Page images




compel them to receive Episcopal without avail, and finally a constituclergymen as preachers. These de- tion for the “ Protestant Episcopal nominations naturally protested, and Church of the United States of finally in 1776 all the dissenters were America ” was passed at a convenreleased from parish rates and all tion of the churches of the various forms of worship were legalized.* States. At the same time a friendly In 1785 the Religious Freedom Act letter was sent to the bishops of Eng

passed, disestablishing the land urging them to secure legislaChurch of England, abolishing parish tion by Parliament, giving American rates, and doing away with all re- clergymen the right to be ordained ligious tests. But, in turn, the perse- without taking the oaths of sucuted became the persecutors and premacy and allegiance. This was proceeded to confiscate the property done, and accordingly three Ameriof the Church of England under the can bishops were ordained in due contention that the property of the form. Thus the Episcopal Church in Church had been largely created by America was fairly started on its inunjustifiable taxation. Its parson- dependent career. ages and glebe lands were sold in Meanwhile the

first Methodist 1802; its parishes wiped out; and its church in America had been founded clergy left without a calling.+

in New York in 1766. When, in 1772, Until after the Revolution there Wesley sent over Francis Asbury to

no bishops of the English act as his representative in this Church in America, and between 1783 country, there were less than 1,000 and 1785 it was difficult to see how Methodists and six preachers in the one could be ordained, for the law country, chiefly in the Middle and compelled all who should be admitted Southern colonies, but because of Asinto the ranks of the English clergy bury's eloquence, this number had to take an oath of allegiance and ac- increased seven fold within five years. knowledge the king as the head of the After the Revolution, the American Church. Numerous attempts were Methodists cut loose from the Engmade to have bishops consecrated, but lish establishment, and Wesley then

sent Thomas Coke out as bishop for * See Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, in Ford's America and in 1784 he began his ed. of Jefferson's Writings, vol. iii., p. 262.

work in Maryland. In December of † Fiske, Critical Period, pp. 79–82. On the dispute in Virginia see Hunt, Life of Madison, chap.

that year, at a conference of 60 minix. For Jefferson's draft of the bill for establish- isters at Baltimore, Asbury was ing religious freedom in Virginia, see Ford's ed.

chosen the first American bishop and of Jefferson's Writings, vol. ii., pp. 237–239. The bill as passed is in Hening's Statutes, vol. xii., was ordained by Coke. Thus the p. 84. See also Conway, Edmund Randolph, pp. Methodist Church in America was 158–166; Gay, Life of Madison, pp. 65–70; Madison's Works (Congress ed.), vol. i., pp. 129–130. organized. Four years later, the



339 Presbyterians organized their gov- they were sent to a seminary or an ernment in a general assembly which academy and thence to Harvard or was also largely attended by Congre- Yale; but if not, the district school gationalist delegates from New Eng- constituted their source of learning. land. In New England the lay mem- Arithmetic, geography, spelling and bers were beginning to revolt against commercial usages and customs were the doctrine of eternal punishment the principal things to be learned; and the seeds of Unitarianism were political economy, geology, paleontolgerminating. In 1789 the first Roman ogy, etc., were almost unknown; but Catholic Church in New England was Latin and Greek, logic, metaphysics, dedicated at Boston, for so great had rhetoric, etc., were considered necesbeen the prejudice against the sect in sary acquirements. In New York and that region that in 1784 there were Pennsylvania a schoolhouse was selonly 600 Catholics in all New Eng- dom seen outside a village or town; land. The chief stronghold of the and in the Southern States education Catholics was Maryland, where there was sadly neglected, especially in were 20,000; in New York and New North Carolina,* where in 1776 there Jersey there were 1,700; in Delaware were only four grammar schools and and Pennsylvania, 7,700; in the four during the Revolution none. In 1775 southernmost States, 2,500; and in the there were 37 newspapers in circulaFrench settlements along the eastern tion throughout the colonies: 14 in bank of the Mississippi it was calcu- New England; 4 in New York; 9 in lated that there were about 12,000. Pennsylvania; 2 each in Virginia and In 1786 John Carroll, a cousin of North Carolina; 3 in South Carolina Charles Carroll of Carrollton, was and 1 in Georgia. At the end of the appointed apostolic vicar by the war there were 43, and scarcely one Pope, , and subsequently became contained any news of the times, bishop of Baltimore and archbishop devoting its columns chiefly to exof the United States. By 1789 all the hortations to

