
of educating poor and pious young men for the ministry. The Rev. Dr. Green, in 
his historical notices of the College of New Jersey, relates that, nearly three quarters 
of a century since, a pious young man of the name of Leslie was educated at that 
institution for the ministry of the Gospel ; but, fearing to assume the responsibility 
of that office, he devoted himself to teaching a school of a high order, in which em- 
ployment he was eminently successful. At his death he bequeathed to the College 
the sum of $15,000, the interest of which was to be devoted to the education of 
poor young men for the ministry. This fund has already educated a large number 
of excellent ministers. 


favor of God, diffusing its blessings far and wide. It has rendered 
aid to young men belonging to eight different Evangelical Churches. 
At one period, some twenty years ago, the number of persons whom 
it was aiding exceeded eleven hundred ! During the year ending 
May 1st, 1855, the number aided was six hundred and ten. These 
were pursuing their education at institutions in different parts of the 
country ; some in academies and grammar-schools, some in colleges, 
and the rest in theological schools. And the whole number of those 
who had been aided, up to that time, was three thousand four hun- 
dred and eighty-two. The receipts for that year were $33,789, and 
the expenditures $29,290. The amount refunded that year by bene- 
ficiaries who had completed their course of education was $2,157. 
The earnings of the young men under the patronage of the society, 
chiefly from teaching schools during their vacations, have some years 
amounted to no less a sum than $20,000.* 

The sums granted by this society to those who are admitted to its 
benefits vary from $48 to $75 a year, the latter sum being rarely ex- 
ceeded. Its funds have been liberally augmented by bequests from 
devoted Christian friends who loved it during life, and remembered 
it in death. Its first president gave it $1,000 during his life-time, and 
left it a legacy of $5,000. Mr. Burr, whom we have already had oc- 
casion to speak of, also left it a handsome legacy. The late Dr. Porter, 
for many years a distinguished professor in the Theological Seminary 
at Andover, though far from being a man of much wealth, bequeathed 
to it $15,000. Many of its friends have given proof of large and en- 
lightened views by the patronage they have given it. It has assisted 
a great number of most valuable ministers of the Gospel in the course 
of their education, and to these we have to add no fewer than one hun- 
dred of the missionaries who have been supported in foreign lands by 
the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, one of the 
largest and oldest foreign missionary societies in the United States. 

Of late years, however, the number of young men assisted by this 
society has greatly diminished : partly owing to the very difficult 
times through which the country has passed ; partly because of higher 
requirements in the department of preliminary studies ; and partly from 
the fact that most of the evangelical communions have now education 
societies of their own. Thus the " Old School" Presbyterians have a 
Board of Education under the direction of their General Assembly, 
which prosecutes its work most wisely and efficiently. It had three 
hundred and sixty-four beneficiaries during the year ending 1st May, 
1855. Its receipts for that year amounted to $46, 201. f 

* This society has permanent funds to the amount of $73,000. 

f The American churches have long been impressed with the importance of having 


A number of devoted clergymen and laymen of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church, having met at Georgetown, in the District of Co- 
lumbia, for the purpose of laying the foundation-stone of an Episcopal 
church, were providentially led to talk of the importance of a 
plan for aiding pious but indigent youths, of suitable talents, in pre- 
paring for the ministry. The result was the formation, in 1818, of 
the Protestant Episcopal Education Society. It has proved a great 
blessing to the Church and to the world. It may be said to have 
originated the Episcopal Theological School near Alexandria, in the 
District of Columbia ; and nearly a tenth part of the clergy of the 
church to which it belongs have been more or less assisted by it. A 
sixth part of the present clergy in Ohio, an eighth of those in Penn- 
sylvania, a fifth of those in Maryland, and a large proportion of those 
in Virginia, have been aided from its funds ; and it is now assisting a 
seventh of all the students in the several theological schools of that 
Church in the United States.* I do not know the precise number 
of its present beneficiaries, but believe it exceeds one hundred. 

There are also several Education Societies among the Baptists, 
which have aided a large number of young men.f That of the Re- 
formed Dutch Church supported fifty last year. A Methodist Edu- 
cation Society has also been formed at Boston. 

These statements will give the reader some idea of our Education 
Societies. Though of recent origin, they are exercising an immense 
influence in training up a more thoroughly-educated ministry. In 
the absence of precise information, the young men now receiving as- 
sistance from them may be moderately estimated at two thousand in 
all, and of these at least three hundred and fifty annually finish their 
studies, and enter on the work of preaching the Gospel. 

a competent and sufficiently numerous ministry. The friends of the American Edu- 
cation Society observe the last Thursday of February yearly as a day of special prayer 
for colleges, academies, and other institutions of learning, that God may be pleased to 
pour out His Spirit upon them, bring many of the students to a saving knowledge 
of His Gospel, and incline their hearts to preach it. The General Assembly of the 
" Old School" Presbyterian Church recommended last year, to all the churches under 
their care, to observe the same day as a day of special prayer to the Lord of the har- 
vest, " that He would send more laborers into His harvest." They recommended the 
subject also to the daily intercessions of Christians, in view of the vast demand for 
ministers of the Gospel. 

* Dr. Hawks's "History of the Episcopal Church in Virginia," p. 261. 

f In particular, "The Northern Baptist Education Society," and "The Baptist 
Education Society of New York." The former of these was instituted in 1814, and 
has the seat of its operations in Boston. It was mainly owing to its efforts that the 
Baptist Theological Seminary at Newton was founded in 1827. The latter society 
was founded in 1817, and has maintained many students at the Hamilton Literary 
and Theological Institution, founded in 1820. 





I have spoken of the various Literary Institutions, in their several 
gradations, through which our youth may pass in preparing for the 
professional course with which they usually close their studies. I 
have noticed also the Education Societies for assisting poor but pious 
young men, of suitable capacity, in their preparations for the minis- 
try. And I now come to speak of the theological schools, in which a 
very large number of our candidates for the ministry complete their 
studies for the sacred office. 

Formerly the young men who sought to enter the ministry among 
the denominations which require, in those who occupy their pulpits, 
a collegiate and theological education, were compelled to study theol- 
ogy, more or less immediately under some individual pastor, and it 
was common for six or eight of them to place themselves under this, 
or that other, distinguished divine. They often resided in the house 
of their spiritual teacher ; sometimes they boarded in families near 
his house ; they availed themselves of his library, and were directed 
by him in their studies. 

But this was obviously a very imperfect method. Few pastors 
could afford time to do their pupils justice ; fewer still possessed such 
a range of learning as to fit them for conducting others to the acqui- 
sitions, in various branches of knowledge, required in order to a com- 
petent preparation for the ministry. 

To the late Rev. Dr. John M. Mason, of New York, one of the 
most e min ent divines that America has ever produced, we owe the 
first attempt to establish any thing that could be called a theological 
school. He collected in Europe an extensive and valuable* theolog- 
ical library, and commenced a course of instruction in various 
branches of theological study about the beginning of the present cen- 
tury. For years he carried it on almost single-handed, and many 
young men heard at his feet the masterly instructions that he was so 
capable of giving them. 

The theological seminary at Andover was founded in 1808, and 
being the first, on a complete plan, founded in the United States, 
and one of the most celebrated, I shall notice it more amply than the 

The college buildings are beautifully situated on elevated ground 
near the village of Andover, about twenty miles to the north of 


Boston. They consist of two large edifices for the residence of the 
students, and a central building, in which are the chapel, the library, 
lecture-rooms, etc. At a due distance behind these stand the refec- 
tory and steward's house. The grounds in front are tastefully laid 
out, and their walks and avenues adorned with various sorts of 
forest trees. Facing the seminary buildings, and forming one side of 
a street which borders the grounds in front, stands a row of houses 
where most of the professors reside. The grounds are very ample, 
the situation salubrious, and the buildings remarkably convenient. 

This seminary forms a branch, as we have elsewhere stated, of 
Phillips' Academy, which stands in the immediate vicinity, though 
the two institutions are no further connected than by being both 
under the same board of trustees. 

The history of the Andover Seminary may be given in a few 
words. It originated in a growing conviction of the need for a 
higher standard of qualification in the clergy, and in the obvious ne- 
cessity of having something to take the place of the University of 
Harvard, on its defection from the faith. Further, the good provi- 
dence of God was manifested in the undertaking, by His giving both 
the necessary means and the heart to four or five enterprising mer- 
chants to lay the foundation. 

One of these was the aged Samuel Abbot, of Andover, who had 
already executed a will bequeathing funds to a large amount for the 
support of professors and indigent students of theology in Harvard 
University. But having lived to witness the new movements there, 
and to be convinced of the danger of trusting a legacy to an institu- 
tion which, in his view, had perverted the funds left by Mr. Hollis* 
for the support of an orthodox professorship of divinity, he was led 
to unite with Mrs. Phillips, widow of the late Hon. Samuel Phillips, 
one of the founders of Phillips' Academy, and her son, in a plan for 
connecting with that academy the erection of buildings, and the ap- 
propriation of certain funds for the support of a theological professor, 
and of indigent students of theology. 

Meanwhile, a similar plan for another seminary was formed by the 
late Rev. Samuel Spring, D.D., of Newburyport, and the Rev. 
Leonard Woods, D.D., of West Newbury, afterward and for many 
years a professor in the Seminary at Andover, and funds were 
pledged for its endowment by Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Brown, two 
parishioners of Dr. Spring, and by Mr. Norris, of Salem — all at the 

* Thomas Hollis, Esq., a highly-esteemed Christian merchant, was bora in En- 
gland in 1659, and died in 1731. He founded the professorships of theology and 
mathematics in Harvard University, and presented to it a philosophical apparatus 
and many books. 


solicitation of Dr. Spring, who was the author of this scheme. Dr. 
Woods, in whose parish the institution was to be placed, was to he 
professor, and a colleague was to be appointed to assist him in his 
pastoral duties. 

Thus far had the parties proceeded, not only without concert, but, 
although living within the compass of twenty miles, and several of 
them having friendly intercourse with each other, without being 
cognizant of one another's plans. This seems to indicate the inter- 
vention of a kind omniscient Providence, and may have been a link 
in the chain of causes which cordially united, in the end, the two 
parties into which the orthodox Congregationalists of New England 
were then divided, and to the adoption of a better creed for the sem- 
inary than it might otherwise have had. 

