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first Roman Catholic to preach before the Houses of
the United States Congress. Returning from Europe,
he was taken sick on the voyage, and died in April,

The Roman Catholic Church was troubled by a
schism caused by the trustees of the Church in Phila-
delphia, which lasted from 1820 to 1831.

Schisms. ^ . . 1 , ,

One less serious, but very troublesome, oc-
curred in Buffalo, where the trustees of St. Louis
Church stood out against Bishop Timon from 1850 to
1854. It is still the most independent, as well as the
wealthiest, congregation of that Church in the city.

The Anti-Roman Catholic riots broke out in
Charlestown, Mass., where the Ursuline Convent was

burned by the mob, August 9, 1834. It
clthoik^Riors. "^^^ stated that the damages of that night

were never repaid. Two years later, Maria
Monk began her career of fraud and imposture. In

The Christian Church in America. 325

184.4, riots broke out against the Roman Catholics in
Philadelphia. The firmness of the mayor prevented
like disorders in New York. On the other hand, it is
surprising to read in a Roman Catholic history, written
by a clergyman and a man of culture, a statement like
this. Speaking of the success of the mayor's efforts
to avert a riot, the author says : " New York escaped a
terrible danger ; for a large Irish Society, with divis-
ions throughout the city, had resolved that in case a
single church was attacked, buildings should be fired
in all quarters and the great city should be involved
in a general conflagration." Nothing can be more
hateful or more cowardly than mob violence, whether
it be directed against Roman Catholic, Jew, or Negro,
and it is peculiarly detestable when directed by relig-
ious hate ; but where can any Christian man, not to
say clergyman, find any ethical principle that would
justify conduct like that outlined above? Certainly
the perpetrators of such fiendish acts against the inno-
cent should have had swift passage out of the world,
and Irish hands would not fail to have aided in the

The Archbishopric of Oregon was erected in July,
1846, in ignorance of the fact that Oregon was Amer-
ican territory. The next year that of St. ^^^
lyouis was created ; this was followed by Archiepiscopai
New York in 1851, and San Francisco in
1853. Cincinnati was made an Episcopal See in 1821 ;
in 1833 John Purcell was consecrated to it, and served
until 1883. He was an able man, but became involved
in financial operations which made him a bankrupt
for a deficit of millions.

326 History of the Christian Church.

The Provincial Councils of the Archdiocese of Bal-
timore were held in 1829, 1833, 1837, 1840, 1843, 1846,
1849. These gave way to the first Plenary
Council of Baltimore, held in 1852. This
is the highest Roman Catholic ecclesiastical body in
the United States.

John Hughes (1798- 1864) was the most noted and
aggressive ecclesiastic of these years, though his activ-
ity reached far beyond them. Born in Ire-

John Hughes. - , . t i • i tt , ^

land, Archbishop Hughes emigrated to
America in 18 17. He studied for the priesthood at
St. Mary's Seminary, Kmmettsburg, Md., and was
ordained in 1825. He served a parish in Philadelphia
until he was chosen coadjutor to the Bishop of New
York in 1837. The full adminisiration of affairs came
into his hands the next year ; but he was not made
bishop in title until 1842. In 1851 he was made Arch-
bishop of New York. In 1841 a theological seminary
was added to St. John's College at Fordham. In 1858
the corner-stone of St. Patrick's Cathedral was laid.

Bishop Hughes was an ardent controversialist,
and debated with John Breckinridge, 1 830-1 834,
" Whether the Protestant religion is the religion of
Christ." In 1 847-1 848 he wrote, in controversy with
"Kirwan," Nicholas Murray, on "The Claims of
Rome." These controversies gave Bishop Hughes
great fame among his fellow-believers ; but iu the last
he is not thought to have been victorious, as he de-
clined to renew it. In 1842 he broke up the Public-
school Society of New York City, with the result that
the schools of New York City came under the uni-
form law of the State. The bishop opposed the read-
ing of the Bible in the schools, and demanded State

7^ HE Christian Church in America. 327

support for seven Roman Catholic schools in the
metropolis. This, of course, he did not obtain. Arch-
bishop Hughes was a patriotic American, and in 1862,
like Henry Ward Beecher, he was sent on a semi-
official mission to Europe to influence public opinion
and action in favor of the North.

