Slike strani


a work must, with God's blessing, accom- blessed results. According to municipal plish?

regulations, the city, which now has above I ought to add, that not only is care taken 320,000 inhabitants, is divided into wards; that both books and tracts shall be printed and to each of these, when practicable, with good type, and on excellent paper, there is appointed what is called a superbut that the books are substantially bound, intendent, generally a minister of the Gosand the tracts covered, for the most part, pel, a young man who devotes himself with handsome paper coverings. In these wholly to the work. The superintendents respects they form a marked contrast with div their wa into districts, find a disthe publications of some societies of the tributer of either sex for each, hold fresame kind on the Continent of Europe. It quent meetings with their distributers, prois rightly thought to be a false economy vide them with tracts for distribution, rewhich, for the sake of saving a few hun-ceive their reports, draw up a general one dred dollars, would fail to render attractive for the monthly meeting of the City Tract in appearance, as well as readable and du- Society, under whose auspices the work rable, publications which are intended to proceeds, and read their reports at those interest, instruct, and save men, many of meetings. Withal, they hold prayer meetwhom are wholly indifferent to religion, ings in their respective wards almost every and might be repelled from reading them night in the week, and engage competent were they to appear in a mean and shabby persons to hold others which they cannot dress.

themselves attend. The distributers laBesides its publications in English, the bour gratuitously. The superintendents Society has sent out a considerable num- receive usually 600 dollars each as his salber of tracts in French, German, Spanish, ary: A few years ago these sixteen suand other languages, for the various emi- perintendents were supported by the same grants that arrive in the United States. number of liberal Christian merchants and

The other measure referred to is the mechanics in that city, who rejoiced to be systematic periodical distribution of tracts instrumental in maintaining this good work. in cities, towns, villages, and even rural I shall conclude by giving the summary districts, though this cannot be done di- of what was accomplished in New York rectly by the Society, so much as by the during the year ending on the 1st of Denumerous auxiliaries which it endeavours cember 1843, as presented at the regular, heartily to engage in carrying it through. annual public meeting, held in one of the The object is to place a tract, at least once churches of that city. in the month, in every family willing to

1,050 average number of visiters (or distributers). receive one, and, where practicable, to ac- 732,155 iracts distributed, containing 3,425,781 pages. company it with religious conversation, 936 Bibles and 558 Testaments received from the New

York Bible Society, and supplied to the destitute. especially where ignorance of the Gospel

4,496 volumes lent from the ward libraries. or family affliction renders it peculiarly 2,200 children gathered into Sabbath-schools. called for.

315 children gathered into public schools. In pursuing this design, the

131 persons gathered into Bible-classes. city, town, or village is divided into small 904 persons induced to attend church. geographical districts, each containing a 705 temperance pledges obtained. certain number of families, and assigning

1,433 district prayer-meetings held. to each a sufficiency of zealous, intelligent, 396 persons hopefully converted. and prudent Christians to make monthly

342 converts united with evangelical churches. visits to every family, and leave the tract Such is the tabular view presented by selected for the month. Some will require one year's labour in the field of Tract dismore than one visit, particularly the sick tribution in one city. and the destitute; but houses where the Besides the American Tract Society, inmates persist in refusing tracts, in spite which may be regarded as a vast reservoir of every effort to overcome their reluc-of common truth-of doctrines about which tance, are passed by.

all evangelical Protestants are agreed This plan, wherever justice has been done there are other societies that publish relito it in practice, has been found eminently gious tracts and books; and among these I beneficial. Cases of poverty and disease may mention, as distinguished for the enerare discovered and made known to associ- gy of its management and the extent of its ations and individuals likely to attend to operations, the “ Book Concern” of the them. Many persons, living in the con- Methodist Episcopal Church. This institustant neglect of public worship, are in- tion is situated in New York, under the conduced to attend the preaching of the Gos- trol of the General Conference, which, every pel. The churches in the neighbourhood four years, appoints a committee to direct are pointed out to them, and they are ex- its operations. Two able agents are intrusthorted to go to such as they may prefer. ed with the management, and are required

Such is the procedure in many places to make full returns to the Bishops and to throughout the United States. In the city the General Conference. It must not be of New-York it has been in operation for thought that all its numerous publications: five or six years, and with abundance of are stamped with the peculiarities of the

43 backsliders reclaimed.