These parties were, on the one hand, the so-called moderate Cal- 
vinists, moderate both in action and speculation, and, on the other 
hand, the Hopkinsian, the keen-sighted, active, fervid, pungent, and 
perhaps rather ultra men of their time. Now, to have continued 
and widened the separation of these parties by means of contigu- 
ous and rival seminaries, would have been no less disastrous than 
their union was desirable, both for the nearer approximation of both 
to exact truth, and for its common defence against the advance of 
Unitarianism ; and nothing could well have been imagined more likely 
to produce prompt and effectual union, than their being led to co- 
operate in establishing a common seminary. But it seems very 
doubtful how far they would ever have thus combined their efforts, 
had not certain members of each been led, in the providence of God, 
by ways that they knew not, and for a high end which they never 
contemplated, each to advance thus far in their projects. The evil 
sure to result from the forming of two such seminaries was obvious ; 
the benefits to be derived from their being united in one were appre- 
ciated, at least to a certain extent ; yet this union of the two institu- 
tions, and the adjustment of principles common to both, cost nearly 
two years of anxious and incessant labor, during which the negotia- 
tions were more than once well-nigh broken off, and at one time quite 
abandoned. " No one," says the Rev. Dr. Woods, " who did not 
himself act a leading part in these interesting transactions, can ever 
have an adequate conception of the unnumbered difficulties which 
the principal agents had to encounter, or of the amount of solicitude, 
and of effort, which fell to their lot, or of the variety of dangers to 
which the great object was from time to time exposed."* 

The greatest difficulty in the way of the union was the adjustment 

* Manuscript History of the Theological Seminary at Andover, from which much 
of the information here given was derived. 


of a common creed, to be subscribed by the professors of the semi- 
nary. The founders of Phillips's Academy had already adopted the 
Westminster Assembly's Shorter Catechism. To this Dr. Spring, 
with the advice and support of his friend, the Rev. Dr. Emmons, 
strenuously objected, because some parts of it were widely understood 
to imply what he did not believe, and, partly, because he thought 
that more definite and extended statements on several points of doc- 
trine, were desirable. He and his friends, also, wished for additional 
barriers against heresy, and particularly for a Board of Visitors, pro- 
fessing the same creed, and with ample powers for the correction of 
errors. These difficulties were adjusted at last by the institution of 
such a board, and by the adoption of a new creed, drawn up by a 
committee from both parties, and couched very much in the language 
of the catechism, but with some omissions and some additions. And 
this creed is to be solemnly repeated and subscribed in the presence 
of the trustees of the academy, by every professor and every visitor, 
on his induction into office ; and the same is to be repeated, in like 
manner, by each of them, once every five years, during his continu- 
ance in office. 

In this adjustment the Hopkinsians gained their main object, but, 
at the same time, sacrificed some favorite points which they would 
gladly have introduced into a seminary of a more sectarian character. 
Some, indeed, a few of whom are still to be found, persisted in their 
objections to the seminary on. this account ; but nearly the whole 
orthodox community of New England have cordially acquiesced in 
it, so that the arrangement has most happily, though silently, become 
a virtual bond of union among them. Foreign missions, and other 
great benevolent enterprises to which the seminary soon gave birth, 
hastened and confirmed this coalescence by bringing the two parties 
more frequently to pray, sympathize, and act together. These results 
are matters of devout astonishment to many a beholder of what God 
has wrought amid the movements of our times. 

The opposition to orthodoxy, in various forms, was considerable, 
but of little avail in retarding its progress. Fears were at one 
time entertained lest a majority of the trustees of Phillips's Academy, 
under whose guardianship the seminary is placed, should ultimately 
be found men of lax opinions ; but, as most of the suspected parties 
died or resigned their seats within a few years, those fears gradually 
subsided on the vacancies being filled up by others who were unques- 
tionably sound in the faith.* Anxiety on this head led to greater 

* It must be kept in mind that Phillips's Academy was founded in 1TT8, when Uni- 
tarianism had not yet developed itself in the United States, though the errors which 
led to it were to he found in Boston and its neighborhood. When it did develop 


solicitude relative to the creation of a Board of Visitors, and the 
quinquennial renewal of subscription by the professors and visitors, 
though this could not be extended to the trustees, no provision to 
that effect having been made at the institution of that board. 

With all these guards, and looking to the present character of the 
boards, the friends of the institution consider that there is none in the 
country more completely guarded against perversion. At the same 
time, the most perfect freedom of inquiry is allowed, and even en- 
couraged among the students, in order that their faith may rest on 
conviction, not on human authority or constraint. No subscription 
to a creed is required of them, nor can any one who gives to the 
Professors satisfactory evidence of Christian character be debarred 
from entering the seminary, or dismissed from it on the ground of 
his belief. This condition was required by the State Legislature on 
their enlarging the powers of the trustees, so as to enable them to 
hold the additional funds required for the establishment of the sem- 
inary. And although its expediency has by some been doubted, it 
seems as yet to have had no bad consequences.. It has been thought 
unreasonable to require a minute profession of faith from students 
who go to the institution for the very purpose of learning what is 
truth, as well as how to teach it. 

The seminary was opened in the autumn of 1808. For several 
years there were only three Professors, but now there are five, one 
of whom acts as president of the institution. Each member of the 
faculty has, in addition to his salary, the use of a family dwelling- 
house, and is debarred from receiving any compensation for preach- 
ing abroad. 

The departments of the Professors are, Sacred Literature, including 
the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures, chiefly during the first year ; 
Christian Theology, chiefly during the second year ; and Sacred 
Rhetoric, Ecclesiastical History, and Pastoral Theology during the 
third year. The instruction is given partly by written lectures and 
partly by the use of text-books, which are recited in substance by 
the students, and accompanied with remarks by the Professors. 

The students are not allowed to preach, nor are they required to 
write sermons till their senior or last year. Each may then be called 
on to preach in the chapel, and is also allowed to preach abroad for 
six Sabbaths in his last term, within certain limits as to distance, so 
as to avoid being absent from any of the lectures. The remainder 
of the preaching in the chapel is chiefly performed by the Professors 
in rotation. 

itself, it was not strange that the Board of Phillips's Academy should be infected 
•with it. 


Most of the students are graduates of colleges, and all are admitted 
on examination in regard to their attainments, evidence of piety, etc. 
During the first year they attend two lectures a day ; afterward, 
usually but one. 

Great attention is required of the Professors in the cultivation of 
piety among the students, which has ever been regarded by them, as 
well as by the founders and guardians, a grand object of the insti- 
tution. For this purpose they meet the students in a devotional 
exercise every Wednesday evening. The students also hold many 
conferences and prayer-meetings by themselves. 

Indigent students, of whom there are many, receive half the price 
of their board in commons gratuitously. No charge is in any case 
made for tuition, and but a small one for the use of the library, and 
for rooms and furniture. 

As the design of the seminary is to furnish an able as well as a pious 
ministry, and as its privileges are, to a great extent, gratuitous, each 
student is required, at his matriculation, to promise to complete a 
regular three years' course of study, " unless prevented by some un- 
foreseen and unavoidable necessity," which is to be judged of by the 
faculty. This is a much longer course than had commonly been pur- 
sued under the guidance of private pastors, and it has been found 
very difficult thus far to elevate the views of the community, and 
fully to reconcile the feelings of the students, to this requisition. In- 
deed, the rule itself was not made for a considerable number of years 
after the first. 

As this is the oldest theological seminary in the country, it has had 
to make its own way, unaided by previous experience; and very 
many are the changes, mostly for the better, it is believed, which 
have been made from time to time in its arrangements. 

At first, and for some years, there were not many students ; but 
they gradually increased from about thirty to about one hundred and 
fifty ; for the last few years the number has been about one hundred. 
The diminution has been occasioned by the multiplication of kindred 
seminaries since its reaching that number. The whole that have been 
admitted from the first amount to nearly two thousand, though, 
partly from deaths, partly from many having failed to complete their 
course, or gone to other institutions, not more than one thousand one 
hundred or one thousand two hundred of these have graduated. 
More than one hundred and fifty have devoted themselves to foreign, 
and many more to domestic missions. The American Board of Com- 
missioners for Foreign Missions were for the first ten years indebted 
to this seminary for all their missionaries but one ; and many of its 
students have lived to become presidents and professors of colleges 


and theological schools, and secretaries and agents of benevolent so- 

It possesses peculiar advantages for the training of missionaries. 
The " Society of Inquiry on Missions," of which almost all the stu- 
dents are members, is nearly coeval with it. It has a valuable library 
and museum, and exerts a very salutary influence on the spirit and 
piety of the institution. The doctrine is taught at this, as at most 
of the other theological seminaries in the United States, that every 
pastor should be a missionary at heart, and that every student should 
be willing to go whithersoever God may call him. There are great 
facilities at Andover for having early intelligence from the American 
missionaries, by constant correspondence, the visits of returned mem- 
bers, and intercourse with the secretaries and other officers of the 
American Board. 

The " Porter Rhetorical Society," so named from its founder, the 
late Rev. Dr. Porter, first president of the seminary, has an excel- 
lent library, and exercises much influence. 

The library of the seminary itself is thought to be one of the best 
in the country. It was selected for the purpose, contains more than 
fifteen thousand volumes, and has a fund to provide for its constant 
augmentation. Some of the large number of German books con- 
tained in it being of a neological character, it was at one time 
feared by many that these might do mischief; but such appre- 
hensions have now yielded, in the minds of those who felt them, 
to the consideration of the importance of having such books in an 
institution where men are to be trained to face an enemy, not to flee 
from him. 

The institution is under strict discipline. Monitors' bills are kept ; 
all are required to attend to their studies and to be present at the lec- 
tures of the Professors, at the morning and evening chapel prayers, 
and at Divine service on the Sabbath. 

The total sums that have been given for the erection of the semi- 
nary buildings, the endowing of professorships, the support of indi- 
gent students, the library, etc., can not be precisely ascertained, but 
they probably exceed $400,000. Mr. Bartlett, the most munificent 
of the donors, is supposed to have given $100,000, besides a legacy 
of $50,000. He is said never to have told any one how much some 
of the buildings that were erected at his instance cost him. Mr. 
Abbot gave about $120,000. Mr. Brown and Mr. Norris also gave 
large sums. No general solicitation has ever been made in behalf of 
the institution, though it has received from individuals many benefac- 
tions of amounts from $500 to $5,000. 

-Connected with the seminary is a printing establishment, known as 


the Codman press, from having a fount of Oriental types presented 
to it by the late Rev. Dr. Codman, of Dorchester. 

Few institutions have ever been more blessed than the Andover 
Theological Seminary. It has been intimately associated with the 
origin and progress of foreign missions, and has had much influence in 
originating the Bible, Colonization, Tract, and Temperance Societies, 
through the exertions of the lamented Mills* and his coadjutors, who 
were students there. I have spoken of it more hi detail, not only be- 
cause of its being the oldest, the most richly endowed, and one of the 
most frequented of our theological schools, but also because it has 
been, in some sense, a model for the rest.f 

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church established a 
theological seminary at Princeton, in New Jersey, in 1812, being the 
second of the kind in the United States. Although it is far from 
being richly endowed like that of Andover, and has often been 
greatly embarrassed for want of adequate pecuniary support, it has 
attained a great and well-merited celebrity by the distinguished tal- 
ents of its professors, as well as the excellent course of its studies. It 
has for several years had an annual attendance of one hundred 
to one hundred and twenty-five students, and has educated, hi all, 
more than sixteen hundred young men. The missionary spirit has 
prevailed in it to a gratifying degree, almost from its first establish- 
ment, and a large number of its alumni have gone to carry the Gos- 
pel to heathen lands. There is a flourishing " Society of Inquiry 
on Missions," with a valuable collection of books relating to that 


The Princeton course comprises for the first year, Hebrew, the 
Exegesis of the Original Language of the New Testament, Sacred 
Geography, Sacred Chronology, Jewish Antiquities, and the Con- 
nection of Sacred and Profane History ; for the second year, Biblical 
Criticism, Church History, and Didactic Theology; for the third 
year, Polemic Theology, Church History, Church Government, Pas- 
toral Theology, the Composition and Delivery of Sermons. 

