United States of America
United States of America is the full title of the principal nation on the Western continent, occupying the whole central portion of North America. SEE AMERICA. In this article we propose to treat our country only in its general religious aspects, leaving its other features to the secular cyclopaedias. For the religious beliefs and customs of the aborigines, SEE INDIANS (NORTH AMERICAN).
I. Church History. —
1. Religious Character of the Original Settlers. — New England was originally settled by the Puritans (q.v.) from England. These were a band of dissenters from the faith and practice of the Established Church of England who were persecuted for their dissent and granted no rest in their own land. Accordingly they decided to leave their own country for one that would permit them liberty of conscience in religious worship, and, after one unsuccessful attempt at departure, finally set out from the coast of Lincolnshire in the Spring of 1608 for Holland. They reached Amsterdam in safety, where they passed one winter; and then removed to Leyden. Here they enjoyed that religious liberty for which they were seeking; but they were in a strange land, among a strange people, who used a strange language. The love of country was still warm in their hearts notwithstanding their persecution at home, and during the ten years they remained in Holland they became thoroughly anxious to return to the allegiance of their mother country. With this desire in their hearts, they sent John Carver and Robert Cushman to England to ask permission of the government for the Pilgrims at Leyden to settle in America. After some hesitation on the part of the king and the ministry, they obtained from the former an informal promise that he would not disturb them in America if they should decide to go there. Arrangements were completed for their removal to America, and they landed on Plymouth Rock on Monday, Dec. 11 (old style), 1620. Their arrival occurred in the dead of winter, and they were obliged during the long and severe season that followed to undergo great privation and suffering. Diseases engendered by the rigors of the climate swept away one half of their number. But the spirit which had brought the Pilgrim Fathers to New England caused them to remain undaunted by opposition, from whatever source. These were a vigorous and determined people, with strong convictions on all questions of morals and religion. They took possession of the new country and held it. They increased in number and gradually extended their borders-over our present New England, and became as zealous for their religion as had been the English government before they left England. If the Church was not under the control of the State, the State was under the control of the Church; for a man could not hold office except he were a member of the Church; and religion lay at the basis of their political system. Notwithstanding their own bitter experience in their old home, they were intolerant of all dissent in their new abode, and they sometimes ran to great extremes of fanaticism against so called heretics. Puritanism, however, has exerted a powerful influence for good in the development of American institutions by holding out sternly for the right in government as well as in private life.
Rhode Island was settled originally by the Baptists, followers of Roger Williams (q.v.). In 1636, along with a few companions, Roger Williams, seeking for a refuge beyond the limits of the Plymouth colony, founded Providence Plantation, and made it a resort for all' the distressed and persecuted of whatever name or faith. Notwithstanding this liberality on the part of the founder, the colony was settled chiefly by those of the Baptist communion. Connecticut was contested ground between the English settlers of Plymouth and the Dutch of New Netherlands. The Dutch, finding that the English were about to establish a colony in the valley of the Connecticut River, built a fort at Hartford called the House of Good Hope; but this was not regarded by the English as of any right belonging to the Dutch, and they proceeded to settle the country from Plymouth. In 1635 a colony of sixty persons left Boston for Connecticut, where they arrived in due time, and settled at Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield. A little later other settlements were formed, and in 1639 the leading men of New Haven adopted the Bible as their political constitution. At the Restoration in England, Connecticut obtained a royal charter, and thus became a colony free and independent in all except the name. Puritan influence was in the ascendancy, and the colony enjoyed great prosperity and freedom from invasion.
