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we had just received the intelli- he says, "though cut off from
In Philadelphia, the Sunday after my arrival, I heard our excellent Liturgy for the first time on these western shores; and the impression it was calculated to make on my mind was deepened by the circumstance of its being sacrament Sunday, and by the stillness and decorum which pervaded this beautiful city, in a degree which I had never witnessed even in England. Here I was also much gratified by meeting with the aged Bishop White, one of the bishops who went over to England after the Revolution, to be consecrated, in order that episcopal authority might be transmitted to the latest generations of America, through the legitimate channel in which it had flowed since the laying on of Apostolic hands. Our excellent Granville Sharp, and his meritorious efforts in his cause, came forcibly to my recollection.
While drinking tea with a friend in Baltimore, one of the females of the family came in, who I learnt had been attending an adult school in which there were 180 Blacks. She told me there were 600 Blacks in the Sunday-schools in the city; and that they had lately formed themselves into a Bible Association, and been received into connexion with the Baltimore Bible Society. At the same place, a letter was shewn to me just received from the Black person on whom the management of the expedition of the Colonization Society devolved, on the White agents falling a sacrifice to the dreadful mortality with which the settlers were visited. On a desert shore, deprived by death of the White conductors, to whom he and his companions looked for protection-depressed by the successive deaths of his Black friends, and harassed by the delays, irregularities, and suspicious conduct of the native chiefs-he writes in a strain of fortitude and piety, deserving of imitation. "But, thank God,"
my friends, and relations, and family, and the comforts of civilized life, our people dropping off daily, myself labouring under great bodily weakness, and an important charge lying upon me, I can truly say that I rejoice that I came to Africa. O that what few days I am spared in this world, it may be to do good!" And yet this person, I was told, was once an American Slave.
At Washington, I attended Divine service in the House of Representatives; a magnificent hall in the capitol, which is always appropriated to this purpose on Sundays. The sermon was an impressive one, from the words, "The glorious Gospel of Christ;" and you will readily believe, that the promulgation of this Gospel in the capital of this vast continent, in the new chamber of its Legislature, under the fostering care of its popular Government, was well calculated to excite the most interesting reflections. The scene reminded me of the period when "they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God;" and when I recollected how long the Star had appeared in the East, before it shed its radiance on the darkness of these Western shores,-whose very existence a few centuries since was unsuspected, and which had long been abandoned to Indian superstitions, which had only just ceased to linger in the primeval forests which surrounded us, and on the banks of rivers which yet bear their Indian names, I seemed admitted to a closer view of that mysterious progression by which "the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever." train of thought, the place, the congregation, the surrounding scene, conspired to give a peculiar inte
rest to the verses with which the that chain of secondary causes service was concluded.
"How happy are our ears," &c. To enter fully into my feelings, you must recollect my distance from the scene where we have usually sung these words; and that when I hear of the East, I do not here think of India and China only, but include Europe and Africa, and with them dear England, in the idea which is present to my imagination. On my return to my inn, I dined in company with my friends the Indian Deputation of the Creeks and Cherokees, to whom I have already introduced you. In the afternoon, I sat in the seat next to the President's, in the Episcopal Church, where we had an excellent sequel to our morning's sermon, from the words, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?"
When visiting General Washington's tomb, in his favourite retreat at Mount Vernon, on the banks of the Potowmac, my Black attendant informed me, that the domestics, about thirty I believe in number, and principally slaves,-assembled morning and evening for family worship, at which the Hon. Bushrod Washington, the present occupier of Mount Vernon, and a Judge of the Supreme Court, presides. When I was shewn into the Judge's study, Scott's Bible and Dr. Dwight's Theology were before him, as if just laid aside, and gave rise to a little conversation. In speaking of the African Colonization Society, of which he is the President, he remarked, that the most interesting light in which he regarded it, was as an instrument for the conversion of the Africans to Christianity; that he conceived this would ultimately be accomplished by native teachers; and that the Colonization Society, by the introduction into Africa of social arrangements and religious institutions, was calculated to raise up a supply of native instructors, and thus to form an important link in
which are to establish the kingdom of the Messiah in every quarter of the globe.
At Charleston, in South Carolina, at the Episcopal Church, at the door of which I counted seventeen carriages, I had the gratification of seeing some slaves receive the sacrament at the same table as their masters, some of whom were of the very first rank of Carolinian planters.
At Augusta, in Georgia, I thought with much interest on the late excellent Miss Smelt, whose Memoirs I had read in England; and although I could not find her grave in the church-yard, it was with great pleasure that I passed a solitary Sabbath in this foreign land amid the scenes where her early piety was cherished and matured.