Methodist doctrines; not a few of them cussion as to the value and extent of the are the same in character with those pub- general literature of the United States, it is lished by the American Tract Society- not out of place to say something respectsuch, for instance, as the “Saints' Rest.” ing that part of it which falls under the The sales are not confined to the main de- head of Religion. pository at New-York, and the branches And first, let me advert to that which, established at some other great centres of without reference to its origin, includes all trade; its publications are retailed by all the literature of a religious kind now cirthe travelling ministers of that extensive culating through the country. In this sense, body, and thus find their way into the our religious literature is by far the most most remote log-cabins of the West. And extensive in the world, with the single exwho can calculate the good that may re- ception of that of Great Britain. We have sult from reading the biographical and di- a population of 18,500,000; and, even includactic volumes thus put into circulation ? ding the African race among us, and regardWho can tell what triumphs over sin, what ing the country as a whole, we have a larpenitential tears, what hopes made to spring ger proportion of readers than can be found up in despairing hearts, what holy resolu- in most other nations. Indeed, I am not tions, owe their existence, under God, to aware of any whole kingdom or nation that these books? The amount of the sales of has more. Deducting the coloured poputhis institution and its branches was, last lation, we have 15,500,000 of people who, year, fully 125,000 dollars.

whatever may have been their origin, are The Old School Presbyterians have also Anglo-American in character, and to a a Board of Publication, which has put forth great extent speak and read the English not only a considerable number of doctri- language. Not only so, but of these a very nal tracts in which the distinctive views of large proportion are religious in their charthat body are ably maintained, but many acters and habits, as we shall show in anbooks also of solid worth, which are gain- other place; and, among the rest, there ing an extensive circulation among its own is a widely prevalent respect for Christimembers, and the professors of the Calvin- anity, and a disposition to make themselves istic system generally. The receipts of acquainted with it. this Board were, last year, 18,160 dollars, To meet the demand created by so large and its expenditures 18,409 dollars. a body of religious and serious readers, we

The regular Baptists, too, have their have a vast number of publications in Tract and Book Society earnestly engaged every department of Christian theology, in the good work of supplying their people and these are derived from various sources: with publications addressed both to the con- Some have been translated from German verted and the unconverted. The receipts of and French; some from the Latin of more that Board were last year 9906 dollars, and or less ancient times ; some from the its expenditures 9869. The Episcopalians, Greek; while many of our learned men, Free-Will Baptists, the Quakers or Friends, and particularly of our divines, read some the Lutherans, and the Protestant Metho- or all these languages, and would think dists, have all their own Tract Societies; their libraries very deficient in the literathe last two have their “ Publication Com- ture with which they ought to be familiar, mittees” and their Book Establishments. did they not contain a good stock of such Other denominations, also, may possibly books imported from distant Europe. have theirs. The amount of evangelical Again, we have either republished or imtracts and books put into circulation by all ported a great many of the best English these “societies,” “ boards,” and “com- religious works, both of the present times mittees,” put together, cannot be exactly and of two or three centuries back. Such ascertained. Their value in money, I mean as seem adapted for popular use, and as for what they are sold, can hardly be less many of a more learned cast as seem likely than 300,000 dollars. They all help to to justify their republication, are reprinted; swell the great stream of Truth, as it rolls while not a few copies of many more are its health-giving waters through the land. ordered from Europe through the bookMay God grant that these efforts may go sellers. on continually increasing from year to Some American reprints of English reliyear, until every family shall be blessed gious books, particularly of works of a with a well-stored library of sound reli- practical character, have had an immense gious books.

circulation. The commentaries of Scott, Henry, Doddridge, Adam Clarke, and Gill,

have been extensively sold, and some CHAPTER XXI.

booksellers owe a large part of their for

tunes to the success of the American ediTHE RELIGIOUS LITERATURE OF THE UNITED

tions. All the sterling English writers on

religious subjects, of the seventeenth cenWhile it would be very foreign to the tury, as well as of later times, are familiar object of this work to enter upon any dis. I to our Christian readers; and the smaller