New York was settled originally by the Dutch as a trading-post. A colony was planted on Manhattan Island (the present site of New York city), and the village was called New Amsterdam. In 1623 a considerable addition was made to the numbers of the colony by the arrival of thirty families of Dutch Protestant refugees from raiders, called Walloons. They came to America to escape the persecutions which they had to undergo at home. The settlements were extended rapidly, even to the present site of Albany. In 1626 Manhattan' Island was purchased from the Indians for twenty-four dollars. There was a bond of sympathy between the Walloons and the Pilgrims of Plymouth in that they were alike refugees from persecution at home, and, furthermore, the English remembered their kind treatment in Holland. Visits were exchanged and a friendly intercourse was kept up. The English notified their neighbors of their own claim to the territory of the Hudson, and advised them to make good their titles by accepting deeds from the council of Plymouth. In 1664 the Dutch power in America was completely broken. All the territory possessed by Holland in this country had been granted by Charles II to his brother James, duke of York, who made haste to secure the land thus granted. A squadron was sent against New Netherlands, and easily subdued the country. Thereafter the country and city passed under the name of New York. English settlers were brought in, but they lived at peace with the Dutch; even the strife's of the two home governments failed to embroil the colonists of New York in a contest. From the time of the English conquest of the territory, the Episcopal Church was established by law, and was supported by the usual taxation and grants of land. Traces of both the Dutch and English forms of worship are abundant in New York at the present time. (Dutch) Reformed churches and societies are numerous, as also are the Protestant Episcopal.
New Jersey was at first a part of New Netherlands, and was settled by the Dutch, especially in the northern part in the vicinity of New Amsterdam (New York). But, on the reduction of the Dutch power to submission to the English, that portion of the territory likewise passed under the control of the duke of York. It was assigned, however, to lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. A liberal government was provided, and in the first assembly, held in 1668, the Puritans were in the ascendancy, and the customs of New England were largely adopted in New Jersey. In 1676 the colony was divided into two sections by a line starting at the southern point of land on the east side of Little Egg Harbor, and extending north- northwest to a point on the Delaware River in latitude 410 40'. The territory lying east of this line was to be know an as East Jersey, and remain under the control of Sir George Carteret; while that lying between the line and the Delaware was called West Jersey, and had been assigned to certain Quakers (William Penn and others) in trust for Edward Byllinge. The western section, being under the control of the Quakers, became a place of refuge for the persecuted of that name. Many Friends found homes here, and enjoyed, great prosperity. In 1682 William Penn and some other Quakers purchased the territory of East Jersey from the heirs of Sir George Carteret, and exerted their control over the whole province. Robert, Barclay, an eminent Scotch Quaker, was chosen governor for life, and continued to administer the government until 1690, when he died. During this period East Jersey received a large accession of Scotch Quakers, and a still larger accession of Scotch Presbyterians. The northern section of the state retains a large number of the followers of the early Dutch Protestants, while the central and southern portions have the descendants of the Scotch Quakers and Presbyterians.
William Penn (q.v.) was greatly pleased with the success of the Quaker colonies in New Jersey, and formed the project of establishing a free state on the banks of the Delaware, founded on the principle of universal brotherhood. After a vigorous effort, seconded by powerful friends in Parliament, he obtained a charter in 1681 by which he became proprietor of Pennsylvania. Emigrants flocked to the new colony, a liberal government was planned, the land was purchased from the Indians, and relations of friendship were established with the savages, which lasted for a long period of time. It is a pleasure to look back upon the history of Pennsylvania. It is one continued reign of peace and prosperity, resulting from the righteous principles upon which the colony was founded and maintained. Immigration was encouraged by the liberal policy of the proprietors, and thousands of German Protestants, who fled from persecutions at home, came and settled to the westward of the English communities. Their descendants remain to this day, and are among the most industrious and thrifty people in the whole land. Many Huguenots also came from France and formed settlements, and Irish Protestants occupied lands still farther west. From these different classes of emigrants have sprung the various prevailing religious bodies of Pennsylvania; but the Quakers and Germans have made the deepest impression upon the country, and they have had more to do in shaping the religious sentiment and policy of the people than any other.
Delaware was settled by the Swedes. Gustavus Adolphus, as early as 1626, had formed a plan of colonization, but was prevented from carrying it out by difficulties at home, and the plan was put into execution by Oxenstiern, the Swedish minister. In the early part of 1638 a company of Swedes arrived in Delaware Bay. They purchased from the Indians the country lying to the west of the bay, from Cape Henlopen to Trenton Falls, and named it New Sweden. This territory comprised the present state of Delaware and a part of Pennsylvania. But the colony of New Sweden was of short duration. In 1655 the country was entirely subdued by the Dutch of New Netherlands.
