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New York Unitarian Association. — The annual meeting of the New York Unitarian Association was held on Wednesday evening, May 12, 1847. The churches at Buffalo, Trenton, Troy, Brooklyn, and New York were represented by their pastors. The annual sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Hosmer of Buffalo. A business meeting was held on Thursday afternoon at the rooms of the Association. According to the constitution, the annual meeting to hear the reports of the Secretary and Treasurer occurs in January, and the meeting during the New York anniversary week is in truth only a social and religious celebration, into which a certain amount of the business of the Association creeps. The question was discussed, whether it would not be better to unite these occasions and have only one public meeting of the Association, in the month of October. The subject was referred to the Directors. A larger, more spirited and useful meeting would doubtless follow upon the proposed change. The objects which the Association proposed to itself for the coming year were, - 1. The wider circulation of its newspaper, by a reduction of the subscription price to one dollar ; 2. The support of a missionary (Rev. Mr. Ferris, who is already engaged on a permanent salary); and, 3. Some assistance to the Albany society, at present the only feeble church within the boundaries of the Association. It was resolved to raise the sum of $ 2500 for the support of the Association for the ensuing year.
At the adjourned meeting, held in the church of the Divine Unity on Thursday evening, various resolutions were offered, the most important of which referred to the Unitarian reform, as being the radical reform of our times and deserving preëminent attention and furtherance, the encouragements afforded in the present aspects of religious opinions and organizations to more vigorous efforts among the friends of Liberal Christianity, - the duty of New York Unitarians, growing out of their central position, the desirableness of a more intimate understanding and cooperation among the churches throughout the State, - the importance of sustaining the Christian Inquirer, and of reducing its cost to the lowest sum possible, - and the duty of giving a hearty sympathy and generous support to the Meadville Theological School. The Rev. Messrs. Pierpont of Troy, Buckingham of Trenton, Hosmer of Buffalo, De Lange, lately from the Meadville School, Judge Greenwood of Brooklyn, and Rev. Mr. May of Massachusetts, spoke to these and other resolutions. The meeting was felt to be too general in the topics discussed to be entirely satisfactory. It would have been an excellent meeting, if no ot purpose had been proposed than Christian improvement; but as the annual meeting of the New York Unitarian Association, it was a failure. Fortunately, the business meeting was conducted with strict regard to practical measures, and will be followed, we trust, with palpable and worthy results.
The Anniversaries. - The anniversaries of the various religious associations celebrated in Boston the present year, at the close of May, were fully attended, and were conducted in a manner altogether serious and pleasant, although not with as much spirit as we have sometimes known. There was little brilliant speaking, but some valuable discussion ; and in the proceedings of the different denominations an unusual tone of candor and courtesy appears to have prevailed. The most important of
the meetings in our own denomination was that of the American Unitarian Association, at which an Act of incorporation was accepted, and a new organization adopted. The best of the public meetings, we suppose, was that held by the Sunday School Society, at which an excellent report was read and one or two addresses of unusual merit were made. The most noticeable meetings of the week were the continued sessions of the “6 League of Universal Brotherhood," and of the New England Antislavery Convention. The former is a new organization, intended to embrace Europe as well as America, and is founded on a “ Pledge,” to which thousands of names have already been obtained in Great Britain and this country, binding the subscribers to “ employ all legitimate and moral means for the abolition of all war," and " for the abolition of all institutions and customs” unfriendly to the widest offices of humanity. The discussions, which were prolonged through three successive days, on the meaning of this pledge and the topics which it suggests, were marked by unusual fairness and ability ; but the number of hearers was less than we had hoped to find. The meetings of the Antislavery Convention were distinguished by the extreme character of the resolutions, the violence of the declamation, and the general disorder of the assembly. Such full reports have been given of all the anniversaries in our other religious journals, that we do not deem it necessary to present more than a very brief record of the proceedings in which our readers may be supposed to take most interest. One series of meetings which began in the course of the anniversary week was continued by repeated adjournments to the end of the next month. A difference of opinion having arisen among the members of the “ Prison Discipline Society," in regard to the censures which have of late years been bestowed in its Reports upon the Philadelphia system of " separate imprisonment,' the subject was brought before the annual meeting of the Society two years ago, but has remained without a decision till this time, when it was revived through the report of a committee previously appointed. A very thorough discussion has been the consequence, pursued through several evenings, and conducted with great ability.
The Tremont Temple, capable of holding some thousand persons, has been nearly filled on each evening, and an interest been awakened on the subject, as well as information spread before the public, which cannot but promote the great purpose of the Society, the amelioration of our penitentiary systems. The discussions were closed, however, by a vote to lay the whole matter on the table.