Instruction is given both by lectures and text-books, and the entire 

* The Rev. Samuel J. Mills, a very zealous and able young man, who took a lead- 
ing part in the formation of several of the great benevolent societies of America, and 
died on the coast of Africa when looking for a place where a colony of negroes might 
be founded. 

f The Faculty of the Theological Seminary at Andover consists at present of Pro- 
fessors Park, Stowe, Barrows, and Phelps. Several of its former professors were men 
of distinguished abilities. Drs. "Wood, Porter, Griffin, Stuart, Justin Edwards, Bela 
B. Edwards, Emerson, and Murdock, are widely known — most of them as authors 
as well as -professors. Abroad, Professor Stuart's reputation as a Biblical scholar is 
both extensive and well-founded. 


course requires the study of many authors. The students must read 
essays of their own composition at least once every four weeks, and are 
expected, also, to deliver short addresses before the professors and 
their fellow-students at least once in the month. One evening in the 
week is devoted to the discussion of important theological questions. 
Every Sabbath forenoon a sermon is delivered in the chapel by one 
of the professors. In the afternoon, the students assemble for a " con- 
ference" on some subject in casuistical divinity, their professors pre- 
siding and conducting the discussion, and the services commencing 
and concluding with singing and prayer. Questions such as the fol- 
lowing are discussed : What constitutes a call to the ministry and the 
evidences of it ? What is proper preparation for the Lord's Supper ? 
What is repentance ? What is faith ? What is true preparation for 
death ? 

These, and many such subjects, are seriously and faithfully dis- 
cussed, and none of the other exercises, probably, are so instructive 
or so important to the students. It is there that the deep knowledge 
of their venerated and excellent professors in spiritual things most 
fully manifests itself. God has greatly blessed these heart-searching 
services to the students, and much is it to be wished that such exer- 
cises, and such fidelity on the part of the professors who conduct 
them, were to be found in every theological seminary and theological 
department of a university in the world. 

It is matter for devout thanksgiving that the excellent professors* 
appointed to the Princeton Seminary in its earliest years, were so 
long spared to labor for its good. Both they and their successors 
rank high among the American divines, and have had great weight 
in the Church to which they belonged. 

The General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
opened a theological institution at New York in 181V, which, though 
removed next year to New Haven, was soon after re-established at 
New York. It originated in the efforts of the late Dr. John Henry 
Hobart, long bishop of the diocese of New York, and has five pro- 
fessors, who are eminent and influential men, both in their own 
church and in the community at large. Its prosperity has been 
almost uninterrupted. The number of students is usually about 
seventy-five or eighty. In 1822, the dioceses of Virginia and Mary- 

* The Rev. Drs. Archibald Alexander and Samuel Miller, both of whom have 
earned an extensive reputation by their public lectures as well as by their writings. 
The present professors are the Rev. Drs. Hodge, J. A. Alexander, Green, and McGill. 
Dr. Hodge is well known in Europe as well as America for his admirable Comment- 
ary on the Epistle to the Romans, and Dr. Alexander for his Commentaries on Isaiah 
and the Psalms. 


land established another Episcopal seminary in Fairfax county, Vir- 
ginia, a few miles from the city of Alexandria. This seminary has 
four excellent professors, and from forty to fifty students. It has been 
a great blessing to the Episcopal Church and to the country. 

A Baptist Theological Seminary, established in 1825, at Newton, 
a town about six miles from Boston, has been a source of much 
good, and has sent forth a considerable number of excellent preach- 
ers. It has three able professors, and usually from thirty to forty 
students. The Baptists also established a Literary and Theological 
Institute at Hamilton, in the State of New York, in 1820. It has 
above one hundred and fifty students in all, and in the theological 
department upward of thirty, under four professors, who give instruc- 
tions in the other department also. 

A Lutheran Theological Seminary was established in 1826 at 
Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, very much through the exertions of 
the Rev. S. S. Schmucker, D.D., who is its professor of theology. It 
has three professors, with from thirty to forty students in all, and 
has proved a rich blessing to the Lutheran Church. Dr. Schmucker 
is well known in the Churches of the United States by his various 
writings, and his praiseworthy endeavors to bring about a union of 
feeling and action among the several branches of the Protestant de- 

The Reformed Dutch Church has an able theological faculty in 
its seminary at New Brunswick, in the State of New Jersey. The 
foundation dates from 1784, but it was for a long time unoccupied. 
It now has four professors and about forty students. 

Such are the utmost details that the limits of this work will permit. 
Let me simply add, that, since the opening of the Rev. Dr. Mason's 
theological school, about the beginning of the century, these institu- 
tions have wonderfully increased. Most of them, like those at Andover 
and Princeton, are quite distinct from any college or university; 
some, under the title of Theological Departments, are connected 
with literary institutions, but have their own professors, and, in re- 
ality, are very distinct. The following table, presenting a summary 
of the whole, will probably be found interesting. 

The Reformed Presbyterians (Covenanters) have a theological 
school at Allegheny city, and another at Philadelphia : the former 
has two professors and fourteen or fifteen students, the latter two 
professors and five or six students. The Moravians have a theo- 
logical school at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, one professor and a few 

The reader will remark that the number of students in the theo- 
logical seminaries contained in the following table is that for the 



year 1855. The whole number of students in these seminaries may 
fairly be put down at thirteen hundred, at least. 

* «* 



Presbyte- * 


Episcopa- i 
lians. j o' 

Name and locality of the institution. 

State in which it is 


Baptists. - 

Ref. Dutch. 


Ger. Ref. 

Assoc. Ch. 

Eef. Ch. 







Theological Department of Yale College . 
Theological Institute of Connecticut, at EastWindsor 
Theological Department of the Oberlin Institute 

Theological Seminary at Princeton .... 
Western Theological Seminary at Allegheny city, 

near Pittsburg 

Union Theological Seminary 

Southern Theological Seminary at Columbia . 
Indiana Theological Seminary at New Albany . 
Danville Theological Seminary at Danville 

Union Theological Seminary, in New York city 
Theological Seminary at Auburn .... 
Theological Department of Western Reserve College 

Lane Seminary at Cincinnati 

Southwestern Theological Seminary at Maryville . 

General Theological Seminary of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church, New York .... 

Theological Seminary, Fairfax county 

Theological Seminary of the Diocese of Ohio, at 

Thomaston Theological Institute .... 
Theological Institution at Newton .... 
Hamilton Literary and Theological Institute, at 


Virginia Baptist Seminary at Richmond . 
Furman Theological Seminary at High Hills . 
Literary and Theological Seminary at Eaton . 
Theological Department in Granville College . 
Howard Theological Institution at Marion 
Rochester Theological Seminary at Rochester . 
). Western Baptist Theological Institution at Covington 

Theological Seminary, New Brunswick 

Hartwick Seminary .... 
Theological Seminary at Gettysburg 
Theological Seminary at Lexington . 
Theological Seminary at Columbus . 

Theological Seminary at Mercersburg 

Theological Seminary, Xenia . 

Theological Seminary at Newburg . 
Theological Seminary at Allegheny city 

Methodist Biblical Institute at Concord 



New Hampshire. 




New Jersey. 

>• Pennsylvania. 

South Carolina. 

New York. 
New York. 

> New York. 

180S 5 









New York. 


1828 3 

1821 3 
1832 4 

1829 3 
1852 2 



1817 5 

1828 4 

1837 2 
1825 4 

■«* ^ 

C *^ o 

i. 2 3 


«5CG -S 











1820 2 20 


South Carolina. 




New York. 


N ew Jersey. 

New York. 
South Carolina. 



New York. 

New Hampshire, 
















The above enumeration comprises the orthodox evangelical denom- 
inations of Protestants only. The Unitarians have a theological de- 
partment at Harvard University, which had two professors and four- 
teen students in 1855 ; and a theological school at Meadville, Penn- 
sylvania, which had last year four professors and twenty-five or thirty 

The Roman Catholic theological seminaries, according to the Cath- 
olic Almanac, stood as follows in 1855 : 

* I give the number of students for 1855 from the American Almanac for that 
year. The list is understated, the number being that at a given epoch in the year, 
not that of all who attended during the course of it. 




At Baltimore, Md. 
" Frederick, " 
Near Emmitsburg, " 
At Cumberland, " 






" Philadelphia, Pa 19 

" Villa Nova, " - 


" Latrobe, 

Near Cincinnati, Ohio . 

" Somerset, " . 

" Springfield, Ky. . 

" Bardstown, " . 

At Cleveland, Ohio. 

" Thompson, " . 

Near Vincennes, Ind. 

At Notre-Dame, " . 

" Wheeling, Va. 


" Lafourche, 









At Carondelet, Mo 

Near Florissant, " 

At Barrens, Perry Co., O 

" St. Paul, Minnesota 4 

" Buffalo, N. Y 8 

" Springhill, Ala 5 

" Fordham,N.Y 40 

" Mihvaukie, "Wis 12 

" Dubuque, Iowa 10 

" Sinsinawa Mound, Wis 1 

u San Francisco, Cal 10 

" Benicia, " 4 

" Santa Ynes, " 12 

" Santa Barbara, " 8 

" Chicago, 111 — 

Near Pittsburg, Pa. 7 

In all, thirty-three institutions and four hundred and fifty-three 

I shall conclude by stating that the entire number of theological 
schools and faculties belonging to the orthodox Protestant Churches 
is forty-five,* with about one hundred and twenty professors, and 
nearly, if not quite, thirteen hundred and fifty students at the pres- 
ent time. The greater number of these institutions are in their in- 
fancy. Where they are connected with colleges, the theological 
professor generally gives lectures in the literary department also, on 
moral philosophy, metaphysics, logic, etc. Many of the professors in 
the new and smaller seminaries are pastors of churches in the neigh- 
borhood, and all that are not, preach much in vacant churches, or on 
extraordinary occasions, such as before benevolent or literary societies 
and bodies, ecclesiastical assemblies, etc. Many of them, too, are ex- 
pected to employ their leisure moments in giving instruction through 
the press. Though the number of professors seems large when com- 
pared with that of the students, few men have more to do, or, in point 
of fact, achieve more for the cause of Christ. There are to be found 
among them many of the first ministers of the Churches to which 
they respectively belong. If not quite equal in point of science to 
some of the great professors in the Old World, they are all, God be 
praised, believed to be converted, and are devoted, faithful men. 
Their grand object is to train up a pious, as well as a learned ministry. 
I am not aware that there is one of them that does not open every 
meeting of his class with earnest prayer, in which he is joined by his 
pupils — a striking contrast to what one sees, alas ! at too many of the 
theological lectures in the universities of Europe. 

* At the "Wesleyan University at Middletown, Connecticut, theological lectures are 
given to a class in divinity, and possibly this is done also in some of the other Meth- 
odist colleges. 




Much has been done in the United States to place the Sacred Scrip- 
tures in the hands of all who can read them, and in this endeavor 
there is a delightful co-operation of good men of every name. Even 
statesmen, though they may not be decidedly religious, or, by out- 
ward profession, members of any church, lend their aid in this enter- 
prise ; and it is not uncommon to hear men of the first rank in the 
political circles, some occupying high places in the council of the na- 
tion, advocate at Bible Society anniversaries the claims of the Word 
of God. The impression prevails among our statesmen that the Bible 
is emphatically the foundation of our hopes as a people. Nothing 
but the Bible can make men the willing subjects of law ; they must 
first acquiesce with submission in the government of God before they 
can yield a willing obedience to the requirements of human govern- 
ments, however just these may be. It is the religion of the Bible 
only that can render the population of any country honest, industrious, 
peaceable, quiet, contented, happy. 

It is forty years since the American Bible Society was instituted, 
and it now has branches in all parts of the country. It has sent out, 
in all, ten million six hundred and fifty-three thousand six hundred 
and forty-seven copies of the Bible, or of the New Testament, from 
its depository.* Last year alone seven hundred and forty-nine thou- 
sand eight hundred and ninety-six copies went forth to bless the na- 
tion. In the years 1829 and 1830, great and systematic efforts were 
made to place a Bible in every family that was without one through- 
out the whole land. Much was accomplished, yet so rapid is the in- 
crease of the population, that these effort must be repeated from year 
to year ; and the work can only be done by dividing the country into 
small districts, and engaging active and zealous persons to visit every 
house from time to time, ascertain what families are destitute of the 
Scriptures, and supply them by selling or giving away copies, accord- 
ing to circumstances. Great efforts are also made at New York, and 
other sea-ports, to supply foreign emigrants as they arrive on our 



* More than eleven and a half million copies of the sacred Scriptures, in whole or in 

part, had been issued by the Bible Societies in the United States at the commence- 
ment of May, 1855. The receipts of these societies in the year 1854 exceeded half a 
million of dollars. 


