صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

hundred churches, a theological seminary, and every other assurance of substantial prosperity.'

• Upon the whole, I do not think we can reckon less than eight thousand places of worship, and five thousand ecclesiastics in the United States, besides twelve theological seminaries, and many religious houses, containing, the former about five hundred, and the latter three hundred votaries.'

We would remark in passing, that the estimate of the congregational churches in New England is too small. The number in Massachusetts alone is nearly four hundred, and in all the New England states it is probably not less than eleven hundred, with about as many preachers. Mr Ingersoll has succeeded in collecting much information concerning the Catholic church in the United States, which we think will be novel to most of our readers; and it proves, what the author aimed to prove the beneficent principles of our government in fostering the interests of substantial religion, in whatever forms christians may think it their duty to clothe their ceremonies, or render their devotions.

From a mere mission in 1790, the Roman Catholic establishment in the United States has spread into an extended and imposing hierarchy; consisting of a metropolitan see, and ten bishoprics, containing between eighty and a hundred churches, some of them the most costly and splendid ecclesiastical edifices in the country, superintended by about one hundred and sixty clergymen. The remotest quarters of the United States are occupied by these flourishing establishments; from the chapels at Damascotti, in Maine, and at Boston, to those of St Augustine in Florida, and St Louis in Missouri. There are Catholic seminaries at Bardstown and Frankfort in Kentucky, a Catholic clerical seminary in Missouri, Catholic colleges at St Louis and New Orleans, where there is likewise a Catholic Lancastrian school, two Catholic charity schools at Bal. timore, two in the District of Columbia, a Catholic seminary and college at Baltimore, a Catholic college in the District of Columbia, a Catholic seminary at Emmitsburg in Maryland, a Catholic free school and Orphan's asylum in Philadelphia. These large contributions to education are not, however highly respectable and cultivated as many of them are, the most remarkable characteristics of the American Roman Catholic church.

• It is a circumstance pregnant with reflections and results, that the Jesuits, since their suppression in Europe, have been established in this country. In 1801, by a brief of Pope Pius the Seventh, this Society, with the concurrence of the emperor Paul, was established in Russia under a general authorized to resume and follow the rule of

St Ignatius of Loyola ; which power was extended in 1806 to the United States of America, with permission to preach, educate youth, administer the sacraments, &c. with the consent and appro bation of the ordinary. In 1807 a noviciate was opened at Georgetown college in the District of Columbia, which continued to improve till 1814, when, being deemed sufficiently established, the congregation was formally organized by a papal bull. This Society now consists of twenty six fathers, ten scholastics in theology, seventeen scholarships in philosophy, rhetoric, and belles lettres, fourteen scholastics in the noviciate, twenty two lay brothers out of, and four lay brothers in, the noviciate ; some of whom are dispersed throughout the United States, occupied in missionary duties, and the cure of souls. This statement is enough to prove the marvelJous radication of the strongest fibres of the Roman Catholic church in our soil. But the argument does not stop here. The oldest Catholic literary establishment in this country, is the Catholic college just mentioned, which was founded immediately after the revolution, by the incorporated Catholic clergy of Maryland, now capable of containing two hundred resident students, furnished with an extensive and choice library, a philosophical and chemical apparatus of the latest improvement, and professorships in the Greek, Latin, French, and English languages, mathematics, moral and natural philosophy, rhetoric, and belles lettres. This institution, I have mentioned, was put in 1805 under the direction of the Society of Jesuits ; and that nothing might be wanted to the strong relief in which the subject appears, the college thus governed was, by act of Congress of the United States of America, raised to the rank of a university, and empowered to confer degrees in any of the faculties. Thus, since the suppression of the order of Jesuits, about the time of the origin of the American revolution, has that celebrated brotherhood of propagandists been restored in the United States, and its principal and most operative institution organized and elevated by an act of our national Legislature.

In like manner, the Sulpitian monks have been incorporated by an act of the legislature of the state of Maryland, in the administration of the flourishing Catholic seminary at Baltimore. In the oldest religious house in America, that of the female Carmelites near Port Tobacco, in Maryland, the established number of inmates is always complete. The convent of St Mary's, at Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, contains fifty nuns, having under their care a day school, at which upwards of a hundred poor girls are educated. The convent of the Sisters of Charity of St Joseph, incorporated by the Legislature of Maryland, at Emmitsburg in that state, consists of fifty wine sisters, including novices, with fifty two young ladies under their tuition, and upwards of forty poor children. A convent of Ursulines, at Boston, is yet in its infancy, consisting of a prioress, six sisters, and two novices, who undertake to instruct those committed to their charge in every polite accomplishment, in addition to the useful branches of female education. The Emmitsburg Sisters of Charity have a branch of their convent for the benefit of female orphan children, established in the city of New York, where the Roman Catholics are said to have increased in the last twenty years, from 300 to 20000. The church of St Augustine, in Philadelphia, belongs to the Augustine monks, by whom it was built. There is also a branch of the Emmitsburg Sisters of Charity in this city, consisting of several pious and well informed ladies, who superintend the education of orphan children. The Daughters of Charity have another branch in Kentucky, where there are, likewise, a house of the order of the Apostolines, lately established by the Pope at Rome, a cloister of Loretto, and another convent. In the state of Missouri there is a convent of religious ladies at the village of St Ferdinand, where a noviciate is seated, of five novices and several postulants, with a thriving seminary, largely resorted to by the young ladies of that remote region, and also a day school for the poor. In New Orleans there is a convent of Ursuline nuns, of ancient and affluent endowment, containing fifteen or sixteen professed nuns, and a number of novices and postulants. The ladies of the Heart of Jesus, are about founding a second establishment for education at Opelousas. I will terminate these curious, I hope not irksome, particulars, by merely adding, that in Maine and Kentucky there are tribes of Indians attached to the Roman Catholic worship, whose indefatigable ministers have always been successful in reclaiming those aborigines of this continent. Vincennes, the chief town of Indiana, where there is now a Roman Catholic chapel, was once a station of the Jesuits for this purpose.'