First in order of time among the meetings which we propose to notice was that called by the Book and Pamphlet Society, not for business, but to hear a discourse from Rev. Mr. Bellows of New York ; who preached an excellent sermon in the Federal Street meetinghouse on Sunday evening, May 23, from Colossians iv. 16, on the use which may be made of the press in diffusing Christian truth and the influence which Christianity should exert upon literature. At the annual meeting of the Society, held April 26, Mr. Lewis G. Pray was chosen President, John G. Rogers, Esq., declining a reelection ; Mr. Francis Alger, Vice-President ; Mr. S. G. Simpkins, Treasurer; and Messrs. Francis Bowen, Charles Faulkner, and Dummer R. Chapman, Executive Committee.
The Society for the Promotion of Theological Education, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Piety, and Charity, held
their annual meetings on Monday, May 24, for the choice of officers, but had little other business to transact. The Massachusetts Congregational Charitable Society elected its officers, -Hon. Lemuel Shaw, President, in the place of Hon. Peter C. Brooks, who declined a reëlection, and transacted its usual financial business. The Massachusetts Bible Society celebrated its thirty-eighth anniversary in the Winter Street church, on Monday afternoon. After some remarks by Rev. Dr. Pierce, President of the Society, and the reading of the Report by Rev. Dr. Parkman, the Corresponding Secretary, addresses were made by Rev. Mr. Hall of Providence, R. I., Rev. Dr. Carruthers of Portland, Me., and Professor Greenleaf of Harvard University. The American Peace Society celebrated its nineteenth anniversary in the same church on Monday evening. After remarks by Samuel Greele, Esq., who presided, the Annual Report was read by the Secretary, Rev. Mr. Beckwith, and addresses were delivered by Rev. Mr. Clark of Portsmouth, N. H., Rev. Dr. Baird of New York, Rev. Mr. Kirk of Boston, and Amasa Walker, Esq., of Brookfield. The Boston Port Society held a public meeting the same evening in the Federal Street meetinghouse. The Annual Report was read by the Secretary, John A. Andrew, Esq., and addresses were made by Hon. Albert Fearing, President of the Society, Captain Girdler, Thomas B. Curtis, Esq., Robert B. Forbes, Esq., and Rev. Mr. Taylor, all of Boston.
American Unitarian Association. - The American Unitarian Association celebrated its twenty-second anniversary on Tuesday, May 25, Hon. Richard Sullivan, one of the Vice-Presidents, in the chair. At the last session of the Massachusetts Legislature an Act of incorporation had been obtained, and the first question before the Association related to the acceptance of this Act ; but as it appeared that a sufficient length of time had not elapsed since the publication of the notice of the meeting to render its proceedings legal, the morning was spent in considering what measures should be recommended to the Association at its legal meeting the next week. At the adjourned meeting in the evening the Treasurer's annual report was accepted, from which it appeared that the actual receipts of the last year had been $ 9,057.68, and the expenditures $ 11,120.96, leaving a balance against the treasury of $2,063.28. The public meeting of the Association was held on Tuesday evening, in the Federal Street meetinghouse, which was crowded. The Annual Report having been read by the Secretary, Rev. Mr. Briggs, a series of resolutions were offered by Rev. Mr. Huntington, in the name of the Executive Committee, relating to the interest which the Unitarian body should take in “ the humane enterprises of the present day," — the efficacy of Christian faith in saving the republic from “ false tendencies,” the importance of a wider " distribution of the printed works of Unitarian writers, the propriety of a closer
" Liberal Christians throughout the country and the world, — the need of " more strenuous endeavours to increase the funds of the Association, and the “ adaptation of the Unitarian faith” to form and control the individual life. Addresses were made by Rev. Dr. Nichols of Portland, Me., Rev. Mr. Furness of Philadelphia, Penn., Rev. Mr. Frost of Concord, Rev. Mr. Clarke of Boston, Rev. Mr. Bellows of New York, Rev. Mr. Bulfinch of Nashua, N. H.,
and Rev. Mr. Hall of Providence, R. I. The Report was accepted, the resolutions were adopted, and the exercises of the evening closed with the doxology.
The business meeting on Tuesday evening having been adjourned to Wednesday afternoon, the discussions were resumed, Hon. Stephen Fairbanks in the chair. It was voted to recommend to the members of the Association at the subsequent legal meeting to accept the Act of incorporation and to adopt a code of by-laws which had been prepared by the Executive Committee. Rev. Mr. May of Leicester offered certain resolutions on the subject of Slavery, which gave rise to a debate, the conclusion of which was deferred till Thursday morning. On Thursday Mr. May's resolutions were further considered, a large number of the members taking part in the debate. The first of the resolutions, expressing the most decided condemnation of " slaveholding,” was passed. A list of officers was adopted, to be recommended for election at the legal meeting. A resolution was also passed, recommending that the salary of the Secretary should be two thousand dollars. Some subjects were referred to the Executive Committee for consideration, and the Association adjourned sine die.