It is a remarkable fact, that what has been done by Bible societies 
seems not to have interfered with the business of the booksellers ; 
for these sell more copies of the Holy Scriptures than they did 
before the Bible societies existed. The more the Bible is known, the 
more it is appreciated ; in many a family the entrance of a single 
copy begets a desire to possess several ; besides which, the Bible So- 
ciety's distributions greatly augment the demand for Biblical com- 
mentaries and expositions, and thus augment the trade of the book- 
sellers, who publish and put into circulation immense editions of such 
works. There is a great demand for the Scriptures, also, both in 
week-day and Sabbath-schools, and great numbers of these are fur- 
nished by the book-trade. 

Nor does the American Bible Society confine its efforts to the 
United States. It has for many years associated itself with those 
societies which, by prosecuting the same work in foreign lands, are 
laboring to hasten the coming of that day when " the knowledge of 
the Lord shall fill the earth." The receipts of the society for the 
last year amounted to $346,811. 

The society has published the Bible in " raised characters" for the 
use of the blind. 

In the year 1837, a Bible society was formed among the members 
of the Baptist churches, entitled the " American and Foreign Bible 
Society." It was formed with special reference to the circulation of 
translations in the course of being made by that body of Christians. 
Some, at least, of these translations the American Bible Society thought 
it could not, consistently with its constitution, aid in publishing, be- 
cause the original words baptize and baptism have been translated into 
words equivalent to immerse and immersion. However much it may 
be regretted that these words, about the meaning of which there has 
been so much philological disputation, are not permitted to remain 
untranslated, so that all denominations might be put upon the same 
footing, and be enabled to continue united in the work of Bible cir- 
culation, the issue will, it is likely, prove that in this, as in many sim- 
ilar cases, God is about to make an apparent obstacle mightily sub- 
serve the advancement of His kingdom. The new society has taken 
up the work of foreign publication with great zeal, and doubtless it 
will serve to develop the energies of the large and powerful body of 
Christians who sustain it, to an extent to which they never would 
have gone but for its formation. The receipts last year, being the 
eighteenth of its existence, were $40,034 ; the expenditure, $39,939.* 

* In this statement of receipts, we do not include $19,000 given for the new 
Bible House. 


In eighteen years the society has received $700,000, and sent forth 
more than a million and a quarter copies, of the Word of God. 

In 1850 the "American Bible Union" was formed, and is sustained 
by ministers and members of the Baptist churches who are in favor 
of issuing a new version of the Bible in English, as well as of aiding 
the work abroad. Its receipts during the fifth year of its existence 
were $36,050. A few portions only of the "new version" have yet 
been issued, and those only as specimens, we believe. 




~No branch of religious enterprise has been more vigorously prose- 
cuted in the United States than that of preparing, publishing, and 
circulating moral and religious writings in various forms. The wide 
diffusion of education, at least among the white part of the popula- 
tion, makes it obvious that powerful advantage may be taken of the 
instrumentality of the press in promoting the truth. 

Associations of various kinds are engaged in this good work. We 
have seen that the Sunday-school societies are doing much for sup- 
plying the youth of the country with moral and religious reading ; we 
have now to speak of other societies which aim at benefiting adults, 
not, however, to the exclusion of the young. 

First among these associations may be ranked the American Tract 
Society, which, like most others of a general and national character, 
has its seat in the city of New York. It was instituted in 1825, and 
hence has been thirty years in existence. It is founded on the broad 
principle of uniting in its support Christians of all evangelical denom- 
inations of Protestants, so far as they may be disposed to co-operate 
in its objects; its Committee of Publication is composed of ministers 
of the Gospel of the different orthodox communions ; and its publica- 
tions themselves convey those great truths and doctrines in which all 
of these communions can agree. 

The operations of no society in America seem to have been prose- 
cuted with greater vigor or more wisdom. Its Report for 1855 
states that, since its commencement, it has sent forth 1,948 different 
publications, of which about 150 form volumes • of various sizes by 
themselves, and the remainder are, with few exceptions, what are 
called tracts, each consisting of four pages and upward. 


And besides these 1,948 publications issued at home, it has aided in 
the publication of 2,972 in foreign lands. The copies of its publica- 
tions issued last year amounted to 10,091,214, of which 961,363 were 
volumes. Anions: the volumes were several thousand sets of the 
Evangelical Family Library, of fifteen volumes each, of the Religious 
Library, of twenty-five volumes each, and of the Youths' Library, 
of seventy volumes each. Many thousands of separate volumes, also, 
of these sets were sold. From 100,000 to 150,000 of some of the 
smaller tracts were distributed ; and the total sent into circulation 
during thirty years has been 158,319,412 publications, of which 
10,424,737 were volumes. The receipts for the year 1855 amounted 
to $147,298 from donations, and $265,875 from sales ; in all, $413,173. 
$16,000 were sent to foreign countries in aid of the tract cause abroad. 

The society is assisted by auxiliary associations in all parts of the 
United States, both in the collection of funds, and in disseminating 
1 its publications. Some of these local societies, such as those at New 
York, Boston, and Philadelphia, are large and efficient. 

The society is zealously prosecuting two grand measures, into 
which I shall enter the more fully, inasmuch as they are of the 
utmost importance to the religious well-being of the country, and 
also more or less practicable in other lands. The first of these is 
the publication of volumes of approved excellence, such as Bunyan's 
Pilgrim's Progress, and Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion 
in the Soul, and their distribution throughout the country. It pro- 
poses to place not only one volume at least, as was resolved some 
years ago, but even a whole set of its Evangelical Family Library, 
of fifteen volumes, or its Religious Library, of twenty-five volumes, 
in as many households as are willing to buy them ; and in seeking to 
accomplish this end, it employs able men, ministers of the Gospel and 
laymen, as agents. These visit towns and cities, preach in the 
churches, raise funds to supply the poor with books, organize com- 
mittees who are to visit all the families in their respective districts, 
and engage all who are able to buy one book or more, and sup- 
ply such as are too poor to purchase. Another set of agents consists 
of plain, but sensible, pious, and zealous colporteurs, or hawkers, 
generally laymen, who are sent into the " Far West" to carry books 
and tracts to the frontier people, engaged in felling the forests on their 
ever-onward course toward the setting sun, as well as into the mount- 
ainous districts, and the thinly-settled belt of sandy country which 
stretches along the ocean in the Middle and Southern States. The 
number of these colporteurs was last year six hundred and fifty-nine.* 

* Of these 659 colporteurs 126 labored among Germans and emigrants, and 104 
were students from Colleges and Theological Seminaries. They visited 639,193 fam- 



"Who can calculate the amount of good which such a work must, 
with God's blessing, accomplish ? 

I ought to add, that not only is care taken that both books and 
tracts shall be printed with good type, and on excellent paper, but 
that the books are substantially bound, and the tracts covered, for 
the most part, with handsome paper coverings. In these respects 
they form a marked contrast with the publications of some societies 
of the same kind on the Continent of Europe. It is rightly thought 
to be a false economy which, for the sake of saving a few hundred 
dollars, would fail to render attractive in appearance, as well as read- 
able and durable, publications which are intended to be the means 
of interesting, instructing, and saving men, of whom multitudes are 
wholly indifferent to religion, and might be repelled from reading 
them were they to appear in a mean and shabby dress. 

The Society's "American Messenger," had during the year ending 
May 1, 1855, a circulation of two hundred thousand, the "German 
Messenger" twenty-seven thousand, and the " Child's Paper" nearly 
three hundred thousand ! All these were published monthly, in the 
newspaper form. 

Besides its publications in English, the society has sent out a con- 
siderable number of tracts in French, German, Spanish, and other lan- 
guages, for the various emigrants that arrive in the United States. 

The other measure referred to is the systematic periodical distribu- 
tion of tracts in cities, towns, villages, and even rural districts, 
though this work can not be done directly by the society, so much as 
the numerous auxiliaries which it endeavors heartily to engage in 
carrying it through. The object is to place a tract, at least once in 
the month, in every family willing to receive one, and, where practi- 
cable, to accompany it with religious conversation, especially where 
ignorance of the Gospel or family affliction renders it peculiarly 
called for. In pursuing this design, the city, town, or village is divid- 
ed into small geographical districts, each containing a certain num- 
ber of families, and each assigned to the care of zealous, intelli- 
gent, and prudent Christians to make monthly visits to every family, 
and leave the tract selected for the month. Some will require more 
than one visit, particularly the sick and the destitute ; but houses 
where the inmates persist in refusing tracts, in spite of every effort 
to overcome their reluctance, are passed by. 

ilies, with 281. 09*7 of whom they conversed on personal religion, or prayed. Of the 
families visited, 83,126 habitually neglected evangelical preaching, 64,686 families 
were Roman Catholics, 51,302 families were destitute of all religious books but the 
Bible, and 36,259 households destitute of the Bible ; and they held or addressed 
12,763 religious meetings. Six colporteur conventions were held. 


This plan, whenever justice has been done to it in practice, has 
been found eminently beneficial. Cases of poverty and disease are 
discovered and made known to associations and individuals likely to 
attend to them. Many persons, living in the constant neglect of 
public worship, are induced to attend the preaching of the Gospel. 
The churches in the neighborhood are pointed out to them, and they 
are exhorted to go to such as they may prefer. 

Such is the procedure in many places throughout the United 
States. In the city of New York it has been in operation for nearly 
twenty years, and with abundance of blessed results. According to 
municipal regulations, the' city, which now has above six hundred 
and fifty thousand inhabitants, is divided into wards, and to each of 
these, when practicable, there is appointed what is called a superin- 
tendent, generally a minister of the Gospel, a young man, who de- 
votes himself wholly to the work. The superintendents divide their 
wards into districts, find a distributor of either sex for each, hold 
frequent meetings with their distributors, provide them with tracts 
for distribution, receive their reports, draw up a general one for the 
monthly meeting of the City Tract Society, under whose auspices the 
work proceeds, and read their reports at those meetings. "Withal, 
they hold prayer-meetings in their respective wards almost every 
night in the week, and engage competent persons to hold others 
which they can not themselves attend. The distributors labor gratu- 
itously. The superintendents receive usually $600 each as his salary. 
For many years sixteen superintendents have been supported by the 
same number of liberal Christian merchants and mechanics in that 
city, who rejoice to be instrumental in maintaining this good work. 

I shall conclude by giving the summary of what was accomplished 
in New York during one year, as presented at the regular annual 
public meeting, held in one of the churches of that city : 

1,050 average number of visitors (or distributors). 
132,155 tracts distributed, containing 3,425,781 pages. 

936 Bibles and 558 Testaments received from the New York Bible Society, and 
supplied to the destitute. 
4,496 volumes lent from the ward libraries. 
2,200 children gathered into Sabbath-schools. 
315 children gathered into public schools. 
131 persons gathered into Bible-classes. 
904 persons induced to attend church. 
105 temperance pledges obtained. 
1,433 district prayer-meetings held. 
43 backsliders reclaimed. 
396 persons hopefully converted. 
342 converts united with evangelical churches. 