The colony of Maryland was founded as a home for persecuted Catholics. Sir George Calvert, of Yorkshire, England, a man of liberal education, large experience, and a devoted Catholic, was desirous of founding a colony which should afford a home for the persecuted Catholics of his own land, and should grant' equal toleration to all creeds. About the year 1630 he obtained from king Charles I a charter for a new colony on the Chesapeake, but died before the colonization began. His son, Cecil Calvert, received the charter June 20, 1632, and named the new province Maryland. His brother, Leonard, was sent out with the colony as governor. The provisions of the charter were the most liberal that had yet been granted. Christianity was the religion of the State, but no preference was expressed for any creed. Free trade was guaranteed, and arbitrary taxation forbidden. The power of making the laws of the colony was conceded to the colonists or their representatives. Under these liberal provisions, and the prudent conduct of the officers and the colonists themselves, the enterprise was very prosperous, and the colony grew very rapidly. Religious toleration and freedom of conscience were reiterated in the legislation of the colonial Assembly, and Maryland, along with Rhode Island and Connecticut, went far beyond the other colonies in securing liberty of conscience. In 1691 the patent of the Baltimores was taken away by king William III. During the following year Sir Lionel Copley assumed the government of the province, and a revolution was speedily effected. The Episcopal Church was established by law, and supported by taxation; religious toleration was abolished and the former liberal policy entirely 'swept away.
On April 10, 1606, king James I granted a patent to an association of nobles, gentlemen, and merchants residing in London, called the London Company, assigning to them all the region between the thirty-fourth and thirty-eighth degrees of north latitude. The affairs of the company were entrusted to the management of a superior council, residing in England, and an inferior council, residing in the colony. To carry out the purpose for which the charter was granted, a fleet of three vessels was fitted out, to be under the command of Christopher Newport. On Dec. 9, 1606, the vessels set sail, and in May following landed on the banks of the James River, in Virginia, fifty miles from Chesapeake Bay. Here they immediately laid the foundations of Jamestown, the oldest English settlement in America. The first settlers of Jamestown were idle, improvident, and dissolute. While a few were laborers and artisans, the great majority were enrolled as gentlemen. John Smith, the best and most energetic man of the colony, was accused of conspiracy and sedition, but was able to defend his name against the accusations. The colony was organized by making known the names of the inferior council, and the election of Edward Wingfield as governor of Virginia. The new colony had a hard struggle for its existence. The idleness and dissolute habits of the settlers, the treachery of some of the leaders, and the civil dissensions, which arose in the community, threatened to break up the settlement in the very beginning. But, after various disasters and discouragements, Smith was elected president, and began a vigorous administration, which added new life to the enterprise. By the undaunted courage of the officers from this time onward, and the encouragement given by the arrival of new accessions to their number from time to time, the colony was able to maintain its existence. The settlements were extended, and the colony grew into a flourishing province. The Episcopal Church was established by law and supported by taxation; churches were built in various parts of the province, and remained for many years. Along with the English revolution came religious intolerance in Virginia. In March, 1643, a law was enacted by the Assembly declaring that' no person who did not assent to the doctrines of the Established Church should be allowed to teach, or to preach the Gospel, within the limits of Virginia. Their persecution of the Puritans within their borders brought upon the Virginians the distrust 'of the colonists of New England for many years.
The attempt to form settlements in the Carolinas was for a long time unsuccessful. In 1663 began the first colonial settlements in North Carolina on the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound. The colony passed through many vicissitudes of fortune, but the settlers remained in possession of the territory. In 1704 an attempt was made by Robert Daniel to establish the Church of England. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, at one time (1672) made a visit to the settlements of Carolina, and obtained many hearers to his instructions. Other Quakers came from New England and Delaware, and made their homes in this colony. In 1707 a band of French Huguenots were added to the settlers; a hundred German families from the banks of the Rhine came to find a home on the banks of the Neuse; and a number of Swiss peasants founded New Berne, at the mouth of the River Trent. Little attention was paid to questions of religion at first. There was no minister in the colony until 1703, and no church until 1705. But the largest liberty of conscience was allowed, and a field opened for the sowing of precious seed.