practical treatises of Flavel, Baxter, Bos- But our literature, it is said, is not known ton, Doddridge, and others, have been very beyond the country itself; and this is to widely disseminated. Bates, Charnock, some extent true. But that few, comparaFlavel, Howe, the Henrys, &c., are well tively, even of the distinguished authors of known among us, as are also Jeremy Tay- any country, are known beyond its limits, lor, Barrow, Bishops Hall and Wilson (of might easily be shown in the case of Sodor and Man), and many more whom I France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, and need not name. As for more modern Italy. With the exception of the corps of times, the names of Thomas Scott and literary men, even the well informed among Adam Clarke are household words, and the English are little acquainted with the Chalmers is known to hundreds of thou- literature of those countries, and but for sands who will never see his face in this what they learn through the medium of the world. There are many others in Eng- Reviews, would hardly know so much as land and Scotland with whose names we the names of some of their most distinhave been familiar from our youth. In guished authors. No doubt the literature English systematic theology no names are of every civilized nation greatly influences more known or esteemed than the late An- that of all others; not, however, by its drew Fuller and Thomas Watson. And having a general circulation in those counalthough it cannot be said that every good tries, but because of the master minds who religious work that appears in Great Brit- first familiarize themselves with it, and ain is republished in the United States, a then transfer all of it that is most valuable large proportion of the best certainly are, into their own, just as Milton appropriated especially such as are of a catholic nature, the beauties of Homer, Virgil, and Tasso. and many of thein, I am assured, have a The United States have unquestionably wider circulation in the United States than produced a considerable number of authors in England itself.

in every branch of literature, who, to say The United States have sometimes been the least, are respectable in point of emireproached by foreigners as a country nence. Their being unknown to those without any literature of native growth. who make use of the fact as a reproach to M. de Tocqueville, arguing from general the country, may possibly be owing to principles, and, as he supposes, philosophi- something else than the want of real merit cally, seems to think that, from the nature on their part; and if, upon the whole, they of things, the country, because a republic, present only what appears to foreigners never can have much literature of its own. nothing beyond a respectable mediocrity, He forgets that even the purest democrat- * It would not be difficult to make out a tolerably ical government that the world has ever long list of authors who must be pronounced, by

that of Athens, produced in its day those who know anything of them, to be such as more distinguished poets, orators, histori- would be a disgrace to no country; and many of ans, philosophers, as well as painters and writers on law in its various branches, we have Kent,

them are not unknown in Europe. Among living sculptors, than any other city or country Story, Webster, Wheaton ; in medicine, Mott, Warof the same population in the world. He ren, Beck, Ray, Jackson, and many others; in theolfull well knows, however, that the govern- ogy and Biblical science, Stuart, Miller, Woods, the ment of the United States is not an unmixed Alexanders, Hodge, Wayland, Robinson, Conant, democracy, and that in everything that bots, &c.; in belles lettres and history, Irving, Pres

Barnes, Stowe, Beecher, Schmucker, Hawks, the Abbears upon the higher branches of learning, cott, Anthon, Bancroft, Walsh, Cooper, Paulding; in our institutions are as much above the con- science, Silliman, Hitchcock, Henry, Davies; and potrol of a democracy as those of any other litical economy, Carey, Vethake, Biddle, Raymond. country. The grand disadvantage, accord- to their being known to some extent, at any rate, in

These are but a few, selected chiefly with reference ing to M. de Tocqueville, under which our Europe. Among the distinguished dead, we have literature labours is, that authors are not Marshall, Livingston, Madison, Jefferson, Jay; Rush, encouraged by pensions from the govern- Dorsey, Wistar, Dewees, Godman; the Edwardses, ment. But are these so absolutely indis-Davies, Dwight, Smith, Mason, Emmons, Channing,

Griffin, Ríce; Wirt, Noah Webster, Ramsay; Frankpensable ? Have such encouragements lin, Ewing, and Hamilton. In the fine arts, we have accomplished all that has been expected had a West, an Alston, and have now a Greenough, a from them? Are they not often shame- Powers, a Crawford ; while in the useful arts, as they fully abused, and merely made to gratify are called, we have not been without men of some the personal predilections of ministers of renown, as the names of Fulton, Whitney, and othstate ? Besides, it is notorious that in Nor are American books unknown in Great BritEngland at least, where the government ain, the only country in Europe in which they could professes, I understand, to patronise liter- be extensively read. In "Bent's London Catalogue” ature, the most distinguished authors, in all we find the names of 68 American works on theoloits various departments, owe nothing to els, 41 on education, 26 on biography, 22 on history,


gy, 66 in fiction, 56 of juvenile literature, 52 of travthat source. As for the patronage of asso-12 on poetry, 11 on metaphysics, 10 on philosophy, 9 ciations and wealthy individuals, it may on science, and 9 on law-in all, 382, which have exist just as well in the United States as been republished in England within the last ten anywhere else, and, in fact, is not unknown years. Besides these, a good many books published

in America are imported every year into Great ethere.


ers attest.

this may readily be accounted for by other pers. The New-York Observer has 16,000 causes besides any hopeless peculiarity al- subscribers, and several of the rest have a leged to exist in the people or their govern- circulation of from 5000 to 10,000 each. ment.