Such is the tabular view presented by a single year's labor in the 
field of tract distribution in one city. 

Besides the American Tract Society, which may be regarded as a 
vast reservoir of common truth — of doctrines about which all Evan- 
gelical Protestants are agreed — there are other societies that publish 
religious tracts and books ; and among these I may mention, as dis- 
tinguished for the energy of their management and the extent of their 
operations, the " Book Concerns" of the two great branches of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. These institutions are situated in New 
York and Nashville, under the control of the General Conferences, 
which, every four years, appoint a committee to direct their opera- 
tions. Two able agents are intrusted with the management of each, 
and are required to make full returns to the Bishops and to the Gen- 
eral Conferences. It must not be thought that all their numerous 
publications are stamped with the peculiarities of the Methodist doc- 
trines ; not a few of them are the same in character with those pub- 
lished by the American Tract Society — such, for instance, as the 
" Saint's Rest." The sales are not confined to the main depositories 
at New York and Nashville, and the branches established at some 
other great centres of trade : their publications are retailed by all the 
traveling ministers of that extensive body, and thus find their way 
into the most remote log-cabins of the West. And who can calcu- 
late the good that may result from reading the biographical and 
didactic volumes thus put into circulation? Who can tell what 
triumphs over sin, what penitential tears, what hopes made to spring 
up in despairing hearts, what holy resolutions, owe their existence, 
under God, to these books ? The amount of sales of these institu- 
tions and their branches was, in 1852, $199,687. 

The Old School Presbyterians have also a Board of Publication, 
which has put forth not only a considerable number of doctrinal 
tracts in which the distinctive views of that body are ably maintained, 
but many books, also, of solid worth, which are gaining an extensive 
circulation among its own members, and the professors of the Calvin- 
istic system generally. The receipts of this board were, last year, 
$87,599, and its expenditures $91,319.* 

The Regular Baptists, too, have their American Baptist Publica- 
tion Society earnestly engaged in the good work of supplying their 
people with publications addressed both to the converted and the 
unconverted. The receipts of that society were, last year, $52,705, 
and its expenditures $52,660. The Episcopalians, Free-Will Baptists, 

* This board has issued three hundred and sixty-nine volumes of various sizes, 
besides hymn-books, question-books, catechisms, tracts, etc. It employed last year 
one hundred and seventy-three colporteurs. 


the Quakers or Friends, the Lutherans, and the Protestant Metho- 
dists, have all their own Tract Societies ; the last two have their 
"Publication Committees" and their Book Establishments. Other 
denominations have theirs. The amount of evangelical tracts and 
books every year put into circulation by all these " societies," 
"boards," and "committees," together, can not be exactly ascer- 
tained. Their value in money, I mean for what they are sold, can 
hardly be less than $600,000. They air help to swell the great stream 
of Truth, as it rolls its health-giving waters through the land. May 
God grant that these efforts may go on continually increasing from 
year to year, until every family shall be blessed with a well-stored 
library of sound religious books. 



While it would be very foreign to the object of this work to enter 
upon any discussion as to the value and extent of the general litera- 
ture of the United States, it is not out of place to say something 
respecting that part of it which falls under the head of Religion. 

And first, let me advert, without reference to its origin, to the 
entire mass of the literature of a religious kind now circulating 
through the country. In this sense, our religious literature is by far 
the most extensive in the world, with the single exception of that of 
Great Britain. We have a population of twenty-seven millions, if 
not twenty-seven millions five hundred thousand ; and, even includ- 
ing the African race among us, and regarding the country as a whole, 
we have a larger proportion of readers than can be found in most 
other nations. Indeed, I am not aware of any whole kingdom or na- 
tion that has more. Deducting the colored population, we have 
twenty-three millions of people who, whatever may have been their 
origin, are Anglo-American in character, and to a great extent speak 
and read the English language. Not only so, but of these a very 
large proportion are religious in their character and habits, as we 
shall show in another place ; and, among the rest, there is a widely 
prevalent respect for Christianity, and a disposition to make them- 
selves acquainted with it. 

To meet the demand created by so large a body of religious and 
serious readers, we have a vast number of publications in every de- 
partment of Christian theology, and these are derived from various 


sources. Some have been translated from German and French ; some 
from the Latin of more or less ancient times ; some from the Greek ; 
while many of our learned men, and particularly of our divines, read 
some or all these languages, and would think their libraries very de- 
ficient in the literature with which they ought to be familiar, did 
they not contain a good stock of such books imported from Europe. 

Again, we have either re-published or imported a great many of 
the best English religious works, both of the present times and of 
two or three centuries back. Such as seem adapted for popular use, 
and as many of a more learned cast as seem likely to justify their 
publication, are reprinted ; while not a few copies of many more are 
ordered from Europe through the booksellers. 

Some American reprints of English religious books, particularly ot 
works of a practical character, have had an immense circulation. 
The commentaries of Scott, Henry, Doddridge, Adam Clarke, and 
Gill, have been extensively sold, and some booksellers owe a large 
part of their fortunes to the success of the American editions. All 
the sterling English writers on religious subjects, of the seventeenth 
century, as well as of later times, are familiar to our Christian read- 
ers ; and the smaller practical treatises of Flavel, Baxter, Boston, 
Doddridge, and others, have been very widely disseminated. Bates, 
Charnock, Flavel, Howe, the Henrys, etc., are well known among us, 
as are also Jeremy Taylor, Barrow, Bishops Hall and "Wilson (of 
Sodor and Man), and many more whom I need not name. As for 
more modern times, the names of Thomas Scott and Adam Clarke 
are household words, and Chalmers is known to hundreds of thou- 
sands. There are many men in England and Scotland with whose 
names we have been familiar from our youth. In English systematic 
theology no names are more known or esteemed than the late 
Andrew Fuller and Thomas Watson. And although it can not be 
said that every good religious work that appears in Great Britain is 
republished in the United States, a large proportion of the best cer- 
tainly are, especially such as are of a catholic nature, and many of 
them, I am assured, have a wider circulation in the United States than 
in England itself. 

The United States have sometimes been reproached by foreigners 
as a country without any literature of native growth. M. de Tocque- 
ville, arguing from general principles, and, as he supposes, philosophi- 
cally, seems to think that, from the nature of things, the country, 
because a republic, never can have much literature of its own. He 
forgets that even the purest democratical government that the world 
has ever seen, that of Athens, produced in its day more distinguished 
poets, orators, historians, philosophers, as well as painters and sculp- 


tors, than any other city or country of the same population in the 
world. He full well knows, however, that the government of the 
United States is not an unmixed democracy, and that in every thing 
that bears upon the higher branches of learning, our institutions are 
as much above the control of a democracy as those of any other 
country. The grand disadvantage, according to M. de Tocqueville, 
under which our literature labors is, that authors are not encouraged 
by pensions from the government. But are these so absolutely indis- 
pensable ? Have such encouragements accomplished all that has 
been expected from them ? Are they not often shamefully abused, 
and merely made to gratify the personal predilections of ministers ot 
State ? Besides, it is notorious that in England at least, where the 
government professes, I understand, to patronize literature, the most 
distinguished authors, in all its various departments, owe nothing to 
that source. As for the patronage of associations and wealthy indi- 
viduals, it may exist just as well in the United States as anywhere 
else, and, in fact, is not altogether wanting there. 

But our literature, it is said, is not known beyond the country 
itself; and this is to some extent true. But that few, comparatively, 
even of the distinguished authors of any country, are known beyond 
its limits, might easily be shown in the case of France, Germany, 
Holland, Denmark, and Italy. With the exception of the corps of 
literary men, even the well-informed among the English are little 
acquainted with the literature of those countries, and but for what 
they learn through the medium of the Reviews, would hardly know 
so much as the names of some of their most distinguished authors. 
No doubt the literature of every civilized nation greatly influences 
that of all others ; not, however, by having a general circulation in 
those countries, but because of the master minds who first familiarize 
themselves with it, and then transfer all of it that is most valuable 
into their own language, just as Milton appropriated the beauties of 
Homer, Virgil, and Tasso. 

The United States have unquestionably produced a considerable 
number of authors hi every branch of literature, who, to say the 
least, are respectable in point of eminence.* Their being unknown 

* It would not be difficult to make out a tolerably long list of authors who have 
lived in recent times, and many of whom are living yet, that must be pronounced, by 
those who know any thing of them, to be such as would be an honor to any country; 
and many of them are not unknown in Europe. Among writers on law, in its various 
branches, we have had Kent, Story, "Webster, Wheaton ; in medicine, Mott, Warren, 
Beck, Ray, Jackson, and many others ; in theology and Biblical science, Stuart, Mil- 
ler, Woods, the Alexanders, Hodge, Wayland, Robinson, Conant, Barnes, Stowe, 
Beecher, Schmucker, Hawks, the Abbots, etc. ; in belles-lettres and history, Irving, 
Prescott, Bancroft; Walsh, Cooper, Paulding ; in science, Silliman, Hitchcock, Henry, 


to those who make use of the fact as a reproach to the country, may 
possibly be owing to something else than the want of real merit on 
their part ; and if, upon the whole, they present what appears to 
foreigners nothing beyond a respectable mediocrity, this may be 
readily accounted for by other causes than a hopeless peculiarity al- 
leged to exist in the people or their government. 

The country is comparatively new. Much has yet to be done in 
felling the forest and clearing it for the habitations of civilized man. 
But a small part of our territory bears evidence of having been long 
settled. Our people have passed through exciting scenes that gave 
but little leisure for writing. Few families possess much wealth. The 
greater number of our institutions of learning are of recent origin. 
None of them have such ancient foundations as exist in many Euro- 
pean universities ; our colleges have no fellowships ; the time of our 
professors is much occupied in giving instruction ; our pastors, law- 
yers, and physicians find but little leisure, amid their professional labors, 
for the cultivation of literature. We have no sinecures — no pensions — 
for learned men. There is too much public life and excitement to allow 
the rich to find pleasure in Sybaritic enjoyments; and they have 
other sources of hapj^iness than the extensive possession of paintings 
and statues, though even for these the taste is gaining ground. 

But to return to our proper subject, the religious literature of the 
United States : the number of our authors in this department is by 
no means small. Many valuable works, the production of native 
minds, issue year after year from the press, a very large proportion 
of which are of a practical kind, and exert unquestionably a most 
salutary influence. They meet with an extensive sale, for the taste 
for such reading is widely diffused, fostered as it is by the establish- 
ment of Sunday-schools and the libraries attached to them* 

Davies; and in political economy, Carey, Yethake, Biddle, Raymond. These 
are but a few, selected chiefly with reference to their being known to some ex- 
tent, at any rate, in Europe. "We have also had Marshall, Livingston, Madison, 
Jefferson, Jay ; Rush, Dorsey, Wistar, Dewees, Godman ; the Edwardses, Davies, 
Dwight, Smith, Mason, Emmons, Channing, Griffin, Rice ; Wirt, Noah "Webster, Ram- 
sey ; Franklin, Ewing, and Hamilton. In the fine arts we have had a West, an 
Alston, and have now a Crawford, a Powers, a Brown ; while in the useful arts, as 
they are called, we have not been without men of some renown, as the names of Ful- 
ton, Whitney, and others attest. 

Nor are American books unknown in Great Britain, the only country in Europe in 
which they could be extensively read. In the London Catalogues we find the 
names of American works on theology, in fiction, of juvenile literature, of travels, on 
education, on biography, on history, on poetry, on metaphysics, on philosophy, on 
science, and on law. Besides these, a good many books published in America are 
imported every year into Great Britain. 