A meeting having been called according to the requisitions of law, the Association on the 3d of June, 1847, accepted the Act of incorporation, and adopted the code of by-laws which had been already considered. These by-laws are in effect a new constitution, but they propose no important change except an arrangement of the offices, to be filled by annual election, which will give at once more simplicity and more efficiency to the operations of the Association. Provision is made for the choice of two Vice-Presidents, instead of the much larger number required under the old constitution, the “ Council ” is abolished, and all the officers are made members of the Executive Committee, and are expected to be working men. The officers of the Association for the ensuing year were then chosen, viz. Rev. Ezra S. Gannett, President, Rev. Dr. Dewey having by letter declined a reëlection ; Hon. Stephen Fairbanks and Rev. Samuel K. Lothrop, Vice-Presidents ; Rev. William G. Eliot, Secretary: Mr. Henry P. Fairbanks, Treasurer ; Rev. Ephraim Peabody, Rev. Frederick D. Huntington, Rev. James W. Thompson, Mr. Ísaiah Bangs, Mr. Lewis G. Pray, Directors. Thanks were presented to Rev. Charles Briggs for his services as Secretary the last twelve years, and he was appointed Secretary pro tem., in the absence of Mr. Eliot. The salary of the Secretary was fixed at $ 2000 ; nearly one half of which is the income of a fund raised expressly for the purpose. Some propositions were then submitted, with a view to their being presented in due order of business next year, and the meeting was dissolved.
Unitarian Collation. — The festival which the Unitarian laymen of Boston have for the last seven years provided for the clergy of their denomination recurred on Tuesday, May 25th. The hall over the dépôt of the Maine railroad, which was used the last year, was again chosen, as being the only room large enough for the purpose ; but a second trial, we think, has shown that its size renders it an unsuitable place. It is too large to permit the voice of the speakers generally to reach the audience; and we believe that all would rather submit to the inconven
ience of a crowded apartment than endure the disappointment of attempting in vain to hear the addresses which constitute a principal part of the attraction. The committee of arrangements had adopted every possible means of remedying this evil, and we are forced to believe that the interest now felt in the occasion will decline if a smaller hall is not chosen in future years. Some persons may in consequence lose the pleasure of attendance, but those who shall be present will carry away a much livelier sense of enjoyment. The number of persons, of both sexes, who partook of the collation was about the same as last year, or somewhat exceeded one thousand. George S. Hillard, Esq., of Boston, presided. The Divine blessing was asked by Rev. Mr. Gray, and thanks were returned by Rev. Mr. Coolidge, of Boston. After singing an original hymn, the President of the day made an address, in which he dwelt especially on the relations that exist between the clergy and the laity, but alluded also to other topics suggested by the occasion. After the singing of another original hymn, Rev. Dr. Pierce of Brookline related a pleasant anecdote. Rev. Dr. Parkman of Boston then read a letter that had been received from Rev. Dr. Montgomery, of Ireland, in reply to an invitation to attend this and the other anniversary meetings, in which he expressed the most cordial feelings, but declined the invitation for reasons which prevented his or his brethren's leaving home at this time. A similar letter of invitation, signed by individuals in Boston, it appeared, had been sent to England, but no reply had been received. Brief addresses then followed, in quick succession, from Rev. Mr. Sanger of Dover, Rev. Mr. Farley of Brooklyn, N. Y., Rev. Mr. Fisher of Boston, Robert B. Forbes, Esq., of Boston (who was called up by some remarks of the President on the recent voyage of the Jamestown, of which Mr. Forbes had the command), Rev. Mr. Cordner of Montreal, C. W., Rev. Mr. Bellows of New York, Rev. Mr. Waterston, and Rev. Mr. Taylor, of Boston. Another original hymn was sung, and the company dispersed.
Ministerial Conference. - The Unitarian clergy assembled in Conference on Wednesday morning, May 26, at the chapel of "the Church of the Saviour.” After prayer by Rev. Mr. Moore of Duxbury, the Annual Address was delivered by Rev. Mr. Barrett of Boston, on the “Relation of Liberal Christianity to this Age and this Country.” Rev. Dr. Parkman of Boston was chosen Moderator, Rev. Mr. Huntington of Boston, Scribe, and Rev. Messrs. Ellis of Charlestown, Clarke of Boston, and Briggs of Plymouth, Standing Committee. The Committee of the last year reported a resolution, that the name of the body be changed from the “ Berry Street Conference" to the “ Ministerial Conference"; which was adopted. The Committee also presented several subjects for discussion. Resolutions of different kinds were offered by members of the Conference, which gave rise to a somewhat desultory debate, that was closed by adopting a resolution presented by Rev. Mr. Morison of Milton, in these words : - " That this is not an ecclesiastical association for the passing of resolutions, but a ministerial conference for the discussion of subjects.” One of the questions offered by the Committee was then taken up, respecting the relation which exists between social reform and individual regeneration, - and called forth some remarks ; after which a question relating to church-memberVOL. XLIII. - 4TH S. VOL. VIII. NO. 1.