In 1800 it is estimated there were in statistics,
the United States 100,000 Roman Catholics; in 1850,

It may seem as if there was too much detail in
outlining the careers of the leaders of the American
Churches in this period. But it must be work of the
remembered that their work was not ex- Men of this
ceeded in difficulty or value by that of any *"*®*
land. These men, and the devoted men and women
v/ho followed them, made possible and realized a Free
Church in a Free State. They laid the sure founda-
tions of the most vigorous, intelligent, and aggress-
ive Christian Churches the Christian ages have seen.
These men, many of them poor and humble, but all
of them devoted and sincere, opened the way for the
future development of the Christian Church. What-
ever may be the differing opinions about Established
Churches becoming disestablished, no thoughtful man
in any communion would favor founding an Estab-
lished Church. The men who founded the Churches
of the new nation, 1800-1850, proved that Christianity
can thrive and become increasingly potent and influ-
ential without the aid of the State. The new nations
of Canada, Australia, and South Africa, and the Spanish
nations of Central and South America, have profited
by their example. It was no small task to work out
so complete and irrefutable a demonstration, and to

328 History of the Christian Church.

set such splendid and universall}^ prevalent an ex-
ample. Their works followed them, and might adorn
the pages of any historic record.

The men of these years in the United States lived
in a new country, under a new government, amid con-
ditions which allowed the trying of almost
^this Era.° ^^^ Conceivable financial, political, social,
or religious experiment. All were ex-
tremely buoyant and hopeful. Everything seemed
possible. Not only everything was to be better than
all that preceded it, but there was so much good that
there was a general expectation of the best. The old
was recalled only to be ignored or despised. All was
to become new, and a new revelation, or the imme-
diate beginning of the millennial reign of Christ,
seemed but the fulfillment of natural and legitimate

From 1833 for ten years William Miller, of South-
ampton, N. Y., taught that the Second Advent of the

Lord Jesus Christ, or, as popularly ex-
Ad ventists. *; ^ 1 .- .

pressed, the end of the world, would take

place November 23, 1843. He was powerfully aided by
a former minister of the Disciples of Christ, Joshua V.
Himes, who published a journal called the Sign of the
Times. Tens of thousands of members of the Churches
joined the new sect. Many had their ascension robes
prepared for the expected day. Great was the disap-
pointment and falling away when the calculations
proved fallacious. Nevertheless, a residue remained,
and these formed the Advent Christian Church, which
lays stress on the expected coming of the Lord, soon
and sudden, though without fixing a date. Some of
them, imitating the Seventh-day Baptists, became

The Christian Church in America. 329

Seventh-day Adventists. In 1850 the number of
Adventists in the United States was estimated at
forty thousand.

In 1834, John H. Noyes, a graduate of Yale, came to
the conckision that the Second Coming of Christ had
taken place in the time of the first genera-
tion of Christian believers, and that what community,
we had now to do was to realize in our lives
that perfect state. In 1848 he founded on the shores
of Oneida Lake, New York, the Oneida Community.
This was a society of the strictest communism, both
in property and in the relation of the sexes. Its con-
trolling power was the character and personality of
the founder, and the principle of ''mutual criticism."
However abhorrent to good morals, the Community
proved a financial success.

It was from this eager, hopeful condition of the
public mind, and from a training to think in the terms
of the letter, rather than the spirit, of

^, , -, -..-r ^ -, ^^ The Mormons.

the Old and New Testament that Mor-
monism arose. The leader, Joseph Smith, stands
unique among religious founders. It can not be de-
nied that in his life he was illiterate, drunken, and
licentious. Yet he became the founder of a new re-
ligion in the nineteenth century! The revelation he
gave out in 1843, which was especially to command
his wife, Emma Hall Smith, to overlook his adulteries
and not to make them a pattern for her own conduct,
became, for two generations at least, the corner-stone
of the new faith. The Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-
day Saints, if for wise reasons it does not continue
former practices, at least does not repudiate them.
But the above recital, though the facts are beyond

330 History of the Christian Church.

dispute, does not explain the existence of the Mormon
Church nor the phenomenon of its origin. Joseph
Smith had some extraordinary qualities that gave him
a hearing, and afterward ascendency, in the peculiar
circumstances of that time.