* I need not repeat here what has been said of the immense circulation of books 


To the religious literature of books must be added that of periodi- 
cal works — newspapers, magazines, reviews — and nowhere else, per- 
haps, is this literature so extensive or so efficient. More than one 
hundred and fifty evangelical religious newspapers are published once 
a week. The Methodists alone publish twenty-four, including one in 
the German tongue, and nearly all under the direction of their Con- 
ferences. The Episcopalians have twelve ; the Baptists twenty-eight ; 
the Presbyterians of all classes, including the Congregationalists, 
Dutch Reformed, Lutherans, etc., about forty more. This estimate 
includes evangelical Protestant papers only. In all, they can not 
have fewer than five hundred thousand subscribers. They comprise a 
vast amount of religious intelligence, as well as valuable selections 
from pamphlets and books ; and though it may be the case that re- 
ligious newspapers sometimes prevent more substantial reading, yet 
it must be confessed, I think, that they are doing great good, and are 
perused by many who would otherwise read little or nothing of a re- 
ligious character. Besides these newspapers, there is a large number 
of religious monthly and semi-monthly magazines, and several quar- 
terly reviews, in which valuable essays on subjects of importance may 
be found from time to time.* 

The political papersf in the United States, though often extremely 

by the Sunday-school and the Tract and Book societies, including the " Book Con- 
cerns" of the Methodists. 

* Two of these quarterlies are published under the auspices of the Presbyterians 
of the Old School: the "Biblical Bepertory and Princeton Beview," at Princeton, 
New Jersey; and the " Southern Presbyterian Quarterly," at Charleston, South Carolina. 
The "Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Beview," and the "Christian Beview," con- 
ducted by the Baptists, are both valuable periodicals ; and all four contain able re- 
views and essays. The " Christian Begister" is published monthly ; it is the organ 
of the Unitarians, and is conducted with much ability. 

f In the year 1850, according to the census, the number of newspapers and other 
periodical journals in the United States was two thousand five hundred and twenty- 
six, of which two hundred and fifty-four were published daily (the Sabbath excepted), 
one hundred and fifteen three times a week, thirty-one twice a week, and one thou- 
sand nine hundred and two once a week. The remainder, which were issued twice 
a month, monthly, or quarterly, were principally magazines and reviews. Of the 
newspapers, more than one hundred are in the German language, eight or ten in 
French, two in Spanish, and the rest in English. Several of the New Orleans papers 
are published in both French and English. The circulation of these newspapers and 
other periodicals is immense, being estimated at four hundred and twenty-six million 
four hundred and nine thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight copies annually. 
And though the number is too great by one half, and though many are conducted by 
men poorly qualified for the responsible and difficult task of an editor, yet it is not 
to be denied that even the poorest of them carry a vast amount of information to 
readers in the most secluded and distant settlements, as well as to the inhabitants of 
the most populous districts. And if we take the editors in the mass, it must be ac- 


violent in party politics, are in many instances auxiliary to the cause 
of religion. While the editors of some, happily not many, are op- 
posed to every thing that savors of religion, and even allow it to be 
outraged in their columns, an overwhelming majority often give ex- 
cellent articles, and publish a large amount of religious intelligence. 
In this respect there has evidently been a remarkable improvement 
within the last twenty years. Many of the political journals have 
rendered immense service in the Temperance cause, as well as in every 
other cause involving the alleviation of human suffering. 

Some of the literary and political reviews of native origin are very 
respectable works of the kind; the North American Review, for ex- 
ample, which has now existed nearly half a century. There are also 
several valuable monthly reviews. Besides these, the leading reviews 
published in Great Britain, such as the Edinburg, the London Quar- 
terly, Westminster, North British, etc., are republished among us. 




We have spoken of the endeavors made to send the Gospel to the 
destitute settlements of the United States, both in the West and in 
the East. But we must not forget that the population of that country 
includes one hundred and fifty thousand men whose home is on the 
deep, and who " do business in the great waters" — a number which 
must be almost doubled if we include those who navigate the rivers 
and lakes in steamboats, sailing vessels, and other craft. 

The first systematic efforts made on a large scale, in the United 
States, for the salvation of seamen, commenced in 1812, at Boston. 
Since then much interest in the subject has been awakened at almost 
every port along the sea-board ; and within the last few years a great 
deal has been done for boatmen and sailors on the rivers and lakes. 

The American Seaman's Friend Society was instituted at New 
York in 1827, and is now the chief association engaged in this benev- 
olent enterprise. It serves, in some sense, as a central point to local 
societies formed in the other leading sea-ports, as well as those on the 

knowledged that they are very ready to lend their columns to the publication of re- 
ligious articles, of a suitable character and length, when requested by good men. 
And if Christians felt as they should feel on this subject, and did what they might, 
the press would be far more useful to the cause of religion than it is. 


Western rivers ; though they are not, in general, connected with it 
nominally.* By a monthly publication, called the Sailor's Magazine, 
it communicates to pious seamen much interesting information re- 
garding the progress of Truth among that class of men, with details of 
its own proceedings, and those of other associations of the same kind. 

Chapels have now been opened for seamen, and public worship main- 
tained on their account in ahnost all the principal sea-ports from the 
north-east to the south-west, chaplains being engaged for the purpose, 
and supported chiefly by local societies. Those in the service of the 
central society are, with few exceptions, stationed at foreign ports, 
such as Havre, in France ; Canton, in China ; Valparaiso, in Chili ; 
Sydney, in New South "Wales ; Honolulu, in the Sandwich Islands ; 
and Panama and Aspinwall, hi New Grenada. It had chaplains at one 
time, also, at Rio Janeiro, Marseilles, Cronstadt, and some other places. 

Besides promoting the establishment of public worship under 
chaplains at sea-ports, the society has strongly and successfully recom- 
mended the opening of good boarding-houses and reading-rooms for 
seamen when on shore, and the promotion of their temporal comfort 
in every possible way.f 

The efforts of the different associations for seamen have been 
greatly blessed. The year 1841, in particular, was marked by special 
mercies. In no fewer than ten or twelve ports there were manifest 
outpourings of the Holy Spirit upon the meetings held for religious 
instruction. A hundred and fifty sailors were reported by one of the 
chaplains at Philadelphia as having been converted under his minis- 
try ; and among these was an old man, ninety-nine years of age, who 
had been a drunkard for more than seventy years. 

There are supposed to be six hundred pious captains in the United 
States' mercantile navy. There are also several decidedly religious 
officers in the national marine, who exercise a happy influence on the 
service. The pious seamen belonging to the United States are now 
reckoned at about six or seven thousand ; a most gratifying contrast 
to the state of things twenty-five years ago, when a pious seaman, of 
any class, was rarely to be met with. 

The income of the society for the year 1855 was $22,845, without 
including the receipts of the local associations, which must have been 
considerable. Its expenditures were $22,816. 

* There are no fewer than sixty of these local associations for the promotion of 
the spiritual and temporal welfare of seamen and river-men in the United States. 

f It has a large " Sailors' Home" in the city of New York, which had three thou- 
sand eight hundred hoarders last year (1855), and has had forty-three thousand eight 
hundred and fifty-six in the course of the thirteen years of its existence, many of 
whom needed assistance. The society has also a flourishing " Home" for colored 




We have contemplated the Voluntary Principle as the main support 
of Religion and its institutions in the United States. We have now 
to consider its powers of correcting^ or rather overcoming, some of 
the evils that prevail in society. And, first, let us see how it has 
contended with Intemperance, one of the greatest evils that have ever 
afflicted the human race. 

It is not easy to depict in a few words the ravages of drunkenness 
in the United States. The early wars of the Colonial Age, the long 
war of the Revolution, and, finally, that of 1812-15 with England, all 
contributed to promote this tremendous evil. The very abundance 
of God's gifts became, by their perversion, a means of augmenting it. 
The country being fertile, nearly throughout its whole extent, and 
producing immense quantities of wheat, rye, and corn,* the last two 
of which were devoted to the manufacture of whiskey, there seemed no 
feasible check, or conceivable limit to the ever-growing evil, especially 
as the government had no such pressure on its finances as might just- 
ify the imposing of a tax that would prevent or diminish the manu- 
facture of ardent spirits. Moreover, the idea had become almost 
universally prevalent that the use of such stimulants, at least in mod- 
erate quantities, was not only beneficial, but almost indispensable for 
health, as well as for enabling men to bear up under toil and 

The mischief spread from year to year. It pervaded all classes of 
society. The courts of justice, the administration of government, the 
very pulpit, felt its direful influence. The intellect of the physician, 
and the hand of the surgeon, were too often paralyzed by it ; and it 
might be said, that what some thought to be ordained unto life, was 
found to produce death. Poverty, disease, crime, punishment, mis- 
ery, were the natural fruits which it brought forth abundantly. So- 
ciety was afflicted in almost all its ranks; nearly every family 
throughout the land beheld the plague in one or more of its members. 
For a long time, while all saw and lamented the evil, none stood up 
against it. But there were those that mourned, and wept, and 
prayed over the subject, and the God of our fathers, who had been 

* The word corn is almost invariably employed in America to designate the grain 
commonly called maize in England, and Ble de Turquie in France. 


with them on the ocean and amid the dreary wilderness, to watch 
over and protect them, heard those prayers. 

In the year 1812, a considerable effort was made to arouse the at- 
tention of Christians to the growing evils of intemperance, and a 
day of fasting and of .prayer was observed by some religious bodies. 
In the following year, the Massachusetts Society for the Suppression 
of Intemperance was formed, and its labors were manifestly useful. 
Still, " the plague was not stayed." The subject, however, was not 
allowed to drop. It was seen that the Society had not gone far 
enough, and that it would not do to admit of the use of ardent 
spirits, even in moderation. The evil of wide-spread drunkenness 
could never be exterminated by such half-way measures. 

It was accordingly proposed, in 1826, to proceed upon the princi- 
ple of entire abstinence from the use of ardent or distilled spirits, as 
a beverage, and the same year saw the formation of the American 
Temperance Society at Boston. The press was soon set in motion to 
make its objects known, and competent agents were employed in ad- 
vocating its principles. Great was the success that followed. In the 
course of a few years, societies were to be found in all parts of the 
country, and were joined, not by thousands only, but by hundreds of 
thousands. People of all classes and ages entered zealously into so 
noble an undertaking. Ministers of the Gospel, lawyers, judges, leg- 
islators, and physicians, took a prominent part in urging it forward. 

But we need not enter upon the details of this progress. The 
cause continues advancing to this day. To reach the poor, as well as 
remove temptation from the rich, the rules of the Temperance Socie- 
ties have, within the last six or seven years, excluded " all intoxicat- 
ing drinks." Upon this principle, wines of all descriptions have been 
generally abandoned, both because of their being mostly impure with 
us — being, for the most part, imported, and all more or less intoxicat- 
ing — and because they are not found necessary to persons in health, 
but, on the contrary, injurious ; besides which, it was of consequence 
that an example of self-denial should be given by those who could 
afford to buy wine, for the sake of the poor, who could not. 

But, in the progress of the Temperance reformation, little was 
done to reclaim men who had already become drunkards. And yet 
at the lowest estimate, there were three hundred thousand such in 
the United States ; many even reckoned them at five hundred thou- 
sand at the commencement of the Temperance movement. No hope 
seemed to be entertained with respect to these. To prevent such as 
had not yet. become confirmed drunkards from acquiring that fatal 
habit, was the utmost that any one dared to expect. A few drunk- 
ards, indeed, were here and there reclaimed : but the mass remained 


unaffected by all the cogent arguments and affecting appeals that 
were resounding through the country. 