to righteousness, etc. States had rescinded their statutes They did, however, contain some against Catholic worship.*

valuable letters from different parts Education had not made great ad- of the country, such scraps of inforvancement. Schools for boys were mation usually being extracted from held two months in the winter, the private communications passing beteacher being a man; the girls at- tween the city inhabitants and tended for two months in the sum

friends in remote districts. mer and were generally taught by a woman. If the boys were fortunate, * On the scarcity of schools in Virginia see

Life of Archibald Alexander, pp. 11-12.

† McMaster, United States, vol. i., p. 27, quot* Fiske, Critical Period, pp. 85–87.

ing Ramsay's History of South Carolina.



LABOR CONDITIONS; SLAVERY. The principal industry in the vi- 50 per cent. higher in 1784 than in cinity of Boston was truck-farming, 1774. But his existence was pitiable. upon which the Boston people de- His dingy home was devoid of compended for their daily food. Apples fort; no carpet covered the floor; and pears were abundant; raspber- there was no glass on his table, china ries and strawberries grew wild; in his closet or pictures on his walls. oranges and bananas were luxuries; His rude and poor meals were served and the tomato, cauliflower, or egg on pewter dishes and his scanty plant had not yet been cultivated. means could hardly afford even the The farms were poor and ill-kept, staples, corn being three shillings per fences were broken down and the bushel, wheat at eight and six pence, barns mean and small; the wooden pork at ten pence per pound and an bull-plough was the chief agricultural assize of bread four pence, while instrument; grain was sowed broad- fruits were too expensive for him to cast and when ripe was cut with a think of. His clothes were scythe, and thrashed on the barn floor coarser than his food. with a flail. The condition of manu- Slavery and the slave trade still factures was not encouraging. There continued a source of much anxiety were a few paper mills, an iron foun- to many of the colonies. In 1776 dry or two, and a hat factory;* the negro slaves were held in all the thirwhale fisheries had dropped some- teen colonies, but the fact that slaves what in their importance.

were not so numerous in New EngThe so-called “ laboring " classes land as in the South was due chiefly were in better shape than they had to the rigorous climate of the North, been for some time, even though their not to any sense of its immorality. wages were small and in fact not half

The press and even the pulpit of as large, considering the depreciation early times regarded the transportain the value of money. The unskilled tion of savages to a civilized comlaborer of that day received two shil- munity as humane and Christian. lings per day for his work unless But soon the sentiment in favor of laborers were scarce, in which case abolishing this traffic began to grow, the price was raised; and the man and several of the colonies, notably who received 15 shillings per week Virginia, in 1769, had enacted laws was considered fortunate. It seems prohibiting the further importation to have been the consensus of opinion of negroes to be sold into slavery. that the wages of labor were at least The English government, however,

overruled these enactments, as “the * For Jefferson's description of conditions in trade was highly beneficial and adVirginia, see his Notes on Virginia, reprinted in

vantageous to the Kingdom.” When Ford's ed. of Jefferson's Writings, vol. iii., p.

Jefferson made his first draft of the ENACTMENTS RESPECTING SLAVERY.

111 et seq.


Declaration of Independence, he iin- upon emancipation had already been serted a clause charging that the removed in Delaware, and when its king, in order to maintain a market new constitution was adopted in 1776, for the sale of human beings, had that State prohibited the further in

prostituted his negative for sup- troduction of slaves. In 1778 Virpressing every legislative attempt to ginia, in 1783 Maryland, and still prohibit or to restrain this execrable later New Jersey prohibited the furcommerce." But this clause was ther introduction of slaves and reomitted from the Declaration because, moved all restraints upon emancipaas Jefferson said: “Our Northern tion. North Carolina sought to disbrethren also, I believe, felt a little courage the trade in 1786 by placing tender under those censures; for, a duty of £5 on every negro imported. tho' their people have very few In 1780 Pennsylvania, in 1783 New slaves themselves, yet they had been Hampshire, and in 1784 Connecticut pretty considerable carriers of them and Rhode Island provided that no to others."*

more slaves should be brought in, and The sentiment for emancipation that all children of slaves born after was gaining strength in all the colo- those dates should be free, while New nies except South Carolina and York went still further, in 1785 enactGeorgia, while in North Carolina the ing that they should not only be free pro-slavery feeling was probably but should be given the franchise on never so strong as in the southern- the same conditions as freemen. In most States, though that State still