Joseph Smith, Jr., was born at Sharon, Vt., De-
cember 23, 1805. He was descended from New Eng-
land " ne'er-do-weels," whose predominant traits were
" shiftlessness " and shiftiness, a combination by no
means uncommon. His maternal grandfather had
been a soldier, at one time drunken and epileptic.
His mother had dreams and visions. His father seems
to have been a man of little account. In 1 8 1 5 the
family moved to Palmyra, N. Y., and some years after-
ward to Manchester, a few miles west. Here he had
visions in 1823 and 1826. It seems difficult not to be-
lieve that the visions were real to Joseph Smith. He
soon began crystal-gazing. It seems, if he did not
have incipient epileptic seizure, that he did induce a
hypnotic state and the trance medium condition.
Smith claimed to have had a vision of an angel with
gold plates. The writing which he transcribed from
them appears to be the tracing of one in the hypnotic
condition. Smith, being able to write with difficulty,
employed a schoolmaster, Oliver Cowdery, to write
down what he interpreted when behind a curtain in
the vSame room as he gazed in his crystals. This be-
gan in 1827. In May, 1829, Cowdery, Martin Harris,
and David Whitmer were persuaded by a vision of the
reality of the revelation made to Joseph Smith.
Though in 1839 these men were cut off from the Mor-
mon Church by Joseph Smith, yet they believed in
the reality of the vision until their death. A month

The Christian Church in America. 331

later eight others, four from the Whitmer family and
three from the Smith family, and one Hiram Poge,
testified to a similar vision as attesting the revelations
of Joseph Smith; that is, the existence of the gold
plates. Smith had been employed to use his gifts as
a crystal-gazer to discover buried treasure, but with-
out success. This seems to have suggested the gold-
plate revelation.

The principal use of the vision seems to have been
to make Martin Harris furnish the money for printing
the " Book of Mormon," which appeared in July, 1829.
Soon after appeared the "Visions of Moses" and the
"Writings of Moses." The "Book of Abraham,"
translated from " Reformed Egyptian," Smith must
have known, was an imposture. Take out of these
writings what is borrowed from the Christian Scrip-
tures, and the remainder is an insult to the intelligence
of the most ordinarily-instructed reader. The power
of the movement did not reside in these writings,
though they constituted a new revelation, but in the
personality of Joseph Smith, and in the teachings of
a present and continuous revelation, and the exercise
of all the special gifts of prophecy, exorcism, and heal-
ing, known to the early Church. Joseph Smith was a
large man, six feet in height, and weighing nearly two
hundred pounds. He had light complexion and hair,
and blue eyes set far back in his head. He spoke in
a loud voice, and his language and manners were
coarse. But Smith had a strong will, a mastery of
the wills of others, a faith in himself, and boundless
self-conceit, with all the shrewdness and cunning
credited to his Yankee ancestry and environment.
The birth of the Mormon Church into a laro:er life

332 History of the Christian Church.

was accelerated by the accession of Sidney Rigdon, a
former minister of the Disciples of Christ. The
Church had been organized at Fayette, N. Y., April 6,
1 830. It consisted of about thirty members when
Rigdon visited it in December of the same year. He
persuaded Smith and his followers to emigrate to
Kirtland, Ohio, in February, 1831. Through a great
revival, marked by fanatical excesses, the Church
soon grew; by June it numbered two thousand.

In the autumn of that year a new society was
formed at Independence, Mo. Soon they numbered
twelve hundred adherents. Smith published "The
Doctrine and Covenants," which contained the reve-
lations to him from 1828 to 183 1. In 1833 the Latter-
day Saints' Messe^iger and Advocate was founded. In
1834, Smith received a new revelation, commanding
that all surplus property should be in common and
ordaining a perpetual tithe. In 1834 the first High
Council of the Church of Christ was chosen, with
Smith, Rigdon, and Williams in the First Presidency.
In 1835 were chosen the ** Twelve Apostles," among
whom was Brigham Young. The next year "The
Seventy" were appointed. In 1837, Heber Kimball
and Orson Hyde were sent as missionaries to Eng-
land. By this time Smith's banking scheme came to
grief, and the Safety Society Bank of Kirtland, Ohio,
failed for $100,000. Smith and Rigdon had been
tarred and feathered at Kirtland in March, 1832, and
the failure of his financial scheme had not increased
his popularity. There was a large withdrawal from
the Church in 1836.