At length God, in His wonderful providence, revealed the way by 
which these miserable persons might be reached. And how simple ! 
A few hard drinkers in the city of Baltimore, who were in the habit 
of congregating at a low tavern for the purpose of revelry, and had 
been drunkards for years, met one night as usual. All happened to 
be sober. Apparently by accident, the conversation fell upon the 
miseries of their life. One after another recounted his wretched his- 
tory. All were deeply touched with the pictures of their own degra- 
dation thus held up. Some one proposed that they should stop in 
their career of folly and wickedness, and form themselves into a 
Temperance association. They did so. Rules were written and 
signed on the spot. They met again the next night, related their 
histories, wept together over their past delusions, and strengthened 
each other in their new resolutions. They continued to meet almost 
every night — not, however, at a tavern. They invited their com- 
panions in sin to join them — these were affected and won. The fire 
was kindled, and soon it spread. In a few weeks four hundred such 
persons joined the society. In a few months two thousand drunkards 
in the city of Baltimore were reclaimed. Then the movement came 
to light. The newspapers spread the wonderful news. The whole 
country was astonished. Christians lifted up their hearts in thank- 
fulness to God, and took courage. Benevolent men rallied around 
these reformed persons, and encouraged them to perseverance. 

The society of reclaimed drunkards in Baltimore was invited to 
send delegates to other cities ; and soon the " apostles of Temper- 
ance," as these men were called, went forth to every city in the land. 
Great was their success. Hundreds and thousands were reclaimed in 
ISTew York, Philadelphia, Boston, Albany, Pittsburg, Cincinnati, and 
from these cities, as from great centres, other delegations of re- 
formed drunkards went forth into almost every village and district 
in the land. 

To o-o further into detail would not consist with the nature of this 
work. A large proportion of the population of the United States are 
now under the happy influence of the principle of total abstinence 
from all intoxicating drinks. In 1826, when the reform commenced, 
it was estimated that at least sixty million gallons of whiskey were 
manufactured and consumed annually in the United States, without^ 
including the imported brandies, rum, etc. This estimate was un- 
questionably a very low one. In 1850, that is, twenty-four years 
afterward, the census stated that the number of gallons of "whiskey," 
" high wines," and " rum," distilled during that year, was forty-seven 


million eight hundred and sixty-four thousand seven hundred and 
twenty-four, showing a falling off of more than twelve million gallons : 
and yet, within the same period, the population had more than 
doubled. And all this reformation had been brought about solely 
through the operation of voluntary associations, without the slightest 
direct aid from the government, with the exception of its abolishing 
the daily ration of whiskey formerly given to the officers and men in 
the army. Could any thing in the world show more conclusively the 
resources which right principles possess in themselves for overcom- 
ing, under God's blessing, the evils that are in the world, and even 
those that derive most power from the depraved appetites of man ? 

Within the last five years, great efforts have been made to induce 
the State governments to break up the manufacture and sale of intox- 
icating liquors, by severe penal enactments. Some progress has been 
made hi several States, but it is perhaps premature to speak confi- 
dently of the expediency of the measure, or of its probable result. 



The Prison Discipline Society was instituted in 1824. It had for 
its object an investigation into the best methods of treatment for con- 
victs and other prisoners, with a view to their health, proper degree 
of comfort, and, above all, their moral and religious reformation. 

Prior to the establishment of this society, the prisons in the United 
States were all conducted according to the old practice of herding 
the prisoners together in large numbers, without any due regard to 
their health, and with the inevitable certainty of corrupting one an- 
other. In most cases, there was little regular religious instruction ; 
in some, none at all. The prisoners were generally left idle, so that 
their maintenance, instead of being so far defrayed by the proceeds 
of their work, fell entirely on the public, and involved a heavy ex- 

But a great reformation has now been effected. The society's late 
able, enlightened, and zealous secretary, the only agent, I believe, in 
its service, devoted nearly his whole time and energies to the subject 
for twenty-five years. During that period he examined the prisons 
in all parts of the country, studied whatever was defective or wrong 
in each, devised improvements in the construction of prison build- 
in o-s, visited the Legislatures of the several States, and delivered lee- 


tures to them on the subject, besides giving to the world, in the Re- 
ports that came from his pen, such a mass of well-digested informa- 
tion as is probably nowhere else to be found in any language. The 
results have been wonderful. New penitentiaries, upon the most 
improved plans, have been erected in almost all the States by their 
respective governments, and in many cases at a great expense. 
These institutions are very generally under the direction of men de- 
cidedly religious. Judicious and faithful preachers have been ap- 
pointed as chaplains in many of them ; and in the others, neighboring 
pastors have been invited to preach the Gospel, and visit the inmates 
as often as they can. Bible-classes and Sunday-schools have been es- 
tablished in several instances ; and in all, pains are taken to teach 
prisoners to read where they have yet to learn, so that they may be 
able to peruse the Word of God. 

A great blessing has rested upon these efforts. In many prisons 
very hopeful reformations have taken place ; and in many cases, it is 
believed, after long and careful examination and trial, that convicts, 
who were hardened in their sins, have submitted their hearts to that 
adorable Saviour who died to save the very chief of sinners. Taken 
as a whole, in no other country in the world, j)robably, are the peni- 
tentiaries and prisons brought under a better moral and religious 
discipline. This great result has been brought about, first, by the 
erection of new and more convenient buildings, and, secondly, by 
committing their direction so generally to decided and zealous Chris- 
tians. This has brought pure Christianity into contact with the 
minds of convicts to an extent unknown in former times in America, 
and still too little known in many other lands.* 

* It may not be generally known that two different systems of discipline are to be 
found in the prisons of the United States, each having its ardent advocates. There 
is, first, the Philadelphia system, according to which the prisoners are entirely 
separated day and night, so that they are unknown to each other, and live in 
separate chambers or cells. And next there is the Auburn system, so called be- 
cause adopted in the prison for the State of New York, at Auburn, a town in the 
central part of that State. According to it, the prisoners are separated from each 
other at night, and work together in companies during the day, under the eye of 
overseers and guards, but are not allowed to speak to each other. They are assem- 
bled, also, morning and evening, for prayers ; and on the Sabbath they meet in the 
chapel for public worship, conducted by the chaplain or some other minister of the 
Gospel. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages. For health, facility in 
communicating religious instruction, and the saving of expense through the avails of 
the labor of the prisoners, the latter, in my opinion, has evidently the advantage. 
The former furnishes greater security, enables the prisoners to remain unknown to 
their fellows on leaving the prison, and more effectually breaks down the spirit of 
the most hardened criminals. But the difference in point of expense is immense : 
nor are the moral results of the more expensive plan so decidedly superior as to com- 


Besides effecting this great reformation in the State penitentiaries 
and prisons, the society has directed much of its attention to the 
asylums for the insane, and to county or district prisons for persons 
committed for trial, convicts sentenced to short terms of imprison- 
ment, and debtors, in States where the law still allows imprisonment 
for debt. In all these various establishments the American Prison 
Discij)line Society has exerted much influence, and gradually effected 
the most important ameliorations. It has also discussed, in a very 
able manner, many questions in criminal legislation, such as those of 
imprisonment for debt, capital punishments, etc., and its labors in this 
department have not been in vain. Yet the society has had but one 
agent — its excellent secretary — and its whole receipts scarcely ex- 
ceed $3,000. With these limited means it has accomplished an im- 
mense amount of good. 

I know nothing that more fully demonstrates how favorably dis- 
posed our government is to religion, and to all good objects, than 
the fact that the Legislatures of so many of our States, as well as 
Congress itself, have been so ready to second every feasible plan for 
ameliorating the condition of mankind by moral and religious means, 
as far as they can do so consistently with their constitutional powers. 
Indeed, they are ever ready to adopt measures suggested by good and 
judicious men, as likely to benefit the public interests and to promote 
religion, provided they fall within their sphere of action. 

I may conclude this chapter by referring to the encouraging fact 
that crime has been for some years decreasing in this country, at the 
rate of from two to three per cent, per annum. This is the more 
satisfactory, when we consider how many difficulties have to be en- 

pensate for this disadvantage. It is a singular fact that the Auburn system has been 
decidedly preferred by the Prison Discipline Society, and by our citizens generally, 
for it has been adopted by all but four of the penitentiaries* in the country ; whereas 
the Philadelphia plan has been preferred by the commissioners sent from France, 
England, and Prussia, to examine our prisons. For myself, I apprehend that suf- 
ficient time has scarcely been allowed for a due estimate of their comparative merits. 
After paying considerable attention to the subject, as far as I am able to judge, I 
should say that, with the right sort of men to manage a prison — religious men of 
great judgment and self control — the Auburn plan is the better. But if such men 
can not be had, the Philadelphia system is safer. The former demands extraordinary 
qualities in the keepers, and especially in the superintendent, whose powers, as they 
must be great, are capable, also, of being sadly abused. Much, indeed, depends on 
keepers under either system. I may add that for the ignorant, the rude, the sensual, 
the Auburn system is far more salutary than that of Philadelphia ; for to such, entire 
solitary confinement is sadly destructive to health and happiness. On the other hand, 
the Philadelphia system is more tolerable and useful to the better educated and the 
more intellectual classes. 

* And even one of these has abandoned it for the other system. 



countered in a new country, and what a mighty stream of emigra- 
tion from foreign lands is continually bringing over new settlers who 
have had little proper moral culture, not a few of whom are almost 
desperately depraved. Nor is it less gratifying to think that this 
occurs by a process in which brute force is superseded to such an ex- 
tent in the suppression of vice and crime by means essentially moral. 



I shall now include in one chapter a notice of two or three other 
instances, in which the variety and energy of action possessed by the 
voluntary principle are remarkably illustrated. 

Societies for the Promotion of a better Observance of the Sab- 
bath. — Although the Sabbath is recognized, and its observance is 
enjoined by the laws of every State in the Union, and although that 
sacred day is observed in the United States in a manner that strik- 
ingly contrasts with its neglect in Europe, and particularly on the 
Continent : yet in certain quarters, and especially in places that are 
in some sense thoroughfares, the violation of it is distressing, nay, 
alarming to a Christian mind. Hence the formation of societies for 
the better observance of that day. 

These are sometimes of a local and limited nature ; sometimes they 
embrace a wider sphere of operation. By publishing and circulating 
well-written addresses and tracts — still more by the powerful ap- 
peals of the pulpit, they succeed in greatly diminishing the evil. By 
such measures they strengthen the hands of the officers of justice, 
and give a sounder tone and better direction to public opinion, 
greatly to the reduction, if not to the entire remedy, of the evil to 
be cured. What is best of all, this result is obtained most commonly 
by the moral influence of truth — by kindly remonstrance, and argu- 
ments drawn from the Word of God and right reason. I may state 
that I have myself seen the happiest influence exerted by these asso- 

Anti-slavery Societies. — And so with respect to slavery, an evil 
which afflicted all the thirteen original colonies at the epoch of their 
declaration of independence, and which still exists in fifteen of the 
thirty-one States, as well as in the District of Columbia ; though no 
longer to be found in the six New England States, or in New York, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wis- 


consm, Iowa, and California. With a view to its removal from the 
States to which it still adheres, many of the inhabitants of the North- 
ern, or non-slaveholding States, have associated themselves in what 
are called anti-slavery societies, and have been endeavoring, for sev- 
eral years past, to awaken the public to a sense of the evils and 
dangers of slavery, and to the reproach which it entails on the whole 
country. By means of the press, by tracts and books, and by the 
voice of living agents, they aim at the removal of this — the greatest 
of all the evils that lie heavy on our institutions. I say nothing at 
present of the wisdom of their plans, or of the spirit in which they 
have been prosecuted. I only mention these societies as a further 
proof of the wide application of the voluntary principle, and of the 
manner in which it leads to associated efforts for the correction of 
existing evils. 