They comprise a vast amount of religious The country is still comparatively new. intelligence, as well as valuable selections Much has yet to be done in felling the for- from pamphlets and books; and though it est and clearing it for the habitations of may be the case that religious newspapers civilized man. But a small part of our sometimes prevent more substantial readterritory bears evidence of having been ing, yet it must be confessed, I think, that. long settled. Our people have passed they are doing great good, and are perused through exciting scenes that left but little by many who would otherwise read little leisure for writing. Few families possess or nothing at all of a religious character: much wealth. The greater number of our Besides these newspapers, there is a large institutions of learning are of recent origin. number of religious monthly and semiNone of them have such ancient founda- monthly magazines, and several quarterly tions as are to be found in many European reviews, in which valuable essays on subuniversities; our colleges have no fellow-jects of importance may be found from ships; our professors have their time much time to time.* occupied in giving instruction; our pastors, The political paperst in the United lawyers, and physicians find but little lei- States, though often extremely violent in sure, amid their professional labours, for party politics, are in many instances auxthe cultivation of literature. We have no iliary to the cause of religion. While the sinecures-no pensions--for learned men. editors of some, happily not many, are opThere is too much public life and excite- posed to everything that savours of reli. meni to allow the rich to find pleasure in gion, and even allow it to be outraged in Sybaritic enjoyments; and they have other their columns, an overwhelming majority sources of happiness than the extensive often give excellent articles, and publish a possession of paintings and statues, though large amount of religious intelligence. In even for these the taste is gaining ground. this respect there has evidently been a

But to return to our proper subject, the remarkable improvement within the last religious literature of the United States : twenty years. Many of the political jourthe number of our authors in this depart- nals have' rendered immense service in ment is by no means small. Many valuable works, the productions of native minds,

* Two of these quarterlies are published under issue year after year from the press, a very Schools; the “ Biblical Repertory and Princeton

the auspices of the Presbyterians of the Old and New large proportion

of which are of a practical Review," at Princeton, New Jersey, which is the kind, and unquestionably exert a most salu- organ of the former, and the “American Biblical tary influence. They meet with an exten- Repository," at New-York. The “ Methodist Magasive sale, for the taste for such reading is zine and Quarterly Review," and the “Christian Rewidely diffused, fostered as it is by the es-periodicals; and alí four contain able reviews and tablishment of Sunday-schools and the li- | essays. The “ Christian Register" is published braries attached to them.*

monthly; it is the organ of the Unitarians, and is To the religious literature of books must conducted with much ability. be added that of periodical works-news- nished by the Postmaster-general, the number of

+ In the year 1839, according to the statistics furpapers, magazines, reviews—and nowhere

"newspapers and other periodical journals in the else, perhaps, is this literature so extensive United States” was 1555, of which'116 were pubor so efficient. More than sixty evangeli- lished daily (the Sabbath excepted), fourteen three cal religious newspapers are published once times a week, thirty-nine twice a week, and 991 once a week. The Methodists publish eight, in- a week. The remainder, which were issued twice

a month, monthly, or quarterly, were principally cluding one in the German tongue, and all magazines and reviews. Of the newspapers, thirtyunder the direction of their Conferences. eight were in the German language, four in French, The Episcopalians have twelve; the Bap- one in Spanish, and the rest in English. Several of tists twenty ; the Presbyterians of all and English. The circulation of these newspapers

the New Orleans papers are published both in French classes, including the Congregationalists, and other periodicals is immense. Of the newspaDutch and German Reformed, Lutherans, pers alone the subscriptions are at least 1,000,000. &c., about twenty more. This estimate in And though the number is too great by one half or cludes evangelical Protestant papers only.

three fourths, and though many are conducted by In all, they cannot have fewer than 250,000 and difficult task of an editor, yet there is no deny.