South Carolina was colonized in 1670, and Old Charleston founded. The present city of Charleston was laid out and a beginning made in building ten years later. In 1686 South Carolina began to receive the Huguenots (q.v.) from France, and in a short time had more of these French refugees than any other American colony. The proprietors pledged them protection and citizenship, but, owing to the unsettled condition of their political plan, the Huguenots were kept in suspense for many years. The first general act of enfranchisement was passed in their favor in May, 1691, and their full political rights were established in 1697. In 1695 began the administration of John Archdale as governor. He was a Quaker of distinction, and ruled with such wisdom and moderation that the colony greatly prospered. He was instrumental in procuring the passage of a law by which all Christians, except the Catholics, were fully enfranchised; and the exception was made against his earnest protest. The policy of South Carolina, as well as that of her northern sister, had been one of religious toleration and civil liberty; consequently no church was established by law, but Christians of all denominations were welcomed to her shores. The Dutch came from the banks of the Hudson, the French vine-dressers were sent by king Charles; Churchmen and Dissenters from England, Irish peasants, Scotch Presbyterians, and Huguenots, all found a home and welcome under the genial sun of South Carolina.
The colony of Georgia was founded as an asylum for the oppressed poor of England and the distressed Protestants of other lands. James Oglethorpe, an English cavalier and member of Parliament, obtained a charter from George It, by which the territory between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers was organized and granted to a corporation for twenty- one years in trust for the poor. This charter was dated June 9, 1732, and the new province was named Georgia, in honor of the king. The organization of the colony was on a liberal basis. Oglethorpe, who was the first governor, was a High Churchman, but made no distinction among the immigrants who came. Swiss peasants, Scotch Highlanders, and German Protestants from Salzburg came and made their home with the English. Then came the Moravians with their vital religion, and the Methodists, in the persons of John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. The labors of the Wesleys were not productive of any permanent results, but those of Whitefield were more successful.
The colonization of Florida was first effected in 1565. Pedro Melendez, a Spanish soldier of a wicked disposition and evil habits, was commissioned by Philip II to explore the coast of Florida, conquer the country, and plant a colony in some favorable site. Melendez arrived in sight of land on St. Augustine's day but did not land until Sept. 2. The harbor and the river, which enters it, were named in honor of that saint. On the 8th of the same month, after the proclamation of the Spanish sovereignty and the celebration of mass, the foundations of St. Augustine were laid. This is the oldest town in the United States, having been founded seventeen years before Santa Fe, and forty-two years before Jamestown. The founders were Catholics, and their dastardly leader was a cruel monster who hoped to regain the favor of his countrymen by murdering the members of a Huguenot settlement about thirty-five miles above the mouth of the St. John's River. The work was done in a most heartless manner, and the French settlement entirely broken up. The outrage was subsequently avenged by Dominic de Gourges, a soldier of Gascony, who attacked successively three Spanish forts on the St. John's, captured the inmates, and afterwards hanged the principal of them.
When La Salle visited the lower Mississippi valley in 1682 he took possession of the country in the name of Louis XIV of France, giving it the name of Louisiana. A settlement was attempted by Iberville and his followers at Biloxi, in 1699. He died before the project was fairly successful, and was succeeded in command by Bienville, who was driven from his post by the Indians and compelled to take up his abode at the present site of New Orleans. Others succeeded Bienville in the governorship of the new territory, but he was reappointed in 1718, and began to build a town on the site he had formerly selected as headquarters, and named the city New Orleans, in honor of the Duke of Orleans. In 1723 it was made the capital of the province. A large tract of country was ceded by France to Spain in 1762, and remained under control of that power for thirty-eight years, but was restored in 1800, and in 1803 sold by Napoleon Bonaparte to the United States for $11,250,000 and the assumption of certain claims due from the French government: to citizens of the United States, amounting to $3,750,000. Thus was purchased, at a cost of $15,000,000, nearly all the territory included in the present states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Dakota Territory, Nebraska, most of Kansas, Indian and Wyoming territories, part of Colorado, and the whole of Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington Territory. This was afterwards divided up from time to time as the wants of the population required. The Mississippi valley, while under the control of the French, had many settlements of French Catholics, which have left their impress upon the country to a greater or less extent.