1786 Virginia passed an act inflicting continued its importations, in the ab- the death penalty on all persons consence of any emancipation sentiment.

victed of kidnapping or selling into All the foremost statesmen of Vir

slavery any free person. In the ginia opposed a continuance of slav

Massachusetts constitution of 1780 ery, and the same was the case in

was a declaration of rights asserting Maryland; but it was easier to accom

that all men are born free and have plish emancipation in the North than

an equal and inalienable right to dein the South, because the number of slaves was small.t All restraints

but it bearg a respectable proportion to the whole

in numbers & weight of character, & it is con* Ford's ed. of Jefferson's Writings, vol. i., p. tinually recruiting by the addition of nearly the 28.

whole of the young men as fast as they come into † Jefferson said: “I conjecture there are 650,

public life.

In Maryland & N. Carolina 000 negroes in the five Southernmost states, and a very few are disposed to emancipate. In S. not 50,000 in the rest. In most of these latter · Carolina & Georgia not the smallest symptoms effectual measures have been taken for their fu- of it, but, on the contrary these two states & N. ture emancipation. In the former, nothing is Carolina continue importations of negroes. These done towards that. The disposition to emancipate have been long prohibited in all the other states." them is strongest in Virginia. Those who desire - Ford's ed. of Jefferson's Writings, vol. iv., pp. it, form, as yet, the minority of the whole state, 145-146.



fend their lives and liberties, to ac- York and North Carolina ; and 4s and quire property and to seek and obtain 8d in Georgia and South Carolina.* safety and happiness, which clause Penal affairs were in a deplorable the supreme court decided was a com- condition, the laws being especially plete abolition of slavery.*

harsh. Perhaps the worst prison in There was no money standard for the country was the underground all the States; no national currency Newgate prison, an old worked-out based upon a universally recognized copper mine near Granby, Connectiunit. The State pound and the Span- cut, which was absolutely dark and ish milled dollar were the two units reeking with filth.f At Northampton, of value in the various States, but the Worcester, and other places in Masstandards of coinage were different sachusetts the jails were scarcely betin each. In Georgia the pound con- ter, the cells being low and narrow, tained 1,547 grains of silver; in Mas- without light and almost without air. sachusetts, New Hampshire, Con- Though the cells in Philadelphia jails necticut, Rhode Island, and Virginia were themselves much larger, they it contained 1,289; in Pennsylvania, were so crowded as to make the conNew Jersey, Delaware and Maryland ditions no better; criminals of both 1,03114; and in New York and North sexes were huddled together in the Carolina 96634.7 When subdivided same cells, without beds, oftentimes into shillings and pence, the value of

without clothing, unwashed, una penny was therefore very unequal shaved and generally half dead with in the different States. The Spanish disease. The modes of punishment milled dollar was the chief silver consisted of the pillory, stocks, coin in general circulation and was

chains, whipping-post, branding, divided into a half, quarter, eighth or

hanging by the thumbs, etc., while in sixteenth, each represented by a sil

Massachusetts ten crimes were puver coin, containing whatever num

nishable by death. I ber of shillings or pence the custom

The problems before the people or standard of the country into which

were many and vexatious, for the it was taken demanded. In New Eng- end of the war did not end the trials land and Virginia the dollar was sup

of the federated colonies. In addiposed to equal 6s, or 720; 7s and 6d

tion to clearing away the wreckage in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Dela- resulting from several years of war, ware and Maryland ; 8s or 96d in New the people had to find a suitable po

litical organization and begin seriFiske, Critical Period, pp. 71-75. † See Jefferson's Notes on the Establishment of * McMaster, United States, vol. i., pp. 22–23. a Money Unit, and of a Coinage for the United † R. H. Phelps, A History of the Newgate States, in Ford's ed. of Jefferson's Writings, vol. Prison (1844). iii., p. 449.

| McMaster, United States, vol. i., pp. 98-102.

« PreviousContinue »