men who are but poorly qualified for the responsible subscribers. The Christian Advocate (Meth- ing that even the poorest of them carry a vast amount odist), published at New-York, has about of information to readers in the most secluded and 26,000; a few years ago it had 30,000, but distant settlements, as well as to the inhabitants of the number diminished in consequence of editors in the mass, it must be acknowledged that

the most populous districts. And if we take the the establishment of other Methodist pa- they are very ready to lend their columns to the pub

lication of religious articles, of a suitable character * I need not repeat here what has been said of the and length, when requested by good men. And immense circulation of books by the Sunday-school did Christians feel as they ought on this subject, and the Tract and Book societies, including the and do what they might, the “press” would be far ** Book Concern" of the Methodists.

| more useful to the cause of religion that it is.



the Temperance cause, as well as in every society are, with few exceptions, stationed other involving the alleviation of human at foreign ports, such as Havre, in France, suffering

Canton, in China, Sydney, in New South Some of the literary and political Re- Wales, Honolulu, in ihe Sandwich Islands, views of native origin are very respectable and Cronstadt, in Russia. It had chaplains works of the kind; the North American at one time, also, at Rio Janeiro, Marseilles, Review, in particular, which has now ex- and some other places. isted more than a quarter of century. Besides promoting the establishment of There are also several valuable monthly public worship under chaplains at seaReviews. Besides these, the leading Re- ports, the society has strongly and sucviews published in Britain, such as the cessfully recommended the opening of Edinburgh, the London Quarterly, West- good boarding houses and reading-rooms minster, Foreign Quarterly, Dublin, &c., for seamen when on shore, and the promoare all republished among us.

tion of their temporal comfort in every way possible.

The efforts of the different associations

for seamen have been greatly blessed. CHAPTER XXII.

Last year, in particular, was marked by special mercies. · In no fewer than ten or twelve ports there were manifest outpour

ings of the Holy Spirit on the meetings We have spoken of the endeavours made for religious instruction. A hundred and to send the Gospel to the destitute settle- fifty sailors were reported by one of the ments of the United States, both in the West chaplains at Philadelphia as having been and in the East, but we must not forget converted under his ministry, and among that the population of that country includes these was an old man, ninety-nine years 100,000 men whose home is on the deep, of age, who had been, from time to time, and “who do business in the great wa- a drunkard for more than seventy years. ters,” a number which must be almost There are supposed to be 600 pious capdoubled if we include those who navigate tains in the United States' mercantile navy. the rivers and lakes in steamboats, sailing There are also several decidedly religious vessels, and other craft.

officers in the national marine, who exerThe first systematic efforts made on a cise a happy influence on the service. The large scale, in the United States, for the pious seamen belonging to the United salvation of seamen, commenced in 1812, States are now reckoned at about 6000; a at Boston. Since then much interest in most gratifying contrast to the state of the subject has been awakened at almost things twenty-five years ago, when a pious every port along the seaboard ; and within seaman; of any class, was rarely to be met the last few years a great deal has been with. done for boatmen and sailors on the rivers The income of the society for the last and lakes.

year was $12,992, without including the The American Seaman's Friend Society receipts of the local associations, which was instituted at New-York in 1827, and must have been considerable. Its expenis now the chief association engaged in ditures were $13,785. this benevolent enterprise. It serves, in some sense, as a central point to local societies formed in the other leading seaports, as well as those on the Western riv

CHAPTER XXIII. ers, though they are not, in general, connected with it nominally.* By a monthly OF THE INFLUENCE OF THE VOLUNTARY PRINpublication, called the Sailor's Magazine, it communicates to pious seamen much interesting information regarding the prog- We have contemplated the Voluntary ress of truth among that class of men, with Principle as the main support of religion details of its own proceedings, and those and its inst ons in the United States. of other associations of the same kind. We have now to consider its powers of

Chapels have now been opened for sea-correcting, or rather overcoming, some of men, and public worship maintained on the evils that prevail in society. And first, their account in almost all the principal let us see how it has contended with Inseaports from the northeast to the south- temperance, one of the greatest evils that west, chaplains being engaged for the pur- have ever afflicted the human race. pose, and supported chiefly by local socie

It is not easy to depict in a few words ties. Those in the service of the central the ravages of drunkenness in the United

States. The early wars of the Colonial * There are no fewer than fifty of these local associations for the promotion of the spiritual and tem- age, the long war of the Revolution, and, poral welfare of seamen and rivermen in the United finally, that of 1812–13 with England, all States.

contributed to promote this tremendous


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