The first attempt to colonize Texas was by the French under La Salle in 1687; but this great explorer lost his life in returning towards the Mississippi during the same year, and the men who were left to hold the post established were either killed or driven away. In 1690 a trading-post and a mission were established by the Spanish, and subsequently other settlements were made by the same power. Then in 1735 a French colony was sent into Texas from the Red River. But neither the French nor the Spanish held possession of the country unmolested. After the Louisiana purchase, difficulty arose between Spain and the United States as to the boundary, the United States claiming the territory west to the Rio Grande, while Spain claimed it east as far as the Sabine. This was finally settled by treaty, in which the United States guaranteed to Spain her territory west of the Sabine. Mexico became independent in 1821, and Texas formed a part of it, being united under, one government with Coahuila. But while Coahuila was exclusively Mexican, Texas was settled largely by colonists from the United States, generally under grants, of land from the Mexican government. Thus there existed a natural barrier between the Texans and the Mexicans, and, after much dissatisfaction with the government of the latter, the former fought for and gained their independence in 1836. Texas was annexed to the United States in 1846.
Tennessee was originally a part of North Carolina, and was settled mainly by emigrants from that State. Kentucky belonged to Virginia, and was settled likewise by Virginians. The other Western, States, lying east of the Mississippi were included in the Territory north-west of the Ohio. The French under La Salle had explored this region, laid claim to it, and established trading-posts guarded by forts in various parts of it, but they finally relinquished their claim to it. A considerable part of this territory was claimed, by Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and New England under their original territorial grants; but these claims were all relinquished except a part belonging to Connecticut, called the Western Reserve, and a Virginia reservation, now a part of Indiana, each including about 3,700,000 acres. Emigration extended into this section from the older states, as a rule, on the lines of latitude, although there were many exceptions, and each new settlement partook of the characteristics of the region from which it was peopled. The first settlement in Ohio was at Marietta in 1788, formed by a colony from New England. Many localities in Southern Ohio were settled by emigrants from Virginia, while the northern section was peopled by New-Englanders. The oldest settlements in Indiana were made by the French at Vincennes, Corydon, and other places in that vicinity, in 1702. Michigan and Illinois, as well as Wisconsin and Minnesota, had numerous settlements which were formed by the French Catholics in the 16th and 17th centuries. Subsequently these states, especially Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, were filled up largely from the New England States and New York. Like the rest of the Mississippi valley, Iowa was explored and claimed by the French, but was a part of the Louisiana purchase, and so became the property of the United States government. The first white settlements under the authority of this government, were made in 1833-34 at Fort Madison, Burlington, and Dubuque. The inhabitants of Iowa have always taken high ground on all questions of civilization, education, and morals.
The Pacific Slope has received its population in recent times. The southern portion extending far towards Texas was formerly a Spanish possession, and there yet remain many Spaniards and Mexicans within those states and territories. The population of California grew up very rapidly after the discovery of gold in 1848. Miners, speculators, and adventurers rushed thither from all parts of the country, and formed a very motley crowd. Many of these remained, but by far the larger portion returned to their former homes or wandered to other lands. Oregon was included in the Louisiana purchase, and began to be settled by emigrants from the States about 1832. In 1834 the missionary colony of Dr. Marcus Whitman and Rev. Mr. Spalding entered Oregon, and in 1842 the emigration to that region was large.
The settlement of Utah constitutes a remarkable chapter in the history of our country. The Mormons (q.v.), under the leadership of Joseph Smith, made their first settlement in Missouri, where they grew to be a body of considerable numbers; but their theories and habits were distasteful to the people of that state, and they were compelled to remove in 1840. They found their way across the Mississippi into Illinois, where they founded the city of Nauvoo. Here they increased to ten thousand in number, but were obliged to leave this place also on account of the dissatisfaction of the people among whom they lived. In 1846 they removed beyond the Rocky Mountains to the basin of the Great Salt Lake, and founded Utah Territory. In this territory they have held sway during all the succeeding years, and have lived in defiance of the laws of the United States, with, seemingly, no power to check them. A new era seems to be dawning. Law-abiding and Christian people are finding homes within the limits of .he territory, and a population is fast growing up whose influence will secure the execution of the laws of the land.