The following Sunday, in a remoter part of Georgia, near the borders of the Indian Nation, my feelings were still more strongly excited. I attended a Negro congregation assembled in the woods, to hear a funeral sermon from one of their own number, himself a slave. It consisted of about 200 slaves, sitting on little planks under a large elm-tree; and I found I was the only White person, and the only freeman, in the assembly. The preacher first gave a sort of general address, explaining the occasion of the meeting. We then had prayer; then sung the hymn, "Why do we mourn departed friends?" and then had a sermon from the text, "The Lord is a sun and shield;" a text which the preacher assured them was somewhere in the Bible, although "he could not undertake to tell them where." It was with mingled emotions that I beheld these degraded fellow-creatures, after drawing near to the Throne of the Creator of the universe, the Mercy Seat of our common Father, disperse to their several plantations, to resume on the morrow their extorted labours, and to smart under the lash of a fellow-mortal.
Even in that land of darkness, the shores of the Gulph of Mexico, in Mobile, until lately a nest of pirates, and still without a Protestant place of worship, I found, to my surprise, "The Dairyman's Daughter," and "Little Jane," in a bookseller's shop. In the seclusion of the forests of the Mississippi, I have seen a solitary planter take down a number of Dr. Clarke's Bible, and inquire, with great interest, if I could tell him any particulars of so good a man his wife listening attentively, and pronouncing an eulogium which would have made the Doctor blush.
I have attended Divine service at the confluence of two beautiful rivers in East Tennessee, where the congregation was so numerous that we were compelled to adjourn from the meeting-house into the adjoining woods, where tables were laid under the trees for communicants, who were flocking from miles in every direction, as in Scotland, and to whom the sacred ordinance was
administered by four clergymen, of serious deportment, and apparently of respectable acquirements and fervent zeal. At the foot of the
Alleghany mountains, where I slept in a little log-hut, kept by a poor old woman and her only son, our hostess gladly availed herself of the accidental presence of a young minister, in his way to Brainerd, to have family prayer and reading: and, in a large popular inn in Virginia, I was asked whether I would like to retire to the private apartments of the family, who assembled morning and evening at the domestic altar.
But it was at the missionary settlements at Brainerd and Yaloo Busha, that my feelings were most strongly excited. Never shall I forget my sensations the two nights I passed in Mr. Kingsbury's little room, which was kindly and courteously assigned to me during my stay. A log-cabin, detached from the other wooden buildings, in the middle of a boundless forest, in an
Indian country, consecrated, if I may be allowed the expression, by standing on missionary ground, and by forming at once the dormitory and the sanctuary of a "man of God;" it seemed to be indeed the prophet's chamber, with "the bed and the table, and the stool and the candlestick." It contained, also, a little book-case, with a valuable selection of pious books, periodical, biographical, and devotional; among which I found many an old acquaintance in this foreign land, and which enable Mr. Kingsbury, in his few moments of leisure, to converse with many who have long since joined the spirits of just men made perfect, or to sympathize with his fellow-labourers in Otaheite, Africa, or Hindoostan.
Mr. Kingsbury spent a great part of the second night in my room, inquiring, with great interest, about England, and other parts of Europe, with respect to which his intelligence had been very scanty since his seclusion among the Indians. About midnight, we became thirsty with talking so much; and Mr. Kingsbury proposed that we should walk to the spring at a little distance. The night was beautifully serene after the heavy showers of the preceding evening, and the coolness of the air, the fresh fragrance of the trees, the deep stillness of the midnight hour, and the soft light which an unclouded moon shed on the logcabins of the missionaries, contrasted with the dark shadows of the surrounding forest, impressed me with feelings which I never can forget. We looked cautiously around us, lest we should be surprised by wild beasts; and Mr. Kingsbury stopped to point out to me a plant, which, if swallowed immediately after the attack of a rattlesnake, proves an effectual antidote to the poison. He said that he never stirred from home without some of it in his waiscoat pocket: and that, in the State of Mississippi, it was commonly carried by all persons who traversed the forest. I could not
help regarding this as a fresh illustration of that providential kindness which so frequently ordains the proximity of the bane and antidote. The preceding particulars will convince you that some indications of genuine, influential, religious principle, occur, even to the rapid traveller, in almost every part of the United States. During my resi dence in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston, I have seen that there is in each of them an extensive society of exemplary Christians; and I have had the pleasure of forming an acquaintance with many whose virtues I would gladly emulate, and whose characters are an ornament to their profession.
