Page images
[merged small][ocr errors]

The Anniversary Meetings. – We cannot omit all notice of the recent anniversary occasions without leaving our record of religious affairs very incomplete. Yet such full and accurate accounts of the meetings in which our readers take the most interest, have appeared in the journals whose time of publication gives them the advantage of freshness in their contents, that we need only present an outline of the proceedings. On the whole, the meetings held in our own denomination were marked by more than usual animation, and resulted in valuable influences. This remark is especially true in reference to the American Unitarian Association. At the meetings for business discussions of great importance were conducted in a tone of the utmost frankness, and with singular earnestness both of individual conviction and of mutual good-will; while we may safely say that the addresses at the public celebration of the anniversary of this institution were never surpassed, in the lofty Christian eloquence by which they were distinguished. The discussions at the Ministerial Conference were also free and cordial, and the morning prayermeetings were highly enjoyed by those who were present at them. The “ Collation,” though more fully attended than on any previous year, had not quite so much of delightful interest as we have known to belong to it. The deepest impression which every one, we believe, must have carried away from an attendance on the services of the anniversary week, was derived from an observation of the harmony of sentiment which prevailed amidst considerable difference of opinion. Great plainness of speech seemed only to afford opportunity for the exhibition of great friendliness of feeling, and if it was manifest that there was no ecclesiastical pressure to keep us together, it was quite as evident that there was no personal bitterness to drive us apart. Respect and confidence towards one another, with wide diversity of judgment, were seen to be the grounds of our union and the security of our independence.

It would be impossible for us even to enumerate all the religious and philanthropic associations which held their annual meetings in our city during the week “of our solemnities." The attendance of persons from the vicinity and from distant places manifestly increases with every year. Some of these meetings derived more than usual interest from the variety of opinion which was expressed in regard to the measures that had been, or should be pursued to promote the objects which they had in view. At the American Peace Society a discussion of some moment arose respecting the connexion which this Society had been unjustly thought to hold with other purposes than that which is expressed in its Constitution. The result was, an affirmation of the principle, that its single object is an exposure of the unchristian character of war. The Prison Discipline Society was agitated by a debate, conducted with ability, on the course which the Society had adopted in reference to the question concerning the merits of the separate and the congregate systems of penitentiary discipline. The propriety of the past action of the Society was reaffirmed, but the matter was placed in the hands of a Committee for farther examination.-From the reports we have seen of the meetings of the Trinitarian Congregational Associations this year, we judge that they rather fell below the usual measure of interest and profit. The Baptist anniversaries seem to have given satisfaction.-We

ce the introduction of a social meeting, the idea of which we sus


Religious Intelligence.


pect was borrowed from our collation. On one of the evenings of the anniversary week "some six or eight hundred gentlemen of different religious denominations took tea together, by invitation from a Committee of arrangements,” in one of the rooms of the Tremont Temple. “A free interchange of thought and feeling," with one or two addresses, seems to have rendered it an agreeable occasion.The most remarkable meeting of the week, in respect to the character of its proceedings, was that held by the New England AntiSlavery Convention, at which speeches were made and resolutions passed, that we can regard only with amazement and grief, as coming from men, some of whom we have honored for their purity of purpose as much as we have loved them for their sweetness of temper. How they can adopt or encourage such invective against the institutions of the land, civil and sacred, and against those whose only offence is a difference of judgment, is what we find it difficult to explain.

The anniversary meetings in New York, which took place a fortnight earlier than in Boston, appear to have been marked by nothing unusual. The financial affairs of the several Societies were in a good state, some which had been embarrassed having relieved themselves from debt, and their operations the last year indicated efficient management. We observe that, as in former years, the addresses were made almost wholly by clergymen. It is certainly a little remarkable, that in this country, where the gist of speech is exercised with such extraordinary self-satisfaction on every other subject, men cannot be found to speak at a public religious meeting unless they have been accustomed to stand up in a pulpit.

The triennial meetings of the General Assemblies of the Old School and New School Presbyterian Church, recently held in Philadelphia, were signalized by discussions of great interest and ability. In the latter body especially, the debate in regard to the action which the Assembly should take on the subject of Slavery, prolonged through several days, was one of the most remarkable ever held in this country. Southern, Northern, and Western men expressed themselves with the utmost freedom and strength of conviction, but in most cases without asperity. Some advocated the passage of strong anti-slavery resolutions; some defended slavery on moral and Scriptural grounds; some advised no action on the subject; and some were in favor of an explicit but moderate declaration of opinion, condemping Slavery, but leaving any question of ecclesiastical censure which might arise out of its existence to the inferior judicatories, This last course was adopted by a large majority. In the Old School Assembly much time was spent in debating a proposal to unite with the other Assembly in celebrating the Lord's Supper; which was rejected, on the ground that it was contrary to usage to unite formally with any other ecclesiastical body in that service. It was plain, however, that many of the members regarded this as a first step towards a reunion of the Assemblies, which they deprecated and argued against. The New School Presbyterians are evidently more disposed to overlook the difference and heal the breach between themselves and their former associates, than are the Old School men. It is mournful in reading the reports of these meetings, to observe with what deference the standards of the Church are adduced in argument, as being of at least equal authority with the Bible.