New Mexico was colonized by the Spaniards about the close of the 17th century. Many missions were established by the Roman Catholics and many of the Indians were converted to that faith. The mineral wealth of the country was discovered, the colonists opened and worked the mines, and enslaved the Indians for that purpose. At length the Indians shook off the power of their oppressors and drove the Spaniards from their territory; but near the close of the 17th century the latter regained a part of their former power. In 1821, along with the rest of Mexico, New Mexico became independent of Spain, and was a part of that republic until 1848, when it was ceded to the United States. The Gadsden purchase was added in 1853, when it included all of Arizona and part of Colorado. Arizona was set off from it in 1863, and a portion of Colorado in 1865. The inhabitants are largely Mexican, Spanish, and Indians, with an ever-increasing number of emigrants from tile United States.
2. Effects of more Recent Immigration. — The United States are peculiar among all the nations of the earth, as being composed, of a population entirely foreign in its origin. While other countries have been invaded and the lands occupied by conquerors, largely to the exclusion of the natives, yet the old stock has not been entirely rooted out, but has become the basis of the succeeding race. "In English history, the Anglo Saxon united with the old Celtic stock, and the Norman with the Saxon, forming the Anglo- Norman race of the present. But in America the aborigines have always been treated as aliens and intruders, and are fast declining towards extermination. The great breadth of our unoccupied lands, and the excellent opportunities for obtaining cheap homes, have rendered America a favorite resort for emigrants from all parts of the world, so that at the present time more than thirteen percent of our population are foreign-born. The aggregate immigration from 1820 to 1840 was 750,949; from 1841 to 1850 it was 1,713,251; from 1851 to 1860 it was 2,598,214; from 1861 to 1870 it was 2,491,451; and from 1871 to 1878 it was 2,177,108-making a total of 9,731,073; in the year ending June 30,1880, it was 457,243 persons. Of this vast number about one fifth have been from Ireland, one fourth from England, one tenth from Scotland and Wales, four fifteenths: from Germany, one thirtieth from France, the remainder (nearly one sixth) from Scandinavia, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Holland, Belgium, China, etc. More than one twentieth of this immigration has been from Roman Catholic countries, and, in addition to this, a large proportion of those from other countries are of the same faith. Thus we have added to our population from foreign countries a large Catholic element, besides the natives who are of that faith, and the rapid increase of their numbers by the ordinary methods of propagation. Among these Catholics have come many Jesuits (q.v.), some from choice, others because of their expulsion from their European homes, who have used their influence so far as it was in their power to mould the government to their own ideas. The general influence of foreign immigration upon our institutions has been most noticeable in large cities and towns, and in respect to the observance of the Sabbath and temperance.
3. Denominational Organization. — The early colonists, who had never known any other relation. between the Church and State than the control of the latter over the firmer, naturally began with the old order of things; but they soon perceived that the liberty which they sought was not consistent with such control, and the gradually abandoned it. The effort soon came to be, not to control the Church by law, but to emancipate conscience; and at the organization of the Federal government all were ready for a Church free from State control. SEE CHURCH AND STATE. The early settlers of Virginia brought with them the Episcopal form. of service, SEE ENGLAND, CHURCH OF, and it was carried to other parts of the land. Out of this grew the Protestant Episcopal Church (q.v.) of this country. The Reformed (Dutch) Church (q.v.) was the outgrowth of the Dutch settlements of New York and New Jersey. The Puritans of New England retained their peculiarities, which have come down to us in the Congregationalists (q.v.). The Presbyterian churches (q.v.) of this country originated from parties of immigrants from England, Ireland, and Scotland, who settled within the limits of various colonies. These united subsequently according to their former organizations on the other side of the Atlantic. The Baptists (q.v.) originated among the Puritans and were banished from their midst. Their history is well given under the appropriate heads. Methodism (q v.) in this country was propagated by the followers of Wesley. Their zeal and energy were great, and their growth rapid in consequence. The Roman Catholics of Maryland were from England, those of Florida from Spain, those of the Lake region and the Mississippi valley from France.
SEE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN, THE UNITED STATES. The Quakers (q.v.) originated in England, and found their way among the American colonists. They founded large and flourishing colonies of their own, and propagated their doctrines with unprecedented zeal.
II. Ecclesiastical Statistics. — These are given in detail under each denominational head in this Cyclopaedia. Their aggregates are substantially given under the various denominations in this Cyclopaedia, made up from the latest accessible information.