These are curious facts, and are to be accounted for in part, especially the increased number of Catholics in NewYork, from the circumstance of a large portion of the emigrants to this country professing the Catholic faith. It is indeed remarkable, that the persevering disciples of Loyola, half a century after they had endured the satire of Paschal and the ridicule of Voltaire, had been enslaved in France, cruelly proscribed and persecuted in Spain, expelled from almost every civilized government, and suppressed by the frowning terrors of a papal edict, should find an asylum in the United States, and receive corporate powers from the American Congress itself. But the wonder consists not so much in the nature of the fact, as in the singularity of the events, which brought it about. It is not surprising, that any religious body should be sanctioned under a constitution, which meddles not with religious opinion. The experiment of the United States affords a decisive argument in favor of the selfsustaining principles of the christian religion, and its adaptation to any system of external government, which will support the frame of society, or preserve human intercourse. A thousand instances might be mentioned in which religion has been cramped, and smothered, and destroyed by officious legislation, to one where it has been spiritualized and cherished by political aids.

We have been so much instructed by Mr Ingersoll's discourse, we have found so much to approve and so much to praise, that we should hardly venture to refer to its faults, had they been contained in a work from a less elevated source, or of a less dignified character. We believe our pages will bear testimony, that we are as much in love with the genuine American spirit, and have as good an opinion of our prowess as a nation, of our priviliges and prosperity, and cling as closely to our rights and liberty, and repel as eagerly the presumption of foreign ignorance or insolence, as most of our fellow citizens, who are allowed to have their country's good at heart; but we confess we cannot everywhere go along with Mr Ingersoll

. On some occasions he runs his parallels farther than we can follow him. It adds nothing to the excellence of our own institutions, to show that they are superior to others; it may make us better satisfied with ourselves, but such an achievement will bring with it neither wisdom nor profit; and, besides, if other nations are to be credited, we already possess a thrifty stock of this same virtue of self satisfaction. Mr Ingersoll's plan is a good one, since comparisons to a certain extent are necessary to exhibit the improvements which our system has effected, and of which it is susceptible; we only mean to say, that we do not always agree with him, and that we fear the lengths to which he has pushed his comparisons, whether right or wrong, will have in the eyes of some readers an invidious bearing.

We hope to embrace some future opportunity to sketch an outline of the history and doings of the American Philosophical Society, under whose patronage we have been favored with the discourses of Mr Duponceau and Mr Ingersoll, and to whose labors the public has heretofore been indebted

New Series, No. 17. 23

for valuable articles in science and philosophy. A Society, of which Franklin was the founder, and an ardent patron, deserves for this cause, if for no other, the respect and good wishes of his countrymen. When we see on the list of its early members the names of persons, who acted a distinguished part in achieving our independence, as well as of eminent foreigners friendly to American advancement, and when we reflect on the scientific incitements and spirit of philosophical inquiry, which Rittenhouse received from this association, we are presented with other reasons for its peculiar claim to public regard.

We cannot but think, that much good might result to the republic of letters, and to the cause of knowledge generally, if other societies were to adopt the plan of annual discourses. It has been practised with encouraging success by the New York Historical Society. In this manner individuals may be induced thoroughly to examine subjects, carried along with the certainty that their labor will not be expended in vain ; and thus the public will, from year to year, be put in possession of a series of valuable facts, selected with industry, arranged with judgment, and combined within a manageable compass. Societies themselves will be stimulated by these annual testimonies of their existence, and be protected from the languishment and lethargy, with which they are now so apt to be seized, by the consoling reflection, that they are doing something

ART. IX.-A Year in Europe, comprising a Journal of Ob

servations in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, the North of Italy, and Holland in 1818 and 1819. By John GRISCOM. Professor of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy in the New York Institution; Member of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New York, &c. New York, 1823. 2 vols. 8vo. PROFESSOR GRIscom, who, as we learn from his book, belongs to the very respectable Society of Friends, seems to have visited Europe for the purpose of collecting information, that would be useful after his return home, and espe

« السابقةمتابعة »