[ocr errors]

An ecclesiastical demonstration has lately been made in the city of Baltimore, which was doubtless intended to impress the people with a sense of the magnificence and majesty of the Romish Church. The Sixth Provincial Council of the Roman Catholic Church of the United States was held in the Cathedral, with great pomp, and all the showy solemnities of religion which Popery knows so well how to gather about its institutions. Twenty-two bishops and one archbishop were present. Besides the public services, the regular business of the Council was transacted, and six “ decrees” were passed.

American Unitarian Association. This body celebrated their twenty-first anniversary on Tuesday, May 26, 1846. The meeting for business was opened at 9 o'clock, in the chapel in Bedford Street. The President and Vice Presidents being absent, Rev. Charles Brooks of Boston was called to the chair. Prayer was offered by Mr. Brooks. Some discussion arose in regard to the nomination of officers for the ensuing year, the constitution of the Executive Committee, and the salary of the General Secretary, which was finally fixed at $1,500. An adjournment then took place till the evening, when the Association, in the Channing Street Vestry, accepted the Treasurer's Report, - which presented a sum total of receipts the last year, of $15,035,06 ; expenditures, $14,835,33, -and made choice of officers for the present year, viz. Rev. Orville Dewey D. D. President ; Vice Presidents, those chosen last year, with the exception of J. B. Whitridge M. D. of Charleston S.C., in the place of the late Henry Payson Esq.; Rev. Charles Briggs, General Secretary; Rev. Samuel K. Lothrop, Assistant Secretary ; Mr. Henry P. Fairbanks, Treasurer ; Rev. James F. Clarke, Rev. Ephraim Peabody, Rev. Frederick D. Huntington, Rev. Frederick T. Gray, Mr. Isaiah Bangs, and Mr. Charles K. Dillaway, Directors. The Association then adjourned to the Federal Street meetinghouse, where the public meeting was held. On Thursday morning they again met for business in the Bedford Street chapel, Rev. Mr. Brooks in the chair. The expediency of maintaining the office of Travelling Agent was made the subject of discussion, which was pursued till the hour for attending the religious services of the Convention of Congregational Ministers, and was resumed in the afternoon. We have never listened to a discussion marked by more simple honesty of purpose or practical directness of remark. It resulted in a unanimous adoption of a series of resolutions expressing 1. a belief that the business of the Association and its opportunities for useful action had so increased, that it was proper such an office should be established; 2. that the trial of the last year had strengthened the conviction of its importance; 3. that it should thenceforth be considered a permanent part of the arrangements of the Association; 4. that the appointment of the Agent should be vested in the hands of the Executive Committee, to be made annually; 5. that the salary attached to the office should be determined by the Committee, under the condition that it should not exceed $1,000; 6. that the Committee should be authorized to prescribe and distribute the duties of the Travelling Agent and the General Secretary, in such a manner as may best promote their efficiency; 7. that it is desirable that a room be procured in some central situation in Boston, which may be used as a reading-room and library, as well as for the immediate purposes of the Association. A resolution was also


Religious Intelligence.


adopted, advising the Executive Committee to issue a cheap series of tracts of a practical character for gratuitous distribution, and to make such arrangements as they may think best for holding County Conventions. Thanks were voted to Rev. Messrs. A. B. Muzzey, G. E. Ellis, and N. Hall, and H. B. Rogers Esq., who had declined a reelection, for their past services on the Executive Committee. — In the course of these business meetings the propriety of returning an answer to the Address sent to American Unitarians by the Irish Unitarian Christian Association was urged by Rev. Mr. May of Leicester, and a Committee was at one time appointed to prepare such an answer; but afterwards a reconsideration was voted, and it was decided that it did not come within the province of the Association to take any action upon the subject, since the Letter was not addressed nor sent to this body.- Rev. Mr. Palfrey of Barnstable offered an amendment of the Constitution, in the article respecting the officers of the Association, which according to rule lies over to the next annual meeting.