But you will wish to know in what degree vital piety prevails in the community; and I regret that I cannot tell you more explicitly: the subject does not admit of precision. The extent in which reliligion prevails here is known only to the Searcher of hearts; but there is the strongest reason to believe that it is very considerable. Indeed, I am disposed to think, that a cursory traveller visiting England and America, without prejudice, and with equal opportunities of observation, would draw a more favourable inference with respect to the state of religion in the Atlantic cities of the latter, than in the towns or cities of the former. Whether a long residence in the respective places would not lead to some change in his opinions, or at least hold them in suspense, I am at a loss to decide; but I believe it would.
I confine my supposition to the Atlantic cities, because the benighted shores of the Gulph of Mexico, and many portions of the western wilds, possess few features in common with our favoured country, and should rather be compared with our colonial possessions in the East or West Indies ;-indeed I might include extensive districts in the back parts of many of the Atlantic States, CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 246.
where population is thinly scatter ed, and opportunities of public worship occur only once or twice a-month. In some of these, I thought I observed great coldness in religious concerns; the unfrequency of public ordinances rendering the inhabitants rather less willing than more so to avail themselves of them when offered. I felt more disappointed in such districts than in the frontier settlements. In the latter, some spiritual as well as temporal privations are naturally to be expected; though I thought their inhabitants exhibited much greater solicitude for schools and churches than those of the former. In fact, the new settlers from the Atlantic States, have, in many cases, participated in the advantages of that general revival of religion which promises to be the characteristic of modern times; and, before their zeal has had time to cool in solitude and separation, it has often secured a provision for those religious ordinances by which it may be cherished and sustained. But the back parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia were settled in less auspicious days; and we must not be surprised if the flame of piety, burning less brightly at that time even on the coast, should grow pale and sickly when removed into an atmosphere which ministered little to its support.
Generally speaking, it has appeared to me, that the style of preaching in this country is more Calvinistic than with us, and that there is also less opposition to the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel among men of the world. It is owing partly to this circumstance, that the profession of religion involves less of that mitigated persecution of modern days which a decided Christian must often encounter with us in the regrets or remonstrances of opposing friends, or the ridicule or distance of sneering companions. A religious profession might, therefore, be supposed to be more common; and perhaps
may be rather so, though this has hardly struck me.
Whatever may be the actual state of religion in this country, I am quite satisfied that it is on the advance. There may be local exceptions; but my inquiries and observations in every part of my route have led me to a confident conclusion as to the general fact. Many of the societies for the promotion of religion are of recent origin; but they are gradually diffusing themselves over the Union, and the sympathy which was first kindled by commiseration for the Otaheitan or Hindoo, instead of being exhausted on distant objects, seems to derive fervour from its very expansion, and is now visiting the hut of the Aborigines, the log-cabin of the Backwoodman, and the habitation of the careless or uninstructed "neighbour." In New Orleans, in March 1815, there was not a Bible to be found, either for sale or to be given away; and the only Protestant place of worship was in an upper room belonging to an individual. Now, a Louisianian Bible Society is in regular operation, and the inhabitants have a handsome Episcopalian and Presbyterian church. The Sabbath is still dreadfully and generally profaned there; but it is religiously observed by many, the influence of whose example is daily extending. At the boarding house where I lodged, were several naval and military, as well as mercantile, gentlemen; and I remember an officer who had been drilling his rifle corps one Sunday, remarking on the strong representations which the Presbyterians had been making to him on the subject. He defended the practice by those arguments of expediency which have been worn thread-bare by the commanders of our volunteer corps. A few years since, no remonstrance would have been hazarded; or, if hazarded, the summary argument of a pistol would probably have silenced the interference.
Unhappily, however, while reli
gion is extending its boundaries in the United States, Unitarianism is but too successfully urging what we consider its conflicting claims ; but this, and the state of morals, must form the subject of another letter. This letter is already sadly too long. (To be continued.)
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
YOUR correspondents and LEB. TR. in your Numbers for last September and December, have entered upon a subject of great moment, and have very properly exposed the evil consequences of smuggling, and, in general, of evading the laws of the country. But line upon line, and precept upon precept, are here needful: [ therefore tender for insertion the following detached hints, which were drawn up before I had read your Number for December.
If there were no purchasers of contraband or smuggled articles, there would be no contrabandists or smugglers; and as too many of those who buy illegal goods are of a higher rank in life, and are in possession of greater knowledge, than the smugglers and venders, they are guilty of a higher crime than those who are more immediately, not more essentially, concerned in the traffic.
Many persons, perhaps, have never considered the matter farther than that they procure what they want at a lower price than from the regular trader: but do they not thus encourage unfair dealing, aud sanction in others, as well as commit themselves, a direct breach of the laws of their country? Smuggling, whether in the first or second intention, is equally fraudulent and dishonest: it is a robbery of all who pay either directly or indirectly to the taxes; so that not only the king, as the phrase runs, is cheated, but, in some degree, every individual in the nation.