The Mormons in 1833 had been driven from Inde-
pendence, Mo., with cruelty which disgraced the

The Christian Church in America. 333

community, and then settled at Liberty, Mo. Smith set
out to join them with one hundred and fifty men, which
increased on the route to two hundred ; but he was
unable to efiect his purpose, and returned to Kirtland,
Ohio. When, in 1838, he reached Liberty, it was to
organize the Danites to carry out his will without
scruple, and to make absurd claims of authority.
This, with the ill-will of the neighbors, caused friction
little short of war. The militia were called out, and
the Mormons, now fifteen thousand in number, in the
dead of winter, were driven across the Mississippi
into Illinois. Several were massacred. Smith, his
brother, and other leaders, were arrested and im-
prisoned. They escaped in April, 1839. This era of
persecution in Missouri, 1 833-1 839, was without palli-
ation or excuse, and violated every principle of Chris-
tian toleration and charity. The exiled Mormons
settled at Nauvoo, forty miles above Quincy, on the
Mississippi River. The first dwelling was erected in
1839, and within two years there were two thousand
houses. The next year Nauvoo City, University, and
Legion were chartered. Of course. Smith commanded
the latter, and rejoiced in the title of lieutenant-
general. Smith was now the autocratic ruler of
twenty thousand people, with ten thousand adherents
in Great Britain. But his conceit and habits brought
about his fate. In 1843 he wrote: ''I know more
than all the world put together. ... I solve
mathematical problems of universities, with truth,
diamond truth, and God is my right-hand man." In
1844 he announced himself as a candidate for the
Presidency of the United States. Smith had been in
evil repute for his relations with women since 1833.

334 History of the Christian Church,

In 1843 he published his revelation sanctioning and
commanding polygamy on pain of damnation. Many
revolted. They started an opposition paper called
The Expositor. In the first number they published
the affidavits of sixteen women, who swore that
Smith, Rigdon, Young, and others, had "invited them
to enter into a secret and illicit connection under the
title of spiritual marriage." Smith ordered his fol-
lowers "to abate the nuisance," and they demolished
the building in which The Expositor was published.
The proprietors fled, and then sued out a process
against Joseph and Hyrum Smith for riot. The war-
rant was resisted. The governor called out the militia,
and the prophet and his brother were placed in jail.
It being rumored that the governor wished them to
escape, a mob, two hundred in number, broke into
the jail, June 27, 1844, and shot them to death. The
governor owed the protection of the State to Joseph
Smith. Seldom has murder by lynch law brought a
more baneful harvest. For the Mormons nothing
more propitious could have happened. Their leader,
half mad with conceit, and spotted in character, at
once became a holy martyr and a chosen prophet of
God, with the last and most authentic revelation.

The State of Illinois revoked the charter of Nau-
voo in 1845, and the settlement had to be broken up.
They resolved, in January, 1846, to go beyond the
Rocky Mountains, and before the winter was ended
sixteen hundred persons started for Salt Lake. Brig-
ham Young, who had succeeded to the authority of
Smith, arrived at Salt Lake, July 24, 1847. ^he main
body of the Mormons came in the fall of 1848. In
March, 1849, a Convention was held at Salt Lake, and

Thh Christian Church in America. 335

a State organized under the name of Deseret. Congress
refused to recognize it, and organized the Territory of
Utah. President Fillmore appointed Brigham Young
governor in 1850. Thus out of ignorance and perse-
cution had grown a compact body of people, with a
close hierarchical organization, and a united industry,
and a founded capital which made the desert blossom
as the rose, and brought tens of thousands of able-
bodied emigrants from beyond the sea, to found the
new Church State in the untrodden wilderness. Cen-
tralization, and a strict and merciless discipline, made
material prosperity as certain and universal as that of
the Jesuit State of Paraguay, but with the same limi-
tation of intellect, though not of individual initiative.

But the contribution of the State of New York in
the first half of the nineteenth century to the religious
aberrations of Christendom did not cease
with the Adventists, the Oneida Com-
munity, and the Mormons. In 1848, within twenty
miles of the old home of Joseph Smith, began the
"spirit rappings" of the Fox sisters. At the home of
Mr. J. D. Fox, Hydesville, N. Y., in January, 1848, his
daughters — Margaret, twelve years of age, and Kate,
nine — began those manifestations which answered to
the perennial desire of man to see beyond death, and
the eager expectation of a new, and therefore higher,
religious revelation.