The public meeting of the Association was opened in the Federal Street meetinghouse on Tuesday evening, by prayer from Rev. Dr. Ingersoll. Hon. Samuel Hoar, one of the Vice Presidents, presided. The General Secretary read the annual Report of the Executive Committee, a brief, but comprehensive and satisfactory document. Rev. Mr. Clarke, for the Committee, offered a series of resolutions, referring 1. to the advantages which Unitarians possess for conducting missionary operations; 2. to the importance of the principles of Christian freedom and progress, by which they have been distinguished in past times ; 3. to the interest which they ought to take in social reforms and philanthropic movements; 4. to the duty which lies on them to plead for peace, and to the general expression which should be given by Christians to their sense of the horrors and sins of war; 5. to the success of the Meadville Theological School, and the interest which the Christian Connexion have manifested towards it; 6. to a more extensive circulation of the works of standard Unitarian writers; 7. to the spread of Liberal views in Canada and Great Britain ; 8. to the labors and worth of those who during the last year have entered on a higher life, especially of Ware, Aspland, and Story. Mr. George G. Channing then submitted a statement of his services the last year as Travelling Agent, as especially illustrating the justice of the first resolution. Rev. Frederick W. Holland of Rochester N. Y. offered some remarks founded also on this resolution. John A. Andrew Esq. of Boston spoke particularly upon the second and third resolutions. Rev. William H. Channing dwelt upon the great principles of liberty, holiness, and love, which Unitarians had professed to adopt. George S. Hillard Esq. of Boston spoke with great force of the influence which Christianity ought to exert on public affairs and public men. Mr. Richard Warren of New York said a few words in the name of the Unitarian Association of the State of New York. The lateness of the hour rendered it proper that the meeting should then be closed, though other gentlemen were prepared to offer remarks, and after singing the Doxology, the Association adjourned.

At the close of the meeting of the Association on Thursday afternoon, many of those who had been present, remained and organized

a meeting for action upon the Irish Address on Slavery, noticed in the previous record, by choosing Rev. Edward B. Hall, Chairman, and John A. Andrew Esq. Secretary. A Committee of ten was then appointed to prepare and send a reply to the Address, and the meeting was dissolved.

We understand that since the meeting of the Association the Executive Committee have appointed Mr. George G. Channing of Boston Travelling Agent for the present year.

The Collation. — This very pleasant_festival was observed on Tuesday, May 26, for the sixth time. The new and spacious hall over the depot of the Maine rail-road had been procured for the purpose, and afforded room for the accommodation of a larger company than had ever before been gathered on the occasion. The invited clergymen with their wives and daughters, and the laymen who had secured tickets, with their female friends, assembled in the attic, (which was so arranged as to serve for drawing-rooms,) whence they proceeded at 2 o'clock to the tables below. These were arranged with taste, and provided with all that was necessary for the refreshment of the body. More than one thousand persons are known to have been seated at the tables, including perhaps an equal number of each sex. Hon. Josiah Quincy had been requested by the Committee of arrangements to preside. The Divine blessing having been asked by Rev. R. C. Waterston, the company gave themselves to the material part of the entertainment, while the hum of conversation filling the great hall indicated how agreeable they found their proximity to one another. Thanks having been returned by Rev. S. K. Lothrop, an original hymn was sung by the company, led by a performer on the piano. President Quincy then addressed the company at some length, upon the privileges of the day and the strong characteristics of our faith. Rev. Dr. Pierce of Brookline followed in a few pleasant remarks. Another original hymn was then sung. After which short addresses were made by Rev. Mr. Hall of Providence R. I., Rev. Mr. Hosmer of Buffalo N. Y., Mr. Richard Warren of New York, Elder Harvey, of the Christian Connexion, from Pennsylvania, and Rev. Mr. Conant of Geneva, III. After the singing of a third original hymn, other brief addresses were made by Elder Walter of Springfield, Ohio, also of the Christian Connexion, and Rev. Mr. Cordner of Montreal, Canada. The hour had then arrived for closing the feast, and after singing the Doxology, and passing a vote of thanks to the Committee of arrangements and requesting them to fill the same office the next year, the company dispersed at 61 o'clock.

Ministerial Conference. - The clerical meeting which for many years was held on the Wednesday morning of anniversary week in the Berry Street Vestry, having for the last two or three years been removed to a larger room, and the name also of the street having been changed, (to Channing Street,) can no longer be described under its former title. As the Ministerial Conference, the brethren met this year in the chapel in Bedford Street, May 27. After prayer by Rev. Mr. Palfrey of Barnstable, the annual Address was delivered by Rev. Edward B. Hall of Providence R. I.,-on the relation of the Gospel and its ministers to individual and social reform. Rev. Dr. Park

« PreviousContinue »