Peace Societies. — Thus, too, in relation to the evils of war, and for 
the purpose of preserving good men especially, and all men, if possi- 
ble, from thinking lightly of them, Peace Societies began to be 
formed as early as the year 1816, and a national society was or- 
ganized in 1827. The object must be admitted to be humane and 
Christian. By the diffusion of well- written tracts, by offering hand- 
some premiums for essays on the subject, and their subsequent publi- 
cation, and, above all, by short and pointed articles in the newspapers, 
a great deal has been done to cause the prayer to ascend with more 
• fervency from the heart of many a Christian, " Give peace in our 
time, O Lord," and to inspire a just dread of the awful curse of war. 
To many, such efforts may appear ridiculous ; but not so to the man 
who can estimate the value of even one just principle, when once es- 
tablished in the heart of any individual, however humble. Who can 
tell how much such efforts in the United States, and other countries, 
may have contributed, in God's holy providence, which often avails 
itself of the humblest means for the accomplishment of the greatest 
purposes, to prolong that happy general peace which held Europe, 
and all the civilized world, in its embrace during almost forty years ! 
The receipts of the American Peace Society are usually $3,000.* 

* The late William Ladd, Esq., of the State of Maine, was the founder of the 
American Peace Society, and for many years its worthy president. He was an ex- 
cellent Christian. His heart was absorbed in the objects of the society over which 
he presided. Through his exertions a prize of $1,000 was offered for the best essay 
on the subject of A Congress of Nations, for the termination of national disputes. Four 
or five excellent dissertations were presented, and the premium was divided among 
the authors by the judges appointed to make the award ; one of whom was the Hon. 
John Quincy Adams, formerly President of the United States. The evils of war can 
hardly be exaggerated. "In peace," said Croesus to Cyrus, "children bury their 
fathers; but in war, fathers bury their children." "War makes thieves," says 





Nor is the Voluntary Principle less operative in the formation and 
support of beneficent institutions than of associations for attacking and 
vanquishing existing evils. But these present a field too wide to be 
fully gone over in this work ; besides, they do not properly come 
within its scope. I shall therefore glance only at a few points, show- 
ing how the Voluntary Principle acts in this direction for the further- 
ance of the Gospel. 

In efforts to relieve the temporal wants and sufferings of mankind, 
as well as in all other good undertakings, Christians, and those, too, 
with few exceptions, evangelical in their faith, almost invariably take 
the lead. Whenever there is a call for the vigorous exercise of be- 
nevolence, proceeding from whatever cause, Christians immediately 
go to work, and endeavor to meet the exigency by their own exer- 
tions, if possible. But should the nature and extent of the relief re- 
quired properly demand co-operation on the part of municipal and 
State authorities, they will bring the case before these authorities, and 
invoke their aid. It follows naturally that, when this is given, it 
should be applied through the hands of those who were the first to 
move in the matter ; and this wisely, too, since who can be supposed 
so fit to administer the charities of the civil government as those who 
have first had the heart to make sacrifices for the same object ? Such 
alone are likely to have the experience which in such affairs is neces- 

All this I might illustrate by adducing many instances. In this 
chapter, however, I shall notice but a few, and take these collect- 

There is not a city or large town, and hardly a village, in the whole 
country, which has not its voluntary associations of good men and 
women for the relief of poverty, especially where its sufferings are 
ao-oravated by disease. These efforts, in countless instances, may not 
be extensive, only because there is no extensive call for their being 
made. Created by circumstances, when these disappear, the associa- 
tions also cease to exist. But where the sufferings to be relieved are 


Hachiavelli, "and peace brings them to the gallows." "May we never see another 
war," said Franklin, in a letter which he addressed to a friend, just after signing the 
treaty of peace at the close of the American Revolution, " for in my opinion there 
never was a good war or a bad peace." 


perpetually recurring, as well as too extensive to be alleviated by in- 
dividual effort, these benevolent associations become permanent. 
Their objects are accomplished, in most instances, by the unaided ex- 
ertions of the benevolent, who voluntarily associate for the purpose ; 
but if these prove insufficient, municipal or State assistance is sought, 
and never sought in vain. Accordingly, the stranger who visits the 
United States will find hospitals for the sick, almshouses for the poor, 
and dispensaries for furnishing the indigent with medicines gratui- 
tously, in all the large cities where they are required.* There is a 
legal provision for the poor in all the States, not such, however, as to 
do away with the necessity of individual or associated effort to meet 
extraordinary cases of want, especially when it comes on suddenly, 
and in the train of disease. The rapid and wide-spread attacks of 
epidemics may demand, and will assuredly find benevolent individ- 
uals ready to associate themselves for meeting such exigencies, before 
the measures provided by law can be brought to bear upon them.f 

It is with great pleasure that I state that the Gospel finds admit- 
tance into the establishments for the relief of poverty and disease, 
which have been created and maintained by the municipal and State 
authorities ; and that I have never heard of any case in which the 
directors have opposed the endeavors of judicious Christians to make 
known to the inmates the blessings of religion. Prudent and zealous 
Christians, both ministers and laymen, are allowed to visit, and min- 

* The manner of providing for the poor differs greatly in different States. In the 
"West, where there is but little extreme poverty, the inhabitants of each township 
generally make this provision in such manner as best suits them. Money is raised, 
and by a " commissioner of the poor" appropriated to the support of such as need it. 
Those who have families live in houses hired for them ; single persons board with 
others who are willing to take them for the stipulated sum. In the Atlantic States, 
where there are more poor who need assistance, the same course is pursued in many 
cases. In others, "poor-houses" are erected in such counties as choose to have such 
establishments, and to these the townships send their quota of paupers, and pay for 
their board, clothing, etc. In the cities on the sea-board, the municipal authorities 
make abundant provision for the poor who need aid, a great proportion of whom are 

f There were many illustrations of the expansive nature of individual and associ- 
ated charity during the prevalence of the cholera. In all our large cities, associations, 
comprising the very best Christians in them, were formed with the utmost prompti- 
tude, and zealously sustained as long as needed. I myself saw, and often attended 
the meetings of an association of Christian ladies formedin Philadelphia, as soon as 
the pestilence commenced its ravages in that city. They hired a house, converted it 
into a hospital, gathered into it all the children whom the plague had made orphans, 
both white and black, and day after day, and week after week, washed, dressed, and 
took care of those children with their own hands, and defrayed all the expenses of 
the establishment. Two of the children died of the cholera in their arms ! These 
ladies belonged, many of them, to the first families in that city. 


isters to preach to the occupants of such establishments ; and in sev- 
eral of our cities, one or more excellent ministers of the Gospel are 
employed to preach regularly in them as well as in the prisons. With 
rare exceptions, they are in the hands of Protestants, though Roman 
Catholic priests are nowhere forbidden to enter and teach all who de- 
sire their ministrations. 

Of all the beneficent institutions of our large cities, there are none 
more interesting than those intended for the benefit of children. 
Orphan asylums, well established and properly conducted, are to be 
found in every city of any considerable size throughout the Union. 
Nor are these asylums provided for white children only ; they are also 
for the colored. Indeed, it can not be said with truth that the poor 
and the sick of the African race, in our cities and large towns, are less 
cared for than those of the white race. Nor are those children only 
who have lost both parents thus provided for. In some of our cities, 
asylums have been formed for what are called half-orphans — that is, 
those who have still one parent or both, but are not supported by 
them. I am not aware that there is a single foundling hospital in 
the United States. 

In some of our cities we have admirable institutions, called houses 
of refuge, for neglected children, and for such as are encouraged by 
their parents to live a vagabond life, or are disposed to lead such a 
life. In these establishments, now nine in number, they not only re- 
ceive the elements of a good English education, but are instructed 
also in the mechanical arts ; and with these religious instruction is 
faithfully and successfully combined. All of these institutions were 
commenced, and are carried on by the voluntary efforts of Christians, 
though they have been greatly assisted by appropriations in their favor, 
in the shape of endowments or annuities from some of the State gov- 

Nor are the aged poor neglected. Asylums for widows are to be 

* One of the best conducted of these establishments is at Philadelphia. It occu- 
pies a beautiful site, and has a number of acres of ground attached to it. There are 
here usually between one and two hundred youth of both sexes, who occupy different 
apartments, and are under the care of excellent teachers. The magistrates of the 
city have the power to send vagrant, idle, and neglected children to it. Yery many 
youths have left this institution greatly benefitted by their residence in it. It has 
fallen to the lot of the writer to preach often to its inmates, and never has he seen a 
more affecting sight. If a man wishes to learn the importance of the parental rela- 
tion, and the blessings which flow from a faithful fulfilment of its duties, let him visit 
such an institution, and inquire into the history of each youth whom it contains. A 
similar one, admirably conducted, has within a few years been established at Alle- 
gheny city (near Pittsburg), partly by the aid of the State of Pennsylvania. The 
"Farm Schools" for orphans and for neglected children, in the neighborhoods of Bos- 
ton and New York, are excellent, and have been the means of doing much good. 


met with in all our large towns, where they are, in fact, most needed ; 
and old and infirm men are also provided for. 

At the same time, that " charity which seeketh not her own," but 
the good of all others, no matter what may have been their character 
or what their crimes, has not forgotten those unfortunate females 
who have been the victims of the faithlessness of men. Magdalen 
asylums have been founded in all our chief cities, especially on the 
sea-board, and have been the means of doing much good. It is only 
to be regretted that this branch of Christian kindness and effort has 
not been far more extensively prosecuted. Nevertheless, there are 
many hearts that are interested in it ; and in the institutions which 
they have erected, the glorious Gospel of Him who said to the peni- 
tent woman in Simon's house, " Thy faith hath saved thee, go in 
peace," is not only preached, but also received into hearts which the 
Spirit of God has touched and broken. 



The utmost attention is now paid in the United States to a class 
of the unfortunate who, of all others, present the strongest claims on 
our sympathy — I allude to the insane. For these very much has been 
done in the course of the last twenty years, by the establishment of 
suitable places for their reception, instead of confining them, as for- 
merly, in the common prisons of the country. In this the American 
Prison Discipline Society has exerted a most extensive and happy in- 
fluence, never having ceased, in its annual reports, to urge upon the 
governments of the States the duty of providing proper receptacles, 
to which persons discovered to be insane might be conveyed as 
promptly as possible, with a view to their proper treatment. The 
society has showed this to be an imperative duty on the part of the 
States, and its voice has not been heard in vain. 

There are now thirty-one asylums in the United States, supported 
or aided by the States, and some of these are on a large scale. That 
near Utica will consist, when completed, of four buildings, each four 
hundred and forty-six feet long by forty-eight feet wide, forming the 
sides of a beautiful quadrilateral area, which, by the intersection of 
its corners with verandahs of open lattice-work, assumes an octagonal 
form. It is intended for the insane poor of the State of New York, 


that State being at the sole expense of its erection : and the cost, 
npon the completion of the whole, will amount, it is supposed, 
to about $1,000,000. It is calculated to receive one thousand 

Nearly all these asylums are constructed on the most approved 
plans. Nearly all are beautifully situated, have a light and cheerful 
aspect, and are surrounded with ample grounds, tastefully laid out 
in fields and meadows, pleasant gardens, and delightful walks. After 
visiting many such institutions in Europe, I can truly say that I have 
seen none more pleasantly situated, or better kept, than the Massa- 
chusetts State As