The girls soon after went to live with their married
sister, Mrs. Fish, in Rochester, N. Y., where the man-
ifestations continued and attracted attention. In No-
vember, 1849, they appeared in that city in a public
hall. In May, 1850, they came to New York, and
their peculiar manipulations and physical manifesta-

336 History of the Christian Church.

tions soon made them known throughout the world.
At Mr. Granger's, in Rochester, and Dr. Phelps's, in
Stratford, Conn., like manifestations appeared, and
soon it was discovered that other persons besides the
Fox sisters could become mediums for the new
means of communication with the spirit world. In
a word, at the close of this period, modern Spirit-
ualism was fairly launched. Its further progress and
significance belongs to the last half of the nineteenth

Thus has passed before us the work of the Chris-
tian Church in America for fifty years. We have
traced its glory and its shame. The tale of its heroic
sacrifices, its strenuous endeavors, and its marvelous
triumphs, will never cease to stir the blood and in-
spire to nobler and more unselfish toil for Him who is
Lord of all ages and all worlds.

Churches in Canada.

By the Quebec Act, after the British conquest of
Canada, the Roman Catholic became the established

Church in Lower Canada. It has the power
CathoHc. ^y ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ tithes and ecclesiastical dues

from its adherents, and education is in the
hands of the clerg>^ It has retained its immense
wealth, while the ecclesiastical endowments of the
Roman Catholic Church in Spanish America have
been swept into the coffers of the State. The French
population, which then numbered sixty-five thousand,
has increased to nearly a million. Of course, religious
toleration to the Evangelical Churches has been
granted, and a school system free from clerical super-

The Christian Church in America. 337

vision has been introduced, though against the per-
sistent opposition of the Roman Catholic Church.
Roman Catholics in Canada are permitted to pay their
school-tax to the support of their own schools.

The Evangelical Churches made strenuous endeav-
ors to found colleges^ and a university. The Church
of England at first sought control as a quasi j^^
Established Church, but this ceased before Evangelical
the end of the period. In other respects
the religious development was like that of the United
States, except that immigration much more power-
fully increased the membership of the Episcopa.
lian and Presbyterian Churches. In 1851 the popu-
lation of 2,312,919 was then divided among the larger
Churches: Roman Catholic, 983,680; Presbyterians,
310,542; Episcopalians, 303,907; Methodists, 208,057;
Baptists, 101,169; lyutherans, 16,196; Congregation-
alists, 14,313-

Spanish America.

These years witnessed a great transformation in
Spanish America, and it affected materially the con-
dition of the Roman Catholic Church.

The imprisonment of the Spanish royal family,
the invasion of Spain by Napoleon in 1808, and the
consequent civil war, made the Spanish , ^

^ . - , . . Independence

colonies necessarily, for a long time, practi- of Spanish
cally independent of the mother country. American

^. .r. K . . , . ^ . Republics.

The strife began simultaneously in 18 10 m
Buenos Ayres and in Mexico. In the latter country
a Republic was formed in 18 13, and independence
proclaimed in 18 16. The next year the Spanish suf-

338 History of the Christian Church.

fered crushing defeats, and the war was at an end
in 1824.

In Mexico the royal power was stronger and the
resistance much harder to overcome. In 18 10 a noble
priest, Don Miguel Hidalgo, raised the standard of re-
volt. He was captured and executed in 181 1.
Another priest, Morelos, seized the fallen
banner. Independence from Spain was proclaimed in
1813; in 1815, Morelos was taken and put to death.
But the cause could not die. In 1821, Iturbide took
the City of Mexico, and the Spanish left the country.
In 1823, Spain acknowledged the independence of
Mexico. Central America became independent at the
same time.

The struggle with Spain in South America cen-
tered in Venezuela, where General Bolivar showed
himself unshaken by misfortunes and able
to command success. Venezuela declared
her independence, July 5, 181 1. Bolivar entered Car-
acas in triumph, August 4, 18 13. In the forepart of
the next year all Venezuela was in his power, and in
December he took Bogota, the capital of New Gra-
nada. But now disasters followed in quick succes-
sion ; all of Venezuela was lost to the Royalists in the
latter part of 1814, and Bolivar could not hold his own
in New Granada. He left the country in 18 15, and
went to Kingston, Jamaica. From thence he went to
Haj^ti, and from there sailed with an expedition for
his native land in December, 18 16. The Royalists
were defeated, February 16, 181 7. Bolivar now be-
came supreme in Venezuela, and was made com-
mander-in-chief. In July, 1 8 19, he again took Bogota,

The Christian Church in America. 339

and in June, 1820, the Spanish were defeated, and
their power finally broken in the battle of Carabolo,
in 1 82 1. The war was then carried south.

The chief seat of the Spanish power was in Peru,

Online LibraryGeorge Herbert DryerHistory of the Christian church (Volume 5) → online text (page 23 of 50)